Poll: Which Films Are You Most Looking Forward To Seeing In July?


Well, another month has come to a close and that means that it’s time for another poll here at the Shattered Lens.

As always, please feel free to vote for up to four films and write-in votes are accepted!

Trailer: As I Lay Dying


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As far as I’m concerned, 2013 should just be called “The Year of James Franco.”  Not only is James Franco my super hot (and smart) fantasy husband but he’s also starring in Oz, the Great and Powerful, playing himself in This Is The End, and making memorable appearances in supporting roles in films like The Iceman and Spring Breakers but he’s also directed his first film!

As I Lay Dying is based on William Faulkner’s classic novel.  A lot of critics have claimed that the book is unfilmable but I think that, if anyone can make As I Lay Dying into a great film, it’ll be James Franco.

Why?

Because he’s James Franco.

Guilty Pleasure No. 8: Paparazzi


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I once got into an argument with a friend of mine about whether or not a film could actually be so bad that it was good.

His argument was that bad, by its very definition, was the opposite of good and therefore, nothing bad could be good and vice versa.

My argument was Paparazzi.

First released back in 2004, Paparazzi tells the story of Bo Laramie (Cole Hauser).  Bo is an up-and-coming super star.  As the film begins, we’re told — by a breathless correspondent from E! News — that Bo has arrived.  He’s starring in what promises to be “the world’s biggest action franchise.”  Bo has a wife (Robin Tunney), a son, and a beautiful house on the beach.  Whenever he goes jogging, huge groups of women magically materialize so that they can giggle as he runs by.

However, not everything is perfect in the world of Bo Laramie.  Like far too many defenseless celebrities, he’s being harassed by the paparazzi.  At first, Bo attempts to be polite.  However, a demonic photographer named Rex (Tom Sizemore) refuses to stop trying to take pictures of Bo at his son’s soccer game.  Things escalate until eventually, Bo’s son is in a coma and Bo is coming up with ludicrously elaborate ways to kill all of Rex’s colleagues.

The thing that distinguishes Paparazzi is not that it’s a revenge film.  What distinguishes Paparazzi is that it seems to seriously be arguing that celebrities have the right to kill people who annoy them.  Rex and his colleagues are portrayed as being pure evil (one even laughs maniacally after snapping a picture) while Bo is the victim who has to deal with the issues that come from being a multimillionaire.  Even the homicide detective played by Dennis Farina seems to be continually on the verge of saying, “Right on!” while looking over the results of Bo’s handiwork.

It’s so ludicrous and stupid and over-the-top that it can’t help but also be a lot of fun.

Don’t get me wrong.  Paparazzi is a terrible film.  In fact, it’s so terrible that, if a group of aliens ever somehow saw Paparazzi, they would probably hop in their spaceship and come to Earth specifically to wipe out the human race.  However, as bad as the film is, it’s also one of those films that you simply cannot look away from.  Watching this film is like witnessing a tornado of pure mediocrity coming straight at you.  You know that you should just stop watching and get to safety but it’s such an unexpectedly odd sight that you can’t look away.  Once you’ve seen it, you’ll never forget it and it becomes impossible not to become fascinated by the fact that such a terrible film could actually exist.

Consider the following:

1) When he’s not busy killing photographers, Bo Laramie is filming a movie called Adrenaline Force 2.  Seriously, that title is so generic that I couldn’t help but smile every time it was mentioned.  Can you imagine anyone saying, “I want to see that new movie, what’s it called, uhmm… Adrenaline Force 2?”

2) Speaking of generic, do you think that anyone named Bo Laramie could ever possibly become the biggest film star in the world?

3) In the role of Bo Laramie, Cole Hauser seems like he’s as confused by this movie as everyone else.  However, towards the end of the film, he starts to flash a psychotic little grin and the contrast between that grin and Laramie’s previously stoic facade is oddly charming.

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4) You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Tom Sizemore play the world’s sleaziest photographer.

5) Vince Vaughn has a cameo as himself!  He’s co-starring in Adrenaline Force 2.

