Book Club Is A Theatrical Made-For-TV Movie: A Vlog


So what’s this movie you’re gonna pitch
me? Okay so there’s four women talking about sex but they’re old.
You mean like thirty two? Older. Thirty seven? Older! Fun fact book club was
written and produced in part by the pink Power Ranger Erin Sims. that doesn’t mean
anything but it’s it’s there. It’s a it’s a fact book club is an incredibly cheap
movie that looks like it was written in about a week and then shot in another
week and then cut in three days there’s not a whole lot to really really say
about the movie itself because it’s more or less exactly what you would expect
it’s a very quick and cheap cash in on on some brand recognition kho-kho
promotional power with the Fifty Shades Fifty Shades tie-in aspect including a
cameo from from one Erica Mitchell AKA el james she she walks through the
background at one point and and yeah what I would rather talk about with it
is how a movie like this kind of comes to exist and the the way that a movie
like this goes about making money so the target market for a movie like this is
actually not audience really at all this is the kind of movie that is basically a
made-for-tv plus type movie it has the budget and production value of a
slightly expensive made for television movie but stars theatrical theatrical
actors and the actual target market for it is not audience but is broadcasters
so you get this movie that once it’s made it goes to theater so it is a
theatrical movie and then from there really who you’re selling it to is
you’re selling it to distributors and broadcasters and
other middleman vendors so as a producer that’s where you end up making your
money is you sell it to you know some cable channel in Germany who needs to
fill out a 7:00 p.m. slot on Thursday and and then they in turn convince
advertisers to buy slots during during that’s run and all along this basically
everybody is just selling this movie to other people who are then going to turn
around and try to sell it to other people and it’s not until you get to
like the very end of the line and in fact because it’s advertisers who are
buying that spot on television at no point do you ever really need to worry
about selling it to an audience you worry about it a little bit during the
theatrical during the theatrical phase but not actually that much so if you
look at a movie like Catwoman Catwoman was a huge theatrical bomb but it
continues to make actually a lot of money for like the producers and the
producers the writers the actors anyone who receives royalties on it they
continue to make a decent amount of money because in part because it was a
bomb its then really easy to sell sure it’s being sold to broadcasters for a
budget price but it’s being sold whereas if you have a you know prestige movie
where you’re asking a lot for it fewer people are going to go in so this is
really just a different sort of strategy for selling it it’s a it’s it’s the
budget title strategy and actually I I had the opportunity a few years back to
work with Herschell Gordon Lewis on his last film blood mania it’s terrible
don’t watch it but we spent we spent a good bit of time when we were on set
talking about sort of his original his original strategy back in the back in
like the 60s how they would make movies and he would he would say they would
they would make a movie and they wouldn’t actually worry about
distribution really the distribution would kind of end up taking care of
itself because what they would do is they would just lock in like one or two
exhibitors like you know drive-ins usually they would get one or two
exhibitors in like Ohio will give it to you for like a cheaper price and will
let you take a bigger cut so even if fewer people come to see it you’ll get
you’ll take home more money Disney’s big movies with like the Star Wars movies
they’re taking a huge cut from the exhibitors for like the first like three
four weeks that that it’s in there so if you think about a movie that’s going to
take a 75 80 90 percent cut that’s all going back to the studio well as an
exhibitor you’re making very very little money off of that even if you’re selling
out every single show in every single theater for you know days on end so if
another movie comes in where the where the distributor like the distribute of
the studio everybody is only taking say 50% cut 40% cut and you you then don’t
even need to pack that house you can get it half full two-thirds full less even
and you’re going to be taking you’re going to be pocketing more money than if
you had sold out another theater of Star Wars this was kind of this was
Herschel’s strategy strategy at the time and this kind of maneuvering within the
industry is still still alive and well you see it with with films like book
club which are no doubt incredibly incredibly cheap and and it’s it it all
gets very very hazy and very complicated but sort of the the root of it is that
people are making money without anybody actually needing to buy something
without audiences actually buy something and that’s kind of its it shows it shows
this is a movie that was very definitely made to be trimmed down ever so slightly
to air at you know 8 9 p.m. on a Thursday on on basic cable I I guess I
actually do have a bit that I want to say I guess I did I I guess I actually
do have a bit that I want to say about the movie itself because
I am I am reasonably certain that neither of the writers have read the
books like okay this is very much this is very much a movie that was written by
people who have absorbed Fifty Shades purely through cultural osmosis like
they they don’t actually they didn’t read the books beforehand because they
figured they didn’t bother like they didn’t need to like why bother so
there’s there’s a number of moments in the movie that like directly reference
the book 50 shades like things that happen in the book but are wrong one
character like in okay so one character says to another that it’s like you know
she should not have signed that contract she doesn’t like in the book she doesn’t
sign the contract that’s that’s the entire conflict they spend so long they
spend so much time in the back half of the book arguing about the fact that Ana
hasn’t signed the contract and that she doesn’t sign it and she never signs it
it is it is a substantial part of the book is that Ana doesn’t sign the
contract and and it’s not just a character in the movie getting the
detail wrong because the other characters in the scene just like agree
and go with it like this is a scene that was written by somebody who like just
has absorbed Fifty Shades but not actually but wasn’t aware of the details
I was like oh we need some specific references because we we’re in this like
co-production brand deal one of the things that I’m actually trying to
unravel that I’m actually super curious about is whether basically who
approached who first was there a pitch about like hey we’re gonna do a like
Fifty Shades related movie that we then that they would then approached they
then approach to Yale James and her her representation about like hey can we
basically license fifty shades for for this purpose or were they shopping
around a garbage rom-com to make a quick buck and and sent out feelers and were
like hey anybody interested and then Yale James and her people came and said
like yeah will will participate with you on this here’s a here’s sort of our
expectations so it’s like basically I’m wondering what’s the chicken and what’s
the egg did Yale James and the Fifty Shades camp Commission the movie or did
the movie go out seeking sponsorship or brand deals or you know whatever which
who who can’t whose people called whose people first did did they pay for the
rights to use Fifty Shades or is Fifty Shades being you know just getting like
a cut of things or did Fifty Shades in fact like initiate and be like that they
paid the movie for inclusion like is it product placement because there’s a pun
there is a bunch of product placement there is actually some really funny
product placement not just the Fifty Shades stuff there okay so so Jane
Fonda’s character like jumps in in a car to get driven to the airport to like you
know head off head off her love interest before he gets to to the airport because
he okay so there’s a big declaration he makes this big declaration of love
actually he makes this small declaration of love yes super tiny they’re they’re
building up to like a classic like 90s like like airport gate moment and
they’re driving in the car and it’s like they get stuck in traffic and the
drivers like I don’t think we’re gonna make it on time and Jane Fonda says are
you using Waze yes ma’am I am and then and then it just
does this and it just ends it just art just ends right there and then they go
they go back to a previous location that they had already filmed that because you
know one the old like meet at the gate just doesn’t happen anymore because of
the way that like airports just operate and to that would mean another location
to secure so basically any location that isn’t a private residence or a hotel
room is green screened actually yeah there’s a lot of there’s a lot of very
weird weird green screen in this movie that shows big romantic dinner beside
the ocean green screened like to a point that it looks just completely hyper real
like it almost they they wound up like softening and smoothing it so much that
it looks CG very very quickly shot a lot of continuity errors like not just not
just the kind of things that you would it’s like okay that you kind of come to
expect in a cheap comedy like hand positions but there’s another scene Mary
Steenburgen spends like three minutes just filling the same cup with ice over
and over again because of all of the continuity overlap so one of the things
is sort of unavoidable is the fact that like it’s like okay Jane Jane Fonda’s in
this and Jane Fonda currently has a very funny very touching dramedy on Netflix
called grace and Frankie and it’s it the whole way through the whole way through
this movie I couldn’t help but just go over in my mind how so much of the
subject matter that the that the movie tries to touch on and like make jokes
out of is done so much better in Grayson Frankie
so so Jane Fonda’s thing now I guess her her her role in these
days is to be the the 60 year old who talks about sex and and in Grayson
Frankie that’s really well done because it’s woven with a lot of good character
relationships and a lot of really funny well-crafted jokes and here that is the
joke that’s that’s the some entirety of the joke is that she talks about sex and
she’s old and and that’s that’s that’s the joke she’s she’s a woman over 60 and
she’s talking about sex laughs Diane Keaton Diane Keaton’s in
this and she is just she is so checked out she’s just amazingly checked out
she’s she is not here she is not mentally or emotionally present for
anything and to the point to the point that her character her character is
named Diane sometimes sometimes it’s just a coincidence but in this case it
just it really felt like like she told them that she was only gonna give them
like 5 days 7 days and they have to shoot out all of her stuff super fast
and she was like not gonna do like she I it’s like she just straight-up told them
like look I am NOT doing more than the absolute bare minimum for this so my
character is going to be named Diane so that nobody needs to call me anything
other than Diane or miss Keaton you will call me miss Keaton or you will call me
Diane and her character just dresses like
Diane Keaton like she doesn’t dress like a Diane Keaton character she just
dresses like Diane Keaton but she doesn’t behave like Diane Keaton she
behaves like Diane Keaton who has not been told who character is and didn’t
really read the script and is just looking forward to getting home she
actually gets to be part of one of the like weirdest just
things in the movie like her her entire subplot is that her adult children want
her to move out to Arizona to live in their basement so that they can keep an
eye on her because she’s old now you see she’s she’s so old and B she’s old and
in in her climactic scene she’s moved to Arizona and is is having lunch with her
adult daughters and they’re like bugging her about about like how she shouldn’t
have driven her car out she should have got somebody else to do it for her cuz
she’s so old now and she’s just like you know what I don’t need to deal with this
I’m not moving in and just goes out and gets in her car and drives off with her
u-haul she just says I’m leaving and leaves and they’re like okay bye mom I
did end up actually kind of kind of settling into the movie eventually about
about a like after kind of the first third like really once we got into the
once we got into the second act I did actually kind of settle into it it was
it stopped it stopped being painful basically once they stopped talking
about Fifty Shades once they stopped trying to look like anyone gave a crap
about this book and once they stop gushing about it in ways that were
clearly not grounded in any sort of actual engagement with with the book
once once they got past that and it was just like okay you you still at the end
of the day have these immensely talented actors even if the material they’re
given is just thin and hacky and not very good like you know they can they
can sell a line there there’s charisma and there’s charm they’re just fantastic
talented talented cast so even with just garbage material there is a charisma
there and when they can just kind of like bounce off of just whatever like
you can you you gotta get into it it’s it’s it’s
bearable but oh my during the actual during the actual book club scenes there
and when when they’re reading the book like suspicious there’s a few moments
where they act they actually do like quotes from the book they do readings
from the book and you know you can just tell you can just tell that it was just
like okay alright we got a copy okay I don’t know just flipped through until
until you see something his hand moves back to concentrate on my nipple once
more and his teeth scrape along my jaw do you know how hot you are
Anna his voice is hoarse as he rocks harder against me oh god this is
actually almost exactly the moment in the book that they wound up at in the
movie one of the things that was also funny I know way too much about these
books like there there’s a moment where you know they’re sitting there watching
like you know they’re showing a character who’s like reading and she’s
got the book open and and she’s oh my this is so hot but I can see I can see
it’s it’s it’s it’s like this far into into the book into the first book and
I’m just like no now you’re you’re not even out of the interview there is
nothing happening in that chapter the part that you’re reading right now
nothing happens there that is not a hot chapter that is a chapter about about
Anna arguing with Kate about nothing you are not reading a hot chapter
because the sex in the first book doesn’t show up for like a while so I feel sad now I can’t actually use my
copy of the first book for examples because we basically since directed
while we were doing all of those close-ups for the actual video go watch
my video

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