Moriarty's RUMBLINGS FROM THE LAB #29
Hey folks, Harry here. The bumbling wise half blind degenerate underground living professor of arcane methods of thievery has chimed in with his LATEst Rumblings from the Lab, and quite honestly... You must read his coverage of the Harrison Ford/Steven Soderbergh TRAFFIC project. As Moriarty just gives it what it deserves. With both hands and a bucket. Lots of good stuff this time out, and once again he's teasing the world with an appearance of his... but the fact is... he'll just send that retarded Mechanical Moriarty in his stay. Damn Victorian Scientific Balderdash!
Moriarty’s RUMBLINGS FROM THE LAB #29
Hey, Head Geek…
Hey, check it out! Now that I moved the column to a Wednesday deadline, I’m actually early for once! I figured I should get the column out of the way so that I could enjoy my trip to San Francisco, where I’ll rendezvous with Harry, Father Geek, Annette Kellerman, a whole bunch of you lucky readers, and the fine people of the Metreon who are having us up. I tell you, getting hold of… oh, yeah, I can’t tell you what movie it is. I almost slipped there, said the title. I guess you’ll just have to show up on Thursday night and see what it is. I guarantee it’ll be worth the trip.
I’ve just recently discovered the joys of WinAmp and RealJukebox on my machine, and I’m playing the hell out of some older albums as a result. I can’t get enough of Cibo Matto’s STEREO TYPE A this week, and “Moonchild” keeps getting stuck on replay. In the meantime, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading, so I’d like to kick off today by talking about some of the best stuff that’s bouncing around, a sort of Script Review Round-Up.
VERY HEAVY TRAFFIC
I love Steven Soderbergh. I say this without any hesitation. I don’t know what sort of evil pact with the dark forces he had to make to get his career back on track, but they may be overcompensating for his wilderness years with this latest streak of his. OUT OF SIGHT –- brilliant. THE LIMEY –- outstanding. ERIN BROKOVICH –- getting amazing word of mouth right now. And then there’s his next project, the film before OCEAN’S 11, which I’m plenty damn excited about. In just a few weeks, he goes in front of the cameras with TRAFFIC, one of the most searing, angry, political pieces of film writing to cross my reading stack in recent memory.
Make no mistake; TRAFFIC will be controversial. There’s no way for it to avoid controversy. It’s a clear-eyed look at the failings of the drug war in America, both on the political and the personal levels. It is an angry film, but it never resorts to cheap tactics to make its points. Instead, this is a film that layers information on. The script by Steven Gaghan (RULES OF ENGAGEMENT) is perceptive, heartfelt, and jet black. I can see why the film moved from Fox to Fox Searchlight. This isn’t going to be easy mainstream fare no matter how many Harrison Ford-level actors you sign to the thing. People feel very strongly about this subject, and the arguments this film engenders are just arguments we’ve been having on the national level for some time now. All it does when you cast someone of Ford’s stature in the film is guarantee that more people will enter the debate.
It’s one worth having, too, as this screenplay confidently asserts. Gaghan was working from an acclaimed BBC documentary series about how drugs are distributed and used in England, and moving the film’s setting to America automatically means that emotions will run higher. After all, England isn’t fighting a war against its own citizens, and it sure isn’t doing it with a sense of skewed perspective like America. The idea of a drug czar is strange enough, but Gaghan’s perceptive view of how exactly someone gets to that position and what sort of compromises are necessary just to keep the office functioning will no doubt challenge many viewers and their preconceptions about whether or not any good is being done by these efforts. Gaghan is smart enough to attack the idea from every angle, with there being two major storylines that form the backbone of the script, each offering a different view of the world.
In the main story, Harrison Ford is signed to play Robert Lewis. He’s a district court judge who is resigning his seat so that he can serve as the new drug czar for the U.S. He’s a political animal, very aware of the game, and as he is immersed in the world of drug policy, he gets a view of it that very few private citizens ever do. He sees the futility of many of the fights, the desperate quality to the negotiations with other countries, the helplessness that is never spoken of. He’s also given a unique window into understand the nature of addiction when his daughter Caroline – a 16 year old who barely looks 12 – develops a wicked crack addiction that rips his family apart.
In the secondary story, Helena Montoya – the role I think Catherine Zeta-Jones is scheduled to play – is forced to learn about the drug trade from the operations end of things when her husband Carl is busted as part of a major multi-national operation. He’s a major cocaine supplier, but Helena never knew about it. With him in jail and with major debts hanging over her head, Helena has to learn the business and make some very shrewd plays to protect herself and her family. Even under tight surveillance from federal officers, she has to move to keep her husband’s power consolidated and unchallenged. It’s a great role, and a great storyline. I see that Monday’s NEW YORK DAILY NEWS is reporting that Soderbergh is having the film adapted to incorporate her pregnancy into the film. I’m sure he is. I bet he’s freakin’ delighted by it, actually. The image of this woman pregnant, already a mother once before, a model wife, as she digs into the world of coke smuggling has got to just make him cackle with glee.
Really, though, there’s no weak links in this script. Every scene indicts another target, scores another direct hit. It’s a blistering piece of work, uncompromising in how it handles its subject matter. Watching Caroline Lewis sink into the pit of a serious crack addiction is wrenching, and there’s nothing about it that I’d call conventionally entertaining, but it is compelling, something we should see. Robert Lewis has his eyes opened in some startling ways in the film, and he has all of his beliefs called into question when it’s his child, his home. I won’t give away any of the film’s most powerful images, but there are some things you’ll see towards the end of this film that you won’t forget. Finally, Harrison Ford is being given a role that demands something of him. He’s being given another Allie Fox, another Rusty Sabitch, a character of extreme moral ambiguity. He’s going to have to dig deep here, really put something of himself up on the screen again. He can’t just fall back on The Finger of Doom, his favorite acting trick. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, check out a great little site I found -- CLICK HERE -- that explains it in graphic detail. Actually, even if you do know what I’m talking about, check it out. It made me laugh very hard when Harry Lime first brought it to my attention.
The thing that excites me most about TRAFFIC is that it gives Soderbergh some real balls in the middle of a streak of fun films. I know ERIN BROKOVICH deals with some serious material, but everyone I’ve talked to who has seen it raves about the film’s sense of humor, the charge to the whole thing. OCEAN’S 11 is going to be a romp by definition. It’s a Vegas hipster heist movie. Heavy, it is not. That leaves TRAFFIC to bear the weight of Soderbergh’s darker nature. I hope that when the film is finished, it sparks some much needed discussion of how to dig ourselves out of a national nightmare with real solutions, and not just empty ideological wordplay. The best art is that which not only reflects but changes the world around it, and TRAFFIC has the potential to be just exactly that.
YOU NEED A GUY WHO CAN WRITE CRAZY SMALL
One of the best surprises involving the Academy Award nominations this year was the inclusion of Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for their canny adaptation of ELECTION. The reason I’m particularly happy to see it happen is because it makes real progress towards salvaging the “high school” film from the creative hell of John Hughes-ripoffs. Miramax seems to have been particularly determined to pump out more carbon copy Freddie Prinze Jr. vehicles than anyone could ever find the nerve to sit through. With ELECTION, though, there is proof that complex moral themes can be examined using high school as a setting, not as a genre.
Right now, New Line has a project winding its way through development that has the chance to be funny, edgy, smart, and hugely successful. The film is CHEATERS, and it’s a true original, bold and funny with an unflinching sense of honesty, ironic for a film about guys who can’t help but cheat. An original screenplay by Andrew Gurland, CHEATERS could be described as “GOODFELLAS in high school” if you were trying to sum up the tone, but that only hints at the complexity of the piece. In the latest draft of the script, less than a month old, we are shown the “true story” of Andrew Gurland, the main character, and his three best friends as they move through their final year of high school. They are the guys you turn to when you have to pass a test, when you have to ace a term paper, when you absolutely have no choice left but to cheat. They aren’t just good at it… they’re freakin’ superheroes.
As soon as you open the script, the tone is set. There’s a page that just explains “The World According To Gurland.” It’s a list of the rules of conduct that define the world of the cheater. Such gems as “Never hand your paper in early,” “Always get a couple wrong,” “Every cheating outfit needs a guy who can write crazy small,” and “Never crib on your body – you always have to be able to destroy the evidence at a moment’s notice” suggest real practical knowledge of the world that’s being written about. That’s what was so great about GOOD FELLAS, and it’s one of the things that keeps people tuning in to HBO’s exceptional THE SOPRANOS every week. People frequently lack the nerve to do these things, but they love to watch other people do them. CHEATERS is electric with the kick of the forbidden.
We see a series of chapters that explain how Andrew and Dino and Sammy and Avidor all got together, how they formed the strange and tenuous bonds that form the emotional core of the script. Then we’re brought up to now, and we’re shown a series of incidents that challenges their ideas of ethics and honor and what’s allowed and what isn’t. Their friendships are put to the test in ways that evolve naturally, believably. It’s wrenching to watch this group self-destruct. No matter how heinous some of their behavior towards teachers or parents is, they have family in one another. Seeing that melt down is tough, and Gurland never flinches. He’s not afraid to let this supposed comedy drift into darker territory. In fact, that seems to be part of the theme. These thrills carry a weight, and karma does out.
This script has something that is rare in writing about people this age. It has a sense of texture and respect towards all the characters. Adults aren’t made into cartoons just to make the teenagers look better. Teenagers aren’t made into little adults just to balance the playing field. Instead, these are real people. This script feels like real life all the way through. The idea that Gurland has named his main character after himself, and the idea that he opens with a title card that reads, “WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE IS A TRUE STORY”… it’s all provocative. Obviously, I don’t know what is and isn’t fictionalized in Gurland’s script. As a film, though, it’s perfect. It works out in a way that isn’t easy and it doesn’t magically fix things, but it offers real closure, a sense of growth. Real life rarely ever plays out so well, so one must naturally be suspicious. It’s a risky move, one that reminds me of Charlie Kaufman’s latest piece ADAPTATION, and I think Gurland should be commended for making himself so deeply unlikable in large parts of this script. This film doesn’t feel like someone glorifying his past. More than anything, it feels like a confession, a plea for forgiveness.
New Line is still a company that is capable of real edge, a company that is known for taking risks. When Miramax lost its nerve on LORD OF THE RINGS, New Line stepped up and did the deal better than it had been before. When Universal blinked on 13 DAYS, New Line was smart enough to get involved with Beacon and rescue it. Well, here’s a chance for New Line to prove that they’re still ahead of the curve in a genre that other companies are doing their best to beat to death. Destination Films is going to go ahead with the fart-joke-funny version of the same basic idea in the form of SLACKERS, a David H. Steinberg script that is funny but empty, distasteful in large part, but entertaining in many ways. Their film is set in a college, and the cheating is much less realistic, but there will be comparisons made. New Line has got to step up and make the great film, the one that gets remembered. If they do, look for Gurland to be one of the most exciting emerging voices of the decade.
DEAD RABBITS, NATIVE AMERICANS, AND MARTY
Can’t wait to see Martin Scorsese on Roger Ebert’s show next week. The two of them will be discussing the Best Films of the ‘90s, a topic that, as you know, I’ve written a few words about. Yes, yes… they’re coming. I promise. You can blame Scorsese and his sometimes-collaborator Jay Cocks for distracting me for a good chunk of this past weekend. I ended up burying myself in the latest draft of GANGS OF NEW YORK, the epic story of New York’s underworld as it worked in the mid-1800s.
I’m not sure who Robert De Niro is playing in the film –- Bill the Butcher, Boss Tweed, or even Monk would be the logical guesses -- but it’s obvious from page one who Leonardo Di Caprio is supposed to be. Amsterdam Vallon is a great role for any young actor, and in Di Caprio’s hands, there’s a chance for Amsterdam to be iconic. The film is certainly painted in grand enough terms. Knowing that Disney is spending the money to do this right makes me very excited. The opening of the film is a glorious 15 page set piece that feels like something out of George Miller’s THE ROAD WARRIOR. It’s like science-fiction, otherworldly. When the title finally comes up at the end of the scene and sets the time and place -- “New York City, 1851” -– it seems impossible. Scorsese has discovered this wealth of material, previously untapped on film, about the way the whole pecking order broke down in New York’s underworld. I’ve read quite a bit about this as well, much of it while researching Adam Worth, the loser that Arthur Conan Doyle claims to have based me on. HA! As if I could be a mere copy of some hood like him.
I don’t really want to spoil much of the script this far out. It’s so bizarre, so richly painted, that it’s one of those experiences I believe will overwhelm viewers. Like the wonderful script for FROM HELL that Terry Hayes wrote for the Hughes Brothers, this film paints a real picture of a historical period that we all have a faulty picture of in our heads. It’s amazing how sanitized and proper some people think recent history was. A film like GANGS OF NEW YORK promises to remind them that no matter how far we think we’ve come, the world is the same, and people don’t change.
SIZE DOESN’T MATTER
And when I say that, I’m speaking of course about SF thrillers. I’m delighted by PITCH BLACK’s showing over the weekend. Their per-screen was killer, and the box-office is actually going up from day-to-day as people are telling their friends about it. People went, they had fun, they’re telling other people. That’s how it’s supposed to work. When you’re making a SF thriller that’s modestly budgeted, you have to rely on the film clicking as entertainment. You can’t just bludgeon your audience into submission with the latest and the greatest effects tricks. Instead, you have to go back to the basic rules of narrative. You have to work that little bit harder to take a high concept and really make it live and breathe.
I was reminded of this when I got an advance copy of New Line’s Platinum Series edition of THE HIDDEN this weekend via pneumatic tube. PHWOOP! It just showed up, surprised me. I haven’t spared THE HIDDEN much thought one way or another since I saw it upon its initial release. I thought at the time that it was a fun action film, just smart enough that I could recommend it without embarrassment.
As a special edition DVD, I can now recommend the film all over again. I’ve watched it twice this weekend –- first as just the film, then again with the commentary track by Jack Sholder playing –- and I had a great time with the film. Kyle McLachlan’s performance really holds up as a great entry into the grand tradition of aliens passing as human with only moderate success. He’s funny, and he’s also oddly affecting in many scenes. He takes an easy clichÃ© –- the cop who’s partner and family were killed –- and he invests it with real pathos. Michael Nouri… well, he doesn’t bump into furniture or forget his lines, and that’s really all he has to do here. The person who really makes all this play is Sholder. Somehow, he pulled it all together here and delivered on the kinetic action and the quiet character stuff with equal aplomb. This should have given him an Andy Davis-like career bump, but it didn’t. Instead, he’s just gone on toiling in the B-movie market, and that’s a shame. Maybe this disc will serve as a great record of a particular professional high watermark.
WORST VERSION OF BEST THING
Who's decision was it to market THE NEXT BEST THING like a cross between MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING and THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION? I'm not exactly falling all over myself to see the new John Schlesinger film, but I figure they should at least advertise the film they've made. The script for this film is pretty brutal stuff, especially in the last third which deals with one character dying of AIDS while there's a bitter custody battle over a child underway. The sort of happy unconventional that the trailers are all built around is a bit of a lie, a fleeting part of the movie. It's like they only want to hint at the happy first act, afraid that no one will come if they tell you it's a drama and it's supposed to be difficult. I think Paramount would be wise to take the time between now and March 3 to ease new material into the campaign. If they don't prepare people for that third act, then they risk pissing off the audience they've tricked into coming to the film. That's certainly no way to release a film that is a tricky sell no matter what you do with it. Remember... as soon as the film is out, people will figure out if you've been lying to them. Word of mouth can't survive it when a film is totally misrepresented in a campaign, and that's what you're doing here.
Well, that’s all for this week. Look for Harry and I to post our reviews of… um, whatever that METREON thing is… on Friday of this week. I’ll be back with a few reports this weekend, and then next week sees the wrap-up of several ongoing reports for us at the Labs. It will feel good to finally finish, and we think you’ll be pleased with the way it all wraps up. Until then…
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gangs of new york is DOA. the beach plummetted 50% to 7th place getting beatin by the tigger movie no less starring harry knowles!
Feb. 22, 2000, 9:40 p.m. CST
by Darth Legion
Would you care follow up on your scoop regarding "The Transformers"? Bob Skir, the writer of Beast Machines already spilled the beans that Hasbro is putting together the movie... http://www.bigbot.com go to discussion boards. SuperMegaMedia has pulled down it's advertisement of the proposed photorealistic movie. What will it be? Any insider news on the subject? Thank you for your response.
Feb. 22, 2000, 9:50 p.m. CST
by Everett Robert
I'm working on a HS satiric script myself, so I'm always excited to hear about those types of movies doing good and getting made...my problem lies in overexposure*laugh*but doesn't that happen on any project...that's ok...if I get the script written that will be a mircle unto itself...Pitch Black--fun ride, thanks dear Prof. for alearting me to this...I've been spreading the word via email and word of mouth, can't wait to see the BO on this go up...can't really think of anything else, but I hated to see an empty talkback so I started rambling
Feb. 22, 2000, 10:06 p.m. CST
I thought he dropped out of Gangs of New York? It doesn't matter anyway. The movie's gonna tank regardless of who's in it. Leo better enjoy that $20 million paycheck cuz it's gonna be the last one he gets.
Feb. 22, 2000, 10:19 p.m. CST
especially TRAFFIC, although I'm pessimistic Harrison Ford will break the awful rut he's in; as every movie critic this side of Roger Ebert's shadow says, the man delivers one wooden performance after another these days. The movie will survive, however, and the message is timely. Hopefully it stirs up debate against the failed "War on Drugs". As for Leo, give him a break; every star is entitled to a dog of a movie; THE BEACH won't kill him (sorry to dissappoint the legion of whiny fanboys out there). He's one of the few true actors working in Hollywood (alongside mere celebrities). But alas he gets some teenage girls horny, so it is the Offical Duty of every fanboy worth his collection of Sailor Moon videos to hate him and pray to their Holy Father George Lucas to strike him dead. So I wish Leo and Harrison well, hoping they get out of the rut they're currently in.
Feb. 22, 2000, 10:20 p.m. CST
Moriarity is cool. that is all.
Feb. 22, 2000, 10:23 p.m. CST
call me cynical but methinks moriarty and harry are getting some nice $$ to hype up pitch black. Harry even makes a post defending the movie against many of the bad reviews its getting. I know I have no way of proving it, but its just a hunch.
Feb. 22, 2000, 10:39 p.m. CST
by tommy five-tone
...because the bitch can't act for shit! you could market this a all-nude jennifer love hewitt/katie holmes getting down to some growling girl-girl action on a sex farm for sex hookers boob-a-rama and i still wouldn't see because that talentless black hole of ciccone is in it. rupert everett is digging a grave for his promising career by hanging out with this loser. but hey, cheaters, traffic and gangs of new york all sound way cool.
Feb. 22, 2000, 11:01 p.m. CST
by Everett Robert
and Rupert Everett should both be forbidden to do any lame ass techno remakes of a very cool song like American pie
Feb. 22, 2000, 11:04 p.m. CST
In an interview with Leo, he was asked about De Niro not being involved and he mentioned that it was some personal or family reason. And next I want to take issue with Moriarty about some of his facts on the Traffic portion of the Rumblings. Tony Blair, the British PM, does have a drug czar. His name is Keith Hellawell. Britain is using the same 'zero tolerance' policy on drugs as we have here in the United States.
Feb. 22, 2000, 11:23 p.m. CST
Hi, all. "Moriarty" here. One of the TALK BACKs above mentioned that the UK has a drug czar and a drug policy that is comparable to that in the US. Is this true? If so, how long has that been the case? I haven't had a chance to see the documentary that Soderbergh is drawing this film from, but if it details any of this, then I am dying to take a look at it. Please, educate me if I'm wrong about the UK. I was under the impression that no one was more completely and utterly backwards in national drug policy than we are here in the good ol' USA. If we have global competition, let's hear about it.
Feb. 22, 2000, 11:27 p.m. CST
Dear Dr., the BBC prod. that Traffic is based upon, Traffik, was a work of fiction, not a documentary. Now, you want to hear something truly bizarre? The screenwriter of Traffik, Simon Moore, also wrote the screenplay and is a producer for NBC's upcoming The Tenth Kingdom. Go figure!
Feb. 23, 2000, 12:39 a.m. CST
"Traffik" was NOT a BBC documentary series. It was a six-part drama serial produced for one of the BBC's rivals, Channel Four.
Feb. 23, 2000, 12:56 a.m. CST
Gee Moriarty, why on earth is it so difficult to just give a straight forward review of a script? Why do you need to go into a rambling on attacking Harrison? (the jab about the finger bit has nothing whatsoever to do with a review of a script!) I am looking forward to this movie and with Harrison in it, I'm even more excited. He is at a great age to play the role of a judge. Harrison has shown he can play the meaty roles (Witness, Mosquito Coast, Presumed Innocent, etc)and I'm delighted that "Traffic" will be another one he can add to his illustrious career. Bash him all you want Moriarty, as there are many others who do happen to respect Harrison's acting ability. I guess a few people giggled at your jabs at Harrison that you have now allowed that to affect your review of a script! What A shame. -Waterbottle36 out and about-
Feb. 23, 2000, 1:04 a.m. CST
Harry, as a fan of your wonderful site, it angers and saddens me that more often than not, I must read Moriarty's hateful comments -- in one form of fashion or another -- directed toward the history's most popular and most successful film actor - Harrison Ford. Why does Professor Moriarty feel that he must voice his displeasure toward the acting legend in 75% of all his ramblings or scoops? Where does the hatred come from? Why the animosity toward the Star of the Century? As a fan of your top site, and of Harrison Ford, I ask you to take matters up with Moriarty's rambling attacks on this gifted screen presence. Or, at the very least, persuade the Professor to make public the reason behind his written attacks on the actor. Thank you, Harry.
Feb. 23, 2000, 1:05 a.m. CST
Sorry, my mistake. I just tend to assume that every British production I see on PBS is BBC work. We should also mention the way awesome score by God himself (i.e. Eric Clapton).
Feb. 23, 2000, 1:10 a.m. CST
by Everett Robert
it's not that the dear Dr. and many like him, including myself, bash Harrison Ford becasue we got off on it or we don't like his performances...it's just that lately Mr. Ford has seemingly just called in his performance, done the same type of char. not role but same char. and his movies have been...well frankly shit...Random Hearts, 6 Days-7 Nights, Air Force1 while being a fun ride was nothing to add to his work...you mentioned some great movies like Mesquito Coast, Witness, etc...but you have to admit that his recent efforts have been lacking right...so it is with great anticipation that we look forward to this outing between Ford and Soderbergh...A lot of us film geeks, think that Harrison Ford is one of the coolest actors of our time who has not lived up to his coolness factor, that is why we critize Ford...because we know he is cabable of greater things and isn't following though on that...but now he is with this role in this movie--I hope you understand now
Feb. 23, 2000, 1:13 a.m. CST
by Everett Robert
read my comments to Waterbottle and you'll see where we come from
Feb. 23, 2000, 1:14 a.m. CST
by Everett Robert
Harry what the hell is your icon doing up there in the corner...licking the snot out of his nose...dude get some help for that =)
Feb. 23, 2000, 1:22 a.m. CST
Thanks for responding and stating your thoughts on this matter. -Waterbottle36 out and about-
Feb. 23, 2000, 1:25 a.m. CST
by Everett Robert
no problem just stating how I feel...god I hate insomnia...why am I up at this ungodly hour
Feb. 23, 2000, 1:38 a.m. CST
Thank you for being kind enough to respond...I respect the honesty of your feelings. It still saddens me though, that it appears that the old professor is on some type of personal vendetta against the world's most popular film star - Harrison Ford. It has been apparent in many of his ramblings, posts, and scoops for quite some time now. But, I guess there are worse things going on in the world than that. Thank you again, Everett Robert...that was very kind of you to respond. Yes, insomnia sucks! I know what you mean!
Feb. 23, 2000, 1:40 a.m. CST
by Mickey Finn
Thank you, Moriarty, for taking me to that great page. I'm laughing my ass off. Somebody should do the same thing for Robert de Niro every time he does his grimace/shrug.
Feb. 23, 2000, 2:54 a.m. CST
Didn't the fact that this US-set film is based on a UK-set TV series suggest to you that the drug policy situation might just conceivably be vaguely analogous? Elementary.
Feb. 23, 2000, 3:25 a.m. CST
by Lazarus Long
First I'd like to take exception to remarks Moriarty made about Soderbergh leaving his "Wilderness" period. Exactly what was that? King of the Hill, one of the most underappreciated films of the 90's? The Underneath, a cooly stylish remake which was the first time he showed his talent for time-frame shuffling? Gray's Anatomy, probably the best film of a stand up or spoken word artist ever made? Or were you referring to Schizopolis, a film Soderbergh financed himself and was one of the most original, daring, and inrgiguing films I've ever seen? I think it's a bit unfair to categorize a highly transforming and creative period in a filmmaker's career as being "in the wilderness", something probably more fitting (if still unfairly) Orson Welles. As for Harrison Ford, the reason there are so many pot shots taken at him is BECAUSE he is the most popular film actor. It's very clear to most intelligent people that Harrison simply doesn't live up to his hype. He isn't a good (depending on how feeble your definition of "good" is) actor, let alone a great one, and is a perfect example of how movie star and actor have become two totally different things over the last 50 years. Humphrey Bogart, who was not too long ago chosen the greatest film star of all time, didn't have a very wide range, but was still 10 times the actor that Ford is. Nothing Harrison has done, or probably will ever do, could match Bogie's work in The Big Sleep, The African Queen, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, or Casablanca for that matter. You could also compare the different versions of Sabrina for an easy and laughable comparison. Get the stars out of your eyes and call a spade a fucking spade. You can enjoy Arnold's films without calling him a good actor, why can't you admit the same is true of Indiana Groans? By the way, for what it's worth, Harrison Ford graduated from my high school, but refuses to come back and visit because apparently he was a total geek (member of the Model Railroad Club) who was made fun of by students and teachers, nicknamed "Fairy Horde". Now THAT'S funny.
Feb. 23, 2000, 4:16 a.m. CST
Moriarty - the Drugs Czar is Keith Halliwell, and he was the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police during the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989. Suffice to say he left the post under some black clouds and resurfaced 18 months ago under a new job description dreamnt up by the government to combat the rising drug epedemic. As far as politics go, Halliwell is extreme. He sees weed/pot as the route of all evil. He thinks jail terms are a good combatant to drug offenses regardless of class description. All in all he's a fucking deadly combination. But I don't think discussing further Halliwell issues on Aint it Cool is the right thing. By the way if you want Traffik, I'll get you a copy no problem.
Feb. 23, 2000, 4:18 a.m. CST
Bogart was a great actor. I won't argue that. One of the very best of his time...quite possible the very best of his time. But comparing his stature as an actor and his star quality against Harrison's would be like comparing apples and oranges. They both lived in different times, made different films, lived under different visions. As for the AFI's Greatest Actors & Actresses list from last year (1999) that you're referring to: part of the rules to be considered for the list, for one, an actor or actress had to have made their first film before the year of 1950. So see, there was no way that Harrison Ford could have made the list at all, because he didn't make his first film until 1966. Other great actors of today that didn't qualify for that list (because of the 1950 debut cutoff) are: Nicholson, Eastwood, Pacino, De Niro, Freeman, Hoffman, etc. They, like Ford, didn't make their debuts until after the cutoff date of 1950. So, all of them weren't considered for the Greatest Actors of the 20th Century List that the AFI selected last year. That's OK...You can dog Harrison all you want. But, it will not accomplish anything. All you are providing through your venom is just your opinion. Some may even agree with you...but most others would strongly disagree. Harrison Ford's fans have stuck with him through thick and thin -- even after something like his Random Hearts -- with voting him their favorite big screen actor in almost every popularity poll that he has ever been competing in. He's the most popular and most successful film actor of our time...not bad for a poor Jewish kid from Chicago.
