Patrick Goldstein writes a predictable liberal-left weekly column called The Big Picture for the Los Angeles Times.

He was banned for a while by Sony Pictures after his expose in Los Angeles magazine 2/96 entitled "Inside Hollywood's Most Clueless Studio."

In her Peter Bart profile in Los Angeles Magazine 9/01, Amy Wallace wrote: "This is Condescending Peter [Bart] calling, as he often does, to talk trash about other journalists. "Did you read Patrick Goldstein's column today? What was he talking about? You know who's running out of ideas? Goldstein," he'll say, referring to the Los Angeles Times's movie columnist."

I asked Goldstein via email why the Los Angeles Times can't break stories like Wallace's? I doubt the Times would've published her piece if it had been handed to it on a platter (as the paper is softball in its approach to Hollywood). He replied: "The piece was written by an ex-Times film writer who had 3-4 months to work on that one piece. At the Times, she would've only had 3-4 weeks, tops. A daily paper just isn't equipped to give reporters enough time to do that much digging. So I think it's more time management than reportorial philosophy."

Publicist Bumble Ward set up her client, director John Stockwell, with a lunch with Patrick Goldstein, knowing the LA Times columnist was safe. (New Yorker, 9/23/02)

"At the Arts & Leisure section of the Times and at our paper's Calendar section, the editors like to think that the stories are their ideas," says Goldstein. "But half of it, and it wouldn't surprise me if it's more, comes from publicists like Bumble." (TNY 9/23/02)

From LAExaminer.com 6/10/01: "Billy Crystal, upset by LAT "Big Picture" guy Patrick Goldstein's "inaccurate and outrageous accusation" that Crystal lifted his popular Oscar-opening I'm-in-the-best-picture-nominees shtick from MTV, ripped the Calendar columnist a new one yesterday: "To insult my integrity like this is a very cheap, low blow, something you are well known for. Good writers do research; good writers investigate and can substantiate their accusations. Not you. It is an 'open secret' among many performers to steer clear of you because your 'Big Picture' is never fully painted." Then today, in a bit about Michael Mann's new Ali movie, Goldstein takes a bizarre swipe at Martin Scorcese: "Too often, even the best films in [the biopic] genre end up telling us more about the director's personal obsessions (Oliver Stone's 'JFK' or Martin Scorsese's 'Raging Bull') than about the subjects themselves." Jonesin' for that Jake LaMotta documentary, Patrick?"

David Poland writes 6/12/01 on TheHotButton.com: "Who has Patrick had time to screw over? I mean, I’ve been out here pissing people off for nearly four years. Jeff Wells has been pissing off twice as many people as me in just two columns a week over the last three years. But Patrick? He barely brings the flamethrower out of the backpack."

Brent Bozell writes 11/5/97: In his October 19 article, Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times loosed this fusillade of cant: "It was the age of loyalty oaths and McCarthyism, a chilling time in which free speech and the First Amendment were tossed out the window...Hollywood...became center ring for the Red Scare circus." A bit later, he referred to the "anti-Communist paranoia of the Cold War."

Mr. Goldstein is in need of a civics lesson. 1) Joe McCarthy (and McCarthyism) didn't become household words until his February 1950 Wheeling speech. 2) As a senator (which he was in 1947) McCarthy couldn't have been a member of HUAC or any other House committee. 3) No one's right to free speech was "tossed out the window." Then as now, Americans liberal and conservative voted, demonstrated, wrote letters, and otherwise expressed themselves. The so-called Hollywood Ten actually were cited for not expressing themselves, i.e., for refusing to answer the committee's questions. 4) As for "Red Scare circus" and "anti-Communist paranoia," some one hundred million victims would disagree except they are very dead; those phrases belong in the dustbin of history with Communism itself.

FROM LA TIMES February, 2001: Patrick Goldstein, a movie reporter and columnist for the Los Angeles Times, says people in Hollywood simply "see truth in a different way than most people do--certainly in a different way than most journalists do. . . . To them, truth is what makes a good story, period. They spend their days making it up as they go along; I'd have to be a wacko idealist to expect them to be truthful with me."

Goldstein offers the following hypothetical scenario by way of explanation: "Look, you call a movie executive who spent the morning talking to people about how to turn the nurse who's the hero in a book he just bought into a fighter pilot for the movie version. Then he was on the phone trying to get financing from a German company by telling them the movie will cost $40 million when he knows it will cost at least $70 million. Then he's telling someone at the studio that his latest movie had a test-screening score of 90 when it was really 65. "Then you call him, as a reporter, and you expect him to tell you the truth?"

DAVID POLAND writes 5/29/02: Patrick Goldstein’s L.A. Times column started as a sign that the L.A. Times was ready to push a little harder in their coverage of the industry. And then, it seemed like they tightened up a bit and the column got a little more feature-y. (Please note: Patrick has expressed that he does not feel that he was ever restrained. I believe that he feels that way, but I am only judging by the column, not the man.)

In the last two weeks, Patrick seems to have taken off the restraints… to mixed results. Last week, I took Patrick to task for his personal attack on George Lucas. This week, he takes a rather fresh and smart idea and overreaches to the point that he all but destroys his initial idea.

The column is entitled “Action Heroes for a Changing America” and focuses on two budding action stars, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vin Diesel, who are both racially mixed. The idea that America is finally ready to accept people of color as action heroes is a great foundation for a story.

The big problem is that Goldstein tries to turn this into a trend piece by misapplying details and by getting quotes from the usual suspects, who are personally invested in suggesting that race can be a box office positive after Hollywood has unfairly and inaccurately (and idiotically) taken the position that race is an inherent box office negative. He also manages to get through the piece without any voice of disagreement.


"Who else can say they made a Marlon Brando movie that went direct to video?" -- Patrick Goldstein on Elie Samaha