The ‘Sweeps’ Edition!
A weekly editorial Grande with a double shot
Incorporating “This week in TV”
Apologizes for my no-show last week, but you know how it goes…sometimes your finger needs a day off (hey, Crowe?). But I’m back, fuelled with a double-shot of russet, and about to wash it down with an orange-peel topped bran muffin. So without further a due, Let’s get reeeeeeeady toooo raaaaant….
Quarter way through coffee
So, seems nobody listened to me – I stressed it again, on ABC Radio the other night too! – when I said: please try and separate Tom Cruise, the couch-jumping Hubbard-freak, from “MI: 3” – because the film really does deserve it’s audience. It is a great film. Those that have seen it…will attest to it. It could be the coolest, and most intelligent, action-film of the year. I mightn’t have to pay to see movies, but most of you do, and I can truly say…. you get your money’s worth with this one.
Granted, the film wasn’t a flop – in fact, everywhere else but America, it made quite a few cash registers go Ca’Ching! – but compared to the takings of “Mission: Impossible 2” (a terrible film, compared to this one), it’s a tad disappointing. And seems not even an appearance on TV’s “Ellen” (for Mother’s Day) is going to help poor Tom’s film…obviously, he didn’t do the lesbo-boogie with her in the show’s first ten minutes?
But if this is the way it’s going to be – people aren’t going to be separating the movie star from the movie – then that’s the way it’s going to be…and this bunch of Cuckoo’s nest escapees better start looking for new jobs:
– Angelina Jolie
– David Lynch
– Billy Bob Thornton
– Val Kilmer
– Danny Bonaduce
– Gary Busey
– Michael Jackson
– Wesley Snipes
– Jack Nicholson
– Russell Crowe
– Margot Kidder
– Robert Downey Jr
– Tara Reid
– Clint Morris (hey?! What the F?!)
I really hope “MI:3” does quite well at the end of the day, if even on DVD, because not only does it effect Cruise’s career…but it affects writer/director J.J Abrams’ career. It’s Abrams’ first film, so it’s the one that a lot of people will be keeping a close eye on…especially as they begin to consider offering him other jobs (like his recent deal to do the new “Star Trek” movie). Believe me, we need J.J Abrams to be making movies. He’s an original, exciting, voice in cinema right now. He totally revived this franchise – and will probably do the same with “Trek” – so just imagine what else he could do. (J.J, if you’re reading, I accept PAYPAL).
Half-way through coffee
I came out – no, not in a ‘Chad Allen’ kind of way – a few weeks back, announcing my garrulous worship for several films that might otherwise be considered, well, bad. We’re talking “Cocktail”, “Kickboxer”, “St Elmo’s Fire”…and so on. Well, it got me thinking…. there’s a whole heap of other films, too, that I love, that although not considered ‘bad’ movies – are definitely under appreciated. I don’t feel so bad about confessing my fanship for these ones actually. Here’s twenty or so ‘good’ films that I believe didn’t get the kudos they deserved upon release – if ever – and I’d be interested to know your thoughts, and what some of your favourite ‘underrated’ movies are. Here’s my email address. Go to it.
20 of Clintster’s favourite underrated movies
1. Blown Away – Thanks to the similar “Speed”, this one went unnoticed. Frickin’ good fun though, and Tommy Lee Jones is as maniacal as ever.
2. Stakeout – The kind of film you can watch over, and over, and over, again – unlike the shitty sequel.
3. The Hidden – A bit of a VHS classic. Lots of good sci-fi fun. Obviously has an audience, because they’re remaking it.
4. A Walk to Remember – Critics took a stake to it, but audiences seemed to love it. A good weepie. Mandy Moore has good acting chops (among other things).
5. The Last Boy Scout – Such an expensive movie, that it was considered a misfire as soon it was out of the gate – because, well, it wasn’t “Die Hard”.
6. Grosse Pointe Blank – John Cusack. Alternative Music. A likeable-Minnie Driver (rare). A smart script. I want the sequel, already!
7. The Crow – Possibly one of the most imaginative, and darkest comic book movies ever. And it’s star died half-way through making it.
8. Endless Love – I believe, this is one of the most effective and realistic romantic drama’s of our times. I’m sure some will argue.
9. The Postman Always Rings Twice – OK, so it mightn’t have been as good as the original, but there was genuine heat between Lange and Nicholson!
10. Young Guns – This would have to be one of my favourite movies. Full stop. The sequel ain’t half-bad either.
11. At Close Range – A film that just about rips your guts from you….leaving you effectively empty by the end. A must see, if you never have.
12. The American President – Basically, it’s “The West Wing” meets “Spin City” but with an even greater line-up of famous faces in the one room.
13. The Secret of My Success – Besides “Back to the Future”, this might just be the best comedy that Michael J.Fox ever did. It really works for him.
14. She’s Having a Baby – One of the lesser-known John Hughes films. Sways a bit older than his usual stuff. Still good though.
15. Beautiful Girls – Besides the fact that it has an awesome cast, this is just a really sweet, terrifically-written movie.
16. This Boy’s Life – If it were released today – considering who’s in it – I’m betting this DiCaprio/De Niro film would be huge. Should’ve been.
17. The Quick and the Dead – Sam Raimi. Sharon Stone. Russell Crowe. A Bruce Campbell Cameo. Why the frick didn’t you see this?!
18. The Player – Another film I’d consider one of my all-time favourites. If you know Hollywood, this is the best mish-mash of in-jokes ever.
19. Dazed and Confused – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this. I love it. It’s awesome. Richard Linklater, I bow to you.
20. Office Space – Possibly, the best comedy of all time. Yes, you heard right. Best.Comedy.Ever.
Ohhhh….I’m so embarrassed…..I’m as red as Katie Holmes watching Oprah…must hide…. Yeah, whatever.
Three quarters the way through coffee
Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m not the type to give two shits about speaking the truth. I really aren’t. OK, so sometimes I have to be careful not to upset someone that I might possibly be working with down the track (especially film-wise), but generally, I’ll say it like it is…um…ok….
Tori – buy new tits. Now.
Le Blanc – you can’t act for shit.
Orlando – Eat. (Preferably more ‘Crowe’)
Janet – I’d rather suck on a radiator cap.
Paris – if only “House of Wax” was a snuff film.
Harrison – doctor. Prozac. Relax.
Ben – Matt’s better. And Smarter.
Lopez – It’s only time before you’re back on the block.
Van Damme – Say goodbye to Hollywood, say goodbye to your baaaaabbbby
Berman – Engage!
Parker – You’ll be back to ‘Mrs Matthew Broderick’ within a year.
Snipes – even Blade hated working with you.
Still don’t believe me? OK, here goes, I’m going to roll off a list of films…. which most of you all loved…. But, I, frankly, didn’t… I’d rather suck the remnant of my cat’s litter tray through a straw than sit through any of these films again…. over-hyped, over-rated, over-ambitious…. I’ll pop “Mad City” into my DVD player, before any of these, any day…
The Virgin Suicides – Classy, well shot…but, is it over yet?
Munich – Is over-glorified one word?
Election – Funny? C’Mon! It was lukewarm amusing..maybe..
Rushmore – That was worth $15?
Wonder Boys – What was all the fuss about?
Waking the Dead – Where’s my blankie?
King Kong – Mumma, I’m feeling bloated…
The English Patient – More like ‘Impatient’
The Piano – Take us out, please!
The Postman – Set the dogs on him!
The Royal Tenenbaums – Best cast of the year! Boring as batshit!
Eyes Wide Shut – Eyes Shut, ya’ mean!
Tomb Raider – Refund please.
Short Cuts – Love Altman. Loathe this one.
Independence Day – Let’s waste some money!
Unbreakable – The beginning of the end for Night.
Shakespeare in love – Good, but BEST FILM, good?!
Broken Flowers – Works like Valium.
One sip to go
I’m asked sometimes why I support a lot of new filmmakers, and their [mostly] low-budget films, on my website, over promoting some of the bigger, more mainstream, releases. Well, I do both…. but I definitely know what you’re saying…. and, well, do you really need me to spell it out?
OK, just for you, the one at the back with the “Say Yes to Dukes of Hazzard 2” T-Shirt, on, it’s because….
First Reason: I’m all about supporting new filmmakers…and helping new voices, well, be heard.
Second Reason: Most of the time, these new films aren’t sequels, remakes, prequels, or based on comic books or video games.
Third Reason: They’ve usually got no money in the marketing budget…unlike the studio films…. so, in some ways, they need our help.
Fourth Reason: They usually have scripts, and most of them, but not all of the time, are rather unique. Different. Fresh. Funky.
Fifth Reason: Nobody else will.
Sixth Reason: The guarantee of a cameo in any prospective sequel.
Seventh Reason: Access, sometimes exclusively, and rather exhaustively, to cast/crew and so on…
Eighth Reason: Sarah Jessica Parker isn’t in them. Usually.
Ninth Reason: Sarah Jessica Parker isn’t in them….oh, said that?
Tenth Reason: Because Hollywood needs new blood. And heck, I’m all for that. Anyway I can help….you know where I am. And I prefer it in Blue. And again, I accept PAYPAL.
DVD of the week
Goal – Wow. What a movie. I never expected this to be any good…. at all. I really didn’t. Whilst now a fantastically written film, it’s an amazing film to look at – the cinematography, the direction – it’s richly coloured and so gorgeous to look at. Good cast too, headed by newcomer Kuno Becker, that’ll keep you interested till the final goal is scored. Well worth a look at. Heaps of extras, including multiple featurettes on the production.
Theatrical release of the week
MI:3 – Obviously willing to try anything to get this out-of-control loco back on track, Tom Cruise put his utmost trust in a newbie, TV whiz-kid J.J Abrams (“Alias”, “Lost”), which involved giving the acclaimed small-screen veteran free reign to do essentially whatever he liked. And it shows. From the story to the characters to the cast (look for a few familiar faces from some of Abrams’ TV series) and crew – this is J.J Abrams movie, before it’s a Tom Cruise movie. (Contrary to reports, Cruise obviously doesn’t have an ego the size of Trump’s bank balance).
Abrams was always the right man for the job. Always. After all, his hit TV series “Alias” is nothing more than a souped-up scholar’s version of the 60’s TV series “Mission: Impossible” – what with it’s twists, turns, spies in disguise travelling the world scenario. And his template for the “Mission” sequel is essentially what an “Alias” movie would’ve been liked – only with the action cranked up to 11, the plot mechanics yanked up to 12, and the surprises surpassing 13. Only disparity being, of course, that they’ve had to insert Cruise’s Ethan Hunt character into proceedings. Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t feel like a could’ve-been once a stand-alone script that’s been retooled to fit a franchise, not at all, in fact it’s obvious it was always “Mission 3” – it’s just done the way Abrams would do it.
For the first time in the “M:I” series, Hunt has been written as a man, a human, someone with actual feelings and eventual bruises, rather than a puppet on strings – similar to Alias’s long-suffering lead sssh-agent Sidney Bristow, if you will. (In some respects, because of the more fleshy character, this feels like a different movie – something much better than the third chapter in a so-so film series).
The breath of fresh air works. It works a treat. Not only do we care about Hunt, and the rest of the characters – for once – but we’re given a truly gripping, not to mention very smart, plot to hook us in. But this isn’t all character and plot, no soirée; it’s just as much an out and out action extravaganza too. You’ll see some of the best-staged action sequences in a long time, here – possibly some of the best jaw-dropping sequences ever, in fact – and they’ll have you both hollering at the screen in joy and clasping your clammy fists tightly.
Bottom line: It’s a ride you can’t help but feel comfortable on. With J.J Abrams as it’s driver, “Mission: Impossible 3” is the smoothest and most enjoyable jaunt in eons. It’s also one of the best films of Tom Cruise’s career – runs circles around that over bloated mess, “War of the Worlds”, for a start – and speaking of which, he is a marvel in this, if you’re not truly under his spell again by film’s end…. you’re related to the Kidman’s.
It’s common knowledge that Cruise likes to bring in a different director each time for these films, but let’s throw that rule out the window and hand this series over to Abrams, hey? Not only is he the man to save Tom Cruise, movie star, but also he’s quite possibly the man to get us back in the cinema.
This Week’s Useless bit of Advice
Never judge a DVD, by its cover.
Missing Career Alert
Chris Young – Remember him? He was one of the young up-and-comers of the late 80s and early 90s, starring in such films as “The Great Outdoors” and “Book of Love”. Well, seems he’s left Hollywood behind, and is now Cofounder/Chief Creative Officer of Animobile, Inc., which creates entertainment for mobile devices. It’s actually been about ten years since Young appeared in a film – with his last couple of credits being “Killing Mr.Griffin” and “PCU: Pit Party”. He’s also worked for such companies as Hyperion Studios and Geffen Records.
5 things you didn’t know about me (and probably don’t care to know)
1. I hate “Big Brother”.
2. I hate “Australian Idol”.
3. I basically loathe reality television. (Geez, we’re getting desperate for this ‘5 things’ bit, aren’t we?)
4. My car is white. As white as Tom Cruise’s chest.
5. I’m on an exercise bike, as I type this…68, 69, 70….(right)
What’s on this week?
Tuesday 16th May – Tuesday May 23rd (Note: Starts Tuesday Now)
Screens : Wednesday 8:30 PM, SEVEN.
The verdict : Ah. Phew. No execution after all. Well, not at the moment anyway. Good episode – aren’t they all, though? – that sees Lincoln’s termination postponed for a couple of weeks. Oh, and he thinks he sees his father witnessing the intended execution. The plot thickens.
One reason to watch: Because we’re now only a few episodes behind the U.S!
Screens : Thursday 8:30 PM, SEVEN
The verdict : A pretty so-so episode, to be honest. Not much happens – besides Sun getting injured, and Sawyer getting a kick out of some inter-camp squabbles – but don’t switch off, just yet.
One reason to watch : EVANGELINE LILY!
Screens : Thursday 9:00 PM, NINE.
The verdict : Actually, and rather surprisingly, quite a good show. Some may even need tissues for it. It basically has Rebecca Harris going to the airport to meet and greet people as they get on and off planes – and hear their stories, about who they’re there to see, and so on. This week, she meets John who is waiting for his best friend’s girlfriend to arrive from Canada
One reason to watch : To see if your Mrs cries, sometime during it.
Masters of Horror
Screens : Friday 8:30 PM, SHOWTIME.
The verdict : Basically, this is “Amazing Stories” – remember, the one where there’s a bunch of different stories, by different directors? – but all helmed by horror filmmakers. The first couple, well, the first one in particular, “Cigarette Burns”, from John Carpenter, is pretty crap. It’s imaginative, but it’s a little all-over-the-place to really enjoy. Hopefully they get better from here on in. (And they do, some I’m told)
One reason to watch : The production values.
Screens : Sunday 8:30 PM, MOVIE ONE.
The verdict : The dim-wit cousin of “The Shining”, if you will, “Darkness”, filmed entirely in Spain, also centres on a dad that goes around the twist and goes after his family – whilst their trapped inside their deserted dwelling. Apparently the family’s new Spanish home was the site of a hellish ritual that went haywire. Seven children were to be sacrificed, but one escaped. The one that kicked off the ritual now seeks closure, and poor pop’s (Iain Glen) already halfway gone, so he’s tagged involuntary mission-man. Lena Olin, too good for “Alias” but good enough for third-rate horror films (she also did “Queen of the Damned”), is irritably wasted as the dumfounded wife, whilst the great Giancarlo Giannini phones in his performance from the men’s room.
One reason to watch : Anna Paquin in a skimpy T-shirt.
Million Dollar Baby
Screens : Monday 8:30 PM, MOVIE ONE
The verdict : On the surface, “Baby” projects itself as a simple boxing story, the tale of an old time manager (Clint Eastwood) that reluctantly agrees to train a down-on-her-luck female (Hilary Swank) how to swing like the best. That may be true for the first half of the movie, but as we begin to get to know Frankie Dunn – an emotionally closed, sour individual, whose become estranged from his only daughter – and determined Maggie Fitzgerald, an emotionally scared hillbilly whose only happiness in life comes from the knowing that she’s a talent in the ring – we realize there’s the template’s much more interested in lost souls and fictive gallantry. You’ve stepped into the wrong theatre if you’re looking for ‘Rocky”, here you’ll find a film that’s not as concerned about whether it’s contender wins the fight, as long as she does it with a friend by her side.
“Baby” does succumb to clichés in spots, does cop out on some of the details too, but all in all, this is a solid film from start to end. Eastwood is his usual dependable solid self, Swank is exceptionally memorable, and Morgan Freeman (re-teaming with Eastwood, whom he worked on “Unforgiven” with) is a welcome third-wheel as Scap (Freeman), an ex-boxer who runs Dunn’s gym.
One reason to watch : The performances.
5 things that happened in TV-ville this week
1. Channel 7 scheduled Marti Noxon’s “Point Pleasant” for midnight Tuesday nights, starting in a couple of weeks time.
2. FOXTEL announced a third season of “Love My Way”, set to screen on Showtime over the Summer.
3. Rumour has it that “Smallville” is set to air on FOX8 in July, just after the release of “Superman Returns”.
4. Another season of “Seventh Heaven” is going ahead…. despite the fact that this one has been billed as ‘the final season’!
5. In Australia, NINE’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was Australia’s most-watched show, this week, with an audience of 1.714 million in what was one of the drama’s biggest outings for the year.
Contact Clint Morris on Clint@Moviehole.net