November 15, 2006 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | November 15, 2006 |


Item #1: Probably my favorite book of the last year is Frank Portman’s King Dork. It’s a brilliant first-person coming-of-age narrative about an anti-Holden Caulfield struggling through high school and the mysterious death of a parent. The prose is outright exhilarating — think a loserish 10th-grade version of High Fidelity’s Rob Gordon crossed with a young, insecure Klosterman. There’s even a “Veronica Mars”-ish detective element to the storyline. And it comes with its own glossary, which defines, for instance, “ramoning” as: “A form of the verb ‘to ramone’ (derived from the French ramoner, to scrub out a chimney). The point of human existence, i.e., sexual intercourse.” For public-school outliers, it’s an infinitely relatable little novel. And it’s downright hilarious, to boot. So, you can imagine the mixed feelings I have upon learning that King Dork has been optioned by Will Ferrell’s new production company. It’s actually a book that feels like it would translate well into a feature film, but you just know they’re going to fuck it up and ruin any and all positive associations I have with the novel by casting some chisel-chested 19-year-old CW heartthrob to play a pathetic 14-year-old dork. Still, if it inspires legions of folks to pick up the book, it’s undeniably worth the risk. — Dustin Rowles

Item #2: I probably don’t need to waste my time or effort persuading you of the glories of “Freaks and Geeks”: It was a great show, it died too young, blah blah blah, etc. It’s all true, but it’s all been said before. The show’s creator, Paul Feig, is one talented guy, having directed several episodes of “Arrested Development” and the U.S. incarnation of “The Office.” And that, frankly, is what makes me so depressed at the questionable turns his career has taken of late. He’s got a feature coming out in December, Warners’ Unaccompanied Minors, that looks positively dreadful. It involves a bunch of kids stuck in an airport at Christmas, features a distractedly bemused-looking Lewis Black (and don’t get me started on that guy’s fall from grace), and in general looks like the kind of pabulum that should have aired as a Nickelodeon “Special Delivery” 15 years ago. Now, news has come down the pike that Feig’s next film will be “Smooth Operator,” also for Warner Bros. The plot involves a suave CIA agent who has to impart his skills as a ladies’ man to a “computer nerd” to help the geek seduce a female enemy operative. And if that doesn’t sound broad, slapsticky, and downright stupid enough for you, here’s what Feig said: “It’s like a high-tech version of Cyrano, or like a Hitch-meets-Rush Hour.” Thanks for taking the baby kitten that was my memories of “F&G” and crushing it under your relentless heel, Paulie. — Daniel Carlson

Item #3: Oh man. Deepak Chopra adapting a screenplay for a Nic Cage flick. Please don’t make me go on. Oh, fuck it: It’s called The Sadhu, which is the story of a soldier who travels to India during colonial times and becomes a “spiritual warrior.” You’ve got to be kidding me, right? Fortunately, the plot mixes both action and mythology, suggesting that Mr. Cage will embarrass himself in two different genres. The story of The Sadhu was actually created by Deepak’s son, Gotham(?). I don’t even know what else to say about this, except to ask if anyone else has seen the trailer for Cage’s upcoming superhero flick, Ghost Rider, about a daredevil who makes a pact with the devil? Amazingly, Cage has found new and inventive ways of humiliating himself. Honestly — the actual Ghost Rider looks like something off an old Iron Maiden T-shirt. Get excited. — DR

Item #4: Hey, you know the Weinstein brothers? Well those fat fucks can burn. Thanks to a new deal with Blockbuster, the big blue chain has the exclusive right to rent Weinstein flicks for the next four years. Which means that folks like me (and, I suspect, many of you), who pretty much rent exclusively from Netflix, are S.O.L. This deal certainly isn’t going to have me running to Blockbuster to get my copy of School for Scoundrels. And it’s really not going to get me to rent anything decent that they happen to put out, either. These idiots have just lost a portion of their customer base, and all to partner up with a slowly decaying company? No wonder Disney didn’t want to work with these former wunderkinds anymore. — Seth Freilich

Item #5: As a follow-up to the abysmal My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Uma Thurman will star in the Lifetime-sounding romantic comedy The Accidental Husband, which this week recruited Colin Firth, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Grey’s Anatomy”), and Sam Shepard for its nefarious and undoubtedly crappy purposes. In what could only be an ill-advised spiritual nod to The Truth About Cats & Dogs, Thurman will play the host of a relationship-oriented talk-radio program. Firth will play her husband with all the restrained wet-shirt glory he brings to the period roles he usually plays. Thurman counsels one of her callers to dump her boyfriend, played by Morgan, who then sets about wreaking all kinds of Rube Goldbergian revenge on Uma. No word yet on whether Morgan will suffer a horrible death to the strains of Snow Patrol, but that would probably boost the audience. — DC

Item #6: Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat held onto the top slot over the weekend, grossing an extra $29 million. And we still have folks in the Borat comment thread debating about whether it’s funny-offensive or just offensive. Personally, I don’t know why anyone would get so worked up about a film starring a figure skater. The second and third positions stayed the same: The Santa Clause 3 and Flushed Away. Stranger than Fiction debuted at number four with around $14 million, which is a bit of a disappointment for a movie with 10 times the merit of any other Will Ferrell film. A Good Year absolutely tanked, coming in at number ten, proving that no one cares to see the softer side of Russell Crowe. And, finally, Harsh Times racked up a measly $2 million, good for 13th place, though you couldn’t tell it from the ongoing (and incredibly entertaining) flame wars in that film’s comment thread.

A note, also, about Pajiba’s comments. I figure, based on the number of comments compared to the number of visitors we get here at Pajiba, that around one to two percent of our readers actually visit them, while only about .005 actually comment. I’ll be honest — I rarely even notice comments on other blogs myself. But, for those who don’t read past the author bio, I totally have to recommend digging into the comments section here occasionally. Seriously, a lot of our commenters are absolutely brilliant; even the petty backbiting is inspired. Truly, if you’re not checking them out, you’re missing half the Pajiba experience.

And I have absolutely no idea what sort of demographic makeup we attract; on most days, I’m surprised we even have an audience. But according to one of our more vociferous commenters, “I am Never Wrong”:

The people that come here are somewhat smug and self-congratulatory. They seem to be primarily female, probably between the ages of 25-35, I can see them with their Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers, Faint mp3s, horn-rimmed glasses and office jobs. They also type excruciatingly twee things like “I heart this site” or *hides self-esteem under the bed*.

I wonder, in fact, if this is even close to true — are we courting the Lisa Loeb demographic? If so, that kind of rocks. [If Lisa Loeb is reading this, please call me. I’m single and can cook. Thanks. — DC]

Anyway, this weekend finally brings us the much anticipated Casino Royale, the latest Bond installment. I have to be honest, though. I caught the film on BBC over the weekend. I didn’t think much of it. It didn’t make a whole helluva lot of sense. The production values are shit — it looks like a Technicolor film. There are several Bonds in this movie, too, and one guy is a dead ringer for Woody Allen and another for Peter Sellers. I’m not a Bond aficionado or anything, but I had no idea it was built around silly gags and lame puns (a British soldier, for instance, knocks himself out saluting a superior?). Maybe it’s a generational thing. At any rate, Dan will have his take on the film tomorrow. Happy Feet also opens, giving us all an opportunity to hear freakin’ Robin Williams freestyle about whale blubber or penguin mating habits or make yet another joke about Al Gore inventing the Internet. Let’s Go to Prison opens in 1,400 theaters, promising to break the heart of every Will Arnett fan in existence. In limited release, we’ll also have reviews of Fast Food Nation and Christopher Guest’s latest, For Your Consideration, a film that uses a remarkably similar font to the works of Wes Anderson.

Finally: No round-up next week, what with the whole Thanksgiving thing. We’ll be covering all the wide releases, however: Tenacious D, Déjà Vu, The Fountain, Deck the Halls, Bobby, and maybe even Volver. So, for all you Lisa Loebs out there who can’t make it back to your folks’ houses for the holiday, you’ll have ample opportunities to leave your *twee* comments. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

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Gobble Gobble Goo and Gobble Gobble Giggle. I Wish Pajiba Only Cost a Nickel.

The Weekly Trade Round-Up / The Pajiba Staff

Trade News | November 15, 2006 | Comments ()



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