And we're off! At the stroke of midnight, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull began screening on 4260 U.S. screens, and 12,000 more around the planet.
Watching Shia LaBeouf recount for David Letterman the amusing circumstances surrounding his arrest last November at a Chicago Walgreens for drunken, public benzoyl-peroxide abuse, we were suddenly left wanting to know how—likable as he is—he so quickly ascended to superstar status. Well, that's the great thing about media-saturation campaigns riding the coattails of massive summer movie releases: Those kinds of wishes are easily granted. According to a profile in the new GQ, it all started when Steven Spielberg saw LaBeouf's Disturbia audition tape, and instantly cast him in Transformers and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That was easy! But just who is this charismatic, precocious, and ridiculously named young man? And from whence does he come? Not too far, as GQ reports—in fact, as close by as a traveling tubesteak sideshow in Echo Park:
· There are 27 different movies in this Indy-themed swingstravaganza. (And at least one classic Activision Atari 2600 title.) How many can you name? [Black20]
· Dennis Farina was so preoccupied worrying about gels and liquids, he had a total brainfart about the .22 he was carrying through LAX security. [LAT]
· It seems a certain Chace Crawford is getting invited to George Clooney after-parties and mobbed by the Cruises, and Penn Badgley isn't. XOXO, Defamer Girl [NY Daily News]
· Isaiah Washington filed a complaint with SAG over Grey's Anatomy's use of his photo in a newspaper article about his character on last week's episode. [Reuters]
· We continue with today's theme of leaked, bootlegged trailers of the summer's most anticipated blockbusters with the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, set to premiere before screenings of Iron Man this Friday. Dare we say, it's a vast improvement over the first. Indy's back, everyone! No, seriously. Indy's back—it just gave out on him. Medic! [indianajones.com]
· Is "closet chef" Jake Gyllenhaal planning on opening his own restaurant before he turns 30? Sign us up for one Dreamy-Eyed Tasting Menu with Naggy Girlfriend Wine Flight! [Big Hospitality]
· Good news: Roger Waters's pig has been found! Bad news: In pieces. Good news: Bacon for everyone! Bad news: It tastes like polyurethane. [MyDesert.com]
· Is Transformers 2 about to get a much-needed injection of menstrual-blood humor? One can only hope. [Cinematical]
· Hey—dogs into unicorns! [Archie McPhee]
· Oops...We almost forgot to salute our man Will Leitch over at Deadspin, who on HBO's Costas Now last night withstood a spittle-storm of invective from Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights and owner of a rocking set of he-breasts. [Deadspin]
As if to say to the world, "You think Indy's too old? Well, how do you like these rippling, 8-pack apples?" as well as, "I'm smiling on the outside, but on the inside, my chest feels like it's being gnawed upon by 10,000 hungry rats," Harrison Ford took to the depilatory chair recently. It had nothing to do with Crystal Skull, but rather some pet cause that involves deforestation and a Spice Girl. Still, we'd hope his co-star and protégé Greaser LaBeouf will follow suit, with an Earth Day season pledge to submit himself to a Brazilian as a means of encouraging better sorting of compostables. [Access Hollywood]
Hard as it is to believe, after what seems like 19 endless years of false-starts and "Slowly Veering Lincoln Continental of Doom" jokes, we are less than one month away from seeing the fourth chapter of the Indiana Jones saga. The adventuresome archaeologist enters a far different Hollywood from the days when he first planted sunbeam-focusing scepters in secret map rooms, however; studio sash-tightening has required its makers to defer their fees in exchange for that venerable Hollywood trade-off, a piece (and in this case, a gigantic piece) of the back-end. The LAT breaks down Crystal Skull's financial model:
It's been a rough week for you, the Internet-Enabled Movie Fan with Something to Say. Just a day after noted haimishe Luddite Barry Sonnenfeld's semi-hysterical vision of a Facebook-infiltrated culture in which Big Brother will monitor our every Twittered activity, comes a similarly technophobic EW.com conversation with the creative duo behind the Indiana Jones series (and possessors of 68.2% of all the world's wealth), Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Playing a sort of good cop/bad cop routine, Spielberg bemoans the eroding of the moviegoing experience by keyboard-tapping chatterboxes, while Lucas tempers all the grumpy-old-man talk by pointing out that the internet is also capable of producing some good things (e.g. an audience who actually cares what Indy has been up to after his 19-year sabbatical). We quietly slip in mid-conversation:
Arguably the last Hollywood reach-around that still truly matters, it's hardly a surprise to see some of the world's biggest stars line up for their turn to get slimed at the Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards—a relatively minor price to pay to ingratiate yourself to a new generation of prepubescent fans, who'll come away viewing you not just as some relic steeped in old-man smell, but as certified lunchbox-adornment material.
