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Moriarty's RUMBLINGS FROM THE LAB : the return!!!! Many many subjects!

Hey folks... After Moriarty FAILED to obtain a concious post-party state last night.... or even this morning, meanwhile... I was up and at em with the cock crowing this day. He humbly crawled out of his underground lair with that Black Mastiff of his that gnaws on Mongo's good leg while Mongo sings a mute version of NEW YORK NEW YORK, to write up his first Rumbling back since his near miss with the LAPD and some bloke named Holmes. That's right, Johnny Wad was on the case again, but Moriarty is now safe again and secure.... And it's been... too long... here ya go....

Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

I'm going to assume you got out of Los Angeles okay this morning. I was unavoidably detained by a small henchman uprising. You show these little mutants ZULU as a favor, and they get all riled up. Imagine. I've had to mount several dozen of their tiny, misshapen heads on pikes all around The Moriarty Labs to get everyone back on track, but I think it worked. Still, I'm sorry the column was late today. While you and MotoMoriarty were at the premiere of THE GREEN MILE last night, I was here, slaving away on my first RUMBLINGS back on the regular schedule. And, of course, I missed my regular schedule. Things really are back to normal.

I'll be writing about THE GREEN MILE tomorrow, but I'm going to give it a day or so to sink in. I have to. I'm overloaded on movies right now. I'm drunk on all the good films I've been seeing. I honestly don't know how I'm going to start putting together my 10 Best of the Year list. It's just ridiculous at this point. For example, this past Friday afternoon, I finally saw the new offering from PT Anderson, the highly-secretive MAGNOLIA. I think it's funny that this film was treated like the next STAR WARS film while in production. Secrecy was utmost, even though the film's just an intimate charater drama without any sort of wild "twists" like FIGHT CLUB or 6TH SENSE. I can appreciate PT's desire for control of how people learn about the film and when, but I don't think there's really any way to spoil MAGNOLIA for viewers. There's a reason this dense, rich tapestry of a film is three hours long. It's a tightrope walk, a beautifully built sprawling look at a series of people all looking for connection, none of them aware how deeply they're already connected, set against the backdrop of PT's beloved San Fernando valley. It's also one of the most audacious and haunting films of the year.

Just running down a list of the key players in the film should indicate just how ambitious PT's "little" movie is: Earl Partridge (Jason Robards), Linda Partridge (Julianne Moore), Frank TJ Mackey (Tom Cruise), Stanley Spector (Jeremy Blackman), Donnie Smith (William H. Macy), Jimmy Gator (Phillip Baker Hall), Rose Gator (Melinda Dillon), Claudia Wilson Gator (Melora Walters), Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly), and Phil Parma (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are just the main players on this crowded, busy stage, but even a cast this size never overwhelms the material. Some viewers may find themselves exhausted by the film's relentless energy and the dazzling way Anderson weaves in and out of the various storylines, but I was energized by it, amazed at his nimble storytelling skills. He's truly becoming a filmmaker's filmmaker, a guy in total control of the medium. I've heard many people say that he learned his chops from guys like Scorcese or Altman, and to some extent that's true. Film is a language, though, and what he's done is master the language that's come before. Now he's actually adding to that language, expanding it through usage, and it's so exciting to witness his career as it unfolds.

His cast is truly a dream in the film. John C. Reilly is one of the standouts for me. I have loved this guy's work since he was Hatch in the woefully underrated CASUALTIES OF WAR, and it's so great seeing him here, ten years later, doing such open, honest, risky work. Most of his scenes in the film are with Melora Walters, an actress who always seems to vanish into films for me. I mean that in a good way. For example, I had no idea she was in BOOGIE NIGHTS, even though I already knew who she was when I saw it. As Jesse, she was unrecognizable. She's an open wound here, a raw nerve, and it's the kind of role that could wear out its welcome if Walters didn't project this aura of need, this air of vulnerability that keeps drawing us back in, over and over. As her mother, Melinda Dillon makes a welcome and wonderful return to film, and she provides wonderful counterpoint to Phillip Baker Hall.

Most people are going to come out of this film talking about one actor in particular, and I don't blame them. Tom Cruise is magnetic here, alive in a way that we forgot he could be. This is Vincent from COLOR OF MONEY all grown up, his hustle polished to a glow. This is Maverick from TOP GUN if the military hadn't worked out. This is Joel from RISKY BUSINESS if school had fallen through. Cruise eats every scene alive, particularly later in the film, where he reveals a side of himself I don't think I've ever seen on camera. One of the reasons I think Cruise is a great actor and not just a great movie star is because he's willing to show us the ugly side of himself. He doesn't shy away from being imperfect or worse. I think he's wrenching here, always one moment away from total meltdown, but he's so charismatic at the same time that I predict next year's hot impression will be Frank Mackey and his motivational speech. It's disgusting stuff, and that's one of the things Cruise seems to relish about it.

Throughout the film, there's a recurrent visual motif that I picked up that I had to go figure out afterwards. The numbers 8 and 2 keep showing up, written on things, formed from twisting cords, as part of signs... and it's so prevelant that I figured there was a reason. A friend of mine who also saw the film with me called the next day, following our discussion of the possible meanings of "82," and left the following on my answering machine:

"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold; I will smite all thy borders with frogs." Exodus 8:2.

What does that mean in reference to the film? Well, you've all seen that teaser poster and the trailer, and you've no doubt seen that there's frogs in the film. How and where, though? Well, I can't fully explain it to you, because of both where it happens in the film and what I think it means. I will say this... it's a giant risk for PT, and it's one that I think pays off beautifully. It unifies all the characters of the movie in a particular way, and I think it's got a lot to do with the film's overall themes.

I could go on and on about the technical contributions to the film. Robert Elswit's photography is remarkable, alive and electric, and the editing by Dylan Tichenor is superb. Like I said, this thing moves. It may be three hours, but it's still breathless, never once slowing down. The score by Jon Brion is perfect, but it's the layered use of songs on the soundtrack that defines the film's sound. Aimee Mann has the most amazing showcase I can imagine here, with her songs providing some great counterpoint to the actions onscreen, her voice filling in the darker corners of these characters. In particular, the use of the song "Wise Up" is memorable and striking. Her cover of Three Dog Night's "One" made the hair on the back of my neck stand up during the film's opening. Even the use of songs like Supertramp's "The Logical Song" is perfect here. PT knows that film is more than just image, and it's practically an education to watch how he's built this movie. It is one of the year's very finest experiences to be had in a theater, and you absolutely owe yourself the three hours.

I'm a little bit in love with New Line right now. One major reason is because I love my DVD player so much. I still haven't had a chance to see the whole NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET box -- even Evil Genuises have to prioritize their spending -- but this is definitely a company that treats the consumer right. Disney, are you paying attention? New Line makes the effort to release their big titles in special edition "Platinum Series" editions as soon as they hit home video, not making us wait six months for special editions after they've sold us a movie-only disc. Now they're pushing that even further, releasing DETROIT ROCK CITY as a fully-loaded DVD three weeks before it hits videotape. That's the first time a major studio has ever done that, and I hope it's a trend. It definitely sends a signal about their commitment to the format. It helps that DETROIT ROCK CITY is a winning little movie, a raunchy, funny little slice of late '70s nostalgia that actually works better at home in some ways. As I wandered through the voluminous extras on the disc, I was struck by just how much fun everyone seems to have had on the film. The secondary commentary tracks are great fun, the behind the scenes footage is hysterical, but the coolest feature of all is one of the first non-porno uses of the multiple angles feature of DVD that I've seen. You can direct your own KISS concert on the disc, cutting from angle to angle, focusing on whatever you want. It's great fun, and there's real replay value here for fans. If you pick this thing up on, it's less than $15 right now, and it's going to be out in time for Christmas. For a disc this overloaded with fun, that's a steal. New Line's also crafty about promoting their upcoming releases, and when I heard about the extras on the ASTRONAUT'S WIFE disc, I went loopy. They're going to be including a LORD OF THE RINGS browser on the DVD, the first of many that they'll be slipping onto DVDs between now and the release of the films. Expect to see LOTR material on any disc even tangentially related to genre.

Mentioning DETROIT ROCK CITY reminds me of one of the projects that was set up while I was on my semi-hiatus from AICN, a film called SEX, DRUGS & ROCK'N'ROLL. It's about a rock superstar who witnesses a murder, then becomes the killer's target. He agrees to let a very straight-arrow cop hang with him for protection. Not the most startlingly original of concepts, but knowing that Gene Simmons is one of the film's producers gets me interested. I really like Gene onscreen. I still remember his bad guy from RUNAWAY distinctly. I hope that if this film gets a green light, Simmons plays the rock star himself. If he doesn't, then at the very least I hope he pushes to make the rock scene in the film real and raunchy and fun. I'd hate to see it sanitized.

A quick Forrest Ackerman update for those of you who have contacted me mourning the fact that you've never visited the Ackermansion in LA. If you call 323.MOONFAN this Friday, you'll get the full details about the last Ackermansion open house of the century, which is being held this Saturday from 11:00 to noon. It's free, but you should definitely check for details. I hope you all have a chance to turn out and say hello to the man and wish him well. If I weren't going to be at the Butt-Numb-A-Thon in Austin, I'd definitely be at Forry's.

Of course, I will be in Austin, and I'm dying. Harry's got such cool plans for the marathon. I literally can't wait for this Thursday to roll around so I can get out of here. I have decided that it's worth the risk, so I'll be attending live and in the flesh, and not bothering with my mechanical doppelganger. Hope to see many of you then.

Someone else who's headed to Austin is the exceptional team of guy behind MR. SHOW, the single funniest sketch comedy show of the '90s. They're currently prepping THE RONNIE DOBBS STORY, a comedy that they'll shoot in Los Angeles and Austin both. For those of you who haven't seen the show, Ronnie Dobbs is one of David Cross' recurrent characters, a guy with the singular distinction of having been arrested more times on COPS than anyone else. In the grand tradition of Monty Python and The Kids In The Hall -- anyone else excited that the Kids are touring right now? -- Bob Odenkirk and Cross will both be playing multiple roles in the film, supported by their incredible cast of comic actors like Brian Posehn and BJ Porter. I'm praying that Tenacious D shows up in some form in the film... one can never have enough Jack Black in their lives, I say.

That's just one of many projects that popped up in November that I'm interested in, both good and bad. If you're like me, completely smitten by ELECTION earlier this year, then take heart. Alexander Payne is now prepping his next film, a dramatic comedy for Artisan called SIDE WAYS. It's a road trip film about a 40ish screenwriter who is frustrated by lack of motion in his career and his personal life. When his best friend announces his impending marriage, the two guys hit the road for one last trip before the wedding. It's based on an unpublished novel, and the deal for the film promises Payne a fair amount of control. As long as the film comes in under $10 million, Payne gets complete control, with final cut. That's cool, and based on listening to the director's commentary on the just-released ELECTION DVD, I'd say the film's in good hands.

Another busy boy these days is Stan Winston. It's probably a good thing his lousy devil-thing from the climax of END OF DAYS in only onscreen for 30 seconds or so. It's one of the most uninspired designs I've ever seen come out of Winston's studios. I was shocked to see Crash McReery's name attached to that thing. I have higher hopes for his work in GALAXY QUEST, where Winston's utilized techniques that were developed for the proposed PLANET OF THE APES remake to allow the lead alien in the film to be acted by the guy in the suit in all regards, instead of having guys with Waldos hiding off-camera. I'm also hoping we'll see stronger work in two upcoming films, one of which is being produced by the very smart Brian Gilbert over at Winston's company. The film's called WILD KINGDOM, and it's set up at Destination Films. It's about an Animal Control officer in the future who must track down a genetically engineered Cerberus when it breaks out a Greek Mythology exhibit and begins to terrorize New York City. The other film Winston's involved with right now is still untitled, a Kennedy/Marshall coproduction with Winston, set to be written by Stephen Cornwell. It's set in the 19th century, the story of a long-dormant alien that wakes up from its hiding place here on Earth. Both of these films have the potential to be real showcases for the kind of classic work that Winston's done in the past. When he is given a great creature to design, he and his team have consistently risen to the challenge, giving us creatures that seem to have actual inner lives. The Predator, the Queen Alien, Pumpkinhead, Lestat, Edward Scissorhands... these aren't just monsters; they're characters. I hope these new films continue in that tradition.

Now, there's tradition, and then there's being stuck in an endlessly-repeating rut. Andrew Niccols is a fairly talented guy. I liked GATTACA. I loved THE TRUMAN SHOW. I'm interested in what he's doing next... or at least, I was until I heard the concept. Stop me if you've heard this one before: Centered on paranoia, the film takes place in a small border town where a man tries desperately to escape his environment, even if it means giving up everything in his life. Um, Andrew... you do know it's okay to write more than one story in your life, right? I mean, I understand recurrent themes in a writer's career, but give me a break.

At least Niccols has talent, though. Personally, I'm horrified that Castle Rock is allowing Larry David another shot at bigscreen comedy with a film called ENVY. It sounds almost exactly like his last picture, SOUR GRAPES, which I can confidently predict will show up on my list of the decade's worst. Larry David seems to have just been the mean, morally unredeeming side of the SEINFELD formula, while the rest of the writers contributed the actual humor. Once again, ENVY is the story of horrible people doing horrible things to each other, as two family men who are best friends, neighbors, and co-workers suddenly find their relationship imploding when one of them gets rich and the other one gets jealous. I'm guessing it will be profane and ugly. Wow... how appealing.

Anyway... I've got to run for now, Harry, but I'm going to send you a special follow-up RUMBLINGS tomorrow, since there's just too much for one day this week. I'll be reviewing GREEN MILE and FANTASIA 2000, as well as bringing you more buzz from around town. There's a lot of catching up to do. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 8, 1999, 12:12 a.m. CST

    Generalizations and unnecessary roughness in your Andrew Niccols

    by Alexandra DuPont

    Great column as always, Moriarty, but I do have to take exception to your comments about Andrew Niccols

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 12:26 a.m. CST


    by 00spool

    Am I the only one who is sick and tired of movies about humans and their ridiculous problems? Arrogant fucking species if you ask me. Lets see more films shot about the reality and unreality of this planet without including people. This is just a phase for the 20th century and its played.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 12:31 a.m. CST

    Oh, that movie

    by Alexandra DuPont

    ... It's called "Milo and Otis."

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 12:37 a.m. CST


    by WakeUpBomb

    It's nice to see that with the recent resurgence in quality character-driven movies these day, we can still count on Hollywood to provide us with movies about men tracking down genetically engineered dogs. But seriously, nice report. I'm really excited about the Mr. Show guys and their movie - I just wish I still had HBO!

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 12:42 a.m. CST


    by phuzion


  • Dec. 8, 1999, 12:42 a.m. CST

    Only one paragraph of 'Evil Genius' schtick?

    by Powerslave

    You're slipping, Moriarty...

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 12:53 a.m. CST

    Thank you for giving PTA credit

    by Germster

    This review was amazing in the way it praises Paul Thomas Anderson's genius. I am truly one of his biggest fans and ESPECIALLY after reading this, i can not WAIT to see Magnolia. Thank you for giving PTA the credit he deserves, he truly is going to be one of our masters of the art.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 12:57 a.m. CST

    Ass Rangers

    by Crisco Love

    Am I the only one who's sick of seeing Stan Winston's alien characters? Granted, the man is a genuis, but give him something different to do. Perhaps Ang Lee should have consulted with Winston about making an animatronic Jewel who can actually act....Hmmmmm...

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 1:20 a.m. CST


    by DarthJoe

    Dude, I have to see that movie but it doesn't open here til January! AaaarrrrggghHh!!! Why limited release NewLine? Why? *sniff*

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 1:26 a.m. CST


    by DarthJoe

    Dude, Wild Kingdom sounds cool. Larry David is probably a prick. And the plot for Envy is the exact same as Sour Grapes. Exchange "lottery" with "slot machine jackpot".

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 2:34 a.m. CST

    Golgo, you ass.

    by Renly

    New topic: Okay, this is gonna seem random, but the whole Mr. Show thing got me thinkin...I just watched Cable Guy again today, and I'm sorry, but Ben Stiller knows every cool person in Hollywood. His movie's got cameos by Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Janeane Garofalo, and David Cross. David Cross made me laugh more in a 2 minute scene in MIB than the entirety of Never Been Kissed. later -Renly

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 3:21 a.m. CST

    New Line's Marketing Department

    by Toby O. Notobe

    You gotta hand it to these guys. How to you get people to rent/buy a DVD of a crap movie like the Astronaut

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 3:39 a.m. CST

    To the loser that thought he/she was first:

    by First

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha... You were fifth! Fifth! And it's not like you have a good excuse for being fifth when you OBVIOUSLY thought you were first. You only typed "..." as your message. Sooooo slow on the draw... Always the bridesmaid, never the bride... Such a sad life. I weep for you. This message brought to you as a public service to briefly divert your attention from whatever exchange is going on between Warrior and whomever he is currently warring against. See you in Reno.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 3:47 a.m. CST

    ...and about the Warrior...

    by First

    Is this the same Warrior that used to put "(by Warrior)" in every single one of his subject headings? {For example, the subject heading above would read: "...and about the Warrior (by Warrior)"}Or was that a different The Warrior? Or perhaps it was a Valkyre? "Green Elf has shot the food!" "Blue Wizard needs food badly!" Gauntlet. That game was great... Anyhoo, no offense to the current The Warrior if the other guy was a merely a doppelganger. I just think that the guy that used to sign his name in every subject heading was a dink. See you in sensible pumps.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 4:37 a.m. CST

    Gauntlet was cool, but

    by Lazarus Long

    do you remember the other 4-player video game "quartet"? insteat of gauntlet's bird's eye maze view, it was a profile view where all four players are moving through various enemy strongholds? didn't think so. there was a lame home version on the original Sega Master system. Anyway, I will say that "Boogie Nights", even though it overstayed its welcome with the lame inclusion of cocaine (see GoodFellas), contained the freshest filmmaking energy since Pulp Fiction. I hope Magnolia is like Short Cuts, which I felt was one of the best films of 1993, if not the best. More real human content than Schindler's List, anyway. It's going to be a tight race between Philip Seymour Hoffman (Flawless), Christopher Plummer (The Insider), and Tom Cruise for Best Supporting Actor this year. Down with Haley Joel Osment and you overrating simpletons! Silence of the Lambs didn't deserve any awards, don't think Sixth Sense is anywhere close!

  • Heh... So am I to understand that you have determined that I am in fact one Harry Knowles? Yes? Hmmm. I can't quite figure out if you're just joking around or if you're really just a raving lune. In any case, you're wrong. Let me just walk you through some of the more obvious telltale signs, okay Encyclopedia Brown? (Everyone else may want to move on now, I'm going to dumb this down substantially for this guy...) JJ, read this slow. Let it linger until it all comes together for you. Don't worry, the correct neurons will fire EVENTUALLY. Be patient. Listen up. Harry Knowles is a large gentleman that lives in Texas. He's in charge of this site. You see that jolly smiling cartoon character up on the upper left hand corner of this page? That's Harry. (I mean it. Literally. THAT'S Harry. Scroll up there right now. He's watching you. He'll wink at you if scratch his beard with your pinky. Try it, it's cute!) Me? I'm NOT Harry. I will press charges if you attempt to touch me ANYWHERE with your pinky. Here's some other clues that might lead you to conclusions regarding my identity. Recall that Harry is the gentleman in Texas. Now put your mouse over my name above. Notice what the address is? That's right! It says something about Indiana. I won't go into a HUGE lecture about geography or anything (because we're taking BABY STEPS here today!) but any map of the United States that isn't printed on the back of a Denny's placemat will reveal to you that Indiana is in fact quite a bit away from Texas. (No no no... I know they *LOOK* really close, but that's just an illusion on the paper. The real world is very very large.) Now, digging a little deeper, you will find that you can easily find the webpage of the university that I am affiliated with. Then you're merely a few simple clicks away from doing a simple search for me to find out that the university does in fact have me on file. They've even got my webpage listed, complete with photos that reveal me to NOT be a.) red-head b.) bearded or c.) hefty. In fact, I'm quite clean shaven and rather svelt. (And short.) Ask yourself why a Big 10 state school would give an e-mail account to a non-resident who didn't attend the school, espeically one that wanted an e-mail address as lame as mine. It just doesn't add up. Now a word about these "Harry is everywhere" delusions of yours: If you're trying to impress Jodie Foster, you'll have to go a little more mainstream in your choice of stalkees in order to really get her attention. John Hinkley went for President Reagan back in the day, but he was ambitious (and chose a target that was a bit obvious, in my opinion. He was the leader of the free world at the time! Choose someone a LITTLE less predictable, otherwise she'll think you're desperate...) I'd suggest perhaps Hillary Clinton (big newsmaker these days!), or perhaps an NBA star. As you make your move, please consider shouting this phrase during your spree: "Monkey is a lottery toot! Monkey is a lottery toot!!" It's just a little something I came up with during a mad fever dream one night and I'd really like to see it enter the pop culture lexicon. I hope you've found this little lesson educational. Now wipe the corner of your mouth (no, the other side) and go outside and play. A kid like you shouldn't be couped up inside all day! You've got bugs to crush and small animals to gut. See you in my bathroom, hiding behind the shower curtain with a knife.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 9:03 a.m. CST

    off the subject(s)

    by Yossarian

    Someone needs to send a henchman over and find out something about frikkin' Ender's Game. What's goin' on with that film? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?****Also, It IS December, shouldn't we all be fighting over casting rumours for Episode 2? See you in Spandex.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Pleased, but....

