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September 11, 2007 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | September 11, 2007 |

Not that lawyers don’t deserve every goddamn bit of bile and invective they currently receive, but I think we/they get a bum rap for the Twinkie defense. For those who have been swindled by the popular misconception, here’s the simple lowdown on Dan White: In the late ’70s, San Francisco’s city Supervisor, Harvey Milk, was the most popular (and only) openly gay politician in America. Dan White, a homophobic fuckstick political opponent, assassinated Harvey Milk and the mayor of San Francisco, ostensibly because Milk was gay but really because Dan White was batshit Terrell-Owens crazy. Anyway, during the trial, a shrink testified that White committed the murders because he was depressed and that drinking coke and eating junk food (or Twinkies) exacerbated his depression and mood swings. White’s lawyers argued diminished capacity, and eventually he was found guilty of only voluntary manslaughter and given a ridiculously lenient prison sentence of less than eight years. The White Riots followed (in which 160 people were injured). White served five years. A year or so after his release, he sucked a bullet.

Now, before you go getting the idea that I’ve confused sites, and this one is supposed to be on QuizLaw, I’ll report that Gus Van Sant is actually directing a film about Harvey Milk, in which Sean Penn will play Milk and Matt Damon (!) will play his assassin, Dan White. And while I totally dig the casting, the choice of director, and applaud Hollywood for wanting to make a movie about the first openly gay politician (Bryan Singer, in fact, has a competing project in the works), I’m already feeling a little pissed off with the way I know Van Sant will take dramatic liberties and highlight the goddamn Twinkie defense. Junk food was not blamed, folks. It was a contributing factor to his depression, and it didn’t matter any-fucking-way: The jury was made up of a pool of shitty homophobes who convicted White of the lesser charge. It didn’t matter what the lawyers argued — White was still going to get off easy. Because it was 1979. And even much of San Francisco was a backwards, messed up place.

Moving on: It’s almost not worth discussing The Last Battle Dreamer, a movie directed by Menno Meyjes (Max) about a 7th century Viking warrior who, along with his battle-scarred brother, invades Britain, except for one almost hysterically amusing casting note: Pretty-boy Ryan Phillippe will be playing one of the Vikings (his love interest will be played by Abbie Cornish). Sean Bean will play his brother, because of the incredible physical similarities, of course. Damn: Those 7th century Vikings would’ve loved nothing more than to stomp on Ryan Phillippe’s neck, dice him thrice with one of those big-ass Viking swords, and eat him for breakfast. Sean Bean could probably do the same. That’s gotta be the worst casting decision I’ve ever heard.

I understand quite a few of you were upset by the news that Tobey Maguire was eying the lead role in a live-action movie of the 80’s anime television series, Robotech. And to those of you who are disturbed by this bit of casting news, I have but one question for you: What the hell is Robotech and why in God’s name are you getting so worked up about it? Man, I dozed off trying to make it through the goddamn Wiki entry. It’s a cartoon about a robot created to fight off alien invasions? Damn. Y’all gotta get out — who among you Robotech fans even knew that daylight savings time was pushed back a month last year?

The good folks over at The Matineer bring us news that Danny Devito has been badgering Billy Crystal about doing a sequel to Throw Momma from the Train. It’ll never happen, of course, because not even Hollywood is that desperate for a hit. But, I did want to bring the speculation to your attention because whenever I think about the film I find myself walking around the house, downtown, the library, the synagogue, or funeral parlors tourette-muttering, “Owen, bring me my bacon!” And I just wanted to pass that affliction onto the rest of you. It’s Tuesday. And I’m feeling generous.

Indy 4 has a name now: It will be called Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Please don’t Lucas this film? Please.

Finally, Mark Helfrich, the prettiest man alive, has been signed to follow up his directorial debut, Good Luck Chuck, with Five Killers, a movie about a hitman being targeted by other hitmen because that’s never been done before. Helfrich is the long-time editor and mentee to Bret Ratner, which is sort of like taking geography lessons from Miss Teen South Carolina. Expect Five Killers to dominate the box office for weeks. Dane Cook will probably star.

Out on DVD this week: Away from Her, DOA: Dead or Alive and, for those of you contemplating suicide and needing a little motivation, the first season of “Two and a Half Men” hits stores today. I understand they are stocking it right near the razor blades.

And, wrapping up today’s round-up, I leave you with the trailer for Iron Man, the most talked about movie of summer 2008. I love Robert Downey, Jr. I like Terrence Howard. I even dig the director, Jon Favreau. And up until Downey straps on the iron, I’m totally down with the film. But afterwards? I dunno, y’all. I just don’t know.

Throw Momma from the Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Film | September 11, 2007 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.


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