The Dark Knight

Post 73- Character Actors…ASSEMBLE!

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Over the past few years a lot of buzz has been building over the heavily anticipated Joss Whedon-directed Avengers movie. The film stars all of the recent movie-incarnation Marvel superheroes: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). It also stars S.H.I.E.L.D agents Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). Yes. Cobie Smulders.

The trend in super-hero movies these days is to cast well respected character actors (actors who play exceedingly eccentric or unusual characters) as the major villain. In Iron Man it was Jeff Bridges, in The Incredible Hulk it was William Hurt and Tim Roth, in the new Spider-Man it’s Rhys Ifans and brilliant In Treatment actor Irfan Khan, in Green Lantern it’s Peter Sarsgaard, in Batman Begins it was Liam Neeson. The better the villain, the better the hero.

Since The Avengers are arguably (no disrespect to the Justice League) the ultimate superhero team, the villains they fight must be the ultimate villains. After all, one  Avengers mantra is that they “fight the foes no single superhero can withstand.” I’m not sure who the Avengers are fighting in this new film. I believe it has not been released yet. However, the original comics have story lines featuring Thor’s Loki using the Hulk as a weapon, as well as a group known as the Masters of Evil. Which brings me to my main point. Which amazing character actors out there (who haven’t already portrayed big villains—leaving out Steve Buscemi, Gary Oldman, John Malkovich, etc.) would be believable as formidable opponents to Robert Downey Jr. and his team? Which actors are so badass and, following the recent trend, character-y, that you would believe that they could only be defeated by a team of the greatest superheroes alive? Who are the Avengers of character actors? Here are my picks:

Timothy Spall– What a weird looking guy. He has the market on menacing, mousy underlings (see: Harry Potter, Enchanted, Sweeney Todd) but has the chops to give you Winston Churchill (The Kings Speech), and Rosencrantz (Hamlet). I could see him as the rotund Puff Adder.

The Soup Nazi– To be honest, I didn’t even bother looking up his name, because that’s who he is. He’s the Soup Nazi. Forever and ever. He even appeared in an episode of Scrubs as The Soup Nazi. Can you name me another actor who appeared on one episode of a sitcom and turned it into a career? (Robin Williams starring as Mork on Happy Days doesn’t count.) Who does he play? Nazi scientist Baron Zemo, of course!

Stephen Toblowsky– This guy has done it all. Most recently appearing as former Glee coach/drug dealer Sandy Ryerson on Glee, he has made a career of playing irritating business types (see: Groundhog’s Day) and lite comic villains (see: Garfield). He would make an excellent super villain and would annoy the hell out of Captain America with his pompous attitude. Let him be evil genius, Immortus.

Wallace Shawn– This guy deserves the chance to strut his stuff on a mammoth scale. He excels at playing the nebishy, brainy nerds (see: Clueless, The Princess Bride.) But boy does he do that well. Watching him torture his perfect foil, Thor, using logic games, and just watching him divulge his evil plans to a held-captive Iron Man, would be delectable. Definitely Egghead.

Matt Walsh– Let’s get a little comedy into this Avengers movie! In the past decade, Upright Citizen’s Brigade founding member Matt Walsh has “secretly” appeared in every comedy film/television show released in the past 10 years, playing the loud, obnoxious oddball. (See: The Hangover, Children’s Hospital, I Love You, Man, Step Brothers). Obviously, he’d play the juggling Oddball.

Christopher Lloyd– Hollywood loves a comeback, and it’s about time that Christopher Lloyd return to his rightful place as the go-to eccentric. Let him give younger audiences a taste of what he showed us in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Pagemaster. He would rock the socks off as a super villain bent on destroying the world and driving Jeremy Renner insane. Let him play the dichotomously brilliant and destructive Mr. Hyde.

Conchata Farrell– Conchata is the take no guff, sarcastic, confident big ol lady best known for her roles in Two and a Half Men, Mr. Deeds and Erin Brockovich. A powerful woman who won’t take Robert Downey Jr’s sass or succumb to Chris Evans’ charm, she’ll play The Executioner.

Mickey Jones– He’s the big biker guy you’ve seen in everything from Total Recall to Lizzie McGuire. The man has more than paid his dues to the biz and is ready for more than just showing up in a bar fight. He can pull off The Wrecker.

Tommy “Tiny” Lister– With his one line as the huge prisoner on the boat in The Dark Knight (“Give it to me, and I’ll do what ya’ll shoulda did ten minutes ago.”) I knew that I wanted to see more of this guy. So let’s see more of him! Make him Thunderball!

Maggie Wheeler– Better known as the most annoying girlfriend ever—Janice from Friends—her siren call gives her more than enough credibility to destroy Scarlett Johansson and keep even the Hulk at bay. She’s definitely Man-Killer!

Until Tomorrow–

Day 63- James Franco wrote this post. He will be adapting it to a screenplay for a film he will be directing and assistant directing. He also will be the gaffer.

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There are a few movies which, when on TV, I feel like I must watch. Until the end. No matter what time of day it is, no matter what else I should be doing. These are not just movies which I can turn on, watch happily for a half an hour, and then turn off. These movies are ones whose dialogue is so engaging, whose characters’ journeys are so satisfying, and whose stories are so compelling that would keep me watching, despite the fact that I already know the ending. In no particular order, here are a few of these must-watch movies for me.

1) The Dark Knight. Much has been said about how great this film is, but I will reiterate that Heath Ledger’s performance glues my eyes to the television every moment he’s onscreen. You can’t turn that movie off.

2) The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Movie. This movie is never on television. But when it is, I won’t be able to turn it off. Every second away from the screen you are missing a high kick, a punch to the face, a kiya!, a morph, a pun about ooze, and Kimberly’s tits. Jk. But seriously, it’s a great movie.

3) A Few Good Men. Somehow Sorkin finds away to make boring things (research, computers) seem like Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Obviously court room scenes are filled with drama already, but watching that movie you simply cannot turn it off until you see Lt. Kaffee NAIL Col. Jessup and get his “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!”

4) R.V. Just kidding.

5) Jerry Maguire. This is the subject of my post today. I turned this film on TNT at 1:30 AM a few nights ago, and did not turn it off until the film ended at 3 AM. I was exhausted and had seen the film many times before, but I still found it supremely entertaining. Jerry Maguire came out in 1996 to much acclaim, including a best supporting actor Oscar win for Cuba Gooding Jr. (otherwise known as the guy from Snow Dogs). It lost Best Picture to The English Patient (which also beat out Fargo, Shine and Secrets And Lies). If a movie should win based on its durability, The English Patient clearly loses, because I can’t think of a single moment in the past 10 years (other than that Seinfeld episode) when anyone made a reference to The English Patient. Not a single person in my life has ever told me to see The English Patient. I’m not saying The English Patient is a bad movie. I’m sure it’s great, and it has a great cast and great director (the late Anthony Mingella.) I just don’t think it’s one of those movies that you tell your kids someday to rent. Unlike Fargo or Jerry Maguire. Fargo (by the Coen Bros.) won best screenplay that year, and it is a great original screenplay, but looking back at Jerry Maguire, it’s insane how many catch phrases from that film have remained in our collective lexicon today:

“Show me the money!”

“Help me…help you. Help me, help you!”

“You had me at hello.”

“You complete me.”

And other priceless gems such as:

“That’s not a dress, that’s an Audrey Hepburn movie.”

“All right. I shoplifted the pootie.”

“You’re my ambassador of quawn, man.”

Jerry Maguire has become a classic film that, like Betty White, has only gotten better with age. With more corruption in sports, more slimeballs (Hey Scott Boras!), it’s still refreshing to see Jerry and Dorothy take a chance and try to live with principles. It’s also refreshing to see a love story so unpredictable, but so truthful and heartwarming without being (in my opinion) overly sappy. Let’s just say sappy enough. It forces you to get emotional, but without manipulating you (much like The Blind Side does). Let’s go over the love story–guy and girl meet and fall in love (and although Jerry remains unsure of what his love means, he is a good man with the best intentions). Still not completely in tune with his emotions, Jerry proposes, he and Dorothy get married (perhaps a bit soon, but again, with the best intentions), wrestles with what their love/marriage means, and then ultimately opens his heart, realizes his love, does the right thing, stands up as a man and saves his marriage. What an unconventional love story. Cameron Crowe takes a page out of his idol Billy Wilder’s screenplay textbook and lets the heightened circumstances unfold truthfully. This movie also wins the rare achievement of making Renee Zellweger appear desirable, and making the classic narcissistic, egomaniacal athlete three-dimensional. How does Crowe do this? By giving him a loving wife, a strong marriage, and making his cartoonish qualities endearing rather than annoying. And could Jonathan Lipnicki be ANY cuter? He rarely speaks, but when he does you can’t help but smile. I wish he and Mary-Kate Olsen (Fuck Ashley) would stay 9 years old forever. By the way, did I mention that the whole movie revolves around sports! How awesome is that!

Tom Cruise is also just superb in this film. He nails every scene with just the right amount of Cruisan intensity, heart, humor and charm. Jerry Maguire is a real, conflicted, layered character and Tom Cruise brings him to life. Which brings me to my next point.

It’s fairly easy to shit on Tom Cruise. His behavior the past few years has lent many to question his sanity. But let us remember that for many years Tom Cruise made great freaking movies. From 1986 to 1996 he was on a ten year winning streak making one solid film after the next–Top Gun (1986), The Color Of Money (1986), Cocktail (1988)–ok that one’s a little silly, Rainman (1988), Born On The Fourth Of July (1989), Days Of Thunder (1990), Far And Away (1990), A Few Good Men (1992), The Firm (1993), Interview With A Vampire (1994), Mission Impossible (1995), Jerry Maguire (1996).

That’s 12 great movies. Each one a pretty big hit. Then from 1996 to 2006 he also had a pretty nice streak going: Magnolia, Mission Impossible II, Minority Report, The Last Samurai, Collateral, War Of The Worlds, Mission Impossible III. In those 10 years his only real misses were Eyes Wide Shut and Vanilla Sky. So let’s say then that from 1986 to 2006—20 YEARS!—Tom Cruise made only 2 subpar movies. And by subpar I mean both critically and commercially. That’s crazy. Practically every single other movie he did was both a critical and commercial hit! Simultaneously! Compare that to the other biggest stars of the past 20 years—Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, and Brad Pitt—and they don’t even compare. All 3 of them have had multiple missteps and at least 4 bombs. Tom Cruise really only has 2. SO PLEASE! Let’s give the man some credit.

If we talk about 2006-2010, the man only made 4 movies—Lions for Lambs, Tropic Thunder, Valkyrie, and Knight and Day. Tropic Thunder was phenomenal (and he stole the movie) and the other 3 were just ok. But none of them were paycheck movies and none of them is half as bad as a shitty Denzel thriller (Out of Time, Déjà Vu etc.). So yes, the man seems a bit crazy, and yes he is a Scientologist, and yes, there are many rumors surrounding his sexuality. But who gives a shit! If you like movies, you must like Tom Cruise. Just look at his credits and you’ll see that the man is a damn good actor who works with great directors and picks his projects well. (He even consults Will Smith–who has been absent from the movie screen since 2008. Weird right? Is he that focused on his kids’ careers? I know he’s filming Men In Black 3 now. But we’ll see that on screen in like 2 years. So isn’t it strange for the biggest star on the planet to disappear from screens during his prime?)

Where was I? Oh Yeah. Stop shitting all over Tom Cruise. Give one of the biggest movie stars of all time a break and celebrate him for 20 years worth of great films as a leading man. Thank you.

Until Tomorrow—

Day 41- I’m going to make a sequel to "That Thing You Do" called "That Thing We Did"

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Hello Readers,
Havent seen you guys in a while. Where’ve you been? Vacationing? Where? In Bermuda?! With Who!? GARY!! That sonofabitch! He told me he was with Betsy and the girls in Cape Canaveral! And all this time he was-WELL, he’ll be hearing from me soon.

Anyway–a lot to cover this day.
First, I dont have a twitter. I’m not planning on getting one any time soon. Why? Cuz I think they’re mostly stupid. I also would rather save my savory comic morsels for this blog. Twitters are good for 2 people: hilarious comedians and NBA players. I dont really follow anyone’s twitter as even celebrities’ are typically stupid but here are the ones that I do like

1. http://twitter.com/robhuebel
Thats one of the guys from Human Giant. He doesnt write shit about where hes performing. He also doesnt mostly write about shit hes doing. What he DOES write is hilarious little tidbits. For example:
—The Myrtle Beach airport bar is a great place to meet single, pregnant moms drinking…and try to get them double-pregnant.
—I am not the star of HBO’s new show, “Hung”. But my mom says I could have been.

2. http://hoopshype.com/twitter.html
This site lists all the twitter action from NBA players. These guys are the vainest silliest, and sometimes just dumbest people in the world, but I love it. Here are some golden ones from today:
Tyrus Thomas: If you a dude and you’re “too real” for BLACKsummer’s night, chances are you’re not REAL
Drew Gooden: At Walgreens and never knew they had restrooms??? It’s pretty cool in here! Lol!
(ps. check out Gooden’s back head soul patch….)
Shawn Marion: Wow jus caught last half of glory mathew broderick did a great job whatever happened to him

3. Bill Simmons–http://twitter.com/SportsGuy33
If you love Bill Simmons…

Next item of business. I was at the MJ Memorial. Big Ups to J-wizzle dizzle and her momizzle whos friendizzle got us the hookup for floor seats.

What a show. Anyone who’s anyone, or has ever been anyone was there. I made a list of the celebrities I sighted personally (that is, people who I saw in the crowd):
1. Larry King with his hot ass wife
2. Shawn Wayans. Where was Marlon? Probably sucking it up in G.I. Joe: The Rise of My Boner When I see Sienna Miller
3. Mini-Me (Verne Troyer) riding….a motorized SCOOTER! Down the aisles. Not only is it funny to see a midget in a scooter! But it was MINI ME! Suffice it to say, it brought some much needed levity.
4. Steve Urkel–Who actually looked more like Stefan Urquelle, if you get that Family Matters reference.
5. Fonzworth Bentley sans Diddy and his umbrella
6. Lou Ferrigno. Dude’s still got it.
7 (and my personal favorite). THE HUGE TALL BLACK SCARY PRISONER FROM THE DARK KNIGHT! The guy on the prison boat who says my favorite line, “I’m gonna do what ya’ll shoulda did, ten minutes ago.”

BTW–In the shooting script of the movie the line is, “I’m going to do what you all should have done ten minutes ago.” So props to Chris Nolan for letting his actors take some liberties with his language.

I met this huge tall scary man (Tommy “Tiny” Lister–The “Tiny” for obvious oxymoronish reasons) and he is in fact tall and scary in person. He even has a glass eye! But he was totally nice and let me take a picture with him while shaking his humongous elephant hand.

I was doing some research on imdb and this guy is in an upcoming movie called “Lean Like A Cholo: The Movie” where the description says: A comedy about a bunch of homie Cholos, trying to do the right thing, the right way for the right reasons, but always get it wrong.

I think this movie is replacing James Cameron’s Avatar as the most anticipated movie of the year for me.

8. Kobe Bryant: A god among men.
9. Billy Bush and Nancy O’Dell, the hosts of Access Hollywood- They had a little trouble finding their seats and they got there a bit late. I guess they just didnt have the necessary…ACCESS.
10. The HOST OF SUPERMARKET SWEEP! He was sitting right in front of me! Wow. How did he get floor seats I wonder. I used to love that show, and seeing him in person really brought me back to a time where TV used to have game shows where people ran around supermarkets grabbing as much expensive food and giant inflatable hams as they could.

Those were the celebrity highlights. As for the ceremony itself, it was really powerful. A lot of people were in tears. I myself dont get too emotional about celebrities dying, simply because I dont know them personally. But when MJ’s daughter spoke, unnecessarily in my opinion (Janet was supposed to talk and instead she passes the mike to her 10 year old niece! To speak to an arena of over 18,000 people!), it really did remind me that Michael Jackson wasnt just MICHAEL JACKSON. He was a dad. And thats something to be sad about.

The speakers were great, Queen Latifah’s reading of Maya Angelou’s poem was beautiful, as was Smokey Robinson’s reminiscing over 11 year old MJ. Martin Luther King Jr’s kids also spoke eloquently about how Michael called their mother on her death bed and told her he was praying for her (now if the kids could only stop fighting over money!). Al Sharpton was a little over the top for me. As Seth Meyers wrote in his twitter: Al Sharpton to MJ’s kids:”Your daddy wasn’t strange!” Al Sharpton to Peanut Butter:”You are not made of butter and peanuts!” Jennifer Hudson clearly had the best, most rousing performance, and as a sidenote–

Even after Dreamgirls, I was not sold on her. Obviously she sang “And I am Telling You” well, but what else could she do? Well–after hearing her sing the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl, some song at the Grammys, and now “Will You Be There” at this event IM SOLD. She has an UN-BELIEVABLE voice. Aretha-ish. I’m not kidding. When its on SHE BRINGS IT.

Anyway–it was a lavish but relatively gentle and kind memorial befitting the most controversial, exciting, and arguably most talented and influential entertainer of our time. He lived only 50 years, but undoubtedly he will be globally remembered forever.*

Until Tomorrow–

*Unless aliens attack the planet and destroy every book, every magazine, every form of print ever existing ever, the internet, film and television archives, and every trace of human invention and then wipe out our brains and replace our memories with thoughts solely of the “leader” and our next two tasks.

Day 40- The amount of time the Israelites wandered through the desert. And the age Steve Carrell had sex in the 40 Year old virgin

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Hey everyone, I know I am supposed to be writing Part 2 of the last post, but I think I would rather do “this” right now. “This” being, only writing short snippets of nonsense that I have picked up. So:

1st snippet: Have you heard of that movie The Dark Knight? It came out last summer. It was about a bat. Anyway, do you remember that actress who plays Commissioner Gordon’s wife? The red head who’s in about 4 scenes and cries in practically every one. Every time I saw the movie I racked my brain trying to figure out where I recognized her from. It killed me every time. Then, finally-without looking it up on IMDB, it hit me last night like a James Brown song. She was in that classic 1998 Leslie Nielsen spoof film, “Wrongfully Accused!” She plays Leslie’s love interest–the sultry, silly “which side is she on” seductress Cass Lake, who has such funny lines as:

Cass Lake: You see, I think she’s my sister.
Ryan Harrison: Sister?
Cass Lake: It’s like a brother, only you do each other’s hair.

There are other funny lines in this movie, such as
Ryan Harrison: Don’t move. I’ve got a gun. Not here, but I got one.

also: Ryan Harrison: [to Sean] Right? Signal “yes” by shooting yourself in the head three times.
Lauren: Don’t, it’s a trick!

And I got one more for you just for kicks:
Ryan Harrison: Your dog sure has a surprised look on his face.
Lauren: That’s because you’re looking at his butt.
Ryan Harrison: Uh, then he’s certainly not going to enjoy that treat I just fed to him.

I usually dont quote that much on the blog, but this movie is actually pretty funny, and I just read all of those and each one made me laugh out loud. BOY! It actually felt good writing that entire phrase out. Laugh out loud. You should try it some time.

Anyway, not only was this actress in both these movies, but she also played a pivotal role in one of my favorite shows on teleivison– MAD MEN! I know there are only some readers who actually watch the show (<5) but I'm going to write about it anyway to get you all to get in the game! She played Bobbie Barrett! The last woman Don Draper had an affair with and then one who I wrote about a while back. She was the one he FISTED in the back of a restaurant! Thats all I will write about that. I dont want to spoil anything for those of you (all of you) who havent watched Mad Men yet. Anyway–impressive lady. Impressive body of work. Impressive crying in Dark Knight (I have now seen that movie 6 times btw, and I cant wait to watch it again.) Oh. And the actress’s name is Melinda McGraw.* One more thing to post. I just read this from a reliable source. (It was imdb). Why didnt I just say, “I read this on IMDB.” Cause I like the term reliable source. It makes me sound like a journalist when really I am typing this post while wearing nothing but boxers in my bed, while listening to a song from Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s 2005 comedy album, “Come Poop With Me.” Anyway! The News!

The stars of Harry Potter are getting a makeover from the team behind Brad Pitt‘s transformation for The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button – they’re set to be digitally aged for the final movie.

They are going to use the same technology as they did in Benjamin Button to make the three stars of HP look older for the epilogue scene in the HP7P2. (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. They are splitting the last book into 2 movies to make more money). This means they’ll probably use different actors’ bodies and superimpose new digital faces of the original adorable threesome.

PS. If you could have a threesome with any “trio” of famous characters (must include at least one member of your same sex), who would it be? My top 3 off the top of my head.

1. Harry, Ron and Hermione
2. Lizzie McGuire, Miranda and Gordo
3. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia

(illegal 4th option): Any 3 of the members of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
(illegal and disturbing 5th option): Sonic, Tails and Knuckles

I guess this new Benjamin Button tech shit is cool. I just hope they dont make HP7P2 8 hours long.

This turned into a much longer post than I expected. Oh well. Better for you all.

Until Tomorrow—

*I did it. I spoke about The Dark Knight without mentioning Heath Ledger. Oh wait…shit.

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