Feb. 23, 2000, 8:04 a.m. CST
O.K. I KNOW I'm slagging a film before it comes out but I just gotta. CHEATERS, THE SOPRANOS and every other 'exploration' of thug behavior is becoming a trend--I'm not sure anyone is sure why the public likes it so much. Well I know why they like it...it's because they portray the THUGS we all sometimes feel like becoming. They also portray the adulterers, racists, murderers and assholes we all wanna be. People, this is what is known as artistic catharsis. Art, we already know is a self indulgent medium. When it is played on a large screen with wide release and big stars--the catharsis becomes every frustrated writer and director playing out their therapy for the rest of us to see. What it does is either something exciting, ala GOODFELLAS or PULP FICTION or annoying, ala every Woody Allen Movie lately. Listen. Whatever happened to Assholes being just assholes? What exactly is going on here? Are we witnessing apologists who 'break down' and 'dissect' shitty behavior for the simple purpose of diluting being a walking pie4ce of shit? I believe in a free society we can film whatever we want and go see whatever we want. I only wish the folks in Hollywood understood this. Being an old school left-winger I hate to agree with that jack booted moralist Michael Medved--but they really are trying to redefine mainstream society out there in Tinseltown. They really are trying to push a psychoanalytically gray view of the world. I know a jerk off when I see one. And movie after movie after movie about how we shouldn't 'hate people for being flawed' is NOT changing anyone's opinion except for the worst. It is why we are becoming increasingly paranoid, untrustworthy and neurotic as a society. Camile Paglia said something to the effect of: We watch the Sopranos not because of our fascination with Italian American Culture but our fascination with how the characters openly TREAT blacks, jews and women. Just relaying. Discuss.
Feb. 23, 2000, 8:27 a.m. CST
sorry no role with his sorry ass in it will ever be iconic. maybe for little girls
Feb. 23, 2000, 8:39 a.m. CST
by All Thumbs
Sorry, I had to say it! I'm surprised the Pro-Ford people haven't said it already. You know, I've been on here seven or eight months and no one has EVER said to me "I know where you can stick your Thumbs" as an insult. I've been waiting for it and been waiting to say "that is so original" but no one has said it before. Now, it's too late. I swear, some of you guys wouldn't know a decent insult if it sat on your face and wiggled.
Feb. 23, 2000, 8:48 a.m. CST
by All Thumbs
Sorry for my above, somewhat off-topic post. I want to say that I do not believe Moriarty deserves a finger of any kind right now because, for the most part, he's right! Now, I believe there is acting talent hidden somewhere beneath that self-righteous mask of wooden acting. I think that the stuff cranked out right now by Ford ("Airforce One" anyone?) is a series of crap. If anyone call pull a good performance out of Harrison's rear, it's Soderbergh. "Out of Sight" is on my permanent list of favorite movies. Dammit, I'm late for class...I'd skip it and continue to post, but it's film history.
Feb. 23, 2000, 10:54 a.m. CST
by All Thumbs
Ok, I can finish what I was posting about...I have to agree that the ads for "The Next Best Thing" seem to give the movie the same tone as that one with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd that had a slightly similar theme. The ads for THAT movie made it seem like something it was not, too. The treatment of "The Next Best Thing" also reminds me why I didn't like "Election" at first. I went into that movie thinking it was almost entirely different than it was because of the marketing. I went with my Dad...and let's just say that no matter how liberal my parents are in subject matter of movies, it is STILL uncomfortable to watch Matthew Broderick screw his wife from behind while thinking of Reeses Witherspoon's character telling him to do her. I knew the movie had elements of sex in it, but not THAT much! I have no problem with it, I had a problem with the viewing experience. Try not laughing at certain sex jokes just so your parent won't know you understand them. No matter how old you are, they really can't handle that...Reese Witherspoon was the best thing about that movie, I must add as a positive end note.
Feb. 23, 2000, 11:44 a.m. CST
by Lazarus Long
Actually, I was referring to the special magazine issue that Entertainment Weekly (i think) put out a year or so ago. Normally I wouldn't reference this shitrag publication, but let's face it, the AFI's 100 films list was a roll of toilet paper if there ever was one, and the actors/actresses list was slightly more palatable because more people agree on the selection from that pool. But regardless, the point I'm trying to make isn't that Ford isn't popular; that is obvious. But millions of people have bought, seen, or read bad things before, and Harrison's popularity doesn't automatically make him a good actor. Are the Backstreet Boys a great "band"? To champion Ford's work as an "actor" is laughable to me. Exactly who do you people think is a worse actor than Ford? Carrot Top? Gilbert Godfried? How dare YOU sir?!
Feb. 23, 2000, 3:03 p.m. CST
I read "Cheaters" and while I thought the story was really interesting and realistic I also thought it was a bit childish. It didn't seem like the characters were so well drawn out, to me it seemed like a very long, well written episode of "Saved By the Bell". Maybe this last draft was better but I didn't get the feeling that the writing was so unique.
Feb. 23, 2000, 3:21 p.m. CST
God knows hers isn't hidden. Anyway, I totally recommend The Hidden on DVD, it's just fantastic, and skip the sequel. I heard a rumor that Madonna was the choice for Wonder Woman. Can you say the suck'o'meter just blew?
