Samuel L. Jackson Disagrees With Tarantino; Avatar and Parenting; Oscar Justice

Avatar: The Way of Water is about being a dad, says James Cameron; the Oscars fix a mistake; Samuel L. Jackson disagrees with Quentin Tarantino about Marvel and movie stars. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.

But First: As I learned about Kevin Spacey’s exciting new role — he’ll play a disembodied voice who has taken over a self-driving car — I wondered: What should Hollywood do with the legions of men who have been convicted of wrongdoing in the court of public opinion, but not in actual court? And then I came up a perfectly reasonable and compassionate idea for a special Hollywood Court, to be followed by Hollywood Jail. You can learn more about it here. 

More Chippendales Fact-Checking: One of the most compelling characters on Hulu’s new Welcome to Chippendales is Otis McCutcheon, the lone Black dancer in the all-make stripper revue who quickly becomes its breakout star. Unfortunately, Otis is made-up. But he does seem to be based on a real Chippendales dancer who has lived a fascinating life, as we detail here. The real former dancer, Hodari Sababu, is now an entrepreneur who gives tours of Los Angeles hip-hop landmarks, including the spots where Tupac shot the “To Live and Die in L.A.” video.

Oscars: Speaking of justice, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has announced that all 23 categories will be aired in the 2023 Oscars telecast. The decision last year to cut the presentation of eight awards from the ceremony drew objections across the industry. “I can confirm that all categories will be included in the live telecast,” AMPAS CEO Bill Kramer told Variety.

Avatar and Parenting: James Cameron says in a new Hollywood Reporter profile that Avatar: The Way of Water is about being a parent. “I thought, ‘I’m going to work out a lot of my stuff, artistically, that I’ve gone through as a parent of five kids,’” Cameron says. “The overarching idea is, the family is the fortress. It’s our greatest weakness and our greatest strength. I thought, ‘I can write the hell out of this. I know what it is to be the a–hole dad.’”

Samuel Jackson on Marvel Movie Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Quentin Tarantino’s most go-to actor, takes issue with Tarantino’s contention that the lead actors in Marvel movies aren’t movie stars, because the characters are the stars. “The sign of movie stardom has always been what — asses in seats? It’s not a big controversy for me to know that these actors are movie stars. Chadwick Boseman is Black Panther. You can’t refute that, and he’s a movie star,” Jackson said on The View. “It takes an actor to be those particular characters.” He was too humble to note that he is a much bigger star than Nick Fury, the character he plays in the MCU. Here’s video:

Recommendation: I watched the 1999 Samuel L. Jackson killer shark movie Deep Blue Sea last night for the first time and totally loved it. Here is a very spoilery oral history of his most memorable scene in the film.

Easy Rider Reboot: The 1969 counterculture classic is getting a reimagining, Variety reports, led by “a consortium of stakeholders and producers” who are “currently in search of bold writers and/or directors to update the project for modern times with the same fringe spirit.” The article says the filmmakers used Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan’s Creed and its relationship to the Rocky franchise “as a comp for their ambitions.” The original drug-fueled biker epic was written by Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda and Terry Southern. Hopper and Fonda starred, alongside a young Jack Nicholson, and Hopper directed.

Why Though? “Our goal is to build upon the counterculture and freedom narrative the original left us with, and give the youth of today a film that pays serious attention to their own countercultures and challenges,” producer Maurice Fadida, who also produced the late-’60s-set The Trial of the Chicago 7, told Variety. “What the young viewers of today are experiencing in their everyday lives may seem crazy to older generations, but it can very well become the societal norm, as was the case with the cultural shift of the late 1960s. We are hoping to play a part in that shift.”

May I Editorialize? Nothing says “counterculture” like “a consortium of stakeholders and producers.”

Comment of the Day:Star 80 is a masterpiece and the best performance by Eric Roberts by far. I watched it at 15 and think about it to this day. It is horrific and you will not feel good about yourself for being a human male. But again, it is a masterpiece performance,” says Vince, responding to our ponderings on Star 80 in yesterday’s Rundown. Thanks Vince! I’m going to watch it based on this.

To Live and Die in L.A.: My favorite Dennis Hopper-directed movie is 1987’s Colors, starring Robert Duvall as a jaded L.A. cop and Sean Penn as his hotheaded young partner as they battle L.A. gangs. It’s packed with actors you’ll be surprised to see, from a pre-Saved by the Bell Mario Lopez to pre-Candyman Tony Todd to pre-In Living Color Damon Wayans to pre-Boogie Nights Don Cheadle. Also, I think about that wisdom of the two bulls joke all the time. When I was a kid growing up in L.A. in the ’80s, we all thought Colors was ludicrous, because the gangs seemed so made-up and inaccurate. But after reading Ice-T’s 2011 terrific memoir, I learned that the film deliberately muddled the gang affiliations so that real gangs wouldn’t be offended by their portrayals on screen. Ice-T, of course, did the movie’s classic theme song, which we will now enjoy together as a family:


Main image: Samuel L. Jackson in Deep Blue Sea.