Friday, June 29, 2012

Saying Goodbye to TomKat (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes)

When Johnny Depp’s partnership ended with him dating part time lesbian Amber Heard (I assume that all lesbians are part time lesbians when it comes to Johnny Depp) my world was shaken and I was expecting anything.

But not this. 
Not the end of TomKat.

After "a little more than five years of marriage" (a little more? how about the most intense love passion ever is more like it) the couple was brilliant together as chronicled in the short sentences summing up a marriage by E

The article in 17 sentences breaks down the significant events in the marriage like in February 2009: “Cruise and Holmes enjoy a family vacation to Disney World.” It’s hard not see how that may have been the beginning of the end because anyone who knows Cruise knows he hates to wait in lines, while Holmes suffers from severe motion sickness (something Cruise did not empathize with because he’s Maverick).

However, the couple will most certainly be remembered for Cruise jumping on the couch. 

But what most don’t know is that Cruise found the couch very uncomfortable (Oprah keeps a firm couch, it’s how she elicits so many tears) and was simply trying to loosens it up.

And now people will recall the interview with puns and headlines and inevitably bringing up the troubled marriages of Scientology’s biggest stars Will Smith, Travolta, and now Cruise. “If Travolta didn’t get divorced, what did Cruise do to have Holmes asking for full custody of their daughter?” TMZ will most certainly wonder. 

Lurid details will come out of the levees of their private life together because this story’s gonna have legs, long legs. Cruise, known for his privacy, will have to conduct a 60 Minutes interview eventually to set the record straight. Until then I’ll have to deal with the ticking time bomb that may be Katie Holmes, who might, when pressed, reveal that Cruise is a mere mortal.

All this overshadows that the couple was nearly ingenious, missing out by only one letter when naming their daughter Suri instead of Siri. Maybe the recent success of Siri compared to that of their seven year old daughter was too much for the couple to bear.

Marriages ending are never funny because you have to wonder about what happens to the kids. In this case, what will happen to Suri and me. 

I, as the Hollywood Defender, never want to take sides in a celebrity divorce. Tom has put me through this twice before with Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman both which significantly affected my enjoyment of Austin Powers and Australia. However, playing the fence seems dishonest and when it comes down to it I always go with the bigger star.

So, as much as it pains me to say this Katie, I liked Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes better than your incarnation in the Batman Trilogy.

This is going to be tough on me, maybe a photo montage will set my mind at ease and remind me of the great memories we shared together. 

And now he runs alone. 

Run Tom.


(Sidenote: I spelled Maggie Gyllenhaal correctly without looking at IMDB, things are already looking up). 

The Hollywood Defender

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Brave at 76% on Rotten Tomatoes

76%. 76% is ridiculous.

Again I have a beef with RT and it's more than legitimate than my last plea for A Thousand Words (Eddie Murphy, needless to say the movie was produced by Nic Cage). Any movie that gives me chills is at least over 80%, any movie I can enjoy simultaneously with my mom is an 85%, and any movie that makes me cry is 90%.

Brave did all three.

I'm 0 for 3 in the last Pixar movies I've seen (Up, Brave, Toy Story 3, hurray for short titles) at withholding tears. Throughout Brave, I was shocked at the seemingly random times a lone droplet attempted to escape from the maximum security prison of my tear ducts. But despite extra security I placed at the cell, we had a few runaways.

There's this sequence that is breathtakingly beautiful in its combination of music, scenery, and the endless watchability of Merida's hair that I almost got up out of my chair because I thought the movie was over, it's that good.

There are sequences that completely capture the essence of "Momness" that it's impossible not to identify with the characters. And I think that's what Pixar does best, it's their silent sequences, their gestures that speak more powerfully than their dialogue. It's the smallest actions within these moments that makes you think that you are the only one in the theater who noticed.

It's the experience of being in a theater with others, but within that because there is such detail in all their work it creates a very distinct individual experience for everyone. And yet it's a family movie that anyone can understand. That's Pixar.

Now I haven't seen Madagascar 3 (76%), but I can't imagine any world where it is better than Brave ( I hate criticizing things I haven't seen). It seems absurd to have to defend a Pixar movie, but the critics were overly harsh on this film because of that reason alone, it's a Pixar movie. They expect them to top themselves every time out, instead of appreciating a good movie. There's nothing wrong with this movie though, unless you really dislike Gingers.

The Hollywood Defender

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Mary Todd (1 or 0)

Yes, I know Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter isn’t historically It’s a revisionist history to be certain. I can deal with leaps of faith and I love conspiracy theories and I was sold in the first few minutes that our 16th President also served as one of the nation’s great Vampire killers. However, some times a movie can stretch the truth too far and that’s when I figured out that Lincoln didn’t kill neck biting corpses. And it all had to do with Mary Todd, the 1st lady.

I’ve read Lincoln by Gore Vidal, I’ve read history text books, and have been in possession of at least two five dollar bills. I believe this qualifies me as an expert in all things Todd. But for you, I’ll break it down, there’s two things you need to know about the woman: 1. She was slightly insane, suffering from bipolar or schitzo 2. She was not good looking.

For years, I’ve always held that against Lincoln, I thought a man of his stature deserved his Jackie Kennedy in the Civil War years, who would look dashing in uniform and presidential dresses. However, he chose Todd, a wealthy aristocrat, who in my humble opinion is unseemingly. Lincoln is no looker himself, often compared to an ape in his own time, hence the simple transformation in Planet of the Apes. Licoln was also thought to have a higher voice than the deep baritone. Not to mention, rumors of homoeroticism.

But he was the man who would be president and at the present moment nobody thinks Lincoln is bad looking, his prose flawless, his mole a symbol of sexual prowess, and he was tall, ladies and that the meant the same thing in the Civil War as it means now.

So why? Why her?

 (In her defense she appears to be attending a funeral)

 (I still haven’t decided whether it is ethical, reasonable, or logical to discuss the hotness of people who died 150 years ago. My moral obligations are quelled when it was obvious that Civil War Era people most certainly debated the hotness of people of the future).

 And that brings us back to the movie. Who would I have cast as Lady Lincoln? I don’t know, Kathy Bates, Melissa McCarthy (both who I love), but this chick?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead! Holy Shit. Move over Michelle and Hillary, there's a new hottie in town.  And that's exactly what I said in the theater when she appeared. 

Wow. Yes she had make up in the movie, but she was so thin she could stand atop Lincoln’s hat to kiss him. When she was introduced, it was evident there were possible undercurrents of viewing a Presidential sex scene. And cause it was R-rated for an incomprehensible reason (what history teacher wouldn't send his students to this?) I came to the only logical conclusion of Presidential coitus.

It doesn’t happen to my chagrin.

I’m rambling, but that moment put it over the top, I was no longer convinced of the veracity of what I first thought was a beautiful found footage documentary converted to 3D. But I’d like to thank Hollywood, for finally giving our greatest President the wife he deserved all along. 

You're next, Martha Washington. 

(It appears that George was simply in love with himself)

The Hollywood Defender

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Room's 9th Anniversary and Me

Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Check.

Troll 2 Check.

There’s only one thing that these two movies can prepare you for: Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, the 9th anniversary.

The film was made in 2003 and is considered one of the worst ever made. It cost 6 million dollars and has become a cult classic the likes of Rocky Horror Picture Show. The movie is a masterpiece with its spoon (the utensils) metaphors, repeated sex scenes, a lead actor with an indeterminate accent (some have claimed a mix between the former Governator and Christopher Walken), people sitting on floors,  playing football in a circle of with a three foot diameter, jibing at one another by imitating a chicken poorly, and plot lines that lead nowhere (a mother has breast cancer, but this is treated as a throwaway line). 

In spite of all of it, it currently holds the place of my favorite movie that doesn’t star Nicolas Cage.

The Room is one of the few movies that I know of that I could completely spoil for you, tell you every plot twist, the ending, every character's line, and yet it can’t be spoiled. It’s all in the experience. 

If you’re ever bored or need a movie to watch with friends, this is it, and I guarantee you will watch it again. I can’t imagine anyone sitting through the entire film and not making a crack at Tommy or an element that he envisioned. It’s impossible not to, it begs criticism and it’s “so bad” that anyone can criticize it. And that’s why it’s great.

And tonight, I get to meet Tommy Wiseau, who has become a hero of mine for embracing his failure in a way that few will ever do. He goes to the screenings and people make jokes, laugh when they aren’t supposed to, throw footballs and hack away at his performance. And he sits there and laughs along, perhaps he’s just cashing in on the money or perhaps he just knows that its importance is beyond him at this point and he has to be there. 

We were standing outside with our collection of plastic spoons waiting to be allowed in the theater and then in one of the most anti-climactic sightings of my life, Tommy Wiseau appeared. He wasn’t wearing his normal ill-fitting suit, but he had his alien sunglasses pushed to the very peak of the arch on his nose as if his eyes were sucking in the dark lenses. He shook my hand  telling me that, “I’m glad you brought a football, you can win a doggee later.” And walked away back into the safety of the theater. Because it was Wiseau, I wasn't sure if it was going to be a real dog or not. 

This broke whatever notions I had coming into the night. My impression was that Tommy would hold out for a grand entrance at the end of the film to the inspirational Room score. But instead he was short wearing a studded belt that hung off his once famously nude ass and simply greeted us nonchalantly. 

Upon entering the theater, Tommy and Greg Sestero (“Oh, Hai Mark”) were behind a velvet rope divider. Tommy appeared to be enjoying himself, but Greg on the other hand was completely detached, perhaps regretting how much time he spends with Wiseau. Greg gave me a strange head nod when he saw I was in my Greg costume. (Greg is by far the flattest character in the film, he hardly gets any love from the fans in their constant shout outs during the film.)

 They had a table of reasonably priced movie “merch” and sharpie pens handy (Greg’s was bone dry, while Tommy’s was a full bold black as he wrote “Love: Tommy”). But before we got our autographs, Tommy wanted to play some of the football that made him famous. He threw the ball to my friend who tossed it back to him. But Tommy is all about the purity of the game catch and lectured my companion on the proper way to throw a pigskin, deciding it was a personal offense that he dared throw the ball with two hands.

As Tommy chatted with all the fans, I spoke to Greg (I had dressed like him and grown a beard for the occasion), I asked him what he was up to. He mentioned he was writing a book about his experience with The Room. I asked him if he was going the Ebook route, he corrected explaining that he was under contract with Simon and Schuster. A book deal and an appearance that only lasted an hour, in which no one pays attention to Greg because all eyes are latched on to Tommy in attempt to discover whether his real life voice is dubbed as well. Even if he hates Tommy and the movie, he’s smart enough to know where there’s money to be made. It might not be great to be Mark from The Room, but it has its benefits.

As we posed for our picture with Tommy, he directed us where to stand, I began to understand how difficult it was for the other actors to understand his vision on a daily basis. Later on during the “Doggee” game, Tommy struggled mightily in organizing a game, where Greg tossed a water bottle for people to catch 25 times.

I asked Greg, “Is this what it was like on set?” He looked at me like I was a kindred spirit, “Yep.”

In some way, me dressing up as Greg, which by his reaction I gathered that most people don’t, he acted if I understood the fundamental truth about this movie: That Wiseau was insane and a complete horror to work with. I assume that Greg like all the other actor expected the experience and the movie to simply disappear and be forgotten as almost every other amateur movie is, but instead 9 years later it still plays at midnight to packed houses.

It was Q & A time, and I had already prepped my question a week before, “The film obviously is a sharp and insightful critique of the Bush Presidency, but I guess what I’m wondering is... what sound does a chicken make?” (Tommy in the film impersonates a chicken the following way: 

But after I told him I had a question, he snapped at me that it was not question time. I started to rethink what I would ask. The questions that people ask are something that Tommy cannot control like the Doggee game, in fact the Q & A turns into a Tommy Wiseau roast of his deficiencies as a writer, director, and actor. He has answered the question, “How do you feel about the audience’s reaction to the film?” in the same way every time it’s been asked. His answer: “And I always say, you can laugh, you can cry, you can express yourself, but please don’t hurt each other.” Hurt each other? With plastic spoons?

I never knew what Wiseau meant until that night, watching him trying to control people that he represents a human punchline to. He’s not in on the joke, he’s forced to be in on the joke for financial sustenance. The Room is his pride and joy, he meant it to be a great film that was supposed to teach people how to be a better person. Instead, it has taught us how many fat jokes we can hurl at Lisa, the leading lady with sausage fingers. When he says don't hurt each other, he really means don't hurt his feelings. 

So as I stood wanting to rip him with a backhanded question, I watched as he pretended to love his fans that only love him because he made a terrible movie. I realized that meeting the people actually makes it too real, maybe because you realize as you laugh at the film, that these were real people who decided to go for it. And they do, perhaps they don’t relate the correct emotions for the scenes, but the one thing they do communicate is effort. And then they are there right in front of you and the joke doesn’t seem so funny. You are meeting someone you admired, but you admire them because they suck. But maybe it's because at some point we've all sucked as bad as he has, and we see a little bit of ourselves in him. 

 Have I made films that were bad? You bet your ass, I have. I’ve listed the links below, because if I’m allowed to make fun of Wiseau, you can certainly make fun of my work. 

One is a parody of Apocalypse Now, called Abortion Now, it’s a epic failure in comedy drama, and in an attempt to achieve cinematic glory, but by god at the time I thought it was brilliant. I thought it would sweep Campus Movie Fest in comedy and drama and change the world’s perspective on abortion. I sat at the festival screenings, in a suit and I had sketched out a small speech on a napkin, I waited through all 15 movies. We weren’t selected. We were shown in a small clip of "the films that didn’t make it" to a rounding response of “What the Fuck?” Our film was technically better than the others, but we were so off the wall in public taste.

 Even as I link the video below, I’m immediately regretting it, but enjoy or hate, but don’t hurt anyone. I’m short of breath the way I am before a show, where my lungs feel like they are in my throat and won’t expand. And that’s how I am after I screen anything or do a show because I believe that failure is the worst possible thing. To go on stage and not have people laugh is every comedian’s nightmare.

And then there was Cheese, where I play a hooker rapist, who has an affinity for really long inhales on a crack pipe.    (the full movie is available on the link)

A better effort was Super Circumcise Me, but nonetheless, a failure for we had no idea it would spark debate to whether we were pro- or anti-circumcision. 

And because of all this, because I am a Wiseau in my own right, I couldn’t ask my insulting question, and instead shaved off a bit, “What sound does a chicken make?” 

He loved the question and shook my hand and then proceeded to make “Cheep Cheep” noises. It’s one of the few jokes in the movie that is meant to be a joke and finally Tommy got to laugh along with us.

   The Hollywood Defender

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Nic Cage Fan of the Week Acceptance Speech

The Official Nicolas Cage Fan of the Week Award

Did I cry upon receiving The Nic Cage Fan of the Week Award? It’s hard to say because I couldn't see because there were water droplets in my eyes  and also streaming down my face.

As I stared at my trophy (that I may or may not have constructed myself) to commerorate my greatest achieve in life thus far and probably ever, I saw Nic Cage’s essence rising from the lamp of knowledge,  and I knew in that moment that years of struggle for excellence in all things Cage had finally come to fruition.

And now I will take to explaining the importance of “Nic Caging” (as I like to call it) in my life.

I had my flirtations with Nic Cage as a young lad, I loved Con Air, I had seen parts of The Rock, but I was yet to hear of the classics like Vampire’s Kiss and Peggy Sue Got Married. It took awhile for me to come around to him actually. For awhile in high school, I was just another one of the uniformed Nic Cage Atheists that plague our society with anti-Cage rhetoric. How naïve I was.

 It wasn’t until I read a defense of Nic Cage by Roger Ebert that I immediately rented Matchstick Men, and set my eyes on an actor of maginificent proportions. Then I rented Leaving Las Vegas, then another, then another.

When I saw trailers for Season of the Witch, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Drive Angry, I knew that there was no other actor like this on earth or probably anywhere else. He said strange things that somehow made too much sense: “If it was haunted and there was proof of that, that would be an incredibly positive thing because that would mean life continues.”

I devoted myself to discovering as much about him as I could, starting with a research paper in an acting class, where I tried to uncover the truths of Nic Cage’s own acting style that he dubbed Noveau Shamanic, which I explain in length in another blog (Nouveau Shamanic and Cage).

After that I penned a 118 page screenplay called Caged-In about a man loosely based on Nic Cage, who ends up in a very low budget independent film.

Then a blog with an absurd amount of Nic Cage entries, which launched the same night as Ghost Rider: Spirit of a Vengeance.

Then a comic also loosely based on Nic Cage, about a post-apocalyptic Hollywood run by the Comcast conglomerate.

And most recently, fascilitating Nic Cage’s graduation from UC Berkeley (Cal Cage).

And now an acceptance speech for winning Nic Cage Fan of the week. Trying to craft the perfect blog for this has been extremely difficult, mostly because I don’t win things, ever. But I know I have to thank people.

 One being my ex-girlfriend, who if you can believe it, fully supported my obsession with another man. She was tirelessly and devoted as I was to the man who brought us Cameron Poe, we spent many a date night glued to a television watching Nic Cage movies, in fact skipping the SuperBowl to devote ourselves to a Cage marathon.

But it didn’t stop there, our first real date was to Drive Angry 3D, and if you’re ever wondering if someone loves you or not, the real test is to have them sit through this movie with you and not question you once while you’re there. And you’ll know if its real for sure, if they rise at the exact same moment as you to give it a standing ovation.

Or making the perfect t-shirts for the Ghost Rider 2 premiere or buying me a book because the cover guy looks like Sir Nicolas. If anyone deserves this award it’s her.

 And of course to my parents, who forgot my birthday, but remembered Nic Cage’s and a cake for me... or him.

 This is goes to show those of you that never believed that I could dedicate my life to something meaningful and worthwhile and that I would never amount to anything. Well jokes on you. I'm now in the ranks of the guy who was watching Nic Cage sleep while eating a Fudgicle naked. “Viva la fucking France, man!”  

Donnie, Low Rider? 

Thank you, 

The Hollywood Defender