6) Mel Gibson has a cameo as himself!  He’s seen sitting in a psychologist’s office.  (No, seriously…)

7) Matthew McConaughey has a cameo as himself!  He shows up out-of-nowhere, tells Bo that it’s a pleasure to meet him, and then goes, “Alright, alright…”

8) Chris Rock has a cameo as a …. pizza deliveryman!  At first, I assumed that Chris Rock was playing himself and I kept waiting for him to explain why he was delivering a pizza to Bo Laramie’s house.  However, according to the end credits, Vaughn, McConaughey, and Gibson were playing themselves while Rock was playing the role of “Pizza Guy.”

9) Plotwise, this film invites the viewer to play a game of, “What if everyone in this film wasn’t a total and complete idiot?”  For all the effort that Bo puts into plotting his revenge, it’s hard not to feel that he just got extremely lucky.

10) The film manages to be both silly and completely humorless at the same time.  As a result, it’s a good for more than a few laughs.

11) There’s a scene where, out of nowhere, Bo recites an inner monologue about the price of fame that will remind observant viewers of Tony Bennett’s classic narration from The Oscar.

12) At one point, Tom Sizemore says, “I am going to destroy your life and eat your soul. And I can’t wait to do it.”

13) The film’s director used to be Mel Gibson’s hairdresser.

14) Finally, the film was produced by Mel Gibson and that probably means that the film actually is making a sincere case for murdering members of the paparazzi.

If ever a film has deserved the description of being so bad that it’s good, it is Paparazzi.  Between the sense of entitlement, the feverish fantasies of revenge, and the out-of-nowhere celebrity cameos, Paparazzi is a film that has earned the title of guilty pleasure.

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AMV of the Day: Fidelity (Wolf Children Ame and Yuki)


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I posted just recently a new anime that people should be watching. I mean watching like this very moment if they find a copy of it. The anime I speak of is Ookami Kodomo Ame to Yuki (or known to those of us who don’t speak Japanese as Wolf Children Ame and Yuki). It’s from this anime that the latest “AMV of the Day” comes from.

Over this past weekend was the annual anime and otaku gathering in the Northeast called Anime Boston. Site writer pantsukudasai56 attended the con and had himself a King of a time. As part of the yearly con ritual would be the viewings of AMV nominees and the announcement of which videos won which categories at the con’s closing ceremony. This year one particular AMV caught the attention of pretty much every attendee who saw the video. It won in the Best Drama and Editor’s Choice category. Just watching the video I can see why it won in these two categories and was surprised it didn’t win Best in Show as well.

“Fidelity” was created by AMV editor Xophilarus and pretty much does a great job of emphasizing the dramatic aspects of the anime. It’s not difficult to do so since this anime is quite the tearjerker. What really puts the video into great level is the song choice. “King” by Laura Aquilina is such a beautiful song and fits very well with this anime. I could describe in more detail why this song fits this anime perfectly, but it’s better to just watch it and try and keep the waterworks from leaking.

Anime: Wolf Children Ame and Yuki (Ookami Kodomo Ame to Yuki)

Song: “King” by Laura Aquilina

Creator: Xophilarus

Past AMVs of the Day

Let’s Second Guess The Academy: Best Picture 1985


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Last week, we reconsidered whether or not The Hurt Locker deserved the title of Best Picture of 2009.

This week, let’s go back to the year of my birth, 1985.  According to the Motion Picture Academy, the five best films of the year were:

1) Steven Spielberg’s controversial adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple,

2) Witness, a film about a tough cop (Harrison Ford) who hides out with the Amish,

3) Kiss of the Spider Woman, one of the first independent films to ever be nominated for best picture,

4) Prizzi’s Honor, a darker than dark Mafia comedy from John Huston that starred Jack Nicholson,

and finally,

5) Out of the Africa, the film that was eventually named best picture of 1985.

Despite its victory at the Oscars, Out of Africa hasn’t aged well.  If any year seems to be worthy of a little second guessing, it would certainly be 1985.  If you were a member of the Academy in 1985, which nominee would you have voted for?  Personally, I would have voted for Witness.  How about you?

Now, here comes the fun part.  Let’s say that Out of Africa wasn’t released in 1985.  Let’s say that Steven Spielberg never made The Color of Purple and that Jack Nicholson refused to star in Prizzi’s Honor.  Let’s say that none of the five nominated film had been eligible in 1985.  Which films would you have nominated in their place?

You can vote for five of the film listed below and yes, we do accept write-ins!

(Incidentally, I voted for Brazil, The Breakfast Club, To Live and Die In L.A., The Purple Rose of Cairo, and Insignificance.)