The BLOGFlume—And the Winner Is…

Six Flags America revamps its water park, the Ducks take a walk, and my Oscar BLOG.

Written by Russell Meyer
Published: February 27, 2005 at 10:13 PM

Déjà vu
Yahoo News 2/24/05

Six Flags America in Largo, MD has announced the details surrounding what is being called the biggest water park expansion in the park’s history. The expansion is so massive that Six Flags has decided to rename the newly designed water park, you guessed it, Hurricane Harbor. Hurricane Harbor will have three brand new attractions, new restaurants, new shops, and a new tropical theme. Just like very other Six Flags water park addition this off-season, save Six Flags New England, this Hurricane Harbor will also get a Tornado slide. I really hope these slides are good - I have yet to get an opportunity to ride one- because Six Flags is investing an awful lot of money into one attraction. Bahama Blast will be a standard raft slide with spiraling turns and an enclosed serpentine before splashing down. The third new attraction for the 2005 season will be Buccaneer Beach, which will be a pirate-theme children and family play area. Buccaneer Beach will feature two shallow wading areas for toddlers and a tipping bucket (sounds a lot like Crocodile Cal’s Outback Beach House which has been in the park for over 10 years).

This water park upgrade will be great for a park that has not added a “major” attraction since 2001’s Batwing. However, this upgrade may not drastically impact attendance at a park that really could use a complete facelift to just about anywhere else except the water park. Six Flags America has suffered from poor and haphazard planning, particularly when Six Flags threw in Gotham City when they first purchased the park, and this water park enhancement is not going to make that much of a difference to me. The addition of a bathroom by Superman: Ride of Steel or Batwing would make a bigger impression on me than this water park facelift.

Ducks in a Row
LA Times 2/26/05

Now that the hockey season is over before it started, and the promises of a 2005-2006 season are looking bleak, Disney is selling its NHL franchise, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, to a local entrepreneur and his wife for a reported $75 million. The NHL’s board of governors must still approve the sale, but if cleared, it would end Disney’s foray into sports ownership, following last year’s sale of the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles, or whatever they’re calling that team now. The new owners, Henry Samueli and his wife Susan, happen to control The Pond, which is the arena where the Mighty Ducks play their home games. The sale is good for fans of the franchise, as the new owners will not move the team, but fans may not have a team to cheer for if the NHL and its players cannot settle their differences. Disney does get the team off their back. The Ducks have been consistently losing money, like just about every other hockey franchise, but the deal they’ve worked out is much less than they could have gotten when the players were still playing. So for the five people in the world who still care about hockey, you can jump up and down that Disney is no longer at the helm of the Ducks, and everyone else can just yawn.

Oscar Night

I’m going to do something a little different here, since I am writing this BLOGFlume while the Oscars are being televised, this story will be written as it happens. Now I’ve been watching the show for about two hours now, and I cannot believe how many errors, glitches, and gaffes there have been during the show. Not to mention the inevitable FCC fines for Ziyi Zhang’s sheer dress that showed more for a longer period of time than Janet Jackson ever did. I do have to say that Chris Rock’s opening spiel was solid, and he has kept the show rolling with some funny bits, aside from that terribly written exchange with Adam Sandler. As some may know the Oscar director this year, Gil Cates, has made many noticeable changes with the program, including the awkward presentation of awards to people in their seats. I’m all for the show moving forward, but an Oscar should be given on a stage, not in the audience like a canned ham on Letterman. Bringing nominees on stage was a much better option, and allowed the winners to speak to the entire theater, and not just to the camera. Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles is having a great night with two awards already, Best Animated Feature and Best Sound Editing, with Best Original Screenplay yet to be decided. Not only that, but Brad Bird made a hilarious voice appearance in a taped animation of Edna Mode presenting with Pierce Brosnan.

