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October 20, 1994 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-20

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, October 20, 1994

The triumvirate of entertainment

By SCOTT PLAGENHOEF
In an unforeseen announcement last
week, three of the motion picture
industry's most powerful individuals
declared their intentions to create their
own major motion picture studio. The
three-record and entertainment mo-
gul David Geffen, formerpresidentof
Walt Disney's film studios Jefferey
Katzenburg and acclaimed directorand
producerStephen Spielberg--areseek-
ing to create to repurchase MCA, the
film production division of Universal
for which Spielberg currently produces,
or form a wholly new studio, the first
major studio to be created in decades.
Currently there are six major mo-
tionpicture studios in production: Para-
mount, WarnerBrothers, 20th Century
Fox, Columbia/Tri-Star, Disney/
Touchstone/Hollywood and MCA/
Universal.
The plans of the three brokers to
create a new studio would likely hit
Disney the hardest. Katzenburg, re-
sponsible for the recent success of
Disney films, particularly their recent
financial monopoly on film animation,
could provide Disney serious competi-
tion in quality children's entertainment.
This is particularly disheartening to

Disney considering their recent set-
backs: internal disputes and their fi-
asco in Manasas, Virginia.
The three will begin their studio
largely self-financed, but considering
their reputations and their recent ac-
complishments, raising financial help
will be no problem.
Whereas Katzenburg and particu-
larly Geffen, chairman of DGC, record
label of Sonic Youth, Nirvana and oth-
ers, and Geffen pictures which works
under Warner Brothers and will pro-
duce the soon to be released "Interview
with the Vampire," are experienced as
executives in the entertainment indus-
try, Spielberg is not. Despite his fre-
quent work as a producer in both film
and television, it is highly unusual for
a filmmaker to head a studio.
The obvious comparison to this
entire incident is to the 1919 creation of
United Artists, in which Charlie
Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary
Pickford, and D.W. Griffith combated
the studio system of distribution by
creating their own studio.
The new partnership between the
brokers (a potentially lengthy one con-
sidering that at 50, Geffen is the eldest
of the three) will probably not limit

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itself to the film industry, although that
will be its focus. Television and music
industry ventures are possible and prob-
ably expected.
Katzenburg, Geffen and Spielberg
expect to begin production on new
motion pictures as early as 1995 with
no indication on what their initial
projects will be or in what film genres
they will concentrate.
Yet possibly above all, this creation
of talent may indicate a shift in the
trend of wasteful Hollywood spend-
ing. Hollywood studios and other en-
tertainment businesses, part of
America's largestexport, popularcul-
ture, have often been purchased by
Japanese conglomerates (as is the case
in MCA, currently owned by the
Matsushita Electrical Industrial Com-
pany) who have spent freely and have
sunk wasteful amounts of money into
salaries. This new studio will be begin
largely self-financed, a deterrent for
wasteful spending.
Regardless of whether Spielberg,
Katzen burg and Geffen will create a
new, independent studioorsimply pur-
chase MCA their partnership will have
a large effect on the motion picture
industry.
The three, noted for consistently
producing quality and entertaining
productcould restore some integrity to
a sagging industry.
EVENTS
Continued from page 1
The Martha Graham Dance com-
pany (Family Show)
Tailor-made for the family.
Paid admission, Power Center, 2
p.m.
Session IX "Martha Graham and
her Collaborators: The Alchemy of
Graham's Dance/Theater"
Free Admission, Rackham Audi-
torium, 3-5 p.m.
' Session X: "Jean Rosenthal: Mas-
ter Lighting Designer"
Free admission, Rackham Build-
ing, 5:30 p.m.
The Martha Graham Dance Com-
pany (Program II)
The Ann Arbor Symphony Or-
chestra, Stanley Sussman, conductor.
Paid admission, Power Center, 8
p.m.
SUNDAY
The Martha Graham Dance Com-
pany (Program III)
Appalacian Spring: Celebration of
an American Masterwork
The Ann Arbor Symphony Or-
chestra. Stanley Sussman, conductor.
50th anniversary celebration of the
premiere of "Appalacian Spring" to
the Library of Congress on October
30,1944. Paid admission, Power Cen-
ter, 2 p.m.,

Hello, my name is Steven Spielberg. Will you be my bestest friend in the whole why world, Jeff and Davey?
'EW' rockets to success in bathrooms*

By KIRK MILLER
Forget for a moment those awful
'80s collections that arehighlighted in.
the commercial (there was a reason
bands like Dexy's Midnight Runners
and A-ha died). Just realize "Entertain-
[The Magazine Column

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ment Weekly" has surpassed "People"
and "Us" as the best weekly bathroom
read in the country.
Sure, it's not the loftiest goal in the
world to be good can material, and
some of the features appear to have
been written without actually inter-
viewing anyone, but at least EW never
promises anything more. There are
no undercover exposes of the Viper
Club or O.J. Instead, there's a won-
derful two-page layout devoted to the
evolution of hairstyles on "Beverly
Hills 90210" (Hint: Donna, get a new
stylist).

The articles are fluff, butquickreads
and harmless; this week there's yet
another interview with John Travolta.
What sets apart EW from the other
mainstream magazines are the won-
derful reviews. Every Travolta movie
is presented, from TV's "Boy in the
Plastic Bubble" to "The Devil's Rain,"
a little known horror movie with Wil-
liam Shatner, Ernest Borgnine and
Travolta in a monk's robe. And it gets
a pretty decent review.
Which only proves the biggest as-
set the magazine has are its reviewers.
Movie guru (and Univeristy ofMichi-
gan grad) Owen Gleiberman has a
wonderful appreciation for modern
cinema, ignoring old film critic prac-
tices like bashing overhyped movies
or riding the Oscar bandwagon (he
loves "Pulp Fiction," hates "Forrest
Gump"). He's also quite funny when
he wants to be without being cutesy or
obviously clever.
But TV critic Bret Watson is obvi-
ously trying to be clever, which works
well on him. He takes a minor televi-
sion event (PBS adding a game show)
and turns into a hilarious half-page

suggestion for redoing the entire pub-
lic broadcast network for bigger rat-
ings (combining "Rough Guide" with
"Where in the World is Carmen
Sandiego" and giving the hosts guns is
one, letting Barney occasionally eat a
child is another). If only "Saturday
Night Live" could be half as timely or
funny.
This week's issue also proves that
EW gets the best photos. Where else
could you see Travolta in all of his
glory, 30 pounds overweight and his
crotch right at eye-level? And his
hair! (John, grease is the word that you
heard) Couple this with abrilliant shot
ofLarry King and Marlon Brando look-
ing ateach starry-eyed and it's the stars
in ways you never cared to see them.
Probably thegreatestcomplimentI
can give EW is it is just like Entertain-
ment Tonight, but smarter, funnier,
more literate and lacking John Tesh.
Nobody takes themselves seriously;
it's smart enough to know John
Travolta's comeback isn't really im-
portant, but also smart enough to plug
it just the same.

'N.Y.P.D.' won't be 'Blue' without Caruso

BLUES

of Death" opening in the spring.
This announcementmade him very
unpopular in Hollywood, and critics

Continued from page 5

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and fans alike began to ask whether
the show could survive without one
of their charismatic leads. As soon as
Franz upset his costar by winning the
Emmy, rumors began to spread about
Caruso's potential replacement. It
was ultimately decided that the red-
headed, Irish Caruso will be replaced
by Latino actor Jimmy Smits of"L.A.
Law" fame.
The irony here is that Smits, him-
self, left a starring role on one of the
most popular shows on the air to pur-
sue a film career a few years ago.
After a series of failed projects in-
cluding "Old Gringo" and "Switch,"
this talented actor is returning to tele.
vision, the only entertainment me-
dium that has truly been kind to him.
Memories of Shelley Long leav-
ing "Cheers" and Smits' own flight
from "L.A. Law" come to mind when
Caruso, an actor who has only known
success on the small screen, plans a
move to the big one. Neither of these
other actors succeeded in film. Both
eventually returned to television with
injured careers. And neither of the
shows they left truly suffered in their
absence.
Accordingly, "NYPD Blue," in
only its second season, will be around
for many more. Caruso's departure
can only hurt his career, not the show.
Faced with his impending departure,
the program's writers are already con-
centrating on some of the more minor
characters, thus creating more inter-
esting, specified story lines. Certainly,
the quality writing and acting that this
show is founded upon should not be
compromised by Caruso's absence.
So while "NYPD Blue" remains
one of the best shows on television,
don't be surprised if Det. Kelly is

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