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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Daily Show: The Candidates Hold a Generic-Off on the Financial Crisis

POSTED BY: TheInDecider

The solutions to the Wall Street troubles are complicated and may turn away voters, so the candidates have no choice but to provide generic answers.

Who do you think provided the emptiest sounding response to the state of our economy?

Original here

Financial LOLCAT on The Colbert Report

Nerds got a special treat on The Colbert Report last night. First of all, most of the show was about the economy and nerds love math. But, as if that wasn't enough, in the middle of The Threatdown, Stephen displayed a financial LOLCAT. Check it out at 1:53.




Posted by matt tobey

Original here

The Rise and Fall of Chappelle’s Show

This is the definitive Chappelle’s Show oral history, bitches. Experience the unlikely triumph of a comic maverick and his crew. By Keith Murphy & Peter Rubin

Chappelle’s Show is the greatest sketch comedy of all time. There, we said it. We can already hear the proverbial groans of disagreement. What about the G.O.A.T. Saturday Night Live…you know Belushi, Murphy, Ferrell? Well, let’s see the legendary SNL become a cultural phenomenon in the age of cable TV and shrinking Nielsen ratings. But Dave can’t fuck with the Wayans family’s multicultural breakthrough In Living Color. Sure Dave owes a lot to Keenan. But In Living Color overstayed its welcome, while Chappelle’s Show left a pristine corpse, a la Jimi Hendrix and Tupac. Mad TV? You’re kidding, right? Really, who cares why Dave bailed out of his landmark show. He can go on Oprah and Inside the Actors’ Studio and explain his meltdown all he wants. His show shouldn’t be, and isn’t, defined by his abrupt exit or self-medicating trip to Africa. Its tombstone should read: Here Lies the Comedy With the Biggest Balls. Period.

Season One

Chappelle’s Show premiered on January 22, 2003

The Mad Real World

Christian Finnegan (“Chad”): I’m a standup comic, and so was Neal. One day, he was like, “You know, I’m doing this show with Dave, and we’re doing this bit that you might be really good for.” When you get cast for something like that, you have to sit down for a table read together, and read the script out loud. It was that sketch, the Clayton Bigsby sketch, and something else. Everybody was looking around the table like, “I can’t believe how funny this is.”

Charlie Murphy (comedian, actor): People liked the [tough] characters I did from CB4, Players Club and Spike Lee’s films, and when people would think of someone playing a gangster-type role, my name would come up at the top of the list. So when they were writing “The Mad Real World” sketch Dave was like, “Yo, we need Charlie Murphy to play this thug- ass character named Tyree.” That was my first sketch.

Finnegan: No one ever comes up to me quietly and says, “Hey, I really enjoyed your work in ‘The Mad Real World.’” People walk up to me in the middle of a dinner with my girlfriend like, “Katie’s got some big-ass tittays!”

Ask A Black Guy/ Negrodamus

Paul Mooney (comedian, writer, actor): I basically came up with “Negrodamus” and “Mooney On Movies,” while Dave came up with “Ask A Black Guy.” “Negrodamus” was actually supposed to be Niggerdamus, but we had to clean it up. You know when I say “nigger,” it’s like the devil is saying it [laughs].

Player Haters’ Ball

Bryan Tucker (writer, “Player Hater’s Ball”): Dave and Neal have a good idea, and they have a set-up, and then they do like 10 takes. Dave does a little something different every time. So a lot of the great lines you see aren’t necessarily stuff that you’d see written in a script.

Donnell Rawlings (comedian, actor; Ashy Larry): Ten minutes before we go shoot “Player Haters’ Ball,” my character didn’t have a name or anything. I went to hair and makeup, told them to give me a Jheri-curl wig. Then I went to props, and I asked for a Moët bottle with an activator on it so I can just squirt my hair down. They didn’t have that, so they gave me the aerosol can. I’m spraying it, people laughing and shit, three minutes before shooting. I didn’t have a name, dialogue or anything. Neal told me to make my name up. I walked past the mirror like twice, looked in it, and said, “Man, I feel beautiful!” That’s when “Beautiful” was born.

Bill Burr (announcer, “Racial Draft”): Dave and Neal were real cool with improv. They were like, “If it’s funny, it’s going in.”

Rawlings: Dave always does something to let everybody know why it’s Chappelle’s Show. When he got to the page flip, we had already had 18 hours in. It had to be like 2:30, 3 in the morning—we was all joked out! Dave was the only one who kept it moving. “She look like she wear underpants with dickholes in them!” That was the end of that. It’s a wrap. Let’s go home.

Season Two premiered January 21, 2004. Less than a month later, the Season One DVD was released and became the best-selling television DVD ever. The confluence of the two brought Chappelle’s Show more exposure than it had seen up to that point.

Tucker: It wasn’t until Season Two, with things like the Charlie Murphy stories and Wayne Brady stuff and “Racial Draft” that kind of got into people’s consciousness because they were really starting to do things that were different from your normal sketch stuff.

Rawlings: It was nothing for us to do a 17-hour day. We had so much fun doing it, nobody was worried about working overtime. We were part of some hot shit, you know?

Racial Draft

Burr: Everybody always comes up to me and talks about “Racial Draft.”

RZA (rapper, actor): I remember Dave sending the [“Racial Draft”] script through my BlackBerry. Before that, we had already done the “Wu-Tang Financial” skit. When we got to the set, we saw Mos Def dressed up in those crazy fucking clothes and wig. I just knew the shit was going to be stupid. When the Wu-Tang Clan got picked by the Asian delegation, that was just crazy.

Angie Martinez (New York radio personality): We had to stop several times during the shoot because it was too funny. The truth is, they kind of cut out [my part] because it was supposed to be longer. There was a segment where you actually saw Elian Gonzales and he was [in Cuba] like “I ain’t got no bling over here! I ain’t got no laptop!” [laughs] It was great, but I guess for time they had to cut it down.

RZA: I was in Austin, Texas, four months ago. I’m going into this club, and I got a few homies with me and one of my people was like, “RZA is paying to get into a club? Fuck that…do you know who this is in line?” The bouncer finally recognized my face and screamed, “Konichiwa, motherfucker!” [laughs] Everybody just fell out.

The Niggar Family

Questlove (the Roots’ drummer; Chappelle’s Show’s musical supervisor): The first music I wrote was for the “Niggar Family” skit. The strangest thing about it was Neal, Dave’s [white] writing partner. This was a skit within a skit. I was trying to teach the [Roots’ protégé act] Jazzy Fat Nastees how to sing the theme song and Neal was like, “No, it’s n-i-g-g-e-r…” he just kept saying the word nigger. And I’m like, “Yo, man! This motherfucker is crazy. Did I just hear what he said?!” It was rough for me in the beginning [laughs].

Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories

Murphy: The Rick James skit was all by accident. Dave and I were just at the lunch table talking about [some of my experiences] during a shoot for “Calvin’s Got a Job.” And all of a sudden homeboy just lit up and said, “We can do this as a sketch.” I’ve known Rick for years, so I got in touch with him and said, “Yo, this is what’s popping, man. It’s going to be funny. I’m going to fax you all the information.” And Rick liked it.

Questlove: Dave would show up at Okayplayer shows, the Roots’ shows and Talib Kweli shows. That is how Kweli was able to get Dave to do the Rick James intro for Reflection Eternal. That whole Rick James character first appeared on the Kweli record. Months later I was in a snow storm up in Boston in 2002 and I got a call from Brennan. He’s like, “Yo, where’s your fax machine? You have to read this script. We just concocted the funniest skit ever…it’s Rick James.”

Burr: I lived near the editing suite, and Neal called me like, “You gotta come up here. I don’t know if we can top ourselves on this one.” When I went up there and saw it, the first three minutes I was dying laughing, and after that, I was just kind of in awe. That was the one that blew the show up.

Murphy: I knew it was something [special] when we took it over to my baby brother [Eddie Murphy’s] house. I was like, “Check out this Rick James sketch.” And we watched it and he was silent throughout the whole sketch, so I thought it was horrible. Soon as it stopped playing, he just said one word: “Genius.” And then busted out laughing like, “Play that shit again!”

Rick James (singer): I love Dave. I think he’s brought something to comedy that people haven’t seen before. He’s a beautiful human being, and Charlie Murphy is a very dear friend. Everywhere I go, white folks, black folks, green folks, I hear “I’m Rick James, bitch!” I don’t really think David did it purposely. I take that back. He probably did.

Questlove: The Prince skit only came to be because Rick James had given it away [that Charlie had gotten beat by Prince in a game of basketball]. It was just a crazy premise for a sketch.

