A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : 92 Year in Review : The Cover Thing : Chump Change? Not These Quotes!
This special edition of Film Clips kicks off this issue’s year-end package. No, you’re not crazy, there were some year-end stories last Sunday--the Top 10 lists from movies and pop music. But 1992 was such a big year, we had to stretch it over two issues. So, today we wrap up with critical looks at 1992 in television, theater, music, dance, performance art and visual art. (See the index for page numbers.)
But now, start with Film Clips, which is a look back at the year in Hollywood using the best quotes we could find from the people who’ve made this year the special one that it’s been.
It was the year that “Newsies” revived the film musical, that Cher quit show biz to work for Ross Perot, that Spike Lee got all treacly and preachy about racial tolerance, that dueling Christopher Columbus movies dueled it out for an anniversary-thirsty America’s attention and box-office dollar, that Barbra Streisand exhibited a sense of humor about herself, and that Madonna decided Sharon Stone had pushed the edge of the envelope too far and decided to bow out of the overexposure derby.
And, of course, it was the year that every other entertainment-related article (including this one) opened with a fallacious statement followed by a resoundingly with-it NOT! in the second graph.
So here it is, the year 1992 in movies, in the movers-and-shakers’ own dismissive and/or shoe-leather-tasting words:
The Double Standard
“Language gives us an insight to the way women are viewed in a male-dominated society. A man is commanding--a woman is demanding. A man is forceful--a woman is pushy. He shows leadership--she’s controlling. He sticks to his guns--she’s stubborn. He’s committed--she’s obsessed. . . . If a man wants to get it right, he’s looked up to and respected. If a woman wants to get it right, she’s difficult and impossible.”
--Barbra Streisand, accepting an award from Women in Film (Los Angeles Times, June 15).
“There are so many double standards. When a man is assertive, aggressive, opinionated and demanding, he’s admired for it, but if a woman is any of those things, she’s a bitch. For instance, if a man complains to a waiter about slow service, everybody says, ‘Oh, the poor guy, he’s hungry, he’s gotta get back to work, he must be the CEO of some big company!’ But if I complain to the waiter, all of a sudden I’m the bitch in a hurry! Or for example, if a man leans on his horn in traffic, hey everybody, get out of his way, he must be a paramedic, right? But if I’m stuck in traffic and I lay on my horn ‘cause some old coot with a walker won’t hurry his fat ass into a van, all of a sudden I’m a pushy bitch! Or, say, if I put a hit out on a network president, all of a sudden I’m some kind of a crazy psychotic bitch-- watch out for her --but if a man orders a hit, oh, he’s a good fella just watching out for his family, give him some room!”
--Roseanne Arnold, editorializing on “Saturday Night Live” (Dec. 5).
“People think I’m a bitch. . . . I’m a strong woman. There are still some people out there who can’t deal with that. . . . I’ve always been a ballsy kid. I know it pisses some people off, but isn’t the end result much better?”
--Shannen Doherty (People, Nov. 9).
Biting the Hand That Rocks the Cradle
“I had my editor stop the projectionist and take the film away. I thought (Mark) Canton was rude and stupid and I’m not going to lay back and take it just because he has a big job.”
--Director Robert Altman, who called Columbia Pictures Chairman Mark Canton a “jerk” and had a screening of “The Player” for him halted midway through (The Times, Feb. 9).
“After directing ‘Coupe de Ville’ and being involved with projects like ‘Revenge of the Nerds,’ ‘Young Guns,’ ‘Exorcist III’ and ‘The Fabulous Stains,’ you are certainly qualified to speak about the art of acting and great filmmaking. . . . I can understand why you had reservations about my ability. I can see why you would think Geena Davis the better actress for the part. After all, she’s Italian and has an edge.”
--Madonna, in a letter to producer Joe Roth after they parted ways on the project “Angie, I Says” (Variety, Dec. 14).
Feminine Mystique II
“If you have a vagina and an attitude in this town, then that’s a lethal combination.”
--Sharon Stone (Empire, June).
“The watchword for the ‘90s in Hollywood is lesbian . I’m examining how that group of women has become a very potent force in Hollywood, much like gay men became a potent force in the ‘70s and ‘80s. . . . I’m going to cover the whole spectrum of lesbians in power: From the young and the beautiful to the mustache-on-upper-lip-in-black-leather-jackets crowd.”
--Gadfly Julia Phillips (The Times, Nov. 22).
“Life’s a bitch, now so am I.”
--Michelle Pfeiffer, as Catwoman, in “Batman Returns.”
“So many times in movies where there’s a blatant sex scene, it’s as if it’s being done to the woman. The sexiest moment in ‘Basic Instinct,’ the one that reminded me how much I had wanted that part, was the interrogation sequence where Sharon Stone parts her legs. I thought, ‘Great!’ I loved the power of that moment.”
--Demi Moore (Movieline, Jan. ’93).
“I’m very old-fashioned. Occasionally, I do wear underwear.”
--Stone (People, Dec. 28).
“Lots of people think my character in the movie is bad. Paul (Verhoeven) says she’s the devil. I, not having personally met the devil, can’t say for sure. To me, ‘Basic Instinct’ is ‘Pillow Talk,’ only my character is acting out in a different way. She’s just another girl with a broken heart. Maybe that’s why I got the part: I have no value judgment about whether she’s bad or not.”
--Sharon Stone, on her icepick-wielding homicidal maniac character (Movieline, July).
Mo’ Better Money Blues
“Let me put it to you this way: They won’t pay it to you if you ain’t worth it. Period.”
--Jack Nicholson, on his reported $10-million-plus-a-per-centage-of-the-gross salary per film (The Times, Dec. 6).
“Thirty-four million isn’t that much money. That’s the average cost to make a movie. . . . Thirty-four million is chump change.”
--Spike Lee, on the skimpiness of his “Malcolm X” budget (The Times, Nov. 15).
“You can’t do that kind of business without doing white business.”
--Warner Bros. distribution head Barry Reardon, heralding the racial “crossover” success of “Malcolm X” (Weekly Variety, Nov. 30).
“I’d take a $145-million disappointment any day.”
--Howard Lichtman, executive VP of Cineplex Odeon Corp., on the “disappointing” grosses for “Batman Returns” (L.A. Times, Sept. 1).
Aspen Ho! . . . Er, No!
“We must now say clearly that the moral climate there is no longer acceptable, and if we’re asked to, we must refuse to play where they discriminate.”
--Barbra Streisand, implying a pro-boycott stance toward Colorado (at the AIDS Project L.A. benefit, Nov. 18).
“The people living in Colorado, whom this most deeply affects, are contemplating many strategies. I will respect whichever one they feel is most effective.”
--Streisand, the following week, seeming to back off from a definite boycott stance (Hollywood Reporter, Nov. 25)
“I did not ever back off, back down or back away from my original statement, as some of the press reported. Let me clearly state my position tonight: It appears that a boycott is underway in Colorado, and I will personally honor it and find some other state to vacation in.”
--Streisand, seeming to back off from having backed off (at the ACLU tribute, Dec. 11).
“Has someone asked Barbra Streisand to withdraw ‘The Prince of Tides’ from all the video stores in Colorado? When I see that, then I can believe there’s some serious commitment there.”
--Stella Pence of the Telluride Film Festival (The Times, Dec. 17).
He Shoots, He Scores, He Quits
“I made mistakes all the time at NBC, but I prided myself on not ever making the same mistake twice. That’s why there won’t be an ‘All I Want for Easter.’ ”
--Brandon Tartikoff, then chief of Paramount Pictures (Weekly Variety, May 4).
“My sense is he’s either going to be a genius or he’ll be out. He doesn’t go through the process that all the other schmucks like us do. He’s chosen a different way, and he may pull it off.”
--Anonymous rival studio head on Tartikoff’s chances (Weekly Variety, May 4).
“The saddest guy in town.”
--Anonymous friend of former “happy warrior” Tartikoff during his apparently downbeat Paramount tenure (Premiere, Jan.).
“I have the financial wherewithal to make this kind of decision, but Hollywood likes to have heroes and villains, so for them, this story doesn’t compute.”
--Tartikoff, insisting there was no “hidden agenda” behind his stated decision to resign to spend more time with his family after 15 months at Paramount (Daily Variety, Nov. 2).
