Ben Lyons Sh*tcanned!
Let's start with the good news. After the new "Access Hollywood" pretty-boy douche-melon version of "At the Movies" -- with Ben Lyons and the other Ben who is not as dumb, but almost -- failed both with audiences and anyone with even the slightest affection for Siskel and Ebert (or Roeper) (there was even a blog dedicated the the hatred of Ben Lyons), ABC Media Productions has fired the Bens and (gasp!) hired competent critics. What's happening to this country? First we elect an intelligent African American, and now television executives are replacing boneheads who know nothing about movies with actual movie critics instead of pretty doddering heads?
Indeed, The New York Times' A.O. Scott and the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips will step into that intellectual void and fill it with actual insight. Also, neither one of the men are attractive. Good for you, ABC Media Productions. It makes sense, too, because the only audiences who actually pay attention to reviews honestly prefer people who know what they're talking about. I'm actually not that familiar with Michael Philips, but A.O. Scott is smart, capable, and thoughtful, even if I don't always agree with him. I'm just glad they didn't get Owen Gleiberman (*shudder*).
While we're on a good news kick, I'm happy to report that Jason Segel -- one of the Apatow gang that hasn't been overexposed just yet -- has signed on to The Adventurer's Handbook, a comedy written by Jonah Hill and Max Winkler that will be directed by "SNL's" Akiva Schaffer. Segel will join Hill and Jason Schwartzman, who have already been cast. Details on the movie are still sketchy, but it's expected to be a raunchy R-rated comedy about four 20-something guys, inspired by a book of the same name, who set out overseas in search of a mysterious location described in the book. I'll withhold judgment until I see the trailer.
What else? Ah, yes. The bad news: Renny Harlin is quickly developing a low-budget movie about the recent five-day conflict between
George Georgia and Russia. Shooting begins in September. Because the film is being shot in areas near the conflict, plot specifics are being kept under wraps for security reason. Casting is under way.
Also, Jennifer Aniston has officially signed onto another project. She will star in Goree Girls, a movie based on the true story of an all female country band in a 1940s Texas prison. The eight-woman act became so popular, they were eventually pardoned from prison. Michael Sucsy, whose HBO movie Grey Gardens just received 17 Emmy nominations, is set to make his feature directing debut.
And, finally, I know some of you are sick to death of me talking up (500) Days of Summer, but for those of you who have seen it and loved it (or others still excited about seeing it when it finally arrives in your hometown), here's a pretty great music video featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. The song, "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?," which is itself pretty great, comes from Deschanel's band, She & Him. Fans of both Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt (and the movie) should appreciate it. It's fucking adorable: