The Fix

MPAA forbids use of Richard Roeper comment in "Fahrenheit 9/11" ads, Moore movie prompts re-release of Neil Young song, and Candace Bushnell squares off against her former manager.

Published June 28, 2004 9:32AM (EDT)

Afternoon Briefing:

Roeper's comments roped in: Because "Fahrenheit 9/11" has been rated R, the MPAA says the film's distributor, Lion's Gate, can't use the quote by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper that "Everyone should see this film." The Weinsteins, Lion's Gate and Roeper are protesting. Roeper, in his column today, says "For the record: Whether you're a Bush-backer, an anti-Bushite or an undecided, you should see 'Fahrenheit 9/11' and decide for yourself whether it's an important and valuable critique of the president, or an irresponsible piece of propaganda. Because of some raw language and mostly because of footage that brings home the horrors of war, this movie should not be viewed by young children. Everyone else should see it." (Chicago Sun-Times)

Neil rocks the free world, again: Reprise records will re-release Neil Young's 1989 hit "Rockin' in the Free World" this summer along with a video directed by Michael Moore. The song plays over the closing credits to "Farenheit 9/11." Young, who originally released the song as a comment on the first President Bush's policies, says the re-release is perfectly timed. (Daily Variety via Big News Network)

Lance appeals: Three days before he's scheduled to ride in the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong will be riding to court. On Wednesday he is appealing a decision against his request that a denial that he used banned drugs be inserted into a book that was released last week. "L.A. Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong," by David Walsh and Pierre Ballester, quotes physiotherapist Emma O'Reilly saying that Armstrong used the blood booster EPO and that he asked her to use makeup to cover needle marks on his arm. Armstrong has always denied using such drugs. (AFP)

Catholic Church condemns film: The church has said a documentary airing Monday on HBO made by British filmmaker Antony Thomas links celibacy to the recent child-abuse scandals. A Catholic News Service review of the film called it "a polemic against the Catholic Church's entire sexual ethos." Thomas says of his documentary: "It is something we've done, if you like, with strong feelings of love, and strong concerns about something that is unnecessarily damaging the church." (BBC)

Fight over "Sex": Candace Bushnell's former manager, Clifford Streit, says Bushnell owes him around $500,000 in commissions because it was he who brought her book to HBO and later got the author serious syndication revenues. Says Bushnell, "It's just too silly for me to comment on." (IMDb)

-- Karen Croft

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Turn On:
The third episode of "The Casino" (9 p.m. ET; Fox) trades on one of Sin City's oldest stereotypes: the young woman, new to Vegas, looking for her big break -- will this be it? Following a showing of "Bruce Almighty," HBO's "America Undercover" premieres "Celibacy" (10 p.m. ET; HBO), filmmaker Antony Thomas' look into the crisis in the Catholic Church and the religious and sociocultural roots of abstinence.

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Moore's whopping weekend: Just how much did "Fahrenheit 9/11" take in over the weekend? $21.8 million, though it opened on just 868 screens. What does that mean? It means it was the No. 1 movie in America this weekend, the first documentary ever not only to be a weekend top grosser but also to land in the weekend top five, the highest opening-weekend grosser of all Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winners, and the highest-grossing documentary of all time (excluding concert films and such). (Box Office Mojo) Commented producer Harvey Weinstein: "It's beyond anybody's expectations. I'd have to say the sky's the limit on this movie. Who knows what territory we're in." Said Moore: "Clearly something has happened here that no one expected. And there aren't words to describe how any of us feel this morning on hearing this news." (N.Y. Times) The movie got a 90 percent favorable rating with newspaper movie critics across the country, according to a survey conducted by Editor and Publisher magazine, but Moore's own hometown paper, the Flint Journal, said the film was "not its director's most seamless mix of information, opinion and entertainment," though the reviewer, Ed Bradley, also called it "essential viewing." (Editor and Publisher)

When columnists collide: A fight has broken out between Bill O'Reilly and his fellow N.Y. Daily News columnist Jack Mathews. In a recent entertainment column, Mathews compared Michael Moore to O'Reilly, writing that both are "ideological thugs who play loose with the facts while fostering hatred in an increasingly polarized country." Moore didn't blink, apparently, but O'Reilly got pissed and lashed out at Mathews on his radio show. Now Mathews has penned a column accusing O'Reilly of lying, adding in a direct note to O'Reilly, "playing truth games with you is like playing three-card monte." (N.Y. Daily News)

Prime-time politicians: Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has gotten his wish: He'll speak during prime time at the Republican National Convention in August. Also expected to speak: Sen. John McCain, retiring Georgia Democrat Sen. Zell Miller, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and N.Y. Gov. George Pataki. It's apparently hoped that they'll all put a kinder, gentler face on the party -- something Vice President Cheney, who is also expected to speak during prime time, is not expected to do. "Cheney soften?" a Bush official asks. "Don't bet on it." (Time magazine)

High on protest: However soft the Republican Party intends to come across during the convention, it probably won't be soft enough for the readers of High Times magazine. And so the magazine is dedicating its latest issue to guiding its readers through the hows and whys of staging successful protests in New York in late August. Of his magazine's switch to a more activist stance, staff political writer Jason Flores-Williams says, "I would liken it to Rolling Stone coming along at the birth of rock 'n' roll. Activism is the new rock 'n' roll." (N.Y. Times)

Also not taking a softer approach: According to Matt Drudge, the media may try to do to John Kerry what they did for Jack Ryan: press to unseal his divorce documents. "This is a trash hunt," a senior Kerry source said. "No, I do not have a clue what is in the papers. But it is none of my business. And it's none of your business, or anyone's business ... You're playing a game of gutter ball, Drudge." (Drudge)

High on J.Lo: The Russian entrepreneurs who were angry at Jennifer Lopez after she failed to show up for the opening of her J.Lo store in Moscow are apparently no longer angry with her. Why? They're raking in the bucks. "They're blowing out of the product," J.Lo's Andy Hilfiger said. "The sales numbers are amazing and we got a letter saying they want to open three more stores." (Page Six)

How Bill Gates spent his summer vacation: The Microsoft honcho and his wife, Melinda, ran into some trouble during a recent trip to Italy. First he was forbidden to land his helicopter on the volcanic island of Stromboli, then, in Sardinia, he was blocked from throwing a beach party by eco-minded locals after he tried to bring tables, chairs and 300 torches ashore from his 200-foot yacht, Goygpus. (Page Six)

Money Quotes:
Theodora Richards, 19-year-old daughter of Keith Richards and Patti Hansen, on Mary-Kate Olsen's decision to check herself in for treatment for anorexia: "That's so sad. But I mean, what about the other one? They're both the same kind of skinny." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

Gwyneth Paltrow, offering up an alarming confession during a recent speech in Los Angeles: "I just had a baby ... My brain cells are coming out in my breast milk." (Rush and Molloy)

-- Amy Reiter

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