Harvey Weinstein’s Compassion

Back in 2009 when attempts were underway to extradite Roman Polansky to the US to try him for the rape of a 13-year-old girl, Harvey Weinstein defended the morality of Hollywood’s support of Polansky with the following quote “Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion.”  Well, it starts to make sense that Weinstein has compassion for a rapist.  I guess he’s hoping the favor will be returned by his community.  I don’t mean the community of rapists.  That’s too small a group to help him.  I think he’s hoping the Hollywood community will show him compassion.  But it doesn’t look like he’s going to get a pass.  A whole troop of former ingenues and struggling starlets are coming forward with staggering tales of a disgusting pig trading on his influence in a seedy industry to pressure young women into having sex with him.  Now the fact that Harvey is a repulsively fat and ugly creature only makes the act grotesque.  But even if he looked like Brad Pitt the cruelty and immorality of what he did is undeniable.  So, he’s going to be roasted over the coals.  And based on the latest reports he may also be liable for criminal charges.  Apparently three women are now claiming actual rape.  You know Whoopi?  Rape, rape?

Poor Harvey, things aren’t looking so good.  All his friends have deserted him.  What’s a rapist to do?  Where is his Polansky exception?  After all he’s a rich liberal donor.  Where’s the gratitude?  Where are the Clintons and Obamas when they’re needed?  People are saying it’s because times are changing and women won’t put up with abuse anymore.

Maybe.

But maybe it’s just Hollywood deciding that Harvey’s power and influence is slipping.  Maybe this is payback from some other power broker that Harvey rubbed the wrong way.  Maybe even the Clintons.  I read that the Clintons didn’t think Harvey was supportive enough.  Maybe this is more Arkansas Revenge.  Considering Bill’s proclivities, it would be ironic indeed if it came from him.  But regardless of the actual cause of the downfall the real question is where was the compassion for his victims?

Meryl Streep was a great friend of Harvey Weinstein.  She worked with him and gushed about his abilities.  But she still maintains that she knew nothing of his casting couch.  Apparently, she’s the only one in Hollywood who didn’t.  Unless she’s a moron, she’s lying.  And as much as I’d love to call her a moron I’m gonna have to go with liar.  And so, the question is, where was Meryl’s compassion for his victims?

And how about all the other actors and actresses and other studio types who helped Harvey procure his victims or else just kept quiet about their existence?  Where was all this great compassion?  What about the much-vaunted moral compass?  Did it merely point to fortune and fame?  These are the people who go on endlessly about gay rights and trans-rights and animal rights and veganism and climate change.  And these are the people who went insane because a woman didn’t get to be President of the United States.  And these are the people who marched through the streets with stupid pink hats on because a rich guy admitted “off the record” the deep dark secret that some women are greedy enough to let a lout have his way with them just because he’s rich.

Well, doesn’t that make them hypocrites and cowards?  If they really care about women’s welfare so highly then aren’t they therefore nothing but greedy cowards if they put their own monetary considerations ahead of these young people being victimized?  Seems so to me.  Sorry Meryl.  You stand convicted of being a greedy coward.  The only compassion you had was for yourself.  Same as Harvey.  Same as Polansky.  So maybe the Polansky defenders can explain why they have compassion for their sister actresses now finally after all these years of Weinstein’s harassment but not before.  And maybe they can explain why they still have no compassion for the 13-year-old girl that was abused all those years ago.  Isn’t she a woman too?

Summer 2017 – When the Blockbuster Formula Ran Out of Gas

What do most of the Twilight Zone episodes, the third season of Star Trek and Transformers VI (or whatever number they’re up to this year) have in common? They were no good, nobody wanted to see them and they were written by hacks. Sure, there were a few good Zone episodes and also a few of the Trek episodes were fun or interesting. What I think you’ll notice with these is that the episode was written by somebody creative. The rest of the dreck in these categories was ground out by talentless hacks who couldn’t even spell the word plot let alone write one. And that brings us back to Transformers XX or whatever it is. Great Caesar’s Ghost!

Is the business really that bad? Is there no other way to fund and produce movies than to pile sequel onto sequel? How many times can Sylvester Stallone climb into the ring or jump out of a crashing helicopter? How many times can that stupid alien ravage human colonies before somebody gets around to inventing industrial strength Raid for aliens and drop it on their ugly butts?

As even Deadpool himself said (before his upcoming sequel of course), and I paraphrase, how many times can Liam Neeson let his daughter be Taken before we assume he’s just a not a very good father. Wasn’t Godfather III enough to prove that even the best stories can’t be endlessly resuscitated without being turned into crap?

But you notice, TV is able to make some pretty good stuff. I’ve just finished Justified and I’d put that up against anything I’ve seen in the theater in the last five years. Why the disparity? First of all, Justified was adapted from the works of Elmore Leonard whose stories have time and again translated well into movies. Whereas with these endless sequel franchises, I assume they are assembled from some formula that is somehow supposed to capture the original flavor of the first episode but without the high price of the original screenwriter. Apparently, they’ll pay tens of millions to get Bruce Willis or Jamie Foxx and millions more to CGI the explosions but they’ll settle for the story line to be written by the corporate lawyers who put the financial deal together for the studios.

I think I read that because of the cable fees TV is actually able to monetize their quality shows pretty successfully whereas on the big screen only a giant blockbuster success is lucrative enough to even attract sufficient funding to get made. And that means Terminator 30 gets made before something well written and entertaining like possibly a faithful version of one of Heinlein’s juveniles. I imagine that Citizen of the Galaxy or Farmer in the Sky in the hands of a good screenwriter and director would be very entertaining and very commercial.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Focus Photog, focus. What’s your point? Bring this back around to the title. Bring it home.”
Fine, I will. Hollywood is dead. Long live TV. Except for some extraordinary slam dunks like “The Lord of the Rings” or “Harry Potter” Hollywood is too paralyzed by the fear of losing gobs of money to try and put a quality product together from quality components. And that’s why I don’t feel deprived when I skip whole decades at the theater. There’s nothing there. Even the occasional stand out ends up being barely acceptable. I remember hearing raves about Gravity. When I finally rented it, I was puzzled what all the fuss was about. Okay would be a generous appraisal. The same with “The Martian.” Adequate would cover it.
And it couldn’t happen to a nicer set of people. If DiCaprio and Depp start only making seven figures instead of eight I certainly won’t cry. When they’re replaced by AI – CGI maybe the stories won’t be as insulting to the dirt people. What a concept!