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July 17, 2007 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | July 17, 2007 |

This being my first post since the arrival of the Pajiblet (last Friday’s round-up was pre-written), I just wanted to take a second to thank all of you who left your well wishes in the comments section. It’s cliché as hell, but it was the most amazing holy-shit I’m-weeping-like a starletard-being-hauled off-to-prison experience of my life, and it was doubly cool to return from the hospital to see a string of congratulatory comments from people I’ve never met, especially coming from folks I’ve probably offended at least once or twice. (Note: Contrary to popular belief, newborns are not bouncy. Trust me on that.) So, thank you. And because I’m a ridiculously pathetic new parent, I have left some photos of the lil’ one on the Pajiba MySpace page, but that’s all I’m going to say about it. Seriously. It does not fall under either the scathing or bitchy category, so I’ll shut my yapper and get on to what matters here: Kvetching about the qualitative deterioration of the Hollywood product.

But before we get to that, I also wanted to thank all of you who both commented and sent private emails in response to the Captivity review, both supportive and critical of my little soapbox rant. Normally, I try to respond to all emails, but given the number and personal circumstances, I’m just not gonna be able to do it this week. However, I do apologize to those who took offense with my characterization of frat boys. I was once (briefly) in a frat myself, and I can attest to the fact that they’re not all sick, twisted fucks, some of them are also closet homosexuals (“Fly High, Sigma Chi!”). I’ll also add that it was heartening to see the box-office failure of Captivity, opening in the 12th position with a meager $1.5 million, which has to be less than the marketing team spent on billboard advertising. So suck it, After Dark Pictures. Torture Porn: R.I.H.

Also, I apologize to commenter “Robert,” who blamed all of the ills of Captivity on Courtney Solomon, the head of After Dark, rather than the directorial genius that is Roland Joffe. I have no doubt that Mr. Joffe, the twice-Oscar nominated director of The Killing Fields, Scarlet Letter and Super Mario Bros. will prove you right next year when he directs Finding t.A.T.u., the Mischa (frickin) Barton vehicle about two women who fall in love after a t.A.T.u. concert and get “swept into a dangerous world of obsession, drug abuse, and murder.” Because when I think of directorial redemption, I immediately think Marissa Cooper, lesbians, murder, and a Moscow rock band with a song called “Clowns (Can You See Me Now)” in their discography. It’ll be the biggest comeback since John Landis gave us Tom Arnold’s The Stupids following the dismal failure of Sylvester Stallone’s Oscar. Good luck with that, Roland.

Elsewhere, I know how goddamn trendy it is to beat up on Aaron Sorkin these days (see, e.g., 27.8 percent of Defamer’s posts, Jossip, TVGasm, and even us on occasion), especially after the critical and audience failure of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” but I haven’t lost faith in the man. In fact, I think the biggest problem with “Studio 60” was not the writing, it was context. If the same show were about the backstage lives of a 24-hour news channel, many of the same plotlines might’ve worked brilliantly, particularly those that dealt with media ethics. The problem, of course, is that Sorkin isn’t very funny. He should stick to politics, which actually makes him the ideal guy to write Steven Spielberg’s upcoming project, The Trial of the Chicago 7. As the title suggest, the film will focus on the trial of the eight men (including Bobby Seale, Abbie Hoffman, and Jerry Rubin) who were charged with conspiracy and inciting a riot for their roles in the violent protest during the 1968 Democratic Convention. It’s actually perfect material for Sorkin, who excels at that brand of smarmy patriotic liberalism (see The “West Wing,” The American President) we so love and adore. The problem, unfortunately, is that the terrain has already been covered in Brett Morgan’s brilliant, so-far-unreleased animated docudrama, Chicago 10, which debuted at Sundance earlier this year. If Spielberg was smart, he’d buy the distribution rights to Chicago 10 away from Roadside Attractions and shelve the film before he gets a Volcano/Dante’s Peak or Armageddon/Deep Impact problem on his hands. And for the record, Sorkin’s next project is Charlie Wilson’s War, an adaptation of George Crile’s book about a Texas congressman’s covert dealings with Afghanistan, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, an item we covered here. So, it seems Defamer will have plenty more opportunities to make potshots.

In movies to actually look forward to, Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce have signed on to Traitor, an espionage thriller about a CIA operative (Cheadle) working undercover who actually becomes a terrorist suspect. Pearce will play an FBI agent investigating terrorist activities. Confusion ensues. Actually, it sort of sounds like an international version of The Departed, which is fine with me. You can’t beat a well-acted law enforcement double cross. The unusual aspect about this item, however, is that the idea was pitched by none other than Steve Martin, who came up with the idea while filming Bringing Down the House. So, perhaps, at least something good came out of that godawful film, Martin’s third worst of his career (after Sgt. Bilko and Mixed Nuts).

Then there’s this: Ace Ventura 3, starring Josh Flitter, the pudgy preadolescent sidekick to both Robin Williams in License to Wed and Emma Roberts in Nancy Drew. Plot details have not yet been released, however, God has reportedly seen the end product and he is seriously contemplating Armageddon ahead of its eventual release date. Word is that the studio behind the sequel will turn this one into an urban comedy just to piss off Vermillion.

In the trailer watch, all you bandwagoneers who gave up on Ben Affleck after Gigli can eat a big ole’ crow pie today. I was there, Ben … through good times and Daredevil. I never gave up hope, big guy. Not after Surviving Christmas. Not after Paycheck. And not even after Jersey Girl. When Hollywood gave up on you, I had faith. I always had faith. And here, that faith has been rewarded in the trailer for his directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone: Boston setting. Morgan Freeman. Ed Harris. Casey Affleck. And “The Wire’s” Omar Little. Feel the goosebumps, folks. Affleck is back, bitches. Affleck is back.

Finally, a programming note: Check back this afternoon. Dan’s got a super-duper kick-ass Guide to What’s Good for You going up. It’ll tickle your Pajiba Testicles (Thanks, Ace!)

Holy Pajiba Testicles -- It's Tuesday

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Industry | July 17, 2007 |

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

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