Anyone else think this would be a much better movie? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out this gem.
(*Author’s note: I understand that this movie is out already. So if you’ve seen it, you already know how many of these prognostications come true. If you haven’t, here are a few things to — potentially — brace yourself for.)
1. There will be an excruciatingly racist, token black hobbit, who will call The Shire, “The Sheezy.” This character will die within 10 minutes of the start of the film.
2. If you are able to watch the movie at its 48-frames-per-second speed, at some point, you will sit up like Neo, post-first-trip-into-the-Matrix, claim you know Kung Fu and puke onto the floor. This will happen. Maybe more than once, probably. Just wait.
3. Gandalf will slam his staff into something and shout.
4. Someone you’re watching the movie with will refer to Bilbo as “Dildo” and will think that this is, indeed, high comedy.
5. There will be more shaggy hair than at a 311 Concert. And maybe more smoking? (*Author’s note: what’s in Gandalf’s pipe, really? I mean, what kind of stuff would a wizard smoke? I mean, he’s capable of performing magic, being re-born, and defeating hordes of evil creatures with a nothing more than a glorified walking stick. Can you imagine what he smokes? My guess is **SPOILER ALERT** probably bath salt.)
6. The Hobbits will re-attempt to make grody, hairy feet all the rage. Your welcome, Sasquatch.
7. Each scene will take 37.5 minutes. How else, for the love of GOD!, could they make one book into three movies?!? What next? The Berenstain Bears will get a 6 part mini-series on AMC?
8. The pressure will be on Skinnypeter Jackson to try to outdo Fatpeter Jackson. Can he shake the stigma that has plagued the now-unfunny Skinnydrew Carey and the now-potentially-getting-fired-by-the-Jets Skinnyrex Ryan and actually be a better version of himself after he’s shed some lbs? Somewhere Skinnyjonah Hill is nodding his head hoping that Jackson can buck the trend.
9. Gollum will bear a striking resemblance to Kim Kardashian’s publicist. He will also possess a ring for about as long as Kim Kardashian.
10. I will continue to call this movie The Bobbitt in the hopes that someone will find it funny. I won’t stop, America. It’s up to you where we go from here.
On a day when I started watching Halloween 4 at 5:15 in the morning, while feeding my sleeping 4 month old son, I want to take a moment to celebrate the things I enjoy about Horror movies. Are some of them formulaic? Of course. Are some of them as old-hat as an Abe Lincoln stovepipe? Hell yes. But that doesn’t mean they don’t work. Wheels are still round, aren’t they?
Since we all love a good bracket (*Author’s note: in spite of the insufferably overused term “bracketology” I couldn’t resist. Clichés are something I completely detest but. . .when in Rome. Damn it.) and so here’s a quick one that I whipped up in between cramming my cram-hole full of candy and jamming my eye-sockets with so much Horror movie that there’s hardly any room for my pupils.
Jump in, debate, let me know what your take is. As always, audience participation is welcomed.
- The 1 V.S. 8 matchup here may seem was a no brainer for me. I know. . .I know. All you perv-jobs out there are probably shouting at your computer screen, “Wait just a damn minute!” And franchises like Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th are undoubtedly and irrevocably altered without their cheap-nudity staple: the shower scene. I will be the first to agree that there is something vulnerable, something a little unnerving about stripping down and jumping into a confined space with bad footing and closing your eyes for an extended period of time, but Creepy Kids definitely had too much going for it. When done right, the creepy kid movie can rattle you to your bone marrow, have you checking over your shoulder when you hear the sounds of a tricycle (*Author’s note: The Omen fans know what I’m talking about here) and have you turning down the invite to come babysit for cash.
Winner: Creepy Kids
- The 2 V.S. 7 matchup was a little tougher for me than the 1-8. While I am a firm believer that a terrifying, bone chilling musical score can alter the course of a movie, I also have (as strange as this may sound) a soft spot in my heart for psychopathic, demented, unstoppable serial killer/monsters. Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger and the Leprechaun from Leprechaun all come to mind immediately. The last one leaves my mind just as quickly. The list goes on and on. However, two of my favorite movies of all time, horror or otherwise, are Jaws and Halloween. Each of those movies is completely different without their music. Another of my all-time favorite horror movies, The Shining, utilizes gnawing, nerve-jangling noises to put you nauseously ill-at-ease.
Winner: Pants-peeing music
- The 3 V.S. 6 matchup was another tough call for me. On the one hand we have the root of all evil. A sure-fire horror movie “don’t”. Underage drinking. If you booze in horror movies, you’re going to die. Probably brutally. Probably bloodily. You’re probably going to go straight from a keg stand to a leg/hand missing. The probability of you dying increases by 4 with each 6 pack you crush, by 6 with each keg that you purchase, and exponentially with each bottle that you steal/pilfer from your parents’ stash. But I love the look of a steadicam in a horror movie; the feel of it. It makes your skin crawl. Nothing puts you better in the murderer’s perspective than a slow steadicam approach from behind or a swift steadicam rush from the side. Nothing.
Winner: Steadicam shots
- The 4 V.S. 5 matchup features two other staples of the horror genre. The dream sequence and doing drugs. While I firmly believe that, in a unique and revolutionary new tactic, the D.A.R.E. program should splice together gruesomely unedited highlights of party scenes gone awry from every Friday the 13th ever to show kids what drug use will lead to, there just isn’t enough to topple the mighty dream sequences. Or am I dreaming right now? Uh-oh. . .Nightmare on Elm Street lives on this very idea. But, wait, what’s scarier than nightmares? The answer — and the reason that drugs wins this category? — BATH SALTS! The scariest thing ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Winner: Drugs = Death
IN ROUND 2:
- Steadicam shots shocks the world by upsetting Creepy Kids. I’ve told you this one, I’m obsessed with the way steadicams shots look in cinema. You could shoot a Michael Bay movie on them and they would be terrifying. Now, when you combine these two goliaths of horror? You get phenomenally terrifying horror flicks. Bless you, Stanley Kubrick.
