The 100 Dumbest things Hollywood's Done Recently

It was a challenge to narrow this list down to 100, but a scrupulous winnowing effort yielded the following collective and individual stupid moves. Remember, it's only the tip of the iceberg.


1. Nobody had the balls to tell Mike Ovitz to give up on packaging Madonna for the big screen and start thinking Las Vegas and infomercials.

2. Nastassia Kinski and Quincy Jones named their baby Kenya.

3. Jack Valenti's MPAA invented the useless, randomly applied NC-17 rating.

4. TriStar failed to supply theaters showing Chaplin with free methamphetamine for the audience.

5. The industry flaunted its weepy, narcissistic, self-important nonsense on national television throughout Clinton's Inaugural extravaganza.

6. Making other industry folk look like sober diplomats, the half-clad Goldie Hawn stunned Inaugural festivity watchers with falsetto babbling so unprecedentedly airheaded it threatened to undermine the first six months of the Clinton administration.

7. Sally Field, apparently deciding to top her Oscar speech embarrassment of several years ago, appeared with Goldie Hawn on the aforementioned Inaugural broadcast.

8. Zillions of actresses underwent breast implants.

9. Movieline put Danny DeVito on its cover.

10. Flogging the subject in the trades, the industry deluded itself into believing that booming box office means booming success, when what it really reflects is rising ticket prices that mask falling attendance.

11. A young director of music videos was allowed to destroy the Alien franchise with a big-budget, boring, art-school-project sequel.

12. Disney continued to blitz audiences with countless unforgivably lamebrained bombs for every successful cartoon or hit comedy.

13. Spike Lee claimed that tickets sold for Malcolm X were being credited by computers to films like Aladdin.

14. Spike Lee didn't get a Best Director nomination for Malcolm X.

15. Studios decided to go ahead and let directors make movies that ran well beyond any reasonable or necessary length: Malcolm X (201 mins.), Scent of a Woman (157 mins.), A Few Good Men (138 mins.), Hoffa (140 mins.), Blood In... Blood Out (180 mins.), Howard's End (140 mins.), Jennifer 8 (124 mins.).

16. Edward James Olmos temporarily abandoned his acting career to pursue sainthood.

17. Agents demanded and studios granted casting approval to actors who are lucky to be working with anybody.

18. Paramount hired Brandon Tartikoff as studio boss.

19. Paramount didn't fire Brandon Tartikoff when he greenlighted All I Want For Christmas.

20. Paramount didn't fire Brandon Tartikoff when he decided to release 1492: Conquest of Paradise.

21. Paramount didn't fire Brandon Tartikoff when he failed to shut down production of Cool World.

22. Paramount didn't fire Brandon Tartikoff when he greenlighted The Temp, or later, when he couldn't figure out an ending for it.

23. Paramount didn't fire Brandon Tartikoff for signing Steve Guttenberg to a multipicture deal.

24. Paramount didn't fire L Brandon Tartikoff for greenlighting Whispers in the Dark, or later for releasing it.

25. Paramount didn't fire Brandon Tartikoff when he planned Leap of Faith as the studio's Christmas offering.

26. The industry took Clinton's election as a signal to haul out bongs during working hours.

27. An epidemic of changing film titles hit studio marketing departments, resulting in a slew of icky names that all sound like they were generated by the same computer: The Rest of Daniel became Forever Young; The Baboon Heart became Untamed Heart; The Specialist became Point of No Return; The Arrowtooth Waltz became Arizona Dream; Three Rivers became Striking Distance.

28. Fox allowed Macaulay Culkin's father to trample one director and strong-arm another in the making of The Good Son.

29. Whoopi Goldberg decided to host her own talk show.

30. Paramount allowed Sharon Stone to go into her Lee Strasberg phase several years earlier than necessary by letting her play Richard Gere's wife instead of his girlfriend in Intersection.

31. Anne Archer.

32. The industry failed to develop a strategy for paying declining fees to declining directors (Sidney Lumet, Brian De Palma, Mark Rydell, Mel Brooks, Norman Jewison, etc.) as an alternative to paying anything to completely incompetent first-time directors.

33. Some of the worst titles in movie history were given to films that were not likely to survive good titles: Wind, The Ox, Being Human, Late for Dinner, The Pickle, Leaving Normal.

34. The insanity of making more than one version of the same story--which gave us one bad, successful Robin Hood and one piece of garbage--continued: first, two disastrous Columbus movies, and on their way, three Huckleberry Finns, two Pancho Villa movies (by two different directors named Scott), two Wyatt Earp movies and, if the rumor is true, several Viking movies.

35. Thanks to the scourge of the High Concept, movies came to lack not only a third act, but a second act as well.

36. Wes Studi was not given a Best Supporting Actor nomination for The Last of the Mohicans.

37. Agents and studio bosses have spent a bundle on high-tech headsets so they can go on not listening to anybody.

38. The industry began favoring trailers that give away the entire upcoming movie.

39. Nobody broke up Warren Beatty's romance with Annette Bening so that he would be prevented from doing to her career what he did to Leslie Caron's, Julie Christie's and Diane Keaton's.

40. Main Line Pictures, makers of Boxing Helena, thought a verbal agreement from Kim Basinger meant she would actually show up to make their film.

41. The increased presence of women on-screen was manifested almost exclusively in psycho films like Basic Instinct, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Single White Female, The Temp and Body of Evidence, or in matinee slop like Used People and The Cemetery Club.

42. The Academy continued to have live, campy musical numbers as part of the Oscar show.

43. The Academy increasingly took its Oscar nomination cues from the nitwit Golden Globes.

44. Michelle Pfeiffer made Frankie and Johnny, in which her character was supposed to be a plain woman.

45. The studios devised increasingly complicated publicity organizations to flog increasingly simpleminded product.

46. Martin Brest was given a Best Director nomination for Scent of a Woman.

47. Body of Evidence.

48. Despite the evidence--For the Boys, Newsies and Swing Kids--deals to make more musicals kept coming.

49. Keanu Reeves became the period drama star of his generation.

50. Hollywood paid Joe Eszterhas $3 million for Basic Instinct, $1.55 million for Original Sin, $2.5 million for Jade, $2 million for Showgirls, and heaven knows how much for anonymous script doctoring, all despite this screenwriter's never having written a decent line of dialogue or bothered to vary his plots.

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