Dom DeLuise, the iconic character actor, died this week at the age of 75. Whilst perusing his many obituaries, I was struck by Reuters opening paragraph: “Dom DeLuise, the U.S. comic actor who gained fame on television and in movies such as “Blazing Saddles” and “Smokey and the Bandit II,” has died…” The first is a comic classic, but the latter?
DeLuise was never an A-Lister, but the man was in four Mel Brooks comedies including the revered “History of the World, part 1.” He was also in both “The Cannonball Run” movies, silly yet high profile car chase comedies(the first being more revered than the second). “…He gained widespread fame on the Dean Martin Show as “Dominick the Great,” a magician whose act routinely went wrong.” It seems really random to put “Smokey 2” in the first line of someone’s obit, when you have several more high profile and influential projects to choose from. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090506/film_nm/us_deluise;_ylt=AhaV3AVgjVC0JK7F.G.cRdswFxkF
Two films have come out of the “Wolverine” spinoff film which has already grossed 99 million bucks at the box office, as of this writing. As we all figured, with that kind of financial muscle, “…a Hugh Jackman-powered sequel is in the works.” Also announced “Ryan Reynolds will be given his own spinoff and potential franchise-launcher as the Marvel Comics antihero Deadpool.” http://news.yahoo.com/s/eonline/20090506/en_top_eo/122412
Reynolds was definitely one of the brighter points in “Wolverine,” but I am not convinced he has the drawing power to carry an entire film on his own. He has always succeeded as a supporting actor, a niche he revels in. He was terrific in “Adventureland”; I think he brought a great dimension to that character.
But whether or not he has the charisma and that special “je ne sais quoi that it takes to carry a superhero movie, I am not convinced. He has not proved himself in something that large. I consider it similar to the Brandon Routh situation from “Superman Returns.” Here’s a guy who was hilarious in a supporting role in Kevin Smith’s “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” but when it came to being the Man of Steel, he was a clunker.
This piece of news surrounds a film that is very near and dear to my heart–“Dazed and Confused.” This ensemble piece marked one of the funniest and well-written teen comedies of all time. Its been a go-to movie for me for years. MTV News recently reported that Matthew McConaughey made references in an interview to a potential sequel: “I’ve had loose discussions about what would be the next [in]carnation of a ‘Dazed and Confused’… (Director Richard Linklater) is not going to do it unless it’s done the right way. It’s a good idea, but he’s gotta pick the right way to do it.” Linklater has made reference to his desire to “… tackle a film this summer that he calls a “Spiritual sequel” to “Dazed”, set in 1980, dealing with a first weekend of college but not set to feature any of the same characters.” McConaughey has his own vision for a sequel: “You’ve gotta bring back certain cast members. I’d love to see what they’re all doing today. I’d love to see what they’re all doing ten years later…” http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2009/04/30/exclusive-matthew-mcconaughey-in-loose-talks-for-dazed-and-confused-sequel/
Is this a good idea? The idea of the “spiritual sequel” attracts me as a concept, I think it would be a fascinating project. The idea of a straight “what are they doing now?” sequel; I trust Linklater to make something tasteful and true to the spirit of the original. Something that hearkens back to his early days of art cinema films like “Slacker” and his more recent pseudo-theatrical “Tape” would be the way to go. Trying to go ahead and replicate D&C would be a bad idea. You could never recapture that particular feeling–it was a case of right place, right time. However a sequel that spins the stories and styles in different directions using some of the established characters would be a fascinating insight. Showing their progression into maturity or lack thereof. It would have to stand as a film unto itself. And even though Linklater directed that horrid “Bad News Bears” remake recently, I still trust him when he is in his auteur mode. I will keep you updated as this story progresses.
Drew Williamson is a resident film geek of Ottawa, Ontario. He will be coming at you with Sound On Sight’s new Film News blogger selecting stories of interest from the celluloid world accompanied by his not-so-humble opinion.