Random Thread for August 2012


Reports are that a Jimmy Fallon/Lorne Michaels host/producer team are negotiating with the Academy for next year’s Oscars. Wonder if they’ll have a Weekend Update segment?


About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

98 responses »

  1. I’d rather see the following late night hosts host over Fallon:

    Jimmy Kimmel
    Conan O’Brien
    Craig Ferguson
    David Letterman (yes, again)
    Space Ghost
    Martin Mull & Fred Willard (do they count?)
    Carson Daly (just cause people would flip out)

  2. I’d be down with Mull and Willard. Maybe Kimmel. All the other guys are just dull as hell.

    Kathy Griffin would be incredible but they’d never do it. It would be the Academy’s version of the Ricky Gervais/Golden Globes thing.

  3. Kimmel is ok. I don’t watch any of the traditional late night programs, but he’s the best of the (fairly sorry and stale) bunch.

    The entire late night talk show genre needs to be put out to pasture.

  4. Kimmel’s hosting the Emmy’s and part of the contract says he can’t follow it up with the Oscars. Odd, but there it is.

  5. Continuing on from last month’s random thread discussion on the Sight & Sound poll of the best films ever, there has been a release of some acclaimed individual directors’ top 10 films, with some interesting results.

    Like Coppola’s selection of ‘King of Comedy’. Mann’s selection of ‘Avatar’ the biggest surprise. Might be worth doing a seperate post on the full individiual results when released later this month – would make for fascinating reading.

  6. Speaking of fascinating reading – my big book for the Summer is 50 Shades of Grey. I’m not the strongest reader, so James is recording it for me on tape. Can’t wait to get it.

  7. Between movie theater shootings, bath salt cannibals, Fifty Shades of Grey and “Call Me Maybe” it’s really been a nightmarish summer.

  8. It’s a slippery slope. Next Summer all the soccer moms will be into hentai and rape tentacle porn and the media will focus on how “empowering” it all is.

  9. The Great Gatsby: Retaliation has been pushed back six months to Summer 2013 to add more scenes with Channing Tatum.

  10. Freakin’ James…I just came here to post almost that EXACT same thing!!! With the Tatum joke and everything. I blame the time difference

  11. Wasn’t this the same type of thing that happened when musicals gave way to the ’70’s renaissance? Bloated, overbudget nonsense that was constantly delayed and release dates rejiggered? PLEASE let there be a renaissance on the other side of this.

    Oh, again, an ‘obsolete’ XL2.

  12. Well, that’s a relief, it means six more months before I have to see it.

    As long as Hell doesn’t freeze over, it will be even longer for me.

  13. I can’t wait….Baz movies are too few and far between. Especially after the Australia disappointment.

    This date change is ridiculous, however. The movie seems best suited for a winter release. It also seems like something that needs time to breathe and will get swallowed up whole in a summer timeframe.
    Who are these marketing gurus? ‘Widest possible audience?’ Hey geniuses, the two top grossing movies of all time were released in….winter. In fact, Titanic was moved from summer to winter and it paid off quite handsomly even with such a ‘limited’ audience during the winter months.

  14. Which is why the ‘widest possible audience’ statement is lame and treats the public as if we are incapable of comprehending even a sliver of truth.

    I should have said “the reason” for the date change is ridiculous

  15. True, but they really didn’t have much of a choice. But there are very few explanations that would have prevented the “troubled” label from being slapped on the film no matter what is happening behind the scenes.

  16. Why is every other film ‘troubled’?

    This is an adaptation of a popular book. What the hell can go SO wrong? What, did Luhrmann put musical numbers in the movie?!

  17. Why is every other film ‘troubled’?

    This is an adaptation of a popular book. What the hell can go SO wrong? What, did Luhrmann put musical numbers in the movie?!

    I would suspect most studio films are ‘troubled’ due to studio inteference, based on test screenings.

    And it’s not an easy book to adapt. There was already one version, with Robert Redford, that was an outright disaster.

  18. Books are turned into disasters all the time: The Scarlet Letter, Memoirs of a Geisha, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Lord of the Rings

  19. So we’re only seeing all these reports of ‘troubled’ films because, with the internet, it’s no longer possible to hide any hiccups in the process? Has ‘troubled’ become the new ‘socialism’ catch-all? Heaped upon movies when it’s not even remotely warranted?

  20. Well, movies have gathered bad press and poor pre-release reputations for decades before the internet (think of things like Hudson Hawk, Last Action Hero, Waterworld, etc).

  21. Okay, but all those movies happened over a what, ten year period? More movies than that this year were delayed or needed ‘reshoots’.

    Big Joss Whedon news today.

  22. Speaking of Space Ghost – he returns Thursday at Midnight (check your local listings) with a brief interview with Ferrell and Galifianakis to promote The Campaign.

  23. Also, studio mandated changes following test screenings aren’t always a bad thing (see: The Amazing Spider-Man). Sure, a film that’s already great isn’t going to benefit much from them, but a troubled film might.

  24. Okay, and I agree with your assessment and the reasons ‘why’ a film might be troubled, but…so many? GI Joe. Gatsby. Spider Man. More than I can remember have been ‘shifted’ or ‘Reshot’. Tron, uh…..I can’t remember all of them this year. When Waterworld came out, it dominated the news cycle. Today, it’s: “GI Joe is moving to reshoot Channing-breaking news! Gatsby is moving in order to facilitate-breaking news! Batman is underperformi-breaking news! The new Mel Gibson movie is going straight-to-Breaking news!

  25. I guess I’m asking has it always been like this and we never knew? Can the studios just not control it now? Or is the state of Hollywood in trouble?

  26. Oh, and congrats! on your engagement, Marco!
    (Not sure if I posted this on here or not. If I did, congrats! again!)

  27. I probably won’t read that often, because I like as little pre-release information as possible. But I’m very glad that Aronofsky is shooting another movie, even if I’m a little baffled as to his choice of subject.

  28. even if I’m a little baffled as to his choice of subject.

    I take it you never read the graphic novel? I’m going to have to search for it, as I, too, am quite in the dark as to this choice. I don’t like the first picture of Crowe, either. Does not bode well…..

  29. I didn’t know it was based on a graphic novel, I thought it was a straight adaptation of Genesis.

    Either way, I’m looking forward to anything he does – he’s never made anything close to a bad film. I just have a raised eyebrow with this one, is all.

  30. Paul Ryan? Will certainly fire up the base, but I can’t seem him wooing independents. And we’ll hear a lot about how he wants to gut Medicare. Expect a lot of ads to scare the old folks.

  31. I was expecting Paul Ryan, because Romney’s campaign has been all about finances. “Elect me, I’m a business man and therefore a finance ninja, I can get this nation’s fiscal house in order.” That’s been his whole message, over and over.

    Ryan’s the closest thing the GOP has to a reputable budget guy. He’s a complete fraud, of course, like virtually everyone else in his party, but nonetheless he’s been handled gently with the press and has a strong reputation on money issues. So he lets Romney double down on his message.

  32. I I’ll believe it when I see it, and at any rate I don’t think Ayn Rand-based attacks are all that significant. It’s the kind of pointless stuff that people like Gail Collins talk about because they don’t know jackshit about anything else.

    It seems more likely that we’ll hear all about Ryan’s “budget expertise”, and about how Obama needs to overcome the strong background on economic matters that the Romney/Ryan ticket has, etc.

  33. I don’t think it’s desperate at all – I think it’s what he wanted to do from the outset. It’s not like McCain taking a long shot on Palin because he knew he was already sunk and needed a hail mary. It fits in 100% with his messaging since he started out in the primary – economy, budget, economy, budget.

  34. I disagree, this is a Hail Mary. I think he was pressured by the right to pick Ryan, who gives him nothing in terms of geography, and is far more polarizing than someone like Portman or Rubio, who may have helped him win Ohio or Florida–he can’t win without winning both of them. Read Nate Silver, oh, but maybe he’s another person you don’t think knows jackshit about anything.

  35. I agree with Craig Crawford: “WI Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare is about as politically toxic as it gets. In picking this darling of conservative elites Romney is spread eagle on the third rail.

    Now we know he knows it. This decision shows just how insecure he is about holding his party’s base. He got bullied into this, the most telling sign yet that he is desperate.”

  36. Why so snippy? You sound like you’re taking my distaste for Gail Collins personally.

    At any rate, I think we’re just starting out with different definitions for “desperate”. I think this is a continuation of the same strategy that Romney’s been running with all along – if it’s misguided, I think it’s misguided because he needed to change his strategy in the face of a bad position. I think a desperate move would have been to go with someone like Portman – that seems to me like plugging his finger in the dam, trying to stop things from getting worse. Portman himself does nothing for the Romney campaign except marginally increase his chances in Ohio (Silver is the first to say that VP choices, even home state candidates, generally have little effect on the electoral college).

