Is anything more frightening than realizing that a desperate and hackneyed sequel to a desperate and hackneyed parody required the work of seven writers? Yes seven writers including brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans. Perhaps one group of writers divided their time poking fun at the latest pop culture phenomenons while the other group concocted new and disgusting ways to drench their cast in vomit urine excretion and semen. The result: a tired tasteless and uninspired send-up of The Exorcist and The Haunting complete with jibes at Nike's new Stomp-inspired basketball commercials and the Florida presidential election fiasco. Our heroes-plus some fresh meat--spend the night in the haunted Hell House as part of an experiment conducted by mad professor Tim Curry. Naturally they find themselves tormented by the ghost of the house. Cue sexual humiliations mutilations and giant wedgies.
So the sequel ignores the fact that some of its cast members perished or were implicated in the first film's murders. Were you expecting a semblance of logic to permeate the proceedings? Anna Faris as the virginal Cindy; Marlon Wayans as pothead Shorty; Shawn Wayans as the closeted gay Ray; and Regina Hall as the pushy Brenda return. They are joined by Tori Spelling wasted as a coed obsessed with her ghostly host; Curry hammy as the professor willing to sacrifice his students; David Cross hysterical as Curry's wheelchair-bound assistant whose self-reliance causes more problems than necessary; and Chris Elliott a hoot as the mansion's caretaker whose withered left hand generates more laughs than almost all the script's woeful cracks at satirizing its intended targets. All prove game especially Faris who finds herself up to her neck in all kinds of nasty goo in the name of comedy.
If only director Keenen Ivory Wayans made an effort to be funny rather than just shocking. He seems intent on making the sequel so much more outrageous than his first film that he forgets to make us laugh for the right reasons. The chuckles mask the slight disgust at seeing Faris dripping in semen or Shawn Wayans sodomizing a demonic clown (but the sight of Cross fellating himself is an amusing way to emphasize his character's doggedness). Wayans' attempts at parodying What Lies Beneath and Hannibal flounder but he does a fine job sending up John Woo's dove-filled climax to Mission: Impossible 2. There's nothing more lazy than tearing into The Exorcist--it's 28 years old!--and it's sad to see James Woods demean himself as a priest with a taste for little girls. Woods stepped in for Marlon Brando whose poor health cost him a reported $2 million but saved him his dignity.
You won't be hearing the name Steven Soderbergh at this year's Independent Spirit Awards.
Instead, try Miguel Arteta, Darren Aronofsky and Kenneth Lonergan -- whose "Chuck & Buck," "Requiem for a Dream," and "You Can Count On Me," respectively, have nabbed a field-best five nominations each at the 16th Annual Independent Spirit Awards.
"Chuck & Buck" -- the second full-length feature from Arteta -- was nominated for best feature under $500,000, screenplay, director, supporting female (Lupe Ontiveros) and debut performance (Mike White).
Among "Requiem's" nominations are best director (Darren Aronofsky) and best feature. The drug-addiction flick will go up against "Before Night Falls," "George Washington," "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" in the best film column.
"You Can Count On Me" will run in the categories for best first feature, screenplay, male lead (Mark Ruffalo), female lead (Laura Linney) and debut performance (Rory Culkin).
"George Washington" and "Before Night Falls" garnered four noms apiece.
The nominations were announced at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. The winners will be announced March 24, a day before the Academy Awards, at a ceremony held at a large tent by the Santa Monica beach.
Here's a list of all the nominees.
"Before Night Falls"
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
"Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai"
"Requiem for a Dream" BEST DIRECTOR
Ang Lee ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon")
Christopher Guest ("Best in Show")
Darren Aronofsky ("Requiem for A Dream")
Julian Schnabel ("Before Night Falls")
Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck BEST SCREENPLAY
Valerie Breiman ("Love & Sex")
Raymond De Felitta ("Two Family House")
Robert Dillon ("Waking the Dead") Kenneth Lonergan ("You Can Count on Me") Mike White ("Chuck & Buck") BEST FIRST FEATURE
"Love & Basketball"
"You Can Count On Me" BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
David Gordon Green ("George Washington") Ross Klavan and Michael McGruther ("Tigerland") Gina Prince-Bythewood ("Love & Basketball") Jordan Walker-Pearlman ("The Visit") Ben Younger ("Boiler Room") BEST FEATURE - UNDER $500,000
"Chuck & Buck"
"Everything Put Together"
BEST DEBUT PERFORMANCE
Rory Culkin ("You Can Count on Me")
Michelle Rodriguez ("Girlfight") Emmy Rossum ("Songcatcher") Mike White, ("Chuck & Buck") Ensemble -- Candace Evanofski, Curtis Cotton III, Damian Jewan Lee, Donald Holden, Rachael Handy ("George Washington") BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Pat Carroll ("Songcatcher")
Jennifer Connelly ("Requiem for a Dream")
Marcia Gay Harden ("Pollock")
Lupe Ontiveros ("Chuck & Buck")
Zhang Ziyi ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Willem Dafoe ("Shadow of the Vampire")
Cole Hauser ("Tigerland")
Gary Oldman ("The Contender")
Giovanni Ribisi ("The Gift")
Billy Dee Williams ("The Visit") BEST FEMALE LEAD
Joan Allen ("The Contender")
Ellen Burstyn ("Requiem for a Dream")
Sanaa Lathan ("Love & Basketball")
Laura Linney ("You Can Count on Me")
Kelly MacDonald ("Two Family House") BEST MALE LEAD
Javier Bardem ("Before Night Falls")
Adrien Brody ("Restaurant")
Billy Crudup ("Jesus' Son")
Hill Harper ("The Visit")
Mark Ruffalo ("You Can Count on Me") BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER
Lou Bogue ("Shadow of the Vampire")
John De Borman ("Hamlet")
Matthew Libatique ("Requiem for a Dream")
Tim Orr ("George Washington")
Xavier Perez Grobet and Guillermo Rosas ("Before Night Falls") BEST FOREIGN FILM
"Dancer in the Dark"
"In the Mood for Love"
"A Time for Drunken Horses"
"The War Zone" BEST DOCUMENTARY
"The Eyes of Tammy Faye"
"Long Night's Journey Into Day"
Sound and Fury"
Keanu Reeves nominated for best actor? Impossible but true!
The MTV Movie Awards 2000 nominations were announced today, proving once again that the lighting-rod network for American youth culture knows what kids like, even if it only has about 10 different music videos in its rotation.
Truth be told, hipper-than-thou MTV's choices for the best of last year's film crop really aren't all that much hipper than the stuffy Academy Awards and Golden Globes, except for one truly revolutionary nod to the great Mr. Reeves.
Along with the best actor mention, the dude's sci-fi vehicle "The Matrix" nabbed 5 other nominations including best movie, best breakthrough female performance for co-star Carrie Anne Moss, best on-screen duo (Reeves and Laurence Fishburne), best action sequence and, finally, best fight sequence.
The MTV folks also really liked "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me", which also received six nominations, and "Cruel Intentions", the second-most nominated film this year with 5 nods. Rounding out the top-nominated flicks are Adam Sandler's "Big Daddy" with four nominations, and "American Pie" with three nominations.
The awards, hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker, will air June 8 at 9 p.m. EDT.
Here's the complete list of nominees:
Best Movie "American Beauty" "American Pie" "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" "The Matrix" "The Sixth Sense"
Best Male Performance Adam Sandler ("Big Daddy") Bruce Willis ("The Sixth Sense) Jim Carrey ("Man on the Moon) Keanu Reeves ("The Matrix") Ryan Phillippe ("Cruel Intentions")
Best Female Performance Ashley Judd ("Double Jeopardy") Drew Barrymore ("Never Been Kissed") Julia Roberts ("Runaway Bride") Neve Campbell ("Scream 3") Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Cruel Intentions")
Breakthrough Performance Male Haley Joel Osment ("The Sixth Sense") Jamie Foxx ("Any Given Sunday") Jason Biggs ("American Pie") Michael Clarke Duncan ("The Green Mile") Wes Bentley ("American Beauty")
Breakthrough Performance Female Carrie Anne Moss ("The Matrix") Julia Stiles ("10 Things I Hate About You") Hilary Swank ("Boys Don't Cry") Selma Blair ("Cruel Intentions") Shannon Elizabeth ("American Pie")
Best On-Screen Duo Adam Sandler and Cole and Dylan Sprouse ("Big Daddy") Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment ("The Sixth Sense") Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne ("The Matrix") Mike Myers and Verne Troyer ("Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me") Tom Hanks and Tim Allen ("Toy Story 2")
Best Villain Christopher Walken ("Sleepy Hollow") Matt Damon ("The Talented Mr. Ripley") Mike Myers ("Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me") Ray Park ("Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace") Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Cruel Intentions")
Best Comedic Performance Adam Sandler ("Big Daddy") Ice Cube ("Next Friday") Jason Biggs ("American Pie") Mike Myers ("Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me") Parker Posey ("Scream 3")
Best Musical Performance "Just the Two of Us" ("Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me") "Uncle F**KA" ("South Park") "Tu Vuo Fa L'Americano" ("The Talented Mr. Ripley") "Can't Take Me Eyes Off Of You" ("10 Things I Hate About You")
Best Kiss Drew Barrymore and Michael Vartan ("Never Been Kissed") Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny ("Boys Don't Cry") Katie Holmes and Barry Watson ("Teaching Mrs. Tingle") Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair ("Cruel Intentions")
Best Action Sequence "The Blair Witch Project" (End Sequence) "The Matrix" (Rooftop/Helicopter Scene) "The Mummy" (Sand Monster Scene) "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" (The Pod Race)
Best Fight Sequence "Fight Club" (Edward Norton vs. Himself) "The Matrix" (Keanu Reeves vs. Laurence Fishburne) "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" (Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor vs. Ray Park) "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" (Mike Myers vs. Verne Troyer)
Thank God, they're making it legal.
Amy Grant Christian superstar Amy Grant and country star Vince Gill, who challenged their respective squeaky-clean images when they split with their respective longtime spouses and took up with their respective selves, are set to wed, Gill's rep has confirmed. The private Nashville ceremony reportedly will take place Friday.
Grant, 39, is best known for selling boatloads of albums with reverential work such as "My Father's Eyes" and then selling boatloads of albums with the pop cross-over hit "Baby, Baby." Gill, 42, is best known for winning boatloads of awards for not-so-minor country classics such as "I Still Believe in You."
The two met in 1993. At the time, Grant was married to songwriter and talk-show host Gary Chapman; Gill was wed to Sweethearts of the Rodeo singer Janis Gill. By 1997, the Gills' marriage was over. And in June, the Grant-Chapman union officially went under.
Grant and Gill, who'd been rumored to be an item for years, went public with their relationship in the fall. It was a relationship, they said, that was strictly above board until they were both free.
Says Grant of Gill: "We got along like two peas in a pod and made no bones about it."
BURN, LEO, BURN: Isn't it enough that "The Beach" bombed? Not for environmentalists in Thailand. The tree-huggers, miffed for months over the way they said the Leonardo DiCaprio production messed with their beach, lit into the flick today at its Thai premiere.
The high point (low point?) of the event was the guy who donned a Leo mask and then pretended to commit suicide. Lest you think that the malcontents were being plain mean, let it be pointed out that they were really just trying to be, you know, symbolic. According to the environmentalists, the real Leo should be so ashamed of the way "The Beach" crew treated Thai beaches during last year's location shoot that he should want to hurt himself or something.
In the end, the charity screening did go on, and, as far as we know, the real Leo (who was not present) did not hurt himself or something. Of course, he might still want to if he gets a look at the box-office charts. Through last weekend, "The Beach" had earned an all-washed-up $36.9 million at domestic theaters.
JACKO WORLD: Michael Jackson isn't giving up his dream of providing fun and merriment to the children of Eastern Europe. The entertainer next week will visit Polish officials to renew talks about opening a theme park in Warsaw, it's been announced. Jackson has been circling Poland since 1996, but his initial plans to build a $500 million complex there were scrapped due to local protests.
BUST-ED: Now available for viewing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Earth, Wind & Fire ("Boogie Wonderland"), the Lovin' Spoonful ("Do You Believe in Magic") and the Moonglows ("Please Send Me Someone to Love"). All these artists and more, including legendary rock god, um, Nat King Cole, were inducted in ceremonies Monday in New York. (The actual hall is located in Cleveland.) Look for TV coverage of the all-star induction party Wednesday on cable's VH-1.