Dean Parisot

appointments of dennis

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career.  You may not think there’s anything worth knowing about the director of Red 2, which opens this Friday. But Dean Parisot, who is best known for helming Galaxy Quest, is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker. He got his start by directing two excellent, slightly surreal shorts in the 1980s, the second of which, The Appointments of Dennis Jennings, won the Oscar in 1989 for Best Live Action Short. (That was a great year for short winners, by the way, as it saw Pixar’s John Lasseter receive his first with Tin Toy and documentarian Bill Guttentag win his first with You Don’t Have to Die.) Parisot shares his honor with comedian Steven Wright, who co-wrote the witty little movie with Mike Armstrong. The acceptance speech was a highlight of the year’s ceremony, in part because it was so brief and also because of Wright’s amusing comment that “we’re really glad that we cut out the other sixty minutes.” Wright also stars in the 30-minute film as the title character, an obsessive, paranoid and shy man who begins seeing a disinterested shrink played by Rowan Atkinson. A lot of what Dennis tells the doctor in his sessions is straight out of Wright’s stand-up, his shtick involving dry ironic wordplay and absurd philosophical questions. Atkinson’s character is also seeing Dennis’s  girlfriend, who is played by Laurie Metcalf, leading to a deadly climax. The […]

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RED 2

2010′s Red was a fun action romp that featured both the expected in Bruce Willis and the unexpected in a hilarious John Malkovich and a gun-toting Helen Mirren. The $58 million comic adaptation grossed $200 million world-wide, and Summit happily moved forward on green-lighting a sequel. (Those sons of bitches over at Paramount can take a hint from that decision.) Most of the surviving cast members are returning alongside screenwriters Erich and Jon Hoeber, but director Robert Schwentke is not. Dean Parisot is taking his place, and while his name may not be recognizable maybe you’ve heard of a little, near perfect gem called Galaxy Quest? Yeah, he made that one. Check out Red 2‘s old school action below.

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The last time we checked in on the progress of Bill & Ted 3, the screen’s Bill S. Preston, Esq., Alex Winter, informed us that both he and the actor who portrayed “Ted” Theodore Logan, Keanu Reeves, were very much on board to make another sequel, a script for the film had been completed, and everybody was very happy with how it read. Unfortunately, the movie still wasn’t officially green lit by anyone, and wasn’t guaranteed to ever actually happen. Happily, there’s some new movement regarding the project that suggests we may be one step closer to the glorious fantasy of Bill & Ted 3 getting financed becoming a reality. Vulture is reporting that Bill & Ted creators Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson (who wrote this third Bill & Ted movie on spec) have attached director Dean Parisot to their script, joining both principal actors in a tidy little package that’s likely to look fairly attractive to studios. Parisot mostly busies himself with TV work, but he did also direct the well-liked satire Galaxy Quest back in 1999, so he’s no stranger to big screen comedy.

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Catherine Zeta-Jones took a hiatus from acting late last decade, but she’s been back in the game with The Rebound and Sundance Weinstein pick-up Lay the Favorite. Now, she’s continuing that working streak with RED 2. At 42, it might be a little early for her to retire. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-winner has signed on alongside Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Dame Helen Mirren who will be reprising their roles. The screenwriters, Erich and Jon Hoeber, are also back, but director Robert Schwentke is not. He’s currently working on R.I.P.D., which may or may not be the reason, but Dean Parisot will be taking his spot. Parisot is also an Oscar winner, having won for Best Live-Action Short Film back in 1989 and going on to direct Galaxy Quest and Fun With Dick and Jane. It’s an interesting background he brings, but the comedy angle is easy to see. So the director has an Oscar, Dame Mirren has one, Malkovich is a two-time nominee, and their newest recruit is packing a statue. Not even counting the Golden Globes, this action comedy sequel has a lot of Oscar street cred.

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