    I do agree with you that the Romney campaign probably knows that it’s losing, though. If that makes his choice desperate just by that measure, then fine. Like Silver, I’m not sure that the Ryan pick is a good idea. But to me, he looks like he’s sticking with his strategy, which doesn’t seem like desperation to me.

  37. Why so snippy? You sound like you’re taking my distaste for Gail Collins personally.

    I don’t know. Sometimes you can come off like you think you’re the smartest person in the room. I’m pretty sure Gail Collins knows way more than you or I do.

  38. I’d be more inclined to believe that if she ever wrote anything of substance. She’s a walking stereotype of fatuous upper-class elitism, who seemingly has no interest in politics beyond what she can make into a joke. And when she does make a token effort into substance, she usually shows no expertise at all. Which is why she’s spent so much time on Romney’s damned dog.

    Dowd’s just as bad. Frankly, aside from Krugman, almost none of the punditocracy is worth a damn at all. Our political discourse in this country is a freaking clown car.

    If that makes me arrogant, so be it.

  39. Oh and by the way – until today I don’t think I’d ever heard that Paul Ryan was “a darling of conservatives” or any other such thing. Until today, he wasn’t a particularly notable figure in the conservative rank-and-file, because despite his conservative voting record, he’s associated almost entirely with economic conservatism. Which doesn’t really play with the base.

    Those guys were hoping for someone like Bobby Jindal or Chris Christie or even Rubio. It’s Orwellian, seriously, the idea that there was some big grassroots clamoring for Ryan to be put on the ticket as a sop to conservatives who are dissatisfied with Romney.

  40. Anyone want to do Openings this Friday? We have company visiting and I probably won’t get around to it. Otherwise, I’ll probably post it sometime Sunday.

  41. http://www.totalfilm.com/news/first-poster-and-synopsis-for-arnie-s-the-last-stand

    Those sounds you just heard were me, losing my grip on the laptop, filling the tub with cold water, jumping in, jumping back out, running two laps around the house, digging a tunnel to the neighbor’s house, running back out the tunnel, filling the tunnel back in, dancing, and running to the corner of the street, yelling in joy and then coming back to the computer to type this after reading that synopsis for the next Kim-Jee Woon movie.

  42. This is actually pretty cool: (Joe Carnahan’s sizzle reel for a ’70’s version Daredevil)

  43. I’m just as happy seeing Daredevil die at FOX. While I enjoyed Carnahan’s The Grey: you never really know if you’re getting the guy who made NARC or the guy who made Smokin’ Aces.

    This does mean that the last second-tier Marvel character not home at Disney is Ghost Rider (as Blade and The Punisher recently reverted back to the studio). I’d be pretty shocked if Sony made another attempt at that property in the time allotted.

  44. So Universal’s crazy-expensive 47 Ronin (the Keanu-Reeves-as-a-Samurai movie) which was originally due to be released this Fall before a recent reschedule to February, has now been pushed back an additional 10 months to Christmas 2013.

    The rumor mill is that the film is near-unreleasable, which begs the question of why Universal would give a first-time, completely untested director 200 million dollars to burn?

    Dave Poland notes that the Christmas 2013 date is bullshit and the studio actually intends to bury it early 2014.

  45. THIS is the blurb on Wikipedia about the director….THIS!:

    In November 2009, Universal entered talks with Rinsch to direct the film. For Rinsch, who has filmed “visual and stylish” blurbs for brands, the film is his feature film debut.[6]

    Rinsch has directed ‘visual and stylish’ BLURBS! for brands!

  46. I’ve been reading Hit & Run again, the book on Jon Peters and Peter Guber’s reign at Sony in the early 90’s.

    It’s funny how movies like Last Action Hero and Hudson Hawk (which only lost like 30-40 million) are still considered these sort of historic bombs decades later when you have things like Battleship, John Carter, 47 Ronin, losing 200-250M apiece. Even adjusting for inflation, that’s madness.

  47. Hey, Brian…did you at least attempt to get tickets for The Master?

    No. I would have not been able to attend no matter what.

  48. And James: Loved Hit and Run. Recently read The Studio, so good. Reading Hollywood Animal right now. Shockingly candid and eye-opening from a severely successful man that not many like who none-the-less tells it like it is. He’s a fascinating human being that Joe Eszterhas. The book is 800 pages long. I’m not bored yet, though.

  49. I never finished Hit & Run originally, missed most of the juicy stuff later in the book. Had no idea how nightmarish the set of The Witches of Eastwick was.

    I have to say: despite the turmoil, I’ve always had a soft spot for Columbia/Tri-Star in the early 90’s, particularly from a marketing standpoint.

  50. Yeah, it’s difficult to comprehend. I was watching Unstoppable not long ago and it really is a return-to-form for him. Crimson Tide is basically perfect.

  51. Speaking of remakes:

    Not to be outdone by Universal’s head scratching announcement of a new Van Helsing or their own Haunted Mansion reboot – Disney is talking to writers for a remake of the notorious 1991 bomb, The Rocketeer.

    I fully expect a Channing Tatum-as-Hudson-Hawk announcement before the end of the year.

  52. The Rocketeer was a notorious bomb? I never even knew that. It caught on after hitting home video though, didn’t it? I always thought that was generally widely seen and mostly well-liked.

  53. It wasn’t a bomb, not like Battleship, but as Wikipedia reports: The Rocketeer was released in the United States on June 21, 1991, earning $9.6 million in its opening weekend in 1,616 theaters. The film opened #4 behind Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, City Slickers and Dying Young. Rocketeer eventually grossed only $46.6 million in US box office totals, which Disney declared a disappointment. Outside the US and Canada, the film was released through Touchstone Pictures rather than Disney in an attempt to attract the teenage audience it did not reach in North America.

  54. Maybe “notorious” is overstating it, but I remember the industry press of the time noting it’s dismal performance.

    As Slim noted: it opened in 4th place and only grossed 62 million worldwide, when the producers were positioning it as the next Batman / Indiana Jones (hell, even Dick Tracy) with franchise-launching numbers. It ended up as the #27 grossing film of the year with the third highest budget of those 27.

    Not Battleship – but it probably lost about 20-30 million (one article I read mentioned that Disney spent close to 20 million on domestic television advertising alone) which was a hefty sum at the time.

    It does have a good reputation that is mostly deserved, although it’s really no more memorable than anything else in Johnston’s resume.

  55. It does have a good reputation that is mostly deserved, although it’s really no more memorable than anything else in Johnston’s resume.

    I haven’t seen all of the man’s movies, but I’d say that it’s easily the most memorable thing he’s done (though there have been surprisingly few).

  56. The tone of the media coverage – at least reading on ESPN.com – is sickening in its hypocrisy. Just this week we had a flurry of sanctimonious finger-wagging about steroids in baseball because of the Melky Cabrera case (Rick Sutcliffe even suggested that Melky be banned for life and deported), but now that Lance is the target it’s all “oh gosh, poor Lance, he finally let those bastards get to him.”

    Personally, I think it’s ridiculous to strip his titles, no matter what he did. And I really don’t care what he (or anyone else) took – I think the furor over performance enhancers is farcically overblown. But I’m tired of all these double standards and I’m tired of the outrage over drugs being so selectively targeted. On the whole, there’s as much evidence that Lance Armstrong doped as there is that Barry Bonds doped, but one of those guys is a pariah and a boogeyman and the other is a fallen hero. Give me a break.

  57. In essence I agree with you, but Barry Bonds, throughout his career, behaved like an asshole, even to his own teammates, while Armstrong, whether he is an exemplary human being or not, at least created the appearance of one with his cancer charity work. The personas they created are very understandable. They’re not really comparable.

  58. That just underlines what I was talking about, doesn’t it? Double standards and selective outrage? Either doping is bad or it isn’t – it doesn’t work to say that it’s awful if you’re an asshole but no big deal if you’re a nice guy.

  59. But who said it’s no big deal for Armstrong? I think he will take some serious lumps over this. It’s a different story for him in the media because many people thought he was a hero. No one has ever confused Bonds with being a hero.

  60. Don’t want to sound like a dick, but I’m not sure what you’re saying with “it’s a different story for him in the media”. The media coverage is what I’m talking about. The double standard that you are describing is what I’m complaining about. You can keep saying that Bonds has gotten harsher treatment because people don’t like him, and obviously I agree that’s the case. But that’s my whole complaint – I think that’s obnoxious.

  61. Every scene WITH a costume in Batman Returns is brilliant. Writing, lighting, framing, acting.
    Every scene WITHOUT costumes is almost painful.

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