The Hangover, Part 2 & Black Swan in More Legal Hot Water?

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You know you pick the People’s Choice Awards nominees and winners, right? That stuff’s your call. Not every awards show can say that – because quite frankly not every awards show pays one iota of attention to what those watching and listening actually think. Or want. Not that I mind an 85-year old man and his cronies deciding what the year’s best picture is. I just think it’s more fun when we all get to decide. So be sure to go here,and let us know who should be nominated!

Here’s my favorite entertainment headline of the week so far (courtesy of the Huffington Post):

Man Sues ‘The Hangover, Part II,’ Says It Was His Life Story’

Most delightful about this headline of course is the fact that it’s for real. According to news sources Michael Alan Rubin is suing the makers of the Hangover sequel for allegedly stealing the plot from his own life experience. Reportedly Rubin went to the Far East to marry his fiancée in a traditional Japanese ceremony. Ultimately, his bride left him and he went off to find himself in and around Southeast Asia – which is where he wrote a screenplay. The one he says the Hangover peeps stole. This is not the first lawsuit leveled at TH2, there was one about Ed Helms’ tattoo and also one filed by a stuntman who was seriously injured. A few minor points here: first of all, wasn’t the point of The Hangover, Part 2 the fact that it was pretty much an event-by-event replica of the original – only raunchier? And second, aren’t guys whose lives are temporarily ruined by mishaps caused by alcohol-fueled, wedding-themed debauchery kind of fair game by now? Not sure. What I do know is that lawsuits where writers claim to have written something that ultimately appears with someone else’s name on the marquis are a dime a dozen. It’s very hard to protect stuff – especially when there are big stars/budgets involved.Which brings me to my next point: is this the cinematic version of ambulance chasing? Because you never hear about lawsuits filed against super low-budget indie films that aren’t profitable, do you?

For today’s poll, we have a few movies who faced lawsuits. My favorite is Black Swan, where a group of Hollywood interns sued the movie studio over unpaid labor. Really?? This lawsuit, I am nearly certain, will go nowhere fast. They’re complaining that they worked on a movie that made in excess of $300 million dollars but they were never paid and they had to get coffee and even perform janitorial duties. Right out of the gate, I’m wondering if “cleaning up a messy onset kitchen” or “throwing food away from the cast snack table” would be considered “janitorial”. I’m betting the plaintiffs think so. Having been an intern many times, I have no idea just how much coffee I procured for people, but it was plenty. Nor do I recall the number of lunches I ferried to executives, senators, and editors – that number was also sizable. What I don’t get here is where the word “intern” came to equal “paid employee”. I’ve long been under the impression that interning was supposed to put you in an environment (of your choice, BTW) where you’re given the opportunity for hands-on experience while observing the goings-on of a particular industry (that had interested you in the first place). Right? I do not regret for a second any internship I had, nor did anyone owe me a salary. Oh sure, it would have been fantastic, but sometimes you’re willing to work for free when you want to learn. Who do these kids in Hollywood think they are? This astonishes me. This story is getting a ton of traction right now, and people have argued that legally, a company has to provide a teaching experience – in return for school credit. That’s beyond fair, but it’s also not too realistic. I say working in the smallest, most inbred business there is? These kids are lucky to have found internships at all. Perhaps they ought not to complain. But that’s just me.

Today’s poll:

The Hangover, Part 2 is being sued by a disgruntled screenwriter. Which of these other movies  – targeted with nasty lawsuits –  is your favorite:

1)    Borat

2)    Black Swan

3)    Traffic

4)    The Hurt Locker 

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