- The InSneider
- Sundance's New Survey; A Bro-tastic Bidding War; Original Score Power Rankings; Furiosa Trailer
Sundance's New Survey; A Bro-tastic Bidding War; Original Score Power Rankings; Furiosa Trailer
Would you pay $175 million to see Ryan Reynolds and Channing Tatum as brothers?
Happy Friday, folks! We made it to the end of the week. I’m looking forward to getting back out on the basketball court tomorrow morning and checking out Godzilla Minus One at some point this weekend.
Here’s some light reading after the heavy events of this week, but if your eyes are just too tired tonight, feel free to watch the latest episode of For Your Consideration, in which Scott Mantz, Perri Nemiroff, and I revisit the Best Actress race.
I’d also like to plug my LA Magazine interview with Dash Katz, a queer, nonbinary contestant on Squid Game: The Challenge, which currently leads the Top 10 on Netflix. The series is wildly entertaining and Dash was one of my favorite players, so check out what they had to say, and what they did with the condoms that producers so helpfully provided.
Sundance’s New Survey
This is the world’s smallest violin playing for all the other Sundance movies…
Today marked the deadline to respond to a Sundance Film Festival survey that featured the following prompt:
“What are your top 10 films that have screened at Sundance? Maybe they challenged you, thrilled you, made you cry, laugh, and see the world differently. This list is about your personal choices. Please choose 10 films that, for you, best represent the breadth, diversity, artistic resonance, social, political, or cultural impact of independent storytelling at the Festival.”
At long last, here was a Sundance survey that didn’t ask me for my ethnicity or sexual identity! I kid out of love, but seriously, it was nice to just be asked for my name, my email, and my opinions, for a change.
The unwieldy list featured nearly 4000 titles and seemed like it took a herculean effort to assemble on the part of Sundance press maven Tammie Rosen, so first and foremost, I must tip my hat to her. The document is pretty damn impressive and serves as a window into how absolutely vital Sundance is within not just the indie community, but the larger film world. The festival has given a platform to countless filmmakers whose careers took off from Park City, and as my favorite film festival, it holds a special place in my heart.
There was one glaring omission from the document, so I emailed Tammie to inquire. It was Ezra Edelman’s masterful 7.5-hour documentary O.J.: Made in America. Tammie explained that, at first, she hadn’t considered it a feature, as it was serialized, just like The Jinx and Top of the Lake, which also screened at Sundance.
Someone needs to make an Al Cowlings movie called The Best Friend Ever.
However, I gently argued that O.J.: Made in America won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, and to Tammie’s credit, she added it to the list. Naturally, I voted before the film was added, but if you were more patient than I and managed to vote for it, well… you technically have me to thank.
For the record, Made in America definitely would’ve been on my ballot, as I consider it as much a historical document as a film. And yet I also understand why it was eligible for the Emmys as well. It’s weird how that works, but let’s call it the exception to the rule.
Anyway, I could only vote for 10 Sundance movies, and there were so many that it hurt to leave off (you don’t know how much I love Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave, or James Merendino’s SLC Punk!), not to mention so many movies that I realized I still haven’t seen, such as perhaps the ultimate Sundance movie, Hoop Dreams. But here are the 10 I wound up submitting, and I can’t wait to see other lists as Sundance compiles the votes and begins sharing the results this month.
Reservoir Dogs - What? Did you think I wasn’t going to give Quentin Tarantino’s debut the top spot? I would’ve killed to have been at the world premiere of this movie, which remains underrated within Quentin’s filmography.
The Usual Suspects - For a movie that hinges on a big twist like this one does, it remains wildly rewatchable. Say what you will about Bryan Singer, but this is one of the greatest crime thrillers ever made.
Clerks - If Hoop Dreams isn’t the official mascot of Sundance, then it has to be Clerks, which embodies the very spirit of independent film, as Kevin Smith put the entire $27,000 on a series of credit cards. Trust me, Silent Bob is, was, and always will be a total badass.
Donnie Darko - The greatest superhero movie ever made? Quite possibly. There’s a reason this movie lives on two decades later. It struck a nerve with an entire generation. I showed this movie to the kids in my dorm on my first night of college. We go way back. No way I was leaving it off.
Man on Wire - Sundance has always been a great festival for documentaries and this one, like O.J.: Made in America, is another masterpiece that deservedly won the Oscar.
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels - This feels like it should be a movie from the haloed year of 1999, and yet it arrived a full year earlier in 1998, almost as a harbinger of what was to come, as it’s imbued with the spirit and energy of the great ‘99 movies. A remarkable debut from Guy Ritchie, who had a sense of humor and a sense of style all his own.
Wet Hot American Summer - Can you imagine seeing this as a midnight movie at Sundance? As someone who went to a Jewish summer camp for 12 years, I would’ve gone nuts for it and been calling my friends in the middle of the night to tell them about it. This movie never gets old. Long live The State.
Manchester By the Sea - Obviously, a stone-cold masterpiece, featuring one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema (thank you, Casey Affleck) and I say that with no exaggeration. You can call this Boston boy a homer all you want, but Manchester By the Sea is a devastating drama that knocked the wind out of me in Park City, where breathing is hard enough.
Oldboy - I’m trying to picture what it would’ve been like to see Oldboy at Sundance, and my brain can’t even comprehend it. I don’t think anyone is going to argue against its inclusion on this list.
The Devil and Daniel Johnston - Had to go with one of the “little guys” at the 10-spot, and at the end of the day, I had to go with this touching documentary about the famed musician, as it’s simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. This is the kind of beautifully offbeat documentary that Sundance should be programming more of.
I know the entire Sundance community is mourning right now following the death of Michael Latt, whose stepmother, Michelle Satter, has been a staple of the Sundance Institute for decades. That 4000-film list is a testament to the warm and welcoming environment that she, Robert Redford, John Cooper, and so many others have helped to foster for independent filmmakers over the years. I’ll put this list up against that of any festival, and again, I want to thank Tammie for adding the O.J. documentary, which is a must-see if you missed it back in 2016.
Bidding War: Would You Pay $175 Million to See Ryan Reynolds and Channing Tatum as Brothers?
Are you feeling Logan Lucky? Well, are ya, punk?
Netflix, Amazon, and Warner Bros. are currently in the midst of a heated bidding war for Calamity Hustle, a hot new project from brothers Aaron and Adam Nee (The Lost City) that will pair Ryan Reynolds and Channing Tatum as brothers themselves. All four will produce along with Kevin Walsh (Napoleon).
The story follows a Los Angeles private eye who, after being shaken down by a vicious crime lord, must track down his estranged brother, who recently interfered with a diamond heist. I can certainly see the two as brothers, but don’t they kind of play the same type?
THR broke the news, reporting that the streamers (which typically buy out actors’ backend deals) were offering Reynolds and Tatum $50 million to split however they see fit, while Warners offered each actor a figure said to be around $20 million. The Nee brothers would pocket $6 million to $8 million.
All in all, the entire package could garner a $175 million commitment, so even though Hollywood may be cutting back on how many movies it makes, studios and streamers are still willing to pay top dollar for star-driven packages, even though, per THR, the script still needs a little work.
Frankly, I don’t think I’d pay $175 million for this, as it sounds like it could be the next Red Notice, but then again, I don’t have all the streaming data in front of me. If The Adam Project was a success, this could be, too…
It’ll be interesting to see where this project lands, as Netflix recently dropped the Nee brothers’ long-gestating adaptation of Masters of the Universe, which is in the process of finding a new home at Amazon. Will that give Jennifer Salke’s streamer the edge when it comes to Calamity Hustle? Stay tuned…
And now, here are my latest Oscars Power Rankings, which forecast who’s up and who’s down each week…
Oscars Power Rankings: Could Oppenheimer’s Ludwig Göransson Win His Second Oscar for Original Score?\
Best Original Score
Ludwig Göransson, Oppenheimer
Robbie Robertson, Killers of the Flower Moon
Michael Giacchino, Society of the Snow
Mica Levi, The Zone of Interest
Laura Karpman, American Fiction
Christopher Bear and Daniel Rossen, Past Lives
Daniel Pemberton, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Jerskin Hendrix, Poor Things
Kris Bowers, Origin
Alexandre Desplat, The Boys in the Boat
Analysis: Can you hear the music? That’s the title of Ludwig Göransson’s signature track from Oppenheimer, and I imagine we’ll be hearing a lot of that music at awards shows throughout the season. Göransson previously won an Oscar for Black Panther, and not only is he a shoo-in to be nominated this year, but he seems to be the clear frontrunner to win.
Robbie Robertson will surely give Ludwig a run for his money, though, thanks to his score for Killers of the Flower Moon, which is clearly influenced by Native American tribal music. Those appear to be the season’s two locks, though I firmly believe there should be a third — Michael Giacchino, whose work in Society of the Snow is just stunning. I truly can’t wait for more people to get a look at that movie, as it’s absolutely devastating, and it could possibly wind up being this year’s All Quiet on the Western Front for Netflix.
I went with Mica Levi’s score for The Zone of Interest at #4 on my list, as it both punctuates and contrasts the horrors we see — or don’t see — onscreen. And for the fifth and final slot, I’m thinking that Laura Karpman’s somewhat jazzy score for American Fiction will be recognized, as it helps the movie thread the needle with regard its tone, which veers between drama and comedy.
Past Lives will also be a strong contender, as will Daniel Pemberton’s work on the latest animated Spider-Man movie, and I still have to see films like Origin and The Boys and the Boat, though one must never write off Alexandre Desplat, who is an Academy darling at this point. And besides, George Clooney’s new movie has to be in the mix for at least one award, right?
Bits and Bobs (A Daily News Roundup)
Honestly, it’s like looking in a mirror…
Road Houseboat - Apparently, Doug Liman’s Road House remake starring Jake Gyllenhaal will debut on Prime Video rather than receive any kind of theatrical release. Naturally, Jennifer Salke’s decision upset the filmmakers, including Joel Silver, so they decided to go over her head and screen the movie directly for Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, with the idea being that if Bezos liked it, he could strongarm Salke into giving it a theatrical release. Well, that didn’t work out so hot — either because Bezos didn’t like it, or because he didn’t want to step on the toes of his studio chief. Either way, Salke stuck to her guns, which prompted Silver to have a few choice words for Amazon’s marketing maven Sue Kroll, as well as Courtenay Valenti, having previously worked with both women for years at Warners. However, it’s a new era, and, fed up with Joel’s shit, Amazon fired him off of Road House as well as another movie titled Play Dirty. (which subsequently saw Silver’s pal Robert Downey Jr. walk, only to be replaced by Mark Wahlberg). The only reason Amazon was working with Silver in the first place was because he produced the original Road House, so they couldn’t just cut him out of the remake, but surely it’s thrilled to be rid of him. The film is already in post-production, and said to be testing well, but Silver won’t have any say in its marketing now that he’s no longer involved. Let me know when Amazon wises up about dear old Don Murphy, whose screaming rants are the stuff of legend. And maybe next time, instead of sending Bezos a screener, it’ll be Conor McGregor they send to his yacht…
Porn, Lube, and Amyl Nitrate - That’s a reference to Fight Club, of course, and the woman with cancer who just wants to “get laid” one last time. FX just announced a limited series with a similar premise, as Michelle Williams has signed on to produce and star in Dying for Sex, which is based on the hit Wondery podcast of the same name. Williams will play a woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer and decides to leave her longtime husband in order to begin exploring her sexuality. She’s supported on this kinky journey by her best friend. Liz Meriwether (The Dropout) and Kim Rosenstock (Only Murders in the Building) will write the series, and Leslye Headland will direct. This sounds like it could have Emmy potential, and Williams is, obviously, a coup for FX, where I’m currently loving the fifth season of Fargo.
Seconds, Anyone? - Horror maestro Eli Roth will be serving up another helping of Thanksgiving, as Sony’s TriStar label has ordered a sequel to the slasher film, which has carved up $30 million worldwide on a production budget of $15 million. Hopefully, Eli will assemble a better young cast this time around, as they were something of a weak link despite some wonderfully gruesome kills that ultimately satisfied genre fans who braved theaters for this splatterfest.
Rebranding Alert - A few months ago, the Hollywood Critics Association rebranded itself as the Hollywood Creative Alliance, and now it has renamed its HCA Awards ceremonies as The Astra Awards. Get ready for the Astra Film Awards, the Astra TV Awards, and the Astra Creative Arts Awards… because if there’s one thing that Hollywood needed, it’s more awards shows from critics. Sheesh! The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you call this show, it’s like putting lipstick on a pig. They’ll honor whichever studio buys a table. Who are we kidding with this stuff? And they aren’t alone, ahem…
The Color Green - Hot off early rave reviews for her supporting turn in The Color Purple, Danielle Brooks has signed on to join Jason Momoa in WB’s Minecraft movie. Would you turn down the chance to work with Jason Momoa? I didn’t think so… but still, this is an odd follow-up for a movie that should put Brooks in the Oscar conversation.
Man in the Mirror - Footage has leaked of Jaafar Jackson playing his uncle, Michael Jackson, in Lionsgate’s upcoming biopic from director Antoine Fuqua. What do you think, does he have the moves, or is this just nepotism at its finest?
And a New Title! - The next Yorgos Lanthimos flick — well, the one after Poor Things, which opens next weekend — has a new title. It used to be called And, which was a horrible title, and it is now called Kind of Kindness, which is a little less horrible. Poor Things trio Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, and Margaret Qualley return to star in the film alongside Jesse Plemons.
James the Criminal - John Patton Ford, who knocked it out of the park with his feature debut Emily the Criminal, has signed on to write and direct an untitled Civil War movie for Netflix and Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps banner. The story follows a Union spy named James Andrews who conspired to hijack a Confederate locomotive named the General — yes, like the Buster Keaton film — with some infantry volunteers. Together, they cut supply routes and telegraph lines, disrupting the Confederacy and helping to end the war. The six survivors then became the first to receive the Medal of Honor — from President Lincoln, no less. Ford is working from his own idea here, though the package includes the rights to Russell Bonds’ Civil War book Stealing the General. This sounds interesting and different, especially to someone who had been looking forward to Cary Fukunaga’s old Civil War project No Blood, No Guts, No Glory, which I believe used to be in the works at Focus.
Hat Trick - Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) is set to rewrite and direct Old Time Hockey for Skydance Sports, which is producing with Jeremy Latcham. Kevin Jakubowski wrote the original script, which follows a Pennsylvania high school hockey rivalry from the mid-’90s that gets rekindled 25 years later. I’ve seen a few of these “heated sports rivalry” projects pop up in recent years, so we’ll see which one makes it in front of cameras first.
Will There Be a Gender Reveal Party? - Amy Schumer is kinda pregnant. Whoops, I read that wrong… Amy Schumer is set to produce and star in a new Netflix comedy titled Kinda Pregnant. Tyler Spindel (The Out-Laws) will direct from a script by Julie Paiva, and the film will find Schumer playing a woman who’s jealous of her best friend’s pregnancy, so she begins wearing a fake baby bump, only to suddenly meet the man of her dreams. Adam Sandler is producing via his Happy Madison banner, and as a big fan of Schumer, I’m excited to see her get back out there after her last staring vehicle I Feel Pretty underwhelmed at the box office. I’m also looking forward to seeing her in Jerry Seinfeld’s Pop Tart movie Unfrosted, which should debut on Netflix next year.
Right Place, Right Time - Jury Duty star Ronald Gladden has signed an overall deal with Amazon MGM Studios. He doesn’t write, direct, produce, or even act, really, but hey, people recognize him, and most importantly, they like him. And now the former solar contractor from San Diego will spend the next two years working with the studio to produce, develop, and star in content across platforms. I bet folks won’t be so quick to throw away the next jury summons they receive…
Unsettled - Comedians Jamie Lee and Nikki Glaser are teaming up to executive produce and star in the half-hour comedy Unsettling for Prime Video. They’ll play best friends in their 30s who decide to “go in” on a baby together and be platonic co-parents. I’ve been a big fan of Lee since seeing her on HBO’s Crashing — in fact, I listened to her stand-up album again just the other night — and Glaser is also hilarious, having long been one of Comedy Central’s best roasters. I like this pairing and so does powerhouse producer Bill Lawrence, who will EP the series, having worked with Lee on Ted Lasso. Lee and Aseem Batra will serve as co-showrunners, and they’re both represented by WME. Brillstein reps Lee and Glaser, who is also repped by UTA.
Congrats - To Tracey Jacobs, who announced that she’s leaving UTA following a very successful 25-year run at the agency, where she was best known for representing Johnny Depp. Jacobs isn’t retiring and hasn’t decided on her next move yet, but according to Deadline, her exit is an amicable one and she’ll stay on for the next several months to help with the transition of her clients. Jacobs left ICM to join UTA as a partner way back in 1998, a decade before she became the first woman to serve on an agency board. Between Risa Gertner retiring from CAA and Tracey leaving UTA, it’s been a hell of a week for agency news. I wish Tracey the best of luck in her next endeavor.
Trailer Time: Furiosa Looks Fucking Fantastic
I’m not one of those people who thinks that Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterpiece, or that it’s the greatest film of the past decade. George Miller’s action epic was a visual extravaganza but I need my stories with a bit more meat on their bones. The film was very good, but I couldn’t really bring myself to call it great despite the stunning choreography on display.
Well, Miller is back next year with Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, which finds Anya Taylor-Joy replacing Charlize Theron as the iconic action heroine, who finds herself paired with Chris Hemsworth in this prequel. It looks like there’s more story in play here, as opposed to being one long chase like the first film, and once again, the eye-popping visuals are simply dazzling.
I said it on my Hot Mic podcast today, but it really would be so cool if Marvel convinced Miller to direct Avengers: Secret Wars. I’m not sure he’d go for it after his experience on Justice League back in the day, but if he was given complete creative freedom, I bet he could deliver something special, and well beyond the Marvel “house style.”
That’ll do it for me, folks! Have a great weekend…
Got a hot tip, or an interesting pitch? Want to buy an ad or ask a provocative question for future mailbag installments? Email me at [email protected].