I first have to give a major shout out to the world… and words don’t even begin to describe how much it sucks. We have all lost two MAJOR talents. And it makes me sad to know they are gone.
Irvin Kershner is gone. The director of the ‘best’ STAR WARS film ever – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. I mean, I know, that’s a bold statement – BEST STAR WARS FILM EVER… Depending on who you are, your age, your vocation, you might like THE PHANTOM MENACE. To that I say, poppycocks! You are wrong.
EMPIRE is the best and if you don’t agree, you are a poo-poo head.
Seeing as I just called some of you a poo-poo head, obviously I would butcher any kind of sentimental writing. I will say this, Empire is truly an amazing film and Irvin Kershner is the reason why. He wanted to make a movie about character, a second act that was part of a bigger mythology. Kersh, you gave us a wonderful, darkly moving, second chapter to an amazing space opera. I could write a whole article on just you, good sir. But instead, thanks for making a movie that will forever be in my top five movies of all time. You rock.
The second not so nice news on a passing is the brilliantly funny, Leslie Nielsen. On Facebook, everyone has been using his line: “Shirley you can’t be serious…” “I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.” Yes, this is a brilliant line, but it does not compare to the man that was the all time best ‘straight-man’ in history. AIRPLANE rocketed him to stardom and the NAKED GUN cemented his place in history.
Again, I could write a whole article on Mr. Nielsen. Instead, I will tell you this: I had the distinct pleasure of actually sitting down to dinner with him. My uncle was his lawyer and me, my mother and uncle, sat down and broke bread with this amazing man. Every time the waiter bent over to pour the water, Leslie would clench his fist (where he hid a fart-maker) — Phfft! The waiter would stop and look around. Leslie would clear his throat and ask, “Was that you?” This is what I will always remember. And I am so lucky to have met him personally and to have seen his movies. You rock.
Okay… with all that being said, I wanted to get back to some movie news, ONE movie in particular, actually. And that movie is COWBOYS AND ALIENS.
The reason I am so excited is for a number of reasons. Harrison Ford is in it. Daniel Craig is in it. Jon Favreau is directing it. Steven Speilberg, Ron Howard and Bryan Grazer are producing it.
This is a dream team of people bringing an obscure comic book story to life.
The official synopsis reads: 1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger (Craig) with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It’s a town that lives in fear.
But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known.
Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he’s been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force. With the help of the elusive traveler Ella (Olivia Wilde), he pulls together a posse comprised of former opponents—townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Apache warriors—all in danger of annihilation. United against a common enemy, they will prepare for an epic showdown for survival.
And check out this swanky trailer:
I’m in. Totally in. Like – this is fricken’ epic, in.
I heard about the comic book a while ago. It was published in 2006, optioned in name only by DREAMWORKS even before that, in 2004.
And now, finally, it’s headed to the big screen in 2011 as a HUGE, summer blockbuster.
You know what I like? I like that the title tells you everything about what to expect. I mean – you got some cowboys and some aliens. Not a real deep title but it works, ya’ know? I also like that it’s just a vague enough comic adaptation that no one has really heard of. For me, it represents the closest movie green-lit as a new, original idea. Something I am happy about.
I mean there are comic books EVERYONE has heard of. Every time Variety mentions a new adaptation – SPIDER-MAN, BATMAN, SUPERMAN, IRON MAN, GHOST RIDER, FANTASTIC FOUR, CAPTAIN AMERICA, HELLBOY, THOR, BLADE, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…. Everyone’s heard of them.
Who has heard of COWBOYS AND ALIENS? Who would have heard of COWBOYS AND ALIENS unless a name like SPIELBERG or FAVREAU or FORD was attached?
So I looked some stuff up… This is not a high selling comic book in comparison to the other behemoths out there, published by Platinum Studios, not Marvel or DC. It did, just all right in sales. So then, why create a big-mega-bucks-summer-blockbuster if your audience is only a fraction of say, a SPIDER-MAN or BATMAN audience?
Why? Because it just sounds cool.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate UNIVERSAL and DREAMWORKS for making a movie that is just… cool. Hopefully we are not too far off from an original script being given the same budget, leverage and talent.
I mean, look at that trailer! It’s a perfect teaser, gives you just enough to get excited and also, it has a look… like a true Western with crazy shit in the sky. In the set visit I read at joblo.com, the filmmakers say they are really trying to create a Western that is interrupted by a Sci-Fi movie. They mention Daniel Craig being a ‘Steve McQueen’-like lead and they are holding to a certain style and look.
You know I can think back on a simpler time… The 80’s
Original screenplays were actually being made, telling interesting, high concept stories that would earn the cash-money at the box office. Think about some of these ORIGINAL screenplays…GREMLINS, GHOSTBUSTERS, ET, GOONIES, RAIDERS, BACK TO THE FUTURE, BLADE RUNNER, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, THE TERMINATOR, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera….
I miss those days. Because the Hollywood today is only concerned with the audience a movie has before it even goes in front of the cameras. They plug in some numbers – this many people have read this book/comic book – seen this tv show/this old movie – and they throw some known actors at the main role, hire some big name director and recycle.
COWBOYS AND ALIENS just seems like a movie from back then. I mean it isn’t rocket science, cowboys vs. aliens?! Rock and roll with a side of cole slaw!
I love how Jon Favreau is trying to create a movie western that could stand on its own. The filmmakers even said that the western part of this movie could be it’s own movie. Brilliant premise.
The beginning of the trailer, aside from that weird handcuff-thingie on Daniel Craig’s wrist, the look makes me think of those old time movies with John Wayne or Will Smith. Add some aliens into the mix and, hot damn, you got a party made with Red-Bull and heroine poppers!
Now I admit, I’m totally clueless, heaping praise on a movie I haven’t even seen. What if it sucks-balls?
Well, as I said before, I am just happy the movie was made. I like the idea of mixing genres and doing something different. I like the idea of getting some big name talent behind it to get a fricken’ sweet premise off the ground. I want it to succeed. Not just because I want Harrison to be a part of a new and viable franchise, but also because I think it can be a really FUN movie experience!
So… the YOGI-BEAR trailer just slithered its way onto my television set… Apparently, Justin Timberlake voices BOO-BOO. Okay, here’s the thing, gag me with a spoon. Were there millions of people clamoring for a Yogi-Bear movie? A cartoon that was created and appeared in 1968? That audience doesn’t even know what a bear is anymore, let alone a Yogi!
And just because you cast Justin Timberlake in it and animate some fake-ass ‘bears’ doesn’t mean you can waste a slot in the holiday movie season and expect some dividends! Did anyone see MARMADUKE? Neither did I! No one did! Stop assuming some name recognition and a pop star is enough! Come on!
Was it bad that I threw my wine glass at the TV during the trailer? Even though my wife isn’t home, will she be mad for taking out my aggressions on the TV? It is close to Christmas, I’ll just tell her it was time for a new flat-screen and I was just being proactive.
Anywho… I have loved so many movies made by these individuals. Harrison Ford, well, shit, goes without saying. He’s the father I always wish I had. Sorry dad, just hard to connect with you in prison. I’m just kidding. He died in a tragic hammock accident in Nam.
Steven Spielberg? Does anyone question him anymore?
Daniel Craig? Guy has the dreamiest of blue eyes this side of the Mississippi. Plus, I love his James Bond. He kinda rocks.
Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman? The screenwriters of TRANSFORMERS, STAR TREK. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III, THE ISLAND– The Island? Um, okay…. Anyways, yeah, they can get the job done.
And lastly… Mr. Jon Favreau. Dude that wrote SWINGERS, directed and wrote MADE, directed ELF, IRON MAN and IRON MAN 2 …? These are some serious, geekworthy movies.
Yes, I have faith. There hasn’t been a bigger line-up since that Rocky Horror Picture Show screening I saw in Irvine….
I want more movies like this. I want high budget, FUN movies that remind me of ET, THE GOONIES, BACK TO THE FUTURE, GHOSTBUSTERS, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera….
Hollywood isn’t making movies like this very often. Every movie seems to have an angle, you know? See this movie because one million people bought the book! See this movie because there was a TV show that was popular back when Nixon was in office! See this movie because Hitchcock really fucked up the original and we’re going to make it better!
And there have been some really great movies and mega-blockbusters of the last ten years that have been original. Movies like: THE MATRIX, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, DISTRICT NINE, INCEPTION, AVATAR, FINDING NEMO, UP and THE HANGOVER. These were all original ideas that made bank. I know it doesn’t account for ALL movies, but I feel movies like THE MATRIX and INCEPTION or even AVATAR, don’t get a chance nowadays.
Some I’m throwing a challenge to the studios. Try something new.
Put that unknown screenplay by what’s-his-butt and put some talent behind it. Take a chance on a new idea and see what happens.
Sure, money doesn’t grow on trees. Except my parents’ trees…. There seems to be an endless supply there…
I’d like to think there are ways to make new and exciting stories no one has heard of on a reasonable budget. DISTRICT 9 is an example. Hell, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is a PERFECT example. That was a movie made for ten dollars with catering by El Pollo Loco. That movie made over 100 million!
We don’t need to see a ET remake, a BOSSOM BUDDIES movie or a re-imagining of GRAPE APE.
I’m sure there are plenty of great movies out there now just waiting to be found. Where’s the next GOONIES, GHOSTBUSTERS, GREMLINS? Ask the guy at your local Starbucks, slaving away on a lap-top. He/She might have a winner there and just needs a chance.
This public service announcement has been brought to you by the Letter Y. Phillip Morris. And your mom.
See you in line….