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June 14, 2006 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | June 14, 2006 |

Item #1: I saw 8 Mile on opening weekend with a group of friends. We weren’t hardcore Eminem fans by any means (we had slightly more refined musical palates), but being students at a stringent religious university in the Middle of Absolutely Nowhere in the Texas desert, we had a limited number of entertainment options. I enjoyed the show immensely for the stupid entertainment that it was, as well as the accompanying pop song, “Lose Yourself.” But I didn’t think for a second that young Marshall Mathers could actually, you know, act. His role in the film merely required him to mimic his own lowbrow sensibilities and dropout-level philosophies, albeit without the references to hacking up his wife and burying her in the woods or any of the other lovely metaphors he uses to work through his marital angst. So it’s with something beyond shock that I report that Slim Shady himself has been tapped to star in Paramount’s big-screen remake of “Have Gun — Will Travel,” which aired on CBS from 1957-1963.

It’s the kind of absurd casting development you’d see in a satire set in Hollywood; not one as sharp as The Player or anything, but Notting Hill would be all over something like this. But it’s all too sadly real. Maybe it has something to do with the Weinstein Co. enlisting Ice Cube to headline the film version of “Welcome Back, Kotter.” Maybe it has to do with the fact that someone thought Eminem would make a good bounty hunter if the story was updated and set in Detroit slums. But I think it has more to do with the full-on, biblical apocalypse. It’s happening. Right now. You might not even get to finish reading this column. If only my friends and I had known back then what we know now: God will only suffer so much Eminem before humans have to pay the price. — Daniel Carlson

Item #2: I don’t know how popular Michael Chabon is in Pajibaland, but for anyone who has read more than just Wonder Boys and the brilliant The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, his debut novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, is arguably Chabon’s best work. Welcomed into the literary world way back in 1988, MoP introduced the AC/DC love triangle into the pop-culture landscape long before Silent Bob solved the existential bisexual crisis in Chasing Amy, and Chabon managed to do so in a heartbreaking Fitzgeraldian manner, without having to interject video-game insults and Snootchie Bootchies to appeal to those of us hoping only that Jason Lee might initiate the stink palm.

And if, like me, you fell in love with Curtis Hanson’s treatment of Wonder Boys, you’ll no doubt approach the film adaptation of MoP with equal parts trepidation and full-blown giddiness, especially knowing that it will be written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, whose current claim to fame is introducing Steve the Pirate to a Dodgeball game judged by Chuck (motherfucking) Norris. Chabon wouldn’t let just any Hollywood hack sully his novel, however, and Thurber has managed to swing the prettiest guy in Hollywood, Max Minghella, to play the lead, which is about as ideal as any MoP fan could hope. With Peter Saarsgard also attached, here’s hoping that Thurber’s adaptation hews closely to Chabon’s sexually ambiguous closing, rather than plucking from Nora Ephron’s oeuvre, with a treacly reunion of Phlox and Bechstein in front of Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can while Rusted Root sings us out to a hazy Pittsburgh sunset. — Dustin Rowles

Item #3: I’m a pretty big fan of well-made, serialized TV dramas. You can keep your procedurals, your mindless “CSI” spinoffs, your nonstop “Law & Order” reruns, your “NCIS,” all of it. Give me characters with dimension that move painfully through an arc as they struggle toward some mighty or unattainable goal. I’ll take that any day of the week and twice on Sunday. My lot is cast with Veronica, Jack, Josh, Sydney, and the rest. Even Baltar. There’s something deeply satisfying about really good pop TV when it provides a broad story that unfolds over weeks or even years to reveal a complex portrait of a character.

So leave it to Hollywood to take something that’s not broke and stomp the hell out of it. Twentieth Century Fox has closed a deal with “24” creators Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow and showrunner Howard Gordon to bring the eerily addictive (if wildly illogical) thriller to the big screen. The three are expected to begin the script this summer, as the sixth season of “24” enters production. For all the preparation, though, the film hasn’t received an official green light; there haven’t even been any talent deals inked yet. Not even Kiefer “Young Guns” Sutherland. The studio is waiting for next season’s debut, or more accurately its ratings, before giving the script the go-ahead. Obviously, a feature adaptation would abandon the series’ real-time structure, essentially robbing the story of the gimmick that made people watch in the first place. I like the show well enough, though I think that anything set over a 24-hour period in L.A. should involve a lot more sitting around in traffic, but the feature version sounds no different from every other B-level thriller Hollywood churns out several times a year. I don’t know about you, but when it finally hits theaters, I’ll probably be staying home to watch the real thing. — DC

Item #4: While I’m all about Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s lyrical prose and richly drawn landscapes, like Annie Proulx, Marquez’s novels tend to test even the most ardent litterateur’s patience, as he introduces, develops, and ultimately kills off most his characters, who ponder and kvetch in front of minutely-detailed vistas. Indeed, I might even suggest that Marquez’s novels are akin to the ever-present “find-your-biological-parent” subplots that tend to crop up in even the better television dramas; no how matter developed or angsty they are, it’s just hard to give a damn. But, if you want to see how Hollywood manages to mangle and trim and pull out the heart of a story that has no business going up on the big screen, you’ll be pleased to know that Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is attached to direct Love in the Time of Cholera, with Javier Bardem taking the lead role of Florentino and little-known Italian actress, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, taking the part of Fermina, who is blue-veined and arthritic before she ever gets to feel Florentino’s man love. Oh, and to round out the cast, Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace) has jumped aboard to take the role of a Latin-American beauty who actually contracts Cholera after she is asked to sneak some high-grade heroin past customs in her bum. — DR

