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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Thursday

It’s been an odd couple of days…

I was running around all day on Monday and didn’t even hear about the “fag” gaffe until 5p at night.

I was running around all day on Tuesday and got word about Ratner being out when Ratner was out. And found out that The Academy had not planned a way to keep Eddie Murphy in tow, though I would have encouraged them to do so.

The job of producing the Oscars really does start about now. That’s why Ratner – and Murphy, for that matter – were expendable. The biggest problem for The Academy bringing in a replacement for Ratner is that Don Mischer is already in place. So someone had to come in, be “the creative person,” be comfortable with Mischer, and make Eddie comfortable as well. It was a little tricky. The list was about 3 deep. And I don’t think The Academy actually approached any of those 3 before announcing Ratner’s exit… or even afterwards.

In some ways, I think The Academy was more comfortable writing off the entire Ratner era, including Eddie, than managing the situation at hand. Grazer’s name has come up internally as a potential producer of the show repeatedly in recent years. And again, without joking, without Gil Cates alive to take the reins late in the game, Grazer is a pretty safe choice. He can wrangle all the top talent in the business. Could he get Hanks and Cruise and Jim Carrey to host together? Yes. Will he? No idea. Could he just go the easy route and re-hire Billy Crystal, who has been anxious to get back in the tux for years? Sure. But unless he plans on being back next year, my guess is that Grazer has grander plans now that he has the job.

I assume that someone out there has spoken to the odd fact that we have now switched from the director of Tower Heist to the producer. If things go sideways again, no doubt, Ted Griffin will be producing the show.

I was in Roger Corman’s office when Grazer was announced. Maybe The Academy should have gotten Roger to do it… his reunion tour would be pretty impressive. And The Academy could save a bundle!

(Note to the “Muppets 2 Host” crowd… cure. But having spent my very early 20s working at Henson as a peon, I know how complicated this would be. I think they even tried it at the Emmys one year, no? I love The Muppets too. But all of a sudden, 60% of your production time becomes about making the puppet show work… as opposed to 20% of your time being focused on even the most difficult host. It’s the kind of thing you might attempt after you have a producing team in place that’s done it 3 years in a row and is ready for another level of challenge. It’s not the kind of thing you do in the midst of chaos. Sorry.)

So now it’s Thursday. (I think.) More running about. Shooting 3 (more) truly amazing talents today. Tintin tonight… on the same screen that I saw Shame on (again) last night. Well… the movies are so similar!

This week has been so loaded – and there is more coming in the next couple of days – that it feels like the Academy Award film festival. I almost can’t wait until it’s over just to get a little perspective on shooting The Dardennes and Roger Corman and Lynne Ramsey on one day, Nolte & Dunst on another, and Herzog, McQueen, and Verbinski in the next breath… and others who I won’t mention because I don’t want to get all the FlipCam crews beating on their monkeys.

Sorry I have not been Mr. Jump To It on this producer/host drama. But spending every day talking to talent puts in all in perspective. I am the luckiest boy in the world. So sayeth Pee Wee. So sayeth me.

64 Responses to “Thursday”

  1. actionman says:

    David, I know you were a HUGE fan (like me) of The Fall — why no advance discussion of Immortals, and why no video interview with Tarsem? I know it’s not an Oscar film, but he’s a premiere visual artist, and you love his work, so…what’s the deal? have u seen the film yet?

  2. David Poland says:

    I haven’t seen the film, actionman. And I’m not sure my feelings for The Fall were HUGE. I think there is some remarkable stuff in there. Not so sure the narrative really works.

  3. jesse says:

    actionman, I was also under the impression that not a whole lot of people have seen the movie. I mean, I’m sure some high-up geek writers and/or long-lead critics got some kind of a look, and there are a handful of reviews up on Rotten Tomatoes, but the only NYC press screening I heard about is happening… tonight. About five hours before the midnights (almost everything on 2,000+ screens gets a midnight here somewhere).

