I'm about halfway through the hard-to-put-down Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film. Writer Peter Biskind paints an unflattering portrait of Harvey Weinstein, to be sure.
I have mixed feelings about Weinstein and Miramax. On the one hand, they've raised the profile of plenty of films that might otherwise have never gotten widespread theatrical distribution. In the process, Harvey and his brother Bob have created one of three movie studios whose brand means something to moviegoers (all of them were under one roof at one point, Disney and Pixar being the other two, though Disney's brand has muddied over the past decade). The other studio logos are like postmarks; they don't provide any clue as to the nature of the content inside the envelope.
On the other hand, Miramax routinely butcher movies they purchase from overseas markets (voice dubs of Miyazaki animated films being one example that always leaps to mind), and they also delay the U.S. release of foreign films for such a long time that eager cinephiles are left to seek out DVDs from other countries or to languish in thirst. For example, in this interview at Salon.com, Harvey expresses pride at having delayed the video release of City of God for so long, claiming it helped the movie to retain its buzz and perhaps led to its 4 Oscar nominations. I saw this fabulous movie over a year and a half ago, and it still hasn't come out on DVD (its street date has been pushed back more times than I can count), and now it's finally getting a limited release in theaters. Why does Miramax deserve credit for keeping this movie tucked away in its back pocket all this time? Ridiculous.
If you haven't seen this movie and it comes out in your area the next few weeks, do go see it, though.