In case you've never noticed, up above that Slog logo at the top of this here blog is a button that says "SLOG TIP?". It's intended for people to send us stories that they think we should cover. We love it when people send us tips! Slog tipper Robert misunderstood the purpose of the Slog tip button, but I love that he sent us an e-mail anyway. Here it is:
Hey Slog, I need a tip... that's what this email is for right?
My friend is having a party tonight in celebration of the fourth anniversary of the release of James Cameron's Avatar. The plan is to eat brisket, hot-box a steam room, and watch Avatar.
Problem is I have a job interview on Monday that is probably going to require a drug test. Should I watch Avatar or not? (I refuse to watch it sober - so that's not an option)
First, I want to wish you a happy Avatar day. Unfortunately, according to Wikipedia, the fourth anniversary of Avatar's US release date was yesterday, so your friend is going to have to cancel his party. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Better luck next year!
As to the other stuff, I have no idea. Maybe Slog has an opinion.
(heart,) Paul Bobby
Should Robert "Hot-Box a Steam Room" and Watch Avatar Tonight?
Fifteen years ago, who the hell would have predicted that the best in a seemingly endless trend of cinematic reboots and prequels and franchise refreshers would be the new Planet of the Apes movies? Sign me up for this one, for sure:
Then Zakarin published an update to this story that sends this whole thing into a whole new level of navel-gaziness:
LaBeouf took to Twitter to attempt another apology on Wednesday morning, and the apologies he sent out also seem lifted from very famous statements, as first pointed out by blog The Film Stage.
He wrote, “I have let my family down, and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart,” which was taken word-for-word from Tiger Woods’ 2009 apology for infidelity.
Then, LaBeouf tweeted, “I was wrong, terribly wrong. I owe it to future generations to explain why,” which former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wrote in his memoir about the execution of the Vietnam War.
LaBeouf also plagiarized another apology tweet from Kanye West. It seems as though LaBeouf is fully aware of what he's doing now, and he's just trolling the world. Either this is a performance art piece or LaBeouf is dropping the clues for an elaborate Da Vinci Code-like hunt that will end with the discovery of a hidden cache of art that was presumed destroyed by the Nazis.
Did I go to the Stranger Suggests event last night? No, I went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Frequently, I hear people say that these Hobbit movies need editing, and that Peter Jackson inserts content to pad out the story because the book doesn’t contain enough material to source eight hours of films. I do not share this opinion. I believe that, if anything, the film should have been longer, that Peter Jackson can add whatever he wants, and that the contents of the book have no bearing on this discussion whatsoever. I also think the man sitting next to me at the Cinerama last night may have been Paul Allen. Sorry about accidentally eating out of your bag of popcorn, Mr. Allen. I’m only human.
Tonight, we recommend two events.
Dave Schmader recommends the Balagan Production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch lead by Jerick Hoffer’s performance in the title role. Hoffer is known for winning RuPaul’s Drag Race as Jinkx Monsoon. If Jerick Hoffer were to play a character in the Hobbit, it would probably be Thranduil, the Elvin king, father of Legolas. Definitely an elf, anyway.
Paul Constant recommends a poetry reading put on by Copper Canyon Press, an independent small press based in Port Townsend, which features a reading by Roger Reeves. If you show up early, you get a free book of poetry. If Roger Reeves were to play a character in The Hobbit, it would be Bard the Bowman.
I doubt it comes as much of a surprise to learn that Harlan Ellison has been one of my favorite authors since I was first introduced to his short stories back in junior high. And so knowing what I know about him, I found his video rant on Disney's new Saving Mr. Banks to be irresistable.
I definitely want to watch Mitt, this Netflix-only documentary shot inside the Romney presidential campaign:
The thing is, I'm already dreading the reviews of this thing. "Mitt Romney seems like a really nice guy," people will say. "Maybe we were wrong about Mitt Romney!" They'll be surprised to see him act tender with his friends and family, and they'll be moved to see him so worried about his campaign, as though Mitt Romney was somehow always inhumanly awkward in every interaction he ever had.
I never had any doubts that Mitt Romney was nice to people in private. The thing I'm hoping this movie can do is treat Romney like a human while still addressing his politics. It doesn't have to talk about his politics in a negative light, but it does have to talk about the issues he promoted. If this thing is just a portrait of a loving American without talking about his plans and the politics of the people he aligned himself with, it's just a too-late propaganda piece from the 2012 presidential campaign.
It's hard for me to write about Anchorman 2, because part of the enjoyment of the film has to do with its surprises. And like the first film, a lot of the comedy is built out of non sequiturs and bizarre connections that fall apart when you try to explain them outside of the context of the movie. By now you probably know the basic premise, that it's about Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his news team moving to New York City and entering the brand-new world of 24-hour cable news. There's a prettyboy anchor named Jack Lime (James Marsden) and a tough new boss (Meagan Good). Like the first movie, the plot is only a vague suggestion to keep the characters running into each other. I can't get too into specifics without ruining some jokes. So the question I'm out to answer is: Will Anchorman 2 make you laugh?
The answer to that question is yes. I'd encourage you to watch it early in its run, with a lively, packed audience. I saw Anchorman 2 at a double feature screening with the first Anchorman last night at SIFF Cinema, in a big theater full of people wearing fake mustaches supplied by SIFF. They were an excited crowd and based on the smell wafting from the young men sitting a few rows in front of me, some of them were under the influence of mind-altering drugs. They laughed a lot, and so did I. I'm sure I found the movie funnier than I would've if I watched it alone, or in a room full of dour critics, so my opinion may have been influenced by my viewing environment. But I still think that for a comedy sequel, Anchorman 2 is pretty damn good.
Anchorman 2 isn't as funny as the first Anchorman. At least, it's not as evenly funny as the first Anchorman, although there are a couple of scenes that had me laughing harder and longer than I did at any one scene in the first movie. On the other hand, there were a lot more boring sequences, too. You've already met these characters, and they haven't really changed at all: David Koechner plays the loud-mouthed idiot, Paul Rudd plays the semi-suave idiot, and Steve Carell plays Brick Tamland, the idiot's idiot. Screenwriters Ferrell and Adam McKay seem to understand that Carell was the first Anchorman's secret comedy weapon, and so they've given him a full-blown subplot this time around. A little bit of Brick goes a long way, but Carell again coaxes more laughs out of the audience than any other actor in the movie except for Ferrell.
Thankfully, there's not a whole lot of returning to the same comedy well this time around. The story touches on some of the same elements as the first movie—scary animal attacks, a cabinet full of manly accoutrements—but it doesn't revisit the same punchlines as in the first film. There's even an attempt at a whole different type of comedy in Anchorman 2: Satire. And even though 24-hour cable news is an impossibly easy target, I can't imagine Wolf Blitzer, Mika Brzezinski, or Anderson Cooper watching this movie without squirming in their seats, which means the satire feels effective.
The bad news is that Adam McKay's direction is still aggressively bad, with bland visuals, varying levels of quality control—in one diner scene, an extra in the background just stares directly at the camera for an uncomfortable amount of time, distracting from the action happening in the front of the shot—and flabby scenes that go on for way too long. A better director could've kept the movie from dragging to a standstill on two or three occasions. The thing is, though, Anchorman 2 is basically bad-director-proof, since so much of it is made up of improvisation and comedians who know their stuff and a conga line of most of the best comedy actors in the business dropping by for cameos. So any complaints you have about Anchorman 2 just roll off the movie's back. A kid could've filmed and edited this movie on an iPhone and you'd still laugh at it; that's Anchorman 2's blessing and its curse.
The report hedges some of its bets, suggesting Joseph Gordon-Levitt may both star in and direct an adaptation, but on Twitter the actor said he’s signed only as a producer and “the rest remains to be seen.” David S. Goyer (Blade, Man Of Steel) is the screenwriter. Gordon-Levitt also tweeted that Gaiman is involved with the project in some capacity.
David Goyer makes me nervous. The best superhero movies he's ever done have all had exceptional directors. When he's left to his own devices, he tends to make generic movie product. Gordon-Levitt could probably pull the acting part off, but while I liked his directing debut in Don Jon a great deal, he's not done anything to convince me he could control what will inevitably be a monster of a CGI-heavy movie. Gaiman's inclusion in the project is obviously welcome, but it isn't a guarantee that the thing will get made; Gaiman's been involved with lots of Hollywood projects that get buried by their own spinning wheels.
But this isn't even a question of "can." It's more a question of "should." Is adapting Sandman a good idea? Faraci believes Sandman would be better-suited as a TV series, admitting that "I just don't get the property as a movie, as the best Sandman stories are rarely the ones that feature Morpheus in the lead." And there's also the problem of the time that's passed since Sandman came out. I haven't re-read Sandman for quite a long time. I'm kind of afraid of re-approaching the book and finding out that it's not as good as I remembered it back in my teens and early twenties. The goth aesthetic that ruled over the book's early days is now entirely played-out. And Gaiman books seem to be difficult to adapt. Stardust didn't get it quite right, the Neverwhere TV series was awful, and people have been trying and failing to adapt American Gods for years now, although the stop-motion adaptation of Coraline was magnificent. I just have a hard time seeing how a two-hour Sandman movie could be anything but disappointing. But what about you?
What Do You Think of the Sandman Movie Adaptation?
And the plot thickens: BuzzFeed says that Clowes is looking at legal action, according to Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds.
Shia LaBeouf may need to prepare for a legal battle over his short film that plagiarized the work of artist Daniel Clowes. According to Eric Reynolds, the artist’s long-time editor and the associate publisher at Fantagraphics, Clowes is pursuing his legal options. ... “His apology is a non-apology, absolving himself of the fact that he actively misled, at best, and lied, at worst, about the genesis of the film,” Reynolds wrote to BuzzFeed in an email on Tuesday. “No one ‘assumes’ authorship for no reason. He implied authorship in the film credits itself, and has gone even further in interviews. He clearly doesn’t get it, and that’s disturbing. I’m not sure if it’s more disturbing that he plagiarized, or that he could rationalize it enough to think it was OK and that he might actually get away with it. Fame clearly breeds a false sense of security.”
Reynolds is a Seattle treasure, and this Fantagraphics-vs.-LaBeouf fight is hands down my favorite literary feud of the year.