Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wally's

Hollywood Assistants like Wally’s. The funny thing about working in Hollywood is that even though the economy is in the toilet and corporations all over the country are making extreme cutbacks, a few things always hold true. Certain execs will continue to use their private jets, even if that means they must sacrifice every assistant working at their company, leaving only their SVPs to roll their calls for them. Agents will still order the $40 filet mignon for lunch at the Grill on the Alley and leave it untouched as they pitch clients for 45 minutes straight to the producer sitting across the table from them. And expensive bottles of wine will constantly transverse the greater Los Angeles area to serve as a way to say “Thank You”, “Congratulations”, “Mazel Tov”, “Happy Birthday”, “Condolences”, and “Sorry that your summer blockbuster opened to only $4.5 million”.

That’s why Wally’s is the go-to destination for assistants in search of the perfect gift… or at least a fail proof solution to the standard “Send Bob a bottle of something. Something nice!” order. Don’t let the name fool you. I know it might conjure up images of National Lampoon’s Vacation and the Griswold family’s doomed trip to Wally World. But don’t worry – you won’t have to kidnap John Candy to get them to give you the goods.

Wally’s means business and they know their stuff. They seem to stock every varietal imaginable, including many that I’ve never heard of… and I consider myself quite the wine-o. Trust me - we didn’t cover Nebbiolo or Verdelho in my college wine tasting class. And they’re also dependable and willing to help you out in a slight pinch or a Class 5 Mega-Crisis. I have a friend who left five bottles of $100 wine in her car on a 90 degree day and all of the bottles popped and leaked. She stumbled into Wally’s in tears and they swapped out her bottles for new ones free of charge. They saved her $500 and the wrath of her boss. How’s that for service?

On a personal note, I love Wally’s because… well… how should I put it? Ok, the guys that work there are HOT. And a hot guy who knows about wine is pretty much my ultimate fantasy. And not only are they hot and know more about vino than the sommelier at Cut, but they have great personalities, too. These guys give great phone. I eagerly anticipate any gift-giving occasion because I know that I will get to call Wally’s and be Miss Flirty McFlirt for 5 minutes and hang up with a huge smile on my face. It’s like having phone sex, except not dirty and including a discussion about tannins. And in the midst of a normal day full of the standard drudgery, a short conversation that leaves you in a good mood can make all the difference. Oh, and they’ve never once fucked up an order for me. I should probably emphasize that, too.

So let’s review – they’re knowledgeable, reliable, personable, AND attractive. There are many, many wine stores that make deliveries in LA, but Wally’s will always be my #1. It’s the old standby and consistently delivers and impresses. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to use them to send birthday gifts to my friends – on my dime.

WHERE: www.wallywine.com

COST: Just charge it to the account, k? Thanks sugar!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

BlahGirls.com

Hollywood Assistants like The Blah Girls. Not only are they the wittiest, cutest, most stylish two-dimensional tweens on the interwebs, but they gave us some major love today (thanks ladies - and Stewart!). We always have their hilarious blog up in our Firefox. We just can't get through a day without reading Tiffany's musings on Suri Cruise and Cruz Beckham or watching Stewart's hysterical Hot Minute. Check them out. You're sure to love them, too.

WHERE: www. blahgirls.com
COST: Your productivity. But who needs to be productive?

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Giving Up on Hooking Up"

Hollywood Assistants like “Giving Up on Hooking Up.” Us Hollywood Assistants know a thing or two about hooking up. When we aren’t in our cages (aka cubicles) we are out in the city living it up. And hooking up. Sometimes. This great article is an amazing example of how our generation feels. It’s a must read.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Netflix

Hollywood Assistants like Netflix. The first thing you do every morning is scan Variety, just in case your boss asks you what Sean Penn’s next project is going to be. Your Google Reader subscribes to Nikki Finke, The Wrap, and The Envelope. You wade through hundreds of useless emails from your 6 tracking boards in hopes of coming upon the hottest and juiciest industry rumor. In Hollywood, knowledge is power and without it you’re going nowhere. This fact becomes apparent within 5 seconds of setting foot in LA. In a city that’s stereotyped for being full of dumb people, we’re all surprisingly well-informed. Well, about pop culture at least.

That’s why Netflix is a key cornerstone of the Hollywood Assistant lifestyle. In the most obvious sense, it’s like the world’s cheapest film school. Feel remiss because people keep comparing your crime-drama spec to Taxi Driver and you have no idea what they’re talking about? Queue it up! Pretentious intern in your office try to make a Truffaut joke and you had to pretend you understood it? You can have The 400 Blows by tomorrow! Hell, I went to film school and don’t remember 90% of the things I had to watch. That’s probably because I tended to nap off my hangovers during 85% of my required screenings (university screening rooms are so dark... and plush… and climate-controlled… I get drowsy just thinking about them). But let’s face it – more than likely, you’ve got a weak spot in your film watching history. Netflix to the rescue!

And it’s not just great movies that we’ve been too lazy to watch… no no no. We skimp on the TV side, too. Have you spent the last year watching only The Real Housewives of New York, Rock of Love, The Biggest Loser, and The City? Aren’t you just a tiny bit curious to see what the whole fuss over The Wire is about? Netflix has you covered. Or, are you feeling a little nostalgic for the days when Mom would make you a grilled cheese after school and you didn’t have to worry about your car payment being late? Netflix carries the full-range of old-school feel-good sitcoms like Family Ties, The Facts of Life, and Diff’rent Strokes. Oh, Mrs. Garrett… take me away from here…

Probably our favorite thing about Netflix is that they now offer a “Watch Instantly” option where you can stream movies and tv shows straight to your computer. Get familiar with it next time your boss is in the air for an entire day. It’ll change your life. And we’re especially crazy about the Roku box we were gifted for Christmas this year. Now we can stream “Watch Instantly” selections straight to our 42” HDTV. Because what could be better than a bottle of Charles Shaw, some tomato basil hummus from Trader Joe’s, and The Muppets Take Manhattan?

Netflix is one of the most economical things a Hollywood Assistant can do to both enrich their lives and entertain themselves. At $16.99 a month, it costs about the same as seeing a movie at The Grove (if you figure in parking), but you get so much more out of it. Never again will you feel like the dumb kid because you didn’t see The Maltese Falcon.

WHERE: www.netflix.com
COST: $16.99 for 3-at-a-time membership with unlimited "Watch Instantly"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Karaoke

Hollywood Assistants like Karaoke. When the lights go low and the instrumental comes up, all eyes are on us. It’s our moment. And for people like Hollywood Assistants who hardly ever get a moment in the spotlight this is major. Sure, occasionally our bosses will put focus on us when they ask where their reading glasses are or to put more Splenda in their coffee, but does that even really count? That’s why we need to resort to going to karaoke bars and singing our little hearts out.

Dimples, Sardos, Brass Monkey, Backstage, Barney's on certain nights, Los Angeles is full of karaoke joints just waiting for us Hollywood Assistants to crowd them. We could talk for hours about Koreatown and the countless karaoke joints there too. It's in K-Town that we pretend we live in New York and rent out private rooms just for our friends. Hite beer and Soju are aplenty. Plus it's always nice to be surrounded by friends as you butcher And I Am Telling You. No judging! But really it doesn’t matter if you were a member of your High School’s Jazz Choir or you can’t hold a note to save your life, karaoke is all about having fun. Work probably sucks so why not get out your rage and frustration by belting out some Hall and Oates? Found out your phone crush is gay? Sing some Carrie Underwood. Told your Gossip Girl spec was stupid and confusing? Channel Bon Jovi and rock it out. Life’s nuances can easily be fixed (or at least somewhat mended) with the help of karaoke.

Hollywood Assistant Suggested Karaoke Songs
9 to 5 by Dolly Parton
We love Dolly and this song. Though, we only wish our hours were as short as that…
Respect by Aretha Franklin
Because we deserve it!
She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer
So you better treat us right
Taking Care of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive
Working overtime is in our job description yet sometimes we don’t even get fairly compensated (yeah, we’re talking to you, CAA)
A Hard Day’s Night by The Beatles
We all wish we were sleeping like logs instead of rolling calls
You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones
Even though our parents filled us with this notion of hope that we could always get what we wanted, Hollywood soon taught us we couldn’t.

This town is full of stars, yet us Hollywood Assistants are definitely not among the shining lights. However, this somewhat changes when we’re handed the mic at karaoke. It is finally our turn to be in the spotlight. Our chance for everyone to root for us. We might not ever receive recognition or acclaim for our phone answering skills or reservation making abilities, but being cheered on while singing cheesy pop music has to count for something. Right?

WHERE: From Burbank to K-Town to Culver City to Santa Monica
COST: Free to sing at most places or $20/hour for a private room in Koreatown

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Oscars

Hollywood Assistants like the Oscars. It's finally here! The day that is more exciting than Christmas, your birthday, and the season premiere of Mad Men combined – it's time for the Oscars. The Superbowl for film nerds kicks off Sunday at 2:00p on E! for 6 straight, glorious hours of red carpet coverage followed by the delicious main event. We can't wait to spend hours watching Seacrest and Giuliana hypothesize on what people might end up wearing. And the grand event will hopefully culminate with Brangelina snubbing Seacrest again, leaving him weeping in his Zegna tux. We. Can't. Wait.

