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May 15, 2006 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 15, 2006 |

Item #1: I’ll admit to watching “Star Trek” as a kid. In the interest of full disclosure, I feel that’s something I should share. I’m not as big a fan of the show now as I once was, partially because I find its utopian, antiseptic view of our future to be a little farfetched: A few hundred years from now, we’re still going to be trying our best to kill each other, not joined in some great fraternity of man to explore space. But those of you out there who go to conventions and talk about Cardassian history have reason to celebrate, because J.J. Abrams, the creator of “Alias” and “Lost” and director of the upcoming Mission: Impossible III, will be producing and co-writing a feature prequel for the Star Trek film franchise. The story is rumored to revolve around the first meeting between Kirk and Spock at the Starfleet academy, including their semiannual fishing trips to the Wyoming mountains. Abrams isn’t locked in yet to direct, but I think he should get another few hit features under his belt before dropping anchor and letting Star Trek ruin his career. He’s a talented writer with a good eye for action sequences, but Tom Cruise’s public insanity is having negative effects on Mission: Impossible III before it’s even open. J.J., trust me on this one: Walk away. — Daniel Carlson

Item #2: How about this, y’all: Poe, a biopic on Edgar Allen Poe, starring Robert Downey, Jr. in the lead role and written/directed by … Sylvester Stallone? It’s like Eugene Levy and Sam Jackson Wolverine and show tunes — sure, it sounds awful in theory, but it’s the kind of awful that might just be brilliant. And I know, I know: With Stallone at the helm, it’d be so easy to write this one off as the worst idea since Stop! Or My Mom will Shoot, but damned if he hasn’t shown a modicum of occasional competence, having written Rocky and directed Staying Alive (all right, fair enough: Stallone has shown absolutely no ability to direct). And seriously, say what you want about Downey’s history of drug abuse and his tendency to wake up in strangers’ houses but, The Shaggy Dog notwithstanding, there is no more talented actor in Hollywood (and I count myself among the few with a copy of his heart-wrenching CD — if you’ve never heard his version of Joni Mitchell’s “River,” you’re doing yourself a serious disservice), and probably no one better suited to the role of Edgar Allen Poe, who himself had his own bouts with depression and drug addiction. Hopefully, the story of Poe’s life writes itself, and Stallone won’t have to resort to arm-wrestling challenges and Kenny Loggins music but, if Downey can stay off the blow long enough to begin filming in the fall, Poe deserves some serious attention.

Thanks to Amanda for bringing Poe to our attention via email. — Dustin Rowles

Item #3: And if there weren’t enough evidence in the world to prove that nothing is sacred anymore, the musical High Fidelity, based on Nick Hornby’s novel of the same name, has announced a fall pre-Broadway tryout at Boston’s Colonial Theatre.

Yeah. High Fidelity: The Musical.

I mean, there is no bigger fan of Hornby than I, and I’d count High Fidelity in my all-time top 10 films, but c’mon! A musical? With original songs, i.e., motherfucking show tunes?! It’s not bad enough what they did to Fever Pitch, I guess. Now they deem it necessary to desecrate the Holy Bible of screen-adapted novels. Jesus. I don’t want to see Rob Gordon in pancake makeup singing about heartbreak and pop music in a freakish falsetto. And I don’t want to see Dick and Barry sing a duet about the artistic merits of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Stevie Wonder. It’s just not right, man. It’s not right. In the illustrious words of Rob Gordon: Whoever had a hunch that a musical of High Fidelity was a great idea, well, his “gut has shit for brains.” — DR

Item #4: : Gary Marshall, who hasn’t directed a decent film since … who has never directed a decent film, has been attached to direct the dark comedy Georgia Rule for Morgan Creek Productions. The film stars Lindsay Lohan, who plays a rebellious daughter (read: bulimic coke fiend), who is sent away by her dysfunctional mother (Felicity Huffman), to live with her grandmother (Jane Fonda). I don’t know anything else about the plotline, but I’ll guess — with Marshall directing — that there will be a few life lessons, a lot of waterworks, a Pygmalion-inspired makeover scene, and a prostitute who makes good with a millionaire. Oh, but if only the life lesson were: Stop attaching Gary Marshall to cheap, sentimental films that try to trick grown men into weeping in front of their football buddies. It’s not gonna work, Hollywood. If you really want to make heterosexual men sob, all you have to do is turn High Fidelity into a musical. — DR

