Archive for August, 2008
Day 28- "I want to see Meet the Fockers in 3D"- My 14 year old camper Michael Namm after telling him I had just seen Superman Returns in 3D.5
So as you can tell, I will not have the time to necessarily update the blog as frequently as I did during the summer. HOWEVER, you should still check it often as a new post may be up there when you least expect it. Having said that….
HERE IS THE NEW SAID POST!
If I had to be one actor from the mid-eighties to early 90s I would probably want to be Christopher Lloyd. Mr. Lloyd has claimed a firm place in cinematic history as one of the best go-to manic character actors, and has also attached himself to some of the best/most popular movies of those days. Lets go through some of them shall we?
1. Back to the Future (1985): There is really nothing to discuss other than to say that this franchise is in my top 4 movies of all time (Airplane, Austin Powers and The Matrix probably being the other 3). It has action, adventure, humor, time-travel, (I guess there is something to discuss) an eighties soundtrack featuring Huey Lewis and the News, a giant clock tower, awesome chase scenes, a wicked cool/trippy concept, Libyans, an awesome logo, plutonium, Crispin Glover, the brother Dwayne from ‘The Wonder Years’, fire, and the best score of all time (yes, it is my ringtone). Taking all of that into consideration, even though Marty McFly is the hero of the film, Doc Brown is really the heart and soul of that movie. When he was shot by the Libyans, you (and by you I mean I) almost cried.
2. Clue (1985): Not neccessarily a classic, but the board game is, and the witty dialogue (“You see? Like the Mounties, we always get our man”) , excellent casting (Tim Curry as the BUTLER!) and zany cast of characters make this movie a must-watch. This movie also has made it through the sands of time to be played on basic cable on Sunday afternoons. It also has developed a bit of a cult following, so thats 2 for 2 Mr. Lloyd.
3. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988): This movie is in my top 7. It is one of the most creative, hilarious, innovative, brilliant comedies of the past 25 years. The animation is unbelievable, the plot is engaging, and the cartoon that Christopher Lloyd turns into at the end of the movie is FUCKING SCARY (to be said in an increasingly high pitched voice): “Remember me Eddie! When I KILLED YOUR BROTHER! I SOUNDED JUST…LIKE….THIIIIIS!” Jessica Rabbit (as voiced by the sultry Kathleen Turner) is still the hottest cartoon of all time (No disrespect of course to Tanya Moskowtiz from “An American Tail”). I’d much rather watch her sing in a night club than watch Cameron Diaz sing circa “The Mask.”
Furthermore, this is probably going to be THE movie Bob Hoskins is going to be remembered for (Sorry “Super Mario Bros,” but Dennis Hopper really mailed in his performance as King Koopa. I much preferred him as Victor Drazen.) Even the Roger Rabbit cartoon that opens the film stands alone as a hilariously violent triumph. The real impressive aspect of the film is that Disney got Warner Bros to let them use Bugs Bunny and the whole gang of WB cartoons. Seeing Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny together taunt Bob Hoskins as he falls out of a window? Priceless.
4. The Dream Team (1989): This movie is decidedly much less popular or known, but it did star HUGE HOLLYWOOD STAR (at the time) MICHAEL KEATON. In case you are not familiar with this film, it is like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest but zany. It’s about a bunch of mental hospital patients who go to New York to get fresh air, and end up going astray, getting framed for murder, and just causing a big ruckus in general. If you’ve never seen it before, well….dont rent it, but if its on TV at some point on Encore or something, I’d take a look. The truth is I remember liking it when I saw it when I was 10, and I havent seen it since. So who knows if it is actually good at all. Lets just move on.
5. The Addams Family (1991). This movie was a huge hit at the time. I havent seen it in years, but I probably never will. Why you ask? Well, when I was on a plane on the way to Israel when I was 6 years old, I sat in the first row right in front of the giant pull down movie screen (remember those?) It was a long flight and I was a very tired boy. I fell asleep and when I woke up, I remember staring into the enlarged face of a bald, pale, hunchbacked, creepy Uncle Fester. He was laughing and to a child of 6…well it wasnt very pleasant sight, especially after a nap. I freaked out and have been freaked out by the Addams Family movies ever since.*
*The other movie that played on that flight was none other than….Mrs. Doubfire! Why I remember this? I dont know. But then again I also dont know any math I learned in high school, so you figure it out.
6. THE FAMILY FRIENDLY 1994 3 PACK: Angels in the Outfield (1994), Camp Nowhere (1994), The Pagemaster (1994). All of these movies are friendly PG movies that champion the power of children’s imagination. In AITO cutie patootie Joseph Gordon Levitt thinks he can save the Anaheim Angels season because he can see angels, lead by Christopher Lloyd, helping the team win. “Bahh-humbug” says grizzled manager Danny Glover who acts in every movie as if he is “too old for this shit.” Luckily though, Danny begins to believe and everyone wins, including baseball players, Matthew McConaughey, Adrien Brody and Tony Danza. Interesting that Tony Danza was the highest billed guy in the movie at the time, and now he is a poor schumuck probably waiting to appear on “Dancing with the Stars.”
“Camp Nowhere” is about a camp that KIDS MAKE THE RULES! NO ADULTS ALLOWED! KIDS RULE! KIDS ARE AWESOME! YEA! Really cool kid stars Jonathan Jackson and Andrew Keegan were the stars of this film (which also featured a young, but still scorching Jessica Alba). Chirstopher Lloyd played the crazy homeless guy who posed as the camp director so the parents wouldnt know what was going on. DID I MENTION–KIDS RULE! I watched this film at camp one summer when I was in the infirmary, sick with a fever. I was drifting in and out of sleep during the movie, but I specifically remember jumping out of my bed to go vomit in the toilet just as the BOY and GIRL were about to kiss. Ahh….good times.
FINALLY-“The Pagemaster” starred Macauly Culkin as a wimpy nerd who gets trapped in a library where all the books came to life and sounded surprisingly like Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Stewart and Leonard Nimoy. This was a very imaginative idea, and the animation was cool. Ed Begley Jr. as Macauly Culkin’s dad was ever cooler. This movie was also surprisingly scary, especially CLloyd as THE PAGEMASTER, but then again, when Christopher Lloyd is in a movie, the fear factor does jump up about 10 notches.
ALL in all C. Lloyd has had a pretty awesome career. He is the craziest mother fucker this side of normal town. I like him a lot. NEW ADDITION–I saw C.Lloyd in this “Goosebumps Haunted Lifehouse” 4D Movie (one of those where if its windy, they blow air in your face) at Sea World a year or so ago and he was in it! He played this crazy old sea captain! But you know who else was in that movie? Michael McKean and Lea Thompson (Lorraine McFly herself!). And then Weird Al had a cameo at the end as a waiter which was totally unexpected and awesome. So the moral is if you go to SeaWorld, EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.
PS. Did anyone catch the Mad Men a couple weeks ago where Bobbe was trying to black ball Don Draper in a restaurant? While his wife is at the table, Don follows Bobbe to the restroom, and in the hallway, proceeds to STICK HIS FIST INTO HER VAGINA, and tell her never fuck with him again. Needless to say, she got the message. What message? That DON DRAPER IS THE MAN.
Day 27- No disrespect to to Lord Byren or Edgar Allen Poe, but I dont believe there is such a thing as a romantic period- BJ Novak3
Hey Readers, (Clippy: IT SEEMS LIKE YOU ARE WRITING A LETTER! DO YOU WANT SOME HELP WITH THAT)
Sorry it has been so long since I’ve last posted. I’ve been really busy with pre-school school (Maybe not the best way to phrase it). I was staffing an orientation for freshman, doing improv shows, and organizing BJ Novak’s show at Wash U. In case you are wondering, the show was HUMONGOUS success. We had between 3-4,000 people (more than half the school) and everyone had an awesome time.
But enough with the excuses. I need to get back to what’s really important. What you all care about. Good ol‘ fashioned Hollywood nonsense. So, without further ado, here it is:
What has happened to “The Frat Pack?” For those of you who dont know, the Frat Pack is the group of comedians- Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Steve Carrell, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson and Jack Black that often appear in each other’s movies and used to mean a big box office opening no matter what time of year it was. Now I know you’re saying, “but these guys are still huge stars who can all open their own movies!” But the truth is, that none of these guys (save for this summer’s “Get Smart” and last year’s “Night at the Museum”) have really had a BIG hit since 2006. In fact, the “friends” of the frat pack, most of the members of Team Apatow, are the ones making the big bucks. I have come up with several reasons for this:
1. The Frat Pack are making less movies because studios arent greenlighting them. In general, studios are more cautious than not, so as a high powered studio exec (say…Amy Pascal of Columbia Pictures), would you rather invest $80 million, $20 million of those dollars going to Vince Vaughn, in a big budget movie, after Fred Claus made $50 million and was considered a flop, or would you rather spend $28-$35 million on Seth Rogen’s new buddy comedy or Jason Segal’s break-up comedy, or Judd Apatow’s baby comedy that will most definitely make more than $35 million, and therefore, will make a profit.