    I have some hope for it because I did really like The Fall, but it doesn’t look like it’s being much more widely screened than, say, Jack & Jill, for whatever that’s worth.

  4. actionman says:

    Oh, sorry David, I thought you were a passionate fan of the film, ala Ebert.

  5. sanj says:

    DP – what happened to the the rest of the TIFF dp/30’s … is the hype gone or just starting ? is are TIFF people stopping you from posting more ?

    i got so bored of Werner Herzog – Into The Abyss,
    mostly because within 10 minutes i have no idea what
    the movie is about .

    i wnat to see updated dp/30 docs – Madoff – blowing up mountains and gasland … stuff thats supposed to matter…plus Morgan Spurlock and his advertising doc .
    + saving those lions and whales and bees docs + human
    trafficking …

    a lot of the oscar people don’t do more dp/30’s for at least 6 months if they win or don’t ..

  6. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Is Jack & Jill Sandler’s worst? Sure looks like it could be a serious contender for the honor. And how much did Pacino get paid for it? I realize he’s made some stinkers lately, but being in J&J had to be about money only? Right? Based on trailers and TV spots only, it looks like Immortals has more unintentional laughs than J&J has intentional laughs.

  7. David Poland says:

    Not sure which thing I have failed at, actionman… seeing the film or being a HUGE Fall fan.

  8. actionman says:

    you haven’t failed at anything. i just thought i remembered you really championing the fall back in the day, in partic the perf of the little girl. no worries.
    i’m still curious to hear your thoughts on immortals if you ever do see it. i think it looks visually bodacious.

  9. jesse says:

    I doubt Jack & Jill is Sandler’s worst. Honestly, people see a little cross-dressing and a little bit of a slumming legend and they get all hyperbolic about how it must be the worst thing ever. I doubt it can beat the total, stunning, depressing lack of effort that went into Grown-Ups. His Longest Yard remake is a stunning waste of time and even talent, too. Jack & Jill looks more likely to be in line with his many post-2000 mediocrities: Just Go With It, Click, Anger Management, etc… the stuff that should be dumb fun but barely has the energy to do proper jokes.

    I will point out, however weakly, that Smigel apparently did a polish on J&J. He’s partially responsible for the best (out-and-out) Sandler comedy of the past ten years, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. That one gave me hope that he was getting back into comedies where he wouldn’t just play a rich suburban dad who says “ain’t” all the time… but since then it’s been back to lumptiude (save Funny People, which I really loved, but doesn’t really count, as it’s not a Sandler’s People movie. In fact, his performances outside of his Sandler Crew movies have been excellent, even when the movies stink).

  10. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Sandler is quite subjective. I found Click and Anger Management totally irredeemable and punishing to sit through. The Longest Yard was meh. Didn’t bother me that much. I’ve already forgotten Grown Ups but don’t recall despising it. Have not seen Just Go With It. The J&J trailer and TV spots are really that excruciatingly awful, and reviews indicate it’s a worthless movie with no laughs whatsoever. Sorry if that’s being all hyperbolic.

  11. jesse says:

    I mean, that’s not being hyperbolic in general, except to the extent that this situation (bad trailers, bad reviews) has existed with Sandler movies before and will probably exist again. I guess maybe the difference is that while Grown Ups looked lazy and was (deeply) lazy, and almost laugh-free, the *idea* of it didn’t sound so bad on paper — Sandler and his old buddies playing old buddies on a reunion weekend! Sounds kind of relaxed and could be amusing!

    Whereas Jack & Jill has a little more direct nails-on-chalkboard potential. But as dumb as the movie looks, I’m sort of happy to see him TRYING something that doesn’t involve him just being a suburban dad, even if it’s caricatured and probably lousy. In that sense, I would be shocked if J&J was just as bad, if only because Grown Ups really, really sucked.

    Sandler ranking time! (Happy Madison style movies only.)

    1. The Wedding Singer
    2. Happy Gilmore
    3. Billy Madison
    4. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan
    5. Little Nicky
    6. Mr. Deeds
    7. Big Daddy
    8. The Waterboy
    9. 50 First Dates
    10. Click
    11. Anger Management
    12. Just Go With It
    13. Bedtime Stories
    14. The Longest Yard
    15. Eight Crazy Nights
    16. Grown Ups

    Haven’t seen Chuck & Larry, only parts on cable… but that stuff made it look bottom-five worthy, easily.

  12. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    I feel like Sandler + Sandler-in-drag gives J&J a serious shot at being bottom 5 worthy. I’m an optimist that way.

  13. hcat says:

    I really don’t see how Jack and Jill is any dumber looking than most other Sandler vehicles. Though to give some credit Zohan was a nice suprise and the only one whose Sandleresque elements (Swarsdon, humping old ladies) didn’t outweigh the good stuff. Grown Ups was almost too slight to work up any guile toward, just a group with friendly chemistry lamenting getting old, almost like a Mike Leigh film for the dumb.

  14. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Only because there’s 2 Sandlers rather than 1 does J&J look dumber than most other Sandler vehicles.

  15. Sideshow Bill says:

    One of my flaws as a person is that I think The Waterboy and Little Nicky are hilarious. I also like Billy Madison and Zohan a lot. The rest are take or leave, with outright hate reserved only for Big Daddy, because the kid is horrifyingly bad.

    I won’t defend Sandler is lazy and makes a lot of crap, but I have a weakness for some of it. The schmaltzy stuff is the worst.

  16. Sideshow Bill says:

    If Chris Farley had lived to play the Kevin James role in Grown Ups that movie would have been improved exponentially. Kevin James is an aberration.

  17. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    The schmaltzy stuff is really hard to take. I haven’t seen them in years but enjoyed earlier Sandler like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Waterboy a lot. Big Daddy is good until the courtroom. The schmaltz definitely seems to have gotten worse over the years.

  18. LexG says:

    This is sort of a Sandler thread somehow, but since they just announced Billy Crystal as host of the Oscars, a question for the experts:

    On Twitter and these blogs, all the OSCAR FANATICS say stuff like “At least the Ratner meltdown came EARLY ENOUGH for them to still prepare” w new people, or “Whoever takes over is in a tough spot, can they PUT ON A SHOW THIS FAST?”

    Like, isn’t it THREE MONTHS AWAY? And they don’t know what movies are nominated. Does anyone really think Brett and Eddie had hours upon hours of material and logistical production matters prepare already? What REALLY can you do before the nominations are announced? What does an Oscar producer even DO anyway?

    Do they really need more than a couple weeks to prepare that wack-ass show they put on? The Franco/Hathaway one felt like they whipped it up over a weekend.

  19. Madam Pince says:

    So Billy Crystal will host again? This is a terrible, terrible idea. When he inevitably disappoints, all of the rosy nostalgia of his past gigs will be ripped away, and his legacy will get vastly downgraded retroactively. “He was always this awful, wasn’t he? Why did we ever like him?” etc. Bad idea.

  20. LexG says:

    Don’t get me started!!!

  21. Tuck Pendelton says:

    I’ve heard 8 Crazy Nights is pretty horrible. The last movie of his I’ve actually paid to see in a theater was Funny People. One of the worst theater experiences I’ve had…maybe ever. At one point my wife poked my arm and looked at her watch, and I told her 45 mins were left and she just shook her head. I walked out of Mr. Deeds. Grown ups was just lazy.

    Sandler’s stuff is junk food. Instant high, then regrettable stomach aches later. i’m 30, he’s seen as an icon by a lot of people my age. I just never got it.

  22. Tuck Pendelton says:

    Billy Crystal’s a nice choice. He can think on his feet, he can sing, he can zing people without sounding mean-spirited, he will look like he wants to be there (Franco), so yeah out with the new, in with the old.

  23. Sideshow Bill says:

    8 Crazy Nights is such a horribly misconceived and executed disaster that it’s kinda special. It’s almost unwatchable. I’m not one of those “so bad it’s good” movie fans. Folks who get off on, say, Troll 2, I just don’t get. 8CN is right there. Every idea is terrible. The songs are terrible. It’s worth watching in order to appreciate how hard it is to pull off something like Bad Santa.

  24. LexG says:

    I’m a Sandler mega-fan and just get tired of reading people who don’t “get” him, plus I’ve done this rant too, too many times, but FWIW it always seems to me there’s two distinct Sandler modes.

    One is Sandler as crazy character with a goofy accent or pesky demeanor going around doing his old Canteen Boy voice and wreaking mischief (the Billy Madison template, followed by Little Nicky, Waterboy, Zohan, etc, and parodied in Funny People, and now featured in Jack and Jill thanks to the twin/drag element.)

    But the weirder, more frequent Sandler mode, is where he’s just in his shorts and ballcap and is just sort of a passive, mellow guest star in his own movie, like in Grown Ups or 50 First Dates or Just Go With It. This is almost like relaxing/coasting Sandler mode, but to me THESE seem like the most phoned-in, 1983 Burt of the Happy Madison pics, Sandler looking like he just rolled out of bed and didn’t bring any jokes, but he seems all aw-shucks and likeable and the fans still seem to enjoy it.

  25. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, I know this is going to sound snarky, but: Billy Crystal has not had a significant movie role since 2002. He hasn’t been an Oscar host since 2004. I would not be surprised if a large number of people thought, until they heard today’s announcement, that he’d died years ago. Nothing against the guy — I’m sure he’s still very funny and, hell, he’s not that much older than me. But given all the talk in recent years about the Academy seeking a younger audience for the Oscarcast…

    Let me put it this way: Anyone out there remember how quickly Lucille Ball’s last sitcom got cancelled? Anyone remember Milton Berle’s variety show comeback?

  26. actionman says:

    The only Sandler films that are worth a spit: PDL, Reign Over Me, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Funny People, and maybe The Wedding Singer. Maybe on that last one…

  27. Roy Batty says:

    sorry, actionman, I am far from a Sandler fan but that list is just horrible. BILLY MADISON is terrible.

    However, I watched the THE WEDDING SINGER when it hit laserdisc and was so taken with it I put it back on and sat through the entire movie a second time. To this day I have not watched a movie twice like that

    PDL and FUNNY PEOPLE do not work, but hold your attention for awhile.

  28. Roy Batty says:

    And 50 FIRST DATES is charming fluff with a great odd-ball sense of humor. The characters and interactions built around the diner alone show more originality than most comedies.

    And Sean Astin just kills as the brother.

  29. JKill says:

    PUNCH DRUNK LOVE is brilliant, especially if you give it repeat viewings. It’s much more modest than all the PTA films BOOGIE and up, but it’s just as uncompromising, specfic, and beautifully cinematic. Sandler is genuinely terrific in it, and he should’ve been given a nomination. It’s also just deeply romantic and sweet.

    I think FUNNY PEOPLE, especially in retrospect, was one of the great films of that year.

  30. Roy Batty says:

    RE: Crystal

    Everyone should stop trying to be hipper and more cynical than the other posters: Crystal beats the pants off of every other host going back decades. If you don’t think so, I doubt you watched it regularly back then. Doesn’t hurt his first year was the one after Rob Lowe and Snow White.

    Hasn’t had a movie since ’02? Uh, dude, Johnny Carson was the host FIVE times and I doubt you can name a single movie he appeared in (it’s a trick question).

