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April 6, 2007 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | April 6, 2007 |

If you’ll allow it, I’m just going to rant a little in today’s round-up. Why? Because I saw this quote a few weeks ago, from Brian Robbins, who many of you may remember as Eric, the smart-ass on the ’80s sitcom, “Head of the Class,” but is notable now as the director of such fine cinematic fare as Norbit and The Shaggy Dog as well as the producer behind Wild Hogs. (And check this find: You can watch episodes of “Head of the Class” online. For free.) Robbins isn’t a big fan of movie critics, and can you really blame the guy? As a whole, we’re sort of the buzzkill police whose job — it seems — is to make you feel bad for hanging your brain on a coat rack before you head to the multiplex. Indeed, as Robbins said, referring to the reception of Norbit:

How does a movie score in the 90s with an audience and get a 9 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes? How do you figure that? Is the audience that stupid? Is America’s taste that bad? I don’t think so.

“Is the audience that stupid? Is America’s taste that bad?” You know what? I’m going to reserve judgment on the collective IQ of the American public today. I think my opinion on that matter is pretty well established. What really irks me about that quote is why Robbins would even ask those questions? Is he, in fact, testing the limits of America’s stupidity? Is he trying to see how low he can go? Is he measuring the height of our brain’s limbo stick to see how much further he can stoop before our goddamn backs break? And more importantly, does he have some sort of metronomical device that regulates the amount of flatulence jokes he’s required to insert into his films?

I agree that movie critics ought not be the sole arbiters of good taste. But is Brian Robbins suggesting that we leave that in the hands of people who regularly attend films like Norbit and Wild Hogs? Is he suggesting that those movies and others of their ilk ought to be considered for Academy Awards? That special awards be handed out for best spit-take? Best flatulent sound effect? Outstanding Kick in the Junk? Best portrayal of an obese, opposite-sex caricature? Because, honestly, we’re not too far from that day. If studios continue to appeal to stupid people (and no, Brian - not all of America is stupid; and you’re certainly not, if you’re smart enough to exploit the huge idiot demographic) then the movie industry will progressively devolve until, yeah: There will be goddamn “Buttfuckers” restaurant on every corner. Because the day that the majority of movie critics start praising films like Norbit is the day that even critics have given up and decided that, instead of judging a film based on its merits, it’s time to judge a film based upon popular appeal. And then, who will be left to confront the rapid devolution of our species, Brian? And give me a goddamn break, Robbins, it’s not like movie critics are that freakin’ smart in the first place — after all, some of us even loved Norbit (sadly, my “rave review” was not included in the tomatometer because I’m not even smart enough to merit admission into the OFCS.) So, jump up my ass, Brian — I hope Howard Hesseman tracks you down someday and kicks your ass before you decide to inflict Norbit 2: Now Even Fatter onto a slavering American public.

Indeed, we need look no further for proof of the growing witlessness of America than the projects the studios have just lined up for us this week: First, Brian Robbins himself is reuniting with Eddie Murphy, who is apparently lashing out at his supposed Oscar snub, to film Starship Dave, about a crew of miniature aliens (led by Murphy) who operate a spaceship that looks like a human. Things get messy, however, when the spaceship falls in love with an actual person, played by Elizabeth Banks. Yes, an alien spaceship will fall in love with a human being. You see how far we’ve already fallen? The film is strategically scheduled for a May 2008 release, the month when wallets have the least amount of discretion.

And that’s actually the smart film of today’s bunch. One of the others is Bedtime Stories a Disney film directed by Adam Shankman (Cheaper by the Dozen 2, The Pacifier) and starring Adam Sandler, who will play a real-estate developer whose life gets turned upside down when the bedtime stories he tells his children begin to come to true. Man, how I hope one of the bedtime stories is this Dr. Seuss great.

Not dumb enough for you? Well, how about this: Dan Whitney — who you all know and love as Larry the (fucking) Cable Guy — is starring in a film entitled, Witless Protection. In the movie, written and directed by Charles Carner, Larry plays a small-town sheriff who witnesses what he believes is a kidna … oh you know what? Who cares? It’ll be about a small-town sheriff who shits his pants, ogles at large-breasted women, and makes homophobic jokes. And it’ll score in the 90s with audiences.

You see what you’ve wrought, Brian Robbins? You dimwitted sycophant of the masses. If you want to make a shitty movie that makes a gazillion dollars, then collect your paycheck and shut the fuck up and stop blaming movie critics for calling your shitty film what it is: A shitty film.

In the box-office round up: Blades of Glory made $33 million; Meet the Robinsons, $25 million, and The Lookout bombed, taking in only $2 million. And, unless I’m missing something, Peaceful Warrior didn’t even break the top 111 films, in its reissue. I suppose that Agent Bedhead was the only person in America to pay to see it. Norbit, however, hit $95 million this week, while Wild Hogs hit $135 million. Thank you, Brian Robbins. I can now happily transfer my hatred of Paul Haggis onto someone else.

This weekend has … oh hell, there’s only one film that matters: Grindhouse. Will it be as good as the hype portends? Will it be a miserable letdown? Will we finally stop talking about it? Maybe, but not before we publish a review. Check back later today (probably much later, it’s a three-hour flick, after all). We’ll also have a reviews of Hoax and The Reaping up over the weekend, but we are skipping Firehouse Dog because we value our sanity.

And, in the trailer watch, this is one you absolutely must see; it’ll be the best 1:56 of your Friday. It’s for a film called Black Sheep. And it is suddenly tops on my must watch list for the summer. June 22nd, folks. Mark it on your calendars. These sheep will fuck you up.

Pajiba Rears Its Ugly Head (Soulpower Re-Mix)

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Industry | April 6, 2007 |

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

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