2. Audiences have gotten sick of seeing guys like Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller do their normal shtick. No one saw Semi-Pro or The Heartbreak Kid because they have seen those movies before. Or at least, they had seen those characters before. Jackie Moon is just Ricky Bobby + Chazz Michael Michaels + Ron Burgandy, and Ben Stiller’s character in Heartbreak Kid was Gaylord Focker + Ruben Feffer (Along Came Polly) + Ted Stroehmann (Something About Mary). Step Brothers made money because it was (well hilarious!) and was at least a little stretch in that Will wasnt playing sports and didnt have a ridiculous haircut/facial hair. Tropic Thunder is working (not as much money as they hoped but still #1 two weeks in a row) because of how original it is. If these guys want to keep working, they’ve got to keep stretching themselves.
3. Women love Apatow movies. Apatow movies are all about relationships. They have the stuff that guys want (hilarious moments, quotable lines, dirty words, sex) and a lot of the stuff women want (relateable characters, heartwarming moments, semi-romantic stuff). Judd makes movies that guys AND girls like to watch. Why make another “You Me and Dupree” with big name actors (KATE HUDSON! MATT DILLON!) when you can make an actual love triangle movie (Mila Kunis? Jason Segal?) with smaller name actors with smaller paychecks, that people will go to see because of the positive critical acclaim and because of word of mouth.
4. Since they’ve gotten big, members of the Pack havent starred opposite each other (save for Tropic Thunder). People like seeing Vince Vaughn with Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell, not with Jennifer Aniston or Paul Giamatti. The movies that do well are the ones that star at least 2 of the major members of the Pack.
A couple of things I want to note about “The Frat Pack.”
1. Luke Wilson should not be in it. He is in it because of Old School, and because he appeared in Anchorman, but the dude is not funny, does not make good good movies, and is not liked by men. He should be replaced by Paul Rudd because Paul Rudd is awesome and does a lot more Frat Pack stuff.
2. Steve Carrell hasnt really done a “frat pack” comedy since Anchorman. He doesnt do cameos anymore (the one from Knocked Up not withstanding) and therefore I feel like he may have left the group. But I guess only time will tell.
I have always been a fan of The Frat-Pack and actually check the excellent website www.the-frat-pack.com at least once a day so this rant is not anger inspired but rather it is constructive criticism. Here is what I have to say to each member of The Frat Pack:
Ben- I hope you continue to do smart, satirical comedy like Tropic Thunder more than family friendly fodder like “Night at the Museum 2.” And you do have lots of pull in Hollywood and your own production company (GO RED HOUR FILMS! I worked there Summer 06!) so I’m sure you can find a balance between the two.
Will- As much as Step Brothers didnt have a plot or deep characters, it was fucking hilarious at parts and I like that. I hope you continue to write your own stuff and find interesting, hilarious, ridiculous shit to do.
Owen–Well you stopped making movies for a while after your suicide attempt, and I hope you are doing better, but I dont think the public will look at your carefree, silly on-stage persona the same again. We’ll see how your next movie, starring Jennifer Aniston, goes. Its called “Marley and Me.”
Vince- Well, your Wild West Comedy Tour bombed too, so maybe your name isnt as powerful as people think it is. However, you do have another big Christmas movie coming out, co-starring super-star Reese Witherspoon, so I’m sure that will do well and you’ll get back on the horse.
Jack- You also are doing just fine. I’m quite looking forward to “Year One” co-starring Michael Cera, David Cross, McLovin and Hank Azaria and directed by Harold Ramis and produced by Mr. Apatow. Keep making the good career choices, balancing smaller, more serious pieces (“Margot at the Wedding”) with funny kid stuff (“Kung Fu Panda”). I just hope School of Rock 2 is going to be good….
Luke: The Wrong Brother tried to commit suicide. Stop making movies. No one likes you.