“It seems doomed now, and boy, are we glad.”
--Anonymous Paramount employee on the red light likely being given “Hill Street Blues--The Movie,” a probable casualty of Tartikoff’s resignation (The Times, Nov. 2).
Directors on Directing
“If I made a movie about a retirement home, it would probably be very childlike.”
--Steven Spielberg (Empire, May).
“You say, ‘OK, stick your tongue out--can you lick her nipple a bit more?’ I mean, you have to say it.”
--"Basic Instinct” director Paul Verhoeven (Premiere, April).
“You know the one thing I really did? I got David (Mamet) to finish his sentences. He’d have all these (expletive) ellipses and I’m thinking ‘How am I gonna tell the actors what to say here unless we know where the (expletive) sentence is going?”
--Danny DeVito, on working as a director with screenwriter David Mamet on “Hoffa” (The Times, Aug. 30).
“We have had amazing, amazing bouts, with screaming and spitting, cat-scratching, the whole thing. . . . It’s all a random and bloody blur. Ask Muhammed Ali, ‘How much do you remember?’ I can’t really form the words because I’m so brain-damaged.”
--"Alien 3" director David Fincher, on battling with Fox executives during filming (Premiere, July).
Fun With Racial Politics
“That means, ‘I’m sorry I shot you, but I thought you were robbing the store.’ ”
--Halle Berry in “Boomerang,” translating her own mock-Korean gibberish.
“People wanted something hopeful. They were relieved to see a black face onscreen that wasn’t running off with a beanbag chair.”
--Whoopi Goldberg, on the success of “Sister Act” (People, Dec. 28).
Spike Lee’s Greatest Hits
“Black South Africans are gonna have to kill people. . . . That Gandhian (stuff) don’t work. They gotta start picking up guns. . . . I went to South Africa. I saw those little kids chanting, ‘One bullet, one settler.’ It’s gonna come to that. I’ll be rejoicing. Who knows? We might see the same tactic here some day.”
--Spike Lee, insights gleaned shooting “Malcolm X” (Esquire, Oct.).
“I give interracial couples a look. Daggers. They get uncomfortable when they see me on the street.”
--Lee’s post-"Jungle Fever” tolerance update (Esquire, Oct.).
The Best of James Caan
“Bette Midler is very stupid. She’s not a bad person, but stupid in terms of gray matter. I mean, I like her, but I like my dog, too.”
--James Caan on his “For the Boys” co-star (Entertainment Weekly, Aug. 21).
“He is my best friend and I love ‘im. That’s the way I was raised and I know of no other way. . . . If this man committed a crime, he would have to be Houdini. I’m with him all the time.”
--Caan on buddy Ronald A. Lorenzo, an alleged organized crime leader on trial for cocaine trafficking, robberies and kidnapings (The Times, Sept. 30).
Actors on Acting
“I’ve got a talent to act. No matter what any newspaper says about me, I am one of the most sensitive human beings on Earth, and I know it.”
--Jean-Claude Van Damme (Premiere, July).
“Dietrich? She wishes! “
--Madonna, on being told she bears a resemblance to the late Marlene Dietrich in some of her “Sex” portraits (Vogue, Oct.).
“I didn’t know that 6 million Jews were killed. That’s a lot of people.”
--Melanie Griffith, on researching her part as a Jewish undercover agent in Germany in “Shining Through” (N.Y. Daily News, Jan.)
“The call sheet listed 12 pair of cutaway underpants--with Velcro, so they could rip easily. Stunt undies!”
--"Basic Instinct” co-star Jeannie Tripplehorn (Premiere, April).
“Most of my fans are home with their children waiting for my films to come out on video.”
--A resigned Meryl Streep (Movieline, Aug.).
“I’m late so much on this movie. This is really bad, because I’m getting a reputation.”
--Eddie Murphy, suddenly self-conscious on the “Boomerang” set (Premiere, Aug.).
“I thought ‘Man Trouble’ was charming, really charming.”
--Jack Nicholson, in denial (The Times, Dec. 6).
“After two weeks of being naked simulating sex with Willem Dafoe on the hood of a car, I just wanted to go home for a week and not take my clothes off.”
--Madonna on filming “Body of Evidence” (Vanity Fair, Oct.).