Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coco's long, strange trip heads to TBS, and I'm with him

The first thing I thought when I heard yesterday that Conan O'Brien had spurned the advances of Fox for more money and, let's face it, surely more job security at TBS, was man would be it great to see another "Late Shift," this time about the rather tawdry adventures of CoCo and the soon-to-be-vanquished Jay Leno (hey, one can dream, right, even though he's clearly more indestructible - but much less funny - than a cockroach.)

If you've never seen that HBO movie, it detailed the war between Leno and David Letterman, and just how Dave ended up walking over to CBS, with comic precision. I'm sure you can still rent it, and it's well worth it.

And even though any new version of the story would surely make for a kinda rough portrait of both its main players, I think the TBS deal is nothing but a winner for O'Brien, and here's why.

Had he somehow managed to swing a deal for an 11:30 show on Fox, he would have been under the same constant pressure that thankfully killed Leno's 10 p.m. adventure, complaints from the affiliates. They were apparently, and rather amazingly, balking at pulling their "Simpsons" reruns or "Cops" or whatever the hell else they have on at 11:30 now, and frankly, who needs that?

At TBS, for which the motto "Very Funny" has so far only expressed itself in almost constant reruns of "The Office" (which is, granted, indeed just that), he's clearly gonna be the lord of the manor.

Here are the details, as I know them. The TBS deal only started coming together last week, after George Lopez called O'Brien (easily the best thing he's done for comedy in many, many years) and asked him to consider coming to TBS. Under the deal, starting in November, Lopez's show (which, in all honesty, I've never watched in its entirety, but I've seen enough to deem it not terribly funny at all) will move to midnight, easing the way for CoCo at 11 p.m.

The as-yet-untitled show will only air Monday-Thursday (because, after all, who wants to work on Friday if you clearly don't have to?) O'Brien will apparently earn about $10 million a year, roughly what he had been making at NBC, and much more importantly, own the show, a la Dave Letterman. There's not much I can say to sum up just how good news this really is, so I'll let Conan himself do it just about perfectly.

“In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable. My plan is working perfectly.”

And you have this promise from me: Though I'm pretty strictly an in bed by 11 kinda guy, I'll gladly stretch that for a half hour at least to make room for your return. Welcome back, Conan.

OK, this is technically supposed to be about movie news, so here are four nuggets I found fascinating this morning, before we wrap things up with a couple short videos that are pretty much guaranteed to make you smile.

Did you see "Date Night"? I did, and while it could certainly have been zanier for my taste, it was still pretty darn funny, even in the none-too-brave-or-new-world that is the new New York, and that was almost entirely thanks to the chemistry of NBC's comedy titans, Tina Fey and Steve Carell, though James Franco and J.B. Smoove were very funny in it too.

So, even though their movie somehow lost out to that "Clash of the Titans" remake (which I still haven't seen, and probably won't), it shouldn't come as much of a surprise at all that they're already making plans to team up on the big screen again. According to the L.A. Times, Fey and Carell will appear together in something called "Mail-Order Groom," which was apparently at least partly penned by Fey's hubby, Jeff Richmond.

In the comic premise, Fey would play a lonely woman who orders the titular "Mail-Order Groom," only to get, in the form of Carell, not exactly what she bargained for. I'm laughing at that already, and I can't really see any way in which this won't come together extremely quickly. Stay tuned.

And, keeping things in comedy for another second or two, Vulture has apparently gotten its hands on the script for "A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas," and shared what it will be about. Personally, I thought Kal Penn and John Cho started to lose their comedy buzz more than a little bit by the end of "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," but I'll never get too old for good stoner comedies, so here's hoping they deliver with chapter three this Christmas.

Here's what it will be about, according to Vulture: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg’s script tracks down Harold and Kumar 10 years after the events of the second film. Now in their 30s, Harold is married and living the idyllic family life while Kumar lives in their old apartment and has just had his license suspended for smoking weed. More importantly, Harold is drug-free, but all that’s about to change when Kumar drops by and burns down a special Christmas Tree — soon enough, the two are on the road to find a replacement.

Excellent. Throw in Neil Patrick Harris and all kinds of fun drugs, and I'll certainly be there.

After that today, things get a little more serious in the form of news about what Froggy directors Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud are cooking up as their followup to "Persepolis" (before it just gets crazy with word of what exactly happened to Craig Brewer, remember him?)

If you haven't seen the animated movie "Persepolis," there really are very, very few rentals I can recommend higher. Based on the Satrapi graphic novel of the same name, it's all about her life growing up in Iran and Europe, and it's just an amazing bit of filmmaking. For the duo's next project, they'll again turn to a Satrapi illustrated novel (which I'll certainly now have to read) called "Chicken with Plums."

All I know about it so far is that the movie will again be about Iran somehow, but this time they will be working in live-action rather than animation, and actor Mathieu Amalric will be one of the stars. In any format, Satrapi and Paronnaud just make movies (or rather, so far, a movie) I love watching, so definitely keep your eyes on this one.

OK, just to end on a crazy note, before a couple of short videos, does anyone remember Craig Brewer? He managed to direct what has become without exaggeration one of my all-time favorite movies with the rap-and-roll fable "Hustle & Flow" and then the simply bizarre "Black Snake Moan" before just about completely disappearing.

Well, know he's back, but not in any kind of form I could have predicted. It seems that whichever big studio had the bright idea to remake "Footloose" has now hired Brewer to direct it, from a script he wrote himself. The project was originally in the much more predictable hands of "High School Musical" director Kenny Ortega (who actually directed quite a few episodes of "Gilmore Girls" too, oddly enough) with Chace Crawford of "Gossip Girl" to star in the Kevin Bacon role (thus sealing his fate in the six degrees game), but now both of them are gone. Brewer, I suppose, makes this a little more interesting, but mostly it's just a depressing tale of just what a guy's gotta do to eat these days.

But enough of that depressing stuff. "Glee" returns tonight, and that's more than enough reason to go out with two things that just made me smile. First up comes a band I had admittedly never heard of called Anamanaguchi (and forgive me, guys, if I'm somehow misspelling that) performing what will apparently be the theme song for the upcoming "Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World" video game. The movie it's attached to is already surely getting more buzz than it needs, and I'll be doing my very insignificant part to contribute to that, but as for this, it's just two minutes or so of punk-pop bliss, which is just about what I at least needed to start off a Tuesday morning. Enjoy.

And finally today, this 15-second only but still extremely foul (remember, I did warn you) commercial clip for "Kick-Ass" just about perfectly encapsulates what will hopefully be its primal appeal. It's sublimely not safe for work, so if you watch it without headphones, you have only yourself to blame. Enjoy, and have a perfectly bearable Tuesday. Peace out.


J. Marquis said...

You know, it's hard to believe anybody still gets upset about the word f**k anymore. It rarely has anything to do with sex..most of the time it's just used to convey the fact you feel strongly about something.

Maybe we need a new "worst" word.

Buy Viagra online said...

I'm laughing at that already, and I can't really see any way in which this won't come together extremely quickly. Stay tuned, even mr farrel have made terrible movies, but he's a nice actor I like him very much.