The “What’s he going on about now?” edition
Did I just see a print ad in the newspaper for “Rush Hour 3”that had Chris Tucker’s name ABOVE Jackie Chan’s? Surely not. That’d make about as much sense as the plot of Billy Friedkin’s “Bug”. There’s no way lazy-ass Chris Tucker, with the four or five films to his credit, could ever be considered a bigger drawcard than Asia’s most famous export. Am I right? Or am I fuckin’ right?!
But here it is again….
Chris Tucker gets top billing over Jackie Chan. What the fuck’s with that? It’s like Vivica A.Fox receiving top billing over Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill Vol. 1” or John Glover receiving a ‘starring’ credit for his work in “Batman & Robin”… it ain’t gonna happen. It didn’t. But this dud. What the hell were New Line thinking? Obviously Tucker has some great negotiation skills – he scored both $25 million for the film (more than Chan, apparently – again, whose titties he been suckin’ on?) and the nerve to ask for billing above a man whose done about a hundred more films than he has and proved he’s worth the fee he gets.
Tucker, who the hell do you think you are? You are meekly funny, I’ll admit that, but even then most will agree that your best performance was as Smokie in “Friday” (!995). “Rush Hour”, for all intents and purposes, was funny because of the whole ‘fish out of water’ thing with Chan… not because you mimicked Michael Jackson rather well. Yes, that was funny… but not ‘give me billing above Jackie Chan’ next time funny, just plain ol’ funny – Dennis Dugan funny.
This just shits me. So I think I’ll move on.
Anyway, how’s everyone? Keeping fit? Staying awake through “Bionic Woman”? Wiping the drool from their mouth through “Gossip Girl” (Blake Lively has a crush on my pink MP3 player – I kid you not; she had her eyes all over it when I interviewed her. Nice girl though)? As confused as I am why films like “The Lookout” and “Zodiac” did nothing at the box office? Pissed that they’re remaking “Escape from New York”, “Near Dark” and “The Karate Kid”? Got Zac Efron’s girlfriend’s nude piccies as your phone’s wallpaper yet? Sticking your dick in a laser printer just to see if you can make a temporary tattoo of Jesus on it?
Whatever you’re doing, welcome. Welcome to another column of well, absolutely nothing. The column where I waffle on more than David Lynch in a behind-the-scenes interview.
“I came up with the idea by way of a cow. A red cow. With a road… a road that leads to a curtain. The cow is crucial to the road. A bleak understanding of tar is appreciated. A woman is in trouble, and with the cow, comes spots – spots of your existence. Then, a little man will dance” – D.Lynch.
Speaking of Lynch, anyone caught “Inland Empire” yet? Crazy-ass film, but a nice return to form for Laura Dern. She again works with dinosaurs in this one…. Harry Dean Stanton, to be frank…. But unlike the others, they don’t show her up in this one. She’s the star.
People talk about comebacks all the time – but they’re usually referring to an actor disappearing for a number of years and then making a surprise return to the big screen; people like Burt Reynolds in “Boogie Nights”, John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction”; Jane Fonda in in “Georgia Rule” and Michelle Pfeiffer in “Hairspray”.
What isn’t discussed as much is an actor or actresses ‘comeback’ to the good channel… after swimming in poop river for umpteen years without an oar. You could say Travolta’s brave turn as Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray” is one; maybe even Anthony Michael Hall in Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands” (remember? He disappeared for a few years and then re-appeared as this beefy jock type – - I don’t think anyone even knew who the fuck it was when his character first appeared on-screen) and even, Tom Hanks, who after a string of comedy duds (like “Joe Versus the Volcano”) knocked one out of the back – if you’ll excuse the pun – with a role in Penny Marshall’s “A League of their Own”, and the rest is history.
