We're six days into the new year, and that means everybody is abandoning ship on 2008 and looking forward to all the wonderful things 2009 has in store for us. The good folks at JoBlo for instance, have used their time machine to jump forward to the end of the year and report back on what the best movies of 2009 will be.
I however am something of a curmudgeon. I already know what the best movie of 2009 will be. It'll be Watchmen… if Fox's lawyers allow it to be released. Instead I'm more interested in finding out which upcoming movies nobody cares about so I can ignore them. The next two years are filled with high-profile upcoming projects which the web's bloggers and borderline reporter types have already been busily trumpeting as the next big thing, movies which they and I guess us, hope you're all as excited about as they/we are. Some of them, like the aforementioned Watchmen have deserved all of the coverage they've gotten. A lot of them… nobody really cares about. Sound and fury signifying nothing.
So because there's nothing finer than dedicting tons of time to things which no one cares about while at the same time complaining about the time being dedicated to these very same things (no I haven't heard of irony), here's our definitive list of over-reported upcoming movies that nobody cares about, at least not yet. Maybe we internet ninja turtles should all do ourselves a favor stop reporting on them. We won't of course, because we're all total whores, but it makes me feel better to say we should.
Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are joining forces to direct a trilogy of movies based on Tintin, a series of Belgian comic strips about a young reporter. Think the Adventures of Lois Lane, but without Superman or nice gams. The incredible combination of Spielberg and Jackson should have us dressing like hobbits and flying around on bicycles, but Tintin sounds pretty awful doesn't it? I'm told it's big overseas, but so is David Hasselhoff and nobody wants to see a movie about him. Spielberg and Jackson couldn't have picked a less exciting project if they'd actually set out to intentionally alienate their fans. Nobody here in America cares about Tintin, and that's not going to change no matter who ends up directing it. Worse, the more we see of the comic on which it's based, the more mind-numbingly lame this thing seems. It's incredible that Jackson could get millions in financing for a trilogy of Tintin movies, yet he couldn't get anyone to pony up for one Halo movie, based on arguably the most popular game franchise in existence. Maybe that's the most galling thing about this ultra-boring project. We could be watching Halo instead.
How To Get Us Interested: You're Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg. In front of your cameras even a turd project like this should look amazing. Don't waste any time. Start courting fans immediately. You're not going to sell us on it by blathering on and on about how amazing your awful source material is. So as soon as you have something, anything, show it. Release images from the film early, and make them amazing. Put out a teaser trailer that blows our minds and sells us on the concept right now. The longer you wait, the more time we have to get in the habit of rolling our eyes every time it's mentioned. Your potential audience is already checking out, and you haven't even started shooting it yet. The clock is ticking fellas.
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
Everybody knows why this movie is being made. Transformers was a hit and so Hollywood went scrambling for another 80s cartoon franchise to shove up our asses. Unfortunately while toy soldiers are significantly easier to insert into the anus than pointy metal robots, they aren't nearly as exciting. Putting a bunch of soldiers in costumes leftover from the X-Men movies and letting them point guns at each other just isn't as much fun as an alien who can turn into a Mack truck. Maybe there are a couple of hardcore G.I. Joe fans out there somewhere excited about this movie, but for everyone else this thing already looks like a tremendous dud. Oh you've got an exclusive look at Duke in his bland, black combat armor? Well fuck you very much, I'll be sure to look at that whenever I need to get so bored I throw up.
How To Get Us Interested: The characters look awful so how about showing us some of the vehicles? Maybe those will be cool. From what I remember of the old G.I. Joe cartoons there were a lot of lasers and gliders and stuff. Maybe when we see some of that from this film, we'll have a reason to be excited. Unless of course the Joes are all driving around in flat black Ford Pintos. At least that would match their costumes.
In theory, Kick-Ass could be pretty cool. The title alone is kind of awesome and the movie's villain is being played by Superbad's McLovin. Yet the internet is overloaded with Kick-Ass exclusives and no one seems to care. Nic Cage is a big part of the problem. When was the last time he made something good? Yeah, it's been that long. Then there's the source material, a comic known only to a handful of obsessive comic nerds who seem unaware that the rest of the world has not only never heard of it, it doesn't care to. Or maybe it's the unending string of boorish set photos which keep leaking out everywhere sparing people to death. They show nothing, yet the internet's prominent movie sites keep publishing them, as if it's a worthwhile exclusive. We're as guilty of that as anyone, which is weird when you consider that we're just as bored with running them as you are bored with looking at them.
How To Get Us Interested: It's probably too late to fire Nic Cage, so the Kick-Ass team needs to take control of the way their movie is being portrayed. Almost none of the information out there about the film has come from official sources. Instead it's come from shady bloggers out to inflate their own egos and in the process doing a crummy job of making this thing seem interesting. The second they start releasing official photos from the production, people will finally stop leaking those awful, exclusive, grainy, boring set pics. Give us something better to look at and you'll once again be in charge of how your movie is being marketed. Right now you've ceded that control to borderline bloggers, and that's never good.
Movie fandom was actually excited about Tarantino's next project, for about five minutes. Then everyone got hold of the script, read it, and realized it was not at all as advertised. It's not about tough-as-nails Jewish Americans hunting Nazis. It's The Majestic if the part of Jim Carrey were played by Anne Frank. Since then we've been beaten over the head with lame set photos showing boring cabins and an endless stream of somewhat stupid, ill-fitting casting announcements. Misspelling your movie's title isn't helping you either Quentin, it only makes the whole thing seem even more retarded. What happened to the guy that made Kill Bill?
How To Get Us Interested: Maybe a decent trailer will do it, but I doubt it. Quentin, what your movie needs is a rewrite, a rewrite in which you cut out all the German Hollywood crap and replace it with honest to god Nazi hunting. Bring on the fucking Basterds! You don't have to let us see the rewrites, but maybe just let us know that they're happening? Give us some sign that the piece of crap movie we've read isn't the one you're making. So far all indications are that it is, and until this changes your fans will continue saying no thanks to the endless stream of set photos featuring you standing in front of an old shack.
Anything starring Sylvester Stallone
I don't know what Stallone's next project is and frankly I don't care. The world barely noticed when he returned to Rambo and Rocky, what hope does he have of getting our attention with anything else? I think he's in some action movie with Jason Statham next. Statham is cool but Stallone, no thanks. Sorry buddy we're just done with you. You had your day, time to retire.
Ho To Get Us Interested: If Rambo and Rocky couldn't do it, I really don't think anything will. You're an icon dude, sit back and enjoy it. Sell a lot of Rambo lunchboxes or something. Get together with Wesley Snipes and talk about that time you froze him to death in order to save Sandra Bullock. Speaking of people we're no longer interested in: Hi to Sandra Bullock.
Note to Marvel: Just because Iron Man did well does not mean all of your classic characters are suddenly relevant. Case in point: Thor, who is next up as one of their characters to get a solo movie. Hulk, one of the most well-known comic characters in history, has struggled twice now to make it in theaters yet somehow Marvel thinks we're all excited to see a lame-duck like Thor in a movie. Thor. People have at least heard of Iron Man, or if not the superhero then they've heard the song. Ask the average guy on the street who Thor is and you'll probably get Norse god, not superhero. He's not even a good superhero. People complain that Superman is too godlike, well Thor is actually a god. At least Hercules had the decency to be half-god. In a post-Dark Knight world, where superhero films are moving towards intense realism and away from silly fanboy fantasy, is it any surprise that contemplating Thor is meant with utter indifference?
How To Get Us Interested: Pack the movie with cameos. You'll need them. How many scenes can Stan Lee be in? Where can you work Tony Stark into the script? Any chance you can bring in Sam Jackson and let him scream motherfucker? Once you've filled the film with cameos, you'd better make a splash with whoever you cast as the character. Daniel Craig would have been good, except he had the sense to say hell no. You'll probably need Brad Pitt if you want more than the comic nerd audience to pay attention.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Even Disney isn't interested in this movie, and they were supposed to be making it. They've since dropped Narnia 3 and it's likely that some other studio will snatch it up to continue the franchise. Still, Disney may have been on to something. Sure we all sort of enjoyed the first two movies and yeah they made a little money… but did everyone forget about that last one fast or what? It's almost like Prince Caspian never happened. I watched it, liked it, and now even I have a hard time remembering that I saw it. Dawn Treader is my favorite of the Narnia books but maybe this thing is just out of gas. Seriously, Aslan how many times can we watch you return? Enough already. Try simply sticking around instead. Even real Jesus isn't this inattentive.
How To Get Us Interested: Can we replace the lion with a dragon? No? Maybe if J.R.R. Tolkien were resurrected from the dead and allowed to rewrite the books for C.S. Lewis and his Christ-complex that could do something. Barring that, having Disney drop it may actually be the best thing that could have happened to the Narnia franchise. If another studio grabs it that may mean a new direction and a fresh approach to C.S. Lewis's world. Show us something different, maybe something with less soft-focus CGI and little more edge to it and there's a chance Narnia fans might awake from their slumber.
Roland Emmerich destroys the world again! Come on, how many times are we going to let the guy do this? The disaster movie thing is so over and the trailers for 2012 do nothing to make it look like this latest CGI-fest is going to do anything that might inject new life into it. Flooded monks? Seriously that's all you could come up with? After all the shit China has done to Tibet, a horrendous flood might actually be the best thing that could happen to it. If Richard Gere is to be believed, it couldn't possibly get much worse there as it is. Go ahead, flood the hell out of it. Just don't make me watch it.
How To Get Us Interested: Less CGI. It's really really getting tired Roland. I know this is never going to happen, but if in your next trailer you showed off some real, practical effects; dropped a stunt man off a mountain top or used a couple of Muppets or something then maybe, just maybe we might be willing to give your humanity ending bullshit a shot again.
James Cameron's Avatar
I have every confidence in the world that James Cameron's first movie since Titanic is going to be super cool. It's just that right now, even though there's an unending stream of news about it, it's all vapor. People keep talking about it endlessly but we've yet to really see anything substantive from it. Bear in mind that this is a movie that's been reported on and talked about for more than three years now. Isn't it about time we saw something? Anything? Until then there's really no good reason to care. James Cameron? Sure, yeah, great. Isn't he lost in a submarine somewhere? Jim you've been gone a long long long time. For nearly a decade now you've done nothing but shoot starfish. We barely remember who you are, let alone what you can do.
How To Get Us Interested: Show us something! Anything! We need a James Cameron wakeup call. A movie poster that isn't fake, a Sigourney Weaver headshot, or hey how about letting us see one of those crazy CGI aliens we keep hearing about in vague, non-specific terms? You can autograph it if you want. The world just needs to remember why James Cameron is so freakin awesome. Blow our minds Jim. That's all we're asking. For you that's easy.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
It's based on obscure cartoon which runs late nights on Nickelodeon. I'm told it's fantastic, but the last time anyone over the age of 14 watched Nickelodeon it was 1994 and Ren and Stimpy was on. For those of you who have seen it and love it, the movie version is being directed by M. Night Shyamalan which, considering the current state of his career ought to be enough to ruin any hopes you might have that it'll be good. After three awful movies we've cut Night all the slack he's going to get. Actually I think the only reason this movie gets reported on as much as it does is because it's confused with Cameron's Avatar movie. Once Cameron finally gets off his ass and shows us something from his film, that free publicity ride should be over with.
How To Get Us Interested: Make a movie that is absolutely nothing like anything you've done before Night. The first trailer released for Last Airbender should not have your name anywhere on it, and should not involve creepy music or hint at big, exciting plot twists. Oh and promise us, promise right now that you will absolutely not at any point shoot yourself a cameo in this film. The only thing worse than your writing and directing is your acting.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia gets a lot of press because it's the first videogame movie with a real, A-list actor involved. It's true, Jake Gyllenhaal is one heck of an actor. Unfortunately this is still a videogame movie. Chances of success? Practically zero. We all know what happens when Hollywood gets its hands on a game console. Doom happens. Donnie Darko or no, there's no reason to believe this one will be any better. Besides isn't there something vaguely racist about hiring a pasty white guy to play an Arab prince? Something's horribly wrong here. The media may be reporting the hell out of it, but for now nobody really seems to care.
How To Get Us Interested: The first trailer may help, but all that sand makes it look a lot like a Mummy movie and we've all recently been burned by one of those. What Prince of Persia is going to need is reviews, and really good ones. Most big-budget blockbusters are critic proof but audiences are starting to get wise to the suckiness of videogame flicks. If Roger Ebert gives it a big thumbs up though, it just might convince us to give this one a chance.
If you read movie sites like this one regularly, you've no doubt seen a lot of stories about Jonah Hex. Of course no normal person has ever heard of Jonah Hex and so you have to wonder what the obsession is with reporting it. Here's the answer: It's based on a comic book. Comic books are read by nerds. Movie sites are run by nerds. Unfortunately most movie site readers aren't nerds so we should probably all cool it with this one until something more interesting than the casting of C-list actor Thomas Jane happens with it. Sadly that's not going to happen, since the people making it know that no one cares and are thus making tons of boring exclusives available to a wide variety of nerd-run blogs who then in turn, run them and scream to everyone about their exclusive… even though probably nobody cares. It's a vicious circle of back slapping and mutual promotion that will only end in tears.
How To Get Us Interested: Better casting for starters. Thomas Jane is not a star. He's the poor man's Aaron Eckhart. Oh Josh Brolin now has the role? He's great, but he's no Tom Cruise. Jonah Hex could use a real goddamn celebrity. Unless it gets one, expect this one to slip quietly onto the bottom shelf of your local video store, where it probably belongs.
Justice League of America
You had to see this one coming. The blogosphere has been humping the bloated corpse of this non-project for what seems like more than a decade and we still don't know for sure if it'll ever happen. It's been stopped and started so many times that the prevailing attitude out there now among potential moviegoers seems to simply be: fuck it. We all know there's no way this movie will ever get done properly anyway. Getting it done properly means both Christian Bale and Brandon Routh in the movie playing Batman and Superman. Not gonna happen. So we all sit and endure endless, no-name casting rumors while the project goes down in flames, gets resurrected, and goes down in flames all over again. Enough. I don't care whether it gets made or not, it's time the movie community vowed to stop reporting on this dead-end superhero movie.
How To Get Us Interested: Turn it over to Pixar and let them make it animated. That's the only way this will work. That solves the impossible effects budget necessary to make huge effects for that many superheroes, and it eliminates the need to have Brandon Routh and Christian Bale. And ok, it doesn't have to be Pixar doing it. Just give it to someone who knows how to make a kick-ass computer animated flick. The action in Kung Fu Panda was really good. I bet those guys could handle it.