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Bob K.
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 12:11 am:   

http://www.electricstory.com/reviews/review.aspx?title=new/duhvinci

I printed it out for my wife, and she's cracking up reading it even as I type.

--Bob
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 08:40 am:   

Cracking up? I want to slit my wrists! Too true, alas.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 09:21 am:   

Well you do have a choice....Laugh or off yourself.
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 10:10 am:   

I suppose you COULD do both...

I prefer my strategy. I'm slowly reverting to the quattrocento. By this time next year, I won't expose myself to any cultural product made after 1600. I wonder if tunics count as "office casual"...
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 10:40 am:   

Those cave bearskins are always in fashion....
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mike m
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 04:50 pm:   

Brilliant review! Been thinking some of the same things about anti-intellectualism lately.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 04:53 pm:   

Yeah, me too. It's getting pretty damn weird out there.

Thanks, man....
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 06:09 pm:   

Big Bear has spoken.

It's sad that folk have to watch these things. I understand that social inertia will continue and folk will go with some vain hope of enjoyment. If nothing else just to be with others and to have a shared discussion.

In terms of "mainstream" entertainment, tv seems to have much more going for it than film. I can look forward to watching tv :-)

As far as intellectual pursuits go I favor reading a book.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 06:18 pm:   

You watch these things, do you not? At least, you have claimed to do so in the past.

Anyway,,,,asi es la vida.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 06:33 pm:   

Haven't watched anything at the theater recently with the exception of Se7en and the Inside Man.

Just was bored with both.

Passed on the Kong, Mission, Code, X-Men etc. Don't know that I'm too excited about seeing anything at the theater in the near future.

But I do enjoy the big screen and big sound experience.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 07:23 pm:   

Well, don't miss Superman... :-)
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AliceB
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 06:51 am:   

It's a great review and essay, Lucius, but I think you don't give the public enough credit. When the opportunity for variety, i.e. something other than Hollywood pablum, exists people grab it. In this article about Netflix the owner says that out of the 60,000 movies it holds, some 35,000 to 40,000 are rented each day. He's quoted as saying: "Americans' tastes are really broad." The writer adds: "while the studios spend their energy promoting bland blockbusters aimed at everyone, Netflix has been catering to what people really want."

So yeah, were being fed crap, but people really would like something else. Please.

Best,
Alice
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 07:09 am:   

Overstatement is more effective than understatement. But I agree that I'm downplaying the quality of the public taste. I've always said that we've been educated to expect crap, not that our souls demand it.
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Bruce
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 03:20 pm:   

Great review. Especially trenchant after reading in the newspaper this morning the utterly heinous 'news' that the movie version of Dallas [bleh] will star Travolta and J. Lo. as J.R. and Sue Ellen. There oughta be a law...
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 03:37 pm:   

Wow that is....news. Travolta, huh. I thought he had been stuffed and put on display in the Scientology museum.
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 03:50 pm:   

He's just saving it for Battlefield Earth 2.

I can't wait to see who ends up on Leave it to Beaver...
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 05:03 pm:   

Tawny Kitaen.
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 04:38 am:   

you know, i thought that on some of the posters for the da vinci code, tom cruise looked a little like steven seagal.

maybe it was just me, though.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 05:25 am:   

That was Tom Hanks, but Hey hanks, cruise....they must look the same to someone who's upside down all the time. :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 06:58 am:   

hmm. you know, i knew that. yet, in some way, i don't think the difference matters. it's the same kind of non-tom acting. and hanks still looked like seagal in that poster.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 07:21 am:   

Is there really going to be a Leave it To Beaver movie?
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Bruce
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 07:28 am:   

Only in Hell.

I have to say I did like ITV's remake called 'Father Loves Beaver'.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 07:56 am:   

And let us not forget that wonderful revival from the early days when Fox was still "finding its way" as a network: "Still The Beaver" with Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow and Ken Osmond.

The best was still Tony Dow making an appearance on People's Court and being asked by the announcer: "Is this how the Beaver would have handled it?" Priceless.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 09:29 am:   

Oh yeah, Ben, the only difference tween Hanks, Cruise and Seagal is that Seagall once could fight.

Did you notice that hopeful tone in Dave G's cybervoice when he asked is there really to be a LITB movie? :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 11:00 am:   

Hey, I whiled away many a happy morning with the Cleavers as a child...I would love a Beaver movie, if only I didn't get this gut-clenching vision of Ben Stiller as Eddie Haskell.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 11:05 am:   

Ben's a little old don't ya think....

I never watched it, we didn't have a TV when I was a kid.

Don't ever want to watch it....
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 06:05 pm:   

sometimes, lucius, you got to wonder if daveg is part of the solution, or part of the problem ;)

i never liked LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. it was a horrid little show. rather like THE BRADY BUNCH and all those awful perfect family sixties/seventies things.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 06:09 pm:   

I know dave, and you're right -- but he has a few saving graces.

\When I got to see those shows finally, I wondered why people liked them, especially the Brady's. Jesus, if people like that existed, I would want to hunt them for sport.

Me, I'm into soccer. Congrats btw on your chapbook with Deborah.
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 09:31 pm:   

thanks, man. it should be cool. something really different--something i would never have got the chance to do as a chapbook if not for deborah, that's for sure.

as for the shows, what's really got me is their comeback. i just can't understand why people want to remake them, or own them on dvd...
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 09:39 pm:   

The remake part is easy -- nostalgia's big, and they feel they have a built-in audience for many of these show/movies. The other part of your question is unanswerable. No clue as to why people want to own them.....
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 10:10 pm:   

i understand the built in audience part. it's why something like the da vinci code gets made--no way was it not going to make a heap of money when it opened. what gets me are the people who want to put there time into it. probably the same business motivation in the end, i guess, just a way to pay a bill or get from one end to another. still.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 10:32 pm:   

They're going to lose money big in the end, I think. It's a race between the studios and their attempt to corrupt the public taste absolutely, thereby winning the right to throw any crap they want in our face, and the gearhead kid with a movie studio in his backpack...

Go kid...
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Rich P
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 05:59 am:   

I was keen on the idea of seeing the remake of the OMEN for several reasons; watching the first one was a cool experience (or it might have just been the dope), Mia Farrow as Satan’s nanny seemed like a nice bookend to Mia as Satan’s mom 35 years ago, and updating the backdrop didn’t seem totally stupid. What I wasn’t expecting was EXACTLY THE SAME SCARES i.e. Damien freaks his mom out by hiding behind trees in the park, a hound dog convinces nanny #1 to bungee jump off the roof of the country estate on D.‘s birthday, a photographer develops photos that reveal a spear poised above the head of a priest who is later impaled by a church spire in a rain storm...

Tons of recent movies follow this formula… Amityville Horror, the Fog… Does this new tradition begin with Van Sant’s PSYCHO? Like, what the fuck? Does the concept of “nostalgia” extend to the point where an audience wants horror films to provide exactly the same (once) frightening moments? Or is this where the audience is getting ripped off (and feels ripped off - I know I did)? I don’t mean to preach to the choir but I feel really out of the loop here (being in Asia for 4 years)… are people accepting this entertainment (and buying copies for their home entertainment systems?)

By the way, DA VINCI CODE was just, suddenly and without explanation, banned from movie theatres in China. Maybe the sensors really do have the citizen’s best interest at heart… :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 06:26 am:   

Why was it banned? Because of Chinese Catholicss?

You probably didn't get a chance to see a trailer. Not only the same "scares" but in many instances the same dialogue. I have no idea what inspired Hwood to think this remake would do any good and/or make money, but they must have been smoking something. The trend may well have started with Psycho, but I'm sure GVS would be horrified -- I think he had in mind something more Borgesian (though he was misguided in this). Hwood saw a new, easier way to avoid creativity by not only doing a remake, but in essence reshooting old movies. As I said, there is a huge chunk of the populace who will buy anything that is set before them. Zombie consumers. The ideal audience for the purposes of corporate greed,
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AliceB
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 06:41 am:   

My guess is that Hollywood figures no one under the age of {fill in the blank} has seen the original, so they can get that crucial 15 to 25 year old crowd they drool over to come see it.

(But then no one under {that age} would have seen the Brady Bunch, so I'm probably wrong...)
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 06:53 am:   

Part of the problem?...Really, people!

"Leave it to Beaver" was a fun, harmless, anodyne little show that occasionally flirted with relevance. I mean, weren't they the first show to tee up teenage confusion over gender roles when Beaver found that the cool sweater he bought was actually a "girl's sweater"? And didn't they bravely take on peer pressure when Beaver accepted Larry Mondello's dare and dove into the soup bowl on an advertising billboard? :-)

But, yeah, remakes? An abomination. And remaking stuff like Beaver and Bilko and the Mod Squad that nobody in their right minds would want to see shows a real vein of psychosis in H'wood front offices.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 06:54 am:   

I think you underestimate how many Gen Xers go to see these things. When the Brady movies came out, I was surrounded by thirty-somethings who anticipated the openings for months and attended (some of them) multiple showings. The Omen wasn't a good or a scary to begin with, and why the studio didn't strive to improve it speaks to my point. I'm sure you're right about the demographic, but that was a miscalculation -- remaking this hoary old Catholic chestnut isn't going to get the kids hearts beating. It just isn't loud or stupid enough.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 06:58 am:   

Dave, I bow before your knowledge of Beaver's world. It is...scary. :-)

You''re not saying Beaver was a transvestite, are you?
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:03 am:   

The movies that remake old TV shows are easy for studios to green-light because they're low risk films: I doubt they cost a lot in general, they have a built-in nostalgia audience with ready-made marketing handles, and I'll bet they sell great to foreign markets and to other reliable markets like airlines (for in-flight movies) and cable.

When I was editing TV nostalgia books for St. Martin's, I kept a big chart on my wall listing various TV shows, the years the show ran, the year the movie remake was announced, the year the movie remake was made. And then a +/- column to indicate whether the film was a hit or a miss.

The chart was a big help for when some agent or author called up to pitch me a book on, say, WHO'S THE BOSS?, I could wait for the inevitable promise of "There's going to be a movie remake of it" by looking at my chart and saying, "That's what they said about GREEN ACRES eight years ago" or "Yeah, 'm sure it will be as big a hit as the film of CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU."

One of the writers I edited was called in as a consultant on a remake, it was BEVERLY HILLBILLIES. He said that after he read the script, he had to say to them, "Have you seen the original show?" Many of them hadn't. They grasped the original joke concept for the show, but they didn't have any feel for the characters or the tone of the original show. But they knew that the studio owned the rights and thought they could make some money with a remake.

I think they were right, but I don't still have that chart and can no longer remember if the film was a hit or a miss.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:08 am:   

Speaking of remakes and adaptations, there's plans afoot for a Magnum PI movie. The director apparently wants Ben Affleck in the title role. Isn't there anyone else that we could cast? I'm not sure I can watch him in anything that's not from Kevin Smith (and I'm not even sure I'd watch that anymore). I'd prefer a Starsky & Hutch style comedy adaptation with Ben Stiller as Magnum. Oh well, I guess I can write it off as yet another movie I won't bother seeing.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:14 am:   

Beverly Hillbillies was a clear miss. It offended people who liked the show and did poorly at the box office.

As execrable as I find them personally, the Brady films were movies that had a good feel for the shows and actually moved the characters and themes further along. As a result, both films were hits.

The Miami Vice movie is interesting in that I don't think from what I've seen that they have captured the feel of the original and yet it's filmed by the creator of the original.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:16 am:   

I'm amazed nobody has remade I Dream of Jeannie as a film. That one just screams "remake."

Don't think the Beav was a transvestite, but you can't take issue with anybody who guest-starred on Married With Children.

Hey, now, THERE is a movie I could get into! The Bundys on the big screeen!

