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June 26, 2007 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | June 26, 2007 |

I fucking adore the premise behind The $40,000 Man, a spoof of “The Six Million Dollar Man,” about an astronaut who is horribly injured in a car crash and is rebuilt by the government to be a bionic man with the paltry budget of $40,000, which doesn’t make him that bionic. I wasn’t terribly surprised to learn that the script was written by another alumnus of “Freak and Geeks,” though it is a little astonishing to learn which one it was: John Francis Daley, one of the few cast members so far that hasn’t been able to ride the coattails of Judd Apatow to fame. As you might recall, Daley was Sam Weir, the prepubescent Kevin Arnold of the bunch, who has suffered a similar fate post-puberty. “We were thinking about the whole concept of the ‘The Six Million Dollar Man,’ and we thought that it would be funny if the government didn’t have enough money,” Daley said of the idea behind the film. Daley wrote the script with Jonathan Goldstein, a television writer of little notoriety. (I wonder if a small part of his inspiration came from the episode of “Freaks” when Bill dressed as the Bionic Woman?) Neither a director nor cast has been attached, but I can’t help but to picture Danny Glover in the role wearing a glass eye, a broken hearing aid, prosthetic legs made of clay and held to the bone with rubber bands, and repeatedly muttering, “I’m too cheap for this shit.”

For those of you longing to see Jack Black continue his descent into the sublevels of mediocrity before finally jumping onto the National Lampoon straight-to-DVD train, you can now look forward to Man-Witch — Manwich! Ha! Brilliant! (*shakes head disgustedly*) That’s probably the extent of the comedy you’re going to get from Black’s new project — lame Sloppy-Joe humor. In Man-Witch, Black will play a school teacher who discovers he has witch-like powers. He is taken in by a coven, urged to attend a school for witches, and discovers that all of his classmates are girls. That’s the fish-out-of-water twist? He’s a witch? And he discovers his classmates are all women? Good God. That’s it? So, will it go the Bosom Buddies/Ladybugs/Sorority Girls route? Will Black fall in love with a witch who believes that he is a woman? Cause, honestly, I have no desire to see Black in drag, even if it is witch garb. Maybe it’ll go another way — as the only man in an all-female school, maybe he’ll get more action than a male cafeteria worker at Smith College. Will Black be the lunchmeat in a Sand-witch (ouch, shoot me in the head now)? And more importantly, who gives a shit? Jack Black’s relevance disappeared the minute he starred as The Elegant Hunter in Laser Fart and followed it up in Envy as an entrepreneur who discovers Vapoorizer. Name one decent movie he’s done since? And if you say Nacho Libre just go ahead and slam your head in an oven door. For God’s sake, will someone please tell me why today’s comedians insist upon picking movies that require that they rise above lame premises? It can’t be done, folks. If Steve Carell can’t do, there’s no hope for the rest of you buffoons.

In a nice bit of casting news, Morgan Freeman has been hired to play the role of Nelson Mandela in The Human Factor, based on the upcoming John Carlin book The Human Factor: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed the World. The movie will focus on the first year of Mandela’s presidency, when Mandela leads the country out of apartheid. Is there a better guy to play the role than Freeman? I mean, besides Marlon Wayans, of course.

And lookie here: There’s gonna be a Starship Troopers 3. I didn’t even realize there was a second one. This one stars Casper Van Dien, who I haven’t seen since 1999’s Omega Code during a bad movie marathon several years ago, though I do understand he’s been starring in the American soap opera “Watch Over Me” over on MyNetworkTV . Has anyone ever heard of this network? Apparently, Wal-Mart provides the wardrobe for the cast, which suggests that the show’s budget must be somewhere around $4 an episode. Anyway, Starship Troopers: Marauder will go straight to DVD. It will take place four years after the original movie, and General Juan “Johnny” Rico (Van Dien) will be tasked with exterminating a new strain of bug called the “Scorpion Bug.” According to Van Dien, the script is “awesome.” And by “awesome,” he means the producers will actually be paying him. But the more depressing bit of news about this project is that Starship Troopers 3 will be directed by Edward Neumeier, who wrote RoboCop, its three sequels and its television spinoff. I suppose this is what happens when you put all your eggs in the RoboCop basket — when you finally give up trying to take over the world with the brilliant catchphrase, “I’d buy that for a dollar,” you’re left with nothing but Paul Verhoeven’s sloppy thirds. And since Verhoeven himself has been sleeping with elderly, toothless prostitutes since the late ’90s, the best Neumeier can hope for is a lethal case of VD that’ll put the poor guy out of his misery.

Speaking of DVDs, here’s your slate for this week: Black Snake Moan, Shooter and Dead Silence.

In site news, it pains me to unleash such a lackluster round-up on today, of all days, because we officially turned three years old this week. It’s been a great run, and thank you all for your continued readership. There are days, of course, when it feels like you’re all going to revolt against us and overthrow the staff in a bloody coup de Pajiba, but, by and large, it’s been a pleasure writing for an audience whose expectations for us are so high. We’re a better goddamn site for it. So, thanks. And for our newer visitors, check out our Best of Pajiba section for the highlights.

Finally, in the trailer watch, check out this one for Shoot ‘Em Up. It’s got a damn fine cast (deadpan anti-hero Clive Owen, psycho-maniacal Paul Giamatti, and Monica Belluci), huge goddamn Woo guns, decent wisecracks, and Motley freakin’ Crue in the trailer. Who knows if Shoot ‘Em Up will be any damn good, but hell if the trailer doesn’t rock my world a little.

The Six Million Dollar Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Industry | June 26, 2007 |

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

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