El Bicho's Hive

A Collection of Reviews Covering the Worlds of Art and Entertainment alongside other Snobbish Ramblings.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Q: What movies come to mind when you see this man?
A: Many possible correct answers, but the two that come to mind for me are S.O.B. and Jackass: The Movie.

MPAA Threatens Retaliation Over One-Peso Tax

Look at this article from IMDB.com:

Angered by a one-peso (about nine cents) levy added to the price of movie tickets in Mexico to help underwrite local filmmakers, MPAA President Jack Valenti has fired off a letter to Mexican President Vicente Fox warning that unless the levy is removed, the U.S. film industry intends to retaliate. According to the British trade publication Screen International, Valenti wrote, "The adoption of such a measure without previously consulting [the MPA] ... could force us to cancel our backing for the Mexican film industry. ... This also would cause difficulties to our mutual relations."

Now let me get this straight. This goofball thinks he can dictate tax policy to Mexico's President? Who does this vermin think he is? With the Bush administration desperately trying to court Mexico's vote on the U.N. Security Council in regards to Iraq, does America need some Hollywood flunky making demands and threatening retaliation against the Mexican government and its people? What hubris and gall! Does he really have enough sway and political power that it allows him to directly address world leaders with his whining and bellyaching? This man needs a slap in the face and a cold washcloth to bring him back to reality.

Or is it that I'm so naive I have no knowledge of this man's true power. I realize that he's the sniveling cur/whipping boy of the following companies:

Walt Disney Company;
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.;
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.;
Paramount Pictures Corporation;
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.;
Universal Studios, Inc.; and
Warner Bros.

Admittedly, these organizations are very powerful and if they use Jack as their whore to lobby Congress to get special benefits, I've got no problem with that because that's the way America, God bless it, works. And if the MPA wants to work with other world governments to fight piracy and theft, more power to them because that's revenue that is being stolen from them and they have a right to it. But, I do not understand the outrage over a one-peso tax that is being used to invigorate the Mexican film industry. It's not money that is being diverted from the producers' pockets because it's added to the ticket price and it's not an import fee so the producers aren't being taxed. Jack's outrage comes off as petty and ridiculous because the one-peso tax won't cause the Mexican film industry to topple Hollywood's dominance. It will only help bolster a small, struggling art/business community, which is just starting to make a name for itself.

So why does Jack have his panties in a wad? Shit, for one peso most people I know don't even bother to take the Chiclets from the Tiajuana street urchins. Chewing gum isn't as much fun as throwing pesos into the gutter and watching those kids become sharks in chum-filled waters. So what I want to know is what is the MPA scared of?

I don't remember any statements of outrage from Jack every time American ticket prices increase 50 cents, which seems to happen annually, but one peso going towards creating Mexican films is something he can't stand for. Where is his indignation and outrage when film jobs are leaving the country to places like Canada and Mexico? Why do we not see press releases denouncing John Travolta making $20 million for a picture? Jack is only a mindless toady for the producers, so it's a hearty "fuck off" to anyone else with stakes in the film industry.

This guy makes me sick. He has always come off as a self-righteous, pompous ass every time I've heard him speak. He's had the job for over 36 years, but I say it's time for a change. I demand his resignation or ask the MPA to fire him. I ask that everyone reading this, go to your phones, write emails, contact the MPA and the organizations they work for and tell them, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." If only Lee Harvey had had an extra magic bullet that fateful November day in Dallas, he could have done some good for filmmakers and film viewers the world over.

Demanding action and satisfaction,

El Bicho