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TMR: Sean Penn’s still a Stooge and are there really two cuts of ‘The Wolf Man’?


Universal Pictures

Welcome to The Morning Read.

As I was working yesterday on some articles, I was inspired by the “10 best man-in-gorilla-suit movies” list by Mr. Beaks at AICN to throw on some Three Stooges shorts.  Those guys knew the value of a good man-in-a-gorilla-suit gag, and sure enough, about two shorts into the disc I randomly picked, there was an entire bit about a mad scientist who wanted to put Curly’s brain in a gorilla’s body.  Good stuff.

And obviously there’s something about the simple vulgarity of the Three Stooges that endures.  As long as I’ve known the Farrelly Brothers, they’ve been interested in making a movie about the Stooges.  It’s not a biopic, though.  It’s more of an anthology film, with several Stooges shorts in succession.  The film seemed to hit a development wall just as it was getting ready to move in front of the camera when Sean Penn dropped out last year so he could focus on his family.  According to a report in yesterday’s Boston Herald, Penn is now back onboard.  We did a little checking around on our own, and it sounds to me like the Farrellys are planning for a very busy next year and a half, as they get ready to shoot one film for Fox and then shoot “The Three Stooges” right afterwards.  That, of course, depends on MGM’s financial restructuring, just as “Bond 23” does, but I’m guessing Jim Carrey hasn’t been packing on pounds for nothing.

Y’know, I appreciate all the concern on the part of authorities about kiddie porn, but what makes it okay for random TSA dudes to stare at my junk at the airport?  Are we all really going to just sit back as, little by little, air travel becomes worse than the process you go through while getting processed into a new prison?

Are you still having trouble with the idea that it’s the New Year?  Still writing the wrong dates on checks?  Still wrestling with some New Year’s Resolutions?  Well, enjoy Woody Allen welcoming in the New Year in 1966 with Johnny Carson.  God, Woody was an amazing comic in his prime:

No fair, PETA.  No fair at all.

One of the most e-mailed links over the holiday was that 70-minutes video review for “The Phantom Menace,” and while I just can’t imagine spending 70 more minutes of my life listening to someone bitch about that film again, it’s touched a nerve with a lot of folks, and the guys over at Heeb decided to track him down and ask him about the review.

And speaking of George Lucas

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When my parents were here for the holidays, one of the things they wanted to do was track down some of the new gourmet food trucks they’ve been hearing about.  It’s crazy that LA food trucks have become a national story, but then again, Kogi BBQ and the Grilled Cheese Truck are crazy delicious, so maybe I shouldn’t be shocked.  I loved the idea of all of the trucks coming together in one spot in Santa Monica, since by the time I’ve eaten at all of them, I’ll be too large to walk more than 30 feet at a time, but it looks like that experiment failed in a single day.  Damn youse, zoning laws!

I’ll console myself by dreaming of visiting all the delicious fake restaurants that have appeared in films, thanks to the fine folks at Cinematical, who pointed out a comprehensive list of said fictional restaurants. For fifteen years now, I’ve had a craving for a Big Kahuna Burger.  Is that wrong?

Moises at Hollywood Elsewhere is busy picking the best BluRay transfers of the year.  I considered writing a list, but I don’t watch everything, and I feel like any list I run would just be “the best transfers of the films I like and saw.”  Nice effort, though, and worth a conversation, especially in light of the sheer madness of Dave Kehr essentially saying that BluRay looks too good.  I get the larger points Kehr is making, and I agree with him to a large extent.  I think digital distribution is the way we’ll start to actually get access to the majority of the titles in the libraries of the studios, and I look forward to the day you just hook up the gravy pipe to your house and you can surf all of Universal or all of Disney or all of Fox or all of Warner Bros at your leisure for a monthly fee.  Those days will come, and sooner than we all think.  In the meantime, more BluRay, please.

I quite enjoyed “Avatar,” but I am willing to agree that these people are terrifying.

Paul F. Tompkins is a funny, funny man, so it should come as no surprise that he gives great interview.

As does Patton Oswalt.  Always.

Oh, god, “Thor” is going to be awesome, isn’t it?  DO NOT ARGUE WITH ME.  IT IS, ISN’T IT?!

Finally today, there’s a piece over on The Playlist about how there are two cuts of “The Wolf Man” in progress at the moment, with two different editorial teams working.  It’s got a lot of people agitated, and I just wanted to chime in with what I’ve heard.  I think The Playlist has their timeline wrong.  Back before the film got its R rating, there were two different cuts of the film that were prepared for test screening, one of which was much shorter, and one of which was longer and more in-depth.  The thinking was that if the long one tanked, they could put the short one out and cut their losses.  Evidently, though, the longer one did very well in the last round of screenings, and that’s the cut that was submitted to the MPAA.  After you’ve done that, you can’t keep cutting your film, unless you plan to resubmit for a new rating, and at this point, that ain’t happening.  So the story isn’t wrong… it’s just very, very late.

And speaking of late, I’ve got other stuff to get to today, so the rest of these links are going to have to wait for Friday’s Morning Read, when I’ll see you back here again.

The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Except when it doesn’t.

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You can e-mail me at drew@hitfix.com or follow me on Twitter, where I’m DrewAtHitFix.

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