Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lizard overlords? This explains so much

I've liked Mike White ever since his days as a contributor to "Freaks and Geeks," and I had even more respect for him when he had the nerve to break with the Apatow Mafia just as they were about to become the new kings of comedy (even if I disagree with some of his reasons for doing so.)

White's beef with Apatow apparently began after the release of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." Like me and apparently not too many other people in the world, Mr. White thought the movie was a lot more mean than funny, especially in its treatment of women. But he didn't make it a public breach until the release of "Knocked Up," when he told the New York Times this:

"To me, I definitely stand in the corner of wanting to give voice to the bullied, and not the bully. Here's where comedy is catharsis for people who are picked on. There's a strain in Knocked Up where you sort of feel like something’s changed a little bit. My sense of it is that because those guys are idiosyncratic-looking, their perception is that they're still the underdogs. But there is something about the spirit of the thing, that comes under the guise of comedy, where — it's weird. At some point it starts feeling like comedy of the bullies, rather than the bullied."

I definitely got that same sense from "40-Year-Old Virgin," though not from "Knocked Up," but I rather longwindedly relate all that to tell you this: Mike White severely needs a new crowd, and now according to MTV he's found a great one.

For his latest script, White has gotten his revenge by teaming up with one of the few directors working today who's at least as funny as Apatow, Edgar Wright, for a truly insane project. They're apparently adaptating the rather wild conspiracy theories of British "free-thinker" (let's be real - that just means kook right?) David Icke into a “a paranoid conspiracy movie/comedy” called "Them."

And just what's at the heart of Mr. Icke's theories? Lizard overlords, of course. He apparently believes (as I frankly always suspected) that the world is actually controlled by extraterrestrial, shape-shifting reptiles who take the form of our world leaders (including W., of course.)

I'd probably bite on this if it were pitched by a no-name director, but from the minds behind "School of Rock," "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," I'm definitely in, and now have a new movie to obsess about way beyond anything that would be considered rational behavior. Read all about in the MTV movies blog here.


The Post gets "The Wire" scoop

In case anyone missed Monday's Washington Post, it has a great article on the front page about the end of "The Wire," for which reporter Teresa Wiltz was lucky enough to be on hand. It offers several tantalizing details about season five, starting with the fact that it will debut Jan. 6, on HBO of course.

Though the article is a bit heavy on the insistence that "The Wire" elevated television to art, that notion really is impossible to dispute. I've said before and I'll now repeat for anyone who doubts me: There has never been a better police show, and possibly no better show in any genre, in the history of TV. Perhaps I'm exaggerating, but trust me, not by much at all.

Season five will center on the media, with Tom McCarthy (writer and director of the movie "The Station Agent") playing a morally challenged reporter. Knowing that they filmed on site at the Baltimore Sun, where "Wire" creator David Simon once pushed the limits like his fictional counterpart as a crime reporter, gives me hope that this last installment will be even better than all that's come before it (of which I've managed to see the first three seasons so far.)

Wiltz offers an insider's look at the shooting of the last scene and the wrap party in her article well worth reading here.

Going back to the movies

Not out of any organized boycott but simply because, well, the offerings have all looked pretty damn sucky, I haven't been to a new movie since my brother and I went to "Superbad" on its opening weekend. For me that's a pretty long dry stretch, but it's gonna end this weekend with two offerings I'm willing to bite on.

"3:10 to Yuma," a remake of the 1957 movie and based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, looks like a return to the old Westerns I love. I'm fairly confident that James Mangold, director of "Walk the Line," has crafted this version with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe into a winner, even though the early critics are pointing out he changed the ending to rather disastruous ends.

And then there's "Shoot 'Em Up." I see no way this won't just be tons of fun, especially after seeing this new clip at IESB.net of Clive Owen getting it on with la bella Monica Bellucci, and of course dispensing with the bad guys at the same time. Two new movies in one weekend? All hail the coming of Fall! Peace out.

16 comments:

jeremy said...

And here I thought you'd mention this.

Reel Fanatic said...

Ah, but I did, Jeremy, in yesterday's post .. That is indeed the news oddity of the week

jeremy said...

You sure did. I think I got to the Faith/Buffy thing and clicked over to the Dark Horse site--never to return!
(PS bought the book yesterday and the only thing that would make it better would be if it were actual episodes.)

Carrie Lofty said...

Waiting to see what you think of 3:10. I posted a list of films I'm waiting to see this fall.

Sachin G. said...

Hey Keith,

I found this hilarious alternate take on Knocked Up. I know you liked the movie but I don't think these words will dampen your view :)

Although I have to disagree with Queenan's view regarding High Fidelity. In that film, Cusack's character was a better person than all the females he dated so I don't agree in placing that film in the same list as the other titles.

Sachin G. said...

Sorry but this was link

pdemko said...

So what the hell is david simon's other project for hbo?

Reel Fanatic said...

High Fidelity indeed has no place on that list, Sachin, because, as you pointed out, Cusack's character was indeed a good guy who just wasn't entirely ready to grow up .. and though I agree that all the guys in those other movies have serious faults, I guess I do too, because I like them all

Mercurie said...

I have to say that I'll hate to see The Wire go. It is easily the best thing on television.

Anonymous said...

David Simon and Ed Burns are working on a mini-series for HBO based on the book Generation Kill, which is the account of a Marine serving in Iraq in 2003.

no doubt it'll be incredible.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for the info, anonymous one ... I have to agree that anything he puts his hands on should turn out to be excellent

Justin said...

It would be very hard for "The Wire" to top Season 4...but then again, I thought that way about every season and then they went ahead and did it.

Jonathan said...

I'm a fan overall of Mike White's (School of Rock and The Good Girl are two of the better comedies to come out in the past decade). However, after watching his directorial debut, "Year of the Dog" recently, I find his attack on Aptow and company very odd indeed. His main character in "Dog" played rather well by Molly Shannon, is such an anti-social crackpot that I found very little to care about when things started turning worse for her. And he also takes the typical depiction of most chick-lit type films, where all men are pigs and jerks, but the crazy sex-starved female is the one we should feel sorry for. I'm not saying that overall women don't get depicted harshly in a lot of films, but doing a complete 180 on the men seems to set a bit of a double standard that doesn't sit well with me either. I find a lot more to laugh at in "40 Year Old Virgin" than I do "Year of the Dog." At least "Virgin" isn't giving us dead dogs and little girls being forced to go watch chickens getting killed at a slaugter house. How is this the comedy we should be approving of?

Reel Fanatic said...

I haven't seen "Year of the Dog" yet, Jonathan, so I can't offer an opinion on that one .. Many reviews I read had the same beef you did though, so I'll have to keep it in mind when I finally get around to watching it

Sir James Robison said...

...a lot more mean than funny...

The people who think such things equal talent show they don't ahve it.

Chalupa said...

We just saw Year of the Dog last week. Thought it was pretty funny. We weren't laughing all the way through, but it was still funny nonetheless.