1. MICHAEL MOORE
Well, the results of the Presidential election are in and the controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 did not derail a second Bush term. Michael Moore’s box office smash did two things: it mobilized like-minded Americans in a bid to vote a Democrat into office, and it galvanized the opposition in a bid to re-elect Bush. Bush won.
There are a lot of Democrats out there that would just like to say – thanks a lot! MICHAEL!
And now Michael’s alleged “limousine liberal” ways are being exposed in a new documentary entitled “Michael Moore Hates America.” (Incidentally, “Michael Moore Hates America” received a coveted “Thumbs Up” from Roger Ebert when it was reviewed on his program.) The film (hitting theaters in limited release) features regular schlub Mike Wilson who seeks out Moore in an effort to question the controversial filmmaker’s techniques. All Wilson wants is to interview Michael – and ala “Roger and Me,” Moore completely disses the young filmmaker, evading his request for an interview and berating him at a public event. In one particularly damning sequence, Wilson exposes that in Bowling for Columbine the sequence in which the gun is received from the bank was completely stage-managed. The bank employees reveal how Michael set up the entire scene.
“Michael Moore Hates America” takes a hard look at Moore’s methods while dissecting the documentary form itself. It’s a doc that tackles ethical issues when reality gets in the way of a political agenda – and all the while the film remains highly entertaining. Kind of like Michael Moore’s movies…
But, hey, look on the bright side; no Presidential candidate endorsed by Michael Moore has ever won an election. So, Michael, why not endorse a Republican in 2008, just to see what happens? You never know, it might work! But do we really need a sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11?
Anti-Freeze: Remember, it’s not always about you. Lose the chip on your shoulder. Really. Morgan Spurlock beautifully attacked McDonald’s in the funny, clever and factually accurate Super Size Me.” You could learn something from that approach; you used to do that so well yourself.
2. HALLE BERRY
If she makes any more muck along the lines of Gothika and Catwoman, the Academy should send Berry a self-addressed stamped envelope and a letter requesting the return of her Oscar. Her post-Oscar film choices have demonstrated a passionate commitment to doing anything for a buck. And the award for “Least Artistic Integrity on the Part of an Oscar Winner” goes to… who else?
Anti-Freeze: Send back the Oscar, because that’s one peak she’s not reaching again.
3. MICHAEL EISNER
Did Dopey give Eisner a blood transfusion? If anything, it has not been a boring year: a board of directors revolt lead by Roy Disney, a hostile takeover bid by Comcast, public spats with Pixar and Miramax, the biggest line-up of turkeys this side of a Thanksgiving dinner (Home on the Range, The Alamo, Hidalgo), and the idiotic desire to jettison the one hit film financed by Disney: Fahrenheit 9/11.
After revitalizing The Mouse back in the 1980s, he performed an amazing about face and proceeded to single-handedly suck the soul out of Uncle Walt’s baby. One could even say that his failure to keep saving grace Pixar within the fold was his coup de grâce to Disney. How much more damage he can do before he goes is anyone’s guess.
Anti-Freeze: Hastening Eisner’s eventual retirement or a massive cerebral hemorrhage, whichever comes first.
4. M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN & THE BIG SURPRISE TWIST REDUX
The jig is up, Night. The lame Sci Fi Channel “documentary” fooled no one – just like no one had patience for yet another labored “surprise” ending in The Village. Here’s a tip: when everyone watching your film has already guessed the outcome from the previews, it’s time to turn over a new leaf. That isn’t to say the film was a total failure, because M. Night did fool the audience who paid their hard-earned coin into thinking they were about to embark on an enjoyable movie experience.
Anti-Freeze: Since you’ve beaten the whole spooky-movie-with-a-big-surprise-twist thing into the ground, why not revisit some old ideas? The word in Hollywood is that this “superhero craze” is going to last forever, so just get Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson to make an Unbreakable sequel already.
5. BEN STILLER/OWEN WILSON
Ben Stiller seems to have a lock on mass-produced mediocrity. In the past year, he crapped out Duplex, Along Came Polly, Starsky & Hutch,” Envy and Dodgeball one after the other, each with a harsh dull thud. There was a time when a Ben Stiller flick meant plenty of belly laughs. Today, a new Ben Stiller movie is as funny as a thick, wet and chunk-filled fart. Oh sure, he mugs with the best of them, but every role is some variation on the Confused Dork/Malevolent Jackass theme. His roles in this year’s Duplex and Along Came Polly were excruciating, making us wonder just how much he really contributed to the “Ben Stiller Show.”
Owen Wilson, on the other hand, has made a few wiser choices, and we have high hopes for “The Life Aquatic,” but too often he takes paycheck roles (Shanghai Knights, The Big Bounce) that undermine his meager credibility.
Anti-Freeze: Wilson can redeem himself by avoiding any more Jackie Chan team-ups, while Stiller might benefit from a few years off, re-emerging as a dramatic TV actor in the Anthony Michael Hall mode. At any rate, both need to just avoid any urges to make a sequel to Starsky and Hutch. In fact, they should stop making movies together at all. Ben, just do yourself a favor, stick the 10th anniversary release of “Reality Bites” back into your DVD player and remember where you came from.
6. NICOLE KIDMAN
Did Tom Cruise get the Scientologists to slap a hex on her career? The perpetually stunning star followed her Oscar triumph (in Jimmy Durante make-up) in The Hours with hideous junk where her beauty made no sense in the midst of the gritty stories – The Human Stain (as a glamorous cleaning lady) Cold Mountain (as a glamorous Dixie chick), Dogville (as a glamorous fugitive) and The Stepford Wives (as a glamorous Stepford Wife). Kidman’s always lovely to look at, but her films are so butt-ugly bad that they hurt.
Anti-Freeze: Paying more attention to the scripts and less to make-up, costume and hairstyling.
7. REESE WITHERSPOON
Little Miss Cutesy-Wutesy is perfectly acceptable in marzipan confectionaries like Sweet Home Alabama and the Legally Blonde franchise – and anyone who loves dum-dum diversions can enjoy her giggles and wiggles in these films. But her decision to step into a serious drama like Vanity Fair offered a disastrous full view of her limitations as an actress. Reese should stick to the mindless comedies where a smile and a chic wardrobe can compensate for her lack of acting depth.
Anti-Freeze: Remember Reese, your audience is tween girls and jaded middle-aged men. Not Academy voters.
8. JIMMY FALLON
The guy most notorious for blowing his lines on Saturday Night Live crossed over to the big screen in “Taxi” – and nobody cared.
Anti-Freeze: Save us all the embarrassment and take a cue from Tim Meadows and stick to SNL.
9. PARIS HILTON
It’s not surprising that Hilton has started turning up in films; it’s all part of her evil plan for absolute world domination. There’s just one problem – she can’t act. Ok, so she made a sex tape, that’s fine. People like sex tapes. But she didn’t stop there. Now she’s co-starring in 2005’s “House of Wax”, and not only has a role in “National Lampoon’s Pledge This!”, but she is also credited as an executive producer. Soon, she’ll be co-starring with Lindsay Lohan in “Fashionistas”, and all this just from a sex tape? She’s like a computer virus out of control and she must be stopped.
Anti Freeze: Limit your public appearances to Rodeo Drive. Honestly, we can’t think of any way to stop her. She’s dumb to the point where even “dumb” is embarrassed.
10. BEN AFFLECK
Poor Ben. He’s been cursed with the incredible shrinking career: dumped by J.Lo, ignored by audiences, and reduced to making guest shots on TV celebrity poker tournaments. Affleck’s career has devolved beyond sick humor into the realm of catastrophic pity-inducement.
Anti-Freeze: Restrict all film work to cameo appearances in Matt Damon’s movies. This year’s output – Jersey Girl and Surviving Christmas. Say no more. We’re sure there’s another poker championship coming up soon.
Get the rest of the list in the next part of FILM THREAT’S FRIGID 50: THE COLDEST PEOPLE IN HOLLYWOOD 2004>>>