Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Trials and Tribulations of Luc Besson S.A.

Fooey.  Phigures.  And here I was, all set to give my two cents about Luc Besson on the eve of his greatest American triumph.  In case you missed it, he's got a new film out this weekend.  It's called Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.  On the other hand, Christopher Nolan's got a new film out this weekend, and it's called Dunkirk!  And now, everyone's scrambling for their history books, whether on shelves or just on line.  Why, I'll bet dollars to donuts that Wikipedia's page for Dunkirk is blowing up as we speak.  There's also Girls Trip which marks a triumphant return of form for Queen Latifah, if only for me.  For others, it's probably just the latest in a series of triumphs from the Queen.  Where Girls Trip succeeded where that other one just failed, well... Rough Night, I think it's called.  I ain't afraid to say it: Spike Lee's cousin's got the populist touch!
But let's get back to the Spielberg of France, Luc Besson, because he still is in the Top 10 this week, and he's got that new Valerian movie out.  Hard to say if it'll become a new series of his like Arthur and the Invisibles, but only time will tell.  I guess web-centric people got scared off by the title, because just as everyone's an amateur psychiatrist / psychologist now, thanks to these damn computers all over the place... so too is everyone an amateur nutritionist.  And they looked up the word "valerian" and said "Yawn" to themselves... see, valerian root is used to help people get to sleep at night.  It's harder now, on account of these damn internet-connected computers.  One hyperlink leads to another, I'm telling you.  And yet, somehow I keep consistently avoiding stuff like the Drudge Report or that Info Wars web site.  Incidentally, that's still a confusing name to me.  So, Alex Jones has info that's fighting other info?  Wonder where he keeps his tin foil hat.  I guess someone with a tin foil hat who gets into broadcasting is trying to make strides towards recovery; either that, or they're just a hypocrite.
But back once again to Ph.D. recipient and writer of The Karate Kid Robert Mark Kamen's favourite writing partner, Luc Besson.  Kamen's Ph.D. is apparently about "American studies."  Not every Ph.D. bearer who wrote about American studies can turn it into a successful Hollywood career, mind you.  Now, earlier, I referred to Luc Besson as the Spielberg of France.  I can already sense some of you taking issue with that.  I mean, how many Victoria's Secret models has Spielberg worked with?  One?  Two?  Besson's probably got way more under his belt!  Take Angel-A's Rie Rasmussen, fer instance.  Or how about Gisele Bundchen in 2004's Taxi?  Incidentally, ALSO WITH Queen Latifah!!!  It's all come full circle so quickly.  See, not only is Luc Besson a prolific writer and director, saving all the A-list projects for himself of course... but he's also got his fingers squarely on the pulse of the douchebag class.  Coked-up models, people who just like to dress up in pork pie hats and cowboy boots... and no uggos.  Absolutely no uggos.  I mean, dayamn!  Even the UGGO aliens in Valerian aren't Uggo's.  Only the best and most photogenic for Luc.
But he hasn't got time for all the stuff he writes.  He's kinda like Stephen King that way.  And while Luc doesn't seem to have gone so far as to use a pseudonym like Richard Bachman or Chris Gaines, he does farm out the B-projects and lower to individuals he feels are qualified to do the heavy lifting.  Individuals like Olivier Megaton, Olivier Dahan, Olivier Van Hoofstadt... almost anyone with the first name Olivier.  Reminds him of his youth when he saw Olivier in... something.  Maybe Spartacus.  Because if you want to be a global phenomenon like Luc Besson, you've got to try and conquer the American market, which means working with handsome bastards like McG, or Tim Matheson, an older version of McG.  And others like Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, and Tim Story and Alek Kardashian... I mean, Keshishian.
But it's also important to stay in your own backyard, so to speak.  In Luc Besson's case, the European Union.  Which means managing such people talent as Lexi Alexander and Patrick Alessandrin and Jean-Hugues Anglade and Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Bibo Bergeron and Richard Berry and Frédéric Berthe and Jeanne Biras and Bertrand Blier and Bernie Bonvoisin and Patrick Bouchitey and Laurent Bouhnik and Christophe Campos and Erik Canuel and Ludovic Colbeau-Justin and Brian W. Cook and Louis-Pascal Couvelaire and Leanna Creel and Holly Dale and Camille Delamarre and Roger Delattre and James DeMonaco and Julien Despaux and Rachid Dhibou and Isabelle Doval and Jean-Jacques Dumonceau and Bruno François-Boucher and Frédéric Garson and Xavier Gens and Rebecca Gibson and Thomas Gilou and Patrick Grandperret and Alex Graves and Barthélémy Grossmann and Didier Grousset and Matthias Hoene and Akim Isker and Bill Johnson and Clark Johnson and Elodie Keene and Gérard Krawczyk and Gilles Lellouche and Gregory Lemaire and Didier Le Pêcheur and Louis Leterrier and Stéphane Levallois and...
...WHEW!  I'm pooped.  And it's not just the diarrhea talking.  I mean, that is a lot of people.  And I went to a medium-sized high school!  I can't remember that many people my own damn self, as David Letterman might say!  But, I guess that's what separates people like me from the Luc Bessons of the world.  But a few lucky ones are able to break through the proverbial fog and go on to greatness, or at least near greatness.  Near Besson's unique, Tarantino-esque brand of greatness.  People like James Mather, Bruce McDonald, Lisa Meeches, Niko Meulemans, George Mihalka, Andy Mikita, Pierre Morel, David Morlet, Chris Nahon, Michael Offer, Mark Palansky, Xavier Palud, Vincent Perez, P.J. Pesce, Prachya Pinkaew, Gérard Pirès, Stefan Pleszczynski, Steven Quale, Jean-François Richet, Joachim Rønning, Jan Rouiller, Espen Sandberg, T. J. Scott, Sophie Schmit, Stephen St. Leger, Romeo Tirone, Aristomenis Tsirbas, Brad Turner, Eric Valette, César Vayssié, Philippe Vidal, Aruna Villiers, Thomas Vinterberg, Stephen Williams, and Cor(e)y Yuen.  Then you got your big shots like David Thewlis, Guy Ritchie, Gary Oldman obviously... you know, The Professional, The Fifth Element and what not and... Tommy Lee Jones?  Really?

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