Showbiz Sandbox 24: How To Get A Hero Complex

October 12, 2009

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Our special guest this week is Geoff Boucher, full time entertainment writer for the Los Angeles Times and part time Wookiee. Geoff began the popular L.A. Times blog, Hero Complex, devoted to caped crusaders, zombies, wizards and all things superhero. With a tag line that reads “for your inner fanboy”, Hero Complex has quietly become a huge hit and recently won the award for best online commentary among large websites from the Online News Association.

Over the last week, Geoff wrote a series of posts on the blog that look at film franchises entering their fourth turn on the silver screen, including “Lord Of The Rings”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Spider-Man”, and “X-Men”. (Check out the reader poll: ‘The Hobbit’ Will Triumph But ‘X-Men’ and ‘Pirates’ Franchises Should Quit Now)

Meanwhile, at this weekend’s North American box office, moviegoers made “Couples Retreat” the number one film, followed by “Zombieland” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”. The big surprise of the weekend was the little indie film “Paranormal Activity”. Made for peanuts, the film is now raking in millions based solely off a social networking marketing campaign. That might be why Michael Giltz and Karen Woodward are dying to see the movie. . . no pun intended. (See the movie, you’ll get the joke). 

In other movie news, the fur is flying at Fox (both the studio and its upcoming release “Fantastic Mr. Fox”). Writing about the film and its maker, Los Angeles Times writer Chris Lee notes, “To be clear, Wes Anderson did not set out to direct his new movie via email.” Does a filmmaker actually need to show up on set to get a director credit? Clearly that’s debatable.

A little less unbelievable is director Mike Nichols being tapped by the American Film Institute to receive the AFI Life Achievement Award. Nor is the news that Roman Polanski is feeling “tired and depressed” in jail according to his lawyer. Swiss officials have said they believe there is a very high risk of Polanski fleeing if he is released on bail. Really?! What would ever give you that idea?

Over in the land of TV, ABC has picked up “Flash Forward”, “The Middle”, “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town”, proving that Karen and Michael are going strong in the “Hiatus or Back 9” challenge.  New DVR numbers show “Flash Forward” has picked up two million viewers including later playback. Raise your hand if you know what “Live + 7” is. (Hint: It’s the ratings for the number people who watched a show both when it aired and on DVR within a week of its original broadcast).

In music news, Barbara Streisand’s new album, “Love Is The Answer”, tops the music charts both in the U.S. and U.K. Stop rolling your eyes. Yes, we don’t care that much about Babs either. Except she’s auctioning off some of her personal belongings on Saturday. See ya there. Nor do we care that much about the late Michael Jackson’s posthumous song release, “This Is It”.

If you want to know what we do care about, we finish off with “Big Deal or Big Whoop”, our new weekly segment where we assess the entertainment world’s top headlines. Do we care? Do we not care? Should we care but don’t?

Finally, stay tuned later this week for a special installment of Showbiz Sandbox which expands on this episode’s Inside Baseball topic; should bloggers be allowed to break journalistic rules. Indiewire’s Anne Thompson and entertainment journalist James Rocchi join our hosts to argue (and we do mean argue) both sides of the issue.

Hero Complex Blog Earns Recognition
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-herocomplex5-2009oct05,0,4532555.story

Fur Flies On Mr. Fox
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-mrfox11-2009oct11,0,1982318.story

AFI Honors Mike Nichols
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118009803.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

Polanski Feels Depressed In Jail (from Reuters)
http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=8810442

ABC Picks Up More Flash Forward
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118009832.html

Barbara Streisand’s “Love Is The Answer” Is #1 In Both U.S. and U.K.
http://www.theatermania.com/new-york/news/10-2009/barbra-streisands-love-is-the-answer-1-in-both-us_21851.html

Babs Stuff Up For Sale
http://www.nbclosangeles.com/around-town/shopping/Babs-up-for-Bids-64001957.html

New Michael Jackson Single Debuts Online
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hqqhQh7UV8vxJKpzCROI-m3v9xsQD9B9LIU02

Early Reviews of Where The Wild Things Are Arrive: Is It A Masterpiece?
http://www.blackbookmag.com/article/early-reviews-of-where-the-wild-things-are-an-imperfect-film/11652

Did Vogue Overly Photoshop Nicole Kidman, Penolope Cuz, Marion Cotillard and Kate Hudson
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedishrag/2009/10/vogue-photoshops-nicole-kidman-penelope-cruz-marion-.html

Jimmy Kimmel Pulls A Letterman?
http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b148459_kimmel_pulls_letterman.html

Everyone Hates Lindsay Lohan’s Fashion Line
http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b147432_everyone_hates_lindsay_lohans_fashion.html

Miley Cyrus Quits Twitter
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2009/10/miley-cyrus-says-goodbye-to-twitter-with-a-rap-courtney-loves-account-is-removed.html

Tom Delay Exits Dancing With The Stars
http://blogs.suntimes.com/tv/2009/10/tom_delay_exits_the_dancing_ba.html

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