As all talk shows have degenerated from interesting talk to movie stars coming on to do their six or twelve minutes to plug their movie that is opening that week, it has presented problems for all concerned:
The viewer, who sits through these plug-a-thons.
The movie star, who has to become a traveling salesman.
Worse, the movie star who has to become a traveling salesman knowing that what he or she has to sell is shit.
And the host, who almost always has seen the movie, and has to act like he or she really likes it, no matter what he or she really thought of it.
None of this is as good as interesting talk for it's own sake..
Lately, David Letterman seems to be short-circuiting the process, at least somewhat.
Just this past week, on separate nights, he had on Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker, who were each flogging a movie they both star in, called "Did You Hear About The Morgans?"
It was established early on in each interview that Dave had indeed seen the movie in question.
With both of them, everything under the sun was discussed with Dave, except the quality of the movie.
If you've checked the subsequent reviews, there seems to be good reason for this.
It seemed to be established early on that Dave was not going to commit himself on this issue.
And both Hugh and Sarah Jessica seemed smart enough not to press the issue, and not even to do any kind of selling job for it, possibly sensing that Dave would swat them down like flies for doing so.
The movie itself was never commented upon, although a clip was shown both times.
But it went uncommented upon in both instances.
I find this very refreshing.
Maybe it's happened with Dave before, and I just didn't notice.
I've never noticed it with any other talk show host.
You would think that this would discourage movie studios from wanting their stars to be booked on Letterman.
Maybe at this point in his career and life, Dave just doesn't give a shit.
Hear, hear, if that's the case.
Also that week, Susan Sarandon was booked on Letterman to flog "The Lovely Bones".
Dave saw that one too.
And he started harping about how sad it was.
And he did not mean it in a good way.
Sarandon seemed a bit thrown for a loop.
She got very defensive.
"But isn't it well written? Well directed? (And fishing for any possible compliment) Well acted?"
"Well, yeah......but it's so SAD!!!" replied Dave.
It's a very good thing in another way. It indicates that when Dave waxes ecstatic about a movie that his guest is plugging, he really means it.
That doesn't necessarily make it good, but at least you know that HE thinks it is.
I certainly hope this is a trend.
It could change the entire nature of the talk show as we now know it.
I'll be devoting much of this blog, at least in the next few weeks, to current movies that are now, or have recently been offered to the paying public.
I'll explain more about this tomorrow.
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- mark rothman
- Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."