Half Baked

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25 Favorite Stoner Movies Ranked

If your movie nights could take a few more hits, check out our guide to the best stoner movies! These are essential and favorite movies to the marijuana experience, ranging from counterculture classics (Up in Smoke, Easy Rider), top-shelf mainstream films (Pineapple Express, Friday), and cult comedies (Grandma’s Boy, Super Troopers), all featuring icons like Jeff Spicoli and The Dude. Then we took all the movies and sorted them by Tomatometer, highest first of course.

If you’re seeking a trip guide, something to pair with whatever state you’re in, check out the 25 Favorite Stoner Movies! (And don’t forget the 20 best movies to watch high.) —Alex Vo

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 95707%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Synopsis: This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#2

This Is the End (2013)
83%

#2
Adjusted Score: 91586%
Critics Consensus: Energetic, self-deprecating performances and enough guffaw-inducing humor make up for the flaws in This Is the End loosely written script.
Synopsis: In Hollywood, actor James Franco is throwing a party with a slew of celebrity pals. Among those in attendance are... [More]
Directed By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

#3

The Big Lebowski (1998)
83%

#3
Adjusted Score: 88640%
Critics Consensus: Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.
Synopsis: Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski who insists on being called "the Dude," a laid-back, easygoing burnout who happens to have... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#4

Easy Rider (1969)
84%

#4
Adjusted Score: 89302%
Critics Consensus: Edgy and seminal, Easy Rider encapsulates the dreams, hopes, and hopelessness of 1960s counterculture.
Synopsis: Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper), two Harley-riding hippies, complete a drug deal in Southern California and decide to... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Hopper

#5
Adjusted Score: 81338%
Critics Consensus: While Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn's legendary performance, the film endures because it accurately captured the small details of school, work, and teenage life.
Synopsis: Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend,... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#6

Friday (1995)
76%

#6
Adjusted Score: 76231%
Critics Consensus: What Friday might lack in taut construction or directorial flair, it more than makes up with its vibrant (albeit consistently crass) humor and the charming, energetic performances of its leads.
Synopsis: It's Friday and Craig Jones (Ice Cube) has just gotten fired for stealing cardboard boxes. To make matters worse, rent... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#7
Adjusted Score: 78777%
Critics Consensus: The likable leads and subversion of racial stereotypes elevate Harold and Kumar above the typical stoner comedy.
Synopsis: Nerdy accountant Harold (John Cho) and his irrepressible friend, Kumar (Kal Penn), get stoned watching television and find themselves utterly... [More]
Directed By: Danny Leiner

#8

Inherent Vice (2014)
74%

#8
Adjusted Score: 83785%
Critics Consensus: Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material -- and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.
Synopsis: In a California beach community, private detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) tends to work his cases through a smoky... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#9

Ted (2012)
68%

#9
Adjusted Score: 77847%
Critics Consensus: Ted's "romance versus bromance" plot is familiar, but the film's held aloft by the high-concept central premise and a very funny (albeit inconsistent) script.
Synopsis: When John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) was a little boy, he made a wish that Ted (Seth MacFarlane), his beloved teddy... [More]
Directed By: Seth MacFarlane

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 75535%
Critics Consensus: Both funny and scattershot, this loose-knit action/buddy/stoner comedy bridges genres and keeps a steady tempo of low-ball laughs.
Synopsis: Stoner Dale Denton's (Seth Rogen) enjoyment of a rare strain of marijuana may prove fatal when he drops his roach... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#11

Smiley Face (2007)
66%

#11
Adjusted Score: 65787%
Critics Consensus: Although many of the jokes have been done before, Anna Faris's bright performance and Gregg Araki's sharp direction make Smiley Face more than your average stoner comedy.
Synopsis: Jane (Anna Faris), a struggling but perpetually stoned actress, has a busy day ahead. She has several important tasks on... [More]
Directed By: Gregg Araki

#12
Adjusted Score: 57935%
Critics Consensus: Fans can expect a good laugh as the cast from Smith's previous films reunite for Jay and Silent Bob's last bow. The loose plotting and crude language may be too much for others though.
Synopsis: When Jay and Silent Bob learn that a "Bluntman and Chronic" movie is being made featuring their comic book counterparts,... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

#13
Adjusted Score: 57051%
Critics Consensus: Tenacious D fan will find this movie hilarious; everybody else will see only a low-brow concept movie and a small assembly of jokes stretched past the 100 minute mark.
Synopsis: Musicians JB (Jack Black) and KG (Kyle Gass) begin a friendship that could lead to the formation of the greatest... [More]
Directed By: Liam Lynch

#14

Scary Movie (2000)
52%

#14
Adjusted Score: 54974%
Critics Consensus: Critics say Scary Movie overloads on crudity and grossness to get its laughs.
Synopsis: Defying the very notion of good taste, Scary Movie out-parodies the pop culture parodies with a no-holds barred assault on... [More]
Directed By: Keenen Ivory Wayans

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 54418%
Critics Consensus: We're the Millers squanders its potential with an uneven, lazily assembled story..
Synopsis: Small-time pot dealer David (Jason Sudeikis) learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished; trying to help some... [More]

#16
Adjusted Score: 52203%
Critics Consensus: Visually creative, but also aimless, repetitive, and devoid of character development.
Synopsis: Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his attorney Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) drive a red convertible across the Mojave desert... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#17

Up in Smoke (1978)
47%

#17
Adjusted Score: 48226%
Critics Consensus: Oft-quoted but undeniably flawed, Up In Smoke is a seminal piece of stoner cinema thanks to the likability of its two counterculture icons.
Synopsis: An unemployed pot-smoking slacker and amateur drummer, Anthony Stoner (Tommy Chong) ditches his strict parents and hits the road, eventually... [More]
Directed By: Lou Adler

#18
Adjusted Score: 25628%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Superlative stoners Cheech (Cheech Marin) and Chong (Tommy Chong) realize that one of their pals is developing a strain of... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Chong

#19

Reefer Madness (1936)
39%

#19
Adjusted Score: 43071%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: High-school principal Dr. Alfred Carroll (Josef Forte) relates to an audience of parents that marijuana can have devastating effects on... [More]
Directed By: Louis J. Gasnier

#20

Super Troopers (2001)
36%

#20
Adjusted Score: 37563%
Critics Consensus: A more-miss -than-hit affair, Super Troopers will most likely appeal to those looking for something silly.
Synopsis: Always looking for action, five over-enthusiastic but under-stimulated Vermont State Troopers raise hell on the highway, keeping motorists anxiously looking... [More]
Directed By: Jay Chandrasekhar

#21

Half Baked (1998)
29%

#21
Adjusted Score: 29459%
Critics Consensus: You'd have to be high to dig Half Baked's half baked production and scattershot sense of humor -- although maybe that was the point of this Dave Chapelle-led joint.
Synopsis: When a member of their crew gets arrested for killing a New York City police horse by feeding it junk... [More]
Directed By: Tamra Davis

#22

How High (2001)
26%

#22
Adjusted Score: 27618%
Critics Consensus: How High is a sloppily constructed stoner movie filled with lame, vulgar jokes.
Synopsis: Multi-platinum rap superstars Redman and Method Man star as Jamal and Silas, two regular guys who smoke something magical, ace... [More]
Directed By: Jesse Dylan

#23

Soul Plane (2004)
18%

#23
Adjusted Score: 20629%
Critics Consensus: A raunchy sendup of Airplane! that never really takes off.
Synopsis: Following a ridiculously awful flight that leads to his pet's death, Nashawn Wade (Kevin Hart) files a lawsuit against the... [More]
Directed By: Jessy Terrero

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 18486%
Critics Consensus: The movie isn't funny, the plot is too thin, and the production values feel more like a TV sitcom than a movie.
Synopsis: Last night, two party-hearty Dudes had an unbelievably sweet time. Too bad, they can't remember a thing, including where they... [More]
Directed By: Danny Leiner

#25

Grandma's Boy (2006)
15%

#25
Adjusted Score: 15977%
Critics Consensus: A gross-out comedy that's more gross than comedic, Grandma's Boy is lazy and unrewarding.
Synopsis: When he and his roommate can't pay their rent, video game creator Alex (Allen Covert) finds himself homeless and moves... [More]
Directed By: Nicholaus Goossen

Premiere Of Open Roads Films' "Fifty Shades Of Black" - Red Carpet

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

 

Movie audiences have always been able to rely on Marlon Wayans as one of the folks who take the Movie of the Moment and skewer it with some good, old fashioned silliness. The same applies to his latest film that he wrote and stars in, Fifty Shades of Black, that takes sex, relationships, and Florence Henderson, and gives you a night to remember. When we spoke to him, he was so passionate about five films not being enough to cover it that he added honorable mentions. He also made sure to point out that he really loves his films White Chicks, Scary Movie, and Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, but he decided that adding them wasn’t fair. But just know they are among his favorites.


Groundhog Day (1993) 97%

This is one of my favorite movies ever, because of the writing. I’m a big Bill Murray fan, and I just think any comedy that can last over two hours and keep your attention, even though it was the same situation over and over, and get funnier every time — this is probably my favorite movie of all time.

I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) 62%

This inspired me to want to write parodies and do parodies. I read it on the bed as a kid — I was eight years old when [his brother] Keenen [Wayans] sent me that script, and I [had] never laughed so hard. It inspired me. I knew that was what I wanted to do. It’s really my number one — I mean, I think it’s crazy if I put my brother as number one. You’d think I was being biased, of which I probably am, but I’m not, because I really love that movie and my brother. I think he’s a brilliant genius.

Meet the Parents (2000) 84%

The scene with the volleyball when he [Ben Stiller] hit her in the nose and she started bleeding, that worst case scenario was one of the funniest things in the world. And I love Ben Stiller’s performance, he was so genuine, and all he wanted to do was be in the father’s good graces but he couldn’t help but [****] it up. That movie made me laugh from the inside out.

Hollywood Shuffle (1987) 85%

An African American filmmaker [Robert Townsend] and being Keenen’s little brother inspired me to want to do movies. It really told the whole truth about African-Americans in the struggle, in a funny way, without all of us banging on the door going, “Hey Hollywood, love us.” Through laughter, it erased color lines, and is one of my all time favorites. I love when you do a movie with people doing multiple characters. That’s something I do and love to do, and I find that it’s one of the hardest things to do and still be grounded as a regular person in a movie. I’m inspired to do movies like that in my next phase.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984) 83%

Eddie Murphy was so appropriate. Comedy is the magic of learning to be appropriate. In terms of his performance, he was so damn appropriate. He knew when to play what, and he let the situation lead him into being broad. Because of the situation, he did what he had to do, he was Bugs Bunny talking his way out of situations. That for me is another movie that I would like to do, it made me say, “Damn, I wanna do that.”

Honorable Mentions, to round out the Top Eleven: The Mask, There’s Something About Mary, Airplane!, Liar Liar, Austin Powers, and The Nutty Professor.


Fifty Shades of Black opens this week.

Survivors-Hall-of-Fame

The most successful horror franchises tend to feature protagonists audiences can root for — heroes that viewers hope will beat the odds and emerge from their respective situations victorious and, well, alive. With that in mind, we here at RT decided to look back at some of cinema’s most stubborn survivors, those characters that somehow managed to avoid being offed in multiple horror movies.

Needless to say, you may want to avoid what follows below if you’re allergic to spoilers. Without further ado, here are our choices for the Horror Movie Survivor Hall of Fame!


Ellen Ripley

Ellen-Ripley

Survived: The Alien Franchise

You can’t keep a good woman down. Case in point: Ellen Ripley. Even if she only survived two-and-three-quarters of the first three Alien films, the DNA in her blood cells was enough to create a pretty killer replica (which gives us all hope for future Chuck Norris clones, but we digress).

Ripley could have gone the way of Dr. Frank Poole a whole bunch of times throughout the series. As the only survivor of the Nostromo (not counting Jones the cat), she still could have been torn to shreds when the alien hid on her shuttle. In Aliens, Ripley and a few of her compatriots survived a tough battle with the Alien Queen aboard the Sulaco. Even a universe-saving suicide in Alien 3 barely slows Ripley down — the follow-up isn’t called Alien Resurrection for nothing. How does she do it? Our guess is those decades-long stasis naps do a body good.


Ash Williams

Ash-Williams

Survived: The Evil Dead Franchise

You can possess him with a few demons. You can chop off his hand. Hell, you can even send him back through time. But the one thing you cannot do to Ashley “Ash” Williams: keep him down for good.The same can’t be said of Ash’s friends, who, in the first two Evil Deads offer up a survival rate of exactly zero. Ash is actually supposed to have died in the final frames of The Evil Dead, but the sequel retcons the whole thing, causing him to re-endure a gory getaway in the forest cabin. In the process, he loses his hand, but hey, chainsaw hand as replacement.

In the final Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Ash is sent to 1300 AD. His only way to get back to the present time and his job at S-Mart: Going through a horde of the undead (led by an Ash clone) to retrieve the Necronomicon, the book of the dead. Groovy.


 Dr. Frankenstein

Dr-Frankenstein

Survived: The Frankenstein Series by Hammer Films

Some folks just don’t know when to quit. You’d think that Baron Victor von Frankenstein would reconsider his diabolical experiments in reanimation after nearly getting his dome lopped off in The Curse of Frankenstein, but no; this guy’s got a one-track mind. Unlike the Frankenstein of Mary Shelley and the Universal movies, our man Vic (played with eyebrow-raised relish by Peter Cushing) doesn’t evolve from hubristic to guilt-ridden — he’s pretty much a murderous mad scientist from minute one. After surviving the guillotine in The Curse of Frankenstein, the Baron continued his artificial life experiments in a bunch of Hammer films (either five or six, depending on whether you count the Cushing-free The Horror of Frankenstein as part of the cannon — many don’t). It’s pretty amazing that Frankenstein can perpetually stay one step ahead of death, given that angry townspeople, public officials, and even his own stitched-up creations are always trying to kill him.


Tommy Jarvis

Tommy-Jarvis

Survived: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Friday the 13th, Part V – A New Beginning, Friday the 13th, Part VI – Jason Lives

The Friday the 13th series only had two protagonists who would carry themselves into sequels. The first was the original camp survivor who would be unceremoniously offed in Part II‘s opening sequence. The other: Tommy Jarvis. He first appeared in arguably the series’ best installment, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, as a young boy vacationing with his single mother and sister. With a penchant for masks, he and his sister succeed in confusing Jason, before Tommy is taken over by madness and hacks poor ol’ Jason Voorhees to death. The ambigious final shot of The Final Chapter suggests he has taken on an evil spirit.

In the godawful sequel, A New Beginning, Tommy is a taciturn mental patient, drifting in and out of institutions. As copycat murders begin around him, he suspects that his psychosis is taking over under the cover of night. Turns out the killer was just a disgruntled paramedic. In his final appearance, Jason Lives, Tommy attempts to tear Jason’s corpse asunder, but a steel pipe left in his heart attracts a bolt of lightning and Jason is resurrected. Ultimately, Tommy lures him back to the lake and to a watery grave. But we all know how long the dead stay dead in horror movies, don’t we?


Laurie Strode

Laurie-Strode

Survived: Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween H20Halloween (2007)

It’s no wonder that Laurie Strode takes a breather every couple of Halloween installments; neither sleep nor time nor even a franchise reboot can rid her of Michael Myers. In the original Halloween, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) survived the babysitting gig from hell, successfully keeping Michael Myers at bay (though he killed a couple of her friends). In Halloween II, she learned why she’d been stalked — it turned out that she was a blood relative of the knife-wielding psycho.

Laurie lay low for the next four Halloweens, but reemerged in Halloween H2O; she had faked her own death and changed her name, but she couldn’t stay hidden from her brother forever. Unfortunately, Myers finally got the best of Laurie in Halloween: Resurrection. Rob Zombie’s 2007 franchise reboot began at the beginning of the Laurie Strode story, with Scout Taylor-Compton stepping into the role; whether this incarnation of Laurie Strode shows the same survival instinct as the first remains to be seen.


Dr. Loomis

Dr-Loomis

Survived: The Halloween Franchise

Most psychology PhDs don’t receive gun training in school, tranquilizer or otherwise. Not sure about cursed zombie entrapment (that could be covered during mandatory intern hours), but Dr. Samuel James Loomis is somehow capable of all these things. At one point in Halloween 4, he agilely escaped death by diving behind some convenient barrels while his unkillable former patient took out a gas tank with a truck, causing a near-fatal explosion.

Dr. Loomis’ constant attempts at shooting Michael Myers really only impeded the guy’s momentum. It only took the first two films for Loomis to realize that bullets just wouldn’t work. At the end of II, he decided to be the martyr and blow both Michael and himself up using a combo of oxygen and ether.

Oh wait… but they both survive — somehow. Maybe Loomis got the explosive recipe wrong. But that’s great because then we got him for four more films! In those films we saw him use Michael’s female prey as bait to lure him into a trap consisting of a metal net, a tranquilizer gun, and his fists. But it was when he used his shrink skills to reason with the monster that we thought, “Oh yeah, that’s what he was trained to do.”


Kirsty Cotton

Kristy-Cotton

Survived: The Hellraiser Franchise

Puzzle boxes were all the rage in the 1980s. Of course, when Kirsty Cotton played with one, she suffered the consequences: the opening of another realm filled with sado-masochistic Cenobytes led by none other than Pinhead himself. Pinhead’s posse included Butterball, Chatterer, and the Female. After attacks from a deceptive dead-skin-wearing uncle, a group of deal-reneging “explorers” from another realm, and a stepmother hell-bent on devouring her boyfriend, Kirsty even withstood a trip to the Cenobyte realm. In Hellraiser III, she existed only through old interview footage, but she returned in Hellseeker with some gruesome tricks up her sleeve.

Being orphaned could inspire one to focus on new hobbies and interests, like mastering such a puzzle box, incidentally called the “Lament Configuration.” That, and a propensity for turning the tables on your loved ones, could be all you need to survive when confronted by violent unearthly beings that thrive on the pleasures of pain.


Nancy Thompson

Nancy-Thompson

Survived: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

How exactly does one defeat a nemesis who manifests himself in the dream world and makes nightmares come true? Nancy Thompson seemed to have figured out the trick, but not before notorious burn victim Freddy Krueger dispatched a good number of her friends and family in gruesome ways.

After Freddy skewered her BFFs and effectively turned her boyfriend into a bloody geyser in the original Nightmare on Elm Street, Nancy somehow managed to escape, only to meet her end in Part 3: Dream Warriors. But here’s the kicker: Freddy actually came after the actress who played Nancy, Heather Langenkamp, in Wes Craven’s [very meta] New Nightmare, in which he also terrorized director Craven himself and the man who portrayed him in the movies, Robert Englund. Whoa… And maybe, you might think, a name change would help protect poor Nancy, but Freddy’s too smart for that.


Jill Tuck

Jill-Tuck

Survived: Saw III through Saw 3D

Throughout all the twists and turns of the Saw franchise, one woman emerged as the series’ unlikely hero (seriously, the bad guys got waaay more screen time than the goodies): Jill Tuck, the ex-wife of serial killer Jigsaw. Jill was a rehabilitation clinic director who suffered a miscarriage after an assault from a junkie, prompting Jigsaw’s descent into madness.

Despite the Saw series’ brutally high body count, Jill survived five filmed appearances. After Jigsaw’s death in Saw III, she received a mysterious box via his will. For a while, her role as either protagonist or antagonist was up in the air, making her the most compelling character outside of Jigsaw himself. Then it was revealed her final role in Jigsaw’s twisted blueprint was to “test” his apprentice, crazy corrupt cop Mark Hoffman. Jill almost took him out, but was eventually killed in the final Saw with the infamous reverse bear trap.


Cindy Campbell

Cindy-Campbell

Survived: The first four Scary Movie movies

A high-school-student-turned-college-student-turned-anchorwoman-turned-professional-boxer-turned-caregiver, Cindy Campbell knows how to throw down and maybe even snap some necks. Her response to a home-attack by Ghostface? What else? Throw a HOUSE PARTY! That would be the safest thing to do, right? But everyone ended up dead. Go figure. Her Matrix-like aerial fighting skills got her through another night, but could she survive a wedgie in Scary Movie 2? Turns out… she could and did!

This one was handy though. Only Cindy Campbell could MacGyver random objects into a tractor, allowing her to crash through the door of a refrigerator she was locked in. Even a UN nude-ray couldn’t stop this savvy ingénue. At one point, an alien Command tripod ensnared her with Venus flytraps in a grimy old bathroom, and she was instructed to find the key to free herself and her friend Brenda. The key was located behind her eye, but it wasn’t a problem for Cindy. She’s got a glass eye (old bar fight injury).

Cindy has survived a lot. She’s slick and sagacious. But we’re still not sure whether she’s still with us, since she sat out Scary Movie 5.


Sidney Prescott

Sidney-Prescott

Survived: The Scream Franchise

Poor Sidney Prescott. She survived an entire franchise dedicated to her demise, and it really all came down to reasons that were far beyond her control. What’s that saying about “the sins of the father” (or, in this case, mother)? Yeah, Sidney sort of represents the epitome of the adage.

Consider this: Sidney’s own boyfriend, Billy, played the long con on her and ultimately tried to off her in the first Scream because Sidney’s mom broke apart his parents’ marriage — yikes. But it got worse: who should come around for revenge in Scream 2 but Billy’s mom herself, understandably upset, along with an accomplice who just wanted to be famous for killing Sidney. Scream 3 saw Sidney terrorized by a half brother she never knew she had, upset about being rejected by their mother, and 4‘s Ghostface Killer turned out to be Sidney’s own cousin, itching to get a taste of Sidney’s fame. Sidney is safe and sound as of now, of course, but you never know; there might be a great granduncle or a step-niece just rarin’ for a go at her.


Alice

Alice

Survived: The Resident Evil Franchise

At first, it wouldn’t appear that the Umbrella Corporation of the Resident Evil films planned very well for a possible outbreak of their zombifying T-virus. In fact, the soldiers sent to Umbrella’s secret lab in 2002’s Resident Evil spent most of their time simply trying to survive.

But even in the face of this population-decimating epidemic, there was one particular survivor who eventually went on the offensive for the good of all mankind, and her name was Alice. The folks at Umbrella must have spotted her potential, too, because in Apocalypse (2004), they outfitted Alice with some genetic modifications, and in Extinction (2007), they even cloned her in hopes of building a butt-kicking army. She’s survived attacks by all kinds of mutations, speedy, strong, and grotesque, but she hasn’t fallen yet. Alice and Umbrella both know the whole ordeal is Umbrella’s fault, and her quest to bring them to justice continues through to the franchise’s sixth installment, which is scheduled to open next year.

Few industries enjoy taking really, really, really long extended holiday vacations like Hollywood. So when we get to this time of the year, there’s really not much in the realm of “movie development news” to discuss, especially not in a weekly column which normally includes 10 different stories. So, this week and next, we’re instead going to review 12 of the year’s best stories, presented to you in monthly chronology. These twelve stories include six remakes (like Evil Dead, Ninja Turtles, and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?), three sequels (Alice in Wonderland 2, Casablanca 2, Scary Movie 5), two toy adaptations (Candy Land and Tonka), and one lame spoof (The Starving Games).


JANUARY: EVIL DEAD GOT REMADE, AND THIS TIME, THERE’S NO ASH

One minor obstacle in summing up the most “Rotten Ideas” in movie development news in a year as recent as 2012 is that we really don’t know what future movies will be “Rotten.” Take for example, the remake of Evil Dead, scheduled for release on April 12, 2013. It’s possible that it will be the Cabin in the Woods of 2013. Some movie fans saw the red band trailer and got very positively excited. Others… not so much. On the plus side, you’ve got Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell producing the remake, with a script that both Raimi and Diablo Cody worked on. On the other side, this remake seems to be devoid of all the goofy humor that made the two sequels so adored by fans in the 1980s (Evil Dead II) and 1990s (Army of Darkness). Anyway, the Evil Dead news from January of 2012 was that Lily Collins from Mirror Mirror (and Phil’s daughter) had been cast as the remake’s female equivalent of Ash from the original trilogy. A few weeks later, Collins was replaced by Jane Levy from ABC’s Suburgatory, but it was never really Lily Collins that made this story “rotten” to begin with. It was the idea of a movie called Evil Dead that doesn’t have S-Mart employee (and future boomstick enthusiast) Ashley J. Williams in it.

FEBRUARY: ADAM SANDLER WANTS TO SPIN YOU AROUND CANDY LAND

Picking just one “Rotten Idea” for some of these months was tricky. For February of 2012, it was difficult not to go with the news of remakes of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and Suspicion both being put into development. There was, however, a movie concept that came out in February that towers over those and any other bad idea. Adam Sandler, Happy Madison, and Columbia Pictures are developing the movie version of the Hasbro board game Candy Land, with Adam Sandler also expected to star (probably as King Candy). There was indeed something of a golden age of Adam Sandler comedies, but it’s not the 1990s anymore. This is the age of Jack and Jill and That’s My Boy, and the idea of this contemporary Adam Sandler starring in a Candy Land movie… defines “Rotten Idea.”

MARCH: MICHAEL BAY DROPS HALF THE TITLE TO MAKE HIS REMAKE JUST NINJA TURTLES; FANS FLIP OUT

March was a month that produced a lot of “Rotten Ideas,” including remakes of Leprechaun, Garbage Pail Kids, the Twins sequel Triplets, and the movie rights to Fifty Shades of Grey getting picked up. There was, however, one story that, without a doubt, was not only the biggest “Rotten Idea” of March, but was also arguably one of the biggest movie news stories of the year. It all started when Michael Bay revealed that his planned reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for 2014 was going to be called simply Ninja Turtles. No Teenage, and more importantly, no Mutant, as instead, these turtles would be more “aliens” than “mutants.” This inspired an online fan mutiny of sorts, and more than a few jokes about how the new acronym (nearly) spells out TAiNT. This all led to months of back and forth confirmations and denials about what exactly the origin elements of the rebooted foursome in Ninja Turtles would be (you can read a synopsis of it here).

APRIL: SCARY MOVIE 5 IS A REAL MOVIE THAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING

Typically, the development of a film happens over a lengthy period of time, and rarely does one specific news story necessarily encapsulate everything that will occur between a film’s inception and its production. An example of that would be the April, 2012 announcement that Scary Movie 5 was actually going to be produced in time for a 2013 release (April 12, specifically). Oh, what a simpler time that was. We didn’t know then that the cast of Scary Movie 5 would include Ashley Tisdale (as the lead), Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan, or that there would be disturbing/icky rumors concerning the plumbing on set. And even now, as the movie is less than four months away, there’s a lot we don’t know (except that it’s sort of a Black Swan spoof), as there’s no trailer yet. Considering the RT Tomatometer scores for the first four films, however, it’s likely that Scary Movie 5 will end up getting another “Rotten” rating as well.

MAY: FRIEDBERG AND SELTZER PICK THE MOST OBVIOUS AND UNFUNNY SPOOF TITLE WITH THE STARVING GAMES

For a month that had Tom Cruise attached to two different unwarranted remakes (Van Helsing and The Magnificent Seven), you’d think that the selection for May of 2012 would be obvious. Well, yes, it was, but it doesn’t involve Tom Cruise or a remake. Instead, this was the month that spoof “humorists” Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, they of such films as Epic Movie and Vampires Suck, announced that their next film would be called The Starving Games. Sure, Scary Movie 5 and The Starving Games might be low hanging fruit, but that doesn’t change the RT Tomatometer scores for Friedberg and Seltzer’s past films. The world still revolves, and crappy “comedies” are still crappy.

JUNE: ADAM SANDLER LOVES TALKING TO HASBRO ABOUT KIDS MOVIES: TACKLING TONKA TRUCKS, TOO

If it seems like this annual wrap up of “Rotten” movie development ideas is a bit hard on Adam Sandler, consider that the two stories that are being included weren’t the only Rotten Ideas this year. There were also stories about Sandler remaking Summer School, and the various stories about Sandler’s first sequel, Grown Ups 2. To its credit, the sixth month of 2012 had maybe less obviously “Rotten” stories, and so it’s the idea of Adam Sandler producing a movie with Hasbro based on the long popular Tonka brand of toy trucks (and other vehicles) that makes the list in this spot. Although it might be honorable that Sandler is considering branching off into different types of more family-friendly comedies, the list of comic movie actors for whom the move to “kiddie” movies was a good thing is very, very short. In fact, does such a list even exist?

JULY: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO FILMMAKERS COMING UP WITH ORIGINAL IDEAS?

That subtitle was so nice, I’m going to use it twice. Back in July, the idea of a remake of the 1962 psychological thriller What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? didn’t even get called the #1 Rotten Idea of that week. That’s partly because this writer came down a little harshly on a story about the movie rights to Daredevil, and partly because director Walter Hill has in the (distant) past directed such movies as 48 Hrs and The Warriors. As an example of the “Rotten” trends that continued in 2012, the idea of a modern remake of that Bette Davis/Joan Crawford semi-classic is, however, the better choice for inclusion here. The argument that can be had about a Baby Jane remake is whether or not this particular story can (or should) be remade every generation or so, in a fashion similar to the way that A Star is Born has been redone in different ways for different generations. And then, past that, it’s just a matter of whether maybe Hollywood in general should just lay off the whole remake thing entirely for at least 10 years or so.

AUGUST: TONY SCOTT, R.I.P.

Regardless of what one thinks of maybe a few of director Tony Scott’s films, his August 19th, 2012 suicide was arguably the darkest event in Hollywood this year. Enough so, that it’s at this point that we step aside from the silly complaints about what movies Hollywood is greenlighting for development, and just point you towards Tony Scott’s RT Tomatometer page. Unlike his brother Ridley, whose films are more obviously “auteur” and ambitious, Tony Scott specialized in popcorn movies, and he embraced that notion. That obviously also led to films that critics weren’t that fond of, hence the many “Rotten” ratings. But regardless of what you think of The Fan or Taking Lives, let’s remember that he did, after all, also give us movies like Top Gun, True Romance, and most recently, Unstoppable. At the end of the day though, they’re just movies, and it seems petty to quibble over Tomatometer rankings in the face of this tragedy. 2012 was made a little darker by this event.

SEPTEMBER: THE WEEK OF THE BORN FREE, ALL OF ME, AND BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER REMAKES

The last few weeks have seen a move towards more sequels, and less remakes, but not that long ago, back in September, production companies were still very much gripped by full remake fever. The week that ended with September 14th, for example, featured three unnecessary remakes of movies that worked just fine the first time: All of Me (the Steve Martin/Lily Tomlin comedy), the lion-centric true story of Born Free, and the early (partly) CGI animated film The Brave Little Toaster. Of course, all of these were being thought of before people started tallying up the successes and failures of 2012, and the pundits found that it was a year in which remakes mostly did belly flops down the box office charts.

OCTOBER: GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN, WE DON’T WANT TO SEE YOUR PEANUTS HEAD ANIMATED IN 3D CGI

This story isn’t really about whether the movie in question will be “good” in terms of Fresh or Rotten ratings on the RT Tomatometer. For all we know, the Peanuts movie that has been scheduled by 20th Century Fox for November 25, 2015, might be a well made film that stirs the hearts of the nostalgic, and provides new favorite characters for our youngest generation. Even if that were true, there would still be a problem: the world is getting a CGI animated movie starring Charlie Brown and friends, and it will probably be released in 3D to boot. This, therefore, isn’t a complaint about the narrative, entertainment, or comedic content so much as the presentation. Some things just don’t need to be in HD, 3D, or CGI, and the squiggly faces and figures invented by Charles Schulz are some of them. Close runners up for the October slot were the similar newspaper comic strip movies inspired by Heathcliff and The Family Circus, which made the news just a week later.

NOVEMBER: PLEASE, DON’T PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM… THAT IDEA OF A CASABLANCA SEQUEL

This one is such a classically awful idea that anyone with a belief in the good common sense of humanity has to believe that it will never actually happen. And yet, it keeps coming up every few years. We speak now, in hushed tones, of course, of the notion that anyone in Hollywood should ever remake Casablanca. What’s next, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz? Oh wait…

DECEMBER: ALICE IN WONDERLAND GETS A SEQUEL (DESPITE ALREADY BEING AN ADAPTATION OF ALL THE BEST STUFF)

This one probably isn’t nearly as Rotten as anything else on this list, but December is also a short month, and Hollywood might just be saving their truly awful ideas for 2013. Anyway, here you go… Disney is now developing a remake of their $1 billion box office hit, Alice in Wonderland. What’s more surprising is not that Disney is sequelizing Alice in Wonderland, but that it took this long (a few months shy of two years) to get going on it. Work on this sequel is starting after a year which included much activity for other live action Disney adaptations of classic stories like Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), Maleficent (2014), and a new version of Cinderella (for 2015). In addition to the 51% Rotten score awarded to Tim Burton’s film, there’s also the fact that pretty much all of the best stuff that Lewis Caroll wrote in the two Alice stories was already included in that film. What’s left, really, for this hypothetical sequel? Just more of the same? (Yes, probably.)

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.

Unbelievably, Fox almost didn’t release their animated Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who on the Easter weekend. Until a couple of weeks ago the film was going to be released the week before (and still was in a few cities), when most kiddies were still swapping ringtones in the schoolyard.

The studio will be glad they made the switch though, as armies of rugrats piled into theatres over the weekend to make the film UK box office number one, and pass it a cool £3 million in the process.

It’s generally accepted wisdom ’round these parts that Seuss doesn’t translate to a British audience, seeing as, unlike in the States, he is not required bedtime reading for our crumpet-scoffing nippers. But it seems that despite our relative unfamiliarity with the artist’s peculiar brand of gurn-tastic, inky nonsense, a combination of the film’s strong reviews (it’s at 79% on the Tomatometer) and bedraggled parents literally dragging their unkempt spawn to cinemas to stop them rampaging through their dining rooms conspired to give the film top spot.

A similar healthy formula worked for the second placed movie – and another newcomer in the charts – The Spiderwick Chronicles. Based on the books by Tony Di Teerlizzi and Holly Black, this CGI-happy children’s fantasy, starring the gnomic Freddie Highmore, was praised by critics for having several genuinely scary moments and not being too cutesy. High praise indeed and perfect fodder for today’s hoodied, Harry Potter-obsessed, iPod-thieving youngsters.

Arguably even more successful than either of these child friendly entries however was breakdancing sequel Step Up 2: The Streets, which came third in the charts but nabbed more dough per screen than any other film in the top five. It seems ‘The Kids’ were enthralled by the sweaty, pumped-up dance sequences, and didn’t care one jot about the ropey acting, lack of correlation with the original, and, as some reviewers noted, some rather unsavoury racial stereotypes. Empire‘s Anna Smith summed up the thoughts of jaded critics, saying the film “suffered from a real lack of charisma… still, the dance bits are good.”

Sadly a film without any redeeming features whatsoever also made a strong showing this week. Yes, of course we’re talking about Fox’s Meet the Spartans, which aimed not only to spoof Zack Snyder‘s 300, but also ingeniously skewer the pomposity of today’s celebrity culture. Naturally, seeing as this was written by two of the witless scribes behind Scary Movie and Date Movie, the best way to do this was to simply repeat scenes from/simultaneously pimp last year’s Fox movies and especially TV shows (American Idol, America’s Next Top Model) and hope their audience of braying morons would reward themselves with a self-congratulatory laugh for making the association in their tiny minds. Still, it made Fox over £1 million in the first four days, so fair play.

From the ridiculous to the sublime, and ending on a high note, the Guillermo del Toro-produced Spanish-language horror The Orphanage snuck into our top ten, despite only opening on a select 74 screens. Featuring superb performances, a haunting atmosphere and the obligatory terrifying deformed child, here’s hoping this film gets a wider distribution in the next few weeks.

The masses have spoken, and according to Meet the Spartans‘ grosses, they apparently want more spoof movies — something Bo Zenga is ready and willing to provide.

Variety reports that Zenga — who wrote Soul Plane, appeared as “EMT” in 1994’s Cagney & Lacey reunion movie, and acted as a producer on Scary Movie — has set up a new film, to be titled Stan Helsing, at Stone Village Pictures. Zenga will write and direct the project, which Variety sums up below:

Action takes place on Halloween night, when a videostore clerk, Stan Helsing, must reluctantly save a town from the six most-feared monsters in cinematic history.

Zenga, who most recently served as a producer of 2006’s Turistas, tells Variety:

“‘Stan Helsing’ spoofs the six biggest movie monster franchises of all time, which collectively have grossed over $1 billion worldwide. We expect to take a healthy bite of that number.”

Source: Variety

The Wayans brothers are getting back into the spoofing business.

Variety reports that Keenen Ivory, Shawn, and Marlon Wayans have brought their next project — an untitled “sendup of cop actioners” — to Paramount. Keenen Ivory will direct from a script co-written by all three brothers.

Previous Wayans lampoons have included, of course, the four Scary Movie films, which have raked in over $420 million domestically.

Comedy fans who are hungry for more Wayans will soon be able to tune into their “scripted comedy” series for VH1, The Life and Times of Marcus “Felony” Brown.

Source: Variety

A quartet of poorly-titled films will hit the multiplexes on Friday hoping to grab some business opposite a string of acclaimed releases fresh from earning their Oscar nominations.

Leading the newcomers with the most theaters is the spoof comedy "Epic Movie" which goes head to head against the crime drama "Smokin’ Aces." Horror fans get the werewolf pic "Blood and Chocolate" while those who prefer non-violence get the Jennifer Garner drama "Catch and Release."

Fox tries to tap into the immature crowd with its new comedy "Epic Movie" which spoofs many of the big-budget action and fantasy blockbusters of recent years. The "Scary Movie" series has ushered in more spoof flicks and Fox even saw solid results a year ago with its "Date Movie" which lampooned popular romantic comedies. That film bowed to $19.1M and found its way to $48.5M. Fans may be getting a little sick of the same template over and over again so the opening may not be as big, but the genre still works especially with young teens looking for mindless entertainment after a long week of classes. Commercials and trailers do not look that funny, but given the weak marketplace and the success rate of comedies with specific concepts, "Epic" may take in all the cash it needs to hit the number one spot. Holdovers do not seem like they will break into double digit millions this weekend. With a wide release in 2,801 playdates, the PG-13 pic could amass around $14M.


Lampooning Harry Potter in "Epic Movie."

The weekend’s solo R pic comes in the form of the mob thriller "Smokin’ Aces" from Universal. Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, and Alicia Keys star in this ensemble piece about a witness in protective custody being hunted down by a crime boss before he can testify. Young men are the target audience here in this Vegas-set flick that tries too hard to be cool. The NFL’s weekend off should make guys more available for ticketbuying which will help. The studio saw an underwhelming $6.4M three-day debut for another R-rated crime saga earlier this month – "Alpha Dog" – and will probably see many of the same customers this time around. An extra 1,000 theaters will ensure a bigger opening, but there is no A-list star or director in the film to truly attract a large crowd. A quick in and out of theaters should result. Opening in 2,204 locations, "Smokin’ Aces" might collect roughly $8M in its first hand.


Alicia Keys in "Smokin’ Aces."

Jennifer Garner plays a woman trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband in the new drama "Catch and Release." Sony proudly offers the only major new pic for female moviegoers and hopes to stand out from the crowd by going after an audience few others are targeting. The PG-13 film will test the starpower of the former "Alias" star who last hit screens two years ago with the big-budget bomb "Elektra." Her comedy "13 Going on 30" which she anchored solo performed well with a $21.1M bow, but "Catch" lacks the same fun factor and will probably draw fewer males too. Plus the studio is going into the marketplace with less than half the theaters they gave to "13." A supporting role by Kevin Smith is not likely to help bring in many dudes. But with so few films playing specifically to young women, a decent average is likely. "Catch and Release" hits 1,622 theaters on Friday and could take in about $7M.


Jennifer Garner, Kevin Smith, and some other dude in "Catch and Release."

Werewolf terror hits the multiplexes in the form of "Blood and Chocolate," a new supernatural fright flick aiming for teens and young adults. The MGM release carries a PG-13 rating which could work well in getting in younger teens, but the film lacks the zing or interesting concept that fans need in order to pay top dollar at the local theater. Every recent horror film has underperformed at the box office and this one does not seem like the savior that can turn things around. Plus other new releases will be distracting the target audience too. Opening in roughly 1,500 theaters, "Blood and Chocolate" could debut to around $4M.


"Blood and Chocolate."

After racking up over $200M through its five-week stay in the top two slots, "Night at the Museum" should get bumped down a bit. The Ben Stiller film once again faces no new competition for the family audience so a slim decline should result. A 30% fall would give Fox about $8M for the weekend and a towering cume of $215M. Sony’s "Stomp the Yard" looks to fall harder so a 40% drop to around $7M could occur pushing the cume to $50M.

After scoring the most Oscar nominations of any film with eight, the big-budget musical "Dreamgirls" shot up to the number one spot on Tuesday after finishing in third last weekend and on Monday. Although it missed out on the top prize of a Best Picture nomination, the Jamie FoxxBeyonce Knowles film is still getting media attention which is fueling the buzz and the studio has wasted no time in advertising the fact that no other film has more Academy Award nods. Still, the film is aging and many other awards contenders are expanding and trying to attract upscale moviegoers too. A small 20% slide to around $6M may occur giving "Dreamgirls" a solid $85M total.

LAST YEAR: Martin Lawrence topped the box office with his hit comedy sequel "Big Momma’s House 2" which bowed to a plump $27.7M. The Fox release went on to gross $70.2M. Debuting in second was the family film "Nanny McPhee" with $14.5M for Universal on its way to $47.1M. Sony’s "Underworld: Evolution" tumbled by 58% in its second weekend and placed third with $11.4M. The military drama "Annapolis" opened in fourth with a modest $7.7M before finishing with $17.1M for Buena Vista. The animated hit "Hoodwinked" rounded out the top five with $7.5M in its third caper.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

In this week’s Ketchup, "Spider-Man" teases us with an upcoming trailer of the third installment, and we’ve got news of several more "Spidey" flicks on the way.

Also making headlines: The "Terminator" TV series has a new name, Christopher Nolan gives some hints about the next "Batman," and Anna Faris finally lands a worthy leading role. Read on for details:

This Week’s Most Popular News:

Early Word on a "Spider-Man 3" Trailer

Yes, some movies are so big that even the discussion of their eventual trailer is enough to get the geeks excited. And since I’m the one sharing this news with you, I guess we can all agree I’m a geek. Sue me, I dig the "Spider-Man" flicks.

Expect Several Subsequent "Spidey" Sequels

Remember that silly little buzz that used to go a little something like this? "The third Spider-Man movie will certainly be the last one." Yeah, well, forget that. New Marvel Movie-Man Kevin Feige has stepped in to replace Avi Arad, and this guy’s got some plans for the web-slinger.

Get Ready for "The Sarah Connor Chronicles"

Yep, apparently that’s what they’ll be calling the all-new "Terminator" TV series — and I’d probably be a whole lot more skeptical about this project were it not for the involvement of director David Nutter and screenwriter Josh Friedman.

Anna Faris is a Centerfold!

We’ve been waiting for funny-gal Anna Faris to get a lead role to suit her comedic skills for quite some time now — and I’m not talking about the "Scary Movie" movies. Apparently Ms. Faris was tired of waiting for the perfect concept to come along, so she went to the "Legally Blonde" screenwriters and pitched her new idea. (Hey fellas, she’ll be playing a centerfold!)

Nolan Talks (Vaguely) About "The Dark Knight"

He doesn’t give up much in the way of information, but director Christopher Nolan recently had a brief "Dark Knight" chat with ComingSoon.net’s Melissa Greenwood — and obviously when Mr. Nolan speaks, movie geeks listen.

"Sarah Connor?"

In Other News:

  • Chow Yun-Fat, Ken Watanabe, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Taiwanese supermodel Lin Chi-Ling have signed on for director John Woo’s "The Battle of Red Cliff." Set in the year 208, the film covers the finals days of the Han dynasty, and the war that established the ‘Three Kingdoms’ period, when China had three rulers.
  • Producer Trudie Styler (wife of musician Sting) has acquired the film rights to Joshua Doder’s "Grk" children’s book trilogy. The deal includes the books "A Dog Called Grk," "Grk and the Pelotti Gang" and "Grk and the Hot Dog Trail."
  • The Toronto International Film Festival will premiere the controversial "Death of a President," a British fictional drama that portrays the assassination of President Bush in documentary style.
  • Rumor has it that "The Hobbit" will make its own big screen appearance for New Line Cinema. The "Lord of the Rings" prequel would have a July 2007 start of production date (just a rumor, though).
  • Alison Lohman has joined the cast of "Things We Lost in the Fire." The drama stars Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro as a pair who cope with the loss of their husband and best friend, respectively.
  • Emily Mortimer has joined Ryan Gosling in the indie flick "Lars and the Real Girl," about a lonely young man that falls for his life size sex doll, and tries to pass it as his girlfriend. No word yet if the script is based on a true story.
  • In a move sure to irk bibliophiles everywhere, producers of "Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix" have removed the scenes of the Quidditch match from the film. The cut is a time-saving maneuver, as the 800-page "Phoenix," the longest of the "Potter" books so far, is likely to face other omissions as well.
  • Nerds have reason to smile this week, as it was announced that the original "Star Trek" series will return to television with digitally re-mastered episodes featuring new special effects and music. The episodes will appear in syndication starting this month as part of "Star Trek’s" 40th anniversary celebration.
  • And finally, Orlando Bloom has turned down an invitaion by David Hasselhoff himself to star as the The Hoff’s son in the movie version of "Knight Rider." Bloom apparently was more partial to "The A-Team" and "The Fall Guy" as a child.

Apparently, he’s too good for The Hoff

We’ve been waiting for funny-gal Anna Faris to get a lead role to suit her comedic skills for quite some time now — and I’m not talking about the "Scary Movie" movies. Apparently Ms. Faris was tired of waiting for the perfect concept to come along, so she went to the "Legally Blonde" screenwriters and pitched her new idea. (Hey fellas, she’ll be playing a centerfold!)

From Variety: "Paramount Pictures has picked up an untitled fish-out-of-water project from "Legally Blonde" scribes Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith. Anna Faris is onboard to topline; Happy Madison is producing.

The project is based on an original idea by Faris that she brought to the writers. She’ll star as a newly unemployed centerfold with no other skills to parlay into a new career. She then takes the only job she can find — house mother at UCLA’s lamest sorority."

So… it’s sort of like a sillier, jigglier version of "Dead Poets Society"?

Dug "Scary Movie"? Loved "White Chicks"? Laughed your freakin’ butt off during "Little Man"? Well here’s some good news for you: The Wayanses have signed a deal for their next flick. It’ll be called "Pretty Ugly."

From The Hollywood Reporter: "Marlon Wayans is grooming "Pretty Ugly" for DreamWorks Studios. Wayans is set to develop, produce and star in the story about a handsome lifestyle mogul who wakes up hideously ugly because of a curse. As a result he must discover his inner beauty to save his company and win over the woman he loves. The project originated at DreamWorks and then was picked up by Walt Disney Pictures. It went into turnaround and recently returned to DreamWorks where studio execs warmed to Wayans fresh take."

Wait, which one’s Marlon again?

This week at the movies, we’ve got some unwanted houseguests, in the guise of a guy with a bad case of arrested development ("You, Me and Dupree," starring Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon) and a pint-sized thief on the lam ("Little Man," starring Marlon and Shawn Wayans). Will the critics be welcoming, or will they boot these flicks into the street?

Owen Wilson has made a side career of crashing things. He (literally and figuratively) crashed weddings in "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "Wedding Crashers," and now, in "You, Me and Dupree," he’s crashing on the couch of uptight newlyweds, played by Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon (who’s been involved in a "Crash" of his own). The plot involves the recently jobless Wilson, whose free-wheeling antics get under the skin of his hosts. While the critics say "Dupree" is reasonably warm and fun, it’s inconsistent and lacks the real comic punch to be anything more than mildly amiable. At 22 percent on the Tomatometer, "Dupree" may not be for you and me.


An unemployed Owen Wilson considers a career as an interior decorator.

Shawn and Marlon Wayans‘ previous film, "White Chicks," has legions of guilty defenders, despite (or, perhaps more accurately, because of) the fact that it’s tasteless, ludicrous, and often downright bizarre. Now they’re back with "Little Man," the story of a diminutive thief who poses as a baby in order to infiltrate the home of a suburban couple unwittingly in possession of stolen goods (said couple wisely takes the baby in, despite the fact that he has a mouthful of teeth). The question among critics is not whether "Little Man" is a good movie, but whether it contains laughs. Many say no, some resoundingly so, but for those of you who treasure lowbrow humor, politely ignore "Little Man"’s Tomatometer of 20 percent.


What’s the least realistic thing in this picture? I say it’s the fact that no babies wear bonnets like that anymore. Or the tat. One or the other.

Also opening this week, albeit in limited release: Francois Ozon‘s latest, "Time to Leave," is at 87 percent on the Tomatometer; "Gabrielle," starring Isabelle Huppert, is at 73 percent; "Changing Times," starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu, is at 70 percent; the black comedy "Mini’s First Time" is at 50 percent; the David Mamet adaptation "Edmond" is at 33 percent; Ed Burns‘ latest guy-bonding flick "The Groomsmen" is at 29 percent; and the sex comedy "The Oh in Ohio" is at 24 percent.

Recent Owen Wilson Movies:
————————————
76% — Cars (2006)
75% — Wedding Crashers (2005)
51% — The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)
63% — Starsky and Hutch (2004)
17% — The Big Bounce (2004)

Recent Movies Written and Starring Marlon and Shawn Wayans:
——————————————————————————
13% — White Chicks (2004)
11% — Scary Movie 2 (2001)
52% — Scary Movie (2000)
24% — Don’t Be A Menace… (1996)

Fans of Philip Pullman’s "His Dark Materials" series have reason to rejoice this morning: New Line Cinema has given an official greenlight and production date to "The Golden Compass," which will be brought to the big screen by Oscar-nom Chris Weitz.

Thanks to ComingSoon.net for the New Line press release:

"New Line Cinema has officially greenlit production on "The Golden Compass," the highly anticipated adaptation of the first of author Philip Pullman’s bestselling "His Dark Materials" trilogy, it was announced today by New Line’s Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne. Production on the $150 million-budgeted film is scheduled to begin September 4 in the UK, with Oscar-nominated writer/director Chris Weitz ("About a Boy," "Antz") at the helm.

"’The Golden Compass’ is the most ambitious film that New Line has undertaken since ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ trilogy, and we have assembled a remarkable creative team, headed by Chris Weitz, to bring it to fruition," commented New Line’s Shaye and Lynne.

Newcomer Dakota Blue Richards has been cast in the lead role of Lyra Belacqua. Richards landed the role after filmmakers conducted an extensive casting search throughout England, during which they saw more than 10,000 young girls. Open calls were held in Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter, and Kendal, before Richards was chosen from the Cambridge call for an audition and subsequent screen test.

"Dakota made what should have been an extremely difficult decision quite easy," says writer/director Weitz. "We wanted a completely new face for Lyra, but I was surprised that any young girl, especially one without training, could light up the screen as Dakota does."

Pullman adds, "I’m delighted with the casting of Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra. As soon as I saw Dakota’s screen test, I realized that the search was over. Dakota has just the combination of qualities that make up the complicated character of this girl, and I very much look forward to seeing the film take shape, with Dakota’s Lyra at the heart of it."

Helping to bring "The Golden Compass" to the big screen will be an all-star production team that includes Oscar-winning production designer Dennis Gassner ("Road to Perdition," "Big Fish"), Oscar-nominated costume designer Ruth Myers ("L.A. Confidential," "Emma"), and Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor Mike Fink ("X-Men," "X2: X-Men United," "Road to Perdition").

"The Golden Compass" is being produced by Deborah Forte of Scholastic Entertainment and Weitz’s Depth of Field production company. Paul Weitz (an Oscar nominee for "About a Boy") and Andrew Miano will serve as executive producers on the film. Bill Carraro will also serve as a producer on the film.

Based on the bestselling and award-winning Pullman novels, the "His Dark Materials" trilogy is comprised of "The Golden Compass," "The Subtle Knife" and "The Amber Spyglass." It revolves around a young girl who travels to the far north to save her best friend. Along the way, she encounters shape-shifting creatures, witches, and a variety of otherworldly characters in parallel universes."

In addition to the facts laid down in the press release, we also have a potentially juicy piece of casting news from the guys at IGN FilmForce: "According to England’s Daily Mail, (Nicole) Kidman has been offered the key part of Mrs. Coulter — scientist, socialite, and conspirator. With the actress’s good looks, charm, and intensity, she could be just right for the part; apparently Pullman himself has endorsed her for the role. As of yet, however, there’s no word — official or otherwise — that Kidman has accepted the part."

Hmmm, guess I better take a visit to the library….