Why do people watch the same movie over and over? For pleasure,
no doubt, and because a great movie like a great book or piece of music doesn’t
reveal everything on a first or second or nth go-through. But then some
repeated viewing habits sound a little pathological. Like the guy in Norway who saw
“Mama Mia!” 162 times.
As George W.’s career in politics fades into history and
ignominy, could his future in show business be just beginning? Could Oliver
Stone’s “W,” which opened last weekend, be the first in what might prove to be
an entertainment gold mine?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. How did “W” fare among
the critics and those in the know? Like the President himself, the film has
stirred extremes in opinions, some mutually contradictory.
Just the other day I was curled up with my copy of Cormac
McCarthy’s “The Road” thinking to myself how cozy it was reading a story about
civilization reduced to frozen ash and roving bands of cannibals while the real
world was tottering on the brink of the same! Because obviously we're doomed, since not just is the economy
tanking, but the Red Sox and Patriots are as well.
As many have suspected, there seems to
be something fishy about the poor box office showing of David Zucker’s right
wing satire, “An American Carol.” After all, who doesn’t enjoy a hearty laugh
at such witty notions as Hollywood being renamed “Bin
with billboards pitching “Victoria’s
Burkas” (okay, that is kind of funny).
Now that the main Republican talking point has been refined from “Osama
is an elitist" to “Osama is a terrorist,” it’s only a matter of time before they
bring up the old canard about him being a Muslim. Which begs the question -- so
what if he is? Nobody running for President lately has been excoriated for
being Catholic, or Jewish, or Mormon, or whatever religion
believes that man walked with dinosaurs and preachers should run witches out of
Enough with the polls. Maybe the only reliable window into the
souls of American voters is what they’re willing to line up for and pay $10 to
see on a movie screen. In which case last weekend’s box office provides an
excellent test case, with two politically antithetically movie satires playing
Many of the eulogies for the late great Paul Newman have focused on the
saintliness of the man, an aura of goodness that emanates from him both on and
off the screen. “Someone Up There Likes Me,” indeed. Truth be told, he always
had a knack for playing an asshole, whether an outlaw or a rogue or an outcast
or a downright villain, that twinkle in his beautiful blue eyes could just as
easily evince malice, irony, corruption or anarchy as benevolence and
It looks like the big showdown between Barack Obama and John
McCain won’t be taking place since McCain refuses to participate until all the
economic problems go away.
In the meantime you might want to drop by the Brattle Theatre which will be
hosting a panel discussion that I’ll be moderating (okay, I admit it -- all
that snarky self-righteousness is just a smokescreen for my own shameless
self-promotion) for the United Nations Association Film Festival.
What happens when two geeks get together? They talk about
geeks and superheroes and how they are very much the same as Brett Michel and
Simon Pegg demonstrate in this second part of the interview.
BM.Moving on, superhero films – I’d imagine you’ve been
keeping up with them?
SP: Yeah. It’s interesting, actually.
My colleague Brett Michel recently interviewed Simon Pegg,
who was in town publicizing his big Hollywood breakthrough movie, “How to Lose
Friends & Alienate People,” Robert Weide’s adaptation of Toby Young’s sardonic memoir about being a successful
if dissolute journalistic hack in London who tries to make the big time in New
York at hoity-toity “Vanity Fair.
The box office demographic for the rest of 2008, usually
dominated by the male 12-24 year-old
perpetual adolescent crowd, might be
switching genders. So suggests Steve Mason writing in the “Hollywood Wiretap”
website, where he speculates that the fourth quarter of 2008 will belong to the
“below 25 female” audience.
Even some Republicans were skeptical about the box office
potential of David Zucker’s conservative satire, “An American Carol,” in which,
as I’ve mentioned before, a Scrooge-like Michael Moore-ish filmmaker is taken
through a tour of American History by George Washington and other patriotic
spooks. But maybe the success this Spring of Nathan Frankowski's anti-evolution
documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” changed some minds, because
Vivendi plans to release the film on October 3 on 2,000 screens.
Because we make a living sitting in dark rooms and writing about it, people think film critics are sissies. Not so, as Lou Lumenick, he-man critic for the New York Post,
never tires of proving. Back in 2006, he
was one of the few critics with the guts to squash “Ant Buddy” ,
an animated children’s film, calling it out as commie propaganda.
As noted below, there doesn’t seem to be a burning desire on the
part of fans for another “Poltergeist” movie. And do we really need another
“Ghostbusters,” especially after the brilliant remake featured in Michel
Gondry’s “Be Kind, Rewind?” Since the 1984 original grossed $292 million and
the 1989 sequel took in another $215 mil, Sony Pictures apparently thinks it's
the franchise to call.