The American dream factory, Hollywood, Tinseltown: Whatever
ephemeral euphemisms one may apply to it, it's a business, and that business is the
subject of a series of British Broadcasting Corp. documentaries that will run as Bravo
Profiles: The Entertainment Business.
The block butchers up the topic into choice bites such as
"Celebrity," "Daytime Talk" and "Junkets and Premieres." The
producers have assembled an impressive array of talking heads, from global superstars (Mel
Gibson), to up-and-comers (Liv Tyler), to "Don't relegate me to B movies"
(Jennifer Tilly). The shows are a mile wide and an inch thick topically, with the
occasional glimmer of reality.
For review, I've already gotten through the shows on
junkets and daytime talk. Be warned: Due to the latter, not even Bravo is safe from the
fungus of Jerry Springer. He and Ricki Lake are the anointed -- she as the queen of the
18-to-35 demographic in talk, and he as the king of the low country.
As old territory is tread, the producers at least try to do
something different visually, superimposing the interview subject over clips of the
daytime babble on which they opine. There are snips of the man on the street; audience
members explaining why they'd agree to come and act as a trained seal for the day;
and production-team members -- everyone but the talk-show subjects explaining why they
wouldn't rather trash their daughter's boyfriend at home, in private.
"Junkets and Premieres" gives interesting insight
into film marketing from polar ends of the scale. You have the artists, like director
Anthony Minghella (The English Patient), waxing poetic on shadow and light, and
executives like Tom Sherak emphasizing the fact that movies are a business with,
potentially, a one-weekend shelf life.
And then there are the stars, grousing about the need these
days to muster up the enthusiasm to survive a junket that includes 70 five-minute
interviews per day to manufacture interest in the latest release. My, with hard labor like
that, they might chip a nail!
The documentaries will run on Bravo the week of Oct. 4 at 8
p.m., with reruns at 9 p.m.