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Hollywood And Religion: Or, How Angus T. Jones Became A Laughing Stock


Angus T. Jones Mel Gibson Joe Eszterhas Tom Cruise John Travolta Angelina Jolie Bruce Willis John Malkovich

When Angus T. Jones recorded his interview with Christopher Hudson, the leader of the Forerunner Chronicles Christian group, he may well not have expected the reaction that he got. The star of the Two and a Half Men sitcom denounced the show as “filth” and urged viewers to stop watching it. Presumably not quite the marketing plan that the show’s executives had in mind (though as we know, these bouts of ‘technically bad’ publicity have a habit of working in your favour) but Angus was keen to share all that he had learned since turning to religion.

In the interview clip, Angus speaks to Hudson as though he is some form of demi-god and looks thrilled to even be in the same room as him, reaching out to touch him as though he can’t believe he’s real. As he very publicly looked a very generous gift horse in the mouth (He earns a reported $350,000 per episode. Yes, per episode), the world winced and cowered away, sniggering. Within hours of the video clip hitting the internet, it had gone viral and the 19 year-old had quickly become a laughing stock.

What exactly was Jones’ biggest crime though? Dissing his employers? Undermining the very thing that gave him the wealth and privilege that he’s able to enjoy? Or was it all the nutty, slightly alarming religious stuff that he was spouting for the majority of the interview? If he’d just said “Two and a Half Men is cr*p,” would we have cared quite as much? Would the story have run quite as far and quite as wide as it did? If there wasn’t that cringe-worthy explanation of why he went on the hunt for a church with a “black gospel theme,” would this all have mattered so much? If he hadn’t starting aligning light entertainment with the devil, because of his newfound religious beliefs? Of course not.

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Flashdance Review


Zero
1983 was a sleepy year in the midst of the first Reagan administration, but it was also the year of Flashdance. What America needed was a healthy dose of off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, leg warmers, and tight butts and inviting crotches gyrating in extreme close up. Barbara Bush and Al Haig must have been plotzing.

Flashdance is an exercise in Cinderellaesque teenage female wish fulfillment so preposterous that it shoots right over the top and is ultimately richly entertaining in spite of its ridiculousness. All you have to do it get past the main message, which is that finding success in life is not just about your talent. It's about your talent plus your ability to snag a rich and powerful boyfriend and put out. With production values courtesy of the legendary Simpson and Bruckheimer and a screenplay co-written by the polymorphously perverse Joe Eszterhas, you know you're in for quite a ride.

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Telling Lies in America Review


Good
This '60s slice of life story comes from the unlikely pen of Joe Eszterhas, best known for neo-porn like Basic Instinct. Renfro plays Eszterhas's obvious alter-ego, an immigrant kid that's unpopular at school and has iffy luck with the ladies. He falls in with a corrupt radio DJ (Kevin Bacon) while tentatively wooing a pre-fame Calista Flockhart. The story hangs together loosely, bouyed by strong performances from the three leads.

Jade Review


Grim
A few short weeks ago I posed the question, "What is Joe Eszterhas going to do next (after Showgirls)?" Well, this is it, and it ain't Disneyland: Jade, a horrid little thriller about a whole bunch of obsessive-compulsive crazies, some of whom may be murderers.

Actually, I wish it was that simple. Perennial bad-girl Linda Fiorentino plays Trina Gavin, a sultry psychologist with a questionable past. Chazz Palminteri is her sicko attorney husband Matt, and David Caruso plays assistant D.A. David Corelli, who is assigned to look into the murder of a wealthy art collector to whom everyone seems to be linked...especially Trina.

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Showgirls Review


OK
It's so bad it's good. But hey, it ain't that good.ay?

Showgirls is the capper in writer Joe Eszterhas' storied career. First came Flashdance. Then he shocked us with Basic Instinct. Then he writes Showgirls, an ultra-explicit NC-17 drama about a Las Vegas showgirl who goes from nobody to "Goddess" by playing the Power Game better than everyone else.

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An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn Review


Unbearable
How bad is An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn? Every bit as awful as you might have heard. This wannabe mockumentary tries to send up Hollywood in a tale that has director Alan Smithee (Eric Idle) hijacking his own film and destroying it because it's so bad, because he can't use the pseudonym Alan Smithee because (duh!) that's his real name! Har har! Joe Eszterhas is responsible (of course) for this mess, which is so unfunny the only laughs are during the outtakes that run during the credits. And that's the actors laughing, not the audience. Widely panned as one of the worst movies ever made, life imitated art when director Arthur Hiller took his name off this train wreck and used... of course... Alan Smithee.

Music Box (1989) Review


Grim
Is daddy really a Nazi living under an assumed identity in America? In this impressively stupid collaboration between Costa-Gavras and Joe Eszterhas (you will not find a more unlikely pair since Oscar and Felix) we have to wait almost two hours to find out if Armin Mueller-Stahl is indeed the monster he's accused of being or if it's a Commie plot. The catch? Daughter Jessica Lange is defending him at a Nuremburg-style trial.

In the vein of Jagged Edge and Basic Instinct (all Eszterhas movies, actually), we're kept guessing as to whether hedunit, only in Music Box, we couldn't care less. If the characters aren't speaking in thick, phony accents, they're speaking in foreign languages altogether -- through long, drawn-out courtroom scenes where immigrants reflect hazily on whether Armin's our man.

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Basic Instinct Review


Good
Utterly stupid yet completely memorable, Sharon Stone owes her career -- if not her entire life -- to Paul Verhoeven and Basic Instinct. Famed for its sneak-peek at Stone's wig-covered crotch, her "arrest me for smoking" line, Tripplehorn's cinematic break, and a cop-falls-for-the-killer plot ripped out of Sudden Impact, Basic Instinct is part of modern Americana. Too bad writer Joe Eszterhas started taking himself seriously after this movie, becoming the highest paid hack on the planet. At least he's been put in his place... though note that Stone has signed on to do a sequel (now mired in a lawsuit). Yikes!
Joe Eszterhas

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