We're going to be honest about this: We sat through David Mamet's Phil Spector last night for the hair and only for the hair. And so did you. (People who might argue, disingenuously, with this assertion: David Mamet fans, Al Pacino fans, blood-spatter-forensics fans, who were in for a giant treat.)
But if you didn't watch it — probably because you were watching The Walking Dead, a show whose hair-design value is questionable at best — here are Spector’s most thrilling wig moments, presented more or less chronologically and without commentary. (Well, that's not entirely true: Each meticulously realized hairpiece is itself an incisive commentary on eccentric menace, written in volumizer and keratin.)
Forget Steve Martin and Victoria Tennant (you probably already did forget about her): Chris Ryan and I forged our own L.A. story this week. Reunited on the West Coast, we traded stories about rude airplane passengers and desperate, day-drinking directors before digging into the regular rotation, which included the soppy Girls finale, the problematic new Phil Spector movie, and the promise and implications of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter success story. Because two is never enough, we then invited Rembert Browne in. Rem is in L.A. after 10 grueling days at the SXSW festival, and he arrived loaded for bear with stories about sketchy panels, incredible concerts, and Prince shows that never end. We finished off the hour plus with some chatter about Justin Timberlake and Chris's damning thoughts about luxury. Do you fall in the center of a Venn diagram about Lena Dunham and Large Professor? Then do we have a podcast for you!
On a certain level, this whole Al Pacino as Phil Spector thing could have ended with this one indelible, delectable image right here: Helen Mirren, doing her best not to audibly grumble out, "WTF, didn't I win an Oscar, like, six years ago"; then a couple of blurry, anonymous extras, lucking out into a Facebook-profile-photo-for-life; and, finally, Pacino, in all his pucker-faced, late-stage, "no fucks given" mania, rocking that mad-man Spector ’fro-wig like he was born to do it.
And if HBO had then said, after releasing this still, "OK, we've all had our chuckles, but this has gone far enough," could you have really blamed them? But no! Pushing boldly forward, they've actually shot and edited this thing, and will, on March 24, present it in full. Phil Spector was written and directed by David Mamet and produced by Barry Levinson, but, truly, the only thing you need to know: It stars Al Pacino, letting himself foam at the mouth with great glee and delight ("I've played this game a million times before! I know how the game is PLAYED!!!”) and, at least according to this trailer, it appears to be sporting an average of one nutso Spector wig per scene. Enjoy!
Silver: Item no. 17 in my work in progress, Guidelines to Successful Movie Consumption: Theatrical Edition, reads as follows:
“Relatively unheard of, quaint-feeling, and seemingly silly science fiction films should never be disregarded outright. That said, they can, more often than not, be accurately judged by their trailers. Don’t let a solid cast fool you. Look specifically to see if the high-concept conceit appears to live organically in or get swallowed up by overly stylized visuals. Sometimes you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised with a film like Equilibrium. But more often than not you’re going to be sitting through a film like Ultraviolet or Paycheck. So look at the trailer carefully.”
With this in mind, Upside Down’s trailer leads me to believe this film is going to be a disaster. The visuals are trying way too hard to make up for a story device that would have been better suited for a short film. And even though I like both Jim Sturgess and Mary Jane Watson; they’re simply not enough to get me into a theater. Pass.
Browne: I really prefer movies that don't have half the characters walking on the ceiling for two hours. Beyond the plot, this just seems like an unpleasant viewing experience, unless somehow I can lie on my side at the theaters, which usually isn't a thing.
On second thought, Universal Pictures has decided not to move forward with Ron Howard's insane-seeming three-movie, two-miniseries mega-adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, which would have sent Javier Bardem's kids to private school and been one of the most expensive and ambitious productions in history. Instead, they'll more wisely spend the money on the next dozen Fast & Furious sequels. Grade: A [Deadline]
Anger Management, Charlie Sheen's sitcom adaptation of the 2003 Adam Sandler-Jack Nicholson movie, was upgraded from "pipe dream" to "pipe dream with a press release" yesterday with the announcement that Lionsgate subsidiary Debmar-Mercury will distribute the show in the unlikely event that it ever finds a network or a show-runner. "I chose Anger Management because, while it might be a big stretch for me to play a guy with serious anger management issues, I think it is a great concept," said Sheen in the release. Hilarious. Grade: D [HR]