FINALLY- On a “Frat Pack” note, does Elizabeth Banks have to play to girlfriend to every single member of the Frat-Pack and its friends at one point? Lets she, she dated Michael Showalter (not a friend, but a comedian who is connected to the Frat by Paul Rudd) in “The Baxter,” she “hooked up” with Carrell in the 40 Year Old Virgin (Do you like to do it yourself?), she played David Wain (connected thru Rudd)’s girlfriend in his internet shorts, “Wainy Days,” she played Vince Vaughn’s in Fred Claus, Paul Rudd’s in the upcoming “Role Models” (which BTW looks FREAKING HILARIOUS!), and Seth Rogen’s in the upcoming (no pun intended) Zach and Miri Make a Porno. Seriously, as much as I like her, its getting weird.
It’s good to be back everyone.
PS. Here’s one more hilarious BJ Novak joke: “Her body was like poetry. It bored me.”
Penn Fooled By Spider-man Star’s Fake Penis
Funny? Yes. News? NO! Sutherland has now broken his silence about his time behind bars, joking, “I dropped the soap!” He continues: “I actually dropped the soap. I remember looking down at it and then I looked around and thought: ‘Soap is over-rated… I’m done with this shower!'” ETHAN’S TV UPDATE: If you like the show “Weeds” or you are into graphic television sex, watch last week’s episode (Ep. 8) if only for two of the most graphic sex scenes I’ve ever seen on television. I dont know how old Mary Louise Parker is, but she is scorchingly hot…and naked. And the Milf that Silas (the least interesting character on the show) is doing is….well lets just say if she was the president of the PTA, I would come to every single meeting on time. Or if she were baking a cake, I would want to be the spoon that she sticks into her vagina. Lastly, I’m taking a poll. Are Joan Allen and Diane Lane the same actress? Or is Joan Allen closer to Laura Linney? All 3 of these actresses have played secret government employees (Joan Allen- Bourne Idenitiy, Diane Lane- Untraceable, Laura Linney– Breach) They all could play moms over 40 who are sexually frustrated. (Joan Allen-Pleasantville, The Upside of Anger, Diane Lane-Unfaithful, Laura Linney– The Squid and the Whale). But Diane Lane does more romances (Must Love Dogs, Under the Tuscan Sun) while Joan Allen does more random stuff (Death Race and The Notebook?) and Laura Linney does serious character pieces (The Savages, John Adams). Yet, when I think of these actresses, I put them in the same category. Maybe Diane Lane, because she is the hottest, does more commercial fare, while Laura Linney takes all the real good work (minus of course, “Man of the Year”) and Joan Allen is the most manly and takes what she can get. What do you think? Any other actresses who fit in this category? Until Tomorrow–
Sutherland’s Prison Soap Fear
WATCH THE SHOW “MAD MEN.” I am just finishing the first season and it is unbelievable. The writing is brilliant, the plots are fascinating, the acting is superb (Jon Hamm is getting an Emmy for best actor) and the sex is well…sexy. Plus, the show, which takes place in 1960, is factually accurate and therefore even more interesting. Also, because it is the 60s, in every scene, at least two characters are drinking and/or smoking, occassionaly in front of children. What’s more to like? Oh, and it has, besides “The Office,” the best theme music and the coolest titles sequence on television
Funny? Yes. News? NO!
Sutherland has now broken his silence about his time behind bars, joking, “I dropped the soap!”
He continues: “I actually dropped the soap. I remember looking down at it and then I looked around and thought: ‘Soap is over-rated… I’m done with this shower!'”
ETHAN’S TV UPDATE:
If you like the show “Weeds” or you are into graphic television sex, watch last week’s episode (Ep. 8) if only for two of the most graphic sex scenes I’ve ever seen on television. I dont know how old Mary Louise Parker is, but she is scorchingly hot…and naked. And the Milf that Silas (the least interesting character on the show) is doing is….well lets just say if she was the president of the PTA, I would come to every single meeting on time. Or if she were baking a cake, I would want to be the spoon that she sticks into her vagina.
Lastly, I’m taking a poll. Are Joan Allen and Diane Lane the same actress? Or is Joan Allen closer to Laura Linney? All 3 of these actresses have played secret government employees (Joan Allen- Bourne Idenitiy, Diane Lane- Untraceable, Laura Linney– Breach) They all could play moms over 40 who are sexually frustrated. (Joan Allen-Pleasantville, The Upside of Anger, Diane Lane-Unfaithful, Laura Linney– The Squid and the Whale). But Diane Lane does more romances (Must Love Dogs, Under the Tuscan Sun) while Joan Allen does more random stuff (Death Race and The Notebook?) and Laura Linney does serious character pieces (The Savages, John Adams). Yet, when I think of these actresses, I put them in the same category. Maybe Diane Lane, because she is the hottest, does more commercial fare, while Laura Linney takes all the real good work (minus of course, “Man of the Year”) and Joan Allen is the most manly and takes what she can get.
What do you think? Any other actresses who fit in this category?
In case you didn’t realize this before: The Oscars are bullshit. Not all of it. But most of it. Like everything in Hollywood, it is a money-making device to get people to see more movies. Oscars also, in case you didnt know, arent won by actors who’s performances were unbelievable and truly the best of the year, but rather they are given to actors who have the right combination of star power, sympathy, a good back story, and a certain type of performance. Mostly, a performance considered “brave” which basically means that that either an actor portrayed someone that no one likes (Aileen Wuornos, Indi Amin) but made the audience a little more compassionate about that character OR that an actor played someone that EVERYBODY likes (Ray Charles, Ghandi), and did it in a way that was “faithful” and “captured even that person’s slightest nuances.” You also have to do the right amount of press (For “Gangs of New York,” Martin Scorsese went nuts, appearing on everything, while for “The Departed,” he only did a few things. The ol‘ less is more attitude and his “humbleness” helped him score his first victory.) Also of course, you are guaranteed an Oscar if you ugly yourself up either physically (something I’ve touched on in a previous post), or mentally, that is, if you play someone a little mentally challenged.
The Oscars are kind of a large topic to handle in one post, so I will just handle one part in this one. Namely, Oscar winning performances when, looked back on, were not that good. These performers won their Oscar because of other factors.
2008- Tilda Swinton for “Michael Clayton.” Now while I loved this movie, and while I loved her performance in it, I didnt think it was necessarily Oscar worthy (or should I say, award worthy). I think the performance was subtle, contained, and very truthful. The fear she showed, while trying to remain in control was definitely great acting, but it wasnt a performance where, five years down the line, you would say, “wow, she should have won an Oscar for that!” However, she won because the Academy wanted to give Michael Clayton an Oscar, but didnt feel it could give it an Oscar for anything else. With Juno a lock for best screenplay, Daniel-Day Lewis a lock for best actor, Javier Bardem a lock for best supporting actor, and the Coen Brothers a lock for best directors and movie, this was the only category where it could win. The other performers were just as good if not better and some had even more complex characters. Even though I dont think she deserved an Oscar, Ruby Dee’s performance in “American Gangster” was crazy good. Can you imagine what it would be like to slap Denzel Washington across the face!? And at that point in the movie, with Denzel’s character at the height of his power! Hot Damn that was a intense scene!
2007- Alan Arkin was awesome. Who knew a heroin addict could be so lovable? I didnt, and now I do. But you know who else was just so unbelievable–Eddie Murphy in “Dreamgirls.” It was the role of his career, combining his electric performing skills, with his trademark fast talking, narcissism, BUT to this he added a sadness and vulnerability that, when I saw for the first time, made me swell up inside with pity and sympathy. As douche as this guy was at his prime, you still loved him, and then felt bad for him during his demise. You know why Eddie didnt win? Because he is an asshole that too many people in Hollywood dont like. He is difficult to work with, doesnt even do press for his own movies, and has an ego the size of my dick (HUGE). Alan Arkin on the other hand, is old, has always done good work, and people felt that he was really due. That’s why he won.
Jennifer Hudson. Oh Jennifer Jennifer. You sang “And I am Telling You” with so much power, and emotion and energy and oomph. You really sang from your heart. But it is the ROLE and your back story as an American Idol reject that won you the Oscar. The role of Effie White is a role that is so meaty and complicated that any decent actress with a good voice would be able to pull it off effectively. Look at the others nominated that year in that category: Cate Blanchett, those two foreigners from Babel, and Abigail Breslin. Alright Abigail didnt deserve it as cute as she was, the two foreigners did not have enough star power or sympathy. No one knew who they were! And well, that leaves Cate Blanchett. I still remember the camera panning her face when she lost. In her head she must have been thinking, “I just lost an Oscar to a girl who’s only previous acting experience had been on a Disney cruise ship!” Cate Blanchett should never lose an Oscar to someone who acted on a cruise ship. Never. Plus, her role in “Notes on a Scandal” was far more complex, even if it wasnt as “feel good.”
*Sidenote. I saw Jennifer Hudson at a Best Buy in the spring, shopping around, looking at the promotional stuff for the Dreamgirls DVD. Oscar winners dont look at themselves on DVD covers. As a sidenote to that sidenote, I saw Chi McBride (from Boston Public, Undercover Brother, Pushing Daisies etc.) at Best Buy that SAME trip. What are the odds?
