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David Poland

By David Poland

Autopsy Report: Nikki Finke

I have to admit, I am fascinated with Nikki’s newest schtick, “Autopsy Report” on movies that open poorly. The reason I am fascinated is that it pulls the veil back, intentionally or not, on the good and bad of Nikki’s reporting skills. She gathers an incredible amount of information. And has a remarkably limited idea of what any of it actually means.

This, of course, is what makes Nikki Nikki. Her perspective on the industry comes from whomever is telling her what to write in any given 30 minutes on any given day.

This weekend, thanks to a pile-up of iffy titles, we get three autopsies, each of which has its own flavor. One, of Dimension’s Spy Kids 4, is the only one not being sourced heavily inside of the company. All Nikki has are the worthless (and endlessly repeated) CinemaScores and a couple of very public details to throw at her general theme, which is, “The Weinstein Company isn’t in great shape.” Wow. Never heard that before.

The other two autopsies are of Disney’s release of DreamWorks’ Fright Night and Lionsgate’s release of a rebooted 3D Conan The Barbarian. In both cases, according to Nikki, the failure to get to strong numbers has nothing to do with the marketing departments of either company. Instead it was The Brand or Colin Farrell. Things that should have helped were a 101 minute running time (WHAT?), hiring the DP from Twilight (have you seen a Twilight film?), or Dr Who’s David Tennant (Who?) or Ahnuld giving the new Conan “thumbs up.” Uh-huh.

(Let’s see… those marketing departments are buying Oscar ads now and through the season… hmmm…. But Nikki is above pandering. You can tell by the hard-hitting awards coverage. Maybe she’ll toughen things up and hire George Christy this year!)

And here is the take on ComicCon, coming from the same confused pen…

One on film, “marketing generated considerable awareness, with a significant Comic-Con presence,” while on the other, “all that Comic-Con hype and hoopla did nothing to bring in moviegoers.”

Uh… which one is it? Are ComicCon stunts good or bad? Are they something that you get credit for trying or something you wasted your money on?

When someone tells you, as a journalist, “”There’s so much history with this character and this brand they needed someone who could both really ‘own’ Conan (making him feel relatable for this generation), but also who offered continuity with what fans already know and love. Because there’s no competing with Arnold…,” does it occur to you to mention that it’s been 27 YEARS since the last Conan movie… that Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t done anything more than a cameo and a housekeeper in 8 years… that the young Conan in the new film could have been played by the GRANDCHILD of someone who paid for an R-rated ticket to see the first Conan feature 19 years ago?

You have to sell the movie to get people to buy tickets.

“Director Craig Gillespie (Lars And The Real Girl) is being criticized for being too faithful to the original film and for not making any interesting use of 3D.”

How would ANYONE know whether the 3D in Fright Night would be interesting or not without seeing the movie? Worst excuse EVER. And being too faithful to the original? The marketing on the movie was not faithful in any way, ever, to the original. From the clips shown at CinemaCon to the ads to the trailers, do we even know that a Peter Vincent character is anything but an expositional cameo in the movie? Has anyone seen a clip that includes Christopher Mintz-Plasse beyond a line or two of exposition… not that character going all Renfield? Has there been a show of ANY humor, other than shock horror humor involving Colin Farrell?

How about these one sheets?

Well, of course. People thought it was a shot-for-shot remake!

The film was sold as Anton Yelchin (great, but has never opened any movie) vs Colin Farrell (can be great, but isn’t an opener), mano-a-mano with Toni Collette and pretty blonde girl as meat between them… a horror thriller, heavy on sex and violence. That is what the public was shown. That is not faithful to the original. And clearly, not anything people were in a rush to see… not to mention, in a logjam on the same weekend as Conan for the one demographic that really does want to see that film.

As it turns out, people have been commenting about how much more like the original this was than they expected… and how much better. I didn’t go see the movie because Disney put a Friday/Day Of Release embargo on reviews, claiming that the trades had agreed to hold to review on opening day and, essentially, got me to write off the film completely. How bad does a movie have to be if there is an opening day embargo for EVERYONE? (Mid-week, Disney rescinded the embargo and opened it up to all reviews. Too late for me.)