    by Duke

    Not to belabor this point or beat a dead horse or spank a dead fish, but while I was pleased to see the "evil genius" back in the saddle, I still would like to see him insert some headers in his articles if he's so damn smart. Otherwise this becomes "ramblings" from the lab as opposed to "rumblings." Or maybe I just don't understand the need for an evil genius to hold us as a captive audience throughout his entire diatribe instead of letting us read about the subjects that we want. Come to think of it....that IS pretty darn evil! I take it all back...don't ever put in headers...I now see the "genius" of your "evil"....aaaarrrrrrg!

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 10:46 a.m. CST

    New Line and C_Jason_D

    by smilin'jackruby

    Testify, Moriarity, New Line DVD makes me happy I made that investment in both the machine and the "Nightmare" box set. Paramount hasn't done shit yet, but I'd LOVE to see a box set half as good as the "Nightmare" one done with "Friday the 13th." I'd pre-order that bad boy the day it came out. As for the reference to C_Jason_D in my subject line, I try to avoid personal attacks, but I am from Austin and went to UT and then went to grad at Indiana University and just want the world to realize that Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, and Indiana itself is perhaps the absolute worst place on the planet. Yes, that is not a nice thing to say, but the only thing decent about Bloomington is the extensive video collection in the library that the backwards hicks have never sampled (I think I was the only person who had ever checked out the copy of Kurosawa's "Red Beard.") Other than that, I can honestly say that I would be happy to wake up one day and find that Indiana University had been destroyed in a flood, a plague, or ANYTHING of the seismic measure (now that I am safely in L.A.). For fuck's sake, I missed TRAFFIC (not the Steve Winwood group, but the thing involving many, many cars) when I was in Indiana. Bloomington is nothing like Austin and suffers from many delusions (as, I'm sure, do I). It doesn't get much more haplessly and provincially middle-America than Indiana University. If you don't believe me, go there. I apologize to all I've offended, but that's been building up for months and should be flamed as a meaningless, petty little rant.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 11:08 a.m. CST

    I'll Defend Larry David

    by mrbeaks

    1) I thought his recent HBO special was very funny. If you didn't see it, I'd recommend checking it out. 2) SOUR GRAPES, while certainly not a well-directed movie by any stretch of the imagination, was no more ineptly filmed than, say, any of Kevin Smith's work. And while I wouldn't call it an inspired effort, it made me laugh on occasion, which would be enough to win it a reprieve from being included on my ten worst list (you'd be amazed how many times Shaq appears on that thing.) IMO, I think you're being a little hard on the guy, as well as Andrew Niccol. I'd wait until you've had a chance to read the script before judging it on a brief synopsis (which could always be misleading.) Other than that, good report, and thanks for getting me *more* excited about MAGNOLIA. As if the excellent trailer weren't enough.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 11:10 a.m. CST

    JJ and the Warrior -- 2 bitter losers

    by Deltahead

    I swear, you two are the worst thing about Talkback. Two cynics hiding in the corner and poking at everything like the two old guys on the Muppets (named Statler and Waldorf, incidentally. There's your fact for the day.) Why is Harry a sellout? Because studios will sometimes send him passes and posters? You know who else gets those promotional packages? EVERY SINGLE REVIEWER in the past twenty years. Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel and Rex Reed and any other movie critic that's ever held any respect in this business. Studios send that crap out like candy, Harry's just up-front about receiving it. What is it with you two? If the report doesn't come from someone who snuck into the studio through a window and hid under the catering table, it's automatically tainted? It must come from the "underground" to have validity? What a JOKE. And as for an AICN television show, I say Great. We Talkbackers have been wishing for years that somehow, television could bring us the kind of entertainment news we wanted, instead of that gossip and fluff-interview pablum. Harry, good luck, keep up your EXCELLENT work, and happy birthday. JJ and Warrior, any time you want to show a little more common sense in your dialogue (and yes, talkback is supposed to be a DIALOGUE between fans, not random shouts in the dark), that would be much appreciated. Peace.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 11:16 a.m. CST


    by r_dimitri22

    I am so psyched to see this film. Most of my friends think I heap way too much praise on Boogie Nights, but that film was pure excellence. Hard Eight was also very good. Question: did Harry or Moriarty ever review The Limey? I'd like to discuss it with someone.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 11:23 a.m. CST


    by kochez

    can anyone tell me about the kids in the hall touring?

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 11:46 a.m. CST

    RE: Deltahead

    by mrbeaks

    I only wanted to take exception to the lumping together of "Rex Reed" and "respect" in the same sentence. The day that man has something worthwhile to say will be the day George Lucas releases HOWARD THE DUCK: THE SPECIAL EDITION.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot PIE!

    by marsyas

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Re: JJ and the Warrior

    by Deltahead

    I don't want to fight. In fact, I believe you two are intelligent folks, I just think your anger is misdirected. You're sounding more and more like a parrot every time you call Harry a sell-out. I ask again: What is the proof? As I pointed out before, everyone gets promotional packages. I think it's a credit to Harry that he gives us an honest account of what he's received and who has given it to him. You don't agree with some of his reviews? Well, boo-hoo, neither do I. Every Talkbacker has disagreed with Harry at some point. The discussion is the key, and that's why it's so sad when Talkback spirals down into flame wars. In the end, it comes down to a matter of trust. I've never had the pleasure of meeting Harry face-to-face, but I've been with this site for over three years now, so I've read his writings from many different stages: from his deep depression at the loss of someone close to him, his happiness at seeing excellent films, the curiosity in reporting on a film from it's pre-production phase until opening night, and most of all, the obvious joy of his daily reports from the Episode 1 ticket line, which I think is one of the greatest moments of this site's history. So I'm willing to put a little faith in Harry Knowles. When I agree with him, I say so, and when I disagree, I say so too. But it will take more than two people sniping from behind anonymous user names before I give up my basic optimism. You think Harry's been "bought and sold"? Stop visiting this site and start your own. No one can stop you, and that's the most beautiful thing about the Internet. If you want to remain here, try to contribute to a dialogue instead of acting like a one-trick pony. You see, I have some faith in you too. That's just the way I am. Peace.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 1:09 p.m. CST

    MANGOLIA aka ARGH! My Ass is Fuckin' Killing Me!!!

    by Tall_Boy

    Okay, right now the only 3 hour flick on my plate would be THE GREEN MILE, and Mangolia, while it does sound cool from what I've read, 3 and a half hours should possibly have them give us water bottles for our collective asses. Now I envy the fanboys out there who have nice, large soft fat asses because you'll probably be able to endure it, but mine is rather skiny and my skiny little ass is gonna fuckin' ache from sitting in there for so goddamn long (and check the nick, I'm 6'6 so there's no fuckin' room for my legs either! I hate being a freak.) So I thnk I'll sit through Green Mile cuz I read the book, but Mangolia I'll wait for on video cuz my butt can only take so much punishment. XYU.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Deltahead is an optimist...

    by Deltahead

    ...which has usually been a lot more dangerous than being a sheep. And The Warrior is right, calling you two losers was a mistake. I lost my temper and I apologize. Using anonymous nicknames can sometimes cause people to say things they wouldn't do face-to-face. Anyway: Warrior, I also liked Howard the Duck a lot, and Lea Thompson is on my list of under-appreciated hot chicks (although her Van Halen hairstyle in that movie's kind of a turn off. She was much cuter in Back to the Future.) And it may be possible for someone to get addicted to freebies, but I think Harry's still a loooong way from being a studio shill. He enjoyed being on the set of Grinch, and he said so. But he hasn't even posted a review of the movie yet, (hell, the movie isn't even DONE yet) so don't rush to say his judgement has been affected. But I am NO SHEEP. I state my own opinions, but I do it with some forethought. When I've disagreed with Harry, I've said so loud and proud. I would rather build something than tear it down, that's all. Peace.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Lea Thompson

    by eegah

    While she is most assuredly smokin' in "Howard" and girl-next-door luscious in "Back to the Future. Gentleman, you are forgetting the hottest of the hot Lea Thompson appearances..."Some Kind of Wonderful"!!! Scantily clad drying her hair in the locker room? MMMMMM.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 3:39 p.m. CST

    Ronnie Dobbs

    by Darth Boner

    By the way, he's the most arrested man on FUZZ, not COPS. He's been arrested in all 50 states, France ("Speak American, mother fucker!"), and even above Earth in orbit during a ratings stunt. Moreover, he's also been a star of stage and screen. "Y'all are brutalizing me!"

