Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Are all critics noodleheads?

Jeez, it seems like a month since I've been to the movies (except for a sneak peek at "Marie Antoinette" in Amsterdam).

I plan to end this drought in a big way with "Superman Returns" Thursday night, so look for the good (at least it had better be!) word Friday morning.

After that, I'll probably catch up on "Cars" and "Nacho Libre" in a quest to prove one thing: Critics are noodleheads. All three of these flicks got lukewarm receptions at best from the critics we run in the Macon Telegraph, but I'm certain I will like them all.

We'll see soon, but in the meantime, here's the word on two upcoming flicks that peak my interest.

The sad saga of Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley's "Grace" is one of those records I keep going back to (I am, in fact, listening to it right now). His soaring voice was the key to his appeal, as best evidenced in his brilliant takes on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and Benjamin Britten's "Corpus Christi Carol" (my favorite "Grace" track).

Like too many stars that burn so bright, however, Buckley's didn't burn nearly long enough. On May 29, 1997, while in Memphis, he decided to go swimming in the Mississippi River, fully clothed. While we can never know for sure, I've always thought it was his intent to kill himself, which he accomplished in those muddy waters at the age of 30.

Now it seems that Buckley will follow in the footsteps of Ray and Johnny and get his own biopic. Though I'll definitely see it, I'm not sure his tale will have the mainstream appeal of his predecessors. While Buckley was a hero to many who love great music, he was by no means a national icon. But we can at least hope his too-short life is treated with respect and with an eye on entertaining.

Brian Jun, whose "Steel City" was nominated for the grand jury prize at January's Sundance Film Festival, will write and direct the Buckley feature, with input from Buckley's mother, Mary Guibert, as executive producer.

This is just getting off the ground, so no word yet on who might play Buckley, but I would opt for Billy Crudup. He's got the look, and proved in "Almost Famous" that he's got the soul. Who would you pick?


The wacky world of the Cosmos

Man do I wish I was old enough to have a lucid memory of the New York Cosmos, but I'm afraid I don't. All I know is the legend.

And what a legend it is. At a time when America cared even less about soccer than it does now (if that is even possible), Warner Communications Chairman Steve Ross assembled what was easily the most glamorous soccer team to ever play on Randall's Island, underneath the Triborough Bridge in the East River.

Among the players he somehow lured into this pit were Pele (perhaps you've heard of him), Franz Beckenbauer, the German great who organized the 2006 World Cup, and the Italian idol Giorgio Chinaglia (no word yet on how good his diving skills were, but being Italian ...).

The misfit toy in this crazy chest was Shep Messing, a native New Yorker who played goalie for this band of aging greats. He provides much of the input for "Once in a Lifetime," a new documentary about the Cosmos. I think it's out now, but the odds of it ever reaching my little corner of the world are remote at best, so Netflix will strike again.

In the meantime, I'll have to settle for this World Cup, which remains fun despite the referees' best efforts to destroy it. I loved watching Les Bleus take out Spain, especially with Vieira putting the dagger in and Zidane adding an extra twist.

My co-workers are even watching the Cup, and I think it's more than an effort simply to mollify me. They actually seem to be enjoying it. Miracles never cease!

18 comments:

themarina said...

I must be a noodlehead because I didn't particularly like either "Cars" or "Nacho Libre". "Cars" was definitely the better of the two films.

Reel Fanatic said...

No offense meant, Marina, so hopefully none taken ... I think I'll like Nacho Libre more, but we'll see

Daniel S. said...

I loved Superman Returns. Don't know why Ebert hated it.

Bill Arnold said...

Thanks for the heads up. I'd like to see both the Jeff Buckley and the Cosmos thing.

Todd Jones said...

I like Crudup to play Buckley, but if he passes, how about Heath Ledger? Give him the dark hair from 10 Things I Hate About You and he definitely looks like him, and after that perfect imitation of Carl from Sling Blade he did in Brokeback Mountain I suspect he might be vocal chameleon enough to sound like Buckley, too.

Maki said...

I really hope they don't try to make whichever actor they cast attempt to sing any of Jeff Buckley's songs. That can only end in failure, sadly. Just listen to anything off Live At Sin-é: Legacy Edition for proof...

ryang said...

Caught 'Superman Returns' at IMAX in Chicago. The 3D was pretty cool but a little distracting taking the glasses on and off. The whole audience giggled everytime they gave us the sign to put our glasses on. All three previews before the movie were also in 3D (all for animated flicks) which was a hit with our audience. 'Superman Returns' gets a thumbs up from me, whether or not you get to see the 3D version. An even bigger thumbs up to Singer for sticking with the original music and his other nods to the first 'Superman' (the opening credits had me smiling).

Reel Fanatic said...

You're definitely right, Maki .... I have a very beat-up cassette of "Live at Sin-e" that proves Buckley was one of a kind and can't be imitated vocally ... I'm very jealous, Ryan, but will, if I get out of the Telegraph at any decent hour, finally be seeing Superman tonight!

themarina said...

never offense taken. it's all a matter of taste right?!?! Everyone is allowed to disagree as long as it doesn't start wars! :)

Kamikaze Camel said...

I made a Jeff Buckley biopic post at my blog. My suggestion was Jared Leto, but who knows. Billy would work.

Reel Fanatic said...

Jared Leto would definitely also have the look, Kamikaze, and he was great in "Requeim (sp?) for a Dream" ... intriguing choice

Blenster said...

So, did you end up seeing Nacho Libre and liking it? I thought it was horrendous and painful and was most relieved to see the ending credits finally roll. I did laugh at a couple of moments, but most of the movie was a huge dissapointment for me.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm going to see Nacho Libre today, Blenster, and hope I will like it more than you ... I have a pretty warped sense of humor, so I think I will

carrie_lofty said...

I'm getting tired of Jeff's mom selling everything he ever touched. It's really quite flagrant. A biopic would have to be so very well done in order to quell my gag reflex. I wish the poor boy could be left in peace.

"Chances are good we spread blasphemous lies / Safe to say nobody knew what was inside / Of course there is grace and those halos of pain / Maybe he sang what he came here to sing." - A Body Goes Down by Duncan Sheik (wriitten in tribute to Jeff)

Reel Fanatic said...

This was the first I had heard of his mother doing anything, Salome, so I guess I've just been in the dark .. I think a biopic could be great

carrie_lofty said...

His mom is the one who compile all his tapes for the second disk on Sketches - stuff he never meant to be heard by anyone - and raided his journals for the liner notes. She also released all the extras on the deluxe edition of Grace, and she's authorized a few print biographies about Jeff and Tim Buckley. She owns the rights to both of their works. All just kinda creepy, milking their deaths for more cash. I suppose she's gotta make a living but, as a writer myself, I would hate having people raid my works in progress just to have more product to put out there.

Neel Mehta said...

Finally! A Jeff Buckley biopic. I wonder if it will be an adaptation of Dream Brother.

As for casting, I don't think I want to live in a world where James Franco is not part of the discussion.

Reel Fanatic said...

As a way-too-devoted fan of "Freaks and Geeks," Neel, Franco would be just fine by me