Open Thread for November 4, 2011

Apply this Open Thread to affected surfaces, then rub counterclockwise to begin exfoliation. Avoid mucous membranes!

Before we get to the media, here’s a reminder: Today is your last chance ever to order one of our adorable, artisanal OTIs Holiday Ornaments. They’re beautiful, they’re handmade, and they’re a great way to support and celebrate OTI.

Tower Heist opens in theaters this weekend, which I really want to like, but it’s been a while since Eddie Murphy’s name on the poster steered me right. Although Hollywood must know something I don’t, since Eddie Murphy returns $2.70 for every $1 invested in his salary. You can’t get that good a return on ExxonMobil, folks.

More details emerge on the long-delayed 23rd James Bond picture: Sam Mendes will direct, Javier Bardem will play the villain, and Daniel Craig is confirmed to return as legendary secret agent 007.

Also, here’s a red band trailer for the comedy remake of 21 Jump Street (NSFW language):

AMC’s new series, Hell on Wheels, debuts this Sunday. Critical reaction seems mixed, but hell: better than that NCIS junk, am I right? Up top! Don’t leave me hanging.

And in music news, GWAR guitarist Cory Smoot was found dead on the band’s tour bus yesterday. Listen to Smoot, a/k/a “Flattus Maximus”, shred on 2002′s “War Party.”

Could Eddie Murphy and Daniel Craig headline a shredding guitar tour that crossed the United States by rail in 1870? Or is there something we missed? Sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.

25 Comments on “Open Thread for November 4, 2011”

  1. Gab #

    What I find interesting about the latest Bond updates is that I hear they’re not going to continue the plot from the previous two in this batch. So my guess is they’re essentially going to revert back to the old formula of stand-alones about the same character and his support crews? And it makes me wonder, could they not find good enough writers to salvage what they had thus far because 1) it had really been that atrocious, or 2) they really just couldn’t find good writers?

    I was planning on watching Hell on Wheels this weekend, since it’s right after The Walking Dead- and I doubt I’m the only person with that timing aspect in mind. I’m interested to see how they handle the minority groups they keep showing in the previews- the Native Americans, of course, and I wonder how Common will do in his role (and more importantly, the stuff they’ll give him to work with). Is it just going to be a bunch of “crazy Indians” and stereotypical former slaves, as old-fashioned Westerns tend to run, or will they have some substance?

     
    • John Perich #

      Early reviews suggest Hell on Wheels has a lot of Western stereotypes. Not 30s Westerns, but 70s Westerns. I’m checking it out anyway.

      I wasn’t aware that they were ditching the metaplot from the last two Bond films. Doesn’t really bother me; I thought what they were doing was neat, but wasn’t in love with it.

       
      • Gab #

        We’ll have to banter a bit about Hell on Wheels, then.

        And I’m on the same page about Bond. I wasn’t super wowed, but I saw how there was potential. I won’t miss it much.

         
    • Matthew Belinkie #

      There is actually some very specific and intriguing information in the Skyfall press release: “In Skyfall, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.” So it would seem Dame Judy Dench is going to have a more central role to play.

      Here’s an intriguing thought: Dench is 77, which means that she would have been about 30 in the mid-60s. So imagine sexy young M as a field agent at the height of the Cold War. What could she have done that could come back to haunt her?

      I’m making a bold prediction right now: the before-the-credits scene won’t feature Bond at all. Instead it will feature young M and a male double-0 agent trying to escape East Berlin with some microfilm. The banter suggests they are a lot more than co-workers. She makes it across the border, but he’s apprehended by Stasi. From across the checkpoint, she watches him get dragged into a black van and driven away. She never sees him again. But guess who shows up as the head of an evil terrorist organization in 2012?

      And you know how I know I’m right? Because Albert Finney was recently announced as part of the cast. He’s an English actor almost the same age as Dench:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Finney

      Hey, how cool would it be if they had Ewan McGreggor reprise his Big Fish role as young Albert Finney? I’d buy him as a double-0. Not sure who I’d believe as young Judy Dench.

       
      • Gab #

        Why are you not a screenwriter, my good man?

         
        • Matthew Belinkie #

          Thanks Gab! I worked on a few screenplays in my younger days. But I find blogging more fun – it’s more social, not so isolating.

           
          • Gab #

            Can’t argue with that logic.

            Unless we convinced you to blog about being a screenwriter… ;]

             
      • Timothy J Swann #

        So it’s going to be like every alternate season of Spooks? I’m sure it’ll be fun, but Cold War issues in the present are such a staple of that show (which recently finished)…

         
        • Timothy J Swann #

          That sounds like I’m insulting you, Matt, I’m not, just the Skyfall summary.

           
      • Gab #

        And actually, I do think that sounds awesome, so long as they handled the trailers better than they did the one for Goldeneye:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHFXthl5IJo

        The way they handled 006 in that trailer made me laugh when first I saw it, and I was just a kid. My dad, a Bond devotee, was incited to anger. But if they showed something of that opening bit you described, or used some dialogue of M explaining him over shots of other action, it wouldn’t be nearly as ridiculous.

         
      • Brian #

        Karen Gillan from Dr. Who might make a passable young Judi Dench.

         
        • Gab #

          I guess I wouldn’t want a “passable” Judi Dench. I mean, she’s not just Judi Dench, she’s Dame Judi Dench. She’s one of those actresses that adds a lot of meta weight and power to her roles (that doesn’t detract, but rather enhances her characters- you know if they’re being played by her, they’re a Big Friggin’ Deal).

          So on that note, I don’t think I’d like Karen Gillian in that role. Not because I friggin’ can’t stand Amy Pond, but rather because I don’t think Karen Gillan looks or carries herself anything like Judi Dench, younger or older.

          Her daughter, Finty Williams, actually could probably do it (they do look quite similar), or Emily Blunt (they’ve both played Queen Victoria, so there’s some continuity).

           
          • Brian #

            I was going off the strict criteria of “Few British actresses I vaguely remember with squarish heads.” And of that selection Karen Gillan is the best choice.

            Of your two actually good suggestions, I’d pick Finty Williams, because I like the idea of a child playing a young version of the parent.

             
  2. Leigh #

    I enjoyed Tower Heist. The plot was uneven at times – the super-adventurous final 1/4 was largely unheralded by the events of the first 3/4. And there is a VERY strong 99% vs 1% theme in the movie. But the funny parts were funny, and the characters were a lot of fun. Eddie Murphy in particular did not try to run away with the movie, which is hard for a guy who can’t speak without being funny. He did his best to function as an ensemble player, which kept it from being an Eddie Murphy movie.

    Minor WellActually: when Forbes reported Eddie Murphy’s 2.7:1 ratio, that was meant to be seen as a negative thing. The next lowest, Will Ferrell, is good for 3.5:1 return – and the numbers go up from there.

     
    • John Perich #

      I get the spin Forbes is trying to put on it, but a 170% ROI is still an amazing investment. I know that the star’s salary isn’t the only variable in a movie’s cost. But add in production, promotion, crew, other cast members, etc, and you’re still getting … what, at least a 10% return on investment? That’s phenomenal.

       
      • Leigh #

        I’ve always thought it was quite sad that a film that makes more than it cost is not always considered a success. They’re investing for big returns, and meager returns are disappointing.

         
  3. Megan from Lombard #

    Did anyone catch Conan this week during his NYC shows? I managed to see all but one and they were alright, pretty much his normal but last night’s was the best for me; Conan performed the marriage for his costume designer and his partner on the show.

    People were saying that he was “pushing it” by letting them get married on the show, but I’m left scratching my head as to why. Maybe it’s a reflection of my liberal education/views, but I didn’t see a problem with two people wanting to get married in a state that lets them. Conan didn’t have to do it on the show, he could have just let them go to City Hall, but he went to all the trouble of setting it up for them.

    Do pundits think that this was a stunt in order to highlight the inequality same-sex marriags faces, being legal in one state but not another, or is this a case of Conan simply wanting to do something nice for one of his staff members?

     
    • Gab #

      I’d say the conservative pundits will likely try to paint it as him pushing his liberal pinko agenda and values onto the rest of society*, whether that was actually what he was trying to do or not. Liberal ones may or may not come to his defense directly- I see them actually just “reporting” on it with slight bias, but not really saying either, “So what?” (which is the ballsier one, the one I’d prefer) or, “No he wasn’t!” And as for Conan himself, it was prolly an opportunistic move: He likely was most sincere in desiring to do something nice for them, but it offered a chance to do something more.

      *Even though their stance forces their own values onto society, as well.

       
    • Gab #

      I saw that last night and kind of freaked out. I can be a part of the movie? Really? YES!

      Which I think is the exact reaction they’re going for.

      Now, I don’t see why the two need to be mutually exclusive, gimmick versus development. It’s kind of gimmicky, yes, but that doesn’t preclude it as being a new development. What is gimmicky now may be standard later. Granted, I don’t expect every movie from now on to have fans in the chorus; but it does lead to speculation on how opportunities in the future may crop up or evolve.

      But along those lines, then, is it really all that “new”? Now that I ponder it more, I’m not so sure. It’s similar to calls for extras in the background of scenes shot in public places. (How about the people in the stadium that leaked footage over the summer?) Perhaps this is just taking it to the next level and being more explicit about how it could get a person “involved” in the process and final product. After all, the way the site is set up definitely goes after the fanboy/girl instinct, however outward or latent it my be in each person looking.

      Pushing further, then, perhaps they anticipate getting money from each contributor.

      But would those people not have gone to see it? Highly doubtful- my guess is the people that will record their voices are people that already would have wanted to see it and would have gone anyway, without being incentivized by the prospect of seeing the thing they contributed to, namely any creepy chant sounds. So what does the studio stand to gain? Brownie points?

       
      • Brian #

        In addition for it being fun for the fans, it also helps the studio prevent revving up the internet hate machine because the fans will see the movie as an expression of their own efforts and won’t criticize it harshly. The fans who would record the brooding chant are the ones who feel passionate enough to want to be involved and who would feel most disenfranchised if the movie isn’t up to their standards.

         
        • John Perich #

          I like that idea, but has the Internet hate machine ever sunk a movie?

           
          • Brian #

            Not “officially” but it’s good to have as many people liking the movie as they can.

             
  4. Trevor #

    People, how can you talk about silly TV shows that suck you in with plots and character developments when the most shattering news of all time is going across the world? Kim Kardashian is ending her 72-day marriage to some guy I never heard of before they began “dating”! Truly God is dead…

    Beavis and Butthead are back on TV, a move that will no doubt infuriate that one guy who still protests anything on TV (Brent Bozo, erm, Bozell). It was kind of an under-the-radar move on MTV’s part, but I’ve seen both new episodes and I have to say the reboot (well, more like re-launching of the same old show, but with newer videos and even commentary on MTV’s slate of soul-sucking reality programming) works better than it has any right to, especially for someone like me with a long and treasured memory of the first time “the Great Cornholio” was uttered into the Western lexicon. It makes me wonder what other shows from other networks’ pasts would work in the reboot era. Could NBC finally make “My Two Dads” the dark, seedy drama that it was always meant to be (am I the only one who thinks that)? Could ABC finally admit that yes, “Full House” was harboring at least one same-sex love affair between two or more of the male “father figures”? Have I given this topic too much thought?

    Perhaps…

    In sports news, after all the hype, Alabama/LSU turned out to be a contest between kickers, which LSU won. It was about as exciting as watching paint dry, with the exception that paint drying would actually involve movint the ball into the end zone. Alas, there was no touchdowns to be had.

     
    • Chris #

      I actually thoroughly enjoyed the LSU-Alabama game. It was really well played, the defenses were excellent, there was some good plays on offense, it was high stakes, and it went into overtime. Obviously, if scoring is your priority, the game would have been a disappointing, but that isn’t imperative to me. Not that I don’t prefer a high scoring game if you can promise a similar level of play. I was rooting for a Oklahoma State-Clemson national title game, after all. Alas, the Tigers killed that dream.