The LAT ran a feature today on the newest male-bonding craze to consume Hollywood power players — and no, it doesn't involve cocaine, Red Bull, or bottle service at Opera. Instead, it's an activity dubbed "Nerd Poker," and it offers almost 100 of Hollywood's behind-the-scenes talents a weekly chance to socialize while playing video games on Xbox Live. Though many use it as a fun way to score meetings and network, it can also allow its members the sort of cathartic outlet they'd typically be arrested for:
It was dark and drizzling when screenwriter Justin Marks did what many in Hollywood have fantasized during their bleakest career moments: He attacked his agent with a chain saw.
Marks hunched behind a wall, revved the chain saw motor and leaned forward. Next came the grinding, spinning sound of metal cutting through bone, the blood spattering, the agent's arm and head flying off. Marks grinned, unsheathed a shotgun and went in search of his next target: a reporter for Variety. Marks was just doing his job — kill or be killed — in the video game Gears of War, which he plays from the comfort of a brown leather couch in his Los Angeles home. Every Thursday night, he and dozens of other up-and-comers in Hollywood turn on their Xboxes to engage in violent killing, mock each other and sometimes even talk shop.
Kudos for Marks & Co. for discovering a fun way to conduct a Hollywood mixer that doesn't have to take place at the Formosa. We hope this trend continues past its current group of up-and-comers; after all, while it's one thing for the screenwriter behind a Street Fighter movie to enjoy video games, what we're really waiting for is someone like Scott Rudin jumping online to "pwn some nOObs" at Halo 3. [photo credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu / For the Los Angeles Times]