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Firestorm brewing over Oscar producer Brett Ratner’s gay slur

Firestorm brewing over Oscar producer Brett Ratner’s gay slur (photo)

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There’s a firestorm brewing in Southern California this week, and it has nothing to with high winds or drought conditions. As first reported by Vulture, “Tower Heist” director and 2012 Academy Awards producer Brett Ratner shocked an audience at the ArcLight Cinemas in Los Angeles last week by responding to a question about his attitude toward cast rehearsals with the line “Rehearsing is for fags.” And suddenly every problem I’ve ever had with the acting in Brett Ratner’s movies makes sense.

Ratner quickly submitted an apology to TheWrap (“I apologize for any offense my remarks caused. It was a dumb way of expressing myself.”) and Academy president Tom Sherak told Deadline that he accepted it. But that hasn’t stopped some within the Academy and the industry from calling for Ratner to be fired as producer of next year’s Oscars.

TheWrap quoted an unnamed “longtime Academy member” worried that Ratner’s antics were “tarnishing” the Oscars’ brand. And over on Grantland, Mark Harris filed a piece entitled “Why the Academy Should Fire Brett Ratner.”

“There’s not really a long, nuanced debate to be had about this. If he had used an equivalent racial or religious slur, the discussion would go something like, ‘You’re fired.’ Apology or not. The same rule applies here.”

Harris probably has a point there. If the Academy had hired Michael Richards to produce the Oscars a few months before he went onstage at the Laugh Factory and began to throw around the n-word, he would have almost certainly been fired. If Ratner keeps his job, that would be a double standard.

That said, I don’t think Ratner’s comments were malicious, just intensely stupid. When I was a grad student at NYU, I attended a campus screening of “After the Sunset” with Ratner on hand for post-screening Q&A (don’t judge: it was free and I was poor). I can’t cite specifics, but the impression I got listening to him ramble on was similar to the one I get listening to Lars von Trier give props to Hitler. These guys love to be the center of attention and to play the role of the crazy, maverick filmmaker. Unfortunately, they’re not properly equipped to talk in public. They get caught up in the character they’re playing and they don’t think before they speak, and then they say dumb stuff like this.

Given the swiftness of his apology and the soundness of the vote of confidence from Sherak, I don’t think Ratner’s going anywhere — unless he makes the doubly boneheaded move of dropping another offensive remark in public before February 26, 2012. On the other hand, put aside the homophobic portion of his remark for a moment and just look at what Ratner says: the guy doesn’t believe in rehearsals! Don’t they rehearse the Oscars for, like, weeks before the broadcast? Should the producer of the Oscars be so dismissive about the all-important preparations for the show? I guess if the Oscars look unusually sloppy this year, we’ll know why.

Should Brett Ratner be fired as producer of the Oscars? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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