Hollywood Clip Joint: "Racer" too smart, "Happening" too dumb, new AFI lists, "Bruno" has a date

by Eric Melin on June 19, 2008

in Blogs

Besides the fact that it mentions three movies from my Top 10 Flops Turned Classics list, I love this great article by Variety’s Anne Thompson about why “Speed Racer” flopped so badly at the box office. Here’s the best three quotes:

speed racer movie1. “Sometimes filmmakers who are experimenting with something new wind up leaving moviegoers behind. Over time, movies like “The Wizard of Oz,” “Citizen Kane” and “Blade Runner” grew in critical and popular esteem.”

2. “The pic’s soda-pop look might have worked better with older smarthouse audiences.”

3. “Little kids and their parents may not have been the best guinea pigs for a brand-new art form.”

Anne also has the best-researched story I’ve read on just what sort of contribution Edward Norton made to the script of “The Incredible Hulk.”

shyamalan“['The Happening'] is not merely bad. It is an astonishment, so idiotic in conception and inept in execution that, after seeing it, one almost wonders whether it was real or imagined.”

That’s New Republic senior editor Christopher Orr, who, as a public service, has posted a hilarious, spoiler-heavy, 18-point article that dismantles M. Night Shyamalan’s newest misfire, “The Happening,” noting that it is meant as an alternative to anyone actually seeing the movie themselves. Many of you will not want to waste your money for some morbid trainwreck curiosity, but I’m always intruigued by A-List trainwrecks. For example, I saw “Battlefield Earth” on opening day. For everyone else, this should suffice.

In the WTF? category: Wanna visit a website promotiong the Howard Shore – David Cronenberg opera (!) based on the 1986 movie “The Fly.”? Here’s the link.

bruno cohenCollider says that Bruno, the last character from Sacha Baron Cohen’s brilliant “Da Ali G Show” to get his own feature film (after “Borat” and “Ali G Indahouse”), has a release date: May 15, 2009, the same day as Ron Howard’s “Da Vinci Code” sequel (even though the book came before “Da Vinci”) ”Angels & Demons.” Talk about wicked counter-programming. And, yes, “Bruno,” about a gay Austrian fashion reporter, spent some time filming in my home state of Kansas earlier this year. Can’t wait!

Like to argue about Top 10 lists? We do. Here’s some more from AFI, courtesy /film. The American Film Institute has broken down America’s 10 Greatest Films in 10 Classic Genres. My beefs: “Shrek” in the Top 10 best animated films? 1983′s “Scarface” may be oft-quoted, but its still an overlong, obvious bore. Ditto for “A Few Good Men.”

J.J. Abrams, the man behind ABC’s “Lost,” “Cloverfield,” and the much-talked-about “Star Trek” reboot (May 2009), has two other projects in the pipeline. FOX-TV will debut his new sci-fi series “Fringe” this fall and he just bought a New York Times article to produce as a feature film. The Hollywood Reporter says: “The Times feature, which ran Thursday and was written by reporter Penelope Green, describes an Upper East Side luxury apartment on Fifth Avenue that the occupants had redesigned to include hidden compartments, messages, puzzles, poems, codes and games for their four preteen kids.”

george takei marrys!In other vaguely-related news, the original Mr. Sulu from “Star Trek” has just taken advantage of California’s new law that allows couples to obtain licenses for same-sex marriages. “I think it’s a glorious California morning to make history,” George Takei said on Tuesday. “Congratulations to all of us: May equality live long and prosper.”

The 71-year-old actor and his 54-year-old partner have been together for 21 years. Takei said the couple will wed on Sept. 14.

You go, girl!

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ChrisKnudsen June 19, 2008 at 12:28 am

I am going to see Speed Racer when it hits the dollar theater in Topeka. I tried to go see it last week but I missed my chance. I am sorry I failed you Eric.

Reply

2 ChrisKnudsen June 19, 2008 at 12:28 am

I am going to see Speed Racer when it hits the dollar theater in Topeka. I tried to go see it last week but I missed my chance. I am sorry I failed you Eric.

Reply

3 Reed June 19, 2008 at 8:12 am

Re: The AFI list. I’ll have a posting coming soon (I analyzed the ballot given to the judges last week). Totally agree on Scarface and Shrek, Eric. And for A Few Good Men, it was bound to make the cut because that genre was so damn narrow. More to come on my site once this week calms down a little…

Reply

4 Reed June 19, 2008 at 8:12 am

Re: The AFI list. I’ll have a posting coming soon (I analyzed the ballot given to the judges last week). Totally agree on Scarface and Shrek, Eric. And for A Few Good Men, it was bound to make the cut because that genre was so damn narrow. More to come on my site once this week calms down a little…

Reply

5 RCM June 19, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Wow, I should have listened to Eric’s review and not convinced myself that I needed to see “The Happening”. Some people where inquiring that the critical backlashing it received was unjustified; kind of like what happened with “Speed Racer”, and alas, I saw it (shame). It’s as bad as they say (nuff said).

“The pic’s soda-pop look might have worked better with older smarthouse audiences.” Hells yeah, take that Roger Ebert; note that I don’t hate Roger but, I do think he makes many a critical error in this day in age.

The AFI list is a little mixed up in its genres. I mean, isn’t Star Wars fantasy and would we call animation a genre or a medium? I don’t know (shrug).

Abrams and Joss Whedon both have new shows coming out for FOX. I’m aware that it’s not a competition but, I never fell completely in love with “Lost” so, I have more faith in Joss’s new show; I could easily be wrong though.

Reply

6 RCM June 19, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Wow, I should have listened to Eric’s review and not convinced myself that I needed to see “The Happening”. Some people where inquiring that the critical backlashing it received was unjustified; kind of like what happened with “Speed Racer”, and alas, I saw it (shame). It’s as bad as they say (nuff said).

“The pic’s soda-pop look might have worked better with older smarthouse audiences.” Hells yeah, take that Roger Ebert; note that I don’t hate Roger but, I do think he makes many a critical error in this day in age.

The AFI list is a little mixed up in its genres. I mean, isn’t Star Wars fantasy and would we call animation a genre or a medium? I don’t know (shrug).

Abrams and Joss Whedon both have new shows coming out for FOX. I’m aware that it’s not a competition but, I never fell completely in love with “Lost” so, I have more faith in Joss’s new show; I could easily be wrong though.

Reply

7 Eric Melin June 19, 2008 at 9:49 pm

RCM-
Sometimes you stop the car to see the wreck; I totally understand. Besides (pun intended), sometimes movies reflect what’s in the air at the time– fear of global warming, terrorism paranoia. It’s just the bad movies that are completely transparent about it.

Reed-
What a great post! Everybody should check out the link to his blog above. The genre thing is what really screwed these lists up. Maybe they should have done “Top 10 Unclassifiable Movies.” I would suggest “Night of the Hunter” and “Three Kings,” right off the top of my head.

Chris-
You haven’t failed me yet. Dollar movie is better than seeing it only on DVD!! You won’t be disappointed.

Reply

8 Eric Melin June 19, 2008 at 9:49 pm

RCM-
Sometimes you stop the car to see the wreck; I totally understand. Besides (pun intended), sometimes movies reflect what’s in the air at the time– fear of global warming, terrorism paranoia. It’s just the bad movies that are completely transparent about it.

Reed-
What a great post! Everybody should check out the link to his blog above. The genre thing is what really screwed these lists up. Maybe they should have done “Top 10 Unclassifiable Movies.” I would suggest “Night of the Hunter” and “Three Kings,” right off the top of my head.

Chris-
You haven’t failed me yet. Dollar movie is better than seeing it only on DVD!! You won’t be disappointed.

Reply

9 NOYB June 23, 2008 at 4:21 pm

I checked out Reed’s blog and it was definitely worth checking out- I agree with him and Eric about how Shrek shouldn’t be in there over Ratatouille- or even The Incredibles is beyond me.

I was glad to see Reed mentioned The Zero Effect as an omission for a nominee for Mystery. I’m a big fan of that movie, and I make people who haven’t seen it watch it with me. Bill Pullman is hysterical.

I can’t believe Ghandi isn’t there under Epic.

I know Donnie Brasco was nominated but I can’t believe it didn’t make the list for Gangster. And what about The Untouchables? The French Connection? (Do the gangsters have to be the central characters?)

How the hell did Sleepless in Seattle end up on the Romantic Comedy list? The Apartment, The Graduate, High Fidelity, About a Boy- the list goes on and on- even Clueless and Working Girl are by far superior films. Ugh.

Also I don’t know what category they could fit under- which I guess explains their omission- but if they changed Gangster to Crime then The French Connection and Cool Hand Luke could’ve been included- as well as Fargo and Out of Sight.

I’d add One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest to your Unclassifiable List.

Reply

10 NOYB June 23, 2008 at 4:21 pm

I checked out Reed’s blog and it was definitely worth checking out- I agree with him and Eric about how Shrek shouldn’t be in there over Ratatouille- or even The Incredibles is beyond me.

I was glad to see Reed mentioned The Zero Effect as an omission for a nominee for Mystery. I’m a big fan of that movie, and I make people who haven’t seen it watch it with me. Bill Pullman is hysterical.

I can’t believe Ghandi isn’t there under Epic.

I know Donnie Brasco was nominated but I can’t believe it didn’t make the list for Gangster. And what about The Untouchables? The French Connection? (Do the gangsters have to be the central characters?)

How the hell did Sleepless in Seattle end up on the Romantic Comedy list? The Apartment, The Graduate, High Fidelity, About a Boy- the list goes on and on- even Clueless and Working Girl are by far superior films. Ugh.

Also I don’t know what category they could fit under- which I guess explains their omission- but if they changed Gangster to Crime then The French Connection and Cool Hand Luke could’ve been included- as well as Fargo and Out of Sight.

I’d add One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest to your Unclassifiable List.

Reply

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