After I got over the emotional experience of seeing America embrace an African American as its president, I found myself wondering: Did this election really represent a huge cultural triumph as well as a political mandate? That was a big reason why I spent Friday night with "Soul Men" producer David Friendly, watching him do what producers often do on their film's opening night, traveling around to local theaters to see whether their movie has any juice at the box office. "Soul Men" isn't just any movie. It's a comedy starring two prominent African Americans, Sam Jackson and the late Bernie Mac, playing '70s-era backup singers who reluctantly reunite three decades later to play at a memorial concert for their old frontman. So it was an intriguing cultural test case: Would white audiences come out to watch an R-rated comedy with two black actors engaging in uproarious, but often barbed and profane insult humor? The box-office results provided a simple answer: No.And here we were thinking that audiences just didn't want to see this movie! In fact, later in the piece, Goldstein admits that theaters at the Magic Johnson complex were only half-full for Soul Men's first 10:15 screening, suggesting that even black audiences weren't moved to see a film where the only surviving member of the main cast has a terrible, terrible goatee-type thing. Patrick, dump the politics-cum-pop analysis (we're still trying to shake off "Secret Life of Bees Buries the 'Bradley Effect'") and stick to what you do best: going out to lunch with producers you know, and occasionally basing an entire film's box office outlook on what a Brentwood nine-year-old had to say about it.
If you're excited to read something terrible today, you're in luck! The LAT's Patrick Goldstein has taken time out of his busy, blogger-excoriating schedule to continue his second career as a one-man promo machine for the Samuel L. Jackson/Bernie Mac vehicle Soul Men, and today, he's produced a real whopper. Periodically, Goldstein has used his column to check in with the film's producer David Friendly (also a former LAT writer, and thus easy to get on the phone) to rebut rumors about Soul Men that you haven't heard, but rarely have the results been this dunderheaded: