It's taken 27 years, but Hollywood finally got around to making another Conan movie. Since the original big-screen Cimmerian barbarian is currently in exile following a detour into politics and a series of personal troubles, Conan's sword has been passed to a new slab of beefcake, Jason Momoa. The Hawaiian-born actor has a fair amount of experience playing muscle-bound warriors with superb fighting skills and great hair -- check out his work on the TV shows Stargate Atlantis and Game of Thrones for proof. And if the new Conan flops, there are plenty of other '80s fantasy franchises in need of a revival that Momoa would be a good fit for. Because, let's be honest: we're all kinda tired of these girlyman action heroes, right?
Rumors of Conan's return to the big screen had been swirling for years. At one point, it even seemed like a certain Austrian bodybuilder would once again wield the sword of the character that made him a star in the tentatively titled King Conan: Crown of Iron. But then that guy opted to go into politics instead and the barbarian remained lost in the Hollywood wilderness.
Wasn't Lionsgate supposed to be revamping their image to be more Universal Pictures and less Dimension Films? Isn't that why they risked a visit from the Cenobites by mutilating the release of Clive Barker's Midnight Meat Train? If so, then Lionsgate has a warped idea of what constitutes classy movies. They are currently in the process of dropping $100 million on a remake of Ah-nuld's gory 1982 showdown with a Darth Vader voice, Conan the Barbarian. The John Milius and Sandahl Bergman epic, written by Ollie Stone, was originally rewritten by the folks who did Sahara. That script was tossed, presumably because nobody would believe Matthew McConaughey was barbaric. At least not the way Conan is.
It's hard to imagine that anything can beat the awesomeness that is the original Red Dawn. After all, it had Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey as teenagers fighting (and slaughtering) invading Cubans and Soviets. Plus, Harry Dean Stanton screamed "Avenge me!" from behind a chain-link fence. But they're remaking it all the same, and the writer and director attached to the project may actually be just what the film needs to become even more kick-ass than the original.
It was announced that next week CBS will be running a special on the American Film Institute's top 10 movies of 10 different genres. They haven't yet revealed what movies made the cut (you'll have to tune in to see, apparently), but their website does have a list of the 500 nominees.
I've sifted through them (so you don't have to!) and was surprised by more than a few of the noms, particularly since some of the criteria jurors were asked to consider are "Critical Recognition," "Cultural Impact" and "Major Award Winner." All that and they have to be American productions! When the one hundred picks come out on the 17th, we'll see what they give us, but in the meantime, I've gone through the nominees and called out a few that had me doing a double take. These were up for the best of the best!?