Seth Gordon

Pixes vs King of Kong

One of our favorite documentaries of all time here at FSR, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters debuted back in January 2007 at the Slamdance Film Festival. Before it even released in theaters that August it had become an enormous cult sensation, particularly with people who aren’t normally into nonfiction films. Also before it even opened, director Seth Gordon was recruited by New Line (who also distributed the doc) to remake the feature, presumably to share the goofy story of rival arcade game champions with a much broader audience that wouldn’t ever, ever watch a doc, no matter how entertaining. It’s totally unnecessary, and those doc-despisers don’t deserve this story if that’s how they’re gonna be, but that’s Hollywood for you. As with most plans to redo docs as dramatic or “narrative” films, though, this one has been taking its sweet time — and doesn’t seem like it’ll ever really happen. Gordon was given other offers from New Line in the meantime to direct other big Hollywood movies such as Four Christmases, and he’s since been attached to a bazillion other projects. Yet over the years, he’s consistently confirmed that a King of Kong remake is still going forward, with minor details revealed that it could actually be more like a sequel and that it will be shot mockumentary style. And according to IMDbPro, following a couple years of unknown status, the project is now listed back in the script stage as of April 21st. But the more we see of Adam Sandler‘s upcoming […]

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Casey Wilson

Years from now, sitcom fans will still be stuck mourning the end of the cut-off-in-its-prime Happy Endings, the ABC series that ran for three glorious and brief (but not gloriously brief) seasons, the brainchild of creator David Caspe, a revolving door of solid directors (including Fred Savage, the Russo brothers and Beth McCarthy-Miller, among many others), and a seriously game cast. The series may have centered on a standard-sounding premise — a group of six friends live and love in Chicago, kicking off after one of them leaves another one at the altar on their wedding day (sort of like if Barry was part of the core cast of Friends) — but its outlandishly clever humor and believable beating heart set it apart. It was good. It was really good. And you didn’t watch it, because ABC cancelled it. But despite the loss of the show, many of its talents have journeyed elsewhere. Damon Wayans Jr. is back on New Girl, Adam Pally pops up just everywhere (and makes every project he touches better, just by virtue of his demented, high-pitched humor), and now Casey Wilson is about to embark on what just might be the natural progression of Happy Endings, a new sitcom that’s — yes! — also the work of Caspe.

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breakfast

Just days after the final suspect has been arrested in connection with one of the most massive maple syrup heists in Canada’s history, Sony Pictures has acquired the rights to a pitch that will turn the whole story into a comedy starring Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets star Jason Segel. Let’s back up and look a little bit closer at the story that’s inspiring this tale though, because despite what Hollywood might think, syrup thievery is no laughing matter. Especially to Canadians. Anne Sutherland of the “Montreal Gazette” was the first journalist to break the story that, between the dates of August 1, 2011 and July 20, 2012, a gang of sticky-fingered syrup thieves had siphoned off the contents of 16,000 45 gallon barrels of maple syrup that were being stored in a warehouse located in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, which is about 95 kilometers southwest of Quebec City. In total, the thieves were said to be knee-deep in $20 million worth of sticky brown. After over a year of manhunts and investigation, all 20 of the sweet-toothed culprits have now been apprehended, and two-thirds of the syrup has been recovered. Perhaps that’s the happy ending that’s going to finally allow us all to laugh at this dangerous series of events.

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Identity Thief Movie

Despite being panned by critics (including here), Identity Thief scored big at the box office and with fans. Seth Gordon‘s comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman earned $36.6m through the weekend against limited competition. The only other wide release was Steven Soderbergh’s final film (until we coax him out of retirement), Side Effects, which was in 500 fewer theaters and scored $10m. Warm Bodies dropped to the #2 spot with $11.5m, only $1.9m worth of people wanted to see Top Gun re-released in 3D, and the Oscar-nominated The Gatekeepers won the highest per theater average this weekend with over $14k in 3 theaters. Identity Thief has a production budget listed as $35m, so the numbers here are solid and point it directly toward never-ending syndication on TBS. It’s probably not surprising, but the number one movie also earned a massive disparity between critics and audiences, so it’ll be interesting to see if it can maintain its good will going into next weekend where only Die Hard, A Good Day to and a few indies led by the titanic Nicholas Sparks’ Romance Train await crowds looking for something to do between inhaling heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. For those who enjoyed Identity Thief, screenwriter Craig Mazin recently spoke about it on Broken Projector, and he’ll be back on the show this Friday to go through four pages of the script from conception to production. Plus, Gordon spoke with us about aiming to please audiences, something that the director seems to have pulled off here. [Box Office Mojo]

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Seth Gordon

Director Seth Gordon made a big splash in 2007 with The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Since its release he has made three more features, Four Christmases, Horrible Bosses, and Identity Thief. An obvious tie between all these films, as well as the Academy Award-winning doc he produced, Undefeated, is a crowd-pleasing quality. Gordon wants to appeal to anyone he can with his studio comedies, and with his newest movie, Identity Thief, he faced his greatest challenge in doing so. Anyone can jump onboard with the wish-fulfillment of killing their boss, but can millions of people do the same for a criminal who ruins people’s lives? As long as that criminal is Melissa McCarthy, as Gordon tells us, they can.

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Identity Thief

Identity Thief has more than a few good things going for it: it boasts a funny and talented cast, it features some amusing comedic chemistry between its two leads, and it has a plot that’s both rooted in the real world and ripe for some amusing and wacky cinematic hijinks. And yet, Seth Gordon‘s latest squanders every bit of promise it has to its name, with the final product ringing up as a mostly laughless, morally questionable, and wholly unoriginal pile of boring trash. The film is purely formulaic – the sort of comedy where you can see every beat (especially the “emotional” ones) from a mile way and nothing is capable of surprise. To be sure, there are “shocking” moments – sequences of violence, poorly considered sexual escapades, and even one hell of a car accident – but none of that jolts because it’s sharp or smart or interesting, it’s all sort of stagey, like the comedic version of a horror film jump scare. What’s most grating about Identity Thief is that it’s such a tremendous waste of time for everyone involved – from stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy to the very audience paying to watch it. Save your money. Keep your credit cards in your pocket. Stay home.

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Identity Thief

Given the fact that Identity Thief stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, it wasn’t all that much of a surprise that its first trailer was full of laughs. But what kind of came out of nowhere was how many cars got crashed in it and how much serious physical trauma Bateman and McCarthy endured during just two minutes of footage. It got to the point where it started to look like they were starring in an action movie. The second trailer that just got released for the film doesn’t do anything to contradict that notion either. As a matter of fact, it gives us another scene where McCarthy gets hit by a car, and one where she gets her head smacked against a passenger seat window; and that’s in addition to the part where Bateman hits her with an acoustic guitar. Is it possible that this year’s rekindling of the Three Stooges franchise was so inspiring to people that it’s going to usher in a full-on slapstick revival in comedy?

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Identify Thief Movie

Skipping all the nonsense of Face/Off, Melissa McCarthy becomes Jason Bateman in Identity Thief with a far simpler method: she steals his credit card information. Why didn’t John Woo think of that? From Seth Gordon (King of Kong, Horrible Bosses), the movie focuses on a man named Sandy who confronts the Florida woman who steals his identity and lives large on his dime. The trailer looks absolutely hilarious, giving just a hint at the raw craziness that the movie embraces. Check it out for yourself:

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Rapper T.I. Joins Identity Theft

Director Seth Gordon‘s latest comedic venture already has some great talent attached to it – Melissa McCarthy will star in the film, Identity Theft, in a role tailor-made for her: as a character who steals Jason Bateman‘s identity. But as amusing as it might be to just see those two duke it out for ninety minutes, every film needs supporting characters, and Gordon has just lined up an unexpected pick for one of those roles. Did you know that rapper T.I. (he of such notable hits as “Bring Em Out,” “Big Shit Poppin’ (Do It),” “Sleazy Remix 2.0: Get Sleazier,” “Murda Bizness,” and “Swing Ya Rag”) also acts? He does! Apparently he’s looking to diversify his portfolio after getting out of jail for those federal weapons charges! Yay! T.I. will reportedly play a bounty hunter in the film, one who hunts both McCarthy and Bateman after Bateman’s character “becomes an unlikely companion” to McCarthy (um, post-identity theft).

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Last August, during that first rush to pin down Bridesmaids stand-out Melissa McCarthy, we reported on a McCarthy-starring project that would pit her against Jason Bateman. The film was then titled ID Theft and was set to revolve around McCarthy’s character stealing Bateman’s character’s identity. Hijinks would, of course, ensue. The film has now gotten a slight title change and a not-wholly-unexpected director. Identity Theft will be directed by Seth Gordon, who has already directed Bateman to reasonable hilarity in Horrible Bosses. Written by The Pursuit of Happyness scribe Steve Conrad (with a rewrite by Craig Mazin), the project already has a bit of notoriety, as Bateman (who is also producing) reportedly asked that the film’s script be tweaked to see a man and a woman face off (it was previously a dueling dude affair) after being bowled over by McCarthy’s performance in Bridesmaids. Gordon’s name has already been bandied about for the Horrible Bosses sequel and he’s currently set to direct that bizarrely inevitable War Games remake. [Deadline Plainfield]  

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While Universal may be scraping to get together a sequel to their comedy hit, Bridesmaids, New Line and Warner Bros. are having significantly better luck with their latest incarnation of a comedy hit. The studios have closed a deal with Horrible Bosses screenwriters John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein for a second film, one that is expected to see its three leads, Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis, all back in front of the camera. And behind the camera? Original director Seth Gordon is also “in early talks” for the sequel. Now that’s how you get a band of merry murderers back together. The summer release was a surprise hit – made on the relative cheap for $35m, it racked up $209m worldwide. A cross between workplace comedy and hitman flick, the film saw Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis as three best friends who all hate their bosses (played by Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell, respectively) for very different reasons. In the film, the three knuckleheads conceive of a plan to knock off each other’s headache-inducing supervisors, the sort of plan that sounds okay-ish on paper, only to crumble spectacularly (and hilariously!) in execution. The film was Daley and Goldstein’s first project together, and they have also written another New Line comedy, the upcoming Burt Wonderstone (filming early this year), along with the sequel to the charming Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

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Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

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MGM is mining the 80s for remake gold, and the latest nugget is a remake of WarGames that people will be all a titter about when they see Matthew Broderick’s inevitable cameo role as a janitor at the War Room or something. The good news is that it will incorporate modernized video games (as opposed to Pong Extreme), and that Seth Gordon will be directing it. Even though it only makes sense in Hollywood logic, as the director of King of Kong, he’s at least got some video game street cred. Who doesn’t have that street cred is Noah Oppenheimer, the man recently hired to write the script. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Oppenheimer is a senior producer for The Today Show, but has recently branched out into feature film writing with a script called Jackie O that’s perked up a few ears. Plus, he was attached to that Snabba Cash remake that, so far, hasn’t been made yet. So it goes. Oppenheimer is an untested element here, and his last name makes it sounds like he invented the nuclear bomb, but he’s certainly not lacking for experience. At least, he’s got nearly 650 episodes of a morning news/entertainment show under his belt, and that can’t be the easiest program to pull off. Still, it will be interesting to see how far this project goes down the field. Or if MGM thinks it’s making a movie, but is really starting World War III.

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Years ago director Seth Gordon made a big impression with his critical doc darling, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. The film made our own best 30 films of the decade and you’d be on a fool’s mission to find someone who doesn’t enjoy that unique story. To no surprise, the heavily pirated documentary kicked down a lot of doors for Gordon. Just recently he’s been attached to direct the WarGames remake, so it’s obvious he’s come quite a long way in a quick amount of time. His latest comedy, Horrible Bosses, also represents how rapid the filmmaker is rising. The greatest surprise of the film is that, tonally, the film isn’t all that mean. The story’s about three guys plotting to murder their respective bosses, but even with that dark concept and some bastardly antagonists it never goes to the extreme. Gordon flirts with some darkness and satire, but it stays relatively safe. Here’s what director Seth Gordon had to say about the doors The King of Kong opened up for him, going with a lighter version of Horrible Bosses, and the nature of comedic filmmaking:

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Horrible Bosses features some of the most inspired casting you’ll find in any big studio comedy this year, with three actors playing against type with exceptional success. Unfortunately, those three performers — Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston — are the supporting acts here, the titular vile bosses of three of the most boring white guys imaginable. Sure, they’re played by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day, funny men all, but the stars lack the charisma, the comic energy and the overall appeal of the aforementioned A-listers, who go to some truly whacked-out places. It’s a fundamental miscalculation that filmmaker Seth Gordon can’t overcome.

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Magic is like the Schrödinger’s Cat of obscure passions. Or, to put it another way, magic is simultaneously very cool and not cool at all. Similar fields are definitely one or the other… mimes for instance, are never cool. But watching a good magic show can leave an audience in awe wondering how exactly the tricks were done, while at the same time the magicians’ offstage persona often reveals them to be socially awkward, obsessive-compulsive geeks. So cool and uncool, simultaneously. Make Believe follows six teenagers from around the world who have immersed themselves into the world of the stage magician. They practice and perform constantly while juggling their “normal” teen lives with varying levels of success. The crux of the story is their involvement in an annual World Teen Magician competition, and the film follows their preparation and experiences leading up to and beyond the event. The six teens come from varying backgrounds and personalities but all share a common love for magic and the art of illusion, and their stories as seen here help prove the maxim above.

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This red-band trailer probably gives away too much. Unlike most red-band trailers, though, it doesn’t giveaway all the best gags. I’ve seen Horrible Bosses, and it’s awesome. What the fellow ensemble summer comedy The Hangover II got wrong, Seth Gordon’s (director behind the incredible The King of King: A Fistful of Quarters) comedy got right. The leads aren’t annoying morons, the jokes feel fresh, and there’s at least some sense of reality.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It is not a sentient being sent to Earth to bring you nightly doses of absolute and unquestionable brilliance. It is not the wittiest chap at the tea party. It is not an ad-free experience. It is, however, a nightly gathering of entertainment news and views that works very hard to win your affection. Except for last night, when its usually diligent author felt pain so bold that it had him contemplating watching Glitter again… Breaking tonight is the news that Seth Gordon, director of such films as The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters and Four Christmases, is now attached to direct a remake of the 1983 film WarGames. This news will undoubtedly be met with mixed reactions, as their is a delicate balance between people’s hatred for remakes and their enjoyment of the works of Seth Gordon. Which will win out? More at 11…

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Seth Gordon’s new comedy Horrible Bosses has a trailer. If you don’t know who Seth Gordon is, he’s not only the guy who directed the amazing Donkey Kong documentary King of Kong, but he’s also directed episodes of pretty much every amazingly funny comedy that’s on TV right now. So, I imagine his movie is going to be pretty great, and while this trailer isn’t exactly revolutionary, it does its job of making this look like a barrel of laughs. Horrible Bosses tells the story of three guys, played by Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis, who have three exceptionally evil bosses, played by Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, and Kevin Spacey, and who get together and decide to have them killed. Of course, they’re just a couple of working class dweebs, what do they know about killing people? Problem solved; just hire Jamie Foxx as your “murder consultant” Motherfucker Jones. Doesn’t sound like enough for you to check out this movie already? Just wait; there’s more. Aniston eats hotdogs, Popsicles, and bananas while wearing lingerie, Day seems to be just about as stupid as he is on Always Sunny, Colin Farrell is looking super creepy with a balding comb over and a finely manicured beard, Modern Family’s Julie Bowen is somewhere in this movie being pretty and funny, and when they guys get arrested for speeding who is their arresting officer but Bunk from The Wire. Plus there’s car crashes, discrimination against the handicapped, comedic cocaine use, and white […]

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Percy Jackson and 3:10 to Yuma actor Logan Lerman is attached to a new indie film whose title takes inspiration from a Simon and Garfunkel tune. The young actor is ready to start production this fall on The Only Living Boy in New York, a sort of coming of age, romantic triangle, boy coming to grips with the imperfection of his parents movie that is set to be directed by Seth Gordon, the man who made the universally beloved documentary The King of Kong, and who has recently been busying himself directing episodes of great TV comedies like Parks and Recreation, Modern Family, and Community. The reason the new film won’t likely start until fall is that Lerman is starting to become something of a hot ticket item over there in the Hollywood. Not only does he have a round of publicity coming up for his big summer blockbuster version of Three Musketeers, but he’s also about to start production on an adaptation of the ridiculously successful Stephen Chbosky teen angst novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It looks like Lerman is subscribing fully to the Give Them an Action Movie/Give Them an Indie Drama model of career building. He may be one to keep an eye on. Source: Deadline State College

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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