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June 27, 2006 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | June 27, 2006 |

Item #1: I loved the “X-Men” cartoon that aired on Fox Saturday mornings when I was a kid. Didn’t like it; loved it. I wanted to come right out and admit that upfront, since I’ll be speaking here in brief about the X-Men, and I might as well stand up and say my name and my addiction and be greeted and welcomed by the rest of the room. Only “addiction” isn’t really accurate, since my interest in the show and the comics waned as puberty sank its claws into my cerebral cortex. But let’s put it this way: I know what I’m talking about.

It’s because of that confession that I feel OK saying that Wolverine is probably the most overrated character. He’s the cool one, or geek cool, and he has claws, and it’s possible that he’s gotten biblical with more than one woman. But that’s about where it ends. He’s just one member of the team, but he’s singled out as the poster boy for edgy, hip crimefighters. I guess that’s what makes it doubly pleasing that he’s been played onscreen in three films by Hugh Jackman, who won a Tony for playing the uber-gay Peter Allen on Broadway in The Boy From Oz. But 20th Century Fox is smart enough to know a cash cow when they give us one, and they’re accordingly planning a Wolverine spinoff film. Word came out of industry conference Cine Expo this week that the film might be ready for a 2007 release, but a Fox spokesman quickly countered that it’s unlikely the film will bow before 2008, since the script is still in development and no director has yet been attached. Despite the delay, Jackman appeared before Cine Expo attendees in a taped message, thanking them for paying him ungodly amounts of money to cavort in leather and sideburns before legions of emotionally underdeveloped men. — Daniel Carlson

Item #2: For those of you who, by now, are absolutely sick to death of television dramas hijacking Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” with varying degrees of success (“The West Wing” arguably did it best), get ready for the big-screen treatment, in which the song will no doubt be played over a scene depicting Buckley’s last plunge into the Mississippi River. Indeed, currently unknown writer-director Brian Jun will helm a feature biopic about Buckley’s life, though no one has yet been cast in the lead — I’m guessing Ryan Phillipe bears just enough resemblance to the musician to do him the proper commercially exploitative injustice. And I don’t know about y’all but, as a fan of Buckley’s music, I’ve always found something quaintly mysterious about his death, and I’m not sure I want any filmmaker ruining that by trying to impute his own motivations to Buckley’s last days. I just don’t like the idea of having to lie on my floor in a darkened room with a bottle of whiskey and listen to Grace in light of anyone else’s interpretation of his life. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before Elliott Smith gets his own biopic, elevating both stars into the pantheon of musicians whose images are misappropriated by 16-year-old girls going through their Goth stages. — Dustin Rowles

Item #3: Before we’ve even been given the opportunity to make our assessment of The Devil Wears Prada, the writer-director team behind it (David Frankel and Aline Brosh McKenna) have already moved on to a similarly themed novel of the chick-lit variety. Indeed, the two are following up Prada with a big-screen adaptation of Allison Pearson’s “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” about a working mother who has to balance her career and working life, opting in the end to sell her kids for some high-grade pharmaceuticals and a backyard stripper pole that plays its own Crüe tunes. (Yeah, I made up the last part — intriguing, though, isn’t it?) If it’s anything like Prada, however, I suspect some high-minded heterosexual-male critic will be compelled to read the novel for “research” purposes, only to get sucked in enough to turn down an opportunity to catch an early screening of Superman in favor of finding out if Andrea (ohmygod!) finally gives Miranda Priestley her goddamn comeuppance. But I wouldn’t claim to know anything about that. — DR

Item #4: Wes Craven is a proven name in the horror genre. He’s directed such classics in the field as Last House on the Left, the original The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream. So what’s a guy to do when he’s tops in the game? Form a production company to distribute B-grade schlock. Craven/Maddalena films has picked up the gay-porn-sounding Ambrose Fountain, a thriller written by Brian Sieve and set in a Napa Valley vineyard with a “dark legacy” that begins to haunt the owners, who experience “strange phenomena.” It’s an admittedly confusing premise: Do the grapes start to press themselves? Do entire crops get ruined, thus wreaking havoc on wine prices nationwide? And really, who cares what happens to a bunch of uppity Fess Parker employees? — DC

Item #5: Word on the internets is that Halle Berry may end up producing a new comedy show for HBO. The series, “Mixed Up,” is being written by a former “Scrubs” writer and will focus on a post-collegiate woman of mixed race dealing with the things that come up in life in those amorphous after-college years. It’s definitely a good sign that the show is being written by a former “Scrubs” writer. And to those of you who aren’t sure how to interpret Berry’s involvement, I say this — you need simply rent Catwoman to know that Halle knows all about being involved in something both painful and hilarious, just the sort of mix HBO shoots for. — Seth Freilich

Item #6: Over the weekend, in yet another demonstration that America’s collective threshold for entertainment is about as low as a limbo pole in a “Girls Gone Wild” video, Click somehow resonated with the moviegoing audience, collecting a hefty $40 million. What’s more dispiriting, however, is that attending audiences actually enjoyed themselves, giving the film a B+ average, according to Yahoo! movies. Cars came in at number two, bringing its total to $156 million and hanging around in the top three long enough for me to run out of Larry the Cable Guy jokes. In the third spot, Nacho Libre tacked on another $12.1 million, while Waist Deep opened in fourth place with $9.2 million, suggesting that there are dumber people in the world than the folks who chose to go see Click.

This weekend, I suspect most of you will end up trying to reconcile “Smallville“‘s story arc with that of Superman Returns and scratching your head over the abundance of Christ imagery (also, if you haven’t already, read Dan’s stellar review). However, since Superman Returns has already opened, we have very little to offer you other than The Devil Wears Prada, which I fully intend to review while wearing a white Hermes scarf and an uncomfortable pair of stilettos, so that I may channel that Prada vibe and more readily identify with our Seven Sisters readers (holla!). Strangers With Candy also opens in only two theaters, though we don’t plan to review that until it makes its way to Boston (patience, Brandt). Otherwise, unless the TV Whore is suddenly inspired by “America’s Got Talent,” we’ll only have one new post to share with you until Wednesday, when Jeremy adds the second installment of “Pajiba’s Guide to What’s Good for You.”

Finally, a friendly Fourth of July tip: If you hold your Black Cat firecrackers for 12 seconds or more after lighting them, you get an extra special sensation. We here at Pajiba like to call that the Uwe Boll effect — try it! — DR

Born on the Fourth of Pajiba

The Weekly Trade Round-Up / Pajiba Staff

Industry | June 27, 2006 |

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

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