Like father, like son?
Tom Hanks paid his dues toiling in such lowbrow fare as Bachelor Party, The Man With One Red Shoe and Volunteers before morphing into the James Stewart of our age.
Colin Hanks seems intent on following the same path that his father took in the 1980s. His film resume includes supporting turns in two ignored high school-set comedies, the painstakingly mediocre Whatever It Takes and the surprisingly charming Get Over It.
For his first starring role, Hanks stars in yet another teen angst-ridden farce, Orange County. Ironically, at the helm of this messy MTV production is another Hollywood hopeful trying to escape the shadow of a famous father, Jake Kasdan. The son of director Lawrence Kasdan, of The Big Chill and Silverado fame, Jake Kasdan's previous directorial effort was the little-seen black comedy Zero Effect with Ben Stiller and Bill Pullman.
Hanks spends much of his time in Orange County tearing out his hair as a high school grad who throws down his surfboard to pursue his newfound dream of becoming a writer. All seems lost when Hanks fails to get into Stanford University, where he wants to study under an author whose writing inspires him to pick up pen and paper.
MTV continues to blitz its audience with promos for Orange County, but it's unlikely that the film's few genuinely funny scenes will be enough to help MTV score another hit on the scale of last January's extremely earnest Save the Last Dance ($91 million). Nor does it help that the likes of John Lithgow, Chevy Chase, Lily Tomlin, Catherine O'Hara and Garry Marshall are shamelessly squandered.
Hanks, whose stock rose after appearing in HBO's critically acclaimed miniseries Band of Brothers, is not the reason why Orange County should enjoy a modest opening of at least $10 million. The film's not-so secret weapon is Jack Black, whose Shallow Hal recently earned $68.8 million. Orange County will prove an interesting test of Black's newfound popularity. The ads place much prominence on Black, but he does not emerge as much of a comic presence until midway through Orange County, when Hanks and brother Black hit the road and head to Stanford University.
This week's sole new wide release, Orange County won't pose much of a threat to reigning champion The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. With $211.3 million through Wednesday, director Peter Jackson's fantasy epic is likely surpass Rush Hour 2's $226.1 million this weekend, to become New Line's biggest grossing film domestically. That alone justifies New Line giving Jackson $270 million and two years to film J.R.R. Tolkien's literary trilogy. This first chapter looks set to equal New Line's expenditure by its lonesome, and should cross $300 million with the assistance of a few Golden Globe wins and its likely Oscar nods.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring also will likely enjoy its last week at the top of the box office. Black Hawk Down, director Ridley Scott's bloody account of the U.S. soldiers under fire in Somalia in 1993, will go wide Jan. 18 after earning $558,812 in two weekends at a mere four theaters in New York and Los Angeles.
A Beautiful Mind hardly went to waste as the Russell Crowe drama capitalized on great reviews and a terrific $18.6 million in limited release during the holidays. The Ron Howard-directed biography of mentally ill mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. earned $16.5 million last weekend after expanding from 525 theaters to 1,853 theaters, and has $41.8 million through Wednesday. With little competition this weekend, A Beautiful Mind should reap another $13 million, laying down the foundations for a long and healthy run through the end of the Oscar season.
The same goes for The Royal Tenenbaums. Director Wes Anderson's dysfunctional family comedy expanded last weekend from 291 theaters to 751 theaters, with earnings jumping from $4.9 million to $8.5 million. Anderson should relish The Royal Tenenbaums's $22.9 million total through Wednesday, considering his last film, Rushmore, stalled at $17 million in 1998 despite excellent reviews.
Ali, though, looks less and less like an Oscar heavyweight with each passing day. The Muhammad Ali biography is proving no match for rivals A Beautiful Mind and The Royal Tenenbaums following its record $10.2 million Christmas Day opening. Its total through Wednesday is $50.8 million, with only the prospect of a potential Oscar nomination for Will Smith and the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend rush likely to push Ali to more than $70 million.
The first wide release of 2002 also ranks as the year's first flop. The oft-delayed Impostor, a sci-fi thriller based on a Phillip K. Dick novel, failed to crack the top 10 last weekend after taking a weak $3 million at 1,616 theaters.
Impostor's failure does not come as a surprise. Dimension originally scheduled the alien terrorist-themed Impostor for August 2000 before putting it on the shelf for almost 18 months. Still, Impostor's fate should seem all the more hurtful for director Gary Fleder, who expanded Impostor from a 30-minute segment of The Light Years Trilogy into a full-length feature at Dimension's request.
A handful of holiday holdovers continue to capture the nation's attention.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone--now Warner Bros. biggest grosser in the United State--became the first film since 1999's Star Wars: Episode 1-The Phantom Menace to make more than $300 million domestically. Harry Potter, with $301.3 million through Wednesday, now ranks as the 10th top-grossing film in the United States.
The apprentice wizard still has enough magic at his disposal to fly past The Lion King ($312.9 million), Return of the Jedi ($309.1 million) and Independence Day ($306.2 million) to capture the No. 7 spot. This should please director Chris Columbus, who recently saw Harry Potter supplant Home Alone ($285.8 million) as his top grosser.
Las Vegas remains under the control of Ocean's Eleven. The star-studded crime caper has $153.5 million through Tuesday. This could mark the first film from star George Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh to steal off with $200 million.
The jump from Nickelodeon to movie theaters paid off for Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. The animated adventure soared past $63 million on Tuesday, with the smart pre-teen destined to make more than the last Nickelodeon spin-off, 2000's Rugrats in Paris ($76.5 million).
Despite its critical drubbing, Vanilla Sky resists falling too hard, too fast. Tom Cruise's star power can only explain why this bewildering remake of Open Your Eyes has $82.9 million through Wednesday. Still, after last weekend's modest $7.1 million haul, Vanilla Sky might not have the pull to become Cruise's ninth film to make more than $100 million.
Kate & Leopold looks set this weekend to become Meg Ryan's biggest hit since You've Got Mail posted $115.8 million in 1998. Not that this is much to crow about. The hackneyed time-traveling romance, co-starring Hugh Jackman, has a lowly $32 million through Wednesday. Ryan's 2000 releases, Hanging Up ($36 million) and Proof of Life ($32.5 million), did not do much to enhance her stature at the box office. Still, Kate & Leopold could woo at least $45 million from undemanding couples.
A handful of films in limited release are keeping art-houses busy.
A thinking man's Death Wish, In the Bedroom has amassed $4.2 million. Robert Altman's murder mystery Gosford Park, featuring the likes of Maggie Smith and Emily Watson, has $2.1 million. Gosford Park will expand to 500 theaters after earning a promising $1.2 million last weekend in 131 theaters.
Miramax tentatively tests the water this weekend as it expands Lasse Hallstrom's The Shipping News from 213 to 300 theaters. Miramax used the same platform release strategy with Hallstrom's previous Oscar-nominated literary adaptations The Cider House Rules and Chocolat, but audiences have yet to embrace The Shipping News with the same enthusiasm. So far, The Shipping News has earned a so-so $4.2 million.
The Cider House Rules and Chocolat earned a combined 12 Oscar nominations, with The Cider House Rules notching two wins, for Miramax. But Miramax is better off throwing its marketing muscle behind In the Bedroom and Amelie ($17.6 million) in this year's Oscar race.
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Annie Proulx, the dreary The Shipping News seems as cold and uninviting as the Newfoundland town that cuckolded sad-sack Kevin Spacey flees to with his daughter and aunt (Judi Dench). Nothing much seems to happen for a tale that unbelievably throws fatal car wrecks, bodies lost at sea, pirates and incest together in one heaping of small-town hooey.
So don't expect The Shipping News to do for seal-flipper pie as Sleepless in Seattle did for tiramisu.
Told from the perspective of one innocent maid Mary Macearchran (Kelly MacDonald) the story starts as she arrives at the magnificent country estate of Gosford Park. On this particular weekend host Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon) and his wife Lady Sylvia (Kristin Scott Thomas) have invited an eclectic group to the house for a shooting party. The guests include Sylvia's two sisters (Geraldine Somerville Natasha Wightman) their respective loser husbands (Charles Dance Tom Hollander) her cantankerous aunt Constance (Maggie Smith) for whom Mary works British matinee idol Ivor Novello (Jeremy Northam) and his American friend Morris Weisman (Bob Balaban) a film producer who makes Charlie Chan movies. As the upper-crust guests bicker about money and power the ranks of house servants personal maids and valets below make sure their charges are well taken care of under the guidance of the head butler Jennings (Alan Bates) head housekeeper Mrs. Wilson (Helen Mirren) and head cook Mrs. Croft (Eileen Atkins). Through Mary's eyes we see that the glamour of the upstairs patrons and the seeming precision downstairs are not all they seem. The two worlds are destined to collide and when they do it leads to only one thing--murder.
One of the joys of an Altman movie is his uncanny ability to take a huge ensemble cast of really good actors and carve out a film from their personal stories. This style can also work to the film's detriment however and in Gosford Park the mostly British cast melds together almost too well. Often you can't even tell who's who. Still with all the talent involved there are at least a few bright moments: Smith as the wisecracking Constance an old lady who's very used to being waited on hand and foot gets all the best lines and delivers them flawlessly and veteran actress Mirren is also brilliant as the staunch Mrs. Wilson. She turns in one of the film's only heartbreaking scenes as her character grieves for the son she gave away long ago in the name of servitude. Also good are MacDonald as the young Mary Clive Owen as the valet Robert Parks who carries more than just a chip on his shoulder and Emily Watson as the headstrong chief housemaid Elsie. Northam too shows off his musical abilities as the suave piano-playing singing Novello. The rest all blend together except unfortunately the two American actors--Balaban comes off as annoying and Ryan Phillippe playing an actor pretending to be Morris' valet is in way over his head.
Interestingly the film is taken from a story idea dreamt up by Altman and Balaban. One wonders if perhaps the two were inspired to create Park after watching an episode of the classic '70s British television drama Upstairs Downstairs which was about a wealthy British household whose servant class had just as many dramas as the people they served (hmm sounds familiar). Sure it's conceivable that two Americans sitting around talking about making a distinctly British movie (and a period piece to boot) could pull it off and with a tremendous talent like Altman attached you'd think it would work. But Park misses the mark. The Altman-esque qualities are all there--the way he interweaves his characters' stories and shows real people with real emotions--but maybe just maybe Altman is simply out of his element. You enjoy the ride but it's not a ride through appealing territory and you're definitely watching from the window as the characters live a life you never really become a part of.
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)
There's a new player in Disney's executive game of musical chairs. Chief Michael Eisner has named ABC chief Robert Iger as president, filling the hole left by Michael Ovitz when he jumped ship in 1996, says The Associated Press.
Iger's appointment, along with other managerial promotions, is expected to help the entertainment giant overcome its recent troubles, which included sagging stock prices and the departure of Disney studio chief Joe Roth. Seems things are already in turnaround: Disney also announced a 7 percent jump in first-quarter earnings.
INDUSTRIAL COUPLE: Time Warner, which already seems to own everything, is making another deal -- this time with British music giant EMI. It was announced today that the two would merge music businesses to create a new monster -- er, company, worth $20 billion.
Time Warner, whose labels include Warner Bros., Elektra, Atlantic and Rhino and is home to Madonna and Alanis Morissette, will now be able to add EMI's Garth Brooks, the Beastie Boys and legacies such as The Beatles and Frank Sinatra to its family.
The new giant will be called Warner EMI Music, according to Daily Variety. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year. No word if this marriage will result in some new duets: for instance, guitar crooner Jewel giving props with rapper Master P, or the Spice Girls with that other seasoning group, the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
GOLDEN COUPLE? The most intriguing pair at Sunday's Golden Globes was Jodie Foster and Russell Crowe, who arrived at the ceremony cozily hand-in-hand. Those who watched the broadcast through its credits also caught a glimpse of Crowe, 35, pointing and smiling at the camera, then pulling Foster, 37, in for a whisper or nuzzle, we couldn't tell. Was it staged?
"That was the intention," the best dramatic actor nominee ("The Insider") told the New York Daily News of the sensation they created. Foster joked, "He paid me."
For the record, Foster's rep says the two are friends and might be pairing up for a film. Well, let's hope it's a love story, because they did look mighty fine together.
GOLDEN COUPLE, PART II: We told you last week the rumor about Jim Carrey, 37, giving Renée Zellweger, 30, a $200,000 diamond "friendship ring." The couple was asked about the ring -- and their status -- at the Golden Globes. "Yeah, wasn't it nice?" Zellweger said on the red carpet, holding out her hand -- only to show no ring in sight. The two laughed about it but would only say that they're "friends." Still, 22 million people saw the Golden Globe winner (for "Man on the Moon") give his "friend" a big smooch on the lips before accepting his award.
LITTLE MAN FARROW: Mia Farrow's son might be heading off to college. But she'll have to drive him, since he's only 12 years old. Seamus Farrow has applied to attend Columbia University in the fall and already takes college classes in Massachusetts. But his mother worries about it; not the difficulty level, but the arduous commute to New York City from their home in Bridgewater, Conn.
"It's such a long ride," she told the New York Daily News. "Part of me would like to put it off, but he's intent on going."
CELTIC PRIDE: Gabriel Byrne is proud to be an Irishman -- so proud, in fact, that he's taking shots at everyone else going Irish.
The 49-year-old actor, who last played Satan in the actioner "End of Days," is a bit perturbed about his homeland's use in Hollywood and speaks his mind in an interview in Irish America magazine. "I don't think it's necessarily a good thing that Mel Gibson and Steven Spielberg came to Ireland to shoot 'Braveheart' and 'Saving Private Ryan,'" he said. "Spielberg shot there because it was cheap, and he got to use the Irish Army. I don't like to see the country being used as a cheap location for huge multi-million dollar movies."
He also isn't keen on non-Irish actors playing Irish characters. "There are a lot of really brilliant Irish actors and actresses that never get a chance to do anything." Despite his love for Frank McCourt's book "Angela's Ashes," he fired off about the film adaptation. "An Irish movie?" said Byrne. "It's directed by an Englishman, Alan Parker. The screenplay is by an American writer (Laura Jones). It has a Scottish actor (Robert Carlyle) playing the father and an English actress (Emily Watson) playing the mother." We're just glad no one asked him to rate Brad Pitt's much-criticized brogue in "The Devil's Own." --