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Default Woody Allen vs Amazon & the consequences for us all

August 2nd, 2019, 21:41
I'm an anti-#MeToo'er too so I agree with 'blogger on political grounds, which is why I also believe this thread belongs in P&R. The issue I have with the P&R forum is that posts don't show on the front page, so I don't tend to see them.
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August 2nd, 2019, 23:19
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
The #metoo movement is not a part of this discussion as the #metoo movement did not demand Amazon not distribute the movie and cancel their deal, Amazon have used the #metoo movement as an excuse to renege upon their deal and self-censor art.
Originally Posted by Hexprone View Post
#metoo is a political movement

lackblogger chose to put #metoo in the title of the thread

political squabbles appearing in the trending topics on the site's front page make us look trashy

the topic should be moved
We don’t want to look “trashy”…

I saw a possibility of a (bold) compromise…
I hope I redirected this debate to the topic desired to be discussed by the OP, by removing the topic being discussed from the thread title.
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Last edited by Eye; August 2nd, 2019 at 23:28. Reason: Changed the quoted part that i put in bold
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August 3rd, 2019, 00:42
OP has clearly stated #metoo as a subject on its own (so not related to Amazon or Allen) is not part of this thread.
I moved two posts to a thread in P&R called: ‘The (anti)-metoo# movement’. If you’d like to discuss #metoo too, please go to that place. They will be deleted here.
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August 3rd, 2019, 00:52
A skillful solution, young lady. While the conversation will undoubtedly have to dance around the political aspect, if everyone agrees to play nice it should be clean enough to stay in off-topic. As has been mentioned, there are a few other long-running threads in off-topic that touch on political issues. It all depends on the angle everyone wants to consider on the topic.

For my part, I agree with the original post that this is another slippery slope we're playing with. I guess the real root here is whether we're going to insist on linking someone's work to their moral acceptability. I still enjoy bits from Bill Cosby but he's apparently a dirtbag. Am I supposed to stop listening to things I enjoy that were made in the 60's? Michael Jackson put out some really incredible music, but he's apparently a dirtbag. Do I have to throw away my CDs and delete the MP3s? The simple answer is no, but there's no denying that there's some icky strings attached to that position.
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August 3rd, 2019, 02:06
If it's clean…
Originally Posted by Hexprone View Post
Counterpoint: it doesn't matter, because Woody Allen's last good movie was in 1992.
No. His last good movie was in 1983.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086637/
Some will say it was his only good movie.

Anyway, Amazon decided to cut ties with Allen then was sued by Allen… Why should I care about filthy rich people going to court against each other over sums I'll never see in front of me?
Because of some morals or contracts? Mhm. Right. Unless Amazon cuts ties also with Polanski, I can't care.
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August 3rd, 2019, 11:48
I agree that you have to separate the art from the artist; sometimes art, including supposed Art with a capital A, is produced by people who we personally abhor because of their way of thinking or behaviour in past or present.
But if I’d be in business I’d hesitate too because of the effect it might have on my company. Sometimes taking a controversial stand will get you profit though.

Of course it is easier when the artist is dead. If alive one can not just focus on the $$’s and completely ignore contemporary morality, for will you be able to silence your personal conscience: are you willing to support the artist financially, to give him/her an extra source of income and PR?

Other aspects that are important here: what is the kind of aberration, and when did it take place?
I don’t think many people will be interested in buying Jimmy Savile DVDs today.
Lots of people enjoy visiting the Pyramids in Egypt, though the slaves and underpaid workers would hardly have enjoyed building them at the time.

The more recent, the more abhorrent, the more personally intertwined with your own life, the more difficult it is to separate the art from the artist.
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Last edited by Eye; August 3rd, 2019 at 12:00.
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August 3rd, 2019, 19:22
In the last three posts people have mentioned Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson, Jimmy Saville and Rich People. This is in continuation to someone deciding to believe whatever they liked about Woody Allen because society has enabled them to do that.

None of these are really #metoo cases. Further, both Woody Allen and Michael Jackson are not guilty of any crimes whatsoever beyond having extremely isolated individuals making unproven allegations. Cosby is more a matter of actual legal proceedings and Jimmy Saville was dead before any of the allegations against him arose. As for not caring about 'rich people', well, I had no idea wealth accumulation automatically meant a removal of civil rights, I'll make a note. And, most importantly, all of these cases predate #metoo.

So Amazon knew full well what they were dealing with when they signed a deal with Allen in the first place, his entire back catalogue of potential 'drama' was already fully known to the exact detail. As someone who's been shafted by lies and false allegations in the past and lived to tell the tale it doesn't take a genius to know what his stand on #metoo would be and anyone making a deal with him would be fully aware of that.

From my point of view, as someone who enjoys quality art alongside schlock entertainment, The issue is the ease to which artists and their art can be 'removed' at the drop of a hat. Now, I'm no expert on US politics, but I am fairly well read on historical anti-art movements, from iconoclasts to McCarthyism and in no instances have they ever been either popular or sustainable in the long term.

There is something inherently signifying when artists are silenced, something that generates nationwide negativity and an impulse to counter such movements is almost second nature, on the very humanist of levels.

While its nice to have our 'men in the stocks' for us all to laugh at and throw tomatoes at, people we can always mention over and over again for the rest of our lives, these people are not actually representative of what is happening. Neither Jimmy Saville nor Bill Cosby are what one would call artists, one was a television show presenter and radio DJ and the other is a jobbing actor and one time stand up comedian, two aspects of media that are really stretching the definition of artist.

As a society we do not and should not force the same level of moral authority upon our artists as we do practically any other sphere of society. When a person goes to a rock concert, for example, it is not the equivalent of going to the doctor. One does not go to the doctor with the adventurous mindset of sex, drugs and rock and roll, one goes to the doctor with quite the opposite mindset and set of expectations.

Ergo: If someone is going to a rock and roll type environment then their threshold of meorality should be adjusted accordingly in comparison to going to the doctor. Of course we expect different standards from Mick Jagger as we do from Dr. Kildare. It's, like, facepalmingly obvious. The whole point of rock and roll is to literally get away from day-to-day suffocating morality.

How many times have you read a movie review and seen the complaint that the movie was "too preachy, I hate preachy movies". Well, duh, who do you think makes the best art? You local preacher or that person that can walk into Walmart and break 14 taboos before lunch? and that those were 14 taboos you never even realised existed!

The issue surely is not what your own personal opinion of someone is, but what your opinion of art is. Are you someone who instinctively balks at the idea of a second wave of McCarthyism, in our supposedly more enlightened times no less, only this wave is based on a combination of bullshit, money-grabbing and outright extortion rather than any quaint sense of nationhood.

I mean, you are aware that Charles Bronson, the infamous serial killer, is one of the most published writers in the US today… and no-one gives two shits…
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August 3rd, 2019, 19:46
I agree that Joxer's post is off target and mostly dead wrong as usual; and that Amazon knew the history of Woody Allen long before signing the contract. I think this case could be easily resolved if they turn the film over to Woody (if they haven't) and let him do with it as he pleases otherwise (not having read the contract) I suspect Woody has a valid case.

HOWEVER, there has been several stars/films that have suffered from this issue (the one that is very vivid in my memory is Disney firing Guun on some rather minor post made 10? 20? years ago (yes they have rehired him but imho his firing was inappropriate). Anyway …

Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
In the last three posts people have mentioned Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson, Jimmy Saville and Rich People. This is in continuation to someone deciding to believe whatever they liked about Woody Allen because society has enabled them to do that.


So Amazon knew full well what they were dealing with when they signed a deal with Allen in the first place, his entire back catalogue of potential 'drama' was already fully known to the exact detail. As someone who's been shafted by lies and false allegations in the past and lived to tell the tale it doesn't take a genius to know what his stand on #metoo would be and anyone making a deal with him would be fully aware of that.
Last edited by you; August 3rd, 2019 at 22:11.
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August 3rd, 2019, 19:50
Gunn is one of the examples that immediately sprung to my mind as well as actually relevant while I was just relaxing after finishing my post. As the saying goes, you could have read my mind.
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August 3rd, 2019, 21:57
Some what related but artistes are being attacked for their art too these days. For example I see many people calling to "cancel" Tarantino since there is huge amount of violence against women in his movies and this apparently proves he is some sort of sick who hates women. This is despite movies like Jackie Brown and Kill Bill.
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August 6th, 2019, 17:46
I think we should separate art from the artist. I can value a piece of art, litterature, music, film, videogame and so forth even if someone who made it was an arsehole or heck even a known criminal. Since there seems to be nothing illegal in Woody Allen's work, let the customers (audience) be the juddge of his work.
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August 7th, 2019, 12:00
I can separate art from artist when it is about judging the quality of the work, or maybe enjoying it. However, I often have to buy the specific piece of art first (on steam, cinema ticket, DVD). At that point, I would support the artist, actively. And I do not want to support assholes or criminals (I can name a few games I'm staying away from, if you like). Once money becomes involved, there's more than just art to think about. Unfortunately.

Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
I mean, you are aware that Charles Bronson, the infamous serial killer, is one of the most published writers in the US today… and no-one gives two shits…
Uhm, are you prescribing that to him to drive your point home?

Regardless, there would be another interesting issue: a certain publicity due to some criminal activity might actually help to sell art. At least to a certain audience.
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August 7th, 2019, 12:12
Haha, at least someone get's the Bronson reference.

Yes, I agree, anyone is free not to consume art from artists they don't like. The reason why someone doesn't like an artist can range from absurd reasons to reasons that can have somewhat justifiable explanations.

But you haven't addressed the point of the extent to which you should be free to make that choice. Amazon have deliberately held back a completed work of art for reasons/excuses of a pre-assumption that "people" don't like the person they made a deal with, a person they knew all the details of before they made that deal. Are you happy with either private or public institutions deciding what you can and cannot choose from? Assuming no specifically exceptional laws have been broken in the actual content of the art, obviously.
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August 7th, 2019, 13:26
I don't think Amazon is doing the right thing here, and I'm not happy about it. But as a private institution it is their prerogative to make that decision. And they'll have to deal with all legal consequences of that decision.

