Whose screwing who..?

Ben Shiller.

"Nothing makes someone more unlikable than their unawareness of what makes them unlikable. That's the main reason why people don't like Los Angeles. It's not surprising, then, that Hollywood's answer to the advent of DVD burners and Internet piracy is a clueless public service announcement in which Ben Affleck, Lucy Liu, and 'Titanic' director James Cameron ask you not to steal from them. Next they'll produce a PSA about how small trailers can cause claustrophobia.

In May, Affleck's 1-minute-12-second plea will unspool on movie screens nationwide; it'll be the Will Rogers Institute can-rattle of our time. But this appeal is for the fair treatment of movie stars, not the compassionate support of sick kids -- or sick horses, or sick kids who ride horses....

But Affleck's point, on second viewing, wasn't that he's Benny from the Block and in need of scratch. It's that the less well-paid are in jeopardy if piracy blunts studios' profits. 'The movie you're about to see is the work of hundreds of people,' says Affleck in the PSA. 'Not just the stars you see on screen,' but writers, cameramen, costumers, and countless others. Apparently, there is a world in which the proletariat includes the guy who penned 'Point Break....'

Also, I can't figure out why they would show this PSA to people who've just paid full price for admission, instead of shoving it at the front end of a DVD, where actual criminals might see it, since the only people Internet pirates truly put out of business are the in-theater camcorder crooks.

When I asked Motion Picture Association of America president Jack Valenti whether the director of the highest-grossing movie of all time was the ideal spokesperson against petty theft, he tap-danced. 'I found the most convincing part to be the working stiffs,' said Valenti of the PSA, 'the guys who have a modest home and kids who go to public schools. They make $75,000 to $100,000 a year. That's not much to live on. I don't have to tell you that,' he said, vastly overestimating the U.S. poverty level and what I get paid for this column. I vowed right then not only to pirate a movie but also to find a way to use the Internet to steal directly from Jack Valenti's home....

I'll still rent DVDs and see movies in theaters. But I'll download them too. And after watching that PSA, I'm especially going to steal Affleck flicks. As soon as he makes one worth stealing." [Entertainment Weekly, available to subscribers only]

[The Shifted Librarian]


Of course Valenti doesn't seem to appreciate the irony that it is he and his buddies that ensure that the "working stiffs" make only $75-$100K of the vast fortunes that get made from these movies.  The words "That's not much to live on" should choke him but like all these poisonous bastards he is immune.  Probably Afflecks too busy being rich & famous to worry about that either.

Remind me again, Whose screwing who..?

02/05/2003 07:44 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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