No theatre visits this week, but instead some catch up on Crave and Netflix. It started with Untouchable, which is the disturbing documentary about the rise and fall of Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein. What more can be said about the Weinstein story. He has gone from a mogul to pariah, where everyone would take his call, to no one wanting to be associated with him. It’s interesting to note just how early his transgressions began. There was an internal memo at Miramax early on by a female employee that later became a smoking gun. His own brother certainly knew about what was happening and this team of people became enablers for him. He had to privy to writing the cheques to silence the accusers. And there were many accusers over the years, they just became more and more well-known. Also well known too is the lack of whistleblowers. No one wanted speak up for fear of the wrath of Harvey, his litigation team and losing out on plum job opportunities. Powerful people have the ability to abuse power. It becomes a question of character. Not everyone who make it to high positions of power have that character, and certainly don’t always possess the human niceties (see Steve Jobs example). You thought I was going to mention the current President. In the end, the good news is that this awakened a movement (#MeToo) which impacts the industry and life in general.
Welcome to Marwen, is a film that from the trailers didn’t show very well. It was an odd concept, with GI Joe like characters in a make believe world that was the imagination of a talented photographer. It stars Steve Carrell, and directed by Robert Zemekis (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, Contact and Cast Away). A loner gets beaten up in a bar by some thugs, and then has to deal with the aftermath. He has some friends, but he for most of the time lives in his own world. This world is shown with Barbie like characters and fuzzy storytelling. His biggest feat is whether he can attend the trial and sentencing for the thugs who beat him up. In the end, this isn’t a very strong effort and it fared poorly in the box office.
Finally the documentary Clive Davis: Soundtrack of Our Lives speaks to the life a music executive icon, who didn’t seem to have a problem with keeping aspiring artists from massaging him in his hotel room. His parents died early in his young life, and he ended up putting himself through university and then Harvard Law School. He was never musically inclined, but was offered the position of Legal Counsel at Columbia Records. His role changed after a time there and he became the person to identify and sign new talent. One of many genius moves was to focus on rock n roll rather than the more traditional easy listening music. One of his first signings was Janis Joplin. Others followed like Aretha Franklin, Carlos Santana, Patti Smith, and then Bruce Springsteen and Simon & Garfunkel. Later he managed Whitney Houston. Yes, he also managed Barry Manilow and Kenny G, but these were multi-million dollar acts. He was removed from the record company that he started (Arista) but then was later re-instated as his acts supported him. He continues to this day to listen to top hit music and keep abreast of trends in music. At 87 years old, he is expected to keep doing his job for the foreseeable future. It’s worth a watch.