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What the Hell Happened to Ivan Reitman?

Ivan Reitman

Ivan Reitman

Ivan Reitman began humbly, from the very earliest outset. His refugee family moved to Canada, which is where he received a degree in music. Having been introduced to filmmaking in college, he moved to Hollywood, comfortably moving into the director’s chair, where he fairly quickly rose to direct the top comedies being released. He was on top of the comedic world, working with Hollywood’s biggest stars churning out hits one after the other. Very gradually, his career tapered off. Although he still directs, Reitman has now seen his movies dumped into the bleak valleys of the early winter. We must ask:

What the hell happened?

Reitman was born to Jewish parents in Czechoslovakia on October 27th, 1946. Yes, being born into Judaism in Central Europe in the forties made for a rough upbringing. Reitman’s mother survived Auschwitz, while his father was fighting in the resistance. His parents fled as refugees to Canada in 1950, little Ivan was four.

McMaster University

McMaster University

Reitman set out down a musical path at a young age. He was a member of an a cappella quartet in secondary school, and attended Hamilton’s McMaster University, receiving a degree in music in 1969. While at university, Reitman experimented with directing, overseeing a number of student short films.

Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd - Canadian comic icons

Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd – Canadian comic icons

Reitman began as an assistant producer at a Toronto TV station, but was quickly dismissed. CITY-TV was also the home of Dan Aykroyd’s first job as an announcer. Aykroyd and Reitman both later became Canadian icons in Hollywood (as you are soon to see), and even collaborated.

Foxy Lady Poster - 1971

Foxy Lady Poster – 1971

In 1971, Reitman directed his first feature, the comedy Foxy Lady. Alan Gordon, who would again team up with Reitman in the future, played the lead. The film is aggressively non-notable, aside from being Reitman and Eugene Levy’s first.

Cannibal Girls - 1973

Cannibal Girls – 1973

Reitman made the jump to Hollywood in 1973. After setting some scores to minor films (putting his degree to use), Reitman made his Hollywood directorial debut with the low-budget horror comedy Cannibal Girls. Though the movie was shot entirely in Canada, the release was officiated by Californian entities. Eugene Levy played the lead. He is a traveling salesman accosted by a town dominated by a cannibalistic cult.

The film had a very minor release, but has enjoyed a (non-cannibalistic) cult following over the years as the stars of the director and lead grew.

AnimalHouse

Animal House – 1978

After this, Reitman honed his skills as an executive producer and a music supervisor. Though Reitman no longer sets sound to pictures, he is active as a producer, and has been since he hit his stride as a director. In 1978, Reitman acted as producer on the classic buffoonery comedy Animal House.

Reitman originally wanted to direct Animal House himself.  But Universal didn’t feel like he had enough experience to direct the picture.  They approached Richard Lester and Bob Rafelson before hiring John Landis.   Landis had directed two movies at that point; Schlock in 1973 and The Kentucky Fried Movie in 1977.  Reitman reclled his frustration:

I had worked on it three years, brought Belushi into it, and ended up producing the film, but my original intention was always to direct it. But because I had really only directed this small $12,000 improvised comedy called Cannibal Girls, the studio wouldn’t let me do it, and so we hired John Landis who did a great job. But I really wanted to direct,

Reitman’s original idea for casting was basically to steal the cast of Saturday Night Live.  John Belushi was always intended to play Bluto.  But Reitman also wanted Bill Murray for Boone, Chevy Chase for Otter and Dan Aykroyd for D-Day.  Director John Landis didn’t like the idea of making Animal House into the de facto  SNL movie.  So when he met with Chase he subtly persuaded him to turn down the part by appealing to Chase’s ego.  The tactic worked.  Chase chose to star in Foul Play instead of appear as part of an ensemble in Animal House.  With that, the idea of loading the cast with the Not Ready for Primetime Players fell by the wayside.

Reitman has over 60 credits to his name as a producer, but we won’t be covering them all here.  For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on Reitman’s work as a director.

Delta House - 1979

Delta House – 1979

Reitman produced a TV adaptation of Animal House called Delta House.  The show recast some roles while maintaining original cast members Stephen Furst, Bruce McGill, James Widdoes and John Vernon.  Michelle Pfieffer made an early appearance as a character credited as “The Bombshell.”

Next: Meatballs and Stripes

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Posted on June 3, 2015, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Director and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 87 Comments.

  1. Another terrific entry from oakleya77! You’re cranking them out, man!

    Reitman is undoubtedly one of the most successful directors in comedy. And, from what I have read, he’s a really easy guy to get laughing. His Midas touch seemed to fade in the 90s and then disappear completely at the turn of the century. At least in terms of working as a director. As a producer, he’s been extremely prolific.

    I was surprised to see how many existing WTHH articles this one tied into. Almost all of Reitman’s movies as a director featured at least one WTHH subject in its cast.

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  2. Other stuff that Ivan Reitman has produced or executive produced besides Animal House, Heavy Metal and Stop! or My Mom Will Shoot include:

    1983: Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone with WTHH alumni Molly Ringwald
    1987: Big Shots
    1988: Casual Sex? starring WTHH alumni Lea Thompson
    1988: Feds starring WTHH alumni Rebecca De Mornay
    1992: Beethoven
    1993: Beethoven’s 2nd
    1996: Space Jam
    1997: Private Parts
    2000: Road Trip
    2003: Old School
    2004: Eurotrip
    2007: Disturbia
    2009: Up in the Air

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  3. Reitman is an innovator, and this quality seems even more pronounced in his son Jason, whose work is compelling.

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    • I think Ivan Reitman’s greatest talent is that he recognizes talent in others. He saw that Bill Murray was every bit as funny as Belushi and Chase even though he was initially passed over for SNL. He saw that Schwarzenegger could be funny too when most people saw him as a cyborg. And he learned early on that if you’re working with funny talented people you should stay out of their way and let them be brilliant.

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      • Totally agreed. I first approached “Dave” thinking hmmm, Kevin Kline as the President? But he captured the comedy and the seriousness in the role to a T. In all his pictures he does seem to let his actors and actresses do what they do best.

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        • I viewed “Dave” in the theater back in the day and really liked it, but I viewed it again a few years ago (after my sensibilities matured) and realized that it’s a smart, heartwarming gem.

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  4. Really good info here: the “Heavy Metal” series intrigues me, I didn’t know that Ernie Hudson’s role in “Ghostbusters” was marginalized so (too bad, I like Winston), and I wasn’t aware that “Draft Day” was originally going to be centered around the Buffalo Bills (I’m glad they declined to participate, since I don’t care for the Bills at all). I’ve always felt Ivan Reitman’s career has been pretty quiet this millennium, although I actually liked “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” (it could’ve been better though).
    One final note on “Ghostbusters”: I heard that the 2009 video was essentially the 3rd installment to that series. If so, it’s a heck of a ride (I would’ve preferred a character creation option and to drive the Ecto-1, but the banter between our fabled heroes and the ghostbusting makes one feel good). Wow, come to think of it, Winston got shortchanged in a lot of other ghostbuster video games (most of them not very good), as in he didn’t appear at all. Well, that’s something the 2009 game rectifies (Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman has less to do than the others, and although I realize it’s due to Murray being somewhat lukewarm to the project, I think it’s fitting, since he was the slacker of the group anyway and initially skeptical of paranormal activity. I mean, even in the first film he’s really more interested in picking up woman, though I can’t fault him for Dana).

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    • I first saw Heavy Metal at a midnight show. There was a Rocky Horror-esque element. Thankfully, no one showed up in costume, but the audience was saying lines right along with the movie. It’s cheap, immature, violent and largely sexist (the final segment does feature a strong female protagonist but she’s also naked a lot of the time). But I must confess it is a guilty pleasure. I rewatched it relatively recently and was surprised by just how juvenile it really is. And yet, as a geeky dude, it still entertained the hell out of me.

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      • Yeah, what I read about “heavy Metal” on Wikipedia mentioned that it has a Rocky Horror type following. Ha, considering that there’s scantily clad (and beyond) animation, that would be pretty wild to see if people showed up in costume.

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  5. I’m also impressed with how well Oakleya writes in the true WTHH style. While not a carbon copy – there is only one Lebeau after all – the writing style meshes nicely with the series.
    One minor point: “Up In the Air” was actually directed by son Jason, with the elder Reitman producing.

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    • Totally agree on the Oakster’s writing style. It is very different from my own. I’ve wrestled a bit with the idea of how to edit other people’s WTHH articles. On the one hand, I want to allow contributors to have their own voices. On the other, we have seen instances where too much deviation from the “house style” has resulted in an angry mob mentality. I think I’m finding the rhythms with Oakley’s writing style. I made a few tweaks and additions as I always do. (I’d been wanting to tell that Ernie Hudson story for a while now, so I shoehorned it in.) But overall, I made few alterations to this article than the previous ones.