Item #5: Just a quick link for all you “Arrested Development” fans — go check out this spiffy Star Wars-style promo poster. — Seth Freilich

Items # 6: Fresh off a dull and unbelievable turn in The Sentinel, attractive and untalented actress Eva Longoria has been tapped to star in Deep in the Heart of Texas for Touchstone. She’ll play a spoiled SoCal woman who relocates to San Antonio to run the Latin side of an ad agency, only her inability to speak Spanish means that hijinks will inevitably ensue. Now, as happy as I am to see my good ol’ lame little hometown being used in a movie, this seems like just a cheap excuse for Longoria to somehow work in a cameo for boyfriend and Spurs guard Tony Parker. If that’s the case, I’d like to ask Longoria to please knock it off, since the Spurs are currently tops in the Western Conference, and I’d prefer it if you didn’t get your toxic B-level soap star mojo all over them. You know how Duncan plays when he’s hurt. — DC

Item #7 Al Pacino has joined the cast of Ocean’s 13. And since Pacino fell into self-parody sometime around the 3,789th Hoo-ah!, it’s now incumbent upon us to let this bit of casting news speak for itself. Hooh-ah! — DR

Item #8: In the box office round up, to the surprise of absolutely no one, a video-game-inspired horror flick managed to grab the top spot over the weekend, as Silent Hill pulled down $20 million (a bigger surprise, perhaps, is that Pajiba didn’t hate it). Scary Movie 4 gained another $14 million in ticket buyers who all woke up the next day with buyer’s remorse, and not even Eva Longoria’s quick wit and considerable intelligence could save The Sentinel from a mediocre $14 million opening. Finally, despite the surprising popularity of Mandy Moore on the site, American Dreamz fell flatter than a Simon Cowell karaoke barb, raking in a measly $3.5 million.

This weekend we can all look forward to Robin Williams in a ridiculous family comedy that seems to have been inspired by Randy Quaid’s character in the National Lampoon’s Vacation series (“Every time Catherine would turn on the microwave, I’d piss my pants and forget who I was for about half an hour.”) Also on this weekend’s slate is United 93, which has no-win situation written all over the poor guy (Phillip) who is tapped to review it. Stick It also opens on 2,000 screens and should be a success if it’s half as amusing as its unofficial predecessor, Bring it On. Finally, Hollywood’s (and Starbuck’s) obsession with spelling-bee movies continues unfettered, as Akeelah and the Bee opens in 2,200 theaters, which will most likely be littered with gay men and soccer moms hoping to see Angela Basset beat the living shit out of Ike Turner again. — DR

Item #9: If you haven’t heard, we are smack-dab in the middle of “TV Turnoff Week” right this very second, as you read this very item. Well, as the resident TV Whore, I’d like to issue a healthy “fuck you” to “TV Turnoff Week” and present my five reasons why you should never turn your TV off, this week or any week:

1. If you don’t watch the TV, you’ll miss the mind-boggling 650th episode of “Cops” next month (May 20, 8:30 p.m., FOX).

2. You’ve got an even better chance now being able to watch the new CW network this fall, as it’s added 15 new affiliates, raising its national coverage to over 85 percent. And rumor has it that “7th Heaven” might even be coming back for another season, which is good news for those of you who, despite my lack of understanding why, seem to enjoy the show.

3. You might miss the first clues to ABC’s ri-fucking-diculous “Lost Experience,” a “global interactive challenge” based on the show. Those clues will air next week, and then the game will turn into “mysterious jigsaw puzzle” that will require worldwide cooperation between “Lost” fans. You don’t want to miss out on becoming a part of that, do you?

4. You would have no use for dual-tuner TiVo, to be released next week.

5. You won’t be able to appreciate why I’ll be saying “fucking NBC” next month when they pull one of their old-hat tricks out of the bag and “super-size” their Thursday sitcoms. Specifically, the May 11 “Will & Grace” and season finales of “Earl” and “The Office” will be stretched to a healthy 40 minutes each, meaning you’ll have a full extra half-hour of commercials to fast-forward through. — SF

Pajiba: The Final Frontier.

The Weekly Trade Round-Up / The Pajiba Staff

Industry | May 15, 2006 |

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

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