There should be a rule stating if a movie has already won the Academy Award for Best Picture it should never EVER be remade at a later time no matter who is involved. Why mess with a good thing? The 1949 All the King's Men based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Robert Penn Warren starred Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark a 1950s Louisiana politician who uses fiery rhetoric to get the poor folk to elect him as governor but who becomes corrupt in the process and is eventually assassinated. The story is loosely based on the real-life legendary 1930s Louisiana governor Huey P. Long and the original film adaptation was equally brazen and subtle wonderfully executed and won three Oscars including the top prize. But apparently the original wasn’t as authentic as this current incarnation. This time Sean Penn stars as our prime filibuster who tries to keep things lively but gets bogged down by the muddled subplots especially the one involving Stark’s PR guy Jack Burden (Jude Law) and his relationships with his very Southern godfather (Anthony Hopkins) and childhood friends (Kate Winslet and Mark Ruffalo). Yawn. With a cast like this it’s no wonder King's Men got remade. Penn clearly stands out of course. How could he not? His Willie Stark is the only thing sparking anything close to life in the film. But with the part such as it is Penn also tends to unnecessarily chew up scenery while everyone stands around him in a wilting repose. Law—once again narrating the proceedings (must he do this in ALL his films?)—tries to embody a character who really doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about anything except being Stark’s beck and call boy even after all the horrible things Stark makes him do to the people he supposedly loves. Winslet as Jack’s unrequited childhood love Ruffalo as her put-upon brother and Hopkins as a former judge who stands in Stark’s way to success are all just completely wasted. As is Patricia Clarkson as Stark’s campaign manager and mistress Sadie Burke who was so brilliantly played by the Oscar-winning Mercedes McCambridge in the 1949 original. Whatever happened in translation is surely not Clarkson fault. Come on guys you’ve got a powerhouse crew here. Why fritter them away? Apparently redoing All the King's Men has been a dream project of political pundit James Carville one of the film’s producers for some time. He has dabbled here and there in the entertainment industry especially in the riveting documentary The War Room so periodically through the years Carville would mention to filmmakers in passing how he had a passion for Robert Penn Warren’s novel and how deeply he wanted to see it filmed authentically. Lo and behold someone finally listened and a new King's Men was underway helmed by writer/director Steven Zaillian (Searching for Bobby Fischer) with an all-star cast. Filming on location in New Orleans and the outlying areas of Louisiana just before Hurricane Katrina hit Zaillian provides the faithfulness Carville was looking for. But did anyone at any time ask the question “Why are we doing this movie again when it was already done so well?” I repeat it was a Best Picture winner for chrissakes. And now remaking it into a giant snore-fest just ruins the mystique. Sometimes they just don’t get it.
Top Story: Mel Eyes Maccabees Flick
Mel Gibson, currently riding high with his religious film The Passion of the Christ, expressed interest in a film adaptation of the Maccabees' story, Reuters reports. The story of the Maccabees, and the oil that magically lasted eight nights when it should have lasted only one, took place 200 years before the events Gibson depicts in The Passion. Given how The Passion was received by many religious groups, especially Jewish organizations that found the film anti-Semitic, any film made by Gibson about the Maccabees would no doubt cause rancor once more. Said Gibson on an ABC radio show, "The Maccabees family stood up, and they made war. They stuck by their guns and they came out winning. It's like a Western." In response Anti-Defamation League director Abe Foxman commented, "The last thing we need in Jewish history is to convert our history into a Western."
Passion Sparks Marital Argument
Melissa and Sean Davidson of Statesboro, Ga., became so embroiled in their post-screening discussion of The Passion of the Christ that they were forced to call the police on one another, leading to mutual charges of simple battery, AP reports. Melissa suffered wounds to her arm and face, while Sean sustained a scissor wound and was left bereft of his shirt. The pair started fighting over the age-old theological question of whether God the Father was a real person or a figurative construct. Melissa, expressing a sentiment surely no one would disagree with, admitted that getting into the fight was "the dumbest thing we've ever done."
Sex Charges Against R. Kelly Dropped
All 12 charges against R&B singer R. Kelly, stemming from a videotaped incident in which he allegedly has sex with a fifteen-year-old girl, have been dropped by a Tampa, Fla., judge, AP reports. Last week a judge ruled that photographs depicting R. Kelly were seized illegally by detectives in the case. Rather than contest the ruling, prosecutors in the case opted to abandon their case against the recording artist. Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is still set to stand trial in Chicago on 14 counts of child pornography.
Stewart Asks Friends for Recommendation Letters
Martha Stewart, in an effort to win leniency when her sentence is handed down this June, is asking more than 100 friends to write of good experiences they've had with her in the past, AP reports. In the letter, dated Mar. 15, Stewart requests those writing letters to "…include any memorable experiences you have had with me to explain the basis of any expressed opinion(s)." Stewart was recently convicted of four felonies including obstructing justice and lying to the government about the sale of 3.928 shares of ImClone stock. Her broker Peter Bacanovic was also convicted.
Mercedes McCambridge Dies
Mercedes McCambridge, who won a supporting actress Oscar for her turn as Sadie Burke the bleak political drama All the King's Men and voiced the obscenities that spewed from Linda Blair's mouth in The Exorcist, passed away today at the age of 85. McCambridge was also featured in such classics as Giant, Touch of Evil, and A Farewell to Arms (for which she received a best supporting actress nomination). Director William Friedkin picked McCambridge to voice The Demon in The Exorcist due to her vocal skills which Orson Welles also praised, calling her "the world's greatest living radio actress," when they worked together during his early career in radio. In 1987 McCambridge suffered the loss of her son John, who killed himself after shooting his wife and children.
Hepburn Possessions To Be Auctioned
Some of Katharine Hepburn's most noteworthy possessions, including a signed photo of Humphrey Bogart and letters from lover Howard Hughes, will go on sale at Sotheby's auction house in June, AP reports. Also up for sale are the wedding gown she wore to her 1928 nuptials to Ludlow Ogden Smith and a lock of her baby hair. Hepburn, who lived to see Meryl Streep surpass her record for most Academy Award nominations (Hepburn was nominated 12 times and amassed four Oscars in her six-decade long career), died last year at the ripe old age of 96. Sales from the auction are expected to total $1 million.
Child Custody Case Against Jackson Denied
Lawyer Gloria Allred filed papers in a Los Angeles County court to have Michael Jackson's three children removed from his custody, but was turned down by county officials, The Straits Times reports. Allred, who does not represent the children, says she will now take the case to a juvenile court. Allred had previously filed a similar case against Jackson in Santa Barbara court last year before the singer relocated to Beverly Hills. Jackson will soon stand trial on seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts against a child under 14 and two counts of giving an intoxicating agent to a minor.
No Love for Real World in Philly
Looks like there will be no cheese-steak sandwich dinner for the latest housemates on MTV's seminal reality show The Real World, AP reports. The show, which changes location every season, stars "seven strangers picked to live in a house" and have their lives taped, was set to start taping in Philadelphia later next month before labor disputes nixed the plan. At issue were non-Union workers hired to spruce up Seaman's Church Institute in Philly's Old City, which was to serve as the living quarters for the septet. Union leaders in the City of Brotherly Love picketed outside the Institute prompting MTV to withdrawal its show from the city. "After considerable evaluation, we are disappointed to announce that Bunim/Murray productions has decided not to shoot The Real World in Philadelphia," a spokesperson for Bunim/Murray, the company that has produce