It's a shame that Robert Rodriguez is trapped in the shadow of Quentin Tarantino. After Grindhouse it felt like together they were Wham! and apart one was George Michael and the other was the guy who put up with George Michael's fame. Comparing Rodriguez to Andrew Ridgeley might actually be unfair. I can name all of Rodriguez's films. But Grindhouse confirmed their divergent handle on junk. Tarantino's half, Death Proof, gave you the '70s road thriller as feminist revenge comedy. At 76 or so minutes, it was miniskirt moviemaking: short, tight, and wow. Rodriguez's half, Planet Terror, was an extra-large caftan scribbled on by feral kindergarteners and ripped up by wolves: fun, ragged, ugly, in need of a timeout.
When Rodriguez's bad taste can bite into politics or a flavorless genre, he comes alive. You see something like 2010's Machete, and you feel like Rodriguez finally found his calling as a shlock editorialist. The movie came during the height of our country's immigration debates and opted for guerrilla lunacy to attack racism and oppression and U.S.-Mexico relations. Most of his throw-it-all-at-the-wall filmmaking actually stuck. You could tell the ideas meant something to him. And the exuberance in Machete turned out to be a perfect twin for the shock radicalism fueling Tarantino's Django Unchained. The Tarantino is disciplined where the Rodriguez is wild. But both are grisly, dangerous, and violent. Machete you could dismiss as a cartoon. It didn't seem to disturb the peace the way Django did. That's too bad. It has the same gonzo force.
Making the first Machete (which, need we remind you, was based on one of the fake trailers from Grindhouse) was enough of a mandate to fill every last nook and cranny of the screen with the biggest, baddest, most ridiculous Looney Tunes violence possible. And now that Robert Rodriguez and Danny Trejo are on to no. 2?! Yeah, it's getting loopy. In this new red-band trailer, we get crotch punches, forehead stabs, multiple decapitations, boob-based weaponry that'd make Katy Perry straight salivate, and not one but two gruesome murder-by-helicopter-blade moments. Also: Charlie Sheen is in this as the President of the United States, and he's credited under his birth name Carlos Estevez. Also: Mel Gibson is in this as a crazed arms-dealer terrorist, and he seems to be playing the character by channeling the full might of his maniacal voice mail work. Also, Lady Gaga is in this, and at one point she says "Hola, motherfucker." OK, now where is our full-length Werewolf Women of the S.S.?
At the will-call table outside the taping of the James Franco roast, I'm handed a manila envelope with my name and affiliation written on it in Sharpie. Inside that envelope, there's a smaller black envelope, and inside the black envelope there's a thicker envelope of glossy white card stock, held together with tabs, like the little document pouch that comes with a new iPhone. The word FRANCO has been die-cut into the top flap, with scorched edges, as if from a brand or a wood-burning kit. Inside this envelope, there is the actual ticket to the James Franco roast, and a pass to the after-party on a little chain, and underneath that, printed on the inside of the last envelope, there is a picture of James Franco making a sexy face. He has a little mustache in the picture. It's kind of the first James Franco joke of the night. Although I guess the truly Francoesque envelope would be a series of envelopes within envelopes within envelopes. Each one would be (deceptively) transparent, but no matter how many you opened, there would always be another layer between you and James Franco and his little mustache.
Happy cat video festival day — and no, I'm not going to waste an exclamation point on that. Friends, today is the day when thousands of people will congregate in Minnesota to watch cat videos together, because according to the festival's organizers, "We wanted to make it more of a group experience instead of a solo act you do on your phone or computer.” My mind is dirtier than a litter box, so I'm just going to skim right past that one and onto the next sub-topic of cat videos, which happens to be this Funny or Die short starring Julie Klausner as Shula Von Hollow, "the Stanley Kubrick" of cat videographers. Cat videos may get old, but you know what never does? Humans eating feline vittles straight from the can, maybe even the "breakfast Fancy Feast meals with the eggs." Don't forget the aspic. Never forget the aspic.
Hey, remember the television program Anger Management? Why, yes, that is a thing that is still happening. In fact, it's roughly halfway toward fulfilling its ridiculous 100-episode order (churned out on the cheap on an accelerated schedule; it's the Tyler Perry model) for FX. And it just hit a bit of an iceberg. As Deadline reports, Selma Blair has now been fired from the show following disparaging remarks she made about Charlie Sheen's work ethic. Sheen found out, threw a fit, and declared it was either him or her. Also, he reportedly sent her a text message calling her that not-so-nice word that starts with a 'C' and rhymes with that thing you usually do on fourth downs. No, not "cield goal."
Two months ago, I sat in a crowded banquet hall in Austin, Texas, as TMZ founder, managing editor, and TMZ on TV host Harvey Levin gave an impassioned, highly charismatic, completely unapologetic keynote about the invasive empire that he has steadily built since 2005. In the talk, aside from his speech and a few hints of what the future held (a TMZ Bus Tour in NYC), the standout takeaway was the demographic taking the microphone to ask Harvey very specific questions about TMZ. More often than not they were middle-aged women, probably in their late forties or early fifties. And with each question, there was a definite mix of delight in how little they knew (comparatively speaking) about the Internet, and genuine curiosity about what was happening within the pop culture landscape. It was a nice reminder that not everyone spends their entire day refreshing Twitter. Or having Twitter. Or knowing what Twitter is.
Two months later, however, TMZ made its way back into my life. Yesterday morning, I was confronted with one detail that I'd glossed over from Levin's March discussion.
Says Deadline: "Lohan has signed on to guest star as herself in an upcoming episode of Anger Management slated to air in April. In the episode, Lohan develops a romantic relationship with Sheen’s character after becoming his therapy patient. The casting reunites the two actors, who also co-star together" — and, at least according to this photo, sleep together, too — "in the upcoming Scary Movie 5 … and appears to be a publicity stunt for the film, which also debuts in April."
Angelina Jolie is "Surprise! Boring in bed." Whaaaaaa? This alleged information comes from shade thrown by her ex, Billy Bob Thornton, who has said, "sometimes, with the model, the actress, the 'sexiest person in the world,' it may be literally like fucking the couch." FUCK YO COUCH, BILLY BOB!
Silver: OK, so you’re making your first film. It’s about a legendary recording studio that's hosted such acts as Nirvana, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, and Tom Petty, and which has since fallen into neglect due to the digital age. How in the world do you book interviews and get rights to all the music? Well, it helps if you're former Nirvana drummer, current Foo Fighters front man, and go-to Satan for Tenacious D Dave Grohl. Because booking Trent Reznor, Tom Petty, Lars Ulrich, and Dave Grohl (wow ... how’d he land that one?) is probably easier that way. But the question of the film’s quality still remains; will Grohl be just another renowned musician stepping behind the camera in hopes of earning their renaissance man/raconteur merit badge? I honestly doubt it. He’s hired some key folks from The Cove, Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos, and Dogtown and Z-Boys to help him through his rookie effort. So in the end, I’m guessing Sound City is going to be my 2013 Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap.
By the time A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III was announced last September, Charlie Sheen's meltdown had just about completely abated. The timing seemed telling: It was the first movie for Roman Coppola, Sofia's big brother, since his 2001 debut CQ (he did co-write The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom in that time); it was also Sheen's first big-screen starring role since before he started his Two and a Half Men run.
The Television Critics Association Press Tour 2012 rolled on this weekend. Presenting over the last few days were FX and CBS, and they had news on shows you like, shows you hate, and shows you probably didn't even know existed. To the breakdown!
Johnny Depp's Broken Heart: "On a recent night at West Hollywood's Sunset Tower Hotel, Depp was uncharacteristically quiet and alone. Johnny looked forlorn. He sat at the bar, nursing his drink, listening to the piano player. He seemed to be lost in his thoughts." His split from Vanessa Paradis was just made official and he has subsequently "turned to women for comfort." His life in the French countryside with partner Paradis was "idyllic" for years. "Johnny would walk to the local cafe, sip an espresso with the men of the village and stroll home. That was his dream." But Paradis found it stifling. "She would always complain that she was bored. She said she felt like an old woman who had given up on life and constantly told him she wanted to live in L.A." While she encouraged him to take the role of Jack Sparrow, she became "resentful" of his long shoots on location. "Vanessa started to feel like she'd sacrificed her career for his." Depp "started to drink heavily." He disappeared constantly to London and New York "rather than be in a dark and brooding mood around the kids. He wouldn't contact Vanessa because he knew she'd give him hell." After the split, Depp started hanging out a lot with Marilyn Manson. He started sleeping with Amber Heard, his co-star in The Rum Diary, despite the fact that she has a serious girlfriend. They bonded over a shared love of Hunter S. Thompson. Paradis responded to Depp's infidelity by screaming, "If I see her, I'll drown her!"
Charlie Sheen has been doing a pretty admirable job of staying in the public eye post–Tiger Blood era, thanks to a now pretty much entirely ironic career and the host of tireless enablers that keep it trucking along. A "totally random" cameo here, a frank quote about his ex-wife there — in about a year the long tail of the Charlie Sheen news cycle will have leveled off to Lindsay Lohan-grade ignorability, but we might as well ride this out.
Chris Brown/Rihanna/Drake: "Chris Brown was soaking in the revelry" at W.I.P. with his girlfriend Karrueche Tran. He "sent a bottle of Ace of Spades champagne to Drake," who sent it it back with a note reading "I am fucking the love of your life." Thus began a bottle fight, which ended with Brown's cutting his chin and Tony Parker scratching his cornea. "They tore the club apart" and started "a bloody melee" fighting about Rihanna, who is on her Cleopatra shit. She even got a new ankle tattoo of an Egyptian falcon shaped like a gun. Rihanna heard about it and "was cracking up. Men fighting over her? Please. She loves the drama!" A friend of Brown's says, "These guys are fighting over Rihanna. She is the dude in this sitch and they are acting like girls." Yes, because men never have petty catfights (LOL).