The Morning Read (4.14.09) Zac Efron is Jonny Quest... sort of
I hope you take a moment to check out the interview I did with Jody Hill. I think it's a decent read, and it was sort of perfect timing to talk to him about both "East Bound and Down" and "Observe and Report ," and to chat film nerd to film nerd, which always makes for better conversation.
What's going on out there this morning? Most of the webmasters were Tweeting as they went to sleep about how there was nothing going on. Slow news day. "Harry Potter" trailer coming later this week... but not yet. Thursday. 6 PM PST. What else? "Date Night" has a pretty solid cast so far. Ummm... McG's doing a musical.
Oh... and Zac Efron's going to play "Jonny Quest." Only they're not going to call the film "Jonny Quest"? Then how about Zac Efron develops an original film called "Adventure Dude" and Warner Bros. can make Dan Mazeau's sort of bad-ass family adventure script with a real 12-year-old star and Dwayne Johnson instead? And I'm puzzled... is Warner Bros. really going to change the name of the film because they're afraid of the grosses of "Speed Racer"? It's madness. The whole point of developing all these endless sequels and remakes and reboots and reimaginings and rerererererewhatever is for the "name brand recognition," right? "Jonny Quest" called something else is worthless.
Marilyn Chambers... very sad. Young, too. I think her work in "Rabid" is, no exaggeration, great. It's a really disturbing, emotionally bare performance that makes the horror very, very personal. Whatever anyone thinks of her porn past or whatever people say about her lifestyle, I think she had at least one great performance in her, and I'm glad she hooked up with a filmmaker like Cronenberg at a moment like that. Some actors never get that chance.
[more after the jump]
There's a list. Seems like there's always a list. I'm chipping away at a list myself. In this case, Turner Classic Movies, which long ago pulled a KFC by condensing its identity into just TCM, is turning 15 years old, so they made a list of... you guessed it... fifteen movies. In this case, the "most influential movies" of all time. I guess they're going to keep doing new lists all month long. And the list is good. There are all good films on that list. I think they can make a real case for the first half of their list because of the echoes that the early giants set off through all of what's come since. We're still tapping into Lang's "Metropolis" every time we show a future skyline, every time we build a SF landscape. And Eisenstein's definition of filmmaking language... inarguable in terms of influence. Those early titles seem to be the most precisely chosen on the list. Stuff like "Psycho" and "Star Wars," pop is already starting to gnaw away at its own tail, with "Star Wars" in particular a mirror to other earlier influences. Lang wasn't imitating anyone when he made "Metropolis," because who the hell was there to imitate? On the other hand, Lucas was from the first generation to turn their own pop culture childhood memories into new stories that they told back. "Star Wars" is "Buck Rogers"/"Flash Gordon" crossover fanfic. That's pretty much exactly what it is. And real documentary war footage of aerial battles. That's mixed up in there, too. So is "Star Wars" imitated? Sure. But can it be one of the fifteen most influential when so much of it's merit is the sum total of other influences? Anyway, it's worth an ongoing look if you dig lists.
Devin Faraci makes me laugh. "Bret Easton Ellis owes everything to Stan Lee." It's a good article that makes some cutting points.
Watch out, because Sasha Grey is about to take over the world. I think it's been a long time coming, but the idea of the mainstream porn superstar has been flirted with before with figures like Jenna Jameson, but none of them made a serious crossover into legitimate film. Cameos don't count. A feature film that premiered at Sundance directed by Steven Soderbergh? That counts. And you're going to see a lot of profile pieces about her in the days between now and the release of "The Girlfriend Experience." She's one of the people I follow on Twitter (there's no way to say that without it sounding stalky... that's sort of the curse of the general Twitter experience), and she's sort of a film nerd on occasion. I've heard that from mutual friends, too. She posted a link to this article over at Cinematical, and I agree... it's pretty funny.
That's one of the things that can just devour a day if you let it... following links on Twitter. And I lose track of who posted what almost immediately because there's just a barrage of holy crap, all the time. I'm pretty sure Mark Lisanti posted the link to the "Your Business Card Is Crap" Guy, who was my hero for most of Saturday afternoon. I have no idea who linked first to "The GAF Collection," but I saw that same linke reposted all day, and for good reason. It's great. There are some truly beautiful ideas in there. Harry Knowles was the one who linked this first, as far as I saw, and it figures. It's exactly his sensibility, famous movie scenes redrawn by kids.
People who are still peeing their pants over "Observe and Report" would do well to read Roger Ebert's musings on the art of the joke, and in particular, his remembrance of "The Aristocrats."
John Milius is 65. One of the greatest afternoons I've ever spent during my time writing about films online was spent in his office at Warner Bros., just chatting about movies. It wasn't for an interview. It wasn't recorded. It was just me and my friend Scott, sitting in his office with Milius, talking about "Conan" and "Big Wednesday" and "Red Dawn" and "Apocalypse Now" and threatening executives with shotguns, and it was amazing, and Milius is amazing, and I will accept no guff on this. Salute.
The new Lars Von Trier trailer has arrived, and it's immediately one of the best pieces of film marketing I've seen in a while. It's an amazing trailer, very effective, very evocative. I'm in.
Vern moved. You need to know that because I assume you'll be updating your bookmarks immediately. If you're still not sure who this Vern is that I keep linking to, you really, really need to take my advice and go explore his archives. Or just pick up "Seagalogy," the greatest book ever written on the subject of the complete filmography of Steven Seagal. If you read his three most recent reviews, you'll understand exactly why you need to check his site frequently, or you'll probably question my sanity completely. Your answer probably says a lot about whether or not we'd be real-life friends. Schwarzenegger's "Raw Deal." The cult classic "The Story Of Ricky." And Brian Trenchard-Smith's awesome little kung-fu Australian action movie "The Man From Hong Kong." That's about as good a triple-feature of reviews as you're going to find anywhere online this month.
Do you use Hulu? Just curious. I use it for a few specific shows. I'm not even sure why I watch these shows only on Hulu now, but there's something about the format that makes me feel like certain things are perfectly suited to it. "30 Rock," for example. And, during the time when it's airing, "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia." Definitely.
This link is not safe for work. It's not graphic, but if you're at all nervous about NSFW content, don't click it. But seriously... click it. It's hilarious. I can't believe it exists. And it does. And I love it.
Movieline is up and running. I was a big fan of the magazine during it's early '90s heyday, just like I loved Premiere during its run from '87 to about the year 2000. So there's some weight to the idea of trying to rehab the Movieline name, and it's a smart bunch of guys over there giving it a try. It's a nice, hefty launch, and right away, they got some traction with a good piece about exactly why roundtables at junkets are fucking useless for any sort of actual discourse with an artist.
I am dying to read Nick Dawson's upcoming biography on Hal Ashby. Hal Ashby was a badass. If you want to know why you should be looking forward to the book... if the name "Hal Ashby" doesn't automatically excite you... then listen to this podcast, and see if it does the trick.
And finally, I'm going to close with a video that was made by a fan, but that's sort of amazing in the way it's put together. Again... this was just a random Twitter crumb dropped by Knowles, but it's pretty great.
Even if you're not a superfan... that's pretty nice.
See you guys for the Morning Read tomorrow, and all day today with other new things for you.
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