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411 Fact or Fiction Movies/TV 10.12.12: Week 352
Posted by Ben Piper on 10.12.2012





I'm having trouble coming up with a satisfying intro to the column this week. I started to write about the first rain of the fall hitting my area, but then I thought "boring". Then I considered crowing about the S.F. Giants coming back from being down two games to the Reds to win the NLDS, but that would just be gloating, and besides, I'm sure Cincinnati fans are in no mood to hear about it. So, what should I do? What should I write?

Oh, I know, welcome back once again to Fact or Fiction! This week we've got Al Norton and Michael Ornelas to kick around. Let's let them have at it…



1. Argo will be one of the best movies of the year and a top Oscar contender.

Al Norton: Fact. And not just because my brother and his girlfriend are visible on screen for at least a few seconds! Argo looks awesome to me, smart and tense and funny all at the same time, with a great cast and the added kicker of being "based on a true story." Ben Affleck is really establishing himself as a legit storyteller, with his first two directorial efforts - Gone Baby Gone and The Town - being quite good and from everything I've seen and read he raises his game even more for Argo And it's got Alan Arkin!!! Having four year old twins and watching as much TV as I do does not make for a lot of theater going experiences but I have already decided I will make time to see Argo, which is just about as excited as I get for a movie these days.

Michael Ornelas: Fact. "One of" is the key word here. 2012 has been an absolutely fantastic year for movies. Despite being a primarily TV consumer, I've gone to the movies this year more than any year in the past seven or eight. The Master, The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods, The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, The Raid: Redemption, Looper, and Moonrise Kingdom were all great in their own rights (not that they'll all necessarily be in the nomination race). I'm sure Argo will sit nicely in that company and be a top contender, but Django Unchained and The Hobbit haven't come out yet either. But Argo looks great and I'm sure I'll see it in the next couple weeks. I've really come to respect Ben Affleck in recent years between Gone Baby Gone and The Town. He's an incredible director and Argo looks to be no exception. It's definitely one of the movies from this year that will get its due credit.

Score: 1 for 1

2. You agree with Esquire Magazine's assertion that Mila Kunis is the sexiest woman alive.


Al Norton: Fact. Would she be my first choice? Probably not, but is she someone worthy of making it to the final group for this sort of discussion? Hell yes, and that's really all you can ask for. Obviously not everyone is going to agree with who is the absolute sexiest woman alive but the idea is that you can understand why Esquire chose her, and I most certainly can. I am pleased they did not go the route of picking some obscure simply so they could be different and then try to take credit when her career took off after making their cover, nor did they pick someone who is overexposed (i.e. Kimmy K or Kate Upton or Sofia Vergara).

Michael Ornelas: Fact. Absolutely. She sounds like her voice is trying to leave her permanently in every interview I see of her. But she is gorgeous, so I agree.

Score: 2 for 2

3. You'd tune in to a TV reboot of Fame.


Al Norton: Fact. I mean, I've got Glee and Smash season passed so why would I not give a new version of Fame a shot? The original movie Fame was pretty gritty and while the TV show became a bit more glossy, I'd like to see a return to the more realistic world of that first big screen version, showing the mix of these students being regular teenagers as well as the rather unique set of pressures on them while attending an academy for the performing arts. Plus it may be a new employment opportunity for all those kids who get on but don't win shows like American Idol and The Voice. Come to think of it, the casting people for this show should start by watching the first two seasons of The Glee Project and making calls from there.

Michael Ornelas: Fiction. There have already been three reboots of Fame! Another movie, a TV series, and a musical. Isn't there room for an original idea? Add to that the fact that the original series had six seasons (and a movie!), I can't seen any reason for this. Give young writers in Hollywood with their own new show ideas a chance (I'm not hard to reach!). TV is already oversaturated with music shows (between competition shows and some of the narratives like Glee and Smash), so I just don't see any reason to get behind this.

Score: 2 for 3

Switch!!!




4. Here Comes The Boom will not be very good.


Michael Ornelas: Fact. BUT that doesn't mean it won't be enjoyable. As I was recently compiling a list of what I think the best movies of all time are, very few comedies made that list. The genre is inherently flawed in terms of storytelling as it favors getting a laugh over cohesiveness. So in that regard, I've seen nothing out of the trailers for this movie that has made me believe it will be "good"...but that doesn't mean in can't be funny. Now that's still up in the air, and I'm about 50/50 on that (whether or not it will be worth a laugh), but I'm sure it won't be good. Kevin James has a very specific brand of humor and it can be abrasive once you've seen it too much, but the man is talented at comedy. I remember the first time I saw his stand-up special on Comedy Central and I loved it, but since he's progressed onto the screen, I've yet to have such a high opinion of his work. A comedy about MMA could change that, but I'm not holding my breath.

Al Norton: Fact. Have to disagree with Michael about the genre of comedy being flawed in terms of storytelling - Annie Hall, Groundhog Day, When Harry Met Sally, Heaven Can Wait, The Philadelphia Story, Bull Durham, Splash, Big, Keeping the Faith, His Girl Friday, There's Something About Mary, The Princess Bride, Get Shorty, and those are literally off the top of my head - because good comedies do both, get a laugh and tell a good story while doing so...Back to the subject at hand; while I think Kevin James is quite funny, nothing about his big screen resume makes me think he's somehow chosen a good movie this time around. It very well might be funny, could be a huge crowd pleaser - who won't cheer some good ass kicking and/or the fat guy getting Selma Hayek in the end?!?! - but my guess is this opens pretty well and after a few weeks is never discussed again.

Score: 3 for 4

5. A big screen comedic Baywatch movie is an idea you can get behind.


Michael Ornelas: Fact. I feel so dirty for writing that, but Baywatch should not be taken seriously, so a comedy about it sounds right, even if I am predisposed to dislike reboots and remakes. I've heard Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber's names thrown around for the little I've heard about this, as well as David Hasselhoff's. Two of those are great, but I have no idea if Bieber can honestly do comedy. All that being said, a completely tongue-in-cheek approach to Baywatch could be a fresh addition to the comedy market. I don't know if it'll be good or if I'd even see it, but I can at least support the development of it and see what comes of it, for sure.

Al Norton: Fiction. The problem is that Baywatch was already so cheesy that mocking it won't end up much different than the original product. The whole show was tongue in cheek, especially once it went from NBC to syndication and Hasselhoff realized exactly what people were watching for. I mean, what are they going to do, have women run around in tighter, smaller swimsuits in even slower motion? The Hoff and Anderson are already the height of self-parody so how could you put any sort of original, creative spin on it? I think people forget/are too young to remember that the reason why Airplane worked so well is that the movies they were parodying took themselves so seriously that there was a ton of material to work with. No one has ever accused Baywatch of taking itself seriously so I don't have high hopes for this project.

Score: 3 for 5

6. Seven Psychopaths will be hilariously awesome.


Michael Ornelas: Fact. I can't imagine this not being enjoyable -- the cast is super strong and it's got CHRISTOPHER WALKEN in it. The trailer looks exactly what this question proposed: hilariously awesome. The premise about a kidnapped dog seems so ridiculous that it will do nothing but help the movie. Aside from total agreement, I don't really have anything else to say that you wouldn't already know. This movie seems in the same category as Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels in terms of how it will be executed and that's an absolutely classic action comedy, so I have high hopes for this.

Al Norton: Fact, especially because the question wasn't if the movie will be good. There's plenty of movies that are fun and entertaining but not actually good and I think Seven Psychopaths is likely to fall in that category, with a slew of talented actors chewing scenery and delivering monologues like their lives depended on it; I am getting a sort of Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead vibe, which I mean as high praise. Sometimes when watching a trailer you can tell that the cast had fun filming the movie and that's certainly true in this case. I can't say I will actually get to it in the theater but it will certainly go on my list of movies to watch when available for home viewing.

Final Score: 4 for 6

And that's that. Al and Michael agree more often than not. Thanks to them both for stopping by, and see you all again next week.
-BP

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