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Bill Simmons

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I figure we talk about this stuff enough,

I want to know what Cassidy though of his latest movie article:

I thought it was quite possibly his worst article. Seemed like a 12 year old wrote it. And I don't love Will Smith or even like most of his movies, but I think he was off on him. Would have been much better as a two paragraph response to a mailbag question than a 2 page article (the 2 page thing is something Simmons has complained about before....websites wanting you to give them more hits so they break up whatever you're reading)

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that article just comes off as bitter to me... pointing out that the general public believes what its told is hardly an interesting idea... any "movie fan" who's interested enough in cinema to read and research movies (whether past, present or future) would already know these things... and those who don't wouldnt care anyway. so whats the point of writing the article?

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It was awful, stupid and pointless. I wish he wouldn't write about entertainment. Really I wish he wouldn't write at all. The podcasts are all he does that's entertaining anymore. When was the last time he wrote a compelling article?

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I don't even care if what he does is compelling, I'm happy with the standards: the running diaries, the mailbags, the NFL power polls, but you're right- his articles have been lacking a bit for a few months now.

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dude's been garbage for a while, but the site isn't too bad. A lot more quality articles than I was expecting. I feel like Simmons has an ability to attract talent and that's rad, but man, he's not a writer. The pop-culture articles on the site are awful, but a lot of the sports stuff is good. The Brian Philips federer stuff, Carles, the National story. It's not too bad.

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I do like the sports stuff. Because it sounds at least somewhat educated, and sometimes there are really good people writing. All of the entertainment stuff reads like amateurs. Probably because they are.

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I figure we talk about this stuff enough,

I want to know what Cassidy though of his latest movie article:

I thought it was quite possibly his worst article. Seemed like a 12 year old wrote it. And I don't love Will Smith or even like most of his movies, but I think he was off on him. Would have been much better as a two paragraph response to a mailbag question than a 2 page article (the 2 page thing is something Simmons has complained about before....websites wanting you to give them more hits so they break up whatever you're reading)

I like it when he writes about entertainment because he knows his shit with what he does know.

And because William Goldman is one of my favorites.

Thing is, I knew most of that already because I read that Time article before and heard the Goldman podcast + have read everything Goldman has done. Goldman was dead-on when he said that Will Smith is the one movie star out there. How the hell did 7 Pounds make 150 million? I thought that was a dud. Meanwhile, Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford with Brad Pitt could barely make $3.8 million? What the fuck?

http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=sevenpounds.htm

^

I don't think he was off on Will Smith at all.

He makes shitty movies that barely excite anyone or make them want to watch again.

He fucking turned down Django Unchained?

If this were sports, we'd be pissed at Will Smith for not 'wanting' it.

It isn't breaking news, but if you think about it, the more disappointing it becomes.

But yeah, I was surprised to see that the article was '2' pages and focused that much on both Ryan Reynolds + Will Smith.

I like Ryan Reynolds (that's his best quality), but I've never found myself thinking he's ever really been in a good movie besides Adventureland. It's been said by everybody and joked that 'does Ryan Reynolds ever really turn down a fucking script?'

One of Molly Lambert's opening articles for Grantland was on Blake Lively manipulating her way into being becoming an A-list star without doing A-list work, and that felt very similar to what Simmons was going for here.

But the thing is, since Grantland is his website, it's going to force Simmons to write a lot more than he has.

With the lockouts in the NBA + NFL, there isn't anything to write that hasn't already been said.

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Mark Lisanti's Derek Jeter DL Diary

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6713507/derek-jeter-dl-diary

^this one was surprisingly good/funny from a writer I didn't know much of.

Chris Ryan's THE BEAST stories on the AL East are worthwhile.

Even if I don't follow baseball, he'll do something interesting enough to make me follow it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The site is still working out its kinks, I'm kind of figuring out who I like, don't like, or am lukewarm on.

I read every column the first 2 weeks and have settled down.

I won't bother to read stuff that I just won't read or get into (all the golf, tennis or wrestling stuff, even if it's from solid writers)

I'll avoid Wright Thompson (too writerly) because I don't drink and he'll wax poetic about bullshit stuff that isn't there.

I don't like Andy Greenwald much at all and don't know how he got his way into being their kind of go-to TV/movie critic. He comes off as a douche.

...and most of the entertainment articles are going to be on what's happening now (summer blockbusters) and it's going to be long-form journalism a bit. So it's not surprising that people haven't been too high on reading that to begin with.

So I can't really complain about Simmons writing about Will Smith-Ryan Reynolds.

It's the summer, summers generally suck for movies (and this has been setting up to be the worst year for movies), and it is what it is.

The site's been a success and has already made $10 million + in ad revenue.

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there was an article about the champions league final that I enjoyed. That's been about the only article that has really stood out to me so far.

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BUNCH: His sportswriting is always solid, but for me, it's quotes like these that make @sportsguy33 so great
Twitter.com/bunch

http://thedailybunch.com/post/7122975227/id-compare-the-leading-man-position-to-the

Bill Simmons:"...I’d compare the “leading man” position to the NFL’s quarterback position — we need 32 starting QB’s every year regardless of whether we actually have 32 good ones, just like we need 40 to 45 leading men every year regardless of whether have 40 to 45 good ones. That makes Reynolds someone like Alex Smith: he’s a no. 1 draft pick, he has all the tools, you can easily talk yourself into him being good … and then, six games into the season, you realize that you’re not making the Super Bowl with Alex Smith...”

He takes a subject and flips it into something else entirely, which I love.

Some people will be tight-asses and say that he should only stay with sports or that you can’t combine the two.

Thing is, sports + pop culture have always gone hand-in-hand with him.

He’s great at both when he knows what he is talking about and isn't overusing the same movies/TV shows.

It's a fun/interesting water-cooler subject to talk about.

I don't expect someone like theSpaces to want to read about Will Smith or Ryan Reynolds, the subject of leading man, why shitty movies continue to get made, and the way Hollywood works (both good + bad).

For those that don't have a stick up their ass, it's an enjoyable subject.

It's not like Simmons is worshipping the subject.

He's shitting/commenting on what's happening.

Just about everybody will be shitting on Transformers and shit like that.

But for some people, to even write an article on it?

It is too shallow/low-brow.

But I LOVE it when Simmons talks about Hollywood shit (even before he moved to Hollywood, he was good with it)

One of my favorite books is William Goldman's Which Lie Did I Tell? which has the same exact kind of conversational style of writing that Simmons uses.

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1. How do Ali, Hitch, Seven Pounds, The Pursuit of Happyness, or The Legend of Bagger Vance deal with "Creatures" or "Special Effects"? That's half the movies he's done this decade and they don't fit within the entire point of Simmons' argument. That's the kind of thing that would make a good writer go, "Oops... never mind this article is stupid".

2. Why the hell does it matter how many movie stars there are anyway? Who cares about this sort of thing when there are so many good actors working today? Guys like Gosling, Levitt and Cillian Murphy aren't movie stars, but 75% of the movies they've done have been great. Never mind the fact that the UK probably has the deepest amount of great actors now than they've ever had before.

3. Hollywood has always made shitty movies. I'm tired of people acting like today is anything different. I'm also tired of people acting like this is even a real problem. Smart people don't see crappy movies. They go see the good ones unless they don't want to take things seriously and can stand a crappy film.

4. The 80's are probably the worst decade for movies and I wouldn't be surprised if that's Simmons favorite movie decade. He likes really crappy entertainment.

I don't understand the point of writing an article like this, but I guess it's the thing that you have to write when you don't have the sense to find good films and enjoy them.

And for the amount of talent that Will Smith actually possess, he's had a pretty good career.

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I tried to read that article, but I just couldn't bring myself to care. It really was as simple as "this shit is not interesting." Halfway through the first page I just realized I didn't care at all about whatever point he was trying to make.

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I might ramble on as usual and go overboard in some points.

But damn it, there's a point in there somewhere...

1. How do Ali, Hitch, Seven Pounds, The Pursuit of Happyness, or The Legend of Bagger Vance deal with "Creatures" or "Special Effects"? That's half the movies he's done this decade and they don't fit within the entire point of Simmons' argument. That's the kind of thing that would make a good writer go, "Oops... never mind this article is stupid".

That's cherry-picking just as much, if not more than Simmons did.

The perception is that Smith doesn't do challenging roles and mostly does blockbusters.

And he finds a way to do it more than anyone.

It's true.

None of those roles were really challenging/out there the way Six Degrees of Separation was ?

Will Smith did find a formula and July 4th weekend has kind of become his weekend each year.

Hollywood stars want to play 'heroes' and that's all Smith does.

Tom Cruise infamously turned down Edward Scissorhands because he thought the role was for a woman and would make him look like a pussy, for instance.

-Ali (boxing movie=1 boxing movie comes out each year & does fucking well...and he got to play Ali. This was right around the time when We Were Kings came out, if I'm not mistaken. Ask any athlete or person who their inspiration is: Ali is one of the most revered people. Simmons even singled out this movie/role)

-Hitch (a movie with Kevin James: I wouldn't count that. Might as well be a Sandler movie)

Haven't seen Legend of Bagger Vance (chance to work with Matt Damon), 7 Pounds or the Pursuit of Happyness (a father-son movie + chance to launch his son's career), but if that's as 'challenging' as Smith's roles gets, then that's pathetic.

As happy as I am that he didn't accept the role for Django Unchained (and Jamie fucking Foxx did! fuck!), it's a no-brainer to take that role. It's Tarantino! How do you not take that?

Will Smith is a real boring motherfucker.

He's as safe as it gets and he has nothing to prove.

So you can't really fault him, but when people say that they like Will Smith or Adam Sandler, I look at them like a retard.

Has Sandler made a good movie since Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison?

And when was the last time I enjoyed a Will Smith movie?

And again: look at Leo's career (showed promise in This Boy's Life or even What's Eating Gilbert Grape?) versus Will Smith (where he broke through/showed promise in Six Degrees)

Leo got Scorsese.

He never made a superhero or a sci-fi movie until Inception.

He openly regrets doing Titanic because he had to fight against that and being taken seriously when he should have accepted Boogie Nights. At the same time, doing a movie like Titanic helped him get to where he was (which is why I am interested in seeing how other teen hearthrobs do: Zac Efron, Robert Pattinson, Daniel Radcliffe, Taylor Lautner) who can get any role, but they have to fight like hell to be respected. This once was Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt too.

2. Why the hell does it matter how many movie stars there are anyway? Who cares about this sort of thing when there are so many good actors working today? Guys like Gosling, Levitt and Cillian Murphy aren't movie stars, but 75% of the movies they've done have been great. Never mind the fact that the UK probably has the deepest amount of great actors now than they've ever had before.

There's a lot of good actors, but it's frustrating to everybody to think that these guys (who do good work) can't put people in seats.

But that's not the point of Simmons' article at all as much as you'd want it to be. There isn't an article to be had in that either.

People complain about crappy movies that are made and stars like Will Smith or Adam Sandler and why they're still successful + can keep making movies despite mailing in shit.

Well, this does that and breaks it down...even if all of Reynolds movies have been absolute fucking bombs + he's still making crappy movies and being pumped up like he was ever an A-lister.

The article might as well be saying some of these things:

-what do mainstream audiences want to see?

-why aren't people going to the movies as much?

-why is it hard for 'good' movies to be made and actually sell?

Because he, like William Goldman, has said all this before. Hollywood is a hard town to work in and nobody knows anything.

It's interesting to say, but the highest-grossing actor of all time (for his era and maybe still) didn't make sense.

People thought it would be someone like DeNiro, Newman, Pacino or some guy that won an Oscar and was widely respected.

Turned out it was Harrison Ford.

But then when you looked at his work, it made total sense (Star Wars; Indiana Jones; Apocalypse Now; Blade Runner; Patriot Games; the Fugitive; Air Force One). Of course, his career hasn't been good in the last 10 years. But Hollywood's roles go to the young and that's what sells. But Ford has had a fucking great career with some really tasteful movies that are classics.

