Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Nikki Finke Is The New Hotness: 6.16

Hi kids. Miss me? I'm back just because I need to do that thing where I praise people who don't totally suck. Because we could all use a little happy, no?

Nikki Finke is the only journalist I can think of working the Hollywood beat who is actually dedicated to reporting the truth about it, unblurred by the studios, agents, stars or anyone else for that matter.

She beats--consistently, easily, thoroughl--Variety and the Hollywood Reporter; both of which should be ashamed of themselves for not having more go-getters getting scoops like her.

Into this void comes Ms. Finke, a one-woman info-freakshow. If I want the truth about something going on in Hollywood, I go to her site.

And it's usually there, a cross-section of plausible theories and her analysis on the most credible one, reporting on various degrees of confirmation about stories when she can get it.
Check her shizz at: Deadline Hollywood Daily. Do it regularly.

Also, the other new hotness is Gail Collins, who has just officially become my new favorite newspaper columnist.

Why? I'd read her stuff before and she doesn't take herself too seriously, and is often quite funny, like a wry aunt who's led an interesting life but hits the bourbon a bit too hard these days...also because it's not your actual aunt that you'll have to drive to the hospital when she breaks her nose.

I hope she can take this as the compliment it's meant to be.

But what truly gives her this distinction of new favorite and the new hotness was that hers is destined to be the best distillation of the latest iteration of the Palin family drama in the entire history of the Palin family drama canon:

But surely, when it comes to combating teen pregnancy, the Palin family has done enough damage already. What worse message could you send to teenage girls than the one they delivered at the Republican convention: If your handsome but somewhat thuglike boyfriend gets you with child, he will clean up nicely, propose marriage, and show up at an important family event wearing a suit and holding your hand. At which point you will get a standing ovation.


Well done, ladies.

The cookies above? All yours.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Is The New Heath Ledger: 6.15

Heath Ledger's death is a terrible loss for art.

I want that to be said about me when I die, btw. And I want it to be true.

The dude entrusted with his roles should be Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

It goes beyond the fact they both had breakout movie roles in 10 Things I Hate About You. It's the fact that both can act and both act in interesting roles to the point where one is not quite sure what he's gonna do next.

It's also that the resemblance can be uncanny, but it's more than that still.

Let this be said: like Heath Ledger, he chooses interesting roles, this Joseph Gordon-Levitt does.

His judgment is so good, actually, that the fact that a movie has him in it makes it more likely that it is a good movie. And how many 20-something actors can you say that about? Not many.

How many actors generally can you say that about?

Mostly the ones with Oscars, that's who.

But JGL, man if you read this, please, always remember that one thing that makes you so good as to receive this anonymous blogger's mantle is that you work well with others in service of your art. Please don't stop being kind to your fellow professionals. And your fellow human beings while you're at it.

Also, drugs. Stay away, okay? And see a doctor often.

You'll be fine, JGL, Hollywood's assistants will see to it.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why Wonkette Rules: 6.14

I hate politics.

I really do.

I talk about it/them a lot, but only because I have to. Because politics, like media, is intimately tied to almost every important idea in 21st century America/Amurika.

So that sux.

If you haven't heard of it, is a satirical website about politics that used to be a part of the Gawker Empire. But like many great ideas in Hollywood, they were spun off.

One its defining memes of late has been TruckNutz, which Hollywooders who've been around for awhile will remember as a meme from a certain script readers' website.

But Wonkette's importance extends far beyond memes. It is part of a new breed of media that makes the horrific, gruesome business of politics more palatable. And the only way that that can be accomplished is through absurdist mockery. Because yes, we have descended that far.

I mean, what do you expect? Culture has supposedly been declining since at least culture began, so it can't be that much of a surprise.

I mean, really, look at how much I smoke.

The only sane reaction to a politics that subverts every ideal, that corrupts every policy, that breeds cynicism and apathy, is wholesale rejection. And what better way to do that than with snarky sarcasm?

Like always, I don't have any financial (or any other) interest in seeing them succeed beyond wanting the awesomely funny to succeed.

So as always I urge you, Angelenos, reject reality by being that person who reads books (and a few good blogs).

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

On Hiring Hollywood Assistants, Flamers Edition: 6.13

Most offices go through assistants like Kleenex in Hollywood, and ours is no exception. So we're almost constantly hiring, it seems.

I told you a bit about that process previously.

Today, our office manager (let's call her Jeanette) and my friend/immediate supervisor (Sarah) interviewed this dude we'll call Richard Simmons.

Now to get right to the point, let's just say that Richard was (and is) what you might call a 'flaming.'

Look I'm obviously gay-friendly. Maybe even super-gay-friendly.

But I'm telling you, I met him for just 10 seconds and I think it's probably an objective fact: dude was REALLY gay. (hence the pseudonym, Richard Simmons)

Now I was under the impression that my co-workers were super gay-friendly. Both Sarah and Jeanette said they would "love to have a gay in the office."

But they just weren't sure about Richard Simmons.

Jeanette maintained that his voice would get annoying hour after hour, though Sarah maintained we'd sound "progressive" with his voice answering our phones.

Jeanette didn't think the Big Boss would like him. Sarah pointed out that the Big Boss, a standard-issue alpha male who needs to dominate his tribe of employees, wouldn't be threatened by him.

Jeanette just couldn't see him fitting in. Sarah, sadly, didn't have a good response.

My protestations that he should have a chance if he was the best-qualified person we could find fell on deaf ears. As my protestations generally do. After all, they said, his voice, demeanor and personality are all part of the qualifications, right?

But this guy basically didn't get hired, not because he's gay, but because he was flamingly gay.

It makes you wonder ... did the stereotype of gay men as hairdressers and interior designers happen because they're just 'naturally good' at that sort of thing? Or did that Plymouth Rock of gay jobs land on them?

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How Meghan McCain Could Save the World: 6.12

John McCain's seemingly-hot-but-actually-not daughter Meghan (seriously, an unnecessary 'h'?) has become friends with Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt from The Hills because apparently idiocy loves company.

Now the LA Times reports that Spence and Heidi are interested in using their new connection to go to Iraq to 'entertain the troops.'

Those poor effing troops.

On the upside, though, this is may be yet another brave sacrifice by our men and women in uniform because it represents the best chance we have of permanently ridding the world of these destructively insipid stains on humanity.

All Meghan's gotta do is arrange it so that this lovely couple gets to fly into Iraq. The troops, once they've been "entertained" by Heidi and Spencer, will more than likely "accidentally" get separated from the douchebag duo in a dangerous neighborhood of Baghdad.

With any luck, the massive violence and instability will take care of the rest.

So please, Meghan McCain, do your best to save the world from the most insufferable douchebags of the 21st century.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Dumb Reasons Why You Aren't Getting Hired: 6.11

Recently, we've had to hire a few new people for our growing office, a couple of assistant types, basically. The jobs ain't tough--just your standard coffee-bringer-photocopying-call-rolling jobs--and thanks to the crappy economy and the lure of Hollywood, there were a lot of applicants.

So I was enlisted to try and go through the stacks of resumes, help out with some phone pre-interviews, and offer second opinions. And that's how I got involved in the ethical and moral quandaries of being an employer.

If you've been trying to get a job lately, you might be surprised at some of the crazy reasons that cause resumes to be tossed...

"The girl I just talked to seemed really nice, but..."
"I think she was probably too nice to work here. We need a borderline biatch."

One young woman, in passing, expressed a moral distaste for a college professor sleeping with a student: "She just seems too ethical to work here."

One young man was rejected after a brief phone pre-interview because he had a 'weird' voice. "It wasn't like an accent, it was more like, you sound lame."

Another rejection:
"The Big Boss wouldn't like her."
"She seems like the type of person to stand up for herself."
"Oh yeah, that would be bad."

One applicant was overqualified: "Ugh, that biyatch would get in here and try to steal my job."

Another seemed underqualified: "Who the hell puts their goddam elementary school on their resume?" "Um...a 14-year-old?"

Another outright rejection: "He has tattoos."
"Do you think a guy with tattoos would get along with the Big Boss?"
"Ugh, fine, point taken."

"Toss this in the circular file--this girl's from Florida."
"Sorry, maybe you didn't hear me-- she's from Florida. You know, America's stanky armpit? The only thing out of Florida I would touch with a ten-foot pole is an orange."

"Ha! Look at this--a Fox News intern!" [general merriment as the resume is set on fire and the ashes scattered]

"That guy I just talked to is rejected-- he's obviously a stoner."
"Yeah, that would not be good."
"Whatever, I just don't want someone who's obvious."

"I just Googled him, he's totally fat."
"You can't not interview someone because they're fat--that's discriminatory."
"Whatever, he's obviously been discriminating against exercise and vegetables for years."

Of course, being pretty isn't enough either. "Ugh, God, look the picture this biatch has on Facebook, Atlas."
"Huh...she has really nice eyes."
"Nice eyes? That's what guys say when they're mesmerized by breasts. I'm not becoming the ugly girl in the office."

So what does this prove? Admittedly, not much.

Just that, once again, working in Hollywood is a complete and total crapshoot that is almost totally unrelated to competence, talent, or intelligence. But you already knew that, right?

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Meet the Reason Movies Suck- Joan Graves: 6.10

If you've ever wondered why Hollywood movies suck so much, look no further than the chief censor-harpy of CARA, the Classification and Ratings Administration for the MPAA (Muthafuckin Pathological A-hole "Artists").

Her name is Joan Graves, and she is the reason.

Defamer ran a piece on this cuntface and it brought back so many memories...

...Of Joan Graves eviscerating a terribly smart little indie film for 'adult content' which she takes to mean as "anything that might challenge accepted ideas and/or cause people to think."

...Of Joan Graves refusing to hear any sort of rational arguments and citing the 'votes' of her handpicked 'board' (when in fact, the Joan-led "group discussions" make it clear how members should vote)

...Of Joan Graves treating me like a normal human being when repping a studio, but like a leper when repping an indie.**

But Atlas, you say, how can one woman be responsible for so many bad movies?

Why, with the magic of Hollywood, that's how!

The unregulated and omnipotent monopoly that is the MPAA (composed of, and controlled by, the major studios) chooses the head of CARA (our gal Joan). This supposedly makes him or her 'independent.'

Kind of like how the Wall Street Journal is independent of Rupert Murdoch.

So then Joan chooses a board of cronies who have 'no special qualifications' that might make them reliable proxies for the sentiments of Americans.

The anonymous members of CARA are supposed to be parents of kids under 16 or 18, but mostly aren't. Instead, she uses retirees and older housewives (read: conservatives) with a few token crazies thrown in, because they're cheaper and easier to control.

And just in case anyone starts to get any fresh ideas, they're all drowned out by a massive group-think session after each movie. This allows Joan to carefully guide the votes in her desired direction.

Basically, this makes her able to give the studios what they want: no censorship on their movies, but a whole heap of trouble for indies. So studios can put out movies like the new Rambo with as much mindless violence as they want, while good movies get censored so much that they suck--or they eschew ratings and get no distribution.

Oh--and if you're wondering why any filmmaker would subject their art to such a blatantly rigged system, remember that your film must have a rating to get into 95%+ of theaters in the US. It's an unfair monopoly that should be illegal. It should make you mad. And it should change. Now.

Unfortunately, that would take a non-Republicanized anti-trust branch at the Justice Department or an act of Congress, whose Democrats are in the thrall of Hollywood. So good luck with that. In the meantime, I can only recommend what I always recommend: burn the city to the ground.

For more on this issue, go watch this excellent, behind-the-scenes, cheekily fun but kinda depressing movie: This Film Is Not Yet Rated. It's a must-see for anyone with film industry aspirations. And hopefully, it will convince you to avoid this dark, terrible business like the plague.

**In her interview with her Stanford alumni magazine, she asserts that studios have it easier because they have a designated liaison and know the system. This is absolute crap. She knows who pays the bills.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gloria Steinem Has Never Seemed More Irrelevant: 6.09

I can't talk about the writer's strike--it just makes me too sad. I just wish both sides would start acting like grown-ups and get this thing over with. Instead, there's this...

I know you could probably care less about an op-ed piece in The New York Times, but I just read one and it made me confused and sad. This one was by Gloria Steinem, one of the leading lights of the women's rights movement since the 1960s.

She tries to make the point that if Barack Obama was a woman named Achola Obama, no one would consider her for President because she's a black chick. It's not really clear why no one would elect an African-American woman when most voters seem quite comfortable with both parts of that gender/race equation...other than Steinem says so.

Because sorry, Gloria, I've got two words for you: Oprah Winfrey.

At left, Steinem, back when she really mattered.

Oprah could have a Senate seat, governorship, or probably even the Presidency if she wanted it. Yes, Gloria, both African-Americans and Womyn-Americans have it tougher than us white males. But they both have it easier than say, a Mexican-American lesbian dwarf.

The point for Democrats is who can do the best job of helping Mexican-American lesbian dwarves, not whether black skin or a vajayjay is the bigger barrier to the Presidency.

Which, really, is my entire problem with Clinton supporters--and to a lesser extent, Baby Boomers. They want to keep arguing about things that should've been settled long ago by either agreeing to disagree .

But the part that really makes me mad is that Gloria claims she'd support Obama as the nominee, then writes:
"What worries me is that some women, perhaps especially younger ones, hope to deny or escape the sexual caste system; thus Iowa women over 50 and 60, who disproportionately supported Senator Clinton, proved once again that women are the one group that grows more radical with age."

It's this sort of sophistry that makes young people remember why they wish everyone would just shut the f--k up about the 60s.

At right, Gloria today.

Because seriously, Gloria, a vote for a former first lady, current Senator and long-time Washington insider can hardly be called radical. It's about as Establishment as Establishment gets.

What's radical is that this hetero white male considers a radical feminist icon be part of a backwards, conservative, and out-of-touch Establishment.

And it's all thanks to Barack Obama.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

On Sympathy, Strike: 6.08

The Writer's Guild is standing up for the rights of the Mash-Up Generation. (that's us youngin's, btw, who've grown up in an age where truly creating your identity from ever more disparate strands is the defining choice of Americans)

That's why they're on strike.

So support them.

And I'd like to offer a helpful hint to studios--think about what ultimately happens if you try to crush the writer's strike.

Your most talented writers get pushed into the cold, harsh world of modern New Media.

Where they'll soon find it costs next to nothing for them to do their own thing.

And not much more to harness the power of collaboration, obviating the need for studios.

Which means you lose your job, studio suit.

So sit down, truly negotiate, and cut in the writers in if you know what's good for you.

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