Thursday, September 07, 2006

"The U.S. vs. John Lennon" clip

It's been a pretty good year thus far for documentaries, with "Wordplay" and "An Inconvenient Truth" ranking among my favorites so far. Opening everywhere (well, we'll see about that) on Sept. 29, however, will be one that should blow those two away.

"The U.S. vs. John Lennon" explores the transition of John Lennon from lovable beatle to anti-war crusader, and how it brought on the wrath of Nixon. Just seeing the trailer a few months ago, of course to the tune of "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)," was enough to give me chills.

Though I'm definitely psyched to see this, I know it's gonna be more than a little depressing. Who do we have today that's even remotely dedicated to more than the pop life? Bono? I guess he's about as close as we'll come, but he's only a pale shadow to me.

But back to this flick. The kind folks at have posted an exclusive clip. From this footage alone you can see that filmmakers David Leaf and John Scheinfeld did a thorough job of researching their subject. Click to see for yourself here.

Lennon's example is sadly even more relevant today than he was back then, so I hope this one finds a large audience.

Terminator TV taking shape

I've been holding off on this one because I'm just terrified it's gonna suck hard. We'll see about that, but it seems "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" has taken on enough momentum that it just might be unstoppable.

For anyone who missed the recent news, Warner Bros. and Fox TV are developing this project, which will take place between Terminators 2 and 3, and will focus on the relationship between Sarah and John Connor. (Though without, apparently, Salisbury, Md.'s, favorite native daughter, Linda Hamilton. What the hell's up with that?)

I can only get lukewarm at best for this, especially since it sounds like a family drama rather than an action piece. At CHUD today, however, they have an interview with show helmer Josh Friedman in which he shared some details.

“I would like to be able to explore as many different avenues of Terminator mythology as possible,” he told CHUD. “I think to do a show that is a completely Terminator-less environment would probably not be, in the long run, a wise move or the most interesting thing.”

He continues: “I always go back to The X-Files, which I think did a good job of balancing close-ended stories with mythology stories,” Friedman said. “The show will certainly not be a close-ended, procedural adventure of the week show. I would say it’s going to be a hybrid. It’ll be somewhere in between – it’s not going to be a Terminator of the week show, but it’s also not going to be soap opera.”

"I read the talk backs, and people are pissed. They don’t want you to mess with it. The internet has a love/hate thing with the properties they love – they want more and they want it done well, but they hate it if Cameron’s not involved. All I ask is that people withhold judgment until they see it. I think it’s pretty fucking cool."

Well, he is the man with this, at least for now, so we'll have to take his rather emphatic word for it. Friedman is also the screenwriter for DePalma's "The Black Dahlia," hitting everywhere next Friday, so he soon may be catching even more heat.

I'm just hoping against hope that something good comes out of all this mess.


Terence Towles Canote said...

I am psyched to see The U.S. vs. John Lennon. Like you, I got chills seeing the trailer. I have been a huge Beatles fan since very early childhood and Lennon always interested me more than the others. The events the movie will cover are also some of the more interesting ones from Lennon's life. But as you say, it will be more than a little depressing. I don't think there has been anyone since Lennon who can compare to him.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I think if it's done well, the new Terminator series will kick some royal behind. I'm still concerned about casting but from that little snippet of dialogue, I'm betting that this might actually be decent. I hope so!


Reel Fanatic said...

He did raise my hopes some, Marina, because he really does seem passionate about this ... keep your fingers crossed!

Carrie Lofty said...

I must defend Bono because, well, I love him. Lennon was an excellent prototype for the crusading rock icon, but his most effective role was to stir up shit as a figurehead to a movement. Today Bono does the grunt work, stepping away from the figurehead role that so many rock stars assumed in the 80s only to see it blow up in their decadent faces (Sting etc). Bono KNOWS the problems he tackles. He studies, shadows mentors, organizes, and daily confronts that most inglorious tool of reform: compromise. Scary! It's easy to stir up shit, but it seems a much harder task to try and effect real and lasting change using the slow and wretchedly dull forum of the democratic process.

As for Terminator without Linda Hamilton: forgedabaoudit. I imagine that the jungle nasty-ass combat training she had to endure herself and inflict on John Connor would not be the stuff of a nice family drama. Talk about child endangerment! It would be like trying to make a family drama out of life inside the Waco compound because, essentially, she is a zealot. If they could do it right and show that side of her unflinchingly, then sure - great material. But I have little hope, pessimist that I am.

Erik Loomis said...

Yeah, it's hard to take Bono too seriously, especially considering U2's persecution of the experimental band Negativland.

Ashley said...

I don't think I can handle anymore of the Terminator. Arnold is already my freakin' govern(ator). California is already hanging their head in shame for that.

Reel Fanatic said...

That is a truly passionate defense of Bono, Salome, so I will have to offer a mea culpa ... I certainly didn't want to make it a Lennon vs. Bono battle, though if I were forced to take sides, I'd take John every time

Karen said...

Seriously? A tv show based around Sarah Connor? Oh god... What has the world come to? Hasn't that series been done to death? My big question, is will the Governator make a cameo appearance now and then?

ThursdayNext said...

The local news this evening in NY did a preview of the Lennon movie; I definitely want to see it. I am a huge fan of his. As for Bono, I think all people who show a spirit towards helping humanity need to be celebrated.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm with you on that thurdaynext ... Lennon is just my personal favorite, but Bono definitely deserves props

frankenslade said...

I've been thinking about what Lennon means to me a lot of late. His musical work and his efforts to bring his life into our lives continues to resonate with me. This film should be cool.

Lori said...

I thought it was interesting that Friedman referenced X-Files as something he'd like to emulate with the Terminator thing. Personally, I think that's a big-a** red flag. I was a huge X-Files fan, and after having gone through the misery of following the show faithfully for YEARS only to find out that they had no frigging CLUE what they were doing with their so-called mythology...well. That doesn't give me much hope for the show's quality.

And there's a reason that people won't watch a Terminator prequel/sequel/whatever without Cameron's involvement...because in general, without his involvement, IT SUCKS.

Sameer Vasta said...

Not fully related, but I've got all my Toronto International Film Festival coverage over here. Just thought I'd let you know.

Fang Bastardson said...

"Terminator" without Jim Cameron isn't Terminator. For proof, see T3. Not a bad flick on its own merits, but in my opinion, it's not canon, either.

In spite of the new helmer's pedigree, I'm not optimistic.

On another note, Mr. Loomis's comment about "U2's persecution of the experimental band Negativland" cracks me up. If you're an experimental band and you're not rubbing the establishment acts the wrong way, you have failed to fulfill your mandate!

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm with you on T3 Fang ... a fairly funny movie, and enjoyable as a standalone flick, but a definite dropoff from the first two

Slim said...

A Terminator prequel TV show... wow. They should have ended it with Terminator 2. It gets mind-numbingly boring when something is made over and over again, with the same characters and a predictable storyline.

Reel Fanatic said...

Get ready for even more, Slim ... MGM has apparently just announced Terminator 4 as one of its upcoming tentpoles .. that one would have to one big war, I would imagine, which may not be all that bad!

Anonymous said...

Also check out the same period in Lennon's life covered in this book, it's quite a read.

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