Author

Michael Arbeiter
Staff editor Michael Arbeiter’s natural state of being can best be described as “mild panic attack.” His earliest memories of growing up in Queens, New York, involve nighttime conversations with a voice from his bedroom wall (the jury’s still out on what that was all about) and a love for classic television that spawned from the very first time he was allowed to watch “The Munsters.” Attending college at SUNY Binghamton, a 20-year-old Michael learned two things: that he could center his future on this love for TV and movies, and that dragons never actually existed — he was kind of late in the game on that one.
  • Ranking Every Movie I Saw in 2013
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 31, 2013
    Universal via Everett Collection Every movie I saw in 2013, ranked from worst to best: 112. IDENTITY THIEFThe first comedy movie to not make me laugh once. 111. SAVING MR. BANKSInsulting, manipulative, dishonest, and unkind, with occasional song breaks. 110. SCARY MOVIE 5These movies have gotten much worse since we were 13. 109. GETAWAYINT. RACECAR. NIGHT. Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez crash into stuff. 108. GROWN UPS 2So much vomiting, so many homophobic jokes, so little plot. 107. I GIVE IT A YEARAn ugly, loveless rom-com that isn't clever enough to be satire. 106. DEAD MAN DOWNAll I remember is a whole lot of dark alleyways. 105. A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN IIIThe best part is the closing credits (I'm not being flip, they're actually kind of fun). 104. MOVIE 43Bad offensive joke after bad offensive joke after bad offensive joke... 103. WINNIE MANDELADesperately important story turned into a desperately dull movie. 102. TWICE BORNNo summary available due to lack of anything interesting happening in this movie. 101. R.I.P.D.Somebody forgot to give Ryan Reynolds any jokes. New Line Cinema via Everett Collection 100. THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONEThis movie could have been funny if Wonderstone wasn't such a d**k. 99. ONLY GOD FORGIVESInteresting in the moments when it's not shoving its unpleasantness down your throat. 98. MAN OF STEELSetup: cerebral reinvention of Superman. Payoff: mass property damage. 97. CARRIEBeat-by-beat remake without any of the original's spirit. 96. THE TO DO LISTUncomfortably raunchy and mean. Thank God for Bill Hader. 95. KICK-ASS 2More Mean Girls shtick would have benefited this weak sequel. 94. PHANTOMI'm not sure this was actually a finished movie. 93. WRONGObnoxiously nonsensical, but not without its share of laughs. 92. THE SMURFS 2Mostly cloying, but Neil Patrick Harris is incurably watchable. 91. HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS Dumb. 90. JOBSBoring. 89. NOW YOU SEE MEPossibly the worst ending in a 2013 movie, but a few bits of fun along the way. 88. WE'RE THE MILLERS[Pop culture reference] 87. RED 2John Malkovich's facial contortions save this from total failure. 86. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS It hsa a few pros, but is mostly one giant... well, you know. 85. RIDDICKSurprisingly intriguing, when it isn't being deplorably sexist. 84. FREE BIRDSEh, turkeys are kinda funny. 83. PRISONERS Thankfully, scenes of Hugh Jackman yelling are intercut with the far superior scenes of Jake Gyllenhaal yelling. 82. WHITE REINDEER Any minute now, this movie is going to reveal its inner glory! Any minute now! 81. EVIL DEAD A better horror flick than the original! But still mostly forgettable. Vertical Entertainment 80. GBFMostly charming, undone by its "safe" and "classy" ending. 79. THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALISTIt's kind of hard to get past how boring the title is. 78. DESPICABLE ME 2 Lots of minions. People like minions, right? 77. JOHN DIES AT THE END Not nearly as weird as it thinks it is or wants to be. 76. 2 GUNSHey, wait a minute, this movie is kinda funny! ... Not that funny, but kinda. 75. SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES MEI like to call this movie Click Offerman. 74. WHITE HOUSE DOWNWould be more fun if we were ready to laugh about terrorism. 73. AT ANY PRICEBoooriii— HOLY S**T WHERE THE F**K DID THAT COME FROM?! 72. BAD MILONot quite up to par with your expectations for the "Ken Marino has a demon in his butt" synopsis. 71. MONSTERS UNIVERSITYLackluster prequel, nice to look at, big band music. 70. THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES In its audacity, this silly amalgam of YA tropes can actually be a lot of fun. 69. THE CONJURING Fascinating subplots about the exorcism industry would be better served at the head of the film. 68. PEEPLESThere's a joke about wristwatches that I still think about. 67. SIDE EFFECTSSoderbergh's farewell caper doesn't have as much fun as its loony plot would demand. 66. ELYSIUMBroad and clumsy, but how wrong can you go with Bald Matt Damon? 65. OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFULIt works with Dark Side of the Moon. 64. THE COUNSELORThe book was better. Wait, this wasn't a book? Well it should have been. 63. IN A WORLD...A fun, biting look at an unappreciated industry! ... until it dissolves into mild genericism. 62. THE LONE RANGER Oh come on, you didn't love the William Tell climax? 61. THE WOLVERINENot always engaging, but at least it's about something. Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection 60. WARM BODIESNot really about anything, but at least it's engaging. 59. THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWNUndeniably powerful, but feels like it could use a few more revisions. 58. ENDER'S GAMESpace Camp: The Movie! (Slightly less expensive than actual space camp.) 57. PACIFIC RIMMonsters vs. robots aside, there's a riveting world constructed in the backdrop of this sci-fi epic. 56. ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUESThe battle royale does not disappoint. 55. YOU'RE NEXTThe fun, swift hook isn't nearly as interesting as the great character work that it replaces. 54. THE WAY WAY BACKI, too, long to get life advice from a waterpark-dwelling Sam Rockwell. 53. SOME VELVET MORNINGEven if you see the twist coming, the chemistry here is impeccable. 52. THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIREShut up, Peeta, I'm trying to watch all the good parts of this movie. 51. 20 FEET FROM STARDOMA story that deserves a little more spirit and energy than it is given in this documentary. 50. DON JONNo. 50 on "Best Movies" list, No. 1 on "Best Trailers." 49. THE ROCKETA feel-good kids' adventure substantiated by the gravities of war. Wins in both areas. 48. CRYSTAL FAIRY & THE MAGICAL CACTUS AND 2012Beautifully shot, interestingly written, impressively acted. 47. MUD Yes, we all loved The Goonies, and we all loved David Wooderson, so... 46. CUTIE AND THE BOXER A vivid struggle that is equal parts artistically, martially, and internally based. Engrossing all the way. 45. CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Tom Hanks' best performance in ages in a dramatic thriller that feels real (for obvious reasons). 44. THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG As a Legend of Zelda fan, this movie's world awakened something in me. 43. FRUITVALE STATIONThis character story is at odds with its out-universe goal, but Michael B. Jordan is unforgettable. 42. BEFORE MIDNIGHTI'm still not sure how I feel about that ending, but it was good to catch up wit Jesse and Celine. 41. DARK TOUCHEverything that Carrie could have been. A shocking fantasy about human pains. Walt Disney Co via Everett Collection 40. THOR: THE DARK WORLDMore Chris O'Dowd. 39. BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLORIntellectually stimulating, but doesn't hit all its emotional marks. 38. THE WORLD'S ENDI've been saying "Gooey Wooey Egg Man" for months. 37. THE GREAT GATSBYLights! Music! Pizzazz! Moxy! The bee's knees! The cat's pajamas! 36. ENOUGH SAIDBest TV drama's male lead + best TV comedy's female lead = quite a charming romantic dramedy. 35. SIGHTSEERSWell, this is rather amusi— HOLY S**T WHERE THE F**K DID THAT COME FROM?! 34. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINESNot sure if the "three stories" approach makes for the most powerful character work, but it's an enchanting ride. 33. THE WE AND THE I A bus full of inner-city high school kids turns into a magical kingdom thanks to Gondry's dreamy edge. 32. NEWLYWEEDSA love triangle with marijuana as the third party. Weighty, but never overly so, and funny throughout. 31. GRAVITY. . . 30. PRINCE AVALANCHE Heh heh, look at Paul Rudd's mustache. 29. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Yes, we all loved the 'ludes scene. Very, very much. 28. ALL IS LOSTRobert Redford, you still got that same oomph. You too, ocean. 27. SAVING LINCOLN The weirdest, goofiest, funniest biopic about Abraham Lincoln ever. 26. THE KINGS OF SUMMER Kids run away, live in the woods, grow up, make jokes. Always a charming endeavor. 25. AMERICAN HUSTLE Little more than a cartoon, but an emotionally explosive and riotous one at that. 24. THE HEAT Melissa McCarthy insisting on stepping out of a moving car earns a full five minutes of laughter alone. 23. DRINKING BUDDIESNever dips too low on the emotional spectrum, but stays real and fresh in the face of the rom-com genre. 22. UPSTREAM COLORA difficult, confusing, harrowing thinker. 21. STOKER Somehow both effectively haunting and deliciously fun. Room 237: the movie/Facebook 20. ROOM 237 Less a doting tribute to The Shining or Kubrick than it is to movie-lovers and their bottomless well of theories. 19. BLUE JASMINE Each party fires on all cylinders in Woody Allen's Streetcar gem, Sally Hawkins especially. 18. S#X ACTSThe sadness of this story of our youth's desperate obsession with and reliance on sex is its authenticity. 17. IRON MAN 3 The first true action comedy in Marvel's line of films shows how much fun superhero movies can really be. 16. ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW Take notes, John Dies at the End. THIS is one weird f**king movie. 15. NEBRASKA Father vs. son, past vs. present, dreams vs. reality. Everything here is touching, funny, and inviting. 14. PAIN & GAIN Michael Bay talks a long, hard look in the mirror with this biting send-up of everything his other movies represent. 13. THIS IS THE ENDFar more interesting and insightful than it will get credit for being, This Is the End uses a literal apocalypse and no dearth of d**k jokes to deconstruct tenets of friendship and social politics. 12. THE ACT OF KILLING While this documentary would benefit from restructuring, the power of its message (especially its final few monents, not to mention the "anonymous"-heavy credits) is painfully resonant. 11. FROZENOffering the magic and whimsy you'll remember from time-honored Disney classics, but so much more in the way of its message, Frozen might very well be the most magnificent and meaningful animated feature yet to spring from Walt's legacy. 10. COMPUTER CHESSIt doesn't have much to say about the human condition (beyond maybe highlighting our propensity for arrogance and self-directed delusion). It doesn't tell a story that'll stick with you for very long. But Computer Chess reigns supreme as, far and away, the funniest movie of 2013. 9. SPRING BREAKERS A dark, wicked, wholly upsetting reflection of the toxic direction in which we might be headed. And James Franco gives a tour-de-force of a performance with his demonic scoutmaster Alien. 8. IT'S A DISASTER An intelligent, meticulously directed farce about group politics and conflicting personal philosophies, executed to near perfection thanks to the rhythmic participation of a more than capable cast.  7. 12 YEARS A SLAVEAn unprecedented masterpiece that sings the traumas not only of Solomon Northrup, a free man captured and sold into slavery, but in his fellow sufferers as well. For my money, the true anchor of the story is in Lupita Nyong'o's Patsey, whose suffering is unlike anything we've seen managed on the big screen in years. 6. HER With so much to say about such tremendous topics, Her manages to still dive so deep into the heart of its story: the pangs of love in the wake of the inevitable fallibilities of romantic relationships. Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson alike give dynamic performances, and Spike Jonze mystifies us with his strange, cold, all-too-familiar world. A24 via Everett Collection 5. THE SPECTACULAR NOWThis is one of those movies you try to convince yourself to inch out of your top 10, or five, for fear of being seen as juvenile. ButThe Spectacular Now hits such genuine notes with Miles Teller's Sutter, climaxing at a moment where you'll recognize an angst so true to life and so criminally absent from most movies about the journey toward self-love. IFC Films 4. FRANCES HA Months and months after my first encounter with it, this deceptively simple film sticks in my head, reminding me that its every artful beat is riddled with emotional weight and ironic humor alike. Greta Gerwig and director Noah Baumbach give us the a New York movie to rival Annie Hall, zooming in and out of the perspective of the young women and men who occupy, and drown within, today's version of the biggest, most stupefying city in the world.  CBS Films 3. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVISSadness, coldness, loneliness, failure... such wonderful things when handled by filmmakers like the Coen Brothers. Padding this antithesis of triumph with some of the most beautiful, somber music you'll hear all year, Inside Llewyn Davis makes us fall in love all over again with the very idea of the artistic struggle. Touchstone Pictures via Everett Collection 2. THE WIND RISESHayao Miyazaki's final movie doesn't pass judgment on its hero, a man so devoted to his work (building weapons) that he neglects his wife, sister, and friends. It doesn't endorse these choices either. Instead, it hones in on the passions of its hero/antihero, challenging us to sympathize with a fellow whose only desire is to do his job while we lament his sacrifices. More even than Gravity does the frequently airborne animated picture induce dizzy spells as we connect with the conglomerate of colorful, intriguing characters in this grim but dainty biography. Cinedigm via Everett Collection 1. SHORT TERM 12 There are so few flaws to highlight in The Wind Rises, Inside Llewyn Davis, Frances Ha, and the other entries on this top 10 list. What separates Short Term 12 is not a complete lack of error, but in an umatched spirit for the telling of its story. The movie wants us to feel the pains of counselor Grace (Brie Larson) and the disavantaged children for whom she cares, highlighting abused Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) and orphan Marcus (Keith Stanfield). It also wants us to feel the hope that it brings to these characters in their plight to overcome the hands they have been dealt. Every emotion in this movie carries through with such force. For those of us who know any of these trials personally, they ring tremendously true. For others, they work to invite you into this sad but hopeful world. We've been gifted with a ton of exemplary cinematic works this year, but nothing sticks with me more than this tearful, heartrending masterpiece.  Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • 2013 in Fantasy: Categorizing the Supernatural Films of the Year
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 27, 2013
    Warner Bros. We're done with vampires. Done! But our craving for the paranormal wages on, so Hollywood is charged with injecting a slew of other otherworldly elements into its cinematic output. Throughout 2013, we've seen a wide variety of fantasy and science-fiction creatures, worlds, and principles take form in our favorite (and… less appreciated) movies. Take a gander at what the year has brought us in the way of the supernatural: MOVIES THAT FEATURE THE USE OF MAGIC47 RoninBeautiful CreaturesEpicFrozenHansel & Gretel: Witch HuntersThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugThe Lone RangerThe Mortal Instruments: City of BonesOz the Great and PowerfulThe Smurfs 2Thor: The Dark World MOVIES THAT FEATURE THE USE OF FICTIONAL SCIENCE OR TECHNOLOGYCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2Despicable Me 2ElysiumG.I. Joe: RetaliationIron Man 3John Dies at the EndMan of SteelMovie 43Pacific RimStar Trek into DarknessThor: The Dark World MOVIES THAT FEATURE COMIC BOOK SUPERHEROES Iron Man 3Man of SteelMovie 43Thor: The Dark WorldThe Wolverine MOVIES THAT FEATURE ALIENSAfter EarthDark SkiesEnder's GameEscape from Planet EarthEuropa ReportThe HostMan of SteelOblivionPacific RimRiddickStar Trek into DarknessThe World's End MOVIES THAT FEATURE GHOSTSAnchorman 2: The Legend ContinuesThe ConjuringA Haunted HouseThe Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of GeorgiaInsidious Chapter 2MamaSafe HavenScary Movie 5 MOVIES THAT FEATURE ZOMBIESJohn Dies at the EndWarm BodiesWorld War Z MOVIES THAT FEATURE WITCHES47 RoninBeautiful CreaturesHansel & Gretel: Witch HuntersOz the Great and Powerful MOVIES THAT FEATURE WIZARDSThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugThe Mortal Instruments: City of Bones MOVIES THAT FEATURE DEMONS47 RoninHell BabyThe Last Exorcism Part IIThe Lone RangerThe Mortal Instruments: City of BonesThis Is the End MOVIES THAT FEATURE WEREWOLVESAnchorman 2: The Legend ContinuesThe Lone Ranger (original cut)The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones MOVIES THAT FEATURE VAMPIRES (OH, I GUESS WE'RE NOT DONE WITH THEM...)ByzantiumThe Mortal Instruments: City of Bones MOVIES THAT FEATURE MYTHICAL OR MYTHOLOGICAL FIGURESAnchorman 2: The Legend ContinuesThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugThor: The Dark World MOVIES THAT FEATURE A RACE OF MONOCHROMATIC, LIKE-MINDED CREATURESDespicable Me 2EpicThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugThe Smurfs 2World War Z MOVIES THAT FEATURE POSSESSION AND/OR BODY SNATCHINGThe ConjuringEvil DeadG.I. Joe: RetaliationHell BabyThe HostInsidious Chapter 2The Last Exorcism Part IIThis Is the EndThe World's End MOVIES THAT FEATURE ARTIFICIALLY INTELLIGENT BEINGSOblivionThe World's End MOVIES THAT FEATURE GENETIC ENGINEERINGDespicable Me 2The Hunger Games: Catching FireIron Man 3Scary Movie 5Star Trek into Darkness MOVIES THAT FEATURE TIME TRAVELAbout TimeFree BirdsJohn Dies at the End MOVIES THAT FEATURE TELEPORTATION, WORMHOLES, OR ANY OF THAT OTHER NONSENSEJohn Dies at the EndStar Trek into DarknessThor: The Dark World MOVIES THAT TAKE PLACE IN ALTERNATE REALMSEpicThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugJohn Dies at the EndMonsters UniversityOz the Great and PowerfulThe Smurfs 2Thor: The Dark World MOVIES THAT TAKE PLACE ON OTHER PLANETS OR MOONSAfter EarthEuropa ReportMan of SteelRiddickStar Trek into DarknessThor: The Dark World MOVIES THAT TAKE PLACE IN OUTER SPACEElysiumEnder’s GameEuropa ReportFree BirdsGravityMan of SteelRiddickStar Trek into Darkness MOVIES THAT TAKE PLACE IN THE FUTUREAfter EarthElysiumThe Hunger Games: Catching FireOblivionPacific RimThe PurgeStar Trek into Darkness MOVIES THAT FEATURE THE APOCALYPSE OR "POST-APOCALYPSE"After EarthThe Hunger Games: Catching FireIt's a DisasterOblivionPacific RimThis Is the EndThe World's End MOVIES THAT FEATURE AN AFTERLIFEThe ConjuringInsidious Chapter 2R.I.P.D.This Is the End MOVIES THAT FEATURE WHATEVER THE F**K HAPPENS IN UPSTREAM COLORUpstream Color MOVIES BASED ON FAIRY TALESHansel & Gretel: Witch HuntersJack the Giant Slayer MOVIES IN WHICH A YOUNG WOMAN WHO THINKS SHE IS MORTAL FINDS OUT THAT SHE ISN'T AND MUST RISE TO THE OCCASION TO STOP A DASTARDLY FORCE OF EVILHansel & Gretel: Witch HuntersThe Mortal Instruments: City of Bones MOVIES THAT FEATURE TALKING ANIMALSThe CroodsEpicThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugOz the Great and PowerfulScary Movie 5TurboWalking with Dinosaurs MOVIES THAT FEATURE TALKING INANIMATE OBJECTSCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2FrozenOz the Great and PowerfulPlanes MOVIES THAT FEATURE "MIND-MELDING"Pacific RimStar Trek into Darkness MOVIES THAT FEATURE THE USE OF TELEKINESISBeautiful CreaturesCarrieDark Touch MOVIES THAT FEATURE LARGE ORGANIZATIONS DEVOTED TO FANTASTICAL OR SCI-FI CAUSESDespicable Me 2Ender's GameEscape from Planet EarthEscape from TomorrowJack the Giant SlayerMonsters UniversityThe Mortal Instruments: City of BonesR.I.P.D.Star Trek into Darkness MOVIES THAT FEATURE PROPHECIESByzantiumThe Hobbit: Desolation of SmaugThe Lone RangerThe Mortal Instruments: City of BonesThis Is the End MOVIES THAT USE THE NAME "RONIN"47 RoninEpic MOVIES THAT I DIDN'T SEE BUT THAT I'M SURE FALL INTO A FEW OF THESE CATEGORIESPercy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Christmas Movie Alternatives: What to Watch Instead of the Holiday Classics
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 23, 2013
    MGM via Everett Collection Christmas movies aren't for everybody. Yes, they might offer the odd sparkle of good will or reminder to appreciate all that you have, but the onslaught of these films might start to feel like overkill. Still, you might find it difficult to find non-holiday-themed alternatives to the Christmas staples that your friends and family members will be enjoying this week. But we've got a few suggestions... Your father is glued to his living room arm chair, drinking in the wholesome enchantments of Miracle on 34th Street. But you can watch...For that spell-binding courtroom drama: 12 Angry Men.For another movie that will teach you the value of blind faith: Soul Surfer.For just something that sounds kinda similar: Miracle. Your mother is enjoying network television's annual broadcast of the feel-good fantasy It's a Wonderful Life. But you can watch...For that "angels sent from above for the good of one man" story: The Heavenly Kid.For another movie that includes a scene about people freaking out in a bank: Dog Day Afternoon.For just something that sounds kinda similar: Life Is Beautiful. Your baby brother is beaming over the innocent glories of the Laurel and Hardy adventure Babes in Toyland. But you can watch...For that fantastical journey through a realm of imagination: Any and all of the Lord of the Rings movies.For another movie about two bumbling pals just trying to make it in this crazy world: Dumb and Dumber.For just something that sounds kinda similar: Babe. Your precocious little sister is smirking knowingly at the myriad jokes in A Christmas Story. But you can watch...For that saccharine recollection of a simpler, sweeter time: GoodFellas.For another movie that sends condemns the dangers of firearms: Pocahontas.For just something that sounds kinda similar: The Philadelphia Story. Your young cousin is reveling in the earnest ecstasies of Rankin Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. But you can watch...For that charmingly shoddy animation: ParaNorman.For another movie that showcases misfits learning to believe in themselves: Pitch Perfect.For just something that sounds kinda similar: Reindeer Games... does that still count as a Christmas movie? Fine, Funny Games. Happy now? Your aunt is reveling in childhood nostalgia with a viewing of Frosty the Snowman. But you can watch...For that spirited fairy tale magic that brings inanimate creations to life: Short Circuit.For another movie about a high-stakes countdown to early mortality: 25th Hour.For just something that sounds kinda similar: Frost/Nixon. Your uncle is getting a little too effusive about the family's well-worn VHS copy of A Christmas Carol. But you can watch...For that rhythmic and rhyming rendezvous that only T. Geisel can offer to you: Horton Hears a Who.For another movie that thaws the frozen heart of a baddie: Schindler's List (or Despicable Me, for lighter fare).For just something that sounds kinda similar: The Carol Burnett Show. Your grandpa is reliving his old World War II days with White Christmas. But you can watch...For that rally-to-save-the-small-town-fixture tale: Be Kind Rewind.For another movie about nebbishy entertainers on a rousing road trip adventure: Some Like It Hot.For just something that sounds kinda similar: White Chicks. Your spouse has had a little too much eggnog and is, for some ungodly reason, waching The Polar Express. But you can watch...For that horrifying trip down the uncanny valley: The Adventures of Tintin.For another movie that... you know what? I can't get past how freaky the people in this movie look: Mars Needs Moms.For just something that sounds kinda similar: Pineapple Express. And finally, your best friend has stopped by and commandeered the basement TV to enjoy Jingle All the Way. But you can watch...For that testament to the evils of materialism: The Bling Ring.For another movie that showcases the softer side of Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Kid & I.For just something that sounds kinda similar: The Way We Were. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Review: 'Her' Has the Special Combination of So Much Brilliance and So Much Heart
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 20, 2013
    Warner Bros. Spike Jonze doesn't waste any time introducing us to the technology at the center of Her. "An operating system that can mimic human sentience?" a dangerously lonely Joaquin Phoenix wonders after catching glimpse of an ad in a transit station. "Don't mind if I do!" (He doesn't actually say that, don't worry.) But by the time we're meant to believe that such a world can seamlessly integrate characters like Scarlett Johansson's automated voice Samantha into the lives of living, breathing men and women like Phoenix's Theodore, we're already established residents of this arresting, icy, quivering world the filmmaker has built. We meet Theodore midway through his recitation of a "handwritten letter" he penned on behalf of a woman to her husband of many years. That's his job — tapping into his own unique sensititivies to play ghostwriter for people hoping to adorn their spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, and children with personal notes of personal affection. Theodore is no independent contractor; he's part of a thriving company, and we almost get the feeling that the folks on the receiving end of these letters are in the know. Before we ever encounter Samantha, we're embedded in the central conceit of the movie: emotional surrogacy is an industry on the rise. What makes Jonze's world so palatable is that, beneath its marvelously eerie aesthetic, this idea is barely science-fiction. Theodore, humbled and scarred by a recent divorce from lifelong love Catherine (Rooney Mara, who contrasts Johansson by giving a performance that, for a large sum of the movie, is all body and no voice), accesses the will to go on through interractions with video game characters and phone-sex hotlines. But the ante is upped with Samantha, the self-named operating system that Theodore purchases to stave off loneliness, deeming choice a far less contorting one than spending time with old pals like Amy (Amy Adams)... at first.  Samantha evolves rather quickly from an articulate Siri into a curious companion, who is fed and engaged by Theodore just as much as she feeds and engages him. Jonze paces his construction of what, exactly, Samantha is so carefully that we won't even catch the individual steps in her change — along with Theodore, we slowly grow more and more enamored and mystified by his computer/assistant/friend/lover before we can recognize that we're dealing with a different being altogether from the one we met at that inceptive self-aware "H-hello?" But Jonze lays tremendous groundwork to let us know this story is all for something: all the while, as the attractions build and the hearts beat faster for Samantha, we foster an unmistakable sense of doom. We can't help but dread the very same perils that instituted one infamous admission: "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that." Warner Bros. But Jonze's sci-fi constructs are so cohesively intertwined with his love story that our dread doesn't exactly translate to an anticipation of HAL's hostile takeover. Her wedges us so tightly between Theodore and Samantha that our fears of the inevitable clash between man and machine apprehend a smaller, more intimate ruin. As Samantha's growth become more surprising and challenging to Theodore, to herself, and to us, the omens build for each. And although all three parties know better, we cannot help but affix ourselves to the chemistry between Theodore and Samantha, and to the possibility that we're building toward something supreme. A good faction of this is due to the unbelievable performances of Phoenix — representing the cautious excitement that we all know so painfully well — and Johansson, who twists her disembodied voice so empathetically that we find ourselves, like Theodore, forgetting that we have yet to actually meet her. The one castigation that we can attach to the casting of Johansson is that such a recognizable face will, inevitably, work its way into our heads when we're listening to her performance. It almost feels like a cheat, although we can guarantee that a performance this good would render a figure just as vivid even if delivered by an unknown. In this way, Her is as effective a comment on the healthiest human relationships as it is on those that rope in third parties — be they of the living, automated, or greeting card variety. In fact, the movie has so many things to say that it occasionally steps on its own feet, opening up ideas so grand (and coloring them so brightly) that it sometimes has trouble capping them coherently. Admittedly, if Spike Jonze had an answer to some of the questions he's asking here, he'd probably be suspected of himself being a super-intelligent computer. But in telling the story of a man struggling to understand what it means to be in love, to an operating system or not, Jonze invites us to dissect all of the manic and trying and wonderful and terrifying and incomprehensible elements therein. Just like Samantha, Her doesn't always know what to do with all of its brilliance. But that might be part of why we're so crazy over the both of them. 4.5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Review: 'The Wolf of Wall Street' Might Be a Little Too Much Fun for Its Own Good
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 19, 2013
    Paramount It's a good hour into The Wolf of Wall Street, following a deep dive into Jordan Belfort's early days in the stock market game — that being the most appropriate word for it — and festive indulgence in the most carnal manifestations of human desire, that we're hit with the title card, "18 months later..." Here, it is solidified that the years we have spent inside Martin Scorsese's world of toxic capitalism have all been, up to this point, set-up. Fuel. This brief flash of text, the longest instance of silence in the cacophonous sewer system that is Belfort's story, is the first real sign that a fire is coming. By this time, Scorsese's willful defiance of the "show, don't tell" method has introduced us to every one of the doe-eyed crook's countless vices. He has no qualms stealing from those who can't afford it, lying to those who trust him, cheating on his wife, cramming every substance known to modern science into his bloodstream, and wholeheartedly endorsing (to his adoring audience) all of the above. All the while, we bound between delight and disgust. The delight comes not so much in the material victories of Belfort and his cronies — that has the latter effect, in fact, as every antic is so vividly laced with Sodom-level depravity — but in watching them like zoo animals. In fact, The Wolf of Wall Street's principal undoing might be that it is simply too much fun. For that, we have to thank Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio had managed terrific performances all his career, but this is one of the first in years to actually surprise us. Opening his tale as an ambitious and firm-shouldered young buck, the likes of which you'd find in any Horatio Algers novel, and devolving into the Financial District's answer to Beetlejuice, the actor exhibits corners of his performing ability that we have always dreamed we'd see. In the months leading up to DiCaprio's turn as the dastardly dandy Calvin Candie in last year's Quentin Tarantino picture Django Unchained, fans anticipated an unprecedented kookiness that never seemed to show. Turns out, DiCaprio was saving that mania for Wolf of Wall Street, in which he lambasts justice and judgment in the form of an elastic child at his most tempered and a rabid kangaroo on those nights of the especially hard partying. Paramount And of course, there's that scene with the Quaaludes. Without giving too much away — although the experience is so visceral that all the contextual spoilers wouldn't rob the scene of its emphatic humor — DiCaprio manages a feat of physical comedy so extensive, demanding, and gutterally f**king hilarious that you'll wonder tearfully what might have been had the rising star shirked Titanic for a career in slapstick. But the surplus joys derived from this scene might, in fact, be Wolf's undoing. In a story that is meant to lather on the horrors inherent in the human's propensity for self-serving greed and gluttony, it can soften the blow when we're allowed to take a break from our disgust to spend a few moments in vivid, unabashed delight. Yes, the scene in question involves drug abuse, intoxicated driving, criminal activity, and a near-death experience. But it's so damn funny that we're kept from toppling down into what might have been the darkest crevasse of the film's story and enduring the pathos that might come with it. The dilution of Wolf's message comes at the hand of its comedy (with no affair a bigger culprit than the one described above) and its tendency to meander. Although Scorsese works to shove the very idea of "excess" down our throats with seemingly endless scenes of Belfort and his pals harassing flight attendants and dehumanizing little people, the ad nauseum effect doesn't always hit home as powerfully as imagined, instead allowing the viewer to fizzle out from time to time through Wolf's three-hour tour. We're drowned, slowly and steadily, in Belfort's tragic pleasures while, as the "18 months later" interstitial suggests, we keep expecting to combust with them. It's always a risky endeavor for a film or television show to indict crooked characters not through narrative penalties but through a tacit communication of their behavior or psychology as bad news. The risk comes in the form of audiences challenging artists for letting their villains get off scot-free, or even for glorifying undesirable lifestyles. Ultimately, while Belfort does get some semblance of his comeuppance, he wins in his nefarious game. The Belfort we leave at the end of our journey adheres to the tenets he spouts from the beginning, reveling in a legion of former colleagues beaming at him in collective awe and new students of his self-centric theology zealously eating up his every word in hopes of becoming the very same kind of demigod. To Scorsese, and to any an audience member willing to estrange him or herself from the bounties of wicked humor, this is just the fire we were promised. Belfort's image is ignited by the instances of theft, deceit, betrayal, substance abuse, sexual crime, and a spiralling descent into sub-human madness. But there are a few too many laughs along the way to keep the flames from reaching their full, hottest potential. But hey, when you're complaining about a movie for being too much fun, you've got a pretty good movie on your hands. 3.5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • There Are 7 Possible Ways This New 'Gilligan's Island' Movie Could Go...
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 18, 2013
    CBS via Everett Collection/Getty They're making a Gilligan's Island movie. Josh Gad is in it. This is the news we find ourselves facing today. Gilligan's Island purists (there's a purist for everything) are probably hollering over the news of Gad at the center of this production. "The Book of Mormon kid as Gilligan? That's conflicts with my purism!" But as of yet, we're not entirely sure who Gad is set to play. The assumption: Gilligan. The official word: TBA. So, really, there are seven possible ways this movie can go... Josh Gad as GilliganThe most straightforward adaptation of the sitcom, with Gad playing the bumbling title character who consistently thwarts his friends' attempts at escaping the confines of their desert island prison. Sight gags, goofy repartee, wacky laughs, and a simplistic message about believing in yourself and the people you love. Maybe Gad's Gilligan has a romantic flight with hometown gal Mary Ann? That'd sell. We mean, foster artistic merit. Directed by Shawn Levy. Also starringThe Skipper... Kevin JamesThe Millionaire... Jason BatemanHis Wife... Allison JanneyThe Movie Star... Sofia VergaraThe Professor... Jon Hamm (in glasses!)Mary Ann... Ellie Kemper Josh Gad as The SkipperYou know, for kids! If Gad takes on the role of the Skipper, a maritime man who has quite a few years on the rest of the characters, we might be seeing something in the vein of a Disney Channel vacation flick. Gad and his nephew "Gil" operate an ocean excursion for privileged youths and wind up on a crazy island adventure! Gad must wrangle these preteens (and teach them a few lessons about growing up) in this family-friendly 90-minute TV movie (with commercials). Rally the the small nation of people that wrote and directed the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movies. Also starringGilligan... Rico RodriguezThe Millionaire... One of the Sprouse twins (maybe not the one with the naked pictures scandal, just to be safe)His "Wife"... iCarlyThe Movie Star... Somebody named ZendayaThe Professor... The kid from Iron Man 3Mary Ann... My cousin Kylee recommended Bridget Mendler, but, admittedly, Kylee doesn't know what Gilligan's Island is Josh Gad as The Millionaire The quirky indie! We've seen a lot of stylistic liberties taken with old television programs and books, with an extra dose of contemporary eccentricity injected into properties like Dark Shadows or Fantastic Mr. Fox. Casting Gad as the (Internet) millionaire would kick off this new Gilligan with that dry, satirical flavor we find in so many offbeat indie flicks, rendering the entire island adventure a venue for deadpan non sequiturs and (quite appropriately) ukulele solos. Is Noah Baumbach available? No? Damn. Also starringGilligan... Jason SchwartzmanThe Skipper... Mark Ruffalo (is he still doing this stuff, or is he all Hulk now?)His Wife... Charlyne YiThe Professor... Mark DuplassThe Movie Star... Zoe Kazan, or a Zoe Kazan equivalentMary Ann... Greta Gerwig, obviously Josh Gad as His WifeThe broader-than-broad cross-dressing comedy! The kind of humor you find on the cutting room floor of Yogi Bear. If there's time to work in a plot between instances of human (and animal) flatulence, so be it. Overweight Gad playing the butt of every joke as Thurston Howell III's hilariously unattractive wife? That's not just comedy, it's America! Brett Ratner is already signed on for a three-picture deal. Also starringGilligan, The Skipper, The Millionaire, The Movie Star, and The Professor... Eddie MurphyMary Ann... An actual woman that they rope in for some semblance of a romantic arc Josh Gad as The Movie Star The classy Oscar candidate! Occasionally, a TV adaptation (i.e., The Fugitive) will reach far and beyond the constraints of its source material and actually churn out awards-caliber material. Casting Gad as a subversion of what we view as the epitome of traditional "celebrity" already lends itself to a more poignant and pensive Gilligan's Island than any of us might have anticipated. We're talking Sophia Coppola territory here. A drama that really says something about what it means for a septet of disparate humans to fend for themselves on a desert island. Also starringGilligan... Michael B. JordanThe Skipper... Christian Bale (he'll gain the weight)The Millionaire... Jean DujardinHis Wife... Marion CotillardThe Professor... Sean Penn — is he still allowed to make movies?Mary Ann... Rooney Mara Josh Gad as The Professor The sci-fi adventure! Gilligan's Island, less a few anthropomorphic monkeys and some liberties taken with coconut-based technology, was rooted in the laws of our universe. But you can say the same for Scooby Doo and The Brady Bunch, and they went on to face real monsters and impending asteroids in their film incarnations. Sometimes, the step toward the big screen warrants an inclusion of fantasy. Maybe the island isn't just uncharted, but cursed! Or the home of an undiscovered breed of monsters! Or a space-and-time-jumping beacon of electromagnetic energy that stands as an extended metaphor for the plight of the human soul! We can see the Bad Robot logo now... His Costars:Gilligan... Dave FrancoThe Skipper... Dwayne JohnsonThe Millionaire... Idris Elba — now you're on boardHis Wife... Gina CaranoThe Movie Star... Zoe SaldanaMary Ann... Elizabeth Olsen Josh Gad as Mary Ann Have you ever seen Head? The strange, cerebral, explosively meta deconstruction of the 1960s musical sitcom The Monkees? Well, we're thinking that the Gilligan's Island form would slink perfectly into these margins. It's surreal, it's ripe for analysis, it even has been suggested to represent the Seven Deadly Sins with each of its characters. Gad's casting as Mary Ann already raises an eyebrow, but a progressive and artful director might well give us something worthy of some deep dives. Charlie Kaufman, make Gilligan's Island about US. His Costars:Gilligan... Jared LetoThe Skipper... Meat LoafThe Millionaire... Denis LavantHis Wife... Catherine KeenerThe Movie Star... Chloe SevignyThe Professor... Joaquin Phoenix So which version are you rooting for? Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Review: 'Anchorman 2' Is an Acceptable Sequel with Big Laughs, Dry Stretches, and Something to Say About News
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 17, 2013
    Paramount Pictures For the past nine years, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy has enjoyed lasting celebration for its collection of all-purpose one liners. You'd be amazed at how frequently people manage to shout "Milk was a bad choice!" in regular conversation. But they do. Because they love it. And for my money, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has its own plump share of moments just as funny. Admittedly, I've never found the original Anchorman to be all that uproarious. Some were hooked straight away, others grew fond of the wacky comedy over the years. But it never rang more than occasionally amusing for me. In Anchorman 2, the laughter is even more occasional. But when it hits, it's arguably more amusing. I'm thinking, foremost, of throwaway gags like the news team cackling over their mutual distaste for workdays, or plunging headfirst into an copy of Garfield at Large. Bits and pieces like these throughout the movie showcase some terrific humor, with a few of the larger conceits — like Ron Burgundy's mid-movie relationship with a beached baby shark — also landing, and hard. Unfortunately, they are separated by long, slow, dry spells. But to be honest, even this movie's dry spells rarely lose watchability. The biggest shortcoming of Anchorman 2 can be pegged to the transformation of Steve Carell's weatherman character Brick Tamland. When we first meet Brick in the original film, he’s no more than a dimwitted weirdo, exhibiting anxiety and obliviousness in his few choice moments center stage. But such is not the case when we reunite with Brick in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. He's shouting hysterically, can't put a sentence together, and has no understanding of what is going on around him at any given time. And this doesn't work. It's not funny when Brick parades around the office like Godzilla, or takes full multi-minute scenes to wrap his mind around the simplest of concepts. Instead, it's grating. So it's quite the problem that this new Brick gets double the screentime and material of his old counterpart. Paired with an equally empty-headed Kristen Wiig, Brick enjoys his own romantic journey. There is no conflict keeping the two apart; their story just functions as a collection of interwoven scenes of two adults acting like moronic aliens — so it is played entirely for laughs. And, unfortunately, it deserves not a one. Paramount Pictures The outstanding negatives end there. It's not always hilarious when Ron Burgundy struggles with the racial divide between himself and his new boss/ladyfriend Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), but it's consistently affable. The rivalry between Ron and ex-wife Veronica's new beau Gary (Greg Kinnear, playing a psychologist with a ponytail — and how) churns out some hearty chuckles. And kudos to the script for handing more material to David Koechner's lovably rancid Champ Kind, although I wouldn't turn my nose up at an Anchorman 2 that had more for Paul Rudd to do. But the biggest victory of Anchorman 2 is that it actually has something to say about the news. Anchorman (likewise Will Ferrell's follow-up features Talladega Nights and the non-Adam McKay venture Blades of Glory) was primarily about gender roles and America's obsessive definition of masculinity. But Anchorman 2 looks specifically at the media, castigating the news industry for what it has devolved into. The film's message is broad, not especially constructive of a moral or solution, and not at all something we haven't seen before. But hey, it's been a while since Network, so this'll do just fine for the time being. The cultural phenomenon that was born from Anchorman is a rarity, reserved for special kinds of comedies that are just weird enough at just the right time. Anchorman 2 has all that weirdness in stock — hell, its climactic scene (the very best part of the movie, hands down) has more insanity in a three-minute span than the first movie does entirely. And in truth, it's worth seeing just for that. But leading up to it, you'll get big laughs, some duller (but not quite dull!) stretches, and some unexpected commentary on how America takes its news. All in all, a good time. Just ignore the Brick parts. 3/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • 'How I Met Your Mother' Recap: The First Bad Episode of the Season
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 17, 2013
    CBS I have been head over heels for this season of How I Met Your Mother, defending the stuck-in-the-wedding-weekend conceit against detractors and championing the overall refreshed feel of the humor and performances. But "Bass Player Wanted," the episode that would bring us the long anticipated union of the Mother and Ted's best pal Marshall, is far and away the worst half-hour Season 9 has given us. Marshall meets the future Mrs. Mosby — whose name might well be hinted at by the title of the series finale — while he's struggling to walk five miles from his broken down bus to the wedding venue. (Now, this is hardly a relevant issue, but the show makes out a five-mile walk to be some sort of cross-country trek. Yes, Marshall is carrying his son and a few bags, but five miles really isn't that dreadful a hike for a healthy man of his physical prowess.) Driving away from Farhampton, The Mother recognizes Marshall from the pictures Lily showed her back on the Long Island Railroad and offers to give him and baby Marvin a ride. Here, she reveals her present conflict: her lead singer, played demonically by Andrew Rannells, is some kind of sadistic sociopath who gets off on ruining people's friendships. As T.M. divulges Rannells' penchant for interrelationship sabotage, we see him starting fights between Lily and Robin (revealing that Robin is secretly taking Marshall's side in the judgeship/Italy debate) and Ted and Barney (telling Barney of Ted's plans to move to Chicago after the wedding). But we never quite understand what the deal is with this nutjob. Why is Rannells' character such a psychotic dick? And how does he know enough info about Robin/Lily/Ted/Barney to infuse himself so effectively into their trust? And is T.M. the only one who knows of his evil follies, or are the other band members also aware of the monster that Rannells is? As T.M. continues to refer to Rannells as "the Devil," we learn that he also has optioned to replace her as bass player, after usurping her position as lead singer. It's all a bunch of wackadoo nonsense that unwinds into a convoluted conclusion to win Ted the good graces of his future wife. How? By an act of idiotic violence. See, after Ted and Barney make up (I'll come back to that, since it is my favorite part of the episode), we see Ted punch Rannells' character right in the face. Is it because he broke his $600 bottle of Scotch, or because he instigated a spat between the two friends? A little of both, maybe. Either way, 35-year-old men shouldn't be punching people. That's not really admirable, and certainly not in character for Ted. Is this bizarre one-off moment of moronic machismo really supposed to be the thing that wins him the heart of The Mother? And do we really want Ted to end up with someone who can sign off on something like that? T.M. hears that someone has punched out Rannells, which, along with encouragement from Marshall, gives her the guts to stand up to him once and for all and kick him out of the band. Bravo, golf claps, whatever. This is fair, permissable punishment for this weird non-character. A telling off and a deflating of ego is far more effective than a sock in the jaw. But back to Ted and Barney. The sensitive Barney takes it personally that Ted hadn't told him about his Chicago move, insisting that Ted sees him as just "some guy he used to know in New York." The words land, and hard — Barney has always felt as though Ted didn't care nearly as much for him as he does for Ted, and probably with good reason. But Ted pulls off a half-cocked plan (stealing a $600 bottle of Scotch) and admitting, tacitly, that he is only leaving because he needs to start over with a Robin-free life. This Barney understands. The two make up. It all works. Unfortunately, it's surrounded by a lot of stuff that's significantly less clever. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • What the Hell Would a 'Good Will Hunting' Series Even Be?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 16, 2013
    Miramax via Everett Collection Monday morning saw a heap of news involving the Weinstein brothers and their former golden goose Miramax. Deadline reports that, in short, Hollywood kingpins Harvey and Bob have signed a deal that will allow them to dig up old properties and revive them in new forms. This means sequels, reboots, and reimaginings for a lot of their past Miramax hits. In ascending order of madness, we have mention of... - Rounders 2 — a follow-up to the Matt Damon poker flick that is reaching for Robert De Niro as the central villain.- A "series transfer" for Flirting with Disaster, an early David O. Russell movie that saw Ben Stiller on a quest to find his biological parents. This could easily be transformed into an episodic comedy (though we're not saying it should).- A Shakespeare in Love sequel, which, we guess, would involve the Bard's continued forays with romance as he explores the creative folds of his mind.- And finally, the most bewildering announcement that the showbiz news circuit has coughed up lately, another series adaptation: this one of the movie Good Will Hunting. ...That's pretty weird. For the three Americans who haven't seen Good Will Hunting, it tells the story of (once again) Matt Damon, as a 20-year-old orphan, impoverished Bostonian, and all-around dillhole with a genius intellect, most notably for complex mathematics. He spends most of his time causing mayhem with fellow dillholes (of the non-genius variety) Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, and Cole Hauser, until his mental stamina is discovered by a haughty MIT professor (Stellan Skarsgaard) who insists that his old pal (Robin Williams) refurbish the troubled young Damon's psychological state of being so that he can put his intelligence to good use. In the end, everything works out rather neatly. The poor-but-smart Mr. Hunting finds an outlet for his talents, gets in touch with his latent childhood traumas, and even meets a nice lady in the process (Minnie Driver). The sort of self-contained story that made for the bread and butter of '90s cinema. So how on Earth are they going to turn this picture into a series? Some hefty bastardization is in order... The Session-by-Session Route: Each week, we'll examine the psychological progress achieved by young William Hunting as he undertakes regular therapy sessions with Dr. Robin Williams. I mean Sean. Kind of like The Sopranos, with a different (albeit similarly egregious) mistreatment of the letter "R". Potential episodes: "Will Hunting's Daddy Issues," "Will Hunting and the Naked-in-High-School Nightmare," "Will Hunting vs. the Rorshach." The On-the-Road-to-Skyler Route: At the end of the movie, we see Will take off out of Boston in the new car just bequeathed unto him by three friends who, unlike himself, actually don't have high paying jobs lined up. Without so much as a goodbye, he zooms down the road to "see about a girl" ... in other words, to reunite with Skyler, who at this point resides in California. Maybe we'll see the sequel as a series of sorts, with Will taking on a cross country journey to make amends with his lost love, getting himself mixed up in goofy adventures along the way. Potential episodes: "Will Hunting Takes Manhattan," "Will Hunting in the Bayou," "Will Hunting's Sheboygan Adventure." The Just-Hangin'-'round-with-Chuckie-and-the-Fellas Route: This is probably the worst idea of the bunch... and yet, so many a film and TV program has been made of it. In this incarnation, Will and his Southie pals would spend their time drinking, cursing, watching little league games, beating up other kids in the park, going down to the bowling alley. Think of it as an even more nihilistic Seinfeld, with less money and a good deal more maim. Potential episodes: "Will and Chuckie Rob the Shaw's," "Morgan's Get Rich Quick Scheme," "Cole Hauser's Sheboygan Adventure." The Original Thriller-esque Route: For those of you who have read up on the story behind the production of Good Will Hunting, for whatever unfounded reason, you might know that the script was originally a thriller about G-men who pursued Will for his mathematic gift. So, maybe something like that would work as a series, and we'd see Will taking on Jason Bourne-like adventures as he avoids the long arm of the American government. Potential episodes: "Will Goes Incognito," "Will Meets Carrie Mathison," "Will Finally Realizes It's Time to Serve His Country and Sells Out Entirely." Which of these Good Will Huntings would you most like to see? Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Does '22 Jump Street' Look as Clever as the Surprise Hit in Red Band Trailer?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 16, 2013
    MOVIECLIPS Trailers/YouTube Nobody expected 21 Jump Street to be funny. The film was a surprise reimagining of an '80s cop drama that nobody really ever talked about anymore. It starred an Apatow regular who everyone was kind of getting sick of and a dancing hunk that nobody knew could land a joke. But lo and behold, the 2012 comedy was damn good. But will22 Jump Street, the upcoming sequel, hit the same marks? The red band trailer doesn't assure us either way. On the one hand, there is a unique gift inherent in this film series: the ability to do the same thing we loved over again but in a way that feels not only fresh, but sensible (after high school comes college, naturally). But we can't help but wonder if a movie that relied so much on one-off gags and a shocking, youthful energy can reproduce all that in a Round 2. The red band trailer has its share of self-referential jabs and goofy jokes, and will probably introduce a handful of quotable lines as did its predecessor. But in watching the video, we feel a looming sense of dread. A stale atmosphere as Nick Offerman lambasts Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, now set to play undercover cops at a local university. Will it be funny? Very possible. Will it be a dud? A tad more possible. Check out the trailer and judge for yourself. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //