By Ygal Kaufman

Entertainmental_1-8-152Don’t Worry, No More Stuff About North Korea

After this one last thing.

Despite the fact that fewer and fewer people seem to think the North Koreans were really behind the Sony hack, and even some people saying  they think it was elements within Sony itself that engineered it, the United States levied new sanctions on the reclusive slave state based on the much debated cyber-attack. I don’t know at this point what sanctions against North Korea really do, but I’m certain they don’t hurt Kim Jong-un.

But more important than all that is the haul for Sony; I suggested previously, in one of my more Oliver Stoney moments, that the end game of Sony’s posturing regarding the pulling of The Interview from theaters was to boost ticket sales. If that was their goal, then one would have to say they did not succeed. The movie has a $5 million domestic haul from theaters after two weeks, and another $15 to $20 million from downloads. Considering it cost upwards of $100 million (including pre hack marketing), those numbers are a bit of a letdown.

So are the approaching one million people who have illegally downloaded it since Sony made that a highly incentivized option with a YouTube release.

All of which is to say, maybe the old system of marketing a movie and then releasing it in theaters isn’t dead just yet.

On Being Portrayed in Film

Foxcatcher will soon be hitting the Darkside Cinema here in Corvallis, and when it arrives, you should definitely make time for it. It’s an engaging and elegantly directed portrait of a frail lunatic and his grip on a pair of talented brothers who were Olympic champions. But it’s not arriving without its own controversies.

The film recreates the story of John E. du Pont, heir to the DuPont corporation and eccentric lover of wrestling who would die in prison after murdering Olympic gold medalist Dave Schultz. The movie is based in part on the memoir of Mark Schultz, Dave’s younger brother, also a gold medalist in wrestling like his brother, who lived at Foxcatcher farm, owned by du Pont, and had a strained relationship with the man who would later kill his brother in a delusional break from reality.

Mark Schultz is portrayed in the film, rather brilliantly, by Channing Tatum. And Schultz has made no complaints about that part; in fact, he didn’t seem to be complaining much during the production or release of the film, in which he cooperated. 
But he has now chimed in on Twitter, quite angrily, complaining that some of the more controversial scenes in the film, like some which imply a homosexual relationship between him and du Pont, were made up entirely.

This wouldn’t be the first time the director, Bennett Miller, has stoked some minor controversy with his adaptations of nonfiction books. His film of Moneyball, which starred Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, bore only a passing resemblance to real life. And I’m not just referring to how much Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane doesn’t look like Pitt—but more how the whole film bore only a passing resemblance to what was in the book, what really happened, or what sabermetrics are and how they’re used.

Also that song Pitt’s daughter sings to him in the guitar store was annoying and stupid.

At any rate… Foxcatcher is on a lot of Oscar shortlists, and Steve Carrell’s breakthrough performance as du Pont is considered by many a lock for the Academy Award. See it when it hits the Darkside and decide for yourself if Schultz has a beef.

RIP Stuart Scott

In a sadder kickoff to 2015 than I had hoped for, ESPN mainstay and all around nice guy Stuart Scott passed away this past weekend after a long battle with cancer. Scott had a name and voice that were synonymous with American sports reporting for the last 20 years, but earned new levels of respect and fandom for the way he handled his struggles with cancer since his shocking diagnosis after an appendectomy in 2007.

Scott’s unique delivery, which shaped the way sports is reported today, will be sorely missed, but the inspiration he brought us all will be missed even more. Scott was just 49 years old and is survived by his ex-wife and two daughters.