Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Doug Asks Patrick Questions About Movies

Patrick knows a lot about movies. Doug has seen Gobots: Battle of the Rock Lords dozens of times. In an effort to expand Doug's cinematic horizons, he'll be asking Patrick questions about movies in a column we're calling "Doug Asks Patrick Questions About Movies."

Do you have a favorite cinematographer?

There is no answer to this that doesn't make me sound like a douche, so THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I'm not sure if there's one specific DP that I love more than others; I'm more on a movie-by-movie basis, where I will love the photography of a film but not necessarily follow that cinematographer the way I follow directors. Gregg Toland is a safe answer, but with good reason. Same for Conrad Hall. Tak Fujimoto had a great run with Jonathan Demme. Gordon Willis shot both The Godfather and Manhattan, so he gets a lifetime pass (because he also shot The Money Pit). I like what Wally Pfister has done with Christopher Nolan, because he's using 70MM IMAX and shooting on such a giant scale. Roger Deakins is probably as good as they get these days; between what he does with the Coen Brothers (True Grit doesn't get enough credit for being crazy gorgeous) and his recent foray into digital photography on Skyfall, he's clearly a guy who can do it all and do it well. It's fitting that he's overlooked year after year by the Academy. I guess my current favorite would be Robert Richardson, who has done incredible work with Oliver Stone (he shot JFK and Natural Born Killers) and Martin Scorsese (I don't love The Aviator at ALL, but the photography is so incredible in the first third that I can almost be convinced it's the best movie ever made, and the look of Shutter Island is the best thing about the movie) and especially Quentin Tarantino. I can watch his movies with the sound off. Even the way he films people being shot a bunch of times is beautiful.

Lots of movies are being remade lately -- good ones too (for shame)! Wouldn't it make more sense to remake a lesser-known, less-successful movie with an amazing idea behind it? What movie would you like to see remade in this scenario?

I know I'm not alone in this, but I have never been able to understand why classic movies -- or even good movies -- are constantly being remade. This great thing already exists! Why not take the THOUSANDS of bad things you have laying around and fix one of those up? And I know the cynical answer is "money," because it's the great things that have name recognition and "value" attached to them. I'm sure that's true, but I'm sick of only talking about movies in terms of the marketplace and box office. So maybe it's sticking my head in the sand, but I'd rather look at things from the creative perspective.

We've talked on the podcast before about remaking Logan's Run, which has been in the works for years. That's a perfect example of something that doesn't HAVE to be remade, but which COULD be remade in the right hands. The fact that it has been passed around to different directors over the course of several years means that if it ever does see the light of day, it's most likely going to be garbage at this point -- a studio will only greenlight it because they own the property and not because anyone has a passion or unique approach to the material. The remake ship has remake sailed. And now we're talking money again. Shit.

But I have no feelings about Logan's Run, so maybe that's why I think it could be remade. What about a movie that I hold close? Well, The Last Starfighter could maybe be remade. It's a textbook hero's journey story, so the main themes and arc of the character are universal enough to carry over. But while the first movie was made as a way of reacting to the arcade craze of the 1980s, video games and our relationship to them have changed so much since then that there could be a movie there. I love the original movie, so I'm more than happy to spend the rest of my life watching that one. It's super charming. But if a remake was announced, I could at least understand it. If it got messed up, though, I would take that personally in a way that I wouldn't with something like Logan's Run. We all have our own movies we don't want to see touched.

I have also long held the belief that Mannequin should be turned into a musical. This predates the musicalization of every film property in Hollywood, so I would like to be recognized for that. Think about it -- it's PERFECT. It would be a lot like How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, only with way more mannequin fucking and Jefferson Starship.

In your WONDERFUL column on The Rock, you talk about Nic Cage being an unconventional choice for an action lead. Name a non-action actor working today who you would like to see kick ass in an action movie.

This is actually a tough question, because with the prevalence of genre movies in the last decade or so, nearly every star in Hollywood has had the opportunity to show his or her chops in an action role. I would say Channing Tatum, but it looks like this summer's White House Down is going to make him an action star after all. Sandra Bullock, too, because Lenina Huxley, but The Heat is doing that a little bit already. Jennifer Lawrence sort of did action in The Hunger Games, but she has such physicality that I would love to see her go full kickass. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was the best thing about The Losers, but I found that movie disappointing enough that I wish he could get a do-over (the same could be said for Idris Elba). I can't really picture it, but I wouldn't mind seeing Paul Rudd do an action movie -- maybe something more along the lines of a buddy cop movie like Running Scared, so he could still be funny but also shoot guns and stuff.

Likewise, is there a really likable actor working today who you think would make a great villain?
Five essential end-of-school-year movies -- go!

Because we are BFFs, here's 8:

Summer School
Rock n' Roll High School Forever
Say Anything...
Super 8
Wet Hot American Summer
Sleepaway Camp
Now and Then


  1. I would LOVE to see Jennifer Lawrence in a "Jennifer Lawrence kicks everybody's ass" kind of action movie that isn't related to The Hunger Games. I think she could totally pull it off, and it would likely be great.

  2. Mannequin as a musical... perfection.

    Lets get James Spader and Andrew McCarthy back to make cameos.

    I never saw Mannequin 2: On the Move. I own it though 'cause it came as a two pack with the original.

    I used to have a crush on Kristy Swanson but not sure if that will be enough to make the journey worth it.

    1. It seriously works. Every character is so broadly drawn and such a cartoonish 'type' that you can almost hear each person's big musical number in your head. And the characterizations are right out of a '60s musical.

      I, too, had a major crush on Kristy Swanson, and it was not enough to make me enjoy Mannequin 2. Even William Ragsdale's participation couldn't get it done.

  3. Great to see the love for Wet Hot American Summer, a damn near perfect parody/homage to old summer camp movies but there is one film that is sadly missing from your list and it's the Bill Murray classic Meatballs.

    I will be the first to admit as a whole its a very flawed movie but I believe the sum of its parts make it a classic with Bill Murray at his absolute positive-sarcastic peak that we rarely get to see him at anymore ( In fact here's a challenge for Wes Anderson do a sequel to Meatballs with Bill Murray it will blow our minds!)