Movies & TV / Columns

411 Fact or Fiction Movies/TV 1.25.13: Week 366

January 25, 2013 | Posted by Ben Piper

What’s up, my party people! Welcome back once again to the 411 column sure to ruffle feathers and hurt sensitive feelings, Fact or Fiction! This week we’ve got Al Norton and Robert Cooper present to share their opinions on whatever subjects I throw at them. These are the results.

1. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters will be better than it has any right to be.

Al Norton: Fact. Well, the question is phrased in a way to imply the movie should be bad and since I think it will likely be a fun way to spend an afternoon/evening, with quality action/special effects, I say Fact. I am hoping that we get some fun and cool versions of fairy tale monsters we’re all familiar with, and I feel confident Jeremy Renner will make the absolute most of whatever the script gives him. The clips make it look like it has a real texture and feel to it, so while it might not be great, it certainly doesn’t seem to be generic. One of my biggest pet peeves about the world the internet these days is that it seems the majority of people only acknowledge two reviews for anything – “best ever” or “it sucks” – when in reality there is a LOT more room than that, including plenty of space for a movie that is entertaining while not being award worthy.

Robert Cooper: Fact. This was by a very slim margin. Without having my impartial reviewer hat on, I look at this movie and think, “OH BOY!, another dark reboot of a classic story”. BUT, with my hat on, I give this movie the benefit of the doubt. While I feel like this movie is another product of the trend that we have in Hollywood nowadays to take a classic story and make it all gore-y and shit, but perhaps it will have more than that. I’m kind of banking on that, Jeremy Renner is on a roll as of late, and I don’t think he’d jump onto a movie that would be a shitwagon. MTV Films hasn’t really been doing many films as of late, even if you count their shite singer documentaries, an okay remake, and the Jackass movies, who doesn’t love Jackass? This is their first movies that doesn’t fit that description in almost four years, so I have a sliver of hope for it. Besides, if it sucks, we’ll be having shit going ka-boom, that will make it a fun time!

Score: 1 for 1

2. You plan on checking out Fox’s new serial killer show The Following.

Al Norton: Fact. I’ve seen the first four episode of The Following and am pretty hooked. It’s not going to win any awards but it’s dark, well acted, and keeps things moving at a brisk pace, the latter two traits being enough to distract from the scripts at times cliche-ridden dialogue. Kevin Bacon has made a strong choice for his first foray into series TV as the show is different than anything else on network TV right now, which combined with its 13 episode run (as opposed to the standard network 22) means it should hold the audience’s interest. The way trends seem to happen on TV means we will be going from one show about serial killers (Criminal Minds qualifies) to four (The Following, Cult, Hannibal) in just a few months, but The Following being the first and the highest profile (Kevin Bacon is a pretty well known star) makes it the one most likely to be a break out hit. I am writing this before the series premiere airs but I expect it to do huge numbers.

Robert Cooper: Fact. I really didn’t plan on checking it out, and was going to put Fiction….then I looked at the DVR and my mom recorded it….so I guess I’ll be checking it out afterall! Kevin Bacon is enough to pique my interest, because if I’m not mistaken, he hasn’t done anything on TV, at least on a full series. I’ll admit that the whole serial killer thing is starting to become commonplace, Criminal Minds is still a good show, but I feel like serial killers are just the new cool thing to have in your show or movie, which makes each new show a little less special. That being said, I really hope this show is better than your average, because I like Kevin Bacon, and don’t want him to be wasting his time on a crap show.

Score: 2 for 2

3. A sequel to Hot Tub time Machine that doesn’t include John Cusack shouldn’t be made.

Al Norton: Fiction. I am not saying a sequel will be any good but it’s not the like the original is some sort of classic – it’s funny but that’s about as far as I go – and think of all the different time periods that could be lampooned in sequels; folks could to the 70’s, the early 90’s, the 60’s…the possibilities for a franchise are endless. You could also do it with a female lead instead of a male to change the dynamic up. Again, not saying in any way that this would be great but there’s no reason they’d have to be awful.

Robert Cooper: Fiction. This is going to surprise everyone…but I was a high school student when the first Hot Tub Time Machine came out, and NEVER SAW IT! I’ve seen it since, and I think that they could still pull a movie out of this even without Cusack. Though I never said that it had to be a feature film, it could be like the new American Pie. Where they have those incredibly terrible direct-to-DVD movies. It would be fun shitty cinema (I love shitty cinema, you’re reading from a man who went with his best friend to see Marmaduke at the $2.50 theater because it was a boring Sunday), and they have a time machine, so at least they can have tons of different scenarios!

Score: 3 for 3


4. Parker will be a fun and satisfying action movie.

Robert Cooper: Fact. Sweet lord Jesus, I am feeling incredibly nice today. A movie where Jason Statham kick a whole bunch of ass is not very rare nowadays, I think there were two of them last year, I only saw one, but my stepdad said Safe was a fun time. I guess this all comes down to what your definition of, “fun and satisfying” is; to most, it’ll probably be just be people getting their asses kicked and Jason Statham being Jason Statham, which sound “fun and satisfying” to me. The only thing I probably will wont like in this movie is Jennifer Lopez. I don’t like her as a musician, much less and as an actress, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie she’s been in that I can say that I really liked, let us all hope that this shit streak will be broken.

Al Norton: Fact. First off, if Robert has never seen a J-Lo movie he’s liked than he’s never seen Out of Sight, which is one of my all-time favorite movies, with an amazing cast and career best work from Ms Lopez and George Clooney. Do yourself a favor and check it out. For me to find a movie – even an action movie – “fun and satisfying” I need some level of character development, some reason to buy into the quest of the lead character to vanquish his foes, and the cast of this movie may go a long way towards filling any holes in the script; aside from the two aforementioned J’s you also have Wendell Pierce, Michael Chiklis, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Nolte, Patti LuPone, Clifton Collins, Jr, and more. This means there should be a fair amount of scenery chewing/scene stealing going on to make the action sequences really pop.

Score: 4 for 4

5. You have no problem with Gremlins being rebooted on the big screen.

Robert Cooper: FICTION!!! DAMMIT HOLLYWOOD, STOP! I HATE it when the dry well that is the Hollywood idea room decides to try and reboot a classic movie. I don’t mind it as much when they do it with comic book movies, because that is what comic book companies like to do, not that it is a good thing, but at least it’s sticking to what the source material does. I can’t think of any movie reboot that has lived up to the original, at least in recent memory. Last year we had Red Dawn, it was a crap stew sandwhich, and it tried to take a fun movie that had an outlandish concept (though I not around in those days to know if it was or wasn’t, honestly) and tried to make it all realistic and serious, which turned out to be as much fun as busting a habenero in your asshole. The only thing I’ve seen recently that tried this and succeeded was, 21 Jump Street, and that turned a serious show into a funny as hell movie, which I don’t see them being able to do with Gremlins, so Hollywood, come back to me when you have something new and original, like Leonard Part 7.

Al Norton: Fiction. I guess I just don’t get it; are there not enough scripts lying around Hollywood that they have to keep remaking (not so) old movies? I mean, if you’re going to remake something, why not take a movie that din’t really work the first time and then put a new spin on it to see if you can create something worthwhile? Executives want to protect their jobs so they take the easy route, greenlighting a movie remake that will make money on opening weekend because of title recognition instead of taking a risk on something that might actually be original and distinctive. And as a side note -kids, please don’t put peppers in or near your rectum; I’m not sure how exactly Robert has the information and/or experience to make the above comparison but I trust him implicitly when he says it isn’t fun.

Score: 5 for 5

6. Movie 43 will not be very good.

Robert Cooper: Fiction.This is kind of a tough question. I really want to this movie to succeed, because it looks to me like it might be funny, but that might be wishful thinking. Ensemble casted movies haven’t been all that great as of late, with the two that come to mind first are the combo of awful romantic “comedies”, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. This isn’t a movie of that genre, it might suffer a bit of the frantic pace that movies such as these tend to have, and doing twelve stories in a short run time of 90 minutes is pretty quick (less than 7 and a half minutes a story, though that doesn’t count opening and closing credits). I really do like the casting that this has, and I’m hopeful that maybe they can channel their inner-Looney Tunes, and manage to make funny stuff in short amounts of time. I will continue with my trend of optimism for the evening and say that time will tell, and hopefully I won’t look like an asshole when I look back at this column in a month.

Al Norton: Fact. I agree with Robert that it’s a tough question because it’s almost impossible to tell what the hell kind of a movie this is from the trailers. I mean, yes, it’s a comedy, and there are clearly some spoofs of other movies/pop culture involved, but are any of the stories intertwined? Is it just going to be watching a series of short films with some famous faces, one after the other? You have to give the audience SOMETHING to care about; even in the zaniest of comedies – Airplane, The Naked Gun, you had some dramatic tension that served as “the straight man” for all the comedy to play off of. 90 minutes of random silly is pretty damn tough to pull off.

Final Score: 5 for 6

Al and Robert agree more often than not. Thanks to them both for playing, and see you all again next week.



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