Thursday, January 11, 2007

Who killed 'The Hobbit'?

Before this rather ugly feud between Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema became so nastily public, I never would have guessed that everyone involved are basically babies.

And it pains me to say that about Peter Jackson, but no one looks good in this. The latest chapter is enough to make schoolyard bullies look like a classy lot.

The latest statement released by New Line's Bob Shaye, essentially barring Jackson from the lot, not just for "The Hobbit" but for any other flick, is beyond juvenile. His latest beef with PJ is, apparently, that the director refused to participate in a 40th anniversary video for the studio, and allegedly told his stars not to participate either.

Are you kidding me? We're not gonna get to see what would be one incredible movie (or maybe two) - and I've always held "The Hobbit" in higher esteem than any of its "Rings" companions - because you got your feelings hurt? In any other place in the world, such infantile behavior would get one fired (and hopefully it still will.)

In his response, Jackson for once tried to remain civil, perhaps sensing how ridiculous New Line now looks, but he's been stoking the fire all along. The lawsuit that started all this is a particularly nasty affair, even by Hollywood standards. Essentially, Jackson's Wingnut company performed an audit on the books after "Fellowship of the Ring" and found some alleged irregularities and money owed. He wants to perform a similar audit on the other two flicks in the trilogy (and who can blame him?), but so far New Line has refused. So here we are. No wiser and a lot more annoyed.

What's amazing in all this is that Shaye, in his latest bit of bile, has gone straight to the geeks. A major studio executive going to Sci Fi Wire to spit venom at a great director. It kind of warms the heart for just a sec before it turns the stomach.

If I've got this right, MGM holds the distribution rights to any "Hobbit" movie, so there's still a chance that New Line could cut and run, allowing Jackson to make the movie with MGM. But, quite frankly, I'm ready to wash my hands of the entire mess.

"The Hobbit" can be made without Peter Jackson. Any number of directors working today - especially Guillermo Del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron, Michel Gondry or Spike Jonze (feel free to let me know who I've left out) - have the vision and talent to pull this off. And, at this point, any one of them would be better than the big babies we have now.

Top 10 2006 movie quotes

The fine folks at Reel Life Wisdom have compiled their list of the Top 10 movie quotes for 2006, and even though my submissions didn't make the cut, I've decided to rise above and give them a plug anyway.

Click on the link above to see which quips made the hot list. They're all worthy selections. According to Reel Life's Doug Manning, they got 47 suggestions from 32 people in the Web realm before winnowing it down. Here, for anyone who's curious, are the three I suggested:

"5,000 black people chillin' in the rain. 19 white people peppered in the crowd. Trying to find a Mexican."
Dave Chappelle's Block Party - Dave Chappelle (while playing the bongos)

"Probably. But it's an easy fix. One line of dialogue. 'Thank God we invented the... you know, whatever device."
Thank You for Smoking - Jeff Megall (Rob Lowe)

"You know, if you take the first letter of "Dunkin'" and move it to the end, it becomes Unkind Donuts."
Wordplay - crossword puzzle builder Merl Reagle

I particularly liked the third one because, for me, it encapsulated what was just so charming and creepy all at once about the great documentary "Wordplay."

Are there any movie quotes that didn't make their list but stood out to you? Feel free to add any you really liked this year, and have a thoroughly unannoying day.


Anonymous said...

Their list was limited to "inspirational" quotes. While I liked your suggestions a lot and found them plenty inspirational, I think their category is narrower, more pep-talk-y. I thought some of the best lines this year came from "Stranger than Fiction," like these:

Dr. Jules Hilbert: The thing to determine conclusively is whether you are in a comedy or a tragedy. Have you met anyone who simply might loathe the very core of you?
Harold Crick: I'm an IRS agent. Everyone hates me.
Dr. Jules Hilbert: Well, that sounds like a comedy!

Dr. Jules Hilbert: Hell Harold, you could just eat nothing but pancakes if you wanted.
Harold Crick: What is wrong with you? Hey, I don't want to eat nothing but pancakes, I want to live! I mean, who in their right mind in a choice between pancakes and living chooses pancakes?
Dr. Jules Hilbert: Harold, if you pause to think, you'd realize that that answer is inextricably contingent upon the type of life being led... and, of course, the quality of the pancakes.

By the way, the Washington DC Film Critics gave our best screenwriting awards to "Thank You for Smoking" (adapted) and "Little Miss Sunshine" (original), both my top choices and both first-time screenwriters.

Reel Fanatic said...

Nell, it was indeed the interaction that Hoffman and Ferrell that sold me on Stranger than Fiction .. simply some of the funniest stuff all year, as you pointed out ... I'm glad to hear the D.C. critics have good taste, and I sure wish I still lived there (I went to college at Catholic U. in Brookland)

Anonymous said...

The sad thing about this whole deal between New Line and Pete Jackson is that they are only hurting themselves. Both would stand to gain a great deal from a Hobbit movie directed by Jackson. Everyone realises it would make a load of money. While there are other directors who could direct The Hobbit, I rather suspect that it would make a lot more dough if made by Jackson. In the end, they are not only hurting fans, then, but also hurting themselves.

Sadie Lou said...

Spike to direct the Hobbit? No. No. No. It has to be Peter Jackson or nobody. I don't care what he has said or done. The man is the only one that should see that movie to fruition simply because if the Hobbit doesn't share the same flavor as the other movies--it'll taste bad. I would bet on it.

Reel Fanatic said...

I suspect you may be right, Sadie Lou, but I think we've come to the point where we have to be thinking of alternatives ... Del Toro or Cuaron would seem like perfect choices to me, if they can't somehow work all this juvenile crap out

Reel Fanatic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marina said...

I really like the Rocky quote about life. It's so true. Actually that movie was full of good ones.

Anonymous said...

The last rumor I heard was the Sam Raimi would direct THE HOBBIT if things weren't resolved.

He's a more reliable director than Jackson (who I've never cared for).

Anonymous said...

Now that would just rule, Moviezzz ... I know he's producing a flick based on The Shadow, but ne's not attached to direct as of yet .. It would seem to fit into his calendar nicely, especially all of his stars seem to want to bail on the Spidey franchise after No. 3

Anonymous said...

That line from Thank You for Smoking was great... awesome film... and I agree with the screenwriting on 'Stranger than Fiction'. First rate, though the pace of the film, to me, was a little off... still enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

RE: The Hobbit...I blogged on this one a while back. It's truly sad to see how the situation has devolved, on all sides, I guess. But I'm of the opinion that it really should be Peter Jackson to do it, if it's done at all.

And I'm with Marina...'Rocky Balboa' had some great, great lines. My personal fave:

Spider Rico: Jesus wants me to do the dishes.

Rocky: Good thing Jesus didn't want you to cook.

Anonymous said...

"We’re all being lobotomized by this country’s most influential industry that’s just throwing in the towel on any endeavor to do anything that doesn’t include the courting of 12 year old boys. And not even the smart 12 year olds. The stupid ones. The idiots. Which there are plenty, thanks in no small measure to this network, so why don’t you just change the channel? Turn off your TVs, do it right now, go ahead."

Gold star for a correct ID of the source...:)
Hint: not a movie

Mo! said...

I dunno I hate those films anyway.

Put down the torches, please.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to admit, Diana, after thinking about it for a few minutes, I have no idea where that quote comes from .. please fill me in!

Anonymous said...

First, do you like the quote? Secondly, a second hint is that the line is delivered by Judd Hirsch.

Anonymous said...

And it was this past year.

RC said...

that wordplay quote was pretty good...

great call!!!

also, I too like the hobbit above the Lord of the Rings trilogy as far as the individual stories go.

--RC of

Anonymous said...

Good riddance with The Hobbit. For people like me, of whom there are few, we never liked Middle Earth and thought we were done with it.

For practically everyone else, while they may not realize it, it's best to leave this installment alone. Whatever film gets made would certainly not rise to the fanatical and unrealistic level of expectations. Remember, Peter Jackson never had the pressure that most franchise/sequel filmmakers have, because he filmed all three movies together.

Maybe it's best to save The Hobbit for the next generation.

Reel Fanatic said...

Since you've made it easier with your hints, Diana, I'm ready to make a guess ... Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip ... It's the only thing I can remember seeing Judd Hirsch do in the past year, so you made it rather easy that way!

Anonymous said...

I admit I would've like to have seen Jackson helm The Hobbit, but I suspect that whoever does get the job may end up following essentially the same aestehtic Jackson laid out in the Rings films anyway so that it doesn't really matter who directs it (like the Harry Potter movies; whatever artistic sensibilities the director brings to the latest installment, he/she is basically building on the foundations of the "world" established by Chris Columbus in the first two).


For some reason, all the best movie quotes I can think of in 2006 come from V For Vendetta:

"What was done to me was monstrous."
"And they created a monster."

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

"[My father] used to say that artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up."

"Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea... and ideas are bulletproof."

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to say you're right about V for Vendetta being a very quotable movie, Damian .. I still can't believe Alan Moore has been so pigheaded about it .. It's certainly the best of the adaptation of one of his graphic novels, though I still like the Hughes brothers' flawed "From Hell" quite a bit too

Ian said...

Well to be fair to Shaye, he's managed to hold his tongue for several years now despite constant pressure and a very one-sided media portrayal of the good guy (Peter Jackson and his cheery bedside manner) vs the bad (Hollywood money-grabbing suits).

I think it's a shame The Hobbit won't be made by Jackson, but only because it might have done away with the mindless hero worship we've had. Fans are like cattle at times and comparing The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings is like comparing Janet and John (I think the American equivalent is Dick and Jane?) to Shakespeare. And reading Janet and John after Shakespeare doesn't work no matter who the publisher is!

As for Neel's comments that Jackson filmed all three films together. Well sort of. Let's not forget that the "reshoots" for The Two Towers and Return of the King exceeded the time and budget even some of the tentpole movies get. The truth is that if the first film hadn't made a fortune and Jackson had been forced to deliver the three films as they existed at that time the reviews and fan reactions to The Two Towers and The Return of the King would have been rather different. You only need to look at the difference between the "cuddly blue" gollum in the first film and the completely different "pink and old" one in the second and third movies to see how much work and money went into fixing the three films that had supposedly all been made at the same time. The truth is the budget for all three films was pretty much spent in getting the first film up to the standard New Line wanted.

Anonymous said...

About the Hobbit.

There's a book by the screenwriter William Goldman titled Which Lie Did I Tell? In it he talks about how a studio had purchased The Princess Bride from him and had greenlit it for production. But then the greenlighter got fired and the movie was never to be produced because it's tradition for the new greenlighter to kill all old projects so that he does not get one-uped by the old greenlighter.

So there The Princess Bride sat, until Goldman ponied up his own money to buy it back. There was no desire for that production company to put out a fantastic movie. It was all about ego.

And so is this thing with The Hobbit. Unforuntately it has nothing to do with putting a good product on the big screen. Says a lot about HWood

Anonymous said...

I figured Judd Hirsch would give it away. Sports Night was infinitely more quotable, but alas...

Anonymous said...

You really liked The Hobbit better than the other books? I don't know, I don't think it would transcribe into a movie as well. But it has been quite a few years since I read it (it was probably like 5 years ago).

Oh, and I liked the quotes commented above by nell minow, definitely great moments from Stranger Than Fiction.

You should definitely check out Pan's Labyrinth!

P.S. Sorry I haven't been by in a while =P

Reel Fanatic said...

I wouldn't say The Hobbit is objectively better than the others, Elton, but I found it at just the right time when I was growing up, so it holds a very special place in my heart