  31. sanj says:

    i guess if your are oscar host once – they got you for life.

    right now millions of movie fans are buying up the dvd’s to When Harry Met Sally…

    my guess – tv ratings will be lower cause them twilight
    kids aren’t going to watch old dude ..

    i expect Dave Letterman to show up as host in a few years …

    somebody should ask actors what they think of Billy hosting .. they have to sit for 3 hours …

  32. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, if you want to get technical about it, Johnny Carson “appeared” in quite a few films — whenever characters happened to be watching The Tonight Show. Or whenever Tonight Show clips have been used in dramas (The Newton Boys) or documentaries (most recently, Paul Williams Still Alive). Are you referring to the ’60s comedy Looking for Love?

  33. sanj says:

    DP wrote ” The Dardennes and Roger Corman and Lynne Ramsey on one day, Nolte & Dunst on another, and Herzog, McQueen, and Verbinski in the next breath…”

    movie critics – which one of these people will you rush out and interview if you had a chance and which ones will you avoid as long as possible .

    DP gets all these exclusives cause no other critic really wants to interview these people ?

    DP is helping movie history. DP should be in a museum doing these interviews .. Smithsonian museum would be
    a good place to start.

  34. movieman says:

    That Grantland piece on “Tower Heist”/Ratner/Murphy/et al pretty much said to all.
    Crystal hosting the Oscars (again) is like 1992 all over again. Wake me up when it’s over.
    Thank you for tub-thumping “PDL” and “Funny People,” JKill. The former was #1 on my 2002 best list, and the latter nearly made the cut in 2009 (it’s easily Apatow’s best to date as writer/director).
    That said, Sandler’s humiliating attempts to win pack his “Happy Gilmore” fans post-“FP” makes me nauseous. “Grown Ups” and “Just Go With It” are two of his worst starring vehicles ever (and yes, I’m including “Little Nicky”). “J&J” sounds like it’s just as bad (if not worse: Katie Holmes IS in it).
    No advance screenings in my market, so I’ll have to wait until a Friday matinee to know just how lame it truly is.

  35. movieman says:

    “said it all.”

  36. LexG says:

    Sandler is GOD. There is no other opinion that is acceptable.

    I say this ALL the time, but I really wish professional “movie type people” liked more things. Starting with liking actual movies and actors, instead of always being so jaundiced and negative. Being a critic should start at wanting to 100% like everything and working your way down, NOT starting from a place of gleefully wanting to hate 100% of everything then grudgingly giving in when it wins you over.

  37. sanj says:

    jack and jill seems like a 5 minute snl tv sketch . that’s about it.

    if K-Stew ends up in Sandler film it’ll blow LexG’s mind.

  38. LYT says:

    Lex, there’s always Pete Hammond.

  39. LexG says:

    I would love to see K-Stew in a Sandler movie… K-Stew in a romcom, my preferred genre, would be the most disarming thing in the world and win over more fans to the magic of Kristen Stewart.

    Sandler also has arguably the best lineup of LOOK AT HER leading ladies in the last two decades: Bridgette Wilson, Julie Bowen (when she was hot), Fairuza Balk (YEP YEP), Drew Barrymore, Joey Lauren Adams, Patricia Arquette, Reese Witherspoon, Winona Ryder, Kate Beckinsale, Liv Tyler, Jessica Biel, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Teresa Palmer, Salma Hayek (not a fan, but still), Brooklyn Decker, Jennifer Aniston, Katie Holmes.

    Like I said, the man is God. K-Stew should be his next leading lady.

  40. JS Partisan says:

    Hold on. Sandler and Brett Ratner are GODS? Really? Oh get the fuck out of here, brother. Seriously. Get the fuck out of here XD!

  41. JS Partisan says:

    That aside; The Way is a tremendous piece of filmmaking. Seriously, one of my fave films of the entire year.

  42. movieman says:

    Lex- In case that last tirade was (even partially) directed at me:
    For the record, I’ve been a Sandler fan since “discovering” him on MTV’s “Remote Control” back in the late ’80s, and have favorably reviewed 75% of his movies (hell, I even had nice things to say about “8 Crazy Nights” and, yep, “Little Nicky”).
    If I’m anticipating the worst from “J&J,” it’s only because he seems to be on automatic pilot/phoning-it-in mode lately, and I’m personally tired of sitting through another lazy ass excuse for a “comedy.” But unlike the majority of my critical brethren who will use the “no-advance-screenings” policy (a Sandler first) to skip “J&J” altogether, I’ll be paying my own bucks to see it at a matinee tomorrow afternoon…despite the fact that the seemingly inescapable trailer promises 91 minutes of mind-numbing “Grown Ups”-style torture.
    P.S. Kate Beckinsale is definitely not one of Sandler’s “LOOK AT HER” leading ladies. (Neither is Robo-Wife Holmes.) I never warmed up to Beckinsale’s snooty “”Masterpiece Theater’ Chick Fallen On Hard Times and Forced to Headline Crappy ‘Underworld’ Movies” act. Personally I wish she’d return to Blighty, buy a stately country manse (with the bucks she earned in H’wood) and retire from show biz altogether. Except for maybe her turn in DGG’s “Snow Angels,” I don’t think I’ve genuinely liked a single Beckinsale perf ever.

  43. LexG says:

    Wasn’t directed at you… Whoa whoa whoa, who doesn’t like Kate Beckinsale? I thought BeckinPower was universally acknowledged!

  44. Joe Leydon says:

    I thought Emily Watson was pretty smokin’ hot in Punchdrunk Love. Come to think of it, last time I checked, she’s pretty smokin’ hot now.

  45. LexG says:

    EMMA Watson is smoking hot.

    Emily Watson reminds me of soup.

  46. movieman says:

    Beckinsale was one of those anonymous English actresses (Catherine McCormack, Rachel Weisz, Lena Headey, etc.) who burst onto the scene at the same time (mid-’90s), and they all kind of blurred together for me. While I eventually warmed up to many of them (Weisz has become one of my favorite actresses), Beckinsale still leaves me “Ice-Ice-Baby” cold as ice. And, sorry to say, I never found her remotely attractive.

  47. yancyskancy says:

    I’m too tired to rehash the Sandler argument — suffice to say I like a number of his films (particularly ZOHAN, WEDDING SINGER, BILLY MADISON, PDL and FUNNY PEOPLE), find a few others meh, and have avoided a few others, at least for the time being, because they don’t look like my cuppa.

    You want a real shocker? I stumbled on the last 2/3 of an HBO showing of Rob Schneider’s 2007 prison comedy BIG STAN and thought it was really good. Funny script by Josh Lieb (a veteran of The Daily Show, The Simpsons and Newsradio), good martial arts scenes and a neat cast (Jennifer Morrison, David Carradine, Scott Wilson, Henry Gibson, M. Emmet Walsh, Sally Kirkland, Richard Kind, Kevin Gage, Jackson Rathbone, Dan Freakin’ Haggerty). I was floored. Hope to catch it again in its entirety.

  48. sanj says:

    Kate Beckinsale And Jessica Biel Pictures

    looking good

    http://www.hollywoodtuna.com/?p=59442

  49. Joe Leydon says:

    Yancy: And yet it went directly to video. Pretty amazing, huh?

  50. yancyskancy says:

    Joe: When I first heard of the film I assumed it was crap, because, y’know, that’s what we tend to think we’re gonna get from Rob Schneider, whom critics seem to revile even more than Sandler. And then there was the whole SOUTH PARK “Rob Schneider IS The Stapler” thing. I only stopped surfing to watch BIG STAN because my writing partner and I have a comedy script set in a prison and I was curious to see how the filmmakers handled it. Glad I did (although I guess it’s possible that the part I missed is terrible). Don’t get me wrong — it’s basically a crude, broad comedy, but it’s nicely done.

  51. Joe Leydon says:

    The odd thing is, the movie seemed — to this hopelessly hetero dude, at least — quite sympathetic to gay characters, in a no-big-deal fashion. Indeed, I felt like the movie was inviting the audience to laugh WITH, not AT, the gay inmates. This is a marked contrast to the attitudes expressed, implicitly or otherwsie, in several better-known mainstream comedies.

  52. LexG says:

    K-Stew on Kimmel K-Stew on Kimmel! 30 minutes and counting. And there will be much happiness.

  53. scooterzz says:

    jeeze…tragic….

  54. LexG says:

    LOOOOOK AT HER!

    She looks SO HOT!!! K-STEW! Plus she’s talking about her shoes, SO HOT! GREATEST PERSON EVER.

  55. yancyskancy says:

    I agree, Joe. That was one of the pleasantly surprising aspects of the film. Schneider’s plea against prison rape is kind of an amazing scene.

  56. jesse says:

    Yeah, I really do like Sandler… it’s just disappointing when he gets into lazy mode, as movieman and Lex have alluded to — that shorts-wearing, aimiably walking through the movie and making some halfhearted wisecracks performance he gives as a default now.

    The root of it seems to be in Mr. Deeds, where he does a little bit of his surprisingly-violent-dude shtick, but largely cedes the movie’s laughs to Buscemi, Turturro, etc. That movie is at least pretty funny, but after Little Nicky, he really started pushing the “regular guy” thing as well as the heart-of-gold thing and the not-really-working-for-laughs-himself thing. I don’t know if that was the sting of Little Nicky flopping, or what. I guess it could be read as maturity (not doing funny voices and such), or generosity (giving the big laughs in his movies to others)… but that doesn’t work when the movies are so lazy and the laughs aren’t even really there to give.

    That’s why I’ll see Jack & Jill (other than usually seeing Sandler’s movies, out of completism/nostalgia/I don’t even know): at least the lady performance won’t be Sandler in shorts and an untucked shirt, playing a rich guy who the other characters constantly ID as a wonderful person (though it looks like that performance is here too).

    Lex, the thing about Sandler’s leading ladies (although Reese Witherspoon was just a cameo in Little Nicky — a fun one, too! But she played his mom, technically) is that he rarely has chemistry with ANY of them. The two movies he did with Barrymore really work because she’s pretty much the only actress to really click romantically with him (apart from Emily Watson in PDL). It doesn’t help that most of the time, Salma Hayek or Kate Beckinsale or Katie Holmes just play “the wife” and have absolutely nothing funny or interesting to do. At least Winona Ryder’s character in Deeds had a little agency. I guess Aniston did, too, although I can only grudgingly admit it because she’s one of the few actors I sort of instinctively dislike.

    But even when he picks the hottest ladies to be his wife, there’s absolutely no spark or sexiness or anything… his onscreen marriages frankly are kind of depressing.

  57. movieman says:

    I’ve always felt that “Big Daddy” didn’t get enough credit for being as gay-positive/friendly as it was back in 1999.
    I remember writing at the time that “BD” was more important than the plethora of earnest “coming out” indies that inundated the indie realm back then because it would (naturally) be seen by a much larger audience, and not just be preaching to the choir.
    That less said about “Chuck and Larry” the better, tho.

  58. jesse says:

    Yeah, I think Sandler’s heart is in the right place in a live-and-let-live sort of way, but that conservative-guy thing peeks through. You’re right — Big Daddy is gay-positive, and the joke is more on the (I believe) one character who’s made uncomfortable by the two gay guys; everyone else is pretty casual about it. But then Little Nicky has this horrible running gag where a stereotypically gay-seeming guy is trying to say that he’s not gay and the metalhead dudes keep taunting him… ugh, it’s pretty awful, and I like a lot of the gnarly weirdness of that movie. Chuck & Larry is, no joke, the only movie of its I’ve skipped. I’m sure it goes pro-tolerance at the end, but I’m also sure there’s enough hacky lame uncomfortable-straight-guy stuff beforehand to make it seem vaguely disingenuous.

    Now that Sandler seems to be off the latent gay-bashing, though, he just makes fun of minorities in a creepy rich guy “you know how it goes with the help!” sort of way. Just Go With It had this horrible running gag about how Jennifer Aniston’s various ethnic maids were all lazy and neglectful.

    Another reason to love Zohan: it has a NYC melting-pot aesthetic that’s quite sweet (even if they all wind up bonding over a mall).

  59. movieman says:

    What I loved about “Big Daddy” was how the gay-positive stuff was just sort of slipped in and not made a big deal of. That, for me, made more of a “statement” than the ham-strung comedy shenanigans of “C&L” where it was the whole (uber-lame) deal.
    With “BD,” Dennis Dugan finally erased memories of the mortifying gay stereotyping of “Norman….Is That You?” (which, along with “Partners,” is possibly the most cringe-inducing H’wood treatment of homosexuals ever).
    Of course, Dugan turned around and directed the obnoxious “C&L,” so….
    Win a little; lose a little.

  60. The Big Perm says:

    Who gives a fuck about lazy-ass Sandler, for me the cool news of this post is that apparently DP was just chilling in Roger Corman’s office.

  61. movieman says:

    Loved the final sentence in A.O. Scott’s “J&J” review:

    As for Mr. Sandler, I have always been interested in what he would do next, and I suppose I still am, especially if what he does next is retire.

    I’d hardly call Sandler a “lazy-ass,” Perm. Dude seems to churn out a movie every nine months or so (and I’m not even counting the stuff he produces like “Bucky Larson”). Sure, most of them aren’t much good anymore, but I’d hardly call him (physically) lazy. Creatively lazy, sure.

  62. The Big Perm says:

    I’d say physically lazy, he just shows up at some really nice island on the company dime while still getting his 20 mil and barely seems awake.

  63. movieman says:

    Nice work if you can get it, huh?

  64. The Big Perm says:

    Hell yeah!

    I like that recent interview with Eddie Murphy where he just straight out says he’s a lazy fucker now and only does something when he gets bored, and then doesn’t want to put too much effort into it. Which I can see, he’s paid his dues and worked his ass off. Doesn’t make me want to see any Eddie Murphy movies, but more power to him.

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“Yes, yes, yes. Now I am also the producer on Jean-Luc’s films, so I need to raise the money. Yes, there are two projects in preparation with the pretext of virtual reality. We are beginning with two approaches: we can either do or undo VR. Maybe we will undo it more than we do VR, because thinking about VR leads to the opposite of VR. Is there concrete imagination in virtual reality? For me, cinema is concrete imagination because it’s made with the real and uses it. VR, virtual reality, is totally the opposite of that, but it might be interesting to use this and then to destroy it. No, we’ll see, we’ll see. First, it’s just an idea of a beginning. There is a forest to cross, and we are just at the beginning of the forest. The first step is development. As they say in business, first there is development and research. We have to develop somehow an idea for the film; I won’t say a script, but to see what we can do with this system, and what we can undo with this system.”
~ Fabrice Aragno On Godard’s Next Projects

“Why put it in a box? This is the number one problem I have—by the way it’s a fair question, I’m not saying that—with this kind of festival situation is that there’s always this temptation to classify the movie immediately and if you look at it—and I’ve tried to warn my fellow jurors of this—directors and movie critics are the worst people to judge movies! Directors are always thinking, “I could do that.” Critics are always saying, “This part of the movie is like the 1947 version and this part…” And it’s like, “Fuck! Just watch the movie and try and absorb it and not compare it to some other fucking movie and put it in a box!” So I think the answer’s both and maybe neither, I don’t know. That’s for you to see and criticize me for or not.”
~ James Gray