Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Nikki Fikke Was Right: WB's Jeff Robinov IS a Misogynist Prick

With the unexpected success of the film adaptation of the TV series Sex and the City, you would expect Warner Bros. to follow up on its left-field success with Diane English's screen adaptation of the 1939 MGM class The Women. As Nikki Fikke notes in Deadline Hollywood Daily:

"(That) same studio is sitting on a potential successor, maybe even a reproducible event, about to come out September 12th. Yet WB is giving The Women the cold shoulder. Especially after this weekend, you'd think that Warner Bros would be jumping all over Picturehouse's long awaited Diane English low-budgeted $16.5 million remake of the famed Clare Booth Luce play and 1939 George Cukor film. Forget about the merits of the movie: I'm talking about the potential for box office moolah stirred up by some savvy Sex-exploiting. Instead, I've just been told that Warner Bros is still going to let Picturehouse market and distribute the movie in very limited release even though Picturehouse is in the process of shutting down. Here is Warner Bros able to control the PG-13 comedy -- just like it did Sex And The City from HBO Films and New Line, the studios that created Picturehouse -- but isn't interested."

Fikke also notes that Diane English, who created the seminal TV sitcom classic Murphy Brown, waged a fifteen-year battle to secure financing for the project, which cost 16.5 million dollars to make -- a fraction of what it cost to film Sex and the City. And this is with a cast list that includes actresses like Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Bette Midler, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Debi Mazur, Joanna Gleason, Carrie Fisher, Lynn Whitfield and Cloris Leachman.

All this should come as no surprise given the historical pattern of contempt Rudinov held for female-driven projects. You would expect Sex and the City to change his mode of thinking, but unfortunately it hasn't.

Now why do you think that pure contempt is often expressed by ignoring someone?

As Fikke herself has documented on DHD, the current brouhaha over The Womenis not just an isoloated incident, but rather a pattern of behavior that continues to follow him to this day. Case in point is yet another target of Rubinov's internalized misogynist ire was the comedy Spring Breakdown, which starred a top-notch cast of great distaff comediennes that includes "inde queen" Parker Posey, the rising Saturday Night Live alumnae Amy Poehler and fellow SNL alumna Rachel Dratch (who also co-wrote the script). But as Fikke notes, "(WB) has decided, despite excellent test scores with women of all ages, and Amy Poehler's rising stardom (Baby Mama), that it should go straight to DVD," a source tells her. "This is pure and unadulterated hatred of female driven projects, especially comedies, at that studio. It's a real shame about this film, because women love it." Fikke goes on to comment, "Personally, I'm not at all sure the more sophisticated female audience for Sex And The City and The Women is clamoring for a dumbed-down women's comedy. But could it be worse content-wise than the Harold & Kumar franchise?

As you may recall in my previous post attacking Sex and the City, it is the whole aura surrounding the product in question and the sublimital messages that it conveys when the entire context of the project is taken into question, both historical and otherwise. However, I must stress that my views on women and gender are much more nuanced than people give me credit for. As a playwright and dramatist, I believe in freedom of artistic expression. As something of a socio-political/cultural commentator and social critic, I look for causation and facts.

Let's face it, folks. Bias is rampant in America, even in Tinseltown, where all biases pertaining to race, gender, age, religion and ethnicity are so rampant yet so codified to where you have to read between the lines just to figure out what they are really saying. It's not just what's said and done in the executive suite; it's in their purile decision-making where their biases manifest themselves on the screens in our multiplexes. You don't have to watch any of Eli Roth's "torture porn" slasher flicks ("Hostel") just to understand how misogynic some of these folks really are. And Rubinov's bitch-slapping of "chick flicks" clearly shows something's terribly wrong with the mentality of those in Hollywood's executive suites, Amy Pascal or no Amy Pascal.

Obviously, Jeff Rubinov is not going to be a candidate for sensitivity training and rehabilitation anytime soon. Perhaps the best solution to all these problems for the time is to have fantasies about tying Rubinov to a rotisserie spit, basting him with Open Pit barbecue sauce, and roasting him over the coals while we hear that male chauvinist pig squealing like the little piggie who cried "Wee, wee, wee" all the way home.

Unfortunately, like Eli Roth's torture porn, some nightmares never seem to end.