Joseph Gordon-Levitt has proved he will do anything for our viewing pleasure. Sing, dance, sport an uncomfortably bad hairstyle for an impressive amount of time. So we only expect to see his penchant for entertainment to continue during his Saturday Night Live hosting stint this Saturday. After all, last time he hosted in 2009, Gordon-Levitt attempted Donald O'Connor's "Make 'Em Laugh" backflip on Studio 8H's tiny soundstage. How will he top the musical moment? According to new SNL promos, he will cut himself in half.
Impressive, yes, but we would prefer to see Scooper, Gordon-Levitt's 2079 Looper spin-off about picking up dog poop. How very green.
Gordon-Levitt is hosting SNL alongside musical guests Mumford & Sons, so grab your oversized rimless glasses, your battered copy of On the Road, and ask Siri if it's raining, because this will be one hipster affair.
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We're knee-deep in The Masters, arguably the most famous golf tournament on the planet (based purely on the fact that I, and most non-golf fans, know what The Masters is). Greats like Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Luke Donald, Larry Mize and a handful of legendary players have assembled at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia for the competition, primed and ready to fight for their coveted green jacket (and an $8 million prize … but the jacket). For the players and golf fans, it's a week of intense swinging, chipping and putting. For the rest of us, it's the perfect programming for our grandpas to nap to.
The Masters may not carry the same weight as the World Series, Super Bowl or Olympics, but consider pulling off the athletic feats on display during the tournament. A team of one, in front of crowd of thousands, plus the dewing eyes of everyone tuned in to ESPN, all setting the course for the rest of the tournament. That's pressure — and it could make a great movie.
Golf movies are a strange breed. Football, hockey, baseball, heck, even Olympic bobsledding, all have their own "inspirational sports movie" takes. The dramatic arc of one man or one team rising to the occasion to overcome the opposition. Warrior may be the most recent example, a tale that incorporates enough characterization and drama outside of the MMA arena, but weaves the physicality of the hand-to-hand combat sport into every moment. The movie isn't just a taped fight — that's not a movie — but at its core, it's about the main duo's relationship to the sport, and how it has informed every aspect of their life. Warrior director Gavin O'Connor did the same thing for Miracle, showcasing how a successful team can inform a nation with its success, and how the individuals who comprise that team can become empowered by the voice of that nation. Sports movies emphasize what draws us to watch and play sports in the first place, an emotional connection to competition and athleticism. There isn't really a modern golf movie like that.
Let's face it, the audience for golf tends to skew older than the target 18 -25 demographic for Hollywood movies. But chew on this: nearly 10.5 million people tuned in to this year's Final Four basketball games. Last year's Masters? Around 11.8 million. The spectrum of ages may vary, but the fanbases appear equally dedicated. That said, golf movies of late haven't fared too well at the box office. Recent entries like Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, The Greatest Game Ever Played and Seven Days in Utopia all took in under $15 million. Even if the budgets were small, there's little indication that those golf pros tuning in for The Masters are trekking to the theater for every golf release.
There's an obvious element of risk taking in producing a golf movie, but there is yet to be a golf movie that has really taken the risk. The previous underperformers were all period pieces (or in the case of Seven Days in Utopia, a Christian drama first, golf movie second). Hollywood, either utilizing the phenomenon of The Masters or conjuring up their own wild scenario, needs to deliver a straight-up, serious golf movie. Caddyshack, Happy Gilmore and Tin Cup are highlights of the golf movie genre, but those films de-emphasize it instead of glorifying it. Whether they're lampooning or layering on twist that forces the lead to take up golf, the go-to examples rarely showcase as a sport. They aren't golf movies, they're movies with golf. The Legend of Bagger Vance comes close, but again, when it comes to golf, Hollywood's obsessed with the past. With The Masters still raking in ratings, the sport deserves a Warrior-style tribute.
This isn't a suggestion for a Tiger Woods biopic (which was probably a hot Hollywood idea thrown out of contention from all of his tabloid mayhem), but that there's room for a cinematic golf game that isn't a joke. It's not a sport for stuffy white guys when portrayed as not a sport for stuffy white guys — it just needs a writer, director and producer to tackle the game in a realistic, compelling way. The Masters provides ample golf entertainment, but you can only get so close to the action. And yes, swinging away at a little white pull trapped in a pit of sand is action. Or it could be.
Find Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and remember to follow @Hollywood_com!
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
When all-American girl Susan Murphy is inadvertently hit by a falling meteor on her wedding day she grows to be nearly 50 feet tall. The U.S. military gets wind of this renames her Ginormica and locks her away with a slacker group of other “monsters” in a top-secret compound. But when a mysterious alien robot lands on Earth and begins wreaking havoc these good-hearted but inept creatures are called into action by the President and must band together as a team to save the world from certain catastrophe.
WHO’S IN IT?
As usual Dreamworks has assembled a stellar A-list voice cast led by Reese Witherspoon as Susan/Ginormica. Playing one of the rare female animated heroes Witherspoon’s sweet/confused demeanor — in light of her highly unusual status as a fearsome freakazoid — hits just the right tone generously letting her zanier colleagues steal scenes from right under her (a long way down by the way). Chief among these are a not-so-bright gelatinous blue mass named B.O.B. hilariously voiced by Seth Rogen; the genius Dr. Cockroach Ph.D in the capable hands of House doc Hugh Laurie; and Will Arnett’s half-ape half-fish The Missing Link. In the human roles there’s Stephen Colbert as the idiotic U.S. President Kiefer Sutherland as the monster’s prison guardian Paul Rudd as the ego-driven weatherman fiancé of Susan; and a deliciously villainous Rainn Wilson as Galaxhar the alien determined to take over Earth.
Superb 3-D effects aren’t overdone and add immeasurably to the ginormous fun of the film but even seeing it in theaters that only show it in regular 2-D doesn’t spoil the pure joy of this cartoonish War of the Worlds. Throw in parodies of every cheap '50s sci-fi movie you can think of and you have the ingredients for a silly monster mash sure to appeal to just about anyone who wants to laugh. Despite the impressive production elements it’s the smart and clever script that really sets it apart from its competitors — and that even includes the similar Monsters Inc. from Pixar.
Like any kid-oriented comic ‘toon today the action can be a bit too frenetic and Monsters vs. Aliens piles a lot of it on in its trim 95 minutes. Still the lovable characters carry the day and somehow make it all palatable.
When Susan now Ginormica brings her new friends home to meet her parents chaos ensues and so do the laughs. Also impressive are the large action scenes that make fine use of CGI animation breakthroughs.
BEST SUPPORTING BLOB:
It's easily the one-eyed lame-brained blue lug of a people hugger named B.O.B. perfectly matched to the talents of Rogen. He rolls away with the movie and inevitably the merchandise tie-ins.
After a brief flashback prologue where we see how the young lion Alex (Ben Stiller) is separated from his father Zuba (Bernie Mac) inadvertently ending up in the Big Apple the story returns to present day as our favorite New York zoo denizens prepare to take off from Madagascar in a crudely constructed airplane piloted by the penguins and propelled by slingshot. Unfortunately for Alex lovelorn giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer) fast talking zebra Marty (Chris Rock) and svelte hippo Gloria (Jada Pinkett-Smith) instead of landing in NYC the aircraft sputters and crash lands right in the middle of Africa where they run into a world of exotic creatures. This also includes Alex’s long lost dad and mom. Happy reunion? Not quite. Zuba’s nemesis Mukunga (Alec Baldwin) insists they follow lion pride lore which means Alex must go through a rite of passage -- one he is sure to fail if Mukunga has his way. Meanwhile Marty tries to integrate into a pack of zebras; Gloria gets hooked up with a soulful hippo (will.i.am); and Melman is up to his neck looking for love. Oh and they also all have to save the Kenya preserve from a life-threatening water shortage. No biggie! Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa’s witty and hip dialogue provides rich voice over opportunities for a talented crew of actors. Stiller continues to be a riot as the showbiz loving Zooperstar Alex especially in his attempts to earn the pride’s respect. Chris Rock earns his stripes as he tries to hang with a large group of look-a-like sound-a-like zebras. Schwimmer is winning and hysterical as Melman now considered a witchdoctor by his fellow giraffe-ians while Pinkett-Smith continues to shine as hippo Gloria looking for a little action. Among the new voices rapper will.i.am as Moto Moto the last of the red-hot hippos will have you wanting More More while Alec Baldwin gets to play the heavy with Lion King style. The late Bernie Mac playing it relatively straight as Alex’s father proves (as he does in his other new release this week Soul Men) shows us just how much his unique brand of humor will be sorely missed. Stealing the show however and getting king-sized laughs in an expanded role is Sacha Baron Cohen back as King Julien the hard-partying head of the lemurs. With a vast improvement in Madagascar’s state-of-the-art computer graphic work directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath take this sequel several notches up in terms of technical savvy including the exciting opening sequence as well as the plane crash. But they really score with the script with new co-writer Etan Cohen adding some crisp comedy. What was mostly just a serviceable script the first time around has gotten a lot more sophisticated and clever a development parents being dragged by their kids will be keenly grateful for. This is the rare animated sequel that actually has a reason for existence other than minting money. It has more heart drama and laughs than the original Madagascar which despite its flaws still made half a billion dollars worldwide. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa should make even more as it proves to be one of the year’s most entertaining comedy delights.