Prepare Yourself

The challenge will be to put away the cynicism before watching this, and then hope and pray that the script, co-written by Guy Thomas, Andrew Scheinman and Reiner, delivers a few curves and change-ups and sliders, and that Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen somehow make it all work or at least raise it up to some degree. The trailer indicates sentimental hokum, of course. The former title was Summer at Dog Dave’s. Is there a release date?

17 thoughts on “Prepare Yourself

  1. Jesse Crall on said:

    Good for grandmas who like to see “colored gentleman” get redeemed.

  2. So I’m usually not one to employ the kind of career-arc absolutism often favored by Jeff and other film fans who love nothing more than to declare someone “OVER” or talk about how it’s been all downhill or all hokum or all sell-out hackery since Movie X, where X = whatever movie that director made that most falls in line with the critic’s sensibilities, regardless of good work done later.

    George Lucas? No real problem with him. Obviously more of a CEO than a filmmaker, but I enjoy the prequels and if he doesn’t feel like making movies, hey, not really a big deal.
    Steven Spielberg? Love his 2001-2005 run as much as anything he’s ever made.
    Tarantino? Love pretty much everything he’s ever done.
    OK, maybe Coppola flamed out a bit, but I think he could still make another great movie.

    THAT SAID: Rob Reiner brings it out in me, the desire to ask, has there EVER been a director who SO entirely and fully LOST IT?

    Sort of a pet topic to me, but unlike so many other filmographies where others detect a massive drop-off where I see more consistency, the Reiner cratering is mind-boggling.

    I mean: This is Spinal Tap; The Sure Thing (not a GREAT movie but a very charming and funny Cusack comedy); Stand by Me; The Princess Bride; When Harry Met Sally. Throughout the eighties, he was doing different styles of comedy with a variety of collaborators, and that run from ’84 to ’89 is pretty fucking impeccable (and pretty influential, too). I’m not sure if I can think of a mainstream comedy director in the past thirty years who had such a streak.

    And then Misery/A Few Good Men, OK, maybe not CLASSICS the way Spinal Tap or Harry Met Sally are, but very good movies, nice transition into the serious (if popcorny) stuff.

    I’m tempted to blame North as the movie that obviously threw him, but The American President, while not up to those eighties movies or probably even Misery/Few Good Men, is at least in that kinda ballpark and has fun performances, a funny script, etc.

    But if you take out American President, you have an appalling run of movies: North; Ghosts of Mississippi; The Story of Us; Alex & Emma; Rumor Has It; The Bucket List; Flipped; and now this, which hey, may turn out to be OK… but seems a lot more likely to fall into the Flipped range of good-natured but so cornball and so slight that it couldn’t compete with American President, let alone Reiner’s actually-great movies.

    I see how these post-Few Good Men Reiner movies probably seem on paper like they can fit with his earlier work. And his bad movies aren’t even through-and-through awful individually so much as collectively. I vaguely recall admiring some elements of The Story of Us, even though the movie doesn’t really work and feels sitcommy and TVish and all that. On its own, though, it would just be a misfire. But how do you go from This is Spinal Tap to fucking Rumor Has It followed by The Bucket List followed by Flipped, which is like a horrible parody of the kind of stuff Reiner used to excel at making??

    Did he just get INSANELY lucky with scripts, or lose his radar for what makes a smart, funny comedy script and what is absolute junk?

  3. Sounds like Jesse Crall has been taking too many critical studies courses. This is one of those “it’s racist if it is and it’s racist if it isn’t” situations. Obviously the single mother of three children should be played by a black woman. Apparently Melvin Udall was also originally written as a black man but the studio wouldn’t let James Brooks cast it that way.

    That aside, this trailer made me incrementally more nihilistic.

  4. It’d be cool if Madsen is playing the same character as in Sideways, and Giammati does a cameo as the girl’s deadbeat dad.

    I saw Dolphin Tale recently with my nephews and actually really enjoyed it. Sometimes you need a movie where everyone is well-intentioned and no one gets shot in the head.


    I hate to be a bore, or a scold, or a bite in the ass, but the first thing I thought when I saw the words AND WRITER GUY THOMAS was: who the fuck is Guy Thomas, and why is his name being presented like it should mean something? I keep up with current movies, and I have no idea who the fuck he is. Should I? Am I missing something? Does the name GUY THOMAS connote some kind of overall cinematic quality control? I mean, what the fuck? I said the same thing when I saw that trailer for BEING FLYNN, which, if I remember, starts off with FROM THE DIRECTOR OF ABOUT A BOY, as if, number one, ABOUT A BOY was some kind of masterpiece that left us all dazed in its wake, and number two, whomever directed ABOUT A BOY is such an acknowledged genius that his name need not be invoked. I mean, seriously, what the fuck? Are these people’s egos even more inflated that I had previously imagined? Is that even possible?

    And let’s set the record straight, once and for all: Christopher Guest is the genius behind Spinal Tap, not Meathead.

    And one more thing: is the retard playing vidoe games with Morgan Freeman the same retard from Something About Mary? Man, does that guy suck. His performance as Meat Loaf in the VH1 movie about Meat Loaf is hands down one of the worst performances I have ever seen. Like, Ed Wood bad.

  6. And yet, MilkMan, I’d take the other four movies in Meathead’s top five (The Princess Bride; Stand By Me; When Harry Met Sally; A Few Good Men, I guess?) over Guest’s best on-Tap comedies (Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration) — which are fine but sort of collectively overrated, especially compared to how actually great This is Spinal Tap, uh, is.

  7. @supersoul: Oh God no. If that’s how my comment came off, that’s my fault. I’m just saying this feels like one of those movies where people can pat themselves on the back for seeing it. You could replace black with “mentally-challenged” or “loner” or “alcoholic.” It seems Reiner’s going for all of the above.

    Never took critical theory, hated philosophy, racial studies, gender studies, etc..I’m a believer in common sense….

  8. Will Morgan Freeman’s hand ever fucking recover? He’s a big time actor and nobody written a thing about him being one handed.

  9. @Jesse Crall: I hear where you’re coming from, if your comment is aimed more at the grandmas than the film itself. But if the choice to cast Morgan Freeman instead of Robert Loggia means that this is now a racially problematic movie, the critical studies crowd is making good inroads in their struggle to strategically marginalize non-white actors. (“He’s not an authentic character! He’s black!”)

    If you’re a believer in “common sense”, I have to warn you that they’ve got your number:

  10. Dead thread, but one brief follow-up: When you list being black as a “redeemable” condition that is functionally interchangable with being mentally-challenged, alcoholic, or just ipso facto alienated (“loner”), you’re stepping on their territory. They can get away with this, but they will pounce when others do it.

  11. @Super Soul: I think I’m talking out of my ass because this is just generally a shitty trailer. You’re correct in your responses. And yeah, I’m bitching about audiences who see movies as a chance to pat themselves on the back or something and I’ve warned people about being too quick to judge movies by their trailers and here I go breaking my own rule. SO…Morgan Freeman’s great, Madsen can be great, Reiner could use a hit and he’s had them before, so maybe this will surprise us.

  12. Well, I think we agree it’s a garbage trailer. It doesn’t plumb the depths that the DARLING COMPANION trailer does, but that was one for the ages. I do like the “How much ya got?” moment, but that’s cancelled out by the dog bark at the end.

    To be clear, the “they” in my last comment was a reference to the critical studies crowd.

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