April 18, 2007

It's All Her Fault She Was Murdered

Normally I don't write much about crimes and trials -- because if I ever did start those threads, I'd do nothing but trialblogging. Having weathered the OJ trial as an Angeleno, I have a profound distaste for what celebrity trials represent in terms of media coverage and have no real desire to add to it. Inevitably, the commentary becomes misinformed if not obnoxiously misanthropic.

Wesley Strick should have avoided commentary on the latest celebrity trial as well. The third-tier screenwriter takes on the Phil Spector murder trial in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece that reads more like a Top Ten Worst Cliches About Hollywood Women, and quite explicitly blames Lana Clarkson for her own murder:

Who knows what Lana and Phil were chatting about, in the back of that limo? They'd only met an hour earlier. Maybe Lana was staring out the tinted window as DeSouza merged onto the 710 North. Was she thinking about two other Hollywood blonds — real ones, this time — who were butchered, slaughtered: Sharon Tate and Dorothy Stratten?

Stratten would have been about the same age as Clarkson had she not found herself at the wrong end of a shotgun more than 20 years earlier. Hadn't Clarkson seen "Star 80"? But Stratten was a rube from Vancouver, a naif, whereas Clarkson was a native who'd been around the block. A survivor.

And what about Tate, another sex goddess who, like Stratten, was involved with a world-class director who'd starred her in his own movies? Clarkson would've been 7 when news of the Tate murders broke. Slain in her own home on a peaceful Sunday afternoon, Sharon was. And Lana didn't have Polanski or Bogdanovich in her corner. Just Roger Corman, and the lead in "Barbarian Queen."

I think it's fair to say that this is the most incoherent piece of tripe that has appeared on the pages of the Los Angeles Times, and that's saying something. Strick can't even distinguish between fiction and reality as he blames Clarkson for living in a dream world. He references Dorothy Stratten, who was killed by her loser ex-boyfriend and not anyone in "Hollywood", and Sharon Tate, whose murder had nothing to do with her film career. Strick fails to mention Robert Blake, probably because he didn't want to get sued for libel.

Strick starts rattling off Hollywood movies, both A-list and B-movies, in a shotgun approach that makes little sense. First comes Citizen Kane, even though Kane doesn't kill any paramour. He then mentions Beyond the Valley of the Dolls as a cautionary tale that Clarkson should have considered -- despite it being a piece of fiction almost as incoherent as his column. Strick considers it the "Rosetta Stone" of the Clarkson murder even though the facts of the Clarkson murder bear not the least resemblance to the killings in the movie, with the single exception that breast-obsessed director Russ Meyer and writer Roger Ebert (yes, that Roger Ebert) loosely based the character of the murderer on Phil Spector.

Strick uses all of these silly references to do one task: blame Clarkson for her own murder. Didn't she see BVOTD? Apparently every self-respecting Hollywood actress should do so for her own good. (The rest of you should skip it; it's a dreadful exploitation film. I've seen it.) And beyond Clarkson, somehow Hollywood is responsible as well, as Clarkson is another in a long line of actresses who have been murdered, both in real life and in fiction.

Strick's essay is a cheap shot taken at a dead woman who cannot speak for herself any longer, written by a man whose biggest credential to date is writing the movie based on the shoot-em-up computer game Doom. The LA Times should consider its editorial management of the op-ed page if this is the kind of work that makes it through the checks and balances of its mainstream media operation.


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Comments (7)

Posted by DubiousD [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 12:00 PM

If it matters, Strick also wrote the remake of "Cape Fear", directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert DeNiro and Jessica Lange. He also co-scripted "Wolf" starring Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and James Spader, directed by Mike Nichols.

This is not a third tier writer. He is very close to being a first tier scenarist, or at least a one and a half.

Posted by Captain Ed [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 12:06 PM

Cape Fear was a remake, and Wolf was a dog, and both were made more than a decade ago.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 1:01 PM

LA Times received one Pulitzer - for something on water or the ocean. NY Times has evidently received none.

Several years ago the LA Times received a Putlizer for an obscene story they did on dreadful Palestinian terrorists holing up in side a church in Jerusalem, story by a lady photographer praising the Pal's for all the things the Left sees as praiseworthy in terrorists. And that it was all the Jews fault that they had to shit and pee inside the Church and not desecration at all.

I am so thrilled that their downhill spiral continues, and that now they are being ignored by Prize-awarding committees, as well as subscribers.

Posted by DubiousD [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 1:20 PM

"Doom" grossed $28M in the US, $56M worldwide

"Wolf" grossed $65M in the US, $131M worldwide.

"Cape Fear" grossed $79M in the US, $182M worldwide.

To argue that "Doom" was Strick's biggest writing credential to date is simply absurd.

(Please understand: my reluctant defense of Strick's film credentials makes his comments in the LAT no less dumm-*ss.)

Posted by Captain Ed [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 1:46 PM

I hate to break it to you, but $28 mil domestic for a major release is considered a flop, especially in 2005. $65 mil domestic for a picture that had two high-priced stars like Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer is not considered a hit, either. And while Cape Fear did all right, it was a *remake*, which means that Strick didn't come up with the story or the characters at all. It's basically a rewrite.

I get that you agree with the main thrust of my post but disagree on my characterization of Strick. No problem, but we'll have to agree to disagree on this.

Posted by reliapundit - the astute blogger [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 5:12 PM

strick wrote arachnophobia too.

he not third tier by ANY reasonable stretch of the imagination.

furthermore, that line if attack is an extraneous personal attack - it only makes you loook smaller cap'n.

also: he is NOT blaming the victim as much as wishing that women wishing to become starlets be more wary of the evils in hollywood

i think this is a good point. strick is demonstrating that psycho/leching murderous producers are a real type as well as an archtype, and one which women should bevery leery of.

caveat emptor doesn't excuse the buyer - or absolve the seller, but it does acknowledge that the buyer has some responsibility. ditto the women who trust producers in hollywood.

Posted by Plebian [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 4:44 PM

I have to agree that Strick is certainly not third tier at all. He's most definitely second-rate. For him to go out of his way evoking images of Sharon Tate and Dorothy Stratten is absurd. Yes, evils exist, but to say that she 'should have known' is to imply she's responsible for her own death, which is what the Captain finds so disgusting.

Why would you believe a woman who thought she was on a date should think 'I wonder if this guy is going to murder me?' I'd certainly hope that was way down on the list of things she was thinking of.

However, on the good news side, I was so inspired by the good Captain's post that I decided to write 'A Day in the Life of Wesley Strick' mimicking his style, which you can read at http://dailydollop.blogspot.com/2007/04/oscars-future-bedfellow.html if you're so inclined.