Murphy: It was real fucking hard to keep a straight face looking at Dave wearing that Prince outfit [Laughs]. He had motherfuckers screaming. Every time they said, “Cut” everybody just busted out laughing. Later on, the word came back that Prince said to Dave, “It wasn’t that I was a great basketball player, it was that Charlie was horrible.”

Questlove: We went to a secret show, back in 2004 after Prince got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. And Prince was onstage playing the dozens like, “Dave Chappelle…you Grover-looking, Bug-eyed Oscar-the-Grouch, Pancake-eating, no-basketball-playing!!!” He really liked the skit.

The Lil Jon Skit

Lil Jon (rapper/producer): My homeboy Cipha Soundz DJed on the show. One day he was like, “Man, you gotta see this sketch that Dave does on you!” I was like, “Get the fuck out of here! Dave Chappelle is doing a sketch on me?” I was watching the show in the studio. The shit came on, and we were just bugging out. Then, I was in an airport in Miami, and an older white woman came up to me and was like, “I love you!”

Burr: I was doing stand-up at this festival in Tennessee called Bonnaroo—a bunch of white hippie bands, alternative shit. I was backstage waiting for this band to come out, and all of a sudden the lights went out. Five thousand people waiting in the dark, and then you just hear some kid in the back go, ‘Whaaaat?’ Then somebody else yells, “Okaaaay! Yeeaaah!” It sent a chill up my spine.

Lil Jon: Imagine people screaming that at you for three years. The same shit.

Wayne Brady Takes Over

Mooney: The whole Wayne Brady sketch came out of Negrodamus when I said, “White people love Wayne Brady, because Wayne Brady makes Bryant Gumble look like Malcolm X.”

Wayne Brady (comic/actor): [I] wouldn’t miss an episode of the show. One day I’m watching Paul Mooney do “Negrodamus.” [I’m] sitting with my wife, saying, “Paul is so funny, you gotta watch this.” And then the whole Wayne Brady thing came up. Dave was one of those cats I respected so much and thought was funny. It’s like someone you like, and you see them walking across the street and you’re like, “Hey, good to see you” and they’re like, Smack!

Neal Brennan: (co-creator of Chappelle’s Show): About a month after “Negrodamus” aired, we were at the NAACP Image Awards, and Wayne Brady bumped into a crew from the show. He bought them drinks and eventually let them know how upset he was about the sketch. Apparently, he [saw] the show, and the joke came on. Dave found out he was upset and called him the next day.

Rawlings: When I met Wayne Brady, he came up to me like, [imitating Wayne’s voice] “I just wanna say, I think you guys do amazing work on the show. It’s funny, phenomenal work. History in the making.” Blah, blah, blah. I’m looking at him with his voice, like, “This nigga really talk like Wayne Brady!” I said, “Nah man, you the nigga!” He looked at me like, “Nobody has ever called me that type of nigger before.” [Laughs]

Mooney: [The Wayne Brady skit] added a new dynamic to his career and it was just funny. I respect Wayne for doing the show, and for standing up for himself.

Brady: I curse. I’m not squeaky clean. [But] I didn’t like the term, “Slap a ho.” I’ve got a daughter; there’s something about [that] that’s too real. So we came up with the whole line “Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?”

Rawlings: Nobody could predict Wayne would use the “choke a bitch” line. He wanted to be like, “Yo, if Wayne Brady had to fight someone…” He was nervous about it. We all thought it was going to work, but you can’t force anybody or put their reputation on the line. But it turned out real funny.

Kneehigh Park Skit

Questlove: Dave had written the [Kneehigh] Muppet skit with Bobby Brown in mind. We made arrangements for Bobby to come to New York to record the songs with Charlie Murphy and Dave as muppets with STDs. But he got arrested on the way. We were stuck. We called André 3000 to see if he could do it, but Dre was working on Idlewild. So then we called Pharrell, who was in Europe. He would have canceled his European tour, if his manager didn’t smack some sense into him. [Laughs] We were shooting it seven hours before it was supposed to air. But at the last minute we were able to get Q-Tip, who changed “Vivrant Thing” into “VD Thing.” And we were also able to get Snoop Dogg to be one of the characters because he was going to do the “Weed Olympics” sketch, which got cut. That’s how a lot of things worked out for us.

Months after Season 2 ended, contract negotiations for the show dragged on. Meanwhile, the show had become a full-blown cultural phenomenon, thanks in part to the record-shattering DVD sales of Season One. The two-disc set would go on to sell well over 1.9 million copies, bumping The Simpsons’ The Complete First Season out of the all-time number-one slot.

Mooney: Chappelle’s Show outsold every DVD in the history of TV. And the white folks didn’t like it. I remember being at a big comedy session and one of [the Comedy Central execs] said, “Yeah, but [Jerry] Seinfeld is coming out and he’s going to outdo Chappelle.” But Seinfeld didn’t even come close; 8-year-olds don’t know Seinfeld, they don’t give a damn. They knew who Dave was.

Lil Jon: We were in Miami for the MTV Video Music Awards, in 2004. I’m driving down the street, and somebody is outside screaming, “Yeeaah!” I look over, and it’s Dave’s ass. So I jumped out of the car. Just imagine—the average person don’t see Dave Chappelle and Lil Jon walking down the street. That’s when I think Dave really saw how much people say the shit to me. People were just bugging the fuck out. The next day, on the awards, Dave said, “Jon, I’m sorry I did it to you.”

Murphy: I was doing an interview in a restaurant [in 2004]. My table was near the window and school was letting out. These kids were maybe 8, 10 years old. They stopped in front of the window and started screaming out, “Charlie M-u-r-p-h-y! I’m Rick James bitch!!!” That was deep.

Rawlings: In America, there is no street I can walk down without getting hit with “Ashy Larry!” Going into bars and having white boys tell me they love me, and want to do shots with me, and shit.

Lil Jon: I think they’re going to be saying that shit at my funeral. “He was a good man and, Whaaat?” Then the crowd will say, “Amen. Okaaaay!”

In December, 2004, after the much-publicized $50 million deal, production for Season Three came to a halt, then started up again in January 2005. In April, though, Chappelle abruptly disappeared—to Africa, it turned out. Though he returned soon after, the show never resumed.

Tucker: There’s a sketch that I hope they’ll show on the third season, called “Black Monsters.” I remember like two or three instances where the extras started laughing, and they had to do it again.

Rawlings: Charlie as Black Frankenstein, Dave as Black Werewolf, and Donnell as Black Mummy. When Dave disappeared, people asked, “Where’s Dave?” I’m always telling them he was a werewolf [laughs]. My last image of Dave was him looking like James Brown in the wolf man costume. That was the last we saw him.

Murphy: Hell yeah I was shocked. It’s like you go to work on Thursday and you wake up on Friday and the phone rings and they say, “Yeah, there’s not going to be any work today.” I wasn’t emotional about it. We were getting paid [union] minimum [wage]. None of us made money except for Dave and Neal. But we were happy to show up, because it was groundbreaking national TV and funny as hell.

Burr: I knew nobody was talking when people finally started asking me what I knew. All of a sudden I started getting the e-mails: “Hey man, this is just between you and me, dude. This isn’t going to get out anywhere…is Dave on crack?”

Tucker: I talked to Dave once about everything. There were too many people around to get into anything substantial. I’m just grateful to have been a part of it.

RZA: He’s funnier than 90 percent of the cats doing comedy. We looked forward to Chappelle like the next season of Cosby.

Mooney: Dave’s a lot like Richard [Pryor]. He’s an artist first, everything else is second. They offered him $50 million, but the money didn’t mean anything. Dave knew money was an illusion. You can’t take it with you. You’ve never seen a Brink’s truck following a hearse, and you never will.

Burr: I ran into Dave last fall at the Comedy Store in L.A. Everybody from Herbie Hancock to Gabrielle Union showed. Dave came out and did a killer set making fun of the whole “Dave is crazy” shit. He wasn’t on drugs or anything.

Finnegan: When the book gets written 20 years from now about TV, Chappelle’s Show is going to be there. It’s one of the shows people will always talk about.

Lil Jon: That show changed pop culture.

Rawlings: Whenever you think, “It can’t get funnier,” he took it to the next level.

Mooney: I’ve written for Richard Pryor, Flip Wilson, Red Foxx, Bill Cosby and Whoopie Goldberg. Dave is among those names. He’s a very intelligent comedian who happens to be a pothead.

Murphy: If it wasn’t for Dave, the world would still be calling me Eddie Murphy’s brother. He gave Donnell Rawlings, Bill Burr and myself the chance to go on the road. I saw Dave at the Comedy Store in L.A. and I just told him, “Nigga, you know you changed my life, right?” And he said, “You changed my life, too.” Then we hugged.

