Appearing on the front of the Arts section Tuesday interviewing Pixar founder and 'Cars 2' director John Lasseter, Hollywood reporter Brooks Barnes indulged in his preoccupation with political correctness on screen and in movie studios: 'It Wasn't a Wreck, Not Really.'
The "wreck" in question was the critical opprobrium foisted upon the "Cars" sequel, which Lasseter directed. He defended the movie, the only true critical flop from the innovative animated movie studio. But Barnes wanted to talk quotas.
Over a two-hour dinner at a trendy restaurant here earlier this month, he was at turns solemn and introspective yet genuinely ebullient when describing how much he loves the 'Cars' franchise. He didn't want to talk much about certain aspects of Pixar, like the studio's shortage of directors who are women and female protagonists in its films. But one matter he addressed head-on was the assumption by some that 'Cars 2' had been forced out of him by Pixar's corporate parent, the Walt Disney Company, as a greedy grab for sales of related merchandise, a central current of the negative reviews.
Barnes was also on P.C. patrol in a July 2010 brief on weekend box-office receipts: 'Another weekend, another splash in the cinematic sewer. Paramount's 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' remained a huge No. 1 at North American theaters with $47 million in ticket sales ($261 million to date). But it was the unexpectedly strong performance of 'Horrible Bosses' - noted by critics for its homophobia and misogyny - that caught Hollywood's attention.'