Jennifer Hawkins, The Last Starfighter & Sledge Hammer
A weekly editorial Grande with a double shot
With Clint Morris
This Week’s edition was : WRITTEN on an airplane. POSTED at an airport.
My favourite Bran muffin, just in case anyone wants to know, is a Date and Apple. My wife wordlessly illustrates how tasty that sounds to her by placing her finger down the entrance of her mouth and heaving. Since she’s such a sucker for the bland stuff… she’ll be no doubt reading this weeks column.
Quarter way through coffee
I’m a complainer. A whiner. Always got an opinion. Always cheesed about something. Basically, I say it – so you guys don’t have to. It’s the least I could do. Having realised that most of the beefs I have at the moment have to do with the current state of film – as in ‘cinema 2006’ – I’ve made a list of what’s currently pissing me off. (It was either this or a list of people that went up and talked to Lou Ferrigno at Comic-Con this year, but since I’m supposed to actually write more than a line, I thought this was better). Here are 10 grumbles….
1. Robin Williams. Find your fuckin’ funny bone again. How many times do you have to encourage us into a steamy hot bath with a razor, man?! Bring back the cross-dressing babysitter, heck, do a “Club Paradise” sequel! Just do anything to make us laugh! You know you want to. As OK as “The Night Listener” was, it’s painful to see you doing it man – it’d be like Oliver Stone directing a tame 911 movie!
2. Miami Vice – I was so psyched to see this film, if only because it was a Michael Mann movie, and he’s usually rather superb. How let down was I? Big time. This was a pile of shit. Hope you’re enjoying your Jamaican vacation, Mann. I’m taking out a restraining order on the DVD release.
3. Horror Remakes – It stung even more when Wes Craven started selling his back catalogue off. I mean…. He’s remaking “Shocker”?! If he needs the friggin’ money, why doesn’t he just give in to Bob and Harvey and do “Scream 4”. They want it. They want you. You both want money. Match made in Valhalla, right? But Craven isn’t the only one whose selling out – everyone seems to be – and it’s really getting my boxers in a bunch.
4. Pirates of the Crapabbean – Nuff’ said. Disney needs a new Mouse to captain the Steamboat, me thinks. (Though with all the lay-offs over there, at the moment, it could have already happened). Tim Allen bound to be appointed VP of Production by December.
5. Hollywood’s backlash at the Mel Gibson slip-up : Big fuckin’ deal. I know what he said was wrong – but for Christs sake, Paris Hilton hasn’t spoken a word of intelligible English – nor has she rubbed anyone up the right way – since her cherry was popped – – - why not toss her in the dungeon? And didn’t Gibson’s “Lethal Weapon” buddy Danny Glover finger point everyone as a ‘racist’ a couple of years back? . I think what Hollywood has to realise is that people like Mel Gibson (even Tom Cruise – well, most of Tom Cruise) are people, too. They say stupid shit. They do stupid shit. They bow at the alters of different gods. They’re human. The End.
6. See SMALL films : Don’t be sucked in by the studio machine, people. The more people that go to “You, Me and Dupree” – the more the studio are going to think that that’s what audiences ‘want’. Go see something like “Little Miss Sunshine”. By doing that, you’ll be helping the cause, and hopefully we’ll have some more original, well-written, genuinely enjoyable films – Yes, ones whose trailers aren’t opened by a loud booming voice stating “In a world….”
7. Let people bask in their success : There’s a story going around that rising young writer/director Murali Thalluri totally cooked up his story for the new Australian film “2:37” – which he says is loosely based on a friend’s suicide. The media is now saying that he never tried to commit suicide, nor did he have a friend who offed herself – - – - and all I can say to that is, give it up! How the hell can you say, or prove for that matter, that the guy didn’t go through hell and decide to try and end it all one day? Or that he didn’t have a friend that ended her life? Just let someone have his or her moment, please. It seems to be a big problem with the world: people just don’t like to see anyone else happy, or successful. Surely there are some bottled liquid reports to run?
8. Give Small Aussie films a go, too! : OK, so it mightn’t have Heath/Hugh/Nicole/Geoffrey/Anthony/Eric in it, but it’s still a good film. Finance it. Greenlight it. Give the little guy’s a go….. we’d like to see them too. And Bill Hunter is getting hungry.
