Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"The Kid Stays in the Picture" is a self-serving autobiography of film producer Robert Evans

The Kid Stays in the Picture” is the 2002 film autobiography of film producer Robert Evans (born Robert J. Shapera in 1930 in NYC), based on his own book, directed by Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen.  The film was originally released by USA Films, and the Netflix DVD comes from WB.
The movie is narrated by Evans in fast “sotto voce”, sounding a bit like a character out of the Coen Brothers world.  He is best known for rehabilitating Paramount as a studio producer starting in the late 1960s, and continuing a successful connection after going independent in the late 1970s.  But then a conviction for drug possession and then an indirect connection with a murder (he was never charged in that regard) made it impossible for anyone to do business with him for a while, until he came back in the 1990s.  Even then he would survive a stroke.
Evans was breathtakingly handsome, which raises the question as to why he didn’t make a go as an actor. 
Evans talks about many of his important projects.  One of the earliest was “The Detective” (1969).  Remember that line that Frank Sinatra speaks, “p.. cut off”.  The film was indeed a bit homophobic (“What did you like about his body …. It was soft, like a girl’s.”)  Evans sidesteps Hollywood’s gradual emergence from its own prejudices He talks about a couple of his greatest hits, most of all “Love Story” (with Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw), as culture-setting feel-good-about-bad story (people saw it multiple times, and I remember it well, having just started working).  That film would inspire today’s “The Fault in our Stars” (June 9).  Then he moves on to “The Godfather”.  I remember setting aside a whole afternoon to see that in a New York City theater near Columbus Circle in 1972.  Remember Brando talking about the “services” he delivers that people want, a forerunner of libertarianism.  In the many testimonials included with the DVD, Evans takes credit for making the original books upon which these movies were based commercially successful.  I wondered, could a producer do that for me, today?
The film can be rented on YouTube for $2.99. 
Note that “The Kid Stays out of the Picture” was a “Will and Grace” episode.
I know someone in the clubs people call  “The Kid”, a musician with his career in the sciences and medicine.  It’s rather common.  But it’s hard to stay in the picture, especially if you go to medical school.  
Picture: Disney (my CA trip in 2012).  

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