Feb. 23, 2000, 3:39 p.m. CST
Yo darthpsychotic, you my main man. I had a wet dream about you last night. You were wearing a t-shirt that said "Fanboys Rule!" and then you stuck your meaty cock in my open mouth, and... well I'll tell you when we're alone. Hey this post ain't about Being John Malkovic (the best movie I've seen in years). At any rate Fuck all you fanboys. DMFC and BigLarz! suck. I hate BigLarz! Fuck you go and die in the Blair Witch project you fags. DMFC get out of your parent's basement. Hey everyone Suck it! (Bet you can't think of a comeback to that one.) Well if you can then take this: That's Bottom Line cause Stone Cold Says so! (Now that's a current and catchy zinger. All you fanboys will be crying for weeks after that one.) Now I gotta go see my girl and drink some beeeeeers!!!! My boy Dan is having a birthday party. Go play hackey sack and SUCK IT! (Shit, I got you fanboys again!!)
Feb. 23, 2000, 4:52 p.m. CST
however you might want to forward your post to mr. dicrapio he may need your admiration more than i since his 'movie' plummeted 50% and is now behind the tigger movie which apparently stars harry knowles as tigger!
Feb. 23, 2000, 5:03 p.m. CST
by tommy five-tone
yes, i too read that madonna is talking about playing wonder woman, with reprehensible rush hour hack brett ratner at the helm. can you say 'fuck-up of almost biblical proportions', kids? it's real simple: NO MORE MADONNA MOVIES! i'm not saying she's a bad actress, i'm saying she can't act AT ALL!!!
Feb. 23, 2000, 5:03 p.m. CST
by Al The Brit
As a Brit who saw it all many many years ago, just like to enter the Harrison Ford debate by saying that the part was originally played by the excellent Scottish actor Bill Paterson, and that the movie would probably be all the better if it was again. Remember, the last time Hollywood tried to make a "Hollywood" movie from a top British TV serial, the result was "She-Devil". Nuff said, I think.
Feb. 23, 2000, 6:22 p.m. CST
Do you have any further news about the "Bruce Wayne" TV series? YOu were very eager to tell us all about it when it was "on", but since the Hollywood Reporter stated it was "on hold", you haven't mentioned it at all. The same can be said about Harry. What's the scoop guys?
Feb. 23, 2000, 7:12 p.m. CST
by Homer Wells
Smoke & Mirrors: The War On Drugs and the Politics of Failure by Dan Baum. It's the true story of America's war on drugs from LBJ through Clinton. It's a hell of an entertaining book full of information everyone should have. Plus, it will piss you off something fierce...and aint that what we're all looking for in life?
Feb. 23, 2000, 7:45 p.m. CST
by Dawson's Crack
So what if Moriarity doesn't like Harrison Ford? For the love of God people, get a grip. People are allowed to not like certain actors. Which was not what he said anyway, he was criticizing his recent film roles. I myself would rather eat my own toe jam that sit through a Ben Affleck movie, but hey, that's me. I mean, are you screwing him or something? Do you have some personal or financial vested interest in his career that will make or break you? If not, stop whining. I love Steven Soderbergh, however. So much so I might actually watch a movie of his EVEN if Ben Affleck was in it. By the way, Harry, I don't want to have to see you LICKING anything, even if it is in cartoon form. Please lose the graphic in the corner before I lose my lunch.
Feb. 23, 2000, 9:02 p.m. CST
by Wesley Snipes
It's been so long since we had any detailed news about Mission Impossible 2. And there hasn't been one word reviewing the film in any rough form. This is such a huge movie - You'd think there would be SOME kind of leak. Let's hear it!! Some guy running a John Woo site was even allowed to watch the editing but what does he do with this fantastic opportunity?! He decides not to talk about what was seen!! Unbelievable. Why even mention it all then?
Feb. 23, 2000, 10:06 p.m. CST
...about that thing of concealing an important third act event in the trailer. Everbody knows that previews aren't meant to give the audience the entire story. Unfortunately that seems to be what happens to many previews: They give away the ending, or major parts of the falling action, knocking just that many more surprises out from under the prospective viewer. I want to know less. I want to be given the story for the first time. All the preview should do is act as a hook. As for pissing off viewers who didn't get what was expected... ...that happens even with films whose endings have been spoiled. This way, we get to have the odd suprise every now and then.
Feb. 24, 2000, 10:39 a.m. CST
by Buzz Maverik
Haven't seen Pitch Black, yet. Will probably catch it on video, due to the nipper, but it sounds great.
Feb. 24, 2000, 12:13 p.m. CST
OK im sorry but i personally cant wait to see Dicaprio surrounded by all that talent in a role where he doesnt have the excuse of being a teenager clone of every other tennager clone. His lack of talent will stick out like john rocker in Harlem. Dicaprio earned his stripes playing a retard and he hasnt done a damn thing worth praising since then.(sorry Jack you suck too)Dont be suprised if Scorsese smartens up and ditches this loser.(by the way yes he was in two movies with deniro but they both were bombs so you do the math) if they want a real actor for that role in "streets of.." look at the kid from bronx tale
Feb. 24, 2000, 4:36 p.m. CST
Steven Soderbergh is a fantastic director! I LOVED out of sight! It was a great display of his talent. BUT the limey shows just how far he can go! it was the most wonderfuly unconventional thing I've ever seen. Cutting old movie clips with tanace Stamp into this one: GENIUS!! oh man and the the entire way he told the story! it was FANTASTIC! I can't wait to see his new one and I know Traffic will be great- as you can see I get a little excited about this stuff!
Feb. 24, 2000, 5:08 p.m. CST
Indeed, DeNiro has dropped out of the film, according to our intelligence. And, at last look, Heather Graham was being sought for the female lead. For the complete report, go to http://iserver.contentproject.com/ifusebeta/popculprit/1,1430,fast_news,00.html. It's an older story of our, so it's near the bottom. Sincerely, Leslie Gornstein News Editor iFUSE
Feb. 24, 2000, 6:26 p.m. CST
by central services
is the draft referred to in your column of the From Hell script the one that Pitt is attached to,and is the script online yet?
Feb. 24, 2000, 9:18 p.m. CST
by Everett Robert
but mearly blow...I'm kidding there of course, I'm sure I'll get a lot of heat for this (assuming of course anyone will read this but I digress)anywho...Leonardo Dicaprio doesn't suck...yes in recent years he has become almost a caricture of himself, with his Possee and 20million paychecks and such...yes he made his mark playing a retard, and I agree with people who say that people who play retards shouldn't get oscar nods, those who play opposite of them do, in DiCaprio's case, Johnny Depp gave the better performance but Leo's over the topness stole the show...someone above me mentioned he hasn't been in a decent role scince Gilbert Grape...What about Celebrity, yes it was basically a Cameo but it was still a very good performance...what about The Basketball Diaries, another great performance that should have garnered him an Oscar...his roles in A Boys Life and Marvin's Room, while not critical success I don't think ever were supposed to be...both of those movies weren't banking on DiCaprio opening them, they were both char. driven films and to say that they 'bombed' is a bit of an overstatement...sure every movie wants to have Blair Witch, or Star Wars, or whatnot numbers, but it's a fact that they don't...and face it only film geeks, movie lovers, etc go see a Robert DeNiro or Meryl Streep movie...an average movie goer knows their names but you rarely hear Joe Blow say to his wife "hey lets go see that DeNiro movie"...no actors in those movies are not your Mel Gibson's your Julia Roberts, your Tom Cruises, your Bruce Willis...and I think that we as film lovers are grateful for that...so to say that because DeNiro and DiCaprio teamed up twice before and those movies bombed they shouldn't team up again i think is a false and shallow argument showing us that perhaps AICN is getting bigger then we can imagine...I usually think of us as this little villiage when it is growing all around us and becoming more and more mainstream...hopefull our love of movies by Sam Rami and Martian Scorcese and Besson and Kuroswa and others will open these mainstream people into new venues...so I guess at the end of this long winded rant I should conclude...no I'm not excited about DiCaprio and DeNiro teaming up, if they do which looks doubtful...but I am always excited about a new Scorcese film...I am excited about the possiblity of Brando, DeNiro and Norton teaming up though...3 great actors from 3 different movie periods...Brando the greatest actor from the studio period...DeNiro, the greatest actor of the mavrick era...and Norton the greatest actor of the independent era...well it sends goosebumps down my spine...but give DiCaprio he's dues...yea I hated R+J...I could careless about Titantic, it was a fun ride the first time that made me shed a tear...The Beach, well it doesn't look appealing to me so I have't seen it...but give the man his dues...he was once a great actor...and I think the actor inside of DiCaprio is aching to get out of DiCaprio the Celebrity--flame on
Feb. 24, 2000, 9:21 p.m. CST
by Everett Robert
ok it's just a correction...above I said boys life and marvin's room weren't critical successes, I ment Box Office successes...please forgive--flame on
Feb. 24, 2000, 9:52 p.m. CST
Feb. 25, 2000, 6:34 a.m. CST
He Darth Joe, according to the talk back under the Gladiator story, the movie shown was Gladiator. In addition, there is also a rumor that George Lucas was at the screening as well. Hopefully Harry and company will be up soon and post. (It's currently 6:30 am out here in California and I'm getting ready for work myself as I write this.)
Feb. 25, 2000, 8:23 a.m. CST
I have no idea what film you're talking about, but if the Jennifer Love Hewitt/Katie Holmes film ever gets made you've should get money for that tag line. Laughed my ass off on that one! Sorry you've got such a thing with Madonna...
Feb. 25, 2000, 1:22 p.m. CST
and I love Jennifer Lopez's ass, but I gotta tell ya that "Out of Sight" failed on many different levels - the first being the George Clooney level.
Feb. 25, 2000, 4:01 p.m. CST
Indeed, DeNiro is not expected to appear in the film, according to our report. We also have sources saying that Heather Graham is being sought by producers for the lead role. For the full report, please see: http://iserver.contentproject.com/ifusebeta/popculprit/1,1430,fast_news,00.html The story is one of our older ones, so you will have to scroll to near the bottom of the page. Sincerely, Leslie Gornstein News Editor iFUSE
March 16, 2000, 7:22 a.m. CST
by Darth Bond
This is all very confusing,.. firstly, if romours are true, CZJ is pregnant, which will make it harder for her to be in this film. And secondly, I just read today that Michael Douglas might play the part that apparently Ford left behind. See? it's all very confusing. CYL
March 16, 2000, 4:22 p.m. CST
Is this a history lesson? Um, wasn't this, like, a month ago? I missed it the first time, though, so I'm content. Just confused.
March 16, 2000, 4:22 p.m. CST
Is this a history lesson? Um, wasn't this, like, a month ago? I missed it the first time, though, so I'm content. Just confused.
March 16, 2000, 9:11 p.m. CST
What more can we ask for. TRaffic and Ocean's 11 show what true filmmaking is all about. Soderberg is one cool director. Gangs reteams Zillian with Martin in movie that looks to be on the level of the Godfather. CHEATERS has an aspect of loyalty that films never show anymore, maybe except ROUNDERS
March 17, 2000, 11:46 p.m. CST
This is an old article. If you look at the talkback dates you see most of them are from Feb. As far as Traffic goes I here Mike Douglass is in. Zeta Jones is suposed to be a Drug Dealing House wife. I think her being pregnant and delivering coke might be just the thing to stir up contraversy that traffic is suposed to be about.
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