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November 1, 2006 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | November 1, 2006 |

Item #1: There was a time when the name Wachowski meant something good. Oh, to revisit the halcyon days of 1999, when life was simple: No war, no strife, and The Matrix burning up summer movie screens. Although they’d made their debut with Bound (in which their names were understandably overshadowed by the lesbian-noir plot), the Wachowski brothers became the weird name on everyone’s tongue in summer ‘99. Before it could be spoiled by a pair of abysmal sequels four years later, The Matrix showed genuine promise for the Wachowskis; it was an enjoyable mix of wire-fu, camera tricks, and every note ever cribbed by a slacker freshman in Intro to Philosophy. The Wachowskis have understandably been coasting on that initial success ever since, even parlaying their clout into writing and producing V for Vendetta. But word came down this week that whatever credibility the Wachowskis haven’t yet squandered is sure to be obliterated by their next project: A live-action version of “Speed Racer.” Yes. “Speed Racer.” I don’t even know what to say. I’m sure there are those of you who find this to be a pleasant turn of events, or at worst a normal one for Hollywood. But I think it’s the final sad nail in the coffin for the filmmakers who started off so well and fell so hard. If they cast Keanu, I’m killing myself. — Daniel Carlson

Item #2: I’m just going to put this out there: I’m sick to fucking death of Lindsay Lohan. The truth is, I don’t care how much coke she does, what she’s eating or not eating, whom she’s banging or not banging, or whom she’s pissing off or not pissing off. If she slipped in her own vomit, landed in a pile of blow, and woke up in between the legs of Jane freakin’ Fonda, I couldn’t force myself to give a rat’s ass. In fact, I’m retiring the Firecrotch Blogad. I refuse henceforth to link to any post that mentions her, and I will no longer acknowledge her existence unless she appears in or signs onto a film, in which case I’m “contractually” bound and, even then, I won’t refer to any of her public shenanigans. More than anything, what Lindsay Lohan needs is a healthy dose of viewer apathy — she’s like the snot-nosed tantrum-throwing toddler who won’t stop bawling until we kick her. Damn it. I, for one, am taking off the boot. And it is in that spirit that I mention The Best Times of Our Lives, a film based on the true story of the poet Dylan Thomas and his wife, who will be played by Lohan. The story revolves around Thomas’ childhood friend, Vera Phillips (Keira Knightley) and her husband, who open fire on Dylan’s house with a machine gun and hand grenades. According to Lohan herself, “Keira’s (character) is older than me, but she kind of has a mysterious relationship with my lover (Thomas) and there’s somewhat of a lesbian undertone.” And you know she just said that to get a rise out of people — cram the pie hole, Missy. I’m done with you. — Dustin Rowles

Item #3: Who says you need a script to make a movie? I, for one, respect the fact that Bryan Singer is now officially attached to helm a sequel to Superman Returns, presumably titled Superman Sticks Around for a While, and Maybe Tries to Get Lois Lane to Eat a Sandwich. Sure, rumors have swirled that he’d do the project anyway, but this week he actually inked the deal with Warner Bros. to produce and direct the film. It’s not exactly a surprise, but still, good news. The lack of a script likely won’t hinder the production, especially so early in the process; Superman Returns grossed more than $390 million worldwide, and it was largely plotless. No casting or writing decisions have been made, either. Basically, nothing much has changed. — DC

Item #4: One of the advantages of growing up in a redneck wasteland — where the only place to go on weekends was the area video store — was the welcome discovery of the 1970s Faces of Death faux-documentaries. Indeed, before James Wan and Eli Roth entered the nihilistic horror-film genre, the only guaranteed cinematic method for inducing vomiting was these films, which purported to show actual (explicitly painful, disgusting, gory, brutal, bizarre, totally fucked up) fatalities. In fact, local theaters would occasionally screen midnight showings of Faces of Death films and award actual certificates to those who made it out without retching — and more people than you’d believe never escaped with the contents of their stomach. And the most disturbing thing about it (at least for the few teens who found some sick joy in them) was that we thought they were real documentaries, before later learning it was all an elaborate hoax (it was, after all, before the Internet ruined everything). And now, thanks to Rogue Pictures, an entire new generation of messed-up kids can enjoy the twisted pleasure of watching a car fall on a man and then seeing that man rip his leg in half to get out from under it, only to bleed to death in a junkyard. I’ll admit that I’m feeling slightly embarrassed for my post-adolescent self right now, but you’d better freakin’ believe I got that certificate. — DR

Item #5: Lots of good news/bad news in TV land this week. Bad news — NBC has yanked the already-canceled “Kidnapped” from the air completely. So unhappy are they with the show’s performance in the TV dregs of Saturday night that they’ve decided to stop burning off the remaining episodes and will instead air reruns of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” The remaining eight episodes of “Kidnapped” will stream online at an unannounced time. Better news — NBC has ordered three more scripts of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” While this doesn’t mean the show will get a full season order (networks have been known to order more scripts and then promptly give a show the old heave-ho), it is a step in the right direction for a show that’s not perfect, but still better than most. Good news — NBC has vehemently denied rampant Fox-inspired rumors that “Studio 60” is about to have its life cord cut, claiming that the show is still profitable even with its rather sucky ratings. Better news — Kevin Reilly, the big cheese at NBC, says that he thinks “Studio 60” and “Friday Night Lights” are both promising shows that need to be nurtured, and it appears he’s going to at least try to fight for them (he also included “30 Rock” in that grouping but, aside from Alec Baldwin’s stellar performance, I’m not sure why). Best news — Mitchell Hurwitz, creator of “Arrested Development,” is working on his next TV project, an adaptation of “The Thick of It,” a comedy from the other side of the pond. The show is a low-key “The Office”-style comedy about a member of British Parliament (“Look, kids: Big Ben, Parliament!”) dealing with all the stupid crap that politicos have to deal with. Presumably, Hurwitz will translate it to the American political landscape, likely focusing on a congressman. While I’m not personally enamored with the original show, many are. But it wouldn’t really matter — with the cred he’s earned from “Arrested Development,” Hurwitz could be doing a television adaptation of Shakes the Clown and I’d be pleased as punch. — Seth Freilich

Item #6: According to box-office figures, Saw III was the number one film over the weekend, racking up a pretty stellar $33 million. My teenage love of Faces of Death notwithstanding, my inner Puritan is a little dismayed with the success of the Saw franchise. I like blood. I like gore. And I like filmic “terror.” But I guess I’m just concerned with anything that makes Gitmo torture seem tame by comparison. Anyway, The Departed, The Prestige, and Flags of our Fathers held up decently, taking the second through fourth spots. Running with Scissors, however, rightfully bombed, landing at number 10 in its first week of wide release — and if you want to see something kind of embarrassing, check out Ryan Murphy’s self-congratulatory interview with Augusten (on his “blog”), in which Burroughs — clearly under the influence of either heavy narcotics or ridiculously strict contractual obligations — praises the final product. Still, Catch a Fire, which opened in twice as many theaters as Scissors, was the real weekend dud, debuting in twelfth place with a scant $2 million take.

This weekend, there’s pretty much only one film any of our readers need to concern their pretty little heads with: Borat, who is not — as much as I would like to think otherwise — based upon Alex from Everything Is Illuminated. The rest of this weekend’s releases only offer us further reason to despise humanity, inflict pain upon ourselves, and question the existence of God, but here they are in order of screen count: Flushed Away, The Santa Clause 3, and Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horrors. If there was ever an ideal time for the Rapture, now would be it. Sadly, according to Homer Simpson, it is not scheduled until May 18th at 3:15 p.m., which means just in time to avoid reviewing that day’s release: Shrek the Third. — DR

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Pajiba

The Weekly Trade Round-Up / The Pajiba Staff

Industry | November 1, 2006 |

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

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