There are two camps with regards to Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie). His supporters love his biting wit and admire his “any means necessary” approach to getting things done. To others, his abrasive personality rubs them the wrong way, even in the comfort of their own living room, and they find his rule-bending unethical.
Fact is, House just doesn’t take any crap. If someone wants to whine about how they’re not sure what they did to contract some symptom, he’s going to tear them apart and get at what really happened. Sorry folks, no coddling in medicine.
When House puts people in their place, he’s never just blunt. He is profoundly witty, even forcing people to reveal themselves just to get the joke. Forget about the life or death circumstances. Just hearing House riff against different characters is more poetic than Shakespeare.
His best friend Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) totally gets him, so they have a shorthand. His boss Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) tries to control him, so they do a dance. His medical team tries to measure up to him, so he pushes them the most. The patients are just the puzzles to be revealed by the good doctor’s riddles.
House will break any rules to get what he needs. Besides the obvious, that a doctor can’t practice on heavy medication, he has manipulated lab tests to get around regulations. He has intentionally contaminated operating rooms to stop a harmful procedure. Good thing he’s always right, so the end always justifies the means.
The premise of the show is that House is a genuinely unhappy person. He’s pushed away any close relationship he could have had and just puts up this abrasive front to keep people out. I refuse to believe that. Even when House himself says, “I am unhappy” in episodes, that seems too obvious. It’s far more interesting if he loves being smarter than everybody and knowing everything. He’s such an expert of human behavior, House must enjoy guiding people to cut their own B.S. and improve their own lives. And his masterful use of language, thanks to the show’s writers, must be a constant thrill to employ.
Recent plotlines have sought to emphasize the unhappiness explanation. At the end of season 4, House’s final medical case was his best friend’s girl, who was in a bus accident going to pick up a drunk House from a bar. She was one of the rare cases House could not save. Perhaps her plot function superceded his medical skills. Now, Dr. Wilson is leaving the hospital.
Each week is a standalone medical mystery, a combination of symptoms that only make sense with a rare diagnosis. It’s a pretty solid formula in which the first thing they think it is, never turns out to be what it is. Basically, don’t expect a cure before 8:50. The research it must take to figure out all the medical circumstances needed to make each story sound is unfathomable.
The medicine is hardly the point, though. It’s accurate and it gives everyone something to do, but the point of House is House. He is an awesome character and fascinating to watch whether you love him or hate him.
The Hobbit, Hellboy II, a lifetime achievement award … it seems Guillermo del Toro is unstoppable. When the Oscar nominated director postponed his Los Angeles Film Festival appearance from Monday to Thursday we couldn’t wait to talk with him about his upcoming projects. Instead Hollywood.com caught up with del Toro at the Saturn Awards where he was being honored for his life’s work. "It's premature but I accept it anyway because I love the f*cking trophy," he told us.
Nothing will be off limits for Thursday night's festival talk, "They can ask anything. I'll be brutally sincere if I can."
Hollywood.com took the opportunity to get some brutal sincerity on his attachment to The Hobbit and the upcoming Hellboy II, in case anyone wants to follow up with him on Thursday night.
1. The Hobbit creatures will be very Pan's Labyrinth:
"Yeah, but remember one thing. The terrain that is covered by the trilogy is a very defined area. The Hobbit goes different places, goes different things. To give you an example, Shelob is a spider but the spiders of Mirkwood are completely different. So I plan to bring myself to The Hobbit, no doubt about that."
2. No one is cast in The Hobbit yet. Not James McAvoy, not after Wanted opens, nothing.
"There is a lot of interest in the acting community to be in the movie and there's a lot of speculation from fans and professionals. But the reality is right now, whatever name is brought forth, it's a speculation. Just that. We have not locked into a name because we cannot lock into a name until we write the screenplay. It's not about viable, it's not about box office. I think we know, Peter [Jackson], Fran [Walsh], Philippa [Boyens] and I are going from the exact same side which is we'll cast whoever seems to fit the pages. We know the precedent on the trilogy was Elijah Wood who was a very well known actor and on his way to becoming a star, but not necessarily, he wouldn't have been a superstar back then. I think he was cast right for the part and we're doing the same."
3. The Hobbit is not Lord of the Rings for kids:
"I never think in those terms. For me, Blade II is a family film. I'm really thwarted that way. I feel that obviously being faithful to the source, I would love for this to be a movie that can be enjoyed by fathers and sons, by mothers and daughters. I would love in that sense, but very often when you use the word family film, it can conjure watering down things. I believe that Tolkein had, in the last third of the book, I wouldn't say an edge but had a somber tone that normally would not conjure the term family."
4. He's just getting started on The Hobbit:
"Barely started. We have had preliminary chats. We have had a chat where we sketch out what we think of the two movies, but there's no writing. There is note taking. There is breaking down the novel. There is a lot of work already being done on our part but real preproduction will not start until late July."
5. He'll be racking up frequent flyer miles to New Zealand:
"I'm going to be going every two weeks. We start preconceptualizations both in New Zealand and LA. I open the conceptualization shop in August. I travel to Weta to start doing some more research and development and I'm going to be going to New Zealand every two weeks or so. Spend a week there, spend a week, for me it's like commuting to Burbank. I'm used to these things."
6. By the way, Hellboy II: The Golden Army comes out next month:
"I love the movie. I love the movie. The thing is, I felt this way with some of the movies I've done, not all of them, where you know you love the movie before it comes out and you can shout it to the wind regardless, because no one can predict either the immediate future or the long future of a movie. But I can say safely that regardless, I love the movie. It happened to me with Pan's Labyrinth. That went and was successful. It happened to me with Devil's Backbone which came out and was barely noticed except by the critics, but went on to become a movie that people know about and discover on DVD. I feel that way about Hellboy II."
7. And now it's the artistic follow-up to Pan's Labyrinth:
"I think that Pan's did that, Pan's became that movie that put me in a different view. Most people knew me for the more commercial movies. So I think that Pan's allowed people to realize that the same person was behind [both]. People tend to distinguish. They say, 'Oh, it's a Hollywood movie' or 'I like the Spanish language movies more' or this and that. I think this one kind of fuses both things into one. It has the same spirit and freedom that I have in the Spanish movies but with a much bigger scope."
8. Guillermo del Toro's creatures still fit in Hellboy's world:
"The universe, when you see the movie, is so much his world. I mean, the movie I think is tailored around Abe, Hellboy, Liz as characters and they have great character moments in the movie. The creatures are great but the greatest thing I think is the interaction when they have down time. The funny thing is, [Hellboy creator] Mike Mignola said, 'There are parts of the movie that are completely your world. They are independent of the Hellboy universe.' But it was not on purpose. It just happened."
9. Hellboy II makes Hellboy I look like Heckboy:
"It's tenfold better. Tenfold better in my view. It's crazier, bigger, freer and certainly creatively it was much more fun to make. As an exercise in production was as creative as the first one because the first one was $66 [million], this is $85 but the scope we Wanted was like that of a movie of $200 or more."
10. If you like Hellboy II, he won't be too busy to bring you Hellboy III:
"Well, don't tell my family, but the idea is if that happened, I would love to do it consecutive to The Hobbit. The first movie was 2004, second movie is 2008, so if the third movie is 2012/2013, it's not that far off."
Picking up 10 years since 1997’s Henry Fool we see that struggling writer Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan) has fled the country and is presumably dead leaving his estranged wife Fay Grim (Parker Posey) to fend for herself. She is now using her maiden name trying to live a normal life as a single mother. Fay’s poet laureate brother Simon (James Urbaniak) is in jail for aiding and abetting Henry while his publisher (Chuck Montgomery) is putting the moves on Fay. But then the CIA shows up on Fay’s doorstep with suspicions Henry may still alive and believe the clues to his whereabouts may be in his diaries. Agent Fulbright (Jeff Goldblum) sends Fay on a spy mission to obtain said diaries and things get further complicated as more quirky characters weave in and out of Fay's journey. It might be wise to rent Henry Fool before seeing Fay Grim just so you can remind yourself about these characters and have a better understanding. Everyone is being idiosyncratic on purpose but not in an unnatural way because the characters aren't too far off from the performers' distinct personalities. Posey is naturally off kilter overwhelmed by her surroundings whether as a character in a movie or an actor navigating red carpets and press junkets. As a woman left in the lurch by her husband and thrust into international espionage she’s perfect. Goldblum speaks with his usual frazzled authority. The other lesser known personalities fill their roles effectively as well. Urbaniak is just socially awkward enough you can see why he'd be the chump but smart enough to be ultimately helpful. Montgomery is an executive type who relishes his involvement in the intrigue. As Fay's son Liam Aiken plays the loner kid not quite Goth but a disaffected rebel nonetheless. Fay also encounters plenty of European spy types who bring a certain level of campiness to the espionage genre. You might feel left out if you haven't seen Henry Fool. They manage to fill in the Henry Fool backstory without a lot of exposition but there is definitely something missing. Then again so what if it might all be a little confusing? Figuring out the details is not important it’s the ride that counts. Being ultimately quirky himself indie director Hal Hartley manages to keep the pace moving throughout Fay Grim and all of the elements seem to tie in. The breezy dialogue is a treat. And for being an international adventure on a budget the film never feels cheap. Presenting chases and gunfights as a series of still shots may avoid actually staging elaborate action sequences but it's also more interesting to watch than the same old shoot 'em ups. Nobody is going to out-Woo John Woo so having this device is better. At two hours it does get a bit overwhelming to keep up but there are worse places to be stuck for 120 minutes.