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May 14, 2008

This little piggie


We remember it well, 1992, or at least the part where we did something we'd never done before and haven't done since: we walked out of a movie.

Appearing at the box office ghostly white and trembling, we merely stuck out our hand. The guy knew what to do. He refunded our ducats with a concerned look on his face. "That bad, huh?" was all he said.

Yeah, like that.

It was "Bad Lieutenant" with a naked Harvey Keitel (did we even get that far?). Actually, we bailed when the two girls were being sexually assaulted in their car, after the nun was raped on a church altar -- with a crucifix. NC-17 didn't begin to cover it.

And while we're all for envelope-pushing experimental gritty edgy and sometimes even mind-blowingly violent movies, this was way over the line. Let's just say it triggered the gag reflex, followed closely by the get up and run away reaction.

So it's with considerable dismay that we view the news of an amazing and revered filmmaker, Werner Herzog, agreeing to a remake of what was a sickening spectacle. Herzog, who's narrowly and inexplicably missed being Oscar nominated for work like "Grizzly Man," will resurrect a cop so bad that he makes Denzel's "Training Day" outlaw look like Barney Fife. (Washington won the Oscar for that King Kong-sized performance).

And playing the Keitel part? Oscar winner Nicolas Cage, who's slummed so many times we can't keep count but who also has real talent (evidence: "Leaving Las Vegas").

Living in Los Angeles, we're plenty used to rouge cops, and some quite good movies and TV shows about them. "The Shield," which was originally called "Rampart" to specifically name the guilty, is flat-out brilliant, as was "Training Day." And there are others we have not only the stomach for, but a genuine interest in.

But another trip to the "Bad Lieutenant" well? If it's an exact remake, why? We've seen it. If it's tweaked, again, why? We've seen that, too.

It's Earth-friendly and all to recycle, but this movie should be left in the "cult classic" landfill where it belongs.

Guess we're not the demo after all.



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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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