The 100 Smartest Things Hollywood’s Done Lately
Previously, Movieline magazine published lists of the 100 Dumbest Things Hollywood’s Done Lately. So it may seem like the staff adopted a positive attitude when they put together a list of the 100 Smartest Things Hollywood’s Done Lately for the December 1997 issue. Not so much. This list is just as snarky and sometimes as mean-spirited as you might expect. With the benefit of twenty years of hindsight some of these decisions turned out not to be so “smart” after all.
1. Keanu Reeves turned down Speed 2: Cruise Control.
2. Twentieth Century Fox rereleased the Star Wars trilogy
3. Cindy Crawford did not make a follow-up to Fair Game.
4. Julia Roberts finally decided to make a movie that reminded people why they liked her (My Best Friend’s Wedding).
5. At an international conference on environmental issues, Marlon Brando interrupted his own 90-minute discourse frequently to say to the audience, “I thank you for not snoring.”
6. When asked by the press about his character in the film Money Talks, Charlie Sheen replied, “You guys don’t want to know about this crap. You guys just want to know about the drugs and the whores.”
7. At the Cannes premiere of The Fifth Element, Milla Jovovich wore a see-through dress, and told the press, “This might be my one and only time here, so I’m wearing what I want and I’m going to show my ass off.”
8. Michelle Pfeiffer called herself and her husband, TV producer David E. Kelley, “the most boring couple in Hollywood.”
9. After marrying Renny Harlin and making Cutthroat Island and The Long Kiss Goodnight under his direction, Geena Davis filed for divorce and restarted her own production company.
10. Men in Black lasted only 98 minutes.
11. Sony Pictures opened My Best Friend’s Wedding opposite Batman & Robin and took in the largest gross ever for a romantic comedy.
12. After an interview in Spin magazine in which he called John Travolta “a fucking asshole” and called Robert De Niro “quite boring now” and called Skeet Ulrich “a fool who will have to invent a persona” and called the Kiefer Sutherland-directed Truth or Consequences, N.M., in which he starred, “a derivative, unoriginal piece of shit,” the actor/musician/ painter/model Vincent Gallo announced he will not act in another movie again.
13. After years of being perceived as hopelessly bland, Friends star Matthew Perry announced he was addicted to painkillers and went into rehab.
14. Disney decided to shut down Hollywood Pictures, the company whose logo of a sphinx inspired the catchphrase, “If it’s the sphinx, it stinks.”
15. Quentin Tarantino finally stopped acting long enough to direct a follow-up to Pulp Fiction.
16. After he was stopped by police with a transvestite in his car, Eddie Murphy immediately made a public statement to explain that he had merely been acting as a good Samaritan.
17. Seagram president and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. announced plans to terminate Universal’s relationship with Death Row Records.
18. John Calley took over at Sony Pictures shortly before the summer blockbusters that departing-in-disgrace Mark Canton had greenlighted began to hit the screen.
19. Stanley Kubrick proved his enduring influence in the film community by getting Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman to sacrifice a year of their lives to star in his movie Eyes Wide Shut.
20. Val Kilmer turned down Batman & Robin.
21. Jodie Foster turned down Conspiracy Theory.
22. Sharon Stone raised millions of dollars for AmFAR.
23. Bart the bear, star of The Edge and other Hollywood films, bought 6,260 acres of land to be preserved as a natural habitat for bears and other wild animals.
24. Kim Basinger had a New Mexico circus hosed down after an elephant died in a sweltering trailer.
25. ABC finally put a stop to Roseanne.
26. Ed Norton dated Courtney Love for over a year without killing himself.
27. DreamWorks signed Jerry Maguire writer/director Cameron Crowe to a multipicture deal.
28. Disney cleaned up Manhattan’s 42nd Street.
29. ABC decided to edit portions of a “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher” episode in which guest Harvey Fierstein said to fellow guest Mike Reagan, “Fuck you and fuck your father,” and guest Johnny Lydon called fellow guest Lynn Redgrave a “bitch.”
30. After studios all over town passed on Soul Food, a script about African Americans in which there was no graphic sex or violence and no use of the word “motherfucker,” Twentieth Century Fox put up $7.5 million for the film and released it to an $11.2 million opening weekend.
31. Laura Dern started a relationship with Billy Bob Thornton, a guy who is not only tall, but can also write her a good role.
32. Michael J. Fox, Kirstie Alley, Tom Arnold, Dan Aykroyd and David Caruso all went back to TV.
33. George Clooney did not abandon ER.
34. Tori Spelling continued to play Donna on Beverly Hills 90210.
35. Steven Spielberg made The Lost World: Jurassic Park for under $100 million, and Amistad for $40 million.
36. Ridley Scott had Demi Moore beaten to a pulp in G.I.Jane.
37. No major studio agreed to release Adrian Lyne’s remake of Lolita.
38. Jerome Seydoux, chairman of Pathe, the company that made Lolita, told the Financial Times, “We would not have started on the project if we had known then what we know now.”
39. Jim Carrey and Peter Weir paired up for The Truman Show.
40. Jimmy Stewart died before he could be offered a role in the proposed sequel to It’s a Wonderful Life.
41. NBC has refused to adopt the indecipherable new rating system.
42. DreamWorks hired Woody Allen to act the voice of a neurotic ant in Antz.
43. Arnold Schwarzenegger had elective surgery to correct a valve problem in his heart, proving he had one.
44. Ang Lee followed up Sense and Sensibility with The Ice Storm instead of a big-budget studio film.
45. Hollywood managed to convince the world that each year at the box office is bigger than the last, even though fewer and fewer tickets are being sold.
