Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Yesterday, we discussed how the guy from Amelie (h/t to Fletch) got all rabid mad because Fox cut at least fifteen minutes from his movie Babylon A.D.
Well, today, the guys at Worstpreviews.com posted an article entitled "Is Fox Destroying Our Favorite Movies?". Though many of you would like to think that they are referring to me (flattering as that would be...), no, they are talking about 20th Century Fox and the way they've been meddling in some of their in-production films.
In just the last couple of days, I have heard numerous directors and lots of fans complain about 20th Century Fox and the way they deal with some of their upcoming movies.
First, there was Watchmen The studio announced that Warner Bros did not have the rights to make the movie and as a result they will do everything in their power to sue, win and then simply throw the movie away.
Then, there was X-Men Origins : Wolverine. Director Gavin Hood had a big set built for a scene which he requested to look "dark, dinghy and somber." After being away from his newly designed set for a few days, he returns to find it completely repainted on orders from Fox co-chairman and CEO Tom Rothman. The now different set became brighter and less depressing. The source says that he was utterly surprised to see what has happened. But it is nothing new from Rothman. (worstpreviews)
I guess we could have the argument over what is "meddling", since Fox owns the pictures and can do what they want, but I was more interested in how "Our" favorite movies have become The Watchmen, Babylon A.D., X-Men Origins : Wolverine, and Silver Surfer. If you ask me, the chickens have come home to roost.
Though there is plenty of scorn to be placed on Hollywood studios, like Fox, for butchering and wrestling creativity away from directors, let's be sure to look at ourselves in the mirror as well. Gone are the days of Selznick and Mayer. Today, faceless studio heads just follow the profit margin. It's basic supply and demand, baby. They're just giving us X-Men Origins : Wolverine (I mean, seriously, stop with it already!!) because that's what we want.
This is not only another example of how our standards have lowered, but a glaring result of it.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Many of you are familiar with the upcoming movie Babylon A.D. Vin Diesel is in it, and it looks like The Matrix Chronicles of I, Robot Am Legend. I was mildly interested in it b/c I like Vin Diesel, but if you were on the fence on how to spend your Labor Day weekend, well, the director (Mathieu Kassovitz) of Babylon A.D. might of just made your decision a little easier:
"I'm very unhappy with the film. I never had a chance to do one scene the way it was written or the way I wanted it to be. The script wasn't respected. Bad producers, bad partners, it was a terrible experience." (CanMag)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Call me a nerd, but I always enjoyed the first day of school more than the last day. There was something special about seeing everyone you missed over the summer, knowing little to no homework would be assigned, and getting to taste that delicious beef cheek bourguignon the dining hall always served on Mondays in September (although it was occasionally a tad too haute for my palate). But movie characters seldom enjoy their first days of school -- it's usually a minefield of bullies, teen angst and a message of being true to yourself. Since I'm definitely not going to back to school today, here's the five movies that would help me revisit those days the best. What are yours?
1. The Boy Who Could Fly -- Remember this odd gem? What puts this at No. 1 for me is the unshakable scene where Fred Savage's character is tardy for his first class, and after he closes the door all of his classmates lock eyes on him. The few times I changed schools, this scene was always my worst nightmare for what could happen.
2. Donnie Darko -- "Where should I sit?" "Sit next to the boy you think is the cutest!" So says teacher Drew Barrymore to cute-as-a-button Jena Malone as she walks into her English class for the first time. What is the teacher trying to accomplish by saying this? Who knows, but it would make for a nice classroom interruption.
3. The New Guy -- This movie is far better than it should be, and I love it for the WTF cast of cameos (Vanilla Ice, Henry Rollins, Lyle Lovett, Gene Simmons, etc.) and its general lampooning of the typical new student at high school comedy.
4. The Rules of Attraction -- I had to include this here since it also stars Fred Savage, this time as a heroin addict in college. Maybe he's really the same character from The Boy Who Could Fly? There's also very little (any?) of students going to class in this movie, so it's a pretty good parallel.
5. Three O'Clock High -- It's hard being the new guy in school, but even harder when you don't want anyone to touch you, and worse yet if you happen to be the unlucky chap who touches said untouchable one. A great movie all about the lead-up to a fight after school. "Cripple the dick."
Monday, August 25, 2008
In truth, Freeman is like crack cocaine to bad storytellers. When in doubt, have Morgan narrate because he makes everything sound so dramatic. I can only imagine him reading my final words.
Piper, husband to Laura and father of two. Piper was a good man. A nice man. One might say that Piper loved life. And food. A lot of food. And probably too much beer. And boy could Piper sweat. The guy would walk a flight of stairs and one might think he just walked out of the shower. And he was not a quite man. Most could hear him a few blocks away. But he loved to laugh. Inappropriately at things. But he was a good man. A nice man.
Man, just reading the words there I sound like a huge loser. But thinking about Morgan Freeman reading them, I'm suddenly a superhero.
I'm reminded again of how good Freeman is with a recent batch of Visa commercials for the Olympics. I wasn't a very good Olympics watcher, but I did catch a lot of these commercials. And they were wonderful. Each 30 seconds as jam packed with drama and emotion as any Olympics I've ever watched. This is due to wonderful writing and of course the most wonderful voice narrating today. Mr. Morgan Freeman.
Friday, August 22, 2008
STUCK ON YOU, TERMINATOR 3 : RISE OF THE MACHINES, THE WAYWARD CLOUD, MUNICH, BIKER BOYZ, RUSSIAN ARK...
Nothing seems to get beehives buzzing more than when a blogger sends out a smoke signal for some "list making"... so, why not try and send out a real MAMA of a cloud on a Friday when you know none of you are really working anyways.
As 2008 nears its close, people will be readying their year-end lists. But I'm jumping OVER that for now and heading right into what's gonna be common practice come next year: Top 10 lists for THE DECADE!
Let loose on this Friday! Take your shirts off and give me your TOP 10 MOVIES OF THE 00's (... so far).
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I'm fascinated by weirdos, but when they are Japanese... even more so.
Most Americans know director Fruit Chan from his contribution to Three ... Extremes. His portion, Dumplings, was the best of the three films (no doubt aided by the fact that Christopher Doyle shot it, making the culinary art of aborted embryo dumplings look elegant). It was some of the most intriguing natal-horror since maybe The Brood.
Well, like many Asian directors of late (Pang Brothers, Takashi Shimizu, Masayuki Ochiai etc.) Chan is getting his shot at an American financed film. It's a remake of Hideo Nakata's Joyû-rei. Who knows the end result, but some recent stills taken on the set are at least making me sit-up:
The weirdo, Fruit Chan.
More fetus-gore. What's up with this guy???
Posted by Fox at 9:37 AM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sometimes it seems like movies increase our expectations of life to unrealistic levels: When my son was born, why weren't the doctors cracking wise at every opportunity? When I painted my house, couldn't it have been cut down to a short montage with peppy music? Why didn't I ever go on a spring break trip filled with crazy antics and self discovery?
It can be rough, especially when you hope your worst day will turn out to be a nightmare you wake from by immediately sitting up in bed. But it can also be pretty amazing when you witness something that even Hollywood couldn't dream up. The Olympics spectacle of Michael Phelps have contained two of these moments: Jason Lezak's miraculous comeback in the final leg of the 4x100 relay, and Phelps' 1 one-hundredth of a second victory margin in the 100m butterfly. If these races were in a movie (one of those blockbuster swim movies, ya know?), I would be shaking my head muttering "no freaking way." Both finishes were so impossible, their drama would have been over the top in a movie.
Phelps and Lezak did the impossible, but can they match the "no effing way" impossibility of these Hollywood gems? Here are my top five impossible moments (with many spoilers, sorry), now give me yours.
1. Remember the Titans: A lot of people like this movie, but asshole football fans (like me) hate it for putting the most unrealistic, most laughably impossible football play ever on screen. After re-integrating a racially divided high school team, Coach Boone (Denzel Washington) leads his team to the state title game, where they find themselves needing to go the length of the field in one play for the winning score. Instead of throwing a Hail Mary or any pass play, the Titans run a reverse and easily score a touchdown via the greatest blocking efforts the game has ever seen (watch it here). Okay, we see the opposing coach tell his team to "cover deep" (against a pass), but that's precisely why the play wouldn't work -- having a bunch of players back to defend a long pass means no defenders getting sucked in by the trick play. Reverses work best when the defense is expecting a run, so the odds of it working in this end-of-game scenario are next to none -- especially when going against their best opponent of the year.
2. Jaws III: This may be a little unfair, since the movie itself is one giant impossible spit in the face of Chief Brody, Quint and Hooper, but hear me out. We're supposed to believe that a great white shark is swimming around with a man in its mouth, preserved enough that the man is still clutching a grenade, thus allowing Dennis Quaid to reach inside the shark's mouth to pull the pin on said grenade and finally end this awful movie. Umm, aren't sharks like, pretty good at chewing? Don't they pretty much never pass up a good meal? Isn't this the equivalent of someone ordering a Whopper at Burger King while a roasted turkey leg is sticking out of their mouth?
3. Friday the 13th: Part II: Impossible only in the sense that anyone could be as ballsy as our Final Girl Ginny. You're going for the gambit of masquerading as Jason's departed mother, hoping that he mistakes you for his maternal spirit, thus letting you go? Wow, Ginny ... good luck with that!
4. Knocked Up: Sorry, I refuse to believe that Seth Rogen's character could ever hook up with someone like Katherine Heigl's character after meeting in a swanky L.A. club. Maybe if he saved her from a burning building or from a swarm of vampire bats, I could see the possibility of it there -- but not from some chance meeting at a club. Am I wrong here?
5. Zulu: I know this is a historical account of the Battle at Rorke's Drift, but come on -- 139 vs. 5,000? Is it possible someone accidentally added a zero to the latter number at some point in history? Actually, I better stop now before some Red Coats hunt me down.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Hey, Lazy Eye'd dwellers....
You know, It's OK to comment (see below posts) when Piper is AWOL. Um, and if you don't... well, it kinda makes me look bad. I mean, damn! You'd think at least Lapper or Fletch would toss me a charity comment or something??? You don't want me to beg, do you? I'm not begging!
Oh... and Piper has my cat too. So, the more you keep quiet, the meaner he is to my poor kitty.
Do it 4 kitty :0(
...but, most likely you don't know me at all.
The first time I witnessed Piper all animated & slobbery was when I posted a picture of a hot, bikini'd Helen Mirren on holiday with the guy who directed Blood In Blood Out.
The new breed are sexy, convincing, and tough. And as much as I enjoy Beckinsale in a bikini, I'd much rather see her in that sleek rubber suit from Underworld. In fact, I'm calling RIGHT NOW for a Hollywood team to produce a remake of Johnny To's The Heroic Trio with Beckinsale, Jovovich, and Mitra. It would be massive.
So anyway, until I get back on my writing feet, you will be treated to the pros of two wonderful bloggers who will surely make you forget completely about me and never want me to come back. They are Adam Ross of DVD Panache and Fox at Tractor Facts. They will be posting randomly over the next couple of weeks about this, that and the other thing. Hopefully, I will also be peppering throughout.
So stay tuned folks.
Posted by PIPER at 5:49 AM
Sunday, August 17, 2008
First, you should know that I'm a regular guy. I mean reg-u-lar. Wake up, let the dog out to do his business and then Daddy does his business. Every morning. Like clockwork. I cherish my time on the toilet in the morning. I read, I organize, I knit. I solve all the world's problems on the can. It's a running joke in my household how long I take in the bathroom. I lovingly refer to what I do as "dook." Allow me to use it in a sentence, "that bagel and diet coke hit me pretty hard. I'm going to have to dook one out." This word is such a regular in our family that my son and daughter use it as often as they might use the word "the." My daughter has been saying it professionally in her venacular since she was two years old. We were standing in line at a store when my daughter announced she was "dooking" in her diaper. More specifically she yelled "I can't believe it. I'm dooking one out." On the surface I'm embarrassed as hell, but deep down I want to hug the little princess. It really was a rewarding experience.
Dook might be among the most perfect of words. It's an inside word, only enjoyed by a select few. It's a funny sounding word. It's a rewarding word. I feel like I put money in the bank every time I say it. Well, little did I know that such a beautiful word could be plussed. Could be taken to the next level. But there I was watching an episode of the brilliant, brilliant and most brilliant show Venture Bros. when one of the Monarch's fanboy henchmen told some guy not to walk in the bathroom when he was trying to take a "Count Dooku." I was in complete awe. Outdone by a cartoon. I couldn't wait to make my new and improved bathroom announcement and have it weave itself throughout the Piper household.
