"Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran"
- Dick Cheney, from the first few pages of the working script for Oliver Stone's "W."
Though he, as of yet, hasn't taken up my suggestion of Dwight Schrute to play Karl Rove, Oliver Stone has indeed scooped up at least one very funny guy for his Bush biopic: "Daily Show" vet Rob Corddry will play press secretary Ari Fleischer (remember him?)
Unfortunately, what the first few script (surely a work in progress) pages reveal is that the movie itself could also be laughably bad. The "Axis of Evil" conversation that starts it off is just ridiculous (and, if it really happened that way, just scary as hell.) I didn't want to ruin it for you, so you can read it and judge for yourself here.
The order of the day here, however, is animation, easily one of my favorite subjects. Pixar and Disney have unveiled a rather ambitious slate that takes the studios through 2012, and though you won't find the name of animation master Brad Bird anywhere, there's still some really cool stuff. (Bird, if I'm not mistaken, is moving into the realm of live-action films with "1906," a historical drama about the fire that ravaged the then-quite-corrupt city of San Francisco.)
First up, of course, is Pixar's Wall•E, which promises to be all kinds of weirdness when it's released June 27, but hopefully also chock full of charm (man, could we use some of that in movies now!) Here are other highlights of what's coming down the pike from both animation houses:
Bolt (Disney, Nov. 26, 2008)
I can't say you're gonna get me too excited when your lead character is voiced by John Travolta, but the plot for this one sounds like it could be pretty fun. He voices Bolt, a Hollywood superdog who gets accidentally shipped to New York City and has to find his way back home with two companions, a jaded, abandoned housecat named Mittens and a TV-obsessed hamster in a plastic ball named Rhino.
Up (Pixar, May 29th, 2009)
Being someone who's perfectly happy to go to bed no later than 10 p.m. (and often earlier if the Braves aren't playing on TV), I say it's way past high time that a movie was made about a super hero who just happens to be in his 70s. With the new news that our hero will be voiced by certified grump Ed Asner, I'm nothing but jazzed for this one.
The Princess and the Frog (Disney,Christmas 2009)
I'd be much more excited for this one if they had actually managed to pick a black composer (rather than the omnipresent and increasingly insipid Randy Newman) for this, Disney's first grand animated musical with a black heroine, but I guess we should be thankful for baby steps. Besides, there's a lot of good going on here anyway. The story takes place in New Orleans, it stars Anika Noni Rose, and it should be a return to the kind of old-fashioned animation that made Disney famous in the first place.
Toy Story 3 (Pixar, June 18th, 2010)
I sure hope this trilogy doesn't go the way of "X-Men" and "Spider-Man," as it has thus far (the first one very good, the second great but the third one simply craptastic.) A while back, in an article about the merging of the studios, the Wall Street Journal let fly that the plot for the third installment will be this: “Woody the cowboy and his toy-box friends are dumped in a day-care center after their owner, Andy, leaves for college.” Sounds cool enough to me, so bring it on! The next Pixar sequel on the list, however ... more on that later.
Rapunzel (Disney: Christmas 2010)
Don't have much to say about this one except that, after a one-movie-only respite from the 3-D/CGI onslaught, Disney will be going all modern with this one.
Newt (Summer 2011: Pixar)
When it's not making sequels, it looks like - thankfully - Pixar is gonna just keep getting weirder with its storylines. In this one, the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, but of course they can't stand each other. Even with the rather tired tag line "Love, it turns out, is not a science," this could still be a lot of fun.
The Bear and the Bow (Christmas 2011, Disney/Pixar)
A load of quality voice talent is already on board for this trip to "rugged and mythic" Scotland (whatever that means.) Reese Witherspoon is an impetuous princess who would much rather shoot her bow and arrow, Emma Thompson voices her mother and Billy Connolly (of course!) voices her father.
Cars 2 (Summer 2012, Pixar)
This is the only true turkey I can see in Pixar's near future. The first "Cars" was my least favorite Pixar movie by far, with that long middle passage that was simply a road to nowhere, so I just can't get excited much at all about a sequel. Besides, does the world really need more Larry the Cable Guy in any form?
King of the Elves (Disney, Christmas 2012)
This is definitely a case of saving the best for last, methinks. Disney will take on Philip K. Dick's foray into fantasy storytelling. It tells the tale of a dude living in the Mississippi Delta whose reluctant actions to help a desperate band of elves being menaced (of course) by a troll leads them to name him their king (why can't I have days like that?)
That did go on for a while, but hopefully the news was worth it!
"The Office" is open!
Though "Friday Night Lights" and "The Wire" helped me make it through the writers strike in a reasonably good mood, there was no show I missed more from week-to-week than "The Office," which thankfully returns to NBC tonight at 9 p.m. (followed by a new "Scrubs" too.)
You know, it's more than a little disturbing to find out your TV is smarter than you are. I went to set the DVR to tape both of these, only to find that it had saved my recording request from before the strike. I know I'm more than a bit of a Luddite, but that still kind of amazes me. Anyways, here's what's coming in the next four episodes:
"Dinner Party" (9 tonight)
Pam and Jim find they have run out of excuses and are forced to go to Jan and Michael's house for dinner. When Andy and Angela are also invited to dinner, Dwight's jealousy gets the best of him.
"The Chair Model" (April 17)
Michael's fascination with a woman modeling a chair in an office supply catalog makes him feel things he hasn't felt in a while. With Michael distracted, Kevin and Andy team up to win back Dunder-Mifflin's stolen parking spaces, forcing them into a showdown with the bosses of the five businesses of the office park.
"Night Out" (April 24)
Michael and Dwight decide to surprise Ryan in New York for a night of clubbing and meet his friends. Meanwhile, the Scranton branch is upset when they find out they have to come in on a Saturday for Ryan's Web site project. Jim's plan to save them has unexpected results. (Michael and Dwight on the town? I'm there!)
"Did I Stutter?" (May 1)
When Stanley snaps at Michael during a meeting, Michael tries to give Stanley an attitude adjustment. Dwight decides to buy Andy’s car. Meanwhile, Pam deals with an unexpected inconvenience after spending the night at Jim’s.
Sounds like a lot of fun stuff, but rather than let me prattle on anymore about it, here's a clip of Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer telling two rather dippy Utah news anchors about tonight's episode (note the 3-2 Orioles victory over the Mariners in the sports ticker!) Enjoy, and remember to tune in tonight. Peace out.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
"Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran"