Movies with Talking Animals: Career Killers?

24 03 2011

James Marsden used to be Leading Man material.
He preformed well as ‘the other man’ in 2004’s The Notebook; connected with comic fans as Cyclops in the X-Men trilogy ; and he was  oddly sweet in 2007’s Enchanted.  His kitschy singing TV host in Hairspray and apathetic-to-commitment journalist in 27 Dresses were forgivable, but this?   Dude, wasn’t making The Box punishment enough for the year?

Coming to theaters next Friday, April 1, is Hop
In short, the Easter Bunny’s son (voiced by Russell Brand) runs away to make it as a musician in Hollywood where Fred (James Marsden) almost runs him over. Fred takes E.B. in and hilarity, self-discovery, and a minor coup by some yellow chicks who want to take over Easter, ensue.

At least Brand, Hugh Laurie and Hank Azaria don’t have to worry about their FACES being associated with this film, should it flop.  Marsden, co-star Kaley Cuoco, Gary Cole and Elizabeth Perkins won’t get off so easily.
As someone who has had the (mis)fortune of working at a movie theater, kids movies can go either way. If it rains opening weekend, odds go up. But there are only so many talking animal movies a parent can sit through.

That being said…  Here’s a little list I compiled of talking animal movies we really never needed, and the stars who– for no reason other than a large paycheck– signed on for them.

  – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1.   MARMADUKE (2010)

Starring (voice): Owen Wilson, George Lopez, Stacy Ferguson, Emma Stone, Steve Coogan, Kiefer Sutherland and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Now, Emma Stone, I don’t blame you for doing this movie. You gotta do what you gotta do when you’re having a hot year.
And you, McLovin, I don’t blame you. You can try and try but you will always be McLovin!!!!

But Mr. Wilson– Was this the wisest choice we could have made to follow-up Marley & Me? Two dog movies in a very short period of time… Give us another John Beckwith, and fast, so I’m not ashamed to like you anymore! 

This movie may have taken in $78 million, but it ruined a classic Sunday comic and killed the braincells of 7-year-olds across the country.


Starring (voices): Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez [Repeat Offender!], Cheech Marin and Luis Guzman.

I’m leaving Jamie Lee Curtis out of this, because her early work (HALLOWEEN, A FISH CALLED WANDA, MY GIRL) makes up for the junk she’s making now (CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS, YOU AGAIN).

Drew Barrymore… Drew. Barrymore.
In the same year that you appear in Grey Gardens, which was outstanding, you make this crap?  This part doesn’t do anything for a career already peppered with questionable role choices (MUSIC & LYRICS? DUPLEX? RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS?)

 Andy Garcia. What, did you get bored counting your OCEANS money?  It hurts me, literally hurts me, to have heard the guy from WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN’s voice coming out of a freaking German Shephard.


3.  GARFIELD  (2004)


Starring: Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Bill Murray (voice)


Oh, Breckin Meyer. I had high hopes for you.
I absolutely loved the doofy-but-lovable stoner in Clueless and I rooted for you in Road Trip and Rat Race
[You + Amy Smart = Playful, fresh…  Loved it. Call her. Make another movie!!!]

I guess I will just have to accept that you have relegated yourself to the brother and best friend parts (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past), and behind-the-scenes work in animation (Robot Chicken).

Jennifer Love Hewitt: You’re the only one on this entire list that makes sense. You have had a long, consistent career, yes -but with THE CLIENT LIST, THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE, and HEARTBREAKERS on your resume… Can you even take yourself seriously?

4.  KANGAROO JACK (2003)

Starring: Jerry O’Connell, Anthony Anderson, Christopher Walken


Jerry, Jerry, Jerry. You’ve done well for yourself, the family is adorable. But there are only three items on your IMDB that I can say something positive about.
Stand By Me – Greatest 80s Movie Ever. Sincerely.
Crossing Jordan (TV) – You were near-perfection as vulnerable cop in a big city, Woody Hoyt. I loved you, the dynamic with Jordan, the whole show really.
The Defenders
(TV) – Great pairing with Jim Belushi. Looking forward to Season 2

Anthony Anderson – Finally took you seriously when you guested on NBC’s Law & Order SVU.  Loved the bit part in The Departed.  Nice move with The Shield.  Hustle & Flow was ingenius.  You’re going places, but be sure to remind your agent:  NO MORE TALKING ANIMAL COSTARS!

Mr. Walken, this film just didn’t do it for me. Not enough cowbell.  ❤


New Year, reNewed Focus

23 01 2011

Hey ya’ll, Been away a while!
Took about 8 weeks off from blogging while I was on vacation from UAlbany, but just because I wasn’t posting every week doesn’t mean I wasn’t absorbing all things media and pop culture!

 Here are my thoughts on a few items that developed during my sabatical…


The Cast of JERSEY SHORE: Reality stars, Enemies of Italy, and… Authors?

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino released his self-help gem “Here’s the Situation,” a veritable GTL How To, back in November; Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi graced the literary world with her novel “A Shore Thing” earlier this month; and now, Jennifer “JWoww” Farley will take a shot at the Best Seller list with a compilation of her insights to the contemporary dating game with “The Rules According to JWoww,” due out February 8.

 Currently, Sorrentino sits at #4005 on the Amazon sales chart- far and away from Polizzi who is #606.

Honestly the only one of these 3 titles I am tempted to thumb through during my next visit to Barnes & Noble is JWoww’s. I’m pretty sure she and castmate Vinny Guadagnino are the only ones that can read, but he’s opted not to cash in on the image.  I admire her tenacity, she is one of the only characters from ‘Jersey Shore’ who has been unchanged each season.

As I understand it Farley has two degrees in business- so I expect this to be just the latest in several strategic ventures she persues while ‘Jersey Shore’ is still wowwing.



Canadian singer Lavigne, 24

Nobody has liked your music in a decade, but you’re still relevant enough to have been the first online celebrity death hoax of 2011! 

The internet has done great things for ease of access to information, but it has also contributed to the rapid spread of misinformation, hate, and rumors.

Late 2010 Twitter “casualties” were Adam Sandler, Owen Wilson, and Charlie Sheen.  Sandler and Wilson are alive, well, and working. Sheen is alive.   All four death “announcements” over the holiday season had the stars meeting their demise on the slopes. To quote Youtube icon Michael Buckley:  “Somebody really hates snowboarding!”



NPR sets the bar for journalists…  and apparently that bar is not up very high.
NPR seriously fucked up their coverage of the Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting in Arizona by announcing the congresswoman dead- when she in fact lived and is recovering.

“Weekend Edition” host Scott Simon said on Wednesday the organization’s mistake is “reprehensible.”  He went on, “There should be no room for doubt when a news organization declares someone dead. They should wait until the medical authorities directly involved declare death, or close family members announce it.”

I can only agree with Scott Simon, as reports surfaced that Gifford’s own husband, Mark Kelly, believed her dead before speaking with his mother-in-law who was at the hospital with Giffords.  To send this poor man into the early stages of grief is unforgivable- on the part of NPR and every other media outlet who inaccurately reported on the Tuscon shooting.


2010 was the year people really learned the name AJ Daulerio.

His involvement in breaking the Bret Favre cellphone photo scandal has solidified his place in history alongside Woodward/Bernstein (who broke the Watergate scandal), Monday Night Football (whose anchors first reported the death of John Lennon), and the National Inquirer (who knew Tiger Woods was a cheater days before his wife!).

AJ Daulerio has surpassed the expectations of one-time mentor Will Leitch, who founded the “Deadspin” sports site, and not by any means Leitch is proud of.

Daulerio has upped readership three-fold, but he has veered the website from its beginnings as platform for commentary, to a raunchy gossip page with tidbits of athletic coverage.

Leitch told GQ that “I never wanted people to feel like they needed to take a shower.”   And now Deadspin is home to the “Worldwide Leader in Dong Shots.”


“Add to DVD Queue” no longer an option on the hugely popular movie rental service.  Within the next 12-18 months those flimsy red envelopes that contributed to the demise of your neighborhood rental shop and perpetuated the laziness of American consumerism will be no more- as Netfilx has announced they anticipate a complete shift over to digital streaming in 2012.

I am on the fence about this. On the one hand, it is smart for Netflix, as they will no longer have to purchase and process physical DVD discs. On the other hand, what a way to slap your older customers in the face. Perhaps the over 50 crowd doesn’t have the desire to subscribe to and learn “OnDemand”-style viewing.

Also, it is unclear whether the same variety of films and TV series will be available through this digital ordering system as through your “Add to DVD Queue”/mailer format.  Older films, obscure foreign or documentary films, and sets of television shows may be harder to come by now.