I don’t know what it is, but something about Steve Martin’s latest movie smacks of desperation. From the trailers, it looks like Martin was in it for the payday. Damn shame, ’cause I’m a big fan.
I can’t understand why any rational person would pay good money to see Bringing Down the House in the theater. This looks like a movie we’ve seen a thousand times before. And I’m not kidding when it looks like the bastard spawn of Housesitter and Bulworth.
Just like in Housesitter, Martin is saddled with an unruly woman who commandeers his home and stodgy, white bread world. Bulworth has this element, too, but with a political spin — i.e. White man becomes enlightened of black struggles by hanging out in clubs with them, smokin’ blunts and downing a 40 ounce.
I about passed out when I watched the previews for this film with Martin decked out in hip hop regalia talkin’ smack to the brothers in the hood. I’m sorry, but there is something gross and UNFUNNY about a 50 year old white man using Ebonics (which is another load, by the way) for comedic purposes.
It’s like when they put Gwenneth Paltrow in that fat suit for Shallow Hal. The jokes weren’t originating from the character, they WERE the character. It’s all supposed to be an inside joke where everyone says “Okay, we all know Gwenneth is thin an attractive, but let’s make her fat and ugly! That’s it! That’s the joke!”
I think most people will agree that Martin is at his best when he is being subtle and intelligent. Why stoop to this? It’s Sgt. Bilko all over again. Steve, Steve, Steve…
Anyway, today is my last strip before going on vacation to New York. I’m excited to go and I miss Cami a lot. It will be good to see her again. Three days is a long time.
While I’m away, keep coming back to the site for an ultra dose of guest strip mayhem! I already have 4 in the bin, and I’m expecting at least two more. That’s 6 strips people. You’re getting a better deal here than if you had me doing the work!
And don’t forget to check us out on the 17th when I get back, because we’re going to premier the Theater Hopper Documentary. It’s going to be a blast!
Before I take off, I want to give a general shout out to everyone who is helping to keep the site running while I’m away. The individual artists providing their guest strips will get their due on the day their strip is posted, so don’t worry about that.
But I really want to thank Jared for uploading all of this new content. I’m preparing all of the guest strip pages in advance while Jared does the dirty work of getting them posted. With his help, he’s allowed me to take a something that would otherwise result in plummeting readership and turn it into a genuine opportunity. Thanks.
To the rest of you, take care! I’ll be back in this spot on the 17th!
What is this strange disease that has taken grip on our protagonist? It’s OSCAR FEVER and it is intensifying! If you want to see how Tom makes it through the other side, you’ll need to be here on Friday!
Every year I get sucked into the same trap. At some point in February, they roll out the Oscar nominations and every year I roll my eyes because they didn’t nominate actor “x” or picture “y”. But then, as the ceremony date rolls near, I get all giddy like a crack-addled monkey making my predictions and spouting off my theories on who should win and why.
I think a lot of it has to do with certain media outlets that craft their coverage so cannily, I cannot help but to fall beneath their sway. Entertainment Weekly is a prime example of this. They handicap the odds of the big nominees. Reading that stuff makes you feel like you actually understand the backwards cluster of Hollywood politics – like you’re a friggin’ “insider”, or something.
In the end, it’s all just fodder for small talk – a way to make you appear more in the loop than others. At least until next year.
Talking about my excitement for the Oscars seems especially moot at this point in history. I’m sure if you watch the news or, y’know… occasionally pick up a newspaper, you’re well aware of the state of the world right now. Talking about some stupid award being given to some overpaid actor may seem downright shallow and close-minded by comparison.
But let me put this in perspective for you.
I watch the national news every day and every day I read a newspaper. At night, I flip between the different cable news outlets. I like to think myself as a member of the world community and choose not to shut myself off from it. True, part of my daily information consumption is entertainment “news”, but I readily digest the stuff that matters. I would suggest everyone do the same.
But that being said, I’m not going to weigh down the site with speculation about the impending war – what it means, what it will do to our relationships with other countries or how it has emasculated the U.N. to the point of ineffectiveness.
It’s my understanding that this site was created as a diversion from such things. I want to entertain you, so why bog you down with these things that don’t relate?
It’s just… well, war is pretty serious stuff. I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring it. But if you’re coming here to add a little levity to your day — even for a few minutes — then I wanted you to know I’m committed to providing that.
For all those who serve or knows someone who does, may this conflict be over quickly and with a minimal amount of casualties — on both sides.
Well, another Oscar ceremony has come and gone, and what’s to make of it? I wish I knew.
I know that the telecast was not as painful a viewing experience as I had braced myself for. I spent a lot of time before the show making sure my eye-sockets were in peak physical condition because I was planning on doing a lot of eye-rolling at bloated, self-important celebrities who derided the current war with Iraq.
But much to my chagrin, there was very little political boasting and what little there was, I couldn’t disagree with. By the end, I was practically begging someone to say something half-baked. Thank goodness for Michael Moore. If you didn’t see it, his anti-war rant and personal attacks against Bush after winning Best Documentary for Bowling for Columbine were not very well received by the audience. I would expect nothing less.
Truthfully, I felt the show, for the most part, was a tepid affair. Things were pretty much going to plan until about the last fifth of the show unraveled. Adrain Brody winning Best Actor and Roman Polanski winning Best Director both for their work in The Pianist floored me. It’s not often that I emit audible gasps, let a lone multiple gasps, but such was the case tonight.
Perhaps I was more blind-sided from their respective victories because I’ve not yet made it out to the theater to see The Pianist. This must be remedied quickly.
Cami and I have had several discussions about our reluctance to see the movie. We’ve conjured several excuses. Think of all the dozens of films you’ve seen about World War II or the Holocaust. These aren’t pleasant periods in history to visit. Given the current climate where we are experiencing these horrors in real-time, why would we subject ourselves to it as a form of “entertainment”.
Another issue in particular that bothers us is Polanski’s sorted history as a nearly-convicted rapist. The story is to convoluted to go into here, but you should investigate it if you’re not familiar with it.
Sometimes it is difficult to separate art from the artist. Considering the results are often such personal reflections of the creator, if you condemn a man for his actions, how can you not condemn his final product of expression?
That seems black and white, but I don’t feel like supporting the work of a rapist, do you?
But on the other hand, several great artists – those we would call the grand masters – were more often than not, especially horrible people during their living years. How many artists can you think of who abused their wives, were drug addicts or alcoholics. The list is nearly infinite. But if their work was sound and still capable to inspire, we look past these transgressions and even go so far to put the artists on a pedestal. Why do we need to wait for Polanski to be dead and his crimes erased from our collective memory before we can appreciate his work?
Despite the moral quandary we find ourselves in, I cannot resign myself from the fact that I will always support the arts more than the artists. And if a community of his peers felt his film was worthy enough to recognize, then I owe it myself to learn more about it. When that will be, I cannot say.
Another shocker of the evening was Eminem winning Best Original Song for “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile. I thought there was no greater long-shot in the category – especially when you consider the rapper’s notorious history and his unwillingness to perform the song at the ceremony. It was even more shocking to see the Academy actually honor the song that WAS the best, rather than some emotional clap-trap that rang false. I would have looked to U2’s “The Hands That Built America” for that one.
Beyond that, what’s left to say? I know that I wasn’t pleased to see Chicago walk away with Best Picture. It was never anything more than glossy, yet well-executed fluff to me. I think I’ll have to lobotomize that part of my brain that can’t stop replaying “All That Jazz” over and over again.
I was disappointed that Martin Scorsese didn’t walk away with something for Gangs of New York. From the looks of things, it was shut out completely. I could be wrong on that, though. I think the boat has sailed for old Marty. I’m the reasoning behind most Academy voters is, “If he didn’t win for Goodfellas, why should he win for this?” The best he can hope for at this point is Lifetime Achievement.
I was especially pleased to see Conrad Hall be awarded for Best Cinematography for Road to Perdition as well as Chris Cooper winning Best Supporting Actor for Adaptation. Both were richly deserved.
And lastly, I was especially pleased to see that Spirited Away won Best Animated Picture. This is something I can use as leverage to introduce Cami to the wonderful world of anime! Actually, I would have been please just as long as they didn’t give the damn thing to Ice Age or Treasure Planet. Blech!
That’s a lot for now. I’m certain there will be more to reflect on later. If you have any thoughts about last night’s show, feel free to share your thoughts.
For the record, I really don’t feel like there’s nothing to talk about in movie-land at the moment. For example, there about a hundred and one cheap shots I could take at that johnny-come-lately end of the world flick The Core coming out on Friday. But why spend all your joke money in one place? I thought it would be kind of fun to do a short strip on the Oscar let down.
Does anyone else notice how the entire ceremony just vanishes from your memory like a fart in the wind after just a few scant days?
Secondly, I don’t want anyone to think that today’s strip is some how a reflection on my relationship with Jared. Things are fine. We talk to each other quite often. This isn’t Movie Comics, y’know!
Truth be told, things couldn’t be much better. If you read Penny Arcade at all, you’ll know Jerry and Mike will be making an appearance in Kansas City this weekend at the Planet Comicon convention. Guess who is going to see them? That’s right! US!
Kansas City is about 3 hours away from Des Moines, so we thought it would be a fun way to kill an afternoon to go to the show. We’re leaving early so we can be there when it opens at 10am. The day wraps up at 5, so it would be no trick to go home in the same day and be back before Saturday Night Live.