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 3:49 p.m. CST

    Magnolia trailer

    by BrooksMarlin

    Does anyone know the name of the song that's being played during the first half of the Magnolia trailer? It's really good so I want to get it.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 3:53 p.m. CST

    your right jj....

    by elryano

    hey iam new to this here talkback thing...but i gotta tell u jj,u and the warrior are correct i beleve.... imean i never thought harry was a sell-out either until i overheard him one day scream"FUCK!THAT "BATS"MOVIE WAS FUCKIN GREAT", as he put a lou diamond action figure into his pocket....that bastard will sell-out for ANYTHING....and it wasnt even the lou diamond phillips action fig with the kung-fu grip...bastard!!! so if u and warrior wanna start a "revoultion" count me in and all my mistypings will join u in taking down this man........bats..what the fuck

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Detroit first on dvd?

    by Thunderball

    In Regards to Detroit Rock City being the first dvd to beat its tape counterpoint, well, wasn't Lethal Weapon 4 released on dvd before the VHS video? If not (because I'm really not sure on that one), I know the dvd box set of that Tom Hanks HBO space mini-series was released several months before it hit tape. Not complaining mind you, I'm all for earlier dvd releases, just wondering.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Apple pie

    by eegah

    Warrior, you are so right! I can't believe Eric Stolz goes with Manly Stuart Masterson over her!!! What a homo.

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Don't Think

    by bswise

    Yah, great column, welcome back and all that - but the single gratest Sketch Comedy show of the 90's is THE UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE!

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 4:53 p.m. CST

    voice of reason

    by elryano

    the voice of reason says we should not think of him as a sell-out he does any and everything we would do in his shoes...the voice of reason also says that we should give him the benifit of the doubt here maybe that dogma reviews coming...maybe he really did like sleepy hollow as much as he said he did...and the voice also says that we need to remember hes the one who put the smackdown on papa geek when he tried to censor this here talkback thing..but u know what FUCK THE VOICE OF REASON!!!!!!there is no room...and i mean NO room in a reveloution for a voice of reason....all of u join forces with me....we say damn the logicial apraoch...damn reason....light em up whos in with me who will join the revoultion..who will teach me how to spell it.....there will be victims here we will lose people dont get me wrong but in the end we will have what we want the old harry u can join me are u can sit around talking about lea thompsan..who lost all cuteness with that damn sitcom she did...come on one person cant do it himself(just ask the unabomer...but 4 or 5 people...yeah that should do it..... viva revoultion

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 5:26 p.m. CST

    Where oh where, can the DOGMA REVIEW be....?

    by Funmazer

    Yes, where IS that review? Where could it be? I thought the same thing as the above poster, that the review is being SAT ON. I remember Dogma being called "Kevin Smith's latest masterwork" by Harry (before it came out).... hm... so.... shouldn't he write a review telling us all about it? Harry has written some negative reviews before, but, as we all know, they are always SAFE targets. Even "not liking Bond that much" is pretty safe. A bad Inspector Gadget review, no problem! But a bad review of a total GEEK film... that's different. So where is it? He obviously saw it. I don't like Kevin Smith or even own a Star Wars toy and I even saw it! SHOW ME THE REVIEW!

  • Dec. 8, 1999, 9:48 p.m. CST

    Where's DOGMA?/Moriarty's post

    by Cronksty

    Even though this is like the umpteenth post about DOGMA, WHERE THE HELL IS IT??? It's OK to not like a film Harry, and you know what? It would have been OK to dislike ARMAGEDDON. Anyways, this is to MORIARTY: I love your reviews/reports and everything, but this whole evil scientist thing going on is starting to make you sound a bit like the Comic book guy on the Simpsons. We don't need anykind of strange introduction to material about film. It's all starting to sound a bit like a Dungeon's and Dragon's game.