Singer, rapper, songwriter, American Idol judge, fashion nightmare… actress?
All of these terms describe one of the strangest women in music and arguably one of the weirdest sights you will see in theaters next year: Nicki Minaj.
It was just announced by The Hollywood Reporter that Minaj is in final talks with Cameron Diaz to appear in her next film—The Other Woman—which is scheduled to begin production in New York this spring or early summer.
Internet Movie Database describes the upcoming film like this: “After realizing she is not her boyfriend’s primary lover, a woman teams up with his wife and plots mutual revenge.”
It certainly sounds like a Cameron Diaz movie, don’t you think?
Diaz will, of course, assume the lead role. Leslie Mann from HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones will play the wife whose husband “two times” her while the voluptuous Kate Upton is slated to play her husband’s other lover.
Choosing between Leslie Man and Kate Upton? Sounds like a problem that I would love to have, but where does Nicki fit into all of this?
I’ll tell you.
Minaj is going to portray Diaz’s smart-mouthed, opinionated and thrice-married assistant. It will be her first live-action role since her actual film debut came in the form of voice talent in 2012′s Ice Age: Continental Drift—she played Steffie, a Woolly Mammoth who makes fun of Peaches, a teenage Mammoth.
Do me a favor and keep the word mammoth in mind. You’ll see why in just a moment.
Although I have never been a fan of Nicki Minaj—and actually find her to be rather irritating—I am glad she is getting the opportunity to appear in film. My reason for feeling this way, however, is a bit odd and I certainly hope people don’t take this the wrong way.
To me, film is the ideal medium for Minaj since the Big Screen is likely the only surface large enough to contain her mammoth ass!
Now do you see why remembering the word mammoth was so important! Ha ha!
I had an idea for a story, novel or maybe even a film earlier today. It came out of nowhere and caught me completely off guard since it happened on the way to a tee-ball game, of all places. But when inspiration comes, you have to grab it, right? And that’s exactly what I’m hoping to do.
The title of this post obviously gives away one of the secrets. Yes, the idea is for a zombie story. What can I say? I love them and never miss The Walking Dead, Dawn of the Dead or even a George Romero marathon on late-night television.
I just can’t get enough.
At the same time, I am normally very critical of my ideas and spend a great deal of time trying to “flesh them out,” pun intended. Few result in anything very interesting, but there are a few that seem to have a little something extra. You know what I mean? Those ideas that get you thinking about book tours, film sets and televised award ceremonies?
This idea belongs in that second category. At least it could if done correctly. The only problem is its subject matter, which is certain to cause backlash, controversy and everything in between.
Isn’t that what normally happens when someone satirizes a religion or religious figure? It certainly did when The Innocence of Muslims hit YouTube last year. And I wouldn’t want anything like that to happen again.
I just can’t ignore the muse, you know? And by writing this post and sharing this idea with all of you, I am hoping to hear if something like this has potential or is too offensive to even consider pursuing. You won’t hurt my feelings if you leave a comment to express your displeasure, but first keep these things in mind:
- I am not a heretic or some kind of blasphemer
- This is not a criticism of or attack on religion, in this case Christianity
- My idea is nothing more than fiction and is not intended to offend or insult anyone
That being said, here’s the thought I had in the car earlier—the premise upon which this story will be built—the question this tale will seek to answer: What if Jesus Christ was the first zombie?
Fire and brimstone! Sacrilege! Did he just say that? You’re going straight to Hell for that one? Eternal damnation!
Now that we have that out of the way—and trust me when I say these are responses I wouldn’t really expect to get from something so harmless—focus on the basic idea. The way I see it—and if I end up really writing this thing—there are a few different approaches I could take.
Here’s the first.
You have Jesus, the Son of God: born in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph; raised as a carpenter in Nazareth; minister and teacher beginning around age 30. Only instead of following his normal path—which we all know ended with his crucifixion several years later—Jesus’ trajectory is changed by something unexpected: a mysterious virus.
He becomes a zombie.
So instead of spreading “The Word” and enlisting the aid of twelve disciples, Zombie Jesus spreads the virus and turns twelve followers into the first pack of flesh-eating zombies ever. Ironically enough, that’s kind of what they would have done anyway, given the symbolic eating of Jesus’ flesh during the Last Supper.
