"Ha ha ha. We Suck."
Get on your knees; Travolta is coming back to you…Again, and again, and again. With a great big grin on his face. Why is he so happy? Because he gets to fly around in a plane all day. And from his last few attempts at trying to entertain me, I take it that’s all he cares about. He does a movie, he get a paycheck. He pays for fuel. He flies to Catalina for an ice cream cone. That’s his day in a nutshell. Except, on occasion, he has to stop by whatever wayback studio is catering his illuminated persona at the moment, and throw his weight into the camera lens. He’s like Morgan Freeman in that respect. For the last couple of years, all ol’ Morgan cared about was sitting in that boat of his. Fishing. Eating cheese sandwiches. I don’t blame him. I’d like to do the exact same thing. But do you know who’s paying for these once-upon-a-time thespians to continue with their extravagant hobbies?
Yeah, that’s right. Me. And every other louse that happens to drop a dime at the box office window. This would be fine if I was getting something worthwhile in return. But I haven’t gotten anything of value from Travolta since the original Get Shorty. At least Freeman realized the tide had turned against him. That if he didn’t do something of importance soon, he’d be sitting on the dock of the bay instead of on the back of his precious Proud Mary. So, hence forth, we got his wonderful performance in Million Dollar Baby (which just won a best supporting actor trophy hours ago), a film he put himself into whole-heartedly. The sneaky bastard even earned himself an Oscar nod for the effort.
Poor ol’ Johnny Boy, though? The Scientologist Kid can’t get arrested in this town. No one wants to see a fat, gray haired Travolta emulating his SNL Marlon Brando impersonation. A Love Song for Bobby Long just didn’t do its job. For Christ’s sake, the damn thing reads like a revisionist's take on Threes Company. Only, John looked more like Mr. Furley than Jack Tripper. And he was playing the Joyce Dewitt role (i.e. – the roommate no one wants to f*ck).
Now he’s back, once again, trying to earn our good graces. At the outset, Be Cool almost sounded like a good idea. It’s based on an Elmore Leonard novel. It’s a sequel to a crowd-pleasing hit. And it has a cast of thousands. Each and every one of them likable in some way. I couldn’t wait for The Pacifier (which was screening prior to this) to be over, so that I could jaunt across the hall and watch what was supposed to be one of the better movies of the New Year. Ten minutes into the thing, I was wishing I were back in front of Vin Diesel and his group of annoying kids.
That fact doesn’t bode well at all for Be Cool. At first, I thought it was just me. But, no, I’ve heard the same thing from a number of people. All of them a lot more sophisticated and understanding in the ways of good cinema than me. It’s inescapable. Be Cool is just a horrible time had at the multiplex. Lets put our hands together in applause, shall we folks? It’s the first contender for Worst Film of 2005!
Be Cool stands as a weird oddity. Its faceless cinema decorated with a bunch of instantly recognizable faces. It’s a stripped-down aqua-demic handshake. And an ode to leathery skin. It’s giving Ocean’s 12 a marathon jaunt in trying to win the title of Best Cannon Ball Run Remake seen this decade. Yeah, it is that bad. We’re seeing the largest group of actors ever assembled and line-up for has-been status. Call it a firing range.
The film reminds me a lot of The Blues Brothers 2000, reading like a cheap and easy redo. A completely unnecessary mess. Maybe it’s the Russian Mobster subplot. That sh*t reeks like a straight-to-video B level flick from the 80s. At least the Blues Brothers 2000 made sense and was somewhat watchable. At least the musical numbers were entertaining. Be Cool is a confusing mish-mash of incomprehensible scenes that never manage to amount to anything.
It’s the Star Wars Christmas Special of John Travolta movies. Why do I say that? Because after you watch it, you never want to see anything John Travolta related again for a very long time. In a cruel attempt to play like a novelty act, it takes the work he and Uma Thurman did in Pulp Fiction and completely bastardizes it. The midpoint arc trots out a dance segue that is supposed to rekindle memories of Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace, but it fails in stirring up any kind of emotion at all. It’s like watching the dead dance at their own funeral. The scene is over, and you feel dirty for having sat through it. Why couldn’t they just leave well enough alone?
Because Hollywood is a bitch. And they want to ruin everything.
The very next day following the screening, I was asked to attend a group press junket for the film. Sure, it sounds cool. I’d get to meet a large group of coveted actors all in one fail swoop. But trust me, it was quite painful. The studio trotted each one in, one after the other, like cattle heading into a cage. God, I just wanted to put a bolt in their collective head. Instead, I fell asleep.
Yup, I fell asleep right in front of John Travolta. He didn’t seem to mind. He kept yammering away about whatever it was he wanted us to know. It’s very interesting to watch Scientologists conduct interviews. They are always in control. Sometimes, it might seem like the journalist is getting the leg up, but seasoned pros like John know what they are doing. It’s an admirable trait, in a way. I’d like to learn how to do it. I think Travolta was on too me. He knew I was watching his technique. I honestly think he put some of that mind control hooba-jooba on me. That Urban Cowboy put his mind coma in effect…
That’s all right; I still managed to hold my recorder up in his face. I caught the whole torrid talk session for you guys, my trusted fr-enemies. Here it is in all its glory…
(press here to listen to John Travolta)
I also recorded the ultra boring Uma Thurman conversation. Listen near the end, she slips and accidentally calls Ethan Hawke her husband. The collective gasp this drained out of the wasting audience was enough to push a dead guy out of his grave…
(press here to listen to Uma Thurman)
Now, the thing is, this took place in a room with thousands of other journalists from every drugstore rag you can imagine. Quotes pulled from this chat session will be used all over the place. Movieweb is the only outlet where you’ll actually be able to hear them in their entirety.
Shame on you for sitting through them.
Dont't forget to also check out: Be Cool