Just how important are soundtracks to a movie's (financial) success? Consider that the venal Basketball Diaries, which takes place in the 1960s, opted for tunes by contemporary artists like P J Harvey in a desperate ploy to attract the MTV crowd. Not to put Jim Jarmusch in the same category, but synergy-crazy Miramax just picked up his new film, Dead Man. They want a marketing hook for teen-age moviegoers (Remember how they added a big-name song list to Clerks?), so Neil Young has been tapped to write the music for the black-and-white western. I'm looking forward to some spare and chilling guitar breaks, along the lines of Eldorado or Danger Bird. A Neil Young soundtrack -- now that's worth shelling out for.
Off-Duty, the new CBS cop show starring Don Johnson ("It's only television, but I like it"), is scheduled to begin shooting here in late June. The disorganized producers, however, haven't rented office space or hired a production manager yet .... Most independent filmmakers who make a stinker file their bad reviews in a scrapbook, give their black jeans to Goodwill and get a job directing commercials or corporate videos. Not Eric Schaeffer and Donal Lardner Ward, the New York hustlers who made and starred in an annoying comedy called My Life's in Turnaround. Their agent got 'em a TV series on Fox called Too Something, a sitcom in which they play best friends working in the mail room of an investment banking firm. Doesn't anybody have any self-respect anymore?
The current boon in animation and computer graphics was fueled first by Disney's unprecedented crossover success with adult audiences, then by an insatiable craving for effects-driven action features like Terminator 2. Animators and computer-graphics illustrators are in huge demand -- for now -- as they plot out one image after another in the up-scale 1990s equivalent of sweatshops. (Perhaps you're familiar with Colossal Pictures in Mission Bay or Pixar in Richmond, which is putting the finishing touches on Toy Story, the first completely computer-generated animated feature.) But what happens when animation goes out of style again, and CD-ROM games peak? A whole underclass of artistes with carpal tunnel syndrome, loitering all day in cafes.
It only lasted a week and wasn't even a double feature, but the Royal and the Alhambra had the best marquees in town: Cruising and Gordy. The missing link? Deliverance.
By Michael Fox
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