2006- I like Reese Witherspoon a lot. I think shes a phenomenal actress and that she deserves an Oscar. Just not for “Walk the Line.” What was her role in that movie? Look cute, in love, upset that shes in love, strong, caring and then vulnerable. Thats about it. Oh, and she actually sang. This is one of those times when the other competitors just fell a little short, and Reese is just so damn cute that everyone wanted to vote for her. North Country (Charlize Theron’s movie) wasnt that good, no one saw “Mrs Henderson Presents” (starring Judi Dench) or “TransAmerica” (starring Felicity Huffman, or one half of the Hollywood power couple Filliam H. Muffman) and Keira Knightley’s performance, while good, wasnt “Oscar worthy.” In 10 years someone will rent, “Walk the Line” at a thumb-print identification, 24-hour Blockbuster kiosk and say “Joaquin Phoenix was phenomenal. Reese was good too.” That to me says it all.
2005-Morgan Freeman is the most beloved man in Hollywood as far as I can tell. Everyone loves him, respects him, wants to work with him, and loves his old black person dignity. The dude can also make a phone book sound like the Bible. Before 2005, Morgan had never won an Oscar. Hollywood had to change that. Especially if they were going to try and make America feel better for having had slavery for hundreds of years. But to be honest, his Million Dollar Baby performance, while “feel good” and emotional, was not, in my opinion as good as Clive Owen’s in “Closer” (Watch him scream, “DID HE MAKE YOU CUM” to Julia Roberts and not get a little bit frightened) or even Thomas Hayden Church’s “Sideways” performance. A lot of what the academy does is give people Oscars when they are “due.” This is one of those times.
Now, Hollywood does make good decisions sometimes. Adrien Brody’s win against heavyweights Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day Lewis was well deserved. Unfortunately Adrien Brody has not paid the Academy back since every other movie he has made since has been shitty.
I’m a little spent now. But I will share with you this information. About Daniel Day-Lewis. Did you know that during the period between The Last of the Mohicans and Gangs of New York, Daniel became a cobbler. The greatest actor alive stopped acting so he could make shoes for like 10 years. Crazy right!
Oh, and I liked Pineapple Express a lot, even though I felt like it switched its tone too much throughout. But, I didnt like it as much as Knocked Up or Superbad. Maybe some repeat viewings will change my mind…
BTW–ABOUT my post–Agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts!
I want to see a sequel to Step Brothers. But I dont want it to star Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.
By the way, this is a great article about the different paths that John C. Reilly and Phillip Seymour Hoffman took:
It also will be more like “Sister Sister” or “Twins” than “Step Brothers” because in my film, the two people will find out that they’re actually brothers.
I want it to star Gary Busey and Nick Nolte (two actors who are pretty much the same; so much so that when you google “Gary Busey mug shot” the first 10 images are all pictures of Nick Nolte’s mug shot). Gary Busey would “play” a homeless Vietnam war veteran who lives on a mattress in an alleyway behind a tittie bar and has constant delusions of when he watched his entire platoon die from an STD outbreak caused by some Vietnamese transvestite hookers. Nick Nolte would “play” another homeless Vietnam war veteran who lives in a dumpster behind an elementary school where he is constantly hassling the children to help him inject the “heroin” he buys from the school janitor with the “money” he gets from going to the “sperm bank” every Thursday. Of course since Nick Nolte’s character is crazy, he really actually hassles children to help him inject the “apple juice” he buys from the school janitor with the “aluminum cans” he gets from going to the “the same corner tree he jacks off on at the Gregory Hines Memorial Park” every Thursday.
These two wonderful characters meet at a swap meet and get into a fight over who called dibs on the tail shaking Felix the Cat wall-hanging clock and then, after going to the hospital to clean up their cuts, find out that their DNA is strikingly similar. So similar, that they are actually TWINS.
It turned out that their parents had split up when they were little, and each took a son. But the parents felt so bad that they kept their children apart that they sent the two boys to the same summer camp every summer in the hopes that they would meet and become friends. However, the boys kept getting kicked out of their summer camp before they could meet. Shown in a flashback montage series we will see on the first year, a young Gary Busey getting kicked out of camp on the 3rd day for throwing his own feces at a girl counselor. Then a year later, on the 2nd day we see we a young Nick Nolte getting kicked out for dropping a water balloon filled with his own pubes on an entire bunk going on a “blindfolded trust walk.” Then we see both of them in a split screen getting kicked out the same year on the first day for slapping their dicks on the faces of different members of the kitchen staff.
Then, after they leave the hospital, they pool their money together ($15.30–the $15 they got from pawning their purple hearts, and the .30 cents they got from stealing from a blind musician’s tin cup) and head on a road trip to discover their roots and themselves.
I have a lot more ideas about this movie going through my head (Their disgraceful and horrifying interruption of a Civil War reenactment will definitely be funny) but I will share them with you another time. By the way, if anyone takes any of my ideas and steals them for their own purposes I will fucking kill you.
COOL PEOPLE I SAW IN LA LAST WEEK
1. Common--that dude is a cool rapper and the gun specialist in “Wanted.” I saw him, bald head and all, with a lady friend, at Century City (a chic shopping mall with a movie theater). Earlier this summer, at Century City, I also saw that weird really rich foreign dude from Entourage (Yair Marx is the character’s name) who wants to buy “Medellin” and lets Vince have sex with his wife.
2. Kurt Fuller- you of course do not recognize the name. But you will recognize the face. This dude was in Wayne’s World as Rob Lowe’s weenie assistant who helps the guys save the day, a billion TV show guest appearances, The Pursuit of Happyness (he played the nice guy who takes Will Smith and his son to a 49ers game), Ray (he plays a music executive), and played Karl Rove on the Comedy Central show “Thats My Bush.” I saw him at the gym on a bicycle getting really sweaty. I’m glad he’s staying in shape. He’s a nice actor. I like him.
Day 23- Funny how I mentioned Clarissa Explains it All last post, because just today I saw Marshall Darling on "Mad Men"0
Hi everyone. Today I am trying out something new. My good friend, who I have mentioned before as Daniel “I wish I were a Coen Brother” Arkin, although now who I will refer to as Daniel “If I could have dinner with two people living or dead they would be Keith Olberman and Jason Bateman” Arkin, is one of the people I respect and trust most when it comes to movies. That’s him on the right. In fact, many of the topics I have written about here have come from our random conversations. For example, in ninth grade we came up with the David Paymer/Kevin Pollack connection. Yes, I was that big of a movie weirdo in ninth grade.
Anywhozelbees, I have offered him the opportunity to be a guest contributor to my blog and today he has taken me up that offer. As you will read, he also is a phenomenal writer. So here it is. Daniel’s article:
What Is This Shit?: The Films of Paul Verhoeven
On a recent Saturday afternoon, I browsed the aisles of Taschen Books in Beverly Hills, a publishing house best known for turning out the second-most-expensive book in Western history: G.O.A.T., a 75-lb, $12,500 tome on the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali. Less imposing is Taschen’s series of books about important film directors – from giants like John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock to contemporary masters like Roman Polanski and Michael Mann. I spotted all those titles in the store, along with a suspicious little ditty dedicated to – you guessed it, folks – the films of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven. After an involuntary double-take that would make John Ritter smile from his cloud in heaven, I thumbed through the pages of that hardcover novelty in complete disbelief.
Really? Paul Verhoeven, the braintrust behind the Razzie-wining camp classic Showgirls? The sci-fi visionary who brought us the big-budget B-movie Starship Troopers? The man responsible for Sharon Stone’s infamous leg-cross in Basic Instinct? Yes, that fellow, an auteur for our trashy times – or, as Taschen calls him, the mind at the helm of some of the “most courageous and contentious films of recent years.”
If you say so. No doubt Verhoeven churns out a sleazy genre flick like the best of them (or the worst of them), but I don’t think his work merits a hardback tribute, flanked by curios about Fellini and Renoir. So I thought only a few weeks ago, before I spent an embarrassing slice of my summer break returning to some of the director’s most well-known cult favorites. Now, after that mini-retrospective, I definitely don’t think Verhoeven deserves a flashy coffee table book. But, hot damn, the guy can make a memorable movie! And I guess that’s worth something.
Without further ado, some thoughts on two of the most bizarre, brutal, and bombastic Verhoeven flicks out there:
This dystopian action thriller stars Peter Weller (a.k.a. Jack Bauer’s nemesis Christopher Henderson) as the title character, a stern Detroit police officer gunned down in cold blood by a high-profile gang lead by one Clarence Boddicker (a.k.a., Topher Grace’s curmudgeonly father on That 70’s Show) Murphy’s dead body is swiftly appropriated by a venal techno-corporation as the “organic basis” for a metallic, indestructible crime fighter called … Get it?
There’s a scene early in the movie that sums up the visceral sucker-punch that is Robocop: in a penthouse boardroom, a throng of smarmy executives test out a giant robotic prototype called ED-209 (a hefty hunk of metal that looks like a mash-up of an AT-AT and Mr. Potato Head) on a meek junior executive. The results of the test-run are horrifically violent, shamelessly grotesque, wildly overblown, and darkly comic. The rest of the movie proceeds accordingly.
On the surface, Robocop is a fairly straightforward genre exercise with a few touches of wit and decidedly unsubtle satire. But a torrent of recent scholarship on Verhoeven’s work suggests that the movie may be something more – a rich allegory about corporate avarice; cultural glorification of hyper-violence, the decay of urban American life; Reaganomics, and its associated mid-80’s decadence (see character actor Miguel Ferrer snort coke off a glass tabletop, make out with two hookers and have a ticking bomb shoved in his mouth!) Take your pick, because there’s something for everyone. And oh, how could I forget: the plot is occasionally interrupted by a fake tongue-in-cheek newscast starring two vacuous “Tom Tucker/Diane Simmons” types, who winkingly comment on the action.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy re-watching Robocop, because in the end it’s an entertaining mess of loud noises and hammy weirdness capped off by an extremely violent, truly disgusting climax. The satire is coarse, the subtext is overexplicit, but Robocop is fun. Its crudeness forecasted the second stop on the Verhoeven tour, arguably the director’s most derided . . .
(ED. NOTE: You’re welcome for the picture) Presumably looking to cast off the shackles of tweendom fame (courtesy of a starring role on Saved by the Bell!), Elizabeth “Jessie Spano” Berkeley signed onto this deliriously campy exploration of the Las Vegas underbelly in the role of Nomi Malone, a fast-food-loving exotic dancer with a dark history. But who really knows why – maybe she figured the role would propel her to stardom like Sharon Stone’s turn in our guy’s Basic Instinct only three years earlier. But whatever: the results are legendary in their own right.
You’ve probably seen the heavily edited cut of Showgirls on VH1, which frequently airs a truncated, neutered version of the profanity-laced, boob-laden NC-17 record-holder for most Razzie wins. The plot is true pulp fiction: Nomi shows up on the strip looking for a dancing gig in a casino nudey show; comes to blows with the reigning queen of the revue, vindictive bisexual/attempted murderer Cristol Connors (played by Gina Gershon, who’s been in the tabloid news lately for her alleged affair with Bill Clinton); seduces Kyle MacLachlan in a unintentionally hilarious hot tub sequence; and traipses around naked with a lot of other naked people.
Showgirls has inspired college drinking games (Author Naomi Klein reports that “trendy twenty-somethings were throwing Showgirls irony parties, laughing sardonically at the implausibly poor screenplay and shrieking with horror at the aerobic sexual encounters”), numerous YouTube parodies, a deluxe “VIP edition” DVD for the true pervert, and the ardent devotion of midnight-showing enthusiasts. The movie remains one of the top 20 highest grossing home video releases in the MGM catalogue, which means a bunch of James Bond titles aren’t really that popular.
Like Robocop, Showgirls has also inspired a healthy stream of academic criticism, with many scholars and some critics praising the film for its self-reflexive look at American movie sleaziness, bold investigation of modern eroticism, and good-natured satire of showbiz nihilism. I’m willing to grant that Robocop has its moments of legitimate satire and even some philosophical seriousness, but Showgirls is all sex and snuff – it’s an exercise in hedonism from the same screenwriter who penned Basic Instinct, a far less contentious but comparably sleazy throwaway movie that doesn’t have all that academic pomp and circumstance attached to its legacy.
So, to sum up: Showgirls is bad . . . just not nearly as bad as you’re lead to believe.
That concludes my little Verhoeven piece. Thanks to Ethan for letting me take up real estate on this here blog. If there’s demand I might be back with more . . . I didn’t even get to Neil Patrick Harris’ supporting role as a fascist alien-fighter in Starship Troopers!
Wow right? Daniel really knows his stuff. And he has a great vocabulary. He makes the New Yorker’s David Denby sound like Gene Shalit. And in case you were wondering, yes he is related to Little Miss Sunshine’s Alan Arkin. And no, he has never met him.