Wednesday, October 1, 2008
David Letterman's War Against John McCain Day 4: "Good Thing John McCain Blew Me Off To Go Save The Economy"
Tuesday night, David Letterman kept his war with John McCain raging strong, weaving another McCain joke into his monologue (that's 4 shows in a row, not counting the Friday show which was seemingly pre-taped earlier in the week).
"Yesterday the stock market...suffered its biggest one-day drop in history....And I'm telling you, boy, it's a good thing John McCain blew me off to go save the economy. Thank god is all I can say!"
You see, Travis Wright is one of the writers of Eagle Eye - the movie that’s top of the American box office despite looking like it was crapped out by a puppy with a gammy tummy - and for his next trick he says he’s working on a script for Blade Runner 2.
Obviously Travis Wright writing a Blade Runner 2 script is a terrible idea. Not because of the important cultural significance of the original or anything, though. No, we’re dead against the idea of Blade Runner 2 for one reason and one reason only - it’ll probably end up having bloody Shia LaBeouf in it, won’t it.
If you were to make a list of films that nobody should ever think about giving a sequel to, Blade Runner would be right at the top, along with The Godfather and James Bond. Blade Runner was an especially singular film; both direct enough to work as an action movie and vague enough for its audience to interpret it however it wanted. The last thing it needs is a sequel.
But tell that to Travis Wright, one of the co-writers of Eagle Eye. According to an email received by Slashfilm, he’s working on a sequel to Blade Runner himself right now:
“I recently attended a Q&A session with one of the writers of ‘Eagle Eye’ after a free screening organized by the magazine Creative Screenwriting. During the Q&A, the writer said that he and whomever it was that helped him co-write the ‘Eagle Eye’ screenplay were in the process of writing a sequel to Blade Runner, and had already contacted the producers of the original, etc.”
Best of all, according to the email, the full title of Wright’s script is Blade Runner 2: Meet The Deckards! and proposes that Eddie Murphy will star as all of Harrison Ford’s extended family.
That’s a lie. Actually the Blade Runner 2 script is still going to be set in 2019, but with Phillip K Dick’s technologically dystopian worldview reduced into something a bit more realistic-seeming to audiences of 2008. To mirror this, during the movie’s climax, when Harrison Ford kills another replicant who looks a bit like Rutger Hauer, the replicant gives this stirring soliloquy:
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. A cat in a shoe on the internet. A drunk man trying to bum a Landrover at lunchtime. A Nintendo Wii. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain…”
That’s a lie as well. In fact, by all accounts it seems as if Blade Runner 2 hasn’t got any sort of studio backing whatsoever, and that Travis Wright is just writing it in the dim hope that someone one day will want to pay for it.
That’s fairly unlikely to happen - not many people are stupid enough to want to sully a classic like Blade Runner with an rashly thought-out sequel - and so the fate of Blade Runner 2 is set.
It’ll be filmed in the woods on someone’s mobile phone and star a couple of blokes from accounts and the HR lady’s sister, the way all good sci-fi sequels should be.
1. Jamie Lee Curtis
The daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh automatically has the breeding of a star, but more to the point, she displayed the charisma of one in her scintillating turn in A Fish Called Wanda. So why has she had such a limited career? Her early performance as Laurie Strode in the first Halloween may have prevented directors from taking her seriously enough—it's certainly mired her in Halloween sequels, up to 2002's Halloween: Resurrection, and it no doubt led directly to her casting in the likes of The Fog, Terror Train, and Prom Night. Post-Wanda, she "upgraded" to forgettable mainstream fare like the My Girl movies and Forever Young, with a memorable turn in the unmemorable Freaky Friday remake. But her highest-profile moment came from her depressingly exploitative role in the popular but brainless actioner True Lies. Wanda showed she had the chops to be classy, funny, and sexy, yet her roles since then rarely allowed her to be any of the above, let alone all three. She's just one of many talented people who really deserve better than what Hollywood's handed them—specifically in her case, Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
2. Michael Keaton
It's hard to say whether Michael Keaton's negligible presence in show business lately has been a matter of bad luck, bad management, or personal choice. He's always been mercurial, jumping from broad comic turns in movies like Night Shift and Johnny Dangerously to more dramatic work in Clean And Sober and One Good Cop. And of course he probably made enough money in his two rounds as Batman that he never needs to work again. Still, Keaton has such a unique onscreen presence, simultaneously quick-witted and weathered, that he's nearly an always an asset, even when he agrees to star in crap like Multiplicity and Jack Frost. Keaton's recent starring role in the offbeat indie drama Game 6—and his work in the '90s as Elmore Leonard's Ray Nicolette in Jackie Brown and Out Of Sight—shows that he can still captivate an audience when he wants to. He'd be perfect as the lead in an FX-style drama like Rescue Me or Sons Of Anarchy, playing a semi-desperate character with a sharp edge and an unexplored tender side. Why not give him a call, TV producers?
3. Bob Odenkirk
While his Mr. Show partner David Cross scored another instant-classic television gig as "analrapist" Tobias Fünke on Arrested Development and landed nifty character-actor roles in acclaimed fare like Ghost World, I'm Not There, and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Bob Odenkirk has worked largely behind the scenes since Mr. Show's demise. He's popped up in regrettable fare like Monkeybone, My Big Fat Independent Movie, and Let's Go To Prison—which he also directed—but outside of his appearances on Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Odenkirk's diversity and unparalleled gift for comic rage have gone woefully underutilized.
4. Robert Forster
With 1997's Jackie Brown, Quentin Tarantino rescued Robert Forster from the dustbin of cinema history and roles that even Troy McClure would have turned down. (You might remember him from such films as Maniac Cop 3: Badge Of Silence, Satan's Princess, and The Kinky Coaches And The Pom Pom Pussycats.) Forster only got better with age. The glum pretty boy of Medium Cool and Reflections In A Golden Eye had become everyone's ideal dad: kindly, soulful, and blessed with effortless authenticity and soothing paternal warmth. Forster delivered a wonderful performance in the criminally underseen Diamond Men, but otherwise has picked up paychecks for bigger-budgeted crap like D-Wars, Supernova, Gus Van Sant's defilement of Psycho, and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. He's a working actor, but juicy, substantive roles have largely eluded him. Hopefully his upcoming appearance on Heroes will change that.
5. Judy Davis
Prickly and brittle, yet forceful, witty, and acerbic, Judy Davis scored a remarkable string of great performances in the early '90s, following creepily sexy turns in Barton Fink and Naked Lunch with equally volcanic performances in Husbands And Wives, The Ref, and The New Age. Since then, however, she's been typecast as ball-busting shrews in supporting roles. As big-screen opportunities dried up, Davis worked extensively in television, playing such real-life figures as Nancy Reagan, Judy Garland, and Marilyn Dean. Most recently, Davis has applied her idiosyncratic gifts to a supporting role in both the miniseries and series incarnation of The Starter Wife, a USA series based on Gigi Levangie Grazer's novel, a far cry from stealing the films of the Coen brothers, Woody Allen, and David Cronenberg. Sigh.
6. Geena Davis
Generally speaking, unless you're a Hollywood veteran taking your last bows, it may be better not to win a Best Supporting Actor or Actress Oscar. Just ask Geena Davis, who won for her quirky-but-deep performance in the 1988 melodrama The Accidental Tourist—after nearly a decade of bright turns in well-liked TV and movie comedies—and has seen her star gradually dim in the two decades since. Davis scored in Thelma & Louise and A League Of Their Own, and won a Golden Globe playing the first female president in the legendarily mismanaged TV drama Commander In Chief, but the sprightly, gangly, slightly skewed girl-next-door type that was her stock in trade in the '80s has been all but replaced by something borderline cartoonish. Perhaps the Davis of old is gone for good, or perhaps people have forgotten how to write roles for the kind of woman she used to play: smart, capable, somewhat flustered, but easy to like.
7. Rachel Dratch
During her 1999-2007 stint on Saturday Night Live, Rachel Dratch was a star. As one of the show's longest-running female cast members, she took on characters like Barbara Walters, Debbie Downer, and an amorous hippie college professor. Most notably, though, she wasn't afraid to get ugly with her roles, playing, for instance, the drooling love-child of James Haven and Angelina Jolie, complete with an arm growing out of her head. Dratch's longtime creative partnership with Tina Fey looked like it would strike gold again with 30 Rock, only Dratch hit a snag—her character on the sitcom was replaced by Jane Krakowski. Dratch showed up in several cameo roles in the show's first season, but has since faded away. In spite of her noteworthy SNL run, Dratch has yet to find another outlet for her talents—she's appeared on Third Watch and The King Of Queens, and in films like Martin & Orloff, Dickie Roberts; Former Child Star, and Click. Nobody is more aware of the unfair career turn than Dratch, who bemoaned her downtime to New York magazine earlier this year: In response, Perez Hilton offered on his website to pay her to make some "funny videos," but whether that's better than not working is unclear.
8. Rory Cochrane
Considering the many actors who broke out of Richard Linklater's Dazed And Confused, it's baffling that Rory Cochrane—who nailed some of the film's biggest laughs as the constantly high conspiracy theorist Slater—wasn't among them. Perhaps it's because he inhabited the role so well that his follow-up projects didn't resonate quite so loudly. After all, Slater couldn't be further removed from Love And A .45's speed-crazed biker Billy Mack Black, or Empire Records' philosophical smartass Lucas; both characters proved that Cochrane was far more versatile than some of his Dazed co-stars, even though the movies themselves were less than revelatory. Cochrane's ability to constantly reinvent himself may have actually hindered his progress. Had he simply embraced playing the laidback stoner the way Matthew McConaughey did, who knows where his career might have gone? Instead, his résumé is full of middling indie pics that failed to find an audience, along with roles opposite big stars in major studio gambles that probably sounded good on paper, such as Hart's War and Flawless. These days, Cochrane seems to have settled into a respectable television career with small supporting parts on CSI and 24, but as his go-for-broke performances in Linklater's A Scanner Darkly and the underrated Right At Your Door demonstrate, he has so much more to offer.
9. Rick Moranis
On SCTV, Rick Moranis made comedy look easy, sliding gracefully from playing suave VJ Gerry Todd to fast-talking film producer Larry Siegel to the beer-addled Bob McKenzie—not to mention inhabiting disparate celebrities like George Carlin, Neil Young, and Dick Cavett. Unfortunately, outside of a few creative gambles like Streets Of Fire and Head Office (both critical and commercial failures), his films rarely made use of his chameleonic talents: Beginning with Ghostbusters, Moranis was rewarded only when he was playing nebbishes, a career trajectory that was cemented with the blockbuster hit Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and its sequels. From then on, Moranis was consigned to family-film hell, playing cartoonish nerd archetypes—and in the case of The Flintstones, a nerd from an actual cartoon—and looking vaguely embarrassed in mediocre comedies like My Blue Heaven and Splitting Heirs. Finally, he retired from acting, having never really broken out of that "loveable loser" box. It remains to be seen whether he'll ever be lured back to Hollywood, but a part that finally makes good use of Moranis' range could be one of film's great comeback stories.
10. Timothy Olyphant
Back in 1997, those who saw Scream 2 probably didn't have exorbitantly high expectations of Timothy Olyphant, but in the dozen years since, he's put together too many excellent supporting roles to be ignored. After making an impression among the ensemble cast of Go in 1999, he mostly opted for roles in dude-flicks (though he stood out again in another group-cast indie fave, The Safety Of Objects) but to his credit, at least they were good ones. Aside from wasting time in Gone In 60 Seconds and The Girl Next Door, Olyphant added something to Rock Star and Live Free Or Die Hard. Perhaps that guy-geared résumé is what landed him his first cinematic lead, in last year's entertaining shoot-'em-up Hitman (and a role in Stop-Loss this year), but now he seems to be trying to bank a career on television. A Sex And The City appearance was his only TV experience before he took the lead role in Deadwood, a sharp contrast from recent screen time in the dumb comedy My Name Is Earl. In fact, Olyphant's versatility might just be what's holding him back: How do you brand yourself after showing up both on Christina Applegate's Samantha Who? and on Glenn Close's Damages?
11. Clifton Collins Jr.
An initial go-to actor for the Hughes brothers and in the cast for John Singleton's Poetic Justice, Clifton Collins Jr. was originally typecast as a Latino thug (he's half-Mexican), and a notable turn as a hitman for a drug cartel in Traffic only solidified the stereotype. But hey, at least he showed that he can be wildly entertaining while waving a pistol around and acting insane: Yep, that's him as a drug dealer (again) in The Rules Of Attraction, intimidating the shit out of James Van Der Beek and breathing life into the sluggish film. Thankfully, though, Collins is slowly turning simple thug-with-gun roles into thug-with-character-development roles. He helped immensely with his delicate portrayal of complex killer Perry Smith in 2005's Capote. It also appears he's finding parts that aren't criminals: His next movie is a sports drama, The Perfect Game. Then, uh, he's in a comedy-drama about homicide scenes (Sunshine Cleaning) and a thriller about serial killers (The Horsemen). Ah, well.
12. Lochlyn Munro
A Canadian who got his start on 21 Jump Street, Lochlyn Munro is too funny to forever be known only as the spazzed-out, beer-guzzling psycho roommate in Dead Man On Campus. (Perhaps it was his appearance in Wagons East that landed him the part?) Alas, it was all downhill from there: Screwed, Scary Movie, White Chicks, The Benchwarmers, and Daddy Day Camp all show up on his filmography. But dig up your DVD of A Night At The Roxbury—where did you put that?—and try not to giggle at Munro's portrayal of a ludicrously dedicated fitness trainer; Munro debatably plays "oblivious" to comic effect better than Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan. It's worth wondering what Munro would do with more screen time, but not too many people will be willing to check out Freddy Vs. Jason or Dracula 2000 to find out. But, hey, Munro graced the screen in Unforgiven, suggesting that he isn't all just dumb gags and dumb thrills. Then again… was that him in Deck The Halls?
13. Michael Badalucco
One of the characteristics that make the Coen brothers such great filmmakers is their ability to recognize acting talent that others have missed; their movies are populated with a virtual stock company of great but otherwise terribly unused character actors. Although he settled into a comfortable life of TV appearances, most notably as Jimmy Berluti on The Practice, the round-faced, squinting Michael Badalucco has appeared in a handful of films that serve mostly as reminders of how good an acting career he might have had if given the chance. The Coens first used him in a brief, memorable scene as a mob driver in Miller's Crossing, but it wasn't until his unforgettable appearance as a manic-depressive Babyface Nelson in O Brother, Where Art Thou? that his real potential shone through. A chilling performance as David Berkowitz in Spike Lee's Summer of Sam proved that he was capable of more than just comedic turns, and the Coens got another solid role out of him in The Man Who Wasn't There. But he's been ill-used since then.
14. Mos Def
Rappers-turned-actors are a dime a dozen, which is about what they're worth. One of the few exceptions is Mos Def, a critically acclaimed rapper whose movie appearances have shown him to be charismatic and intense. As inventive and emotional onscreen as he is on record, he can be breezily cool and sinister, often in the same role, but while he shows an admirable willingness to reach, he's been hobbled by ambitious failures, and more often than not, he ends up being the best thing in a bad movie: He was intensely watchable in the otherwise-dismal Spike Lee joint Bamboozled, and likewise the only worthwhile thing about the MTV abomination Carmen: A Hip Hopera. He's also done terrific work in movies that aim high but don't quite succeed (The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and Be Kind Rewind) and TV projects that don't get the attention they deserve (Something The Lord Made and The Boondocks, where he has a hilarious reoccurring role as gay rapper Gangstalicious). If things don't change for him soon, his career will be defined by his appearances in blockbusters like The Italian Job: they'll make him money, but they'll leave him with the kind of sellout reputation he constantly decries in his music.
15. Mädchen Amick
David Lynch's , for all its greatness, unfortunately reads like a Who's Who of actors who deserved better careers than they ended up with. Although it's one of the most critically acclaimed shows in TV history—thanks in no small part to its dynamite cast—very few of them have had much success in the years since the series went off the air. Kyle MacLachlan started out as the best-known member of the cast, and ended up in Showgirls; the stunning Sheryl Lee did gross soft porn in Red Shoe Diaries before bouncing around various sub-par TV roles; and Eric DaRe, Dana Ashbrook, and Wendy Robie are all more famous for having been on Twin Peaks than for anything they've done since. Perhaps the greatest casualty was the striking, sensitive Mädchen Amick, who did a tremendous job as abused wife Shelly Johnson. Critics loved her, but success in that role didn't translate to movie roles; after a few unremarkable performances in duds like Sleepwalkers, Trapped In Paradise, and Wounded, she settled into TV movies and generic "friend-of-the-lead" series work. Like some of her fellow Twin Peaks actresses, she did time on Gilmore Girls, but she, like them, deserves much better.
16. Andre Braugher
When Homicide: Life On The Street debuted in 1993, it didn't just offer a more realistic take on the day-to-day drudgery of police work, it also featured one of TV's most complicated, non-stereotypical multi-ethnic casts. Andre Braugher's master detective Frank Pembleton quickly became the show's breakout character: a rigorously moral, frequently contemptuous cop with a keen sense of drama and a well-earned swagger. Braugher finally won an Emmy for his work on Homicide in 1998 (his last year on the show), and won another in 2006 for the underrated FX miniseries Thief, but for the most part, he's had difficulty finding roles that suit his commanding voice and visible passion. In movies, Braugher has largely been relegated to character parts that barely qualify as "supporting actor" material—cops, captains, soldiers, and his miserable role as a doomed dummy in The Mist. Maybe he's just going where the money is, steering clear of the kind of low-budget indies where he could soar, Paul Giamatti-style. Whatever the reason for his middling career, it's the kind of injustice that Frank Pembleton would never stand.
17. Dave Foley
Pretty much every member of The Kids In The Hall belongs on this list, since they've all shown more versatility and imagination in their comedy sketches than they've displayed in the smattering of bit parts they've taken outside KITH. But Foley is a particularly frustrating case, since a decade ago, he was holding down the center on the brilliant sitcom NewsRadio and doing fine voice work on Pixar's blockbuster A Bug's Life, while for much of the '00s, his résumé has been littered with cameos, comic relief, guest appearances, and TV-presenter gigs. He's been game throughout, but even when he was making the best of a two-year stint as the host of Celebrity Poker Showdown, he often looked depressed, defeated, and possibly drunk. Foley isn't necessarily a movie star, but there's no reason he shouldn't be anchoring another American sitcom or getting beefier character roles.
18. Anna Faris
If Oscars were handed out to actors who give good performances in spite of ineffectual direction, terrible writing, and absolutely no support from the supporting cast, Anna Faris would be the new Katharine Hepburn. A cute blonde whose good looks belie an endearing, anything-for-a-laugh fearlessness, Faris has thus far eked out roles in a long series of lame, brain-dead comedies: The Hot Chick, Waiting…, Mama's Boy, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and all four Scary Movie films. (To be fair, she also had small roles in Lost In Translation and Brokeback Mountain.) Still, Faris has emerged as an unlikely darling among critics frantically looking for something good while sitting through some of the worst films of the past several years. Will Faris look as good when her surroundings aren't so repulsive? It would be nice to find out.
19. John Lithgow
It isn't that John Lithgow has had a bad career—he's been a respected character actor on stage and screen for more than 35 years, and he starred in a very successful sitcom, 3rd Rock From The Sun, in the late '90s. But he's never really had a breakout movie role as a leading man, and he doesn't have the creepy-cool status that defines similarly quirky actors like Christopher Walken and John Malkovich. (You could never base a Saturday Night Live skit on a John Lithgow impression.) But anyone who's seen Lithgow's brilliant star turn in Brian De Palma's underappreciated 1991 thriller Raising Cain—or his supporting performances in De Palma's Blow Out, or The World According To Garp—knows he can ham it up with the best of them. Lately, Lithgow has been appearing in small roles every couple of years in films that haven't let him unleash his inner weirdo. Please, somebody get this guy a script where he's playing multiple roles, and possibly wearing a dress.
20. Steve Zahn
Steve Zahn is known for playing slackers, stoners, and loveable idiots, but sometimes it seems like he isn't really acting. He's done enough good work in great movies—Out Of Sight, Rescue Dawn, Shattered Glass, That Thing You Do!—to suggest that all the crappy comedies and forgettable action flicks on his résumé are squandering real talent. Even more disconcerting is Zahn's apparent lack of effort in utterly forgettable trash like this year's Strange Wilderness, where he coasted on his considerable charisma in lieu of giving an actual performance. Zahn is almost always a delight onscreen, but if he applied himself a bit more, he could be the smartest kid in the class.
21. Justine Bateman
To date, former Family Ties star Justine Bateman has had a leading role in just one film, 1988's lady rock 'n' roll band opus Satisfaction. Though she returned to the silver screen in 2006 with a small role in the Judd Apatow-produced comedy The TV Set, and appeared in four episodes of Desperate Housewives this year, Bateman still hasn't experienced the kind of late-period career rejuvenation her younger brother Jason has had post-Arrested Development. And as a 41-year-old actress, she faces an uphill climb in Hollywood. But she definitely has that dry Bateman wit and air of intelligence, and she's always been a likeable, attractive screen presence even when she's had to troll the depths of the Lifetime Movie Channel for roles.
22. Jonathan Silverman
After 25 years in show business, Jonathan Silverman's greatest claim to fame is being outshone by Andrew McCarthy and a corpse in the Weekend At Bernie's movies. While nobody is going to confuse him with Christian Bale, Silverman is an effortlessly charming light comic actor with leading-man good looks who could do well with a snappily written sitcom. On the mid-'90s Friends retread The Single Guy, Silverman was a winning presence on a lousy show. Imagine how funny he could be if he actually had something funny to say.
23. Andy Richter
There's something just plain depressing about the fact that one-time Late Night With Conan O'Brien sidekick Andy Richter is popping up next in a teen sci-fi flick starring High School Musical's Ashley "The Tiz" Tisdale. Richter was, at one point, an integral part of one of TV's most offbeat and irreverent TV shows. His cherubic good-naturedness meshed magically with O'Brien's now-familiar frenetic humor and angular look. Together, their onscreen chemistry and writing brought their show a bevy of Emmy awards and a youthful audience not usually tuned into late-night television. Since leaving the show to pursue life off the couch, he's been relegated to cameos in Will Ferrell movies and mediocre sitcoms like Andy Richter Controls The Universe and the more recent Andy Parker P.I. It seems Richter has been pigeonholed in traditional everyman/bumbling-dad roles instead of showcasing his ability to channel the funny and bizarre, as he did alongside Conan.
24. Tony Hale
It seemed like Tony Hale's career barely got off the ground before he dropped off the pop-culture radar yet again. Best-known for his role as Byron "Buster" Bluth on the feverishly adored, short-lived Fox show Arrested Development, Hale brought a certain spot-on awkwardness to the role of a pampered man-child whose hand gets bitten off by a bowtie-wearing seal. Before Buster, Hale toiled away in minor roles on popular shows like The Sopranos and Sex And The City, as well as a memorable Volkswagen commercial where he seat-dances to "Mr. Roboto." Still, Hale's ability to inhabit oddball characters while endearing them to his audience seems to have gone unnoticed by Hollywood, which has barely made use of him post-Arrested. While Justin Bateman, Will Arnett, and Michael Cera are enjoying their career bumps, Hale has been relegated to failed sitcoms and small roles in underseen films like Stranger Than Fiction.
25. Thora Birch
The trajectory of child film stars are, more often than not, difficult to watch as they tackle puberty, rebellious urges, and the transition to adult roles. But Thora Birch seemed right on track: She followed roles in pleasant childhood films like Now And Then with critically embraced leads in American Beauty and Ghost World. While her co-star, Scarlett Johansson, has gone on to mega-stardom, it was Birch who brought the beloved, cat-mask-wearing Enid so much subtlety and alienated likeability. Yet, at 26, she seems unable to find roles that bring her alterna-girl relatability to the screen, which is a crying shame given the dearth of interesting-seeming women in Hollywood. Though she's hinted at hopes of directing, she continues to plug away in front of the camera, stuck in B thrillers like the upcoming, badly titled Winter Of Frozen Dreams.
26. Tony Todd
Tony Todd had a fine career to date, thank you very much, but he has a personal presence deserving of wider fame. Even those who don't know his name have probably seen him: He plays the titular villain in the Candyman movies, and the mysterious William Bludworth in the Final Destination series. He's done guest spots on The X-Files, Smallville, 24, and more—in particular, his memorable turns on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Worf's brother Kurn were in keeping with his tendency to play imposing figures with hard-to-parse motivations. But anyone's who's seen Todd's other Star Trek appearance, as the grown-up version of the young Jake Sisko on a time-warping episode of Deep Space Nine, has seen his ability to convey depths of sadness beneath that forbidding exterior. Those who typecast him would do well to exploit that talent again.
By Emily Rems
When Paul Newman lost his battle with cancer on September 26th, 2008, at the age of 83, Hollywood lost one of its most enduring legends, and the world lost a true humanitarian. In an acting career that spanned over 50 years, he delivered countless great performances that kept audiences riveted to the big screen — and those intense blue eyes. But from his impressive list of 65 film credits, ten rise to the top as the true measure of his Method acting mettle. Here are our favorites.
10. The Color of Money (1986)
Newman won his first and only Academy Award for this reprisal of his Hustler character Fast Eddie Felson in this tough-talking, pool hall sequel directed by Martin Scorsese. Taking a talented upstart played by Tom Cruise under his wing, Eddie goes on a journey of personal redemption that picks up 25 years after the original film left off. But ultimately, his character sees the cheating and trickery that have ruled his life for so long in a new light once his protege adopts these values as his own.
9. The Verdict (1982)
Always adept at playing sympathetic lowlifes, Newman sinks to the occasion here as a hard-drinking lawyer who's seen better days, until a seemingly simple medical malpractice suit offers him an opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of his colleagues and clients. The role won Newman a Best Actor nomination, and marked his later-in-life shift from heartthrob to character actor.
8. Absence of Malice (1981)
Following a tip from an unscrupulous FBI agent, an ambitious reporter played by Sally Field writes a story that threatens to ruin the life of its subject (played by Newman) in this unlikely dramatic romance. A modern day morality tale, Newman wields his trademark defiance in this portrayal of a reclusive businessman who must clear his name after being unfairly thrust into the criminal limelight.
7. The Long, Hot Summer (1958)
This film marked the first cinematic collaboration between Newman and Joanne Woodward, a young actress who won Newman's heart off-screen as well as on, and who remained by his side throughout the last 50 years. The electricity between the two leads in this first of 10 films they would make together, featuring Newman as a smoldering drifter and Woodward as a Mississippi schoolteacher unsure of his advances, was undeniable, and still crackles onscreen to this day.
6. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Newman paired up with Robert Redford in this amiable heist movie that became the ultimate buddy flick of the '60s. As the idea man behind the thieving "Hole in the Wall Gang" in turn-of-the-century Wyoming, Newman's rendering of Butch Cassidy was iconic, and his trek towards Bolivia with the law on his trail was the stuff western legends are made of.
5. Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)
Based on the autobiography of boxer Rocky Graziano, this sports biopic was slated to star James Dean, but when Dean was killed in a car accident before the screenplay was finished, Newman was brought in, and the role made him a star. Playing an ex con who turned his life around in the ring, it was a gritty role for Newman, who had just made his screen debut two years before in The Silver Chalice, proving he could take on any challenge Hollywood sent his way.
4. The Hustler (1961)
As pool shark Fast Eddie Felson, Newman was the definition of early '60s cool, arrogantly taking lesser men for their dough in shady halls until his pride led him to bite off more than he could chew. Another in Newman's pantheon of damaged tough guys done in by hubris, Fast Eddie's re-emergence in 1986's The Color Of Money cemented him as one of the most memorable characters in Hollywood history.
3. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Arguably the best movie adaptation of Tennessee Williams' greatest play, Cat featured Newman in a brave and unflinching performance as Brick, an alcoholic ex-football star immune to the charms of his sexpot wife, played by a scantily clad Elizabeth Taylor. This role would earn Newman his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, and establish him as a nationwide sex symbol.
2. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Taking up the mantle of bad boy actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean who charmed audiences with their irreverent portrayals of rogues and outsiders, Newman took his role as a rebellious convict in Cool Hand Luke and made it an eternal symbol of masculine defiance. Jailed for cutting the tops off parking meters, Luke's constant bucking of the prison system incites a battle of wills that tests the limits of his indomitable spirit.
1. Hud (1963)
Publicized with the tagline "The man with the barbed wire soul!" Hud proved that Newman was irresistible even when he was playing a selfish bastard. A ruthless cad known primarily for drinking, fighting, joyriding, and womanizing when not working on his elderly father's ranch, Newman's title character was rotten to the core. Whether trying to unload diseased cattle onto unsuspecting buyers or sexually harassing the housekeeper, he was always up to no good, and audiences loved every minute of it.
... Dane Cook is not a movie star!
Why does Hollywood insist on making certain people into big stars, despite a mostly negative public reaction to those stars? Never has that been more evident than with Dane Cook. He had some decent stand-up, but the guy isn’t funny on film, he has no screen presence and he’s completely incapable of carrying his own movie. Yet he somehow manages to star in big Hollywood productions with major Hollywood actresses. And of course, those movies are ultimate failures at the box office. But Hollywood doesn’t seem to care and the guy still manages to get one big role after another.
Maybe rather than slamming Dane Cook, I should actually write an article praising his agent. Seriously, this guy/gal has got to be the world’s best agent. They’re some kind of super-agent, the likes of which the world has never seen. Most actors that star in a single box-office bomb struggle to get work for years, but Dane Cook has never appeared in anything other than a bomb and he gets as much work as he can handle. How is that possible? Is Hollywood so desperate for a romantic, humorous leading man that they have to slum all the way down to Dane Cook? Whoever this guy’s agent is, I hope they’re getting a huge cut of his salary, because they deserve it.
What are you doing Kate?
Don’t blame him for taking films that have a horrible script. The guy should be grateful to be playing a tree in an off-Broadway play. So if a studio wants to throw millions at him to star in a feature film, of course he’s going to take it. He’d be an idiot not to. Even he knows that this can’t last forever. Eventually, Hollywood producers will catch on that he’s never had a decent hit and that his films are all but guaranteed to lose money. Until then, he’d be dumb to turn down any role. If someone offered him a role in a Mentos commercial, he should take it.
Okay, I don't really like his stand-up either.
Lets forget for a second that Cook manages to get leading roles he has no business auditioning for, I don’t even like him in a supporting role. He was a distraction in DAN IN REAL LIFE and very pedestrian in MR. BROOKS. I don’t know what the guy is like in real life, maybe he’s a great guy, but on film, he’s obnoxious. It oozes out of him on the big screen and that could be one of the many reasons his films continue to fail. Plus, in every role, he always has this “why-am-I-here” look on his face. I don’t know Dane, we’re wondering the same thing.
What are you doing Jessica?
I have nothing personal against Dane Cook. This is directed at Hollywood for continuing to try and push this guy in our faces. The public voices their opinions every time they choose to not see his films. How many more failures does this guy have to have before you stop giving him roles? Please, let the box office performance of GOOD LUCK CHUCK, EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH and the most recent MY BEST FRIEND’S GIRL be all the proof you need that Dane Cook will never be a box office draw.
Rumors are flying that Men In Black 3 is out there somewhere waiting for the right funding. But seriously, do we need another one of these? Because you know Tommy Lee Jones would do it if offered a paycheck, so the chances of this flick hitting big screens are about 50/50. My only concern is, haven't we tapped out on the whole "talking pug" and "famous people who are aliens" jokes? According to producer Walter Parkes, apparently not.
Parkes told Parade Magazine that MIB3 is only a matter of time:
The challenge is getting the script right and finding a time when our busy stars are available." .... "Everyone, including Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, wants to do another."
That sounds like something an actor and writer would say to a producer just to change the subject. "Sure I'd do another Men In Black have your people call my people." Then again, Smith did make Hancock.
MIB3 has been chatted about since 2005, but maybe it needed this much time to pass in order for it to make a third coming. But I beg of you — should you decide to bring it back for a third time, make it more like the first with the inter-space politics and seemingly intricate system of extraterrestrial management created by the government. Not just an excuse to see Laura Flynn Boyle in leather.
By Kenny Herzog
The recent release of Anaconda 3 signals more than just the potential demise of modern cinema as we know it, or a particularly poignant nadir for its star, David Hasselhoff, once the mastermind behind the world's most popular television show. It's also brightly emblematic of a hidden little Hollywood trend: the studio-funded, direct-to-video/cable cheapo sequel to a successful theatrical film.
Usually, they carry one or more of the following traits, among other obvious markers: a bluntly evocative subtitle; being scripted as a prequel to avoid the burden of continuity; and cast members that rotate like a Ferris wheel. And chances are, you didn't know half of these well-known semi-hits even had bastardized Blu-Ray offspring. That makes two of us. Here are the top 10 (and yes, we know Meatballs Part II was technically in theaters, but did you see it, smartass?):
10. The Lost Boys
Sequel: Lost Boys: The Tribe
Relation To Its Predecessor: In concept and campy spirit only. And a revamping of that crappy Tom Mac song.
Cast Crossover: Yes, Corey Feldman is in it. As the town's resident vampire hunter. Corey Haim must have had other engagements. Like not talking to Feldman after they played a public game of who-molested-who.
Will It Affect My Love Of The Original? Actually, it might make you remember just how silly the original was, rather than holding onto recollections of how spooked you were after watching something directed by the guy who brought us Batman Forever.
9. Scorpion King
Sequels: Scorpion King 2: Rise Of A Warrior
Relation To Its Predecessor: Aside from Universal teasing the trailer with images of The Rock from the first one, mostly just low-budget versions of all those silly homoerotic costumes, which look like something thrown together from the wardrobe closets of The 300 and Wrestlemania IV.
Cast Crossover: Unless you count the Rock's trailer cameo (which is kind of like the modern-day action version of Crispin Glover magically appearing in Back To The Future II), nada.
Will It Affect My Love Of The Original? Only if you went to see it with your fraternity and missed out on all the sexually ambiguous subtext because of those distracting CGI effects.
8. Dukes Of Hazzard
Sequels: Dukes Of Hazzard: The Beginning
Relation To Their Predecessor: If you couldn't tell by the subtitle, it takes place during Luke and Bo's formative years in Hazzard County. Which is basically an excuse to make things a giant hormone fest. And oh, we get supposedly super-rad points-of-origin moments like the first time Bo slid across the hood of his Dodge Charger.
Cast Crossover: Ol' faithful Willie Nelson is back as Uncle Jesse, but the rest of the cast is actually a fascinating bizarreo-world version of the first Dukes flick, including the likes of Real World tramp Trishelle Cannatella─who's not even playing Daisy.
Will It Affect My Love Of The Original? The original series, maybe. Personally, it somehow dented our affection for Burger King's Original Whopper Jr. Sandwich. Or maybe that was just those creepy mascot ads.
7. The Substitute
Sequels: The Substitute 2: School's Out, The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All and The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not An Option
Relation To Their Predecessor: Abstract, at best. Watching cheapo, late-night HBO staple franchises like this worm their way through convoluted Dangerous Minds-meets-Rambo shenanigans is worth the price of admission alone. And by admission, we mean used VHS purchase from a stoop sale. One also wonders how these films would play in a post-school-shootings-world.
Cast Crossover: The cast of the original is a pretty nifty convergence of gritty cult faves like William Forsythe and future cult faves─like Marc Anthony. Lead student slayer Tom Berenger ceded this cash-calf to Treat Williams, who actually comandeers the titular role for all three (!) ensuing sequels. Talk about prince of the shitty.
Will They Affect My Love Of The Original? Actually, watching the first installment kind of taints the subsequent guilty-pleasure fun of ensuring entries. Where else will you get Claudia Christian spouting lines like "In order to work at those places, you gotta have a bra size bigger than your IQ."
6. Class Of 1984
Sequels: Class Of 1999 and Class Of 1999 II: The Substitute
Relation To Their Predecessor: More or less non-existent. Director Mark L. Lester stays on board for 1999 and maintains 1984's strangely contradictory mixture of conservative messaging and brutal violence. But by the time we get to 1999 II, the series has morphed into American Psycho as influenced by Westworld, and done a complete ethical bellyflop in the process.
Cast Crossover: Major points for knowingly casting Malcom McDowell, Stacy Keach and Pam Grier in the first sequel (shit, even the little brother from Teen Witch makes an appearance), thus alleviating Lester's dilemma of recreating 1984's exploitative charms, since they were mostly accidental to begin with.
Will They Affect My Love Of The Original? Yes, deeply, but as long as you disregard Lester's renewed involvement, immense satisfaction can come from absorbing it as a mutually exclusive schlock-fest.
5. From Dusk Till Dawn
Sequels: From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money and From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter
Relation To Their Predecessor: Fairly strong, at least in Texas, where the Titty Twister Bar is yet again the sight of both debauchery and deadliness. Hangman, however, goes for a quickie cash-in and sets things back a century, deviating completely from the modern-day, sexed-up vamp appeal of its forebears.
Cast Crossover: None to speak of. However, we do get Bruce Campbell in Blood Money, which is a suitable bit of surrogate stunt casting in replacement of Tom Savini.
Will They Affect My Love Of The Original? The unevenness of the original split most viewers down the middle to begin with, so the newer incarnations shouldn't cause any harm. Unless maybe you watch them without daylight pouring in.
4. Starship Troopers
Sequels: Starship Troopers 2: Hero Of The Federation and Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
Relation To Their Predecessor: Of all the entries on this list, Troopers stays truest to its source, thanks to the continued screenwriting prensce of Edward Neumeir. Although 2 and 3 are missing the wildly subversive flourishes of Paul Verhoeven, who was behind the camera for the beloved original.
Cast Crossover:Casper Van Dien is literally a trooper for returning for the third Starship enterprise, although his support rosters are largely comprised of stock character actors there as conduits to execute super-sweet death scenes.
Will They Affect My Love Of The Original? Naw. This is one franchise that always owned up to its postmodern goofiness, even by the standards of excess demigod Verhoeven.
3. The Net
Sequel: The Net 2.0
Relation To Its Predecessor: This was actually one sequel that would have been warranted on sheer principle, thanks to The Net's well-documented legacy as the most immediately outdated film this side of Disaster Movie. So what's shocking isn't the generic appropriation of the stolen-identity/computer-hacking plot, but that it took them until 2006 to update the 1995 Sandra Bullock debacle.
Cast Crossover: What do you think? Shockingly, even Dennis Miller had better things to do.
Will It Affect My Love Of The Original? Maybe of the original case of floppy disks still sitting on on your desk because you can't quite let go of all your outmoded data-storing technology.
Sequels: Meatballs Part II, Meatballs III: Summer Job and Meatballs 4
Relation To Their Predecessor:Let's just disregard Meatballs 4 for a moment, which basically used the literal possibilities of the series' name to capitalize on the early '90s craze of soft-soft-soft-soft-core teen-boner flicks. The two cinematic treatises between 1979's Bill Murray-starring, coming-of-age romp and 1992's one-tissue tanker are off-the-charts retarded. Part II presages Teen Wolf Too's use of boxing as a rallying point for the climactic protagonist-redemption scene and, for good measure, adds in an alien camper (no shit) they dub Meathead as a witless response to the era's E.T. craze. As for Summer Job, the subtitle is actually a thinly disguised innuendo that symbolizes Patrick Dempsey's desire for someone to hep him erect wood that supports his carnal cabin. And who else to guide him in his quest but the ghost of a deceased porn star played by the actress who most closely resembles a dead prostitute, Sally Kellerman (all apologies to Sally Kirkland). Fucking genius.
Cast Crossover: Did we mention Corey Feldman plays the lady-lovin' ski-instructor in 4? Oh, we just figured you assumed as much.
Will They Affect My Love Of The Original? Criminally so. Watching all three sequels back to back is a slippery slope through innocence lost more rapid than running your finger down Dempsey's surgically corrected nose bone.
1. Road House
Sequel: Road House 2: Last Call
Relation To Its Predecessor: Centering a sequel around the vengeful son of its predecessor's lead protagonist is the second most-popular continuity copout next to the prequel. But reality gets stretched a scintilla too far when said kin coincidentally has to defend the honor of a redneck bar on the way to taking down a nefarious crime boss.
Cast Crossover: Don't pity former That Thing You Do star and Last Call ass-kicker Jonathan Schaech. After all, he did co-write the movie (!). Thankfully, Ben Gazzara has had enough of a career renaissance over the last decade to keep Road House part uno's token villain from being miraculously resurrected. And now we know where Jake Busey was hiding during the filming of Starship Troopers 3.
Will It Affect My Love Of The Original? No one, and we mean no one, puts Road House in a corner.
Hugh Hefner, 82, has created an erotic empire based around the famous Playboy lifestyle and a little bunny with a bow tie. Some may call the magazine's softly lit pictorials of curvaceous women sprawled out in sexy positions porn. Hefner calls it erotica.
Hef, as he likes to be called, has never been ashamed to be known as a womanizing party animal, a man who proudly lounges in silk robes with nothing underneath. In fact, although he is living with his three girlfriends—Holly, Bridget, and Kendra—he never actually divorced his last wife, former playmate Kimberly Conrad. He separated from Conrad in 1999 after the pair had two sons.
Hef is like any normal hot-blooded American who likes pretty ladies: He took a wife or two, has four kids, and lives in a Tudor-style mansion with luscious lawns and a personal zoo. Sounds like any old family man, right? Except this doting dad kicked his son out and boxed up his room when he turned 18 because he was afraid he would sleep with the Playmates. You don't do Daddy's ladies—house rules.
Hef may be a territorial man's man, but he's actually calmed down in his old age. His harem, which used to number seven women, has dwindled to three—all stars of E! reality series The Girls Next Door, which debuts its fifth season next week.
The show, which focuses on the day-to-day adventures of Hef's three lady friends, is a lighthearted look at life in the famous manse. Still, off camera, not everything is smooth as a Playmate's airbrushed naughty bits. Recently, rumors have emerged that both Holly and Kendra are involved in other relationships. (And Bridget is still technically married!) Though Hefner maintains that Holly "shares his bed nightly," rumors of his company's possible bankruptcy may send some of the more opportunistic bunnies scattering and leave room for one more in Hef's legendary rotation.
So how can you get noticed and optimize your chances for breaking into Hef's world? A source and former employee of the magazine divulged the salacious situations that no one gets to hear or see unless they are a fly on those famous Playboy walls. Here's your step-by-step guide to success.
A famed celebrity photographer is suing two photographers from northern Westchester County to get back nude photos of Marilyn Monroe taken weeks before her death in 1962.
Claiming the pictures of the iconic sex symbol are "unique and irreplaceable," photographer Bert Stern filed a $1 million civil lawsuit to recover seven pictures that show Monroe wearing little more than a smile and a gauze scarf.
He says the photos, taken at the "Last Sitting" session, are in the possession of Don Penny of Briarcliff Manor and Michael Weiss of Mount Kisco and that they have not returned them despite his demands to do so.
"He wants them back," said Stern's lawyer, Stephen Weingrad.
The pictures were taken at the Bel-Air Hotel in July 1962, six weeks before Monroe's death of a drug overdose. The photos of Monroe striking a variety of erotic poses were published with permission in Eros magazine shortly after her death, a publication long since defunct, as well as in a book that Stern published.
It remained unclear how a handful of the pictures fell into the possession of Weiss and Penny.
"They're not talking - yet," Weingrad said.
The lawsuit claims the photos are worth $100,000 apiece.
The two men contacted Stern several months ago, asking him to authenticate Monroe photographs, Weingrad said.
Stern had recently photographed actress Lindsay Lohan for New York Magazine in the style of Monroe at the Bel-Air, and the photos caused a sensation. Weingrad said the two Westchester photographers brought Stern two original prints, along with photocopies of seven images from the Last Sitting.
Stern realized that the pictures were from the Eros spread in 1962. He kept the two that were brought to him and demanded the return of seven others. Weingrad said the photographers asked for money or permission to keep several of the originals, but that his client balked.
Stern filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan last week, demanding the unconditional return off all of the photographs and their negatives.
Stern, 78, is seeking $1 million or more in punitive damages, interest costs and attorney fees.
According to a profile in Westchester Magazine in 2007, Penny, 53, was described as a freelance and fine-arts photographer. His work has appeared in Elle and In Style magazines, according to the profile, and he has taught at the Steinhardt School of Education and Art at New York University.
A Web page for Michael Weiss, 64, says he has worked as a photographer for a number of gourmet magazines and advertising firms, besides a sideline as a fine-arts photographer.
Neither Penny nor Weiss returned calls for comment.
Reach Robert Marchant at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-666-6578.