6 Directors We’d Love to See Get Fired From a ‘Star Wars’ Movie

A couple days ago, news broke that Colin Trevorrow of Jurassic World fame will no longer be directing Star Wars Episode IX. Much like literally every other time in history somebody in Hollywood is fired, the PR spin calls it a “mutual decision” and says it’s due to “creative differences”. Considering the film is still only in scripting/development stages it’s not the craziest thing to see the director replaced. What makes it alarming is that this is the FOURTH time LucasFilm president and super-producer Kathleen Kennedy has removed a director from a project in her still short tenure as Star Wars boss. With Rogue One, which was ultimately quite successful, Kennedy forced director Gareth Edwards to take a backseat during re-shoots and post, bringing in Bourne veteran Tony Gilroy to spearhead the film’s completion. Josh Trank couldn’t even get his standalone story off the ground, and just this year Kennedy fired Phil Lord & Chris Miller off of the upcoming Han Solo movie IN THE MIDDLE OF SHOOTING, replacing them with the experienced and competent but often bland Ron Howard. Something is clearly up at LucasFilm. Kennedy is the one in charge and if she sees things differing from her vision, she’s quick to make a move.

Our team -Zak, and Zak after five expired Coors Lights- thought it’d be interesting to put together a short list of directors we’d like to see get hired and then fired by Kennedy. 

Also, I would never actually root for someone to lose their job. This is for fun. 

Let’s begin with…

George Lucas

Much to the chagrin of the goddamn nerds who continue to push the awful myth that the prequels were anything other than crap, George Lucas has had no involvement in Star Wars since he sold his company to Disney. I would love to see Lucas brought back into the fold, only to be let go after the first draft of his script dedicates its entire third act to regulations in the scrap metal industry on Jakku.

Also, Lucas and Kennedy (and Steven Spielberg, and Kennedy’s husband fellow super-producer Frank Marshall) have all been close friends for decades. I’m a huge fan of personal relationships being destroyed by professional rifts, personally. 

Patty Jenkins

Jenkins is fresh off the wildly successful Wonder Woman, a film that champions strong ladies in an industry that is still run by a staggering number of old men. What’s lame about that is, journalists and fans are now talking about Jenkins like she’s the only female filmmaker. Any time there’s a job opening, her name is brought up as the progressive choice. Like, really? Patty has already “made it”, folks. So have Kathryn Bigelow and Ava DuVernay. If those are the only three female names you can conjure up when fan-hiring a female director, you’re part of the problem. Studios should be trying to balance the scales by finding the next Jenkins.

So I’d love to see Jenkins hired but then replaced by another filmmaker on the cusp of the superstardom Jenkins has already achieved, like Susanne Bier or or Dee Rees or Michelle MacLaren (who was actually originally hired for Wonder Woman.)

Quentin Tarantino

Here’s a hypothetical…Kennedy hires the lauded Tarantino as an unexpected coupe. Fans everywhere are excited. We all imagine the insanely talented Star Wars cast reading Tarantino dialogue. But when the script is finalized, Tarantino has Finn saying the n-word every other line and cast Samuel L. Jackson as his father. Can you imagine someone telling Finn he needs to go back to Jakku and him screaming, “N—-, what?”. Would that be too controversial for a Disney-backed franchise film? Would Tarantino be fired on the spot? Would Spike Lee emerge from thin air to remind everyone that Django Unchained was both bad and extremely problematic (which he’s right about, btw)?

Christopher Nolan

“We’re going to shoot this film on both IMAX and 65mm film stock. Actually, we’re going to invent a new film stock, like 95mm or something. Then, we’re going to build an actual working, flying Milenium Falcon. NASA will help with the costs. Then, we’re going to write a nonlinear script that closes by pondering if the entire trilogy was just a dream. Then, we’re going to cast Cillian Murphy as Kylo Ren, and have Tom Hardy in there somewhere, and maybe Michael Caine. Also, fuck Netflix. Did I mention that? Then, we’re going to enlist actual astronauts to-”

“Chris, get the fuck out of my office.”

Woody Allen

I lied earlier when I said I’d never root for someone to actually get fired. I hope Woody Allen gets fired from something. Fuck Woody Allen. Maybe getting fired from such a high profile film would make everyone realize he’s really just a rapey pedophile whose works have aged poorly for everyone who isn’t a Brooklyn-based posh fuck who subscribes to The New Yorker and never reads it but makes sure to bring it everywhere with them and have its logo hang out their Patagonia laptop case yet they couldn’t tell you who Junot Díaz is despite having the last 5 NYer issues on the over-priced minimalist coffee table in their Scandinavian-influenced apartment that smells like an odd mixture of cat urine and bush weed that they refuse to tidy up because the filth makes them feel like real Brooklynites and not the ugly mustache-having fucks guilty of gentrification that they actually are. You know, the types who’d actually be excited for a new Woody Allen movie.

Fuck Woody Allen.

Clint Eastwood

Clint works so damn fast, often developing and shooting and editing an entire acclaimed film in the span of six months, that Kennedy might even get the chance to fire him. Kennedy would show up with some script revisions only to find Clint already made the whole damn movie. 

Matthew McConaughey is trying too hard.

Surely you remember the “McConaissance”, right? The popular term describes a recent critically-acclaimed period of Matthew McConaughey’s career during which he apparently established himself as one of the great working actors; after a decade and a half of being relegated to rom-com eye candy duty ever since his breakout. After some attempts at more serious stuff with The Lincoln Lawyer and Bernie, it really started with the title role in Jeff Nichols’ Mud. The film is so unapologetically, effortlessly southern that it’s hard to imagine anyone other than McConaughey at the forefront. It remains McConaughey’s best work. After that there was Magic Mike, the most fun McConaughey has been since his classic supporting turn in Dazed & Confused. By this point, people had noticed.

Then came True Detective and Dallas Buyer’s Club, two roles that brought with them a plethora of awards and the recognition McConaughey had seemingly been searching for. They’re both good performances even if they did feel designed-in-a-lab-for-McConaughey. The meat of True Detective is little more than a creatively aged McConaughey drunkenly telling stories and occasionally going on philosophical tangents, the type of overlong monologuing that ruins most TV shows. But it works because McConaughey really was that good in the role. You couldn’t take your eyes off him. Whether or not you had any clue what the fuck he was talking about is another story, but it’s a remarkably .gif-able performance despite it’s lack of actual action or movement.

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Dallas Buyers Club was always going to win McConaughey that Oscar. Given what it touched on/real-life basis and the physical transformation from McConaughey, it was a surefire hit with an actor’s branch that loves to believe they’re genuinely saving the world one acceptance speech at a time. It’s a good performance and a good-enough movie but it reeks of McConaughey trying to become the American version of Christian Bale (there can only be one Christian Bale, remember). Hey, it worked. He got the Oscar. After that and a leading turn in the not-very-good but widely discussed Interstellar, Matthew McConaughey was one of the biggest and best actors on the planet.

But now, in late 2016, the McConaissance seems to be little more than fodder for Oscar hindsight columns. McConaughey’s recent self-serious attempts have struggled to land with audiences or critics. Gus Van Sant’s suicide drama The Sea of Trees -starring McConaughey- was booed and literally laughed at upon premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival; and has grossed a whopping $825,000 in the states (against a $25M budget, no less). This summer’s Free State of Jones played too similar to the white savior films Kevin Costner keeps making. It failed to resonate with anyone, really. Middling reviews and bad word-of-mouth led to it only pulling in $21M (on a $50M budget) despite being a decent enough movie. Two high-profile critically-panned bombs later, both of which feature McConaughey trying way too hard, and now McConaughey looks desperately in need of a hit. He has Gold coming later this year. The Weinstein Company is hoping it plays to awards bodies but McConaughey, a fat version with a bald cap, seems to be again trying a bit too hard.

McConaughey needs another McConaissance. Actually, he needs the opposite of another McConaissance. He needs to harken back to what made McConaughey great to begin with and have some fun again. It’s a neoclassical movement he needs, I guess. Neoclassicism. There may be no fun pun playing off his name that fits, but that’s what he needs.

I have two plans of action.

1- Go back to romantic comedies.

One of the problems with modern rom-coms, the reason they’re almost B-movies at this point, is because A-list stars don’t seem to do them anymore. Specifically, A-list males. The genre still serves as a launching pad for movie stars (see Gosling/Reynolds, Ryan), but rarely do you see a male star in their prime jump onboard a romantic comedy; a genre that is still primarily targeted at women. I’m talking Mel Gibson doing What Women Want in 1995, Tom Hanks doing You’ve Got Mail in 1998, Will Smith doing Hitch in 2005. Make the rom-com great again.

McConaughey also happens to be really good at rom-coms, so good that the genre defined a decade of his career. The best of the bunch is of course How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, in which McConaughey and Kate Hudson have so much chemistry together it’s shocking that they were never a thing in real life. It’s a perfect movie and he’s perfect in it, a date night movie both parties can laugh at and genuinely admit to having liked. McConaughey may be mostly eye candy but he’s fun, dudebro eye candy.

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Some ideas for McConaughey starring rom-coms.

Night Class: McConaughey plays a young-enough, widowed, practical teacher at a community college. One of his students, played by Jennifer Lawrence or Anna Kendrick, isn’t particularly attentive but seems to be fun and carefree in a way that reminds McConaughey of his long-deceased wife. The two forge a secret but not-too-weird romance through which SHE learns the realities of life and HE learns to live life to the fullest, proving “age is just a number” (goes on the poster). Dan Aykroyd plays a clumsy administrator at the school suspicious of the two, but he ultimately realizes that true love knows no boundaries.

Going Stag: An overworked McConaughey is going solo to his brother’s (someone uglier but just as charming, like John C. Reilly) destination wedding. The wedding is somewhere tropical and warm so McConaughey can be super tan and show off his CGI-enhanced abs. His brother’s best friend since college, a vulgar-mouthed but sweet woman (Sandra Bullock), is also at the wedding going solo. McConaughey has known her for years but it’s not until he spends time with her -since they get paired up for couples activities- that he realizes she’s the one he’s been searching for all along. The film ends with two weddings.

2- Become a super cool action star

Why has McConaughey never really tried to be the badass? He can certainly carry a film. Seeing the late-career success folks like Denzel Washington and Liam Neeson have had with the genre should change his mindset. I mean, those commercials he does for Lincoln are basically just him driving around and saying “I’m super fucking cool”. Put a drug kingpin or terrorist in another car and you have a movie.

A lot movie stars bounce between action films and more prestigious work. The aforementioned Denzel, of course. But also folks like Matt Damon as well. Hell, even Michael Fassbender has an Assassin’s Creed movie coming out.

I don’t have any specific ideas for films, but something where McConaughey plays a disgraced former cop who was set up by his crooked partner (Michael Shannon) makes sense.

3- Play Han Solo’s absentee father in the upcoming “Young Han Solo” movie.

 

Someone make this happen, please.

 

“If peeing your pants is cool…”: The Greatest Line in Movie History

“May the force be with you.” “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” “We’re not in Kansas anymore.” “E.T., phone home.” All classic movie quotes. 99% of the general population probably knows what movies these lines come from. A classic movie line transcends a movie itself. It becomes part of popular dialogue. People make puns and jokes based around it. These lines are universally recognized, so you can reference them with confidence that whomever you’re speaking with will understand.

But none of those are the greatest quote in movie history. The greatest quote doesn’t come from The Godfather, Citizen Kane, or Casablanca. The greatest quote comes from a script co-written by Adam Sandler. Billy Madison. You know the one, or at least you should if you consider yourself a cultured individual.

“If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis.”

I repeat.

IF PEEING. YOUR PANTS. IS COOL. CONSIDER ME. MILES DAVIS.

There is no possible way to punctuate or utter this line without it being hilarious. You know those people who just can’t tell a joke to save their lives? Even they would sound funnier than Amy Schumer stealing Patrice O’Neal’s jokes at America’s most storied Harlem venue (this actually happened).

Some context.

Billy Madison revolves around the title character (a never funnier Sandler), a slacker who enjoys snack packs and nudey magazines and not being productive, having to go back through grade school in order to inherit his father’s chain of luxurious hotels. While in 3rdgrade, Billy’s class goes on a field trip to one of those old historical village/museums. He sees Ernie, a shy kid in the class, facing a wall. Billy goes over and realizes that Ernie has soiled himself. Billy, in a moment of inspirational heroism, walks over to the well and splashes water all over his pants, mimicking the appearance of unfortunate urination. Billy then has the class gather around him and when they notice and start laughing, he insists that “Peeing your pants is the coolest” and that “You’re only cool if you pee your pants”. The children buy it, and when they notice Ernie peed they treat him like to coolest kid in class.

And then, an old woman with character title of “Tour Guide” chimes in.

IF PEEING YOUR PANTS IS COOL, CONSIDER ME MILES DAVIS.

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This is hilarious for so many reasons. The nasty factor. The fact that this old white lady dropped a Miles Davis reference.

The name of the actress is Gladys O’Connor, so says IMDB. She died in 2012 at the age of 108. She didn’t have too many credits to her name, though she gave a standout performance as “Smoking Grandma” in Half Baked.

Every great actor has TWO defining roles. Brando had Vito Corleone and Terry Malloy. De Niro had Jake LaMotta and Travis Bickle. Eddie Murphy had Axel Foley and Pluto Nash.

Well, Gladys O’Connor had “Tour Guide” and “Smoking Grandma”. Where’s the outrage for the Oscars ignoring her? Maybe she should’ve gotten violated by a bear and pretend to care about the planet.

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Anyways, I just wanted to shed some light on her brilliance, and the brilliance of Billy Madison as a whole. Some other gems from the best movie of 1994.

“He called the shit poop.”

Literally everything Chris Farley’s bus driver says.

“Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

“Chlorophyll? More like BOREophyll.”

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Peace & love, always.