Neighborhood Watch

Culture Warrior

In the wake of the horrific shooting that occurred almost two weeks ago at a multiplex in Aurora, Colorado during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros. made several last-minute cuts to their upcoming period action film Gangster Squad. The scene in question, which was featured prominently in the now-removed first US trailer and can be seen very briefly in this international trailer, depicted a bevy of gangsters or cops (as the original scene is difficult to find, I don’t recall) shooting bullets from tommyguns through the back of a movie screen. Reportedly, this scene is rather instrumental to the film’s plot, so several very late-in-the-game re-shoots will take place to allow the film to make sense without the now-controversial scene in question. This resulted in the film’s release date being pushed back from September 7, 2012 to January 11, 2013. Altering films and their advertising campaigns has become common practice in recent Hollywood. After the Colorado shooting, many ads for The Dark Knight Rises that focus on the film’s violent moments were removed from the airwaves. This weekend’s The Watch, which opened to middling box office and mostly negative reviews, had its title and advertising campaign altered from the original Neighborhood Watch after the shooting of unarmed minor Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman in Florida this spring. Several movies also incurred changes, delays, and alternative ad campaigns after 9/11. In public relations terms, such changes are typically framed as a gesture of sensitivity to […]

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It can be difficult making friends once you’re past a certain age because the older people get the more set in their ways they become. Youth offers any number of bonding experiences that bring people together from grade school up through college, but once you enter the real world those opportunities start to dwindle. Husbands and wives, children, jobs, existing friends…these things tend to limit the time you have for meeting new people, becoming familiar with them and building new relationships. Past the age of thirty a catalyst of some kind is required to draw people together on short notice. Something big is good. Something of planetary importance is even better. Evan (Ben Stiller) is constantly on the lookout for friends and has formed more clubs than Tracy Flick ever dared to dream. He keeps busy with running club and Spanish for Senior Citizens, but when one of his Costco employees is viciously murdered Evan decides to form a Neighborhood Watch. Franklin (Jonah Hill) failed every test the police department threw at him, so the opportunity to join a “vigilante squad” appeals to him greatly. Bob (Vince Vaughn) is a recent transplant to town with his wife and teen daughter, and he jumps at the chance to hang out with the guys. And Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) is simply a responsible newcomer to our American shores. Together they form a local neighborhood watch. Together they will decide Earth’s fate as they discover and attempt to stop an alien invasion. Together, if […]

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After five long years of waiting for Akiva Schaffer to direct a big screen follow-up to his ludicrous 2007 comedy, Hot Rod, the teaser trailer for his new film, Neighborhood Watch, finally hit the Internet back in February, promising more hilarity to come. But before excitement could really build for the film, its marketing efforts hit a pretty huge snag. A Florida teen named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a member of his local neighborhood watch, the story became national news, and suddenly Neighborhood Watch’s teaser – which featured its protagonists suspiciously eying and threatening neighborhood children – looked to be in really poor taste. In response to the incident, the trailer was pulled from theaters. Though the aftermath of the Martin shooting is ongoing and is still fresh in everyone’s minds, Schaffer and company still have a movie to promote, so Neighborhood Watch is back with a new title and a new red band trailer. From this point forward the film seems to be going by the name The Watch, and its new marketing has shifted its focus away from a group of overzealous men terrorizing their neighborhood and turned the spotlight more toward its alien invasion elements.

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Neighborhood Watch

The tragic killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin is such a widely reported and consistently commented-upon national news item that it was bound to have impact beyond the family of the victim and the community in which it took place. The details of the shooting have yet to be poured over in a courtroom setting, which will probably entail another long stretch of media attention, and already the effects of the story have started to hit Hollywood. More specifically, they’ve affected the marketing of Akiva Schaffer’s upcoming comedy, Neighborhood Watch, which stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade as a quartet of overzealous members of their local neighborhood watch program. The story and the movie are being connected because Martin’s shooting came at the hands of a man who was both a member of a similar program, and also thought to be by many overzealous in his pulling of the trigger. The real big problem is that the film’s teaser trailer features a moment in which Hill’s character makes a gun with his finger and pulls the trigger while it’s pointed at a group of neighborhood kids. As you can imagine, that plays as being fairly offensive in light of recent events, so Fox has pulled the ad and the film’s first poster from Florida markets.

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Neighborhood Watch

The first glimpse we’re getting of Akiva Schaffer’s star-studded new comedy Neighborhood Watch certainly isn’t giving us much of a look at what the plot is going to be—and I guess that’s why they call it a teaser—but there still seems to be something a little off with the way they’re introducing this one to the world. The slow motion footage of lame suburban guys trying to look hard while driving, the slightly out of date rap song that makes up the soundtrack, somehow it all adds up to make something that feels a little less like a wide-release comedy that’s about to hit theaters and a little more like the funny new show that’s about to debut after Weeds on Showtime.