So in honor of THE BIGGEST DAY IN HOLLYWOOD, we present to you our Oscar picks. We could be right… we could be wrong… What do we know? We're just assistants. But here's who we think will be taking home gold on Sunday.

Best Actor

Will Win: Sean Penn
Should Win: Mickey Rourke


Penn's proven himself time and time again as one of the greatest actors of this generation, and his turn as Harvey Milk was at times both uplifting and heartbreaking. But Mickey runs away with The Wrestler. He breathes Randy 'The Ram' Robinson. And who doesn't love a good comeback story?

Best Actress

Will Win: Kate Winslet
Should Win: Melissa Leo


Kate's made this awards season her bitch and we expect her victory lap to continue on Sunday night. However, we loved Frozen River and Melissa exemplifies commitment in her portrayal of a down-on-her-luck single mom under desperate financial duress. Her performance is subtle and nuanced and makes you forget you're watching someone act.

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Heath Ledger
Should Win: Heath Ledger


We're still having nightmares about the Joker dressed in that nurse's outfit. Who knew someone so pretty could turn in such a sinister performance? If he doesn't win, we expect fanboys to riot in the streets.

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Who knows?
Should Win: Penelope Cruz


Kate Winslet took the Golden Globe and didn't get an Oscar nod in this category, and we loved all of the performances from the other nominees. So your guess is as good as ours. Cruz's turn as a completely bat-shit ex-lover hits us a little too close to home, but that's probably also why we're so drawn to it. Everyone knows you haven't experienced true love until you try to murder your boyfriend in a jealous rage.

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: Milk
Should Win: Frozen River

This is probably one of the best categories at this year’s awards. While we think Frozen River deserves it, we’ll still be happy for Milk when it wins since it was an amazing screenplay. We also like seeing In Bruges recognized here considering it was such an underrated movie. We only wish Rachel Getting Married and Vicky Christina Barcelona were nominated too.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire
Should Win: Slumdog Millionaire


This category is boring. Slumdog will and should win because it has no competition. Next.

Best Director

Will Win: Danny Boyle
Should Win: Danny Boyle


If Christopher Nolan were nominated this would be an entirely different race. But alas, he’s not and therefore Danny Boyle will and should win.

Best Picture

Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire
Should Win: Who cares?


At this point in the night we will have drunk far too much champagne and it probably won’t matter to us who wins. It’s not like our lives will be any different come Monday morning. We’ll still have to set up that conference call or stock the fridge with Arrowhead water. But we’re optimistic that one Oscar night in the future will be magical for us. Because deep down inside these bitter, stressed out souls lies an incredible film lover who one day dreams of Oscar gold.

WHERE: 5pm on ABC
COST: However much you put down for your Oscar pool. And we recommend printing these out for extra Oscar fun: http://www.thrillist.com/los-angeles/oscar-bingo-0

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Screeners

Hollywood Assistants like screeners. Movie tickets are getting more and more expensive each and every day. One trip to the Arclight can cost you big bucks. I mean a ticket alone is $14 (at peak times), popcorn and a soda come out at $10 (because what’s the point of going to the movies and not eating??) and then parking comes in at $2 (parking on Vine and walking? I think not). Mint.com would not be happy with that spending. Thankfully God, or rather Hollywood Studio Bosses, created movie screeners.

Come every December movie screeners start arriving at our offices. Our names might not be on the labels but that doesn’t mean these aren’t for us. Okay, so maybe they’re meant for our bosses but really would bosses mind if we watched Frost/Nixon before they did? If they really wanted to see that they would have gone to the Arclight and paid the 20 plus dollars, right? We, on the other hand, were dying to watch this movie but just couldn’t stand to pay so much. Ain’t no shame in that, right? Tis the life of an assistant.

Movie screeners are awesome for a number of reasons. It lets us watch newly released movies in the comfort of our own homes. We can be sprawled out on the living room couch, wearing sweatpants, drinking two buck chuck while watching Gran Torino. Does it get any better? Also, why waste our hard earned money on movies that aren’t very good but as members of the Hollywood community we are obligated to see? (cough, Doubt, cough). Some movies we’d probably never see if it weren’t for screeners. For example: Frozen River? Was that even out in theatres for more than a week in LA? Without a screener, we’d be missing out on one of the best films of the year.

With the Oscars coming up on Sunday you only have 72 hours left to finish watching your screeners. You can’t root for Mickey Rourke if you haven’t seen The Wrestler. And you can’t root against The Reader if you haven’t seen it either (wait, maybe you can…). Do a movie marathon so you can be fully educated for your party's pool. Maybe you can win enough money to go see a movie at the Arclight.

WHERE: Offices of producers, directors, actors, writers, makeup artists, sound guys, etc
COST: So free it hurts