Winner: Steadicam Shots
- Pants-Peeing Music sneaks out a win over Drugs = Death. Have you ever heard the theme song to Halloween? Three bars of that 6/8 time death march has me ready to sprint manically away from the nothing hunting me until my legs fall off (*Author’s note: in my current physical condition, that’s about 40 yards.). Kimbo Slice would wet himself the moment he heard the jarring strings, creaking vilely, signaling the complete mental collapse of Jack Torrance as he toes the line to murderous insanity. But on the other hand. . .BATH SALTS!!!!!!!!!!!!
Winner: Pants-Peeing Music
AND IN THE FINAL SHOWDOWN:
- Pants-Peeing Music wins in a heavyweight slugfest. There are just more movies that have utilized creepy-ass music to set the tone than have used the steadicam. While I fully blame directors for this egregious oversight, steadicams are also highly expensive in an industry known for being very low-budget. In the end, though, aren’t we all winners, horror fans?
Winner: Everyone everywhere. Wait, what’s that behind you. . .oh, no! Look out. . .it’s bath salts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Alex Cross is in theaters now. This is relatively unremarkable since there are two other movies based on the series of James Patterson novels and these sorts of detective novels seem to pull is in time and again. But there is most certainly something remarkable going on in theaters around the country right now.
We love a good mystery, here in this great nation, and right now we’ve found ourselves facing another one. This riddle, this enigmatic and doused-in-suspense mystery is cloaked in a layer after layer of shadowy misinformation and it has a terrifying plot twist that awaits behind its shroud. What’s the mystery, you ask? It’s a simple question. But a question that has far reaching and horrifying implications. Are you ready?
How in the F- did Tyler Perry get a job starring in a movie that’s supposed to be a suspense/thriller?
That’s not a typo. There’s not some hot new actor who shares a name with the bazillionaire a-hole who has been force-feeding us schlock on TBS as fast as he can shovel it with his platinum-encrusted backhoe. This is the guy who cranks out more movies than Nicholas Cage can even hang with (*Author’s note: 10 in the last two years, plus the visual waterboarding that is House of Payne, his TBS T.V. show)
The guy who puts his name on more stuff than Donald Trump is playing a detective. Not only that, but he’s not a bumbling detective or the crappy comedy relief in a buddy cop film. No, he’s the title character. He’s the super-smart, legions-of-fans-possessing Alex Cross who’s solved crime after crime in a sophisticated, rational manner.
Tyler Perry isn’t departing from his usual roles, to star in a taut, sleek, psychological thriller. He’s ejecting from them at 129,000 feet, plummeting in a wild death spiral down past Felix Baumgartner and crash landing into a crater large enough to form the next Lake Okoboji. Normally he’s the guy that’s in terrible drag, screaming in a high-pitched, noxious voice that dental-drills its way into your mind. He’s the guy dancing around in creepy drag like some unholy mixture of Norman Bates’ “mother” and that obscene title character in Big Momma’s House.
To make matters worse (*Author’s note: for them? For us? For the production studio? We’re all losers in this scenario) the role of Alex Cross has fallen into Perry’s cash-filled hands after previously being played by none other than Morgan Freeman. Going from the quietly brilliant gravitas of Freeman to the walking, breathing punchline that is Tyler Perry (*Author’s note: and everything that he stands for?)? A tragically breathtaking mistake; a Custer-underestimating-the-Native-Americans-at-Little-Bighorn kind of mistake.
Freeman is the Tom Osborne of cinema. Unflappable, paternally stern, and always seeming capable of shedding his quiet demeanor at a moments notice to rally and defend all those around him. Perry is the diametric opposite. He’s the Bobby Petrino of cinema. Filthy rich, questionably intentioned, and he could very well drive this movie off the road, crashing it into a flaming pile of rubble.
The fact that Tyler Perry got this role got me thinking. If he’s able to somehow snatch this role due to his
serious acting chops gigantic wallet. What other films are next? What’s the next move for Tyler Perry, renaissance man of the silver screen?
Here are a couple of movies that I think he might be working on next:
Tyler Perry Presents: To Kill A Mockingbird
Who better to star as Atticus finch in the special Tyler Perry edition of the 50th Anniversary version of this cinematic and literary classic? What’s that you say? This movie is all about racial dignity, truth, justice and the gravity of humans being treated as they deserve? Perfect for Tyler Perry. He did, after all, create the T.V. show Meet the Browns.
To Kill a Mockingbird also has some of the most famous courtroom scenes in movie history. This fact is widely recognized by many movie databases and ranking systems, which is perfect since Tyler Perry’s cinematic masterpiece Madea Goes to Jail, too, showed how courtrooms can be places of intense feeling and emotion.
Tyler Perry is: The Hobbit
Peter Jackson has 3 Academy Award Wins, Tyler Perry should have at least six Oscars. Can you imagine anything better than Bilbo Perry, in full Madea wig, setting out on a quest through the perilous lands outside the Shire? I definitely can’t. Smaug the Dragon will also be played by Tyler Perry. They won’t even bother to CG his face on the dragon, they’ll just lazily throw him into a fat suit, slap a green tail on it and have him run around shouting “I am Smaug!” so that way Perry can pocket the rest of the cash himself. The movie will gross $800 million like every other Tyler Perry movie and we’ll be left wondering who will take over the world first: Mark Zuckerberg or Tyler Perry.
Right now, two things are taking over my television set: NBA free agency and ads for the remake of the classically ridiculous Total Recall. Believe it or not, I’m not actually here to make fun of the new Total Recall. It looks like it could be the kind of gritty, Bladerunner-esque future that I love to see in Sci-Fi movies. I like Colin Farrell and think that he’ll do an above average job as the 2012 version of The Governator.
What I do like to make fun of, however, is Arnold Schwarzenegger movies featuring a scantily clad Sharon Stone and a ridiculous host of costumes that look like they were stolen off of George Lucas’ alien mulch pile and slapped onto the bigscreen. While the remake doesn’t come out until August, the PR machine is in full effect, especially on ESPN and other channels frequented by “dudes.” (*Author’s note: because clearly “dudes” are the key demographic for Sci-Fi movies. Just ask the 4 trillion Prometheus ads that either feature beer or ESPN blowhard Stephen A. Smith’s broke ass.)
How does this tie into the NBA, you might be asking? Everything ties into the NBA. At least in my own, warped, mind. Especially when the National Basketball Association has had another fascinating offseason. I’ll be tying this whole loosely formulated idea together by utilizing the many faces of one of the best actors of his or any generation: Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger.
While I was watching the original Total Recall, I was playing a game I like to call “Pause-face.” If you couldn’t guess by its name, the object of the game is to pause the TV while the person that’s on it is pulling the most ridiculous face. You can frame-by-frame it, try to go for a straight pause, or even try the jump-back pause if you’re up for a challenge. The Governator is the Edwin Moses of Pause-facing. If you made a Mount Rushmore of the sport, he’d have all four faces. And they’d all be sublimely ridiculous.
This most recent game of Pause-face gave me an idea: why not set up a ranking system for the NBA’s most fascinating offseason moves, by looking for a few of the internet’s best Schwarzenegger pause-faces.
Ray Allen to the Miami Heat
(*Author’s note: I’m I the only one left that still calls Ray, “Jesus Shuttlesworth”? All hail, He Got Game!)
Allen, he with the most 3 pointers made in NBA history, found himself in a strange position this offseason. He had gone to Boston, a big piece of the original “Big 3″, — a group people seemed to hate far less than the current rendition that’s standing atop the league at the current moment — won a title and was highly successful in the shamrock green and whites.
But, he’s old.
At 36, he’s roughly 65 in basketball years and his age/nagging injuries seemed to catch up with him towards the end of the Celtics’ playoff run. So how did the Miami Heat lure Jesus Shuttlesworth away?
I’m guessing that they got his Denzel Washington looking father out of the state penitentiary – by way of a corruptible warden that is a die-hard Heat fan – and tried to convince him to play his wayward-father-still-bearing-influence-on-his-emotionally-damaged-child card. And there’s probably a gratuitous 3-way mixed in there as well.
All He Got Game references aside, a saavy veteran like Allen taking less money to head to a team where wide open 3 point looks abound? Not that shocking. The fact that he went from Celtics to Heat, thereby baiting the over-the-top hatred and scorn of the borderline psychotic Boston fanbase? A little shocking.
Pause-face level of excitement/shock:
Jeremy Lin to the Houston Rockets
Linsanity exploded onto New York this year. Coming from nowhere, or as nowhere as an Ivy League college can ever be, Jeremy Lin got up from crashing on his brother’s couch and crashed the National Basketball Association’s party. The ensuing aftershocks, replete with terrible puns, racist Asian jokes, and heaping, steaming piles of cash, were enough to propel Lin to a position of power in the free agent market.
Then James Dolan happened.
Yes, the guy who let Isaiah Thomas carbomb the entire franchise. Yes, the same guy who just went out and got a 39-year-old Jason Kidd (*Author’s note: who celebrated his highway robbery by getting loaded and crashing into a lightpole) and Raymond “I’ll Have the Quarter Pounder Meal, Large Sized” Felton.
After telling Jeremy Lin that he should feel free to shop his talents around, and implying that they would match any offer Lin could get to retain his services, the Knicks became suddenly defensive when Lin did just that. The Rockets, still counting their piles of money from their last Asian market crossover star, promptly offered him a massive deal and when it was suddenly Dolan’s turn to keep his word, he balked.
Can Lin continue his meteoric rise to the heights of the NBA? Or will the ever-present turnover issues de-rail him? I’d guess somewhere in between. Do I believe that the Knicks, who reports have estimated have already lost somewhere in the $50 million dollar range on their value since losing Lin, should have kept this young, talented PG? Definitely.
Dolan is the guy that tells his girlfriend, “I think we should see other people.” And then when he sees his girlfriend out at a candlelit dinner with a Jockey underwear model, he loses his shit and sends her a bunch of angry, emoticon-filled text messages.
Pause-face level of excitement/shock:
Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers
There’s, legitimately only 1 guy in the league that will make your fan base happy that you just went out and spent assets to get older, whiter, and more unintimidating. That’s Nash. He’s a 2-time MVP, even if his back to back wins for the award seem a little flawed, and one of the best passers the league has ever seen. He should hopefully rejuvenate the bearded corpse that was Pau Gasol, take a little of the pressure off of Kobe, and bring some fluidity to an offense that had all the flow of Jiff Extra Chunky during Mike Brown’s first season at the helm.
Will his body hold out? He’ll turn 39 next year and his back will be celebrating it’s 123rd birthday on opening day of the season. Nash is notoriously good about taking care of his body, though, and played exceedingly well last season considering his second best player was Marcin Gortat.
Pause-face level of excitement/shock:
(*Author’s Note: Yes, that’s Schwarzenegger. He decides to sneak onto Mars disguised in a fat, terribly constructed woman suit that promptly malfunctions. Turns out the Governator sucks at being the Undercovernator.)
