July 24, 2010

JOURNALISM WATCH: DEAR GOD, MAN UP!

According to this slightly wide-eyed storyfrom Esquire, before Kavanaugh agrees to finance a picture, its particulars (principal actors, budget, genre, filmmaker, release date, MPAA rating) are "fed into an elaborate Monte Carlo simulation, a risk-assessment algorithm normally used to evaluate financial instruments based on the past performance of similar products.... After running the movie through ten thousand combinations of variables, the computers will churn out a few hundred pages that culminate in two critical numbers: the percentage of time the movie will be profitable and the average profit for each profitable run. Unless the movie shows the distinct probability of a return--no one at Relativity will reveal the precise green-light figure, but it's something like 70 percent--the script gets shredded." 
And aren't these the same "complex financial formulas" that crashed the markets?

Why, yes... yes, they are, Mr. Goldstein of the LA Times. And how's that working out? Let us take a look at what movies Mr. Kavanaugh was involved with this year as either producer or exectuvie producer. Because, you know, his math skills are... awesome.
THE WOLFMAN
Prodction budget: 150 million
Int'l gross: 139 million

MACGRUBER
Production budget: 10 million
Domestic gross: 8,5 million (and don't wait for int'l grosses... nobody cares)

THE BOUNTY HUNTER
Production budget: 40 million
Int'l gross: 136 million (this one we got to give him, like it or not)

ROBIN HOOD
Production budget: 200 million (likely more)
Int'l gross: 310 million (in other words, not even close to a black zero)
And if we go back one year further, we'll find complete failures like NINE, LAND OF THE LOST, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1-2-3, DUPLICITY and THE INTERNATIONAL that he was involved with as either executive producer or producer.

So far, most of what Mr. Kavanaugh has achieved is to have banks and hedge funds spread their legs for him to get credit lines and funds money, or in other words: he is the guy selling you that derivative on the mortgage market, saying, "kids, there is absolutely no way that this is going to crash!"

He then takes his cut and fee, and when the shit starts hitting the fan, he does what Goldman Sachs does, shrugging his shoulder and say, "well, I did say that nothing in life comes without risk, so here's bye-bye to your investments".

Who is feeding you these lines, Mr. Goldstein? Have you looked at his balance sheets? Have you checked his contracts? Have you – or anybody like you – even bothered to look where the money is coming from, what the actual loss-profits are? Have you done some investigative reporting on it?  Or is it enough today to simply smash a few glowing posts together, put "wide-eyed" in front of one of them to kind of distance yourself from its contents but otherwise merely reurgitating?

It's called journalism.

It's called fact-checking. I know, I know.. it's difficult, it takes time and resources, none of which are readily avalaible anymore in today's media world. Better to swoon over something, get the mandated number of words out every day, and damn whether it is something true or false, it's enough to paint a picture, isn't it?

And no, I don't have any personal issues with Mr. Kavanaugh. Don't know him. Don't care. What I do have an issue with is how fast people in the news media drop to their knees and beg for it whenever somebody with power does something, oh me me me! Give the story to me! I will suck the life out of your cock, if you give the story to me!

Dear god, man up, will you? And try proper reporting.

But it's not like Goldstein is the only one. Over at Nikki Finke's, we learn that she really, really likes Chris Nolan's INCEPTION. She likes it that much, in fact, that she throws up all kinds of delightful posts over it.
Internationally, Inception has made a World Cup-slowed $16.5M going into today.
Yes. Yes, that is the reason. The world cup!

Considering that the world cup was over on July 11, and INCEPTION  didn’t open anywhere before July 16, this line shows pitifully bad research. As in, “hey, can you look up something for me in two seconds?” research.

As in, hey, “remember when we actually dealt in fact?” research.

Who is feeding you this bullshit? Or do facts go out the window the moment they like something personally? And no, I don’t have anything against the movie, I wish it well, I wish that it becomes extremely successful, so that executives finally get their dicks out of their pants and have the balls to greenlight more original concepts without asking their 13-year old emo kids if they liked the viddy game something is based on.

But research is research. Facts are facts.

It’s called journalism.

And we no longer have it.