I'm in what looks to be the final leg of my exclusive world set visit tour. I don't think I'm allowed to talk about where I am right now, or what I will be seeing. But it involves the desert, time travel, robots, and The Dark Knight. It should be a good one. Actually, it should be the last one for a little while, anyway. And they gave me a good dinner last night. Scrumptious. Very tasty. I might even sell my soul and tell you the movie looks stupendous at this point. But that's the name of the game. I.E.: I'm starving!
I actually have a little bit of free time, here in my luxurious hotel suite. So I am going to crawl back inside the Internet and get in touch with the Whoop-Doo! Nation that has seemingly left me behind. Here's what I've found thus far:
Robin Who? Boo!
Nottingham rumors? Boo! Are we so desperate for entertainment that we're actually focusing on who's going to be playing Robin Hood in the next incarnation of the tale? Just go rent Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves or Disney's foxy classic Robin Hood: Most Wanted Edition. The yarn has been spun a dozen trillion times, and I hear that the U.K. serialized drama Robin Hood, which is in its second or third season on The BBC, has done the age-old tale a wealth of good. We don't need any more goddamned Robin Hood adventures. The cannon is chocked up and pushed back like a bloated intestinal tract. I understand that Nottingham is a revisionist take on this moldy gold. I get that the Sheriff is the good guy this time out. And that Robin Hood is an evil cocksucker. And that there may be a sexy three-way on top of a mountain of bagged-up gold. But shouldn't we be focusing on other endeavors? Huh? Ridley Scott only puts out about seven movies a year. All of which star Russell Crowe. So why the hubbub? I just don't get it. Sure, Christian Bale would be awesome as Robin Hood. I want to see a 3:10 to Yuma reunion just as much as you do. But Sam Riley? He'd be a fine addition to the cast as well. Did you see Control? While forgotten at every major award show, it was one of the best films of last year. And Riley gave an amazing performance. Both actors are kick ass, and would make the project that much more interesting. But an announcement is about to be made soon, so we can stop losing sleep over it. Seems like a lot of websites, including ours, spent a little too much time this weekend agonizing over the fact. Fun? Sort of. Lame? Yeah, that too. Why don't they make it really interesting and cast Robin Hood as a girl? And she has the hots for Maid Marion? And the Sheriff finds himself torn between this lesbian do-gooder and this sexy chick trapped in a waffle tour. Now that's a real revisionist take, cause Hood was always a bad guy. Kelly Macdonald, last seen sporting an American accent in No Country for Old Men, would be way more interesting in the role than Bale or Riley. Also worth auditioning? Kelly's Trainspotting costar Ewen Bremner. Not the most handsome man in the world, but he'd sure be an evil dick of a Robin Hood. And let's not count out Jason Statham. It would be a change of pace for the chap, and he'd actually get to show off some of his hidden acting chops. Whatever way they go, we'll know soon enough. The film begins shooting in August. I'd say, if you are truly interested in this story (i.e. the heat wave has melted your firing neurons), just click back here in a day or two. By then, all of the worrying should be over. And we'll know who is, in fact, gearing up to pull on those green tights. Dave Chappelle, anyone?
Sunnyvale Year Seven? Whoop-doo!
Trailer Park Boys: Season 7? Whoop-doo! It's the funniest show on television. So why haven't you seen it? Oh, because it's Canadian. Sure, you'll boast toast and butter about decade old shows like Ricky Gervais' U.K. version of The Office, a sitcom that is nearly ten years old, and the highly touted Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg collaboration Spaced. But where is the U.S. love for Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles? Why, it's nowhere to be seen. I ask highly educated television enthusiasts who seem to know ever nook and cranny of their cable wire, but when I bring up this super awesome spectacle, I am met with blank faces. Here, the series as a whole only aired on BBC America for a short time, heavily censored (which takes away half the fun) and airing at four a.m. So I'm not surprised that very few U.S. citizens have delved into this truly classic little gem of a situation comedy. Earlier this year, producer Ivan Reitman introduced the big screen version of the franchise, aptly titled Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, to our shores. No one went. I'm not even sure if anyone has bought the DVD. After four empty critic screenings in Los Angeles, the projectionist told me I was the only one that ever showed up to watch it. I loved the movie. I'd been introduced to the series via my many set visits in Vancouver. And the film is a great place to start, as it sets up what you see on the small screen. (Look, fellows, you can order it HERE!) It's a stand-alone property. But once you sit through all seven seasons, you realize that it is a big screen rehash of everything that came before it. That is why, after loving the shit out of every single episode, Trailer Park Boys: Season 7 is so great. It is the three and a half hour rib-shattering epic that should have been the theatrical film. Shot using hi-def cameras this time around, it even feels like a film. There is not a moment waisted in the ten very funny episodes that make up this set, which was just released in Canada a month ago. The storyline sees Bubbles stealing Patrick Swayze's "Swayze Express" model train, which Ricky and Julian decide to use to smuggle dope over the Canadian/American border. Sebastian "Do you love trains!" Bach swings in for an unbelievable cameo, while Randy BoBandy and Philadelphia Collins open a restaurant in Sunnyvale called "The Dirty Burger". "Jump the Cheeseburger" is as classic an episode as you will ever find in the entire Seinfeld episodic run. Supremely written, Trailer Park Boys as a whole is one of the best sitcoms ever produced. And this season is one of its standouts. Hunt it out. Watch it. You will come to love it. I'm going to go out on a very thin limb branch and say, it's even better than Spaced, if only because they could sustain their adventures for a longer small screen run. Yeah, it's truly that good. And I think Simon Pegg would have to agree. Yes, it's that good.
