Here’s The Trailer For Dear Evan Hansen!

I have to admit that I kind of went back and forth on whether or not to share the trailer for Dear Evan Hansen, the film adaptation for the Tony-award winning Broadway musical.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a trailer greeted with this much derision. My natural instinct is to be a contrarian and to try to defend it. (Remember …. I proudly put Money Plane on my list of the best films of 2020. I campaigned, albeit unsuccessfully, for Kesley Grammar to receive a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his career-defining performance as The Rumble in that same film. I’ve voted for multiple third party candidates and I still hold on to hope that Degrassi will somehow be renewed for another season. I am not scared of embracing a lost cause.) However, I actually agree with a lot of the comments that have been made about this trailer. For instance, it does give away almost the entire plot. And it does tend to go on and on. (No trailer should be over 3 minutes long.) And, perhaps most importantly, Ben Platt does look way too old to be playing a depressed and insecure high school kid.

It should, of course, be noted that Ben Platt originated the role of Evan Hansen, playing the role from the first reading of the show all the way to Dear Evan Hansen‘s eventual Broadway premiere. He played the role for three years. He won a Tony Award for playing Evan Hansen. One could argue that Ben Platt earned the right to recreate the role on film. However, judging from the trailer, Ben Platt may be 27 but looks at least ten years older. He looks less like Julianne Moore’s son and more like her younger brother. The attempts to make him look like a high school student just seem to age him even more. On stage, this would be less of an issue. However, watching the trailer, it’s pretty much the only thing that you can think about.

That said, this film was directed by Stephen Chbosky. Chbosky also wrote and directed one of my favorite films of all time, The Perks of Being A Wallflower. My hope is that Chbosky can pull it off and that Ben Platt’s performance will be so effective that it won’t matter that he’s way too old for the role.

Anyway, with all that in mind, here’s the trailer:

Here’s The Trailer for Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness

Resident Evil is back, I guess.

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is an upcoming CGI animated series, dealing with all of the usual Resident Evil stuff. Personally, I’m a fan of anything that features zombies in the White House. The series will be available to stream on July 8th, 2021 on Netflix.

Here’s the trailer!

Charles Grodin, Rest in Peace

Charles Grodin could have been Benjamin Braddock.

It was a story that he told often, about how he was a struggling, 30 year-old actor with a few film credits to his name when he was offered the lead role in The Graduate. Even though producer Lawrence Turman said the role would make him a star, Grodin turned it down because of the low salary that Turman offered. The role was then offered to Dustin Hoffman, who went on to become a star and spend several decades as an unlikely box office draw.

It’s easy to imagine Grodin in the role of Benjamin Braddock. He probably wouldn’t have been as insecure as Hoffman was in the role. He would have been a less passive Benjamin. Grodin’s Braddock would probably have been more obviously frustrated with Mrs. Robinson and his parents. Nobody played frustration quite as well as Charles Grodin. Audiences might not have been as quick to sympathize with Benjamin if Grodin had played the role but I think he would have eventually won them over. Grodin was an actor with a talent for making unlikable characters somehow funny and relatable.

Though Grodin may not have played Benjamin Braddock, he still went on to establish himself as one of the funniest character actors in the business, a master of deadpan humor. He was often the best thing in the moves in which he appeared. In Heaven Can Wait, he was funny even while he was trying to kill Warren Beatty. In Real Life, he was a suburban father who found himself trapped in an early version of reality television. In Seems Like Old Times, he gets more laughs with one annoyed expression than Chevy Chase gets in the entire film. In The Great Muppet Caper, he fell in love with Miss Piggy and tried to kill Kermit. He was one of the few actors to make it through Ishtar with his dignity intact. In Midnight Run, he was the perfect comedic counterbalance to Robert De Niro. In Dave, he taught the government how to balance a budget. Though he was often cast in supporting roles or as a co-lead (as in Midnight Express), he proved that he could carry a film with his starring turn in The Heartbreak Kid.

