Thursday, January 28, 2010

The State of the Industry (and how freaking sad it is)

GOLAN: So I’m depressed. Hollywood big-budget movies are getting worse. AVATAR just won Best Picture at the Golden Globes. Well, not just. Just in my bedroom, as I DVR’d the Globes and have been watching them mostly on fast forward. Now, at 9:02 AM, AVATAR was called on by Julia Roberts.

Don't get me wrong. It's in my top 100 of the decade, but it's still indicative of what is bothering me. Special effects do not constitute a script! I know you partially disagree with me, and think the whole thing works brilliantly or whatever, but ask yourself this: Are you excited about the technology/graphics/visuals/effects, like the rest of the people in the world (whether they realize it or not)? Or are you excited about the shitty shitty script and laughable dialogue? Best Picture? Of the year? Are they kidding? Did they see THE HURT LOCKER? INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS? UP IN THE AIR? Even movies that weren’t nominated deserved Best Picture more than AVATAR. UP deserved it more. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE deserved it more. I haven’t seen DISTRICT 9 yet, but from what I hear, even it deserved it more.

And during the awards ceremony, they showed a commercial for EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES. In my lifetime, I have met a lot of celebrities (yes, I know that sounds like a name drop – screw you), but I have gotten excited about only three of them. Albert Brooks (who I literally ran past Julia Roberts to say hi to), Jack Lemmon (I crashed the premiere of GRUMPIER OLD MEN by climbing over a fence and jumping off a roof just to shake his hand – later got hauled away by security and it was worth it) and Harrison Ford. He’s freaking Han Solo and Indiana Jones? How does that happen? Both? Awesome.

So when I say that EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES looks like a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, and a bad one at that, you know it pains me to say it. And that’s the first flick from the new big-budget gonna-play-with-the-big-boys CBS Films, which I’ve been extremely excited about since they announced it Moonves was putting it together. This makes me sad.

Why, if they have the money to afford Ford, who is notorious for not reducing his fee for anyone, and Brendan Fraser, who can’t be super cheap after all the MUMMYs and JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH and all that, plus the rights to the book it’s based on, plus the articles that were written about it, plus everything else that goes into making a big budget flick like this one, could they not make a good movie? Now, admittedly, I have not seen the actual movie yet, but as I’ve said before, a commercial is a collection of thirty seconds of the best moments from a two hour movie. If this is the best commercial they could come up with, it does not bode well.

But I’m beating up on EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES when it doesn’t fully deserve the brunt of my rage and sadness. That belongs to all the big budget bullshit that’s been shat out into the Hollywood pipeline in the last couple of years (and seems to be happening more and more often).

Over the Christmas break, I decided to watch a bunch of movies using On Demand. In Hollywood's defense, they didn’t put all the recent movies into the system, so I can’t include movies like ZOMBIELAND or WHIP IT! in the bunch, which I haven’t seen and understand are great. Here’s what I did watch:


Instead of breaking down or commenting on them one at a time, I’m just going to say that there wasn't a single movie in the bunch that was worth the price I paid to see it. And a good number of them were free.

Collectively, these flicks represent almost $3 billion worldwide in ticket sales alone!

They star some of our biggest movie stars. Check out this list: Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Brendan Fraser, Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Vin Diesel, Nicolas Cage, Terrence Howard, Ben Affleck, James Gandolfini, Christina Applegate, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Shia Lebouf, Megan Fox, Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Jackie Chan, Jet Li... just to name a few!

Some successful directors, too - two Academy Award winners and one nominee, one Cannes filmmaker, two Sundance filmmakers (one that won Best Director), one Slamdance winner, two Toronto Film Festival winners, the director of THE LION KING... and Michael fucking Bay.

And not a single film in the bunch is worth a shit.

As a long-time development executive, I just don't understand what the people behind these movies were doing. The whole concept of development is to prevent movies that suck ass from getting made.

Where were the producers on these flicks? The creative executives? The directors of development? The VPs? Anyone? And let's pretend like the scripts to these shit sandwiches were great. What about the poor casting choices? The bad continuity? The wrong directors being put on the wrong projects? The writers that keep getting hired (often for ridiculous money) despite the fact that they consistently churn out worthless screenplays?

Is it any wonder that I'm depressed?

I know most of the above-mentioned flicks opened at number one. Some even were huge hits (TRANSFORMERS 2 and THE UGLY TRUTH, for instance, were on pretty much everyone's "worst of the year" lists, but made crazy money anyway). I guess my question is this: how do studios get away with lazily relying on a brand or on star power while ignoring things like characters, motivation, plot and dialogue? And why do we as audience members let them?

I wish I could rally the whole world to stand up to shitty movies. But that would require not going, and we're getting less and less good movie options these days.

I wish I could convince the studio executives to stop greenlighting movies that have potential and then rushing them into production before they are ready. But that would require them to stop making a profit on the garbage they release.

I wish I could convince good directors to wait for good projects instead of just taking paycheck gigs, or letting the studios force them to release projects that are nowhere near ready. But the fact that they are called "paycheck gigs" should explain why directors keep doing it anyway.

I wish I could get us, the audience, to stop believing the hype when someone tells us that a movie is a hit. WOLVERINE, for instance, made $375 million worldwide. They tell us that we should be impressed. Let's forget for a moment how much they spent to get the movie made. Let's even forget that it grossed less than MUMMY 3 that year. Let's instead focus on the fact that the other two similarly produced superhero movies that came out right around the same time made $572 million and $1 billion worldwide. Similarly produced because they got a strong indie director to helm and unconventional actors to star. So when we look at the measly $375 WOLVERINE made compared to what it could have made, we suddenly see it for the massive stink bomb that it is.

And the thing that pisses me off is that it didn't need to be one. It's as if they remembered to hire good people to direct and act, and completely forgot to develop a proper script with the writers.

That's not to say they didn't hire a good writer. David Benioff, who wrote 25TH HOUR, can be a great writer. But he also wrote TROY, if you get my drift. They also hired Skip Woods, who wrote... um... SWORDFISH... and... uh... HITMAN... and... ahem... fuck it. 'Nuff said. I don't care how talented an actor is, or how brilliant a director is - without a script, they are just making a shitty movie. At least on IRON MAN, they realized they had a shitty script and threw it out when they realized it wasn't working.

If we as an audience demand quality, the studios will no longer be able to pass off half-assed attempts at big budget travesties (because they know they won't get away with it) and instead give us the kick ass movies that we deserve.

After all, we're paying to be entertained. Let's make sure they actually go out of their way to entertain us.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

UP IN THE AIR reviews

GOLAN: Just saw UP IN THE AIR at the Telluride Film Festival and I loved it. Thought it was amazing. Total shoo-in for a Best Picture nom. Maybe even a win, depending on what comes out between now and the end of the year. Can't wait for you to see it so we can discuss!

BRIAN: I finally saw UP IN THE AIR. I agree with you -- it's a lock for Best Picture!

It will join the ranks of other serious better-than-average crowd pleasers to take the prize!

DRIVING MISS DAISY, A BEAUTIFUL MIND, CHICAGO...........UP IN THE AIR. I hope Jason Reitman wins best director, just so he can beat out Martin Scorsese for RAGING BULL, Robert Altman for NASHVILLE, and Spike Lee for DO THE RIGHT THING.

GOLAN: I couldn't disagree with you more! I'm going to pull out the tried and true cliche and say that you were underwhelmed because you saw it after all the hype. After all the unattainable expectations. I was lucky enough to see it with zero expectations at the film festival in Telluride, and was blown away by it. I thought it looked into my soul in the same way that HIGH FIDELITY did ten years ago. Clooney's performance is among his best, and we're talking about a guy with some seriously good performances.

Is it the best directed film of the year? No. I would say that honor goes to THE HURT LOCKER. Is it the most innovative? No - that's AVATAR. Is it the movie that moved me the most emotionally? Also no - that has to be UP. But is it my favorite overall film of the year? Yes. It totally is.

And to compare Reitman winning to Redford winning is ridiculous. Redford is always competent, but mostly boring, and everyone knows that RAGING BULL was the better directed film. With Reitman, we're talking about a major new voice in cinema. Not that I'm saying he should win best director, but his THANK YOU FOR SMOKING and JUNO are already classics, in their own way, and this one trumps them both. I have a feeling that he's just going to get better from here, too.

BRIAN: Because I saw it after the hype? That's a coversation killer -- you know that, right? An argument like that is undebatable, a hanging what-if balloon that can never be popped. What if Gwyneth Paltrow missed the sliding doors of the subway train? Would she be a blonde or a brunette? These are the mysteries that can never be solved, so don't pull that shit on me. Does it sound like I'm jealous that I don't attend Telluride? Maybe!

Okay. That felt nice. I think Reitman will have a long career. I think he's a good director and will possibly grow into a very good one. At the moment though, he's a bit too calculated for my taste. Much like how an actor should never show his method, his directing sometimes calls attention to itself, not necessarily in an intentional flashy way (he's not Guy Ritchie), but due to either its clumsiness or obviousness. Take the big moment when Danny McBride walks over to his bride-to-be to reconcile with her. For the first and only time, the camera is noticeably handheld. That seemed way too premeditated to me -- hey, let's get the immediacy of verite for this emotional punch of a moment and go handheld! As a viewer, I got the immediacy of my middle finger growing erect at the screen. That made no sense. Another example: the quick cuts of Clooney's suitcase packing and wheel swivels. Really, I think it's fine. Even if he repeated this bit a couple times too many. While I don't technically have a problem with it -- because it is a good way of showing the muscle memory, fast-paced routinization and compartmentalization of his life -- it does support my point about his directing being too obvious. My thought upon seeing it? Wow, that's a good way of showing the muscle memory, fast-paced routinization and compartmentalization of his life! (This is the kind of thing Academy voters love, by the way. Noticeable directing. Convincing people how smart you are. This is why the prize for Best Editing usually goes to the film with Most Editing.)

Additionally, for a portrait of this fast-paced, no-time-for-reflection lifestyle Clooney leads, the movie was kinda slow in some parts. Visually, this portrait is well done -- I loved the gloss and superficial glean of the zero depth-of-field cinematography. Like it was out of a commercial. The people walking by are blurs, not faces. I thought that was right. But the rhythm of a lot of the dialogue scenes seemed to drag. He allows too much breathing room in between lines, giving the viewer time to digest the significance of each too-precise line, which goes against the pace the film was trying to portray. Actually, the rhythm in most dialogue scenes felt unnatural, period. Stilted. I think his dialogue is so precise and functional that it doesn't allow his actors to play with it (minus the Vera Farmiga scenes, of course -- chemistry trumps bad writing). I don't equate overlapping dialogue with naturalism, but dear Jr. Reitman, please watch some more Robert Altman or older Woody Allen and take some notes!

So look, Reitman is a smart director, no doubt. But I think he's in the adolescence of his career. Showing major promise, but still growing into his body. Speaking of body, Vera Farmiga's body double was smoking. Man, oh man, she deserves the Oscar for best body double. I hear they've expanded the nominations from 5 to 10 this year. Hopefully then, the Academy will recognize Megan Fox's acting as the wonderful body double art that it is.

GOLAN: While I don't disagree that saying you saw it after the hype is a conversation killer, I still can't help but imagine what your reaction to the movie would have been if you had watched it with me in Telluride. Oh, man, I mentioned Telluride again. Jealous? You should be. It's awesome. But I digress.

Speaking of digressing, I have to give you full props for your reference to SLIDING DOORS, a movie that I probably shouldn't love as much as I do. But I dooooooooooooo.

Reitman will have a long career, mostly because he deserves to. Okay, he's not Altman yet, but really... who is? His movies, which started out strong with THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, have only gotten stronger. Whether you're a fan of JUNO or not, you have to recognize that taking Diablo Cody's self-obsessed pop-culture minefield of a script and turning it into a heartfelt and moving movie takes real skill. And I think he topped himself with UP IN THE AIR. If this is how good he is at the beginning of his career, imagine what he'll be able to accomplish in a few years!

As for your criticism, might I propose that sometimes being calculated is not a bad thing? I don't mean the GARDEN STATE version of calculated, in which shots that "look neat" are inserted into a movie simply for the sake of "being neat" whether it fits the scene or not. I do mean it in the subtle "things are out of focus even though George Clooney is in focus because life is out of focus to the character George Clooney plays" kind of shots. And if you don't like that, then suck it, because you're trying too hard to dislike the guy's direction. Yes, that's right - my level of discourse has been reduced to "suck it" and I think it may be the perfect response to your post.

What would you propose anyway? That Reitman feel the need to convey immediacy and not follow his heart because a few over-critical film students (and you) will think it's too obvious? By the way, I don't think it was an obvious choice. There were no heartfelt close-ups or bullshit musical cues - it was simply the rawest way to show a man breaking down his walls (the very thing that Clooney was unable to do) and surrender to love. To feel. I'm sorry this wasn't a Dogme or Mumblecore film where that would have been conveyed through the use of dead air and poor lighting, but it delivered for me. As the camera (nearly imperceptibly) followed Danny McBride as he slowly approached his bride-to-be, I did feel immediacy. I did feel like I was there in person, watching him succumb. I did give a shit. Maybe I'm just less cynical than you. Wow, this is just one personal attack after another. Why do you make me do this? I only do this because I love you!

Furthermore, I would be curious to know how many people watched the scenes in which Clooney packs his suitcase and felt like, "Oh man, this is such an obvious way of showing me how compartmentalized his life is! I mean, the way that wheel swiveling really hits me over the head with the notion of fast-paced routinization! The way he zips up his bag is obviously all about muscle memory!" I'd say three. Including you. Perhaps... just perhaps... Reitman made a movie in which people subconsciously feel those things (you know, when they are not too busy over-analyzing everything) and it improved their movie-going experience and the emotional connection they had with what they were watching. Maybe. It certainly did for me.

Last, but not least, I have to address your mention of the movie dragging at times. I personally never felt it drag, but there were certainly a few moments that were slower than others. And I think that the "slower" parts of the movie are actually a deliberate representation of the moral at the end of this particular fable. When you rush rush rush, assuming that you have no time for anything, you may always move fast, but the rest of the world moves at its own pace... slower. Clooney runs around, skipping over people in line, always having the perfect polished piece of dialogue ready for any situation (yes, I do think that was a deliberate choice as well), and yet he connects with no one. Because he's not actually rushing. He's going nowhere fast. It's like when you are waiting for something to print on a slow printer and you're in a hurry - you jump up and down and check your watch and rant and rave and pace... and the printer is still going at the same old speed, despite all your antics. In this movie, Clooney is the one bouncing around like the Energizer Bunny, but the drag we feel in watching him go through life is the same drag he would feel if he stopped for a moment and was honest with himself. It is precisely why the scenes with Farmiga feel so good - it's not just chemistry, it's that he is allowing himself to live without borders for once, and the exhilaration that he feels is the same as the exhilaration that we feel. As a matter of fact, you feeling like parts of the movie dragged and that the Vera scenes were great leads me to believe that Reitman put you exactly where he wanted you.

Yes, maybe part of me is reacting to you criticizing a film I really loved and connected to. Also, yes, I'm sure part of me agrees with you, but can't admit it, and the above is a touch of me being a devil's advocate. But there are two things that I simply can't argue with:

1) The Academy gives the prize for Best Editing to the film with Most Editing

2) Vera Farmiga's body double deserves to take home the Oscar for Best Supporting of an Actress

Damn it... sometimes, even you make sense.

BRIAN: Alright. You know a discussion is about to go off the deep end when it becomes more about the arguments themselves than the topic at hand. And that’s what I’m about to do. Cuz that’s what I was born to do.

Saying that I’m over-critical is a dead-end. It’s a blanket response for anything, and there’s no borderline in how far one can push that argument. Watch this: Reitman’s methods are a bit too visible, but come on, I’m being too critical here. CRASH didn’t make me less of a racist, but really, I’m being too critical– it’s only supposed to make me a better person in general. It’s not that the facial hair device on LOST letting viewers know that it’s a flashback/flashforward is hilariously employed, it’s that I’m looking too hard at that damn spearmint mustache glue. See? I could go on and on. And I sort of want to…. Look, Ma, my life isn't an endless series of disappointments, I just think you’re being too critical. Plus, Fuck You, man – what’s the point of this blog but to rant and rave from an elitist pedestal in the blog-determined voice of snark? I’m not supposed to watch this movie from the point of view of the average viewer, and neither are you, so don’t talk about the movie Reitman made for Middle America – you’d be turning him into a condescending asshole if you did. And shit, you’re like best friends with him or something, right? You were best man at his wedding? Or godfather to his unborn children? I don’t know, I can’t keep track of your Hollywood friends.

And it’s not that I’m actively over-analyzing Reitman’s methods, either. All directors are calculating, even the most improvisational. But I don’t think any director (not working on a Brechtian project) wants you to be aware of their calculation during the movie – that would take the viewer out of the experience. And that’s what happened a few times watching UP IN THE AIR. You write that Reitman is “follow[ing] his heart” in that Danny McBride scene. Just the opposite. It seemed to me like he was pulling from a director's bag of tricks, not doing something heartfelt or organic. Again, if the technique calls attention to itself (intentional or not), it fails the acid test for me.

You also keep returning to the fact that Reitman is in the early stages of his career. I’m sure he appreciates your apologizing for him. I’m with you. I can't wait for him to become a great director. I hope he remakes UP IN THE AIR when he does.

Lastly, we haven’t even touched on Clooney’s buzzed-about performance. Let’s save that discussion for our Oscar round-up, but I’ll give you all (…both?) a preview in saying that his performance epitomized what I felt about the movie: it was good, but played it safe.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

FROM PARIS WITH LOVE trailer reviews

GOLAN: Just saw the trailer for FROM PARIS WITH LOVE. Actually, saw three of them - the original, the red band and the new.

Let me start by saying that I love THE TRANSPORTER movies, and I was kind of in love with TAKEN. To this day, when I throw a punch in my boxing class, I pretend the heavy bag is an Albanian bad guy. Jack Bauer can learn from Liam Neeson's retired agent.

Anyway, I digress. This looks pretty bad. I sometimes like Travolta, I often like Rhys-Meyers, I pretty much always like Luc Besson, I'm a big fan of Adi Hasak, and so far Pierre Morel hasn't given me any reason to dislike his work. All that being said, I still think this looks pretty bad.

Let's give them props for having the balls to screw with a classic Bond title and to use Sinatra's "This Town" (which did not refer to Paris). Beyond that, what is this mess? A trailer is made up of the best parts of a movie. That means that you, as a trailer creator, have two hours worth of material, and all you have to do is find a minute or two of usable stuff. We've seen some of the worst movies of all time have amazing trailers, and that is precisely because it ain't that hard to find 90 seconds of awesome out of 6,500.

In this trailer, the cuts are so fast, you can't tell what's going on. They have clearly jammed in every explosion in the entire film to make sure that audiences know "This is exciting! Look at all the explosions!" And, most egregious, they pull that old lame trick of hiding the swear word behind cool action, but they do it clumsily. "Wasn't that some impressive..." BOOM! See? Instead of him saying "shit," a car blew up. That just goes to show you that not only are there explosions in this movie, there are funny lines and curses, too! Let's all go opening night!

I, for one, will need to be convinced. All that being said, I am going to try to keep an open mind about the flick, considering all the people involved that usually make good movies. I'm just hoping that this trailer does not reflect the movie. After all, it's a fine line between stupid awesome and just plain stupid.

BRIAN: Is Natalie Portman in it? She was good in THE PROFESSIONAL. Man, she was only 12 in that film and even then I wanted to BOOM!! *car explosion*

AVATAR reviews

GOLAN: Okay. So. AVATAR. Here's my quick review: The characters were cliched, the story has been done to death, the running time was long, the dialogue was ridiculous, the music was overbearing and... I loved every minute of it! This is not a movie about characters, or plot, or anything approaching a story. This is a movie about special effects, and in that regard, it succeeded in spades. Years from now, when this technology is more commonplace, this movie will be remembered for being a pioneer, but will not be one that people watch religiously like STAR WARS. STAR WARS, for what it's worth, has some dated special effects and some fairly bad acting, but the story is so cool and the characters are so strong and the writing is so good, that decades later, it is still just as beloved as it was when it was first released. AVATAR does not have that. I even laughed out loud at a lot of what was being said because it was so stupid. Just the name Unobtainium alone almost made me wet myself. Also, it's not good when you are looking forward to watching main characters die. Right, Michelle Rodriguez? What did you think of it?

BRIAN: Yeah, Michelle Rodriguez was horrible, but the irony is she was born to be in a James Cameron movie. She's the lovechild of Linda Hamilton and Sigourney Weaver. I can't wait to see her as Jodie Foster's son/daughter in PANIC ROOM 2. Still, really good movie-going experience. I haven't been transported like that since THE NEW WORLD (you hate me) or LOTR. And for me, the reason why AVATAR wasn't completely enveloping was the music. STAR WARS, of course, has one of the great scores ever, but I felt there were no melodies in AVATAR. Just incidental music. And bombastic incidental music at that. Just bad and assaulting. And this is James Horner! The master at composing manipulative, crescendo-riffic themes. I'm more pissed off than Celine Dion about his failure to write one pretty melody a hack lyricist could plug vague words into and make an Oscar-winning song. Hang on, let me try it:

Heeeere, Noooooow, a moment of bliss!
For tomorrow the Earth shall not know this...

Wouldn't that fucking rock with a James Horner melody wrapped around it? Now imagine that song with dialogue from the movie during the instrumental bridges! "I see you..." That line, by the way, is my favorite part. James Cameron was so pleased with himself when he wrote that scene in TITANIC that this was like an homage to himself. If you don't know which scene, and I'm sure you do remember, I'd like to describe it for you. Rose is flipping through Jack's charcoal drawing sketch book, realizing that she is in the midst of a great artist (the charcoal sybolizes both his impoverished social status, as well as that burning feeling in her loins).

Rose: You have a gift, Jack. You do. You see people.
Jack: I see you.................... let's go do it in a car. Iceberg!! CRASH!! Social commentary on the rich and the poor! Our hearts will go on. Good movie. Watching AVATAR though, I felt my hawkish opinions about Iraq completely dissuaded. I think the war was a mistake now. All thanks to James Cameron. What have we done, America? WHAT HAVE WE DONE?

Monday, January 4, 2010


GOLAN: Let's talk SHERLOCK HOLMES. Want me to start?

BRIAN: I have nothing to say about SHERLOCK, other than I can't wait to see Jackie Chan as Moriarty in the sequel.

GOLAN: I just don't quite recall Sherlock being a ninja or part of a gay couple with Watson. I also don't recall the books ever putting me to sleep. But I do recall Guy Ritchie overcompensating like crazy. Also, and maybe I'm wrong, didn't Sherlock sometimes have an actual mystery to solve? Oh well. At least Jude Law was finally cast perfectly for the first time since RIPLEY.

BRIAN: I could buy Sherlock as a ninja. Well, not really, but for what it is (and I believe the story goes like this: Joel Silver wanted to buy another house, so he combined two things that could make this happen -- a franchise and some action scenes. And bam! The LEGEND of Joel Silver. That's why he's a genius. Fuck you, that's his name!), it was sort of believable that Sherlock would develop his karate skills to go along with his intellect. If you'll remember from the stories, his major ailment was boredom with the everydayness of life (thus, his hilarious coke habit), so it makes sense for him to isolate himself with activities and experiments and boxing for the sport of it (that scene is when it clicked for me). Plus, his P.E. teacher probably told him that exercise gets the juices flowing and translates into brain power. Thanks, Mr. Brown!

GOLAN: Cut to: Interior - Silver Pictures Offices - Day

"Hey! You know what name people recognize? Sherlock Holmes!"

"But boss, with CSI and House on TV, who's going to care about yet another guy that is really observant?"

"Good point. Okay, here's what we're going to do. We'll keep the name, get rid of everything that is actually related in any way shape or form to the character, and make him into Neo from THE MATRIX. After all, that's my biggest hit yet!"

"Won't people be mad if we screw up a classic character like Sherlock Holmes?"

"Hmmm, you might be right. Okay, add Watson into the mix, but make the two of them bicker like the characters from KISS KISS BANG BANG, even though that is not at all how they interacted with one another in the stories. That should help. Oh, and make Holmes an alcoholic."

"But boss, Holmes wasn't an alcoholic - he was a cocaine and morphine addict!"

"That's far too much for an audience to handle! Liquor is plenty. Plus, it's funnier than drug addiction. They'll get the point. Anything we're leaving out?"

"A love interest?"

"True! Okay, there's one line from one of the original stories in which a girl is mentioned. Use her!"

"Sweet! We can miscast a big name actress to draw in the weepy hearts that loved THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE!"

"Done and done! Now, have Guy Ritchie direct and we're golden!"

"Whoa whoa whoa... when Bruckheimer made PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, using the same basic logic as you're using now, he at least had the good sense to get Gore Verbinski to direct. Why would we put this potentially huge franchise in the hands of a filmmaker that has made only one good movie over ten years ago?"

"Because he has no career right now, he owes me because I let him make ROCKnROLLA, and I can control him!"

"That's a convincing argument, but I'm still not convinced. At least PIRATES had Johnny Depp."

"So we'll get that other respected actor that recently went mainstream, Robert Downey, Jr.!"

"Oh, come on... he'll never agree to do this movie. He's got self-respect, after all."

"He will when my head of production, who also happens to be his wife, asks him to!"


And... cut.