Bob and Justin's Mad Movie Blog

My name is Bob. My friend Justin and I are aspiring filmmakers and we have pretty similar tastes in movies. This will include our take on what's going on in film and television today as well as updating you on the status of our own work.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Flags of Our Fathers

Well I finally made it to "Flags," "Marie," and the just released "Running With Scissors," so here we go! "Marie" and "Running" will be up shortly, but for now I'll take on "Flags."

Flags of Our Fathers- (I know Mike has one coming too, but it'll be fun to see our different takes.)
In 1992 the Western was dead. There was a sense that there was nothing new to say. That is until Clint Eastwood came along with his masterpiece, "Unforgiven." Now it seems that so much has already been said about WWII, particularly within the last ten years, that there aren't a whole lot of new things to say about it. Again, enter Clint Eastwood.
Early in 1945, the allies were still in a position in which the war could be lost. The little island of Iwo Jima was a Japanese stronghold, and the United States was going to have to take it from them. When they did, an American flag was raised atop Mount Suribachi. When an officer decided he needed to have that particular flag, another was raised in its place. As the film shows, no one noticed the second flag going up, except for a photographer named Joe Rosenthal. In that moment he captured the most iconic image in the history of the Marine Corps, and probably even of WWII itself. Three of the six men in the picture never came home. Meanwhile the other three were sent home and greeted as heroes.
The three men were Navy Corpsman John Bradley (Ryan Phillipe), and two Marine privates named Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford) and Ira Hayes (Adam Beach). From here we see the story of these three unassuming men as they go on a tour of the United States to raise desperately needed war bonds. What makes this film so interesting is not the modesty of these men, something we commonly see in films about men hailed as heroes, but the awkwardness of being called a hero. The tour experience is utterly surreal as seen through their eyes. To them it is horribly uncomfortable, even embarrassing.
The sense that a person who has never been in combat never can understand it permeates "Flags." The photograph means absolutely nothing to Bradley, Gagnon, or Hayes, but it means so much to the American people that it is an image the three cannot escape. At a dinner to raise bonds, they are even served a dessert made to look like the flag raising. A clueless waiter pours red sauce all over it. It is little moments like this that set "Flags" apart. Based upon James Bradley's book (the son of John), the screenplay written by William Broyles, Jr. ("Jarhead") and Paul Haggis ("Million Dollar Baby," "Crash") is full of these sorts of moments. No one at home understands the cost of Iwo Jima or of war itself. Perhaps it is for this reason that so many veterans never speak of their experiences. They feel it is fruitless to try to explain it.
The battle scenes (many of them shown in flashback) are well orchestrated, but don't have the same horrifying intensity as "Saving Private Ryan." This film contains greater heartbreak though in many ways, as we see these men try to return to their lives. Particularly shattering is the performance of Beach as American Indian Ira Hayes. The rest of his short life would be miserable as a result of the unforgettable photograph. It is a performance that will most likely (and deservedly) earn a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Eastwood shows once more that he may just be the greatest living director of actors. Eastwood also continues his hot streak, coming off of "Mystic River" and "Million Dollar Baby." He is not a terribly stylish director. He would rather just tell his story, and few, if any, are better at it. 9/10

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Who Wants a Little?

Ash is the MAN.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Fall Movie Season: Too Much of a Good Thing

No, I STILL haven't seen "Flags of Our Fathers" or "Marie Antoinette" yet. I want to. I REALLLLY want to. You would think that working at a theater would make that easier but lately no, it's actually made it more difficult. Anyway, here's a great article from the "LA Times" about the ridiculous outpouring of good movies that we get in the fall. When will the studios learn that there are three other seasons they could be spreading these out over?

It's time for the good movie glut
The real reason so many good movies are coming out at
exactly the same time is because everyone in Hollywood
is smoking the Oscar crack pipe.
By Patrick Goldstein, Times Staff Writer
October 24, 2006

Did you notice that there are suddenly a lot of good
movies in town?

From early October until New Year's, the floodgates
are open, with a stylish, daring or thought-provoking
adult film arriving every week. This past weekend
alone saw the arrival of a potential best picture
candidate, Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers,"
along with two confections of classy entertainment,
Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige" and Sofia Coppola's
"Marie Antoinette," as well as "Running With
Scissors," a literary adaptation with a stellar cast.

There is so much more to come that it raises the
question: Why does Hollywood put out virtually all of
its best adult-oriented movies in the last 12 weeks of
the year?

The simple answer: Oscar fever. The industry's
obsession with the Academy Awards, which began as a
symbol of achievement and are now a high-powered
marketing tool, has transformed the end of the year
into the Oscar Follies, offering a legitimate batch of
award contenders surrounded by a scrum of hapless
pretenders being released at year's end only because
of studio delusions, blind adherence to conventional
wisdom and arm-twisting by narcissistic stars and

The result is often a bloodbath. Steve Gilula, chief
operating officer at Fox Searchlight, a studio
division famous for its discipline in such matters —
it releases its films only when the studio thinks they
will make the most money — doesn't mince words. "The
fall can be a demolition derby for serious,
thought-provoking movies. There are just too many of

With a multitude of highbrow movies competing for the
same adult audience, film after film takes a nasty
tumble. Last year, for example, a host of movies
tanked at the box office despite being touted — either
by the studios or some breathless Oscar prognosticator
— as having Academy Award potential. A partial sample
includes "Jarhead," "Memoirs of a Geisha," "The New
World," "North Country," "Casanova," "The Producers,"
"Elizabethtown" and "In Her Shoes."

Some of these movies would undoubtedly have failed no
matter when they were released. But I'd argue that
many of them would've had a better chance for survival
if they'd had a chance to find an audience in a less
competitive environment. In the fall, the bar is
perilously high: Every movie is graded on an Oscar
curve instead of being judged on its own merits. If
some of these movies had been released in a quiet
weekend in the spring when quality-starved adults had
nothing else to see at the multiplex, they might have
had a fighting chance for survival.

What the studios don't seem to grasp is that a film's
reception, both from critics and filmgoers, is all
about context. Not every movie can bear the weight of
award season expectations. Released last October,
after a dismal reception a month earlier at the
Toronto Film Festival, "Elizabethtown" was written off
as a creative mess. Its fall release proved
disastrous. If the film had arrived this spring, after
audiences — and critics — had suffered through an
endless parade of homely comedies and horror films,
"Elizabethtown" might have been viewed as a minor gem,
not as a big disappointment.

It's gotten to the point where there are five seasons
of movies in Hollywood, four of them largely bereft of
anything that would satisfy the hunger pangs of a
serious filmgoer.

The first six weeks of the year make a barren winter,
full of movies that the studios are usually too
embarrassed to even show to critics. This is followed
by a false spring, when an occasional cheery romance
or animated family film is drowned out by a slew of
noisy comedies and action films not good enough for
summer. That season brings with it a stretch of sleek
special-effects films, teen comedies and
steroid-injected sequels that run the gamut from good
to extremely ugly.

Fall, which lasts from Labor Day to the first days of
October, is full of either earnest inspirational
stories ("Gridiron Gang," "Everyone's Hero" and
"Flyboys") or films being dumped on the scrap heap
("Wicker Man," "Idiocracy").

Then — voilà — just when we thought we'd never go near
a multiplex again, the buzz begins to ricochet around
the word-of-mouth corridor inhabited by adult members
of the tribe, from the carpool line at school to the
gym, the farmers market and the sidelines of the
Saturday afternoon soccer game — the good movies are

Most of the credit — or blame — goes to Harvey
Weinstein, who in his years at Miramax was the
industry's leading Oscar impresario, with a
decade-long string of best picture nominations. A
canny marketer without the deep pockets of a big
studio czar, Weinstein essentially invented the modern
Oscar campaign. The key ingredient to his success was
his realization that by opening a movie at year's end
he could essentially run two campaigns at once, using
his ad dollars to market the movie to general
audiences and Oscar voters simultaneously.

Every nomination became a marketing hook. As 42West
partner Amanda Lundberg, Miramax's former head of
publicity, explains: "Harvey used nominations not just
for recognition but to help market the films. He
always believed that he could make $1 million in ads
go a lot farther if you tagged them to the message —
'Chicago': Five Golden Globe nominations' or 'Seven
Academy Award nominations.' It made every ad buy

Unfortunately, now that every studio has adopted
Weinstein's strategy, we have a glut of Oscar
pretenders every fall and an unhealthy suspicion that
if a quality film isn't being released at year's end,
there must be something wrong with it. The accepted
wisdom is that it's impossible to get adults to see
movies any other time of year. When I asked Sony
Pictures chief Amy Pascal why she was releasing what
are arguably her studio's five most artistically
ambitious films in the last eight weeks of the year,
she replied: "Because it's the time when adults go to
the movies."

On back-to-back weekends in December, Sony is
releasing two star-driven films: "The Holiday" and
"Pursuit of Happyness." I couldn't help but wonder
whether they wouldn't cannibalize each other, not to
mention suffer from having to compete with a dozen
other quality adult films arriving in December.

"Not at all," Pascal says. "They're very different
kinds of movies. It's sad, but the truth is that
nobody wants to see those kinds of movies in the
summer. We've done the research. It's impossible to
get adults into theaters except during the holidays."

Warner Bros. chief Alan Horn acknowledges that Oscar
hopes play a big part. "If we're going to spend a
significant amount of money on a thought-provoking
film, as we've done with 'Blood Diamond' [an upcoming
Leonardo DiCaprio film], you really get a lot of help
from Oscar consideration. And Oscar voters, like all
of us, have a better memory for recent films, so it
helps to put them out in the fall."

Studios are storehouses of conventional wisdom, so
once the Miramax late-season strategy proved
successful, everyone copied it. As recently as 1995,
four of the five best picture nominees were released
in summer. By 2003, the year "Chicago" won, all five
nominees opened in December.

It took Lionsgate, a maverick independent, to show
what lemmings the studios had become. Suspecting the
correlation between Oscars and year-end releases was
largely a self-fulfilling prophecy, Lionsgate followed
the Fox Searchlight strategy of releasing a film when
it had the best chance for commercial success. When
the studio acquired "Crash," it saw the racially
charged drama could be both a box-office hit as well
as an award performer. Released in early May to good
reviews, the movie not only ended up being one of
Lionsgate's biggest hits, it also went on to win best
picture nearly 10 months later. "We thought, since we
had the goods, that getting out in front was a plus,"
says Lionsgate President Tom Ortenberg. "All the films
in the fourth quarter were judged against 'Crash.'
And, as we suspected, a lot of people ended up saying,
'Well, we liked this film or admired that film, but we
really loved 'Crash.' "

But this year the Oscar Follies are back. I'm sure
every studio chief believes he or she is simply doing
what's best for the film's box-office chances, since a
best picture nod often gives adults an added incentive
to see a serious movie. Unfortunately, of the 25 or so
adult movies jammed into the last 12 weeks of the
year, only five will get one of those cherished

The rest will be orphans, ignored instead of adored,
left to wither on the vine when all the free media
hype goes to the five nominees. The problem is simple:
No one wants to tell a hotshot filmmaker — or admit to
him or herself — that a film isn't good enough to
compete. Instead the studios put the blame on us,
claiming that we won't support any serious movies the
other 40 weeks of the year.

But the real reason all these good movies are coming
out at exactly the same time is because everyone in
Hollywood is smoking the Oscar crack pipe.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Wolverine vs. Batman!

No no, I'm not talking about a comic book fan boy's dream of a Marvel-DC crossover. I'm talking about the terrific new film from Christopher Nolan starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, "The Prestige." If you've read many of my reviews you know that I often say, "The less you know about the details of this film the better. I want you to be surprised." I don't think that's ever been more true than in regards to "The Prestige."
Set in London in the late 19th century, Nolan's film actually bears little resemblance to Neil Burger's "The Illusionist," despite the shared time period and subject matter. Both are outstanding in their own right, but where Burger's film was at its heart a love story, Nolan's is a tale of bitter revenge between two rivals. The rivals are Rupert Angier (Wolverine) and Alfred Borden (Batman). An incident early in the film sets off the chain of events that drive the two men to destroy what the other holds dear: his rival's act. Jackman and Bale each plunge into their roles completely. I don't believe they've ever been better. Michael Caine is, well he's Michael Caine, he can't not be awesome. The man simply doesn't know how. Scarlett Johansson has a relatively small but pivotal role as Olivia, Angier's assistant. Some may find her part underwritten, but she's there as often as she needs to be for the purpose of the story. Funnily, this is the second time this year (the first being in Woody Allen's enjoyable "Scoop") that Johansson and Jackman have starred together in a film revolving around the world of magic. There is also fine work from David Bowie (yes, THE David Bowie) as Nikola Tesla, and from Andy Serkis (ya know, Gollum and as importantly, Martin Hannett in "24 Hour Party People").
This is only Nolan's fourth feature film, but his track record is as impressive as it is diverse ("Memento," "Insomnia," and "Batman Begins" being his first three). He does an outstanding job here. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say, there is something of a magician in him, both as a director and as co-writer with his brother Jonathan. The pair know how to tell a story.
It's a movie that may leave you puzzled (I'm still trying to figure some things out), but it's a mystery you'll enjoy trying to sort out. Perhaps though, it's as Caine's character suggests, a secret "you don't want to sort out, because you want to be fooled." Enjoy the magic of "The Prestige." 9/10

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Hot Fuzz" Teasers!!!

The much anticipated follow up to "Shaun of the Dead" (one of the funniest films of the oughts) is coming out next spring. Here are the first two teasers! Awesome! And both use the Eels' "Souljacker, Pt. I," one of my favorite rock songs of all-time. I can't wait!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Charles Durning

Just happened upon this and I thought it was very interesting. You've seen him before. He's in "The Sting," "Dog Day Afternoon," "State and Main," and perhaps most memorably played Governor Pappy O'Daniel in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" This from PBS:

Charles Durning: Decorated Normandy War Veteran

For twelve and a half weeks, two million men fought in the fields of Normandy. This year, the National Memorial Day Concert will commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the World War II Allied landing at Normandy, universally regarded as the turning point of the war.

During the concert, Charles Durning, one of America's premier character actors and a U.S. Army veteran of Normandy, helps bring to life the moving stories of the men who participated in that valiant air and sea campaign. As a 17-year-old infantryman, Durning was among the first wave of men to land on Omaha Beach. During that campaign and later in the war, he was wounded three times and awarded three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star.

Durning's impressive 50-year acting career has been crowned by a Tony Award and nominations for two Oscars and four Emmy awards, yet he never lost sight of his wartime experiences. In 1990, when he was making his Tony-winning star turn as Big Daddy in the Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, he opened up in a People Magazine feature. "There's only so much you can witness," he said of his time overseas. Indeed, his war decorations were hard-earned. Durning was the only man to survive a machine gun ambush on Omaha Beach - and he had to rise above serious wounds and kill seven German gunners to do it.

Months later in Belgium, he was stabbed eight times by a German teenage soldier wielding a bayonet; Durning eventually bludgeoned him to death with a rock. He was released from the hospital in time to fight in the Battle of the Bulge, where he was taken prisoner. After escaping a subsequent massacre of the other prisoners, he was obliged by American forces to return to the scene and help identify bodies. Finally, a bullet in the chest a few months later ended his relentless tour of duty - and began four years of repeated hospitalizations for his physical and psychological injuries.

In an interview with Parade Magazine, Durning said of his initial post-war years, "I dropped into a void for almost a decade. The physical injuries heal first. It's your mind that's hard to heal." And, as he points out, it's not just a matter of what is done to you, but what you find yourself capable of doing. "There are many secrets in us, in the depths of our souls, that we don't want anyone to know about. There's terror and repulsion in us, horrifying things we keep secret. A lot of that is released through acting."

Acting was precisely what gave Durning a new lease on life. The seeds had been planted when he was a boy, growing up in Highland Falls, New York, with his mother, a West Point laundress, and four brothers and sisters (his father, a sergeant in the Army, had died when he was 12). After leaving home at 16, he worked as an usher at a Buffalo burlesque house, where the antics of the bawdy comics - and a one-night chance to fill in for one who was too drunk to go on himself - convinced him that a life on the stage was what he wanted.

