Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Know Justice?

At what point, exactly, did our Justice System no longer matter? The only court that carries any kind of weight now, is the Court of Public Opinion. The legal system can convict or acquit, and it really doesn’t matter. Long before a jury or Judge even hears an opening argument, guilt and innocence has already been decided.

Take a look at this list of names/cases:
OJ Simpson
Casey Anthony                                                                                      
Michael Jackson
Barry Bonds
Lance Armstrong
John Edwards
Roger Clemens
Joran Van Der Sloot
George Zimmerman
Mike Tyson
Kobe Bryant
Duke lacrosse

I bet that anyone who reads this post knows all those names, and what they were accuse of. Furthermore, everyone has their own feelings as to the guilt or innocence in each case and more often than not, their opinions differ from was decided in a courtroom. I know it’s true for me.

But what does that say about us? What does it say about our legal system? I really don’t know, for sure, but I think that whatever it says, we should probably be concerned. Either way, public opinion says we’re right.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Future So Bright

I’m not sure how I noticed this, but it just became very clear to me that there is a solid crop of actors who appear to be leading the new guard.  But before we can look ahead, we must look back. If you go back 15 years or so, it looked as if Leonardo DiCaprio, Vince Vaughn, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Ed Norton, Mark Whalberg, Jaquin Phoenix, Cuba Gooding Jr, Will Smith and Adrian Brody were the up and comers. (And no, I’m not counting Clooney here. He’s just been around too long, even though he didn’t really hit it big till “ER” in 1994. Also see: Brad Pitt.)
DiCaprio, although not my favorite, has put together perhaps the most impressive resume in movie history. Seriously, if these were stats, his numbers would look like Michael Jordan’s. Vaughn shifted from doing darker independent movies (Clay Pigeons) and began to riff on his best role ever (obviously Double down from Swingers.) So while he’s had more than his share of box office success, I’d actually call his career a disappointment at this point.  Damon has been turning out pretty high quality flicks on a consistent basis while is buddy Affleck has recently turned things around after stepping on a few landmines and dating Jennifer Lopez. Phoenix went a bit loony, so well documented in fact that he documented it himself. Gooding has mailed in every performance since winning his Oscar. We get it, you have a big smile. Will Smith has become the biggest actor on the planet while Brody can only be recognized now for doing razor commercials.
The future belongs to Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pine, Michael Shannon, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Justin Timberlake (yeah, I said it), and Shia LeBeouf, Chris Evans and Emile Hirsch.  Renner, Pine and LeBeouf will duke it out for the title of Box Office Champ. Gosling and Gordon-Levitt will continue to make just great films and show limitless range. Rogen and Hill will end up being great dramatic actors, as so many other comedians have in the past.  
The biggest compliment I could give this group is, if I were to be in charge of casting a remake of The Godfather (which should be a felony), I’d cast most of them.  In fact, here’s how I’d cast the film:
Gosling -Michael.
Renner- Sonny.
Godon-Levitt as Fredo.
Pine-Tom Hagen.
Timberlake -Johnny Fontane.
Hirsch- Moe Greene
Hill- Clemenza.
Shannon -Luca Brasi.

Showing the ladies some love:
Emma Stone plays Kay, and is twenty times more likeable than Diane Keaton.
Anna Kendrick replaces wet towel, Talia Shire.

And you know what, that’s not bad. Of course, it wouldn’t compare to the original, but IF it were to happen, I’d trust everyone of those actors with those roles. And if you wanted to do just a cool, fun flick, like reboot the Oceans series, you could pretty easily find a slot for all of them.

The key, of course, to the future of movies is that the studios green light the best scripts and not just sequels, reboots or paint by number films.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Show Me De Niro

Robert De Niro is personally redefining “jumping the shark.” If you didn’t know, the phrase that was born from the “Happy Days.” A now infamous episode where the Fonz, literally, jumped over a shark. To most it represented the exact moment the show took a turn for the worse. I’m not yet sure what we should call it, but whatever “it” is, Al Pacino is doing his own version.

Take a look at this amazing list of movies De Niro appeared in between 1968 and 1997:
·         Mean Streets
·         Bang The Drum Slowly
·         The Godfather: Part II
·         Taxi Driver
·         The Deer Hunter
·         Raging Bull
·         Once Upon a Time in America
·         The Untouchables
·         Midnight Run
·         Goodfellas
·         A Bronx Tale
·         Heat
·         Casino
·         Jackie Brown

Those are just the highlights, in my opinion.  De Niro appeared in 53 movies over those 29 years. If you even purchase a movie occasionally, you probably own no less than five of them. Then after ’97 made a very noticeable shift and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to enjoying Analyze This and Meet the Parents. Those were a couple of fun comedies, and it was entertaining to see him make fun of his on screen persona.  

Things steam rolled out of control. The quality didn’t just drop off, it has vanished. The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, really? I’m convinced he has simply stopped reading scripts. There’s no other way the young Don Corleone agrees to Showtime or 15 Minutes. How he and Pacino agreed to do a movie with 50 Cent is beyond me. Still, Righteous Kill was so bad that 50 wasn’t even the weak spot. See: Pacino jumps a banister and runs off like he’s Carl Lewis.
What’s troubling me most right now is, the pace he’s turning out crap. Post 1997, and including movies currently filming, in pre-production, or post-production (according to my bible, IMdB.com) De Niro has worked on 40 movies. That’s 40 forgettable roles. How does this happen? Can Congress look into this?
It’s not that there aren’t any good roles for men in their 60s. Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones have done some of their most memorable roles in the last seven or eight years.  What they haven’t done? New Years Eve.
I’m calling it: De Niro’s career has Bullwinkled.