21. M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN & THE BIG SURPRISE TWIST
Okay, The Sixth Sense was a good time, but the whole surprise twist thing has gotten totally out of hand as a result of it. If Identity, Basic, Phone Booth, Intolerable Cruelty and Matchstick Men (to name a few) weren’t forgettable contrivances to begin with, their bogus endings ensured that history would remember them as such. And, let’s face it, they were. As were Unbreakable and Signs.
ANTI-FREEZE: A break from the creepy twist genre into, say, a romantic comedy! Maybe not.
22. SKEET ULRICH
When you fail on TV, (“Miracles”) and direct-to-video, (“Chilly Dogs”) all you have left is shooting Glad Bag commercials.
ANTI-FREEZE: When politics beckons, do us all a favor, please don’t answer the call.
23. JAKE GYLLENHAAL
After mucking his way through flicks that no one wanted to see (Bubble Boy,” The Good Girl, Moonlight Mile), he finally got his A-list ticket when prickly Tobey Maguire got his temperamental butt kicked off the sequel to Spider-Man. But when Maguire got his gal-pal’s dad (Ron Meyer, head of Universal) to successfully lobby for his reinstatement, Gyllenhaal got yanked out of his Spidey tights and was deposited on the curb. Lesson to Jake: go bang a studio chief’s daughter if you want to swing with the big boys.
ANTI-FREEZE: Try a turn as one of those B-level superheroes like, say, Aqua Lad.
24. WOODY ALLEN
Neurotic New Yorkers bitching about nothing stopped being funny about two seasons into “Seinfeld,” which means Woody’s annoyingly neurotic meanderings gave up the ghost over ten years ago. And while the whole nebbishy-guy-hooks-up-with-attractive-woman shtick was occasionally amusing in the 60s and 70s, Woody’s insistence on casting younger and younger women (Mira Sorvino, Charlize Threon) as his romantic counterparts has crossed the tracks from quirky to creepy (the whole Soon-Yi/Mia Farrow debacle hasn’t helped him in that regard). Allen will continue with directing his annual wank fests, and his apologists in Hollywood will continue to fall over themselves to star in them, but he’s dead to us.
ANTI-FREEZE: A lifetime achievement award from somebody. Anybody.
25. MOVIES MADE FROM TV SHOWS
Nothing is testament to the lack of original ideas in Hollywood these days than the glut of unasked for film versions of once popular TV shows. Is anyone actually looking forward to a comedy version of “Starsky and Hutch?” Or Jim Carrey as a “zany” “Six Million Dollar Man?” Or a sequel to Scooby-Doo? Enjoy them while you can, because in ten years you’ll be treated to big screen versions of “Small Wonder” and “Family Matters,” with Denzel Washington as Urkel.
ANTI-FREEZE: None. Time will hopefully kill this trend.
26. TIM BURTON
Were the movie industry bound by the legal system’s “Three Strikes” law, the “Mars Attacks!,” Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes director would be doing a long stretch rather than an adaptation of Daniel Wallace’s “Big Fish.” If this turns out to be Burton’s fourth offense, maybe he should be put under moviehouse arrest.
ANTI-FREEZE: How about something small and creepy? Y’know. Like you used to make.
27. WALT DISNEY TWO-D ANIMATED FEATURES
Remember a time not so long ago when a Disney animated summer release was a big deal – “Aladdin,” Beauty and the Beast, the list goes on. Now, who remotely cares or even remembers what they have come out with for the past several years unless it’s made by Pixar?
ANTI-FREEZE: Just give up and produce 3-D animated versions of Mickey, Pluto, Goofy and more.
28. JERRY O’CONNELL
The fat kid from “Stand by Me” grew up to be lean and trim, but sadly he keeps getting stuck in flabby films (Tomcats, Body Shots, Kangaroo Jack). Maybe he’d start getting some real roles if he gave up the six-pack abs and went back to 50% body fat.
ANTI-FREEZE: Reteam with Rob Reiner to save two careers at once.
29. SUSAN SARANDON
The elegant actress was a prime target for bully-boy conservatives angry at her criticism of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But if they wanted to really hit her close to home, they could have spent less time focusing on her politics and more time pointing out her presence in such embarrassing box-office flops as Moonlight Mile, “The Banger Sisters” and “Igby Goes Down.” Now those are bigger bombs than any Iraqi weapon of mass destruction!
ANTI-FREEZE: Perhaps a new young buck.
30. ANTHONY ANDERSON
The rotund funnyman has set the cause of black advancement in films back several decades with his Stepin Fetchit-style antics as the stereotyped African-American “sidekick” in such slop as Kangaroo Jack and “Malibu’s Most Wanted.” Anthony, don’t you have any self-respect?
ANTI-FREEZE: Play anything but a sidekick.
Get the rest of the list in the next part of FILM THREAT’S FRIGID 50: THE COLDEST PEOPLE IN HOLLYWOOD 2003>>>