Item #5: If you’ve been wondering who is the less talented, musclebound closet case, Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson, The Rock’s next project may help to settle your bar bets over who is overcompensating the most. Indeed, The Rock — following in the footsteps of The Pacifier — is taking on one of those Disney family comedies, The Game Plan, in which he plays a free-swinging NFL quarterback who is saddled with his seven-year-old bastard daughter after the girl’s mother dies. Roselyn Sanchez, heretofore best known as #49 in Maxim’s “Hot 100 of 2002,” is attached to play the ballet-teaching love interest, who is pile-driven into the barre mid-plie when The Rock makes an effort to impress one of the grips, whose rapid-blinking condition is mistaken for a newfangled wink. — DR

Item #6: For those of you who simply couldn’t get enough of Paul W.S. Anderson’s bastardization of your favorite ’80s movie monsters in the first intelligence-sucking installment of Alien vs. Predator, rest easy knowing that AVP II is in the works. Colin and Greg Strause have been attached to direct, having turned their special effects work on X-Men: The Last Stand, Fantastic Four, and The Day After Tomorrow into the directing goldmine. Shane Salerno, who had a hand in Armageddon and Sam Jackson’s Shaft, has written the screenplay, which purportedly follows the two creatures as they put aside their differences and decide to start a family together, engaging in a miraculous love-making act that pays homage to Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire, wherein the Alien screams “Never. Stop. Fucking. Me.” while the Predator pounds it into the headboard before skulking off naked to eat some grapes. In fact, Salerno even borrows from our friend TheIdleReceptionist in the film’s final line, as the Alien coos to the Predator, “You had me at Pubic Crabs.” — DR

Item #7: In the wake of the major TV networks recently talking up their fall plans, FX has decided to share a little info of its own, specifically with regard to the upcoming fourth season of “Nip/Tuck.” In an attempt to avoid the craptacularity of the third season (the needless over-the-top shenanigans, the Bond-like penis-less villain and his Machiavellian sister, etc.), FX is moving to one of the two TV standbys. While season five will inevitably include the new cute kid, leaving smears of his craplicious cuteness all over the place, the impending season four is turning to the Tao of More Guest Stars. First, there’s the appearance of Brooke Shields in the premiere as a shrink, to the utter dismay of her morning show rival and psychiatry-hating enemy, one Thomas Cruise Mapother IV. If she can turn her “Suddenly Susan” dial up to eleven, this season could actually hit all new levels of craptitude right out of the gate. Meanwhile, Kathleen Turner shows up later on in the season, looking for vocal cord surgery (and apparently continuing the ongoing theme of gender confusion). But most importantly, the fourth season will see the return of Larry Hagman, who hasn’t done anything movie or TV-wise in about eight years. I’m ecstatic about Hagman’s return to Hollywood, not specifically because he’ll be playing the elder husband of a hot little number who gets financially involved with Drs. Troy and McNamara, but because it opens up the possibility that the shitty third season was just a dream! — Seth Freilich

Item #8: In the box-office tally, Pixar’s Cars underwhelmed over the weekend, pulling in only $60 million and sending Disney shares into a tailspin after Larry the Cable Guy was asked to deliver the latest quarterly reports. The Break-Up held strong, pulling in another $20 million from audiences hoping to relive their banal domestic disputes. X-Men: The Last Stand took down $16 million, which was enough to push it over the $200 million mark; The Omen pulled in a meager $16 million; and A Prairie Home Companion took advantage of its overly-defensive, cappuccino-sipping fan base to snare $4.5 million in ticket sales.

This weekend offers four new releases, all of which will test our abilities to continue reviewing movies. First off, Jack Black dons wrestling tights in Jared Hess’ follow up to Napoleon Dynamite, which pits theatergoers into two camps: Those who think Nacho Libre looks absolutely hilarious and those who would rather take a hockey puck to the teeth than sit through Black’s tired antics. Garfield: The Tale of Two Kitties also opens wide, offering salvation to all those who love hearing Bill Murray deliver puns through a CGI-kitten. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift need not be spoken of, ever. Finally, Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves re-team in The Lake House, in which the two principal characters attempt to make love through a mailbox that separates them by two years.

A final note: Though it took far longer than anticipated, Pajiba has successfully switched servers. I understand that switching hosting companies is probably something your average feces-throwing monkey would have no problems with, so it comes as little surprise with my level of technical retardation that it took nearly a week. I want to thank the fantastic folks at Bliksem hosting, who endured six days of round-the-clock emails, so that Pajiba might one day live on a semi-dedicated server, where commenter Dave’s misguided comparisons between planes crashing into the WTC and A Prairie Home Companion might reach you all with little fear of downtime. Perhaps, Dave, you might do a little research into the history of bad analogies before making your own. — DR

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The Weekly Trade Round-Up / The Pajiba Staff

Industry | June 14, 2006 |

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


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