Overexposed and under-talented teen queen Lindsay Lohan has a chart hit with her first CD, "Speak."
According to HitsDailyDouble.com, Lohan sold 263,841 CDs last week and finished at No. 4.
This is quite a feat, since the CD barely registered in the Top 10 of any of the retail stores surveyed by the same site this week. Amazon.com lists it at No. 52 and there's no sign of airplay on pop radio stations reporting to Radio & Records.
Lohan's release, of course, is the first major hit for Casablanca Records' Tommy Mottola. The former head of Sony Music revived Casablanca more than a year ago, but so far has struck out when trying to launch hits.
Lohan has gained a reputation for hard partying, off-the-hook parents and allegedly lip-synching on "Good Morning America." Of course, it's possible that preteens gobbled up "Speak" and simply aren't seeing their sales register in the regular places.
In the meantime, the collaborative effort by rock group Linkin Park and rapper Jay-Z, "Collision Course," dropped the most this week. The 48 percent loss knocks the album from No. 1 to No. 8 with 189,000 sold.
If last night's premiere of "The Aviator" is any indication, the awards season is going to be long and not particularly fun this year.
Take Cate Blanchett, whose remarkable performance as Katharine Hepburn in the Martin Scorsese film has already earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
Even though the lovely and polite actress wanted to talk to journalists, her manager and publicist prevented it at all costs.
I did get to talk to Blanchett for all of 10 seconds, during which we exchanged pleasantries about the movie and she expressed an interest in chatting.
Unfortunately, such a chat would have cost her an arm, as her publicist dragged her away from me as if she were on a choke collar.
"Maybe we could do a conference call," the manager suggested.
Alas! My phone is not that sophisticated.
Leonardo DiCaprio was also there with his entourage, including his always-friendly parents, girlfriend Gisele Bündchen and various toadies, lackeys and their respective posses.
Leo spent most of the afterparty at Gustavino's talking with his pal, actor Ethan Suplee, who looks like the lead singer from Smash Mouth.
Leo's bodyguard, however, was a steadfast type, dedicated to keeping away unwanted admirers. These included famed actress Sheila MacRae, who recently turned 80 and is best known for playing Jackie Gleason's wife in the variety-show version of "The Honeymooners."
"He played my grandson in the TV series version of 'Parenthood,’" MacRae recounted later, speaking of DiCaprio. "He was about 15 and very sweet."
MacRae, whose late husband was Broadway star Gordon MacRae and who also reportedly had a thing with Frank Sinatra, had a connection to Howard Hughes, whom Leo plays in the film.
"He got me my Screen Actors Guild card," MacRae recalled of Hughes, who produced a dozen or so movies through the 1950s before he became, shall we say, squirrelly.
The rest of "The Aviator" premiere had a weird vibe, considering it was probably the last of the great Miramax premieres.
The film's co-stars — John C. Reilly, Kate Beckinsale, Willem Dafoe and the sublime Ian Holm — all chatted and worked the room. Alec Baldwin passed because he was getting an award from a civic group.
Director Scorsese made the screening, but had to skip the party since wife Helen Morris had a nasty case of the flu. Believe me, the never-dull director was sorely missed at this event.
There's no doubt that "The Aviator" is the best picture of 2004. It has won that distinction on several counts, not the least of which is its sweeping grandeur, grasp of history, extraordinary production values and top-notch acting.
Seeing it for the second time last night, I was able to appreciate DiCaprio's small gestures, which punctuate the film and make Howard Hughes come so vibrantly to life.
DiCaprio's own father, a former comic-book publisher, also noticed things that he hadn't seen before.
"Leo gets washed by at least three women," he observed.
Hey, a dad notices these things.
Actress Liv Tyler and rocker husband Royston Langdon had their first child Tuesday — a bouncing 8-pound boy.
The still-unnamed, healthy baby was born at 4:11 a.m. at a New York hospital. Feel old now? This makes Aerosmith's Steven Tyler a grandpa at age 56.
"He's beautiful and looks like just like his daddy," reported Liv's mom, Bebe Buell, who is also the best-selling author of "Rebel Heart."
"Mother and baby were glorious and beautiful and doing fine," said Buell, 51, who was the first visitor through the door this afternoon.
She's still kvelling after having seen her first grandchild.
"I'm very proud of Liv. She was very brave and delivered him like a champion," Buell said.
What's it like being a rock and roll grandma?
"Thanks to Goldie Hawn we have a new term: 'Glam-Ma,'" she said.
Add the name of two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks to the growing ranks of stars who've left powerhouse public-relations agency PMK-HBH in the last month.
Yesterday, Hanks authorized Columbia Pictures, where he's making "The Da Vinci Code," to drop the agency and hire his longtime flack Leslee Dart.
Dart was fired from PMK-HBH by president Pat Kingsley last month over an issue of succession. Kingsley, 71, refused to step down and let Dart, 50, who'd been with the firm for 23 years, run the show.
Hanks joins Martin Scorsese, Scott Rudin, Ron Howard, Ellen Barkin and Mike Nichols among other clients at Dart's new firm.
What's kind of interesting about all this, as it turns out, is the unintentional revelation that the stars don't actually pay publicists to represent them.
As the PMK story has unraveled, it appears that the studios have been building in the price of an actor's flack into their perk packages. It makes sense, but who knew?
Sometimes when I read The New York Times, I think I'm hallucinating.
The Arts & Leisure section, for example, is now so unreadable and out of touch with contemporary culture — but oddly in touch with the pressing issues of television shows — that I feel lost.
Then there was this assertion yesterday in a piece by Sharon Waxman from David Thomson, a respected film writer:
"Mr. Thomson he has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to interest Hollywood decision-makers in a Christmas story from World War I that he first heard as a child. The story goes that one morning on Dec. 25, after months of warfare across battle lines, the soldiers decided to lay down their arms, come out of the trenches and mingle and play soccer, just for the day.
'I've been trying to sell it to people for ages,' Mr. Thomson said. 'But they say: 'I don't know. People wouldn't believe it happened.'"
Only one problem here: Thomson's tale sounds a lot like a book that has already been published and the movie has been out since 1992. That would be William Wharton's classic novel "A Midnight Clear," directed for film by Keith Gordon.
This modern fable, beloved by those who have read it, is about American troops in the Ardennes circa Christmas 1944. They encounter German troops, with whom they inevitably make contact and, temporarily, peace.
A quick look on Amazon produces, not surprisingly, testimonial after testimonial from readers of the book and fans of the movie.
Frankly, I'm surprised no one in Hollywood wants to make it. After nine years, "A Midnight Clear" is ready for a rip-off or a remake. Anything less would be insulting.