Last night’s episode of “American Idol” was kind of a waste of our time. They do the early auditions in seven cities and then throw in an eighth episode for fluff before Hollywood week begins. Anyway, what they did last night was show some more of the really good and really bad auditions that they did not show over the course of this past month. And while it really was not necessary, they aired it, so we’re gonna write about it.
They began by recapping Larry Platt’s “Pants on the Ground” phenomenon, with Ryan Seacrest tooting the show’s horn as usual and how they made the whole thing into a phenonmenon. Then it was on to the rest of the auditions, and here were some of the highligts and lowlights…..
* This year’s Oscar producers have been named: choreographer turned critically-hated film director turned “Hairspray” wunderkind Adam Shankman and industry mainstay Bill Mechanic. Nikki Finke is happy and, really, isn’t that all that matters? That’s not the only gig for Shankman, who will also be directing the film version of the eighties-centric hair-band musical “Rock of Ages.” I’ve run across one or two hair bands I don’t completely hate, but this does not excite me. The period juke box musical I’m waiting for features Elvis Costello, the Clash, X, and maybe some early Ben Folds. I’ll call mine “Clubland.”
* Anne Thompson rakes the muck on the Hollywood Film Festival. Fascinating. I have my doubts about L.A. ever getting a really world-class festival, and this one sure doesn’t seem to be helping.
* I caught up with “Zombieland” last night and managed not to become overly upset at the gore. (I have this whole issue with excess blood and ick, yet also like the kind of stuff that sometimes features excess blood and ick — it’s a conflict.) Still, I don’t know if I’ll ever truly understand why people enjoy being disgusted. I find being disgusted disgusting.
Otherwise, it was nicely paced, slightly poignant, and very funny, thanks to a nice and cleverly profane dialogue, decent writing, and a good cast. Unlike Bullz-Eye’s David Medsker, however, I found the movie enjoyable but a little thin, especially during the second half. Some of the most ballyhooed aspects (the superstar cameo, which Dave didn’t love either) were less hilarious than I expected, however. I’m surprised we haven’t heard about a sequel yet as in some ways plays more like a well-produced TV pilot than anything else.
* Not that he hasn’t earned the right to be astonishingly wealthy as much as any human can, but how rich must Steven Spielberg be? I mean, if someone owed you a few hundred million bucks would you be all, like, “ah, that’s okay — you can wait until 2017. Just give me a 5.25% share of your income. I’ll be cool.” And, according to La Finke, the language of the contract refers to him as “Steven.” I know Hollywood loves first names, but it’s a contract. Aren’t those supposed to be formal?
* It’s not really movie news at this point, but speaking of musicals this musical lover never asked for, the Bono/Edge Spiderman musical directed by Julie Taymor continues to gasp. Personally, I’ve had my curiosity about a “Spiderman” musical sated already. Much as I love cocktail lounges and the song “Fever,” this was not a high point.