No, this is not a Lord of the Rings spinoff about one of the hobbits. I’m talking about Pippin, the beloved(-ish?) musical by Stephen Schwartz where a young prince has an identity crisis and looks for meaning in his life. The music is great, but Pippin himself isn’t exactly a memorable character. Basically, if Pippin took place today, it would be about a trust-funded recent college graduate living in a large city on one of the coasts who ponders his quarter-life crisis through a self-effacing comedy vlog. For real, it’s all about the Players, the narrators of the story.
This is kind of a big time for Pippin (filed under: things I thought I would never say). After several regional productions, the show is returning to Broadway with a bit of a circus aesthetic going on and Andrea Martin (Andrea Martin!) as Berthe. Details on the film adaptation, brought to you by The Weinstein Company, are still pretty nebulous at this point. So far, the only name attached to the thing is James Ponsoldt, the writer of Smashed and the upcoming high school drama The Spectacular Now, starring Shailene Woodley and Jennifer Jason Leigh (Jennifer Jason Leigh!), who will write the script.
Of course, we all know that none of this really matters, because ultimately your Pippin adaptation is nothing without Mr. Ben Vereen. Case in point:
I’m glad to know what I’m not the only person who has spent the last thirteen years hoping and praying for a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Just kidding! I don’t think that movies needs a sequel. Alas, somebody does, and that somebody is not Ang Lee. Ronny Yu, on the other hand, is, which will probably earn him the title of "Poor Man’s Ang Lee" after he directs this follow-up to the 2000 film. With a script by John Fusco and money coming in from The Weinstein Company, the still-untitled sequel will begin filming in May. [Via Deadline]
You have been on a Netflix binge before, but not like this: With the service’s Starz partnership set to expire in less than two days, you’ll need all the hours you can cramming in episodes of Party Down and crying at Toy Story 3 for the last time. If you remember, Netflix’s price increase in 2011 coincided with a failure to lock up a new Starz deal, which is why more than 840 titles will disappear on Thursday. TV and Movies NOW has a handy list of everything you’ll be missing, as well as if it’s available on Amazon Prime (but come on, who has that).
The ‘flix has a handful of Weinstein Company titles like The Artist and Coriolanuseventually coming its way, which should dull the loss by a smidgen. Still, it’s a terrific bummer that so many quality titles will no longer be available to our entitled asses, like the immortal Billy Madison and Astro Boy. Howl’s Moving Castle, Scarface, Young Fankenstein, Double Indemnity, Patton, Vertigo, Apocalypto, Lethal Weapon 2 — I could go on and on and on and on. Call your friends for a Netflix party, or just pull your hoodie over your head and get to business by yourself. Remember, nothing that happens on Leap Day counts in the real world.
Bully is a documentary that some might call "important;" it’s an in-depth look at America’s bullying crisis that doesn’t pull any punches about how rude kids can be to each other. In the trailer, which you can watch after the jump, there’s footage of kids getting slapped around on the school bus, even with a camera trained on them. It’s supposed to come out in limited release on March 30, but there may be a hitch in the process: the R-rating that was just handed down by the MPAA on grounds of language. An appeal to contest the ruling fell short by one vote, and The Weinstein Company, which is releasing the movie, says it might abandon the MPAA for a little while. "As of today, The Weinstein Company is considering a leave of absence from the MPAA for the foreseeable future," TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein wrote in a statement. "We respect the MPAA and their process but feel this time it has just been a bridge too far."
Doesn’t seem very controversial, no? It’s like any other harsh documentary, except the audience that would get the most use out of it — that under-17 crowd — won’t be able to get in on their own. Yes, they’ll be able to attend a viewing when accompanied by a parent, but an R-rating is a harder sell for a family outing (also, gross, family outing). Some schools won’t play it in class where it might do the most good, for fear of parents who might automatically raise a stink if their kids are exposed to such restricted material. It’s all very, very silly.
I mean, not to turn into a soapbox for the Weinstein Company, but this does seem especially shortsighted on the MPAA’s part. But when has that ever not been the case? Blue Valentine got an NC-17 rating because it dared to show a realistic portrayal of sex (it was later overturned); Shame got the same for similar reasons. They’re not entirely equivalent situations, of course, but the MPAA’s process for deciding such ratings seems to be based on entirely arbitrary moral standards. How could anyone see this documentary about kids and say that kids aren’t supposed to see it? (Okay, soapbox out.) Bully is still supposed to come out in a month, but we’ll see if anything changes.