Thursday, September 23, 2010

The commercials in between the commercials

There was a time when late night television was actually interesting. Johnny Carson would have on John Lennon or Peter Sellers, Jane Fonda or gawd forbid a writer like Norman Mailer or Gore Vidal. And they talked about things; conversed.

Nowadays, late night television is just commercials in between the commercials. One anonymous, lame pseudo celebrity after another rolls onto these pathetic shows hosted by David Letterman and Jay Leno and whoever else has their own commercial between the commercials. The only prerequisite to be on one of these shows is to be hawking something, especially another horrible television show or another vacuous movie.

One particular thorn in my toe is Joaquin Phoenix, his lame faux documentary that everyone knew was a shallow spoof from the get-go, and his mumbling appearance on David Letterman's show more than a year ago.

That dull, empty appearance in which a prolifically bearded Phoenix mumbled inaudible non-sequiturs to David Letterman's inane questions, is apparently now in the annals of pop culture history, according to the braintrust at CNN's Marquee Blog.

Really? The annals of pop culture? A mumbling, over-indulged, full-of-himself jackass, morose at not winning an Oscar for his portrayal of Johnny Cash having trouble keeping up with the stupid banter of a guy who looks like he should be on the NYSE?

Just shows you what passes for "annals" these days.

The only remotely interesting part of Phoenix's re-appearance on David Letterman's how -- to grovel at the feet of Oh-Wealthy-One -- was when Letterman showed his true stripes and decided to talk business in between the commercials:
. . . Letterman pointed out that they’d used almost five minutes of that infamous interview in I’m Still Here, which Letterman said he didn't receive a licensing fee for. If it was an actual documentary, it could qualify under fair use, Letterman explained, but since we all now know that it’s not. Letterman wants a piece of the cut. "$1 million bucks," to be exact.

"All of that promotion you got from being on here that night...all of that's worth something, that's free publicity," Letterman told Phoenix. "So we want a little something for that. And my talent fee, you know, it's not my first rodeo. I want a little taste of this as well."

Phoenix eventually responded, "We'll work it out," but requested, "Can we talk about it privately, please?"

Letterman, ever agreeable, told him, "Yeah. We'll go to one of your screenings."
Christ, it was like watching James Frey his second time on Oprah when she publicly scolded him for writing falsehoods and seeming to taint her brand for five minutes.

How could David Letterman -- paid in excess of $20 million per year for the last two decades -- even sleep at night without getting those talent and licensing fees? The horror!

I'd like to make a rebuttal documentary to the Phoenix/Affleck I'm Still Here. I'd call mine Bye Good: Stay Fucking Lost.

How much time do these assholes think people have? That we want to watch some dipshit, rich white dude with all the time and money to burn, pursue a career in hip hop?

Everybody knew it was a fake from the start. My documentary Bye Good: Stay Fucking Lost would begin with a string of footage of Phoenix publicly denying that his pursuit of hip hop was bogus and the film documenting it a fraud.

If David Letterman had any talent, any brains, anything at all, he would have had Phoenix address the hilariously stupid mistake he made when he attempted to write "Good Bye" on his knuckles, which signaled the start of his faux "decline" for his shitty documentary. But Dave was too busy talking 'bout the money; too busy talking some bidness to do that.

Instead, we got the utterly unfunny: ". . . honestly it was like you slipped and hit your head in the tub."


1 comment:

Purple Squirrel said...

Nice rant friendo! I fully agree with the analogy of the commercial in between commercial, just a load of shit I tell ya. But some assholes out there will lap this pseudo-movie up and pay the gate fees, hopefully of which a slice will make it into Letterman's deserving pocket. Assholes!