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Screen Grabs - It Ain't Over Till It's Over

Yogi Berra's classic quip describes not only the long slog of the primaries, but also the current situation with the writers' strike, last Sunday's big game, and the latest developments in several celebrity stories.

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

Yogi Berra's famous truism seemed especially apropos this past week when talking about the Presidential primaries, which saw "Super Duper Tuesday" (as it's now unfortunately been christened) come and go with lots of enthusiasm and civic engagement but still no definitive frontrunners—at least on the Democratic side. In the weeks to come, the candidates will have to sharpen their positions on this election's single most important issue.

However, "It ain't over till it's over" aptly described plenty of other trends besides electoral politics, perhaps most of all the writers' strike. While the leaders of the WGA have scheduled a "bicoastal powwow" this Saturday, which many hope will lead to a quick resolution to the three-month old strike, fallout from the work stoppage continued unabated. Though Academy president Sid Ganis insisted that this year's Academy Awards will happen, Vanity Fair cancelled its annual Oscar fete, figuring that even if the strike were to end in time, it wouldn't be appropriate to throw a big, decadent party. However, the Academy actually threw a party for itself last week, hosting its annual nominees luncheon at the Beverly Hilton, where attendees George Clooney, Michael Moore, Brad Bird, and Viggo Mortensen all voiced their support for the writers. Meanwhile, Turner Classic Movies took the opposite position, purchasing a print ad taunting the striking writers, prompting angry and baffled responses. And in the strange alternate universe of late-night TV, now a writer-free zone, unexpected partnerships emerged, designed to fill air time.

There was also a small sporting event last week, which pitted an upstart New York team against a New England titan and ended with unexpected results, nicely embodying the "It ain't over till it's over" mantra. Super Bowl XLII, won by the Giants in the final minutes, proved to be a touchdown for Fox, which set a ratings record not only for a Super Bowl, but for any televised sporting event, and trailed only the 1983 M*A*S*H series finale among all programs. As always, many viewers were more interested in the ads than the action on the field. Some thought the parade of product shills was "nostalgic and family-safe," though others noted that the commercials' usual crassness quotient was very much in evidence—one spot written by a former Clinton donor sparked particularly heated debate for seeming to trade on ethnic stereotypes. It has since been pulled, so that's one story that already is over.

Also over—more or less—are two of the biggest celebrity stories of recent weeks. In the Wesley Snipes tax case, a federal jury returned a mixed verdict against the Blade star who has become the most famous face in the tax-denier movement, finding the actor not guilty of the more serious charges of conspiracy and fraud, while convicting him of three misdemeanors and ordering him to pay $17 million in back taxes. And toxicology reports determined that Heath Ledger died accidentally from a mixture of prescription medications. In a statement, the actor's father Kim said, "Today's results put an end to speculation, but our son's beautiful spirit and enduring memory will forever remain in our hearts." Amen to that. 


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