(Photo by Sarah Shatz/©Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)
In these days of six-feet-apart distancing, the idea of throwing/attending/completely humiliating yourself at a wild party is out of the question – no matter how much you might currently be fantasizing about doing just that. We here at Rotten Tomatoes have been feeling the itch for company of late too, and with that in mind decided to help bring the party home to you – with the help of some of the most out-of-control gatherings ever committed to screen. Start streaming one of the films below and – voila – you’ll be surrounded by booze, music, and friends. (Bonus: Your friends might include Kirsten Dunst, Seth Rogen, and Dave Chappelle.)
There’s something for everyone here: a ton of house parties for those looking for a Solo cup vibe; decadent bacchanals for those who want to live fancy (Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby, Marie Antoinette); office parties for those missing their colleagues (The Apartment, Office Christmas Party); and a sci-fi rave (The Matrix: Reloaded), a period ball (Pride and Prejudice), and some kink (Eyes Wide Shut) for good measure. (Note: We decided to leave some epic parties out, because, well, we didn’t like how the ended – looking at you Carrie and Scream.)
With that said, it’s now time to do our hair, grab something from mom’s liquor cabinet, and call an Uber – er, we mean, plonk ourselves on the couch. Party’s about to start and you don’t want to be unfashionably late.
Let us know your favorite movie party in the comments – and which movie characters you’d have on your party guest list. To see where to stream each movie, click into the title for more details.
After years of fan outcry, Ryan Reynolds finally gets the chance to topline a solo Deadpool movie this weekend — and if early critical returns are any indication, it was well worth the wait. In honor of the occasion, we decided to take a fond look back at some of the best and brightest moments from Mr. Reynolds’ film and TV career, and the results add up to a list that includes big box-office hits and left-field choices from across the spectrum. It’s time for Total Recall!
After getting his first big break in the Canadian soap Hillside, Reynolds picked up a handful of TV appearances (including a gig on Sabrina the Teenage Witch) before landing a co-starring role on the ABC sitcom Two Guys and a Girl, which lingered on the network’s lineup for an 81-episode run between 1998-2001. Initially part of a Wednesday comedy block that included The Drew Carey Show, the series was initially something of a midsized hit, but it was eventually doomed by a move to the Saturday TV graveyard — not to mention a glut of Friends-inspired shows about the travails of twentysomething urbanites. Still, for fans wanting an early glimpse of Reynolds (not to mention a pre-Firefly Nathan Fillion), it’s worth a look.
There’s no denying that Ryan Reynolds is genetically well-qualified to play feckless, handsome charmers — or that, by 2002, the world was ready for a fresh take on the slobs-vs.-snobs story that National Lampoon perfected into an art form with Animal House — so National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, starring Reynolds as a legendarily shiftless college student scrambling to preserve his cushy lifestyle after being cut off by his dad, could have been a lot of fun. The problem, as most critics saw it, was that instead of being a schlubby, disadvantaged outsider with an axe to grind against the Man, Reynolds’ character was simply lazy, and thus inherently hard to root for. Still, it gave him an early chance to carry a film, and it’s become something of a cult comedy classic — which is just fine with John Patterson of the L.A. Weekly, who called it “An effervescent campus gross-out comedy that’s true to the amoral, anarchic spirit of Lampoon founder-editor and screenwriter Doug Kenney.”
Whatever problems The Nines might have, lack of ambition isn’t one of them. This heady sci-fi fantasy, which marked the feature directorial debut of screenwriter John August, stars Reynolds in a triple role as three men struggling to understand the truth behind unusual occurrences in their lives — lives that occasionally intersect — while in the midst of fraught encounters with mysterious women (all played by Hope Davis, in another triple role). It’s the type of trippy metaphysical drama that demands a viewer’s complete concentration, and even then, the answers to the questions it poses are open to interpretation. Still, if you’re in the mood for a less-than-straightforward film, you could do far worse. “Confusing? Yes, and intentionally so,” wrote Christy Lemire for the Associated Press. “But it’s never boring.”
A romantic comedy with a twist, Definitely, Maybe finds its protagonist looking back on the love affair that led to marriage and a child — by telling the story to his young daughter, with some names changed and facts adjusted, while in the midst of a divorce. Thanks in part to those narrative curveballs, most critics applauded Maybe — and even if it still ultimately traced a rather familiar arc, it was difficult to find too much fault with a resolutely charming production that made smart use of a likable ensemble cast that included Reynolds, Abigail Breslin, Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher, and Rachel Weisz. “As the movie is about a character’s growing into his own truth rather than discovering some preordained truth, Definitely, Maybe is hard to outguess,” wrote Mick LaSalle for the San Francisco Chronicle. “For once in a romantic comedy, you won’t be able to tell after five minutes who will end up together.”
It’s a special occasion when critics really go nuts for a romantic comedy — or when rom-com fans care enough about critics’ opinions to stay away from the cineplex even when a new entry in the genre is supposed to be subpar. For proof, look no further than 2009’s The Proposal, which endured a heap of critical brickbats on its way to theaters, yet still managed to roll up an impressive $300 million-plus gross — thanks in no small part to the chemistry between stars Sandra Bullock (as a publishing company’s abrasive editor-in-chief) and Reynolds (as the hapless assistant who’s browbeaten into marrying her to keep her from being deported). It definitely isn’t revolutionary stuff, and you know exactly where the movie’s taking the relationship, but that formula is a big part of the romantic comedy’s appeal. “The Proposal is just a good old-fashioned romance, one in which people actually bring out the best in one another rather than the worst,” wrote Betsy Sharkey for the Los Angeles Times. “How novel is that?”
It takes a special kind of creativity and filmmaking discipline — to say nothing of actorly chutzpah — to pull off a film centered around a single person in a single space, and when Reynolds read the script for 2010’s Buried, he had to know he was facing an immense challenge. Both he and director Rodrigo Cortés deserve a ton of credit, then, for making the most out of screenwriter Chris Sparling’s tightly focused story about a military contractor who wakes up imprisoned in a coffin, and turning its seemingly limited premise into a 95-minute white-knuckle race against time. As Rex Reed argued for the New York Observer, “Nothing this underrated actor has done previously measures up to the emotional diversity, focus and self-control required of him in a one-man exercise in underground suspense that Alfred Hitchcock would envy.”
Reynolds got the chance to go toe-to-toe with Denzel Washington in 2012’s Safe House, an action thriller from director Daniel Espinosa about a rogue CIA operative (Washington) whose interrogation is interrupted by a team of mercenaries that attacks and sends him back into the wind with a low-level field agent (Reynolds). It’s a premise rich with possibilities for cool set pieces and odd-couple bickering, but Safe House never really takes full advantage of those possibilities, settling instead for frenetic editing that can’t quite move fast enough to mask the clichéd plot developments along the way. Still, when the movie gets going, it does have its pleasures; as Colin Covert wrote for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “I won’t deny that the movie hooked me with sheer brute energy and dragged me along with it most of the way.”
For most films, making your main protagonist an employee at a bathtub factory would more than fulfill the weirdness quotient. But for 2015’s The Voices, that’s just the beginning of a surreal odyssey into bloody violence and black comedy — oh, and talking pets. Directed by acclaimed graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi by a script from Paranormal Activity 2 co-writer Michael R. Perry, The Voices gives Reynolds free rein to indulge in all manner of strange behavior, but for the most part, critics agreed that the movie stays on the right side of the line between refreshingly different and quirky for quirky’s sake, and while its main character’s warped descent into a bleak, chaotic psychological abyss definitely isn’t for all viewers, those with a taste for the strange might find the end results intoxicating. As Sara Stewart wrote for the New York Post, “Ryan Reynolds is chillingly perfect as a nice-guy factory worker struggling with schizophrenia and murderous impulses in this tonally wild indie, which is nearly too horrifying to be funny — but not quite.”
Woman in Gold has an awful lot going for it, including a fascinating real-life story and a talented cast topped off by the mighty Helen Mirren. Unfortunately, while there’s plenty of drama to be wrought from the tale of a Jewish refugee battling the Austrian government for ownership of a Gustav Klimt painting of her aunt, much of it went missing on its journey to the big screen. Although critics were quick to praise Mirren’s work, and had kind words for Reynolds’ portrayal of a rookie lawyer enlisted to help win back the painting, many critics felt Woman in Gold lacked the depth and dramatic pull its story deserved — which is not to say the movie didn’t have its fans. “Sometimes you know a movie is going to work in about the first three scenes,” wrote Wesley Morris for Grantland. “This one really works.”
A number of his more successful films have found him playing characters that might be described as blandly pretty, so the idea of Ryan Reynolds playing an emotionally stunted drifter with a gambling problem might seem like a bit of a stretch. With his work in Mississippi Grind, however, Reynolds offered an excellent reminder that when given the right script, he’s more than capable of delivering a finely layered performance — and going toe-to-toe with Ben Mendelsohn in a melancholy road movie about a pair of aging losers who can’t quite seem to grow up no matter how many chances they’re given. “Mendelsohn plays Gerry as a stringy, sweaty hunk of pure desperation,” wrote Mike D’Angelo for the A.V. Club, “while Reynolds, as the ostensibly more stable partner, demonstrates yet again that he’s much more than a ridiculously pretty face.”
With this weekend’s Vacation, Ed Helms and Christina Applegate bring the long-suffering Griswold clan back to theaters for the first time in nearly 20 years. A lot has changed since the first time we met the family in 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation, which has us feeling nostalgic for all their previous adventures, so we decided we’d go ahead and dedicate this week’s feature to the National Lampoon filmography. They can’t all be the original Vacation, of course, but chances are you’ve laughed more than a few times at the movies on this list. Jump in the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, kids — it’s time for Total Recall!
National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze scored a perfect zero with critics during its brief theatrical run in 2003, and its piddling box-office gross meant that Dorm Daze 2 went direct to DVD — but that movie’s sequel, 2009’s Transylmania, somehow returned the franchise to theaters. Sadly, the results were pretty much the same: Transylmania grossed a reported $408,229 while earning universal scorn from critics who must not have been in the mood for a horror/comedy hybrid about college students whose semester abroad in Romania gets them mixed up with a 17th-century vampire curse. As Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times warned, “If your idea of a good time is laughing with repulsion at a humpbacked Romanian nympho with a torture-loving midget dad, or tittering every time a bong appears, a darkened theater awaits you.”
Kal Penn got a few laughs as pandering stereotype/second banana Taj Mahal Badalandabad in the original Van Wilder, and by 2006, he’d picked up some career steam through roles in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and the Fox hit series House, so why not make him the focus of a sequel? As Steve Carell would learn with Evan Almighty the following year, elevating a supporting character to a starring role for a sequel doesn’t always work out the way it’s supposed to, and so it was with Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj, which managed to do even worse with critics than its widely scorned predecessor. “Taj,” gagged Jack Mathews of the New York Daily News, “plays like a very bad combination of Revenge of the Nerds and Harry Potter.”
Nearly a decade lapsed between the third and fourth installments of the Vacation franchise, but judging from the on-screen results, not enough of that time was spent coming up with fresh ideas: Both critically and commercially, this limp dud is a mere shadow of its predecessors, stringing together a series of mild jokes whose lack of daring was reflected in the film’s PG rating — and whose overall lack of imagination is summed up with a sad callback to the first Vacation’s “girl in the Ferrari” subplot. This outing’s dismal box office receipts chased the series out of theaters for nearly 20 years, and it wasn’t missed by critics like Sin Magazine’s Austin Kennedy, who pointed out, “Despite Chevy Chase’s decent effort trying to revive the Griswold franchise, Vegas Vacation is just a big disappointment. This one could have just premiered on TV, as it resembles that sort of mediocrity.”
By the early ‘90s, the buddy cop action thriller genre had more or less devolved into a parody of itself, but that didn’t stop National Lampoon from throwing a bunch of rapid-fire gags and celebrity cameos into a cinematic blender to produce Loaded Weapon 1, starring Emilio Estevez and Samuel L. Jackson as a pair of mismatched cops trying to take down the bad guy (William Shatner) whose pursuit of a secret recipe for turning cocaine into cookies has already resulted in the death of Jackson’s former partner (Whoopi Goldberg). Less aggressively offensive than some of the company’s other efforts — yet just as scattershot — Loaded prompted disinterested shrugs from critics as well as audiences; as Roger Ebert wrote, “It’s hard to satirize a satire. That’s what National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 wants to do, but the target proves elusive. This is a would-be comedy that’s not as funny (nor as satirical) as the movies that inspired it.”
On the surface, it might seem that 2002’s Van Wilder is an attempt to recapture the wildly subversive anti-establishment humor that fed into early National Lampoon triumphs like Animal House. But even if they share a college setting, these two films are separated by a crucial difference: Instead of being a schlubby, disadvantaged outsider with an axe to grind against the Man, Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) is simply lazy, a seven-year “student” whose only real problem is losing access to his dad’s largesse (a problem from which he’s amply distracted by the charms of a campus reporter played by Tara Reid). It did well enough to generate a sequel, but by mistaking T&A for heart, Van Wilder highlighted one of the big disconnects between the company’s classic films and its misguided latter-day efforts. “Once upon a time, anything associated with the name ‘National Lampoon’ generated as many chuckles as a can of nitrous oxide,” lamented the Kansas City Star’s Dan Lybarger. “Now the effect is more like a laxative.”
In theory, National Lampoon’s European Vacation should have been great, but the reality proved puzzlingly lame — starting with the way our bumbling protagonists’ proud surname is inexplicably (and temporarily) changed from Griswold to Griswald, this sequel seems to have many of the ingredients of a fun Vacation movie, but can never quite seem to figure out what to do with them. Of course, with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo back together, things can only be so bad, and the setup — which sends the clueless Griswalds off to Europe, where they live down to every ugly American stereotype — is good for a handful of giggles. On the whole, however, it proved a disappointment for most. “Personally, it’s my favorite out of the four Vacation films,” insisted Larry Carroll for Counting Down. “Many people don’t agree with me, however.”
Definitely one of the more esoteric entries in the National Lampoon filmography, 2005’s Blackball rounds up an impressively eclectic cast (including James Cromwell and Vince Vaughn) to wring some chuckles out of a story about a young, brash professional lawn bowler (Paul Kaye) who sets about dethroning the reigning champion (Cromwell) with the aid of a sleazy agent (Vaughn). If Blackball shamelessly mines the same class dynamic humor that drove Animal House, it still manages to get a few good laughs out of the joke — and it isn’t like that setup hadn’t already been reused countless times anyway. “Is it an accurate representation of English lawn bowls? Who knows,” shrugged Film4. “But satire, gags and the unexpectedly exciting business of bowling itself are blended into an enjoyable whole.”
The Vacation franchise veered a little off course with 1985’s European sequel, but it enjoyed a happy rebound with Christmas Vacation — a sweet-hearted chapter in the Griswold family saga that jettisoned the slightly anarchic spirit of the original for 90 minutes of goofy fun that puts family patriarch Clark (Chevy Chase) in the middle of the painful (and universally identifiable) gap between idealistic expectations of holidays with the family and the messy chaos of real life. The end result, argued Ryan Cracknell for Movie Views, is “The ultimate family holiday film, playing on both the heart strings and the horror to capture a genuine Christmas spirit.”
The company’s name eventually became synonymous with T&A-obsessed direct-to-video efforts, but National Lampoon’s cinematic efforts started off strong: 1978’s Animal House united some of the era’s brightest comedic talents (including breakout star John Belushi, producer Ivan Reitman, and co-writer Harold Ramis) in a proudly ribald look at the alcohol-soaked underbelly of collegiate life that laid the foundation for dozens of subsequent “snobs vs. slobs” comedies while forging a new frontier for subversive humor. “The Lampoon people,” observed TIME’s Frank Rich, “understand the darkest secret of an American college education: one of the noblest reasons to go is to spend four years studying sex.”
After Animal House, National Lampoon fumbled around in search of a suitable follow-up for a bit, releasing the underwhelming National Lampoon’s Class Reunion and National Lampoon’s Movie Madness before finally wising up and adapting the John Hughes short story “Vacation ’58” for 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation. Starring Chevy Chase as the perpetually clueless Clark Griswold, Beverly D’Angelo as his faithful wife Ellen, and an ace supporting cast that included old pros like Imogen Coca, more established talents like John Candy and Randy Quaid, and future stars like Jane Krakowski and Anthony Michael Hall — not to mention an eye-catching cameo from Christie Brinkley — Vacation took the early ‘80s vision of suburban America’s ideal summer sojourn and twisted it into a nightmarish (and oh so funny) hellscape of shoddy goods, wrong turns, rotten relatives, and broken promises that’s still making us laugh more than 30 years later. “The Griswolds,” decreed Fred Topel for Crave, “are a national treasure.”
Finally, here’s the trailer for National Lampoon’s second cinematic effort, National Lampoon’s Movie Madness, which barely managed to sneak into theaters in 1983 after spending a couple of years in limbo. See if you can figure out why the studio sat on it:
Mr. Becker (whose only other films are "Buying the Cow" and "Van Wilder") has a few new projects on his plate (including stuff called "Schooled," "In the Navy," and "Old Dogs"), but I doubt they’d prevent him from getting Travolta, Allen, Lawrence, and Macy back for a quick-turnaround sequel if everyone’s still interested — and considering that "Wild Hogs" grossed almost $40 million in its first three days of release, I’m betting they might be interested.
No concrete word on if and when the sequel will definitely happen, but c’mon. This one’s a no-brainer.
This week at the movies, we’ve got a new take on the first Noel ("The Nativity Story," starring Keisha Castle-Hughes), endangered Americans in Brazil ("Turistas," starring Melissa George), and a hard partying expat ("Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj," starring Kal Penn). What do the critics have to say?
It may be based on The Greatest Story Ever Told, but critics say "The Nativity Story" is hardly the greatest movie ever made — or even a particularly good one. In case you need a refresher on the origins of the upcoming holiday that may be the occasion for you to receive a Playstation 3, "The Nativity Story" tells the tale of a teenager named Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) who is to give birth to the savior of mankind — all the while dealing with political persecution and lousy hotel service. Critics say the film is too safe (strange, given director Catherine Hardwicke‘s previous films about remarkable young people, "Thirteen" and "Lords of Dogtown"), adding little spark to the most inspirational (and familiar) of sagas. "The Nativity Story" currently stands at 26 percent on the Tomatometer.
"Turistas" continues a mini-trend in slasher films that began with "Hostel": arrogant Americans getting their comeuppance in foreign locales. In this case, a group of youngsters are terrorized in Brazil after they fall into the clutches of a mad organ harvester. While some critics have praised the film’s political undertones and better-than-average tension, most say "Turistas" adds little to a stale genre. At 38 percent on the Tomatometer, this tourist trap may be worth avoiding.
"Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" was not screened for critics, which may indicate that it has the potential to sink like a stone with the scribes. (The original "Van Wilder" garnered a robust 17 percent.) Guess that Tomatometer.
Opening this week in limited release: "10 Items or Less," a laid-back romance starring Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega, is at 53 percent; "3 Needles," a globe-spanning drama about the toll of the AIDS virus, is at 33 percent; and "The Architect," a tale of two families in conflict over a public housing structure, is at 33 percent.
Notable Biblical Epics:
51% — The Passion of the Christ (2004)
80% — The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
88% — The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1965)
96% — Ben Hur (1959)
91% — The Ten Commandments (1956)
The post-turkey blues will kick in as the North American box office should slump this weekend following a busy Thanksgiving holiday frame.
Three new releases venture into the multiplexes. The Biblical drama "The Nativity Story" will open in the most theaters and try to court a faith-based audience as Christmas nears. Teens and young adults looking to push the envelope with R-rated fare have the college comedy "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" and the horror thriller "Turistas." Meanwhile, the penguin toon "Happy Feet" and the James Bond actioner "Casino Royale" will both be past the $100M mark by Friday and will try to stay atop the charts for a third straight time.
The story of Baby Jesus comes to the big screen with New Line’s "The Nativity Story" which stars Keisha Castle-Hughes ("Whale Rider") as Mary. The PG-rated film should appeal to Christian parents wanting to share the religious saga with their children in an environment that the whole family can enjoy. Certainly "The Passion of the Christ" showed how big a Biblical film could be at the box office. However, "Nativity" is completely different and does not have that film’s high-profile director, controversy, or national media frenzy.
Instead, it may tap into the same audience as October’s Babylon epic "One Night With the King" which opened to $4.1M from just 909 theaters for a $4,518 average. "The Nativity Story" will launch in more than twice the number of theaters and has a more timely release with December 25 right around the corner, but could generate a similar per-theater average. Critics have not been kind to the pic which might prompt some to wait for the DVD. Opening in around 2,800 theaters, "The Nativity Story" could collect about $13M over the weekend.
