I've tried re-writing this post several times. Screw being eloquent. Here are my thoughts on ADVENTURELAND:
1. It's a giant homage to Noah Baumbach set in a late 80's, rundown theme park. If you loved The Squid and the Whale nearly as much as I did, I think it's safe to say you will enjoy Adventureland. If you also loved Kicking & Screaming (NOT the Will Ferrell soccer coach comedy; the good movie about recent college grads making sense of life), I'm almost positive you'll love Adventureland.
2. The trailer for Adventureland is a huge misrepresentation. Sure, it's a comedy from the director of Superbad. However, Adventureland is to Superbad what The Color Purple is to Jurassic Park. Both fall into the file of my favorite films, but we're comparing apples to oranges here. While I think the trailer is misleading, I do love the Violent Femmes song they play over the trailer...so, I guess that's something else to like.
3. The last time a movie had characters that were shaded this well, they were robots. Thank you, Greg Mottola, for remembering that people have layers. Perhaps people stopped having layers around the turn of the millenium. In which case... Thank you, Greg Mottola, for setting your movie in 1987.
4. While all of the characters are fun in a believable way (not just a "quirky, indie" way), Margarita Levieva's portrayal of Lisa P is brilliant. She brings depth the role of the desired hottie. Astounding.
5. I'm calling it early... Adventureland will be nominated for an Original Screenplay Oscar. Err, uh...at least a nomination for an Original Screenplay award from the Writer's Guild.
Let's give it up for the admissions office staff of UC San Diego! Local news sources reported that after rejecting 29,000 students earlier this month, the university accidentally sent out an email congratulating them all on their acceptance. Two hours later, the mistake was realized and an apology email was sent out, informing those 29,000 rejects that they were still not accepted.
Sad thing is, if I was one of those 29,000 rejects, I think I'd have to feel REALLY BAD about myself. I mean--damn--I didn't get into the university that has no idea how to send a simple email to the correct recipients!!
Until I'm given some other reason to be excited about it, the film adaption of Larry Doyle's brilliant, side-splitting, heart touching novel (which is a great send-up of John Hughes' teen comedies) will be referred to as I Hate You, Chris Columbus. This trailer makes the film look so incredibly generic. The dude playing The Coove gets on my nerves. And while I originally thought Hayden Panettiere was an excellent choice for the titular character, the trailer makes her seem incredibly one dimensional (which, you'll find if you read the book, is the exact opposite of Beth Cooper).
I know it sounds like I'm reviewing an entire movie based on 2 minutes of material, but isn't that what trailers are for these days?
All I can say is I was blown away by this trailer. After the original stories of all the reshoots, and constant delays, I was really worried that this movie was going to be a disaster. This trailer won me over, 100%. It looks fun and emotional. Incredibly endearing. The Wild Things look awesome. Max looks like a perfect casting choice. Oh, and the music! I believe the music makes this feel like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for all ages. Spike Jonze (it seems) has taken genius source material in Maurice Sendak's picture book and given it wings.
I know it's a just trailer. But, I have to admit that this is the first trailer for a movie this year that has me geniunely excited.* I guess I have to wait through the humdrum summer months before finding out if Where the Wild Things Are lives up to my initial excitement.
*I will admit that the most recent Star Trek trailers are growing on me. And, it almost goes without saying, but the new Pixar movie will probably be pretty good.
When I turned 26 (last November, for those of you who aren't yet friends with me on Facebook), I got a little depressed. All of a sudden it dawned me that I was no longer eligible to be photographed in one of People Magazine's "25 Most Influential People Under 25." Vain? Yes. Shallow? Incredibly. However, I still felt down in the dumps. The fact that I would no longer have an opportunity to be folded into a magazine sandwiched somewhere between Rihanna and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (that's McLovin for those of you who don't actually know his name) kinda wore on me.
I attribute twenty-five percent of this depression to what I'd like to call "big fish in a small pond syndrome." I grew up in a small town. It was pretty easy to get your name in the Caloosa Belle (look, it's online now...sorta) for just about anything. That kind of atmosphere makes people (like myself) think that they are special. Such is not the case.
The other seventy-five percent of this depression I attribute to Steven Spielberg. That's right, my dinosaur reanimating idol is the reason I was so fucking depressed. That guy directed his first episode of Night Gallery at the tender young age of 23. Twenty-fucking-three!! Wanna know how old he was when he completed his first movie, Duel? Twenty-five!! When I turned 26, I briefly felt like my career was over. I know that's stupid, but I'm just being honest with myself here.
Everyone else who is currently reading this while sitting at their desks, rolling calls, planning meetings, and ordering freshly roasted, sliced turkey sandwiches on whole grain, whole wheat with lettuce, light mayo, and a sliver of pickle for a boss who will wash it all down with a Diet Coke and some blow has no right to roll their eyes and mutter the word "douchebag" while reading my innermost confessions. You know you've all thought it, too.
Well, I offer you hope...
DETAILS Magazine recently rolled out another one of their "Mavericks Issues." Surprisingly, our favorite "mavericks" from last year are not featured. The folks who are featured (THANK GOD!!) are all in their thirties. That's right my late-twenty-something friends, unless you aspire to be the next T-Pain (24), you have Dustin Lance Black (34), Demitri Martin (35), Seth MacFarlane (35), The Lonely Island guys (Andy 30, Akiva 31, Jorma 32), and the creators of Twitter (collective average: 34) to hold up as the new standard. Sure, Spielberg finished Jaws before he was thirty, but that was in the 70's...when bell bottoms were considered a good idea. Studios could give money to a twenty-five year old nerd and see what kind of movie he'd turn out because movies didn't cost $175 million to make back then!
On a side note, I also realized that DETAILS Magazine is basically training wheels for "straight" guys to come out of the closet and admit they are gay. Sure, A-Rod's on the cover which promises some great articles about sports. But, on the inside you have him shirtless kissing a mirror (just think about the image for a second), an artical on identical twin gay porn stars, and an essay by Augusten Burroughs. Just a few more naughty cologne ads and you might as well change your subscription over to DNA Magazine.
Hot off the success of their Friday the 13th reboot, Platinum Dunes recently snapped up the rights to yet another horror classic. Partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form have been set by Touchstone to create a new franchise based on the 1991 film Ernest Scared Stupid.
Commercial director PES has been tapped to helm project about lovable dunce Ernest P. Worrell (made famous by the late Jim Varney) who mistakenly awakens an ancient evil and must save his town's children from a soul sucking troll named Trantor. No casting choices have been made yet, but rumors have placed Chace Crawford and Drake Bell on a short list to put on the denim vest.
"We aren't creating a literal adaptation," Fuller commented,"We're mostly concerned with preserving the iconography, while giving the franchise a complete face lift."
Production is slated for late-Spring 2012, with a Halloween release date.
Dunes currently has projects slated through 2013, including reboots of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Rosemary's Baby, and The Birds.
PES is repped by Czar in the US and Independent in the UK.
When asked what drew Platinum Dunes to the project, Form replied, "Well, we'd optioned everything else available. Why the fuck not?"
Okay, I just found the most brilliant online comic book. Megan Rose Gedric's throwback to the pulpy comics of the 50's entitled I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space!!! is campy, hilarious fun.
I've only read the first two issues, but I couldn't keep myself from jumping on my blog and sharing it with everyone.
I'll give you a quick rundown...
The story follows Susan Bell, a secretary in what I gather is a 50's era America. She is...YOU GUESSED IT...kidnapped by a gang of lesbians who take her up to their intergalactic space ship.
I think the thing I enjoy the most is the campy humor. In fact, as a little enticement, I'll give you the moment where I knew I was falling in love with these lesbians:If you think that's funny, there's plenty more where it came from. Just hop on over to the website. I'll even make it easy for you and provide the link a second time so you don't have to scroll all the way up.
My only hope is that one day this gets made into a movie. I'd much rather see I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space!!! than Spider-Man 4.
That's right folks. As gross it may sound, I caught Dan Ast trying to woo Nadya Suleman. I can only imagine what he and his followers plan to do with her precious little brood of infants...
Those are horrors that I choose not to meditate on. Thankfully, someone else has already chosen to meditate on them for me.
As I was clicking through pictures of the crazy, Jolie-lipped mother of 14, I was reminded of one of my favorite horror flicks from the late 70's. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a big, BIG fan of David Cronenberg. Scanners is a true classic. Videodrome is prophecy, especially with today's media. And A History of Violence is brilliant storytelling. However, the movie that sprang to my mind as I considered the recent hoopla over the birth of these hormonally implanted octuplets was 1979's The Brood.
For me to even begin to explain the plot to you would be a disservice. Please don't wait around for them to bastardize remake this movie (I've heard it's in the works...along with Scanners...CURSE YOU MICHAEL BAY AND ALL THAT YOU STAND FOR!!!). See the original. Add it to your Netflix queue pronto.
Without giving too much away, I'll attempt to entice you into watching this movie...
We here at Chill With Will are often guilty of being a little crass and making light of certain subjects that are (quite frankly) downright horrendous. Racism, baby eating, and Tyler Perry movies are all free game when it comes to the jokes and sarcastic comments that grace the pages of this here blog. However, this past weekend, a certain subject was broached in the media that demands the must utmost care and respectful commentary...
YOU DO NOT FREAKIN' TOUCH RIHANNA!!!
You hear me Chris Brown?!?! It's punks like you that give the hip-hop/R&B/rap community a bad name. I don't care that you share a last name with one of the biggest woman abusers in recent musical history. Sure...you and your drop-dead-gorgeous (may I now add undeserved?) girlfriend had just left a pre-Grammy party where Whitney Houston made her alleged "comeback" performance. That doesn't give you any excuse to lay out another violent example of how the "behind the music" stories of the recording industry are nothing but a collected string of Shakespearean ironies.
I really hope that all the media reports are blown out of proportion... What kind of scum gives his girlfriend welts on her forehead and bites her fingers?!?!
If the media reports are even partially true...please don't think about crawling back to her. Just tuck your tail between your legs and sink back into obscurity. I'm sure there's a whole crowd of teenybopper fans ready to go disturbia on your ass. They will be breakin' all of your dishes and you will know what it's like to try to breathe with no air.
At this point, I think Dreamworks is basically like the really slutty girl in high school who got loads of action but never found love. Let's hope this time it's a match made in heaven.
This brings back memories of those nasty 2005 rumors about Spielberg directing a version of Mary Poppins based on the stage musical based on, well, Mary Poppins. Don't believe me?
I seriously doubt that would ever happen...but after five Saw movies and one more on the way this October, I've learned my lesson in saying "never."
In the meantime, I'm open to taking bets on how long it'll be before Spielberg and Co. is looking for a new production deal.
My money's on 2 years before a quick jump to Sony. If that fails, they're pretty much left with Lionsgate. I'm sure America would flip to see a Steven Spielberg/Tyler Perry co-project. Come to think of it, Tyler Perry does have that nice new studio in Atlanta. And can you imagine Mr. Perry himself stepping behind the camera to lense a version of The Color Purple based on the stage musical based on Spielberg's THE COLOR PURPLE?!?!
My only hope is that Tyler Perry also dons his customary drag to play Sofia.
But, then again, everyone knows you don't mess with Oprah!!
Every year I make up a list of my ten favorite movies. I know it's kind of narcissistic to think anyone would care about the movies I enjoyed. However, it helps me process my thoughts on what I find to be good filmmaking versus wretched filmmaking (which applies to most movies I saw this year).
When I was in high school, I found a way to absolutely love every single movie I saw. That was a problem. Ever since I started working in Hollywood, I've found that being more discerning in what I choose to give the "Will Sherrod Brand of Approval" is more important than trying to feel like I got something out of the $12.oo I spent on, say, Mamma Mia! (Sorry Mom! I thoroughly enjoyed going to the movies and watching it with you. I just didn't really love the movie itself.)
Before we kick this off...2008 was a bit of a rough year for me. Okay, let's be honest, can anyone REALLY say that 2008 was a great year? I'm gonna warn you that I tended to connect with much bleaker films than in years past. Granted I dind't put Blindness on here (one of the bleakest films I've ever seen); but let's just say that out of the two comic book movies I went back and forth over including on my list, I chose The Dark Knight over Iron Man because I feel like it was the most grim option of the two movies and a better representation of 2008 as a whole.
Without further adieu... here's my list:
#10. The Dark Knight
Now that we're in the middle of a recession, I think my favorite scene is the one where the Joker burns an entire pile of money with a businessman on top. Granted, I still think the movie suffers from a weak third act. Personally, I find the scene with the two ferries to be a little hokey. Also, the Joker's plot is just a little too perfectly conceived. But, even with all its failures and minor annoyances, The Dark Knight features one of the best magic tricks I've ever seen...
"I'm gonna make this pencil disappear."
#9. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This is a film that I think will grow on me in years to come. Most of David Fincher's movies get better and better upon repeat viewing (especially Zodiac). While this is his most mainstream film since Panic Room, it also grapples with some pretty big themes. Watching life in reverse really does bring a little more clarity to the dying process.
Also, the special effects used to make Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett look younger were incredible.
#8. Slumdog Millionaire
Surprise! I didn't say ALL my picks were totally bleak...just most of them. Slumdog Millionaire is a beautiful movie that has a strong pulse. Danny Boyle's unique camera moves mixed with some wild editing make the slums (and cities) of India come to vivid life on the big screen. I'm gonna go out on a (very sturdy) limb and say that is gonna win Best Picture this year. And, to be totally honest, I think it's deserved.
Any movie that ends with an enormous dance sequence (other than Mamma Mia!) deserves a little extra credit.
#7. Revolutionary Road
Nobody handles American suburban angst quite like British director Sam Mendes. However, you'll find none of the humor from American Beauty in this draining film about a failing marriage. One thing that I love about this movie is hearing different people's reactions to whether Frank or April Wheeler is right. Even if somebody says that they're both clearly in the wrong, you can always tell that they side with one of the characters.
Spoiler: My favorite scene is the second to last scene. Shep Campbell asks his wife Milly if they can agree to never talk about the Wheelers again...moments before sinking back into their idyllic suburan home.
I saw Milk a few weeks after the state of California banned same-sex marriage. As a biopic, I felt like it was rather paint-by-numbers. However, as a glimpse at a movement in the 70's, it's inspiring. It certainly was not made to sway the minds of people who would vote "yes" on a proposition that takes rights away from homosexuals. Instead, I think it was made for people who would proudly vote "no" but need to actually let their voices be heard BEFORE the votes are tallied...rather than after. It's sad that they could beat something like Prop 6 (firing teachers and school board officials because of their sexual orientation) in 1978, but something like Prop 8 wins thirty years later.
Additionally, this movie had some stellar performances from some of the best actors working today.
#5. Son of Rambow
Son of Rambow is the movie that left me feeling the happiest and most nostalgic for the days when I'd sit in my front yard with an enormous video camera and a bunch of dinosaur toys reenacting scenes from Jurassic Park. It reminded me that, while the road is never easy, the privilege of making movies is one that I should never take for granted.
Side note for all you Gossip Girl fans...Ed Westwick (you know him as Chuck Bass) plays the devious older brother to the film's hero. This wasn't exactly a selling point for me, but if it gets more people to add a great (underrated) movie to their Netflix queue, then I'm all about hyping the star power.
#4. The Reader
A friend of mine complained that the characters in The Reader were a bit too "morally ambiguous." I have to admit, the biggest draw for me was the fact that I'd start out loving a character and routing for him/her to succeed, only to find myself loathing them and their stomach-churning decisions a few moments later. The characters just felt real to me. I haven't reacted to characters' decisions that passionately in a long time.
Also, the moral dilemma in the film is one that stayed with me for a couple days. That's another reaction I haven't had to a film in a long time.
#3. The Signal
It wouldn't be a Will Sherrod List of Favorite Movies without at least one horror flick. I was a little nervous that I wouldn't have one to include this year. Most of the horror films (I'm looking at you, The Strangers) I saw were terrible. Un-scary. Un-funny. Just grotesque...which doesn't do anything for me anymore. Luckily, I caught this just a few weeks before thinking about this list. The Signal is a brilliant blend of action and bizarre comedy. It's very gory, but in a 1980's fun house kind of way. Like any good horror film, it contains veiled social commentary...always a plus in my book.
