The Morning Read: ‘The Avengers’ starts production today

Welcome to The Morning Read.

I’ve never been one to be shy about self-promotion, so I’m going to sing it loud and proud this morning.  Over at Popcorn Fiction, you’ll find my just-published second Commander Future story, “Moving Day,” and you can still read the first story, “The Interview,” if you haven’t had the chance yet.  I love the site anyway, and being able to introduce this character I love so much and do it in a place where I don’t have to give up all control of him forever… that’s heaven for a writer.  I’ve got some big plans for the Commander this year, and I will be eternally grateful to Derek Haas and Mulholland Books for giving him his first home.

Oh, yeah… and there’s something about some movie called “The Avengers” or something?  There are going to be a lot of headlines this morning about the film starting production today, and I’m genuinely pleased to hear it.  Seems like one of those things that I never thought would actually happen, and yet… they’re doing it.  Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, the world’s new busiest man Jeremy Renner, and Samuel Motherscratchin’ Jackson are all gearing up to make what promises to be the most outsized superhero film of all time.  Better be, anyway.  If you’re spending years running up to something, and you stop and you call your shot like Babe Ruth, then it’s time to step up to the plate, focus, and knock this thing out of the park.  I better hear Randy Newman music and see a scoreboard explode after you swing.  The nice thing about having Joss Whedon at the helm is that he’s going to have a sense of humor about it, whatever happens.  I quite enjoyed his statement today on what “The Avengers” will be about:  “The Justice League.”  Indeed.

One story I’m not going to pile onto today is the Elvis Mitchell/Movieline thing.  There’s no upside to it, and I don’t normally write about job changes in this industry.  Most of what’s out there on this?  Uggggggly.  And the Deadline story that started it all?  U-G-L-Y, Nikki ain’t got no alibi, it’s ugly.

Even as we wait for the last John Landis-directed film, “Burke and Hare,” to get a release here, we’ve got a trailer for a film that Landis executive-produced, and I have to admit… between the title and the cast, I’ll see this.  In fact, I hope this ends up at Fantastic Fest this year so Landis has an excuse to show up with Lucy Davis and Kevin Corrigan:

Yeah.  That’ll do.

That looks like it’s played for laughs, so if you want to be terrified this morning, you should probably listen to Dr. Helen Caldicott describe what sort of fallout we can expect from this spring’s disaster in Japan:

Bummed out completely yet?  Yeah, me, too.

Bumble Ward is one of the great Hollywood publicists du jour, and pretty much as long as I’ve been doing this, I’ve enjoyed my dealings with her.  And one of the things I liked about her right away is that I would assume that the first time she heard my name, she had the same reaction that I did when I heard hers:  “Oh, kindred spirit.”  Because whether it’s a first name or a last name, a given name or a permanent nickname, your moniker is part of your identity with others, and if you have a name that makes people do a double-take, you have to learn to live with it.  I liked her recent blog entry about how she handles her name.  Somebody recently posted something on the “Babe vs. TRON” article I put up where they took a shot at my son Toshi’s name, and I must say… if you’re an adult who gets hung up on the name of someone else’s child… whatever it is… you might want to get a hobby.  From experience, I can tell you that in his five years on Earth so far, his name has been an asset, and people seem to enjoy it, especially if they meet him when they hear it.  I think we’re becoming so multi-cultural at this point that kids don’t flinch when they hear a name they don’t recognize.  Besides, once people hear “Toshi,” or even the full-length version, “Toshiro,” they’re never going to make it to “McWeeny.”  I spared him.

By the way, speaking of Toshi, he sat in my office tonight and interviewed me for a half-hour.  These are his notes.  Then after Toshi left, his three-year-old brother Allen came in and also interviewed me.  These are his notes.

I had no idea Harris Wittels created Humblebrag, which has nailed me a few times, and completely deservedly.  So smart.  So painful.

So, let me ask… is this coming Presidential election going to boil down to dueling conspiracy theoriesSeriously?

If so, I’m going to tune it all out and just count on the idea that somewhere, someone is using their computer for the right reasons.  Important reasons.  Essential, even, one might say.  And that someone is Eric D. Snider.

This, on the other hand, is the wrong way to use a computer.

The real shame of this is that Ramon Crisantos used to buy tickets to R-rated films as a kid by sitting on his brother’s shoulders, wearing a long trenchcoat, and putting on a fake moustache.  And he once lifted his house off the ground for a trip to South America using only balloons.  He used to believe in movies, and yet, in the end, they let him down.

If you went to “Your Highness” expecting “The Princess Bride,” that is your fault, not David Gordon Green’s.


This week’s nominee for the upcoming “No-Shit Headline Of The Year” contest.
This week’s nominee for the upcoming “Right-In-My-Nostalgia-Center” contest.

Scott Weinberg loveseses him some lists.  And a list of the 50 best teen sex comedies of the ’80s would seem impossible to me if Scott didn’t put “best” in quotation marks.

God, ain’t this the truth?

A nice look back at “Wet Hot American Summer,” a film that has a grown a genuine and passionate cult audience over the years.

If you aren’t familiar with Alejandro Jodorowsky, do me a favor and read this interview so you’ll have some context for my “Holy Mountain” review later today.  And if you are familiar with him, guess what?  I’ll have a “Holy Mountain” review up later today!

After reading Salisbury’s take on “The Dorm That Dripped Blood,” I’m going to have to watch it now.  It’s one of those covers I remember seeing and always meaning to watch in the VHS era, and I never quite got around to it.  So… sounds like a classic… and I think I should catch up with it.

Man, I’d love for there to be an all-IMAX film festival in LA.

My boys are both all about sharks right now.  Toshi’s godfather just gave him his Adopt-A-Shark paperwork, and now we’re following Pedro, his Mexican Great White Shark that he adopted.  He asks me approximately 9,000 questions a day about sharks and how they work, so later today, I’ll be showing him this one:

And if we’re going to be learning a little bit this morning, how cool is this?

I like this piece.  I’ve never bought the notion that women aren’t funny, but I still hear it on a regular basis in the weirdest of places.

I guess the moral of this story is “Don’t joke about the FCC.

You know, speaking of Sarah Palin, this piece about a writer admitting that she may have soft-pedaled her coverage of Sarah Palin out of some sort of anxiety or even fear… well, it poked at me because I’ve been thinking that I sort of tap-danced on a recent review, and I am not comfortable with what I published.  It’s the “Scream 4” review, and I’ll explain why… I wrote that piece almost as a “Well, I didn’t like it, but you might” review, due in large part to the fact that I’ve never liked a “Scream” film.  I figured I was doing it as a service to those who might like the film, but the truth is, I was giving it a soft pass out of some sort of misguided intent.  I didn’t like the film, and I should have just said that instead of trying to dress it up or guess what someone else might think about it.  I think every writer does it sometimes, even if they don’t mean to.

Horizontal website layouts
?  Really?

Uh, yes.  Password-protect your wireless router.  Definitely.

Whether you believe in the same thing as Franklin Graham or not, you can’t argue with his logic here.  I agree that the Second Coming will most likely involve YouTube and Twitter and other social networking.  And it will probably look like this:

Scott Weaver’s Rolling through the Bay from Learning Studio on Vimeo.

I don’t read a ton of sports journalism, but this is a great piece about the murder of Darrent Williams.

And if we’re talking about incredible stories that deal with murder, this just boggles my mind.  Especially since I came thisclose to getting the exact same tattoo.

I’m genuinely shocked to hear that Robert Elswit won’t be shooting the next film by Paul Thomas Anderson.  That’s one of those collaborations I just took for granted at this point.   But if PTA is shooting 65mm for his new film, that at least keeps things interesting.

What an amazing way to play your album for the first time for the public.  The Beastie Boys are still hilarious:

Watch live streaming video from beastieboys at livestream.com

What’s that?  Not enough Beasties for you?  Then I assume you’ve already seen this:

I’d like to point out that I started heaping praise on “The Iron Giant” a good eight months before it ever played a movie theater.  I still feel incredibly protective of it, and so it makes me happy to see a piece like this.

Nice Russell Brand interview:

I know Etsy is a big successful brand, but honestly, because of the name, until I read this, I still didn’t know or care what the hell an “Etsy” was.

This “100 Things I Love About The Movies” is a great idea.  Maybe we should all run one of these, because it’s not a best of list, and it doesn’t pretend to be authoritative.  It is simply a celebration of the things that make this one particular person love movies, and that seems to me to be the best way to share this mania with one another.

And speaking of mania… what do you think James Cameron s going to do with 50 EPIC-M RED cameras?  Hmmmmm?  Pandora in 5K, eh?

On that note, I’m going to wrap it up.  Should be a great week here at HitFix, so check back often.  But before I go, I warn you… the promo clip for this week’s season premiere of “South Park” is pretty unforgettable.  Prepare yourself. 

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