So Venture Bros. episode aside, Count Dooku is a bad name. Nay, an idiotic name. There's a reason why it sounds like shit. Give me three minutes and I'll come up with seventy four better names. Count Dooku is in essence a perfect example of how Lucas has gotten fat and lazy with the Star Wars franchise. It's as if he's haunted by the originals that he's single-handedly going back to destroy them. Episodes 1 through 3 didn't do the trick, so Lucas has okayed this latest installment... Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It's bad. Like A Very Star Wars Christmas Special bad. Like there's a line where Skywalker's assistant calls him "skyboy." And Jabba has a baby (a baby) that Jabba calls pumpkin something or other.
Alright, so about that funny line. Around half-way through this mess, Obi-Wan Kenobi is talking about something strange going on in the universe. He suspects Count Dooku is behind it so he says "this smells like Count Dooku."
I laughed out loud.
I laughed obnoxiously.
I laughed because of what that line meant to me.
I laughed because truer words have never been spoken.
To see why this movie never, ever should have been made watch Genndy Tartakovsky's Star Wars: Clone Wars.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Where did the time go? I have no idea. But I have not been a good little writer lately. My apologies.
Please enjoy these Drunk History videos starring Jack Black, you won't be disappointed. I'm continuing to enjoy Jack Black more on the small screen than I am on the big one.
Posted by PIPER at 1:44 PM
Monday, August 11, 2008
Either I've lost my finger on the pulse of Blog-a-Thons or there just aren't that many any more. Where have they all gone? There used to be one a week and now we're lucky to have one a month. So allow me to do my part here. The Bizarro Blog-a-Thon is playing very well overseas right now. Turns out teenagers and women over 40 just love this Blog-a-Thon. So I'm hoping (cross your fingers) that when I get all the B.O. numbers back the Bizarro Blog-a-Thon will be a blockbuster and will make way for long coattails for me to coast on for years to come. So in the wake of all that success, let me announce yet another Blog-a-Thon this year.
THE BLOG, JAMES BLOG-A-THON November 5 through the 7th.
This date will coincide with the horribly titled Quantum of Solace which is to be released on November 7th.
No matter your age or your favorite film genre, James Bond is a part of us all. No franchise has lasted so long or been reinvented so much. My mind is a whirl with possible ideas because there are so many facets to explore. An entire post dedicated to the best Bond girl. The best Bond name (Dr. Goodhead anyone?). The best chase. The best gadget. The best villain. How Bond continues to evolve with our political climate. How the movies differ so much from the books. And the list goes on and on.
Feel free to e-mail me if you want a reminder. Otherwise, I'll be seeing you first part of November.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I mean really, who plays the French Horn anymore. Sheesh. Had I seen that dude on the side of the road, I would have run over him myself, and I'm not even Evil. But I bet I would have gotten a very appreciative call from Evil saying "hey thanks, you saved me a trip." But mostly, I couldn't stop thinking about the car. I mean The Car! I watched it tear down the open road, mowing over pedestrian after pedestrian at top speeds and I couldn't help but think to myself... that thing must get really shitty gas mileage. It's a 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III after all.
What do you think we're talking here? 12 in the city and 18 on the highway? There's no doubt that Evil has good taste, but I'm hoping that he has deep pockets as well. I can only imagine that Evil was probably at the pump twice a week filling that gas guzzler, making small talk with the gas attendant "Yeah, me again. Fill it with premium and if you can get that brain matter off my windshield, there's a nice tip in it for you. Thanks."
This entry is part of Final Girl's Film Club.
Here are my Top 5 Overrated Movies. In no particular order.
1. Dances With Wolves It beats out Goodfellas for Best Picture. Don't. Get. Me. Started.
2. Crash I ask you, has any other movie been directed or written with such a heavy hand?
3. Rain Man Never understood why everyone loved this movie as much as they did.
4. Juno As a nice little surprise in December, this movie was palatable. As an insightful and witty movie about teen pregnancy deserving of multiple Oscars, it was overrated.
5. A History of Violence This is David Cronenberg trying to channel David Lynch. The critics lauded it. I laughed at it.
Thanks to Brian for this weeks category.
Monday, August 4, 2008
The Fanboy label is often thrown about the blogging world as if it were a Scarlet Letter. Movie critics say that film bloggers are nothing but a bunch of Fanboys, not really interested in serious criticism, but instead coveting and dissecting every morsel of information about movies like Cloverfield, Iron Man and Dark Knight. Even bloggers themselves use the word as an insult. One blogger commented that last year's Online Film Communities Top 100 Movies looked like "a list made up of a group of white Fanboys under the age of 30." I myself took offense to that comment because to me being called a Fanboy is like nails on the chalkboard. Plus I'm not 30. But I am white. Fish-belly white.
I took offense to it because it IS an insult or at least was meant to be. No one really walks around and proudly states that they are a Fanboy. Why? Because the word Fanboy is limiting. It says that you have no history. No context. It says that you don't really love film. You just love new. It says that you chew up the latest and greatest and then spit it out when there's something even more late and great. And say what you want about my taste in film or what I get excited about, but I'm not a Fanboy. Or at least I don't think so. But here I am getting all uppity about this word, this label, and I don't even know its formal definition. Is there even a formal definition for a word like Fanboy? Well, shows how much you guys know. There is. Mirriam-Webster has a definition and it goes like this:
a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies). It says that the first use of the word was in 1919.
Wikipedia has one as well and it goes like this:
Fanboy (sometimes spelled fanboi) is a term used to describe an individual who is devoted to a single subject in an emotional or fanatical manner, or to a single point of view within that subject, often to the point where it is considered an obsession.
In 1982, the term "Fanboy" became more mainstream when the word was featured on the cover of the "Official Underground and Newave Comix Price Guide". On the cover were some slovenly comic book geeks wearing t-shirts that read "Fanboys of America."
In 1990, the word caught fire even more as it was being used in popular music and science fiction circles as electronic entertainment became more popular. The term became used more in reference to computers and video game consoles.
Now the term is used to cover all sorts of obsessions from TV Shows to cars to even politics.
So now that I know the formal definition, I can once and for all decide if it applies to me. If I look specifically at Webster's definition, it only half applies. I am an enthusiastic devotee of movies, but I'm not a boy. But wait, I am somewhat immature at times. It's true that I am 37 years old, married with children and wear grown-up clothes sometimes with a tie. But I pride myself on being childlike with most everything.
If I look specifically at Wikipedia's definition, its even more confusing to me. It says that I can be "an individual who is devoted to a single subject in an emotional or fanatical manner." There is no reference to age and the emotional or fanatical manner is not limited just to movies. So under that definition, if I'm somewhat moved by certain things, that means I'm a Fanboy. I could be a Fanboy of classic movies. Or of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn movies. Or movies made before 1998 but after 1953 that begin with the letters A, R, Q or Z. Suddenly the word Fanboy doesn't conjure up all these horrible images. Suddenly, Fanboy seems to apply to a lot of people, including me. Afterall, I'm a John Carpenter Fanboy. A Martin Scorsese Fanboy. A Brian DePalma Fanboy. A Frank Capra Fanboy. A pre-war Jean Renoir Fanboy. A Wes Anderson Fanboy. A horror Fanboy. A James Bond Fanboy. A Venture Brothers Fanboy. And while we're at it. I'm a soccer Fanboy. A baseball Fanboy. A Disney Fanboy. And the list goes on and on.
So there you have it. This should be the definitive post on what it takes to be a Fanboy. If you're wondering or not if you are a Fanboy, if you want to be a Fanboy, if you should be Fanboy, or what to do if you're approached by a group of Fanboys in a dark alley, then you've come to the right post. This should put any and all myths and theories comfortably in their beds for a good nights rest. I don't know about you, but I feel a little enlightened. So from here on out instead of saying "Screw Off, I'm No Fanboy" I'll be saying "Hellz Yeah, Where's The Next Fanboy Party Cuz I'm There And I'm Bringing Some Really Cool Appetizer That Everyone Will Be A Fanboy Of" or maybe something like that, but not as cumbersome, and with a tad more wit.
For the record, I wrote Fanboy 37 times. I guess I'm also a Fanboy of the word "Fanboy."