46. Cable TV ran original programming and popular movies against the rerun-happy major networks last summer, and collectively won the Nielsen race for the first time.
47. Twentieth Century Fox resurrected Ripley and the Alien franchise.
48. Hollywood mastered the art of making a trailer that can turn a mediocre movie into a $100 million box-office success.
49. Robin Williams writes into all of his movie contracts a prohibition against any commercial tie-ins connected to alcohol, tobacco, weapons, toys of violence, soft drinks or junk food.
50. At age 58, Peter Fonda proved he could act in Ulee’s Gold.
51. Brendan Fraser worked out for six months to do George of the jungle.
52. Robert Downey Jr. landed a starring role in the big-budget studio picture U.S. Marshals after making himself insurable by convincing a judge to rule that he would still be able to finish the picture he was working on, even if he were found to be on drugs.
53. Tom Cruise managed to elude serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
54. Terrence Malick talked Sean Penn, John Travolta, George Clooney, Woody Harrelson, John Cusack and Bill Pullman into doing his comeback picture, The Thin Red Line, in Australia for less money than they’d be paid for doing just about anything else.
55. The script Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland wrote for L.A. Confidential.
56. David Fincher’s direction of and the marketing campaign for The Game.
57. Anne Heche signed for the romantic lead opposite Harrison Ford in Six Days, Seven Nights before announcing she was dating Ellen DeGeneres.
58. The casting of Rupert Everett in My Best Friend’s Wedding.
59. Dodi Fayed allegedly bounced the kiss-off check he wrote to model/girlfriend Kelly Fisher.
60. MCA Records released the Danish quartet Aqua’s single “Barbie Girl,” which has the voice of Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken, saying, “Kiss me here, touch me there, hanky-panky.”
61. When Mattel sued MCA Records to stop distributing Aqua’s “Barbie Girl,” MCA Records issued the statement, “In our view ‘Barbie Girl’ is just a fun, funny pop song.”
62. Ted Turner attempted to prevent the release of Crash.
63. Ted Turner donated $1 billion to the United Nations.
64. David Bowie issued bonds backed by the anticipated value of future royalties from his songs and raised $55 million.
65. When Arthur Hiller took his name off the film titled “An Alan Smithee Film,” leaving the film direction to be credited to Alan Smithee, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas commented, “I know some people will think this is a guerrilla-style publicity stunt in a guerrilla production.”
66. Jennifer Lopez scheduled her extravagant press-attended wedding to take place three weeks before the premiere of Selena.
67. Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow called the whole thing off.
68. Despite rumors to the contrary, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, partners in a marriage with three kids and a collective dollar value of kazillions, didn’t split up.
69. Having decided not to thank either The X-Files creator/executive producer/writer Chris Carter or costar David Duchovny in her Emmy acceptance speech, Gillian Anderson took out full-page ads in the Hollywood trade papers to express her gratitude.
70. Anne Rice halted the stream of personal notes of advice and congratulations to President Clinton that she had been publishing on the pages of Hollywood’s trade papers.
71. Fox Searchlight acquired The Full Monty for $3.5 million and made over $10 million in the first few weeks at the box office.
72. New Line let Mike Myers have his own way on Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
73. DreamWorks served enough champagne at the premiere of The Peacemaker to get guests drunk for the screening.
74. Twentieth Century Fox arranged to have the members of the press covering Anastasia, the studio’s first entry into the animated musical sweepstakes, flown to Paris and put up at a luxurious hotel for the screening and media interviews.
75. After writing a draft of the new Superman Lives!, indie filmmaker Kevin Smith called the studio executives an “anxious bunch of motherfuckers.”
76. Kevin Smith asked Emma Thompson to play God in his movie Dogma.
77. In & Out screenwriter Paul Rudnick had Joan Cusack’s character say, “Fuck Barbra Streisand.”
78. Phoenix Pictures chairman Mike Medavoy urged entertainment executives to “dare to spend less money.”
79. Harrison Ford was cast as president of the United States.
80. Leonardo DiCaprio was cast as Romeo.
81. Al Pacino was cast as the Devil.
82. The Ain’t It Cool News Web site.
83. Beta blockers.
85. El Nino.
86. After Miss Evers’ Boys was presented on HBO, President Clinton made a formal apology on behalf of the nation to the African-American men who had been deliberately untreated for syphilis as part of a scientific experiment.
87. Robert Redford announced plans to team up with the Loews Theatres unit of Sony Corp. in a venture to build theaters that will specialize in independent film exhibition.
88. The soundtracks to William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, L.A. Confidential, Grosse Pointe Blankand Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
89. Will Smith followed up Independence Day with Men in Black.
90. Nic Cage moved into action films and more than doubled his asking price.
91. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting.
92. Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn moved to the San Francisco area after Wright Penn got carjacked in L.A.
93. Alicia Silverstone lost weight.
94. Shannen Doherty is undergoing anger control therapy.
95. Elle Macpherson has played models in four of her seven movies.
96. Juliette Lewis has been cast as a retarded girl in the film The Other Sister.
97. Fran Drescher did not make a movie this year during her hiatus from The Nanny.
98. Sony Pictures reserved theaters for the 1998 Memorial Day weekend opening of Godzilla a year in advance.
99. Universal followed up its profitable restoration and rerelease of Hitchcock’s Vertigo with the restoration and planned rerelease of Hitchcock’s Rear Window.
100. Roman Polanski is finally worming his way back into Hollywood.