Movie News

Moriarty's Rumblings From The Lab #7

Published at: Aug. 3, 1999, 4:20 a.m. CST by staff

Hey there folks, Harry here. Every now and again Moriarty and I are so completely in tune it's not even funny. I strongly echo each and every point he makes here in this column. This is the weekend you've saved you ticket money for. If you haven't seen THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, you should finally be able to find a screen it's showing on. But more so, find THE IRON GIANT and THE SIXTH SENSE. These two movies are both superior works of cinema, with THE IRON GIANT being one of my favorite films... period. Then, if all else fails you have MYSTERY MEN and THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR which by all reports are fun films. It's a can't lose scenario. Enjoy it. And now... here's the old man...

Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

With the single best movie weekend of the year finally upon us, I've been thinking about Steven Spielberg. It's bizarre the connections you make between films sometimes, but bear with me and let me try to explain my train of thought.

There's a couple of things that factor in. First, I was lucky enough to attend a screening earlier tonight of THE SIXTH SENSE. Earlier this weekend, I was able to attend my first real premiere, an event that I found exhilarating, moving, and ultimately exhausting.

Second, I'm nocturnal by nature. I've always done my best work in the middle of the night. I think part of that is due to the lack of distractions in those wee small hours. Not many people would call me at 2:00 in the morning... well, Harry does, but he ain't people. He's the only one I know with an even more backwards sleep schedule than me. My typical asleep-by-6:00-AM/ awake-by-2:00-PM schedule doesn't really leave much room for me to schedule morning activities. When I have to get up and do things early, I'm always left with a bit of a deranged feeling, a sense that everything's a little off. I can never find my balance, and it's during extended weekends of this derangement that I make connections like the one that ties Spielberg together with both IRON GIANT and THE SIXTH SENSE.

Let me back up a little. It was the beginning of last week when one of the henchmen scurried into my study last week holding a FedEx envelope. I tore into it and was surprised to find two cards emblazoned with the familiar IRON GIANT poster design. When I realized that I was holding invitations to the Saturday morning premiere and the party that night, I immediately panicked. I was forced to begin an aggressive schedule of self-hypnosis and herbal therapy to effectively reverse my body clock.

And so it was that I found myself standing outside the Chinese Theater in Hollywood in the harsh early morning sun this past Saturday at a remarkable (for me) 9:00 AM, taking in all the mania of a premiere, but from the inside. It was interesting to stare across the street where the bleachers had been set up. Like the bleachers, the sidewalks around us were jammed with gawkers, thousands of cameras at the ready. I'm sure they were all there looking for a glimpse of whatever celebrities showed up with their families, but I was only interested in one thing: the finished film.

For those of you new to the page, or who skipped the coverage earlier, check out my initial IRON GIANT review or my interview with the director of the picture, Brad Bird to get an idea of how unreservedly I love this film. I've been talking and writing about it all year, and each step closer to the finished print has made me more excited. The early version of the soundtrack I was sent by Rhino's Hype Priestess Cindy Laudati featured the piano demos of the score by Michael Kamen, so I still only had a rough idea of what the score would sound like. To be honest, this final step in the process was the only thing that made me nervous. I was afraid the score simply couldn't live up to the film. True, Kamen scored one of my two favorite films of all time (BRAZIL), but he's also written the kind of aural wallpaper that I find so depressingly similar in many films these days, like his AVENGERS work.

Thankfully, he's risen to the occasion with a moody, even somber composition that lends subtle support to this miraculous movie. By now, I would expect that the film's emotional power would have been somewhat muted for me. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. If anything, it seems to hit me where I live with each and every viewing. The last 20 minutes of the film just destroy me each time. Seeing the film with every scene in color, with the sound properly tweaked, and with the final editorial touches firmly in place, I am newly impressed by the picture's palette, by the power of the simple, uncluttered design, and by the remarkable use of the widescreen frame. This is my favorite film of the year so far by a wide, wide margin.

As I stumbled back out of the theater into that harsh, harsh sunlight, all around me I saw adults slipping on their sunglasses, but not to cut the glare. No, I saw fresh tears on their cheeks. Some of them were openly amazed, saying to their friends, "Wasn't that incredible? That was so much better than I expected." They had the glow of the converted, and as I moved through the crowd, listening to each of the enthusiastic reactions, all I could do was smile like someone whose secret is finally known by everyone. The crowd dispersed slowly, lingering to talk about the film, bask in it and in the conversation it inspired. I heard families starting to talk about the film's strongest themes, the humanity of the Giant, the choice we all have in who we are, and what I heard was a real dialogue between generations over some of the most basic ideas about how we live. When was the last time a movie made you feel wonderful and pushed you into a real conversation? Nothing about, "Didn't that CG shark look neat?" and nothing about "I knew the bomb wasn't in the van." Nothing about the movie directly. They were talking about themselves and each other, and they were really talking.

Later in the evening, after stopping by the Labs for an afternoon siesta, I rejoined everyone at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles for the film's premiere party. I've been to a lot of cast and crew functions, where people get together to celebrate the end of a film, but I've never been to one that was so joyous. The talented artists and technicians who brought the film to the screen all seemed to be walking on air, delighted to have worked on something so profound, so satisfying.

You see, one of the shameful truths about the animation industry (particularly with feature animation) is that most animators nurse broken hearts over the projects they've worked on. They pour real effort into lousy movie after lousy movie, hoping that moments of grace somehow show through whatever half-assed Disney clone they're currently working on, enjoying whatever small artistic victories they can. In the end, they become jaded, and it becomes just another job.

I guarantee it didn't start that way, though. For most of them, there's one defining memory that led them towards animation, some movie memory that convinced them there was real art to be made in the medium. One of my very best friends in the business is an enormously talented animator who chose his career after seeing Don Bluth's THE SECRET OF NIMH. In that film, he saw the promise of a rebirth in animation, a chance to tell stories that weren't the typical Disney fare. At that point, Disney was a fading company, considered to be a mild threat at the box-office at best, and animation just wasn't doing well in any form. SECRET OF NIMH was based on a Newberry Award winning novel and it was told with all the flair of a Disney film, but darker, willing to break some of the rules. It helped that Bluth and his team had a reputation as bad boys, rebels who had left the corporate corpse behind to strike out and reinvent the wheel. My friend studied animation in college and built a killer reel for himself. Right out of school, he worked for Nelvana in Canada. After that, he spent some time with Richard Williams in London working on ROGER RABBIT before moving on to join Don Bluth in Ireland. The Bluth he ended up working for had fallen almost immediately into a rut, and the films began to offer diminishing artistic returns. AMERICAN TAIL begat LAND BEFORE TIME begat ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN begat ROCK-A-DOODLE and A TROLL IN CENTRAL PARK. He didn't give up on the whole industry then, and he expanded his training to include storyboarding as well as 3D CGI modeling for live-action. He's directed for Disney TV in Korea. He's done feature work for at least five companies that would start up, make a film, and fold. He's worked on live-action films for Rhythm & Hues and Sony Imageworks. This guy has more experience than most people I know, and in all this time, on all these films, he's never been in a key position on a film that he's proud of from start to finish. Too many of the films have been insulting to the audience as well as the artists toiling to bring them to the screen. As much as it breaks his heart to work on these projects, it breaks mine to watch it happen.

At Union Station on Saturday night, though, the Red Elvises played, and the Blue Rhumbas, Red Menaces and Plasma Balls flowed as freely as the pride among those assembled. Pete Townsend and Des MacAnuff were there, looking delighted by the shape the film has taken. Vin Diesel was there, dancing with many, many fly honeys, a Giant indeed. Eli Marienthal was there with his entourage of 10 year old buddies, as hyped as any kid with a starring role under his belt would be. Darren Holmes and Scott Johnston were there, both of them ecstatic, beaming. Producer Allison Abbate was there, flush from success, her relief and happiness and satisfaction and disbelief all pouring off of her in warm waves. Most of all, Brad Bird was there, moving through the crowd, making sure that everyone shared in the thanks. This crew is a unit that should be reassembled again immediately. When something works like this, you do your damnedest to keep it together, to try and recapture that magic. As we all stood together and watched the crew reel assembled from behind the scenes video, original animation that wasn't done for the film, and actual clips of the movie, it was familial, and didn't feel like the typical "Hollywood" event to me in any way.

And how, you may rightly ask, does any of this have anything to do with Steven Spielberg? Well, aside from the literal connection that he gave Brad his first major break in the business, one can't help but think of one of Spielberg's classics E.T. when viewing this movie. After seeing it several times, I'm fully prepared to say that Bird has made the better film. This movie has something E.T. never did, and that's a moral. Now, not all films have to have morals... I think that would get old quick. When a film earns its moral center, though, by telling a story that is in essance a Buddhist prayer, a meditation on the self, it is cause to celebrate, to take note. Bird has transcended his genre, and done so with simplicity. If he'd been aiming at something "brilliant," chances are the film would be a pretentious muddle. Instead, by telling a simple story with the most emotionally direct characters in recent memory, he has surpassed the former champ of the genre.

I've also been thinking of Spielberg and, to a lesser extent, George Lucas because of how they have each directed child actors in the past. For a long time, Spielberg was known as the best director of children around. It was a cornerstone of his popularity. Think of that iconic moment in CE3K when little Carey Guffey is standing in his kitchen, watching something offscreen with those saucer eyes of his. Think of how natural, how real that child was. Well, Eli Marienthal achieves that level of perfection in IRON GIANT under the direction of Bird. To me, Hogarth Hughes sounds exactly the way I'd always imagined that Bill Watterson's Calvin would sound if he ever spoke. It's the voice of childhood, undiluted, straight from the tap. It's a voice that's still fully in touch with the world of imagination. It's the voice I hear when I listen to that piece of myself where I try to keep some fragment of childhood intact.

I can't help but think that Spielberg is going to be blown away by that work as well as the magnificent performance that M. Night Shyamalan got out of young Haley Joel Osment in the astonishing SIXTH SENSE. Earlier this year, I did a series about all the various supernatural scripts bouncing around, and I picked SIXTH SENSE as the best of the studio efforts , basically tied with A STIR OF ECHOES depending on how each was executed. I think David Koepp's going to have to go a long way to shake the memory of Shyamalan's third film from my mind. I am haunted by young Cole, by his eyes that have seen so much pain, so much hurt, without understanding any of it, and I suspect all of you will be, too.

We don't often congratulate marketing departments when they actually do their job well, so let me offer my hearty thanks to Hollywood for not screwing up SIXTH SENSE. This is a film that actually continues to surprise viewers up to the very last scene, and it would have been simple for the studio to promote every last twist and turn if they'd wanted to. Instead, they have cut a series of powerful TV spots that set the picture up but ruin nothing. It's outstanding work that deserves to be emulated by other studios with tricky movies -- are you listening, Fox-who's-about-to-release-FIGHT-CLUB?

Bruce Willis is at his finest in the film, having finally learned the power of being totally still. This is the kind of work that redefines a career, and here's hoping Bruce gets the recognition he deserves for doing something so delicate, so tricky, and pulling it off with confidence. He's the only one of the big '90s action stars (if you include Stallone and Schwarzeneggar) who actually has the chops to do anything he wants as he ages out of action. When Stallone did COPLAND, it was to intentionally rennovate his career, and not because he was drawn to the film. He tried to jump right back into $20 million action as soon as a few decent reviews rolled in. When Willis makes a smaller film, though, there's a very real sense that he makes the films because he wants to, because he likes them. He wasn't in PULP FICTION because Tarantino was hip yet; he was in the film because he knew how cool a character "Boootch" was. He didn't take NOBODY'S FOOL because he thought he would earn big money as a result; he was in it because it was a great role opposite Paul Newman at his finest. He has turned film after film into a surprise -- 12 MONKEYS, DEATH BECOMES HER (and if you can't appreciate that joke, I ain't got time to argue with you), IN COUNTRY, even the original DIE HARD. Bruce has great instincts when he puts his mind to it, and he's struck gold again.

To get the whole story on the film's remarkable writer/director, I'd say you should check out the next issue of CREATIVE SCREENWRITING magazine, where there's a cover story by Daniel Argent that offers the best look I've read so far at this gifted writer. If it's not on stands yet, it will be soon, so keep your eyes peeled. The long and short of it is that this is a guy who doesn't work in Hollywood, and who has managed to keep his independence even while making a Bruce Willis film for Disney. Neat trick, that. I haven't seen his first film, PRAYING WITH ANGER, but I did see his second feature, which he made for Miramax. It was called WIDE AWAKE, and it came and went in a flash last year. It wasn't a great film, but it was big-hearted and sincere, and it featured a solid lead performance from a kid named Joseph Cross. Even then, there were hints at how good Shyamalan was with children, but nothing could have prepared me for the power of SIXTH SENSE. Reading it, I was sure he'd never find that kid, that perfect kid he had written, but he did, and he figured out how to unlock the young actor's potential fully. If you doubt that it's the director who makes the difference, check out BOGUS with Whoopi Goldberg sometime. Osment doesn't come off anywhere near as well, and how could he? The material was weak, and he was overshadowed by two adults (Gerard "I'll Eat Anything That Moves" Depardieu was the other lead) who mugged without relent. He never stood a chance.

In this film, though, everyone strikes every note just right. Toni Collette is unrecognizable here, even if you've seen MURIEL'S WEDDING and VELVET UNDERGROUND. She's also very good, conveying love, frustration, fear, and desperation in equal measure. Olivia Williams, who I fell for so hard in RUSHMORE as the elusive Miss Cross, is just right here as Willis' wife. She's got one of the trickiest roles in the movie, and only repeat viewings will be able to determine just how well she handled key moments. I was struck by her work and can't wait to see what else she is capable of in the future.

Finally, I want to single out James Newton Howard and Tak Fujimoto for praise on the film. As composer and cinematographer on the film, they have helped Shyamalan make a film that isn't just the standard ghost story. They've made a wonderful, artful film that is simply great drama above and beyond any genre, and I hope this is a film that people are able to remember at the end of the year. It's SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION good, a qualifier I do not apply lightly.

On Sunday night, as I rested following my eventful Saturday, I was lucky enough to tune in for FX's marathon of all 13 original episodes of THE BEN STILLER SHOW, a favorite of mine from the early '90s. Watching young Ben Stiller and young Janeane Garafolo together reminded me of how incredibly good they are together in this weekend's MYSTERY MEN, one of the other sterling choices available this weekend. It's a better film than DICK, and I'm sure it's quirkier than THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, the one major weekend release I haven't seen yet. Still, I'd get the two classics out of the way first. This is a film to keep in the back of your mind so that when the movie gods smile and even the late shows of IRON GIANT and SIXTH SENSE are sold out, you still have a solid gold choice as a backup.

If you happen to be in a bookstore this week, you might want to pick up Chris Gore's new THE 50 GREATEST FILMS NEVER MADE. It's an entertaining, well-researched look at several projects that almost but not quite got off the ground. I was surprised to read our own Head Geek, Harry Knowles himself, quoted in the chapter about John Turman's SILVER SURFER script. The actual Harry quote is in reference to Turman's excellent HULK draft. The book is opinionated, to say the least, so be prepared to disagree rabidly with choices or comments here and there. On the whole, though, the former FILM THREAT editor has done an excellent job of shedding lights on some deserving gems that slipped away. I'd suggest the Jodorowsky DUNE, Kubrick's AI, and Orson Welles' DON QUIXOTE for the absolutely justified follow-up.

If you end up seeing IRON GIANT this weekend, and if it happens to open at the Chinese in Hollywood, and you happen to decide to attend the late show, then I want you to feel free to walk up and introduce yourself to the Professor and his henchmen. I'm sure you'll be able to recognize me. I'll be the one surrounded by the mutants, the portly man in his 70s with the blind right eye and the wicked scar down the left cheek. I'll also make sure to wear something that anyone who read this carefully will recognize.

Here's hoping I see some of you there. Here's hoping we shatter the box-office records for all the good films coming out this Friday. Here's hoping you all enjoy everything you see as much as I have. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback

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  • Aug. 3, 1999, 4:47 a.m. CST

    I'm First

    by Super Fly

    Uh...now I wish I had something profound to say. Sorry...

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 4:47 a.m. CST

    Overhype

    by Alessan

    You know, I think you guys are going a leeetle to far with your praise of IRON GIANT. I mean, I havn't seen the movie - it probably won't reach my country before October - but a lesser man than I would be mightily turned off by such outright adoration. Considering the amount of lesser men (and women, of course, there's no call to discriminate) who patronize this site, you may be risking Geek Overkill. If this movie is as good as you say, fine; if not, it'll get ugly. For your consideration.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 4:54 a.m. CST

    I'm FIRST!! sorry, couldn't resist...

    by rulookin

    The kid from sixth sense, isn't he the kid who died from cancer last year in ally mcbeal??? Anyways, i just wanted to know what is the big hype about iron giant. I like animation, but this doesn't look as cool as other movies. Why the big fuss about this...

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 5 a.m. CST

    where is your scribt review?

    by Fairlane

    LOTR scribt review ?. I like your Colum M. but keep your promises.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 5:19 a.m. CST

    Schwarzenegger and Joel Silver

    by ABking

    Moriarty, when are you going to report the current status of Joel Silvers' SGT.ROCK film staring Arnold Schwarzenegger? That's all I ask.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 5:20 a.m. CST

    Moriarty, Schwarzenegger and Joel Silver

    by ABking

    Moriarty, when are you going to report the current status of Joel Silvers' SGT.ROCK film staring Arnold Schwarzenegger? That's all I ask.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 5:27 a.m. CST

    Sam Watterson?

    by GodBear

    I am not sure that Sam Watterson has ever written anything with a character named Calvin it it. I seem to remember some kind of comic strip from the past written by Bill Watterson. Oh yeah, if any of you guys are interested and don't know, it's rereleased on the internet everyday at calvinandhobbes.com.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 5:40 a.m. CST

    ACK! Damn My Fingers!

    by Moriarty

    Hey, all... "Moriarty" here. First of all, we can't overhype IRON GIANT. Despite some nice last-minute efforts like that well-edited 1/2 hour special on the WB Sunday night, there's not nearly enough effort behind the film from the studio. We're just picking up the slack for a film we adore. Second, I wish to God I could reach through my computer and bitchslap ABKing. Shut up about freakin' SGT. ROCK already!!! Every day you're here harping on two actors who are essentially finished with the best days of their careers. If we hear something about Ah-nold we want to print, we will. Until then, stop asking. I've said this to you in e-mail, and I'll say it to you here. We don't work on demand. We follow the stories we are most interested in. I don't want to be harsh about this, but you have become a genuine nuisance. I try to answer questions when I can. I don't choose to burn a favor with my sources just to learn about a movie I wouldn't see if you paid me, so deal with it. To the person who called me on my long-promised LOTR script review, you're right. I promise I am working on it, and I'm trying to get some good artwork lined up to illustrate the piece. I will make it worth the wait, I hope. Finally, I am so humiliated about the Sam Watterson/Bill Watterson thing. I knew it was Bill, but I had a brainfart. I adore CALVIN & HOBBES, and would hope Mr. Watterson and his rabid fans could forgive me a slip. "Moriarty" out.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 6:12 a.m. CST

    Movies that were never made...

    by W. Leach

    Here are a few movies that I wish were made (they were officially announced, but for one reason or another, were never made): A Jim Morrison biography directed by Brian De Palma and starring John Travolta. In the early 1980s, Travolta was still considered one of the most popular actors on the planet. He had his first notable role in De Palma's CARRIE, and played his first adult role in De Palma's BLOW OUT. The Morrison/Doors bio would have been made around 1982. Many issues of ROLLING STONE from this time mention it. God, how I would have loved to see De Palma's take on this, especially during the concert sequences. The director's masterpiece, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, features several unique concert sequences, and one can only imagine how he would have done the Doors. Another aborted project was a proposed 1940s version of HAMLET, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring...Cary Grant. The movie would have been shot in color, and done in modern dress. Hitchcock had been a lifelong fan of the theater. This would have been interesting to see. Speaking of Shakespeare, Laurence Olivier was supposed to do a film version of MACBETH in the 1950s. It would have completed his Shakespearean quartet, which included HENRY V, HAMLET, and RICHARD III. After the failure of RICHARD III (and the death of the producer who wanted to make the film), plans fell through, and Olivier's Macbeth (said to be one of the best of the century), was never committed to film.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 6:28 a.m. CST

    Brainfart 2 - Electric Boogaloo

    by soylentphil

    Toni Collette was not in Velvet Underground - that was a BAND. She was in Velvet Goldmine, which was a movie. Go rent it! So, can ghosts chnage their clothes or what? Do they have ghost wardrobes? When they're done wearing their ghost clothes, do they take them to the "die cleaner"?

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 6:28 a.m. CST

    I got the message Moriarty--ABking here

    by ABking

    Fisrt of all, I want to appologize to you Moriarty. When I came on my computer today, I first came to AICN. That is why I posted a message about SGT.ROCK. Then I went to my email and just saw your email message. I thank you for at least answering my question. That's all I wanted. I fucking PROMISE (you and Harry) that I WON'T mention that project again. Like I said, THANKS. No hard feelings, even if you think I have bad taste in films, which I DON'T.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 6:50 a.m. CST

    The Dark is Rising

    by Bran

    Another movie that should have been made: Jim Henson Productions announced that they were going to make a moive from Susan Cooper's _The Dark is Rising Sequence_ back in 1995. Does anyone know what ever happened to that?

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 6:54 a.m. CST

    box office records

    by fonebone

    This year has been one for breaking box office records -- sadly, however, I doubt these films have a chance of doing it. As has been frequently pointed out at this site, the "Iron Giant" promo campaign has been pretty weak; it certainly hasn't generated any enthusiasm out of me for the movie. And you need a sixth sense to have figured out "6S" is coming out -- where has Disney been advertising? It would truly be ironic if all these (allegedly) excellent movies were crushed at the box office not by the latest studio mega-budget blockbuster but rather by the humble work of two amateurs.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 6:54 a.m. CST

    Enjoyed the rumbling, but LotR?

    by Drath

    I wasn't going to see 6th Sense, the last movie I saw was Austin Powers. That film just disappointed me, far more than Star Wars which has two more acts to go before true judgement can be made. But, Moriarty, what is happening with that Lord of the Rings script review? If you're not done reading it, say so. If you don't even have it yet, say that! We'll understand, it actually isn't unusual to NOT get a hold of a script that's being written and produced in New Zealand for a major film project! Hell, we'd read the history of how you didn't get the script, you have that kind of following, dude. But you aren't even apologizing for the delay anymore. Sure, you're an evil genius, but really man, show compassion and toss us a frickin' bone here.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 6:56 a.m. CST

    LOTR script review

    by davros

    I'm glad you're spreading the faith about THE IRON GIANT, Moriarty, I'm dying to see it, but for crying out loud, how long do we have to wait for your LOTR script review?!?!? I'm not sure if you're just getting off on hearing people beg you for it, so if that's the case I hope you get tired of it and post the thing soon out of boredom! However, maybe you don't actually grasp what's going on - there's a legion of Tolkein fans who are really, REALLY interested in what's going on with the movie, and you're the only person I know of who is in a position to tell us anything!!! We have read posting after posting from you about THE IRON GIANT, and I'm sure all goodhearted people are salivating for it, but every time you post an article and blow it off, there's always noise about it in Talkback. Please listen to your readers and make this report the priority it deserves to be. I read your articles because I enjoy your writing and enjoy the dirt you dish, so please stop stringing us Tolkein fans along on this, ok? Thanks, Davros

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 7:06 a.m. CST

    HURRY UP WITH YOUR LORD OF THE RINGS STORY WILL YOU!!

    by ferny

    Hey Moriarty, why don't you skip all your previous shit, and publish the things you promised! Don't wait making the lay out look fine, just give me the facts, content(s) is far more important.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 7:43 a.m. CST

    DWD: Sgt. Rock

    by DwDunphy

    Sgt. Rock is, very much, a product of the '80s, when it originated. In light of movies like Pvt. Ryan and The Thin Red Line which did their best to deglamorize the rigors and horrors of war, a remorseless action flick like this one just can't be made now. Perhaps if we were still in the midst of such "action heroes" as John Rambo, a host of Chuck Norris incarnations, even Charles Bronson, who shot without consequence, this movie would have as chance, but still not be more than a standard action flick, living on in late show airings, dated like yogurt and spooling out without a hint of self-effacement. People really wanted to see this movie. Great. I wanted to see Kubrick's AI. You can't always get what you want.

  • I usually don't feel the need to shout and go off irrationally, but GODDAMMIT, Moriary, where the holy fuck is The LOTR script review? It is so maddening that every damn week you promise to have it and then you don't. I might as well wait for the damn movie itself, then. More likely, I'll just get the script review when someone else with more talent and 'get go' espies the script and reviews it before you. Won't you feel like shit then? Really now, how long does it take to write one little review? You've had over a month, Moriarty. Can't you just get your nuts up to sit down and write it? Now, don't give me that shit about you wanting to make it so very perfect, either. I'd give that one a big, 'whatever.' I think the truth of the matter in why you are stalling so much is because you don't actually have the goods you profess to have. I mean come on, if a guy has read the Lord of the Rings script and has the opportunity to share it with the rest of the world and doesn't immediately and uncontrollable plaster his thoughts of it all over the web, don't you think that sounds suspicious? All swearing aside, Moriarty, I think its time you set down and breathed deeply (as I have just done)so you can truly see how asanine (sp?) you are being. Just write your thoughts on the script and slap some artwork at end with a few comment captions. It isn't hard, though it will be a little harder now to write an inspired review so many weeks after you first read the story. Your fire surely must be dying in that respect, and so your words won't be that impressive. Over and out, gone to hold up and wait for next week to see if Moriarty finally does the dirty deed he's so afraid to commit to.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Alternative world???

    by Dr.Jeffzn

    Hello Everybody! Just the other night i started thinking! What if all the TV-shows and movies (or at least some of them) decide to "get together"... I'll give you an example! if a person in a movie is arrested in downtown new yourk why not let it be lieutenant sipowitz who make the arrest! i think it's a great idea! what do you think??

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Sgt Rock

    by droosan

    Just as a correction to DwDunphy, thought I'd note that Sgt. Rock first appeared in "Our Army At War" #81 in April, 1959 ... definitely quite a bit before the 1980's. I do agree that there's no need for a Sgt. Rock movie, though, unless it can tread some sort of new ground.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Movies never made

    by primemover

    Hitchcock had planned a movie about a man who gets the eyes of a murderer planted in him...but the climax was to be shot at Disneyland and Walt Disney refused. Pierre Boule's the Planet of the Men, original sequel idea to the Planet of the Apes--Taylor leads revolt against the Ape society---Zaius ends up in a circus. Harryhausen's Sinbad Goes to Mars and the Force of the Trojans. The Devil's Brood with Karloff and Lugosi, a sequel to Dracula after Bride of Frankenstein. Harlan Ellison's concept for the first Star trek movie--lizard aliens go back in time and keep the dinosaurs from dying off. Gary Kurtz's recent 1-3 and 7-9 treatment suggestions for the Star Wars movies.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 9:17 a.m. CST

    This weekend's movies...

    by ChrisZ

    ...most of them suck. There's actually a really funny write-up of what to do this weekend at the Mystery Men fansite (www.cinemayhem.com/mysterymen/main.htm) that just tears into Thomas Crown and Dick and pretty much everything else out there. Although I can't believe I'm hearing such good stuff about 6th Sense! Who knew?

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 12:02 p.m. CST

    Iron Surprises...and lay off on the LOTR script

    by Oberon

    I've been following the growing buzz Harry and Moriarty have been pumping into the ether about Iron Giant for some months now, and this final review has me taken somewhat aback. It never looked so promising - even the trailer commercials, quite frankly, make it look like another second rate animated flick. It doesn't help that until now I chiefly associate IRON GIANT with a failed, flawed Pete Townshend rock musical. But I've learned to respct Moriarty's judgements in matter such as these; I've yet to disagree with him in any significant degree on any of his calls over the last 18 months. And praise such as this makes a trip to the cinema in order. SIXTH SENSE's rave doesn't surprise so much; the script looked promising, and Willis has had a knack for picking good projects of late. As for the LOTR script: lay off the Professor, for God's sake! Jeez. Look, there's NO movie I'm more looking forward to in the next three years, but FELLOWSHIP isn't due out until Summer 2001. I think the fellow's entitled to a little more time. I can wait another week or two - and so can you.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 12:28 p.m. CST

    It's VELVET GOLDMINE not VELVET UNDERGROUND TSK TSK TSK

    by Lyon

    That's all I have to say.

  • I mean, really, get over it. Isnt Toys R us due for a shipment soon? Why not skip watching movies you have no other interest in other than ragging on? Seriously, If you're looking for the wakest movie with the biggest gaps and crap to slag on go watch The matrix (again)! Count how many times Keanu says "Dude"...its summer fun!

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 4:39 p.m. CST

    Ed, WHY DID HE HAVE TO MENTION AI?...curse you "DwDunphy"

    by ADNT13!

    Damn it! I know you cant always get what you want, but FUCK! the endless hours of speculating that my friends and I had done (up until his death),....besides the obvious loss of such a man, the fact that this movie will never be made...One of these days I hope someone puts a book together with everything relating to that movie..I certainly hope no one goes out there and tries to take up where he left off....YOU SEE!!! you made me think about it again! Fuck...curse you "DwDunphy" if that is your REAL name.....

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 6:22 p.m. CST

    Someone explain the appeal of LOTR to me.

    by Zeylan

    I don't get why everyone is so hyped up about Lord of the Rings. I never read the book as a kid, and I'm trying to read it now, and it's painfully dull. Okay, so Frodo has the ring, and he's setting off with his gay-named friends on some adventure, right? I'm about 300 pages into it and all they've done is 1) march through the countryside, 2) stop at people's houses to eat, and 3) get tracked by some black dudes on horses. I'm bored out of my skull by this book. Please tell me something INTERESTING happens in it, otherwise I don't think I can keep reading it...

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 7:51 p.m. CST

    Michael Kamen

    by Sinergy

    Does anybody here remember that M. Kamen did the orchestral music in Pink Floyd's THE WALL album?

  • yes, the beginning drags. A lot. But it gets much better after the "Council of Elrond" part.

  • Aug. 3, 1999, 10:17 p.m. CST

    Velvet goldmine....9(sick and totally irrelevant joke)

    by morpheus

    must be referring to my hairy nostrils...

  • Aug. 4, 1999, 12:45 a.m. CST

    Read LOTR

    by sjmaatta

    LOTR is the greatest. I love it from the beginning to the end, but if you want more "action", it is coming your way, told by the master in a way nobody can match. Patience. Immerse yourself. Enjoy. Bring on the orcs.

  • Aug. 4, 1999, 3:20 a.m. CST

    chris gore is the man

    by gaveltogavel

    I've never heard of his book, but Chris Gore is the man. I blame all my film cynicism on this guy. When I was growing up (I'm 23 now) I used to read alot of Fangoria. Around the time I reached 14, Film Threat came out, and I picked up an issue. My life changed. Chris Gore introduced "punk-rock ethic" to film-review, which had a profound effect on my life. Because of Chris Gore, I learned to sifen through the cinematic BS and learn to appreciate film. He truly is one of my idols. Gore tried to branch out and apply his philosophy to video games at one point with a magazine called "Ultimate Gamer". Being a video game fan as well as a film fan, I was also drawn to his views on "interactive entertainment". Ultimate Gamer was fantastic. Usually, when you read a video game mag (like EGM, Gamefan, GamePro, etc.) it just reeks of corporate influence. Gore and his cronies called it like they saw it. Whenever a video game show (such as E3)rolled around, instead of taking pictures of the video games and sucking up to the distributors, Ultimate Gamer published pictures of the editorial staff getting hammered off the free beer available at the shindigs. Needless to say, I was a fan of the mag..... for life. But alas, all good things come to an end, and the end of Ultimate Gamer came WAY to early (it only lasted a year, if that). It never quite caught on. One day a few years ago I e-mailed Gore asking what the reason for the early fate of his magazine was, and he replied: "It was too difficult to make video games look cool.".... and that sums it up for Chris Gore. He's a man that, despite adversity, just wants his passions, and the passions of his readers, to be deemed as ordinary, if not acceptable in a non-geek way. Don't get me wrong.... I'm proud of my movie/geek status, but sometimes you need to feel some geek acceptance. With Chris Gore, I got the feeling that he was speaking for us geeks. He was trying to push us into the mainstream. He was trying to make us geeks acceptable. Hell, he was trying to get us laid. God bless Chris Gore. And that's where I end my gushing.

  • Aug. 4, 1999, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Stiller

    by The Godfather

    I don't give a shit about LOTR, but I also watched the Ben Stiller Show on Sunday and I can't remember laughing so much. Skit after skit was genuis(The Grungies, movie parodies, Skank). I hope alot of people watched the shows - if not they really missed some funny shit. OUT.

  • Aug. 5, 1999, 4:37 p.m. CST

    To Zeylan, regarding LOTR

    by Dr_Frankenevil

    Zeylan, if you don't have the patience to sit with the rich tapestry that J.R.R.Tolkein weaves then maybe you shouldn't be reading it. After all, I've always felt it wasn't for everyone. No offense meant by that, but it's not a dime store crime novel... it's literature. Skip directly to the Two Towers and read the first half. This is an Epic Saga, not a Hack and Slash kill spree. But if Hack and Slash is what you want, then yes, it does get "better" after they leave Elrond's home in Rivendell. Actually, the Council of Elrond is one of my favorite parts of LOTR. It's the one time you can see more than one member of all the races together, discussing what may be the Doom of them all. But if you lack the imagination for that, by all means jump ahead. It isn't but a hop, skip and jump until you get to the chapter called "A Journey in the Dark," which means you're getting real close to Orcs and a Balrog. OoOoOoOoooo... a Balrog.

  • Aug. 20, 2006, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Ramblings is more like it.

    by Wolfpack

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