Your Movie News Fix

We’re about to go into full-on TV mode for about a month or so with the new season starting this week and the Emmys on Sunday, so let’s get some movie news in before we completely forget about it.

"hey, our comedies got horrible ratings last year when we put them on thursdays. so you know what we should do? PREMIERE two of our biggest comedies of the years at 10!"

"hey, our comedies got horrible ratings last year when we put them on thursdays. so you know what we should do? PREMIERE two of our biggest comedies of the years at 10!"

Just so everyone knows, looks like I’ll be able to have reviews this week of new shows Ringer (premiering Tuesday) Up All Night, Free Agents (premiering back-to-back Wednesday) and Secret Circle (Thursday) and returning shows Vampire Diaries (Thursday) and Parenthood (Tuesday). Depending on what kind of time I have, it may just be quick updates with no links. And Thursday I’ll have an extensive Emmy preview in advance of the much shorter version that will be going in Sunday’s paper.


Guess what? People aren’t tired of crazy virus movies yet. Not after Outbreak, not after 12 Monkeys, not after 28 Days Later, not after I Am Legend, not after Walking Dead … should I keep going? Is … is that enough? No one is turning into zombies in Contagion, so at least the afterlife is safe. I’m sure there are about a billion different ways to spread a virus that has the potential to wipe out mankind, but haven’t we seen most of them? On the bright side, if you’re going to make a movie like Contagion that feels like we’ve seen it a hundred times before, this is how you do it: with an Oscar-bait cast and a great director like Steven Soderbergh. That at least pushes it into my queue instead of ignoring it completely.

If you haven’t noticed by now, I tend to lean toward cynisism when it comes to the business of Hollywood. It’s not necessary a pick on Hollywood, but on big business itself, which has made a habit of completely screwing over the average Joe. It’s disheartening. So it’s extremely satisfying to read someone else’s equally derisive rants on the subject. I hereby dub this required reading for anyone even partly interested in the movie business.

Two things that really drove me bonkers reading that story:

–The theater distribution thing kills me, making the studio/theater splits worse every year. People bemoan the slow death of the independent theaters and blame the economy, but it’s ain’t the economy’s fault. It’s the freakin’ studios that take 90 percent of the first week gross when they promote the ever-lasting poop out of a movie, then ignore it the next weekend when the split goes down. Theaters just don’t make money on anything unless it plays well for, like, two months. Harry Potter came out two months ago this week. If you go to the movies this weekend, try and get your friends excited about checking out Harry Potter. I triple dog dare you. Or just try and find Captain America (released July 22) at a theater this weekend. Movie studios make it almost impossible for a theater to make money on the actual movies. Luckily our local independent theaters like Pocono Community Theater and the Casino Theatre have made niches for themselves that go beyond just the movies. Let’s hope we don’t lose them.

who knows where luke wilson's wedding toast came from

who knows where luke wilson's wedding toast came from

–The stealing “ideas” instead of paying for actual “scripts” is insane, and anyone who does it should be shot and killed. Immediately. OK, maybe not shot and killed. But can we bring back tar and feather-ing maybe? Or a Punch Chair. Tie the thief up in a chair right in their Armani suit and stick them on the Sunset Strip at like 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday when the clubs let out with a big sign on them that says, “Punch me. Please.” I’ve mentioned this example before, and it isn’t illegal, but it shows you how things work in Hollywood. SNL alum Jim Breuer has a talk show on SirirusXM and told a story once about how he sold a script to DreamWorks back in the day that he wanted to star in about middle-aged men starting a fraternity in a college town. He said the script sat around for a while and never got made — or at least they told him they weren’t making it. That’s because they took the premise and little pieces of the script and turned it into Old School. They changed it just enough so that he received no credit for it, and therefore no royalty payments. Breuer said he was in shock when he saw the movie, especially the pledge scene because it’s 100 percent exactly how he wrote it right down to Master of Puppets playing behind the action. If you know Breuer’s talk show, you know he’s a huge Metallica fan so it completely makes sense. Again, not illegal because DreamWorks owned the script. But just an inhuman thing to do to someone to generate a few extra bucks. And that happens every single day in Hollywood. Think about stuff like that before you get the wild-eyed idea, “You know, I think I’d like to go out to Hollywood and take a shot at the movies.”

I’ve only dabbled in old movies because I can’t stand black-and-white. My Film as Literature class in college was enough for me to experience old movies. It takes a major classic for me to actually go out and rent something like Casablanca or Citizen Kane. So it was news to me when Spider-Man came out and Cliff Robertson, who played Uncle Ben, was billed as “Oscar winner Cliff Robertson.” I liked him enough in Spider-Man that I almost — almost— went out and rented Charly, which won him his Oscar. And when I read that Robertson died over the weekend, is it weird that I thought for a split second, “Wait, didn’t he die already in Spider-Man?” and was totally serious? Yeah, it’s probably weird.

"seeing is the most important thing, son." "i don't think it's that important"

"seeing is the most important thing, son." "i don't think it's that important"

Quickest and easiest way to tell your life is in the toilet: a guy who was in jail for rape, has bitten someone’s ear off, squandered hundreds of millions of dollars and decided it was a truly inspired idea to tattoo his face is perfectly comfortable making fun of you. Charlie Sheen has had a lot of batshat crazy moments in the last 10 years that should have been a wake-up call to get his life in order, but Mike Tyson performing at his roast is probably the most insane.

You might look at the 2012 movie release schedule and think, “Why is the first weekend in April have such big movies?” April 6 now features The Three Stooges, the American Pie sequel American Reunion and the Titantic 3-D re-release. That was the first thing that went through my head until I Goggled “Easter 2012” — and found it falls on April 8. Mystery solved.

For the umpteenth year, my college buddies are at the Toronto Film Festival and I’m not. I get less angry about it with each passing year, but geez it sucks that I never go and I’m stuck just reading about it. Doesn’t seem like there is much news coming out of it this year though, which is kinda what I thought going into the fall movie season. By now I’m usually able to pick out a couple movies that make me say, “I really, really hope that plays locally.” I’m not sure whether I’m just not paying attention this year, or there really isn’t that much coming. Could make for a crappy awards season.

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