Red carpet chatter with some folks from “Backwash”

100_0430

If, like me, you grew up a weird kid compulsively watching the Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy and, yes and alas, the Three Stooges, then you might well enjoy “Backwash,” an enjoyably dippy web series with its final episode to be uploaded on Crackle this Monday night, December 20. The series stars Joshua Malina, who also wrote it, as the grumpy and conniving Val, who is, for whatever reason, charged with the care of the childlike and lovably idiotic Jonesy (Michael Panes). When they accidentally rob a bank with a sausage — you kind of have to be there — and hook up with a flamboyant ice cream truck driver, Fleming (Michael Ian Black, who I was unable to nab for a quick interview), the on-the-lamb trio begins a cross-country odyssey of sorts.

The enjoyably lowbrow but sometimes surreal silliness is book-ended by introductions from a rogues gallery of comic and acting talent, the funniest being a mysteriously bearded Jon Hamm, Allison Janney, John Cho, Dulé Hill, and Sarah Silverman. Somehow, Victorian author William Makepeace Thackeray is maligned as being the originally author of this more or less contemporary travesty lovingly directed by Danny Leiner, who also helmed “Harold and Kumar Go to Whitecastle.”

It was my privilege to chat with with some of the actors and creators of “Backwash” at the theatrical premiere of a somewhat shortened feature-length version of the web series. I started with Josh Malina, an actor I’ve been rather fond of since I stumbled over “Sports Night,” the show that convinced me that the writer of “The Social Network” was something more than an entertainingly glib semi-hack, actually a lot more.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

Related Posts

Film Franchises from abroad, #2

Unlike the last film in this brief series of posts, you won’t see Americans remaking, I hope, the “OSS 117” series. Based on a series of previously filmed books that are, I understand, the French equivalent of James Bond, this new series sends up the genre with terrific period detail and an extremely funny lead performance from Jean Dujardin who goes way past Mike Meyers as Austin Powers and winds up closer to Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau. His Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath is a masterpiece of clue-free over-confidence.

It’s only playing in three theaters right now and I haven’t seen it yet myself, but if either spy spoofs or slapstick are your thing, you’ll probably want to check out “OSS 117: Lost in Rio,” which picks up the adventures of Monsieur Bonnisseur 12 years after the events of “OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies.” I’m certainly looking forward to it.

  

Related Posts

A quick point about Polanski, and….

Some on the right have tried to make arguing for the freedom of Roman Polanski into a left wing cause rather than something espoused by a few filmmakers and entertainment figures a bit blinded by Polanski’s brilliance as a filmmaker. If Polanski really is the next Sacco & Vanzetti, Leonard Peltier or Mumia, why is this piece of verse of blunt-spoken verse by Calvin Trillin running in the country’s best known left-of-center publication? (H/t The Auteur’s Daily.)

Believe me, lefties are as angry at Polanski’s crime as righties and the poem’s attitudes are common across the political board. I actually like these verses quite a bit, and largely agree with them, though I’d vehemently quibble over one of Trillin’s word choices. However, I’ve already quibbled myself silly in various comments sections.

Instead, for no particular reason, I present an indescribable moment of Polanski, the actor, with a magnificent friend lip-synching a standard by Noël Coward — as suggested by Will Harris’s fine new piece on Monty Python solo projects.

Insert joke inspired by “The King and I” here —

  

Related Posts

Forever Typecast: 15 Actors Who Can’t Escape Their Characters

We here at Bullz-Eye always knew that we wanted to run a piece in conjunction with the release of “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” but what we didn’t know was what kind of piece it would be. We considered the matter, and we came to the conclusion that it would’ve been a little too easy to whip up a list of our favorite Hollywood wizards. In the midst of the discussion, however, an observation was raised about the film itself: what’s going to happen to these kids – Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson – after the last of the “Harry Potter” books has been adapted for the silver screen? Will they be able to rise above their roles and find work elsewhere, or are they destined to be remembered solely as Harry, Ron and Hermione? From there, we quickly began to bandy about the names of other folks who have and haven’t been able to score success in other cinematic identities, and the piece began to write itself. Ultimately, only one of our selections seemed impossible to pigeonhole as either “Forever Typecast” or “Escaped Typecasting,” and when you see that actor’s name, we think you’ll nod your head knowingly and understand exactly why we had that problem.

Here’s a sample of the piece, to hopefully tempt you into checking out the whole thing:

Mark Hamill, AKA Luke Skywalker:

Mark Hamill may not have had much in the way of cinematic credits when he was introduced to the world as Luke Skywalker, future Jedi, in “Star Wars,” but he’d sure as heck done his time on the TV circuit, appearing on everything from “The Partridge Family” to “The Streets of San Francisco,” even playing a guy named Doobie Wheeler on “The Texas Wheelers.” But when you’re the star of the greatest space opera of all time ,you’ve got to expect a certain amount of blowback, and Hamill got it in spades. Despite starring in the fondly remembered “Corvette Summer” with Annie Potts and being directed by Samuel Fuller in the critically acclaimed “The Big Red One,” things just weren’t happening for the guy outside of the “Star Wars” universe…well, unless you consider being third-billed to Kristy McNichol and Dennis Quaid in “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” to be happening, that is. Post- “Return of the Jedi,” Hamill did a few straight-to-video features before realizing that he might well find more luck off the camera and in the recording booth. Having already worked for Hanna-Barbera in the early ’70s, it was a quick transition for Hamill to return to the world of voiceover acting, and it was a move that paid off in a big way. Whether you’ve known it or not, you’ve heard his dulcet tones providing voices for “The Adventures of Batman & Robin” (The Joker), “Spider-Man” (Hobgoblin), “Avatar: The Last Airbender” (Ozai), and “Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!” (The Skeleton King), among dozens of others. Good for him, we say. But the truth of the matter remains: when you see his face, Mark Hamill is still Luke Skywalker.

Got the idea? Great! To see the rest of the feature, either click right here or on the big ol’ image below:

  

Related Posts

Being There: Deluxe Edition

These days, it seems almost impossible to bring up “Being There” without some unimaginative goon coming along and comparing it to “Forrest Gump.” That’s unfortunate, because if, like me, you’ve got little patience for that particular Zemeckis opus, you may be inclined to skip “Being There” altogether. This would be a grave mistake. The big difference between the two films is that “Gump” wants to be an important film, but in doing so, it achieves the opposite. “Being There,” on the other hand, has no such aspirations and manages to become an important film because it isn’t trying so hard. And if you’ve never seen the film and think you know everything there is to know about Peter Sellers, then “Being There” will show you the actor as you’ve never seen him before.

Chance (Sellers) is a middle-aged man best described as “simple.” He’s seemingly spent his entire life living with and tending to the garden of a very rich man. Since the old man is dead at the start of the film, we’re given very little information about Chance. Where did he come from and how did he come to be in the employ/care of the old man? We never find out. Chance is the blankest of all slates, and his only real exposure to the outside world has come through the television. He seems to enjoy the news and “Captain Kangaroo” equally. But now that the old man has passed on, Chance is given no choice but to go out into the world on his own, for the very first time, and it’s a strange place that doesn’t necessarily work as it does on TV.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Related Posts