Original here

10 Movies We Can't Wait to See This Fall


by Brian Tallerico

Forget what the calendar says - summer is over. It's getting cold. The NFL is back up and running, and everyone but Patriots fans is excited about the season. New TV shows are debuting and old favorites are returning. And movie fans are saying goodbye to a better-than-average crop of summer movies from a still far worse-than-average year in film. There have been a couple of great wide releases (Wall-E, The Dark Knight) and some truly excellent smaller films (The Visitor, Snow Angels), but, overall, in terms of movie quality, 2008 has been lackluster at best. We need the next three and a half months to really turn things around for Hollywood and, call us optimistic, but we think it will. The Toronto and Venice festivals have started the buzz ball rolling on several high-profile films (and several unexpected buzz-builders), and we've got new releases on their way from great directors like Jonathan Demme, Danny Boyle, Spike Lee, Gus Van Sant, Darren Aronofsky, Kevin Smith, Ridley Scott, David Fincher, and Clint Eastwood, who's enough of an old-school Hollywood gentleman to give us TWO new works to get excited about (Changeling and Gran Torino). Over the years, Hollywood has shifted more and more of its quality product to the end of the year - largely to garner award nominations - but, even despite all that, when it comes to balancing quality vs. crap on the movie calendar, 2008 is more out of balance than any year in recent memory.

As such, many entertainment outlets play it safe this time of year, refusing to play favorites and pretending that they're just as excited for Madagascar 2 as they are for Quantum of Solace. We're calling b.s. on that kind of fall movie preview. We're ready to rank, based on early buzz, previews, and potential. To level the playing field, we've excluded any of the upcoming movies that we've seen, so if you're wondering why we didn't include Appaloosa, Choke, Flash of Genius, Lakeview Terrace, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, or The Lucky Ones, it's because we've seen 'em already. (For the record, at least two of them would have made the list and are movies that you should be excited to see this fall, but embargo keeps me from saying more.) With that out of the way, here are the ten movies we're most excited to see this fall, ten films that truly have the potential to turn around 2008's already underwhelming year in cinema. (No pressure, guys.)

TEN FALL MOVIES WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT:

Runner-ups: Australia, The Brothers Bloom, Changeling, Che, Gran Torino, Milk, The Spirit, Synecdoche New York, Twilight, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno

10. W.
Release Date: October 17th
Cast: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Thandie Newton, Richard Dreyfuss, Jesse Bradford, James Cromwell, Scott Glenn, Ellen Burstyn, Ioan Gruffudd, Noah Wyle, Rob Corddry, Toby Jones, and Jeffrey Wright
Written by: Stanley Weiser
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Why We're Excited: As a filmmaker, Oliver Stone hasn't really mattered in years (since at least 1999's Any Given Sunday and, arguably, since 1995's Nixon), but we've long said that one of the most controversial directors of the '80s and '90s had to have another great movie in him. Yes, a lot of directors slide and never come back to their prime (look at Coppola's recent work for a great example), but it feels like Stone just needed to find something to get passionate about again. Alexander and World Trade Center didn't do it, but it's hard to believe that the man who made Platoon, JFK, and Natural Born Killers couldn't easily make another masterpiece if he found that passion project again. And what better a subject for a maverick director like Stone than the travesty that has taken place in the White House for the last eight years? JFK, Nixon, W. - Stone could be the master filmmaker about the leaders of American government for the last half century. And have you seen that cast? Brolin as Dubya and Wright as Powell are brilliant enough casting choices, but the one that makes me smile every time is Richard Dreyfuss as Cheney. Will W. be more than just a series of jokes on the Bush years? Yes, it could devolve into "That's My Bush: The Movie," but JFK was about so much more than just Oswald and Nixon was about so much more that Watergate, so the potential for greatness in W. the movie (not the man) is definitely there.

9. Revolutionary Road
Release Date: December 26th
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Kathryn Hahn, and Michael Shannon
Written by: Justin Haythe
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Why We're Excited: Forget the hype about the reunion of Jack and Rose from Titanic (although that's how all the puff outlets will sell this movie). Yes, we too think it's kind of cool that Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio actually stayed best friends since filming the movie that changed their lives forever, but we'd be excited for Revolutionary Road even if the two had never met. They are inarguably two of the best actors of their generation, and the idea of them working together to bring a critically-acclaimed novel to life should get any true movie fan excited. Leo and Kate are on-screen again under the direction of Winslet's husband, Sam Mendes, in the story of April and Frank Wheeler, an average couple in 1950s Connecticut, who seem to have a fate just about as doomed as their last pair of waterlogged lovers. Frank hates his job. April hates her life. The couple go to France to try and leave their boring American lives behind and unfortunately discover that people tend to take their problems with them, no matter the locale. Leo and Kate have a combined eight Oscar nominations between them with no wins to date. We have a feeling one of them will finally be getting that statue this year.

8. Body of Lies
Release Date: October 10th
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong, Golshifteh Farahani, and Carice van Houten
Written by: William Monahan
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Why We're Excited: While, as a critic, I always appreciate brooding character dramas, the testosterone-fueled man-boy inside me still loves to watch things go boom, and Body of Lies could easily be the biggest non-Bond action movie of the season. With all the high falutin' Oscar dramas to come, this action pic from one of the best directors of the last quarter-century has the potential to be huge. Leo has never worked with Scott before, but he did make a little movie with an important man behind the scenes of Body of Lies - William Monahan - and, the last time they teamed up, it produced the best picture of 2006, The Departed. Of course, we all know that Scott and Crowe HAVE made a movie together before - an instant classic A Good Year. Wait, no, not that one. Could this be another Gladiator or American Gangster? All signs point to a success. Leo plays a CIA operative who is sent to Jordan while Crowe plays a shifty CIA boss in this adaptation of the 2007 novel. Wanna know the main reason to get pumped for Lies besides the pedigree of its cast? Leo told MTV in 2007, "It's a throwback to the political films that I enjoyed in the '70s. Certainly [it's reminiscent] of films like 'The Parallax View' and 'Three Days of the Condor,' and I'd love to be a part of more films like that." And we'd all love to see more films like that too.

7. Slumdog Millionaire
Release Date: November 28th
Cast: Dev Patel and Freida Pinto
Written by: Simon Beaufoy
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Why We're Excited: Boyle has long been a personal favorite with Trainspotting, Millions, and 28 Days Later all deserving heaps of praise. Even Boyle's misfires - A Life Less Ordinary, Sunshine - are ambitious as hell. Everyone who saw Boyle's latest, Slumdog Millionaire, at the Toronto Film Festival has told us the same thing - "It's his best." The plot - about an impoverished teen who became a contestant on the Hindi version of Who Wants to be A Millionaire to get a girl - doesn't sound like anything that would usually set off our geek-centric radar, but the awesomeness of Boyle combined with what people said when they saw this thing in Canada have us really excited. Variety opened their review with this ridiculously poster-worthy quote - "Driven by fantastic energy and a torrent of vivid images of India old and new, “Slumdog Millionaire” is a blast." We knew several people that made it to Toronto this year and read reports all over the internet, and the movie that came up time and time again was Slumdog Millionaire. Fox Searchlight picked it up quickly and hope to turn it into a late-season hit. Luckily for them, the critical acclaim is already there. Does anyone remember the movie Fox picked up last year at Toronto and sent to the Academy red carpet? Like the city in Alaska?

6. Rachel Getting Married
Release Date: October 3rd
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Maher Zickel, Bill Irwin, and Debra Winger
Written by: Jenny Lumet
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Why We're Excited: Anne Hathaway plays a young woman who returns home for her sister's wedding after years of estrangement and falling in and out of rehab for the past 10 years. It kind of sounds like Margot at the Wedding but, you know, good. This is another flick that earned buzz from the film festival circuit, but this is one we saw coming. Check out that preview. It's a beauty and the comparisons to Robert Altman's work could make this a unique drama in a more high-budget season. We're also hearing that Anne Hathaway is a lock for a best actress nomination. Really? The chick from Get Smart? Hathaway has shown promise in the past, and we have a strange feeling this is going to do for her what Girl, Interrupted did for Angelina Jolie and Shakespeare in Love did for Gwyneth Paltrow. She's ready for her red carpet coronation. Demme's early work is amazing and, once again, Variety opens their review from Toronto with a line that makes it an instant must-see, "Brimming with energy, elan and the unpredictability of his "Something Wild," Jonathan Demme's triumphant "Rachel Getting Married" may just lay the wedding film to rest, being such a hard act to follow."