Eric Roberts comes to mind. The guy has been fronting up for shit school for the past decade or so – whenever the “Best of the Best” series ended – and finally passed this year, scoring both a role on TV hit “Heroes” and in “The Dark Knight”, playing a mobster. It’s an insane turn-around for a guy who, up to a couple of years back, was doing cheap-ass telemovies along the likes of “Mindstorm” with Antonio Sabato Jr, “Mercy Streets” with Stacy Keach; and “No Alibi” with Dean Cain.
Speaking of Dean Cain, I’ve a feeling his stock might be about to go up again, too. And what do you know? It’s thanks to Superman, the role he made his name for initially. The former “Lois & Clark” star has been signed to guest-star on “Smallville” this year, playing a charming suitor for Lois Lane. Some are already speculating – again, speculating – that this will lead to more work for the 41-year-old. He’s already scored a plum role opposite Christopher Walken in “Five Dollars A Day”. I actually thought his career might’ve got back on track as a result of his role in “Out of Time” with Denzel Washington, a few years back, but he seemingly fucked that up.. somehow. Or his agent did.
Dee Wallace was one of the biggest stars of the 80s, appearing in such classics as “E.T”, “Cujo”, “The Howling” and “Critters”, but sometime just before 1991’s “Popcorn” and the 1995’s “The Skateboard Kid II”, Hollywood didn’t think she was worthwhile having in their tentpole blockbusters anymore so was summoned to the direct-to-video telemovie market. Which was a frickin’ shame, and will ultimately be egg on their face, because Hollywood missed out on casting one of the best actresses of her generation in so many good movies. They really did. They screwed themselves. But now Dee’s screwing right back. This year she scored a plum role in Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” remake; she jumped aboard the anticipated (well, I’m anticipating it) western “Between the Sand and the Sky”, and next headlines (yes, headlines!) the Dante Tomaselli-directed horror film “The Ocean”. Proof that she’s back? She rejected an offer to star in “Alone in the Dark II”. Good to have her back on deck.
What about the Batman’s? Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer may have left the series for ‘bigger and better things’ but did they really? Did either of them do anything that good after handing the black costume over to whatever schmuck was in line to play Brucie boy, next? I think not. I mean, Keaton had a role in “Jackie Brown”, but what about the rest of his post-“Batman Returns” filmography? “Multiplicity”? “Speechless”? “Jack Frost”? “A Shot at Glory”? “Quicksand”? And did anyone see his most recent flick, “The Last Time”? It was as boring as batshit and an utter waste of both Keaton and co-star Brendan Fraser’s time – speaking of Fraser, he’s gotta be thanking his lucky stars “The Mummy 3” come along when it did because he was a job away from doing Subway commercials – don’t ya think? The comeback film for Keaton was probably “White Noise” (2005), that did pretty good business. It also reminded a few that Keaton was good enough to headline a big studio pic. Hopefully that’ll happen again sometime. He’s a good actor. “Nightshift” fuckin’ rules.. and bitch all you want, but he had the most “oomph” of all the Batmen.
Oh, and Kilmer. Man. He did “Batman Forever” and then decided he’d rather spend his weekends at IHOP… or something. Damn shame. He became a bit of a laughing stock (remember “Island of Dr Moreau”?) there for a while. He started to snag some good parts again – John Holmes in “Wonderland” being an obvious example – but none of them hit like he, or the studio, obviously intended. The one that did catch on, probably to his surprise, was that of Gay Perry in Shane Black’s “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”. Just sensational he was in that. Sensational. He still swims between indy and blockbuster, but at least he’s swimming in a clean river these days… it was a damn shame seeing Kilmer in the likes of “Red Planet”.
