The big news over the weekend was not all that surprising, as the question had always been "When", not "If". Sitting President of the Motion Picture Association of America, and lately sitting duck for critics, Jack Valenti is said to be retiring in a matter of months.
He has been credited with some major innovations--notably his creation of the film ratings system that is still in use today. Of course he will probably be more reknown for his other decisions, his screener tape ban involving this year's Oscar ceremony being one for instance. The controversey was widespread enough that Valenti did a unique turn at the Independant Spirit Awards, coming on stage to handcuff host John Waters after John announced that he had misplaced his screeners.
The MPAA is a collective of major studios--Paramount Pictures, Sony Entertainment, Warner Bros, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Universal Studios Inc, Walt Disney Co. and 20th Century Fox. (Look over those names again, consider the collective billions they are worth, and try to figure out how the MPAA web address can have the non-profit ".org" suffix.) Valenti repping for business owners essentially makes him something of a commissioner--a point man to absorb the slings directed at self-interests. Such as his position, Valenti's controverseys over recent years had relegated him as little more than the Bud Selig of Filmdom. The question now circulating Burbank is who will his successor be?
I'll tell you who I'll throw my microscopic weight behind. Actor Joe Pantoliano who--according to wonkette-- is interested in replacing Jack Valenti: "Tell ’em to give me a call — my career is in the toilet anyway." All right, so maybe "The Handler" isn't scorching Neilson boxes, but I think he'll be fine. I just caught him doing good work in the independant "Second Best" at Sundance. I have to like the idea of Joey Pants running the show. Maybe when things heat up, heads'll roll.