Shaking Our Fists At the Sun
By Reagen Sulewski
May 3, 2004
With the onslaught of summer blockbusters nearly upon us, it's important to take a little time to breathe and prepare. With that in mind, here's some thoughts to tide you over while you bide the time until "Atkins-friendly popcorn" ruins movie going forever:
I was really worried for a moment that The Day After Tomorrow wasn't going to have the scene where some scientist runs through an Important Government Building yelling that if we don't act now about [impending doom], it'll be too late. Then I realized, it's a Devlin/Emmerich film and I needn't have worried. And, for good measure, it makes no sense to have done that; while Global Climate Change is real, if we're at the point where the North Atlantic Current is about to drastically change, what are you going to do about it, drop a bunch of electric heaters off the coast of Virginia?
Judging by the trailer, Troy might be the first movie in history to have dialogue made up entirely of simple declarative statements. "He wants me back." "I will fight by your side." "That's a nice wooden horse." Now, I know Brad Pitt is trying his hardest in this, but I really think we need to put a ban on him appearing in anything but contemporary films. He seems incapable of talking in anything but that back of the throat, mumbly voice he has unless he's SHOUTING FOR YOUR DOOM or something. It's not like he's the only one, though. Pseudo-Shakespearian acting has made more actors look foolish than transsexual hookers and hosting Saturday Night Live combined.
I think we have an early contender for the Best Visual Effects Oscar this year. That would be whoever is responsible for making Bernie Mac look like an athlete in Mr. 3000. There are only 25 players in Major League history that have gotten 3000 hits, and we're supposed to believe that this tub of goo has done that, giving him 400 more hits than Barry Bonds? I think they missed a fantastic opportunity for casting here, as if they were looking to make this story believable and have an actual athlete as the star. I can point them to someone who fits the bill and could use the work: Rickey Henderson. Who wouldn't watch this movie? He would play the self-centered sports star role better than anyone alive. It'd be the ultimate Method performance.
While I still can't believe the world didn't spin off its axis two years ago when Akiva freakin' Goldsman won an Oscar for screenwriting, it's comforting to know he's back writing painfully uncomfortable dialogue for science-fiction action films. In 30 years, many things will change, but apparently, Will Smith making awkward defensive comments about his sexual orientation will not be one of them.
One technology I'm eagerly looking forward to is the ability to edit films on DVD by inserting your favorite actor into any role in the film. I would punch the "Christopher Walken" button until it breaks. Wouldn't you love to see films like Gone With the Wind, Fight Club and The Godfather Walkenized? "Frank...ly, my de-ear... I doon't give... a dayam." I think all electronics researchers should drop everything and get on this.
Remember when Halle Berry was talking down taking roles in X-Men because she was a Capital "A" Actress and shouldn't have to deal with crappy scripts. I have to think Catwoman is karma biting her in the ass for statements like that. You had no idea how bad those scripts could get.
"And the Kevin Costner Award for this year's Worst Attempted Accent goes to... Kate Beckinsale for Van Helsing!'
The Olsen Twins are insisting that we don't refer to them as "The Olsen Twins" any more... yeah, good luck with that. Maybe if they wore name tags or one carved a Satanic message into her forehead or something, it would help. Or, and here's a crazy idea, develop individual personas and stop appearing together every single waking moment! Oh I see, you don't want to give up the marketing gimmick. Right then, we paid our nickel, so dance for us, monkeys!
Speaking of uppity child actors, word on the street is still that Daniel Radcliffe is resisting coming back for a Harry Potter film beyond next year's Goblet of Fire. I'm sure he's set for life and is probably already getting David Beckham's cast-offs but leaving the Harry Potter series midstream seems like it should be a campfire story ending with the phrase, "...and he was never heard from again." One minute you're on top of the world, the next you're Anthony Michael Hall.
I feel like I owe Son of the Mask an apology. Earlier this year, I placed it #1 on the list of 2004 films I was least likely to pay money to see. Somehow, perhaps in some sort of self-preservation act, I had been blissfully unaware of White Chicks, the latest reason to despise the Wayans clan. That people are actually laughing at this abomination of a trailer and looking forward to its release is chilling in ways I can't describe. Or who knows, maybe I have this all wrong and it's some sort of Martin Luther King Jr-esque statement on merging of the cultures, because there's no other explanation how these two would be mistaken as white women instead of as the most incompetent cross-dressers in the history of the world.
Finally, a PSA for Hollywood: '70s jokes are getting old. Basic anatomy of a '70s joke: they wore funny clothes and listened to bad music. I think we've about used that one up, don't you? Yes, I'm looking in your direction, Will Ferrell. The target demographic for these films was barely alive during the time they're set, so we're all just laughing at a parody of a parody now. Time to move on to something fresher, like, oh, '80s nostalgia. Or what about '20s nostalgia? Bring back the flapper!