Manohla Dargis’s barbaric yawp about Hollywood went viral yesterday, and for good reason: The NYT critic let loose on rampant sexism in an interview with feminist-leaning Jezebel, spewing four-letter words with abandon. The interview made explicit that which her Sunday NYT essay on female directors suggested: She’s deeply pissed off about studios that repeatedly fail women in their choices of material and talent.
Among the many choice bits:
Working within the system has not worked. It has not helped women filmmakers or, even more important, you and me, women audiences, to have women in the studio system.
and a personal pet peeve — the constant surprise that women like seeing entertaining movies about women:
This, gee whiz, Sex and the City‘s a hit, Twilight, hmm, wonder what’s going on here. Maybe they should not be so surprised. In the trade press, women audiences are considered a niche. How is that even possible? We’re 51 percent of the audience.
It’s not just the trade press, either; this surprise seems to creep into consumer box office reports as well.
Dargis is equally scathing about the suggestion that she take it easy on films directed by women, calling the notion “incredibly insulting.” But mostly she hopes that Kathryn Bigelow (pictured above) wins the Oscar for directing “The Hurt Locker,” a muscular action movie.
When I was on the beat, I was never sure what to make of Ryan Kavanaugh. He always had a million financial deals going, but didn’t talk like one. He was always running late, and seemed a bit scattered. And there were rumors about his finances, a couple drunk driving incidents….
Yet studios like Universal and Sony kept doing big slate deals with him.
A couple weeks ago, I had a chance to sit down with Ryan for this Billion Dollar Producer section Variety ran in last Friday’s paper. Ryan was running late, of course, but once the interview began he was all mine. The interview stretched several hours as he showed off several projects he’s working on. Just as I suspected: He’s always running late because he gets caught up in the moment.
The music biz and vid biz have already learned the painful lessons of loss leadering. Now it’s the book biz’s turn.
The price war that has erupted in recent weeks is particularly dramatic — and spurred by lower e-book prices — but otherwise very similar to the ones that the record biz and vid biz has dealt with for years. Big box chains and online heavyweights price big hits low to draw traffic, and, presumably, bigger ticket purchases. This discounting tends to be especially heated during the holiday season.
So I had to smile at the WSJ story about rationing of these discount hits. A Boulder, Colo., book store buyer, who planned to stock up on the discounted books from Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon expressed surprise that they were limiting the number of copies that individuals could purchase.
But he shouldn’t be surprised: The chains have done exactly that for discounted CDs and DVDs. In fact when video sales started taking off in the ’90s — during the VHS era, mind you — chains like Best Buy regularly ran disclaimers “no dealers please” in their circulars. (Of course this was when people read Sunday papers, but that’s another story.) The chains were just as infamous for discounting hit music CDs, making it hard for mid-size chains like Tower to compete.