Hey, Paulington! Is a new Cinephile advice column that looks at life, love, and the movies. Anyone can send in a question, and Paulington will answer it. Sure, it's a really cryptic, cliched concept that has been around since the dawn of time. But we're going to spice it up a little bit. Topics can range from anything: Sex, violence, haints and taints, your favorite movie! Paulington doesn't care. He's basically doing it for a paycheck. He's not really an expert on anything. But he sure does know a lot about movies and human nature. You can send your questions to (as in, click on the giant red letters and you will automatically be sent to his email):
And he will be sure to answer all of them in a very timely manner. Here are this week's letters. Enjoy!
Remake-it is! It seems like every week there's another 80's movie remake announcement. I think if you wait long enough, every movie will eventually get remade. Can a Die Hard remake starring Christian Bale be too far off? (sarcasm) Some future remakes hold promise, like the new Clash of the Titans, Tron and A Nightmare on Elm Street because of their great casting and upgrade in special effects wizardry. Other remakes seem more dubious, like blatant cash cows: Predator, The Karate Kid and RoboCop. I know that studios fill in their production slate with safe, name-recognized brands that act as insurance for them since movies are such a high-risk investment. My question is: Why doesn't Hollywood harvest the vaulted "Black List" (an annually updated list of the best unproduced screenplays) for fresh ideas instead of plundering their movie catalogs SO MUCH!?! Pat Morita is rolling over in his grave. Signed - "AnnoyingFilmCritic"
Dear Critic. Guess what? It was announced this week that they're remaking Drop Dead Fred with Russell Brand! This news comes just moments after he decided to also remake that musty old Dudley Moore comedy Arthur. Which proves that even our premier comedic minds can't get an original thought passed into actualized conception. It's important to consider this when looking at the current output of cinematic endeavors being force-fed into our local theater: Producers covet the "Black List"! It is one of the few tools currently being used to get original and thought provoking films pushed into production. I've talked to a number of producers and directors over the last few months, and they're all on the same page. They are eager to get more original material into this giant Hollywood machine. But that is proving to be more difficult by the day. Because those that control the money want to see a guaranteed return. Name recognition and familiarity provides that securable cushion. A lot of up and comers are only able to get their foot in the door by taking on a "remake" or a "franchise" picture. Even though they'd rather be doing just about anything else. Look at Justin Lin. His Better Luck Tomorrow was a critical darling. A drama that garnered Lin copious amounts of praise. He was soon scooped into the system, and before you could blink twice, they had him behind the lens of two Fast & Furious sequels. He's a very talented guy with a lot of ideas. But those ideas haven't ever been road tested. So he is forced to feed his family with a name brand product. Its all about branding in this day and age, and if you don't have a proven money making title or a big name actor willing to go the distance, none of the bigger studios are going to finance your lame little screenplay. The "Black List" is actually changing that way of thinking. And it is being harvested, as you say. Once a moneyman for any given studio sees how much attention one of the Black Listed screenplays is getting, they deem it worthy of a work out. They actually become more receptive towards its ability to win over an audience. But even then, said story has to jump through a number of hoops before it becomes a reality. Both Juno and Lars and the Real Girl appeared on the list in 2005. Both films got made. And both screenplays went on to be nominated for an Oscar. Diablo Cody won for her crafty scribbles. Neither, though, was what you'd consider a blockbuster. They were upheld and supported at the theater by the bigger films surrounding them. The thing you have to consider is that both films were made by an independent arm of a big studio. Though awesome and audience friendly, they are still, to this day, looked at as artsy-fartsy vanity projects reserved for that shoebox theater on the hill. Your big summer blockbusters aren't going to come from this list, and these are the films that make it possible for the smaller ones to exist. If you look at this year from a distance, it seems that we are once again being plagued with remakes, and reboots, and age-old toy properties. Its because these behemoths are guaranteed to make money. And they've been shoved to the forefront of our commercial consciousness. If you squint just a tiny bit, you will discover a whole world of new and unique cinema awaiting you out there. Sure, you might have to wait for some of this stuff to hit DVD, but with Itunes and Netflix, and Amazon, its definitely available to a wider group of individuals than ever before. Despite being bombarded with regurgitated pabulum, 2008 has been a particularly great year for new and exciting cinema. If you don't want to watch Star Trek, why not see O'Horten instead? I'm sure you've never seen anything like it. Forget about Wolverine, Il Divo turns a boring real life political biopic into a high-octane examination of life and the evils that plague the corrupt. It is a true superhero flick, only its focus is on the bad guy. Again, I doubt you've experienced anything quite like it. Become a film detective. Seek out and search for the best. There are definitely alternatives to the remake machine lingering all around you. And some even came from that ballyhooed Black List. Sleuth it out. Find them. Maybe then you'll stop being so annoying.
