Hollywood Playbook: Wednesday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Wednesday's Top 5 News Items

“Godzilla is the one who knocks”

I wish I could take credit for the Walter White reference, but I saw it on Twitter…

We are in a new era of blockbusters with more intensity and edge as opposed to “gee whiz” effects, a few scares and just as many laughs. I’m thinking of course of “Jurassic Park”-type blockbusters that were all about going on an adventure. This new “Godzilla” trailer feels closer to a horror film. Nothing wrong with that. I’m just an old guy who has always associated Godzilla with fun.

I do like the trailer’s reference to the original 1954 Japanese film and the rewriting of the nuclear mythology. In “Gojira,” the nuclear angle is a cautionary tale. It is the radiation caused by nuclear testing that creates Godzilla (a theme close to the heart of the Japanese people less than a decade after Hiroshima). The new film, which obviously sees itself as a sequel as opposed to a remake, tells us that the testing was just a cover. Nukes were being dropped to try to kill the monster.

I love Godzilla movies — all of them, including the unfairly maligned 1998 American version and all the cheesy Toho sequels. Those mid-60’s to early 70’s Toho films didn’t have the best special effects, but many of them were shot in widescreen color and capture a very unique time and place. And they were fun. Hell, they’re still fun.

For those of us who grew up in a time before home video and could therefore not watch whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, the airing of a Godzilla film on one of the handful of television channels available to us was a pretty big deal. Re-watching those old films as an adult takes you back to those rare and very special Saturday nights when you were able to convince the parents to let you stay up past your bedtime.

Your parents also had to watch them with you because there was only one television in the house.

With DVD, Streaming, multiple TVs, and DVRs, what do kids use today to convince their parents to let them stay up late?

You young’uns only think you have it better. You really don’t. You may have the convenience but we got memories you’ll never have.


‘Ghostbusters III’ Script to Be Reworked Following Harold Ramis’ Death

Listen, I’ll be the first to admit that I ridiculed the idea of a 60-ish Sylvester Stallone resurrecting Rocky and Rambo and that I could not have been more wrong. But Stallone zigged when we all expected him to zag. He stripped down his iconic characters to their essence in ways that tonally had nothing to do with the immediate chapters that came before.

Can they really do something like that with Ghostbusters so that the 60-ish Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray don’t look ridiculous running around ghostbusting? Or will they bring in Shia LaWhat’s-His-Name ala Indiana Jones?

Ivan Reitman is returning as director. “Ghostbusters 2” was released a quarter-century ago.

It all sounds very tired. And Hollywood just doesn’t have anyone to pass the baton to. You don’t replace icons like Akroyd, Murray, and Ramis.

Sure, you can reboot a “Star Trek,” but this is comedy — and comedy is a very fragile thing.


Another Director Attached to Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’

You might find this hard to believe but 20 full years have already passed since the television miniseries adaptation of “The Stand” came out in 1994. Warner Bros. and CBS Films have been trying to put together a feature film for a few years now. Directors such as Ben Affleck have come and gone. Now Scott Cooper is attached. I have no idea who he is but the big news is that what was originally supposed to be a trilogy will now be a single R-rated film.

The studio is in a bind here. Condensing King’s mammoth novel into what will likely be a film no longer than 150-minutes is going to be tough work. But everyone  knows Sony got burned in 2011 with “The Girl with Dragon Tattoo” trilogy. What looked as no-brainer as a “Stand” trilogy sputtered. Sony made some noise about stubbornly proceeding, but they won’t.

“The Stand” is a terrific story and I wish everyone luck with it. In the meantime, the 20 year-old miniseries, which stars a perfectly cast Gary Sinise, does the novel justice and then some. Well worth your time.


Another ‘Odd Couple’ Sitcom Reboot – This One Starring Matthew Perry

No joke – just buy the original series on DVD. Time has done nothing to diminish the laughs, characters, or storylines.



Quick Hits

Paramount To Make MLK Pic ‘Selma’; Oprah Winfrey Producing

Spike Lee’s Rant Against Gentrification: ‘We Been Here!

How Warner Bros. Lost Out on ‘Ride Along’

Another Steve Jobs Film?

Oscar Voter Reveals Brutally Honest Ballot


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Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC