This Just In: Generalissimo Maslin Is Still Dead!

This Just In: Generalissimo Maslin Is Still Dead!

This Just In: Generalissimo Maslin Is Still Dead!

Arts, entertainment, and more.
May 1 1998 9:43 AM

This Just In: Generalissimo Maslin Is Still Dead!

BRENTWOOD—In this town, you know you're in trouble when Madeleine Albright's taking shots at you. A few weeks ago, the Secretary of State's dissing Titanic—as she did during a visit with a Chinese filmmaker this week—might have seemed terminally unhip. Instead, Madame Secretary proves to be down with the Zeitgeist, providing the latest evidence of the plummeting public image of the film's writer-director, Jim Cameron.

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From the moment Cameron's name was announced as Best Director at the Academy Awards, his standing out here has been in free fall. Declaring "I'm the King of the World! Woo-hooo!" to a billion TV viewers will do that, I guess, especially when you're quoting your own, notably un-nominated screenplay. Just days later came his ill-advised assault on Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan's sanctimonious anti-Titanic thumbsucker. Cameron's mad-as-hell diatribe, which called for Turan's "impeachment," got gleefully picked up by everyone from the newsweeklies to Doonesbury.

With more than a billion dollars in box office receipts from Titanic, why Jim Cameron should give a rip what any critic thinks is anyone's guess, but at least he's keeping it out of his movies. The forthcoming Godzilla—from thin-skinned action guys Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin—apparently features a Mayor Ebert who gets squashed like a bug, and a sidekick named...ah, maybe you can guess. Why, fellas? Ten years ago, George Lucas dubbed a two-headed Willow monster the Ebersisk and christened his villain Gen. Kael. (The name of a movie bad guy usually bears close attention. One man was seated next to screenwriter Ed Solomon at the premiere of Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey when the audience was introduced to the movie's antagonist, De Nomolos. "It's my name backwards," whispered Solomon. "I can't believe they let me keep it in.")

Yo, Chatterbox! That Chatterbox guy is kicking our asses! ... Exclamation points, three-dots, vim, vigor, vitality! ... Fatal Attraction-relationship with Newsweek playing like unrequited Leo-and-Kate romance! ... Refers to himself as "Chatterbox," even with tough, tabby, gift-from- the-gods columnist name of "Mickey" ... You don't think Herb Caen wished he'd been named "Mickey"? ... Question: can Culturebox shamelessly ape wildly successful Chatterbox style? Answer: Hell, yes! ...

Item: Meg Ryan's production company buys rights to life story of Liz Tilberis, likable editor of Harper's Bazaar who's bravely battling ovarian cancer. Culturebox sez: Get with the program, Meg! You were born to play serial statutory rapist Mary LeTourneau, and all of America knows it! You'll have what she's having! ... Item: Apocalyptic drama Deep Impact, about a comet hitting the earth, said to be leaving screening audiences bathed in tears. Culturebox sez: Being moved by a summer blockbuster makes you feel like a sap; it's like crying at an AT&T commercial. Armageddon, about an asteroid hitting the earth, still seems likely to make more money by summer's end. ... Item: New Robert Redford movie, The Horse Whisperer, due to open May 15th. Approximate running time: 2 hours, 45 minutes. Culturebox sezZZZZZZZZZZ: Only three things in this world longer than The Horse Whisperer the National Hockey League regular season; a David Foster Wallace novel; Liam Neeson in "Judas Kiss" ...

Item: Hip-hop war of words erupts between up-and-coming rapper Canibus and 10-year-on-top LL Cool J. Culturebox sez: Move over, Rushdie and LeCarré! Cuttting fellow MCs is a longstanding rap tradition, but the murders of rap stars Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. pretty much shut down the diss-record business. The Canibus-LL exchange has been feisty enough to get some folks nervous, but no one's grabbing the Kevlar running suits yet. ... Item:Jerry Springer Show bans onstage, you're-a-ho-no-you're-a-ho fighting. Culturebox says: Should boost ratings for Heat-Knicks NBA playoff series! Decision will certainly come as a relief to TV viewers in the Los Angeles market, where yesterday, six stations carried a freeway suicide live on the air. ... Item: Brad Pitt spends nine days shooting love scene for new movie Meet Joe Black. Culturebox says: Thank god for Viagra! ...