Private institutions have to be able to decide what "I can choose" (what they sell). The alternative would be to force them to publish everything, no? At that point, they would stop being private instiutions, in a way.

The real problem is the size / market power of Amazon (et al.), not the decisions they make. To me, that's a question of antitrust law.
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August 7th, 2019, 13:38
Well first you have to consider the nuance.

Let's take Good Old Games refusing to distribute Grimoire, as an example most people here can understand. In this instance they are not withholding Grimoire, they did not sign a deal with the developer for exclusive rights and they've merely refused to accept something that they feel doesn't suit their brand.

While this is kind of in the same ballpark, it's not actually in the ballpark because gog have no control over the game's distribution beyond their own storefront, they wont be suing because Steam distributes the game or whatever else the developer does. In this instance there's a completed product that is absent of pre-set exclusivity deals that is asking around the market for deals.

In the case of A Rainy Day in New York, Amazon have that exclusivity, but not only that, they also signed a deal for that exclusivity in full knowledge of the person they were signing that deal with.

And, similarly, with the Guardians of the Galaxy director, Mr. Gunn, Disney knew all about him and his personality when they signed him up for a contract. Gunn's issue, as he has stated throughout the 'invented drama', is that Disney knew exactly who he was when they agreed to have him contribute to their brand. To then renege on the deal because 'who he was' was then turned into an 'invented drama' is the absurd part.
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August 7th, 2019, 17:28
I find that any company which has the exclusive rights to a product, but refuse either to release the product or free the developer of the product to release it elsewhere reprehensible. It reminds me of when Francis Ford Copala wrote a version of Pinnochio which he wanted to make, but the studio he was under contract with (I can't remember which one) refused to let him make it, but also threatened to financially destroy him if he made it with a smaller film studio. So in this case I think Amazon in the wrong, and that has nothing to do with Woody Allen as a person or politics.
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August 7th, 2019, 17:52
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
Well first you have to consider the nuance.
Sure, there is an obvious difference in what you describe, but the difference is that they broke their contract (unless Woody Allen signed a really crappy contract, which I doubt.). Yes, people breaking a contract is bad. But what do you want to do about that, besides the obvious (going to court)?
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August 12th, 2019, 01:18
Some interesting stats about Woody Allen's movies:

Similar to the Bond franchise, the US market is not at all representative of the success or failure of an Allen movie. However, it does explain why you don't see him so much in the daily fashion news or headlining in a lot of famous Youtuber review schedules.

The following statistics show Allen's five highest grossing (not inflation adjusted) movies globally with the US contribution to that total given as a percentage in brackets:

Midnight In Paris $151.1m (37.6%)
Blue Jasmine $97.5m (34.3%)
Vicky Christina Barcelona $96.4m (24.1%)
Match Point $85.3m (27.1%)
To Rome With Love $73.2m (22.8%)

I noticed this as I was looking up Wonder Wheel, his most recent film, after catching up on his last couple of movies (I'll review them in the film thread tomorrow), and I was amazed to see Wonder Wheel only made about $1.5m in the US, it wasn't even in the top 200 films of the year box office wise & I thought, huh, seriously. So I looked at the globals and, sure enough, it's total global gross was 15.9m, not so shabby after all, even if it's still only 50% of his average.

For that film, the US market represented only 8.8% of its total gross, lol.

Regarding Amazon, both of these two recent titles, from 2016 and 2017, are both in the top 10 of Amazon's all time global grosses, no.3 and no.7 respectively out of 42, so, from a business point of view, I don't see why Amazon are actively looking for flimsy excuses to get rid of him. It's really quite mind boggling.
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August 12th, 2019, 11:44
I agree it seems illogical. I wonder if there is something in the film itself they fear.
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August 12th, 2019, 19:10
I've been looking into this some more, and it turns out the guy at Amazon who was responsible for signing Allen in the first place, Roy Price, was himself one of the first victims of the metoo movement and that Amazon was right at the forefront of metoo topics back in late 2017.

It was at this exact point that Wonder Wheel was being released & is why Wonder Wheel was given shit-all publicity by Amazon and hence why it didn't do so well in the cinemas.

Further to this, it seems the catalyst for metoo was Ronan Farrow, Allen's own son. But maybe not his son, his own Wikipedia states his father to be both Allen and Frank Sinatra. Ronan is also in a homosexual partnership with a guy who used to help write speeches for Hilary Clinton. And it was Allen's comments about them bringing up the old hokum stories from decades ago in the metoo atmosphere which triggered the metoo gang to attack Allen.

So maybe Amazon is simply the middleman between a domestic drama between father/stepfather/cuckoldedfather and his son.

Amusingly, in Wonder Wheel, the deranged actress played by Kate Winslet has a son from a previous marriage that is also an arsonist 'who likes to start fires and just watch the flames'
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