A lot of people knew Grodin best as a late night talk show guest, where he always seemed to be annoyed about something. He would get into mock arguments with the hosts and leave audiences confused as to how serious any of it was. (According to David Letterman, none of it was.) He briefly hosted his own talk show, from 1995 to 1998. Legend has it that Lorne Michaels banned him from Saturday Night Live after he hosted the show, apparently because he was so difficult to work with. How much of that is true and how much of that was just Grodin doing a bit, no one knows. I’ve seen Grodin’s episode. It’s fine. He’s funny.

Charles Grodin died today of bone marrow cancer. He was 85 years old. I’m going to miss him.

Gilda Radner, John Belish, and Charles Grodin on Saturday Night Live

Scenes That I Love: George Bailey Tells Off Mr. Potter In It’s A Wonderful Life (Happy Birthday, Frank Capra!)

Today is the 124 anniversary of the birth of Frank Capra and, in honor of this day, here’s a scene from one of my favorite films of all time, 1946’s It’s A Wonderful Life. In this wonderfully acted and directed scene, George Bailey tells off Mr. Potter, for the first but certainly not the last time:

6 Shots From 6 Films: Special Richard Brooks Edition

4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films is just what it says it is, 4 (or more) shots from 4 (or more) of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films lets the visuals do the talking.

109 years ago today, Richard Brooks was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He would go on to become an iconoclastic director, making films that challenged taboos and often dealt with the social issues that most mainstream Hollywood filmmakers refused to touch. With In Cold Blood, he launched the entire true crime genre. With Elmer Gantry, he was one of the first American directors to examine how religion became a big business. Throughout his long career, Brooks was a consistent opponent of bigotry, censorship, and hate. As one of the few independent directors to regularly work and achieve prominence during the studio era, he was a trailblazer for many today’s best directors.

In honor of the date of his birth, it’s time for….

6 Shots From 6 Richard Brooks Films

Blackboard Jungle (1955, dir by Richard Brooks, DP: Russell Harlan)
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958, dir by Richard Brooks, DP: William Daniels)
Elmer Gantry (1960, dir by Richard Brooks, DP: John Alton)
In Cold Blood (1967, dir by Richard Brooks, DP: Conrad Hall)
Bite The Bullet (1975, dir by Richard Brooks, DP: Harry Stradling, Jr.)
Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977, dir by Richard Brooks, DP: John A. Fraker)

Artwork of the Day: Tight Skirt (Artist Unknown)

Artist Unknown

I don’t think it’s just the tight skirt that’s responsible for that dorky smile on his face. Look at the cover closely and you’ll notice that he’s already taken off his shoes. We all know what that means.

This cover is from 1954, a time when nothing drove the boys crazier than an exposed ankle. Sadly, the name of the artist who is responsible is unknown.

Music Video of the Day: I Wish It Would Rain Down by Phil Collins (1990, directed by Jim Yukich)

This lengthy music video finds Phil Collins playing a drummer-turned-singer in the 1930s. With the help of his friend, a guitar player named Eric (and played, of course, by Eric Clapton), Collins auditions for a demanding theater owner (Jeffrey Tambor). While he auditions, he imagines what his life would be like if he becomes a success. He might even win an Oscar, probably for writing a song for a Disney film.

This video is more like a short film than a traditional music video, with over two minutes of “acting” before the singing even begins. This video came out at the time when Collins was still trying to make a career as an actor. I like the video but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that, for some people, it probably represents everything that they didn’t like about Phil Collins back in the day.

This video was directed by Jim Yukich, who directed several videos for Collins. Yukich’s name can be spotted on a clapboard when Collins is imagining what it would be like to be a film star.

In the scenes in which Collins is acting opposite of Humphrey Bogart, Bogart is played by Robert Sacchi. Sacchi built an entire career out of his resemblance to Humphrey Bogart. Whenever a sitcom in the 80s or the 90s needed Humphrey Bogart to appear in a dream sequence, the call went out to Sacchi. Sacchi also appeared in several movies, playing characters with names like Sam Marlowe, Inspector Bogie, and The Bogeyman. According to the imdb, he also appeared in The Erotic Adventures of Three Musketeers as Athos. I’m not sure if I believe that.