15 Movies Tainted By Harvey Weinstein’s Legacy
The allegations against Harvey Weinstein keep pouring in, as actress after actress is having the courage to come forward with their story of sexual assault by the Hollywood mogul.
The story is always the same: she was a budding young actor eager to break into the industry, he invited her up to his hotel suite to discuss a big part for her, he answered the door in nothing but a bathrobe, and the rest is history.
He gave a career to Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and so many others. And now, thanks to his decades of rape, sexual misconduct, and inappropriate behavior, all the great movies he’s shepherded into production over the years are tainted. Here are the 15 movies tainted by Weinstein’s legacy.
15. Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love was the movie that gave Gwyneth Paltrow her big Hollywood break. It tells the story of a fictional love affair between William Shakespeare and a mysterious beautiful woman at the time he was writing Romeo and Juliet.
It grossed $289 million at the worldwide box office and won seven Oscars, including Best Picture for Weinstein and Best Actress for Paltrow. It is a wonderful film, but now it’s ruined by the behind the scenes stories that have come out. Weinstein invited Paltrow up to his hotel room and made unwanted sexual advances.
Paltrow refused to do anything and left. Terrified by the whole situation, she confided in her then-boyfriend, Brad Pitt, who confronted Weinstein about his behavior. Then Weinstein came up to Paltrow and warned her not to tell anyone else. “I was expected to keep the secret,” she said.
Worried that she would be fired and lose out on her big break, she kept her mouth shut, like so many other women that Weinstein assaulted, bullied, and victimized.
Sylvester Stallone invests deeply in his characters. He’s carrying Rocky Balboa through his entire life to give us a rounded representation of his whole career, and there’s been tragedies and heartaches along the way, but hey, that’s life. The same goes for Rambo, whose character came to a head in this fourth (and so far, last) movie in the franchise.
Here, we see John Rambo as a grizzled, burned-out guy living out his days down in Burma, staying out of trouble until some activists come along demanding his help. So, he sees no choice but to help them the only way he knows how: using brute force against the rebel forces who are tearing through the country.
This is stuff that’s really happening in the world, so it’s an eye-opening piece, and it’s very gratifying to see Rambo carve the bad guys up with a hunting knife or blow them to smithereens with a machine gun, because it’s not just mindless violence – these are real life bad guys.
The movie was positively received in Burma, as it’s seen as an accurate portrayal of the military oppression in the country, and Burmese freedom fighters have adopted some dialogue to use in their fight (specifically “Live for nothing, or die for something”).
13. Silver Linings Playbook
With moving performances from top-shelf actors like Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro, as well as a deep introspection of mental health issues and sports fandom and gender roles, and eight Academy Award nominations to bat, Silver Linings Playbook is not your average romantic comedy.
It’s the movie that put Lawrence in the spotlight and made her a bona fide movie star, but unfortunately, long before that, she too was the subject of sexual harassment at the hands of the Hollywood machine.
As Harvey Weinstein’s victims have spoken out, Lawrence has shared her own story of the overall culture in the film industry that condones this kind of behavior.
Weinstein didn’t assault or harass Jennifer Lawrence, but other producers did. She was put in a demeaning naked line-up with some other women and given pictures of herself naked to use as “inspiration for [her] diet.” The producers were forcing her to lose fifteen pounds in two weeks, having already fired another actress for not losing the weight in time.
12. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
George Clooney made his directorial debut with this wonderfully satirical movie written by Charlie Kaufman about Chuck Barris, the game show host who also claimed to be an assassin for the CIA.
Clooney has given perhaps the boldest and most agreeable statement condemning Harvey Weinstein for his actions, as well as providing some explanation as to why no one in Hollywood spoke up about it sooner.
He told The Daily Beast, “I’ve heard rumors, and the rumors in general started back in the ’90s, and they were that certain actresses had slept with Harvey to get a role. It seemed like a way to smear the actresses and demean them by saying that they didn’t get the jobs based on their talent, so I took those rumors with a grain of salt.
“But the other part of this, the part we’re hearing now about eight women being paid off, I didn’t hear anything about that and I don’t know anyone that did. That’s a whole other level and there’s no way you can reconcile that. There’s nothing to say except that it’s indefensible.”
Lion is a really powerful movie. It tells the story of an Indian boy who gets lost many miles from home at the age of five, eventually gets adopted by an Australian couple, and sets out to find his birth family 25 years later.
According to the Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus, “Lion’s undeniably uplifting story and talented cast make it a moving journey that transcends the typical clichés of its genre.” The Academy took note and nominated Lion for the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay, but failed to win any.
Even author Salman Rushdie – the guy who wrote a book that got him sentenced to death by the Ayatollah – who usually doesn’t like Oscar-y movies, was rooting for Lion at that year’s Academy Awards, “I would like it to win in every category it’s nominated for and in most of the categories it isn’t nominated for as well.”
That’s high praise, right? But it’s a Weinstein Company movie, so it’s got Harvey’s fingerprints all over it, and now the movie’s ruined.
10. The King’s Speech
Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech, the story of an English monarch who struggles with a speech impediment, grossed over $400 million worldwide. That’s unheard of for a historical drama. That’s the kind of money that movies like Godzilla or San Andreas make, not movies about a stuttering English king.
But that’s the power of the movie, which stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter and won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Empire gave the movie five stars and simply wrote, “You’ll be lost for words.”
Harvey Weinstein produced the film, and star Colin Firth has spoken out regarding the scandal to condemn the producer: “It’s with a feeling of nausea that I read what was going on while I was benefiting from Harvey Weinstein’s support. He was a powerful and frightening man to stand up to.
It must have been terrifying for these women to step up and call him out. And horrifying to be subjected to that kind of harassment. I applaud their courage. By coming forward, they’ve provided a jolting wake up throughout our industry. I hope it’s going to be a help to others, both in our own industry and elsewhere.”
9. The Road
Is there anything Viggo Mortensen can’t do? He commands the screen whenever he makes an appearance in a movie. He captivated audiences in The Lord of the Rings, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, Captain Fantastic – and The Road, the movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s harrowing post-apocalyptic novel.
Mortensen plays Man, while Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Boy, his son, as they trawl across the world after an apocalypse has destroyed it, simply surviving. It’s a horrible movie (in the nicest possible way), as they encounter thieves, cannibals, and other sinister survivors in the bleak landscape of a traumatized America.
According to the Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus, “The Road’s commitment to Cormac McCarthy’s dark vision may prove too unyielding for some, but the film benefits from hauntingly powerful performances from Viggo Mortensen and Kodi McPhee.”
8. The Aviator
Director Martin Scorsese has remained relatively silent during the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Weinstein brought a number of Scorsese’s passion projects to life, including Gangs of New York and The Aviator, his beautifully shot, terrifically acted biopic of Howard Hughes, the film director who also designed airplanes.
Perhaps Scorsese feels it is not his place to comment, as the scandal is between Weinstein and his victims, but still, anyone who worked with Weinstein and knew about it is complicit in his crimes.
Very few men in Hollywood have been coming forward and speaking up about it, and even fewer have been doing so for reasons other than to clear their own names and assure the world that they had no idea what Weinstein was up to.
7. Inglourious Basterds
Is it the best World War II film ever made? Probably not, but it is special. Inglourious Basterds is a darkly comic, epic-scale war bonanza that toys with history so radically that it features Hitler assassination by a group of a American Jews.
It was the culmination of all of Quentin Tarantino’s hallmarks, combining the loose and non-linear structure of Reservoir Dogs with the intertwining character dynamics of Pulp Fiction with the novel-like chapter structure of Kill Bill.
QT expected the film to be his “masterpiece,” and it isn’t quite, but it did give way to a pair of terrific performances by Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz. It grossed $321 million worldwide and it was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.
Waltz won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his chilling portrayal of SS Colonel Hans Landa.
6. Fahrenheit 9/11
In 2004, Michael Moore made this documentary about the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Presidency of George W. Bush, and America’s unjustified invasion of Iraq. Harvey Weinstein picked up the movie, but his parent company Disney refused to release it.
Weinstein fought Disney executives every step of the way, defied their legal contractual obligations by continuing to finance the movie, and still managed to get it produced with his job on the line (a job he’s now lost because of other, more sinister reasons).
The movie became a huge success, grossing over $200 million worldwide and earning a spot on Entertainment Weekly’s best-of list at the end of the decade. They wrote, “Michael Moore’s anti-Bush polemic gave millions of frustrated liberals exactly what they needed to hear in 2004 – and infuriated just about everyone else.
Along the way, it became the highest grossing documentary of all time.” So, it was Weinstein that got Moore’s movie into theaters against all odds and thrust him into the limelight. But still, that doesn’t mean Moore will ever forgive him for what he’s done.
In fact, the filmmaker has started a campaign on Facebook to bring forth “A World Without Harveys,” whereby a set of regulations he’s outlined will get rid of all Hollywood executives who abuse their power to sexually harass women and all of Hollywood’s victims will come forward with their stories.
