The LA Times published an extremely moving piece over the weekend about a new crisis in hedge fund land. Managers who, after signing on to finance shit movies you couldn't even pay former Bear Stearns movie blogger Rich Marin to go see and review, are losing money. Like, assloads of it. And they're upset about the losing of the assloads of money, and they don't understand the losing of the assloads of money and they want somebody (other than them) to pay for the losing of the assloads of money. Many studios have agreed to restructure deals so that in the unlikely event that "Dough Boys" doesn't make any dough, everybody, including Hollywood, loses a little instead of just the funds/their investors losing a lot, and less conversations like the following have to take place. (Now would be a good time to tell you that I've got some green in RenTec. Can't really say how I made the minimum, someone was desperate for some smokes one night when I ran into him at Matty T's Roadhouse (Mr. Black Lung also loves mechanical bull riding, topless), I happened to have said smokes, and he owed me one...million dollars. Times five.)
Me: Simons, what the Christ? Can you explain to me why I'm losing MILLIONS of fucking dollars?
James Simons: I could tell you it was the models but really, I made a bad bet on "Dough Boys," a slice of life comedy that serves up the story of Lou and Frank, two Bronx brothers running the family bakery. Faced with Lou's gambling problem-- of which Frank knows nothing-- the shop is about to be taken from them by the neighborhood gangster. The fate of this local landmark hangs like a "pie in the sky." Will it be a sweet dream, or a nightmare? Turned out to be the latter.
Everything's all good now but I'm sure there were similar convos between HF guys and their pissed off clientele over the following picks:
John Devaney: "Poseidon" (oh, the sweet irony).
Ken Griffin: "Norbit" (so much you don't know) and "I'm A Cyborg But That's OK" (just liked the title).
Ray Dalio: "Zyzzyx Road" (As it happens, I also have some coin with Big D. He, too, felt my wrath. Went something like this: Me: What the Christ. I expected a little more from you, Ray. Ray Dalio: It all started with a little something called "Zyzzyx Road," an independent thriller about Grant (played by Tom Sizemore), an accountant with a bad marriage who takes to the road to service his accounts in Las Vegas and while there, meets the seductive Marissa (played by Katherine Heigl). The two have a week-long affair which culminates in the arrival of Marissa's ex-boyfriend, Joey. Joey attempts to kill the lovers, but Grant gets the upper hand. Grant and Marissa then drive Joey's body to Zyzzyx Road and Grant buries Joey there in the desert. But in the morning the body is missing and someone or something is trying to kill Grant and Marissa. I could tell you I was modeling profits based on the mean reversion of Tom Sizemore's career (though Sizemore turned out to be a 'three-standard deviation event'-- whatever the fuck that means) but, really, I just wanted to stare at Heigl's rack for 90 minutes. I didn't know she had a no-nudity clause. I cocked up.)
L-Train: "I Know Who Killed Me"
Dan Loeb: "Bratz"
You-know-who: "Music and Lyrics" (Interestingly enough, at the time he was in talks to rain hundos on this Hugh Grant vehicle, we'd secured a camera/mic set-up in a potted plant (it's since been knocked over, obscuring our shot of the subject). Here's how it went down: You-know-who is at his desk, reading pages, eating cake...nodding his head...eating more cake...pausing...nodding...going "This is mmm...really good." His secretary jumps up and goes, "Do you want another piece, sir?" to which he responds, "No, no, I meant the script...but yes, if you're getting up." He turns back to the script, then looks up and adds, "Get the pastry plate, too. And I noticed earlier that we got those leaf cookies today, grab a handful of those. Stick some in your purse if you can't carry it all. And cut off the tops. Otherwise, too much bready and not enough chocolately chocolate.")
Hollywood's Hedged Bets [LA Times]
Movie Man Rips 'Hatchet Job' [NYP]
Related Reading: Former Bear Stearns Exec Richard Marin's Review Of 'Evan Almighty' [DB]