Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Finally, a Movie Worth Re-Making

In 1979, Disney was in trouble. After Walt died, the studio's standards had fallen and they hadn't had a hit in ages. In a desperate attempt to capitalize on the Sci-Fi craze that had been generated by Star Wars and Close Encounters of the The Third Kind, they assembled a crack team of B-List stars, a former sit-com director (whose only hit movie was the original Freaky Friday, starring the reason Reagan was shot) and a script from a couple of aging TV hacks. The plot revolves around the discovery of the USS Cygnus, missing for 20 years, now perched perilously close to the event horizon of the largest known black hole in the universe, mysteriously immune to the supposedly irresistible gravity. The crew of the rescue ship, The Palomino (lamest spaceship name ever!), boards the Cygnus to discover an army of very cheap-looking Stormtrooper-wannabe robots under the command of the only human on board, mad genius Dr. Hans Reinhardt, who believes his anti-gravity device will protect the Cygnus as he takes her (and the Palomino's crew) into the titular hole. The cast includes Maximilian Schell; Anthony Perkins; Robert Forster; Joseph Bottoms; Yvette Mimieux; Ernest Borgnine and the voices of Roddy McDowell and Slim Pickens as the C3PO and R2D2 of the movie. And of course, there was a "menacing" red, silent hoverbot also named Maximilian. Cheap, silly and loaded with some of Disney's worst dialogue, The Black Hole is a terrible movie:

Well, from those Sci-Fi geeks over at i09 comes the news that Disney has green-lighted a remake of the Black Hole from the team that is about to give us the long-awaited Tron sequel. Given that Disney had been in the business a lot longer than George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg, one might think they would have embraced the new technologies being created by folks like Douglas Trumball and Rick Baker. Instead, they skimped on bad physical effects and cartoonishly anthropomorphic robots. So, for the first time in a long time, comes happy news of a remake of a bad movie that should have better than it was. in the first place. It pleases me to say that I can get behind The Black Hole remake (it also makes me giggle 'cause it sounds so deliberately dirty, which it is). And trust me when I tell you how hard it was not to make more dirty jokes about this movie's title...

And since I went there (talk about segues), as I write this, there are 46 minutes left of World AIDS Day here on the East Coast. If you read me regularly, you know that I am a founding board member of the James Tolin Memorial Fund. We produce an annual benefit featuring a performance of an LGBT-themed comedy and a gala reception and silent auction to raise funds for local AIDS and Arts Education charities. And while it may be the "official" World AIDS Day, it saddens me to think that we need such a day. Every day should be "Stop Being a Selfish Prick and Do Something to Help Someone in Need Day."

Yes, the economy is bad. Yes, you all have bills to pay. So do I. I don't always have money to give. But I do have time. So skip the game next Sunday and deliver a meal to someone not only in need of food, but a smile and a friendly word or two. Attend a local fundraiser (you don't have to spend a whole lot of money) or start one of your own. Why should MLK Day be set aside as a Day of Service? If everyone did just one thing to help someone else, every day -- just one thing -- imagine how much nicer everyone's lives would be. At the risk of repeating myself: Think Globally; Act Locally. Donate. Volunteer. Take Action. Now.

Okay - the rant really is over, as is this day.

More, anon.

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