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August 16, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | August 16, 2007 |

I first read C.D. Payne’s Youth in Revolt when I was around 15, or maybe 16. It’s hard to say with any real certainty; I have successfully forgotten many details from my high school years, thanks to a steady diet of therapy and heavy drinking. But I remember finding the book occasionally funny and intriguing, albeit hypersexualized: The main character, a 14-year-old boy, narrates the story, and he talks about masturbating with a frequency that even I, a teen myself, found excessive. But the book has developed quite a cult following since its 1993 publication, and is now being turned into a film written buy Gustin Nash, with Michael Cera set to play the central role of Nick Twisp, the onanistically inspired youth in revolt himself. And while I, like anyone with a functioning brain and heart, loved Cera on “Arrested Development,” I’m a little uncertain how his nebbishy, flustered geekboy persona will gell with the horny kid at the center of Payne’s story. (Twisp refers to his periods of tumescence as having Thundering Erections, or TEs, and more than a few of his journal entries conclude with him cranking one out and going to bed, which isn’t exactly how I’d like to remember Cera.) What’s worse, there’s little guarantee that the tone of the book will translate effectively to film; written humor is a bitch to pull off on screen. So for now, I’m on the fence when it comes to Cera’s casting, but if they put him in pleated slacks and have him sell frozen bananas, I just might change my tune.

I don’t know if it’s been discussed before in this space, but John Carpenter’s Escape From New York is being remade, with Gerard Butler (300) set to play the role of Snake Plissken, a convict who’s coerced into rescuing the president after Air Force One gets shot down over Manhattan Island, which in the film’s version of the future has become a maximum security prison where hardcore felons are dumped and allowed to go wild (which sounds way more fun than actual prison, but whatever). But the new development is that Len Wiseman — who has directed Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, and Live Free or Die Hard, which makes him 0 for 3 — will helm the remake for New Line, which is being written by Ken Nolan. It’s bad enough that such a classic is being remade by a filmmaker and star who will, if history is indication, drown it in crap, but I’m also gonna miss the original’s pre-computer era effects. Half the charm is seeing what Carpenter did with such a tiny budget, but I’m sure Wiseman is going to up the CG and turn the film into another forgettable thriller. I’m just glad Kurt Russell’s not alive to see this. He’d be so sad.

Finally, this morning’s trailer watch brings a movie whose potential is fought every step of the way by its cast: Dan in Real Life features Steve Carell, which is good, and … wait for it … Dane Cook, which is horrifying. Carell and Cook are brothers, and the plot revolved around Carell falling in love with Cook’s girlfriend, played by Juliette Binoche in a casting mismatch that strains the borders of credulity and even threatens to tear the heavens asunder and bring fiery justice down upon us all. The trailer spins the film as a stereotypical coming-of-middle-age comedy, right down to the obscenely overused Pete Townshend song toward the end, but if you read between the lines, you can see the smart comedy that’s almost there, and that you know Cook is just shitting all over:

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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