It hasn't been that great of a year for Penny Marshall. Her film, Riding in Cars With Boys, received a lot of hype but failed to break through at the box office. The director of Big, A League of Their Own and Awakenings is nevertheless nonplussed by Hollywood's fickle tastes.
Her next project will be a labor of love if she can pull it off. Marshall wants to make a documentary about Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. The film would chronicle the team and the NBA as seen through Johnson's eyes.
Considering what a fan Marshall has been of the team, the project is right up her alley — or down her court.
"These kids go around today wearing the sneakers and they have no idea who the people are whose names are on them. So it's going to be educational for them and a history lesson."
Marshall — who otherwise says she has no plans for a new feature film right now — will pitch the idea to Johnson in the next few days. If her history with sports movies is any indication — A League of Their Own was on target, which is why it's lasted and grown in popularity — this should be a slam dunk.
Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind is still picking up trouble wherever it goes. I can't imagine — no pun intended — that nice guy Howard ever envisioned himself in so many controversies.
The newest wrinkle popped up on the Drudge Report yesterday, when a close examination of Sylvia Nasar's biography of Nobel Prize winner John Nash turned up some new revelations. (At this point, Nasar's book has been looked at more closely than the Magna Carta!)
In addition to Nash's possible homosexuality and definite extramarital affair — which produced a son not mentioned in the movie — Nasar's book also implies that Nash was an anti-Semite. "The root of all evil, as far as my personal life is concerned (life history) are Jews," John Nash wrote in a letter in 1967. This is on page 326 of A Beautiful Mind: The Life of the Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash.
Taking this stuff out of the movie must have really been tough for screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, whose parents are Holocaust survivors. Nevertheless, Goldsman managed to skip right over this from Nasar: "Before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, [Nash] explained, he was a left-wing Palestinian Arab refugee, a member of the PLO, and a refugee making a 'g indent' in Israel's border, petitioning Arab nations to protect him from 'falling under the power of the Israeli state.'"
Nash, Nasar writes, "became obsessed with the state of Israel and talked about 'Krypto-Zionist conspiracies.'"
There's something weird about A Beautiful Mind. It's a movie on autopilot for self-destruction. Between the revelations about Nash and Russell Crowe's bad behavior at the British Academy Awards, it's slowly becoming the Gary Condit of movies.
To all the people who crowed about Britney Spears' movie doing so much better than Mariah Carey's Glitter, I have bad news for you. Crossroads has dropped out of the box-office top 10 with a little less than $30 million in the till.
If Crossroads had been an album and not movie, that $30 mil would have been just fine. But the movie's lack of "legs" is certainly an indicator that we won't be seeing Spears carrying a film again anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Kevin Costner's Dragonfly is limping through its last big week of release with a $20 million take. I guess that pays his salary, but what of the rest of the $60 million budget? Hopefully, Dragonfly will translate into foreign languages and video rentals.