Approach two does little more than fast forward to the time Jesus is crucified and placed in his tomb. Only the Resurrection is when he returns as a zombie, subsequently appearing to everyone not to reinforce their faith, but to make communion out of them!
I know, I know. Blasphemy.
This is actually as far as I’ve gotten on this idea, and there are a lot of other things to consider. For instance, transforming JC and the Boys into zombies may inadvertently turn the Romans into the “good guys,” unless I can find a way to prevent something even I find rather tasteless from happening. I guess they could also be transformed into the undead, given this story need not run concurrent to religious history. And that would provide some justice after the horror of Jesus’ crucifixion, which the Romans surely deserved.
Still kind of a touchy subject, though?
Although I enjoy writing about controversial subjects—not for attention or financial gain, mind you—I can’t help feeling that this idea may be a little too edgy. On the other hand, it could be quite lucrative for the same reason. Yes, a lot of people would get pissed and there could potentially be all sorts of protests, but only after everyone read the book or saw the movie. An uproar like this would undoubtedly attract the media and before you know it, this thing would be everywhere.
Wishful thinking, I know, but stranger things have happened. And delusions of grandeur never hurt anyone… much.
So there you go: one story idea that could be good or bad depending on how you look at it. All it’s missing now is YOU. If you read this post and notice any kind of reaction within yourself—interest, disgust, joy, hunger, completeness, arousal, nausea—please consider leaving a few comments. And if you happen to think this could make a decent story, I would love some suggestion as to its genre. Horror? Comedy? Thriller? I have no idea which is best.
Thanks in advance for your help and please remember that none of this was intended to offend or insult Christians, Christianity or any other believer or religion on this spinning ball of mud we all call home. But if I did offend someone—especially to the point they feel I deserve no forgiveness—I ask first that they answer this question and act accordingly: What would Jesus do?
And I think we all know the answer to that.
Ever since the Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm, the force behind the Star Wars franchise (pun intended), and announced it would produce a plethora of new films, television shows and other tantalizing products—maybe even a theme park—rumors have been flying.
The most attention has been focused on the next film set for release in 2015 and tentatively known as Star Wars 7. I’m sure someone will give it a much snappier title later.
According to the first reports, several cast members from the original trilogy had signed on to appear in the next film. Among them were Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and the elusive, earring-wearing Harrison Ford (Han Solo). A week later, none of them were on-board. Fisher’s rep even went so far as to claim that her initial agreement was “a joke.”
Then came George Lucas, the great and powerful Oz of the Star Wars universe.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Lucas claimed that the three stars had already been signed to appear in the next Star Wars film before Disney ever purchased Lucasfilm. They were at least in the final stages of negotiation.
“We were negotiating with them,” Lucas said. “I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not.”
The fact that George backtracked a little after “spilling the beans” makes me think he knows more than he’s telling us. I wouldn’t be surprised if there really were contracts signed by the Holy Trinity of science fiction characters… um… I mean actors.
To a Star Wars nut like me, this seems like good news even though all of these folks are pushing retirement age. For now, it seems we can expect at least a cameo appearance from each of them. Unless something else changes, that is. And we all know it probably will.
Regardless of what happens with Mark, Carrie and Harrison, I must say that I am EXTREMELY excited for the next episode in my favorite film franchise of all time. J.J. Abrams is directing. Oscar winner Michael Arndt is writing the screenplay. George Lucas is consulting. What more could you want, right?
I’ll tell you what. If you’re like me—especially when it comes to Star Wars—you want more. It’s as simple as that. And thanks to Walt Disney, there could be more on the way soon.
Recent reports suggest there could be a series of spinoff films focusing on different characters in the Star Wars universe. In fact, some of these films may already be in development. According to E! Entertainment, Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are teaming up to work on screenplays not connected to the new trilogy.
Kasdan has Star Wars “street cred” for writing both The Empire Strikes Back—by far my favorite of all the films—and Return of the Jedi. Kinberg wrote the screenplay for Sherlock Holmes, which also carries some weight. Put them together and you have one hell of a creative force, though.
Dare I say, a force unleashed?
I wonder which character will get the first spinoff? If I had to guess, I’d say it’s Boba Fett, who was always a pretty cool dude. What people don’t know is that he didn’t really die in the Sarlaac’s belly. His Mandalorian armor protected him enough that he was able to climb out and survive.
How much of a nerd am I for knowing that?
I’m not sure what happened to Boba Fett after that harrowing experience. As long as he didn’t hit the talk show circuit, though, it would probably make for a very entertaining film.
Chewbacca would be an interesting choice if he could communicate in something more than roars, growls and grumbles. Watching a film with subtitles and Wookies just wouldn’t work, especially for younger fans.
Honestly, I don’t care which characters are “spun off” because they will still provide me with more wholesome Star Wars entertainment. And if I hear anything else worth sharing, I’ll be sure to post it here, my fellow Jedi and Sith warriors.
Until then, may the Force be with you!
Told you I was a nerd.
Most people just call them the “Razzies.”
Originally conceived by American publicist John Wilson in 1981 and inspired by the comedic act of “blowing a raspberry,” the Razzies precede the Academy Awards and celebrate terrible films rather than great ones. It’s all in good fun and, in most cases, the people being honored are good sports, but that isn’t always the case.
After all, who wants to be known for dropping a bomb at the box office?
The sad fact is that for every awesome, chart-topping film and stellar acting or directing performance, there are dozens of others that stink up the screen and make the producers who “green lighted” them scratch their heads.
And this year was no exception.
At the top of the list of 2012′s worst films is the final installment of the hit teenybopper series Twilight. With seemingly endless nominations in multiple categories, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn–Part 2 more-or-less swept the Razzies. By the end of the night, the vampire love fest was named Worst Film and received awards for Worst Ensemble Cast, Worst Director (Bill Condon), Worst Supporting Actor (Taylor Lautner), Worst Actress (Kristen Stewart) and Worst Onscreen Couple.
Stewart actually split her Worst Actress honor among Twilight and another weak performance, Snow White and the Huntsman.
“Acting should involve having an expression on your face, and she is blank” Razzies founder John Wilson said of the young actress. “Kristen Stewart is so expressionless she might as well be a brick wall.”
I couldn’t agree more, but at least she’s cute.
Other Razzies went to Rihanna (Worst Supporting Actress for Battleship) and Adam Sandler (Worst Actor for That’s My Boy), who is no stranger to the anti-award. His flop Jack and Jill was last year’s Twilight, sweeping the show with a total of ten Razzies.
In his acceptance speech, Sandler thanked his public school teachers for helping him reach his “dream of making movies that critics all over the planet despise with unreasonable fury but that you, the people, seem to enjoy.”
And that’s what the Razzies are all about: laughing at yourself and accepting that nobody’s perfect, even celebrities. We may place them on pedestals and worship them with the fervor of religious zealots, but at the end of the day, they’re just like you and me.
Only with a lot more money and fame.
One of my favorite movies, and arguably the best Stephen King adaptation ever made, is the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption. The movie follows Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a man unjustly accused of his wife’s murder in 1947 Maine and sentenced to two life terms in the notorious and violent Shawshank Prison.
I won’t spoil things for those of you who haven’t seen the film, even though I’m sure you’re in the minority, but there is a scene I found very touching. It involves Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore), an old convict who spent so many years behind bars that he eventually became “institutionalized.”
In other words, he was in prison so long that it eventually became his home and the place he felt most comfortable.
After spending so many years in Shawshank, the time finally came for Brooks to be paroled. Only he didn’t want to leave, so he attacked a fellow inmate with a knife and would have slit his throat if Andy hadn’t talked him out of it.
Eventually, Brooks accepts his fate, packs his things and steps out of the same prison gate he entered as a young man. Old and alone, he wanders through the drastically-changed world in fear, marveling at how rushed and busy life had become. Brooks is placed into a halfway house and takes a job bagging groceries at a local supermarket, but his evenings are spent in quiet frustration and over time, his fear continues to grow.
Unable to adjust to life in the outside world, Brooks considers buying a gun and shooting his supervisor so he will be returned to prison. Obviously his rehabilitation worked because instead of choosing to harm others, he does something that only affects him: he commits suicide.
To me, this plot line was both poignant and timely since institutionalization is a growing problem among prison inmates, primarily those with longer sentences or a history of more serious offenses. Brooks Hatlen is a perfect example of what can happen when people spend more time behind bars than beyond them. Eventually, prison becomes the only home they have ever known and, in many cases, their next crime is nothing more than an attempt to return there.
I mention all of this because something similar happened in Chicago recently.
Walter Unbehaun—a 73-year-old ex-convict who spent most of his adult life behind bars and was released in 2011 after a ten-year stint for armed robbery—walked into a bank, showed a teller the gun tucked in his belt and left with more than $4000 in his pockets. He wore no disguise and even limped in with a cane, all of which was caught by surveillance cameras.
It didn’t take long for the police to catch up with Unbehaun. And when they did, he simply dropped his cane, confessed to the robbery and surrendered without as much as a complaint.
And why should he complain? If convicted, he could land back in prison for another 20 years. Put another way, he could be heading home for the rest of his life, which is what he wanted anyway.
Although I strongly believe that criminals should pay for their crimes—and doubt if true rehabilitation is even possible—it saddens me when someone has been incarcerated for so long that they come to need it. Institutionalization isn’t publicized very often—if at all—but it does happen. And if not for The Shawshank Redemption, I might have never heard about it, either.
I do give Walter Unbehaun credit, though. Robbing a bank isn’t a good thing, mind you, but at least he didn’t harm anyone in the process.
Brooks Hatlen would be proud.
Hollywood is full of stories about young, talented stars who shed their “mortal coils” too soon. A recent example involved Heath Ledger, who died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs after giving his penultimate performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. But the one I remember the most is none other than Joaquin’s older brother, River Phoenix.
Phoenix collapsed outside Johnny Depp‘s West Hollywood club The Viper Room in 1993 and convulsed until his heart finally gave out. The deadly combination of cocaine and heroin in his system was simply too much for him. And the star of such films as Stand By Me, Parenthood and My Own Private Idaho would never grace the silver screen again… until now.
Before his death, Phoenix was completing scenes for the film Dark Blood, the story of a widower who flees to the desert to wait for the end of the world following the death of his wife from nuclear radiation. Unfortunately, the film was never finished and sat in storage for nearly twenty years.
Recently, Danish director George Sluizer recovered the footage and completed it with his own voice-overs. The new version opened at the Netherlands Film Festival and has since been drawing lots of attention, which could result in a more commercial release later.
Variety called the film “a surprisingly coherent vision of a decidedly oddball story” and described Phoenix as “suitably charismatic and commanding” in his final role. A critic from The Guardian gave the movie three stars for being “fragmentary, uneven and downright odd in parts,” but admitted it has a great deal of “curiosity value” given the untimely demise of its star.
To me, Dark Blood could be a total bomb and it wouldn’t matter. I want to see it because Phoenix was one of my favorite young actors and to be honest, I miss him. It will be nice to see him on the big screen again, even if it is posthumous.
Something is better than nothing, after all.
Disney just purchased George Lucas’ company Lucasfilm for the hefty price of just over $4 billion in cash and stock. After three decades, the creator of “Star Wars” is stepping down and allowing Mickey and his friends to take the helm.
What does this mean for fans of the most successful science-fiction franchise in film history, you ask?
Shortly after the deal went through, Disney announced plans for a final “Star Wars” trilogy to begin with Episode 7 in 2015, followed by the final installments every two or three years. Of course, there will also be “Star Wars” rides and attractions at Disney theme parks, but those are more for the kids than old timers like me.
Having grown up with the original “Star Wars” trilogy, beginning with Episode 4: A New Hope, it was initially hard for me to stomach the pre-trilogy that followed. Jar-Jar Binks was annoying, the kid who played young Anakin couldn’t act, and the reliance on computer graphics flew in the face of everything “Star Wars” stood for. The word “sacrilegious” came to mind because to me and millions of others, “Star Wars” was our religion.
Of course, the pre-trilogy grew on me over time, especially since it helped introduce my son to the “Star Wars” universe. And each of the first three films had their high points: the battle with Darth Maul, the Jedi showdown on Geonosis and the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into the evil Darth Vader, to name a few. It also helped that some of the casting was spot on. Ewan McGregor was the perfect Obi-Wan Kenobi, and you will never hear me complain about Natalie Portman running around in a skin-tight, white outfit!
Now it looks like three more “Star Wars” films are in the hopper, and I have absolutely no idea what to expect. Casting will be a challenge since all the original stars, like Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, are too old to resume their original roles. I suppose they could play elderly versions of their characters, but some new blood is likely needed.
The plot of the new films is also a big question mark. Sadly, I never read all the “Star Wars” books and have no idea what the future will bring. It’s probably safe to assume that the Empire will rise again and a new group of heroes will have to stave them off. Will the new Jedis be the offspring of Han and Leia? Will Luke now reign as Supreme Jedi Master? Is it possible Chewbacca’s kids will be thrown into the mix?
The important thing is this: “Star Wars” is coming back to life. And whether the new films are great, terrible or even mediocre, I know one thing for certain: I will be sitting in that theater to judge for myself.
Start the countdown, “Star Wars” peeps! Only two and a half years to go!
A replica of the HMS Bounty, the ship famous for a 1789 mutiny led by acting lieutenant Fletcher Christian, set sail from Connecticut last week for St. Petersburg, Florida. The vessel, which has appeared in such films as “Mutiny on the Bounty” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” makes frequent trips along America’s east coast to offer spectators a glimpse into maritime history.
Today, the crew sailing the ship almost made maritime history of their own.
A distress signal was sent from the Bounty late Sunday after crew members reported it taking on water and were forced to abandon ship in several lifeboats. Two Coast Guard helicopters rescued 14 people, but a search for two others is still underway.
Thus far, no one knows why the ship and its crew decided to embark on a journey that would inevitably take them through Hurricane Sandy, one of the largest storms to ever hit the United States. And now the historic replica is just floating near Hatteras, North Carolina, surrounded by rough seas and strong winds.
Here’s hoping it can still be salvaged once Sandy has passed it by.
Like many young men who grew up in the 1980s, I sometimes found myself up late at night, struggling to be quiet as I surfed the pay television channels for gratuitous nudity and adult situations.
Films like “Porky’s” and “Revenge of the Nerds” were fine, but required you to sit through cheesy B-movie plot lines just to catch a glimpse of a naked woman. Fortunately, there were more exotic and risqué movies to be found, among them the 1970s erotic feature “Emmanuelle” starring the lovely Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel.
“Emmanuelle” followed a man and his beautiful wife as they embarked on sexual adventures in Thailand. And for a young, impressionable boy like me, the film became legendary for showing more skin than all the American teen sex films combined. Sure, there was still a ridiculous plot to follow, but the naughty scenes came faster and with greater volume.
The fact that I remember the film three decades later attests to its status as skin flick extraordinaire.
Sylvia Kristel just died from cancer at the untimely age of 60, but her kinky sex-capades will live on to be enjoyed by endless teenage boys to come. Even internet porn cannot compare to Emmanuelle’s place in erotic movie history.
The Associated Press just reported that Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to having a “hot affair” with semi-talented actress Brigitte Nielsen during the 1985 filming of “Red Sonja.” He and Maria Shriver were dating and even living together at the time.
This comes as no surprise since Arnold’s marital problems with Maria have been well-documented and include an affair with a live-in housekeeper that spawned a love child.
It seems that poor Arnold just can’t keep his “bald bodybuilder” in the gym, if you know what I mean.
Sadly, I can understand why Arnold hooked up with Brigitte. Anyone who has seen “Red Sonja” knows that it barely qualifies as entertainment. And since so little skill and effort were put into its production, the actors likely had nothing better to do than “bump uglies.”
It beats the hell out of standing around and doing nothing, right? Of course, I’m sure Maria would disagree. She was sitting at home and waiting for Arnold to return, after all.
Having been a fan of Schwarzenegger since just after “Pumping Iron,” which didn’t appeal to me given all the man ass and sausage-packed Speedos, I am trying to understand why he simply cannot control himself. At heart, I know Arnold is a good person. He has a big ego and can be quite arrogant, of course, but he’s still a decent man. So that’s not the problem.
I also know Arnold is mounting a cinematic comeback that includes his recent appearance in “Expendables 2,” as well as a starring role in Kim Jee-woon‘s action film “The Last Stand,” due to hit theaters next year.
Given all this information, I think I’ve finally figured this out.
Arnold is Arnold, so there will always be women chasing after him. Maybe not so many these days, but in his prime, I’m sure he was quite the chick magnet. And since Arnold is friendly and enjoys women, he indulges them. Sometimes things get sexual and he can’t stop himself. And why should be stop himself anyway? He’s Arnold freaking Schwarzenegger!
Unfortunately, it’s the post-coitus period that causes Arnold’s problems. With so much blood directed away from his brain, he gets a little dizzy and disoriented. Catch phrases from his past films are all he can remember, so he tells each woman, “I’ll be back.” And since he’s such a nice guy, he keeps true to his word.
Hey, it’s as good an explanation as any!