5. The Road
Release Date: November 28th
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Robert Duvall, and Garret Dillahunt
Written by: Joe Penhall
Directed by: John Hillcoat
Why We're Excited: The name NOT in the list above is the one that gets most literary nuts excited for The Road - Cormac McCarthy. One of the best writers alive won the Pulitzer Prize for The Road, the brilliant novel he wrote right after another little book that you might have heard of called No Country for Old Men. Don't expect "No Country 2" with The Road, although McCarthy's nihilistic worldview is still very much in place. The Road details a post-apocalyptic world gone horribly tragic where a father (Viggo Mortensen) struggles just to survive with his young son (Kodi Smit-McPhee). John Hillcoat directed the tragically underrated The Proposition two years ago and may be the most perfect fit of director and material on this list. Viggo has delivered this time of year with A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, and we have a strange feeling that it's going to be three for three.

4. The Wrestler
Release Date: TBA
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Evan Rachel Wood, and Marisa Tomei
Written by: Robert D. Siegel
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Why We're Excited: We love it when a director takes a complete left turn, and nothing could've been more unexpected from Darren Aronofsky than following the ambitious sci-fi vision of The Fountain with a film like The Wrestler. Did anyone ever think the director of Pi would make a sports movie? That alone makes us think that The Wrestler probably isn't your average Rocky sequel. And then there's the involvement of Mickey Rourke, an actor who we've always rooted for and hoped that he had one great part left in him (not counting his movie-stealing work in Sin City). Everyone who saw The Wrestler in Toronto or Venice has said that Rourke is a lock for a Best Actor Oscar nomination, and some have gone as far as to suggest that he might win. (We can't WAIT to hear that acceptance speech.) In the film, Rourke plays Randy "Ram" Robinson, a professional wrestler from the 1980s who retires after some heart problems. He goes on with his life, trying to form relationships with his daughter and a stripper - played by Wood and Tomei, respectively - but, for a variety of reasons, he must go back into the ring to face his old wrestling-card arch-nemesis Ayatollah. Sounds like a straight-up sports movie to us, but read this excerpt from the Variety review and TRY and not get excited - "Rourke creates a galvanizing, humorous, deeply moving portrait that instantly takes its place among the great, iconic screen performances. An elemental story simply and brilliantly told, Darren Aronofsky's fourth feature is a winner from every possible angle..."

3. The Hurt Locker
Release Date: TBA
Cast: Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Christian Camargo, David Morse, and Evangeline Lilly
Written by: Mark Boal & Kathryn Bigelow
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Why We're Excited: From everything we're hearing, we may FINALLY have our first truly great Iraq War movie. Mark Boal, a journalist for Playboy and The Village Voice who was embedded with the troops, has co-written an action movie set in Iraq that has people talking more than any of the previous attempts to make the Iraq conflict cinematically appealing combined. This could be the Apocalypse Now for Iraq. From the sound of it, Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, Point Break) has finally made the masterpiece we always thought that she had in her. The movie that has been described as "Aliens in Iraq" is about an elite Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit and stars the great Jeremy Renner as the leader of the team who has to diffuse bombs in the middle of an impossible war. At Venice, the film received a ten-minute standing ovation and won the SIGNIS grand prize. The jury said in their statement that they awarded the film their prize because of "the filmmakers' uncompromising approach to the Iraq war and its consequences seen through the experience of the bomb diffusion specialists for whom war is an addiction rather than a cause. The film challenges the audience’s view of war in general and the current war in particular because it demonstrates the struggle between violence to the body and psychological alienation." Toronto Star critic Peter Howell said what we've all been waiting to hear after the lackluster string of Iraq movies - "Just when you think the battle of Iraq war dramas has been fought and lost, along comes one that demands to be seen... If you can sit through The Hurt Locker without your heart nearly pounding through your chest, you must be made of granite." There's still a chance that Summit Entertainment might hold the movie until '09, but with this kind of buzz and Oscar potential, why wait?

2. Quantum of Solace
Release Date: November 14th
Cast: Daniel Craig, Mathieu Amalric, Olga Kurylenko, Gemma Arterton, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, and Giancarlo Giannini
Written by: Joshua Zetumer, Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, & Robert Wade
Directed by: Marc Forster
Why We're Excited: Um, really? Do you have to ask? Have you SEEN that preview? We were amped for Quantum of Solace the minute it went into production simply because Casino Royale was one of the best films of 2006, but Quantum looks even better than we hoped it would. The first direct sequel to a Bond movie picks up right where the last one left off with Bond (Daniel Craig) still trying to unravel the events of the final act of Casino Royale. He's forced to battle against the nefarious Quantum organization and the chairman of its legitimate cover operation, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric from Diving Bell and the Butterfly). An out-of-control Bond looking for revenge instead of just carrying around a license to kill sounds unbelievable to us, and the fact that they not only decided to continue the story from the brilliant Casino Royale, but also re-hired the same writing team to do so shows us that they know what worked about the last movie and are ready to provide more of the same. There's so much serious material coming out this fall from The Road to The Hurt Locker, but, I'm willing to predict, that nothing is going to be more fun than Quantum of Solace.

1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Release Date: December 25th
Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Taraji P. Henson, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas, Julia Ormond, and Elle Fanning
Written by: Eric Roth
Directed by: David Fincher
Why We're Excited: The preview is a beauty. The story is intriguing. But this tops the list because it feels like the right mix of cast, writer, and director that could possibly lead to movie perfection. You know how you felt when you read about the cast and crew behind The Departed or No Country for Old Men? Benjamin Button gives us that same feeling. David Fincher has been meticulously honing his craft since Se7en, arguably getting more accomplished as a director with every film, and this looks like it will be his masterpiece. He's certainly swinging for the artistic fences with a film that takes place during most of the last century. Fincher's most regular collaborator, Brad Pitt, plays the title character, a man who ages in reverse, being "born" at the age of 80 in the early part of the twentieth century and "dying" as a baby in 2000. The supporting cast features two of the best actresses alive in Oscar-winners Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton (and everyone who's read the script says that it's actually Taraji P. Henson who is the most likely to steal the movie) and, visually, it looks like a stunner. A little of the film was recently shown to somewhat lukewarm reactions, but that doesn't stop Benjamin Button from topping this list. (You could see 20 minutes of many classic films out of context and not really get the whole experience.) Fincher's Zodiac was one of the most technically accomplished films of the last few years and that degree of artistic craftsmanship with an F. Scott Fitzgerald story and a cast like this behind it automatically earns Benjamin Button a spot in the top ten. And that gorgeous preview pushes it up to number one.

-- Brian Tallerico

Original here

Kurosawa's restored 'Rashomon' to be screened

Five more of the Japanese director's Oscar nominees or winners also are scheduled for screenings.
By Susan King, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Rashomon
Rashomon:
CELEBRATED: Toshiro Mifune and Machiko Kyo in 1950’s “Rashomon.”
(Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick)

It's a film so profound that it changed the way we talk about truth and perception.

Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa's 1950 masterpiece, "Rashomon," involves the rape of a woman and the apparent murder of her husband from the different accounts of four witnesses, including the rapist. The movie's inventive narrative comments on the subjective nature of memory, hence the term "Rashomon effect."

Now, almost 60 years after "Rashomon" won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival as well as an honorary Oscar, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is premiering a restoration of the film Thursday at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Times movie critic Kenneth Turan will host a discussion on Kurosawa before the screening.

Subsequently, five more of the filmmaker's Academy Award nominees and winners -- "Kagemusha," "Seven Samurai," "Ran," "Yojimbo" and "Dersu Uzala" -- will screen Friday and Saturday evenings at the Goldwyn and Linwood Dunn theaters through Oct. 4.

The screening series coincides with the academy's latest exhibition, "Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist," in its two galleries. The exhibition, which begins Friday and continues for the next three months, features the late director's original artwork, posters, scripts, memos, photographs and even his trademark sunglasses.

"Rashomon" was restored by the Academy Film Archive in association with the Kadokawa Culture Promotion Foundation and the Film Foundation. The original nitrate negative of the film had been destroyed in Japan in the 1970s after the government passed a law forbidding storage of the combustible nitrate. So a worldwide search began to find any surviving film elements.

"Criterion had put out a DVD that had been made from a fine-grain negative . . . but it hadn't been made from the original negative," says academy archivist Mike Pogorzelski. "I was expecting to see a really long list of archives of elements, but there weren't that many copies."

The National Film Center in Tokyo had made a print in 1962 when the original camera negative still existed. And as far as Pogorzelski could tell, the print hadn't been used. "It became apparent that this print was as close to the original negative as we were going to get."