BTW, has anybody had a chance to see the Strangers With Candy movie, which I WILL be seeing!
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:25 am:   

I hope nobody's seen Stranger with Candy, because that was the least funny show the Comedy channel ever ran.
The idea of a movie makes me ill...

I'm sure there's a script for a Bundy movie...

As for I dream of Jeannie screaming for a remake, I take it you mean a scream of terror...
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Bruce
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:27 am:   

I saw 'The Bundys on the big screeen' and thought, "Great pitch for Hollywood. Ted Bundy marries Karla Homolka and mad-cap serial-killing hi-jinks ensue. Guest stars Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector, the enigmatic next-door neighbor."

Hell, it's probably already been done. Time for another coffee.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:32 am:   

I'm tempted by Strangers With Candy. When I first saw the show, I thought it was terrible. A few years later, I enjoyed it a bit.

There are plans for a Jeannie movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0415863/

No cast has been announced, but I kept hearing rumors of Jessica Simpson or Jessica Alba in the movie.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:33 am:   

Dave, I'm sure someone has seriously considered remaking I Dream of Jeannie as a big-budget Hollywood extravaganza, but then they got a great big pail of cold water thrown in their face by the complete disaster that was the Bewitched remake a few years back. Wasn't the Jeannie TV show inspired by the success of the Bewitched show? Or was it the other way around? I only remember the shows from years and years of after school repeats (episodes cycling with showings of Gilligan's Island, Hogan's Heroes, and Journey to the Bottom of the Sea. . . ah, childhood. . .).
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:35 am:   

Lucius, did you notice who wrote the BRADY BUNCH MOVIE? It was Sherwood Schwartz, who did the original show. I worked with Sherwood (edited INSIDE GILLIGAN'S ISLAND) and he's great at marketing and remarketing his own stuff. At one point, he was trying to sell a Broadway version of GILLIGAN with a Hispanic actor as Gilligan. (No, it wasn't John Leguizamo.)

As it happens, Dave G., I also edited Steve Cox's book on I DREAM OF JEANNIE. As I recall, there was a lot of talk about a remake---maybe with Jenna Elfman to star? I forget now---but I suspect they got derailed by the BEWITCHED remake.

It's actually very easy to go through old TV listings and do up a list of potential remakes---WELCOME BACK, KOTTER, KNIGHT RIDER, SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, etc., etc. But it's the usual crapshoot as to which ones ultimately get made.

Oops, gotta run. Harv Weinstein is on the phone asking me to write and star in a film version of HERMAN'S HEAD.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:43 am:   

Was it Herve Villechaise? :-)
Actually, I didn't notice Schwarz's involvement, but it figures.

Six Million Dollar Man might fly...
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:50 am:   

There is a Welcome Back Kotter film in the works, apparently with Ice Cube as Kotter.

Six Million Dollar Man could work, but I think they'd need to up the price tag. Six Billion Dollar Man maybe?

The Weinsten's are working on Knight Rider: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0384254/
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:53 am:   

Who plays Horshack?

FYI, Gabe Kaplan is now a professional poker player,
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 07:54 am:   

Lucius, Strangers With Candy less funny than Crank Yankers????
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 08:02 am:   

Make that the least funny show I've seen on TCC.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 08:12 am:   

I've got a great idea for a sitcom/movie based on hogans heroes. Bob Crane and his band of stalwarts are, in a serious role-reversal, are put in charge of a Bagdad prison filled with whacky Arabs. Hijinx ensue.

Andy, I think it was a big pail of something Hwood took in the face over Bewitched, but not water. :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 08:19 am:   

Supposedly, there is a script circulating Hollywood called "The Cell" about the wacky members of a terrorist sleeper cell who find themselves seduced by American consumer culture. One newspaper quoted a bunch of executives saying it's the funniest thing they've ever read, but it's totally unproduceable.

Why not have the smart guys be the terrorists and the bumblers (a la Col. Klink) be the US jailers? You could definitely sell it to al-Jazeera.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 08:21 am:   

"Hussein's Heroes"...
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Rich P
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 08:25 am:   

From the NYT...

BEIJING Chinese theaters halted screenings of "The Da Vinci Code" on Friday after the authorities acted on a warning from Chinese Catholics that the film threatened social stability.

The film, based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown that has been criticized as insulting to Catholics, had earned more than any other film shown in China this year and was viewed within the local industry as a contender to overtake "Titanic" as the highest grossing film of all time.

But protests by China's official Catholic Patriotic Association and a small- scale demonstration involving a few dozen Catholics in Hebei Province were cited as evidence that the film was becoming a political risk, according to people involved in the decision to stop showing it.

Removing the film after its strong 22- day run suggested a political compromise between Chinese Catholic leaders and China Film Group, the state-owned company that imported and distributed the film.

China Film was permitted to collect hefty revenues and recoup its investment
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 08:25 am:   

Re the cell, they have no balls if they don't produce it. But then, of course, they have no balls.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 08:29 am:   

Thanks, Rich...

That films offends everyone, but not because of any controversy...
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AliceB
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 12:57 pm:   

Isn't Beijing trying to get on better terms with the Vatican? I know there was a great deal of happy press coming from China several months ago when the Vatican approved the Chinese government's choice of bishops, followed maybe a month later by more tension because of a new Chinese appointment. I wouldn't be surprised if China hoped to score some brownie points since the Vatican hates the Da Vinci Code (albeit for the wrong reasons).

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to get my head wrapped around the idea that you went to see the Brady Bunch voluntarily.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 01:32 pm:   

Alice, I try to see everything that comes through the multiplexes. At least in part. Call it my from of cultural accountability. I wouldn't feel I could trash all Hwood, unless I did it justice.

I'm sure you're correct about the Vatican. I doubt the chinese banned it for aesthetic reasons, though you never know.
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AliceB
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 01:36 pm:   

You sure a hairshirt wouldn't be easier? (Cheaper too.)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 01:48 pm:   

I sneak from movie to movie once inside a multiplex. :-)

It would be easier, but it eases my conscience when I say rude things. Not that anyone other than the choir is listening.
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AliceB
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 02:17 pm:   

Well, if you change your mind, there's a whole hairshirt wearing system here. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 02:24 pm:   

I think I'll just take a note from Paul Bettany and go straight to self-flagellation.... :-)
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 02:27 pm:   

Lucius, someone at one of Jack Womack's parties---I'm pretty sure it was Elliot Sharp---told me that "Hogan's Heroes" reruns are very popular in Germany now. Turns out that when they dub the episodes into German, they make Werner Klemperer and all the other Germans into Bavarians and the rest of Germany laughs at Those Wacky Bavarians.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 02:40 pm:   

Fantastic!

Wonder what they could do with Schindler's List.

Apparently Facism is on the rise yet again. And not just in Germany, where they break out nazi banners at Bundesleague games, but in France and Spain as well. Apparently the Spanish are exceptionally vile in their racism, throwing bananas at players of color, etc...
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Rich P
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 04:00 pm:   

AliceB: Personally, I don’t think Beijing gives two hoots about Chinese Catholics or the Vatican. It’s just that they control the number of foreign films playing on big screens. Knocking out contenders for “biggest Chinese box office of all time” (as DA VINCI was going to be) for ANY reason ensures more profit for homegrown movies. MI3 was pulled after a week because it “compromised the image of Shanghai” (a car chase and shootings on the streets of Shanghai and laundry hanging from balconies). It will -probably- open again next week after severe cuts.

Meanwhile, you can buy a DVD of either movie for less than a buck on the street.
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PM
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 04:52 pm:   

Just for the record.

The Bewitched movie was respectful of the tv show. Doesn't make it a great film but it compares well when compared with other recent remakes.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 05:10 pm:   

Ulp...uh...it was a show respectful of that forced comedic blither? I thought you didn't see these things.
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PM
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 06:28 pm:   

It was one of the last films I watched at the theater. What I was conveying in an earlier post was that I hadn't been to any movies since Se7en and the Inside Man.

Now I'm not talking about all new films just the unfortunate ones that show up locally :-)

Until something worth appearing actually does.

In the meantime there's plenty to watch that's actually enjoyable and so I'm directing my efforts thataway (DVDs --- past films/international films, etc.)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 06:31 pm:   

Okay...just checking...
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William Lexner
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 11:09 pm:   

Yeah. Pretty much the best movie review I've ever read. I'd heard tell of Lucius Shepard movie reviews before, and I'm glad I got a chance to read this one.

You need to publish a collection of these, Lucius. (If you already have, just tell me to shut up and direct me where to buy it)
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 04:45 am:   

Hey, William....

available in trade paper from Wheatland Press or Amazon, WEAPONS OF MASS SEDUCTION...

Glad you liked this one.
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William Lexner
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 09:05 am:   

Thanks.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 09:24 am:   

De nada...
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AliceB
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 05:40 pm:   

Rich P, you are probably right about China not caring about Chinese Catholics, and about the economics of Chinese movies (I know nothing about it), but I wouldn't discount that it would like better relations with the Vatican. China knows that as a market economy, good press and good relations helps. It won't change most of the way it conducts itself internally for anyone, but if it can do something small and get big points with someone, it'll do it. The Vatican is much more than a city state within Italy's boundaries--it has influence worldwide. And having reasonably good relations with the leaders of one of the world's religions makes good sense.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 06:00 pm:   

You know, we woulda done better invading the Vatican instead of Iraq...
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Bruce
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 06:09 pm:   

My wife and I were at the Vatican about ten days ago. I would've tossed in the towel after seeing the line - about two kilometers and 2 1/4 hours - but I wanted to ride Pirates of the Caribbean just one more time.

Despite the almost Disneyesque atmosphere, the art was better than o.k., particularly the Sistine Chapel.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 06:22 pm:   

How much is a ride in the Popemobile?

I was at the Sistine in the seventies. There weren't any lines.
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Rich P
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 07:18 pm:   

Alice: The fact that there is no homegrown Chinese system of religion (and low tolerance for the borrowed ones - Buddhism, Christianity, not to mention FG), makes Beijing’s fixation on developing the economy pretty shameless. It also makes me skeptical of diplomatic gestures towards religious leaders outside the country, but then the Vatican is a political as well as religious force. A win/win at any rate - not to mention that people aren't exposed to the stupid movie :-)
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Bruce
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 07:18 pm:   

"How much is a ride in the Popemobile?"

With Benny 16th driving? 5 Euros.

Without Benny?? 10 Euros!

Benedict XVI wasn't in though we e-mailed ahead. The nerve.

I was at the Vatican in '75...zero lines. Just strolled through the doors of St. Pete's and there it was: the Pieta about 15 feet back behind plate glass [courtesy of the crazy Hungarian fruit bat who attacked it with a sledgehammer]. Last week it was stuffed in an alcove about another fifty feet back. Totally unfortunate.

Coolest pieces of art I saw this trip: several Bosch triptychs at the Doge's Palace in Venice.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 07:45 pm:   

Yeah, I was there in '73. It must have gotten more popular.

Venice is great, but it's better in the fall, I think, when there are no people. The fucking city's deserted.
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Bruce
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 07:56 pm:   

The locals didn't mind slagging Dan Brown's abortion which made this appreciator of the written word [and recovering Catholic] smile.

Venice hadn't completely been overrun when we were there four weeks ago, but the locals were bracing for the onslaught. We'd stayed on the Lido, the long island across the lagoon, which I'd definitely give a thumbs-up.

Cheap thrill in Venice: board the water bus one stop above the train station and grab the front row seats. 5 Euro/1 hour tour of the Grand Canal and lagoon. The Guggenheim was fairly cool too.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 08:03 pm:   

I love walking around Venice in November with lots of fog and drizzle. It's a real ghost town. Beautiful.

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