Salinger Goes Hollywood (Finally)

(Yes, satire from Borowitz, originally posted on Huffington Post; story here)

HOLLYWOOD (The Borowitz Report) – Just hours after author J.D. Salinger passed away at his New Hampshire home on Wednesday, Hollywood studios were salivating at the chance to finally ruin his masterpiece, Catcher in the Rye.

“If we are fortunate enough to acquire the rights to Mr. Salinger’s book, we pledge to stay faithful to the spirit of Catcher in the Rye,” said Dougy Binstock, a producer at Columbia Pictures. “And the best way to do that is by producing it as a rock opera.”

But even as Mr. Binstock was bidding for the rights to produce a film he hopes to call Phantom of the Rye, Mindy Hammerfur, an executive at Paramount Pictures, said that she thought Salinger’s book was “seriously in need of a reboot.”

“We never find out in the book how Holden Caulfield becomes the catcher in the rye,” said Ms. Hammerfur. “The movie really needs to be kind of a prequel.”

But of all the potential bidders hoping to desecrate Catcher in the Rye, Avatar director James Cameron may have the inside track.

“I loved this book as a boy and I’m not going to add a thing,” Mr. Cameron said, “except blue space-cats.”

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DGA Nominations: Lee Daniels and Tarantino In; Clint Squeezed Out

Precious director Lee Daniels has become the first African-American nominee for a Director’s Guild of America award.

Daniels was one of five directors nominated for awards this morning, including James Cameron for Avatar, Jason Reitman for Up in the Air, Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds, and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker.

Surprisingly absent from the list: Veteran director Clint Eastwood, whose Invictus has picked up glowing reviews and wound up on several year-end Top 10 lists. Eastwood previously received three DGA nominations; he won for Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven.

Cameron won in 1997 for Titanic. This year’s other DGA nominees are first-timers. All except Daniels were nominated for Golden Globes, along with Eastwood, and all are expected to land Oscar nominations.

Bigelow, Cameron’s ex-wife, is the seventh woman to land a DGA nomination.

The DGA winner has gone on to receive the Oscar for best picture all but six times since the awards were launched in 1949, according to a column published today by Los Angeles Times writer Tom O’Neil.

The winner will be announced Jan. 30 in Los Angeles.

Oscar Talk: Viewership Jumps

oscars10Blame it on the down economy, and the accompanying desire for escapist entertainment. Or perhaps it’s the fault of the nasty winter weather, which continued to break records nationwide (global warming, or new ice age?). Who wants to go outside?

OrĀ  maybe there simply wasn’t anything else worth watching on Sunday night.

At any rate, the 81st annual Academy Awards telecast drew 36.3 million viewers, an increase of 13 percent over the 32 million who caught the show last year, according to a report in the New York Times. Viewership grew by 22 percent among men ages 18 to 34.

That’s despite the predictable post-show grumbling by television critics and others, some of whom probably wouldn’t be pleased by the Oscars even if the telecast ran no more than two hours and was the funniest thing on TV.

By the way, some of these same critics kill acres of trees in the course of endlessly hyping such awful “reality” programming as “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Bachelor” and “The Biggest Loser.” Like they know from quality.

More factoids: Viewership for the show peaked in 1998, when 55 million watched Titanic win 11 Oscars, including best picture and best director (James Cameron). More than 40 million watched the Oscars show in 2007, when the award for best picture went to Martin Scorsese’s The Departed.

So much for those who would want to force the Oscars to honor only the year’s biggest crowd-pleasers.* Isn’t television already overwhelmed with popularity contests?

*(This is NOT a dis on The Dark Knight, which deserved Oscar attention on artistic merit alone. Its exclusion had more to do with a)a general disrespect for comic-book culture, and b)a liberal political agenda that clearly dominates the thinking of Hollywood types).

UPDATE: Mary McNamara, a television critic for the L.A.Times, writes, “If nothing else, the 81st version proved that the Oscars are important after all, that in this digitally splintered world where everyone can find something better to do every single second of the day, there remain media and entertainment experiences we long to share with one another.” The rest of her piece.