However, when the film center made the print, the original negative was in bad shape because it had been used frequently. Not only were their dings, scratches, dust and dirt on the frames, the negative was beginning to shrink and warp, so one side of the frame was in focus while the other was fuzzy. The only way to correct the problems built into the print was digitally.

But before they could even taken it to Lowry Digital in Burbank for its frame-by-frame restoration, they had to find a few missing frames from the 1962 print. Luckily, the negative Criterion had used for its DVD had those missing frames.

While the academy archive was restoring "Rashomon," academy programmer Ellen Harrington was working on a Kurosawa exhibition.

The fall of 2008 was chosen for the exhibition, says Harrington, not only because of the archive's completion of "Rashomon" but also because September marks the 10th anniversary of the filmmaker's death. "And in two years, it will be his centennial," she says. "It seemed like a good time."

The exhibition features more than 100 of his original preproduction drawings and paintings -- both pencil drawings and color paintings -- his art supplies, calligraphy sets, annotated screenplays, props, hand-painted costumes from "Ran," samurai helmets, correspondence, film clips, photographs, posters and marketing material.

In addition, Martin Scorsese is lending the exhibition 10 drawings that Kurosawa gave him to help him prepare for his role as Vincent van Gogh in Kurosawa's 1990 film "Dreams."

"From the beginning he was always a fine artist and a well-trained artist," Harrington says of Kurosawa. "He never stopped drawing and conceptualizing on paper throughout his career."

susan.king@latimes.com

Original here

The Quick 10: 10 Movie Misquotations

q10


by Stacy Conradt

“Life is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you’re gonna get.”

We all know that quote – Forrest Gump, right? Wrong! Forrest never actually said that. He got close, and his mom got close, but that exact quote was never said.

There are so many famous misquotations, I’m making this a two-parter: misquotations from fictional characters and misquotations from real-life events. Today will be the fictional version, because I can’t imagine you guys would be too happy with me if I told you that Forrest Gump quote was wrong and then didn’t bother to tell you what it really is until tomorrow.

forrest 2

1. “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” There are two real sayings from the movie, but not quite that one. Here are the two:
• “My momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get,” said by Forrest.
• “Life is like a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re gonna get,” said by Forrest’s mom.

2. “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well.” According to Shakespeare’s original work, Hamlet actually says, “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.”

3. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Supposedly said by Perez in William Congreave’s play Mourning Bride, except not. He really said, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”

4. “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” Yeah, it sounds like something John Wayne would say. But he didn’t, at least not in those words. In Hondo, The Duke says, “A man oughta do what he thinks is best.”
It’s also often thought to be from the Alan Ladd movie Shane, but he didn’t say it, either. There are two similar quotes from the movie, though:
• “I couldn’t do what I gotta do if I hadn’t always knowed that I could trust ya”
• “A man has to be what he is.”

casa

5. “Play it again, Sam.” Probably one of the most famous movie quotes of all time never actually happened. Ingrid Bergman’s actual quote is, “Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By.” And later Humphrey Bogart says, “You played it for her, you can play it for me!”

6. Another insanely famous quote that is wrong: “Luke, I am your father.” Darth says it, sure, but not quite like that. He leaves off the “Luke” part and simply says, “No, I am your father.”

7. “Do you feel lucky, punk?” Well, do ya? Probably not, if you thought that quote was accurate. Clint Eastwood really says, “You’ve got to ask yourself one question. ‘Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?”

hannibal

8. “Hello, Clarice.” I’ve seen Silence of the Lambs probably 100 times, and I’ve definitely quoted that non-existant line. Dr. Lecter does greet Clarice, but the actual words are, “Good evening, Clarice.”

9. Paul Hogan (AKA Crocodile Dundee) never said, “Throw another shrimp on the barbie!” He was doing American commercials for the Australian Tourist Commission and actually offered to grill for you, not demanding more shrimp for himself. The real quote? “I’ll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you.”

10. “Badges? We don’t need no steenking badges!” The real quote from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is, “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!” (or “badgers,” if you’re a Weird Al fan)

Original here

12 Craziest Movie Casting Close-Calls



Mr. BeanAn eternity of films has come to our eyes over the years. Together they’ve formed the foundations by which good movies are built, given us our most cherished filmmakers and performers, inspired generations to dream, and even just allowed people to simply escape to another world if but only for a couple of hours.

But what if some of the most celebrated movies in cinematic history were different? What if your favorite film of all time’s main star was played by someone else? How different would everything be if just one legend never even came to be legend? These are the questions I found myself asking while bored and on an e-adventure one day; I was surprised at just how many massive characters were almost played by other actors.

After my little adventure I decided that I should share these gems with you, my favorite peoples in the whole word.

Before we begin, I came across some amusing casting close calls that probably wouldn’t have affected the film too much one way or the other, but still worth mention. Like, for instance, did you know that the studios originally wanted greatest actor in the world Matthew McConaughey for Titanic, but James Cameron wanted Leonardo DiCaprio? Did you know that Stuart Townsend was offered and Daniel Day-Lewis turned down the role of Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy before Viggo Mortensen was brought in? I didn’t either. I rather enjoy thinking about a Day-Lewis Aragorn. Like Hawkeye from Last of the Mohicans, but with a sweet beard, a sword, and an elven chick by his side instead of Madeline Stowe!

OK, that was fun. Now on with the show… Here’s a look at 12 of the craziest casting close-calls in cinematic history.

12. The Wizard of Oz

OzThe Wizard of Oz is an extremely cherished film and many people consider it their favorite movie of all time. While I found this one interesting, I don’t really think anything would be different had they gone another route. At one point, the studio was pursuing Shirley Temple for the role of Dorothy Gale, but Temple was under contract with 20th Century Fox. Instead of leaving it at that, the two worked out a trade (like freakin’ sports teams) offering Clark Gable and Jean Harlow for a movie in order to use Shirley Temple for The Wizard of Oz — unfortunately, Harlow passed away and they eventually went with Judy Garland. Again, if Temple had been Dorothy this entire time, I think it would probably still be just as cherished, so that’s why it grabs the 12 spot. Plus, it’s probably the only “classic” that I can’t stand… don’t tell anyone.

11. Pirates of the Caribbean

PiratesCaptain Jack Sparrow — like him or not — is now a hugely iconic movie character. In the early 90s, screenwriters Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot pitched the idea to Disney for a movie based on the Pirates ride. At some point, Steven Spielberg even got wind of this and wanted to direct the movie with someone like Bill Murray, Steve Martin, or Robin Williams as Sparrow. Now, anything Spielberg will likely be great, but with one of those guys in the role instead of Johnny Depp, I imagine the movie would have been more like Captain Ron.

10. Men in Black

MIBNo, Men in Black isn’t the most important movie ever made, but it was a huge success and it was also a big part of Will Smith’s now larger-than-life name. Plus, this is my damn list and I want to have some fun with it! So what if not only one of the main parts were different, but ALL the big parts were different? Imagine this: Clint Eastwood as K, Chris O’Donnel or David Schwimmer as J in a film by Quentin Tarantino. Those people were all first offered the job before turning it down allowing Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Barry Sonnenfeld to step in. Would it have been better? A lot worse? We’ll never know.

9. The Terminator

TerminatorThis one upset even me. Apparently two men were considered for the lead role in The Terminator before Arnold got it. Jürgen Prochnow (the German villain dude from Beerfest!) and a one Mr. O.J. Simpson. Can you seriously imagine O.J. as the Terminator? Maybe it’s that whole murder woopsie, maybe it’s the Naked Gun thing, who knows. I just know it’s really wacky to ponder.

8. The Shining

ShiningThe Shining may just be the most-loved horror movie of all time, aside for maybe The Exorcist. While it seems Jack Nicholson was always the main man for the main role, Stanley Kubrick also considered Robert De Niro and Robin Williams for the part. Apparently Kubrick chose neither because De Niro wasn’t psychotic enough and Williams was TOO psychotic. Ahh, Kubrick. Also, Stephen King pleaded with Kubrick not to use Nicholson, suggesting Michael Moriarty and Jon Voight as better choices because they appeared more “normal” and their descent into insanity would have come through better on the screen. I dunno, man, Voight’s a pretty horrifying individual.

7. Pulp Fiction

Pulp FictionDaniel Day-Lewis returns, but in a much more important close-call this time. Day-Lewis wanted the role of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, but Quentin Tarantino decided to go with John Travolta — a role that revived his career. I included this one because we all know how incredibly talented Daniel Day-Lewis is (and how fitting he probably would have been, if you think about it), but Tarantino went with his gut and everything worked perfectly. I don’t know now if even Day-Lewis could have pulled off that slight confusion and bumbling nature that Travolta was able to bring to the otherwise dangerous character.

6. Toy Story

Toy StoryI had to have at least one animated film on here and what better than the one that set up the computer animated movie genre to be as big as it is now? The obvious close-call here is Buzz and Woody and naturally, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else voicing those parts. So who did we almost hear voicing the main two parts in Toy Story? For Buzz Lightyear, Bill Murray and Chevy Chase were considered, as they apparently were for everything ever made (you’ll find out what I mean later). Pixar apparently wanted Jim Carrey for Buzz and Paul Newman for Woody, but the film was low-budget, so they couldn’t afford them. Also, Billy Crystal was offered Buzz as well, but turned it down. Apparently after seeing the film he called it his biggest regret, which he later signed on for Disney/Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.

5. The Godfather

GodfatherBecause it was all just names being thrown around and not actors actually turning down the massively iconic role of Don Vito, The Godfather is a little lower than it would be on most any list it’s on. The role, made famous by Marlon Brando, did indeed have other actors talked about for the role, including Ernest Borgnine, Edward G. Robinson, Orson Welles, and George C. Scott. When Francis Ford Coppola was asked who he wanted, he offered this quote:

I wanted either an Italian-American or an actor who’s so great that he can portray an Italian-American. So, they said, ‘Who do you suggest?’ I said, ‘Lookit, I don’t know, but who are the two greatest actors in the world? Laurence Olivier and Marlon Brando.

And that was that.

4. The Silence of the Lambs

Silence of the LambsOne of the most recognizable figures ever portrayed in film, Dr. Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs had other potential faces before his one true face of Anthony Hopkins eventually came to be; and some interesting faces they were. John Hurt, Christopher Lloyd, Patrick Stewart, Louis Gossett Jr., Robert Duvall, Jack Nicholson, and Robert De Niro were all considered, and Jeremy Irons was actually offered the part, but declined. As blasphemous as it would be to think of anyone else in the role, I would actually like to see Nicholson and Irons do their best impersonation… ya know, maybe at a party or something..

3. Star Wars

Star WarsI think that if 97% of Star Wars fanboys even thought about anyone other than Harrison Ford as Han Solo, they would weep for a day and a half straight. Well, I’m sorry you boys… that are fans, but there’s a large list of names that were considered for the part. George Lucas was firm in his wish that no one from any of his other movies be in Star Wars. Actors considered were Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Robin Williams, Gene Simmons (What the hell?), Roger Daltrey (What the HELL?), Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, and Perry King. Ford, having been in Lucas’s American Graffiti, was technically out of the running. But he read for the part anyway and eventually it was realized that he was way too perfect to pass up. Half of those names in the role intrigue me, half of them make me giggle when I visualize them, and then we know what Walken would have been like.

2. Back to the Future

BTTFMichael J. Fox was always the choice for Marty, but can you imagine this classic trilogy without him? It almost happened. Though Fox was the top choice, he was doing Family Ties and couldn’t commit to Back to the Future, so he turned down the role and Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty. This takes the two-spot because not only was Stoltz cast, but he actually filmed many of his scenes; apparently he didn’t get along with anyone because he disagreed with the “tone” of the film, so they went back to Michael J. Fox, re-shot everything, and never looked back. Honestly, if I was sipping a malt in the ’50s and fucking Rocky Dennis showed up in a Delorean, I would have Anne Frank’d it, tears falling, never to be heard from again. But that’s just me. The photo at right here is of Stoltz as Marty (click for full view).

Weird, eh?

1. Indiana Jones

IndyForget what you thought about Indiana Jones and the Kingdon of the Crystal Skull, this is about Indiana Jones as a whole. Harrison Ford IS Indiana Jones and the character is the blueprint for which all action stars are built. Don’t give me that “James Bond” crap, either; he’s all pretty and well-dressed and has that adorable little accent; that’s not America’s action hero. The very thought of anyone else in this role can make any man, woman, or child sick to their stomachs, which is why it edged out the previously mentioned weeping Star Wars fanboys. Yes, names came up for this even MORE iconic role of Ford’s, but different from Star Wars, these people were actually offered the part, not just “considered” for it. The role was offered to Nick Nolte, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Jack Nicholson, with all actors turning it down; even scarier, the role was actually CAST with Tom Selleck. Let me repeat that… TOM F’n SELLECK was cast as Indiana Jones. Sigh. Thank the gods he eventually had to pull out if it to do Magnum P.I. and I’ve never ever been happier to know something in all of my life.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen; our list of some casting that almost changed some of the greatest films we’ll ever know. Obviously, this happens with pretty much every movie and I’m sure there’s some gigantic ones that I missed and many of these names were just thoughts… but when you really sit back and think about them (if you weren’t already aware), it’s quite the surreal adventure.

Original here

Green Lantern Story Details And Casting Update

By El Mayimbe


Rating: B+

I don’t do due requests, but due to overwhelming demand from fans, I decided to take a look at the first draft of THE GREEN LANTERN by Berlanti, Green and Guggenheim dated 6/9/08, 104 pages. IESB took a look at a different draft, most likely the 2nd draft or first rewrite which was 5 pages longer.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not a die-hard Green Lantern fan. My only comic book experience with Green Lantern was during The Reign of the Supermen storyline in the early 1990s when Cyborg Superman destroyed Coast City and Hal Jordan lost his mind and became the villain Parallax. Catching up on my Lantern lore, courtesy of Wikipedia, I found out yesterday before checking out the script that Hal Jordan is now again the Green Lantern after 2004’s Rebirth mini-series. Gonna check that one out.

On the casting front, DAVID BOREANAZ is not up for the role of Green Lantern. Earlier today, news went around the net that the guy from BONES was up for the role. Don’t believe the hype. Here is the deal, which is what I expected when I inquired about the Boreanaz rumor - the script is out to a few name actors and David ISN’T NOT ONE OF THEM. For starters, Hal Jordan is 27 in the script and David is pushing 40.

Just because a concept artist used David’s likeness for storyboards doesn’t mean he got the gig. It is typical studio policy to go out to all the name actors available so that a studio has a “name” to market on what looks to be another $150 million tentpole huge special effects driven bonanza slated for 2010 to compete with Marvel’s slate.

So, that being said, my POV on the script is that of a story analyst, and a general fan of comic book movies. In other words, I rep the other quadrant or audience that is the non-Green Lantern fanboy contingent that this script has to attract.

The script is good. REALLY REALLY GOOD. Hence the B+ rating. I had a ball reading it and got very into it. The script for me is short of excellent and an A rating because of one particular stupid ignorant scene which offended and pissed me the hell off and took me out of the story which I will mention at the end of my review.

Fanboys are gonna love the shit out of it though. Reading this script and the exceptional work done on SUPERMAX aka GREEN ARROW, it is perfectly clear that Warner Bros. Pictures has upped their comic book movie game and want to go after MARVEL really hard.

There is some very excellent craft in THE GREEN LANTERN. The 3 writers clearly have writing chops, which is expected from writers who work under tight deadlines in television. The structure adheres closely to what I call – the “superhero origin movie paradigm.” Our hero, in this case Hal Jordan has a fear, limitation, block, or wound at the beginning of the story which he has to overcome (his character arc) or have some control by the midpoint of the script which is usually the time he becomes the superhero for the first time ie: BATMAN BEGINS. In GREEN LANTERN’s case, Hal Jordan has to overcome his selfishness and self pity over the death of his father Martin Jordan which takes place early in the script. Hal Jordan for the first 20 pages or so is a prick. The story follows the GREEN LANTERN origin closely and cinematically speaking – IT WORKS.

In a nutshell, ABIN SUR’s ship crash lands in the desert on Gaia aka Earth after his fight with LEGION in space. LEGION got a serious beef with the Green Lantern Corps and hunts them. Abin incurs some injuries with Legion which prove to be fatal. Legion is the biggest menace to the Green Lantern Corps and has already killed three of them. With his dying breath, Abin asks the ring to pick someone honest, someone brave. The ring passes Clark Kent and Guy Gardner and selects Hal Jordan.

abin-hal

Hal Jordan makes it back to Abin’s ship. Abin dies in Hal’s arms and Hal buries him in the desert. Hal also takes the famous Green Lantern oath by the end of act 1 – the crossing of the first threshold scene.

Also, while Hal is taking the oath, HECTOR HAMMOND at the request of the government, performs an autopsy on Abin Sur. Abin’s body was recovered at the crash site. During the autopsy, Hector removes a piece of shrapnel which is a piece of LEGION. It infects Hammond who will become the second villain of the script. LEGION is the the biggest threat to Oa, the Guardians of the universe, and the Green Lantern Corps, and Hector Hammond is the biggest threat to Earth, Hal Jordan and his loved ones. Legion is a bad motherfucker and a Green Lantern terminator, reminds of one of my favorite DC super villians – DOOMSDAY.

Hectorham-gl

Also what was not previously mentioned is that ALAN SCOTT aka the first Green Lantern is also in this script and a major character, but I won’t say how.

The first part of the 2nd act, the test, allies, and enemies stage is where Hal Jordan gets accustomed to his new powers and the 2nd half of act 2 is Hal doing his first deeds on Earth as it’s newest hero. There is also a romantic subplot that Hal has with CAROL FERRIS. The 2nd half of act 2 has Hal losing his first fight with Hector Hammond. Green Lantern travels to Oa to ask the Guardians for help because he believes he cannot defeat Hector Hammond alone.

gl-oa

guardians

The 3rd act is wall to wall action where Hal Jordan joins all the other Lanterns on Oa in fighting Legion and then the other Lanterns like KILOWOG joining Hal on Earth to take on Hammond. Very cool and if executed as written, the script has the potential to be a HUGE blockbuster with serious franchise potential for further sequels and prequels as the script alludes to.

kilowog-gl

A special effects company will have a field day with THE GREEN LANTERN with all the green shapes and objects that Hal Jordan and his fellow Lanterns conjure up with the ring.

Overall, one of the most solid first draft superhero screenplays EVER. It turned me into a Green Lantern fan and I already ordered Emerald Dawn and Rebirth to read.

greenlanternpicture

Now my beef. To most folks, it would seem minor, but to a Latin like me, it’s huge deal.

A note to the Berlanti, Green and Guggenheim and the creative execs on the project.

Guys, you know the character of HUGE MOTHERFUCKING BOYFRIEND?

Well, if you don’t want to incur the wrath of this HUGE MOTHERFUCKING AUTHOR AND STORY ANAYLYST then get rid of the dead Latino Meth Drug Dealer body at the bottom of page 27.

Do we need a stereotype and an inaccurate one at that in a superhero movie?!

First of all, you ignorant fools the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of crystal meth dealers are WHITE!

A statistical fact.

Does the dead Latin body that Hammond performs an autopsy on advance story or reveal character?

No. It only serves to perpetuate a stereotype and again an inaccurate one. It also serves to alienate the biggest movie going audience which according to a report issued on 8/14/08 by Hispanic Media Marketing, went to the movies this summer at unprecedented levels.

You see, a huge percentage of the half a billion bucks of The Dark Knight’s money came from the Latino movie going audience. Don’t believe me? Get the report and the tracking. So if you guys and the WB want us to embrace your movie then get rid of the stereotype. The body could remain, it doesn’t have to be a Latino and the scene would still work.

There is no need for stereotypes in Superhero movies.

I’m not asking you, I’m telling you…

… GET THE FUCK RID OF IT.

That simple ignorance is the reason I can’t give this expertly crafted script the A it clearly and obviously deserves. The dead body changes ethnicity and I change the grade. Till then, I will be monitoring the rewrites so that dead body better not be Latino because the last thing my community needs in a tentpole movie is to inaccurately perpetuate the we deal crystal meth.

As the New Yorker in me would say, “Get the fuck out of here with that bullshit!”

In the meantime, you can follow my updates on TWITTER.

Mayimbe out.

Original here

Our 10 Favorite Actors from Geeky Movies & TV

By Ken Denmead

Our criteria are simple: to make this list, an actor must have been in two or more classic geeky movies or TV shows, be they science fiction, fantasy, super-hero, horror/monster, or whatever. They must have made an indelible impression with their work. It helps if their characters spouted some really quotable lines, and it really helps if at least one of their roles went on to develop true "cult" status.

We'll start with some of the classically-trained actors who have found their ways into our geeky hearts by getting some cool roles in fantasy and science-fiction where people who could speak with authority were needed.Patrickstewartaspicard1

Patrick Stewart: Jean-luc Picard lives on in the heart of every Star Trek fan as, if not the first Captain of the Enterprise, then the one we'd trust to look after the well-being of our female relatives in any stressful situation. His stint as Professor Xavier of the X-Men, a role he earned both through acting ability and a genetic disposition towards male pattern baldness, only adds more weight to his earning a spot on this list. But let's cap it off - who remembers he was in the quintessential telling of the Arthurian myth, Excalibur, where he got to fight like a madman and bellow at people?

Tn2_ian_mckellen_3 Ian McKellen: This one's really a no-brainer for two reasons you know, and one you may have forgotten. First, Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. He brought to life one of the most important characters in 20th century literature, and blew us all away with how well he differentiated The Grey from The White. Then there's Magneto - the perfect counterpoint to Stewart's Xavier. Despite everything else that went wrong with X3, the scene with McKellen and Stewart as younger Eric and Xavier was totally cool. Alright, so those were two reasons, but he gets one more geek cred point for a smaller role he had in a movie that appeals to geeks a couple decade ago: The Shadow. Yes, it was Alec Baldwin, but there was a lot to that adaptation of the classic comic hero that worked - perhaps due to the adept direction of Russell Mulcahy, who was only a couple years off *his* most memorable geek masterwork: Highlander. Yeah, that's a lot of degrees of separation, but McKellen was in the movie, so it counts.

142225__emperor_l Ian Holm: The last of the old-school on this list can perhaps claim the most significant credits as well. How about playing at various times in his career, both Bilbo and Frodo? Good. How about the synthetic in the first Alien movie? Better? How about both Time Bandits and Brazil? Frickin' fantastic! Oh, and Naked Lunch, The 5th Element, and a hell of a lot of Shakespeare over the years. It all adds up to a great career, and a tremendous geek cred.

Read more in the extended post.

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Lancehenriksen Lance Henriksen: the other member of our list to play a synthetic in an Alien movie, also gets great geek cred from having his own Chris Carter-created TV show, Millennium, playing the haunted ex-agent Frank Black. Also for the fans of monster-movies, there was Pumpkinhead. But do you all remember he was in the original Terminator too? He's always popping up in b-grade horror movies these days, and the occasional voice work as well. Always a dependable villain, and once in a while a sympathetic good guy, too.

Fillionfireflyphoto01 Nathan Fillion: He's come on strong lately as a fan-favorite, mostly for his work in the Whedonverse as Captain Mal Reynolds, and very recently as Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog. But he also gets real props for voicing Vigilante in the Justice League animated series, and Steve Trevor in the upcoming Wonder Woman animated film. He's got the humor, he's got the pathos, and he can do musicals. Who can ask for anything more?

Ronperlman Ron Perlman: Hellboy I & II, Star Trek: Nemesis, Blade II, the new Magnificent Seven TV series, Alien: Resurrection, Beauty and the Beast, and... The Ice PIrates?!?! Not bad at all! But let's not forget to mention how many animate series he's done: The Batman, Kim Possible, Danny Phantom, Justice League, Teen Titans, Superman, and many many more. If there's massive make-up involved, Ron's never been afraid of the role because, somehow, his acting comes through.

1880 Clancy Brown: There's just so much geek cred to Clancy Brown, he deserves his own post (and maybe we'll get to that in the future). Starting with the Kurgan in the original Highlander movie (back to Russell Mulcahy again - six degrees of geeky separation), Clancy has earned and re-earned his geek cred so many times, it's hard to count that high. Personal favorites include Earth2, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, and the voice of Lex Luthor in the Superman animated series. Indeed, if you read the IMDB lists, it's obvious Clancy and Ron must carpool, because they've both been in so many of the same shows.

2462925838_4260bb4772 Alan Rickman: The quintessentially droll villain, he make an indelible mark as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and he's brought Professor Snape to wonderful life in the Harry Potter films, but his best geek cred comes from a little bit of science fiction satire: "By Grabthor's Hammer" indeed! Oh, and let's not forget Dogma!

Draft_lens1552500module3998881photo Samuel L. Jackson: Sam "the Man" gets on the list because we all know he really *is* a geek at heart. Especially a comic book geek, and his turns in Unbreakable and his cameo (and hopefully future feature role) as the Ultimate universe Nick Fury just seal the deal. And the voice of Frozone in The Incredibles, of course. Plus, he's been a Jedi, a hitman, and Shaft. Not bad at all!

But we had to save the best for last. Nothing against all the other listmembers, but one actor reigns supreme as the king of geeky movies and TV: Mr. Bruce Campbell.

Bcaselvis I'm not going to go into everything we know and love about "the chin's" life and work, because if you don't know it already, you're not truly a geek, and you need to go out and watch the following: Evil Dead 1-2, Army of Darkness, Jack of All Trades, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., Xena, Hercules, Sky High, Bubba Ho-Tep, and all the Spiderman Movies. And we all know the current success of the USA Network's show Burn Notice is all due to the fact that Bruce's fans are tuning in to see him as the old buddy character, Sam Axe. Except, haven't you noticed how the supposed "star" plays the straight man all the time, and the writers are giving Bruce all the best lines? "Smooth is smooth, baby!"

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12 Weakest Deaths In Science Fiction History

The greatest science fiction heroes live on the edge, skimming the jagged maw of death every day. "Scifi hero" is a high-risk profession, so you shouldn't expect your idols to live forever. But at the very least, you can hope your hero gets a good death — a hero's death — instead of going out like a punk. So it's too bad that some of our most favorite space adventurers have been stuck with lame deaths. Here's our list of the 12 scifi hero deaths that made us feel like instead of our heroes cheating death, death cheated our heroes. With spoilers.

12) Shepherd Book. I almost mentioned Wash here, since his death in Serenity upset me tremendously — but at least Wash's death made sense in context. Wash gets to die heroically, piloting the ship through a crazy dogfight over a scary planet, then gliding a dead ship to a landing (almost) everyone can walk away from. His death is jarring and shocking, and it feels like we get to love him all over again before saying goodbye.

But Shepherd Book on the other hand — he feels like a throwaway character in the movie, and his death is pretty pointless. He's just there to mouth a few words about spirituality and then get wasted. And his death, unlike Wash, is purely there for plot-hammer purposes. He's Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru — he dies so that Mal can realize that there's no way to hide from the Operative any longer, and he's too mad to keep hiding. It's the plot-device death that lets Mal turn to the camera and (pretty much) say "Now it's personal." He's Mal's girlfriend in a refrigerator. Shepherd Book deserved so, so much more than that.

11) Marcus Cole in Babylon 5. He's madly in love with Susan Ivanova, but never gets anywhere with her. Until finally, he sacrificed his life to save hers, using an alien device to transfer all his life energy to hers. Says actor Jason Carter:

"The irony of it all is that I gave my life in order that someone else might live who then left the show!" Carter laughs, referring to Claudia Christian's decision to quit as Ivanova at the of B5's fourth season. "I mean, what was the point about that then? It kind of makes my heroic act a little pointless, I thought."

Carter actually filmed two versions of the story: one where Cole died, and one where he was cryogenically frozen. And later, we found out the frosty version of Cole's fate was the real version, and creator J. Michael Straczynski wrote a story where Cole gets revived and gets to live on a barren planet with a clone of Ivanova. Aww. (Runner up: I nearly put Boone from Earth: The Final Conflict in this slot.)


10) Pantha. Actually, she can serve as a stand-in for every great comics character who's had a throwaway death in a major crossover. It never fails: some character who used to be popular or star in their own book falls from grace, until he/she turns into cannon fodder. All in the name of showing how bad-ass the latest bad-guy is, like Eclipso killing off the Will Payton version of Starman, or Max Lord shooting Blue Beetle in the head. Or Black Goliath randomly dying off in Civil War. But poor old Pantha may be the worst. One of the most loved New Titans characters in the 1990s, she'd fallen into obscurity by the time Infinite Crisis came around. So she randomly gets in the way of Superboy Prime's backhand. He spends a few panels afterwards staring at her rolling head and trying to insist he didn't really mean to do that. Way to prove you're not stupid, Superboy Prime.

(Oh, and another comic-book runner up: I almost threw Superman in here, because his 1992 "death" was really cheap and weird. He and Doomsday just punch each other a whole lot, and then they're both dead. Except that they're not.)

9) Carson Beckett. Actually, there have been so many deaths on Stargate that left us unsatisfied, from Janet to Martouf to Her-ur (who shoulda been a contender!). But at least none of those other characters were killed by an exploding tumor, which apparently is the cutting edge in space terrorism. Watson has a tumor that was due to explode and kill everyone and Beckett insists on removing it instead of putting Watson in isolation. He gets it out in time, but then it blows up and kills Beckett and the bomb-disposal team. And yes, I know Beckett later comes back, but it's his clone or something.

8) The Lone Gunmen. They were cool enough to get their own short-lived spin-off series, but then they died (or possibly faked their deaths) in an episode that didn't even have Mulder and Scully in it. In the episode "Jump The Shark," the Lone Gunmen return to the show after the end of their own spin-off, only to get locked in a room with a virus bomb.

7) Trinity in the Matrix: Revolutions. Mostly, her death is weak because she gets killed and then keeps talking for another ten minutes. (Thanks to Meredith for the suggestion.)

6) Cpl. Hicks in Aliens 3. He's one of the coolest characters in Aliens, stepping up and taking charge after everything goes rotten. He stands up to the slimy Burke and listens to Ripley when she says they have to wipe out the aliens. But what does that get him in the third movie? An off-screen death at the movie's beginning, with just his name on a computer screen to confirm that he died. (Thanks again to Meredith for this one.)

5) Louanne "Kat" Katraine. She was one of my favorite characters on Battlestar Galactica, maybe because she was the only one who ever really called Starbuck on all her shit. So I was bummed when she got turned into a drug addict, and then it turned out she's an imposter who stole the name Louanne Katraine and is involved in running contraband. She may even have helped the Cylons infiltrate human society prior to the attacks. Even though I usually love Jane Espenson's writing, I really didn't like the episode "The Passage," in which Kat suddenly gets a whole new backstory as a smuggler, before being "redeemed" by sacrificing her life in a radiation field. It felt sort of cheap, as if the show was turning one of its coolest characters into a whole different person before disposing of her.


4) Judge Giant. He was one of the coolest characters in the Judge Dredd universe — until he got shot in the back during a riot in the "Block War" storyline. It was a quick, throwaway cheap death for such a cool character. Writer Alan Grant later apologized, according to Wikipedia: "When we wrote the death of Giant, I thought it was a great idea to kill him off in such a casual, natural (for a judge) way. But when the reader outcry came, I was startled and forced to see things from their point of view."

3) Cyclops in X-Men 3. This was a cheap death, except that it ended up being very expensive — it totally cost the movie my interest and suspension of disbelief. I spent about an hour after Cyclops died assuming they'd faked his death for some reason, and expecting him to pop up at a critical moment. And when I finally accepted that Cyclops had died off screen, at the hands of his true love, who had gone batshit after being hit with a plot hammer, I was so incredulous I could barely pay attention to all the waffling and wailing over whether Rogue was going to get Mutant-begone treatment or not. (Did she? I can't even remember.)

2) The Sixth Doctor. When the BBC fired Colin Baker as the star of Doctor Who, they asked him to come back so they could kill him off and regenerate him into a new actor. Not surprisingly, he said no thanks. In that instance, the classy thing would have been to introduce the new Doctor already settled in the role, and pretend the Colin Baker Doctor had died off-screen. (As a bonus, that approach would have allowed you to write out Bonnie Langford's Mel at the same time.) Instead, they put a curly blond wig onto the new Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, and had him pretend to be the old Doctor for long enough to blur his face. And poor old Colin's Doctor died, not saving the universe, but banging his head on the TARDIS console while the Rani was shooting pew-pew lasers at the time machine.

1) Captain Kirk. Actually, I pretty much want to make Captain Kirk numbers one through 10 on this list, since his death in Star Trek: Generations was the gold standard for disappointing ends. He finally agrees to leave the happy horse-barn paradise to help Captain Picard deal with Malcolm McDowell, who really shouldn't have posed much of a challenge for one Captain, let alone two. Maybe if it was Clockwork Orange Malcolm McDowell (before the treatments) or even Get Crazy Malcolm McDowell. But cranky old Malcolm McDowell? Why why why? McDowell basically beats the crap out of Kirk. It could have been worse. It could have been the original version they shot:

Trek runner up: Trip in the final episode of Enterprise. Why did he have to sacrifice his life when faced with a set of standard-issue thugs? Normally, he would have defeated the low-rent space-crooks with one pinky and some technobabble, but suddenly it becomes a matter of life and death because it's the final episode.


BONUS: I had to add Boba Fett from Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi, becuase as Rickotron and Bonniegrrl pointed out, he totally gets the short end of the lightsaber. He gets built up as this super-cool bounty hunter, and then he just sort of gets knocked into the mouth of the desert beastie. Yuck. And Star Wars runner-up status goes to Mace Windu and all the Jedi who get zapped by Clone Troopers in Revenge Of The Sith.

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