I keep trying to get my girlfriend to go (Eastbound & Down) when we are at the movies, but she is scared. She is worried someone might see us. I think it is very exciting, and adds to the thrill of it. I have a fantasy of watching Beyonce in Obsessed while my girlfriend (goes to town)! It is very much a turn-on. What is the best way to convince her to (do this)? I said I'd return the favor. But that didn't seem to matter. She said she would be even more embarrassed in that (situation). Help me out, man! - Signed, "McCracken"
Dear McCracker. I had to clean up your letter a little bit, because it was Raw like Eddie Murphy. As a red blooded, beef-eating, Pabst-swilling male, I fully understand your plight to experience the visceral pleasures that come from watching Beyonce and Ali Larter scratch each other's eyes out while some sexy tramp enjoys a nice lollipop lap snack courtesy of your zipper shack. It's the American dream. Cheap and thrilling. Heck, even Mr. Six would have to call "eight flag" on that sorted business. At the same time, I can also fully understand your girlfriend's hesitant nature. Have you been to the Cineplex lately? Most PG-13 rated movies are full of seat kickers and kids screaming at the top of their lungs. The sticky floor, the garbage, not too mention the place is lit up like a Christmas tree from all of the Alex Billington's of the world Twitflixing in the back row. My first inclination would be to do this nasty business at home. But that certainly yanks the nauseous feeling of getting caught out from under your feet. Half the pleasure comes from being in a public place. (You nasty little pervert.) My best advice? Wait until the film has been out for a couple of weeks. Take her to see a weekday matinee, when there will be maybe two or three people in the theater. Sit in the top left corner of the back row. Coax her in, and show her its safe. No one is going to see you. Once she realizes how much fun and excitement can come from this activity, she'll want to do it at least once a month. Just realize: At some point you'll have to periscope the darkness of her thighs while she moans to Zac Efron playing shirtless basketball. It's the price you pay. Another good place to test the waters of Cineplex sex? The $1 theater. But again, only on a weekday. You don't want some popcorn hobo moving in on your action. My favorite place to get it on while watching Obsessed? The Mission Tiki Drive-In. This avenue of fuck-letting allows you to do anything (and I do mean anything) in the comfort of your own backseat. Passer-bys might still see you, but you're protected by metal and glass. You haven't lived until you've watched a planet destroyed upside down from your windshield. It's too bad there aren't more of these places around nowadays. Sexing at the Drive-In is funner than Disneyland. And cheaper, too! If there's one near you, that's definitely the way to go. Get on her!
I get my news from you guys and Bloody Disgusting. While doing my rounds this morning i stumbled across some snarking and petty bickering over the difference between a remake and a reboot. So my question is: what is the difference between a remake and a reboot? I read somewhere that a remake is basically like a one shot, where as a reboot is like a remake with the intent of multiple sequels to follow, but since it all seems to be rather subjective i thought perhaps you could clear it up for me. Thanks man. - Singed, "Err"
Dear Err. Again, with the remakes! This seems to be a very popular point of discussion. Reboots are remakes! It's like this: Take a Lego castle, destroy it, and rebuild a house. It looks different, sure. But you've "remade" it with the same basic pieces. "Reboot" and the more desirable "reimagining" are buzz words created by the studio system to trick and convince you into thinking that you're getting something a little bit different than your average remake. They want you to think you're getting something brand new, when, in fact, you are getting the same old regurgitated garbage from the year before. Their reasoning behind using these "fluffer" words is that they are going in a slightly different direction with the material than the original did. Isn't that the point of redoing something? To take it in a new direction? To create something fresh out of its old pieces? Heck, like you said, it's all subjective at this point. The word "reboot" is most commonly used when a studio wants to fire everybody and get a whole new cast and production team behind their franchise. Two recent examples of this would be The Incredible Hulk and Punisher: War Zone. Neither are remakes. They were intended to be sequels. But nearly every aspect of these two franchises has been changed. Only the characters' names and Wayne Knight have remained the same. Thus, they have "rebooted" it. It's a nice way of saying, "We know the first one sucked. Here! We've made you another one, but its completely different!" When, in fact, it's pretty much the same old crap. Star Trek is the prime example of a true "reboot". They are using the same characters and themes, but they've set up a story that deals with Doc Brown's space-time continuum, thus creating a wormhole where new actors can experience never before seen stories without discounting anything that happened in the original 1966 Star Trek television series. It's quite brilliant, really. So it's like this: Remakes use the same story, characters, themes, and ideas. Reboots use the same characters, themes, and ideas while creating never before seen stories. Usually they don't use any of the same creative elements that brought the original to life. Except in the case of Star Trek, where they've found a way to have real Spock co-exist with "reboot" Spock. Again, the concept is nothing short of brilliant. Don't let any buddy tell you any different.
What's the deal? Why isn't this just called "Hey, B. Alan!" Aren't you two idiots the same person? You're a (explicative) retard! - Signed, "Disgusted with you!"
Dear Disgusting. This is a common mistake. And its really B. Alan's fault. Way back when Brad Orange (I swear to God, that is his real name) started doing "the Internet's first movie podcast" [email protected], he sent our Webmaster a new template for a Soju homepage. You can still see it here. The Webmaster put my name under B. Alan's picture, and vice versa, because he didn't know whom any of us were. We thought it was funny, and played it up at that angle. While doing the podcast, we would often manipulate our voices, or pretend to be the other person. At the time, B. Alan was in a fairly popular local band, and didn't mind the anonymity of being "Paulington" for the purposes of this website. When B. Alan decided to end [email protected], I didn't think I would continue working for MW. But alas, I have. And now, some people think that I am Brad Orange. If B. Alan's picture doesn't convince you that he's more than just some Bigfoot creature, we both appeared on Cinemablend's popular weekly podcast The Weekly Blend. Listen in, and maybe you'll be able to guess what band he runs with. Maybe you've seen him play live. I haven't. And I am not B. Alan, so stop asking. Jerk face.
Send your questions about love, life, and the movies to:
Hope you have a great week! See you next time. (If you click on the big red letters, you will be taken to an email address where you will be able to leave your questions.)