Four and a half years after the release of National Lampoon’s first raunchy college comedy "Van Wilder" comes a new installment with "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj." This R-rated tale finds Taj (Kal Penn) from the first film moving to England to teach a group of misfits how to party down. It’s been a tough road in recent weeks for R-rated films aimed at young males. "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny," "Let’s Go to Prison," and "Harsh Times" all opened with about $2M or $3M a piece. "Taj" has some brand recognition since the first "Van Wilder" went on to become popular on video and on cable. In theaters, it opened to $7.3M and a $3,612 average in April 2002 leading to a $21M final. However, a crowded marketplace will make it tough for the sequel to stand out. And "Borat" becoming a runaway smash with four straight $10M+ weekends won’t help either. Opening in 2,000 around theaters, "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" might debut with about $5M.
Fox’s new division Fox Atomic, which will cater to teen and young adult audiences, sets sail with its first film with the horror pic "Turistas." The R-rated thriller is directed by John Stockwell ("Blue Crush," "Crazy/Beautiful") and follows a group of American tourists on vacation in Brazil who cross paths with creepy organ harvesters. No starpower here. Instead, Fox is hoping to appeal to college kids looking for a good scare. Outside of older teens and twentysomethings, appeal should be minimal. Even with its core audience, "Turistas" will have to share shelf space with "Taj" so potential will be limited. Opening in less than 2,000 theaters, "Turistas" could find its way to a weekend gross of roughly $4M.
Among holdovers, films usually suffer steep declines on the weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday frame. Overall box office spending contracts and studios usually avoid programming any of their heavy hitters into the slot. In fact in the last 15 years, only one new release has opened at number one during this particular weekend – 2003’s "The Last Samurai."
This weekend, it could end up being "Happy Feet" and "Casino Royale" duking it out for box office supremacy for the third straight time. Family pics do extremely well over the turkey frame, but then come down hard a week later. Plus "The Nativity Story" could provide some competition for families. Warner Bros. might suffer a 55% fall for its penguin film which would leave it with $17M for the weekend and $120M after 17 days.
The new blonde Bond is pleasing audiences worldwide and in the United States, "Casino Royale" is set to give "Die Another Day" a run for its money thanks to good word-of-mouth. With kids back in school, the Sony adventure film has taken over the number one spot during the mid-week period. "Casino" could drop by 50% this weekend to around $15M which would push the domestic cume to $116M. Look for the global tally to surpass the $400M mark with ease by the end of the holiday season.
Last weekend, Denzel Washington‘s action thriller "Deja Vu" got off to a good start with a $28.6M five-day bow. Buena Vista may witness a 50% drop and collect roughly $10M over three days and raise its 12-day total to $43M.
LAST YEAR: For the third straight weekend, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" rose to the head of the class and grossed $19.9M to lead the box office. Paramount opened its Charlize Theron actioner "Aeon Flux" to $12.7M on its way to a lukewarm $25.9M. It was the only new wide release of the weekend. "Walk the Line" dropped to third with $9.5M, "Yours, Mine, and Ours" placed fourth with $8.3M, and "Just Friends" rounded out the top five with $5.6M.
Brett Ratner can cross out yet another celebrity from his dream cast for "Rush Hour 3." In an interview with a sports writer from a Chinese newspaper, it’s revealed that Basketball superstar Yao Ming (Year of the Yao) has turned down a role in the film.
Ratner had wanted to recreate the popular fight scene between Bruce Lee and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from "Game of Death" with Chris Tucker in the Lee role and Yao Ming in the Abdul-Jabbar role. Ming didn’t give a reason for declining the offer, but his image probably has a lot to do with it. He is considered a hero in China; playing a heavy might not sit too well with his Chinese fans.
In an interview with ComingSoon.net in May, Brett Ratner named his dream cast for "Rush Hour 3" – Tony Jaa, Yao Ming, Aishwarya Rai (Bollywood’s most popular actress), and Gong Li. Jaa declined Ratner’s offer about a month ago. There’s no word from Rai and Li yet.
Paul Gleason, who frequently played figures of authority in his four decades-long television and film career, died Saturday from a form of lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure. The actor, fondly remembered as Principal Richard Vernon in 1985’s "The Breakfast Club," was 67 years old.
Gleason was born in New Jersey in 1939, played college football and minor league baseball in the 1950s, and studied acting under famed coach Lee Strasberg. His acting career ranged from Broadway stints in the 70s before launching into television and film roles, many of which utilized his austere countenance (often to comic effect) in roles as authority figures (high school principals, countless police detectives, military officers, judges and deans).
In recent years Gleason’s TV guest star credits included roles on "George Lopez," "Malcolm in the Middle," and "Cold Case," while he appeared on the big screen in "Van Wilder," "Not Another Teen Movie," and "Abominable." He made other memorable appearances as Deputy Police Chief Robinson in "Die Hard" and Clarence Beeks in "Trading Places," although most remember him best as Judd Nelson’s stuck-at-school-on-a-Saturday principal archnemesis in "The Breakfast Club."
Gleason had been diagnosed with mesothelioma only last month, although he’s believed to have developed it from asbestos exposure in his youth.
Looks like some cast & crew are coming together for Platinum Dunes / Rogue’s remake of "The Hitcher," which is a brilliantly nasty cult classic from 1985 that stars C. Thomas Howell as a stupid driver and Rutger Hauer as the hitchhiker from hell.
Production Weekly informs us that Sophia Bush has been signed for the remake, which makes her the first cast member to climb aboard. You’ll no doubt remember Ms. Bush from her work in "Van Wilder," "Supercross," "Stay Alive," and TV’s "One Tree Hill."
The new "Hitcher" will be directed by music video expert Dave Meyers, from a screenplay by Jake Wade Wall ("When a Stranger Calls") and Eric Bernt ("Romeo Must Die"). (The original was directed by Robert Harmon ("Highwaymen") and written by Eric Red ("Near Dark").)
According to The Hollywood Reporter, John Travolta and Tim Allen are planning to co-star in the Disney comedy "Wild Hogs," which is about a pair of mid-life crisis cases who hit the road on their motorcycles, only to butt heads with a hardcore biker gang.
"John Travolta and Tim Allen are in negotiations to star in "Wild Hogs," a comedy for Touchstone Pictures being produced by Tollin/Robbins Prods. Walt Becker is directing.
The script, by Brad Copeland, revolves around a group of four frustrated middle-aged biker wannabes who hit the open road in search of adventure only to encounter a real Hell’s Angels group. Travolta and Allen will play two of the four suburban men."
You’ve heard it mentioned here and there on message boards and what-not, but we can officially confirm that next year’s most anticipated sequel is on its way. Get ready for "Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj," only without the unnecessary baggage of an actual Van Wilder.
From The Hollywood Reporter: "Bauer Martinez Distribution has acquired North American distribution rights to "Van Wilder II: The Rise of Taj." The film, being produced by Tapestry Films, is shooting in Romania. "Wilder II" is the sequel to 2002’s "National Lampoon’s Van Wilder," which made $21 million at the boxoffice but went on to become a cult hit on DVD. The new film stars Kal Penn, who reprises his role as Taj. In the sequel, Taj heads to England’s Oxford University to further his studies while also showing the uptight student body how to have a good time."
"Van Wilder 2" is directed by Mort Nathan, the man who tried to get 8 of your dollars for "Boat Trip," and penned by first-timer David Gallagher. Starring alongside Mr. Penn (who, I must admit, was pretty damn funny in "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle") will be Holly Davidson, Dan Percival, and Stevem Rathman. Notable by his absence (if only because he’s the title character) is Ryan Reynolds.
Edward Douglas over at ComingSoon.net scored a comedic scoop that could be good news, or it could be bad … depending on what you thought of "National Lampoon’s Van Wilder" and its franchise possibilities.
"Although Ryan Reynolds mentioned earlier this year that a sequel to his 2002 comedy "National Lampoon’s Van Wilder" was in the works without him, very few details have been released up until this point. ComingSoon.net can now report that actor Kal Penn, who cracked people up with last year’s "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" and will appear in next year’s "Superman Returns," will star in the sequel, tentatively called "Van Wilder Deux: The Rise of Taj."
Currently in pre-production from Myriad Pictures, the story will shift over to Penn’s character Taj, Van Wilder’s sidekick and protégé from the first film, as he arrives at Oxford University to show the stuffy Brits how to party."
Sophia Bush ("Van Wilder"), Brittany Snow ("The Pacifier"), and Jesse Metcalfe ("Desperate Housewives") are set to star in "John Tucker Must Die," which The Hollywood Reporter describes as a high school version of "The First Wives Club."
The plot "revolves around a trio of girls from different social groups who band together to seek revenge on the school’s resident stud who has broken their hearts. They set him up to fall for the new girl in town, just so she can dump him and break his heart." Betty Thomas ("Private Parts") is directing from a screenplay by Jeff Lowell ("Spin City").