I’m going to take my camera and hopefully we can get a picture with the two of them. If it turns out their 300 pound bodyguards keep us at bay, I’ll try and snag a photo with Lou Ferrigno instead. If I get any good shots, I’ll be sure to post them on the site.
I’m really pumped about going and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t entertaining the thought that Jerry and Mike might be familiar with what goes on over in our little corner of the Internet. I would introduce myself, tell them I’m a fan and ask them if they’ve ever heard of Theater Hopper.
The conversation could go one of a few ways, I suppose. They could say they’ve seen it and liked, the could say they’ve seen it and thought is sucked, or they could say they’ve never heard of it. If the latter proves true, maybe I could turn them on to our littler operation. Jerry would link to me from his blog and hordes of fans would crash the server just before flooding my inbox with hate mail!
It’s the stuff dreams are made of.
Either way, I’m buying a poster and asking them to sign it. Gotta cash in on eBay after they hit the big time!
You may have noticed that I took the poll off of the site. I know that it was kind of popular among my regular visitors, but I got tired of trying to come up with new questions. Plus, it never worked completely right and I think it kind of looked ugly, so I pitched it.
I’m thinking about starting up the forums again, but this time going with phpBB instead of IkonBoard. I know there is a poll feature in there, so I’ll probably make a special folder for it. I don’t know if that’s happening any time soon, but it’s part of the evolution of the site.
An item of interest: I watched Ghostbusters tonight on DVD. I put off buying it for the longest time. But when you sit down and watch it, you realize just how great a gift it is to American cinematic comedies.
It’s like, you’ve seen it on TV a million times. It’s been part of the background noise of your life for decades now. But it really is freakin’ hilarious. Every time Bill Murray quips, I pass out in laughter. If I had half his easy-going confidence, his total command of that playful B.S. swagger, that would be the coolest.
The best part of watching the movie for us is that we could see the hotel we stayed at while we were in New York a few weeks ago.
There’s a scene where Murray comes up to Sigourney Weaver at Lincoln Center. They do a wide shot, and our hotel – The Empire Hotel – was in the background. Now when we show people pictures from our trip, we can slide Ghostbusters in the DVD player, skip to that scene and say “See that building in the background? That’s where we stayed.” A lot of the action in the movie takes place around Central Park West which was pretty much the nexus of our visit. It’s cool to see that stuff on celluloid.
If you haven’t watched it in a while, I strongly suggest picking it up. Besides, we all know movies are much better when the swear words aren’t replaced by nonsense words like “bulldip” or “crud”.
Oscar nominations were announced this morning. There were a few surprising picks – especially in the field of Best Actor.
Visit Oscar.com for the full list of nominees. Come back tomorrow for a related comic and reactions from yours truly.
For those of you who have been voting for Theater Hopper over at BuzzComix this week, you may have noticed a theme. Well, today I chose to continue that theme and I’m probably the proudest of this piece. It’s has a little sex appeal. Consider it a favor to the fanboys. And before you question – Yes, Cami approved it. Click the link to find out what all the fuss is about!
Today’s comic really isn’t so much of a dig against The Perfect Score – although it’s clearly a detestable slice of cinema. I think my judgment is fairly accurate when you consider the number of times I’ve seen the advertisements for this movie on MTV, I’ve been able to stitch together the entire beginning, middle and end of it without having paid a dime.
I really wouldn’t need to go to all that trouble. They basically give away everything in the trailer. Some high school kids are stressed about the S.A.T., so they decide to steal it. After much ballyhoo, they realize that, in the end, it’s just a test and they’ll still be good people once it’s over. MORONS!
Cami’s take on Scarlett Johansson (while not as violent) is pretty fairly represented in today’s comic. I dunno. She just doesn’t like her. Thinks she has attitude. Doesn’t work well with others. In a way, I can see it. Part of me knows that there won’t be much left for her once she grows out of her ingenue phase. She seems cold. Distant. A little W.A.S.P.y… Is it just me?
We have a big weekend planned. Lots of time with friends and family. Of course The Super Bowl is involved. I don’t follow football very closely, but even a casual fan like me can recognize that the match-up between the Patriots and the Panthers is going to be a real snooze-fest. There is no rivalry between the two teams and no personalities in their roster to cheer for. It’s kind of like two inner city gangs showed up to the same place at the same time expecting to fight, but then not having a problem with the people they end up meeting there. It’s kind of an “Oh, you’ll do.” situation.
Side Note: I just had the complete first and second season of The Critic dropped off on my front step this afternoon. If you haven’t seen this Jon Lovitz animated program on Fox or in reruns on Comedy Central (it was produced by the creators of The Simpsons), you owe it to yourself to pick it up on DVD. It’s essential watching for all movie satirists.
Take care everyone! Stay warm this weekend!
First things first. It’s a new month, so that means the rankings over at BuzzComix have been reset. Please vote for Theater Hopper! I have a very special Oscar-related incentive sketch as a reward if you just show us the vote-love!
I don’t know how much feedback I can give you all on the Oscars last night. Cami and I spent the weekend cooped up inside the house painting our living room and dining room, then installing laminate flooring. I’m bushed! We did, however, make a solemn vow to cease all home improvement projects at 5 PM to sit down together and watch the show.
I thought it was a good ceremony this year. I felt bad for Bill Murray that he didn’t win Best Actor. But in my heart-of-hearts, I knew they had to give it to Sean Penn. If anything, I’m glad it was a “Hollywood Outsider” that took away the trophy.
I didn’t think there were too many upsets or surprises. Especially when you consider that The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King walked away with awards for each of the 11 categories it was nominated in.
Still, the biggest shocker of the night had to be Sofia Coppola winning for Best Original Screenplay. I stood up out of my chair in outrage.
Don’t get me wrong. Lost in Translation was probably my favorite movie last year. But a Best Original Screenplay winner it is not. I’ve read articles that indicated the shooting script was more of an 80 page outline. There was a lot of leeway given for Bill Murray and his particular brand of humor and improvising. Coppola should hand her Oscar over to Murray effective immediately, because without him, there would have been no movie.
I guess I was also kind of surprised that Return of The King won Best Adapted Screenplay. I guess I was really pulling more for American Splendor.
#THE REST OF THIS BLOG WAS LOST WHEN THEATER HOPPER MOVED TO WORDPRESS IN JANUARY 2009#
If you have it in your heart, please give Theater Hopper your support over at BuzzComix. If you won’t do it because we’ve been slipping in the polls a little, at least consider voting to take a look at a incentive sketch I’m very proud of. I drew myself as the Predator! You have to see it to believe it!
So it’s been 3 days since the Oscars and the hoopla has all died down. Now that we have some distance from the glitz and the glamour, general consensus seems to be that this was one of the most BORING Oscar telecasts ever.
Don’t get me wrong, like every other geek worth his salt, I’m beaming with pride over The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King eleven for eleven sweep. But the film purist in me cringes a little. It indicates some degree of laziness among voters. As if it was simply *easier* to hand over the statuettes to LotR for everything it was nominated in. I fear Academy members didn’t truly inspect the nominated films on an individual basis.
The problem is compounded when you consider this is less about honoring The Return of The King and more about honoring the franchise as a whole. It’s as if the Academy were applauding a bold business model instead of delivering accolades to art. I mean, whose to say if The Return of The King was any better than The Two Towers. Weren’t they all essentially ONE movie.
One movie… to rule them all?…
But it’s out of my system now. I’m onto the next thing. Such are the fickle demands of the American short attention span!
I already have my eye on Starsky & Hutch for this Friday. I’m not particularly wild about the concept. I mean, remaking old TV shows into movies died out after The Beverly Hillbillies flopped.
No, my interest is piqued because it’s being directed by Todd Phillips and I’m quite fond of his previous works Road Trip and Old School (more the latter than the former). If this picture flies, he’ll have earned himself a tidy little comedy hat trick. A rare feat for an up-and-coming director.
Besides, I hear it has a killer Will Ferrell cameo in it!
Watch this space on Friday for some Huggy Bear-style pimpin’!
So the Oscar’s were last night and there were no real surprises. Part of me thinks that’s unfortunate, but I also feel a sense of relief that things were played a little safe. Maybe it’ll return some dignity to the awards. Give them a little more meaning.
I have more thoughts on the specific awards, but drawing and coloring the crowd scenes in today’s comic kind of took it out of me. I’ll be back later with more.
Although I had seen most of the nominated films in consideration at the 77th Annual Academy Awards, I watched the telecast with very little emotional investment. It seemed in terms of the nominees, there was very little wiggle room for surprise. Most of the contenders were locks for their awards. I can say in hindsight that that came to pass.
I haven’t decided if an Oscar ceremony without surprises is a good or bad thing. Certainly from an entertainment perspective, it’s a bad thing. I mean, who doesn’t look forward to shouting at the screen when their favorite cinematographer isn’t given their just due?
But on the other hand, less surprises usually translates into more accurate award-giving. Who could really argue that Jamie Foxx didn’t deserve his Best Actor award? His portray of Ray Charles went FAR beyond kind mimicry. He truly inhabited the man.
*THE REST OF THIS BLOG POST WAS LOST WHEN THEATER HOPPER MOVED TO WORDPRESS IN 2009*