Alec Baldwin, like Kilmer, skipped on his chance for wide-reaching identification thanks to an undeviating role in a franchise and it hurt his career. Baldwin, for my money, was right on target as Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October” but he couldn’t be fagged returning for the sequel, “Patriot Games”. As a result, Harrison Ford was given yet another opportunity to create another popular series character. It’s not the first fuck-up Baldwin has made – and not the first time he’s helped out Harrison Ford either, I believe Baldwin was initially asked to play “The Fugitive” too. I don’t quite know what was going on in his head at the time but I assume it was something like this – “Screw Kim Basinger today, or go to a movie set and play a boring CIA agent?”. Hmm. OK. A few pounds later, and with some silver streaks through the hair, Baldwin has found his footing again as a brilliant supporting actor. He’s playing ‘the boss’ now. A leading man come character actor. He did his thing in “Elizabethtown”, “The Aviator” and “The Good Shepherd” but it was his turn in “The Departed” that really got Hollywood hot for him again. And proving he’s a lot more willing to try things he wouldn’t have back in 1990, Baldwin’s now playing it for laughs on a sitcom – “30 Rock”. Now… how about getting him back to play Jack Ryan again? But in a story that takes place in Ryan’s Presidential years?
The woman that used to straddle that man’s legs, Kim Basinger, snagged a major – again, major! – comeback a few years back. “L.A Confidential” was the role that ageing beauty queen had been waiting for, and she yanked its crank till the Oscar came out. It was a remarkable comeback for a woman who just a few years before had been sued for everything she owned by Jennifer Lynch for not doing a film she’d signed to do, “Boxing Helena”. Now who’s laughing Jen? Still, Basinger’s comeback hasn’t been all beer and skittles – there’s been “I Dreamed of Africa”, “Bless the Child”, and “Elvis Has Left the Building”; but thankfully, there’s also been “8 Mile”, “The Door in the Floor”, “Cellular” and “The Sentinel”. Regrettably, she’s never done anything quite as good as “L.A Confidential” in the past few years though. Maybe the sequel?
Oh, what about Michael Caine? Huge star in the 60s, 70s and 80s but “Jaws” seemingly gobbled up his frickin’ career and credibility with that chopper in 1987’s “The Revenge”. Or so we thought. Fast-forward to a decade or so later and there’s Caine, giving what could be the best performance of his career, in the brilliant “Cider House Rules”. It was a truly wonderful turnaround. And the guy seemed ever so thankful for the second shot. Since then, Caine’s been on a roll – doing everything from Bad remakes (“Get Carter”) to Batman. Most of his post-comeback films have been good though; some very good.
So who do you think we’re going to get a comeback out of next? Is Sean Young (“Bladerunner”) going to give head to Joel Silver to play She-Ra? Is Ilan-Michael Smith about to be resurrected for that long-awaited “Weird Science” remake? (in which he’ll play Chet); is Jean Claude Van Damme going to make friends with Peter Hyams again and front something that’s got a budget?; Is “Powder Blue” going to resurrect Patrick Swayze’s career?; or do you think it’s time Stephen Geoffries (“Fright Night”) made his big-screen return – — maybe he can appear in the upcoming remake-that’s-not-a-remake?
Man, I just clicked on the outlook calendar and realised how soon it is that my life’s going to take a nutty turn. The wife returns to work – after giving birth to our daughter Charisma in July – in December, and as a consequence, it’s now time for me to step up to the plate. I’ll be working from say 5am to 2pm, and after that, I’ll be a stay-at-home Dad. No more premieres for me; no more parties; no more late-night Red Rooster runs… it’ll be just warming bottles, burping, rocking and Wiggles movies for me in 2008. Maybe I should ring Michael ‘Mr Mom’ Keaton for some advice? I hear he’s not doing much.
Advice? How do people do this? My wife’s dead against letting anyone else look after our child, so it really does mean I’m going to have to play Mr (Afternoon) Mom…. Can someone have a career and juggle babies? Is it just a matter of having the phone in one ear and the bottle in the other?
Either way, there are a couple of months to go until it happens – so until then, I’ll be at the disco. In all seriousness : I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather do than look after my daughter. To spend time with her every day is an honor, an honor some dad’s don’t get. So I’m all too happy to do this. Sure, things will be harder… I mightn’t be able to work as much… but seeing my little girl grow is much more important than an extra byline somewhere. (That’s one for the laaaaaaadies out there).
Finally, Village Roadshow have supplied us with a few cool-looking shots from the upcoming “Beowulf”… check them out.