The top entertainment news for the week of October 10, 1997

ALAN ANON Further proof that celebrity awards are out of control: On Sept. 27 at the University of Pennsylvania, authors and film critics gathered to pay tribute to … a pseudonym. A seminar on the career of Alan Smithee dedicated nine hours to the fictitious director who gets credit when an angry or embarrassed filmmaker pulls his name off a project. Among those paying homage to the real nobody were New York Observer critic Andrew Sarris and University of Florida professor Robert Ray. The highlights included clips from such Smithee gems as Ghost Fever and Solar Crisis. Regrettably, Smithee’s latest effort, An Alan Smithee Film — Burn Hollywood Burn (an Arthur Hiller-directed parody that now, ironically, bears the Smithee imprint), wasn’t screened. However, a guest of honor did show. A man who would be Alan (neither he nor seminar officials would reveal his identity) graciously accepted his lifetime achievement award — a karate trophy — before 60 ardent supporters. ”My life’s work has been dedicated to saving … films,” he joked. The Smithee wannabe also cleared up a rumor: ”Despite all the phallic symbolism [you’ve found] in my films, I am not gay.”
Irv Slifkin

BACKUP VOCALS The new Jewel? Not exactly, but pop singer-songwriter Abra Moore has also been appearing on soundtracks. Tunes from Moore’s major-label debut CD, Strangest Places, have found their way into Excess Baggage, the trailer for The Matchmaker, and the season opener of Party of Five. ”I never sat down to write soundtrack music,” says Moore. ”But it’s satisfying to see people using my songs to illustrate everyday life.” And there’s more to come. Her new single, ”Strangest Places,” will be used in a Melrose Place episode, and she’ll be heard in Richard Linklater‘s The Newton Boys next year. Why are people begging for Moore? ”She’s cool and sexy,” says Paula Franceschi, senior VP of creative advertising at Gramercy Pictures, producer of the Matchmaker trailer. ”Her music makes you wiggle in your seat.”
Carrie Bell

OLIVER’S STORIES Now that he’s made a U-Turn, director Oliver Stone is ready for some football with NFL, a film about the pro sports league. But what everybody’s really clamoring for is Stone’s script for Mission: Impossible II, which will bring back Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt. Not one to direct a run-of-the-mill action sequel, Stone says his Mission will be to ”say something about the millennium,” though he’s cryptic about the details. ”It’s about the 21st century in a sort of sci-fi way.” Why is the Oscar winner doing the sequel to the Brian De Palma thriller? Says Stone succinctly: ”Tom.” — Cindy Pearlman


CHELSEA CLINTON, you’re not the only famous face in the dormitory this fall. When life at Stanford gets tough, think of these other matriculating celebrities:

School: NYU
Year: junior
Major: liberal arts

School: NYU
Year: sophomore
Major: undecided

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn
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