May 29, 2007 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | May 29, 2007 |


If Neal Pollack has anything to say about it, this whole hipster parent trend is gonna be huge — like, Neal Pollack huge; the kind of huge one might expect from a guy who used to bone Zadie Smith and Lara Flynn Boyle, who hangs out with Karl Malone and Biship Desmond TuTu, who was once blacklisted by Hollywood, who yachted with JFK, whose personality was partially shaped by what he saw in war-torn Albania, whose massive Internet Celebrity is a burden to him, and who is actually friends with real-life working class black women. Pollack, who was the first author to have a book published by McSweeney’s (The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature, a satire of journalistic self-importance and later, Never Mind the Pollacks, a brilliant parody of popular-culture excesses), finally found semi-mainstream success earlier this year with his memoir, Alternadad, a series of tales about raising his son as a “hipster Dad,” (though one might reasonably argue that hipster parenting is, itself, semi-mainstream now). Pollack, a freelance writer and popular author (in certain McSweeneys’ circles, anyway), writes about having to contend with being both a “cool” person and a “cool” parent, while dealing with diapers and spit up. Partially, this involves eschewing Barney in favor of The Ramones, but mostly it’s about maintaining a shred of one’s pre-child identity. And even if Pollack’s style of parenting is not entirely new, you do have to give the man a lot of credit for being the first to basically turn what would’ve been a great series of blog entries into a book about parenting (beating Dooce to the punch). And now, of course, he does blog about it over on Offsprung.

At any rate, Alternadad has been optioned for a film and now has a screenwriter, Dana Gould — an actor/writer probably best known for his role on “The Ben Stiller Show” and for writing a few episodes of “The Simpsons.” Unfortunately, I suspect that Gould will ultimately ruin the alterna-charm of Alternadad by trying to create a long-form narrative out of a series of anecdotes (the same reason, I suspect, that Sedaris’ work hasn’t made the transition to the big screen yet) — I’m guessing the book would’ve served better as a springboard to a memoirish television sitcom, but since the sitcom is (mostly) dead, we’re given a 90-minute feature instead. I’m also guessing you can expect Garden State crossed with The Pacifier. If we’re lucky, Seth Rogen gets the lead; if not, expect Dan Fogler or Jack Black (though, Clerk’s Dante is a dead-ringer for Pollack).

Elsewhere, Sandra Bullock — whose last two flicks absolutely sucked — is trying to break that streak by starring in Proposal, a romantic comedy written by Peter Chiarelli, who runs a production company for Dreamworks. The premise involves a demanding boss facing deportation to Canada who agrees to a sham marriage with her young male assistant. It’s not the most brilliant premise, of course, and Bullock doesn’t offer much reason to believe it’ll be a particularly great romcom, but I know Chiarelli, and he’s a pretty goddamn funny guy, so there’s probably a lot more to Proposal than the premise suggests. At least I hope so, otherwise it’ll make for an awfully awkward review.

For those of you who returned from a nice Memorial Day vacation only to be inundated with a gossip blogosphere newly obsessed with she-who-we-cannot-name, her misdemeanor DUI, and her “usable amount of cocaine” (in my understanding, any amount is a “usable” amount, right?), and her return to rehab, I’m sorry to further plague you, but assuming she doesn’t drink herself to death (fingers crossed!) before then, she-who-we-cannot-name is now attached to Poor Things, a comedy about two grandma gangsters (played by Shirley MacClaine and Olympia Dukakis) who set up homeless men with insurance policies and then hire hit men to kill them so that they can collect. The story itself is actually inspired by the real events, though I’m not sure how to wise it is to make a comedy about two blue-hairs who are currently facing the death penalty (ha!). I can only hope that whatsherface will play one of the homeless people who is unceremoniously bumped off in a Final Destination inspired goring. The script comes from Trent Haaga, who also wrote Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV and produced Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill!, which might inspire the optimistically na├»ve belief that she-who-we-cannot-name has already been relegated to the straight-to-DVD features if not for the fact that Rosario Dawson and Tatum Channing have also been attached to a pretty decent cast (and Haaga’s latest, The Dead Girl was somewhat well received, though not by us). Interestingly, Ash (a.k.a. Ashley Cohen Baron), who is a cousin to Sacha, is set to direct, setting up the inner turmoil I now have about whether I want Poor Things to bomb or succeed at the box office.

Finally, Robert Rodriguez has now added another film to the slate of movies he plans to direct in the near future (including Land of the Lost or The Jetsons): Barbarella. Personally, I think it’s just about the dumbest career move that Rodriguez has made since The Faculty. You just don’t remake films that managed to gain a certain cult following because of its camp value (see, e.g., Wicker Man). Actually, I’d suggest that recapturing unintentional hilarity is damn near impossible, but for the fact that Rodriguez himself did it in Planet Terror. Still, I think the task here is considerably tougher, especially now that the majority of Rodriguez’s demographic is either unfamiliar with Barbarella or, like me, only managed to sit through the opening credit sequence before turning it off while wondering resplendently, What the fuck, man? Thankfully, however, Rodriguez has also agreed to release Machete, an expansion of the kickass fake trailer he made for the Grindhouse intermission (“They fucked with the wrong Mexican.”) However, the mexploitation flick will only be a 40-minute straight-to-DVD movie that will be released simultaneously with the Grindhouse DVD and, in all likelihood, will mostly feature unused footage from the original trailer.

There’s only one new noteworthy new film to hit DVD shelves this week, Hannibal Rising, which only further compounds my summer blockbuster misery — it’s really unbelievable, you know? For those who rely on the multiplex to get their cinematic fix, the summer kind of blows if you don’t want to see or have already seen Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Spiderman 3. Those three films must be taking up 80 percent of the screens right now, so for a lot of folks, those are the only three options, which explains why they make so much goddamn money. There’s nothing else from which to choose. Of course, it doesn’t help that the art houses are still showing flicks from March. I dunno. It’s nice and all when those huge 24 screeners with stadium seating and $47 popcorn/soda combos move into town, but what’s the freakin’ point if you’re going to fill all 24 screens with the same three flicks?

Anyway, instead of leaving you with a trailer today, I leave you with this Knocked Up parody of the David O. Russell/Lily Tomlin freak-out disasterbacle. The premise: Michael Cera (“Arrested Development”) once held the role in Knocked Up that Seth Rogen now holds. Here’s the goods:

Michael Cera gets fired from Knocked Up

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The Pajiba Anthology of American Literature

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Trade News | May 29, 2007 | Comments ()



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