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Monday, January 31, 2011

Hollywood as it is...

Written by Joel Stein, published in the Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2008

A poll finds more Americans disagree with the statement that 'Jews control Hollywood.' But here's one Jew who doesn't.

I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.

How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.

The person they were yelling at in that ad was SAG President Alan Rosenberg (take a guess). The scathing rebuttal to the ad was written by entertainment super-agent Ari Emanuel (Jew with Israeli parents) on the Huffington Post, which is owned by Arianna Huffington (not Jewish and has never worked in Hollywood.)

The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.

As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you'd be flipping between "The 700 Club" and "Davey and Goliath" on TV all day.

So I've taken it upon myself to re-convince America that Jews run Hollywood by launching a public relations campaign, because that's what we do best. I'm weighing several slogans, including: "Hollywood: More Jewish than ever!"; "Hollywood: From the people who brought you the Bible"; and "Hollywood: If you enjoy TV and movies, then you probably like Jews after all."

I called ADL Chairman Abe Foxman, who was in Santiago, Chile, where, he told me to my dismay, he was not hunting Nazis. He dismissed my whole proposition, saying that the number of people who think Jews run Hollywood is still too high. The ADL poll, he pointed out, showed that 59% of Americans think Hollywood execs "do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans," and 43% think the entertainment industry is waging an organized campaign to "weaken the influence of religious values in this country."

That's a sinister canard, Foxman said. "It means they think Jews meet at Canter's Deli on Friday mornings to decide what's best for the Jews." Foxman's argument made me rethink: I have to eat at Canter's more often.

"That's a very dangerous phrase, 'Jews control Hollywood.' What is true is that there are a lot of Jews in Hollywood," he said. Instead of "control," Foxman would prefer people say that many executives in the industry "happen to be Jewish," as in "all eight major film studios are run by men who happen to be Jewish."

But Foxman said he is proud of the accomplishments of American Jews. "I think Jews are disproportionately represented in the creative industry. They're disproportionate as lawyers and probably medicine here as well," he said. He argues that this does not mean that Jews make pro-Jewish movies any more than they do pro-Jewish surgery. Though other countries, I've noticed, aren't so big on circumcision.

I appreciate Foxman's concerns. And maybe my life spent in a New Jersey-New York/Bay Area-L.A. pro-Semitic cocoon has left me naive. But I don't care if Americans think we're running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.

- Joel Stein, LA Times,0,4676183.column

Friday, January 07, 2011

TRON movie and Jeff Bridges' faces? (SPOILERS)

(I suspect a lot of people that wanted to see the movie already have, but for those that haven't and don't like spoilers this is your second "Turn Around" marker)

Okay, while there were things I liked about the movie as a whole the Tron tech, vehicles and the overall aesthetic sensibilities that are the core of what TRON is about in terms of describing life inside of a machine for man was updated with justice for the most part I thought  There was one thing that was just major thorn in my side watching the movie, what was up with the Jeff Bridges digital double?  I knew when I saw some behind the scenes snippets on TV and he had old school markers on his face instead of using the Mova method it was going to look bad, but I didn't think it was going to look that terrible.  Even though a lot of ImageMovers work looked a little suspect while they were still operating I still feel like had Disney not shut them down they would have done an exponentially better job on the performance capture work for this film given the opportunity.

With the face capture work as it is knowing they were using markers I didn't realize that they would just "Put it out front" as much as they did.  I guess I figured that maybe the decision to go the fast cheap way with the markers for face capture was because they weren't going to use it much or maybe they were using it to animate an imperfect villain copy of the main character within the machine which could have been interesting, but Disney used the face marker capture material far too much knowing that it looked bad and I guess that's almost the most disturbing thing at least that's what has me posting about it.  It wouldn't have be bad if there just wasn't another way to do it, but there is and several better methods are in use regularly so you have to chalk it up to Disney's incompetence and/or poor taste.  The most disturbing thing for me is looking at Disney, in this industry, at the precipice of the performance capture era owning the first studio to pioneer this method and having seen the success of Avatar and Gollum in LOTR and Kong in King Kong they still shutdown ImageMovers Digital and then did a movie with A LOT of really bad performance capture work.     

After seeing the story I thought it would have been cool to use Mova captured face anim. for the real world young version of Jeff Bridges and the markers for the character "Clue."  Even if that didn't look great, considering direct Human to Human CG will almost always encounter the a large fail in the uncanny valley it would have looked a LOT better and it would have visually carried a lot more weight on the story end. 

From the story standpoint I really liked the idea of TRON being a separate entity, being evil and still being kick ass.  I was hoping they would bring back the original helmet at the end just for nostalgic purposes, but it seemed irritating that they chose not to show TRON's face at the end.  (I guess in my mind I was like, "Oh and now at end of the journey you just discovered that the the face capture stuff looks like shyte and you embarrassed? WTH?"     

I don't want to sound completely negative, because like I said there were some really nice things in the movie that helped it out considerably.