411 Fact or Fiction Movies/TV 3.1.13: Week 371
Posted by Ben Piper on 03.01.2013
Will Jack the Giant Slayer fail to deliver? Will 21 & Over be a better-than-average comedy? Will The Last Exorcism Part II be better than the original? 411's Andy Critchell and Michael Ornelas debate these topics and more!
So the Oscars were this past weekend. In the last two years I had tied for the win in the 411 staff pool. This year I won outright, correctly picking 20 out of 24 categories. Hurrah, huzzah, so on and so forth. I bring this up in order to gloat over my contemporaries, illustrating my prognosticating superiority and greatness so I can tuck that particular feather into my cap until next year, when I shall whoop their happy asses yet again.
With that out of the way, it's Fact or Fiction time. This week we've got Michael Ornelas and Andy Critchell to kick around. Let's see what they have to say…
1. Jack The Giant Slayer won't be very good.
Michael Ornelas: Fact. With Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Snow White and the Huntsman not being very good movies, I sure HOPE Jack the Giant Slayer is, just to put an end to the string of subpar live action fairy tale movies. That being said, I don't think it'll be "very" good. It may just be enjoyable if you don't think too hard about it -- and I'll take that. Nicholas Hoult slightly impressed me in Warm Bodies, but didn't knock it out of the park there. Hopefully this fares a little better.
Andy Critchell: Fiction. From the commercials I have seen I think Jack the Giant Slayer looks like a pretty neat movie actually. I enjoy the ABC program Once Upon a Time and I enjoy how Hollywood has been mining familiar fairy-tales for new movies so this seems right up my alley. I doubt I will go to the theater to see it but I imagine myself giving it a watch whenever it ends up on HBO. I also generally enjoy the work of Bryan Singer and Ewan McGregor is someone I am a fan of so all in all I am hopeful for this movie. At worst it will be harmless fun.
Score: 0 for 1
2. You were mostly pleased with the Oscar winners.
Michael Ornelas: Fact. I went 18/24 on my predictions (still waiting to hear if I won my office betting pool), and it would have been 19/24 had I not tried to predict who the Academy would pick and just gone with my gut on Best Supporting Actor. The only real disappointments for me were seeing Roger Deakins lose yet again after the beautifully-shot Skyfall for Best Cinematography, and Brave's victory. Just...don't bet against Pixar, because no one else animates better than them. It's true, they are visually the best, and I guess story doesn't matter as much because their outing this year was the weakest of the bunch and they still took home the shiny gold statue. But pretty much all the other picks I cared about came true.
Andy Critchell: Fact. I am a pretty casual Oscars observer but the winners for the major categories seemed right to me so I have no reason to be upset. Daniel Day Lewis winning was about as predictable as anything, but that's OK. I mean, his performance in Lincoln was definitely amazing. Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway are both super talented (and super foxy) so I have no complaints for their wins either. Christoph Waltz is a very talented guy so his win works for me as well. Argo and Ang Lee are also worthy winners in my mind.
Score: 1 for 2
3. Ben Hur should not be remade.
Michael Ornelas: Fiction. The film is 54 years old and one of the all-time greats. The goal of studios is to make money. The intrigue around a remake like this would probably draw in the crowds. Movie production technology has advanced so much that a remake on a classic wouldn't necessarily be a horrible thing - it's bringing the story to a generation. Now that I've written that and feel appropriately dirty, I need to say that I don't WANT classics to be remade unless the projects are tackled by the most respected and prolific of filmmakers - something I doubt would actually happen. Classics deserve our reverence, and therefore should strive for the same quality upon remake. I don't trust that coming true, so as a fan, I say leave them alone. As a filmmaker though, it's probably a good idea for the sake of revenue in the industry.
Andy Critchell: Fiction. Much like Michael my only concern with classic remakes is how they are handled and how much reverence is paid towards the original. In recent years we have seen some remakes which told the story in a very different and yet entertaining way; True Grit comes to mind, so the possibility definitely exists for doing Ben Hur in a way which updates the story for a modern audience AND pays respect to the original by not doing a shot for shot remake. If they do a Ben Hur remake in the same vein as Gladiator or the HBO series Rome then there is a very good chance they will get some of my hard earned money.
Score: 2 for 3
4. 21 & Over will be a better than average comedy.
Andy Critchell: Fact. I think this movie looks great! It reminds me of a combination of SuperBad and The Hangover. I can definitely get down with that. I am just happy that a movie like this wasn't shot as some kind of "found footage" crap because I am not a fan of that. But what's not to like? It has drunken fun, hot chicks, and young adult antics galore. Given how some modern comedies are not all that funny I think this has a great chance to be better than average even if it is only just harmless fun.
Michael Ornelas: Fact. This is a very cynical "Fact" for me because "better than average" to me is a pretty low bar to reach. Most comedies that have come out in the past 10 years are truly horrible with only a few notable greats (Black Dynamite, Tropic Thunder, Horrible Bosses, The Hangover, etc.). Personal bias is probably setting in because "party" comedies don't really do it for me as I can't exactly relate. If the movie gets stellar reviews (and at least an 85% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes), then I'll probably see it, but I'm pretty sure that while this will be "better than average," it won't be all that good.
Score: 3 for 4
5. FX should not be split into two separate channels, one focusing on comedy and the other drama.
Andy Critchell: Fiction. I am all for the split actually. It seems to me that over the past few years no network has put out more consistent quality content than FX. Between Justified, Sunny, the League, Sons of Anarchy, Archer, Louie, the Americans, and others the network has just been killing it. But FX got where it is by taking chances (plus John Landgraf is the man!) and I think a split would allow for FX to take even more chances and become home for comedies and dramas that may not otherwise find a place to develop and grow. Terriers, for example, was a show that many critics loved but it was cancelled because FX had so many other programs in development that they could not afford to be patient with a show that was not a hit right out of the gate. If they do split them a show like Terriers would have a chance.
Michael Ornelas: Fiction. I touched on my love of this channel back when I was still able to write my 411 column by rating it number 1 amongst all the channels out there. I watch every narrative show on this network except for Charlie Sheen's Anger Management. That means It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer, The League, Wilfred, Louie, and Legit would all have their own channel that would be supplemented by new programs by FX (and give their brand identity, I trust them to find funny new shows as long as they don't look for more shows like AM). Then Sons of Anarchy, Justified, The Americans, and American Horror Story would lead the drama channel's programming. EITHER of those line-ups would be killer for any network (at least in terms of quality), so FX being able to boast them both and add to them with new content would be wonderful for the television landscape. It's also not really a secret to those who know me that my dream-job is to be a show runner for a comedy on FX (one not bogged down by public access censorship rules like my first stab at a series, "Shenanigans"), so more space for more shows on FX is something I support 100% (I'm slightly sorry for the cheap plug, but feel free to check it out! It's self-admittedly mediocre, but has its moments and isn't a bad start for a college student).
Score: 4 for 5
6. The Last Exorcism Part II will be better than the original.
Andy Critchell: Fiction. I think horror movies in general are terrible and made for dummies so I guess in this case the sequel would be just as awful as the original. I'll never see it. The commercials make the movie look equal parts creepy and stupid; probably much like the audience (ZING!) But if the original was the LAST Exorcism then how could there be a part 2? Does that make this the Last, Last Exorcism? Will the third one be the Last, Last, Last (for realsies this time) Exorcism? That reminds me of Naked Gun, which was stupid on purpose...as opposed to this which is probably stupid on accident. Hooray!
(EDIT: Moderator ducks for cover and makes mental note never to ask Critchell about horror movies again.)
Michael Ornelas: Fiction. I haven't seen the first Last Exorcism, so it's kind of hard to judge, but usually sequels are a step back in terms of quality. Unless it's a major studio tentpole blockbuster, the sequel doesn't really stand a chance. There are exceptions from time to time, but they are very rarely in the horror genre. I like some good horror every now and then, but lately, most of the good horror I've seen is the ever-popular horror/comedy hybrid genre. I don't think The Last Exorcism Part II will be comparable to the first one (that even though I didn't see, it was good and/or successful enough to warrant a sequel).
Final Score: 5 for 6
And there you go. Andy and Michael agree more often than not. Thanks to them both for taking the time, and see you all again next week.