I know Matt Damon was pissed when he felt like the studio fucked up All the Pretty Horses and said that he felt like every big actor has the chance to make 5 great movies in their lifetime and that could have been one of his 5. With that said, Ford was definitely a part of at least 5 or more movies.

Can you name one great movie that Will Smith has done? Independence Day? Men in Black?

Yet, people still go see his movies and he's the only guy in Hollywood who is a 'sure thing'.

3. Hollywood has always made shitty movies. I'm tired of people acting like today is anything different. I'm also tired of people acting like this is even a real problem. Smart people don't see crappy movies. They go see the good ones unless they don't want to take things seriously and can stand a crappy film.

He's not saying that it's anything new, he's just breaking down a bit how Hollywood works.

I'll see shitty movies out of curiosity with low expectations and hope to get unintentional comedy out of it. I'm not going to be pissed at myself if it sucks. I like to familiarize with what sucks so I can make a comment on it.

Bad movies can be as fun to see as good ones among friends who will turn it into a good time.

I always enjoy end-of-year lists that shit on things that suck more than Best Of lists that talk everything up.

4. The 80's are probably the worst decade for movies and I wouldn't be surprised if that's Simmons favorite movie decade. He likes really crappy entertainment.

There's a lot of good to great movies from that decade, but it's definitely cheesy.

You can't shit on it and say it sucks.

It's dumb to hate on that decade or Simmons when that's the era he grew up in high school/college. Those movies are going to be nostalgic and more meaningful to him & his time as well as anyone else.

I don't understand the point of writing an article like this, but I guess it's the thing that you have to write when you don't have the sense to find good films and enjoy them.

Because Ryan Reynolds & Will Smith are BIG in ways that don't make sense and they're being shoved down our throats.

It just feels like this is a bit of an elitist thing to say.

I doubt Simmons has seen many of Reynolds or Smith's movies in the last decade and, even if he did, he knew they were going to be shit.

But people are well-aware of them and comment on why they exist in the first place.

And for the amount of talent that Will Smith actually possess, he's had a pretty good career

He's a likable, larger-than-life personality (who we know little to nothing about).

He's had a good career money wise and hasn't been hated on because he's so likable/safe.

But when you look at his work, he's done dick and it's been a shitty fucking career.

Again, if this were sports, he'd be an all-time disappointing player (like Simmons said: great regular seasons, bad postseasons).

Has he made a good movie in the last 15 years?

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when you die and go to hell, I'm pretty sure your punishment is going to be reading every post you've ever made, word for word

I'm with Shane, shit wasn't interesting at all.

Dude is a hack when it comes to entertainment

it's the shit only people like Cassidy can enjoy

edit:

Has he made a good movie in the last 15 years?

what?

more than 15 years ago, the only movies he had even been in were Six Degrees Of Seperation, Bad Boys, Where The Day Takes You, and Made In America. fucking fresh prince of bel-air was even just finishing at that time. 15 years ago was independence day. and he hasn't even been in a movie that came out in the last few years. "your" opinion is ridiculous

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when you die and go to hell, I'm pretty sure your punishment is going to be reading every post you've ever made, word for word

I'm with Shane, shit wasn't interesting at all.

Dude is a hack when it comes to entertainment

it's the shit only people like Cassidy can enjoy

Luckily, I never read over anything I write :D

Not saying it isn't.

But surely you've had conversations about Will Smith or Ryan Reynolds + their shit movies.

Difference is, you won't see them.

So why would you read an article about them?

Because it's beneath you.

There's other writers out there who are definitely a lot closer to my tastes than Simmons.

Difference is, I will read pretty much anything Simmons writes because he's consistently entertaining, smart, interesting, funny, and engaging in ways that they just aren't. His articles are judged as harshly as each episode of Lost was and not another writer out there has that X on his back like that.

I even enjoy Klosterman because he discusses shit that shouldn't be taken as serious for those same reasons, even if Klosterman can give me a headache as to how serious he takes things.

Do the experiments they try always work?

No.

How did Klosterman's music VORP column for Grantland work out?

I doubt he will try it again, but I find it hilarious/amusing that he even did and was mocking the idea in the first place, even if a part of him does wish statistics like that could be discussed when arguing music/movies for conversation's sake.

