It was the trickle of pee heard around the world. Cannes attendees were aghast and/or amused an infamous scene from The Paperboy that shows Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron; this is apparently a great salve for jellyfish burns which were covering our Ken Doll-like protagonist. (In fact the term protagonist should be used very loosely for Efron's character Jack who is mostly acted upon than active throughout.)
Lurid! Sexy! Perverse! Trashy! Whether or not it's actually effective is overshadowed by all the hubbub that's attached itself to the movie for better or worse. In fact the movie is all of these things — but that's actually not a compliment. What could have become somethingmemorable is jaw-droppingly bad (when it's not hilarious). Director Lee Daniels uses a few different visual styles throughout from a stark black and white palette for a crime scene recreation at the beginning to a '70s porno aesthetic that oscillates between psychedelic and straight-up sweaty with an emphasis on Efron's tighty-whiteys. This only enhances the sloppiness of the script which uses lines like narrator/housekeeper/nanny Anita's (Macy Gray) "You ain't tired enough to be retired " to conjure up the down-home wisdom of the South. Despite Gray's musical talents she is not a good choice for a narrator or an actor for that matter. In a way — insofar as they're perhaps the only female characters given a chunk of screen time — her foil is Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman's character. Anita is the mother figure who wears as we see in an early scene control-top pantyhose whereas Charlotte is all clam diggers and Barbie doll make-up. Or as Anita puts it "an oversexed Barbie doll."
The slapdash plot is that Jack's older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to town with his colleague Yardley (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a death row criminal named Hillary Van Wetter. Yardley is black and British which seems to confuse many of the people he meets in this backwoods town. Hillary (John Cusack) hidden under a mop of greasy black hair) is a slack-jawed yokel who could care less if he's going to be killed for a crime he might or might not have committed. He is way more interested in his bride-to-be Charlotte who has fallen in love with him through letters — this is her thing apparently writing letters and falling in love with inmates — and has rushed to help Ward and Yardley free her man. In the meantime we're subjected to at least one simulated sex scene that will haunt your dreams forever. Besides Hillary's shortcomings as a character that could rustle up any sort of empathy the case itself is so boring it begs the question why a respected journalist would be interested enough to pursue it.
The rest of the movie is filled with longing an attempt to place any the story in some sort of social context via class and race even more Zac Efron's underwear sexual violence alligator innards swamp people in comically ramshackle homes and a glimpse of one glistening McConaughey 'tock. Harmony Korine called and he wants his Gummo back.
It's probably tantalizing for this cast to take on "serious" "edgy" work by an Oscar-nominated director. Cusack ditched his boombox blasting "In Your Eyes" long ago and Efron's been trying to shed his squeaky clean image for so long that he finally dropped a condom on the red carpet for The Lorax so we'd know he's not smooth like a Ken doll despite how he was filmed by Daniels. On the other hand Nicole Kidman has been making interesting and varied career choices for years so it's confounding why she'd be interested in a one-dimensional character like Charlotte. McConaughey's on a roll and like the rest of the cast he's got plenty of interesting projects worth watching so this probably won't slow him down. Even Daniels is already shooting a new film The Butler as we can see from Oprah's dazzling Instagram feed. It's as if they all want to put The Paperboy behind them as soon as possible. It's hard to blame them.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts will honor director Spike Lee with a Special Award, Reuters reports. The Brooklynite, known for his films such as Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X, burst onto the movie scene in 1986, quickly establishing himself as one of the most important young American filmmakers and a controversial figure in black culture. BAFTA President Lord Attenborough will give Lee a silver mask for his consistent body of outstanding work Thursday at the arts organization's London headquarters. Lee is also expected to give an interview about his career to playwright and critic Bonnie Greer before the award ceremony.
Former child star Corey Feldman, who starred in '80s movies including Stand By Me, married his fiancée on the set of his new television series The Surreal Life, The Associated Press reports. Rabbi and rapper MC "U Can't Touch This" Hammer performed the ceremony. The WB network reality show follows the lives of has-been and never-quite-were celebrities living together under one roof including, among others, Webster star Emmanuel Lewis and The Facts of Life's Mindy Cohn.
Pop singer Justin Timberlake broke his foot while rehearsing a dance routine for Sunday's Smash Hits T4 Poll Winners Party, which he was set to co-host with Kelly Osbourne. According to MTV News, Timberlake has had to cancel two weeks of promotional events, but still plans on performing at the Billboard Music Awards on Dec. 9 in Las Vegas.
Maria Shriver, journalist and wife of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has obtained a restraining order against a man she claims is stalking her, Reuters reports. Shriver said the man has been calling for about a year, tried to get into the NBC TV news studio in Los Angeles where she works and claimed to have been married to her.
Veteran producer Marvin Mirisch, one of three filmmaking brothers behind '60s films, including The Apartment and West Side Story, died Nov. 17 at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Reuters reports. He was 84. Marvin was regarded as the chief business mind among the brothers Mirisch. In the latter part of his career, he served as executive producer of the new Pink Panther cartoon series.
The Annie Awards, the animation industry's annual awards, have been rescheduled from their traditional November date to Feb. 1, the AP reports. The move puts the ceremony closer to the Academy Awards, positioning the Annies to become an award that potentially leads into the Oscars. Founded 30 years ago, the Annie Awards honor outstanding animation in television and film.
Rapper/actor Snoop Dogg has been added to the cast of Warner Bros.' big-screen version of the cult series Starsky and Hutch opposite Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. According to Variety, Dogg will play the role of Huggy Bear, the jive-talking hustler played on TV by Antonio Fargas. The film has been greenlit for a February start.
R&B singer Ashanti led the 30th annual American Music Award nominations Tuesday with five nods, with rappers Eminem and Nelly close behind with four nominations apiece. The Osbourne family will host this year's show, which will be telecast Jan. 13 on ABC.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is auctioning off clues to the plot of her next book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. According to Reuters, Rowling has provided a teaser--93 random words on a card that is up for auction on Dec. 12 at Sotheby's in London. A sample of the literary trailer offered by Sotheby's includes these words: "Thirty-eight chapters…might change…Ron…broom…house elf…new teacher…dies."