Caffeinated Clint – 25/5/07


No Veronica Mars is like Coffee without a Cup.

You know how I’m always going off about the films-of-yesteryear (I sound like frickin’ Peter O’Toole on Hollywood Shootout, sometimes, I reckon) being so much better than today’s crop of carrots? Here’s a great example, or two. Watched “Revenge of the Nerds” again the other night. Man that film holds up well. It could’ve been such a dog of a movie – something like “School Spirit” or “Joysticks”, or one of those ‘get your tits out love and it’ll sell!’ comedies – but it wasn’t. It’s genuinely funny and its genuinely touching. The performances are outstanding. I mean, Robert Carradine was insanely good in that movie – sure, it typecast him forever, but he was a blast. It’s over 20 years old now, the movie, and yet it works a treat. Do you think we’ll be saying the same about “Blades of Glory” in 2020?

Caffeinated Clint on…. “Veronica Mars” R.I.P

“Veronica Mars” is done. The Season 3 ender is the last we’ll [probably] see of TVs foxiest photographing philanthropist. My response to the season/series ender : That’s it? They leave us a fuckin’ cliff-hanger? What in St.Elmo’s Fire were they thinking?!
Didn’t anyone tell Rob Thomas that “Veronica Mars” might be headed for the scrap heap at the end of the season? Didn’t anyone suggest to him that he should maybe try and stitch a few of the loose threads – like the Logan/Veronica relationship; Daddy Mars’ election; up before he ends Season 3? Didn’t anyone tell him to film a ‘couple’ of different endings (a’la “Everwood”) just in case?
No? Then someone should’ve.

I hate it when good shows don’t get a chance to wrap themselves up. Usually it’s because the network informs the shows creators ‘after’ they’ve wrapped the season that they won’t be returning. Sometimes its TV creators assuming they’ll be back – when they’ve assumed wrong.

Some of the worst series finales ever, that come to mind, are:

“Now and Again” – One of the biggest cliff-hangers EVER. We will never know whether Eric Close and his family escaped from one piece. Robbed big time.
“The Fugitive” – Talking about the little-watched Tim Daly remake. The last episode ended with someone being shot. Again… a cliff-hanger that’ll never be resolved.
“Twin Peaks” – Don’t get me started. This is just fucked. “How’s Annie?… How’s ANNIE?!”. Bad ending to a great series.
“American Gothic” – The wife’s favourite show ended with a big-time cliff-hanger too… and though a movie was once promised to wrap up its loose ends, it’ll never be resolved.

I doubt it’ll happen – because EVERY time a T V show is axed the old ‘will return as a movie’ rumour pops up pretty quickly – but Rob Thomas tells TV Guide that he’d like to do a “Veronica Mars” movie.

“I’m not entirely sure how/when VM would’ve ended, but I wouldn’t discount my taking a stab at a feature script”, says the creator. “But I’m not sure if I could sell a movie based on a little-watched TV series.”

Why don’t you shoot for a TV movie Rob? You could then give that a DVD release the week following the broadcast. Bingo. Investment pays off. Just a thought.

Caffeinated Clint on…. Thank god we’re at “Worlds End”!

Remember how your dad use to say to you – when you were scratching your shoes against the surface of your cement, when you were walking – ‘don’t drag your feet?’ Dad needed to be on the set of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”. (Heck, Pop should’ve been recruited for both sequels to the surprise Disney hit). This third – and hopefully final – instalment in the over bloated can’t-stop-looking-at-my-watch piss-as-much-money-away-as-we-can-in-three-hours snorefest will have its worn its soles out by the time its taken its first steps towards the screen.

Like the “Matrix” sequels, the two “Pirates of the Caribbean” follow-ups are too smug and too damn epic for their own good. Emphasis here seems to be on merely making the film’s as long as they could possibly be – they’ve both run for other 2-and-a-half hours! – with most of the storyline and fun (something both the original Matrix and original Pirates films had plenty of) extracted in favour of whatever new special effect has been created that given week. In doing so, they lose the audience – so much so that the characters seem to have to have to divulge exposition every five seconds.

Having had to pay to see the film (reviewers usually attend free screenings, but Disney didn’t invite Moviehole to check this one out!!) I can only say this : For the price of admission, you’ll likely to get a better return on putting it on down on Blackjack at the Casino. Yep, the odds against actually being entertained here are pretty heavy.

An exhausting experience – one my ass will never forgive me for.

Now yes, it did hurt that we didn’t get an invitation to the media screening (apparently our friends at – who WE actually give all our reviews and interviews too – have replaced us on the list, what the fucks with that? They’re the “Benson” to our “Soap”… you can’t have one without the other), but you know what, its cool in one way… because 9am in the morning is way too early to be rear-ended by someone else’s junk.

I know I’ll probably have a couple of folks ask me ‘hey, but aren’t you working on a film at the moment with the Pirates guys?’. I bet I will. That’s true. But I’m no gold-microphone hogging cabbage hound… I’ll say it as I see it. The guys from “Pirates” that I’m producing the film with know exactly what I think of the last two films. They do. And I got to tell you, a few of them even agree. One of them summed it up by saying “its all the Wachowski brothers fault”. Think about it.

The “Pirates 3” experience is one thing, but what the fuck is with all the shitty threequels? You know something’s not right when “Shrek the Third” is bashed to bits, don’t ya? That’s a film I was certain would be spot-on gold… or at least silver.

Did it start with Brett Ratner and “X-Men 3”? Did studios suddenly realise that they didn’t need to put any effort into their sequels because they’ll make shit loads of money anyway? Is that what it is? Is it the lazy-because-we-can-be excuse?

I’m serious. Look at “Spider-Man 3”. It was an OK movie, but shit, it wasn’t half the film that “Spider-Man 2” was. It was more a ‘commercial for toys’ than anything else… and looking back at it, it was a bit of a mess.

There’s a bunch of other sequels due out this year too. “Ocean’s Thirteen” is around the corner. “Resident Evil 3” (supposedly a piece of shit) is out too. “The Bourne Ultimatum” (fuck I hope that’s good). “Rush Hour 3” (could go either way).

So here’s what I’m thinking: If you’re going to make a shitty sequel from the get-go, and money is all your interested in, make them for fuckin’ DVD. Don’t waste our time and money – here, in Australia, it’s $15 bucks to see a film – on crap. You’ll make plenty of mint on DVD. Heck, if Jean Claude Van Damme and Dennis Hopper movies can make a goldmine at Blockbuster… imagine what a direct-to-DVD “Shrek 3” would’ve done? Heck, you could’ve got Dana Carvey to replace Mike Myers as Shrek, and Eddie Griffin to fill in for Eddie Murphy…. and it still would’ve been the top-selling DVD of the year… if not the decade.

Save the big budgets and big stars for GOOD movies. If the studios would only invest in riskier projects… films that aren’t sequels… we’d have some good films at the multiplex, I bet. You can still make your shoddy direct-to-dvd threequels…. But just get them out through Netflix, not Loews.

Caffeinated Clint on…. Scheduling Conflicts

I love the “Scheduling Conflict” excuse. It’s the biggest bullshit line in Hollywood. Its usually code for a) they weren’t going to pay me my usual astronomical fee b) they wanted to drug-test me as I arrived on set each day c) The script was bullshit d) The person who gets this ‘other role’ in the film is going to walk away with the picture e) I would’ve had to have used the same John as the crew.

Nicolas Cage used it today for “The Untouchables” prequel. Yeah, he skips on playing one of the greatest characters of all time – Al Capone – but yet he moved heaven and earth to make sure he played Johnny Blaze in a god-damn bullshit “Ghost Rider” movie? I tell ya, when that dude ate the bugs in “Vampires Kiss”, it screwed with his brain. He’s made chocies in the past couple of years that even Andrew McCarthy would giggle at.

I tell ya what I think it is. I think it’s the fact that Gerard Butler has joined the cast (playing Sam Malone, the character Sean Connery played in the first film). Cage knows how hot Butler is right now… and he knows he’s probably going to get some great moments in the thing… he probably doesn’t wanna be sharing a poster with anyone anymore. Vin Diesel’s the same. Diesel hated having to share the poster of “Fast and the furious” with Paul Walker… and that’s part of the reason why you didn’t see him in the sequel. Paul Walker himself told me so. He said, straight out, that Vin doesn’t like doing two handers – – – -he likes being the star. Which MAY explain why Diesel’s career has gone the way of Matt Salinger’s…. he’s no doubt had opportunity’s to play a role in an ‘ensemble’ (how great was he in “Saving Private Ryan” and “Boiler Room”?!) or share the screen with someone else… but he’s chosen to stick to his guns and wait for tailor-made vehicles. Dude, two reasonable hits doesn’t equate to Schwarzenegger status.

Anyway, back to Cage. So he’s out of the “Untouchables” prequel. Who else can they get to play Capone? What about Johnny Depp? He’s likely to say ‘he’s busy’ too, but he’d be good. If it was a lesser-budgeted pic someone like Anthony LaPaglia would also be right up there… but unfortunately when big money is at stake, only the big stars will get a look in.

The Fun Stuff

Critically-slammed Pics I like :

What : “Alien Resurrection”
Released : 1997
Stars : Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Ron Perlman
One critic said : “If you consider ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’ to be the main course, then ‘Alien Resurrection’ is leftovers.” – Reelviews
Another critic said : “There is not a single shot in the movie to fill one with wonder.” – Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times
Clint says : “Whether it’s because Alien 3 was so shit, or that I’ve got a woody for Winona Ryder, I dunno.. but I found myself enjoying the final instalment in the Alien quadrilogy”

What : “Side-Out”
Released : 1991
Stars : C.Thomas Howell, Peter Horton
One critic said : “…how can you go wrong with Peter Horton as a grizzled ex-volleyball champ?” – Reel Film Reviews
Another critic said : “Howell and Horton are superb in this fun-filled, funny, sexy beach tale. (Expertly-shot volleyball sequences, too.)” –
Clint says : “Cheesier than twisties, but still good fun – it’s amazing what some likable performers, a good soundtrack and some good beach volleyball scenes can do. An entertaining B movie”

The Movie Going-Experience
This next new feature is a bit where I recall some of my ‘cinema going experiences’ – i.e it may be a date-gone-wrong to “Weird Science” (actually happened); it may be falling asleep in “Super Mario Bros” (actually happened); or maybe the time two people decided to have sex in the back row behind me (actually happened, in a screening for Van Damme ‘classic’ “Double Impact” at the old Hoyts Midcity).

The Movie-Going Experience : “Twins”
What : The high-concept Schwarzenegger/Danny DeVito vehicle that made more money in a week than I’ve seen in my lifetime.
When : On a weeknight in Melbourne at the Coburg Drive-In theatre.
Details : I believe we watched half the film ‘upside down’! the projectionist obviously wasn’t paying too much attention and let the film play wrong way around. Doesn’t matter… I ended up watching the film on the other screen… something about a red-headed toy doll that comes to life. Yep, “Child’s Play” premiered the same night.
Movie any good? : In a “so bad, its good” kinda way.
Night any good? : The Drive-In is always good because you can look around and watch the other films – bring your walkman so you can tune the other screens in – when the one you’re there to watch is either a) shit b) playing upside down.

Forgotten actors I like
Who : Rick Rossovich
What did you like him/her in? : A bunch of things, “The Terminator”, “Top Gun”, “Navy SEALS”, “Roxanne”.
What’s so good about him/her? : Not only was he reasonably versatile, but he had the same kind of charm and appeal that say, Bill Paxton had.
Where the heck are they now? : Besides wishing he’d begged Bill Paxton’s manager to take him on too? He’s starring in a bunch of films I’ve never heard of.
Show me them in action : OK… and please, someone give Rick a role!

5 Things that Shitted the Clint – This Week
1. Shitty sequels.
2. The series finale of “Veronica Mars”.
3. Egotistical dicks.
4. The guy that sends me 50 messages a minute to my MySpace account.
5. “Die Hard 4.0” being pushed back further and further… release date wise… here in Australia.

3 movies Caffeinated Clint sat through [possibly again] this week :

1. Knocked Up – “Knocked Up” features a storyline we’ve all seen before – slacker has to change his ways and finally grown up – but it’s the writing and performances that skyrocket this one into another stratosphere than the others.
Seth Rogen (last seen in Apatow’s “40-year-old-Virgin”) plays Ben, a scruffy unemployed (though he’s hoping that will all change with a website – nude scenes of the stars – he and his friends are developing) loser that gets a wake up call and-a-half.
Eight weeks after a one-night stand with a pretty (then drunk) girl, Alison (Katherine Heigl), he receives ‘that’ phone call: Yep, he’s about to become a dad.
Writer/director Judd Apatow seems to be quietly thieving the crown of the Farrelly Brothers. Like the filmmaking duo’s landmark gross-out comedy “Something About Mary’, both “40-year-old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” find the laugh in real situations – any real situation. Sometimes you’ll laugh till you puke, but in the case of this one, you’ll also learn [near] just as much about child rearing (there’s a great line in the film referring to someone wanting to ‘rear’ the other’s baby) as you would from “What to expect when you’re expecting”. In some respects, it’s an out-and-out comedy meets a chick flick by way of a Dr. Ruth documentary.
The writing is the star of the show. It’s flawless. From sidesplitting pop culture references to some of the filthiest argument silage you’ve ever heard, it’ll keep your gut busted for the duration.
Credit though to the fine cast. Seth Rogen – great to see the lead isn’t being played by a guy who looks like he gets more pussy than a cattery – proves himself the likeable leading man with his rob as the slobbish make-over man, whilst beautiful Katherine Heigl (best known for her role on TVs “Grey’s Anatomy”) splits sides and breaks hearts as the all-too-real expectant one.
The supporting cast here are gold, too. Paul Rudd is fantastic, again proving what great comic ability he has when let off the chain; Leslie Mann (Apatow’s real-life wife) has some great moments as his slightly overbearing wife; whilst Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel and Martin Starr get oodles of laughs as Rogen’s stoner buddies.
Outrageously funny (I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a comedy this much since the 80s!), Terribly Sweet, Very unhollywood real (some things in the last five minutes of the film have never been on film!) and superbly cast, “Knocked Up” is this year’s must see-movie. No, not “Spider-Man 3”, not “Pirates of the Caribbean”, not “Shrek the Third”…. A little movie about a couple of parents to be is where it’s all at in 2007.

2. The Ex – Whenever someone wants to say sorry to someone in “The Ex” they don’t approach him or her and apologise to their face. No, instead they give each out a little bit of sticky paper with their request for forgiveness written on that.
I’m expecting to be handed one of those sticky notes any minute now. Surely director Jesse Peretz is so ridden with guilt that he’s scrawling an admission of guilt down as we speak, right? … Something along the lines of ‘Dear Audience, I am so sorry for making you pay, and consequently watch, the cinematic equivalent of having your ass chomped on by a hyena”.
You can change the title as many times as you like (the film was previously set for release earlier this year as “Fast Track”), but at the end of the day, shit is still shit – regardless of how it goes down.
A three-hander starring Zach Braff, Amanda Peet (she needs a new agent; this, “The Whole Ten Yards” and “Evil Woman” in the same decade?!) and Jason Bateman, “The Ex” tells of a couple of new parents that are forced to move to New York so he (Braff) can make some money to support his unit.
Once he starts working for her father’s (Charles Grodin looking every bit the 72-years-of-age he is!) advertising company, Braff’s character is immediately introduced to his new ‘wingman’; a wheelchair bound schmuck, played by Bateman. The critical cripple, of course, used to date Braff’s wife (he’s apparently a stud in bed, too) so some rivalry comes into play.
With such a great cast – Mia Farrow, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd and Donal Logue also appear – you’d think “The Ex” would have something going for it, but it doesn’t. It really doesn’t. It’s a sad excuse for entertainment. The laughs are forced, the storyline’s all over the place and the top-shelf talent (why would Grodin choose this to make his comeback in?!) are cast off and done in like disposable nappies.
The curse of the two-word title comedy, perhaps?

3. First Snow – It isn’t surprising that, in the film, his character asks for the most obscure flavour ice cream when his Mrs. offers to buy him one, because Guy Pearce chooses his films exactly the same way. He’s tried Vanilla (see “The Time Machine” and “Ravenous”) and he didn’t like it. No, he discovered he had a penchant for a cone of the funky stuff (“Memento”) and from then on has been in search of a wild new flavour just like that.
Whilst “First Snow” isn’t the to-die-for taste sensation he was probably hoping for – in many ways, it tastes a lot like Memento; thus explaining why the producers wanted Pearce in the pic – it’s definitely a film that travels without a seatbelt: it’s risky, it’s edgy and it’s definitely not playing by the rules.
One of those films you’ll probably need to sit through three times to get a grasp on, it tells of a floor salesman, on a pit stop in New Mexico, who decides to pay a fortune teller (“Spider-Man”’s J.K Simmons) a visit. What he hears, he doesn’t like. Essentially, the psychic informs him that there’s something brewing in his near future that’s pretty ugly.
When a couple of other things that the psychic said come true, Jimmy (Pearce) starts to get exceedingly paranoid and in turn – as we do – ends up creating the mess that the fortune teller told him about.
Pearce’s performance – I’m still bewildered why he isn’t a bigger movie star; but maybe he chooses not to be – is the glue that holds the film together. Sure, the script from is reasonably intelligent, but it’s Pearce’s captivating performance that really holds your attention.
Newcomer Mark Fergus proves he’s got what it takes to make a great movie – but this one has its flaws. The problem with the film is that it doesn’t have the poignant timbre its crying for, and when all is said and done, is probably not a lot craftier than some of the films of the 40s and 50s that travelled a similar road, like “D.O.A”.

And finally…

Words of Wisdom from Mrs Caffeinated Clint :

(A scientist who seems to be able to sum up the world – or a movie – in just a few words, whilst the rest of us feel a page review isn’t even sufficient).

“His name’s Walter? Hmmm.. Suddenly he’s not so sexy!” – Mrs Morris on discovering that Bruce Willis’s first name is actually ‘Walter’