Item #1: Has Arnold Schwarzenegger ever made a good movie? The Terminator and its first sequel are probably the closest he’s ever come, and that big lumbering cyborg is the role he’s best known for (Terminator 3 was abysmal for many reasons, not least of which was its odd about-face from “The future is what we make” to “Nuclear armageddon and war with robots is pretty much unavoidable”). But Junior? Batman & Robin? Jingle All the Way? Please. The man is an actor only in the loosest sense of the word. His films are, without a doubt, awful in every way. This is what’s so disturbing about Hollywood’s never-ending love affair with remakes: In addition to tackling classics, they also feel a need to update movies that were horrible to begin with, and that cannot be improved in any way. Sadly, Warner Bros. this week announced its intentions to remake Conan the Barbarian, John Milius’ downright stupid ode to greased pecs and loincloths. Even worse — I can’t believe there’s an “even worse,” but there is — Boaz Yakin, who helped bring us Uptown Girls and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, is set to write and direct the film. Personally, I was hoping Warners would tap someone like John Sayles, and the new Conan would sit around his cave all day and drink and wrestle with the ghosts of his past, but I guess that’s too high-concept. — Daniel Carlson
Item #2: Steven Spielberg is one of America’s greatest living directors, but that’s not to say he doesn’t repeat himself. Take some daddy issues and World War II references, toss in some fantasy/sci-fi tweaks, and there you go. Momentarily tiring of Middle Eastern politics, Spielberg could be turning to ground that’s long been plowed into nothingness: Paramount is now in talks with Spielberg to develop a science fiction story about a group of explorers that travels through a wormhole to another dimension. That’s pretty much the whole logline. But the story might not even be the next thing on Spielberg’s plate, since he’s also eyeing an Abe Lincoln biopic with Liam Neeson in the title role, as well as the much-talked-about Indiana Jones 4, which has been in development since that whole wormhole idea seemed fresh. — DC
Item #3: For guys like myself, who often got their legs wish-boned into goal posts by 20-year-old sadistic 11th graders who couldn’t take a joke (c’mon Casey Freeman — if your girlfriend wears fishnet stockings to math class, how am I not going to ask her “how much she charges”), those 1980s John Hughes films tended to slight the “nerd.” I mean, c’mon: Why couldn’t Hughes throw a bone to Anthony Michael Hall once in while, instead of allowing Molly Ringwald to twice settle for what were essentially two forms of high-school pricks in The Breakfast Club’s John Bender and Sixteen Candles’ Jake Ryan? Well, for those of you who have been waiting around for the last 20 years for Hughes to redeem himself, you’re out of luck. Drillbit — based on a 70-page treatment that Hughes wrote several years ago — tracks a couple of high-school freshmen who hire what they think is a low-budget soldier of fortune (Owen Wilson) to protect them from the school bully, only to discover that the he’s not very … soldiery. Seth Rogen, with input from producer Judd Apatow, penned the script, which portends good things for the comedy; unfortunately, Steven Brill (Without a Paddle, Mr. Deeds, Little Nicky) is in negotiations to direct, suggesting that the Butterscotch Stallion’s ass-kitty may soon run out of funds. — Dustin Rowles
Item #4: Second verse, same as the first: Natalie Portman, who is starring on the Pajiba blogads this week, is in negotiations to parlay her Pajibical credibility into the lead role in The Other Boleyn Girl. The film, which is to be directed by Justin Chadwick (BBC’s Bleak House), will revolve around the ambitious Boleyn sisters, Mary and Anne (Portman), who notoriously fought over the rights to Henry VIII’s drumstick, who will be played by Eric Bana (Henry, not the drumstick). No word on whether Herman’s Hermits have been asked to write the score, but the film does give Portman an opportunity to one-up herself after chopping her hair off in last spring’s V for Vendetta. — DR
Item #5: You know how in science fiction stories they talk about how matter meeting anti-matter could create a cataclysmic event that would destroy the universe as we know it? Well, I think this may be like that. Some devious chaps over at the British production company responsible for “Wife Swap” intend to bring forth such a universal apocalypse by putting legendary ’80s hacks Corey Feldman and Corey Haim together in a fictionalized comedy about their lives, creatively titled “The Coreys.” The storyline of the show, which is envisioned as a hybrid improv/scripted comedy akin to “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” will focus on the single Haim returning into the life of the now suburban-with-a-wife-and-kid Feldman, making things wild and crazy. Antics will ensue. Comedy (most likely of the highly unintentional variety) will ensue. Earthquakes, floods and volcano eruptions will ensue. And finally, the collapse of our universe will ensue, ensuring that we don’t need to continue watching this train wreck if a network is sadistic enough to pick it up. — Seth Freilich
Item #6: The weekend saw Cars hang on to its box-office lead, bringing in a healthy $33 million, leaving audiences feeling slightly guilty for actually laughing at the tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy (seriously, I haven’t felt that bad about enjoying myself since Gallagher put away his Sledge-O-Matic). Nacho Libre came in the second spot with $28 million, a gross amassed by the 17 remaining Jack Black fans who all went to see the film 165,000 times a piece. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift actually managed to total $24 million, despite having an audience mainly comprised of redneck xenophobes still bitter over Pearl Harbor. Finally, Lake House tanked, tallying a meager $13.5 million, though there is some speculation that there is another few million lying around in a mailbox somewhere in 2008.
This week introduces only two wide releases: Adam Sandler returns to theaters in Click, and apparently audiences are given their own remote control with the purchase of a ticket, allowing them to fast-forward through the experience. Unfortunately, those remotes are collected before theatergoers are subjected to Waist Deep, Vondie Curtis-Hall’s first return to feature directing since Mariah Carey’s Glitter.
Since we are short-handed this weekend, how about a show of hands (i.e., comments): Should we review Waist Deep or Will Shortz’s crossword documentary, Wordplay, featuring Jon Stewart and President Clinton?Pajiba the Barbarian
Trade News | June 20, 2006 | Comments ()