George Lucas is still traumatized by the sullen faces of Star Wars fans who filed out of the first preview screenings of The Phantom Menace, and, spotting its jittery director standing by the exit, spit, "You ruined Christmas, my childhood, and Life Day!" before whipping their crumpled comments cards at his head. So it's not terribly surprising to learn that the producer of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is taking a far more tempered, "Hey, Indy fans: Let's just try to remember this is just a movie...and the originals weren't even that great to begin with!"-approach to his latest revisiting of a devoutly worshiped franchise:
· In this new Indy featurette, Shia LaBeouf recalls the tingles he felt the first time Harrison Ford wrapped his arms tightly around his waist, nuzzled in close, and the two embarked on the ride of a lifetime. [IndianaJones.com]
· Some people, however, would be just as happy to spoon with a horse. [Craigslist]
· Good news: They want you to pose shirtless for the cover of a magazine, Jamie Lee Curtis! Bad news: It's AARP's. [CNN]
· Ninja exclusive: First look at Snake Eyes from the G.I. Joe movie. [superherohype.com]
· Christian Siriano will be representing Access Hollywood on the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards orange carpet, where he'll be turning your children gay. [Access Hollywood]
· Where in the world is Defamer editor-at-large Mark Lisanti, you might be wondering? Possibly winning...A NEW CAR!!! [Lisanti Quarterly]
· And in case you thought you were being paranoid: No. The Easter Bunny really does hate you. [YouTube]
After being subjected to a tribunal of fanboy elders, the accompanying poster has been verified as royal Lucas portraitist Drew Struzan's official one sheet for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Bearing all the hallmarks of a great Indy poster, our only quibble was that it left us wondering how a Latino version of the most dynamic member of the What's Happening!! cast figures into the action of Crystal Skull, as we have no recollection of a Mexican Rerun having appeared in the film's trailer.
With anticipation-levels for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hovering somewhere around those of that other long-awaited sequel, Jesus Christ and the Second Coming, Paramount has arranged for the latest chapter of Steven Spielberg's adventure serial to get a suitably overblown premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18. Reports Variety:
We have a vivid memory of attending opening day of The Phantom Menace back in 1999: As the lights dimmed, one Darth Maul groupie—who appeared to achieve his ornate facial markings through the liberal application of drugstore lipstick and black shoe polish—shouted "16 years!!!" to appreciative cheers. What followed, of course, was not just unworthy of the 16 year wait since the previous Star Wars installment, but probably not even worth the two hours it took to sit through the movie itself. You could read it on the disappointed faces of each and every man, woman, and Ewok filing out of the theater that night, some of whom are to this day traumatized by the patois-spouting duck-ape called Jar Jar Binks.
Trumping the recent online publication of a photo depicting Harrison Ford meaningfully standing atop some crates in a warehouse, Movieweb is offering a sneak peak at Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull's titular Mysterious Artifact, an object whose secret has previously been so fiercely guarded that two unfortunate souls have paid for their spoiler-pushing crimes with their freedom and careers. We must admit that the actual skull (assuming, of course, the photo is genuine) is far more menacing than the bedazzled knick-knack we'd long envisioned.
The latest promotional Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull breadcrumb tossed to fans by morsel-hoarding studio Paramount is MTV's exclusive Indy Standing Atop Some Crates In That Government Warehouse photo, a more than worthy follow-up to previous installments in this series like Indy Sitting In A Chair While Wearing A Fedora and Indy And His Knuckleheaded Greaser Kid Shining Flashlights At Something. We suppose we're to believe that the aging adventure has returned to the Raiders artifact repository to look for the Ark, perhaps in an attempt to knock some good sense into Shia LaBeouf, threatening that if he doesn't get off the dope soon, Dad will pry open a container and let God's unleashed, righteous fury melt that shit-eating grin right off his punk face. [MTV News.com]
Today, Paramount unveiled its latest attempt to stiffen the whips of Indiana Jones fans that have hung flaccid from their belts since the closing credits of The Last Crusade eighteen years ago, a teaser poster for the much-anticipated™ Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There is, unsurprisingly, no real hint of the mysteries whose premature leaking cost one secret-smuggler his life and another his freedom; still, we appreciate that the titular skull is being presented in an appropriately menacing light as it looms behind Indy engulfed in menacing flames, allowing us to finally shake the misguided idea that the aging adventurer didn't feel up to taking on a quest any more dangerous than the retrieval of a gaudy vase from atop the mantle of a fiend with tacky taste in home furnishings. [IndianaJones.com]
If you're anything like us, every stolen glimpse of pre-release images from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of The Crystal Skull, the movie we're all hoping will effectively erase the years from 1999-2007 from Harrison Ford's IMDb profile, sends a pleasant feeling of warmth through your rapidly engorging naughty areas. Excited by the idea of a
fifty sixtysomething Jones holding a whip in one hand and a gun in the other? No? Then how about one of the adventurer and his son, who's apparently fallen in with a crowd of leather-wearing bad seeds, crouching and pointing a flashlight at some unseen danger, looking as if he's about to tell the boy, "Listen, I know that it wouldn't be cool to admit to your no-good greaser pals that you're afraid, but where I come from, it's OK to be scared shitless by a pit full of thousands of snakes. So let the old man wet his pants a little and let's not make a big deal about it, agreed?" If neither photo turns your on, you're pretty much out of luck, because the one of Indy standing near a motorcycle probably won't do it for you, either.[AICN]
Such is the price of Biggest Movie Star in the World fame: When any of us mortals get blitzed over the weekend, then develop a sudden hankering for 50%-off Halloween candy, refusing to leave a nearby pharmacy until an employee submits to our drunken requests to check the store room for any stray bags of bite-sized Whatchamacallits (a confectionary stand-off that results in an arrest on misdemeanor trespassing charges), the shameful tale never extends much further than our immediate circle of hyperventilating-with-laughter friends. In Shia LaBeouf's case, however, a similar scenario will instantly make worldwide headline news:
Rather than take matters into his own omnipotent hands by calling down a bolt of righteous lightning from the Southern California skies to smite the man who recently plundered his treasure trove of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull secrets and tried to sell them on the internet black market, Hollywood deity Steven Spielberg allowed the local justice system to punish the thief, who pleaded guilty yesterday to his crimes against cinematic archaeology: