Thursday, April 19, 2007

Have you seen this man?

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LA Times' Patrick Goldstien wrote a great article on why Hollywood needs the 'old' Harvey Weinstein more than ever.

Here's an excerpt:

I feel like putting Harvey's picture on a milk carton. Has anyone seen the crazy, spittle-spewing, chain-smoking hustler who would bellow insults, twist arms and shamelessly hype whatever movie was due that week? I miss the old Harvey, the man who would've locked "Grindhouse" auteurs Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez in an editing room until they cut 40 minutes out of their movie. I miss the old Harvey, the cinema carnival barker whose passion for film was often indistinguishable from his paranoia, abusive behavior and vitriol.

No one has ever screamed at me over the phone the way Weinstein did — the obscenities and insults rolling off his tongue like sweat off a boxer. The new Harvey, who called the other day after writing me a three-page letter defending his aspirations, doesn't yell anymore. He's feisty, funny, even apologetic about getting off track, noting that he doesn't smoke or eat sugar anymore, which he blames for his old temper tantrums....

But I still miss the old Harvey, who used to confront filmmakers when they were arrogant or indifferent to audience concerns, as he did when he got into a screaming fight with Tarantino in the lobby of a multiplex in Seattle over the filmmaker's refusal to trim "Jackie Brown." That was the Harvey who almost single-handedly dragged independent film into the commercial mainstream, championed young film talent and turned the Oscars into a brilliant marketing weapon for his art-house acquisitions.


I'll tell ya what, if business continues the way it's been going with The Weinstein Company, Bob and Harvey could be out of the business of turning indie directors into rockstars for good. Grindhouse was a flop, and among the reasons it didn't do too well is the fact that it was long.

When the project was originally announced, both Tarrantino and Rodriguez's films were supposed to last about sixty minutes each--that was the $67 million promise that they ultimately dropped, and Harvey (a.k.a. 'Harvey Scissorhands') should have held them to.

Sure, we got Paramount Vantage, Fox Searchlight, and Warner Independent to keep the foreign and indie films flowing into theaters, but they are all sort of chump-change compared to what Miramax used to be before the Weinsteins left.

Hopefully Harvey will put his health on the line once more, resume the smoking and sugar binging, and get back to being the man who pushed films like Pulp Fiction, Amelie, and City of God - easily three of the best films in recent history - to cinematic glory. Who knows how many potentially great film-going experiences could be missed if he doesn't.

You can read the rest of the article here.


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