April 3, 2007 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | April 3, 2007 |


You know what I find kind of fascinating about Hollywood? The loose formations of friends who work together frequently. There are a lot of easily identifiable cliques, and I sort of like to equate Hollywood with high school in that way. You have your class-clown clique: Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and the Wilson Brothers. You’ve got your popular kids: the Ocean’s 11 crew of Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and Clooney. DiCaprio is kind of like the sycophant class president who smokes pot with the English teacher, Martin Scorsese. And then you got your nerds: Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Paul Feig; and the stoners, which are Kevin Smith and his regulars. And then, of course, there are the morons, which includes Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Jon Lovitz, the Happy Madison gang, and even Steve Buscemi, who also hangs out with the outcasts, comprised of the Coen Brothers and their regulars (Goodman, Turturro, etc.)

And given that Hollywood is a small school, there tends to be a lot of crossover. But, what I don’t like is when the morons start hanging out with the nerds. It just brings the nerds down, you know? I thought that, with I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, it’d just be a one-time instance; Sandler and Dennis Dugan (a regular Sandler director) would get to hang out with Alexander Payne and Robert Smigel for a semester or so, and then they’d move on, go back to spending Friday nights with Tim Herlihy, which is the natural order of things. But, nooooo. Sandler got a taste of what it’s like to hang with the smart kids and now that bastard doesn’t want to leave. So now he, Dugan, and Schneider have teamed up with Smigel and Apatow (who, quite frankly, is becoming the class whore) for Don’t Mess with the Zohan. And sadly, the idea is a lot closer to Sander’s regular gigs than Apatow’s (who is writing, along with Smigel and Sandler). It concerns a Mossad Agent (Sandler) who fakes his own death so that he can move to New York and become a hairdresser. Schneider, of course, will play an East Yistannen cab driver, because the only thing he can do is strange, hilariously unfunny accents. Here’s hoping that the goth kids (Alexandre Aja, Eli Roth, James Wan) shoot up the school before things get really out of hand.

There’s also this: A remake of Christine is in the works, with Disturbia co-writer Christopher Landon in the running to do the updating. I wish I could talk more intelligently about the original, but my pre-pubescent mind not-so-inexplicably remembers only snippets of the film intermingled with scenes from other early ’80s Stephen King films. So, in my head, little Drew Barrymore is responsible for starting the fire that provoked the ‘58 Plymouth Fury to cut a man in half with its bumper, after which Danny Pintauro gets trapped in the Fury while a woman who looks like a young Joan Allen protects him from a rabid St. Bernard. King himself also makes an appearance, as the owner of the St. Bernard who runs out behind his house and discovers meteor shit. He is later covered in some sort of moss and run over by an 18-wheeler.

Does anyone else have that film playing in his head?

In casting news, John Goodman and Susan Sarandon have signed on to play the parents of Emile Hirsch in the live-action big-screen adaptation of Speed Racer. It will be directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, who have now officially surpassed Peter Jackson as the directors that fanboys most want to emulate while they are at home on a Friday night masturbating to comic books and dreaming up scenarios in which movie critics that hated Aeon Flux are inserted into their games of Doom or Quake or Wolfenstein 3D or whatever the hell it is that gamers spill their drool on these days.

In news that will ruin your day, there will be a Straw Dogs remake. It will be directed by Rod Lurie, who was responsible for Geena Davis’ “Commander in Chief” as well as the overlooked-but-pretty-damn-good Contender. That’s all I’m going to say about the remake, however, because even if it is a terrible fucking idea, Lurie was once one of the most hated film critics in all the land. And for that, I kind of dig the guy.

Man, we’ve got an exciting week lined up for you in DVD releases. Oh. Actually, no we don’t. Not unless you want to see the drab, lifeless Robert DeNiro-directed The Good Shepherd or watch Dakota Fanning play with a goddamn spider in Charlotte’s Web (spoiler alert: In the updated version, the spider lives, raises an army of baby spiders, and devours Fern and Gussy the Goose in a blood-splattered finale. Eli Roth directs.) Not your thing? Well you can also rent Volver or spread some seasonal joy to your living room with slasher flick, Black Christmas. And if none of those strike your fancy, there’s always the unpatriotically wish-fulfilling Death of a President, a fictional documentary exploring the repercussions of a Bush assassination. Note: It’s kind of dull.

And today we have a special edition of trailer watch, one that features slightly NSFW clips from Beth Schacter’s Normal Adolescent Behavior. A few months ago, I expressed my enthusiasm for the project, which is about group of friends who decide to skip the world of Friday night parties, hook-ups, and spin the bottle so that they wouldn’t get side-tracked, and instead get together every Saturday night as a group and, you know, have sex. The 50-second clip has already made the rounds and, expectedly, over on sites like the homotosterotarded WWTD, they are playing up the sex-angle. Ms. Schacter sent along this statement to help temper the film’s pre-release reputation, particularly for audiences like ours, with higher brain function and an ability to not focus (only) on the prurient.

We made this movie with two main ideas. One, we wanted to make a movie where girls had sex and weren’t punished for it since it seems like in every movie with teen sex the girl ends pregnant, stalked by psycho killers, labeled a slut or worse. And we wanted people to walk out of the theater talking about what is normal adolescent behavior. The failure for me is if people walk out of the movie theater and ask “what’s for dinner.” I want you to be engaged, happy, vindicated or angry, confused and ready to argue. And then I want you to talk to each other. It’s my biggest hope. And the fact that this silly 50 seconds already has everyone freaked out about what is normal for teen sex is amazing. Especially when you consider it doesn’t have a bit of dialogue in it!

Anyway, check out the clip; the film debuts at the Tribeca Film Festival late this month and early next, and it should get wide distribution soon thereafter. You’ll also have to excuse my effusion, but let’s be honest: When is the last time you saw a great subversive high-school flick? And Can’t Hardly Wait doesn’t count.

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife in Ithaca, New York. You may email him, or leave a comment below.

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