Caffeinated Clint – 25/6/07


Goodbye Andy, Evan Almighty, Not so Fantastic Four

Your Assistance Please : What do you like about this column? what are your favourite parts of it? what would you like to see more of? What do you think should be scrapped? I want to get it just right… so Email Me with Your Ideas

You’re probably all wondering why there wasn’t a column last week, right? You’re wondering why I wasn’t here talking dirty or throwing spears at Uwe Boll? Well, the PC – the Moviehole machine as some call it – is playing up. Yep, that’s the only thing that’s gone down on me this week! (Insert readers groan here). Anyway, we’re back in business and ready to explode like Tommy Lee on honeymoon night…

Firstly, I wanted to touch on the death of one Anderson Jones II.

Remember when Buffy rammed that stake through Angel/Angelus? Remember how much it hurt her to do that?

That’s how much it stung to hear that fellow e-journo Andy Jones had passed away.

Andy, always the character, was someone I chatted to regularly. And have done so since, well, probably before most of you even discovered Moviehole.

He was E! Online’s movie guy back then. We developed a trusting friendship that extended far beyond the atypical ‘I’ll give you this scoop, if you give me that scoop’ – that, by the way, was something Andy and I did regularly. I remember one time he passed on some “Superman” casting news, and in return, I gave him a scoop about the new “Highlander” film. We both didn’t want to be tied to the stories, so it made sense – that had us dropping each other a line regularly to talk about everything from life to lozenges to Lindsay Lohan. He was a cack, a real out-and-out character. He could always make you laugh.

When E! let Andy go, that site dipped in my opinion. I use to love reading his daily movie news and rumours column.. there hasn’t been anything like it since. And though he’s contributed to a couple of other websites since, like Filmstew, Andy could never snag himself a job of similar statue. To the online world… he kinda disappeared.

Andy passed away this past weekend. He died of a heart attack at a movie screening.

As you gobble down your popcorn at a screening of “Evan Almighty” this week, spare a thought for one of the online world’s original gangsters of gossip. Andy Jones.

May you rest in peace my friend.

I assume one of the last movies that Andy caught was “Evan Almighty“. He would’ve been only one of a few too, by the sounds. No one was much interested in seeing a ‘whole movie about a supporting character from the first film – both of which were never that funny to begin with’.

…and don’t tell me its because the film is crap, since when has that stopped people flocking to see a turd?

“Evan Almighty” – which, in my opinion, should never have happened anyway. I don’t know what attracted Steve Carell to the project in the first place; moolah assumingly – did lousy business at the box office on the weekend.

Bad films can still do well. Heck, I saw “Fantastic Four : Rise of the Silver Surfer” on the weekend and swear it’s the biggest load of shit I’ve seen in months – since whatever the last comic book movie was; probably “Spider-Man 3” – and look how well that’s doing?!

So why the lousy figures on a film that should’ve been reasonably easy to market? have nailed it on the head – it wasn’t marketed correctly. Like “Slither”, “Serenity” and “Children of Men”, it was a film that had the potential to do big, big business but the marketing team at Universal (In the states, because here in Australia they do a great job of promoting their product – go figure) just threw it out there… hoping it would.

I think ‘the right kind’ of marketing is very important in today’s movie-place. Think of some of the biggest films of the year – “300”, “Wild Hogs”, “Night at the Museum”… they’re all terrible films, yet they’ve done very, very well… Because they were marketed correctly. In the case of say some of the Universal films – like “Serenity” – it’s a case of doing only the bare minimum to get the word out about a film.

Look how well “300” did. You know why? Warner Bros promoted the shit out of it. The online community got involved. They plastered the film everywhere.

I think we all know why “Grindhouse” failed… and that’s because they didn’t know how to promote it. The PR team just threw it out there and hoped that we’d catch it. We didn’t. There wasn’t really any PR out there for it.

Though FOX got a bashing from CHUD last week – and despite the fact that they don’t deal a lot with online, which must be hurting them a little me thinks? – the one thing I will say they do properly is promote films. “Rocky Balboa”, “Night at the Museum”, “Fantastic Four”… all successes because they were promoted brilliantly. Star tours, Online gimmicks.. they’ve been thinking out of the box. “Die Hard 4” is going to do brilliantly too, because FOX have been promoting the thing – or rather, they’ve got Bruce Willis out there promoting the thing – for months. You won’t be able to turn the channel without seeing a mention of the film… FOX are going to buy up every TV spot, Bus Shelter, Soft Drink Wrapper and Shopper docket they can just to get the word out there. It’ll work too; FOX knows their stuff. If they develop their internet relations a little more… they’ll be ahead by a large margin.

