A Guide To Recognizing Your Hollywood Blog-Feuds
Today's hyped-up New York Observer story about the devolution of Variety's influence was notable for exactly two things: a ridiculous narrative framing device about Ashton Kutcher's million-man Twitter (which all news outlets are apparently forced to acknowledge) and a glorious, printed slap fight between some of Hollywood's top bloggers. This is the best part of reading online film columnists: their grudges! Let's review some of the most notable ones, including some the Observer never even touched upon:
Proprietress of Deadline Hollywood Daily, which gained cultural cachet during the WGA strike and often beats Variety to the scoop about executive shuffles and behind-the-scenes power plays. Spoken of in hushed tones for fear of reprisal...
Feuds: ...except by her fellow online columnists, for whom she's their number-one target. Nearly every webhead on this list has feuded with Finke (a recent DHD takedown written by David Poland began with this classic lede: "FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!"), and when Roger Ebert criticized her tone and accuracy when covering this past Oscar telecast, Finke demanded -- and got -- an apology.
Feuds: In addition to his ongoing animus toward Finke, Poland is in peak form when raging against the New York Times (the more specific the reporter, the better -- sorry, Brooks Barnes!), colleagues who are friendly toward him ("Variety's Pamela McClintock is a smart reporter, but..." "I love Anne [Thompson]... but..."), and his own commenters, from whom he was recently forced to ban himself.
Goldstein spent years at the Los Angeles Times turning out weekly fluff pieces about a great lunch he had with some producer, or the valuable film opinions of Brentwood children ages 9-12 (using a focus group of three kids he found outside his house before deadline). Oh, and he also railed regularly against Hollywood bloggers before the Times forced him to be one.
Feuds: Goldstein manages to bring the same half-hearted enthusiasm he patented in print to his blog feuds. One of his most notable skirmishes was the wan correction ("I hate to be the skunk at the picnic") of Finke's recent report that Juan Antonio Bayona was being talked about as the director of the third Twilight film. Goldstein may have had a quote from Summit president Erik Feig, but Finke went DEFCON, and after bringing all her ammunition to bear, she eventually secured yet another apology (this time from Feig himself).
Feuds: Waxman is the subject of some of the most unexpected, cutting attacks in the Observer article ("I think she's even one of the worst journalists I've ever encountered," is just one barb kindly offered by Hollywood reporter Anita Busch), though Waxman herself is mostly Finke-obsessed. During the crucial early days of The Wrap, she spent many of her biggest posts feuding with Finke, which overshadowed most of the news her site was breaking.
Feuds: Faraci went aggro on the journalists and comedians who Twittered their way through Crank: High Voltage, promising to "smash [the] fucking phone] of First Showing's Alex Billington and provoking comic Aziz Ansari with the innocent solicitation, "C'mon, Aziz, just dying to know when you're at UCB next so I can have my cell phone out the whole time." Later, Faraci posted a series of ethical commandments that he felt his fellow journalists should abide by, then addressed the Twitted grumbling it inspired with the self-congratulatory "All of my enemies seem to be weak and pathetic. I guess this is a good problem to have!"
One of the few bloggers on this list who actually seems to see movies (and even like them!), Wells has nevertheless earned his most devoted following for the enjoyably cuckoo-bird rants that he seeds in between film observations at his site, Hollywood Elsewhere.
Feuds: Wells has a long-standing contretemps with Poland, who had him thrown out of his Sundance carpool years ago, though Wells seems to have simmered on the matter (even if Poland still refuses to read him). More recently, Wells antagonized fellow journalists Kim Voynar and James Rocchi when he was flown out to the Oxford Film Festival to be a part of their panel, yet bailed at the last minute due to displeasure over his hotel's WiFi situation (which he found far more blog-worthy than the festival he'd promised to cover). Still, it's Wells's most random feuds that gain him the most attention; like a self-aware Andy Rooney who's just mastered his shtick, he regularly rails against fat people, Hispanics, homies, and Matthew McConaughey (who he's fingered as Satan incarnate). ♦