Another interesting change in this year’s ceremony was using Beyonce to sing three of the five Oscar nominated songs, and I’m sure if she had Sideshow Bob dreadlocks like Adam Durits and sexy Latino charisma like Antonio Banderas, she would have sung all five. There’s nothing more fun than playing the “Guess who’s sitting next to Jay-Z” game as different seat fillers are rotated into Beyonce's seat as she sings incredibly forgettable songs. ABC has clearly made it known that it wants to appeal to younger viewers, and as I say that, P. Diddy of all people comes waltzing out to the podium to introduce “Believe” from The Polar Express in his velvet tuxedo. The one problem that ABC can never get around is that the movies that are nominated for Best Picture hardly ever appeal to a young audience. What normal 18 year old is actually going to sit down and watch Million Dollar Baby, Sideways, or The Aviator (I would probably never had known who Howard Hughes was if I was not a big fan of Discovery Wings). Lord of the Rings was probably the first time in a number of years that a "mainstream" movie had legitimate chances to take home the biggest prize. ABC can try all they want to appeal to a younger audience, but most of the allure of the Oscars is to root for a film that you thought was the best thing you saw all year, and when the best movie you saw was The Incredibles or Spiderman 2, you don't really have much to cheer for (I'm rooting for Sideways, but since Paul Giamati was not nominated for Best Actor, so my hopes are not high).

Well, it seems that The Incredibles will have to settle for two for four, as the brilliant Charlie Kaufman just won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for his qwerky Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, my vote for best film of 2005 before I saw Sideways. In what has to be the best line of the night, during his acceptance speech for Best Actor, Jamie Fox says, “Halle, Oprah, I just had to say your names.” Who would have believed before Ray came out that Jamie Fox would beat Jim Carrey to the Oscar stage (both In Living Color alumni)? The Wayans brothers better get cracking, because White Chicks, which got mentioned more on Oscar night than Sideways, is not going to beat Jim Carrey to the gold.

Well, the show is over, and Million Dollar Baby, directed by Clint Eastwood, took home four of the seven awards it was nominated for, including Best Picture, Best Director (Clint Eastwood, his second for direction), Best Actress (Hillary Swank, her second), and Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman, a long overdue award). However, Martin Scorsese is beside himself and spending another year wondering when the Academy will finally give up and give him a lifetime achievement Oscar. My favorite film of the year, Sideways, only managed a writing award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The show clocked in at a lean 3 hours and 15 minutes, but still fell victim to the rapid-fire awards at the end (Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture were all given in the last 20 minutes of the show). Overall, the awards were spread out amongst a lot of movies, unlike last year’s Lord of the Rings victory lap. Miramax corralled 5 awards for The Aviator, but missed the mark for Best Picture, while Finding Neverland was only able to grab one statue for Best Original Score. That left the Disney conglomerate with 1/3 of the total awards (8 out of 24), which is not terrible, but probably not what the Weinstein's wanted as they exit their partnership with Disney.

Aside from the glitches and the changes to the normal program, the show was rather entertaining. A number of stars you normally see were absent, Jack Nicholson (not present for the second year in a row), Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, and Jim Carrey (despite being thanked for Lemony Snicket's Makeup Oscar). However, a number of new faces took their place, Jay Z, P. Diddy, and Prince. Chris Rock and his unique brand of comedy made the program seem fresh, and let me be the first to hope that he might have the opportunity to host Hollywood’s biggest night again.

Readers' Opinions

From Jason Moore on February 28, 2005 at 1:14 PM
Rock just seemed to be doing his usual stand-up schtick. That's not necesarily a bad thing, but I wasn't overly impressed either. I've always had mixed feelings about him though, sometimes he's funny, sometimes he's not, but I always think he comes across as being an intelligent guy so i give him the benefit of the doubt.

I hated the overload of Beyonce. I'm not a fan to begin with, but could have been ok if she sang one of the songs. What really bugged me was having her sing on Believe. She added nothing to the song. in fact, I think she held it back. Her voice did not blend well with Groban at all and I think the performance would have been much more powerful had he been allowed to go solo (or maybe bring that choir back out to back him also).

Someone should also tell Mr. Serious Sean Penn to lighten up. Kudos to Chris Rock for, in his own way, telling him it was just a joke.

From Robert Niles on February 28, 2005 at 2:38 PM
Well, Groban couldn't hit his notes, so I was glad Beyonce was there since she, at least, can stay in tune.

The biggest problem with Believe was that the tune itself was just so simplistic compared with the other entries. It was a simple melody with predictable hooks, nowhere near the league of the winner, "Al Otro Lado Del Rio."

From Chuck Campbell on February 28, 2005 at 3:56 PM
I didn't think any of the "Best Song" nominees were particularly memorable. I think this a category that should go, personally. How important is an end-of-credits tune, except as a marketing aid? (Well, the Oscars are just big marketing tool, anyway.)
From J. Dana on February 28, 2005 at 6:14 PM
Chuck, you forget that the Oscar's aren't about what's important, they're about swaying the members of the academy...actually, the Oscars are about rewarding every aspect of filmmaking, including the songs.
From Derek Potter on February 28, 2005 at 8:07 PM
Oscar night = bore fest. Chris Rock did his darndest to help it out, but when you neuter his comic approach, he isn't as funny. Still kudos to him for keeping it light. Totally predictable who was going to win, as usual Scorsese got the shaft, although the Aviator wasn't the best nominated movie he's had. Jamie Foxx deservedly got the best actor award. The performances of all the movie songs were real channel turners. When the academy stops nominating orchestral sleeping pills, than maybe I won't change the channel when people perform them. Even the Counting Crows performance of their umpteenth pop radio cheesefest for Shrek 2 was a wash. Sean Penn couldn’t take a joke, a great movie called Sideways was generally ignored by the academy, and pretty much everybody had a 2x4 shoved up their rear end. What is it about the Oscars that turns even the hippest stars into stiff old farts for one evening? The academy should thank their lucky stars that they were on ABC, because even a rerun of Desperate Housewives would have killed this telecast. It was quite possibly the most boring couple of hours of TV I’ve ever seen. Nobody can really blame ABC that much, because the Oscars have always been boring, but please God someone step in and make the show a little less boring. I was more entertained watching the winners scrolling across the bottom of the screen on Cold Pizza this morning. I should have just done that instead, because I could have done something more interesting last rearrange my sock drawer.

And while I'm on a rampage, I'll ask this. Who on God's green earth would buy a hockey team right now? If someone wants to throw away their money, why don't they just send me a check instead?

From Robert Niles on February 28, 2005 at 8:21 PM
Well, except for the stunts, of course.
From Chuck Campbell on February 28, 2005 at 8:45 PM
And what's more important to movies these days--stunts or songs?
From Robert Niles on February 28, 2005 at 11:56 PM
I say, let's combine the two. 'Cause nothing makes music more interesting than people playing defense. (Try hitting that high C after I knock you into that airbag, sister!)
From Robert OGrosky on March 1, 2005 at 7:57 PM
As for the Oscar's i thought Rock was ok which is to be expected when someone is on tv and isnt allowed to use his usual humor whivh is based on being profane and more profane. And adding /prince/p diddy will do nothing at all to improve the oscars unless your goal is too dumb down the show with people who have no talent but make a name for themselves by acting like idiots!!
As for the main winners im glad that Million Dollar Baby won as it was the best of the nominee's and im glad the most over-rated movie this year-sideways-won very hardly anything.
Of course if the show wanted a cutting edge to it(as well as much better ratings) they could have nominated a excellant movie that was actually seen by millions of people and would have won major awards if not for bias by the voters and that would have been The Passion of the Christ!!!
From Derek Potter on March 1, 2005 at 8:57 PM
I suspected that nobody would even touch the Passion. I thought that Jim Caviezel gave one of the performances of the year as Jesus, but the Passion was way too radical (and way too successful for the likes of Hollywood) to get any looks from the academy...kind of in the same vein as Farenheit 911. Those two films really hit some nerves, not to mention the jackpot as well....the academy doesn't go for that type of movie. Was Mel Gibson even at the Oscars this year?
From Robert OGrosky on March 3, 2005 at 12:07 PM
Mel wasnt at the Oscar's this year and hollywood does give awards to movies that actually make very good money as evidenced by Titanic and LOTR Return of the king. Its sad that religous bias hurt a great movie like Passion but didnt hurt a awful movie like the Last Temptation of Christ which more fits in with hollywoo'd world/religious views.
From Derek Potter on March 3, 2005 at 8:19 PM
I don't think it was because the Passion made much as it was Hollywood eating a big crap sandwich. Everybody laughed at the guy and wrote the movie off before a single frame was shot. Hollywood across the board said that Mel was nuts, and they were wrong. That probably doesn't sit well for those that he approached about helping him.
From TH Creative on March 4, 2005 at 7:07 AM
I think Mr. Potter is mischaracterizing some of the hype surround 'The Passion.'

