Movies & TV / Columns

411 Fact or Fiction Movies/TV 11.30.12: Week 359

November 30, 2012 | Posted by Ben Piper

Wait, Lindsay Lohan got arrested again? Well, what else is new? As a matter of fact, the latest installment of Fact or Fiction is. This week, Andy Critchell (who wanted me to let everyone know that they can follow him on twitter, @ascrit) and Jeremy Wilson are here to kick about. Let’s see what they have to say…

1. The Collection will be a better than average horror movie.

Jeremy Wilson: Fiction. I honestly don’t know. Torture porn isn’t my thing and most films I’ve seen that fit that sub-genre have been truly terrible. That includes every Saw sequel, of which the folks behind this wrote installments 4 through 7 (as well as Piranha 3DD). However, there are some decent early reviews for this that talk about it not being a slave to the original film (The Collector) and mixing things up a bit. The first film got terrible reviews overall, so even though this might improve on its predecessor, it still not make it past “above average.” I’ll keep an open mind, but I’ll say fiction.

Andy Critchell: Fact. This question is all about perspective. Horror movies are the bottom of the barrel in the world of entertainment, ranking below Jersey Shore and Honey Boo-Boo. You truly have to be either some kid of sadist, some kind of masochist, or some type of brain dead lax-bro in order to “appreciate” them. Obviously I can only judge by the inane commercials but The Collection appears to be the most base and least coherent example of torture porn yet. And the fact that it looks to me to be the worst must make it at least better than average in the eyes of the troglodytes who make and consume this dreck. Inverse transitive property I suppose.

(The moderator ducks and runs from all the angry horror fans…)

Score: 0 for 1

2. Larry Hagman’s death effectively dooms TNT’s Dallas reboot.

Jeremy Wilson: Fiction. I don’t think so, although it will have an impact. An actor’s death is always a tough thing for a show to handle and overcome and there are reports that Hagman’s J.R. was going to be prominently featured in Season 2 (part of which he’s already shot). However, they still have Duffy and the new cast members and I think interest around Hagman’s death (and how it will be portrayed on-screen) will keep Dallas afloat and get it to at least Season 3. After that it’s anybody’s guess, but I bet TNT tries to keep it around for awhile, especially considering how strong it did in its fist season.

Andy Critchell: Fact. Hagman’s unfortunate death does indeed doom the reboot if for no other reason than JR Ewing was THE draw for this series, much like he was for the original. From what I saw of the reboot none of the new characters were really all that interesting, especially compared to JR. The first season of Dallas was known for having some pretty ridiculous storylines so obviously the writers have the capacity for being creative but without JR’s massive presence to anchor the show I feel like Season 2 will just go off the rails.

Score: 0 for 2

3. John Travolta is a great choice to play John Gotti in a planned biopic of the notorious mob boss.

Jeremy Wilson: Fiction. Only in the same way that Lindsay Lohan was a great choice to play Liz Taylor. Great for drinking games perhaps (Seriously, you all need to watch Liz & Dick). Travolta has weaknesses as an actor and I’m sorry, but I don’t think playing the gangster will help conceal them, even if he ends up looking like him. Not to mention this project – much like Liz & Dick – was all about stunt casting and cheap ratings buzz. A bunch of people were floated during the casting process (including Lindsay Lohan) and while it might turn out better than Liz & Dick, I doubt it. I know Barry Levinson (who I love) is attached to direct and Pacino is involved…but it’s not like those two haven’t had clunkers in recent years. I’m just not sold on Travolta as Gotti. There’s just something a bit off about that.

Andy Critchell: Fiction. My esteemed colleague really nailed it here and the Lohan comparison is spot on. While I do think that Travolta does have capability as an actor I have my doubts about his ability for this role and doubts for this project all the way around. The fact that it has been in development for as long as it has and the fact that the producers seriously considered Lohan for a major role make the chances of this being good doubtful at best.

Score: 1 for 3


4. Killing Them Softly will be hurt at the box office by a poor advertising campaign.

Andy Critchell: Fiction. Is this really a concern? As far as I can tell, this movie wasn’t designed to be a blockbuster but rather just a good piece of well-crafted cinema that may or may not win some awards. Those types of movies tend to succeed or fail based on word of mouth anyway so as long as the overall product is as compelling as the commercials make it out to be then it should do well relatively speaking.

Jeremy Wilson: Fact. I agree with Andy that the film’s not really supposed to be a behemoth at the box office and is a bit more on the “artsy” side of the ledger, but that still doesn’t absolve its marketing sins. I actually think it will harm both its box office take AND its word-of-mouth because people don’t like being played (ala Drive). And I think a lot of folks who might take a chance and see it early are going to be a bit miffed that the entire movie doesn’t revolve around Brad Pitt (he shows up in the film’s second act) and that it’s not GoodFellas 2. It’s also a HIGHLY political movie, not just the stylish, if typical, low-level gangster flick it has been sold as. The film is cut around speeches from Barack Obama, John McCain and George W. Bush during the presidential election and financial crisis of 2008 and doesn’t hold back in its cynical criticisms and disillusionment of contemporary American culture. If you got any of that from the film’s marketing (except for the staggering amount of posters – such as these, these and this) then you’re an oracle because I’ve know what it’s about for the better part of six months and I wouldn’t have known any of that from what I’ve seen of it to this point. You need more than posters to market a movie and the level of sophistication and creativity that went into its posters was nowhere near evident in the film’s trailers and TV spots. Therefore, there will be either confusion or disappointment and that – combined with wide-ranging reviews – spells poor word-of-mouth and trouble, especially in a crowded post-holiday release window.

Score: 1 for 4

5. Tom Hardy starring in a big screen Splinter Cell movie is an idea you can get behind.

Andy Critchell: Fact. Sure, why not? Splinter Cell will succeed or fail as a movie based on how realistic the weaponry, technology, and characters appear to be. Obviously it all needs to “look cool” but the actors also need to seem like actual military operatives. Tom Hardy has shown that he can be convincing in just about any role and the fact is that his performance as Bane showed that he could be a convincing bad-ass. Isn’t that all you need?

Jeremy Wilson: Fact. Ubisoft is trying to single-handedly restore my belief that decent video game adaptations are possible in my lifetime. First, Assassin’s Creed with Michael Fassbender. Now, Splinter Cell with Tom Hardy. Andy’s right in that the film is going to need to get the military thing down pat in order to really work well, but having Hardy at the center of it is a huge step as far as giving the material a chance to succeed beyond mere action. I wasn’t thrilled with his Bane, but loved him in other films like Bronson, Inception and this year’s underrated Lawless. An intense actor for intense material. I approve.

Score: 2 for 5

6. You’re not surprised that Chevy Chase quit Community.

Andy Critchell: Fact. I love, love, love Community so of course I gobble up any news about the show like a greedy little monkey (Annie’s Boobs.) With that in mind, it seems that over the past year it was apparent that Chevy was looking to get out. Unlike Alec Baldwin, “movie star” Chase never saw his involvement on a TV series as an opportunity to raise the medium but rather he saw it as a waste of his time and talent. If Community had been a bigger commercial hit like 30 Rock then maybe Chase would have a different outlook but sadly that is not to be. Now a lot of people thought that maybe Dan Harmon’s exit from the show would lead to better relations with Chevy but that obviously was not the case. It seems clear that Chase at the very least wanted to be the star of the show but anyone who has watched it over the years knows that Pierce is best in small doses, mostly because of the character’s lack of complexity compared to Jeff, Annie, Troy, and Abed. Britta is also kind of a one-note character as well but you don’t hear Gillian Jacobs complaining about her role on the show. Plus she’s a hot blonde which is never a bad thing. Anyway, when you combine Chase’s attitude about doing TV, the lack of potential with his character, and the inability for the show to catch on with the “mainstream” TV audience there really was no other way for Chase’s relationship with the show to end other than the way that it did.

Jeremy Wilson: Fact. So…did anyone NOT see this coming? Honestly? I have a slightly different take than Andy. I honestly believe Chevy thinks the show sucks. He’s practically said as much and reports over the past couple years have backed that up. He’s not been happy about his character. Like Andy said, it’s one-note, something they’ve never really addressed and which Chevy has been bugged about for a long time. He’s also not crazy about the character being something of an ignorant bigot; or at the least, isn’t happy that it’s not funnier (in his mind). Not to mention his frequent blow-ups on set and the fact that “Chevy Chase is kind of an asshole” is something of a mantra in Hollywood, and it all becomes pretty clear-cut. This was inevitable and unfortunately didn’t matter whether Dan Harmon was there or not. Season 4 is most likely the end for the show anyway (unless Netflix saves it), so Chase’s departure probably won’t have a huge impact in the short or long-term.

Final Score: 3 for 6

Yeah, yeah, I know that last one was a softball. Thanks to both Andy and Jeremy for stopping by, and see you all again next week!



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