The ‘Isn’t it supposed to be a Public Holiday?’ Edition
A weekly editorial Grande with a double shot
With Clint Morris
I’d love to be able to open this week’s column with a smarmy opener, but to be honest, my fingers have just frozen…. Yes, it’s that cold here. Heck, it’s so cold, I’m going to go and watch “Fraternity Vacation”, just so I can see what heat looks like. (And, of course, to relive the brilliance that was Stephen Geoffreys – – – I’m thinking the brain must freeze when it’s cold, too, because I can’t believe I just said that). Brrrrrr. Anyway, what better a time to dig into a nice HOT cup of Joe!
Quarter way through coffee
Saw the big Keanu/Sandy reunion movie “The Lake House” last week, based on the Korean film “Il Mare” (which, though I haven’t seen, lay convinced that it’s obviously a much better film than this) and I gotta say, I’m really disappointed. Much like any ‘reunion movie’ – Travolta and Newton-John’s “Two of a Kind”, Matthau and Lemmon’s “Out to Sea”, Pryor and Wilder’s “Another You” – it’s another occasion where the feature has been built solely around the marquee names headlining it, and little attention has gone into making sure there’s actually ‘a movie’ there to support them.
She’s a lonely doctor. He’s a lonely architect. They’ve both bought a nice riverside abode – only at different times. Via some letters (she leaves him, believed to be the new tenant, a ‘welcome letter’), they discover that they’re actually two years apart. She’s in 1006, he’s in 2004. Hmm. Very “Somewhere in Time”, I thought. A touch of “Frequency” – a film I frickin’ love! – too. Nowhere near as entertaining though.
Seems nobody much cared about what Keanu and Sandy were doing in this, just that they were doing it, and the result is a rather comatose, just tolerable, affair.
If “Speed” was “Die Hard on a Bus”, then “The Lake House” is “Frequency with Prozac” – a film with a great idea, which, like a bus without a battery, goes nowhere fast. It’s not bad in spots. Entertaining even at times, but for the most part, it’s so shoddily written and some weakly-performed, that it’s hard to get involved in.
Sandra is OK, but Keanu is atrocious. The worst he has been in years. He’s simply reading his lines, forgoing any hint of on-screen chemistry with Bullock, not to mention sucking all the believability out of it.
Caught a few other films last week too, though, much better ones. Two new Australian films that are worth checking out when they come out are “Jindabyne” from Ray Lawrence (“Lantana”), and “2:37”, a very harrowing, and quite effective, film about a youngster that kills themselves. I don’t think I’ve squirmed so much in a movie like that, for ages. The last 20 minutes, especially, are pretty gruelling. Also saw “Stick It”, which wasn’t bad, “River Queen” which was about as fun as having my wife scrape the sleep from under my eyelids, “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” which was a fun-enough time-passer, and “The Omen”, which I quite liked. Finally caught up with “Poseidon”, too, and although I quite liked it, I’m thinking it was more a remake of Stallone’s “Daylight” than Irwin Allen’s ultimate disaster movie from the 70s, don’t you?
Still haven’t seen “Cars”, but everyone seems to be loving it, so will have to take an hour off from air-dusting the keyboard to do see it.
Half-way through coffee
It has been a year, exactly, since I bought my first home. Feels good, yep, better than the feeling I had when I bounced down the cinema stairs after watching “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” all those years ago, an even better buzz than snorting ‘Jolt’ Cola, through a straw, up the nostrils (kids, make sure you’ve parental supervision when doing that). Yeah, this feels like an actually accomplishment. A real one (not one of those ‘wow, ma, look how well I did on my exams? Didn’t matter that I copied the smart girl next to me, no?’ moments).
Granted, we live out in the wintry, freezing and profoundly touristy hills now (think Puffin’ Billy, and you’ll know where I’m talking), which is as quiet as a casino on Christmas morning, and a long way from the city, but I think we did well. We’ve got a nice homely home, with the log heater, the new modern kitchen and bedrooms, the shiny floorboards, the trimmings…. we’ve just got a long way to drive to work (well, I do, anyway – the wife’s isn’t so far away). But that’s one of those things you have to weight up: do you want the nice big, modern, home? Or do you want the short commute to work? Personally, I don’t mind the drive. Much better than living in a shoebox, which, I’m sure, would cost just as much (if not more).
So there you have it. A homeowner for 1 year. Will still accept tardy housewarming presents (and petrol vouchers).
Three quarters the way through coffee
This revolted me… tell me if it revolts you? I was sitting in a cinema, yesterday, watching a movie, and these two rather ‘large’ women sat a couple of seats down from me. Within a second of sitting down, the one closest to me pulls out a choc-top ice cream – scoffs it down, then proceeds to dig into a mega-size bucket of buttery popcorn. She essentially titled the bucket vertically, and let it all slide down her throat. This was all before the movie had even started. Just as it was starting, she took her super-super-super size coke, ripped off the lid, and drank that – like the Solo man – too. But no, she still wasn’t full. A couple of minutes later, she ‘loudly’, rips open a big packet of lollies and proceeds to bite into them.
I understand that people like to eat at the movies, it’s part of the experience, but do they need to eat that much at the movies? I can’t help but worry for people like that…. But I suppose, it’s not my problem. Maybe it’s time for cinemas to start running a slide or ad before the film warning of the dangers of ‘over-eating’ and ‘what causes heart problems’? I dunno.
One sip to go
Had a few folks write in with their choices for some of the best ‘character actors’ – you may remember, last week, I mentioned the passing of the great Paul Gleason, and proceeded to roll of a list of my favourite character actors – through the week; here’s some of the most interesting ones:
STEPHEN ROOT…who all but stole OFFICE SPACE and NEWSRADIO and is hilarious in his multiple voice roles on KING OF THE HILL. Usually plays eccentric good natured goofs (O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? and DODGEBALL) and has often been a most welcome TV guest star (JUST SHOOT ME, GROUNDED FOR LIFE).
Has been tabbed by The Coen Brothers to join the macho cast of their new thriller NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN opposite Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin and Woody Harrelson.
This guy is a gem and deserves recognition. Nice tribute to Paul Gleason…any of us who watched movies in the 1980s knew and loved him…he DID steal BREAKFAST
CLUB…his part in DIE HARD was funny (“Oh God, I hope that wasn’t a hostage!”).
How about GERALD MCRANEY? “Simon & Simon”, “Major Dad”, “Promised Land”, a zillion made for tv movies, “Deadwood”, and soon to be in “Jericho” on CBS. How many characters is that?
– Nancy 🙂
As a young lad growing up during the 80s and early 90s, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite character actors.
Michael Ironside – Saw him recently in an episode of “Desperate Housewifes”, I’ve always been a fan of his work from Ham Tyler in V, Ritcher in “Total Recall” and General Katana in “Highlander 2”.
Gary Busey – A.K.A Mr Joshua from the original “Lethal Weapon”. From “Point Break” to “Predator 2”, and “Under Siege” he’s now languishing in B-movie hell. Kurt Russell had a chance to redeem himself after “Soldier”, why can’t Mr. Busey do the same.
Roy Scheider – After “Dracula 2” and 3, and 2004’s “The Punisher”. He should sack his friggin agent. (Easy on the “Dracula 2” and “3” bashing, mate! – Clint)
Jason Scott Lee – After bursting onto the big screen in “Dragon the Bruce Lee Story”. I actually thought he was going to be the new Chow Yun Fat and make some decent action movies. I guess, I was wrong.
Ed O Ross – Star of 80s action cinema following appearances in 1987’s ‘The Hidden’ and 88’s ‘Red Heat.’ Since his appearance in an episode of “Walker, Texas Ranger”, I haven’t seen him since then. (Can be seen on TVs “Six Feet Under” – Clint)
Cuba Gooding Jnr. I’m surprised he’s not shouting to down the phone to his agent ‘SHOW ME BETTER FILMS SCRIPTS.’
Christopher Lambert – Only liked him for the “Highlander” films, is he going to be in the new Highlander film? (No, Adrian Paul is the star – Clint)
Adrian Paul – To be truthful he would have been a better Bond than Daniel Craig.
Was just reading your fantastic column..
Will Atherton of “Ghostbusters” fame, recently was on an episode of “Stargate”, season 9’s Collateral Damage. He played the snarky leader of another world with an hidden agenda. Check out the episode on a Scifi channel, they should replay it again soon. Keep up the great work and awesome site,
– Jason Gehlert
A good list of character actors:
Matt McCoy – Abominable, Hand That Rocks The Cradle
Greg Evigan – Tekwar, Deep Star Six
Tim Matheson – Up The Creek, She’s All That
Peter Weller – Robocop, Levithan
Robert Hays – Aiplane! Fifty/Fifty
Bill Campbell – Rocketeer, Bram Stokers Dracula
Bruce Abbott – Re-Animator, Summer Heat
Jeff Fahey – Wyatt Earp, Maniacts
Scott Bakula – Lord Of Illusions, American Beauty
Tom Berenger – Training Day, Sniper
David Keith – Daredevil, Behind Enemy Lines
And the Master…
Bruce Campbell (who needs no introduction)
Favourite character actors? I liked Paul Hogan in the “Crocodile Dundee” movies – he was a real character in that. Funny.
– James (Um, not quite what we were looking for – Clint)
DVD of the week
Hostel : Uncut – Three ridiculously-horny youngsters, backpacking through Europe, book in at a Slovakian city hostel that immediately meets their requirements: comfort, neighbouring disco and drinks, but most of all, naked women just wandering around beseeching a good spankin’. Of course, they’re being played. Seems these buxom beauties have already sold the lads to a local firm that gives folks the chance to chop up Americans. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter so much that they didn’t use protection. If there’s one thing you can say about Eli Roth’s films, it’s that they’re wickedly entertaining. You’ll cringe, you’ll laugh, and you’ll smirk and most of all, feel as if you’ve just been given a good time, every time. He’s a filmmaker that’s making movies that he loved growing up, and they weren’t the ones that especially appealed to the voting members of the Academy. An excellent assortment of extras includes multiple audio commentaries, a comprehensive making-of, and much, much, more. A real treat.
