Ok so I admit that I never saw Night at the Museum, which may well render me unqualified to write about the news that Christopher Guest will appear in the sequel -- yes there's gonna be a sequel -- playing Ivan the Terrible. I am, however, qualified to speculate on whether or not Guest -- whose work in such gems as This Is Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman has placed him among the retinue of modern day comic geniuses -- is, like totally selling out or if he's pulling a Colbert in The Love Guru, i.e. elevating cinematic dreck to a higher plane by virtue of his involvement. It's a toughie. Could be he's doing both.
Brett Ratner must really hate me. Of the top three simple pleasures I enjoy in everyday life -- food, wine and movies -- the man has to take some kind of sick pleasure in ruining at least one of them every few months. As I haven't seen him at any L.A. restaurants in a while, I suppose I wasn't that surprised to read that he's setting out to ruin yet another movie franchise that I love. I reported last week that the man who in slaughtered the third X-Men movie had just signed on to helm the 4th Beverly Hills Cop film, which will once more star Eddie Murphy. That alone was enough to put a damper on my day, but now he's revealed the icing on the cake: He's aiming to gear the film toward a PG audience.
There are some things in life that terrorize us for a while, then seemingly disappear, only to show up again when you least expect it. The fake orange tan fad, for one. A raging herpes infection, for another. Then there's the possibility of another sequel to 1996's The Nutty Professor, which starred Eddie Murphy and various fat suits as the gaseous but mostly well-meaning Klump family. The modern-day Jekyll-and-Hyde story (a remake of a 1963 Jerry Lewis movie of the same name) had some laughs and general good will, which it managed to blow away a few years later with a gale force fart, thanks to The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. It's been eight years of blessed silence since then, but the studio and production company that brought you the first two movies are working on a third.
Let's play a guessing game. What movie, if any, will unseat Will Smith's Hancock this weekend? Well, let's look at what's opening and make an educated guess. First up is the sequel to that OTHER superhero movie that's opening in July, Hellboy II. The first one made money, and is something of a cult classic, and (like Dark Knight) Hellboy II reunites its cast with the director of its predecessor. I loved the original film, but this in no way has the same drawing power as Will Smith. Fans of Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo Del Toro will go, as will Hellboy fans, but that's not enough.
Forbes' list of Hollywood's best paid actors was released this week, and even in this shit economy the boys of the big screen are certainly not hurting for cash. The girls aren't hurting either, but no woman managed to break the top ten in earning. My get-paid-less-for-doing-the-same-job-in-Tinsel-Town bitch session will commence in the break room here at Moviefile headquarters around 12:30, but in the meantime, I'll skip right to the top earners.
Sometimes you get a nice slow one pitched across the plate. To promote Meet Dave, the new Eddie Murphy movie opening July 11th, Twentieth Century-Fox is using a 15-foot replica of Murphy's head. The 3-ton noggin has made appearances in Washington D.C., and should be in Times Square by the time you read this. The latest proof that all marketing people should be tarred and feathered is also interactive. No, it doesn't scream profanities! This is the PG-rated Ed-DEE, safe for kids and blue-haired old ladies! It's interactive because, as the newscaster on this site explains in the web video, you can actually climb into the replica of Eddie Murphy's head. Why on Earth would you want to do that, you ask? So you can find out what the hell Eddie was thinking when he made Norbit.
Film industry relationships are complicated. Most relationships are, but at least with marriages and dating, we at least have some frame of reference. Our friends or family members have been through the same things we have, and can share their experiences with us. And if not, we can always watch the wack-jobs on Maury to make ourselves feel better. Let's look at the relationship troubles between DreamWorks SKG and Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, as reported by Zap2it, in terms we might be able to relate to.
Over the last decade or so, people have been showing up in movies in which they don't belong. I'm not talking about casting boo-boos that stretch suspension of disbelief, like Denise Richards as a rocket scientist/Bond girl. I'm talking about R-rated people in G- and PG-rated movies. The current glut started in the mid 90's with Harvey Keitel in Monkey Trouble. Considering that Keitel spent the entire decade onscreen fully, frontally nude, a movie with a troublesome monkey in the title seemed perfect for him. However, Monkey Trouble was about an actual monkey, not Harvey's little bad lieutenant. The idea the title invoked was rated NC-17, but the MPAA bestowed a PG on the execution. Still, if a parent took a kid to see Harvey Keitel's Monkey Trouble, theater management should have called protective services.
Next, Eddie Murphy, a man so verbally dirty that he once did a routine on how much he cussed, showed up in Mulan, an animated Disney movie. He played a dragon, and the only "ass" that exited his mouth was the one attached to the naked guy his dragon character bit. Then Ed-DEE started talking to animals, and what he was saying to them was a whole lot cleaner than what he used to say to us. That movie, along with the Shrek series, has kept Murphy from returning to his R-rated roots. The upcoming Meet Dave appears to continue the tradition of keeping Murphy PG-13 and below.
It's been 11 years since Murphy uttered onscreen the word for which he is most famous, a word whose fame he shares with the current "what the hell is he doing in a kiddie movie" celebrity, Martin Lawrence. Lawrence recently had a minor hit with Disney's G-rated College Road Trip. This is the same man who advised putting Tic-Tacs in women's punanies, and whose mouth alone got You So Crazy rated NC-17. Now he's showing up in family-friendly movies like Open Season.
NWA's most wanted rapper, Ice Cube, has also followed this trend. First he was telling us how to, um, handle the police. Now he's falling through roofs and taking kids to amusement parks. Cube made Are We There Yet? and Are We Done Yet?; his former rap records appeared to predict he'd make "Are We Dead Yet?" and "Did You Come Yet?"
What next? Traci Lords voices an animated princess being wooed by Ron Jeremy's hedgehog prince? Formerly dirty comedians and actors in kiddie movies are akin to filming Cookie Monster giving Elmo a Princeton rub. But then again, even Norman Mailer wrote children's stories.
The overJesused folks who picketed The Golden Compass asked what would happen if their kids liked the movie and sought out the far more atheistic novel on which it was based. I ask what would happen if some parent sees Ice Cube on a CD cover at Target and brings home Death Certificate thinking the star of Are We There Yet is singing songs by Raffi.