Dwight Howard to. . .Wait, You Mean He’s Still on the Orlando Magic?!?! What the hell!?!?
Yes. Dwight Howard is still with the Magic. No, I don’t think anyone has the slightest F-ing clue if he’ll ever get traded. Every morning ESPN trots out a bevy of whack jobs (captained by the notorious and aforementioned Stephen A. Smith) who all claim there’s been movement on some kind of deal sending Howard somewhere.
I’m not sure what Dwight envisioned for himself, but I’m guessing this wasn’t it. He’s quickly become the most reviled player in the league, even though some of us still hold a special, contemptible place in our cynical hearts for LeBron, and he has made blunder after blunder after bungle.
Will Dwight end up in Houston? Will he end up somehow getting shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers? (*Author’s note: Damn, I hope so) Did he hire the same PR firm that masterminded “The Decision” and the “Mission Accomplished” banner from the early 2000′s that haunts Americans to this day?
The fact that he’s still in Orlando, untraded, despised, and that Brooklyn decided to massively overpay a dude named Brook instead of continuing to try to make moves to acquire him leads me to this. . .
Pause-face level of excitement/shock:
The latest installation in the Men in Black franchise is coming out this Friday. I’m sure you know this, since we’ve all been force-fed a gag-inducing portion of advertisements and gimmicks to let us know that this — along with Burger King, the NBA Playoffs, Sprite, iHop, and some kind of car — is something we can’t afford to miss.
I was a fan of the first MIB movie. I was also in elementary school.
I’m not saying that the first part of that 2-sentence statement was contingent on the second half. But I do feel that it has at least something to do with why I was such a fan. When the first movie came out, Will Smith was at the height of his powers. He was an action movie/buddy-comedy goldmine and a rapper who was the epitome of non-swearing, unthreatening fun that made suburban mothers okay with popping Big Willy Style into their Nissan Minivans. (*Author’s note: the last 14 words of that sentence are not dirty. I swear it. Damn you, double entendres. Damn you.)
My brother and I loved the first movie. At the time it had a multitude of things going for it that made me obsessed with the film. Aliens, high-tech special effects, and a wise-cracking young hotshot butting heads with his grizzled and grumpy older partner. It had all the elements of a movie that a young male would find impressive.
We’ve now come full circle. As is often the case, my nostalgia has given way to a feeling of dread. What used to be awesome to the 1997 version of myself has turned into me shouting at the TV during the 14th preview for MIB III during the NBA Playoffs, “Oh, right, because Will Smith screaming with terror while riding in a space-aged vehicle is so f-ing original!?!?”
I’m a Will Smith fan. I like him as an actor, if I have come to realize that his rapping is no longer for me, but I feel like there are other things on Will Smith’s career priority list that he’s neglecting to go after the obvious cash-grab that is an entirely unnecessary third chapter to the Men in Black franchise.
In fact, here’s the things I think Will Smith should have done instead of making Men in Black III.
#1. (*Author’s note: this one is glaringly obvious) Make Bad Boys 3
I can’t explain my outrage when I heard that Will Smith was doing a “part 3″ movie that wasn’t prefaced with Bad Boys. I was shocked, then appalled. Then re-shocked. Then I involuntarily started quoting Detective Mike Lowery.
The facts are these: Bad Boys and Bad Boys 2 are two of the finest action/comedy movies ever made. They are the only movies in which Martin Lawrence can tap into his neurotic, spastic humor without making me want to pour battery acid into my eyes like it was Visine. These movies are like the pre-Monta Ellis trade Golden State Warriors. They’re so damn fun to watch that you don’t care if they’re more style than substance and more exploding Ferraris than powerhouse acting performances (*Author’s note: in this analogy, the exploding Ferraris would be Steph Curry’s ankles).
At this point, I’ve even got a plotline hammered out. Detective Mike Lowery (Will Smith) is marrying into Detective Marcus Burnett’s family. Marcus, along with a host of crotchety uncles, cousins etc. (*Author’s note: preferably someone like Charlie Murphy) is all-too happy to haze and/or initiate Lowery into their clan. All of this is playing out on the backdrop of both detectives being investigated by a crooked internal affairs agent with ties to the Jewish Mafia in South Beach. The Chief (Joe Pantoliano) is in the midst of a messy divorce and has his hands firmly tied behind his back.
The rest of the plot goes a little something like this: Car chase, car chase, automatic weapon fight, machine gun, club scene, wedding gun fight, kidnapping, LeBron James cameo, explosion, rap music, Martin Lawrence too shocked for words, car chase, credits.
You get the point. The beauty of the Bad Boys franchise is that it allows Michael Bay to do what he loves, namely blow shit up and spend millions on special effects, without it feeling disgustingly CGI-ed or too Shia LaBeouf-y. The chemistry between Lawrence and Smith is so funny that even the most chaotic scream-sessions seem enjoyable.
#2. Come Out With a Rap Song Featuring Sisqo That Samples the Entire Music Track From a Previously Created Song
The music industry needs this. We need this. I’m not sure where Sisqo has gone. Probably somewhere that would be alternately terrifying and hilarious to us if we knew. Is his hair still an un-polished silver that looks like it’s a weird coat of primer-paint? Has anyone showed him their thong-th-thong-thong-thong? Besides men, I mean. I think we need to know. A Will Smith/Sisqo collaboration would offer us the perfect vessel to answer these pressing questions.
All they have to do is hi-jack another ’80s tune with an upbeat tempo, re-write a few of the words like an un-funny parody and they’re suddenly off and running. It would take some of us back to our childhoods and Smith back to the top of the charts. (*Author’s note: Alright, the second half of that is probably inaccurate)
I know that his kids are currently attempting to get their Emilio Estevez game right, taking over Hollywood in the footsteps of their parents, but if Will wants to re-establish dominance now is the time. Bieber’s “rapping” about fondue and Buzz Lightyear on his latest track. The music game would be Smith’s for the taking.
At this point, I’d even be fine with him re-making his own remake. Sound confusing? Don’t tell that to the people who are already re-doing Spiderman about 20 minutes after the first franchise seemed dead. (*Author’s note: I’m leaning towards a re-envisioning of “Will 2k” but maybe changed up to something like an upbeat party jam about how dope it will be for the world to end called, ”Will 2k12: Mayan Apocalypse.”)
#3. A Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Show
I’m not asking for the series to come back. I’m just asking for an over the hill, obese Carlton (Alphonso Ribeiro) and a using-Just-For-Men-Gel Will to have to come home because Uncle Phillip Banks has become embroiled in a corruption case. Will will have to get Carlton to abort his beginning-level Ponzi Scheme and Carlton will have to try to keep Will out of one last stint in rehab. Sounds like a boatload of fun, right?
In summation, Will Smith has other, much more pressing needs to take care of before he should’ve made this movie. Shame on you, Big Willy. Shame.
Battleship is coming out on May 18th. If you didn’t know this, you must either be living in a Ted Kaczynski-style shack in some remote corner of the Montana foothills or in solitary confinement in a maximum security facility. What you may or may not have been able to tell, based on the 1,000,000,000,000 ads/corporate tie-ins/”most Battleshippy moment of the NBA Playoffs”, is that this movie is allegedly based on the board game.
At this point, you may be saying to yourself, “Huh?” and “What?” Or you may have even progressed to the point of “So what?” But the reason I find this to be such a fascinating re-imagining of a game that I used to play in the 5th grade is that the movie looks literally nothing like the old Hasbro game involving gray ships and calling out grid-like commands like you were participating in a war-like game of Bingo. (*Author’s note: The pegs that held the ships in place would inevitably break off and leave your submarine or battleship listing hard to port.)
In fact, the movie appears to have jumped ship (*Author’s note: I’m sorry.) to a completely different, seemingly incoherent mix of aliens, Liam Neeson, and leftover computer graphics that had to be edited out of the Transformers movies due to time constraints.
This isn’t the first boardgame to get transformed into a feature motion picture, either. The movie Clue, which I used to watch every Halloween while gorging myself on mini-bags of M&Ms and candy corn, immediately comes to mind here. So we at Burnpoetry decided that we should do some digging and see if there weren’t any other lost scripts about converting some of our favorite childhood board games into movies.
Here’s what we discovered.
Chutes and Ladders
An action/adventure that originally starred Bruce Willis as Virgil Jax, the burned out, chainsmoking ex-cop that has found himself working in the bowels of an industrial ladder manufacturing plant. One night, after stumbling drunkenly back to the plant where he’s contemplating suicide, Jax witnesses the CEO of the corporation murder one of his underlings.
Horrified, Jax watches in a boozy stupor as the boss presses a button on his desk and the body of the victim is pushed into a giant chute. The body disappears and Jax makes a break for it. Rejected by the inevitably crooked and/or incompetent local cops, Jax launches his own secret investigation and discovers that the entire plant is sitting atop a massive catacomb of chutes used for transporting human bodies.
And there’s a bunch of aliens, too. Lots of aliens.
A psychedelic fantasy epic which was originally to be helmed by Oliver Stone, this film starred an ensemble cast. Princess Lolly was to be played by Sharon Stone, Gloppy by John Candy, Lord Licorice by Dolph Lundgren, and King Kandy by Harrison Ford.
Princess Lolly is trapped in an arranged marriage to a man she doesn’t love and stuck in a life she didn’t choose. Wandering through a privileged, but empty, life she finds solace in riding her gingerbread horse and snorting lines of pixie stick powder. One day she overindulges, nearly dying of a tragic overdose and/or diabetic shock, but is saved by a young, strapping Mr. Mint.
Determined that this is fate’s way of freeing her from her bonds, Lolly and Mint abscond to the Candy Cane forest where they encounter all kinds of tooth-rotting monsters and Willy-Wonka-on-even-more-acid kinds of scenery.
While the lovers narrowly avoid capture it becomes clear that one thing and one thing only will save their new-found love: an impending alien invasion.
(*Author’s note: I know. . .not technically a board game.)
A sinister horror film which was originally set to star a young Mark Ruffalo as Phillip Hockney, an up-and-coming medical corporation executive. Giving more value to the mountains of cash he was seeking to earn than to who he had to step on in his journey to the top, he is careless in his personal life; cavalier with women and consumed with profit margin.
However, the tables turn on Hockney as he finds himself pulled into an elaborate web of deceit and torture by some of the very people he had so heedlessly cast aside. With a company that spares no expense on corporate jet-setting, but saves millions by using human pawns to test out new medical procedures, Hockney realizes that his willful disregard for humanity has a cost. And what a cost indeed.
Will Hockney realize the error of his ways in time to save himself and, indeed, save his very soul? Or will he find himself, naked and alone, with a giant red nose, hearing the fateful words: “Please remove the broken heart.” Will he survive the icy hands of the reaper as they descend upon him for. . .Operation? Also, the people attacking him? They’re definitely aliens.
Jason Statham has a new movie coming out called Safe. Have you seen the previews? I think I’ve seen one, but it doesn’t actually matter if you did or not because I can tell you the plotline. How, you may ask? Because Statham has perfected the action-picture version of paint by numbers.
1. Statham’s a troubled/renegade/rogue badass at whatever he does. If he’s a cop, he’s a lone wolf. If he’s a taxi driver he’s flipping the bird to the speed limit, son and if he’s a chef, he sure as shit doesn’t use a cookbook.
