Peter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr. worked together for two decades at Daily Variety. In this occasional column, two old friends get together and grind their axes, mostly on the movie business.FLEMING: We are seeing a lot of narrative limited series based on ventures where things went wrong — Theranos, WeWork, Uber – and two that went spectacularly right.
There is more acrimony directed at Winning Time — a flagging LA Lakers franchise was infused by new owner Jerry Buss with Hollywood sex appeal and a Magic Johnson-led speed game that changed the NBA from a sleepy regional sport to a global juggernaut — and then there is The Offer, about the making of my all-time favorite American movie, The Godfather.I loved watching Winning Time, and believe it could never have worked as well, had Magic, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Jerry West lorded over an authorized version.
They never would have approved of the account of a hedonistic early ‘80s coke and sex-fueled moment in time, one that is gloriously depicted in the Jeff Pearlman book on which the series was based, and makes Winning Time reminiscent of a movie like Boogie Nights.
The owner, played by John C. Reilly, is rarely seen without a drink in one hand, and a young woman under the other arm. His players seem to score more off the court than on it — there is even a moment when Magic’s churchgoing mom asks if her son is getting enough to eat, and the orgy shot they cut to, well, that couldn’t possibly have been what mom meant.For our purposes, I want to focus on The Offer, which focuses on producer Al Ruddy, and depicts him as the glue that held a difficult shoot together.Read more on deadline.com