Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Attack of Harvey Scissorhands

OK, so everyone knows Harvey Weinstein of Miramax is reputed to be a jerk. He's become Darth Vader among cinephiles--and deservedly so--for 1) trimming the work of talented directors for "commercial" reasons, interference which, according to people who have seen the "before" and "after" versions, often results in botch jobs; and for 2) acquiring but then shelving excellent films, making them unavailable to eager audiences, even trying to punish overseas distributors willing to sell DVD versions. Then there's 3), that he's ruined the Oscars through elaborate campaigning and by promoting bland, middlebrow fare, turning movies into some kind of civic chore instead of a joy.

There's a book out right now which talks about these and other problems at length. You've probably heard about it--Down and Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind. B. is reading this now and has been quoting the juicier tidbits for me.

But this one I found out about online. This memo has to be read to be believed. (And yet, I'm told, it's 100% authentic, and what sounds like joking probably isn't.) Aside from the nastiness, here's the kicker: it's terrible advice. If I heard a filmmaker speak this way about his own film I'd run the other way. Wouldn't you?


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