Monday, 24 May 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #517: Just Admit It

Welcome to the show folks...

Tonight, three stories where I'd just like to get people to admit the truth.


Actor Sam Rockwell, fresh from the critical acclaim of
Moon, and the commercial success of Iron Man 2, is considering starring in a movie that is guaranteed to bomb.

That film is
Sweet Baby Jesus, an updated parody of the Nativity story. Rockwell will play Joe, a modernized doofus version of Joseph of the Bible, and British pop-tart Pixie Lott as Mary, a role originally written for Britney Spears.

Now you don't need to be particularly religious to know that this film is going to crash and burn. Let's look at the reasons:

1. The premise is too thin. The whole film can be summarized as white trash acting out Bible scenes. That's not going to carry enough for a 90 minute movie. When the Canadian comedy show CODCO did a skit called "The Scottish Life of Jesus," which was the New Testament rewritten so that all the miracles were about saving money, they made sure to keep it under a minute.

2. The premise is an audience repellent. The only people who would pay money to see this film are the Hollywood people who would already get in for free at the premiere. The religious, 0ver 75% of Americans, will avoid it because they consider it offensive, the irreligious will avoid it for fear that it won't be disrespectful enough, or worse, turn preachy, and everyone else will take one look at the log-line and say: "Is that all you got?"

3. Britney Spears was first cast as Mary. If that's not a warning bell so loud it can be heard in the vacuum of space by deaf mute Martians living in sealed off caves over a mile beneath the surface of the red planet, then you need either therapy for self-destructive tendencies, or a full brain transplant.

But those problems aren't the main point of this post. The main thrust of my bloggy pelvis comes from the insistence of the producer, Philippe Rebboah, that this film is going to somehow be the greatest thing to ever grace the silver screen.
“I really loved Steve Blair’s screenplay,” the former MGM exec tells me. “It made me laugh out loud. The script has such fun subverting the treasured details of the Nativity – posing the question, ‘What would we do if it all happened again?’”
The term "former MGM exec" should also be a warning bell, but let me get to my point.

The film is doomed to fail. It has no other option. So I'd like a little more honesty, something like:
"Look, I got a lot of tax credits, shelters, and other deals to get this film made, and I know it's going to stink like Jonah after leaving the whale from the back door. However, my fees are covered by talking this pop-tart to be in this movie and telling the pre-sale buyers that there's a chance of a nude scene, and after it bombs folks in Hollywood are going to call me 'courageous' for making something deliberately offensive, and that will help me land deals to make real movies that someone might actually see."
That's the sort of honesty I might actually respect.


No, I'm not talking about its budget, which was probably too large anyway, but the ticket prices. Patrick Goldstein thinks there's a case to be made that the ever rising 3D ticket prices are one of the main reasons the big green ogre under-performed on its opening weekend. I sort of thought they'd eventually kill the golden goose of 3D with what I called stupid greed.

Smart greed is basically ambition, it's where you create a product or service, and sell it at a price the market will bear for maximum profitability. Stupid greed is where you are literally given something of value, but your demands for too much too soon drives away customers and eventually kills your business.

The theaters owners should have seen this coming. Think about it, simply getting to a theater, finding parking, getting a ticket, drinks and snacks is expensive for one person, so just imagine a minivan full of mewling brats? The average family will need to get a second mortgage just to see
Shrek in 3D.

I'd like to see the theater owners admit that they were stupid greedy, and aim for either a price the market will bear, or face the fact that they've probably killed the 3D fad prematurely.


  1. Yeah, stupid greedy.

    Me, buying a ticket to some cool Event Movie that I Want To See, that's a 3d ticket sale.

    Me, with a van full of mewling brats that I want to pawn off to a theater for an hour and a half while I go shopping? 3D Premium=no-sale.

  2. They are going overboard with 3-d presentations. What about the 4 or 5 3-d films in the theaters since January.3-D is a visual gimmick, a fad,which given the increased cost of said tickets will fade.Now this time of the year there are extra costs for a lot of people. Weddings,graduation, proms etc; life can be pricey at times. Plus the economy is struggling with unemployment,and a general malaise. Not a good time to raise ticket prices. The predicted BO figure for thie Shrek was over 100 million dollars and the actual figure was 71 millions ,that's 30 millions off, now that is a lot.My view is that there are and will be too many 3-d films.

  3. Ever wonder why 'Iron Man 2' didn't jump on the 3dee boat like the newer 'Clash of the Titans' who crammed in 3dee -and watching in 3dee I didn't notice to boot!- at the last moment?

    The TWENTY bucks is the deal breaker for families who have rats demanding drinks, sweets & popcorn. Who the hell is willing to cough up $120+ for a family of four to watch a throw away flick?

  4. For those of us who like film but do not eat,drink, and crap movies,this Jesus project appears to be total self-indulgence.Movies are made to be seen ,right? You make films that a wider audience wants to see.This thing looks like film festival fodder and will be seen by few people. A friend and I see a film business ,which is split, with the Jesus type pictures,Hollywood politicsand social issue pictures,the quirky,dramatically bleak stuff on one side and the super-hero/comic book,SNL humor,slasher,Rom-com stuff on the other side.Leaving not much in the middle and the middle is where a whole lot of meaningful, well-made movies used to come from.So what about the future of film and the movie business?

  5. If you are going to make a crappy Jesus film for film festival fare. At least to what some Canadian filmmaker did and get the govt to pay for his "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter" it was the best Jesus vs vampire film ever.

    I am thinking of an idea called Jesus Christ vs The UFO's so far we have not had a Jesus in Space Movie.

    Move over Mel, my film will have Jesus and robots. flying saucers and laser beams, then we will remaster it in 3D and charge you out the ass to see it.

  6. Another thing, when was the least time there was a FILM that gave me that "I SHIT I GOTTA GO SEE THING THING!" feeling. That was 2008 with Dark Knight, before that it was LOTR.

    I did not even get interested in AVATAR which people got GA GA for.
    Right now I am more excited for Fallout New Vegas and Call of Duty Black ops that any new movie out. At least the VG industry ENTERTAINS me not tries to jam some message down my throat.