Welcome
to Thursday.

I
needed a day off yesterday, so I took it. Instead of trying
to come up with forced humor and responses to letters, I
did a little bit of multiplayer Splinter Cell and
caught the new Punisher film. One out of two ain’t
bad, I suppose. Tomorrow will be a scarce day around here
for me as well as there’s a Paramount presentation here
in town in the morning which will showcase stuff from their
2004 slate. The footage I’m looking forward to seeing will
be for stuff like The Manchurian Candidate,
Sahara
, Suspect Zero, Lemony Snicket,
and the now titled What’s it all About, Alfie?.
Right after that, I’m interviewing Thomas Jane about his
role as Marvel’s vigilante badass, so this may be the last
Leak of the week. I apologize in advance.

Now,
on with the Leak!

Heroes
for Hire…

I’ll
admit that the idea of a Man-Thing movie is
something that keeps me warm at night. Why? Because Man-Thing
has no right having a movie. He’s not a fringe character
in the sense that he’s creator owned and not quite as accessible
as the bigger guys because of distribution and niche. That
makes sense for stuff like Sin City and Hellboy,
but Man-Thing is just fallout. A product of a time
and place in Marvel’s history that has somehow sort of managed
to survive the times. That said, what did that title sell
at the peak of its unpopularity? I’d expect small numbers.
That fact is fine for me because Man-Thing is a mound in
the woods who’s getting a movie.

With
that said, maybe it is time for the smaller hero films to
dissipate. Does anyone other than the people who will paid
to make the film really need it? Ghost Rider? In 2004? Maybe
in 1990, but Ghost Rider hasn’t had merit in ages. What’s
next, friggin’ Hyperkind?

The
Punisher
has brought things full circle for me.
I saw it yesterday and it felt like a movie made in 1988
before things got all glossy and fast. Very analog, and
I only caught like one or two digital effects in the whole
thing. Plus, it had that stunt actor who looks like Michael
Ironside. The guy from Fair Game

Does
that mean I liked it? No. I’ll review it in a couple of
weeks, and there are certainly things I dug and some I didn’t.
Will Patton delivers a really good little performance in
here, Thomas Jane is an excellent Punisher, and there’s
some great fighting. It’s R-rated, and that has merit. But,
if you’re going to make a retro action film whether intentionally
or not, why bother using an established comic book character.
It would have been cheaper to adapt one of Greg Rucka’s
Atticus Kodiak novels or Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books
or one of Stephen Hunter’s Bobby Lee Swagger pulps. Why
use a comic book guy that people either remember from that
old Dolph Lundgren flick or from a comic that was great
in the 80’s, then shitty for a long time, and then goofy
and popular before becoming crap for a short while and then
gritty at the last second before the film comes out?

This
is a science. Getting comic books to the mainstream and
the films to the top of the charts has been exacting work
with a lot of dumb luck mixed in. There’s a lot of folks
who’d tell you that X-Men succeeded DESPITE
Bryan Singer’s involvement and not because of it. There’s
others who’d say that The Hulk is the best
film in the whole comic movie bunch.

There’s
people that would say Catwom… never mind.

The
point is that the machine is rolling pretty good. Chances
are strong that we’ll see a lot of our favorite bigger comic
books coming to life. As a lot of the people weaned on comics
(myself included) are starting to favor graphic novels over
single issues, so should the business start to stop jumping
at anything printed with illustrations and move on to the
rare ones that are stronger than the rest, tell stories
we’ve never seen before, and showcase the brightest minds
there are.

There’s
a pretty spiffy new Dimension Films flick that’s changing
its name from Darkness to The Dark
(William Devane and Cathy Lee Crosby weep) or something
because the crappy Marc Silvestri comic book owns that title
for film right now. The Darkness, remember that late
addition to the Image Comics "style over substance"
era? The one that appeared shortly after a comic called
Witchblade that couldn’t even cut it as a Yancy Butler
television extremity?

I’ve
spent years begging for comic book movies to be made. There’s
still a ton I’d make if I had the clout. Age of Reptiles
being one I’d kill to do. A dinosaur movie with no humans.
No dialogue. All of the drama and tension coming through
the interaction of the creatures. Of course, it’d scare
the manpiss out of any studio executive in the business.
They’re paid not to take risks like that.

Still,
the medium is rife with projects worth filming. The problem
is that now we’re seeing a few "bottom of the barrel"
offerings that will do more harm than good. Restraint, people.

Oh,
and in case you were going to think it was the ravings of
a bitter writer whose own comic book idea is moving slowly,
don’t. I’m not. It isn’t. I just don’t want to see something
special not get made because Bucky & The Falcon
lost someone a lot of money.

If
you’d like, SEND
A LETTER
with your comments on this noise.

Mailbag
Saarsgard:

They
say that the Internet is filled with fools, but we’re out
to prove them wrong. Of course, who are these "they"
people we always hear about? Of course, your comments are
the lifeblood of this column. Please keep them coming. Don’t
be afraid to hold back.

Regardless,
here’s another batch of letters from the great Sewer Chewership
out there. To send a letter, CLICK
HERE
.

Rock
Solid Future.

Brian
Writes:
The Rundown is a very good action movie. I saw
it in the theatres and wasnt all too impressed, but i saw
it again on DVD and now realize this is one of the best
action movies in quite some time. Maybe i was in a bad mood
or just a little annoyed by SEan william Scott the first
time. Anyway what really did it for me is how great the
Rock is. Its amazing to think a professional wrestler can
be this good (roddy piper in They Live as an exception)!
He has so much charisma and is just flat out entertaining
to watch on film. Peter Berg did a great job filming his
action scenes to really make him a bad ass. I just hope
he can land one great blockbuster and let the world know
hes not just some wrestler going the same lame assed route
as Hulk Hogan… With every other major action star going
downhill or getting too old, this guy has the greatest potential
in a sadly dying genre. There are others id love to see
get these parts as well ( Jason Statham and mark dacascos
come to mind) but the rock really has the potential box
office power. I just hope he can pick the right parts to
revitalize the genre. and so far walking tall looks like
it could go either way. anyway thanks Nick for a great column

Nick’s
Reply:
I’m not worried about the world of wrestling
getting cinematic legitimacy. Not at all. I do think that
The Rock deserves the mantle. In fact, he’s more down to
Earth and humbled in the commentary on that DVD than I’ve
ever seen the current Californian governer. He deserves
the slot, but apparently Walking Tall isn’t
going to be the film that does it for him.

James
& The Giant Idea.

James
Writes:
Diggin’ it all. Thanks especially for posting
the 100 Movies that need more love. Now my Netflix queue
will grow even larger. Seriously, that’s the main thing
I love about your site (and Garth’s and Harry’s, but yours
the most) is that you turn me on to movies I may never have
thought about seeing. Because of your site I checked out
the 25th hour and you are right – great movie. There’s been
others. To me that’s more important then the latest movie
news, but I dig that too. Oh yeah, and the boards (I’m Miasta
– I have like 2 posts.) Just wondering…why no Death to
Smoochy on the list. I’ve scanned the list a few times and
don’t see it. I thought this site was a big promoter of
that film – which is a great film by the way and does not
deserve the hate it gets. Hey, how about a list of genuinely
bad movies that are still fun? Here’s a few:

Under the Rainbow – much midgets

Modern Problems – one of Chevy’s funnier roles
The Adventures of Ford Fairlane – just funny, and that’s
a fact!
Cloak and Dagger – not BAD, but forgotten.
DC Cab – come on now!
Ice Pirates – recognize!
Like Father, Like Son – be quiet!

Night of the Comet – 28 days later pre-curser
Red Sonja – the non-Conan Conan movie
Super Fuzz – believe that!

I’m sure you can add that little list to the other hundreds
people have sent you so that eventually every movie ever
made will be claimed to have been loved but someone, but
those are mine.

PS – Hey, if you happen to know any of the Broken Lizard
guys I have an idea as to how to get Club Dread seen as
long as it’s still out. Have a new promo spot for TV and
the net that will play on cable channels like MTV and The
Comedy Channel. It basically goes – "Now that all that
Jesus crap is over why not check out a movie with lots T
and plenty of A. Club Dread – still in theaters – Barely!"

PSS – Do you get lots of these type of emails with these
"genius" ideas that really suck?

Nick’s
Reply:
The recent idea of releasing Monty Python’s
Life of Brian
makes more sense and has a better
chance of succeeding than Club Dread. Reading
the Broken Lizard guys’ blog, it seems they’ve moved on.

Elseworlds
Sports Coverage.

Sean
Writes:
I thought it was pretty funny how you complained
about there not being enough baseball coverage. I’m always
complaining that there isn’t enough football coverage, and
I have to wait for 800 baseball scores and highlights before
they get to the tidbit I was waiting for.

Nick’s
Reply:
What planet do you live on? Not enough
football coverage? Good Christ, that’s all we get around
here.

Screwmouth
Screwscalp.

Kevin
Writes:
Not a big deal, but you referred to Billy Crudup’s
character in Jesus’ Son as Fuckface when it was actually
Fuckhead. Love the site, keep up the good work.

Nick’s
Reply:
I hope I didn’t offend anyone named Fuckface
out there. Apology offered.

Beat
Writer.

Simon
Writes:
Things I just don’t understand –

How
come I can’t find any mention on your site of Beat Takeshi’s
new masterpiece "Zatoichi"? I just saw it here
in Edinburgh on Sunday. I never thought I’d find myself
literally dancing out of a cinema after seeing a movie but
that’s what happened. For real. Dancing out of the cinema.
Like I was hopped-up on goofballs. Seriously, this is the
best blind-samurai-masseur-fighting-comedy-tragedy-tapdancing
extravaganza I have ever seen. Like "Crouching Tiger"
with a sense of humour. Or "Seven Samurai", but
more like one blind samurai.

Nick’s
Reply:
Smilin’ Jack covered the film a good bit late
last year and we’ve run posters of it and stuff, but the
real coverage we did was in MOVIE INSIDER (which might be
quite alive, after all). You’ll see more coverage of it
on this site real soon, but we missed the boat for the UK
readers.

Berg
Man.

Donnie
Writes:
I just had to send you a letter to tell you
stop infiltrating my brain. It seems like you’re always
diving into my cranium, swimming around in my gray matter,
grabbing something I love and then championing it on your
website. I mean, imagine my amazement when I checked out
your latest Steady Leak and saw the Peter Berg lovefest
that awaited me there. I’ve been a big fan of the guy since
his Chicago Hope days, and since I saw his excellent turn
in The Last Seduction — a film that might just fit well
on the underrated 100 list, along with The Great White Hype.
I rushed out to the theater to see Very Bad Things simply
because it was his directorial debut, and I loved it in
all of it’s dark and demented glory. I cheered when he guest
starred on Alias, I felt bad about being forced to avoid
him in Corky Romano in order to keep my genitals from exploding,
and I mainly saw The Rundown just to see how good of a job
he’d do. I was surprised to love that film as much as I
did, especially since I didn’t foresee liking The Rock whatsoever.
I say that if Peter Berg can make a kick-ass action movie
starring The Rock and Seann William Scott, then let him
do whatever the hell he wants, cause that takes some talent.

I’ve also been loving the 100 Movies That Deserve More Love
list. I’ve constantly been cheering "Hell yes!"
at my computer screen while looking over the choices. Nightwatch,
In The Mouth Of Madness, Long Kiss Goodnight, Temple Of
Doom…all great. It’s certainly too late to add anything
on, but here are just a few others I think that more people
should see:

Punch-Drunk Love: Adam Sandler’s one great movie is also
the one that only about 5 people saw. The sheep will flock
to 50 First Dickpunches but avoid this P.T. Anderson masterpiece
like it’s a herd of rampaging Isaac Hayes clones? Something
is wrong with the world.

U-Turn: Nobody seems to love Oliver Stone’s seedy crime
thriller except for me. I like to think of it as a reminder
of the days when Jennifer Lopez knew how to make good movies,
even if she did have to fuck Nick Nolte more than any woman
should. It also has one of the most brilliant, darkly comic
endings I’ve ever seen on film.

Shock Treatment: This is Richard O’Brien’s pseudo-sequel
to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is just as offbeat
and strange as the original. It also has one hell of a kick-ass
soundtrack, with songs that will crawl into your brain and
root themselves there for weeks at a time. If you’re a fan
of the Rocky Horror vibe and can get over the cast changes
for Brad and Janet, this flick is tons of fun.

Cutthroat Island: Question my sanity if you must, but for
some reason I really dig this Geena Davis pirate adventure.
Yeah, I know I’m not winning any supporters with this one,
but hell, someone has to like it. It might as well be me.

Alright Nick, that’s all for now. Keep up the good work,
and keep promoting those underdogs that truly deserve it.

Nick’s
Reply:
If we ever do a list of films that got too much
love, I might pop Punch-Drunk Love there but
not as an underdog. It was an overdog. I like U-Turn
just fine, especially the Joaquin Phoenix stuff, but if
I’m going to pick a Stone film it’d be Talk Radio.
Thanks for writing.

Payment
for ‘Tainment.

Lisa
Writes:
Has the interview with Kevin Smith (which was
great) led you to consider charging a small fee to join
the site? I would be the first person in line with my PayPal
donation.

Nick’s
Reply:
Nah, I’d rather have millions of readers and
complain about financial shit than have thousands of readers
who are expecting value for their money every damn day.

Censorshit.

Todd
Writes:
I live in Atlanta , I listen to Larry &
Eric almost every morning , I use to like listening to Bubba
the love sponge when I visited Florida , I use to listen
to Stern when I could , how is it , something that was acceptable
over the last 15 years , is not now ? This brings up the
smoking ban , there use to be this space called the smoking
section , if you didn’t smoke ( and I don’t ) , you didn’t
have to sit there , instead of making restaurant/bars update
to better ventilation systems , they just said – You CAN’T
Smoke Here , it’s the law . Someone has their panties up
in a wad over things they don’t like , all I have to say
is WHAT"S NEXT .

I read a book in high school a long time ago called "Animal
Farm" , were the pigs were rewriting the rules , guess
what , there at it again .

Nick’s
Reply:
Bubba the Love Sponge may be the dumbest name
I’ve ever heard for a radio personality. The term "Bubba"
in general is already used 400% more than it needs to in
the South. Yuck. George Orwell would have a field day in
the present day United States, no doubt.

Disclaimer
Dave.

Dave
Writes:
First things first – not a real movie geek,
but I visit your site anyway, as the CHUD crew are always
honest and forthright in your opinions. I loved your reviews
on the LOTR films. Whenever I hear a negative comment about
them (mostly from Jeffery Wells at Movie-Poop-Shoot), I
re-read your reviews – just to reassure myself that "yes,
these are truly great epic films that will stand the test
of time".

As
for "Things That Really Suck", I agree with just
about every gripe you’ve got. In Melbourne (Australia) the
problem isn’t kids congregating in car parks, it’s teens
gathering at train stations. I wonder how they’d react,
if they knew how pathetic and immature they really looked
in public. It’s amazing just how many common gripes that
people have, even when they live half a world away.

PS.
Definitely not a film geek, but on your recommendation I
borrowed Super Troopers, and I absolutely loved it! What
a revelation! I can’t wait to see Club Dread, when it gets
released in Australia. Keep up the great work!

Nick’s
Reply:
I love how you preface two paragraphs with "Not
a Movie Geek". I think that’s healthy, and I know a
lot of our readers aren’t. That’s why my Reb Brown and Lee
Horsely jokes fall upon deaf ears. I’m glad that folks who
aren’t all that hardcore can still find stuff to like.

Speed
Zombies.

Benjamin
Writes:
The re-make of Dawn Ot The Dead has caused quite
a positive buzz from moviegoers and horror fans alike. And
as a big fan of Romero’s original Dead trilogy, I was more
than pleasantly surprised by the movie and I’ll probably
see it again in the theater. The re-make is obviously the
work of people who understand this particular genre and
the target audience for this type of movie. However, I am
dismayed that even horror fans cite the (obvious) influence
of the quasi-zombie film 28 Days Later on this movie but
they don’t mention a movie that actually created the prototype
for fast-moving zombies, 1985’s Return Of The Living Dead.
I know that some horror fans dismiss Return because of its
emphasis on humor –but its premise (that Romero’s movies
were based on actual an Government incident that was covered-up)
was actually clever and the zombie scenes (the one where
the zombies "rush" the police barricade is my
favorite) were quite effective.

Nick’s
Reply:
I
love the O’Bannon flick, but the concept of fast-moving
zombies probably originated some other time before that.
The point is how it’s executed. I personally think that
the concept only works in 28 Days Later, because
once you’re embalmed or autopsied or ransacked by the donor
program you won’t be running for shit. In Boyle’s film they’re
not really dead, just infected. I’d run fast too if I have
the creepies in my blood.

Baseball
Debate.

Dan
Writes:
"Well, in New York
I’m sure they do give those guys plenty of press. In Atlanta,
tumbleweed roll by. You last sentence comes off very much
open-minded and without any grudge at all. With respects
I ask you to touch dick."

I
know, my brother works in Atlanta. Maybe if the fans there
actually
filled up Ted Turner Field (or whatever stupid name they
called it instead
of Centennial Olympic Stadium) for a game before September,
you’d have more radio coverage.

What
DO they cover on sports radio down there? I can’t imagine
it’s the
Falcons. Or the Hawks. Or Thrashers.

BTW,
regardless of you being a whiny baseball fan, CHUD.com rocks.
Now that the list of viable movie websites has dwindled
to you guys and Darh

Horizons, I check in every day. I enjoy your CNN columns
too.

Good
work.

Nick’s
Reply:
I actually like the name ‘The Ted’ for the park,
as its now known. I’m glad it wasn’t named after the Olympics.
That was a crappy event in 1996, it lost money for the city,
and it reminds me of the hideous stadium in Montreal. Atlanta
fans are corporate and don’t go to the games for baseball
but rather hobnobbing. That’s fine, I like watching the
games in sports bars or at home. All they talk about on
local sports radio is college football. Bleh. Thanks for
reading.

Stuff.

Seth
Writes:
Two things.

1)I
am absolutely loving your "100 Movies That Deserve
More Love" piece from the late "Movie Insider."
Seeing as how I couldn’t get my hands on a copy and how
I’ve been scouring the web for lists of lesser-known
movies that are still worth a watch, I was simply overjoyed
to find that CHUD was to be the one to finally throw a list
up.

I
was glad to see some flicks like "Gattaca", "Contact",
"A Simple Plan", "Frequency", "The
Iron Giant", "25th Hour", "Jackie Brown",
"Beautiful Girls", and "Liberty Heights"
get some love. Plus I just watched "The Mosquito Coast"
a week or two ago and have decided it will most likely be
necessary to add another DVD to the collection. A good portion
of the films you listed are awaiting honorary spots on my
never-ending Netflix queue. I’m eagerly awaiting those last
25.

2)"Anybody
that’s got a beating heart in their chest is gonna love
this movie."

Based
upon this quote from a world renowned and widely respected
film critic (some imbecile in the "Benji Returns: Rags
to Riches" Trailer) we will soon be looking at a new
world record box office champion.

Let’s
go ahead and take the entire world population which I would
suggest to you offers a respectable 6.356 billion (estimated)
beating hearts. Now, we will divide that number in half
to account for those with beating hearts but the lack of
a desire to use them and those living in the remote reaches
of Uganda where a local cinema would prove to be a relatively
rare occurance. We will then multiply the resulting number
by a rather conservative $6.00 per movie ticket and come
up with a grand total of $19,068,000,000. That trounces
"Titanic" quite emphatically and I’m not even
counting the people who have the following to say who would
unquestionably risk their very gray matter to subject themselves
multiple times…

"It
was so believable! I mean you almost started to think that
you were watching a human being instead of a dog!"

Right
lady. That’s exactly what I gleaned from the trailer. Oh,
wait. That "…most expressive face in dogdom"
didn’t look like he gave a flying squirrel’s nuts about
anything. Plus this dog doesn’t even look like the original
Benji.

I
don’t care about this movie. Go watch the trailer and neither
will you.

PS
– Tell Smilin’ Jack that I want to see an in depth review
of this in an upcoming "Paying for the Movies"
column. No excuses.

Nick’s
Reply:
1.) Thanks! 2.) I’ve never seen this trailer
for the new Benji flick, but it sounds like hot shit!

If
you’d like, SEND
A LETTER
about anything Miles Mayhem desires.

Handy
new CHUD.COM Slang:

Most
installments of The Steady Leak will feature a few
new slang terms for a dictionary that will never be published.
Ignore, enjoy, or shake your head in disgust:

Rec Room for a Dream -

The new spot in Darren Aronofsky’s house for when little
Joey comes to visit.

Flack
Vest
-
What
Dabney Coleman wears.

Shue
Horn
An
object that proved helpful in casting Richard Franklin’s
Link.

Honey,
I Shrunk the Kids
-
Arnold’s
post-steroid bedroom confession to Maria Shriver.

Brotherhood
of the Wolf Kahler
-

The more popular name for the Dietrich Fan Club.

Today’s
Chewer Obituary:

I
started a thing last year where I write a fictional and
silly obituary for CHUD.com’s readers. They’re twisted,
morbid, and sometimes funny. I’m doing them on here now.
Previous obituaries can be read HERE.
Comment on these HERE.
Please do not send your name and preferred place of death
as I’m not doing any new requests until I’m all caught up
:

Montreal,
Canada
– The extremely
unliving soul vessel of Dylan Friedman was unearthed on
this date of March 25, 2748 by nautiborgs combing the ruins
of the Shantiss Plateau on the outskirts of Montreal, the
last city of men. Friedman was one of the missionaries lost
during the ‘Great Prayer of 2024′ expedition, a group whose
failure brought about three centuries of opression at the
hands of a re-animated Mandy Patinkin. Friedman had become
a man of the cloth after failing miserably as both a man
of the burlap and a man of the polyester, but his main claim
to fame during the reign of humanity on the Earth was as
the first man to climb Mt. Everest with Pat Morita on his
back. Though the human race is only sixteen members strong,
Friedman will be remembered fondly by data droids and DNA
Nymphs deep inside Montreal’s cerebral sift drive. His digi-tombstone
will feature a quote from his early message board days,
"Yes", and his form will be vacuum repulsorlifted
apart with the greatest of care.

Shameless
Self-Promotion Dept:

Since
so few of you read the message boards, I’m going to pop
in a few self promotional tidbits here from time to time.
The great thing is: You can avoid this section if it bothers
you.

The
archive of my CNN.com articles is right HERE.
A new one appears every Tuesday. The latest is The Personality
of Cult
.

Song
of the day: HOT CORNER, by PKG. Written by Steve
Murphy, Nick Nunziata, & Micah Robinson. Click HERE
to download and HERE
to comment.


‘IF
CHUD Ran the Movies’, by Nick Nunziata

See
you tomorrow!