In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_y7l9rwoqor7inlzqf2xlkv5yx1a

Galia

Originally published on April 7, 1967.Georges Lautner's "Galia" opens and closes with arty shots of the ocean, mother of us all, but in between it's…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

By Any Means Necessary: Spike Uses His Clout

NEW YORK -- A week or two before the world press premiere of his film "Malcolm X," Spike Lee said he would prefer to be interviewed by African-American journalists, when possible. He never made a demand that only blacks talk to him, and he never said he wouldn't talk to whites. But most news reports gave that impression, and at least one giant Midwestern daily pulled its white movie writer off the assignment in a huff.

Two things emerged during the press weekend itself: Most of the press people who talked to Spike were indeed white, and many papers and TV stations didn't have an African-American staffer they could send.

Lee was making a point, something he does with flair. Blacks buy 25 percent of the movie tickets in America, but represent a nearly invisible minority in the entertainment press. If his request offended white editors, how do they deal with one of the sneakiest open secrets in movie journalism, the way big Hollywood stars and their publicists ask for - and get - upfront approval of writers?

Some publicists ask for pre-approval of questions, making clear that certain topics are out of bounds. They even negotiate what kind of play their clients will receive; if they're not promised a color photo on the front page of the feature section, their star won't talk. And then there's this smarmy old ploy: "See the movie, and if you like it, the star would really like to talk to you." In other words, if you don't like it, forget the interview.

I try not to go along with scams like that, which are pulled by the representatives for even the most prestigious and honored movie personalities. My record is not perfect, but from now on it will be - because I'm offended by the double standard being applied to Lee.

No one has ever asked me if I liked a new Spike Lee picture before arranging an interview with Lee, and I doubt if anyone ever will. No question has ever been out of bounds. Nobody has ever asked how the story will be played. When Spike Lee exercised his clout, he was doing it on behalf of others, not himself.

Popular Blog Posts

“The Breakfast Club”, 30 Years Later: A Conversation Across Generations

A film teacher looks back on "The Breakfast Club," partly through the eyes of her students.

The Melodrama Of Woody Allen’s Critical Reputation

The conversation about Woody Allen's personal and professional lives intertwining continues, but to what end?

Memories of Roger: My Photo Journal from the Last Two Years

A gallery of photos, videos and links illustrating Chaz's journey relating to Roger's legacy in the two years since h...

Now, "Voyager": in praise of the Trekkiest "Trek" of all

As we mourn Abrams’ macho Star Trek obliteration, it’s a good time to revisit that most Star Trek-ian of accomplishme...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus