Quick, Option the Rights!

By Daniel Akst

For years Hollywood has peddled crappy, simplistic movies about a heroic little person standing up to greedy corporations, unfeeling bureaucrats and other such stock villains. So it's hard not to feel there's some kind of poetic justice in the attacks leveled at the Motion Picture and Television Fund (and it's many rich and famous trustees) over plans to close the organization's venerable home for the aged.

You can read all about it here. The problem is that the Fund's geriatric center takes care of a tiny number of people at enormous expense. It runs huge deficits. And the costs are borne by the many thousands of other beneficiaries who rely on the Fund for benefits.

But since the people in the geriatric facility are quite old, and since the charity's various boards includes such zillionaires as Jeff Katzenberg and David Geffen, the battle over whether to close the facility is shaping up to be a Hollywood classic complete with plucky victims, cold-hearted tycoons--and a cast of thousands of invisible losers in the form of other Fund beneficiaries who need services and are no less entitled to them than the oldsters who are soaking up millions by their refusal to move. (Like any good picture, this one is rich with social metaphor.)

Never mind. Who cares about all those other people and the justice of their claims? What matters here is finding the cranky but lovable leader of the old-timers. It's Home Alone meets The Sunshine Boys! Let's just hope there's a hot young nurse for our hero to team up with.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/08/quick-option-the-rights/23927/