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By Simone Canterbury



What a Merry Christmas it must have been for the folks at Universal. It
appears they’ve produced the most popular movie ever to open on Christmas with
“Meet The Fockers”. After all, it has been reported that this film is
the highest grossing Christmas opening of all time, so clearly, this is
the case.

Well, actually it isn’t.

Each time (and it gets more and more frequent) you read about movies
breaking all records, none of these reports are taking into account
increases in population and inflation. According to the Internet Movie
Database, (http://www.imdb.com/boxoffice/alltimegross) “Titanic” is the
highest grossing film of all time, followed by “Star Wars” at number 2,
“Shrek 2″ at number 3 and the rest of the top 10 features the likes of
both Spider-man films, the third Lord of the Rings film, and the much
loathed “Phantom Menace.”

By looking at this list, it would appear that the films
these days are only getting better as time and time again we are
cracking into the highest grossing films of all time.

The oldest film to fall into the top 50 is “Jaws” from 1973 at number
28, while “X-Men 2″ sits comfortably at number 50. Twenty-nine out of
the top 50 films are from the last five years with films including “The
Incredibles”, “Bruce Almighty”, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and
another all-time classic “The Matrix – Reloaded”. That just doesn’t sit
right with me.

Well, maybe it does. By this logic, Abraham Lincoln earned a meager
$25,000 a year whilst I earned near $10,000 more than that in my
insurance job, so this must make me a greater success than Abraham Lincoln! I should
really boast about this more than I do…

Let’s look then to another list on Box Office Mojo
(http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/adjusted.htm) where we see the top
grossing films adjusted for inflation. “Gone With The Wind” still sits
above them all, including “Star Wars”, at number 1. Yes, after all these
years and all these “record-breaking” films we keep hearing about, a
film that is sixty-five years old tops them all. The most recent movie
to make the list is “The Phantom Menace” at number 19. Before that,
there is nothing from the last five years. “Spider-man 2″ which sits
proudly at number 8 on imdb.com’s list just squeaks in at number 50 on
the adjusted list, below “The Towering Inferno” from 1974.

Hmmm, on further examination, while Lincoln earned $25,000 as
President, the average worker made around $500 a year. I guess I’m not
so hot after all. But I DID make more than $25,000 a year and hence I
made more than Lincoln. I’m going to stand by that achievement and hope
nobody asks too many questions.

After examining all this information, it only adds to my frustration
that every news program, paper and web site I have looked at since it’s
release has made a point of informing me that “Meet The Fockers”
is the highest grossing Christmas opening of all time. These figures are
meaningless and are not worth reporting. They are a complete distortion
of success and should be ignored. The reason we are fed these lies is
because there are corporate interests at work to make us believe that
these films are more successful than they really are. If company who
made the film also owns a news network, you can be sure they will report
about these successes on their news. The other news networks don’t want
to be left out of reporting the important “news”, so they all follow

AP reports that “Box office receipts soar to record in ’04″
But if you read on down the article, it tells us that attendance is
actually down again for the second consecutive year and that “the record
gross was due more to rising ticket prices than attendance.” See how we
are being manipulated with these so-called figures?

But we can make a few adjustments to our movie going schedules to
prevent these lies from being told to us. Avoid opening weekend. Just
because you haven’t been able to
avoid a “Meet The Fockers” billboard, commercial or news reports about
the premiere and Barbra Streisand’s colon polyp removal which kept her
from the big night, does not mean you have to flock to the theatre the
day it opens. Wait a week. You might here from others who saw it that
it’s not as good as the advertisements told you! Check out
rottentomatoes.com and you will see that of all reviews collected, “Meet
The Fockers” has less than 40% positive reviews.

Secondly, we need to appeal to our news sources to accurately report
this information to us instead of manipulating our interest with these
distortions. If ‘Return of the Sith’, the final Star Wars film makes
more millions of dollars than any other film ever, you can tell us that,
as long as you point out to us where it sits in the reality of all-time
movie going. I daresay, they will be less excited about the so-called
records if they were forced to report correctly.

