Monday, March 30, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Yeah, I'm still going with this hotcast thing.

UPDATE: Someone just emailed asking how--as opposed to why-- I post these extracts. That is correct, he was looking to me-- ME!-- for advice on exporting an mp3 to a blog Just knowing that there's a person out there with less technical expertise than me makes my world a sunnier, happier place.

Friday, March 27, 2009


The reviews are in and reactions to yesterday's premiere Hotcast were overwhelmingly positive.

"Sign me up for the Mental Dental Collective! Oh, and that was the most realistic hiccup I've ever heard, except for, you know, a hiccup. Bravo!" raves Jeffrey Rotter, whose acclaimed debut novel "The Unknown Knowns" is available from all good book stores.

"It sounds like whoever is talking is standing next to a 747 on the tarmac. On a windy day. And I'm inside the terminal. Lip-reading," sobs James Greer whose acclaimed debut novel

Stay tuned, more to come...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hotcast #1

Here's something I'm going to be trying over the next few days. The sound quality may not achieve concert-hall clarity. The content may not make a whole lot of sense out of context but, hopefully, these little bite-size  Hottie extracts will make you want to investigate further.

All Hail Me!

Thanks, Alea!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Death Warrant

I am not a citizen of this nation of  America. But I think I know the spirit that lurks in the heart of it's people. Which is why I feel reasonably confident in predicting that when Megan Joy (Corkrey) smirked "My fans are still here", she instantly consigned herself to oblivion.

Me Me Me

Thanks to Livania for a fun Q&A  that touches on the cover controversy and the plethora of Jonathan Bernsteins plying their trade in the writing racket.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Indie Problem

These are trying times for the little indie movie that lacks a big hook. They're hard to finance. Even harder to market. And next to no-one wants to see them. This weekend I was next to no-one as I sat through two such examples of why the indie movie is in such perilous health. One actually made it onto screens, the other slid through the cracks destined only to be seen by the people who paid for it as they weep over what might have been.

"Sunshine Cleaning" premiered at Sundance a couple of years back and lay moldering on the shelf until now. It's about a pair of sisters so strapped for cash they start a business cleaning the blood and brains from crime scenes. Amy Adams and Emily I -will-watch-her-in-anything Blunt are the sibs with the sponges. Alan Arkin and Steve Zahn offer capable support. It's easy to see why on-the-rise types like Adams and Blunt would offer their services to a tiny movie that likely swelled their personal fortunes by something close to four figures. "Sunshine Cleaning" offers an interesting, measured, offbeat take on a subject that, had it been made by a major studio, would have been a wacky caper comedy. The sisters would have been hapless cleaners who accidentally witnessed a mob slaying and then saved their own skins by doing a bang-up job disposing of the evidence, thereby becoming gangland's go-to post-hit cleaners. Adams would find herself falling for a mob dude who turned out to be undercover FBI and Blunt would acquire a taste for gunplay and...I TOTALLY WANT TO SEE THAT MOVIE!!! It sounds like so much fun. "Sunshine Cleaning" isn't any fun at all. It's sluggish when it's meant to be subtle and it ends up being just as sentimental and sappy as any chick flick.

A few years ago, Brittany Murphy was in the same position Anna Faris is in now: a scene-stealing character actress moving into leading parts. The problem with Murphy was that all those quirks and tics that seemed so diverting when she was the funny best friend made her seem like a mental patient when the entire plot revolved around her. The first few minutes of "The Ramen Girl", one of the teeny-tiny indies she's been churning out since her big studio viability evaporated, demonstrate exactly why the world found her impossible to endure. As a clingy, whining American bubblehead who follows her web designer boyfriend to Tokyo only to be dumped seconds after arriving, she's an whispering, shuddering, eye-bugging horror show. Then she goes for comfort to the ramen shop across the street and finds her destiny. She begs the grumpy ramen cook to become her sensei, to impart his wisdom and teach her to make the perfect broth. And there we have a movie. Not just any movie: 'The Karate Kid' with noodles. There's something entirely satisfying about someone as affected as Brittany Murphy starring in a film where she's constantly called on her shit. The grumpy ramen chef heaps endless subtitled abuse on her and when we reach the sentimental climax-- which surprisingly doesn't take the easy way out-- and the old guy grudgingly admits respect for his dimwitted, eye-bugging protege, the tears are earned.

I'm not saying this flimsy little movie deserves wider recognition, I'm not even saying it;s worth a Netflix rental. But if it shows up on cable one wet weekend afternoon months from now, there are worse indies you could sit through.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Identity Theft

Who's the handsome young fellow grinning above? According to, it's ME!

The blog which was nice enough to interview me prefaced the q&a not only with that picture but with a brief biography that credited me with... well, read for yourself...

"Jonathan Bernstein holds an MFA in Playwriting and Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.
A graduate of Yale University's theater program, he also attended Princeton University. He is a member of the 2008-2009 Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Former writing teachers include Donald Margulies, Joyce Carol Oates, Suzan-Lori Parks, Wendy Wasserstein, Mac Wellman, and C.K. Williams.
His play "Gregory Must Sweat" was performed as part of the American Theatre Nexus at the Bric Studio in Brooklyn in 2003. In 2002 he received a Spielberg Fellowship in Theater Education to teach theater at summer camps. His play "Family" was performed at Princeton University as part of Toni Morrison's Atelier Program in 1998."

Yale! Princeton! Joyce Carol Oates! Spielberg Fellowship!! (Gregory Must Sweat?)

Whoever this other Jonathan Bernstein is, I tip my hat to him and his impressive list of achievements. I, on the other hand, wrote a movie starring Larry The Cable Guy.

I know this was an honest mistake and I think it's hilarious. Especially if this other Jonathan Bernstein is the type of guy who Googles himself and finds that he is now the proud author of a book about a teenage girl who shoots fire from her fingers. He'll never be able to show his grinning face at Princeton again!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Heat Is On

Join The Hottie Group on Facebook! It'll be rewarding in the long run!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Crimson Tide

Like almost everyone else in America I watched `The Bachelor' finale. Unlike almost everyone else I watched it in the emergency room.

I hadn't watched The Bach since the heady days of Bob Guiney but the ever-increasing amount of yammering piqued my curiosity. 10PM Monday night, I switched over to ABC. 10:01, I felt a tingling in my scalp. That tingling quickly spread to my face, ears and neck. Embarrassment for the participants? No doubt. Humiliation that I'd been suckered into playing a part in our national delusion. Totally. But it was worse than that. I was red all over. And I mean ALL over. Red and hot and tingling like I'd just staggered in from six hours in the sweltering heat. My heart: pounding. My pulse: racing.

Two minutes later I was in the emergency room of LA's Olympia hospital. Still head to toe red, hot and tingling. And even though my trigger finger had begun twitching the moment The Bach's smarmy face appeared on screen, I was stuck in the hospital waiting room and had to endure the entire fiasco.

By the time I was ready to be examined the red had faded. My heart had reduced to it's normal sluggish pace. My blood pressure had dropped down from the stratosphere. The next day I high-tailed it to my fancy Beverly Hills doctor who listed a vast and terrifying array of possible ailments that might have contributed to my plight. In the end he had no answers. The reddening has not, to date, re-occurred. Which shoots down the theory that my body was actually rebelling against being forced to endure so much bad TV. `Cuz, I mean, I sat through the season premiere of America's Next Top Model and not a flicker. .

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Trifecta!

A few posts back, I lamented that my inability to stop using pop-culture as a crutch meant that Hottie featured references to Christian Bale and Rihanna. But I didn't stop there, a repressed memory floating back to the surface caused me to re-check an early chapter and, there it was, large as life and twice as ugly: the notion that having Chris Brown serenade our heroine at her sweet sixteen was some kind of treat!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Downside Of Shuffle

So I'm on the treadmill, cranking it up till I'm past the point of physical endurance. I'm nearing the forbidden zone of 3.8 mph.
Suddenly I'm oblivious to the thudding in my chest because my iPod is playing this:

We're living in a golden age of access. Every genre and vintage of music you could ever want is a click away. The storage facilities are vast and compact. But if I let that song lurk unshuffled and unheard for something like three months before it randomly bubbled to the surface, I'm in grave danger of turning from a listener to a space filler.

Who knows what else I've downloaded and then instantly forgotten? And I'm doing the same with the DVR. Will I ever get around to Burn Notice? Or Supernatural?

What songs( or shows) have you left moldering away in your iPod( or DVR) and then found yourself shocked by how good they were and how dumb you felt neglecting to play them for so long? Discuss.


I've been marooned in L.A for most of this decade. I work, at least tangentially, in the entertainment industry. I never encounter off-duty celebrities going about their mundane daily business. I never stumble over movie shoots. I never see any famous people anywhere.

Except yesterday, when I was walking--yup, walking, WHOLE other story-- up Fairfax Avenue on the way to Whole Foods (which is, I'm told, the shopping destination of choice for vast multitudes of actors, none of whom I've ever seen. Apart from this one Debi Mazar was giving a cashier attitude for asking where he recognized her from. But that hardly counts). Who do I see driving past me but Larry David. Driving isn't exactly accurate. He was perched inside a car sitting on a flatbed truck with cameras pointing through the windshield as he gesticulated inside.

So, not just an unexpected celebrity sighting, but a peek inside the creative process. I'll keep you posted next time something similar occurs. That post should show up sometime in 2013