Mr. Potter Writes: “Everybody laughed at the guy and wrote the movie off before a single frame was shot.”

Mr. Potter also writes: “Hollywood across the board said that Mel was nuts…”

I Respond: Can you document that? Can you actually document a studio head that said “Mel was nuts…” I realize none of the major studios signed the project, but that would seem different from someone laughing at Mr. Gibson.

The story of Christ had been filmed so many times (‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told,’ ‘Godspell,’ ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’) it seems reasonable to assume that the studios regarded the film to be too much of a financial risk.

Since its release, conservatives and various religious organizations have used the film as a political prop – claiming its success shows that Hollywood was out of touch with mainstream America. The implication that Hollywood “laughed” at an idea from an Academy Award winning director seems to be a product of those kind of politics.

It seems to me that entertainment history has several instances where concepts that were eventually successful have been rejected. What's the famous assessment about Fred Astaire's screen test: "Can't act. Can't sing. Can dance a little."

Incidentally, I thought the film was striking and that Jim Caviezel performance was extraordinary.

A side note: I find it amusing when conservative types site the studios’ response to ‘The Passion’ as an example of rampant liberalism in Hollywood. Why wouldn’t Disney rejection of ‘Farenheit 911’ serve as an example of rampant Hollywood conservatism?

From Robert Niles on March 4, 2005 at 12:50 PM
Maybe it is. Perhaps Hollywood, like any other major industry, is really (gasp!) middle of the road.

Hollywood wants to make money. And by positioning itself smack down the middle, it can reach out to both sides, with both arms, to take your money. ;-)

Academy voters love well-crafted films that grab them emotionally, while not going so far as to repudiate their intellectual, emotional or artistic view of the world. Chris Rock ain't getting asked back to host again not because of his monologue or his Jude Law riff. He's gone because of the Magic Johnson Theaters skit, which exposed the industry's identity as relying on stuff like Chronicles of Riddick and White Chicks, rather than white art-house fare like The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby, as the Academy likes to pretend. Rock challenged the Academy's view of the world. Gibson and Moore (both former Oscar winners) did that this year, too. Eventually, the Academy membership will change and perhaps they'll warm back up to these guys. But it'll take a while.

From Rhys Evans on March 4, 2005 at 8:39 PM
I thought that Passion wasn't eligible for several Oscar categories since, technically, it was a foreign language film. Read or heard that somewhere, don't know if it's in fact true.
From Robert Niles on March 4, 2005 at 11:49 PM
Foreign languages have nothing to do with it. The foreign film category is open to official entries from various nations' film commissions. But those, and other foreign language films, remain eligible in all other categories. And they sometimes win.
From Jason Lester on March 6, 2005 at 9:52 AM
Take Motorcycle Diaries for instance. It wasn't eligible for foreign film since it's cast and crew were so nationally spread out. But it still was eligible for best song.

And I'm under 18 and saw all the Best Picture nominees so don't stereotype. I saw almost every film nominated, but just because my dad is in the Academy and votes so we get screeners.

Oh, and yes, the Oscars sucked and Scorcese lost yet again. So sad. Maybe next time Marty.

Chris Rock should never be asked to host again.

From Derek Potter on March 6, 2005 at 12:27 PM
TH, if Hollywood didn't shun Mel on this, than why did he have to put up millions of his own money to make it? It would seem to me that somebody would at least buy into Mel Gibson the award winning director and movie star with a passionate vision. How many hits has he had over the years? As for previous films about the topic, none of them were ever made on the grand scale like the Passion, and none of them portrayed the violent reality of what happened as vividly as the Passion did, not to mention that this film had a talented director who was out to visually tell the story, and not just regurgitate it out of the book.

This film obviously touches a nerve with everyone that sees it, and studios either disagreed storywise with the project, or they thought that nobody would want to watch it Obviously Hollywood was a bit out of touch in that area, because it became one of the highest grossing films of all time. How could they not see that this film would be successful? I could have told you that it would make a killing when I first heard about it. The bottom line here is that Hollywood sorely underestimated the audience and they sorely underestimated Mel's marketing skill.

I'm not so sure that liberal and conservative play a part here. I think that it has to do with two things....image, and money. Michael Moore is an entertaining film maker in his own right, and what happened there is just like what happened with the Passion. Disney dissed 911 because they didn't want to be involved in such a controversial project in an election year. I do suspect however, that they knew what kind of money it would bring in and the effect it would have on some voters, so politics were probably involved as well. Studios rejected the Passion either because they didn't like the way the story was told, or they thought it would be the biggest box office bomb in history.

TH I have no politics to fall on here. I consider myself somewhere between conservative and liberal. People may not have publicly laughed at Mel (sorry if I don't have you have proof that they didn't?), but I'm sure somebody did somewhere, because nobody wanted anything to do with the biggest hit of his career.

From TH Creative on March 6, 2005 at 3:31 PM
Mr. Potter Writes: TH, if Hollywood didn't shun Mel on this, than why did he have to put up millions of his own money to make it?

I Respond: I already gave you a possible reason. The story of Christ had been told many times before. The studio could have shunned the idea because it’s been done before. I asked if you could document any of the studios “laughing” at Mr. Gibson or calling him “nuts.”

Mr. Potter Writes: As for previous films about the topic, none of them were ever made on the grand scale like the Passion, and none of them portrayed the violent reality of what happened as vividly as the Passion did,

I Respond: I agree that none of the previous films depicting the life of Christ were as graphically violent. However I would assert that George Stevens’ ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ – which Mr. Gibson has complimented repeatedly – was produced on an equally grand scale as The Passion.

Mr. Potter Writes: not to mention that this film had a talented director who was out to visually tell the story, and not just regurgitate it out of the book.

I Respond: Besides directing ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ Stevens also helmed ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ ‘Giant,’ ‘A Place in the Sun’ and arguably the greatest western of all time ‘Shane.’ I’d like to think he had as much talent as Gibson.

Mr. Potter writes: How could they not see that this film would be successful?

I respond: How could the guy who analyzed Fred Astaire’s screen test overlook his talent? How could Beethoven’s music teacher declare him ‘hopeless’ at composing? How could H. B. Warner of Warner Brothers fame scoff at the notion of ‘talkies?’ How could Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind be turned down thirty-eight times? How could EMI records turn down signing The Beatles? It happens.

Mr. Potter Writes: People may not have publicly laughed at Mel (sorry if I don't have you have proof that they didn't?).

I Respond: Oh please! You made the assertion so you need to back it up! Your original post reads “Hollywood across the board said that Mel was nuts.” First you use the term “across the board” and then you fall back to, “I'm sure somebody did somewhere.”

Swing and a miss, my friend. Swing and a miss.

From Derek Potter on March 6, 2005 at 11:12 PM
TH writes……Besides directing ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ Stevens also helmed ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ ‘Giant,’ ‘A Place in the Sun’ and arguably the greatest western of all time ‘Shane.’ I’d like to think he had as much talent as Gibson.

I respond….highly debatable. You’d like to think?? If you are going to scrutinize and question my opinions, than at least form a concrete one of your own. Either he did or he didn’t. I’m not much of a fan of Stevens’ work, and I think that just about every one of the previous films on the subject don’t even hold a candle to the Passion. Why?? Because Mel did it with an appreciation for history. The Passion had no British accents, no studio set pieces, no watered down plotline, no English, and no subtitles. It didn’t really have to rely that much on dialogue because the images said it all. It was told in all of it’s graphic, no holds barred, violent detail in the actual languages on location at the actual historical places. That’s not a grander scale?

By the way, I said that Hollywood across the board thought Mel was nuts, and somebody must have laughed at him sometime. If you wish to prolong the argument, (which by the way is getting ridiculous) than at least quote me correctly. Geez you would think my name is Kevin or something.

I’ll say again, if Hollywood didn’t write him off, than why didn’t anybody get on the boat? They thought it would bomb. Hence the notion that they thought he was nuts. Your suggestion that the fact that movies on the subject had been done before is weak at best. That didn’t stop Titanic from being made over and over did it?…or Robin Hood…or movies on Vietnam and practically every other war in American History. Sorry I don’t have microfilm on Hollywood studio execs laughing at Mel, but it’s my opinion that people did. Hollywood (or at least those who make decisions), wrote the project off, despite Mel’s star power. That’s a pretty bullheaded stance for them to take, especially by an industry who gives people who put out failure after failure a job. They give Ben Affleck work, but they don’t get on Mel’s train…Go figure. TH you seem to have a knack for failing to read between the lines.

Yeah, things like these happen, but they happen either because people have no foresight, or they wish to stick with what has worked…or they can’t read between the lines. Fred Astaire’s screen test reviewer may have not thought highly about him, but somebody eventually put stock in him. Mel had to do the whole thing himself to get it seen. He put up somewhere around 30 million bucks out of his own pocket to get the picture made. Had he not been a megastar with his own production company and deep pockets, I highly doubt the film would have ever been made.

By the way genius, EMI signed the Beatles in 1962. Capitol was owned by EMI and Apple records was a subsidiary of EMI known as a “custom label” started to manage the Beatles affairs. If you are going to use historical references, at least use correct ones. While I’m at it, weren’t the Warner Brothers pioneers of talkies with a little film called The Jazz Singer…using technology called Vitaphone??? I believe they were. H.B. may not have believed that much in the talkie, but he and his brothers had guts enough to invest didn’t they. Next time leave the pseudo/false history at home and bring some meat to the table.

From TH Creative on March 7, 2005 at 6:50 AM
Quoting my post regarding George Stevens Mr. Potter writes: You’d like to think?? If you are going to scrutinize and question my opinions, than at least form a concrete one of your own.

I Respond: Okay. I believe that the man who directed ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told,’ 'Shane,' ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ ‘Giant’ and ‘A Place in the Sun’ was every bit as talented as Mel Gibson.

Mr. Potter Writes: I’ll say again, if Hollywood didn’t write him off, than why didn’t anybody get on the boat?

I Respond (Again): I couldn’t say for sure. In my original post I suggested that it seems reasonable to assume that the studios may have felt the subject had been covered. Or – to use your words -- maybe the studio lacked “foresight, or they wished to "stick with what has worked.” That certainly doesn’t prove the assertion that “Hollywood across the board called him nuts.”

Mr. Potter writes: Your suggestion that the fact that movies on the subject had been done before is weak at best.

I Respond: I disagree. And while I am inclined to agree with your assessment that Hollywood may have lacked “foresight” or wished “to stick with what has worked,” I am less inclined to buy into the hype that “Hollywood across the board thought Mel was nuts.”

Mr. Potter writes: Sorry I don’t have microfilm on Hollywood studio execs laughing at Mel, but it’s my opinion that people did.

I Respond: I accept your apology. It’s very gracious of you to admit your shortcomings (See my own semi-Miaculpa below).

Mr. Potter writes: They give Ben Affleck work, but they don’t get on Mel’s train…Go figure. TH you seem to have a knack for failing to read between the lines.

I Respond: They also make one-star pablem like ‘The Pacifier’ which takes in $30 million on an opening weekend. Go figure. You may be right that I fail to read between the lines, but that ability certainly doesn’t give one license to embrace an assertion armed only with conjecture. And, again, if you re-read my original post I never say that Hollywood didn’t “laugh” at Mr. Gibson. Rather, in response to your original contention I asked if you could document that rejection. Further I characterize my own reasoning behind why Hollywood didn’t back ‘The Passion’ as nothing more than a reasonable assumption.

Regarding the entertainment industry’s history of rejecting concepts Mr. Potter writes: Yeah, things like these happen...

I Respond: Thank you for supporting my assertion.

Mr. Potter continues: …but they happen either because people have no foresight, or they wish to stick with what has worked.

I Respond: That seems to contradict your initial (and ) assertion that “Hollywood across the board thought Mel was nuts.” The reason any of the studios decided not to bank Gibson’s film may well have been “lack of foresight” or that “they wish to stick with what has worked.”

Mr. Potter Notes: EMI signed the Beatles in 1962.

I Respond: You’re right. My bad (Ouch!). It was Decca that didn’t sign the Beatles – showing another instance where the entertainment industry lacked foresight, but didn’t necessarily laugh at, a concept that wasn’t successful.

Mr. Potter Writes: While I’m at it, weren’t the Warner Brothers pioneers of talkies with a little film called The Jazz Singer…using technology called Vitaphone?

I respond: Which doesn’t undermine my point that initially H.B. Warner dismissed the technology.

Mr. Potter provides many, many words of eloquent analysis. However he has failed to provide any documentation that backs up his assertion that “Everybody laughed at the guy (Mel Gibson)” or that “Hollywood across the board said that Mel was nuts…” This is not to say his contention is wrong – not at all. I am guessing that a cursory search of the web will find something that would back up the assertion.

At the same time, as I note in my original post, there have been those with political motives that have hyped this contention – attempting to use the film as a means of showing how Hollywood is out of touch with mainstream America (red state vs. blue state).

I ask the question again: "Can (Mr. Potter -- or anyone else) actually document a studio head that said “Mel was nuts…”?

From TH Creative on March 7, 2005 at 7:33 AM
George Stevens

Academy Awards

The Diary of Anne Frank – 1959 – Nominated – Best Director
Giant – 1956 – Win – Best Director
Shane – 1953 – Nominated – Best Director
A Place in the Sun – 1951 - Win – Best Director
The More the Merrier – 1943 – Nominated – Best Director

Among those who appeared in his films: Fred Astaire, Katherine Hepburn, Montgomery Cliff, Carey Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Rock Hudson, James Dean, Alan Ladd, Jack Palance, Raymond Burr, Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, George Burns and Joan Fontaine.

“Just, ya know, FYI…” – Tony Shalhoub

From Jason Moore on March 7, 2005 at 9:15 AM
This whole argument is actually pretty silly in my opinion. The film was successful for 2 reasons, marketing & controversy. They were wise to market it to the bible thumpers who cared enough to make it must see. the rest of the audience was people curious about the controversy. Had either of these not happenned, i doubt anyone would care that it didn't get Academy praise. Personally, I tried to avoid the controversy and seek out reviews and opinions based solely (or as much as possible) on the actual film making. While Caviezel was well recieved for his acting, the film as a whole was not considered great by many. Even in my own personal interactions with people i know, the only ones who loved the film were those who already had a personal connection to it's story through their own religious beliefs.

finally, ask yourself this one question... had Passion been nominated, who of the existing nominees would you have bumped for it? While we're at it, were any other films snubbed that you would have added to the list of nominees ahead of Passion? Answer these two questions for yourself, and you'll have a better understanding of why it wasn't nominated.

From TH Creative on March 7, 2005 at 10:47 AM
Jason shoots and scores. I have no argument with anything you wrote. Nor am I saying that the film didn't deserve an Oscar.

Rather their are those with a political agenda (not Mr. Potter, but others) who would have people believe that the Hollywood studios laughed at Gibson's idea and called him a nut. I'm wondering why I should accept that argument without documentation. After all, Hollywood has made so many motion pictures about the life of Christ. Maybe studio heads rejected the idea -- but that doesn't mean they laughed at Gibson.

Then again, maybe they did -- if so, prove it.

From Justin Smith on March 7, 2005 at 4:57 PM
I hope it's not to late to post a comment but I didn't like the oscars this year. Chris Rock was totally unfunny. They should have hired Billy Crystal, Steve Martian or even Whoppie Goldberg to do it. Now that the Oscars knows how bad Chris is so they won't be hiring him again. As for the winners, I am sooooooooooooooooo happy Aviator didn't win the Oscar. I've never seen Millian Dollar Baby but lets hope it's better than the Aviator. Incredibles won Best Animated picture which wasn't too surprising since its competition's (Shrek 2 and Sharktale) were horrible! But I'm really surprised it won best sound editing because that's the first time in ten years for some animated movie to win something else besides Best Original Song or Best Animated Film. As for Disney winning 1/3 of the Oscars good job for Disney but Disney won't win alot of the Oscars forever since most of the awards came from Pixar(leaving Disney 2006) and Mirmax(might leave Disney soon). But aside from Incredibles winning two awards I didn't care much for the Oscars this year. Shame Passion of The Christ got very few nominations!
From Derek Potter on March 7, 2005 at 10:55 PM
The fact that Stevens won an Academy Award does little to impress me. I thought that The King And I was a better film that year, and strangely enough, Giant won no other Oscars. I'm still not much of a fan of his movies. If you are, than good for you, but plenty of not so talented people have won the Oscar, and there are a few great directors that haven't won. Two I can think of off the top are Hitchcock and of course, Martin Scorcese. As for Passion's nominations, I don't think that the movie itself belonged in the best movie category, I did think that Caviezel was overlooked for at least a nomination. Leo DiCaprio wasn't really that great in the Aviator. Jamie Foxx was the runaway winner, but I thought that Jim deserved some play.

As for providing proof, I wasn't aware that I had to have solid evidence on my theories. While my statement about Mel being nuts and being laughed at was more of an analogy than something to be taken so literally, I still think it to be true that he was totally written off, and while there may have been many movies in the past on the subject, that doesn't escuse the fact that Hollywood misjudged the audience and underestimated Mel's abilities. Was it a red state/blue state thing??? possibly in some instances, surely not always. I do find it very hard to believe that every studio head's reasoning was that movies about Christ had been made before. I could see that if Joe Blow walked in off of the street with a script, but this was Mel Gibson. There had to be at least some personal/studio image/possible controversy issues behind their decision to write it off.

Anyway, I'm done talking about this. This is Theme Park Insider, not The Passion insider. Isn't it funny how a good debate can get a thread off topic?

From TH Creative on March 8, 2005 at 4:27 AM
Wait a minute. Wait a minute. 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' is a Disney film?!

Um ... WHOA!

From TH Creative on March 8, 2005 at 8:15 AM
Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Quentin Tarentino is going to direct the next 'Friday the 13th?!'

Um ... WHOA!

From Kevin Baxter on March 13, 2005 at 12:50 AM
Chris Rock won't be asked back, because he SUCKED. Gawd, he was so bad he made Billy Crystal's last crappy appearance seem great. Give it back to Steve Martin, who is a much better writer AND who can rip on movies and celebrities without coming off like a self-satisfied twit.

As for that jerkwad Gibson... Entertainment Weekly had a huge article before the movie came out about how Hollywood - IN GENERAL - thought he was stark raving bonkers. It also detailed how he was actually the person behind the whole "Jewish backlash" that never happened. Which made Hollywood - IN GENERAL - think he was not only bonkers, but evil. There are not only a lot of Jews, but a lot of liberals in Hollywood, and rumor has it very few of them want to have anything to do with this sexist bigot. Studio heads, on the other hands, are less liberal, though often Jewish, and many of them WANT to be in the Mel business only to make money. That said, a more recent article says Gibson may not bother as all the backlash against his anti-Semitism, as well as the freaky stuff with his father, has made him skittish about doing anything that will put him in the public eye. Plus, he knows he will never top Passion in a million years, so why try? Furthermore, The Simpsons and South Park both skewered Passion, and how can you go on after that?

From TH Creative on March 14, 2005 at 5:53 AM
Bravo for Mr. Baxter's choice of Steve Martin!

Also kudos for referencing South Park's 'Passion of the Jew' parody. Per usual, Parker and Stone provide the most incisive perspective.

From Robert Niles on March 14, 2005 at 10:44 AM
After reading the reviews for "Be Cool," I suspect the Academy got the wrong "Rock" to host the awards.

Count me among Martin's fans. But I fear he can be *too* smart for many in the huge audience the Academy is going for. I fear that Ben Stiller's going to get a shot soon.

From Jason Moore on March 14, 2005 at 1:15 PM
Please go no!!!

How bout Ellen? She's popular and appealing to a large audience without being offensive (unless her sexuality offends the bigots, but I doubt those people are watching a Hollywood awards show).

From TH Creative on March 14, 2005 at 2:10 PM
How about Lou Reed?
From Justin Smith on March 14, 2005 at 2:49 PM
I think Ellen might be a good chioce but not the greatest. I love Billy Crystal but he's getting tired of doing it. I overall think Steve Martin is the best host because he is all ways freash and original with his comedy and doesn't offend any political parties or religous groups. GO MARTIN!
From Kevin Baxter on March 15, 2005 at 5:44 AM
Ellen would be a good choice, since she has wowed before. Being innofensive is a must for the often uptight Oscar crowd.

Personally, I would pay to see Conan O'Brien doing it (with writing from Robert Smigel, naturally). His show already does hilarious "remakes" of the nominated movies and it would be hilarious to see Smigel do the mouth bit to people in the audience. And they can open with Triumph on the red carpet!

Okay, I must stop now, because the most awesome Academy Awards ever will clearly never happen.