9. Not Having Media Screenings for films that the Media basically invented : Case in point, “Snakes on a Plane”. It was the Internet that made the film – yet; online reviewers couldn’t see the film until opening today. You’d think the least they/we deserve is a sneak peek at the film? Especially since we all, unintentionally, worked as volunteer marketing executives for the past six months. (Whatever the case, the film is apparently good – which kinda means this rant has to end here).
10. Die Hard 4 : Stop talking, and stop doing! For Christ’s sake, I’ll be wearing diapers (again) by the time this bitch comes out! How hard can it be to put on a guy in a sweaty Singlet and have him chase bad guys around a helipad with an MI6?
Half-way through coffee
I love a good media scuffle (The Morgan Creek Vs. Paul Schrader ‘whose got the biggest’ mêlée was one of the better battles of late) and this one’s as tasty as sugar free (of course) sponge cake.
A couple of newspapers are reporting that an agent named Grant Dwyer is planning to sue former Miss Universe (Now just plain ol’ ‘Miss Hottie’) Jennifer Hawkins for up to $1 million, saying she’d still be a cheerleader if not for him. Dwyer is going to file papers in the NSW Supreme Court asking for 20% of the former Miss Universe’s earnings from the time she won the pageant until 2008. The kicker? He’s also planning to sue her boyfriend, Jake Wall, for 20% of his earnings after “transforming him from Jake the chippy into Jake Mr Universe”. But how much of this is fabricated ‘we need a story’ stuff, and how much is straight-up fact? Surely newspapers aren’t just padding, pinching and packing porky’s to sell papers, are they? No?!
Today, we received a letter – as did everyone else in the local media – from Greg Tingle, the director of MediaMan, who revealed what, could be, the truth. (And the truth, unfortunately, about some of the local media).
Dear fellow colleagues in the Australian media industry
Over the past few days many of you would have read news stories in The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph regarding the situation between Jennifer Hawkins, Jake Wall and her former manager and agent, Mr Grant Dwyer, of AdPro Management.
From the outset let me disclose that I have followed AdPro Management’s successes for a number of years and the last 6 months in particular I have developed a greater understanding of the facts associated with this issue.
In summary, in response to the recent articles in News Limited publications, AdPro Management director, Grant Dwyer wishes for the following information to go into the public domain:
It was the Sunday Telegraph that initiated the recent contact with AdPro Management, in the shape of a telephone call by a journalist at approx 8.30AM on Thursday 17th August 2006.
Grant Dwyer was not seeking media attention on the Jennifer Hawkins situation, however he was told that the Sunday Telegraph were going to run an article and he felt it best to take the opportunity to provide comment and to present the facts whilst he had the opportunity.
In my journalist opinion I believe that a media ambush has been perpetrated against AdPro Management by The Telegraph.
Having viewed a number of relevant documents I can confirm that Jennifer Hawkins and Jake Wall have both signed and have provided extensive communications to verify an Agency Relationship.
There is no ill will on AdPro Management’s part, and Grant Dwyer wishes every success and happiness for both Jennifer Hawkins and Jake Wall. Grant is exceptionally proud of Jennifer and Jake’s success and only compliments them on their recent achievements.
Grant Dwyer is upset about the recent media coverage in the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, which has inflamed the situation.
Grant Dwyer is extremely disappointed by the quotes used in the Sunday Telegraph article and the presentation of the news stories, which contradicts the intention of the newspaper as it was meant to be presented and explained to Mr Dwyer.
Grant Dwyer personally financed the elevation of Jennifer Hawkins and Jake Wall commencing in 2004, to the sum of well over $500,000 in funds raised and / or borrowed, sponsorship dollars raised, and AdPro Management finances.
AdPro Management with the agreement of both Jennifer Hawkins and the Miss Universe Organisation funded, procured sponsors, presented contracts and managed the itinerary and pr which was to secure the commercial value and iconic status of Jennifer Hawkins. This both parties have acknowledged.
In an e-mail from Jennifer Hawkins to AdPro Management soon after her triumphant homecoming, Jennifer Hawkins sincerely thanks AdPro Management and confirms that the whole Oz trip determined her commercial future including the major television deal with Channel Seven.
Not only had Mr Dwyer secured the annual Miss Universe Australia beauty pageant as an annual television series, he had also secured a media partnership with Channel Seven to broadcast and facilitate the international Miss Universe beauty pageant in Sydney in 2006.
It is my opinion that there were major negotiations going on behind the scenes between Channel Seven and the Miss Universe Organisation, where perhaps Mr Dwyer may have been conveniently left out of the equation.
Commencing in 2004, Grant Dwyer brought beauty pageants back in vogue with the Australian public, consolidated by the success later that year with another young lady on his books, Lauryn Eagle, who won the Miss Teen International Beauty Pageant, the Miss Universe equivalent for teenagers.
There are some outstanding issues between AdPro Management, Jennifer Hawkins, and Jake Wall, and Grant will be pursuing these outside the media spotlight.
It was always Mr Dwyer’s intention to seek an amicable out of court settlement later into her management contract once Jennifer had truly realised her full commercial value.
I have verified this information with Mr Grant Dwyer of AdPro Management.
Media Man Australia”.
But, even I’ll admit, there’s nothing like a good story – they make for interesting reading. And that’s why I’m currently working on an exclusive story about Scott Baio’s rumoured relationship with the Olsen Twins – based entirely on quotes supplied to me by a disgruntled former ‘Charles in Charge’ co-star. Sure to be spot-on.
Oh, and just, well, because….. here’s a few piccies of Jennifer Hawkins.
Three quarters the way through coffee
Currently doing some work on a superhero-ish story (more later), and it got me thinking (over my lunch latte, no less) about whether or not there’s any established superheroes left to transfer to the silver screen – and if there is, who do I think would be the best fit? Needless to say, Hollywood won’t be calling and asking for my opinion (though I will take credit in the casting of Brandon Routh as Superman – because, well, I’d be stupid not to. True or Not) but a small suggestion list for their box – I can see many an exec using that phrase from here on out “here’s a small suggestion for ya’ BOX!’ – doesn’t hurt.
Should be Played By : Alicia Silverstone
Why? : Because it’ll keep her out of the Batgirl suit for good. And, well, I think she’d look tight in the blue getup.
Should be Played By : Salma Hayek
Why? : Because it’s either her, or Brigitte Nielsen – who has been attached to the film version since the late 80s. Scary huh? – And I don’t know which one I’d rather see in taut plum ripped shorts.
Should be Voiced By : Jake Gyllenhaal
Why? : Because if you can’t get your mitts on the real thing – which we know he wanted/wants – the piggy version may be a score enough. One film that is bound to happen.
Should be Played By : John Kerry
Why? : Because George Bush is already pencilled in to play the villain. It makes sense. (See that? Humour. Bad humour, but still, humour).
The Green Lantern
Should be Played By : Jack Black
Why? : Because I love nothing more than reading the bitching and moaning of online talkbackers.
Should be Played By : Doug Ellin
Why? : Why not? It’s the logical choice, and from what I hear, it could be what he’s getting at – he’s just waiting for people to stop mentioning the Grenier’s and Wahlberg’s, so he can admit to his secret reverie. Time for Dougie to get his feet wet in the rivers of on-screen stardom – and give that Vinnie Chase a run for his money. Better still, he’s essentially an…. Unknown. Perfect.
The Green Arrow
Should be Played By : David Caruso
Why? : Because he suits the role – unlikely every other film the actor did post-“NYPD Blue”. Just might need a bit of a photo-shopped face-lift in some of the close-ups.
The Sub Mariner
Should be Played By : A CGI version of Leonard Nimoy (Robert Zemeckis and “The Polar Express” troops should be able to pull it off).
Why? : Check for yourself.
Should be Played By : Jim Carrey
Why? : Because he is the guy – and better more, he’s known around the Hollywood restaurant community as the ‘Plastic Man’.
The Wonder Twins
Should be Played By : Spencer and Abigail Breslin
Why? : Well, besides the fact that it’ll take about five years to get off the ground and they’ll be the right age then, they’re both good young actors. It’s forward thinking.
Should be Played By : The Rock
Why? : Because it would be nice to believe that the guy could actually play football, wouldn’t it? (But The Rock is attached to twelve other superhero films, so he probably won’t have the time – unless he can fit in sometime between “Wonder Woman” and “Condorman”?)
One sip to go
You gotta love some of the names that these ‘spam’ guys come up with. If they aren’t using the name of someone you know – i.e. Hayden Christensen, who has apparently sent me some kind of computer super jedi virus to work its magic on my PC insides – they’re using the most ridiculous names you’ve ever heard. Check out this one that I got about five minutes ago:
Blackballs apparently wants me to click on the link that he’s sent me, which will then take me to an online pharmacy site (or a big fat virus) – or not. Yes, I’m buying rectal ointment from a guy named Blackballs – sheesh. As If! Unless you’re ‘Soft Susie’ or ‘High-as-a-kite Hank’ emailing me I ain’t investing in any of your pharmaceuticals.
Now stopping clogging up my inbox so that I can get serious things – like dancing cats, emails from MySpace letting me know that someone has posted a nudie picture of themselves in the comments section, and Youtube footage of Mel Gibson stealing beer from the Santa Barbara Jewish Festival.
DVD of the week
The Inside Man – Naturally, Spike Lee’s joint is once again jumpin’ – but this time, we can expect a few new invited guests, a couple of surprise party tricks and some rather lethal punch. Yep, the self-proclaimed king of African-American cinema has decided to pull a ‘Match Point’ – I’m hoping that one takes on a life of it’s own, as the Jumping the Shark phrase did – and picked up a radically-different box to think out of. If ‘Do the Right Thing’ and ‘Malcolm X’ were Twinkies, then ‘Inside Man’is an Apple – just as tasty, but consumable by a much wider-crowd (those on diets, diabetics, the lactose intolerant…. the list goes on, but since we’re only using the notion to paint a picture, there’s really no reason to). To many, this might very well be their first ‘Spike Lee’ film.
And though our director still stands up on the box and rants – though his political messages and racial proclamations are hidden deep beneath the commercialism of the film – Lee’s latest seems much more occupied in purely entertaining an audience, than preaching to them. A welcome virgin to the Multiplex he is too.
In a nutshell: Clive Owen is the ringleader of a bunch of bank-robbers that have decided to rob, of all financial institutions, the Chase Manhattan Bank in Wall Street. Denzel Washington is the detective who is assigned to the case when our rogue takes hostages. Jodie Foster is a cold-as-winter spin-doctor of sorts, someone in bed with the Mayor (though not literally), who helps keep the skeletons in the closet of many a millionaire.
How is the charming thief going to pull off the ‘perfect’ heist? (And we know it will be, because he tells us that at the start of the film), how is Washington’s law-enforcer going to take him down? How unscrupulous will Foster’s character be? And what have the filmmakers got planned for co-star Christopher Plummer? (He’s too good, not to be in it for a reason).
As you can assume from the synopsis, it is an all-round appealing thriller, but it wouldn’t be a Spike Lee film (or ‘Joint’ as he likes to call his movies) if there weren’t a message here, would it? Well, there is. There’s statements on race, religion, the law, the persuasive nature of money…. but thankfully, they take nothing away from the film, in fact, simply adding further appeal to a film that’s roofed in credibility and class. A point might just be what it needed to push it above being your typically “fun, but forgettable popcorn thriller”.
Typically, film critics see movies for free. We watch them at media screening – special screenings that are set-up for journalists to catch the film before its release – and if we don’t get to it, we usually miss out. I missed the screening for this one. Now usually, I’d just be done with it and forget about it – wait for the video, in most cases. But never had a film been so worthy of shelling out money for. After all – look at that cast! There was no way I was missing this. And you know what? Best fifteen bucks I’ve spent in a long time. Truly. This has got to be one of the smartest and funnest heist films to come along since, well, the likes of ‘The Usual Suspects’ or even further back, ‘Dog Day Afternoon’. They don’t come along too often, so shredding a few digits from this weeks wage is nothing – especially when entertainment comes this grand.
Everything about ‘Inside Man’ is near watertight – well, Foster’s character could have been explained a bit more, and there’s a couple of things that weren’t properly explained – the performances, the comprehensive screenplay, the exhilarating direction, the efficient cinematography, the pay-off. I’m betting you’ll feel it was money well spent too.
Theatrical release of the week
United 93 – The ship’s already sailed, and there’s no way it’s returning to port now, so the ‘should they?, or shouldn’t they?’ argument is about as useful now as a cock ring for a desexed labra doodle – but considering nobody really wants to see films about 911 (that was pretty of me, hey?), United 93 was a surprisingly – and relatively, faithful– affair. Which begs the question, where has Paul Greengrass gone right, where Oliver Stone went wrong? The answer, it seems, may lie within the films themselves. Both directors set out to make totally different movies – not just in story, or tone, but also in terms of how commercially viable they wanted them to be. “93”, it seems, wants to be no more than a starless (in that, besides a couple of ‘somewhat’ recognizable faces, there’s no names in here at all) recreation of that fateful day that’s interested in only telling it like it is/was/straight-up/ and as detailed as possible, (even if that means ditching the Celine Dion theme for a few more minutes of chit-chat between a couple of central characters). Because it looks so real, and it’s performed so real, you believe it is – real, and have to remind yourself that you’re not a blowfly on the wall, circa 2001.
Though it’s an admirable film, and does have its moments, “World Trade Center” is a much lesser take on the 911 tragedy because, well, it wants to be a movie. The ‘button pushing’ and ‘big names’ are just as important to the film as the central storyline it seems. I could be wrong, but I believe the mere presence of Nicolas Cage in the film is proof enough that it wasn’t ‘all about’ the people, and the story. “United 93” is a marvellous film. It really gets into your system – and doesn’t let go. The performances are amazing. The direction is powerful. The writing is impeccable. If you don’t walk away from the film and just want to hug the person closest to you, you’re in the cinema next door watching the new Robin Williams movie. Simple as that.
If they must make these films on 911 – let them take a page out of Paul Greengrass’s book and make them for the people, and straight-up recreations. Screw the bean counters.
“United 93” is a disturbing film – but in a good way. If it had been that studio wank intent on pushing buttons and guaranteeing Christmas bonuses, that some of us suspected it may have been, it would have been much, much more disturbing.
This Week’s Useless bit of Advice
Instead of talking back, arguing with or barking back at that bitch – you know the one, she ain’t ever gonna change, not until she finally gets a screw to go with her hammer – just smile, smile again, keep on smiling’. They’ll hate it. You will have won. Trust me.
Missing Career Alert
David Rasche – If he’s able to play a role in “United 93”, a film cast of unknowns and unrecognisables, then obviously 80s TV fave David Rasche – friggin’ “Sledge Hammer”! – isn’t the familiar face he use to be, is he? Director Paul Greengrass was so determined to cast the film with people you wouldn’t recognize, after all, so he might not have even remembered the guy. Heck, does anyone at all remember this guy? What’s happened to his career?
The veteran actor played the small role of Donald Freeman Greene in the 911 movie. Earlier this year he played – the much plummer role of – The President of the United States in the all-star thriller “The Sentinel”. But things have definitely quieted down for the one time ‘next big thing’.
In the 80s, he hit the big time as ‘Sledge Hammer’ in the series of the same name. Almost overnight, he made the transition into feature films starring in the likes of “An Innocent Man” with Tom Selleck, “Wicked Stepmother” with Bette Davis and “Delirious” with John Candy.
The balloon burst about the mid 90s, though, and ever since he’s been either guest starring in TV series (like “Suddenly Susan” or “The West Wing”) or co-starring in such forgettable fare as “Off the Lip”, “Perception” and “Junior Pilot”.
Hopefully someone spots him in either “United 93” or “The Sentinel” and decides to trade him up.
5 things you didn’t know about…… “The Last Starfighter” (1984)
1. Though his name still appears in the end credits, all of Wil Wheaton’s scenes – he played a young friend of Lewis – were cut from the film.
2. The first movie to do all their special effects on a computer.
3. A lot of the scenes with ‘the Beta Unit’ were shot later on, because test audiences couldn’t get enough of the character.
4. This was the last film that Robert Preston ever made.
5. Yep, the ‘Star Car’ that is in the film is based on the DeLorean.
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