MORIARTY RUMBLES Re: RUN RONNIE RUN, NBK & Rob Zombie, LITTLE NICKY DVD, Cronenberg's SPIDER,Casting News, and More!!
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
Thought I'd take advantage of the fact that Harry's all wrapped up in South By Southwest to do a little Rumbling, and to do it old-school, as one big column for the day. Why? I dunno. I just feel like it. I get enough e-mail from people asking why I don't still do these that from time to time, I gotta break one out. I'm all over the map today, but it's been that kind of week. I've been locked away in the Labs almost 24-7 working with Harry Lime on our latest crime against humanity, which we're about ready to unleash. Until then, here's some things to tide you over...
RONNIE RUNNING JUST FINE!!
By now, I think I've probably written more about RUN RONNIE RUN: THE ROBBIE DOBBS STORY - A MR. SHOW MOVIE than anyone else who's not directly associated with the film. There's a reason for this, a very simple one. I have been a fan of MR. SHOW, the innovative sketch comedy show that starred Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, since it first premiered on HBO. I have been a very vocal fan of the series and, since its announcement, very interested in the concept of a MR. SHOW movie. I read the script for the film and reviewed it, and I was lucky enough to actually visit the set and appear in a scene of the film. We've run a series of articles that were written by Bob Odenkirk, all of them hard-hitting, incisive looks into the filmmaking process by a man unafraid to tell it like it is. I mean... what else can I say? I'm a helpless fan, addicted to the show like it's crack. And nothing makes me happier than being able to shout from the rooftops for anyone else who's suffering from the same addiction that the film isn't just good... it's hysterical.
The first and most obvious question is will it work for people who aren't fans of MR. SHOW already? And here's where I think Troy Miller and his incredible team of writers (BJ Porter, Scott Auckerman, Odenkirk, Cross, Brian Posehn) were particularly wise. If anything, it should appeal MORE to people who aren't already fans of the show. Anyone who's seen the original show will remember Ronnie Dobbs as a recurrent character played by David Cross. There was one episode that traced the rise and fall of Dobbs as a sort of celebrity folk hero. He was discovered on a COPS-like show, arrested not just once or twice on the show, but over and over. A British filmmaker (Bob Odenkirk in both the show and the film) repackages Ronnie in his own show, and the two of them get rich. It was an inspired bit, and one of my initial concerns when I heard the concept of this movie was that I'd already seen the material. The film doesn't play like a blown-up version of a sketch, though. Instead, it's a surreal, silly narrative that's almost played completely straight, with two deeply appealing leads. David Cross is one of the funniest stand-up comics I've ever seen, and I'm a total freak for live comedy. His HBO special THE PRIDE IS BACK was an outstanding one-hour, as good as they get, and I would never... NEVER.. suggest that you go find it on Napster. Now. Quick.
In this film, David's front and center, and it's crucial that we like Ronnie Dobbs. The script doesn't try to play it soft and gooey and show us Ronnie's secret heart of gold, either. It's nothing cheesy, nothing predictable. Instead, it's just David's unflagging good nature about everything that makes us like Ronnie. No matter what happens, he seems to be enjoying himself. Even when he breaks down in tears in a big climactic scene, it's only because it seems like it'd be fun to do so. Ronnie's like an Id with feet, and there's something liberating about watching him work. When he steals and flips a school bus after terrorizing a homecoming dance, or when he rigs a bowling ball machine to be deadly or when he continually injures Clay (David Koechner, the film's very, very funny narrator), he doesn't mean anyone any harm. It's all just stuff he does because it seems like it might be fun at the time. I love how totally unaware and unaffected he is by other people's opinions. When he sees his girlfriend and three-time-ex-wife Tammy at a rally in his honor where he's farting the alphabet for a crowd, I love how he drops the mic, hops down, and runs over to greet her with a cheery, "Hey, honey, did you see me farting?!" like it's the most natural thing in the world.
Bob Odenkirk does equally good work as Terry in the film. His introduction, as the creator of and pitch spokesperson for The Food-Er-Ator, is one of the film's biggest laughs, and it's one of those visual gags that just gets funnier and funnier as it plays out. Terry's got one of the worst fake accents in film history, a real testament to the ability of Bob, who I recently learned is actually British himself and who speaks in a rich brogue when alone with friends. It would be easy for either of these actors to play this all very arch and like it's a joke, but that's the death of a film like this. In PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE, we buy into the world that Paul Reubens and Tim Burton created (along with co-writer Phil Hartman) because Reubens and the rest of the cast believe in it. They sell us this improbable comic universe where Large Marge can drive a truck and Pee-Wee lives by himself but seems to be eight and where that version of Warner Bros. exists and where the best way out of a crisis is by dancing on the bar in big shoes to the sounds of "Tequila." That's the same thing that Troy Miller has done here, and his actors came ready to play. Ronnie Dobbs is a great character. So is Terry. By not having Bob and David playing 20 characters each like in MONTY PYTHON films or in BRAIN CANDY, the Kids In The Hall movie, they were actually able to give us these very well-realized characters that we come to really like over the course of the film.
I can't really go into many details about what's great in the film without ruining gags, one of the roughest things about reviewing a comedy. The supporting cast is uniformly good, with Koechner a particular stand-out as Clay and as the voice of Chow-Chow, the "Make A Final Wish" kid that befriends Ronnie. Tom Kinney is used to good effect in several places, along with Brian Posehn and Patton Oswalt and Nikki Cox and Mary Lynn Rajskub and Jeff Goldblum and the oh-so-lovely Sarah Silverman and Jack Freakin' Black and Dave Foley and Scott Thompson and an assload of other people. I love the opening cartoon, a wicked parody of those interminable General Cinema concession spots that play before movies, and I love the Dot Lancaster, "film valedectorian of Hollywood," introduction, and I really, really love the section in the middle of the film when Lancaster interrupts to talk about scenes that were cut from films. There are two musical numbers in the film, both of which brought the house down. The closing credits are very, very funny, a sharp nod to the Jackie Chan films. It's almost sick how much good material there is in this film. It's one of those movies that you have to watch closely, too, since stuff races by. There's a bit early on with Ronnie as a 12 year old, and he's wearing a t-shirt in one shot that advertises a breakfast cereal called WOODIES! that promises "a boner in every box!" One shot. Two seconds. But it made me laugh out loud. This film wore me out from laughing, a good sign. I already knew a number of the jokes from the script, but the energy of the piece is outstanding.
Do I have complaints? Sure. This was a very rough cut, and there's fine-tuning to be done before they release it. There's a kung-fu scene that goes on too long, and there's places where the film slows a bit and actual story starts to get in the way of laughs. But it's literally a question of degrees. Troy Miller's got some footage he wants to put back in the film, some gravy that will pay jokes and scenes off to an even larger extent, and I'm sure he'll tighten it up and make it even more of a machine. RUN RONNIE RUN is the kind of film that video stores will wear out multiple copies of, a great party tape, a movie that's going to have a rabid and loyal fanbase. Just how large that fanbase is depends completely on New Line and their ability to sell the picture. In some ways, they've got to view THE ADVENTURES OF JOE DIRT as the competition, and not because it's in any way the equal of this film. It's just that the audience is going to suddenly be confronted with a number of comedy mullets to choose from. Pick RUN RONNIE RUN. If New Line is smart and sneaks this to colleges and makes the right effort to reach out to young audiences, this film could be a monster hit, especially in relation to cost. It may not be a giant film, but it delivers more minute-by-minute entertainment than most stuff I've seen in recent memory. This is Richard Brener’s chance to set the tone for what sort of material he’s going to be known for at the post De Luca New Line. He’s a smart exec who has done his share of time on vapid moneymakers for the studio. Here’s a chance for him to also turn something really great into a hit, and with Bernie Brillstein and the Dakota Films team working with him, it could happen.
Finally, to be fair, I'd like to point out that I did indeed make this cut of the film. The West Coast AICN gang is right there, front and center for an almost distressing amount of time in the scene involving Scott Thompson that I detailed in my on-set report. Watching it was too bizarre for me. I couldn't even hear the scene. I just got hyp-no-tized by the fact that we were onscreen. I just kept thinking, There's me and Hercules The Strong and Henchman Mongo and John Robie and Gregor Samsa... and there we are "acting"... and there we still are... and still are... and holy shit, is Troy ever going to cut away from us? How big is my head? I look like I have a 50 pound head. I mean, jeeeeezus... it's huge. I wonder how much nacho cheese you could fit inside a head that big? I mean, I bet you could fit a whole midget in there. Maybe even a midget family. That is one seriously fat head. Oh... and there's Scott Thompson! I don't know how anyone ever looks at themselves onscreen without wanting to jump off a building. Forget the head. Look at that neck! I bet the neck alone is 50 pounds. I bet it'd take three people to get their hands around that thing. Just too strange for words. This cameo appearance does not make RUN RONNIE RUN a better film. In fact, it weirds me out. The movie is very good, and despite the fact that there's a chance I'll scratch your cornea when I appear, you should see it.
ONE BULLET DODGED, ONE FOOT IN MOUTH!!
Been an interesting week in Hollywood, it has, it has. We live in strange times, and it's been hard to get a sense of which way the wind is blowing in terms of entertainment and legal responsibility and censorship and art. For the past eight years, there's been an undeniable loosening up in Hollywood in terms of what could be shown and what could be said and what could find its way into mainstream releases. Sure, it wasn't anything like the heyday of the '70s, when something like MIDNIGHT COWBOY or TAXI DRIVER could be considered a big studio movie, or when Columbia would take a chance on EASY RIDER, but the Clinton era was looser than the halcyon haze of the Reagan/Bush double header. Now that we've got Bush II: Something To Prove in the White House, there's been a lot of speculation about whether or not there would be a chill over things, whether or not we'd see a swing back to more conservative mainstream fare. I'm personally rooting for heroes like Matt Stone and Trey Parker to fart in the face of such speculation with their THAT'S MY BUSH series on Comedy Central, and for filmmakers to continue to push the envelope without fear. Any steps backwards now are a concession, an admission of defeat. That's not to say I'm advocating shock for sheer shock effect, but I truly believe that we only enjoy free speech when we test the limits of what it will bear.
An important victory has finally occurred, one that anyone in the creative community must be celebrating, no matter how they feel about Oliver Stone's NATURAL BORN KILLERS. In the wake of any tragedy in this country involving young people, there is always a hearty round of finger-pointing, and in one case, a family actually took Oliver Stone and Warner Bros. to court. The news broke yesterday that the suit has finally been thrown out. At one point, it went all the way to the Supreme Court before they knocked it back down to the Louisiana judge who dismissed it Monday in a summary judgement in favor of Warner and Stone. The article makes some good points about how it’s a mixed victory, though, considering the amount of money that Warner had to use in fighting the case, and the fact that this has taken five years to be decided. There are important lessons to be learned here, and I don’t think they’ll all be absorbed at once.
On the one hand, I think it’s important that we understand... movies don’t make people do things. They don’t make people do anything. That’s not to say that people don’t imitate the things they see in films or on TV. Sometimes, for a myriad of reasons, they do just exactly that. There’s no doubt that people imitate behavior they see, and that sometimes they do incredibly dangerous or stupid or cruel things in the course of doing so. But that’s a choice these people make. The fact is, just because one person makes a terrible choice, or an ill-advised choice, or an uninformed choice, it shouldn’t impact the rest of us who are capable of making decent, rational choices. We live in a society where we’re constantly trying to decide what’s more important: idiot-proofing the world for those of us who are incapable of good decision making, or protecting the freedom of expression for the rest of us who don’t need to be coddled. I’m willing to accept what I consider excessive warning labels on a show like JACKASS if it means I can continue to watch and enjoy the show without any real shift in content. I’m willing to have a bunch of letters on a poster or in front of a movie, as long as I have the ability to see that movie in a theater and in my home. R, NC-17, G... none of it means a thing to me. If I’m interested in a film, I’ll see it regardless of the rating. If those ratings help parents, the thing the MPAA claims they do, fine. But it’s when they’re used as economic weapons that I find them objectionable. No matter what choices people make, movies never force them into those choices, and it’s only by accepting that as fact that we’ll move forward and embrace things like media education that can actually affect the way people live in a positive manner.
Sometimes, there are going to be bizarre parallels between life and art, and that’s just part of it. CECIL B. DEMENTED shouldn’t be censored just because someone decides they’re going to try and kidnap Russell Crowe. But it seems like we’re moving towards an atmosphere where that could happen, and it’s a shame. Who gets to say what’s appropriate and not? For example, should John Waters get points for his film because he managed to talk another celebrity kidnap victim, Patty Hearst, into playing the mother of one of the members of Cecil’s bizarre, violent, film-loving cult? She’s got a sense of humor about the topic, so does that mean that we should, too? Now, no one has called for the banning of CECIL B. DEMENTED, and I can’t imagine they would, but it seems like just as tenuous a connection as any I’ve heard between a film and someone’s actions. Whenever we lose kids in a senseless way, like the recent shootings in San Diego or the infamous Littleton incident, rooms are searched, and it’s the art that the kids ingested that is analyzed, argued over, debated as if we’ll find the answers to what happened in a CD cover or on a DVD.
In light of this atmosphere, I find certain comments by Universal Pictures Chairman Stacy Snider very disturbing. I don’t even think she or Universal realize just how dangerous something she said was in the excellent article that Patrick Goldstein wrote last week about Universal’s decision to dump HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES. So far, everyone’s focused on how Universal chose to drop out because the film got an NC-17 in its first round with the ratings board. No surprise there, though. I can’t believe anyone would expect Universal to do anything BUT dump an NC-17 film. Yes, they were the first studio to get the rating with 1990’s HENRY & JUNE, but it’s not something they’ve embraced in the decade since. None of the major studios are comfortable with the rating.
No, the comments that bothered me were buried deep in the article, and they don’t just have implications for her studio... they’re the kind of lunkheaded words that can come back to haunt everyone in this business the next time there’s an NBK trial or the next time some kid puts on the SCREAM ghostface mask and stabs someone or the next time some filmmaker gets a call to be told that somewhere, someone’s done something horrible and somehow dragged the filmmaker into it. Goldstein brings up HANNIBAL in his article, a film that is co-owned by Universal, a film which is making money hand over fist around the world, and which features someone eating pieces of their own brain in a stunningly surreal bit of digital gore. He asks why HANNIBAL is okay, but HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES isn’t. Snider’s answer made me gasp out loud when I read it:
”’The difference is all about tone,’ Snider says. ‘HANNIBAL is clearly theatrical and based on a popular book that’s part of our mainstream culture. The conceit of Rob’s movie, which has no recognizable stars, is that it’s not a fantasy. It could be real and that’s what makes it more upsetting. I can tell HANNIBAL is a fantasy because when I watch Tony Hopkins or Ray Liotta, I know I’m going to see them in PEOPLE magazine next week. But with Rob’s movie, I was concerned that there was just an uber-celebration of depravity.’”
Lady, if you can’t tell something’s a movie without there being movie stars in it, you need to get the hell out of the business.
What she’s saying here is not only incredibly elitist, suggesting that certain topics are the strict domain of big budgets and movie stars, but it’s also a tacit admission that without that blinking FANTASY light, audiences might be confused, unable to tell the difference between what they’re watching and real life. This is exactly what Oliver Stone and Warner Bros. just spent five years fighting against. This statement is irresponsible, and it insults you, the viewer of the product released by Universal. You are not smart enough to process a film like HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES. You need to be spoonfed. Never mind that it’s in the great tradition of horror films to give us faces we haven’t seen before. Never mind the fact that sort of casting allows us to project ourselves into the films, thereby making them effective as the exact kind of dark, thrilling escapism that they are intended to be. This is a woman who was taken by a first date to see THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE when she was in college, and who never saw that guy again. She’s perfectly right to make that sort of choice regarding her own life if she doesn't like the genre, but what’s she doing supervising the creation of a dark, gory, horror thrill ride in the first place?
All I’m really saying here is that a decision like the one made by Judge Robert Morrison III gives us all a chance to really think about what it is we do in this business, what it is we mean to say, and what lengths we’ll go to in our efforts to say it. The choices we make now reverberate for filmmakers who haven’t even picked up a camera yet, so it behooves us to get it right.
DE LUCA'S SPECIAL SPOT IN HELL
I opened the mailbox here at the Labs the other day to find a DVD copy of LITTLE NICKY waiting for me. I brought it in, tossed it on a stack of stuff to read and watch, and went back to work. There it sat, all afternoon, just staring at me, daring me to watch it. I’d heard people vent real venom about the film, but I’d also seen our very own HERCULES THE STRONG, a man I normally respect in matters of comedy, name it as one of his faves from last year. At the end of a long day of work, I decided that I’d give the film a shot and make up my own mind, setting aside everything I’d heard.
Herc... I’m afraid I’m going to have to defy you.
Admittedly, it’s no WATERBOY, a film that mystified me in every way. That is still the picture I consider the worst of Sandler’s starring vehicle career. WATERBOY’s worse than BULLETPROOF, a film that is unwatchably bad. WATERBOY’s worse than GOING OVERBOARD, a film that didn’t even get vomited to video until after Sandler started cranking out hits. And, yes, WATERBOY is still worse than LITTLE NICKY. But not by much. NICKY is one of those films that just doesn’t ever get any head of steam going, that throws big special effects and giant sets and a huge supporting cast at an idea, and nothing helps. It all just lays there onscreen, never quite gelling into something worth the time or the effort. As much as TITAN AE is credited with giving Bill Mechanic his last little boost out the door at Fox, LITTLE NICKY is credited with helping make the decision to axe Mike De Luca just a little bit easier, and I must admit... I’m astonished that anyone would commit north of $70 million to a film as underwritten as NICKY is. Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler, and Steve Brill are credited with co-writing this script, and I’ll say this for the DVD: the one redeeming feature is the secondary audio track featuring those three guys together. Even though I found the film immensely dull, with the great majority of the jokes falling flat, it was undeniably entertaining listening to Sandler and Brill pretty much just bust Herlihy’s balls without mercy for 90 solid minutes. Herlihy phones in his part of the commentary, literally, with him viewing the film on a three-second delay from Brill and Sandler. At one point, he’s so disinterested that he actually takes a phone call, and they bust him for it. Sandler is a really decent guy by all accounts, and that’s what shines through loud and clear here. He’s not some raving egomaniac who thinks LITTLE NICKY is a towering work of art that will change the lives of anyone who is blessed enough to see it. Instead, he comes across as a guy who considers himself lucky enough to be making movies with a bunch of guys who make him laugh. His joy as he talks about hiring an idol like Rodney Dangerfield to be in the movie is evident, and it’s just as strong as his excitement at working with friends like Allen Covert or Peter Dante or Jonathan Loughran, all of whom play his friends in the movie. There’s something really sweet about Sandler’s reaction to watching the scenes in Heaven, where Brill’s wife and Sandler’s girlfriend appear as angels, or hearing him talk about the reaction of Chris Farley’s mom to a joke involving Farley during the closing credits. When he practically cheers at the appearance of his bulldog Meatball in the film’s final moments, you realize that for Sandler, these are like the coolest home movies possible. Watching the film with these guys talking on the track made me actually watch the film with a kinder eye. Still can’t say I liked it, but I can say that they like it, and it’s always nice to see someone who maintains a fondness for their work even when it flops. There’s a purity to it that I like, something more noble than watching someone like Spielberg do backflips to get away from a failure or watching Harrison Ford distance himself from good movies just because they didn’t make money. I have a feeling Sandler’s going to keep on chugging, just keep making these movies with his buddies writing and directing and co-starring, and sometimes they’ll make money and sometimes they won’t, and it’s never going to affect him much one way or another. You’ve got to have some sort of respect for that.
If you are insane like Herc and you want to buy LITTLE NICKY, you’ll get your money’s worth. There’s two audio commentaries on it, the second one featuring a number of the comic performers who makes cameos in the movie, like Michael McKean and Kevin Nealon. There’s an unbelievable number of alternate takes and deleted scenes and even a few outtakes involving a bit of canine lovemaking. There’s also a documentary about just how much attention was paid to the wildly over-lavish sets and effects, a freaky music video for “School of Hard Knocks” by POD, and even a featurette about how rock music and the Devil are related, appropriate in a film that culminates in the most bizarre Ozzy Osbourne related joke I’ve ever seen.
By the way... in other Adam Sandler news... I wrote a script review of a PT Anderson project called KNUCKLE SANDWICH some months back which I was told might be the mysterious project that Anderson is currently shooting with Sandler and Emily Watson. AICN quickly received word from someone who should know the truth that the script I read was NOT the current project, and I said as much in the article. But now I’ve gotten two new sources who are telling me that the film will either be called KNUCKLE SANDWICH or PUNCH DRUNK when it comes out, and that I may have reviewed the proper project after all. I’m confused... make your announcements soon, PT, and put me out of my misery. PLEASE!!
GUESS WHAT I FINALLY SAW!!
I’ve been trying to catch up with a whole stack of movies in the last few weeks. Some of them have been Academy screeners, some of them have been regular DVDs that I’ve been loaned or sent for review. In every case, these are films I missed for one reason or another at the theater, and I thought I’d do a quick rundown on what I thought of a few of them:
GEORGE WASHINGTON. Hats off to David Gordon Green for his magnificent debut, a film of remarkable voice that tells the story of a small group of friends in a North Carolina town who are left pretty much unsupervised by adults. When two tragic accidents combine to make both a killer and a hero of the same boy, all the kids are left to find their own rules for dealing with grief and guilt and sorrow. Despite such heavy themes, there is real humor in the film, and it’s magnificent to look at. I can’t believe this is Tim Orr’s first film as a cinematographer. Many people compared this film to the work of one of my favorite filmmakers, Terrence Malick, and I can see why. There’s a lyrical beauty to things and a heavy use of voice-over to reveal character. Green’s got a real gift for directing children, and his cast is incredible. When Vernon (Damian Jawan Lee) delivers a tearful monologue, sitting huddled on the floor of an abandoned restroom, all built around the words “I wish,” it’s heartbreaking. Green makes his film feel like a documentary in the best possible way, never tipping his hand to us, never showing us any of the narrative threads he’s so carefully weaving. In fact, he’s so successful at crafting something that feels real and authentic that I would recommend Stacy Snider not see this film. It might only confuse her. For the rest of you, it should be on video sometimes in the next quarter. Keep your eyes peeled for “A Youandwhatarmy Filmed Challenge,” and prepare to be dazzled.
JESUS’ SON. I’ve never seen any of Alison Maclean’s earlier work, but I’m certainly going to pay attention to anything from this point forward. For my money, this is the film that features the best Billy Crudup performance of last year. He’s wrenching and wonderful and lost as Fuck Head, the central figure in this slightly surreal, dreamy slice of life. Many people dismissed this as “just another drug picture” when it came out, myself included, and lumped it in with something like REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. I think it’s unfair, since this is really more a picture about a guy who drifts through life afraid that he’s poison, afraid that everything he touches turns to shit. There’s incredible supporting work from performers like Jack Black, Holly Hunter, Will Patton, Dennis Hopper, Denis Leary, and especially the wonderful Samantha Morton, who I’ve become smitten with in this and SWEET & LOWDOWN. She’s like a less-damaged, more endearing Emily Watson, and when she exits this picture, the audience feels it as much as Fuck Head does. I’m haunted by images from this movie: the guy with the knife in his eye, the baby rabbits, the “cemetery” that Fuck Head wanders into. It’s a wonderful, poetic little gem, and well worth your time in picking up the DVD.
AMERICAN PSYCHO. I avoided this film last year because I wasn’t particularly fond of the screenplay drafts by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner. To be honest, I was never fond of any of the various attempts I read at turning Brett Easton Ellis’ savage comic novel into a film over the years. I thought the book was a marvel in its own right, and I thought bringing it to the screen was a lost cause, pointless. After all, there was no way anyone was going to match Ellis for excess, and that’s part of the message of the piece. As a result, when I finally got a chance to watch this on DVD, I went in with almost no expectations. In the end, I think it’s got a truly outstanding lead performance by Christian Bale that more than makes up for the narrative flaws that I think were inherent in the adaptation, and Harron may have turned out to be as close to idea a choice for director as anyone could be. She brings a real wit and grace to things, and Patrick Bateman’s world is brought to vivid life. I’m glad I saw the picture finally, and I think it’s definitely worth at least a look for any adventurous viewer.
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March 14, 2001, 11:58 a.m. CST
March 14, 2001, 12:01 p.m. CST
March 14, 2001, 12:01 p.m. CST
this mofo is about to blow up!
March 14, 2001, 12:05 p.m. CST
...It was good but not great. For fans of Mr. Show it is pretty much 'been there done that' because 80% of the bits were things we've seen on Mr. Show already. Plus the director did an average job of shooting the film. It lacked the stylistic filmmaking I usually associate with the TV show. They will have to re-edit more skits into the film to push David Spade's 'Joe Dirt' out of business. Fans will give it a 6 of 10 while people that don't know any better will probably give it a 9 of 10. The audience seemed to laugh alot and by the looks of them they DID NOT look like Mr. Show fans.
March 14, 2001, 12:25 p.m. CST
'Bout time for a new poll, ain't it, Knowles?
March 14, 2001, 12:46 p.m. CST
Hey, Moriarty. Thanks for another opinionated and informative article. Might I just make the observation that "Modern humorist" is one of the least humorous things i've ever seen? Aside from a rather obvious (but clever) jab at the obsession with minutia that this site does tend to cultivate, I found the article boring, repetitious and pleased with itself. Is this what it takes to write for an online publication? I wonder if they're accepting job offers.
March 14, 2001, 12:48 p.m. CST
... I doubt the Talkbackers would have much left to bitch at AICN about. They'd still whine over Jar-Jar and how gay American WWII films are, of course, but ten bucks sez the site itself would get a lot more kudos and a lot less waah-waah. Fantastic column. When Ebert dies, take his spot, willya?
March 14, 2001, 12:56 p.m. CST
Oliver Stone did some of his best and most controversial work under the watch of Bush 1 and had his butt hauled into court in the middle of Clinton's eight year stay. People like Tarantino and Verhoven and Egoyan emerged from Bush 1 years as did the beginnings of the indie movement with Sex, Lies, and Video Tape in 1989. Tipper Gore was the main force behind parental advisories on albums containing explitives and I remember Hollywood's balls being slimy with sweat a year ago when Clinton was warning them about government sanctions on violence. I'm not saying H-Wood is better off under the republican watch. Not at all. I'm saying it makes no difference who is in the White House. If there have been better films coming out of the 90's than 80's (an observation I DO agree with...although that's opinion rather than fact)), it has to do what people are going to see these days and skilled writers and directors getting discovered (a new generation with new insights and observations). And lots of that has to do with entities like Sundance and AICN spreading the word on worthwhile movies. On other matter... Christian Bale did a wonderful job in AMerican Psycho and the movie wasn't a bad take on the book, given that it probably only could have been executed the way it was written in the book by Ridley Scott or whoever. Still, it wasn't great. I read the book and I'm not making unfair comparisons...the book just had an idea that the movie in excising the gore could not really do justice to. What if Crash had gone that much easier on its sex scenes? I have a similar complaint about Jesus' Son. Crudup was wonderful but the film wasn't as sleazy as the novel knew it needed to be to make its redemptive part meaningful. To make them consequential. Maybe "sleazy" isn't the word. In any case, both films had directors who couldn't get passed the harsh tones of the stories and ended up filleting them to extract something kinder...milder...compromised.
March 14, 2001, 1:07 p.m. CST
by Dr. Cheops
Moriarty, you should try to find KITCHEN SINK, a very cool short film by Alison McLean. My favorite scene in Jesus' Son was when FH and Jack Black's character were all wired at the hospital and Neil Young's "Cowgirl in the Sand" was on the soundtrack.
March 14, 2001, 2:06 p.m. CST
...whats more upsetting to me, Stacey Sniders inane comments about Hannibal being okay because stars=fantasy in movies, or the fact that Moriarty leaps praise on Jesus Son- the trite, Forrest Gump of drug movies, as well as David Cross' weak stand up special?...Oh well, all is good with the world when Cronenberg drops crud like Basic Instinct 2 for better suited, "Cronenbergesque", subjects like Spider.
March 14, 2001, 2:15 p.m. CST
March 14, 2001, 2:35 p.m. CST
That TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE bit gets me everytime. I mean, I can see her being hoodwinked into seeing, say, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, since the title is fairly innocuous, but the fact that Tobe Hooper's film is considerably *less* brutal than its title suggests, makes me question not only her intellect, but her tolerance for violence, as well. I would have loved to have been the rebound date: "Don't worry, Stacy, I've got a nice, arty Italian film picked out about some wacky government officials. It's called SALO." Good rumblings, Mori!
March 14, 2001, 2:36 p.m. CST
please please PLEASE make this a regular feature, moriarty.
March 14, 2001, 3:05 p.m. CST
I heard that the character of "Warren" from SOMETHING ABOUT MARY was a lead character in THE RINGER. The shooting script that I read did not include Warren. Why? He was my favorite part of MARY. He is one of film's all time great retards! I want more Warren! Beans and Franks!
March 14, 2001, 4:21 p.m. CST
It fits in with the Universal employee movie family incest motif. What?! What?! What?! A chocolate mess?! Indeed!
March 14, 2001, 5:19 p.m. CST
I hear that Lew Wasserman's diapers will figure prominently in the "Circle of Shit" section. First Class ticket to hell, please!
March 14, 2001, 7:01 p.m. CST
American Psycho was one of the great movies of last year, a misunderstood classic and one of the finest, most subversive horror films ever made. Almost everyone - justifiably - praises Bale's performance but I think it downplays the smart work of director Mary Harron in bringing a difficult book to the screen. I just think the majority of people didn't know what to make of it. The general audience that wanted a typical slasher film based on the fact that the film was called American Psycho were let-down that this wasn't Scream 3. And then there's the audience that saw the surface satire of the Wall Street mentality and assumed that the movie was ONLY that - an overdone satire on greedy, callous Yuppies, period. But I think the movie was a much more trenchant work than that. As for Spider - as much as I would've loved to have seen what he had in mind for Basic Instinct 2, I'm glad that Cronenberg will be doing something much more "Cronenberg-esque". Although I thought that his last film, eXistenZ, was one of his most underrated efforts and seemed to complete a kind of thematic trilogy with Videodrome and Naked Lunch. www.undertakerslounge.com
March 14, 2001, 8:12 p.m. CST
by The Pardoner
Never thought I'd see one of those, anywhere, mush less in an AICN article. This almost makes me want to rent DANCER IN THE DARK... anything that can be even glacially compared to The Singing Detective deserves a look - it's among the best few things ever committed to film.
March 14, 2001, 8:45 p.m. CST
Moriarty doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd take a cell phone call in the middle of watching a movie in a packed theatre. You wouldn't, would you Moriarty?
March 15, 2001, 2:47 a.m. CST
March 15, 2001, 5:35 a.m. CST
by Paul Allen Voiq
Just to remind you Mr Cronenbergs One of our Boys. Of course he has to be hes a twisted fuck like myself. This New Script sounds to Die For MORIARTY For The Love of god pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzze send me that sceenplay for Spider
March 15, 2001, 10:07 a.m. CST
by Darth TJ Mackey
Mori, forget about Parker and Stone's presidential show--it's been co-opted by some pretty heavy folks. It's now called "FIRST FAMILY" instead of "THAT'S MY BUSH!" and the lesbian daughters thing is nixed. I saw them in an article saying, "No, we're gonna make you *love* the president with this show! Dude, we're Republicans too!" This is not the MPAA they are dealing with this time, after all; bear in mind tha GWB's papa was CIA chief for many years. I don't blame them for being scared and backing off; still, any hope you might have for envelope-pushing entertainment from this project is probably squashed. Unless they were kidding, which with those two is always a possibility...
March 15, 2001, 10:56 a.m. CST
by All Thumbs
I just read an article on Reuters on how Valenti has pitched a moral code class for gradeschoolers to a bunch of suits in Washington. The class would teach kids right and wrong. While I'm not sure I agree with that (I'm more in favor of media comprehension classes and more focus on learning than answering questions on standardized tests), the comments made by those who pretty much dismissed Valenti got to me. One attorney general said, "The industry shouldn't appeal to the lowest common denominator. It de-sensitizes kids and it's an assault." The problem is, because the industry has been cutting everything to get into the PG-13 rating in order to "morally" appeal to that audience that used to sneak into the R-rated flicks, the movies HAVE been aimed at the LCD and in a way that I feel is much worse than if they were an "honest" R. The thing that really desensitizes kids is seeing behavior that isn't shown with honest consequences, which is what happens more often than not in R movies that are cut to be PG-13.
March 15, 2001, 2:04 p.m. CST
go check it!
March 15, 2001, 2:21 p.m. CST
is still listed on the website, just no schedule.
March 15, 2001, 2:22 p.m. CST
I'm sorry, but if Moriarty really thinks most Hollywood types care about what Bush says to "stife" that and that there is a need to protect "filmmakers to continue to push the envelope without fear", he's utterly wrong. Having a Republican administration in Hollywood doesn't "cool" the atmosphere, as if Hollywood is all scared. Actually, Clinton was harder on them in terms of political hearings and such, even if he did end up taking all their money in fundraisers. I hope that Moriaty doesn't fret too much over the fate of "envelope pushing" crap meant to insult people, because he'll be wasting his time.
March 15, 2001, 4:34 p.m. CST
Harry fucked up big-time by panning it. I still think sometimes he didn't even bother to see it. Maybe someday he'll see the light and write one of his famous "revised" reviews.
March 15, 2001, 6:01 p.m. CST
by Old Dim
It was a brilliant film, that does deserve a place in the DVD section. I really hope they put it on DVD SOON.
March 15, 2001, 7:20 p.m. CST
I thought The Waterboy was one of the funniest movies of the 1990's. That Going Overboard was the worst. As for Little Nicky I can't wait for the DVD. I know a guy who hung out with Adam Sandler for a day while he was here in Atlanta, and yes Adam Sandler is realy realy cool. You can see some of his day at www.wetair.com. Mr. Sandler seem to know his film was in trouble, and he seem to handel it well.
March 15, 2001, 10:16 p.m. CST
by jeff bailey
Cool. Glad Cronenberg and Fiennes will be working together. Though I did think the last one, while having some interesting ideas and some crazy sexual subtext (you tell ME what that hole in leigh's back looked like) I was rather underwhelmed. No one answered that guy if it's based on a book. Like to know which it was. Frankly, it's too bad he didn't BI:2. Give Stone credit for picking cool directors, she picked Raimi for Quick and the Dead and wanted McTiernan for this one. Three great inspired choices even if the material isn't so hot. And I can't wait for the Mr. Show movie. Just better be as funny as the show! And whatever you think of Moriarty at least the talkbacks are fun. As for Snyder, I still think the movie will be disappointing (again, fun Talkbacks) but I think her decicion is financial. And THAT I can at least respect. They don't make movies, folks. They make money. We hate it I know. Soderbergh can't make Confederacy of Dunces but Martin lawrence in a dress=box office gold. Sadly, they were right. So it goes...
March 15, 2001, 10:31 p.m. CST
by Buzz Maverik
...she makes a film with a guy who calls himself Rob Zombie. Did she get a look at the guy? Did she see his album covers, hear his music, look at his artwork? What the fuck was she expecting? John Fucking Hughes? Stacey Snider expecting anything different from a guy who calls himself Rob Zombie is as stupid as talkbackers who think that a guy who calls himself Buzz Maverik will stop making fun of their favorite filmmakers because they say please when they tell me to go away and leave them alone. However, Stacey, if you're reading this, send me some money!
March 16, 2001, 4:12 a.m. CST
by Mr. Biege
I'm waiting... Where the hell is the rest of the nineties list... By my count you've still got a few years left... Imagine the sense of accomplishment you'd feel by actually finishing it, instead of just hoping we would forget that you just left us hanging... So how about it?
March 16, 2001, 10:09 a.m. CST
Doesn't speak in a thick british brogue around friends (uh, brogue is "irish" anyway). He grew up in Illinois. Went to college there. Wrote for SNL. Doesn't even have a HINT of an accent, doofus. Christ, do you even know who Bob Odenkirk is?
March 16, 2001, 1:05 p.m. CST
by Fatal Discharge
...where Nielsen looks up at Priscilla Presley out of frame on a ladder and says 'nice beaver'. She says thanks and hands down to him a stuffed beaver - cracked me up!! The book Spider on which the movie is based on is by Patrick McGrath (who is also doing the screenplay) who writes some of the most intelligent and disturbing little tales. Too bad the first film adaptation of his work was the idiotically titled Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets (based on the great book The Grotesque which I've read). I haven't even bothered to see it based on the terrible reviews and the fact that it stars Sting!!
March 16, 2001, 2:44 p.m. CST
Enough tripe about pushing the envelope. Art does affect people, even if it doesn't make them do what they do. Funny how we mention "Schindler's List" and the emotions it inspires, but gloss so quickly over the nihilism that a piece of art so hamhandedly pseudosatiric as "Natural Born Killers" inspires among the weak of soul. I don't wish WB had been held responsible in a court of law, pal, but I don't think it's the thing I ought to include in the "thank-you" section of my prayers, either.
March 16, 2001, 7:02 p.m. CST
Saying that Adam Sandler is not an egomaniac means that the writer has never met him, or spent anytime in the shadow of his dictatorship. The fact that his movies are shit and still make millions have turned him into the worse king of egomaniac, a rich and powerful one. He makes up for his lack of actual comedic skill by firing all those who oppose his mediocrity. Sadly for him, all the money in the world has not bought him talent or respect. He's stuck being himself... Adam, good luck trying to get respect by attaching yourself to Paul Thomas Anderson, someone with actual talent. May you have the success of Little Nicky all over again.
March 17, 2001, 2:51 a.m. CST
brilliant article and sometyhing i wouldlove to see more often... i'd liek to give my take on the things you talked about if i may be permitted... MR. SHOW = i've always been a fan, see where i live, Canada, a channel called The Comedy Network has Mr. Show every friday nightat 10:30pm and i watch it every friday... it's brilliant, funny, risque, and ORIGINAL! something Saturday Night Live stopped being soon as Conan O'Brian bailed out in early 90's... the movie sounds like what the Mr. Bean movie was.. 60% re-used material, 30% new original work, 10% crappy "nobody gives a shit" Story material... as with all Mr. Show skits, the story isnothing but a set-up for alot of wacky gags(y'all are brutalizin me/any cock'll DOOOOOOOOOOO/no island rememberin mother fucker!) both Bob and David are brilliant Comedy geniuses and i only hope this movie isn't a total waste of time.......... HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES and UNIVERSAL = Stacy Snider is both stupid, and cocky... she figures that we the geeks will both buy the ludicrous statemeant she made about CORPSES and HANNIBAL and will understand why Universal did this... first off, they are afraid, yeah Stacy Snider is afraid of the political backlash that could happen if they release CORPSES and that right there states how much of a fucking corperate shithouse theyare.. if it ain't PC then hey! fuck it let's make The Scorpion King Movie PG and get The Rock to somehow say CAN YOU SMELL WHAT THINE KING IS COOKING??? because some people are so fucking stupid that they think movies effect kids... no what? there was no explanation for why the trenchcoat mafia killed those people in colorado so a scapegoat was needed... instead of blaming the real problem... the parents and the people who not only sold a 15year old a gun, but an illegal gun... blame the movies!!! thats right! it's a stupid society the USA and i'm glad i live in Canada, one of the many countries to get American Psycho, Batman Beyond ROTJ, and Requiem For a Dream Distributed UNCUT and UN-Censored... but hey i guess the canadian government is a little wiser as to not blame a majormotion picture company for what some kid did... Rob Zombie may suck for music, but he made a Horror movie the way a horro movie is supposed to be made, with unknown actors, very very gorey, really weird, and NOT FILLED WITH TEEN ACTORS!!!............. LITTLE NICKY DVD = it sucked... yep it sucked alot, but i still like Adam Sandler.. ever see himon saturday night live as the herlihy boy, opera man, the denise show, amoung others... he's shy and he loves having fun... he's made a couple bad movies but he's doing what i wouldlove to do, make movies, but have real fun doing it! not like some actors who just do the job and try to get through with it for the money... this guy has fun and gets payed to have fun, you can't argue with that... i hope PTA doesn't ruin the poor lad by putting him in a Tom Cruise in Magnolia Esque role...................... The Academy Awards = they suck shit....... Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon isn't the God movie that everyone says it is.. it's just afucking hong kong film... thats it... good VERY good but a masterpeice? gimme a fucking break! the academy was out of touch years ago and they just suck now.. i mean shakespeare in love won best picture? who sucked the academy members cocks that night? boy did gweneth have her mouth full that night... anyway great coloumn Moriarty and keep up the good work.. and for me, try to end Harry from the inside and take over this site, i'm sure Herc, Mysterio, Mongo, and John Robie are with ya on this one... get Harry outta here and take charge... Harry actually liked Hannibal for christs sake
March 18, 2001, 2:05 p.m. CST
by Uncle Charlie
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