3/25/2007

More Grandiose Entitlement, Courtesy of I Heart Huckabees

In case you haven't yet seen the YouTube videos of Lily Tomlin and David O. Russell's mutual meltdowns on the set of "I Heart Huckabees," it's worth a looksee. (A brief sidenote: why is it that people who utilize a middle initial usually turn out to be pretentious twats?)

Considering that this movie was released in 2004, I wonder why this took so long to surface. Yes, I am truly so jaded that I naturally assume that anything like this has some sort of back-end marketing tie-in.

Watching these clips, I realized that they're actually better than the movie. Because I couldn't remember the movie. It was remarkable for being so forgettable. A quick look back at a couple of reviews caused me to remember why.

Huckabees is like every book Russell ever read, every college class he ever took and every stoned discussion he ever had with his activist buddies at 3 in the morning, thrown into one movie and enacted by famous people. It'd be nice to think it is satirizing mystical mumbo-jumbo and endless navel-gazing, but that's giving Russell too much credit.

Aaaah...right, right. This was the movie where a married couple plays 'existential detective' to help a guy figure out 'what it all means.' Sounded interesting in the set-up, then fell really flat.

Which is kind of hard to do when your cast includes Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Jude Law, Mark Wahlberg, and Naomi Watts. I mean, you do have to be kind of a shitty director to create a movie that's so lame that the presence of those five don't perk it up at least a little.

So the 'leaked' footage makes sense. Lily Tomlin has lost the plot, quite literally in a film making sense. In the first clip, David O. Russell had apparantly been shooting a scene in a consistent tone for the previous five or six hours. Then he basically told the actors to do the whole thing over again, with a delivery "by half." You'll notice that even Dustin Hoffman, who remains fairly calm during the whole thing, tells him quietly, "That's nuts."

In the second clip, Tomlin has supposedly been asking Russell to, well, direct her in the scene. He flips out in a kind of "I'm taking my ball and going home" kind of way. These kind of flare-ups on the Huckabees set must have been fairly regular, as you can see the crew just kind of lowering their eyes and shuffling out of the room like some sort of codependant children.

Before you hit play on either of these, just know that they're NSFW -- Not Safe For Work.







Thinking back, I'm reminded of the supposed physical altercation between David O. Russell and George Clooney on the set of Three Kings. Russell apparantly drove St. George to taking a swing at him, after Clooney called him on the carpet for abusing an extra.

What a winner. It does take a certain level of psychosis to be the biggest asshole in Hollywood. So if nothing else, Russell is certainly in the running for that award. Maybe he should stick to just writing the scripts, which everyone seems to agree he does well. But his supersized ego probably won't allow him to sit in a room with a few other folks and, well, collaborate. It's always the most grandiose fuck in the room who proclaims, "I want to DIRECT!"

Really, considering the repeated theme that I cover here, this blog should be subtitled, "Entitled Little Twats."

2 comments:

Akubi said...

Aspeth,
Did you see today's NYT article about this http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/26/technology/26huckabees.html?ei=5088&en=030d6c2e1b86d267&ex=1332561600&adxnnl=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1174932501-Qq0LzWv4+FxbJKrv5ZdO8w ?

Aspeth said...

That's funny, Akubi. I think this line from the article summarizes the videos fairly well: "The tirade is so abusive that only one sentence — “Act like a grown-up; you’re not a baby” — is printable."

It seems like it's fairly accepted that David O. Russell is an arrogant asshole. But as we see time and time again, there's rarely, if ever, very much retribution against this type of thing.