Side note: The Signal cost less than $500,000 to make. In my opinion, it looks better and more cinematic than a lot of the $40 million films I saw this year (eyes over here, Baby Mama).
#2. Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (The Baader Meinhof Complex)
I know what you're thinking. I can hear you saying..."Will's trying to be all 'artsy' and put a foreign film that's nominated for an Oscar near the top of the list." Well, let me just tell you that with car explosions, plane hijackings, bank robberies, and point-blank executions, this is not Farewell, My Concubine. Uli Edel's brilliant look at the inner workings of the band of young political dissidents who eventually formed Germany's Red Army Faction is harrowing. The movie dares to put you in the shoes of the terrorists. It tries to make you understand why they're doing what they're doing. It clearly shows how misguided passion can send anyone barreling down a collision course of insufferable cruelty. Writer/Director Edel grew up in Germany and followed the writings of journalist Ulrike Meinhof as she suddenly went from being an observer to an instigator of many politcally motivated, heinous crimes. This is a project that is more than twenty years in the making. It is powerful and riveting.
Special Note: Just so you understand how much care went into the making of the film... the director claims that all of the dialogue is reconstructed from journals, tape recordings, and first hand accounts. There are more than 130 speaking parts because he hated the idea of combining multiple real life witnesses into single "representative" characters. That kind of attention to detail is NOT something to scoff at.
I prefer the grown-up Pixar movies (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) to their more juvenile offerings (Finding Nemo, Cars). This film is in a league of its own.
MOVIE THAT SHOULD BE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST.
TOTALLY BADASS EXTRAVAGANZA: Trick 'R Treat
I was tempted to call this an "Honorable Mention" but decided against the term because that implies that's it's not quite as good as the other films on the list. Truth be told, I caught this movie at its premiere at ScreamFest in Los Angeles. If you notice the original release date at the top of the poster, you'll realize that this film has now missed two chances at a wide release. I feel like even more of an elitist putting a movie on my list that's not possible for anyone else to see. So, I'm just telling you that whenever Warner Bros gets around to firing their current executives in charge of theatrical distribution (highly likely the way studios are laying off people these days) and puts in some "fresh blood" that will take a chance on releasing a non-remake, non-sequel, non-sequel-remake, non-PG-13-fluff, non-torture-porn, (please read, ORIGINAL) horror film...TRICK 'R TREAT will be on the top of my list. The movie is gory. The movie is hilarious. The movie is one of the rare examples of a multiple-character, alternating story arc film that I actually enjoyed. Most of all, it just feels original (I can't say that word enough, it seems). Fresh. And since I'm a firm believer that the road most traveled (i.e., Friday the 13th, Saw I-V, any PG-13 Japanese horror remake) is less creepy than setting out on a new trail...I'm gonna give Trick 'R Treat my thumbs up as the best horror film since Slither.
Well, it seems I greatly overestimated my foe. This past weekend, my buddy Dan started a counter-blog in an attempt to steal my readers and prove that I do not come close to being TOTALLY BADASS.
I'll admit. At first I was a little worried. I saw his photoshopping skills were up to par. He managed to make this little number earlier this morning...
Clearly, my badassery was being challenged. His attacks took on the form of one of John McCain's political smear ads. Using the compare and contrast methods, he made the following attempt at proving his badassery over mine:
I don't know about you. But my woman seems to be having a lot more fun than Dan's.
This is true. This is EXACTLY how I treat my friends...when they show up to a Halloween party out of costume. Lack of a badass Halloween costume results in a seriously badass ass-kicking. It was for his own good. He'll never show up out of costume again!!Hmm...a tiny little kitten or a 10 foot alligator? I don't even need to tell you which is more badass.
He merely proves my point. I am one totally badass individual. I just can't help it. Out of the 296 photos I have been tagged in on Facebook, Dan was only able to find the above examples for a "lack" of badassness. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.
In my living room I have a tall bookcase with all my DVD's stacked two rows deep. One shelf is nothing but classic Disney animated films out front. But if you peek behind '101 Dalmations' and 'The Incredibles,' you'll find some of the grossest horror flicks committed to film. I think this is a great representation of my sense of humor.