So yeah… happy for Nikki to be “autopsying” films she’s never seen, has no interest in, and into whose marketing she has no insight. Why? Because it’s a chance to read the Press Releases Of Failure… a much better title for her feature. What do Nikki’s keepers have to say about the messes they left on the sidewalk? What excuses are they using? Who would they like to shove the blame over to?

Where else can you get crazy shit like Joe Drake talking about how critical it was to find the right Conan while Lionsgate is red-band-marketing footage of Kid Conan fighting, so we never even see adult Conan fighting? Or that he and Avi had a success with an all-star gun action nostalgia movie, so they tried to recreate the vibe with a no-star sword & sorcery movie? (Did they notice James Earl Jones and Max Von Sydow bringing the Brando to the first one? And Wilt Chamberlain and Grace Jones in the second? Stephen Lang and Ron Perlman are great… but they don’t add high camp as the first films clearly needed, above and beyond Arnold.)

Anyway… there are more ignorant, less intellectually interested people reporting on show business than Nikki Finke, no doubt. But no one is better at speaking for the studios than Nikki. She has truly become a trade site. So much bravado. So much reporting. So little thinking. You’re Welcome, Hollywood!

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66 Responses to “Autopsy Report: Nikki Finke”

  1. yancyskancy says:

    Certainly not agreeing with Nikki that having TWILIGHT’s DP should have helped FRIGHT NIGHT’s b.o., but I will say that Javier Aguirresarobe is pretty damn good, at least based on what I’ve seen (especially THE OTHERS and TALK TO HER, and yes, NEW MOON and ECLIPSE looked fine to me — maybe you’re thinking of the first movie, which wasn’t all that visually distinguished).

  2. Rob says:

    Preach. She’s a bottom feeder.

    Also, I loved Fright Night, and would argue that it’s better than the original, except for the terrible CGI in the car chase scene, which just invited comparisons to the brilliant work in Children of Men.

  3. Well says:

    No one wanted to see any of those movies in the first place. No one did a good job convincing anyone they were wrong for not giving a shit. 3D fatigue.

    There you go. I’m a fucking rocket scientist.

  4. Fitzgerald says:

    Fright Night reminds me very much of the (IMO, very underrated) Jennifer’s Body. Same woefully wrong tv spots without a glimmer of the humor that is the strength of both films. While Body had the who-knew-then-how-toxic M. Fox, Fright Night seemingly had nothing to pull opinion one way or the other.

  5. Fitzgerald says:

    Also, David, you are right on the money here.

  6. Greg says:

    Love, love, love that you speak the truth to the devil. Finke is a joke.

  7. Bitplayer says:

    Although these aren’t good examples I often do learn things I didn’t know from her reporting. If you can do this feature better take a crack Dave. All the movies that failed had trailers that looked like shit and didn’t sell the movies at all. Fright Night especially looked like the trailers were totally amateur hour.

  8. Foamy Squirrel says:

    From Deadline, re Conan:

    “they connected with very select partners to introduce the rehabilitated Conan via just 3 laser-focused licensed products that appealed to a core demo of young adult males (comics, toys, and a computer game)”

    And here Nikki shows her lack of work. Even a cursory google would have shown that the computer game BOMBED, to the point where the lead designer was fired for the fiasco. Similarly, while the Conan TPB was ranked #2 for sales in July (just ahead of Kick Ass in terms of copies sold, while Kick Ass retails at three times the price of Conan), the comic itself was ranked #156 in sales, showing tepid support for the “laser-focused” rehabilitation.

    If your attempts to rehabilitate “The Brand” lose millions of dollars 2 years before the release of your film, you know you have problems.

  9. Martin S says:

    Fright Night is as simple as it gets –

    do not release horror films before the fall.

    I know this might be hard to believe, but 45 out of 50 states do not have sunny and warm days year round.

    Right now, it’s back to school time. Next, is football. Then, Halloween. Some films, like Twilight, transcend their genre. Others, like Pirahna, have a spring/summer backdrop. Fright Night was perfectly built to own October.

    As for Conan, Whenever I saw an article about Momoa and the movie, it was accompanied by a model shot. So by the time set images were rolled out, all I could think was how much work went in to making him look tuff.

    Ahnuld, especially in Conan, is not a good looking guy. His features were distorted from years of juice. His nose and teeth hadn’t been fixed yet and he put on bulk over his builder physique. Momoa was model-lean to start and got superhero ripped. Ahnuld looked like a caveman. This guy looks like The Rock’s trainer.

    When Nikki writes “relatable to this generation” it’s apparent whoever she’s parroting doesn’t understand shit. Milius’ Conan is still my favorite movie and Ahnuld was relatable because their was something very primitive about his reaction to circumstances – Big-titted witch? Fuck her. Camel spits on you? Punch ’em. Giant Jewel? Steal it. Find the guys who killed your clan? Destroy them.

    The version of Conan a studio wants is Thor. Carries a weapon, but it’s magical. Big and tough, but super good-looking. A restrained fighter with personal issues, not moral ones. Complicated relationships with the antagonist. A softside for the love interest.

    If “relatable” is being used as a euphemism for pandering, then WTF more was Nispel supposed to do? The flick screamed “PLEZE THINK I’M KEWL” in every trailer. All that was missing was some Linkin Park bitch-rap.

  10. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Martin S FTW.

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    I have not seen the Fright Night remake – and, to be honest, I’m not likely to – but I’m curious about something. The original (which, by the way, also was R-rated, and also opened in August) didn’t impress me very much, but the notion of a TV horror movie host called into service to help battle a real-life vampire struck me at the time as rather clever. Unfortunately, the ’85 “Fright Night” made the least of a good idea. Does any of that original premise survive in the remake? Or did the producers figure – perhaps rightly – that most members of their target demo would have no living memory of watching horror movies on TV with a campy host appearing during commercial breaks?

  12. Bitplayer says:

    They should have had a geeky guy who did a MSTK3000 stye show be that character.

  13. berg says:

    “but the notion of a TV horror movie host called into service to help battle a real-life [devil]” … actually this is one of the plot lines of the movie I consider one of the best horror films ever made … the 1995 DAY OF THE BEAST (d., Álex de la Iglesia) … I put it alongside any film of its genre and beyond … the moment when the goat walks into the room where a satanic ceremony is being performed (on acid) … and then stands on its hind hoofs and takes over the ceremony – is etched in my psyche

  14. berg says:

    instead of a Roddy M-styled character they make David Tennant a kind of Chris Cross dude, only why is he getting drunk on green liquid, nobody who is a serious alkie drinks mint julip juice … and the film is set in Las Vegas and wisely plays off the fact that Vegas is a desert town on the edge of oblivion and lots of people work nights in jobs where clothing is an option

  15. David Poland says:

    I love de la inglesia… and did not know, until you caused me to look it up, that The Last Circus was his film. I’ll now see it as soon as possible.

  16. Not David Bordwell says:

    Joe, you really have to revisit the original again. Especially after this summer, think of it as an homage to E.T. with a Hammer vampire movie dropped on it (it wasn’t explicitly, but it’s a fun thought experiment — substitute vampire for alien and you’re pretty close). It’s a genre mashup ahead of its time, and Chris Sarandon knocks it out of the park (as do several of the supporting characters, including “Evil Ed” and the vampire’s assistant).

    As a bonus, look very carefully at the memorabilia on display in Peter Vincent’s apartment — including Klaus Kinski’s Nosferatu prosthetics — which I’m pretty sure must all have belonged to Roddy McDowall.

    I’m a bit disappointed that both you and Glenn Kenny dismissed the original based on a memory of not being very impressed at the time (in nearly identical terms, BTW). I’d be really curious if your assessment changes with a retrospective viewing.

  17. LexG says:

    The 1985 movie = Amanda Bearse

    The 2011 movie = Imogen Poots

    Winner = remake.

  18. yancyskancy says:

    berg: I haven’t seen the movie, but is it possible the Tennant character is drinking absinthe?

  19. Pete B. says:

    The Peter Vincent character drinks Midori, and yes… it is green.

  20. Madam Pince says:

    I don’t understand how a such a professional site like The Hollywood Reporter still has such a spam problem. In every single article, it is spam, spam, spam in the comments. It honestly makes me not want to go there. Even Nikki Finke’s iron-fisted tactic of pre-approving every comment is preferable to the intolerable spam infestation at THR. It’s also remarkable how little spam I come across here at the Hot Blog. Thank you for that!

  21. anghus says:

    “do not release horror films before the fall.”

    my wife said the same thing as we got to the theater.

    “why wouldnt they put this out in October?”

    Realistically, you can’t have every horror film released in October, but i think this one could have played well around Halloween and done much better business, or at least had a much stronger opening. Armchair exec-ing, natch.

    Creatively, i think the film’s problem is with the tone. It’s supposed to be scary, but it’s that Marti Noxon Buffy style where it’s more important to be clever than to scare the shit out of people. There was one good, tense scene in the entire movie and the rest of it played out like a snarky teen CW show.

    Another generic remake. It got the box office it deserved.

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    Not David Bordwell: I can’t speak for Glenn Kenny, but I was quoting my original 1985 review. As for going back for a second look: Sorry, I’m too busy catching up with old movies I haven’t seen yet.

  23. Rob says:

    He’s drinking Midori, which is meant to be a joke. It’s a low-quality melon liqueur favored by college undergrads.

    Also, there’s no such thing as “mint julep juice,” unless you mean bourbon.

  24. Not David Bordwell says:

    Wow, that sounds like a great project, Joe. I notice some of your commenters are already making suggestions, but it sounds like you have more than enough material lying around.

    And, I didn’t really mean to scold you. Truth be told, I didn’t catch up with the original Fright Night until years later, after I had immersed myself in the genre it references. I guess what I’m more interested in is why two seasoned professionals found a film I like a lot “ho-hum” in 1985… was is cultural? Were there other similarly-themed films that made it seem more of the same? Or, conversely, did it not seem daring enough compared to something like the original Nightmare on Elm Street?

    Just curious. Have fun with Take 59!

  25. Joe Leydon says:

    NDB: Oddly enough, I think this ties into LexG’s post on another thread regarding his theories about critics being too old (or too young) to catch certain pop culture references. When I saw the first Fright Night, I was 32, within days of turning 33, and had very vivid memories of the TV horror movie host Morgus (who I used to watch A LOT while growing up in New Orleans). So it’s entirely possible that when I saw the film, I was more interested in the horror movie host angle than in the plucky teen-ager angle. And that may have been why I was so disappointed, because I think the original movie had a clever idea, and really dropped the ball. I am thinking of reposting that original review on my blog.

    BTW: If you want to be amused by Hammer Films references, check out Alan Rudolph’s Afterglow. Julie Christie is supposed to be a former horror movie scream queen in that one. And the snippets that are supposed to be from her old movies look very much like Hammer productions.

    Also: For years, one of my most valued possessions was a signed note from Herbert Lom, thanking me for a Christmas card I sent him after seeing him in The Phantom of the Opera.

  26. Don R. Lewis says:

    I’m pretty sure you have to have been a kid or a young adult when it came out to truly “love” the original “Fright Night.” Obviously there’s exceptions but for the group of film geeks who are around the age of 40 right now, that film was FIRMLY in our wheelhouse.

    I also find it funny no ones noting how Tennant is parodying Johnny Depp in the new “Fright Night.” I found it funny in a turnabout is fair play kind of way since all Depp does these days is parody cultural icons in his performances.

  27. JS Partisan says:

    Joe, the original Fright Night is a classic. Seriously, you are giving me a headache with the weird slams that you are giving it. Get with the program man. GET WITH THE PROGRAM!

  28. Joe Leydon says:

    And you were, like, 12 when you saw it? LOL.

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

    I was a teen when I first saw Fright Night, and it’s still one of my favorite horror movies. I revisit it annually and never get tired of it. Great mood and atmosphere, excellent work from Sarandon and McDowall, mostly great special effects, awesome music, some solid suspense, and infectious reverence for the genre. It’s just a super fun kick ass movie. The remake looks pretty lame, outside of Farrell.

  30. Don R. Lewis says:

    The remake is not terrible Paul, check it out. NOT in 3D if you can avoid it.

  31. ben says:

    She really is a very angry woman. Her site as well gives good info but the talkbacks are so pathetically angry people. People that really have no success in the business. The negative ones I find are the least talented ones.

    One day soon, Nikki will be washed up – because she lost her edge sold out -it’s over.

  32. LexG says:

    I said that the other day, too… I usually only read Nikki on Friday nights for the early (usually way wrong) B.O. reports, but god DAMN, her commenters. Just the most bitter, movie-hating, no interest in cinema, not interest in art, petty-ass naysayers ever. I don’t even know that they read as washed-up wannabes; They usually read like petty industry bottom-feeders putting everyone and everything down, like some power lunch from hell in print form… Just ragging on this or that actress, so-and-so is box office poison, everything sucks, movies suck, nothing good has come out since whenever.

    Until I moved to L.A. I never met or read or encountered so many people this negative and hateful about Hollywood; Fucking right-wing Christian evangelists in the deep south have more reverence for cinema than the people who post comments on Deadline.

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

    I definitely will Don. I want to see it, I just think the marketing campaign was a total failure and made it look pretty uninspired.

  34. storymark says:

    Are they worse than AICN talk-backers?

    Maybe it’s a progression. They start on one, make their way to the other…

  35. storymark says:

    I still want to check out Fright Night, as an excessive if nothing else. I only saw the original for the first time this past spring, and it was one of those that I appreciated more than enjoyed (having grown up on The Princess Bride, I’m incapable of seeing Chris Sarandon as a credible threat)- but I do want to see what they’ve done with it this time around.

    I’ll avoid the 3D.

  36. Not David Bordwell says:

    I think Don Lewis and Paul hit it on the head regarding one’s appreciation of Fright Night… and I’ve got a mental list now of posters here who were born between the summer of ’72 and the summer of ’74, and they seem to be the ones with the most positive endorsements of the original.

    Thanks for the recommendation of Afterglow… I had no idea Julie Christie plays a former Hammer scream queen (like Barbara Shelley? or Ingrid Pitt?).

    And Herbert Lom is just tremendous as the Phantom of the Opera. Really too bad his Pink Panther roles overshadow that piece of work… much as Prince Humperdinck trumps Jerry Dandridge for storymark 😉

    Interesting to be having this conversation in the wake of Jimmy Sangster’s death, who along with Terence Fisher and Freddie Francis is really responsible for the Hammer brand.

  37. yancyskancy says:

    Sangster was the man, even though, like him, I generally prefer his thrillers to the monster stuff. THE NANNY, PARANOIAC, TASTE OF FEAR, all great.

    storymark: You think knowing Sarandon from THE PRINCESS BRIDE made it hard to buy him as a threat? I first saw him in DOG DAY AFTERNOON.

  38. Not David Bordwell says:

    PARANOIAC is fantastic, truly disturbing, with a great perf by Oliver Reed.

    Once you develop an eye for Chris Sarandon, it’s weird where he pops up.

  39. Joe Leydon says:

    NDB: Actually, I would describe Julie Christie’s character as more of a Hazel Court. But maybe that’s because Hazel Court was my very first movie star crush.

  40. Not David Bordwell says:

    And hey, she’s in CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Sangster’s first Hammer script, so we’ve kinda come full circle.

  41. Desslar says:

    “Rob says:
    August 22, 2011 at 8:05 am

    He’s drinking Midori, which is meant to be a joke. It’s a low-quality melon liqueur favored by college undergrads.”

    Um, what would the premium quality melon liqueur be then?

  42. Joe Leydon says:

    Boone’s Farm, of course.

  43. storymark says:

    Yancy: “You think knowing Sarandon from THE PRINCESS BRIDE made it hard to buy him as a threat? I first saw him in DOG DAY AFTERNOON.”

    I would imagine. That’s another I only just saw within the last year or two. But it coming later was an easier adjustment.

  44. Mr. Peel says:

    Somebody once told me that Julie Christie’s character in AFTERGLOW was actually based on Barbara Steele. Whether that’s true or not, of course, I really wouldn’t know.

  45. David Poland says:

    These kinds of conversations are when I am most proud of this blog. I go off on Nikki… but the real conversation is about the content… raising the bar (in a kitschy way) to a discussion of an old movie and how we imprint on movies at different ages, etc.

    Thanks to all of you for that.

  46. Not David Bordwell says:

    Probably only Joe Leydon and I care at this point, but I just found out that Julie Christie was supposed to star in Sangster-penned Freddie Francis Hammer feature NIGHTMARE (she quit to do DARLING, won an Oscar instead):

    To quote the great Til Schweiger in the unsung JUDAS KISS, “My mind is expanding, man! I think I’m having a… epilepsy or something!”

  47. Joe Leydon says:

    I vaguely remember reading somewhere that Julie Christie was at one point considered for a role in a James Bond movie — but the producer passed on her because her breasts weren’t large enough. Seriously.

  48. cadavra says:

    Joe, that’s not unusual. Linda Fiorentino really wanted the lead role in BASIC INSTINCT, but Verhoeven rejected her because…well, you know…

    To sort of return to the original topic: finally caught up with COWBOYS & ALIENS this afternoon (and it was remarkably full for a Tuesday matinee), and while I was sitting through the trailers for CONTAGION and M:I-4 for the forty zillionth times, it occurred to me that even though I see roughly two new movies a week, not once did I ever see trailers for CONAN, SPY KIDS or ONE DAY. (FRIGHT NIGHT I saw one time.) That’s certainly not an excuse for their disappointing openings, but that footage needs to be out there for people to sample; they’re less likely these days to go in blind.

  49. LexG says:

    I see a shit-ton of stuff in theaters too, and, yeah, get the Contagion and MI trailers nonstop (taking over from Crazy Stupid Love and, before it, that infernal Arthur trailer), but as someone (Joe, I think) said elsethread, a lot of that depends on what kind of movies you see; I see a lot of romcoms so I got the “One Day” trailer three or four times, actually… But I don’t see many family films, so I never got the “Sky Kids” trailer; “Conan” or “Fright Night” would seem like shoo-ins to run in front of the action junk that is my forte, but I think I got FN once and Conan only back when it was a teaser, compared to the zillion times I heard Emma Stone do the “Seriously/photoshopped!” line…

    Actually I always wonder this: Does this also kinda depend on what THEATER CHAIN you go to? I got the CSL and Arthur trailers a LOT at Mann Theaters– and Mann seems to always favor WB and Paramount movies in terms of their bookings; Pacific theaters seem to run more Sony and Uni trailers than other chains. The Arclight is technically a Pacific and tends to run certain trailers into the ground (Contagion has run before the last 15 movies I’ve seen there), but studio doesn’t seem to matter, though it being “upscale” you see a lot of Searclight and Focus stuff there almost exclusively. AMC tends to show just about any trailers, without much rhyme or reason, though, so maybe there’s nothing to this theory.

  50. JS Partisan says:

    Joe, it’s a classic, and I’ve been watching it for years on Cable. It’s still a tremendous film and Paul sums up why right below you. Shame on you Sugar Daddy Santa. Shame!

    SM, Talkbackers haven’t been that bad in years. Sure they can be bad but other sites have worse posters than AICN ever had. TWOP being chief among them.

  51. Joe Leydon says:

    IO: When I was much younger, I thought William Castle’s Macabre was tremendous, because it scared the living daylights out of me when I saw it on late-night TV. No kidding. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.

  52. cadavra says:

    Lex, trailer placement is usually determined by two factors: the studio distributing the feature and the type of film it is. A Sony picture will have a minimum of two Sony trailers attached, for example. The rest is based on what the assembled audience has come to see. Thus a horror movie would have mostly horror or action trailers, dramas get other dramas or adult comedies, and so on. Family films are the most rigorously monitored, lest the wee ones be frightened (this can sometimes backfire: I went to a showing some years back of FINDING NEVERLAND, which was accompanied entirely by trailers for kiddie movies, eliciting constant groans from the all-adult audience). FTR, I did go to some family films, such as CARS 2, that might have shown SPY KIDS, but they didn’t.

  53. yancyskancy says:

    NDB: While the plot of NIGHTMARE is not as jaw-droppingly fantastic as that of PARANOIAC, it’s still a very effective psychological thriller. Far fewer twists, but they work like gangbusters. I should’ve mentioned it. I assume Christie was considered for the Jennie Linden role?

    One extra-filmic aspect of PARANOIAC that’s fun for me is that Janette Scott is my friend Daisy’s mother, and I get a kick out of noting their similarities and differences.

    Finally saw CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE. tonight. So much good stuff, but a fair amount of ‘meh,’ as well. I cringed when the big speech started up; in fact, the heartfelt stuff worked far less on me than the comedy. But Emma Stone continues to be God, so thumbs up.

  54. LexG says:

    She is backup God, right behind K-Stew.

  55. anghus says:

    Joe, i read your article and agree with you. I think you have 2 movies based off a great basic concept that both blow it in the casting and execution.

    Neither are that good. And two mediocre Fright Nights are kind of a depressing analogy for the state of film. And then you have a mediocre Conan remake the same weekend.

    Is our cinematic future people trying to not only remake the classics but remake even the most mediocre originals?

  56. Storymark says:

    JS – “SM, Talkbackers haven’t been that bad in years. Sure they can be bad but other sites have worse posters than AICN ever had. TWOP being chief among them.”

    I look at AICN talkbacks every now and then, and if that’s not as bad as it used to be, I shudder to think of how bad it was. Maybe it is worse other places – but it’s still a hive of perpetual whiners. Reading an AICN talkback makes me embarrassed to be a genre movie fan. Gives me a Jeff Wellsian “let’s put them all in a camp” crazy vibe.

  57. Storymark says:

    “Is our cinematic future people trying to not only remake the classics but remake even the most mediocre originals?”

    I think the mediocre ones are the films they should be remaking. Just, you know – better.

  58. anghus says:

    i don’t think they should be remaking any of them.

    lazy sons of bitches.

  59. yancyskancy says:

    As I recently posted elsewhere, I found a stat from 1956 that said only 55% of studio films made in 1955 were from original screenplays.

  60. storymark says:

    “i don’t think they should be remaking any of them.

    lazy sons of bitches.”

    Yeah, that John Houston – lazy son of a….wait, what?

    Remakes aren’t the problem. Shitty remakes are.

  61. Written on phone – Late to the game… As far as trailer placements, the post-Libermann FCC stuff has made it brutally hard to market R-rated films, especially ones aimed at teens or college kids (IE – Conan and Fright Night). I very rarely see theatrical trailers for R-rated films in theaters except for hard-R films (such as Final Destination 5). Even more odd… when I saw The Devil’s Double at the Arclight a few weeks back (okay movie, but yet another limited release that probably would have been a wide release just 5-7 years ago), they played the greenband Conan trailer. Even at the friggen Arclight, at a Friday night screening of a very-R rated film, they chose not to play the red-band trailer for Conan. I guess the question is… how often have any of you seen a red-band trailer in a theater? Are they even intended to be shown in theaters or are they online-only? I mean, if you can’t play a red-band trailer in front of an R-rated trailer at the friggen Arclight, where can you show such a thing?

  62. Triple Option says:

    I know what you’re saying but if you can’t sell an R-Rated green band movie, can you really do all that more w/a red band? I would’ve thought Your Highness would’ve benefited from the whole “Magic…m*f*krs” but I don’t know if that really moved the needle or not.

    I’d think the appeal of the red band is tied into the fact you’re seeing on the interweb itself. The whole special access, being in on something select, when it comes viral to you. I think that’s why sony tries to capture that sort of “magic” when they have their mktg dept come up with a “bootleg” trailer from Europe, even though they can’t even do that w/out the studio’s need to make everything overly obvious and it comes across looking as fake as their movie review quotes they stick in print ads.

  63. kidphantom says:

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i got here to ?return the desire?.I’m attempting to find issues to enhance my website!I guess its good enough to make use of a few of your concepts!!

  64. Krillian says:

    Nikke reported yesterday that Tower Heist was rated R but of course that’s scrubbed from the site today with no mention of correction…

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon