In fairness, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull doesn't have much going for it in terms of viral marketing potential; it's not as though Ow Shia's Balls brand jockstraps or My First Carnivore Ant Farm sets were on backorder when the film opened last May. But one savvy (if completely incongruous) cross-promotion has indeed sold out in advance of Indy 4's DVD release Oct. 14: Crystal Head Vodka, pimped by unassuming pitchman and Indy franchise alum Dan Aykroyd on a Web site making the rounds today. Despite the overall conceptual stupidity that uncannily mirrors the film it intends to sell, the set-up nevertheless extends all the way to a popular liquor site that turns you away when adding Crystal Head to your cart. So relax, parents! It's safe for your kids — or at least safer than Scooby-Doo's disastrous Rummy Rum Rum!™ tie-in from a few years back. Matthew Lillard still hasn't recovered from that one. [Crystal Head Vodka]
Look, just because we want to see the guy locked up for crimes against our (and most others') childhoods doesn't mean we despise George Lucas. We're getting there, of course, but there's no denying that beneath that wavy tuft of white hair and sprawling wattle is a thoughtful, brilliant, self-made billionaire whose accomplishments as a single father aren't far behind those of the Star Wars franchise he clearly so yearns to destroy. Which is why a revealing London Times profile of Lucas has us so torn today. Yes, we can accept Lucas's preoccupation with raising a female cagefighter by himself as a likely contributor to Howard the Duck's downfall. Fine. But, no — no, no, no — we cannot believe he actually thinks Indiana Jones 5 is an idea worth squabbling over with anyone, let alone Steven Spielberg:Really, though, [Indiana Jones 4] was a challenge getting the story together and getting everybody to agree on it. Indiana Jones only becomes complicated when you have another two people saying ‘I want it this way’ and ‘I want it that way’, whereas, when I first did Jones, I just said, ‘We’ll do it this way’ — and that was much easier. But now I have to accommodate everybody, because they are all big, successful guys, too, so it’s a little hard on a practical level. “If I can come up with another idea that they like, we’ll do another. Really, with the last one, Steven wasn’t that enthusiastic. I was trying to persuade him. But now Steve is more amenable to doing another one. Yet we still have the issues about the direction we’d like to take. I’m in the future; Steven’s in the past. He’s trying to drag it back to the way they were, I’m trying to push it to a whole different place. So, still we have a sort of tension. This recent one came out of that. It’s kind of a hybrid of our own two ideas, so we’ll see where we are able to take the next one.” Wow. Just as we think that's a thinly veiled acknowledgment of the film's inarguable awfulness, we know it portends a billionaire battle royale between Spielberg's hoary throwbacks and Lucas's planned '70s-era LeBeouf showcase Indiana Jones and the Doomed Left At LaBrea. With another trillion at stake (give or take; according to the still-active Indiana Jones PlunderWatch Ticker™), here's hoping for an inevitable resolution we can all tolerate through nubby, ground teeth.
Jon Favreau isn't the only one haunted by release dates these days, though the execs polled recently by Claudia Eller and Josh Friedman aren't necessarily worried about having less than two years to write all the product placement into Iron Man 2. No, their fears hinge on the surplus of new releases reaching theaters annually — 517 titles in 2007 by the authors' counts (most others put it above 600), up 49 percent from '06. And while the glut has been essentially played out elsewhere, it is kind of rare to see such a studio-friendly perspective on the "crisis," even from the pushovers at the LAT; after all, it's the specialty labels of the world — your Warner Independents, not your Warner Bros. — really battling for life in the cluttered market.
Welcome back to another round of Defamer Attractions, our weekly guide to picks, prognostications and perversions landing at a cinema near you. Much like last week, one new release has hijacked America's consciousness with hormonal aplomb, while Liv Tyler and her coterie of bagheaded stalkers look on from outside. We have only positive things to say about Julianne Moore's lurid dabblings in incest, and a glance at new DVD's reveals at least a few reassuring titles for the shut-ins among us. As always, our opinions are our own, but they're also just about bulletproof — finally, something we all can agree on!
Defamer Attractions returns today with another round of movie scanning for your Memorial Day weekend. We already know you're planning at least two excursions to view Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (once out of drunken impulse, and once to make sure that really was the ending you saw before blacking out), but Indy alone does not a holiday make! At least one of the poor bastards sharing this opening weekend is bound to tank the worst, and yet another is a fine bit of foreign-language counterprogramming worth your consideration. And of course we've got a few new DVD choices for the agoraphobic, hungover and/or the cheapskates among us. As always, our opinions and projections are A) our own and B) impeccably fail-safe. Where should we start?
The first-in-the-world hype accompanying Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull's premiere at Cannes appears to remain the only story of interest to most festivalgoers, with everything from live-blogs of the screening to more meditative reads ("I was bored out of my mind," writes Manohla Dargis) peppering the spectrum of feedback. Of course there's always Harvey Weinstein, who continues his Cannes dealings with impunity despite our corporate death sentence leveled last week. And people actually seem to like Woody Allen's latest! It's the '80s all over again!
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has been unveiled at last for international critics, and with most verdicts coming in mixed to above-average, our discriminating tastes still found much left to be desired. Defamer editor Seth Abramovitch and senior editor S.T. VanAirsdale attended yesterday's screenings in Los Angeles and New York, respectively, after which the slow process of psychological reckoning and franchise restoration began the only way they knew how: via instant messaging.
Really, we're able to enjoy nearly everything happening at this year's Cannes Film Festival without even leaving our offices: There's the eerie, 24/7 surveillance available from IFC. There are Hollywood Elsewhere's billboard glimpses of gay Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor and Jesus Christ straddling a US fighter jet. There's Andrew O'Hehir tempting us at Salon with his A Christmas Tale rave (headlined "Grief, cancer, Nietzsche and Santa") and Anne Thompson spilling the beans on James Toback's "juicy" documentary about Mike Tyson.
· A special thanks to the Official Star Wars Blog for saving us the trip to Comic-Con to learn that Karen Allen is returning for Indy 4. Still no word on when they're going to announce Short Round's surprise involvement.
· The Lohan-Vac: for all your handheld, coke-hoovering needs.
· Al Jean picks out his favorite Simpsons guest stars of all time.
· Celebrity couples reproduce, just like Us!
· Rock of Love fans wanting to know more about the contestants' fine work in the adult film field might want to read this. [NSFW, at all. You've been warned.]
· There was a time when a pompadoured Harrison Ford would've been steering that bike instead of hanging on to the waist of some punk kid for dear life and looking scared shitless. Sigh.
· One of the things we missed the most during Paris Hilton's incarceration were her socially responsible, anti-drunk-driving blog posts. We thank God every day she's free again.
· Soon to be a CBS MOW: Sucked Out At 20,000 Feet: The Chris Fogg Story.
· Even on a slow news day, you can find a semicelebrity DUI story if you look hard enough.
Sure, you may have enjoyed three-time Biggest Movie Star in the World titleholder Shia LaBeouf's fine work in Disturbia and Holes, but how much do you really know about the up-and-coming superstar handpicked by both Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg to be chased around their movie sets by giant fucking robots and old fucking archaeologists, respectively? Did you know that his unusual name, the bane of copy editors everywhere, means "Thank God for beef?," or that one of his parents was a pot-smoking hippie clown whose act once prominently featured a trained chicken?
Having long ago seized control of the dissemination of Indiana Jones 4 news from the gossip-prone media, Lucas Online'sIndianaJones.com strikes again with another appetite-whetting tidbit: They've released the first photograph of a glassy-eyed Harrison Ford wearing his "familiar" Indy costume while slumped in a director's chair taken since 1989, when a set photographer on The Last Crusade captured the actor reclining with a half-empty bottle of Jameson's following the completion of what he believed would be his last scene as the iconic adventurer, moments before being shooed away with the gently slurred words, "Take your photo, monkey! I'm finally free of this stupid. Fuck-ing. Hat! Never again! I have Oscars to win." Though there have been some concerns that the sexagenarian Ford might be a little too old to convincingly reprise the physically demanding role, the final version of this official inaction photo should completely quell those fears once post-production on it has been completed; to this point, Industrial Light & Magic's best age-reversing effects engineers have only had the chance to remove conspicuous liver spots from the back of the star's lone visible hand, but after the jump, we present a rough cut of what the image will look like once they're finished:
We've been waiting for the perfect moment to share the above, stunning, reader-supplied fan art depicting the CAA Death Star turning its particle cannons on ICM's inferior new headquarters (please notice the wonderful grace notes of the tiny Kevin Huvane and Jeff Berg photos adorning their respective fortresses), and given this morning's various reports on the evil agenting monolith's latest strides toward Hollywood hegemony, we might as well put it up now.