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May 15, 2006 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 15, 2006 |

Item #1: In remake news: On the sliding scale of 1980s teen comedies that have become cult classics and been burned into our collective subconscious, Revenge of the Nerds falls somewhere around the Weird Science end of the spectrum, as opposed to, say, the Sixteen Candles/The Breakfast Club end. It’s in no way a good movie, but its low production values, inane plot and soon-to-be-B-level stars are what give it such a surprising shelf life. Who could forget Timothy Busfield’s violin riff at the end as the nerds performed that awful song? And what about Edwards? McGinley? Sadly, the people who saw that movie in their teens are now writing and producing movies, and it turns out they’re a bunch of hacks, so Fox is accordingly prepping a remake of Nerds, to be helmed by Kyle Newman. A Fox rep called Newman’s style of comedy “fresh and irreverent,” which I guess is why he was tapped to do a low-budget remake of a movie that wasn’t that good in the first place. The sad thing is that you just know Booger’s gonna cameo. He tried to go straight with Ray and Akeelah and the Bee, but you knew he’d come back. Daniel Carlson

Item #2: Given Hollywood’s penchant for turning beloved children’s stories into cinematic toe fungus replete with exploitative mini-adverts for high-fructose-corn-syrup-based products and over-grinned schmucks most parents would warn their children away from (see The Polar Express, The Cat in the Hat, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas,), you’d think I’d be wary about Warner Brothers’ decision to translate Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are onto the big screen. But not when Spike Jonze, he who directed Adaptation and Being John Malcovich, is set to helm, and the greatest goddamn writer of our generation, Dave Eggers, is co-writing the script with him. While a lot of folks jumped off the Eggers bandwagon a few years back when he went all Eddie Vedder on us, there is still nobody’s prose I’d rather digest in almost any imaginable form (indeed, I subscribe to McSweeney’s almost solely because he occasionally pens the liner notes). I imagine there are any number of ways that Jonze and Eggers can muck it up (and, knowing Eggers, Max’s unseen parents will probably die of cancer and he’ll end up trying to give all his money away to the Wild Things), but I doubt there has been a cinematic adaptation of a children’s book I’ve ever anticipated more. Indeed, for the pretentious miscreant in all of us, attaching Jonze and Eggers to one project is the cinematic equivalent of the attractive nuisance doctrine — but it’s a risk I’m all-too-willing to take.

Oh … and yeah: Benicio Del Toro, Michael Berry Jr., Paul Dano, Tom Noonan, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, and Michelle Williams have been recruited to voice the characters. Let the wild rumpus start. — Dustin Rowles

Item #3: And speaking of big-screen adaptations, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged — the novelized embodiment of frat-boy pretension, the kind of novel exalted by supposed self-determinists who simply aren’t smart enough to know better and/or are looking for a high-school-level philosophical justification to support their own solipsism and/or capitalistic self-interest to the detriment of everyone else on the goddamn planet (and who probably never made it past the first 100 pages before being frightened away by the remaining 1000) — is being made into a movie. Lionsgate has picked up the rights and, wouldn’t you know, Hollywood uber-couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are being considered for the leads. It seems that Jolie and Pitt are Objectivist enthusiasts and, given my aforementioned description of Randites, this doesn’t really come as a surprise considering the gobs of money that Brangelina (sic) have amassed for basically looking pretty, speaking other people’s words, walking from clearly marked point A to B, and shutting off their brains whenever the director calls cut.

And before all you objectivist followers start collectively foaming at the mouth in our comments section about how your brand of pretentiousness is superior to the Pajibical ilk, be warned that Randian humorlessness can be awfully self-fulfilling. — DR

Item #4:Fans of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will be quite pleased to know that the film’s director, Michel Gondry (who most recently directed Dave Chappelle’s Block Party) has signed on Jack Black to star in his next feature, entitled Be Kind, Rewind. And, from the sound of it, Gondry (who also penned), borrowed some inspiration from Spotless Mind screenwriter Charlie Kaufman to come up with the plot, which centers around a junkyard worker (Black) whose brain is magnetized, which somehow destroys every movie in his friend’s video store, forcing them to remake all of the lost films to the satisfaction of the store’s one loyal customer. It sounds bizarre as hell but, then again, so did the idea behind Spotless Mind, and that turned out to be one of the better films of the last five years. If only Jack Black — who wore out his welcome the second he walked off the High Fidelity set — weren’t tapped to star. — DR

Item #5: I’ve been a fan of Jon Favreau since Swingers, and he proved with Elf that he’s capable of turning the flimsiest of concepts (Will Ferrell is big and the elves are small! Get it?!) into enjoyable entertainment. But in Hollywood’s rush to adapt every single comic book they can get their hands on, Marvel Studios has tapped D-Bob to helm the big-screen version of Iron Man, tentatively titled Iron Man: The Superhero No One Really Cares About. Film versions of the Batman and Superman stories were a success because those two characters have the entire planet as a built-in audience, while the X-Men films have catered to the fanboys, and the Spider-Man movies have suckered us in with Tobey Maguire. But Iron Man? Have we run out of good characters so soon? Just because a film is based on a comic doesn’t mean it will be good; in fact, it usually means the filmmakers are facing an uphill battle to have the story taken seriously. Worse yet, Marvel says it’s got an Ant Man film in the works. You read that right: Ant Man. Tread carefully here, Marvel. The wounds you inflicted on us with Daredevil and Electra are still fresh. — DC

Item #6: In TV land, next week brings the upfronts, where the networks all announce their fall schedules to advertisers and the media in a big hoop-de-doo out in Los Angeles. In advance of the upfronts, however, NBC has already announced that it’s picking up “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme’s hour-long dramedy about an “SNL”-type show. “Studio 60” is highly anticipated by many, including several Pajiba staffers, because of Sorkin and Schlamme’s involvement, because of the leaked pilot script, and because of the cast, which includes Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, Amanda Peet, Steven Weber, D.L. Hughley, and Nate Corddry. While we won’t know for sure until next week, it seems that NBC is thinking about banking on the anticipation of this show and giving it the coveted Thursday/10 p.m. time slot, bumping “ER” from the place it’s always called home. Assuming NBC keeps “My Name is Earl” and “The Office” on Thursday night, the network may be close to regaining the right to refer to its Thursday nights as “Must See TV,” particularly if it were to move “Scrubs” over there as well. But, then again, with a lineup like that, it may very well be called “Must See, But We Probably Won’t Because that Sort of Intelligent/Ironic Humor Goes over Most of America’s Head” Thursday night. — Seth Freilich

Item #7: While HBO has firmly established itself as the preeminent network for dramas, its luck with the comedies has been a little more hit-and-miss. It hopes to change all that by focusing on one of the funniest things going on in the current global climate — the war in Iraq. The in-development “Hotel Palestine” will focus on a group of journalists living in a Baghdad hotel. One assumes that they will either take the black-comedy approach or the “serious comedy” approach, as a “Hogan’s Heroes”-style hijinks would probably be deemed too lowbrow for HBO. Although HBO did inexplicably let “Arli$$” flounder for seven-odd seasons. — SF

Item #8: In more remake news: In ongoing efforts to take every single good film that came out of the 1970s film school generation and smear it with a fine coat of excrement, Columbia Pictures has set up an updated version of Shampoo to star Ashton Kutcher, though with florists instead of hairdressers. Kutcher will play the role filled by Warren Beatty in the original comedy. And, given how well Kutcher did with his last update, Guess Who, I think you know how this latest venture will turn out. … In, disturbingly, even more remake news: Hollywood, its appetite for bad movie remakes sated with Revenge of the Nerds, now turns its hungry eye to the wasteland of 1980s TV, specifically “Knight Rider,” the just-as-gay, leather-clad counterpart to “Magnum, P.I.,” the ’80s being somewhat of a glory period for creepy detectives with car fetishes. The Weinstein Co. is behind this latest desecration of the medium of film, and series creator Glen A. Larson is on board to write and executive-produce the feature. No plot specifics have been determined yet, though Larson, who’s clearly gone violently insane, says the film will be a “darker, edgier” version of the series. It’s uncertain at this time whether series star and bearer of curly chest hairs David Hasselhoff will play a role in the film, though, if he signs on, Knight Rider could find itself at the epicenter of the biggest cultural movement in Germany since they took over Poland. Do it, David. Do it for your fans. — DC

Item #8: In lieu of the box-office round-up this week (M:i:III blew everything away, even if it only pulled in a disappointing $48 million), I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of you who stopped by to read and/or comment on our 10 Worst Blockbusters of All Time. We’re not a site that revels in pulling stunts like that, particularly when it means re-watching Bruckheimer films, but it was heartening to find that it was as well-received as it was, even if many of you vehemently disagreed with our methods, choices, philosophies, and/or bathing frequency. I realize that, over the last 18 months or so, we tricked many of you here through the use of misleading BlogAds featuring Lindsay Lohan or Jessica Simpson in various stages of inebriation, but we’re glad that many of you have stuck around despite the fact that, at one time or another, we’ve probably insulted nearly any American demographic that you could possibly belong to (rest assured, Canadians — we’re coming after you next). Anyway, we’re usually not into the “softer side” of Pajiba but, then again, even Dr. Cox breaks character every once in a while; so, you know, thanks … seriously.

That said, we’re still pissed that the goddamn New Yorker beat us out in the copy writing category in the 2006 Webby Awards. Fucking Seymour Hersh, man. That bastard beats us every year.

And … as for this weekend, my fellow Arkansan Josh Lucas is jumping ship with yet another remake, Poseidon, which is sort of like a mongrelled hybrid of Wolfgang Peterson’s previous film, The Perfect Storm and James Cameron’s Titanic, though I suspect the only thing that could make Poseidon palatable would be to have Leonardo DiCaprio reprise his Titanic role, only this time he drowns three times instead of once. Elsewhere, Lindsay Lohan returns to the big-screen with Just My Luck and, as luck would have it, I’m reviewing it, and I plan on saving all of my pent-up vitriol for Friday. Art School Confidential opens in Boston, so Jeremy will be sharing his inappropriate thoughts about 21-year-old Max Minghella, and Goal! also opens this weekend, but we make no promises to review it because it’s about soccer and, as patriotic Americans, it is our birthright to ignore that particular sport (also, we’ll be one critic short, as a Carlson sibling is set to graduate college this weekend). — DR

Revenge of the Pajiba

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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