Boston Globe Critic Misses Biggest Broadway Fail

November 30, 2015

The hardreading staff yields to no man in our respect for Boston Globe theater critic Don Aucoin.

But, man, did he miss the boat in his front-page piece yesterday.

Theater companies find fault sometimes is in their stars

Marquee names are a draw at the box office but can be a drain on the stage

As both noun and verb, there is probably no more important word in show business than “star.’’

But the reality is that when it comes to the stage, glittering names on the marquee can be a decidedly mixed Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 1.23.19 AMblessing. Theater companies and producers who try to tap into star power are often faced with a trade-off between the potential of boffo box office (especially advance sales) and the peril of artistic letdown (which alienates the very audiences who bought those advance tickets). The biggest name onstage can also be the weakest link.

Because they’re squeezing in theater appearances between movie or TV commitments, some big-name stars appear out of synch and out of place. Watching them flounder, you wonder how much work they did to unearth the essence of their characters, how little thought they’ve given to the unique dynamics of live performance (for instance, projecting to the last row, since there are no close-ups in theater), and even, sometimes, how certain of their lines they are.


The biggest Broadway bust, though, is the one Aucoin does not mention: Al Pacino in David Mamet’s new play China Doll.

Representative headlines:

Al Pacino having trouble remembering lines, needs telepromter

Al Pacino needs teleprompters for lines in terrible new Broadway play

Ticket sales have been good regardless, so the producers pushed back the opening by two weeks to this Friday, which means the reviews might be buried in Saturday’s editions of the New York papers.

Sort of like the play itself should be.

But, apparently, will not.

Now the Spotlight Has Turned On ‘Spotlight’

November 23, 2015

It was bound to happen: First,there was the tremendous acclaim for Spotlight, the film about the Boston Globe’s dogged pursuit of pedophile priests and the Boston archdiocese that sheltered and enabled them.

Now come the complaints.

It started, to the best of our knowledge, with attorney Eric MacLeish in the November 10 Boston Globe Names column.

MacLeish objects to and lauds ‘Spotlight’

The news has been nearly all good for “Spotlight,” director Tom McCarthy’s movie about the Boston Globe investigation that revealed systemic coverup and sexual abuse of children by priests in the Boston Archdiocese. The film, which opened in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles on Friday, is getting rave reviews and is considered a front-runner 04182010_11macleish-7569377to win the Oscar for best picture. But not everyone thinks the movie gets the story right.

Boston attorney Eric MacLeish, who in the early 1990s represented hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by priests, objects to his portrayal in “Spotlight.” In a lengthy Facebook post, MacLeish, played by actor Billy Crudup in the movie, encourages people to see “Spotlight” but adds that “events involving my character are not only inaccurate but the opposite of what occurred.”


Namesnik Mark Shanahan adds, “Curiously, MacLeish hasn’t seen the movie and on Sunday told Walter Robinson, former editor of the Globe’s Spotlight team, that he doesn’t plan to see it any time soon.” MacLeish subsequently did some moonwalking on the subject, texting to the Globe that “[m]y character is inaccurately portrayed but the film is too important and too good to let this be a distraction.”

But the distractions keep coming. The redoubtable Kevin Cullen added Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn to the list of the disgruntled in his Globe column yesterday.

When truth ends up on editing room floor

“Spotlight,” the movie about The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the coverup of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, had its general release on Friday and film critics agree: “Spotlight” is one of the best movies of the year.1000_jack_dunn

Jack Dunn had a different reaction. After seeing the film at the Loews theater across from Boston Common, he stepped onto the sidewalk and threw up.

The movie sickened him because he is portrayed as someone who minimized the suffering of those who were sexually abused, as someone who tried to steer Globe reporters away from the story, as someone invested in the coverup.


Dunn is a BC High graduate and a member of the school’s board of trustees. He told Cullen, “The things they have me saying in the movie, I never said . . . But worse is the way they have me saying those things, like I didn’t care about the victims, that I tried to make the story go away. The dialogue assigned to me is completely fabricated and represents the opposite of who I am and what I did on behalf of victims. It makes me look callous and indifferent.”

And not just him, Cullen adds:

Dunn isn’t the only real person portrayed in the film who has a beef with McCarthy. Steve Kurkjian, a legendary Globe reporter, is portrayed as a curmudgeon who was dismissive of the importance of the story. That couldn’t be further from the truth . . .


So that’s three now.

As night follows day, the Boston Herald picked up the story and added a fourth name to the list today.

‘Spotlight’ injustices claimed

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Four people who played real-life roles in the uncovering of the Boston clergy sex-abuse scandal say the new film “Spotlight” has put false words in their mouths — and some are demanding apologies and cuts in the movie that showcases the Boston Globe’s reporting.

Boston College public affairs director Jack Dunn, former Globe reporter Stephen Kurkjian, former Globe publisher Richard Gilman, and victim lawyer Eric MacLeish all say their actions were misrepresented in a way that casts them in a negative light, apparently in an effort to add drama to the film.


The Gilman piece – about fact vs. fiction in the movie – appeared in the Arizona Daily Star a few days ago.

Quite intentionally there was no internal discussion whatsoever of potential [business]consequences.

So it is to my extreme dismay that I’m shown on the screen giving voice to one such business concern — exactly the type of thing I had purposely avoided in the few interactions about the investigation. The only true aspect of that brief scene in my office is the outcome: We would challenge the Church in court.


Funny, “Spotlight” is being challenged in court, too. As Cullen noted yesterday, “[Jack Dunn’s] lawyer sent a letter to the filmmakers, demanding that the offending scene be deleted from the movie . . .”

