Some reasons to hate being a movie critic but love being a movie columnist:
- "I Woke Up Early the Day I Died," a movie that is based on an unproduced script by legendary Hollywood schlock artiste Ed Wood (writer-director of "Plan 9 from Outer Space"). (The production ad in a recent issue of Weekly Variety magazine features a photo of actor Billy Zane in drag.)- "Offline" and "Mr. Atlas," two upcoming films that star the new buff "sensation" Diederik, billed alternately as "Legend . . . Hero . . . Friend!" and as the only "man (who) can save the world." (The latter movie, by the way, was filmed in Utah.)
- "For Love or Mummy," which stars alleged comic actors Bronson Pinchot and Gailard Sartain ("Getting Even With Dad") in the "all new adventures of Laurel and Hardy."
- "The Versace Murder," advertised in Variety by its production company as "one of the most highly anticipated films of the '90s (this, despite the fact that the deed that prompted it occurred last year).
No, I'm not making these up. Nor, unfortunately, am I inventing a new film biography of 12th century Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan, to star none other than Steven Seagal.
Anyone who's seen any of Seagal's recent interviews knows how badly he'd like to be John Wayne. But following in the Duke's footsteps by starring in a thinly veiled remake of his 1956 bomb "The Conqueror" seems a tad extreme, to put it mildly.
(Strangely enough, "The Conqueror" was also filmed in Utah. Are we sensing a connection yet?)
Of course, there is some small ray of hope. None of the movies in question have studio distribution yet (though the Seagal project probably will).
That means many of them could go straight to video, and none of us will have to see them - at least, not until they're parodied on "Mystery Science Theater 3000."
- FROM THE MAKING NEWS OUT OF OLD NEWS DEPARTMENT: What's with all the recent articles that call attention to Hollywood's "winter-spring" romantic casting in films like "As Good As It Gets" (which pairs 60-something Jack Nicholson with 30-something Helen Hunt) and the upcoming "Six Days, Seven Nights" (50-something Harrison Ford and Anne Heche, who's . . . uh, 30-something)?
Even more extreme are the columns that bring up the age differential between the 50-something Susan Sarandon, 60-something Gene Hackman and 70-something Paul Newman, the trio involved in an aging love triangle in "Twilight."
Not to make too much fun of my critical brethren, but where were they in the '50s and '60s when older leading men Cary Grant, Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart were cast opposite much younger female co-stars like Audrey Hepburn and Kim Novak?
In the words of my colleague, Deseret News television critic Scott Pierce: Duh!
- A BRIDGES TOO TALENTED: It didn't make many headlines this week, but veteran character actor Lloyd Bridges died Tuesday at age 85.
Bridges appeared in dozens of films during the 1940s and '50s, including the cult classic "Rocketship X-M" and the genuine classic "High Noon," and later rose to fame in TV's "Sea Hunt." But he was probably known best for spoofing his tough-guy image with scene-stealing supporting roles in the "Airplane!" and "Hot Shots!" movies.
In 1996, he suffered a stroke, which partially paralyzed his face and caused some slurred speech. But he recovered nicely and rebounded with a couple appearances as a 70-something fitness freak on TV's "Seinfeld."
Despite the fact that he'll likely wind up being remembered as a comic actor, he was also a talented dramatic actor.
And he fathered a pair of fine character actors in their own right, Jeff and Beau Bridges.
He will obviously be missed.
- JOHN SAYLES QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "If I had $40 million, what I would do is make something like a $20 million movie and pay everyone really well in reward for all the times they didn't get paid that well." - The 47-year-old writer-director of such highly regarded independent films as "Lone Star" and the upcoming "Men With Guns," when asked what he would do with a larger production budget
- JOHN SAYLES QUOTE OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: "I guess it's not the best career move. But then, I wouldn't really know what a good career move might be." - The always truthful Sayles, when asked about making "Men With Guns" as a Spanish-language film.