This morning, I had every intention of watching Mission: Impossible 3 (that colon seems awkward, given the "3"). I know, I know. It stars Tom Cruise.
And Tom Cruise is nuts.
Oh, for a while, Tom Cruise was the "it" guy. Not only was he considered hot, as in "that guy is hot", but he was also a hot commodity. If he was in a film, it was likely to do a hundred million at the box office. Of course, as one gets older, the likelihood of maintaining that kind of box office draw becomes more precarious. Having longetivity like Elton John, Paul McCartney, or Madonna isn't so uncommon in music industry, but the short attention span of the movie-going public means names that were once popular like Ah-nuld and Jean Claude are no longer able to command the big bucks.
In that respect, Tom Cruise has done well for himself. He's been able to get with name directors in such films as Born on the Fourth of July (Oliver Stone), Minority Report (Steven Spielberg), Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick), Mission: Impossible (Brian DePalma), Mission: Impossible 2 (John Woo), Vanilla Sky (Cameron Crowe). These are reasonably well-known directors. Sure, he's probably not planning any films with Gus Van Sant or Atom Egoyan or Sally Potter, but that's OK.
Tom Cruise really slipped off the end when he appeared on Oprah. His wild histrionics and proclamations of love for Katie Holmes was rather scary. And it says something of modern day Internet access that most people are likely to have seen this clip at places like YouTube and Google Video rather than having glued their eyes to Oprah.
I want to take a brief detour. I've blogged about the proliferation of video sites of which YouTube and Google Video are the top two sites, but many others are heading into that space. Usually, this serves as a forum for little scene video snippets. For example, in the top 100 Google videos, there is a graphic animation with a bunch of balls bouncing around a Rube Goldberg contraption, playing music. There's also this Russian dude running around a la Jackie Chan, flipping, running up walls. There's not a particular purpose to his running, but it's amazing to watch nonetheless.
Of the original content that is being put out on these sites, perhaps one of the most common is lip-synching to songs. I've seen quite a few of these. Usually, the more emotion, the better, as people really exaggerate the effect. There were, of course, tons of spoofs of Brokeback Mountain.
There have been a few Internet-only sites for content. In particular, Homestar Runner has been a success among netizens, although the titular character is far less noteworthy than Strongbad who can be said to be the star of the site.
Then, there are those who manage to put together disparate content together (some of the Brokeback Mountain spoofs do this). A particularly clever one takes two of Oprah's well known interviews, the previously mentioned Tom Cruise interview, and intercut it with her James Frey interview.
Interview is not really the right word. Oprah, you see, is perhaps the most influential person in the book industry, not so much because she writes books as recommends them. If she picks a book for her book club, it's almost a guaranteed success, as her legions of fans rush out to read it, so they can listen in on the discussion. A few months ago, the harrowing A Million Little Pieces, was on her list. This depicted the decline of the author, James Frey, into drug addiction, prison, and so forth.
It was meant to be autobiographical, but soon after being placed on her list, people began to question its veracity, accusing Frey of puffing up the details to make his situation sound more dire than it was. For a while, Oprah defended Frey, but when distortions seemed too much like lies, she brought him on the show, and mostly without his knowledge, had a scolding, accusing him of lying to her and to her fans. The confrontation was riveting, or at least, that's what one hears, as again, I didn't see the show.
This guy, whoever it is, decided to put that confrotation and splice it with Tom Cruise during his interview. Honestly, I thought Oprah had laid the smack on Tom Cruise, and hadn't realized the cleverness of putting the two interviews together.
Now, even though Cruise's antics are well-known, as is his devout following of Scientology, he still knows how to associate himself with decent directors. Mission: Impossible 3 was directed by J. J. Abrams, who created Felicity, Alias, and Lost. Especially with Alias, Abrams is familiar with the spy genre. They also convinced Philip Seymour Hoffman to play a bad guy, after his turn as Truman Capote in Capote.
The reviews have been mixed, but I thought it might be a fun outing to watch an action picture.
Trouble is, I didn't know when it was going to start. I had planned on watching it at the Rio, since they start films before noon. I thought, well, if I'm really off on my timing, I can watch another film with Laurence Fishburne, Akeelah and the Bee, which is likely not going to be great, but at least deals with a combination of topics that generally don't go together, which is African American girls and the spelling bee. The actor playing Akeelah is supposed to be quite good, i.e., quite naturalistic and believable. Laurence Fishburne goes in mentoring mode, and Angela Bassett plays Akeelah's mother. The two actors, Fishburne and Bassett, play Ike and Tina from the film What's Love Got to Do with It, which came out over 10 years ago, in 1993.
But then, I had also thought I might catch Art School Confidential. As it turns out, of the three, the last was at the most convenient time for when I arrived, i.e., within ten minutes, so that's what I ended up watching.
Right now, there isn't a whole lot I really want to watch. I'm curious to see Princess Racoon which is Seijun Suzuki's latest. Many film industries were similar to the U.S. back in the fifties, i.e., the studio system. Actors were signed with a particular studio, and the studio cranked out as many films as it could, being rather hit and miss. While that studio system has mostly disappeared from the American film industry, it exists in other countries.
Suzuki was one of these directors of one of the Japanese studio system. He tended to be something of a maverick, creating stylish films that sometimes didn't make that much sense. I've seen two of his films, and goodness if I could actually tell you what it was about. Suzuki isn't Lynch. His plots aren't completely odd. You can vaguely describe what happens, but not why.
Suzuki's production went way down for nearly twenty years. But, he's recently directing again, and the shift to color has meant bright, bright films, infused with color, and most fans would agree that that's worth watching. This film, in particular, seems to be somewhat easier to follow than typical Suzuki films.
I suppose there's Superman Returns, which is slated to come out in the summer, next week's release of The DaVinci Code, the third X-men movie.
As the summer gets closer, I'm sure there will be more movies worth watching. Until then.
corrections - - Chick Corea (note the spelling) was a member of Miles Davis' band. - Graham Chapman, the only Graham in the group, is the only deceased mem...
1 month ago