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BOP 25 of Summer 2010: 15-6

By BOP Staff

May 6, 2010

Either Spade or Schneider had to be cropped out of this photo. The BOP photo editor slipped into a coma trying to decide 15) Grown Ups

Adam Sandler, we just can't quit you. It seems that every year you have another movie - like clockwork - and every single year we take the bait and put you on the BOP 25. We still really, really like you. You're one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, and it's hard not to want to support the guy who we've loved going all the way back to Stud Boy on Remote Control.

One of your most admirable qualities, Adam, is your dedication and loyalty to your longtime friends. Even though their stars have faded while yours still continues to shine bright, you still like to star in movies with old buddies like David Spade, Rob Schneider and Chris Rock. To wit, Schneider has appeared in at least 13 of your comedies, and your production shingle has paved the way for a number of your friends' solo projects.

It's only natural, Adam, that when the idea for a reunion movie came together, that you'd join forces with your old Saturday Night Live buddies - Spade, Schneider and Rock. Also welcomed into the fold is your new best friend Kevin James, taking the spot that would have been reserved for Chris Farley back in the day. If nothing else, it looks like you're all having a blast together. And really, that counts for a lot in a world where we're dealing with daily reports of floods, earthquakes and oil spills. While Grown Ups might not be deep or weighty, it does look like it can provide a couple of hours of escape in the heat of summer. We all need that sometimes. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
See, this is such an obvious flop.  Unrelatedly, the World Cup starts soon. 14) Robin Hood

Finally, the world is about to have what it has been anxiously awaiting: an origin tale involving Robin Hood as portrayed by a 46-year-old actor. The average life expectancy was 33 years during the Middle Ages, meaning that if this version of Robin Hood were true, he would be the Methusaleh of well-intended thieves. But it's my problem and I will deal with it.

What is important here is that Robin Hood reunites the writer and director of 2000's best film at least according to the Academy Awards, Gladiator. Of course, the duo has had a few missteps since then. Kingdom of Heaven is the most notable of those since it seems like the movie with the most in common with Robin Hood save for maybe King Arthur. I'm all over the place here, aren't I? Can you tell I didn't vote for this one and I'm struggling to determine why anyone else did? Again, my problem and my problem alone.

Let's re-focus. Ridley Scott directed Blade Runner, Alien, and Black Hawk Down. When he's on his game, he is the gold standard in movies. Russell Crowe proved himself to be one of the greatest talents our industry has ever known in L.A. Confidential, The Insider and A Beautiful Mind. If the two of them choose to follow up their solid work in American Gangster with a movie project that squarely placed Kevin Costner on the path to ruination, it's their choice and we at BOP support them. Marginally. For now. If they blow this, we'll yell "we told you so" from now until the end of time. (David Mumpower/BOP)
Dodge This 13) Despicable Me

The world of CGI animation is growing as Pixar, DreamWorks Animation and the people who do Ice Age (like you would know their name) are joined by Illumination Entertainment. Perhaps you heard that Dr. Seuss' The Lorax was being given a cinematic adaptation and this is the animation house handling the project. Their first outing, however, will be an original idea, one that has our staff intrigued if not 100% sold as of yet.

Despicable Me appears to be an Austin Powers movie if it were told from Doctor Evil's perspective...and he were animated. Mini-Me has been replaced by a bunch of adorable, little genetic experiments who look like the Space Aliens from Toy Story. And Scott Evil has been replaced by a bunch of kids who are presumably not evil, at least not any more evil than your average five-year-old. So, maybe it's better to describe Despicable Me as that scene in The Incredibles where Syndrome shows up at the Parr residence and kidnaps Jack-Jack. Remember how well that turns out for our villain? So, maybe I was stretching it when I described this as an original idea, but this is clearly fertile comedic ground ready to be plowed. Will Illumination prove to be a rising star in the field of animation or will this wind up being another Planet 51, a good idea gone very wrong? Despicable Me's placement on our list demonstrates that we're not quite sure, but we're giving them the benefit of the doubt. (David Mumpower/BOP)




Spirit Fingers! 12) The Kids Are All Right

"Unconventional" families are finding more and more acceptance in pop culture and mainstream media. Full House, Two and a Half Men, Big Love and Gilmore Girls all feature(d) families that deviate from the "norm" of father, mother, and children. Modern Family's Mitchell and Cameron are possibly the cutest couple on television and fabulous, involved parents to adopted daughter Lily to boot.

The Kids Are All Right takes the "non-traditional" family notion and takes it to the next logical step. Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening) are a longtime couple and mothers to two children who they conceived by means of artificial insemination. Their kids, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) become determined to meet the donor who was their "father," and they contact the sperm bank to uncover his identity. Paul (Mark Ruffalo) becomes involved in all their lives, and complications (naturally) arise.

The co-writer/director of The Kids Are All Right has some indie cred, having previously helmed the Christian Bale/Kate Beckinsale/Frances McDormand starrer Laurel Canyon. Opinions were divided on that film, but the trailer for The Kids Are All Right has a spark to it that just cannot be denied. Ruffalo looks like he's having a blast, while Moore and Bening both look to offer stellar performances. Early reviews are very positive, and Focus Features just might have a potential breakout on their hands if it's marketed well. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
Whoever they're talking to just refused to say hello to his mother for them 11) The Other Guys

We're all very, very aware of the schism between good Will Ferrell (Elf, Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers) and bad Will Ferrell (Semi-Pro, Land of the Lost, Kicking & Screaming). There's a common thread that seems to run through a number of the "good" Will Ferrell projects, even including the impossibly hilarious short known as "The Landlord." Essentially, when Adam McKay and Ferrell join forces, the results are usually hilarious.
The Other Guys appears likely to follow in this proud tradition. The movie is set amidst a police force with two great heroes, Danson (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) and Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson). These dudes ooze cool to the degree that they are idolized by their cohorts on the force.
If Danson and Highsmith are "the" guys, then Hoitz and Gamble are...the other guys. Neither of them see any action, as Hoitz has been confined to a desk after a touchy public incident involving his itchy trigger finger, while Gamble is perfectly content to do clerical work. When the two of them have a chance to step up and get involved in the action, things get wacky, of course.

Along with Ferrell, who is playing Gamble, The Other Guys also features Mark Wahlberg in his first real lead role in a comedy. The former leader of the Funky Bunch has shown an ease with humor in more limited roles in Date Night and I Heart Huckabees, and it appears that he's fully aware that he can't bank on action roles forever. We think he's got it in him to make us laugh, and even though being straight man to Ferrell's frantic man child persona may be a challenge, their pairing has a chance to be very, very funny. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
See here, lads, this is the maneuver that won me the heart of fair Katy 10) Get Him to the Greek

In 2008, Forgetting Sarah Marshall introduced us to Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), a badly behaved rock star who stole the heart of the titular character, causing her to break main character Peter's heart. The film was a breakout success, and director Nicholas Stoller decided that a spin-off was in order. Rather than a Dracula puppet rock opera, however, we're going to be treated to the return of Aldous Snow instead.

Sometime after using Sarah Marshall for her fame/body, Snow has fallen out of favor. With his career in a shambles, he starts drinking excessively and doing illegal drugs. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, an idealistic intern at Capitol Records named Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) has the brilliant idea that the company could have Snow play at the Greek Theater for a celebratory tenth anniversary performance to commemorate a classic, famous show that the singer is known for. Aaron is lauded for his idea, but he's also assigned to go get Aldous and make sure he shows up to the venue on time. Of course, Aldous is a terrible influence on Aaron, and his task proves to be significantly more challenging than he ever anticipated.

Brand was generally hilarious in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and it looks like we'll be getting more of the same from him in Get Him to the Greek. We're hopeful that the funny trailer is indicative of the film's quality. Audiences loved the debauchery and silliness involved in last year's The Hangover. Get Him to the Greek might just be 2010's flavor of the summer. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? 9) The Expendables

How many aging action stars can you fit in one movie? Sylvester Stallone seems to have been eager to find out with The Expendables, which pulls together an all-star cast of legends and semi-legends for an updated Dirty Dozen.

As well as Stallone, we've got *deep breath* Jet Li, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews and Eric Roberts, not to mention love interests from Charisma Carpenter and Brittany Murphy, as well as cameos from Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Trejo (officially this summer's busiest dude). Even the list of actors rejected from the film is kind of impressive, and includes Wesley Snipes, Kurt Russell, Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal. Plot? Well, Stallone and crew go to South America to overturn a dictator, and bullets and ‘splosions ensue. What more do you need to know?

About five years ago, a film like this might have seemed like a throwaway and a little pathetic. Stallone had already tried his one comeback that didn't work, and was locked in the mire of films like Driven and Get Carter, and had several of his films go direct to video. Then came the surprisingly good Rocky Balboa and the ridiculously violent but sort of relevant Rambo, which showed that Stallone might have picked up a trick or two in his old age, at least dialing down his ego and figuring out what audiences want. With The Expendables, it looks like he's finally figured out that people want fun in their action. (Reagen Sulewski/BOP)
If your head is seems either too large or too small for your body, keep staring 8) Dinner with Schmucks

Inspired by the French film The Dinner Game (or Le diner de cons), Dinner With Schmucks is hoping to tap into the type of buddy comedy that Paul Rudd is starting to turn into a cottage industry of sorts. Now that he's propelled Role Models and I Love You, Man to a certain level of success, Rudd will once again team up with Steve Carell. Previously, the two starred together in Anchorman and The 40 Year-Old Virgin, so there's a definite track record of success.

This time around, Rudd plays Tim, an upwardly mobile young executive who finds that he can be promoted if he attends a dinner whose purpose is to bring the biggest buffoon. He's against the idea until he encounters Barry (Carell), an awkward guy who recreates art by dressing mice in tiny outfits. While Carell and Rudd have previously found success with Judd Apatow and Adam McKay at the helm of their films, this time around they'll be working with Jay Roach of Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers. Roach has had an up and down career critically, as he's responsible for Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (that's good) but also the sequels (less good). Meet the Parents is a hilarious joy, but Meet the Fockers is not so wonderful. And Recount is a movie that you probably haven't seen (it was an HBO film), but it's absolutely worthy of a look.

We're hopeful that Rudd and Carell can carry the day once again, and look forward to a potentially very silly supporting performance from Zach Galifianakis as a person who believes he can control minds. So, we'll be inviting our strangest friend and heading out for dinner and a movie. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
Next time, Rampage, be careful about what you grind against 7) The A-Team

Along with The Three Stooges, the idea of a The A-Team movie has been one of the go-to jokes of this site since its inception. The laughably dated but fun for its era television series has almost no elements that would translate well for modern audiences. At least, that has been our opinion. Then, the casting started for this project and we held our tongue a bit. Liam Neeson, Sharlto Copley and Bradley Cooper starred in three of the best films of 2009, Taken, District 9 and The Hangover.

As for Rampage Jackson, well, that role needs to be filled by an amateur with natural charisma as a tribute to the original "actor", Mr. T. For those of you who only know him from the World of Warcraft commercials, that guy with the mohawk was one of network television's first true reality stars. He became a pseudo-celebrity during a competition for America's Best Bouncer (I kid you not) and leveraged this into roles in Rocky III and then The A-Team. An MMA fighter as B.A. Baracus makes a lot more sense than an actor attempting to portray a bad-ass as would have been the case if Ice Cube had taken the part.

Despite the impeccable casting, we were still on the fence regarding this project right up until the trailer was released. Those of you who read our recent Trailer Hitch discussion are aware that we were hooked by the time we saw the tattoos "Pity" and "Fool" carved on Jackson's knuckles. Rather than build an entire commercial around the memorable catchphrase from the original series, a decision was made to downplay the potentially dated quip. Similarly, the theme song is briefly whistled rather than hammered through the speakers at maximum volume. When we thought about a potential A-Team movie, the one word we never expected to hear was subtlety. That's the diametrically opposed style to the 1980s series yet this is exactly what the trailer offers. Rather than Michael Bay-ing the thing to oblivion, a deft touch has been shown thus far, raising our hopes that maybe, just maybe all of those comments from the producers that The A-Team will be like Batman Begins are true. Like you, we were inclined to laugh them off at first, but there is that common thread of Liam Neeson that gives us hope. (David Mumpower/BOP)
You'd rather we run a photo of Michael Cera? 6) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

I'm not going to lie here. I am very nervous to write even a little bit about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World because I love love love the comic books and I follow their creator, Bryan Lee O'Malley on the tweetie Twitter. I've noticed that when movie sites throw up a goofy synopsis of his story that he thinks is stupid, well, he brings it to everyone's attention. So, please @radiomaru, don't call me out. I love Scott Pilgrim and I can't wait for book six. I just want other people to be as excited about your work as I am.

Now that the ridiculous sucking up portion of this article is finished, I'm left trying to find the words to describe the universe of Scott Pilgrim. Basically, when we meet him, Scott is 23-years-old. He has a gay roommate. He's in a band. He has no money. He likes video games and stuff. Oh, and he's dating a high school student named Knives Chau. But then, a girl named Ramona Flowers skates through his dreams, and he then meets her for real when she arrives to deliver a package at his house (in roller skates). He decides that he wants to win Ramona's heart, but to do so, he has to defeat her seven evil exes. And these evil exes are all pretty badass. It's actually a little more complex than this little synopsis, but it also spoils some of the fun to reveal more.

Still, I was conflicted about the prospect of a movie adaptation of the books until I learned that Edgar Wright would be directing. I'd imagine that most people who read BOP know who he is by now, but Wright is the director/co-writer of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, as well as the British television series Spaced (which I would actually say has a similar sensibility to Scott Pilgrim in a lot of ways). This is great. This gives me hope. And obviously, it gives my fellow staffers reason to believe as well. (Kim Hollis/BOP)


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