Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Can David Milch save the TV cop show?

I gave up on watching cop shows several years ago because, like Emily Gilmore, I "simply don't find forensic work as fascinating as the rest of the world." I'm really not knocking the 42 varieties of CSI or anything else that's on the air now, but it's just not my thing.

Earlier this year, however, I found out just what I had been missing when I caught up with the first three seasons of "The Wire" on DVD. Anyone who used to love "Homicide" needs to watch these as soon as possible. The arc of season three in particular, if I may use a truly cringeworthy term, is downright Shakespearian.

Since then, my cubicle mate (and occasional Reel Fanatic guest reviewer) Rodney Manley and I have treadmilled our way through the first season of David Milch's "Deadwood" and are now embarking on season two. Those old (or maybe they still use them) commercials that said "It's not TV, it's HBO"? Well, you really can't call it arrogant when it's true. Milch's "Deadwood" is possibly the most profane show I've ever seen (and therefore rather hard to watch at work), but also simply one of the best TV Westerns ever made.

I tell you all that (in an admittedly rather long lead) to tell you this: With Milch's "John from Cincinnati" (which I didn't watch) flaming out after one season, he's now back with HBO on a singular mission: To save the TV cop show.

What he's pitching is familiar, NY cops on the beat, but I'm sure he'll still have something new to say. The project will apparently be about a Vietnam veteran who returns to the U.S. in the early 1970s and joins the New York City police force. The story is loosely based on the experience of former "NYPD Blue" exec producer Bill Clark, who is developing the show with Milch.

The things I don't know could easily fill a rather mundane book, but you can add to that long list this: I had no idea that Milch was one of the co-creators of "Blue," a show my parents and I used to watch religiously, and also a writer for "Hill Street Blues." Now that's a pedigree.

This probably means the other possible Milch project I had hoped for, a pair of "Deadwood" movies, is dead for now, but I'll take whatever I can get and, given its slump of late, surely so will HBO.

Raimi to direct "The Hobbit"?

I would have lead with this, but I'm not sure I'm ready to believe it yet.

According to the usually very reliable, its "sources" are saying that though Peter Jackson and New Line's Bob Shaye are in the first stage of kissing and making up, Jackson won't be coming back to direct "The Hobbit." Instead, according to IESB, he would sign on as a producer and hand the reins over to Sam Raimi.

Now, after the disaster that was "Spidey 3," no director is in greater need of a new franchise than Raimi, and I'd much rather see him do this than any remake of "Clash of the Titans," but why would Jackson want to do this? I find it hard to believe he would get back in bed with New Line and not want to be the director on this, but I've been wrong at least once before. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

As for Raimi, I do have faith he could pull this off. With the last "Spider-Man" flick he just seemed to be bored, but before that he did manage to craft my single favorite superhero flick in "Spider-Man 2," so I know he can bounce back again. Maybe "The Hobbit" would be just what he needs.

Michael Cera to 'Revolt'

Michael Cera, a k a the funniest guy on the Internet, has set up his next project, "Youth in Revolt," an adaptation of the C.D. Payne novel (which I haven't yet read.)

Mr. Cera, of course, is one of the stars of a little movie called "Superbad" I may have mentioned here a few times before. And, in case you're wondering what makes him the funniest man on the 'Net, just watch a few episodes of Clark and Michael and try not to get hooked.

Payne's self-published novel apparently caught on with the youths (who, it's becoming more clear to me everyday, I know nothing about) and led to a series of books featuring a teenager named Nick Twisp. The conceit of the novels is that Twisp strives to balance out his budding sexual urges while remaining an intellectual teenager in a world of moronic adults.

In the first novel, Twisp meets the girl of his dreams while on a family vacation and he turns his life and the lives of all those around him upside down in order to be with her. Gustin Nash wrote the screenplay.

Cera told the Hollywood Reporter that he's a huge fan of the book, having read it four times. "I have a copy signed by C.D. Payne. It's my most prized possession."

Well, anything that Michael Cera's read four times is certainly one I can bother to read once, so I soon will.

Actually, there's another Cera project that I'm more jazzed about (and have mentioned here before.) It's the next movie from Jason Reitman, "Juno," which was penned by Minneapolis City Pages scribe and blogger Diablo Cody. The coming-of-age story about a young lady who finds herself pregnant may actually have the best cast yet (a title I admittedly throw around rather loosely): Cera, Ellen Page (huzzah!), Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Rainn Wilson, Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons (huzzah again!) I'm not sure when this will finally come out, but it's got to be soon, so keep your eyes out.

A Tyler Perry trailer

For a dude who keeps things so positive, Tyler Perry certainly does seem to generate a lot of hate, but it will never come from me. I really like his movies for what they essentially are, fairy tales, and apparently some other people do too.

His latest admittedly doesn't have a terribly thrilling premise, but his movies rarely do. This one, "Why Did I Get Married?", follows couples on a winter retreat on a mission to save their marriages (as best as I can tell). It's set to star Mr. Perry (not as Madea), Janet Jackson and Jill Scott, and come out, I believe, in November. Enjoy, and have an entirely suck-free Wednesday. Peace out.


Crystal Green's Blog said...

Gaaaaah. In spite of all the speculation that Milch is "open" to doing those DEADWOOD movies, I think he's doing everything he can to avoid them. Man, Milch--if DEADWOOD is out of your system, just tell us. Don't keep dangling that carrot of hope!

And I recently watched HARD CANDY. Wow. Ellen Page is one of the top-five best actresses working today, even if she is still a youngun. If I didn't love the fact that she's still a "best-kept secret," I'd suggest she hire Keira Knightly's publicist right away.

renee said...

If Milch does another show for HBO, I'll definitely check it out, because I've liked everything else he's done except John. I could not stand that show. Which makes me a little worried about this new one. But, I'll check it out.

I know you've mentioned not being a big fan of procedurals and such, but if you like Homicide and The Wire, I think you'd like "The Shield". The Vic Mackey character is just so complicated and real. The writing isn't up to The Wire standards (although in my opinion, nothing is) but it's really good. Start from the beginning, but you also get some great guest actors in later seasons - Glenn Close was fantastic and Forest Whitaker's best year ever included a season on The Shield in an amazing performance.

Reel Fanatic said...

I sure hope young Ms. Page never hears your publicist, Crystal .. If she ever stops eating like poor Keira Knightley, it will just be thoroughly depressing .. and you're certainly right about Hard Candy, I love that flick

And I have decided, as soon as I can get around to it, Renee, to break down and give the Shield a chance from Netflix ... You and many other people have convinced me that I should definitely check it out

* (asterisk) said...

Whitaker was great in The Shield, fo sho, but it's great even without him and always was. Season 1 is a bit short on profanity, but we do get some shits in subsequent years.

And, loving profanity as I do, I don't know why I've never seen Deadwood. Must make amends on that score.

Hobbit, don't care. I'd sooner see Raimi go back to horror and have a crack at it with a big budget.

Mercurie said...

I have to admit that I was disappointed with David Milch when he chose to let Deadwood go just to do John from Cincinnati. Besides The Wire, Deadwood was my favourite HBO show. But a cop show coming from him could make up for it. Like you, I'm sure he'll find something different to do with it.

I have to agree with you on the Sam Raimi/Hobbit rumour. It would be a great deal for Raimi, whose Spider-Man 3 was a disappointment. But why would Jackson go for it? I rather suspect if he's going to produce, he's going to direct as well.

Marina said...

I had a chance to give the "Juno" script a once over and it looked pretty good. It's one I'm looking forward to as well.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm jealous Marina ... I don't think it will be anything earth-shattering, but with that cast in the hands of Jason Reitman, I am expecting at least a pretty darn good flick

JMW said...

I read Youth in Revolt on a friend's recommendation years ago, and I thought it was really funny. Don't remember much of it, but remember enjoying it.

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