IRS

Nicolas Cage Raising Arizona

Just how bad is Nicolas Cage‘s IRS bill? It’s no secret that Cage started taking any offer a few years back in an effort to stave off the tax man, and the result has been a series of films that not even he can tell apart. Seriously, can you spot the difference between Seeking Justice, Trespass, and Stolen? He’s managed to mix in a few accidental gems along the way, but it’s still a sad state of affairs for an Academy Award-winning actor with both talent and personality to spare. But that was just the beginning of his fall though. Per Variety, Cage is negotiating to star in a theatrical reboot of the Left Behind series. Holy shit indeed.

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Apparently it’s okay to run a business and have fun and express passion doing it. You don’t have to hate every waking second of what you’re doing to make a living – even if you’re not making a profit. We reported last summer on the dangerous prospect of a lawsuit against Smile ‘Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story director Lee Storey which attempt to prove that documentaries are for education and not entertainment. That distinction would change their IRS tax status and mean that documentary filmmakers who never get their work distribution or make money (read: many of them) would not be able to write off the production costs as a deduction. All of that sounds ridiculous (and way too dry and boring to start thinking about) but the implications were clear: documentary filmmaking would be severely injured by the ruling. Fortunately, it’s time to celebrate because Variety is reporting that the IRS just lost their lawsuit against Storey. Our long national nightmare is finally over.

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Drinking Games

Do you have your taxes done? The clock is ticking away to midnight on April 17th to file. If you don’t, you might end up owing $5,000 to the government, and unlike a certain Chicago orphanage, you can’t rely on “Joliet” Jake Blues and his brother Elwood to raise that money for you. Although released more than 30 years ago, The Blues Brothers still strikes a chord with audiences around the world. Revisit the classic SNL-spawned musical from the days when SNL films were actually good. Kick back and wash down your dry white toast and four fried chickens with blue-collar beer from a honky-tonk bar. Just make sure you fill out those tax forms before you’re done with the game, or you might not remember to mail them.

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In 2009, Lee Storey made the documentary Smile ‘Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story after finding out that her husband had been involved with the 1960s musical/ethical group. It played at Slamdance and several other festivals. Last March, US Tax Court Judge Diane Kroupa researched the film and its production with an eye to rule on whether or not Storey owes thousands in back taxes and penalties. The reason? Kroupa is determining whether making a documentary is a hobby or not. If she finds that it is, it could have a profound effect on documentary filmmaking.

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