If you would like to sign a petition which will be forwarded to news
sources and imdb.com demanding adjusted box office list reporting,
please click on the link below.










by Ben Hoth

H.O.P.E. Member


What are people going to do in 20 years when they are trying to dress up for a 2000′s party?  I’ve often wondered that.  What is going to be on classic rock stations in the year 2020 when Im driving my 2.3 kids around in my SUV?  What will my generation be remembered for?  What will my grandchildren study in American Lit?


I have terrible suspicions about the answers to these questions, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt who isn’t asking them.  I know for a fact who isnt interested in the pervading cultural theme of my life…the people who decide what on what it’s going to be.  The people who determine what will be on the radio when I turn it on, the people who read the script for Meet Joe Black and decided Brad Pitt could probably sell enough tickets anyway.


It would take too long to speculate on how we got to this point exactly, although I often spend time thinking about it.  I think the bottom line is that for at least a decade now all of the evolution that has driven pop culture is toward lower costs.  Television and music producers have responded to the explosion in competition (cable TV, the internet, piracy, etc.) by flooding television with reality TV garbage and mass music artist signings by genre.  The cornerstone of reality television is the cheap production cost.  You would think from the volume of reality shows that your friends and neighbors really have an interest in this stuff, but what is being pitched to the studios is bottom line numbers.  In an era when genuinely good shows earn less than they used to because of the amount of competition, studios and investors are turning easier bucks by putting out more reality crap.  Why is reality so much cheaper?  The actors aren’t considered actors since the shows are “real”, as such, the cast and crew are all non-union which sidesteps all of the SAG requirements.  The onscreen personalities are paid in “celebrity”, i.e. just enough money to keep them going and the opportunity to be on a big television show.  Many times they are put in the role of quasi-”contestant” and they compete for an amount of money that may seem large but is exponentially cheaper than paying a dozen C-list onscreen personalities.


The most effective producers in this paradigm are the most brutal accountants, the people who are able to squeeze the most from people for the least.  That spark of creativity and ability to do something unique stopped being the hot commodity in Hollywood, and we all have to suffer through the substance vacuum.


The thing that we lose sight of is that we aren’t contributing anything anymore.  There is almost nothing that major studios and labels offer that is thought-provoking or insightful or even very funny.  For every hour we spend watching someone eat goat crap or play dodgeball, we are just treading water.  Wasting time.  That is the goal of all our modern entertainment.  Turn off your brain for a couple hours.  What is more…that is our pervading cultural theme.  That is what we will be remembered for…wasting time.  I appreciate people trying to make a buck, but America should demand more for its attention.  When I look back on my life I won’t give a damn about Full House reruns or Who Wants to Marry a Douche Bag?…and I hope my life is important enough to me to not waste too many hours that I could have been making memories with.











We received this e-mail recently and shouts of joy coming from the H.O.P.E. office could be heard from miles around.  Please note that in the e-mail it is mentioned how important “buzz” is to these films getting made.  If you see something you think is bad entertainment, raise your voice.

Hello H.O.P.E.!

You have no idea how damn happy I am that you all
exist. Seriously. I love you all.

I have a little inside info for you on the Jay G.
movie. I am quite embarrassed to say that I have had
business dealings in the past with Lance Bass and his
production company A Happy Place, which has now been
renamed Bacon & Eggs. (I’m only guessing Lancey is
going for a new grown-up image to match his new
grown-up nose?) I have it on good authority that his
producing partner, Wendy Thorlakson, is trying to get
“Jay G.” made, but she is no longer trying to do it
with Lance or goddamn Paris Hilton attached to star in
it. I can only assume the buzz has been so terrible,
she had no choice.

The story is actually an adaptation of a novel written
by Gordon Korman called “Jake, Reinvented.” The novel
was fairly well reviewed and is an updating of sorts
of Fitzgerald’s “Gatsby.” However, in the hands of a
former boy band member turned wanna-be cosmonaut from
Mississippi and his dippy little gal-pal, God only
knows how awful it will be.

Like I said, I have had business dealings with A Happy
Place/Bacon & Eggs and while I am quite glad to no
longer be in business with them, I know what a
vindictive pain-in-the-ass Wendy and Lancey-Poo can be
and I really don’t want to face their wrath. So please
keep me anonymous and I will keep you posted when or
if I hear more.

Keep up the good work!
– Deep Throat







Ed note:  Many in the media are reporting that this exchange is inspired by Ashlee Simpson lip synching on SNL. This brief article is one H.O.P.E. member’s response to that misconception






By Ryan McMichael

H.O.P.E. Member


She dyed her hair black so she must be serious.

The first thing that we would like to make clear is that our recent Ashlee Simpson CD exchange was not provoked by or designed as a reaction to her recent SNL lip synching “gaffe.” As stated numerous times by various H.O.P.E. members, H.O.P.E. affiliates, H.O.P.E. press secretaries, and H.O.P.E. moms n’ dads, this event was in the works long before she ever danced the jig on live TV. Our gripe is not simply with her lip synching, but with her far bigger embarrassment: “Autobiography.”

Secondly, to the members of the media who ask “Doesn’t everybody lip synch?” The answer is simple: No, that’s ridiculous. If you consider all bands and artists in this country right now, not simply the ones on halftime shows and pillowcases, I’d say that less than 1% have ever even considered lip synching. The fact that lip synching has reached a point in our cultural consciousness that its considered “okay” or “allowable” byanyone is just testament to the obnoxious level of watering-down and talentless saturation that our popular culture has endured. It’s time to take off our cultural training wheels. There are people with good voices all over the world who can hit notes on cue without the aid of a prerecorded track behind them. If an artist isn’t confident and talented enough to get on a stage and rock the mic on their own, then they should crawl off that stage and into whatever IHOP is currently hiring.

And I know, I know, it’s so hard to dance and sing at the same time, with the hot lights and the tight pants and the pyrotechnics guy timing your every move, and the acid reflux, and, and, and…. And I for one refuse to suffer any more excuses for lip synching, for terrible corporate art, and for the festering state of American pop music today. My eye is twitching right now just thinking about it.

In short, the Ashlee Simpson exchange was designed to protest her shameful album, not her shameful lip synching, although both are abysmal. Thanks again for all those from around the world who showed great support and an understanding of our cause. Stay tuned; we’ve got some fun things in the works.








Up until I was thirteen years old, all I knew about music was from what was put in front of me.  My tape collection included Bryan Adams, Scorpions, Van Halen, and other bands that were playing on MTV or that my friends and other kids at school were listening to. Luckily, that year I made a friend named Palmer Johnston who laughed until he cried when he saw the limited scope of my taste and introduced me to a completely new world of music. These bands and performers were not featured on MTV, and didn’t get radio play on the stations my other friends were listening to. Most of them I had never even heard of, or considered too “old” to be worthwhile. I’m sure many of the Ashlee fans are having that same experience right now when they look at the list of groups we’re providing for trade. Surprising to me though, after listening to these bands and performers like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Van Morrison I couldn’t find hardly any redeeming qualities at all with most of what I had been listening. From a musical perspective, my whole world had changed