We’ve got plenty of eight-to-five says that never happens.

Boston Globe and Paymate Rockland Trust, Part Two

November 18, 2015

As the hardreading staff noted yesterday, the Boston Globe has gotten mighty cozy with Rockland Trust, with the local bank essentially co-opting the paper’s Talking Points column in its Business section.

What we failed to note was the omission of said bank in this Talking Points item yesterday:

Mass. Banks Given Low Marks for Customer Service

The two largest retail banks in Massachusetts have some of the least satisfied customers, according to an annual survey of financial services firms.

Bank of America, the largest retail bank in Massachusetts, scored the equivalent of a D+, or a 68 on a 100-point scale of customer satisfaction, according to the survey by American Customer Satisfaction Index, LLC, a Michigan research firm. The survey asked 70,000 consumers about the quality of service at their banks, from whether tellers are helpful, interest rates are competitive, and websites and mobile applications are easy to navigate.

That’s below other major national banks, including Wells Fargo & Co. (with a top score of 75), Citigroup Inc. (73) and JP Morgan Chase & Co. (71).

Customers gave Providence-based Citizens Financial Group, Inc., the second-largest bank in Massachusetts by deposits, the equivalent of a C, with score of 70. It was the lowest among large regional banks, including Capital One Financial Corp. of Virginia (77) and TD Bank, NA of New Jersey(75).


That’s a lotta numbers from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, yeah?

But notably absent: Rockland Trust.

Consequently, we plugged Rockland Trust into the ACSI search box and came up empty.


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So . . . huh.

P.S. Here’s how Rockland Trust sets the Agenda in today’s stately local broad$heet.


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P.P.S. From our Bury the Lede desk

We’ve been totally remiss in failing to point this out from Sunday’s Globe:


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That would be – yes! – Rockland Trust at No. 1. More, obviously, to come.

Local Bank Is Embed With The Boston Globe

November 17, 2015

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, these are banner days for advertisers at the stately local broad$heet, which is providing lots of flexibility in selling ad space.

Even more notable, ads are literally In the news at the Globe nowadays.

From today’s front page:


Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 10.36.06 AM


It’s not like the Globe hasn’t leased out this space before, as we painstakingly chronicled last year. But at least in the case of the Citizens Bank embeds, the paper had the decency – sporadically – to label it an advertisement.

With one day:




Without the next day:





The Rockland Trust arrangement is different, though. Citizens Bank accompanied its embeds – embads? – with a traditional ad at the bottom of Page One. Rockland Trust’s ad runs alongside the Talking Points column in the Globe’s Business section.


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But wait . . . there’s more . . .

Check out the details in the ad:


Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 10.37.27 AM

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See? It’s Business Journalism. There are Events. And there’s Advice. All right here at a native advertising site.

A new level indeed.

Oh, yes – there’s also a native ad on the Globe’s Today’s Paper page (see lower right).



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Lots of talking points here. Discuss among yourselves.

Boston Herald Keeps Driving Grand Prix Crash Car

November 7, 2015

Give Joe Battenfeld and the racy local tabloid their due: They’re not downshifting their efforts to total the proposed Grand Prix of Boston, maybe the second-worst idea Mayor Marty Walsh has had in office. (Store 2024 – c’mon down!)

Today’s Boston Herald, Page One  (Inexplicable Little Green Numbers Galore!).


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Battenfeld’s piece (with Chris Cassidy):

Life in the IndyCar fast lane

Docs show target audience young, rich

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 12.06.34 PM

Massive luxury skyboxes and beer gardens will loom large over the proposed 2.2-mile Boston IndyCar race course in the Seaport District that could jam traffic and require more permits for the Labor Day weekend spectacle, new documents show.

A 47-page “Stakeholders Info Deck” from the Grand Prix of Boston, obtained by the Herald, is targeting young, smartphone-wielding, rich professionals.


Not, we might add, the Boston Herald readership. The young, smartphone-wielding, rich professionals do, however, read the Boston Globe, which is still drafting in second place.


Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 12.17.09 PM


And round and round we go.

Boston Herald Drives IndyCar Coverage

November 2, 2015

The Not-So-Grand Prix of Boston keeps sputtering along, and it’s the racy local tabloid that’s serving as the pit crew.

Today’s Boston Herald, Page One.


Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 3.08.18 PM


Page 2:

Mayor gives ultimatum to IndyCar

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 3.10.22 PM

Mayor Martin J. Walsh is demanding IndyCar promoters get their act together, issuing an ultimatum to “finalize” deals with state agencies soon, in a major toughening of his stance on the planned Labor Day road race.

In an emailed letter obtained by the Herald, Walsh’s chief of operations, Patrick Brophy, gave IndyCar just 14 days to reach financial and other agreements with several agencies that control most of the planned course on the waterfront.

“It is expected that your team will finalize agreements with all interested parties within the next two (2) weeks,” Brophy said in an email Friday to Jim Freudenberg, chief commercial officer for the Grand Prix of Boston, local promoters for the race. “Please be advised that the Mayor grows increasingly concerned with the progress (or lack thereof) of those discussions.”


We’ll see if IndyCar can move that fast.

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe has stalled out on the story.

(Your eat-their-dust punchline goes here.)

Stop the Presses! Herald Promotes Crosstown Rival!!

October 30, 2015

Even in the cutthroat world of daily newspapers, every now and then the mouse does a mitzvah for the lion.



So it was with the Boston Herald yesterday (tip o’ the pixel to the Missus).


Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.31.51 AM


Wait, what?

The feisty local tabloid is actually promoting the Boston Globe’s marquee moment?

Alert the media!


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