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June 12, 2007 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | June 12, 2007 |

From the ages of 12 to 14, basically three (3) movies dominated my life: Stand by Me, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Better Off Dead. Picking a favorite of the three would be tantamount to listening to Rufus Wainright and standing neck-deep in sewage while Paul Haggis hurled lines from his next film at me — I wouldn’t know whether to duck, plug my ears, or just drown myself in fecal matter. But while the directors from the first two films, John Hughes and Rob Reiner, went on to immense success before unceremoniously flaming out, hardly a soul even remembers Savage Steve Holland, the writer/director of Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer, both of which made stars of John Cusack and Curtis “Booger” Armstrong (Sad fact: Armstrong was in his early thirties in those films).

It’s not as though Holland quit the business to work in his garden; since the 80s, he’s gone on to direct a number of episodes of Nickelodeon television shows (“Lizzie McGuire,” “Even Stevens”). And now, the man is making his return to feature filmmaking for the first time in 18 years (since How I Got into College) — he’s been signed on to direct two films, neither one of which sound any more appealing than scoring some high-grade nasal spray (or even pure snow). The first, The Big One 3, is said to compliment Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer, making it the third in the loose trilogy of teenage angst. It’s about a kid’s 13th birthday party, where the only person that showed up was a clown who spent the entire time hitting on the kid’s sister — it’s based on actual events in Holland’s life. God, let that clown be played by a skeevy Curtis Armstrong and his (much) older sister by Diane Franklin, the girl I most idealized during my formative years (oh, how could you do that to Gary in The Last American Virgin, you heartless wench?) And if you’re curious, here’s what Franklin looks like today (third picture down, on the left). And for the super-duper curious, here’s Beth, after what looks like Jennifer Grey-levels of plastic surgery. I always wanted my own Beth coat hanger, too.

The other Holland project is the yet another National Lampoon’s film, this one entitled Ratko: The Dictator’s Son. It’s about a dictator’s son who moves to America to attend college. Check back in six to nine months for our inevitable direct-to-DVD live review. One piece of shoehorned advice, Steve: “Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.”

Fun Fact: Holland animated the Whammy on the game show, “Press Your Luck.” Things you can only learn by reading Pajiba.

In far, far more depressing news, after getting my hopes up several years ago that Kevin Smith would be directing Jason Lee in the Fletch prequel, Fletch Won, and then renewing that enthusiasm when Bill Lawrence (“Scrubs”) took over directing duties, with Zach Braff rumored to take the lead (Ryan Reynolds was in the running at one point, as well), the worst has happened. Are you sitting down for this? Go ahead — take a seat. All right, now: Deep breath. Let it all out.

Here goes.

Joshua Jackson has been signed to play the Fletch. Please don’t hit me. I’m just the messenger. And yes, that Joshua Jackson. Pacey, bitches, who hasn’t made a decent flick since The Skulls. And when I say “decent,” I mean entertainingly horrific. The somewhat better news is that Steve Pink is directing, though his track record as director includes only Justin Long’s pretty tepid Accepted — however, he did co-write both Grosse Pointe Blank and High Fidelity, which does give him a certain street cred. And just for the record, the Weinstein brothers are behind this move, so Harvey and Bob: Choke on a cock.

And I’m sorry to turn this round-up into negative town, but the news doesn’t get any better today. Despite our best efforts here at Pajiba to ensure that Jessica Simpson be stripped of her movie career and forced to pawn off her implants and panhandle outside the Epcot Center, apparently America hasn’t yet seen enough of the bug-eyed, dumb-blonde shtick, which means that we all must suffer through another film-full of ogling close-ups and line readings that sound like a third-grader trying to read James Joyce aloud. Indeed, Simpson is starring in Major Movie Star, about an actress who joins the marines to win the approval of a director, only to discover that it wasn’t such a good idea after all. And if that sounds like a Private Benjamin remake, well — it’s not. It’s a completely original idea brought to you by Steve Miner, the brilliant director behind James Van Der Beek’s tour de force, Texas Rangers. I mean, c’mon: It’s completely different. In Private Benjamin, Goldie Hawn joined the Army.; Jessica Simpson is joining the Marines. So just let it go. Oh, and Jessica: Choke on some StarKist.

If you’re curious, and I know you must be, here are this week’s DVD releases: Breach, Blood and Chocolate, Ghost Rider, Primeval, and Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls.

Finally, in the trailer watch, after years or production delays and director/casting changes, Francis Lawrence (Constantine) and Will Smith have finally managed to bring us I Am Legend, the third movie to be based on Richard Matheson’s 1954 sci-fi novel. It’s not really my type of flick, but end-of-the-world plus vampires? I’m so totally there. Here’s a short trailer:

I Want My Two Pajibas!

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Industry | June 12, 2007 |

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

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