Many years after the fact some of those bands from my original tape collection I look back at with fondness, and will listen to if they come on the radio.  With others, the mere thought of hearing them is not a welcomed thought at all.  It’s not that it isn’t possible to like both Ashlee Simpson and Elvis Costello… it’s just once you’ve been exposed to more and more music, you gain a different perspective on what both offer.  In Ashlee’s case, that would be nothing.
Something that is important to remember is that Ashlee Simpson fans, are not necessarily bad people, stupid, or lacking taste. Yes, many of them are celebrity obsessed, make music decisions based on the wardrobe of the performer, or are just looking to be a part of what they perceive as being hot at the moment, but in most cases due to large media conglomerates who shove certain artists down their throats in every possible avenue, they have not been exposed to much beyond these banal pop tarts. That’s where H.O.P.E. comes in. What we’re really hoping for isn’t that Ashlee fans trade their CDs to us and become hooked on Ray Charles, it’s that they’re exposed to different music that starts them looking for themselves into what they like as opposed to what is forced in front of them.
The point is, I’m glad I was exposed to more music and the Ashlee fans we’re hearing from are looking to make that same leap.  For that they should be applauded, not ridiculed.  They may not like some of the bands on our list;  hell, I don’t like some of the bands on our list., that’s why this isn’t about enforcing personal taste, or saying someone’s opinion is better than another’s.  It’s about offering people more of a choice.  Not all of these kids have a friend like I did with the intellectual curiosity to find material outside of the peer group and turn them on to different kinds of music.  And not all of these kids can afford to buy unlimited CDs in the name of exploration.  That’s why if they get their Brian Wilson or Elvis Costello CD and say “This old guy sounds weird,” they can send it back to us and either get another from our long list of titles, or go back to Ashlee.  But either way they’ve started the process of finding great music for themselves and figuring out their own personal taste may be different from AOL’s.  And that, my friends, is truly a great thing.










Hey guys, we’ve been swamped here.  Hang tight and I will get to all of your e-mails personally.  Details of how to become a member, starting your own H.O.P.E. chapter, and how else you can help is on its way.  Thank you so much for all of your kind words and interest.  We’ve now had over 3 million hits on the website and support from around the world.  Remember, of the 300 million Americans there are 299 million of us in this country and many more around the globe who are sick of having these phony musicians forced on us and who couldn’t care less about Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and the like.  We are with you, the good people of America and the world, in your ongoing fight to have your voice heard!









Thursday, September 23, 2004
Copyright © Las Vegas Mercury


Dear Young Hollywood

By Tod Goldberg




Cheer up guys, maybe Lance will get Joe Eszterhas to do the rewrite.

Dear Young Hollywood,



Ah, the impetuous nature of youth! So many dreams! So many hopes! I know you well, Young Hollywood, with your enhanced cleavage and not-meddlesome-enough parents. I give you my permission to marry poorly, date B-level cast members of “That ’70s Show” and cut pop records that have all the artistic merit of the Maloof brothers’ chest hair. But I will not allow you to mess with great works of fiction for your own nefarious movie-making will.


What is this I speak of, you ask? I just read that Paris Hilton has signed on to play Daisy Buchanan in a remake of The Great Gatsby and that Mr. Gatsby himself will be played by Chris Carmack–purportedly a “star” on the TV show “The O.C.”–and that former N’Sync heartthrob/astronaut Lance Bass is set to produce the movie. I can’t think of a worse combination of elements, lest that one place is the Palms and we’re being ushered out of the area for lack of plasticine good looks. But never mind that: amateur porn stars, bad actors and dreadful singers are allowed to prosper in business and life and love and bully for them…let them make Mean Girls 7 or Final Destination 14 or any number of films about very attractive people falling into and out of love with

Freddie Prinze Jr., but keep your hands off the great literature of our time.


I understand how these things happen, Young Hollywood. You get some money in your pocket, you get a phalanx of brown-nosing pseudo-friends on your payroll, an eight-ball of coke, a couple of dead hookers and next thing you know, you think you can do it all better than its been done before. Cut to five years later and you’re on the new season of “The Surreal Life” trying to stop, collaborate and listen. Let me inform you now, Ms. Hilton, Mr. Carmack and Mr. Bass, you will fail and you will fail mightily. There is no green light at the end of a dock for you (and I challenge any single one of you three to catch the nuance of that and all futures references I make).

There have been some fine adaptations of classic–and not classic–novels in the last few years so I understand why you’d think this was a good choice. The problem, as I see it, is that excellent actors and actresses and filmmakers have tried to make Gatsby and even they have failed, which begs the question why anyone would bank on Ms. Hilton to be the emotional linchpin of the cast. I’ve only seen one movie starring Paris Hilton (though I’m sure others exist) and what I can tell you is that she won’t look quite right swathed in white and lounging on a couch with Jordan Baker, their dresses rippling and fluttering as if they had just blown back in after a short flight around the house…unless the actress playing Jordan Baker is engorged on Viagra and is doing her best to incapacitate Ms. Hilton with aggressive thrusting and poor videotaping technique.


That’s not to say young actors can’t play pivotal roles in movies based on books, because surely they do, though evidence suggests they usually make a mess of things: Ethan Hawke in Snow Falling on Cedars, Ethan Hawke in Great Expectations, Ethan Hawke in Hamlet. Rather, I say, Young Hollywood, it is the temerity of your vanity to believe that an updated version of Gatsby is needed and that someone who once warbled the great lines of despair “Bye/ Bye/ Bye” would be the one to bring it all to us.


Of course, this could all be for naught. Movies go into and out of development on a whim, scripts get written and rewritten, rights get sold and resold and resold and turned around and resold again, actors fall on and off pictures as often as they binge and purge. The books remain on the shelves, which is nice, and eventually, Young Hollywood, another one of you will stumble across Fitzgerald or Faulkner for the first time and you’ll decide that The Sound and the Fury would make for a fantastic movie, provided there is a way to have it take place in Manhattan…at an all-girls school…and with a dreamy leading man who reads poetry, but is also obsessed with time, and clocks, and has a troubled brother…but loves to dance! And sing! Bye, bye, bye.

So, you beat on, Young Hollywood, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into my antagonism. I don’t blame you for finding books for the first time in your young lives. I don’t blame you for wanting to make good cinema. No, I blame you for thinking that the world needs Paris Hilton as Daisy Buchanan, that guy from that show as Jay Gatsby and Lance Bass as, essentially, F. Scott Fitzgerald. See, I believe in the orgiastic future, and maybe you do, too, Young Hollywood, but I just can’t abide the sense that when you run faster, stretching your arms out farther…you’ll end up with Matthew Lillard playing Nick Carraway.


Yours in the valley of ashes,







Gatzby 2 - Electric Boogaloo

Looks like you’re F’d on this one Mr. Fitzgerald…

Keeping an eye out for one very angry zombie.

I know the following story and link appear to be an Onion article, or gives the impression that you are being Pizunk’d in one of Ashton and pals zany and hilarious practical jokes.  Sadly, I can assure you this is too absurd for the Onion and that no B-list celeb is coming through your door to let you in on the prank .  In April of 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald published the classic novel The Great Gatsby.  In the fall of 2005, we may be seeing an “updated” version of that brilliant work of literature on the silver screen produced by Lance Bass of ‘N Sync and starring Paris Hilton of Paris Hilton Inc.  Have we really fallen that far in 80 years?







Paris Hilton Latest: ‘Gatsby’ Remake


Thursday, September 09, 2004

By Roger Friedman


Maybe F. Scott Fitzgerald is rolling in his grave. Then again, maybe not.

All I know is, entrepreneurial ‘N Sync singer Lance Bass is getting ready to produce a big-screen take on “The Great Gatsby” with Paris Hilton as an updated Daisy Buchanan.


Maybe someone will ask Paris tonight at her, uh, book party if she’s even read “The Great Gatsby.” Perhaps Merle Ginsberg, the ghostwriter of “Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose,” will read it to her tonight at Lot 61.


Anyway, if Bass and his partners get their way, the Jay Gatsby character will be played by Chris Carmack, the third lead young man on Fox’s TV series “The O.C.”


Jamie-Lynn DiScala, of “The Sopranos,” will play Tom Buchanan’s love interest — made famous in the 1974 film version by Karen Black and in 1949 by Shelley Winters.






Lance Bass To Star In ‘Gatsby’ Film With Paris Hilton

So what does Lance Bass have in common with hotel heiress Paris Hilton?

Well, besides being blonde and getting invited to socialite-stuffed shindigs, the ‘NSYNC vocalist and the older half of the model/actress Hilton sisters are teaming up for the latest Hollywood take on an F. Scott Fitzgerald classic.

“[It's] a remake along the lines of ‘The Great Gatsby,’ but younger,” Bass explained at Wednesday’s “Matrix Reloaded” premiere in Los Angeles.  Bass will star in the currently-in-development flick, one of many he has on his plate.


F. Scott wrote “The Great Gatsby”,                 Lance Bass is the one seated in

possibly America’s greatest novel.                    the middle with the highlights.

There are some rumblings that this film is really going to happen.  Rest assured, we at H.O.P.E. have a close eye on this situation, and the moment we hear ”G2, The Remix” goes into production, we will wage a full scale campaign against it.  We will also be meeting with California law makers and advocacy groups shortly to discuss collecting enough signatures to put a proposition up for vote in the State of California that would give artists the power to specify where in the public domain they allow their work to by used when the work is eligible.  This proposition would keep classics out of the hands of the studios and ensure any artist who so desires could have their work remain unblemished by corporate greed indefinitely.







by Greg Johnson

 H.O.P.E. Member

When one looks at the actual sales figures, Ashlee Simpson’s triple platinum-selling debut album sold to — at best — 1 percent of the population. No matter how much the publicists spin it, the fact is that 99% of the population is not particularly interested in Ashlee, her silicone vocal chords, and her brittle artistic vision. Paris Hilton’s vapid television show The Simple Life drew just under 10 million viewers for its much-touted season finale. That means that over 290 million Americans are not watching the show. Yet the uninterested majority still suffers through an endless barrage of media coverage of these worthless celebrities and their petty triumphs and travails. Weeks after her actual wedding ceremony dominated the news cycle, the bureaucratic filing of Britney Spears’ marriage license with officials in Los Angeles County was the top story on many network news affiliates and in newspapers across the country. Paris Hilton’s lost dog trumped news of the Iraqi war. Even the H.O.P.E.-inspired backlash against Ashlee Simpson’s shoddy album attracted media coverage disproportionate to anyone’s actual interest in this exceptionally uninteresting human being.


Objective criticism of substandard new movie releases has been replaced with newscasters gleefully repeating ticket grosses as if they were sports playoff scores. As each crappy new movie breaks all previous box office records–solelybecause of continuous increases in population size and ticket prices–the film’s weekend earnings becomes a top story on cable and network news, though in reality, the only people who should be interested in these figures at all are the film’s investors. Meanwhile, if the revenues are adjusted to account for increasing population and ticket prices, one finds that these so-called “blockbusters” are attracting less-than-stellar revenues, screening to average-sized audiences who are becoming increasingly restless about the dismal quality of entertainment on offer. Many of these films would end up complete financial failures if not for the worldwide distribution system that dumps these cinematic turkeys onto international audiences via cable television, endlessly repeating movies that no one has any real interest in viewing, while choosing to let older, quality films from the studios’ long and illustrious catalogs rot on the shelves, in many cases, never to screen again.


Don’t be fooled into thinking that everyone around you supports these insubstantial faux “celebrities” and that you are alone in longing for the days when a new release might actually pique your interest. You are part of the silent majority of our country: people who are sick of what passes for “popular” culture these days, and can’t be bothered to watch these banal shows, attend these disappointing movies, and buy these generic, trivial CDs. Most of us would love for a new film to provide a thoughtful distraction, a pleasant night out on the town–rather than simply leave us agitated and ripped-off.


If you’re fed up, and would like to help fight to raise the standards of the entertainment on offer and bring more attention to the quality artists who are silenced by a clueless corporate system–join H.O.P.E., and let’s take back America’s legacy of innovation in film, music and art!


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