Your problem seems to be more in that you weren't even interested in what he was talking about in the first place (or why it's being taken seriously in the first place). To you, only meaningful work should be discussed & broken down seriously. That's where I'm seeing the gulf.

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what?

more than 15 years ago, the only movies he had even been in were Six Degrees Of Seperation, Bad Boys, Where The Day Takes You, and Made In America. fucking fresh prince of bel-air was even just finishing at that time. 15 years ago was independence day. and he hasn't even been in a movie that came out in the last few years. "your" opinion is ridiculous

Should I have just asked 'Has Will Smith ever made a good movie?'

Because Fellside was saying that Will Smith has had a 'good career' when I was saying that he wasn't.

It's defensible if you're DeNiro or Pacino and you haven't made a good movie in the last 15 years and their acting prime is over.

You get most your big roles when you're 30-45 and you have to cash in on that. They did.

The last 15 years has been Smith's acting prime and the years he should have been capitalizing on the power he got. He should have turned Independence Day and Men in Black into a chance to do great work? But he chose something else, which was Simmons' point.

Box office wise, his career has been a massive success.

But in a way that is satisfying to us fans?

Like Fellside says, he doesn't see 'crappy movies', so I'm guessing he hasn't seen any of Smith's.

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Because Fellside was saying that Will Smith has had a 'good career' when I was saying that he wasn't.

Correction, I said for the amount of talent Smith possesses, he's had a pretty good career. He started out doing childish rap songs and now he makes huge movies.

Comparing him to Chris Weber is stupid because Will Smith never had hype of being an amazing actor. He's just a like-able dude who delivers ridiculous lines like "Welcome to erf" and kids everywhere love it. IMO he did the most he could do with his talent and there's no reason to shit on him. He was never Denzel Washington or Leonardo DiCaprio and nobody ever thought he'd be an indie-film star or anything like that. Denzen and Dicaprio both shelled out Oscar worthy performances early in their careers. Will Smith was never that so why write an article about it?

Like Fellside says, he doesn't see 'crappy movies', so I'm guessing he hasn't seen any of Smith's.

I said smart people don't go see crappy movies unless they're in the mood to not take them seriously and just try to enjoy them.

Sometimes people see movies because they just want to have some fun or have something to do in air conditioning when it's 105 degrees outside in Texas. Sometimes broke guys just need something to sit through so they convince their girlfriend they actually went out on a date. Will Smith movies are fine for those instances.

You gave like 5 different explanations for what the purpose of the article was. I still say it was pointless and irrelevant. There are plenty of good films being made and so many great actors that it's impossible to keep track. Some of them even make a ton of money.

Seriously we just came off a year where the Oscar-nominated films actually made a butt load of money. Why does this article even need to be written? Inception, The King's Speech, True Grit, The Social Network, Toy Story 3 and The Fighter all made a ton of money last year and they all got nominated for Best Picture.

The only people who care at all about how much an actor's film consistently grosses are production companies. And even they shouldn't care about it that much. They should care about making good movies. I can't believe I'm still arguing about this it's so stupid.

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^ha. It is a dumb argument, but last year was a rare year where good movies made money.

That isn't always the case where 'good movies' do extraordinarily well.

Sometimes Oscar movies just bomb.

Last year felt really rare, in a way, where good movies actually did well.

In 2007 (the most stacked fucking year for great movies this decade)

95. Into the Wild—56.3 million

96. Eastern Promises—56.1 million

119. Gone Baby Gone—34.6 million

130. the Great Debaters (Denzel)—30.4 million

140. Grindhouse (Tarantino/Rodriguez)—25.4 million

143. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Seymour Hoffman)—25 million

154. Once—20.4 million

155. Walk Hard: Dewey Cox—20.3 million

176. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Pitt)—15 million

178. Hot Rod—14.3 million

187. I’m Not There (Bale/Ledger/Blanchett)—11.7 million

189. Lars and the Real Girl (Gosling)—11.3 million

214. This is England—8.2 million

227. Rescue Dawn (Christian Bale)—7.2 million

http://boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?view2=worldwide&yr=2007&p=.htm

-Gone Baby Gone was a failure and, because of that, Affleck basically had to make the Town into the Departed and Hollywood it up a bit. I still say Gone Baby Gone is the better movie. Because of the Town's success, he's been signing up for a ridiculous amount of movies left & right in ways that he didn't even after Gone Baby Gone.

-Grindhouse was one of the most fun times I’ve had in a theatre, but it’s disappointing that it only appealed to certain fans. I thought the movie would have inspired more movies like that, but it didn’t.

-Brad Pitt said that Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is one of the movies he is most proud of, but it was a failure.

-Sean Penn openly lashed out at the studio for not marketing Into the Wild properly. He basically felt like it should have gotten more Oscar nominations than it did and he isn't wrong.

Some of these movies are wild stretches.

I'd say that Assassination of Jesse James; Into the Wild; and Gone Baby Gone should have done a LOT better than they did and should have made more than triple what they did.

-----------------------------------------------

I think you're misunderstanding Simmons' argument.

I don't think Reynolds or Smith are trying to make 'good' movies: they want to make BIG movies that will be big at the box office.

Smith showed promise in Six Degrees of Separation enough where he could decide to do roles than he did.

And, at any time, he could have used the success from any of his blockbuster movies to do something different & more challenging.

He never has.

You still view him as a rapper-turned-actor, but it makes no sense to compare him to Ice-T, Ice Cube, Method Man, LL Cool J, or Eminem. Will Smith was always more of a likable/safe rapper, he already was using his real name (think of how the Rock is still 'the Rock' and not 'Dwayne Johnson')

In regards to Ryan Reynolds?

He's actually a solid actor and he's a LOT better than the movies he has been in.

That's the disappointing thing with him: he signs up for way too many shitty movies that he should never be doing.

Nobody's saying he is an Oscar-worthy actor (the way Smith can definitely be)

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Ryan Reynolds is a god awful actor, what are you even talking about?

If I'm not mistaken, you're the guy who I believe once argued for Shia LaBeuof being one of the best actors around.

What's the difference?

Both are talented guys who have been playing the same type of roles for a long time.

...and signing up for shitty roles in very shitty movies.

They're better than the work that they've shown if they just settled down a bit and re-routed their careers.

Reynolds have Adventureland and Buried (wasn't the fan of but that was all him) where it was a great change-of-pace role & he's shown flashes in the movies he's been in where his charisma, sense of humor, and likability is off the charts with the crap material that he is given.

LaBeouf had a Guide to Recognizing Your Saints...and hasn't done anything remotely like that since.

You know who I like and am interested in seeing if he turns things around?

Topher Grace.

I know that he's dialing it down a bit with the roles and seeing if he can do something.

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You are mistaken about my arguing for LaBeuof. Ryan Reynolds has absolutely no versatility.

Fellside is right about Smith. He has his moments where he surprises people with his abilities, but they are rare. No one is confusing Smith with Dicaprio, and to expect him to be an artist more than a name is strange considering his abilities.

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My bad then.

Yeah, Smith has moments.

But he does shit movies and is purposely safe with what he does when you know he could be doing better stuff that would showcase what he has more.

He hasn't really done a good movie that's held up in his entire career...and he's fine with that.

I don't really get why being a rapper is used against Will Smith when you could use being a hearththrob against Depp or DiCaprio.

Smith was one of the softest rappers & a guy you could always bring home to: it wasn't a major stretch.

So basically Will Smith has talent, but we're not holding it against him because he only wants to make blockbusters?

Every time I see Ryan Reynolds or Will Smith + read up on what movie they may have signed up for, I groan.

Yes, no one's going to call them the best actor out there.

But they're better than the material that they do and could stop more bad movies from happening.

The funny thing about Ryan Reynolds is this: he could have probably easily been Captain America rather than the Green fucking Lantern.

(no desire to see either, but I imagine Captain America is the better + more appealing role...although Reynolds being a Canadian playing 'Captain America' would be weird, but that's nothing new in Hollywood)

...and I'm rooting for Chris Evans. Seems likable + I hated Scott Pilgrim, but his brief role in that movie was the best thing about it.

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