Weinstein was set to produce and distribute Moore’s next film, but fat chance now, Harvey.
Clerks is the indie directorial debut of writer-director Kevin Smith, who shot the movie on black and white film and made it for next to nothing, maxing out ten credit cards and selling his vintage comic book collection to raise the movie’s budget. It’s the definitive indie movie, surviving solely on its dialogue and authentic regional identity.
It depicts a day in the life of two clerks, one working in a convenience store and the other working in a video store next door, and it’s just brilliant. Roger Ebert wrote, “Within the limitations of his bare-bones production, Smith shows great invention, a natural feel for human comedy, and a knack for writing weird, sometimes brilliant, dialogue.”
Harvey Weinstein got it into theaters and essentially gave Smith a career, but after these allegations have come out, Smith is in no mood to forgive him. Instead, Smith is donating all the residuals from his Weinstein Company releases to a charity for women in filmmaking.
He has a great respect for women, as he writes great female characters, he loves his wife more than anything, and he has a teenage daughter who he’d do anything for.
Scream was the horror movie that led to a resurgence in the genre. The horror market had been going stale, so A Nightmare on Elm Street director Wes Craven swooped in to fix it. How did he go about it?
Well, he took all those clichés and conventions that had made the genre stale and he flipped them on their heads and gave the world a meta slasher movie that would be relentlessly ripped off for years to come. But back when it first came out, Scream was an original and unique thing.
Unfortunately, it was executive produced by Harvey Weinstein, and Skeet Ulrich, the guy who played Neve Campbell’s creepy boyfriend in the movie, claims he “knew” about the sexual assaults this whole time.
“I knew. Most people knew. I had dinner with someone who is one of the most famous women on the planet — I won’t say who it is — who has not come out, who told me similar things.… There is nothing you can do. I mean, what am I gonna do? I can’t step up, certainly then, on allegations. Honestly, and I think it’s what most people faced: How do you cut your livelihood from a very powerful corporation on something that you don’t know what the facts are?”
3. Django Unchained
Harvey Weinstein was the producer and distributor for all of Quentin Tarantino’s movies before he was shunned out of the industry in the past couple of weeks.
That’ll all change, though, now that he’s been outed as a rapist. Django Unchained, Tarantino’s darkly comic spaghetti western-style interpretation of American slavery that attracted both praise and controversy on its original release, is both the highest grossing movie of the director and of The Weinstein Company.
It was the first time that Tarantino worked with the brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio, who has joined the rest of Hollywood in condemning Weinstein for his actions, saying, “There is no excuse for sexual harassment or sexual assault – no matter who you are and no matter what profession.
I applaud the strength and courage of the women who came forward and made their voices heard.”
2. Pulp Fiction
Quentin Tarantino began his career with Reservoir Dogs, but he really made his mark with his sophomore feature, Pulp Fiction. It tells the three intertwining tales of a pair of mob hitmen, a boxer who’s been paid off by a gangster to throw a fight (and then doesn’t), and the wife of a ruthless crime lord.
These characters all cross paths with each other in shocking and unexpected ways, as they either meet, date, or kill each other across the space of two and a half rhythmic hours. The non-linear story, audacious dialogue, and loose structure blew audiences away, and the face of screenwriting was changed forever.
Tarantino has said that he is “stunned and heartbroken” to hear what his friend Harvey Weinstein has been doing all these years. That doesn’t excuse it. When you watch Pulp Fiction from now on, focus on the other producer credits: Lawrence Bender and the lovable Danny DeVito and the non-rapey, Harvey-denouncing Bob Weinstein.
1. Good Will Hunting
As a movie, Good Will Hunting is powerful, beautiful stuff. It stars Matt Damon as a janitor full of unfulfilled genius who works at Harvard University and solves the mathematical equation that not even the fancy-pants students or their professor can solve. Said professor decides to send him to a shrink, played by Robin Williams.
The performances given by Damon and Williams are two of the greatest performances you’ll ever see. They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry, and they’ll just make you feel. They create real people right there on the screen. Damon co-wrote the script with Ben Affleck and they ended up winning an Oscar for it.
Their Hollywood careers were made possible by their producer, Harvey Weinstein, but they’re still condemning him for it now. Affleck has called Weinstein’s actions “completely unacceptable.”
Damon has dispelled rumors that Weinstein’s antics were well-known throughout the film industry, saying, “This type of predation happens behind closed doors, and out of public view. If there was ever an event that I was at and Harvey was doing this kind of thing and I didn’t see it, then I am so deeply sorry, because I would have stopped it.”