I think the problem with “Evan Almighty” is that nobody knew it was out. I didn’t. I knew it was coming out… I just didn’t know it was so soon. There was hardly any pre-publicity at all.

So I mentioned “Fantastic Four” before. Man, what a load of rubbish. It’s a sad state of affairs when all that cinemagoers want to see is a crappy sequel to a crappy film that features some of the worst special effects since HR Puf’n’Stuf and a storyline ripped straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon.

You don’t see many good films these days. Brilliant films like “Little Children”, “Zodiac” and “Children of Men” are rarities because all people want to see – or are fooled into thinking they want to see – are $200 million dollar cinematic backwash like the F4 sequel or “Night at the Museum” (did anyone over the age of ten actually like that mess?). Nothing about those films are good, yet they did five times the business that say, “Little Children”, did.

Studios aren’t going to be greenlighting meaningful small story-driven movies because they know that doing a sequel, a remake or a high-concept story-less comedy starring Will Ferrell is going to do tons better. Its sad, but its true.

Remember when there use to be a balance? Remember when films could be ‘great’ and have the potential to be huge ‘risk-free blockbusters?’ (“Spider-Man” is a recent example).

Remember the “Gremlins” movies? The “Ghostbusters” movies? “The Karate Kid” series? The “Back to the Future” trilogy? “The Fly”? “Highlander”? “The Fugitive”? “E.T”? “The Goonies”? “Big”?… “Die Hard”? All those films had both excellent screenplays and excellent box-office potential out of the gate. We have to return to that. We have to stop with the plot-less high-concept lard (like “X-Men 3”, “Wild Hogs” and “Hannibal Rising”) and start satisfying cinemagoers again.

Please people… go and see the good movies… even if they’re not promoted as well…. Even if they don’t feature explosions or computer generated villains… because pretty soon Hollywood are going to stop making them altogether. Do you want to live in a world where “X-Men 8” is voted years best picture at the Oscars? I sure don’t.

The Fun Stuff

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 : “Underworld”
What : Awful high-concept actioner that’s all style and no substance.
When : On a weekday.
Details : Sony gave me a private advance screening of the film. I swear, I needed my car keys to peg my eyes up.
Movie any good? : I’ve seen “Full House” episodes that are more entertaining.
Night any good? : Yes… because I was no longer watching “Underworld”.

Forgotten actors I like
Who : Madchen Amick
What did you like him/her in? :”Twin Peaks”.
What’s so good about him/her? : An absolute stunner – which always helps – but there’s just something about her… she has an allure that draws the viewer to the screen.
Where the heck are they now? : According to the IMDB, her last major role was playing Allison on TVs “Freddie”. She’s done guest-spots on a heap of shows – including “E.R” and “Gilmore Girls” – the past couple of years. I had the pleasure of bumping into Amick at the Warner Bros studios year before last.
Show me them in action : OK… tell me this guy isn’t cute?

5 Things that Shitted Caffeinated Clint this week
1. The “Sopranos” finale. I didn’t hate it… but I think we deserved more. Or something. I dunno.
2. Cats. No respect.
3. “Die Hard 4.0”. The reviews are out… and it ain’t good. What did FOX expect – they’re targeting the wrong audience!
4. People who’ve never had children but think they know everything there is to know about raising them.
5. Watery coffee. Um, did I forget to ask for milk and coffee powder?

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

1. That Thing You Do!
And? Much better than I remember it being. Granted, there’s not much of a storyline but the performances coupled with the music make for an enjoyable time.

2. Fantastic Four : Rise of the Silver Surfer
And? Its OK, but there’s nothing really here. The special effects looked tragic, too. And tell me, does anyone actually think Jessica Alba Is the right choice for Sue Storm?

3. The Hard Easy
And? To say I was pleasantly surprised by this direct-to-dvd David Boreanaz/Henry Thomas actioner is an understatement. This thing really delivers.

4. The Messengers
And? There’s a reason why it’s only playing at one or two cinemas in Melbourne… it ain’t that good. On the other hand, it’ll make quite an entertaining DVD; it’s a slick film that does have its moments.

5. Rocky Balboa
And? I think I actually watched this the week before, but whatever…. this is a good flick. Easily one of the best – if not the – “Rocky” sequels to date.

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).

“The Fantastic Piece of Shit” – Mrs Morris sums up “The Fantastic Four : Rise of the Silver Surfer.