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Monday, November 1, 2010

Worth a listen to as a speech and for thoughts

It's almost over

One More Day
sanity or
the election is over

Let the Politics Begin!

and for my students your speeches take up our class time instead of me and lecture and civic responsibility (hopefully you will review notes and exercise your civic responsibilities well, with your own beliefs, conscience and pride).

So, which rally was bigger? And Why?

The Rally to Restore Sanity has come to a close, and crowd estimates are beginning to trickle in. It is clear that a huge number of people attended the event (see photos from the rally here), but the calculations vary among sources..

LV based" Defenders" "bland"

The new "Defenders" stars James Belushi and Jerry O'Connell as Nick Morelli and Pete Kaczmarek, respectively, characters modeled after real-life Vegas lawyers Michael Cristalli and Marc Saggese, respectively.Joe and Harry Gantz, documentarians best known for HBO's "Taxicab Confessions," spent 22 days filming the real lawyers, all the while thinking they were making a reality-show pilot. Now the Gantzes are executive producers on the series, part of a team that includes showrunner Greg Walker and "CSI" executive producer Carol Mendelsohn, a veteran at making Los Angeles look like Las Vegas.If the names of the real lawyers sound familiar, give credit to CBS: Back-to-back episodes of '48 Hours Mystery" on Saturday were devoted to cases involving the pair, starting with Cristalli's defense of the two-timing girlfriend accused of murdering casino owner Ted Binion.Stories in "Defenders" are based on cases handled by Cristalli and Saggese, albeit with varying degrees of dramatic license.

Above summary from a very negative review in The Hollywood Reporter, which calls the show "bland", "shallow" and "forced." Other reviews have been similar, in a show that depends on star power to drive its ratings and which is not even shot in Las Vegas, where it allegedly takes place.

The HR review states "Maybe, on second thought, this really should have been a reality series."

Sharon Angle would not have passed the first audition

Politicians could use some H'wood polish

Rewrite, recast could only help this November

Daily Variety on line.

Visit to become a Variety subscriber. Pundits have long observed that politics is really show business but with ugly people, but this year the political cast of characters seems to be uglier still, as does their rhetoric.

Not that long ago elections were at least good theater. Consider the contrasts of style and class in Kennedy vs. Nixon. Politicians like Jerry Ford, Jimmy Carter and, yes, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, were irritating in their own ways but brought a certain civility to the process. Today's politicians come across not as cajolers but as bullies (there's that word again) or as full-fledged idiots.

The bottom line: They could use some serious input from Hollywood on several levels.

Let's start with casting. Hollywood's hard-boiled casting mavens wouldn't have let folks like Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell or Carl Paladino past the first audition.

Then there's the script: With the help of Hollywood spinmeisters, someone like Alaska's Joe Miller could have presented himself as a free-thinking outdoorsman instead of letting him talk like a crypto-fascist thug. It's easy to "sell" a phony version of a candidate -- look how shrewdly John Edwards sold himself as someone he wasn't.

Candidates in the past often recruited top Hollywood writers and directors to guide their campaigns -- think Johnson, Kennedy and Clinton. But the Tea Partiers seem to recruit their speechwriters from the ranks of tram drivers at Disneyland, because they keep spouting fantasies. Listen to O'Donnell and Angle and you realize why Sarah Palin now comes across as an intellectual (is that why so many Republican candidates seem to be running away from her scheduled appearances?)
The Hollywood marketers who figured how to sell "Jackass 3 D" would have advised Paladino against sending out mailers that deliberately carried the stink of rotting garbage. Why reflect the aroma of your campaign?

It may be a sad commentary that politics needs more Hollywood influence, but that's the reality of the moment.
Maybe I should have gone to Jon Stewart's rally, after all.

The above is from Variety for educational use only.
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