Theatrical release of the week
The Omen – Lay down the pitchforks, put away the flame-throwers, toss the stones back on the driveway: for once, we’ve no reason to picket a remake. Yep, you read right, this is actually quite good. Unlike a lot of the remakes of late (see “Fun with Dick and Jane” or “The Amityville Horror”, for example) this one has actually been left in the pre-production toaster long enough to brown, and the result is a remake that’s both appetizingly loyal, and even slightly fresh – mainly because it’s been somewhat contemporised – in it’s execution. It mightn’t be anything new, but it’s an oldie that still delivers. We don’t just have a superb line-up of actors giving their all (Schrieber is especially good, Farrow is fantastic as the Nanny/bodyguard, and newcomer Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick is the perfect Damien), but we’ve got stunning cinematography, to-die-for locations and a genuinely creepy score by genre maestro Marco Beltrami. Moore’s direction is also slick – seemingly determined to give it the 70s feel and look of Dick Donner’s original.
This Week’s Useless bit of Advice
Check the weather report, before you decide that it’s a “good night to go to the Drive-In”.
Free Plugs equals Free Dinners
My old bud, Brad, has a new endeavour up and running – and it’s quite innovative, actually. I’ll have fries with that. Here’s the press release:
BloodyMobile.com is the horror mobile network that will soon be recognized as the elite, premium source for all things horror… on your mobile phone! The Los Angeles based BloodyMobile is already hard at work bringing horror to the morbid fan’s mobile phone with hundreds of custom made ringtones, screensavers and wallpapers, which are already available. This venture also brings the exclusive BPhoto™ technology, which offers users the ability to customizable horror themed frames that can be placed on photos and made into mobile wallpapers. Video casts, streaming video clips, original games and tons more blood-soaked features are already in the works for 2006!
Bloody has it’s eye on being the #1 retailer of horror product and is dedicated to the horrorphiles every need. BloodyMobile’s core strength is that it’s “non-exclusive” and has begun talks with several different studios and production companies to deliver everything from ringtones, wallpapers, sneak previews, DVD re-issues, calendars, etc. In fact, Bloodymobile is in advanced negotiations to begin bundling previously discontinued product for resale. Bloody has amassed over 70,000 email addresses of dedicated horrorphiles since the company first started building their platform.
“We are a grass roots organization determined to connect with every horror artist, filmmaker and writer out there and put them on the map. We are looking to team with every horror magazine and website to expand their content into other arenas,” “The genre is not exploding, it has exploded. Our major concern at this point is keeping up with the demand”.
BloodyMobile.com is also proud to announce their first lines of exclusive wallpapers featuring artists Chad Michael Ward, D.W. Frydendall, Evil Paul, Lawrence Snelly and animated wallpapers from Haunted Memories as well as original Deathtones™ ringtones.
Missing Career Alert
Sheryl Lee – Last week’s mention of “Twin Peaks : Fire Walk With Me” actually got me thinking about Sheryl Lee, the lass who played Laura Palmer in the film, and preceding TV series. The show made her a star, it really did – even though she only appeared in a few episodes, and then later, as Laura’s cousin, Maddie – but it didn’t ultimately do a lot for her career in general. Since her last appearance as the murdered Prom Queen (in “Fire Walk With Me” in 1992), we haven’t seen a real lot of Lee – not in anything much good, anyway. She essentially said ‘yes’ to anything that came her way – proof lies in “Red Shoe Diaries 4: Auto Erotica” (1994) and John Carpenter’s “Vampires” (1998) – which sometimes worked for her, because she snagged some pretty interesting roles, at the same time. She got to play photographer Astrid Kirchherr in the critically-acclaimed “Backbeat” (1994), had a lead role in “Mother Night” (1996) opposite Nick Nolte, and starred opposite Charles Dance in the artsy “The Blood Oranges” (1997). In 1998, she briefly returned to TV to star in the short-lived series “L.A Doctors”, and more recently popped up, in several episodes, in “One Tree Hill”. Ironically, the gal who made a name for herself playing a corpse, was originally offered the role of Mary Alice, the dead chick, in “Desperate Housewives”. That would’ve been a bit of a Catch-22.
5 things you didn’t know about…… “RoboCop” (1987)
1. A woman was originally cast as RoboCop! She was Stephanie Zimbalist, of “Remington Steele” fame. She had to opt out of the role because of her TV commitments.
2. Producer Jon Davison provided the voice of ED-209.
3. The costume was so hot and heavy that Peter Weller was losing three pounds a day from water loss. Eventually, an air conditioner was installed in the costume.
4. Both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Ironside – who director Paul Verhoeven would later cast in “Total Recall” – auditioned for the role of RoboCop.
5. Sony Screen Gems are working on a remake. Peter Weller will not be back as RoboCop.
Please Note : “This Week in TV” now has it’s own section, HERE