Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
A Small Part of the Entourage
2007-05-11 09:13
by Jon Weisman

As some of you might know, Jenna Fischer sometimes blogs from her desk on the set of The Office - the computers there are live so that the actors can occupy themselves during the long shoots.

Well, I find myself in the same situation this morning at my desk at Variety, because the newsroom here is lit up like a Hollywood opening as Entourage shoots a scene from an upcoming episode. From my cubicle, I almost literally have a box seat.

This is the second time Entourage is shooting here; the product of the first shoot will be seen nationwide Sunday. I wasn't working here at the time, but you can see my desk (oh, and a few of my colleagues – including Mike Schneider of Franklin Avenue) in passing.

Variety TV critic Brian Lowry, who can't physically be seen in the episode but was something of the inspiration for the storyline, wrote about it this week for us.

Because the glitz-filled "Entourage" has a certain hipster image to uphold, the producers populated the newsroom with extras, ensuring that Fake Variety's staff was more attractive, stylish and younger than Real Variety. A few of us actual journalists observing this alternate reality felt a bit like Woody Allen in "Stardust Memories," wondering how we wound up on the ugly train. ...

Variety's Fake TV Critic dresses shabbily and wears glasses denoting years of solitary TV viewing (definitely true), eats lunch at his desk (occasionally true), acts unfazed by someone barging in to personally lambaste him (mercifully untrue) and has his own assistant (so untrue the Real Critic is still laughing his ass off).

Anyway, as is typical on a set, there's a ton of setup going on and people milling about, but not much else to look at. I just hope they don't ask for quiet on the set during my one phone interview this morning. Oh, hey, Kevin Connolly just walked by.

Okay, time to try to get some work done.

Every thread at Screen Jam is an open chat thread.

2007-05-11 09:21:02
1.   Bob Timmermann
They always kick us out of the library when it's time for a TV or film shoot. Of course that's because they don't want the library to actually look like a library.

But we have done a good job as a building on "Numb3rs", a polling place in DC for "The West Wing" (which caused a small flood in one room when the crew set off the sprinklers), and an exterior shot for "CSI: NY", "Crossing Jordan", and most recently, "Heroes."

2007-05-11 09:21:38
2.   Kevin Lewis
Continuing the conversation from the last post:

I was extremely pleased with the office last night. The writers have done an excellent job of having me like Jim/Karen, not like Jim/Karen and now liking the possibility of Jim/Pam if Pam is going to start asserting herself in this new way. Either way, I loved the breakthrough Pam made last night. It had been building up for so long, and she finally felt the sweet freedom of confession/assertiveness. Of course it was uncomfortable, but she had to go with the flow at that moment because she felt "so alive".

Re: the longer episodes. I hope they keep it the same with an occasional 45 min. episode here and there. I wouldn't mind if there were more episodes, but I think one hour every week would produce some weak episodes and would put a lot of pressure on the writing to come up with random event after random event.

2007-05-11 09:42:47
3.   still bevens
Jon what happened to your museum job? I had no idea you worked full-time at Variety. Did they make you go to industry buzzspeak bootcamp? Do you use the word 'prexy' in your everyday vernacular and refer to NYC as Gotham? God bless Variety.
2007-05-11 09:45:49
4.   Jon Weisman
3 - I came here full-time in September, and yes, I actually wrote "prexy" yesterday.
2007-05-11 10:06:37
5.   Bob Timmermann
I believe Jon ankled LACMA in September for Variety.
2007-05-11 12:23:17
6.   underdog
When I first started reading and consulting Variety film reviews, I had to keep a glossary handy just to translate some of their shorthand phrases, but the reviews are usually quite well-written. Their "scribes" are talented.

I added a late-arriving random thought to the Lost thread btw, though everyone's probably moved on from that. I still haven't watched The Office, but I'll be spending Friday night with my pal Tivo.

2007-05-11 12:38:15
7.   Jon Weisman
6 -

Why don't you paste your Lost comment here?

2007-05-11 12:53:59
8.   underdog
7 Thanks! I had that bookmarked, actually. ;-)


Finally watched {Lost} online tonight, then read through your comments. Whoo boy.

For a second there, I thought Jacob = Mother Bates.

"You've had your fun, Jacob!" says Ben and I wanted to say that to the show's writers as well. The show keeps raising more questions than it answers, but it remains as intriguing as ever.

49. underdog
11 Wait, I don't get it - why would Annie = Rousseau? Isn't the latter quite French?


Speaking of Freaks and Geeks, anyone see the trailers for Knocked Up? (Judd Apatow) It has several cast members of F&G as well as the lead from Undeclared. Looks quite funny, could definitely repeat 40 Y.O. Virgin's success.

2007-05-11 12:58:34
9.   still bevens
6 I (used to) like Variety reviews as well, but I wish they didn't spoil the entire plot of the film. Granted, that might be the point: for execs and such to know what happens in a movie if they're too busy to catch it but I strictly avoid their reviews because of this fact.
2007-05-11 13:02:37
10.   Jon Weisman
8 - I'm seeing Knocked Up on Tuesday

9 - I feel all reviews in general must be read with great care - I'm always ready to abort if I get too much hint of plot.

2007-05-11 13:34:34
11.   ToyCannon
Anybody seen the Waitress yet? Lots of stupid reasons to get killed these days but I was bit surprised to find out a woman was killed for asking a man to stop making so much noise. I could understand the man going all macho on another man but on a woman? Criminy

Jon do you have a bigger share of female posters on Screen Jam or is this still a 99% male dominated arena? I'm asking because I haven't read all the historical posts and was just wondering if you got some new blood over here. When it comes to DT I don't think the gender matters much but for entertainment information it would be nice to see points of few from both sides.

2007-05-11 13:35:20
12.   underdog
I try to be careful about that in my own reviews, as well. I don't think professional reviews should have to add a "spoiler warning!" as we try to do in more informal reviews on blogs and such, unless I'm going to be blatant about it. But generally try to stay away from major plot points. It's more important to make clear was the film good or bad and why, should I see it? Some newspaper reviewers really irk me because most of their review is "This happens and then this" rather than any analysis.

10 Let us know what you think! Without any spoilers, though. ;-)

2007-05-11 13:37:42
13.   underdog
11 Missed it at Sundance but people I know who saw it really liked it, even if no one thought it was superfabulous. Keri Russell is most appealing. It just makes me sad thinking about poor Adrienne Shelly not being around to enjoy the success, and for her family...

Cheap plug but we put up a piece on her last week if anyone wants to read:

2007-05-11 13:47:18
14.   Penarol1916
Since I rarely go out to the movies anymore, I read reviews primarily for the spoilers, so that I have some semblance of an idea of what people are talking about. If Variety is the place to go for the spoiler-ific reviews, then I'll have to make that a regular stop on my Friday morning movie review readings.
2007-05-11 13:49:38
15.   Bob Timmermann
Again, I've let down America by not watching enough of "Studio 60" and it's death will be announced Monday apparently.

2007-05-11 13:54:50
16.   ToyCannon
I enjoyed Studio 60 but I'm not saddened by it's demise.
2007-05-11 13:55:03
17.   underdog
15 In the anti-climatic news of the day...
2007-05-11 14:00:09
18.   Jon Weisman
11 - Not much new blood here for now - pretty much just a small sampling of DTers.
2007-05-11 14:03:59
19.   Jon Weisman
Don't tell Bill P., but Sasha Cohen has graduated from her part as herself in Blades of Glory to actually play someone else in the upcoming "Moondance Alexander."

2007-05-11 14:09:46
20.   Bob Timmermann
She's going to choke during the filming of that movie. She doesn't have what it takes to be a film star. And Dick Button agrees with me!
2007-05-11 14:20:46
21.   Eric Enders
"Finally, people have suggested inviting guest posts to Screen Jam. I'm finding myself open to this idea. ... If this is something you'd be interested in, you can let me know in the comments."

I can't devote a whole lot of time to it, but this is something I'd be interested in, if you wouldn't mind having someone around who posts once or twice a week or sometimes not even that often. I ain't gonna be Juan Pierre playing every day, but I could be Brady Clark.

I don't partake of network TV, which means much of the chat here is Lost on me (pun, alas, intended), but I'd be interested in posting on the HBO shows, books, and movies.

2007-05-11 14:37:50
22.   Jon Weisman
21 - Thanks for letting me know.
2007-05-11 14:42:53
23.   Penarol1916
15. I really disliked Studio 60, primarily because I hated the female characters, but I continued to watch because I of Steven Webber. What I'm really shocked about is how good a lot of the actors from Wings turned out to be.
2007-05-11 15:00:20
24.   Bob Timmermann
So how many shows is ABC going to put Tim Daly in? He could become a 21st Century Ted McGinley.
2007-05-11 15:02:48
25.   Jon Weisman
If he can somehow derail the Shonda Rhimes machine, then that would be saying something.
2007-05-11 15:03:08
26.   Benaiah
13 - Underdog, you write for Greencine? That is awesome. Greencine is the single best movie resource on the internet, if you are a movie geek then that is the first place to to go. What other film blogs do you read?

I read (The House Next Door) everyday, and then a bunch of other stuff almost as much.

2007-05-11 15:03:25
27.   Jon Weisman
But I think T.D. Taye Diggs would get that kind of recognition before T.D. Tim Daly.
2007-05-11 15:04:02
28.   stopthebeachballs

Studio 60 : West Wing :: UCLA basketball under Lavin : UCLA basketball under Wooden

Being a huge West Wing fan, I probably had too high of expectations for Studio 60. Recycling lines and plots (not to mention fonts and lighting schemes) were a consistent reminder of what the show was not. I'm glad that Sorkin's willing to talk about the role of religion in culture and politics (most see it as a third rail), but I felt like Hilary's presentation of the Christian side was wooden. It was technically correct (mostly), but it was missing a ring of authenticity (a ring that was present in Sorkin's writing for Perry's character).

2007-05-11 15:09:42
29.   Jon Weisman
28 - Ah, this brings me back to the early days of Screen Jam - the passion with which I would express how appalled I was by Studio 60.
2007-05-11 15:21:21
30.   stopthebeachballs

It's something that I can't let go of, one of the great LA shoulda's. Kobe and Shaq shoulda stayed together, Juan Pierre should be playing in SF, and Studio 60 should be good.

2007-05-11 15:23:57
31.   Jon Weisman
Scrubs will be back on NBC

2007-05-11 15:28:12
32.   ToyCannon
Woo Hoo

It ain't what it used to be but it still gets a belly laugh. Chocolate Bear and Vanilla Bear are the best couple on TV.

2007-05-11 15:30:09
33.   ToyCannon
I think if you looked at all the sitcoms that were on at that time and that the cab driver and the mechanic on Wings would become excellent character actors on the big screen you'd been laughed at out of the room.
2007-05-11 15:38:03
34.   Jon Weisman
33 - Well, to me Tony Shaloub had obvious talent, but I'm not sure I would have predicted an Oscar nomination for Lowell.
2007-05-11 16:16:04
35.   stopthebeachballs

This surprises me a bit, considering the episode last night. I figured the series would end with JD moving to Seattle to be with Kim and their baby. The show still makes me laugh, but it's certainly a shadow of its former self.

2007-05-11 16:33:49
36.   Bob Timmermann
I thought Kim lived in Oregon.

But I have issues with Oregon.

2007-05-11 16:47:47
37.   underdog
26 Ben, yup, I do! Edit and write. We have the main site, plus the Daily blog that you're probably alluding to there (that I contribute to but am not lead editor on), and our review blog, Guru, among others. It's a non stop stream of movie content, I feel overwhelmed by it sometimes, even. Lots of good other blogs on the web - the sidebar of links on Daily is a good place to start. I like reading Glenn Kenny and Dave Kehr's blogs, for film critic perspectives, and like Matt's blog, too, yeah, among many others. Hard to keep up! Thanks.
2007-05-11 16:57:44
38.   still bevens
31 I don't want to be overly mean, but on last nights episode something was seriously wrong with Sarah Chalke's face. I certainly hope its makeup related and not surgery related. She was in total Barbie mode and that other doctor was her Ken. Creepy.
2007-05-11 21:15:01
39.   Underbruin
28 - I feel that even worse are the comparisons between Studio 60 and Sports Night, because the two are both about television shows. Studio 60 could perhaps be forgiven for showing Sorkin's style doesn't work when not dealing with the White House... except it had already been proven that it could indeed work for something as relatively banal as a television show. Arguably 60 would be more important than Sports Night, because the former is clearly an SNL analogue. The latter was, if I recall correcly, the 3rd most watched sports show on TV, putting it closer to something like Pardon the Interruption in terms of import.

Ehh, don't mind me. I still miss Sports Night.

2007-05-11 23:54:04
40.   Andrew Shimmin
I didn't know Amanda Peet hadn't gone into Studio 60 already pregnant. That's got to mitigate against how bad the show was; it can't be easy to inject a story line out of nowhere. But the show was awful, and I won't miss it.
2007-05-12 13:32:35
41.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
39 Sports Night is the fondest memory for me of my first few months with TiVo. It was in syndication (or something) that had it running every night, and, having completely missed it in the original airings, I was delighted to use TiVo to capture all the episodes and watch them... Fantastic show. And a nice introduction to Peter Krause, whom I later liked in Six Feet Under!

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.