Jolly Green Giant? Boo!
The Incredible Hulk? Boo! I'll admit it. I fully bought into the last minute hype revolving around this ugly little kicker. And it kicked me in the face. I was expecting to see an action extravaganza ripped right out of the pages of a Marvel comic book. Sadly, that is exactly what they delivered. And now I know why that's a bad thing. Stepping away from this eight-two minute flop sweat of sulking energy, I realize that nothing at all happens. There is no story. And I no longer have to wonder what Ed Norton was fighting so hard for (I'll give you a hint: a plot!). Sure, this thing is way too long at less than ninety minutes, but I wonder if the other missing seventy minutes actually have some sort of a narrative structure that would have made this tiny, arbitrary bitch-slap at all worthwhile. At this point, disappointed, I'm going to be the shitbrick and say that I prefer Ang Lee's doped-up version of the Hulk mythos. Even despite the Hulk dogs and the climactic end fight where Hulk beats up a storm cloud. You can't deny this one simple fact: At least Ang Lee's film is interesting to look at. And his Hulk looks ten times more believable than what they've hastily drawn up here. They could have ripped pages out of the comic and shown them on screen, and they would have been more believable. Trust me, I'm all for a movie that utilizes and adherers to the Hulk smash aesthetic (hey, look at me, I spelled it right!). That's why I wanted to see this new version in the first place. I heard it was nothing but Hulk smash! A theatrical version of All-Berry Crunch. But the CGI looks down right terrible. And you cannot argue that fact. It's some of the worst cartoon doodling I have ever seen in a live action, big budget endeavor. The Incredible Hulk looks like a gay Chippendale's dancer with green teeth and a funky eighties hairdo. That climatic end fight sequence is so fake and uninteresting, I started praying that the human characters would come back into the fold. I love the part where Hulk uses the ass end of two police cars as a pair of boxing gloves, but through the entire set piece, I kept thinking, "God, this would be way cooler if they'd manipulated a bodybuilder in green paint." They tried to emulate the TV series. Well, they should have gone that extra mile. For a mindless summer movie, it is barely doable. It's the awful CGI that truly does it in. I wouldn't wish this version of the Hulk on my most hated critic. So why did you all wish it on me? Assholes.
New funny kid? Whoop-doo!
Josh Gad? Whoop-doo! The boy looks like a chubbier, slightly handsomer Adam Brody. Watch the two play ball, and you can see them portraying on-screen brothers in a caper about "Who killed the Emo kid?" Gad is one of the funniest cinematic youngsters not associated with the Apatow camp, and his performances continue to surprise and elevate the projects he's lent his slow burn aperture too. He first came into focus on the set of this year's surprise hit 21. The guy was that film's one and only bright spot, giving the tortured black jack drama its few moments of levity. Then came his turn as the keyboard player in The Rocker. Surrounded by the capable likes of Rainn Wilson, Teddy Geiger, and Emma Stone, Gad easily steals the show in this mid-August laugher. A hard thing to do, considering he's going up against Dwight Schrute. Josh has a natural playfulness that elicits a smile from even the most mundane of scripted lines. Next year, he will be seen in the raunchy teen comedy Mardi Gras. While it looks to be your average Road Trip type vehicle, the work I witnessed Josh doing on set seemed to set it apart from its predecessors. A little funnier than his peers on the circuit, Gad is certainly one to watch in the next couple of months. And it wont be long before he is a bankable star, eclipsing those around him with his good-natured personality. I didn't want to go this far, but he might just be this decade's answer to Tom Hanks. Um, okay. Maybe that is a little far fetched. But screw it. I can say whatever the Hell I want to. Because I have a keyboard.
Killer Plants? Whoop-doo!
The Happening? Whoop-doo! I couldn't believe my eyes watching this. It is the most awesomely horrible movie I have seen in ten years. A summer tent pole that harkens back to the worst films of 1956. Was that intentional on M. Night Shyamalan's part? If so, The Happening is a brilliant recreation of the worst Drive-In B movie ever made. Maybe that's the secret twist. It looks like a real movie of the 2000s. But its heart was constructed and conceived in the heyday of Ed Wood. If it's an accident, that makes it even more of a feat of wonder. Mark Walberg talking to a fake houseplant? A dude lying down in front of his riding lawn mower? Miscasting in every single role? Using the R rating to pimp it out, even though it looks like a PG rated film? People running from slight gusts of wind? Best part: "I like hotdogs." The movie is a waterfall of randomness and cheese. Every moment is a great big lollipop of stupendous, unbelievable crap with a chewy shit center. All I could do was watch it in awe, and wonder aloud, "What the fuck were they thinking?" It is the true definition of "So Bad it's Good". It deserves a special reward, and will probably get several when the Razzies are announced. I'm actually excited about watching it again. Something I can't say for its screen debut partner-in-crime The Incredible Hulk. A truly horrible little fast food movie that is as dumb as it is a tremendous achievement in vehicular cinema.
Web Geeks? Whoop-doo!
2008 Comic Con Webmaster Panel? Whoop-doo! Do you want to see exclusive early clips from Crank 2: High Voltage and Game? Do you want to meet and greet some of the Internet's best journalistic personalities and writers? Well, then, you are in luck, as Robert Sanchez of IESB has once again gone and coordinated another Comic Con Webmasters panel, this time entitled "Wrath of Con". (Trauma Con is more like it!) This time out, directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor will be moderating and bringing video from their two upcoming projects that you can't see anywhere else. It should be a lot of fun. Our own Paulington J. Christensen will be on hand, so you can sling your nasty comments about his seven-layer burrito smelling mustache at him live. Here is the official listing as seen in the Comic Con 2008 guide: 10:00 -11:00 Masters of the Web - Moderated by Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Crank 2: High Voltage, Game) - It's the second year in a row that the biggest genre and movie websites are coming together to discuss how new media has affected movie making, what it takes to run a popular site and much more in a panel discussion and Q&A session. Participating panelists include Robert Sanchez (IESB); Garth Franklin (Dark Horizons); Mike Sampson (Joblo); Erik Davis (Cinematical); John Campea (The Movie Blog); Brad Miska (Bloody Disgusting); Eric "Quint" Vespe (AICN); Devin Faraci aka The Internet (Chud); Paulington J. Christensen III (Movieweb) and Kellvin Chavez (Latino Review). Room 32AB. This should be a real blast of fucked up fun. Especially if these guys start ripping into bloggers like copy and paste de jour Alex Billington. So, if you are swinging through the hallowed halls of Comic Con, make sure you don't miss this twice in a lifetime experience. And make sure you tell Paulington what a douche bag he is for me. He loves that shit.
Russert Leaves Us? Boo!
Well, it's about time for me to crawl away from this air-conditioned couch and head out into the heat wave laden field of live action movie making here in New Mexico. I just want to toss off a couple more quick ones for you to discuss amongst yourselves: House of the Dead: The Funny Version Director's Cut? Whoop-doo! Uwe Boll takes a hit and makes fun of himself and his awful little movie. George Carlin, Stan Winston, and Tim Russert die before their time? Boo! Wonderful men, one and all. Some truly great artists passed away this past week. And Tyler Perry slaps his cousin with a cease and desist order for using his name in a film promo? Boo! That jerk has been plundering his family for onscreen and stage material for years. And he's made millions of dollars doing it. But he won't let his own cousin have a little tasted of the fame and name recognition? What a cock-guzzling dick.
Until next time, may all of your wet dreams come true, and may you outlast this heat wave! (Kill grandma! Eat Food!) Oh, and I'll save you some time so you don't over exert yourself in this grueling hot weather: "B. Alan Orange! I Hate You. And Your Stupid Column!" There you go. You're all set. You can relax, sit back, enjoy a cold beer and turn on the A/C.