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Directors and writers aren’t the only one with viewpoints on filmmaking, so we’re starting at the beginning and the bottom as two production assistants give us their stories and share their insights into starting out in Hollywood. Plus, Fat Guy Kevin Carr joins us to play Good News/Bad News and deliver his own TED Talk. Download This Episode

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It’s already the second day of 2012, which means we’ll all be sober within the next day or two. It also means that we can officially start looking (through blurry eyes) ahead to the future. A future of promise and potential. A future of hope. A future of tingling anticipation that the road stretched out in front of us that leads to the cinema will be paved with gold. Will there be piles of excrement along the way? Of course, but we don’t know how many or how badly they’ll tarnish our yellow-bricked roller coaster ride. All we can see from this far out is the shimmering wonder of movies to come – the vast unknown that looks wonderful (and might just live up to the hype). In past years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), we’ve gone with a fairly arbitrary count of 20-30 movies. This year, we decided to prove that there were 52 movies worth prematurely celebrating (even though what we found were many more). That’s one for every week (even if there are some weeks with a few and some weeks with none at all). Regardless of the number, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Kate Erbland, Allison Loring, Landon Palmer, Brian Salisbury and Cole Abaius have joined forces to remind us all that there are a lot of great movies to hope for this year. Go grab a calendar and pencil in everything that gets your blood pressure up toward unsafe levels. It’s going to be a busy, flick-filled […]

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Neighborhood Watch has had a pretty dicey past, but under the eye of director Akiva Schaffer it seems to now be coming together nicely. The film has a new script penned by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg ready to go, and a bunch of casting maybes have become casting confirmations. Ben Stiller is set to star as a city guy who moves out to the suburbs and gets roped into joining a nutty neighborhood watch program. Big time comedic talents Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill have signed on to fill out the watch. Rachel Getting Married actress Rosemarie DeWitt has been tapped to play the Stiller character’s wife. And now another big name is in negotiations to hop on boar as well. Almost Famous actor Billy Crudup is the latest addition, and according to Heat Vision, he’s negotiating to play the character of a creepy and weird neighbor who catches the watch’s attention. Seeing as past synopsis of the film’s plot have pointed to the fact that Stiller and his new buddies find themselves stumbling into an alien plot to overthrow the planet, I think it’s probably a good bet that we’ve just found ourselves our first alien. Seems like a good choice to me. Crudup is just too handsome. It’s… suspicious.

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Things seem to finally be coming together quite nicely for the long troubled comedy Neighborhood Watch. After a period of uncertainty where it was having trouble getting financed, it now has two big name comedic actors signed on to star in Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. Sure, they may not be the freshest faces in Hollywood, and they might have been even bigger names a few years ago, but they’ve got a couple of in-the-now screenwriters, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, to take a pass at and freshen up the long gestating script they’re working with. Plus, they’ve got an up and coming voice in The Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer to direct. After failing as a Will Ferrell vehicle, Neighborhood Watch might be set up to be the most relevant things that Stiller and Vaughn have done in a while. One sign that a film is really going full steam ahead in its production is when it starts filling out its supporting cast, and this one seems to be doing that right now. In the last day or so there have been several stories popping up about new faces being added. The first rumor, and the one that’s most likely, is that according to Heat Vision, Rachel Getting Married actress Rosemarie DeWitt is close to signing on as Stiller’s wife. If you remember the synopsis of this one, Stiller plays a city boy who is forced to move out to the boring suburbs, and DeWitt’s character would be the reason […]

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Way back in 2009 there was supposed to be a movie called Neighborhood Watch starring Will Ferrel and directed by Wedding Crashers’ David Dobkin, but talent clashed with studio to the point that it didn’t ever happen. Fox isn’t a studio to just lie down and die however. I guess somebody in charge must really like the project, because a whole new wave of talent has been tossed at the script. Things didn’t work out with Ferrell and Dobkin creatively, but recently Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have written a new draft of the script. You might have heard of them, they did stuff like Superbad and Pineapple Express. Oh yeah, and Rogen has acted in so many movies over the last five years that you’re probably sick of him. But don’t worry, Rogen isn’t the new guy rumored to star. Now that there’s a spiffy new version of the script written by top talent comedy mega-star Ben Stiller is being courted to star in the film. Oh. His character would be a city boy who ends up moving to the suburbs and joining the neighborhood watch. What might seem like a pretty boring gig proves to be nothing of the sort when he finds himself right in the middle of some sort of extraterrestrial cover-up. Sounds goofy, so it’s probably going to need a goofy guy to direct.

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Damn. Well, maybe now Tom Hanks and Corey Feldman will take the hint and make The Burbs II, so we can finally all sleep easier.

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Will Ferrell is currently in talks to take the lead in a new David Dobkin directed comedy called Neighborhood Watch, which sounds a lot like a remake of the great Tom Hanks comedy The ‘burbs if you ask me.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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