In Contention‘s Kris Tapley has dissed the casting of Mike Myers in Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglorious Bastards as British Gen. Ed Fenech, “a military mastermind who takes part in hatching a plot to wipe out Nazi leaders.” As Tarantino’s script is essentially a jape, Myer’s performance will almost certainly be a “bit.” My guess, since Myers has spoken about a spiritual connection he feels with Peter Sellers, is that his Bastards Brit will be some sort of incarnation of Sellers’ Group Captain Lionel Mandrake in Dr. Strangelove. I’ll take bets on this.
Jerry and David Zucker have a rep for borrowing material from old films to make new ones. So it should come as no surprise that David’s forthcoming An American Carol, the conservative fantasia opening on 10.3, is, according to a certain guy in the loop, based on a 69 year-old Porky Pig cartoon called Old Glory.
Carol uses the same basic idea as Old Glory — i.e., a character deemed insufficiently patriotic changes his tune after being “turned” by some ghosts from American history. In Zucker’s film it’s an unpatriotic documentarian based on Michael Moore who needs to be aroused; in the 1939 cartoon it’s a chubby pink (pinko?) pig who can’t be bothered to memorize the pledge of allegiance.
As summarized more than once on this site, An American Carol is about a fatty named Michael Malone (Kevin Farley) undergoing a political change-of-heart after being visited by patriotic ghosts in the form of George S. Patton (Kelsey Grammer), George Washington (Jon Voight) and John F. Kennedy (Chriss Anglin), and coming to see the correctness of right-wing thinking.
In Old Glory, Porky Pig is visited in his sleep by Uncle Sam, who explains why the tiny little animal should respect the U.S. enough to learn the pledge. Sam provides a quick inspirational run-through of U.S. history (Nathan Hale, the Declaration of Independence, pioneers on the trail, Abraham Lincoln), which, sure enough, wakes Porky up in more ways than one.
David Zucker has previously helped create two projects that cribbed from older films so ripping off Old Glory (along with Charles Dickens‘ A Christmas Carol) wouldn’t be out of character. Airplane! (’80), which the Zuckers co-directed and co-wrote with Jim Abrahams, used the plot of Zero Hour (1957). And Brain Donors! (’92), which Jerry and David exec-produced, was “suggested” by the George S. Kaufman-Maury Riskind screenplay for A Night at the Opera.
Reason.com‘s David Weigel saw a trailer for and some clips from David Zucker‘s An American Carol, a right-wing satirical fantasy in which a Michael Moore-like documentarian, called Michael Malone (Kevin Farley), undergoes a catharsis not unlike Ebenezer Scrooge’s in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, except Malone comes to see the light of reactionary conservatism.
In one of the clips, Weigel writes, “George Washington (Jon VoIght) takes Malone to St. Paul’s Cathedral to lecture him on freedom of religion and ‘freedom of speech, which you abuse.’ Malone is grossed out by dust in the priest’s box, so the doors open onto the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center. ‘This is the dust of 3000 innocent human beings!’ bellows Washington. Malone whimpers that he’s just making movies. Washington won’t have it. ‘Is that what you plan to say on Judgment Day?'”
This is a sad occasion for anyone who’s ever savored Ernest Borgnine‘s performance as Fatso Judson in From Here to Eternity or Ragnar in The Vikings. With one remark, a respected actor has tainted his reputation for all eternity. I’ll never be able to watch The Wild Bunch ever again with the same attitude I had before seeing this clip. I’m half-serious.
The Center for Responsive Politics has found that Barack Obama has received nearly six times as much contribution money from troops deployed overseas as John McCain.
Even Libertarian Ron Paul, who ended his campaign for the Republican nomination eons ago, “has received more than four times McCain’s haul,” claims Matthew Mosk on the Washington Post blog “The Trail.”
I know that a fair number of Iraq-based troops visit this site, so can Mgmax or one of the other right-wing talk-backers please write something that will straighten these jerks out and show them the error of their ways?
One of the 19 films in the Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery program, announced earlier today, is What Doesn’t Kill You, an real-life crime drama set in Boston with Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke. Director and cowriter Brian Goodman (otherwise an actor who mainly works on TV series) based Ruffalo’s character on his own experiences with a pal who’s now serving 100 years in prison for armed robbery. Goodman himself has done time for assault, according to one news account.
The film was originally called Real Men Cry. Donnie Wahlberg and Amanda Peet costar. The film is produced by Bob Yari, who is known to be on the financial ropes these days.
“I read the screenplay and absolutely loved it,” an IMDB guy wrote. “It truly is a great American story about growing up in the city and the struggles that come with the attempts of sticking together with the ones you trust — especially when you have been involved in the criminal life since day one. With a fantastic plot, character development and series of events overturning into a somewhat positive resolution, I definitely plan on seeing this film and recommend it to anyone who may be curious about it.”
“After reading erroneous reports about Tom Cruise and United Artists, I would like to clarify that we are honored that he will continue as our full partner in control of UA. He is in the middle of one of the greatest careers our industry has ever seen and one that will continue at the top of United Artists Entertainment.” — a statement from MGM chairman and CEO Harry Sloan, received at 12:08 pm.
“To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea — cruising, it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.
“‘I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it,’ some men say. What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine, and before we know it our lives are gone.
“What does a man need — really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in, and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all in the material sense, and we know it.
“But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.
“Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?” — the most oft-quoted passage from Sterling Hayden‘s Wanderer, which is required reading for every landlubber malcontent out there, particularly the under-25s.
“Convince yourself that the Republicans are just going to roll over and play dead because there is simply no life left in their party. Convince yourself this one is in the bag! Convince yourself that if you play by the rules, the Republicans will too. And when McCain and his people roll out their nuclear arsenal on you, just go all sweet and sensitive and logical.”
Oh, and always “believe that the truth shall prevail, that good people will see what the Republicans are up to. As they smear you, your family, your religious beliefs — cower, back down, go on the defensive.”
The preceding is an excerpt from rule #5 in Michael Moore‘s “How The Democrats Can Blow It…In Six Easy Steps,” posted yesterday on michaelmoore.com as a promotion for a book called “Mike’s Election Guide 2008” (Grand Central Publishing), due out on 8.26.