2. Somehow, through a random chance encounter, this gravelly-voiced randomly-gifted-in-every-form-or-martial-arts-ever, man runs into someone who needs his help. A child, woman, sex slave, or quadriplegic. Whatever the case is, if they need help, Statham’s character will willingly murder on their behalf without thinking twice.
3. At some point in this tumultuous, 7-trillion-edits-per-fight-scene, action flick Statham will get suddenly get heart-wrenchingly irrevocably betrayed by someone he held dear. It happens like clockwork. He’s battling against all odds, beating the bejesus out of 22 henchmen in a subway car/horsetrack/medieval castle ramparts, when the camera zooms in for a particularly scruffy-bearded closeup and a bombshell is dropped. POW! Statham’s best friend, dearest homey, police partner, or his mother reveals that they hate him, are on the take, are actually aliens hell-bent on conquering the world, or that he’s actually their clone.
4. After being immobilized with grief for all of 30 seconds and, potentially, smashing the phone in a Hulk-like rage, Statham vows vengeance on all those who stand in his way. Then he proceeds to burn the entire establishment that wronged him to the ground while fiddling like a (At some point shirtless) ripped Nero.
5. Credits roll.
This Shakespearean twist (*Author’s note: I’m sorry for besmirching your good name, William, I really am) is as predictable as the sun rising in the East and Adele getting played 6 times an hour on the radio station at my job.
It got me to thinking: who else could hold their own with Statham in a no holds barred, steel caged Betray-off? I’m crowning Statham as the King and, thus, leaving him off the list, because A) it’s already way too long and B) he’s the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world at getting screwed over in action movies.
We’ll start with the contenders. Guys who have gotten betrayed a few times, but can’t really hold their own against a monster like Statham.
- Gangs of New York: His homeboy sells him out due to jealousy about Leo hooking up with Cameron Diaz and, as a result, Leo gets headbutted a bunch by Daniel Day-Lewis in a whorehouse. Betrayal level: 6.8
- Blood Diamond: Pretty much everything about this depressing-but-awesome movie is just people screwing each other over. One after another. In weird accents, which are pretty cool, too. Betrayal level: 5.0
- Shutter Island: “Am I crazy, Ben Kingsley? Wait, are you crazy? Hold up, who’s crazy?” Betrayed! Betrayal level: 7.5
- The Departed: Undercover cop, mob, murders, internal affairs, disastrous turn of events. That 10 word summary is also what every single Statham script looks like in pre-production. That’s it. Just those 10 words. Betrayal level: 9.0
Jean Claude Van Damme:
(*Author’s note: here’s a fascinating tidbit: Van Damme has a credit on IMDB listed only as “Gay Karate Man” which might be the single most fascinating credit anyone has ever received on that site.)
- Lionheart: Stop me when this sounds familiar: Van Damme’s an ex-soldier with baggage who finds himself wrapped up in the underbelly of a street-fighting, criminal enterprise. Then, whoops, he gets betrayed by his handler. Also, he’s fighting to help pay a sick woman’s medical bills. Betrayal level: 6.6
- Hard Target:Van Damme was betrayed by his barber. Betrayal Level:9.8
- Universal Solider: Dead soldier brough back to life who Dolph Lundgren betrays and tries to make re-dead. Betrayal Level: 6.7
- Double Team: In a shocking twist, Van Damme teams up with Dennis Rodman to betray all of mankind. Since he does the betraying we’ll throw this one out. Reverse Betrayal Level: 8.2
In the Cage, Fighting for the Belt:
- Raising Arizona: (*Author’s note: A true, honest-to-goodness, badass movie that also somehow stars Nicolas Cage.) Betrayed by John Goodman. Ask George Clooney and the gang in O Brother, Where Art Thou. Betrayal Level: 8.6
- Snake Eyes: Cage gets betrayed so many times in this thriller that at one point I think a betrayer actually betrays their betray-mates to better betray him later in the film. Make sense? Neither does a lot of this movie. Betrayal Level: 7.9
- Face/Off: Betrayed by his agent who thought this film was a good career decision and by John Travolta’s gut-wrenching acting. Also he was betrayed by some inmates in a futuristic prison. Betrayal Level: 6.4
- The Knowing: Betrayed by, I don’t know. . .the human race? Aliens? His kid? He spent most of the movie sprinting balls-out either to or from a disaster. I know this: he was betrayed by somebody. Betrayal Level: 4
- Stay Hungry: (*Author’s note: Which definitely has the weirdest cover of a movie of all time. See: below.) A young, ‘roided up Arnie definitely gets betrayed by Jeff Bridges. Betrayal Level: 6.4
- Commando: Arnold is the world’s buffest ex-CIA operative. Any time the three letters “CIA” are in a sentence in a movie. . .someone’s straight up getting betrayed. Arnold’s daughter is kidnapped and he must leap into action. When it’s time to go rogue, Sarah Palin doesn’t have shit on the Governator. Also, there’s this: please go to 2:04 in immediately. Betrayal Level: 9.12
- Total Recall: Arnold gets betrayed by his wife, Sharon Stone, his former friends, and a host of alien weirdos. Intergalactic Betrayal Level: 8.7
- Eraser: James Caan definitely betrays him. Whoops, did that ruin the movie? He works for CIA, or some other pretty-much-the-CIA type organization. So you already knew that would happen. Betrayal Level: 6.9
- The 6th Day: Arnold betrays himself in this one. No seriously. Because he’s a clone. That’s all I’ve got. Betrayal Level: 9.5
- Mission Impossible series: Whether it’s 1, 2, 3, or 4, Cruise gets Benedict Arnold’ed all over the globe. With more knives in the back than Julius Caesar, Cruise’s character pretty much spends every 120 minutes of on-screen time getting double crossed. Betrayal Level: 9.6
- Minority Report: He gets betrayed all over in this futuristic thriller. It’s not too bad of a movie, so I don’t want to ruin it but know this: it involves a lot of futuristic Judas-ing. Betrayal Level: 8.5
- Vanilla Sky: Betrayed by reality. Betrayal Level: 9.7
- Risky Business: Betrayed by horniness. Betrayal Level: 9.2
- 106 and Park (As himself): Betrayed by whiteness. Betrayal Level: 9.99
- Sylvester Stallone
- Jet Li
- Chuck Norris
- Mel Gibson
- Bruce Willis
I DVR’d Space Jam the other day. It was an impulse record, and one that my wife didn’t seem to think was as cool a move as I did, but one that I thought probably deserved to be dissected in an overly lengthy, prose-ridden way.
- The movie begins: I find that, unshockingly, the prospect of watching Space Jam at 11:00 at night isn’t quite as fun when I’m not spending the night at someone’s house, pounding down cans of Surge, eating entire packs of Gushers in one mouthful, and wearing my Juwan Howard Wizards jersey. Damn it, now I really want some Warheads.
- 18 Seconds in: Holy shit, this is somehow in HD. I’m suddenly way too excited to watch this movie. And I’ll be seeing it all in glorious 1080P. Which means I’ll be watching Michael Jordan in HD. Acting. And playing baseball.
- 19 Seconds in: Maybe I don’t want to watch this.
- 20 Seconds in: What else am I going to do, sleep?
- 40 Seconds in: The movie is being hosted by an obnoxious Asian guy who has on more sweatbands than a 60-year-old squash player and is rocking a V-Neck jersey straight out of the “leftover pile” that you used to be forced to wear in 8th grade P.E. if you forgot your gym clothes. Good start, Cartoon Network.
- 4:27 in: I’ve already heard a pre-urine-scandal R. Kelly & the Quad City DJ’s. I feel like lacing up a pair of dingy roller skates and rolling in circles while raising the roof. The nostalgia is so great I find myself asking a question that has almost certainly never been uttered: “When’s the Quad City DJ’s next reunion tour?” And one that has been asked many times & in many ways: “Seriously, R. Kelly? Pee?!?!”
- 5:00 in: It apparently took 4 guys to write the screenplay for this movie.
- 11:00 in: Michael Jordan strikes out in terrible fashion. But that’s not unrealistic. What is bizarre about this scene? The size of the home plate umps biceps. He looks like he’s been ‘roiding more than the 1996 Oakland A’s clubhouse.
(*Author’s note: here’s another Zapruder-quality picture. This was a closeup of the umps insanely huge pipes. That gigantic, Neptune-sized rock in the background is definitely his arms. Would you argue a call with this guy? Ed Hochuli must’ve watched this film and realized that his dream of being the most obnoxiously ripped ref/ump in history would never be fulfilled.)
- 17:54 in: The commercial break I just watched ends. It went something like this: pop tarts, something called “Squinkies”, Ninja legos, and Twister (*Author’s note: apparently this game looks the same. Except that you could download a free Mp3 of the theme song.)
- 20:52 in: Jordan’s kid comes home from a baseball game. He seems disappointed, but I’m guessing it’s just because he lost his Dad 10 grand in a “friendly wager” on the outcome of his teeball game.
- 23:58 in: I become convinced the Blue Mon-Star has been hitting the chronic. Although, since I’m the one watching Space Jam at 11:45 at night and jonesing for pop rocks and Sprite, maybe I’m the one who seems high.
- 28:54 in: Annnnnnnddd…the douchey Asian host of the show just undid all the racial barrier breaking done by Jeremy Lin. That’s all it took.
- 31:50 in: The Mon-Stars turn into purple goo and steal Chuck Barkley and Patrick Ewing’s talent. The Knicks immediately go on a 10-game winning streak and the Monstars immediately develop an innate ability to play the race card, but quickly find out that no one can understand what the hell they’re saying. (*Author’s note: For the record, Barkley’s actually pretty much my hero)
-32:58 in: Vlade Divac sighting!
- 38:00 in: While Bill Murray is trying to convince Larry bird that he could be a replacement player in the NBA I become convinced that someway, somehow Bill Murray and Larry Bird must do a TV show together. (*Author’s note: I also have an epiphany that only loosely makes sense — Bill Murray is the Larry Bird of comedy)
- 39:12 in: Jordan bets dinner that he wins the golf hole. By “dinner” I feel certain he means 10 grand.
- 48:52 in: Shawn Bradley continues to undergo tests to discover why he has become an uncoordinated, scrawny white dude. (*Author’s note: hint–he’s an uncoordinated, scrawny white dude)
- 50:07 in: Charles Barkley, “I’ll never go out with Madonna again.”
- 50:08 in: “Neither will we.” – Every pro athlete, besides A-Rod, after 1998
- 52:00 in: Lola Bunny makes an appearance. She’s dressed like Britney Spears but plays like Britney Griner.
- 60:01 in: And now, the only way this fortune teller scene that I just watched could possibly have been written into the script:
Writer I: Damn it, you guys, we need to fill 7 more minutes of movie and we literally used up every closeup reaction shot of Michael shrugging in bemused confusion.
Writer II: I’ve got it! Wait, did you say no more closeups of confused, smirking shock? Shit…
Writer III: Listen you guys, I’ve been huffing paint out behind the studio and listening to Blues Traveler for the last 6 hours and I think I’ve got it: a fat, weird, fortune teller scene! Right? Right?!?!?
Writer IV: At this point, man, I give up. Write that in. But first…how much huffing-paint is left?
-64:13 in: Yosemite Sam, in a wild moment of passion, shoots off his guns in the Tune Squad locker room. Somewhere in 1998, a young Gilbert Arenas says, “Now there is an idea!”
- 65:48 in: Lola Bunny has more basketball players chasing her tail than Kim Kardashian.
- 70:01 in: I realize that Kendrick Perkins is the only NBA player in history dumb enough to try to pattern his game, and his look, after the bad guys in Space Jam.
- 72:02 in: It’s strange that the least realistic plotline, in a movie based on cartoon characters playing a basketball game with Michael Jordan, is that Jordan has lazy teammates and has yet to punch a single one of them in the face.
- 91:01 in: I realize that Dennis Nedry (*Author’s note yes, that Dennis Nedry) is only the 2nd most bloated carcass of a basketball player I’ve seen this year. Congrats, Amar’e Stoudemire.
(*Author’s note: you may know him as Wayne Knight, or probably as Newman from Seinfeld, but to me, he will always be the anti-loveable hacker that gets eaten alive in Jurassic Park. As if this post needed more ’90s references, right?)
- 95:00 in: Bill Murray > everyone.
- 95:43 in: MJ slams home a dunk from so far away that a 7-year-old Javale McGee sits up in his LA Rams pajamas and says, “I want to do that.”
- 106:27 in: MJ gives everyone their powers back. Shawn Bradley, standing at a talentless 7’6″, gets the nothing back that he lost, since his key basketball skill is being tall as hell.
- The Credits Roll: Jordan comes back, makes a triumphant tongue-wagging return…to the Wizards. Or at least that’s how I envision his triumphant return to the NBA.
(*Author’s note: first thing’s first, I stole the “Sequel Watch” quote from my friend, Cerny. It’s a time-honored Anchorman fan tradition, that I am honoring in the title, to use other peoples’ quotes to be funny. Or to try to be. I.E. when my buddies and I used to determine our sobriety by seeing who could say “The human torch was denied a bank loan.”)
Ron Burgundy made an appearance last night. Like a shimmering mirage of mustache, he was there and then gone. Glimmering in the studio air, like a peyote-induced, spirit quest animal that I had conjured with my mind (and an illicit hallucinogen).
The Anchorman sequel, long whispered about in offices and written about in the clattering chorus of internet bloggers and fellow nerdy enthusiasts, may be finally in the works. The long-awaited announcement landed on the ears of foaming-at-the-mouth fans like the beautiful, lilting sounds of a Burgundy jazz flute solo (*Author’s note: pronounced “yazz” or course). Literally.
The announcement came on the set of the Conan O’Brien show when suddenly the host’s conversation with co-host Andy Richter were interrupted by the glorious sounds of righteous flutation. It was Mr. Burgundy, to be sure. No man can bring the pure, unadulterated stank to flutedom like the master.
As the crowd rose to their feet in a recklessly passionate standing ovation, Mr. Burgundy and his flute made passionate musical love that crescendoed with a climactic flourish. I felt like I was watching Michael Jordan wearing #45 as he drove to the hoop and realizing, holy hell. . .he hasn’t lost a step.
Mr. Burgundy engaged in a witty repartee with the host and his trusty, portly, sidekick before dropping a bombshell that’s been a long time in coming. He announced that after years of waiting, the project to make a sequel to Anchorman was finally underway.
As a diehard Anchorman fan I was thrilled to read on Deadline Hollywood’s website that much of the original team is allegedly in place for the sequel. That means Champ, Bryan Fantana, and Brick, sweet Brick, should all be back. As of yet, it’s unclear what the script will entail, but we can only hope that the movie can live up to the expectations that are sure to start building. I feel certain that even if the plot for the second movie is “Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 News Team float in the empty vacuum of space and say nothing” that I would still be more than willing to plunk down my $8.50 to attend and enjoy.
I, as well as many others, have missed Ron’s musk over the past few years. Even though I still will pop in my DVD of Anchorman from time to time to just remind myself how good Paul Rudd, Will Ferrell, David Koechner, and Steve Carrell play off of each other at the height of their humorous powers, I have long awaited a sequel.
The fact that the sequel has been so long in coming can mean two different things: 1. This movie won’t be a cash-grab that’s thrown together as quickly as possible to capitalize on the first movie’s enormous success (*Author’s note: here’s looking at you, The Hangover 2) and it will be funny, well thought out, and, once again, uniquely awesome or 2. There wasn’t a good enough storyline to make the film production worthwhile and the guys behind this film have decided to cobble something together to make boatloads of dough. Let’s hope it’s the former and not the latter.
To be honest, none of these guys really needs the money. Producer Judd Apatow, who’s back, has built a comedy empire that has his net worth hovering somewhere between Jay-Z and God. The stars of the movie have all had extremely successful and profitable careers outside of the franchise. Koechner, who has not turned into a box office smash success like the other members of the team, is still landing roles in comedies and doing well in his own right.
Rudd, Carrell and Ferrell are all-stars in their own right, but putting them back together, with glue-guy Koechner, is like watching the ’92 Dream Team all over again.
Frankly, I’m giddy about the entire proposition. After the news broke I immediately found myself re-quoting the movie like I had just seen it for the first time. Will the sequel to one of the funniest movies ever made be a rare exception (*Author’s note: Christmas Vacation and Army of Darkness come to mind, even though they’re a little further along in their series’ than just “Part 2″s) to the long-held cinematic belief that: 60% of the time, comedy sequels suck every time? Will the sequel, much like milk on a day that’s “so damn hot!” turn out to be a bad choice? Will I ever grow out of quoting Anchorman?
I’d love to answer all those questions but I’m actually heading back to the. . .pants. . .store. It’s the pleats on these pants. They’re very flattering in the. . .crotchal region.