By the late 1940's, he began training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and started an on-again, off-again path that zigzagged through dance bands, small nightclubs and Off-Broadway roles. In 1973, a plum Broadway turn in That Championship Season led to a role in The Sting, with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The breakthrough part established Durning as one of the country's leading character actors with more than 70 films to his credit including The Front Page, Dog Day Afternoon, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Tootsie, Dick Tracy, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and State and Main. His television credits are equally impressive, including his Emmy-nominated performance in Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, and continuing with Death of a Salesman, Evening Shade starring Burt Reynolds, and his role as a Supreme Court Justice on the CBS series First Monday.

"It's the work, the opportunity to do good work, that's what inspires me. And I enjoy doing a good play more than anything," says Durning. In fact, his theatrical credits rival his achievements on the big and small screens. He has appeared in literally hundreds of plays with credits including In the Boom Boom Boom, The World of Gunter Grass and Sweet Bird of Youth. In recent years, his 1997 return to Broadway in the revival of The Gin Game received critical acclaim, as did his equally impressive performance in the revival of the Pulitzer prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross. "I've been obsessed with character acting," he says. "It was my dream."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Betrayal Five

All hail the Todd!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Another look at "Art School Confidential"

Back in May a few of you may remember me raving about the new film from writer Daniel Clowes and director Terry Zwigoff (the team who gave us the modern classic "Ghost World"), "Art School Confidential." It didn't review nearly as well as it should have (34% on Rotten Tomatoes) and it came and went from the few theaters it actually played at very quickly. Now that it's on DVD everyone has a chance to check it out and see what a great movie it really is. Here's what I said back in May:

It's the story of Jerome (Max Minghella), a young man who dreams of being the greatest artist of the 21st century, and hopes that Strathmore University will be the place where he can flourish. He quickly realizes however that his work will never be appreciated, at least not as long as he's at Strathmore. Surrounded by every annoying kind of person you meet in college- the Middle-Aged Mom, the Angry Girl who may or may not be a lesbian, the Hippie Chick, the Suck Up, and of course, that guy who absolutely "gets" everything and finds deep meaning where there is none- Jerome is constantly criticized by his classmates even though he seems to be the only one with any discernible talent.
Now...I have to explain for those of you who haven't been to college...all of these people are real. And they all exist to annoy the ever-loving crap out of those of us who just can't wait for it all to be over. I have to make special mention of that guy who "gets" everything. In the film that character is named Eno (Jeremy Guskin), and honestly, every time he spoke I went back and forth between wanting to tear my own face off, and punching his. He was so real it hurt. And so are the rest of them, as Clowes fully develops them in the script.
Jerome's only friends are Bardo, the one unpretentious person in the entire class ("Dodgeball's" Joel David Moore), and Audrey, the artist's model that Jerome has feelings for (Sophia Myles). Jerome's roommate, Vince (Ethan Suplee), is a film major working on his student masterpiece about the on-going unsolved murders happening on campus. The clips we see of his horrendous movie are uproarious. "Art School Confidential" is a hilarious and cynical good time. Every pretentious clown who ever went to college is a target and none of them are spared. It only falters a bit near the end. It takes about twenty minutes to wrap up what should take more like ten. But this is only a minor quibble. There is excellent supporting work from John Malkovich, Jim Broadbent, Anjelica Huston, and Steve Buscemi (pretty much my favorite guy ever). This movie is a heck of a lot of fun. Highly recommended. 9/10

So yeah...go rent this movie, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"Lord of the Rings" by George Lucas

This is freakin' BRILLIANT:

Also, two movies you may have missed in theaters, "Art School Confidential" and "A Prairie Home Companion" came out on DVD today. Both are outstanding. Check 'em out.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Departed

For most people, event movies are the ones with the words "Pirates," or "Spider-Man," or "of the" in the title. And while I enjoy a lot of those movies, for me, event movies are the ones from the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Clint Eastwood, etc. Directors who put a distinct stamp on whatever it is they do. And few words stir up more excitement in me than "A Martin Scorsese Picture."
Much is made of the violence, brutality, religious imagery, and use of the Rolling Stones (particularly "Gimme Shelter") in the vast majority of his films. My favorite actually includes very little of any of those, and is perhaps his most understated (and certainly his funniest), 1983's "The King of Comedy." But I sure do enjoy the ones he's known for: "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," "Goodfellas," "Casino." With "The Departed" he returns to the subject matter he knows so well, and the result is one of the best films of 2006.
Boston mob boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) took young Colin Sullivan under his wing "some years ago," and today Colin (Matt Damon) has been given his badge and gun. Working as a mole inside the Special Investigations Unit, Colin keeps Costello informed and out of the grip of the Boston police. Meanwhile William Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is working undercover, becoming a key member of Costello's gang. Only Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) and Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) know William is a cop. Soon, both Sullivan and Costigan are involved with psychologist Madolyn (Vera Farmiga). From here, the less you know about the details the better. It's a film full of real surprises and it's riveting from start to finish.
William Monahan's ("Kingdom of Heaven"-watch the director's cut, it's much better) script is terrific. While the movie is a re-make of 2002's Hong Kong film "Infernal Affairs" (which I haven't yet seen) he places "The Departed" and its characters very firmly in Boston. You can't imagine the film taking place anywhere else. His dialogue is outstanding as well. You believe every word that comes out of these characters mouths.
Acting wise, it doesn't get much better than this. Any doubts we had about DiCaprio were washed away by "Catch Me If You Can" and "The Aviator" (which he should have won the Oscar for), and he's perfect here. His Costigan is terrified but his "hand never shakes" even in the most frightening situations. Sullivan is of course conflicted, and Damon does a great job of keeping his character on edge, about to burst on the surface. This may be his best work yet. Nicholson is Nicholson, but he reigns himself in enough that we're often surprised by where he goes. He's descending into madness and Costigan and Sullivan both know it. Early on, after Costello executes a young woman he laughs and remarks curiously, "She fell funny." Nicholson makes Costello funny but genuinely menacing. Wahlberg steals every scene he's in. His Dignam is the film's most honest character. He speaks his mind and wants everyone to know exactly where they stand with him. Most don't stand well. There's also great supporting work from Sheen, Alec Baldwin, and especially Ray Winstone ("Sexy Beast," "The Proposition") as Costello's right hand man, Mr. French.
From top to bottom, "The Departed" is Scorsese all the way. Don't miss this one. 9/10

More Bob Event Movies in two weeks: "The Prestige" (Christopher Nolan), "Marie Antoinette" (Sofia Coppola), and "Flags of Our Fathers" (Eastwood) on the 20th. I declare a Bob National Holiday.

Friday, October 06, 2006

News about "Nobody's Watching."

About a month ago I posted a couple of laments about the state of TV comedy and I referenced the YouTube series "Nobody's Watching." Now it looks like NBC is going to be giving it a shot. Based on the pilot I saw and the fact that it's got Bill Lawrence (creator of "Scrubs") going for it, means that this would be a very good thing for television. This from Zap2It:

LOS ANGELES -- The creators and stars of "Nobody's Watching" got to be part of a feel-good story when NBC agreed to redevelop the show thanks to the pilot's phenomenal success on YouTube.

Now comes the hard part: Figuring out how to keep that out-of-nowhere momentum going online, while at the same time working on a way to make the leap from the Internet to broadcast television.

"The problem is that it's got to retain some edginess," says Bill Lawrence, who co-created "Nobody's Watching" with his fellow "Scrubs" writers Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan. "If it becomes a homogenized corporate product -- which anything that goes through the network system does -- we're doomed."

To review: Lawrence et al make the "Nobody's Watching" pilot for The WB in 2005. It's not picked up despite positive buzz. With The WB dying, someone posts it to YouTube in June of this year. After a little publicity, several hundred thousand people view it, and the feedback is hugely positive. NBC orders six scripts in July and gives the show money to play around online.

A "Nobody's Watching" web site launched this week, with links to several videos starring Derrick (Taran Killam) and Will (Paul Campbell), TV-obsessed best friends who, after the failure of their WB show-within-the-show last year, have been kicking around Los Angeles.

They have, however, managed to get on camera as "valets" at the Emmys, played "24" around their apartment and done their own experiments with Mentos and various beverages. The site also contains forums in which people can suggest ideas for more webisodes and a "Backlash" board, which thus far has very little backlash. (One user did "out" Derrick and Will as fictional characters, something that was news to no one else and has drawn a good amount of ridicule.)

What it doesn't have are any links to NBC; nor does NBC link to it. That's by design, Lawrence says.

"We're still shooting guerrilla stuff on our own that we're not clearing with them legally. We're just going to be putting it on various sites we have access to," Lawrence says. "Because this thing got a little buzz, all these sites are very cool to us."

NBC has ordered six scripts from the "Nobody's Watching" writers, and it has signed Killam and Campbell to holding deals. The network has to decide whether to greenlight production of the show by February. Until then, Will and Derrick will continue to do their thing.

"The webisodes are all about what these guys have been doing for the last year and a half," Lawrence says, "because they can't go home out of embarrassment: They told everyone they were going to be on TV, and then they weren't.

"So if the show gets picked up, the last webisode will reveal who actually put the tape on YouTube and it's NBC picking it up. We've got footage of [NBC Entertainment chief] Kevin Reilly doing it. If the show doesn't get picked up, the last one will be these guys going home."

With either outcome, though, Lawrence is happy knowing he may have helped bring about a new way of developing TV shows.

"Even if the show ultimately fails, the fact that we've proven you can go around the system" is gratifying, he says. "I think more people will start trying to do that. I don't think it'll always work, because the Internet's ruthless, for example. But it'll occasionally work, and that's a good thing."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This is EXACTLY what I needed!

Ya know there's only one thing I hate about DVDs. I bet you hate the same thing. Say it with me now: "I HATE HATE HATE rewinding them!" Isn't soooooo irritating? Heck yeah, it is. But this fantastic little product has forever brought this problem to an end. BEHOLD!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I know it's sad, but take heart!

Yes, yes, it's true that the top 3 movies this weekend starred a jackass and bunch of guys playing with feces. (To be fair I have been hearing some good things about "The Guardian," but an Ashton Kutcher movie by any other name...) But today also marks the release of the hilarious satire "Thank You For Smoking" on DVD (if you haven't seen it DO IT NOW!) and the season premiere of "Veronica Mars" tonight at 9 on CW. Yes, I know it's CW. Two low-rated networks have fused to create one...super...low-rated network. But anybody who carries both "Veronica" and "Smallville" is doing something right. Also, for my region 2 readers and anyone with a region 0 player (which now includes ME thanks to Justin), don't forget about the new "Withnail and I" three-disc set that just came out yesterday. It makes even a non-drinker like me want "a pair of quadruple whiskies and another pair of pints."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Greg Boardman is my new favorite person.

There is a lot of dreck out there. The fact that the top three spots at the box-office this weekend were occupied by Ashton Kutcher (1 AND 2) and some other jackasses proves that more than any rant of mine ever could (though I've got PLENTY of them). Here's one theater exhibitor who wasn't going to take it. This from Imdb:

The two-screen Lorraine Theater in Hoopeston, IL, reopened for business Friday following a two-week protest shutdown by owner Greg Boardman. Boardman said that he closed down the theater rather than run such studio offerings as Jackass Number Two and The Covenant. "There's just so much lousy material out there -- people vomiting on the screen, " Boardman told the Chicago Tribune. "I have one of the finest sound systems in the world, and I don't want to waste it on such drivel." Noting that Boardman now operates the theater from his home in California, Carol Hicks, managing editor of the Hoopeston Chronicle remarked, "He's got away from Hoopeston and changed. ... He doesn't know what people like here." Boardman, who lives in the foothills of the Sierra near Yosemite, told the Trib: "I can fly back there anytime I want and show any movie I want. ... How man people can say they have their own movie theater and can do that?"

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I'm going to pull your head off because I don't like your head.

With the three disc region 2 DVD hitting shelves in Britain tomorrow (how 'bout some region 1?!), Film Four has declared this "National Withnail Week" and they've gone all out. You can even view clips of the movie there to give you a taste of the funniest and most quotable film "available to humanity."

"More Withnail" From Film Four