Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
Wake Up - It's Emmy Time
2007-05-30 10:03
by Jon Weisman

Variety today offers the first of several Emmy preview sections coming this month. Emmy season already, you ask? Well, nominations won't be announced until July 19, but the campaign has certainly begun.

Today's nine-story package includes stories on how important it is for the right show to find the right network and the new essay portion (yes, that's right) of the Emmy ballot. My contribution is a feature on how the South is depicted on prime-time television these days, but the article you might most enjoy is a first-person piece by Johnny Chase of the surprise hit Five Towns:

The Emmy season is upon us and let me tell you, I won't be getting much sleep. My publicist promised to wake me if I get the nod, but I'm not taking any chances on sleeping through the moment I've been waiting for my whole career. I'm pulling an all nighter. Do I think it will happen? Well let me quote one piece of fan mail that I received this week.

"Dear Mr. Chase. My wife and I cannot wait to see you pick up that little winged angel on September 16th for your stellar work on our favorite show, 'The Five Towns.' We both felt you were robbed when you didn't win in 1998 when it went to Andre Braugher and again we felt you deserved it in 2002 when it went to Michael Chiklis."

The truth is I wasn't nominated either of those years -- in fact I've never been nominated, but I think that the Coulters from Tallahassee and I share the same feeling: I goddamn well should have been.

2007-05-30 12:24:54
1.   Fletch
Johnny Chase should win for 5 Towns. The fact that he is not going to let that happen in his 5 towns is remarkable in itself. Plus NBC needed a hit after Black Donnellys and Kidnapped failed.

After living under duress in Texas for 4 years, most Texans would not consider Texas to be the South. They would not associate with Bama, Miss, etc. They are there own country...

2007-05-30 15:24:10
2.   Benaiah
"Shakespeare in Love" was entertaining, but it was a trifle. It wasn't particularly deep and I would have given the award that year to "The Thin Red Line," "Happiness" and especially to "Rushmore" over "SiL." We can agree though, that "Saving Private Ryan" demonstrates again that Speilburg is incredibly talented, but offsets that talent by being condescending and simplistic. I think he will be remembered primarily for his entertaining stuff like "Jaws", "ET and "Catch Me if you Can" and not for his Oscar bait pictures.
2007-05-30 15:56:05
3.   Jon Weisman
"it was a trifle. It wasn't particularly deep."

So wrong.

The idea that Spielberg will be remembered more for Catch Me If You Can than Schindler's List is a little hard to swallow on an objective level.

2007-05-30 19:19:30
4.   Benaiah
3 - Well, I spelled his name wrong, so maybe I am talking about some other director.

I know you disagree about "SiL", but for me there wasn't a lot there. It was a period romance, but if it wasn't for the setting then it wouldn't have gotten the acclaim.

"Schindler's List" is Speilberg's one triumph, and yet it has already tarnished in the eyes of many. It is undoubtably a powerful movie, but every time I watch it, my opinion of it lessens (the direction and acting are far better than certain aspects of the story and script). I forsee it being less memorable and important than one would suspect, while "Jaws" and the like will be something that future generations can return to because they work perfectly at their modest aims.

With as much tact as possible, I will state my opinion that movies that attempt to tackle the Holocaust are another example of an overrated genre. The reality of the Holocause is so terrible that it is the richest vein imaginable of human emotion and drama and their has consequently been an oversaturation of similar pieces- of which "Schindler's List" may (or may not) be the best. At any rate, I think these movies will struggle to gain an audience in history, but I feel borderline uncomfortable talking about the subject. If there is a serious movie that he will be remembered for, it is "SL", but that might thought of as an aberration, not the norm.

2007-05-30 19:31:43
5.   Benaiah
4 - I mentioned that it has tarnished in the eyes of many, but I didn't mention anyone, so here are two:

Armond White in Film Comment

Bill Chambers for Film Freak Central

2007-05-30 19:46:06
6.   Jon Weisman
Again, trying to speak from an objective place, I don't see any evidence that the setting of Shakespeare in Love has any correlation with movies getting acclaim. Believe me, if the movie didn't have substance, it would have been tossed aside.

More subjectively, to call it a period romance diminishes it unfairly. It was a movie about art itself, and it spoke about art in such an inspiring way.

My other comment, if you reread it, related more to the idea that Catch Me If You Can was specifically some kind of memorable movie. It wasn't a comment about genre. I enjoyed Catch, but it never made a deep impression on the public. I haven't seen SL in a while, and I never thought it was flawless, but whatever your opinion of the film or its genre, I don't know how you can conclude that Spielberg won't be remembered more for it than Catch. SL penetrates the collective consciousness in a way that Catch will never approach.

You can change the discussion to which is the better movie now if you like, but your original point was which films Spielberg will be remembered for. Jaws? Yes. Raiders? Yes. ET (which I hated)? Yes. Schindler's? Yes. Those were mega-movies. Catch? Only by diehards.

2007-05-30 19:56:40
7.   Jon Weisman
Benaiah, send me an e-mail - I want to talk about SJ with you.
2007-05-30 20:18:48
8.   Benaiah
6 - "Shakespeare in Love" is kind of an isolated incident, I can't think of another movie that is as beloved in a similar genre. Understand, I don't dislike the movie (like you dislike my favorite, "Before Sunset") I just don't think it is perfect.

My comment about "Catch Me Like If You Can" was hyperbole. I was pointing to a minor movie, that was something of a crowd pleaser and a palette cleanser. I should have pointed to all of the ones you did. I didn't particularly like "The Color Purple" (I actually disliked it) or "Munich" (good, but heavy handed), and I can't imagine that future generations will return to those wells.

And I sent you an email.

2007-05-30 22:31:38
9.   T Money
Not to butt in, but it's an interesting argument: the balance between a film's quality, vs. its "importance," vs. whether it made a "deep impression on the public." My initial feeling is that Jon's selling "Catch" awfully short. You want forgettable Spielberg, try "The Terminal." "Catch" seems to me a movie that people talk about a like, and have great fondness for. But that's all anecdotal. How can one gauge that last point? Google searches for the film title? Its ranking on the Netflix rental list? If I were smarter, I'd try to come up with a formula.

Unrelated: I saw "Knocked Up" tonight, and thought it was swell. Maybe not the masterpiece some reviews have hailed it to be, but really funny and charming nonetheless.

2007-05-30 22:53:16
10.   Jon Weisman
The Terminal was indeed awful.

I'm about three or four movies behind on reviews: I've seen The TV Set, Knocked Up and Waitress over the past couple of weeks.

2007-05-30 23:23:38
11.   T Money
I don't know if I thought "Terminal" was awful, really, just deeply problematic. The first half, I quite enjoyed. But, man, did it go off the rails near the end.

What'd you think of "Waitress?" It certainly had charming moments, but it felt awfully flabby to me. And I was also unable to forget about the tragic circumstances surrounding Adrienne Shelley's death for more then a few minutes at a time... Not a fault of the film, clearly, but it was pretty distracting nonetheless.

I said it in the last thread, but I'll say it again, everyone should see "Once." I've seen pretty much everything that's out right now, and it's easily the class of the field.

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