      I have also found the experience to be shaping my own work. I will admit that I have followed a certain structure almost slavishly. There are phrases I use over and over again. But based on some feedback I’ve gotten and editing Oakley’s articles, I’ve allowed myself a bit more freedom in my own writing style. In think you can see that in the Arquette article. It’s even more noticeable in the next article I am preparing. I’m very grateful for that. Not only is Oakley making great contributions to the series, he’s making me raise my game.

      On your minor point, I went looking for some mention of Up in the Air in the article and I didn’t find one. Were you responding to the article or a comment?

      Liked by 1 person

      • oh that is my bad – I thought it being within the article and I see it was actually included, and accurately, in Leo’s comment, where he listed Ivan Reitman’s credits as producer. I had read this late last night and made a mental note on that “correction.” Sorry about that!

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  6. I think it jight be worth mentioning that while Evolution wasn’t that much of a success, it did spin off a short-lived animated cartoon series called Alienators: Evolution Continues.

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    • I thought “Ghostbusters 2” was okay, but I don’t think it had the same magic as the first film, not never close. However, I like the scene in which the Ghostbusters control The Statue of Liberty with an NES Advantage controller, and I also dug the Bobby Brown song, “On Our Own” at the end credits (is it Ray Parker Jr.? No, but the film isn’t nearly as good as the first, so it’s kind of fitting).
      Honestly, I like “Ghostbusters: The Video Game” more, mostly because I too can now bust ghosts, and that makes me feel good.

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    • I re-watched Ghostbusters 2 not too long ago and I was surprised to find that in reality it isn’t that bad at all. No, it’s not a forgotten masterpiece and it’s not on the level of full-fledged classic like the first one was. But it’s a better than average sequel that isn’t deserving of its reputation as a disaster of biblical proportions.

      The story does try to legitimately continue where it left off, rather than simply regurgitating the first. The tone of this one is actually a tad darker. But the one-liners are funny and a few stand out.

      Harold Ramis was largely a supporting player in the first one. Here he gets more substance in his role. Also, Louis Tully is gven more to do than he was in the first Ghostbusters.

      It does have its flaws. Dickless Peck is sorely missed in the role of the idiotic bureaucrat. The Statue Of Liberty walking scene, while quite entertaining, obviously borrows quite a bit from Stay Puft in the original and the final battle seems more anticlimactic than the one in the first.

      Yet overall I find myself ready to raise my rating from **1/2 to ***.

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      • I find 2 1/2 stars to be generous. Ghostbusters 2, for me, is a sequel I try to pretend doesn’t exist. No, it’s not a complete train wreck. But it feels like everyone involved was phoning it in. I’m pretty sure they borrowed the script from the Saturday morning cartoon. Comedy is subjective, but if there were funny bits in Ghostbusters 2, I missed them.

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        • It will be a slimey day in New York City before I give Ghostbusters 2″ ***stars though; I’m sure most of those involved with the production wouldn’t even consider so high a rating. I’m sticking with **, as I think it’s average fare, and the busting didn’t make me feel as good.

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        • ** seems about right to me. Ghostbusters 2 is watchable, but not worth watching.

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  7. Now that football season is upon us, must confess that I’ve seen “Draft Day” 3 times and have enjoyed it more with each viewing. There is just something special about the talent that crafted this movie.
    Also, I’m quite impressed with the directorial talent of his son Jason.

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    • I wonder if Aaron Sorkin cares about football? It would be interesting to see him take a swing at this kind of material. It wouldn’t necessarily be any more realistic, but the dialogue would sure pop.

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      • This is where my selfish side kicks in. I like Sorkin and hate football. Football used to just bore me, but in light of the last few years of bad headlines I’d be in favor of getting rid of it entirely. Given Sorkin’s liberal leanings, if I had to guess I would guess he’s no fan. If he decided to eviscerate the sport, I guess I might be interested. But otherwise I’d prefer he stick to making movies where we have overlapping interests. Yes, it’s selfish of me, I know.

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        • I love football, but would love to see Sorkin eviscerate it anyway. Some of those guys could use being taken down a few pegs. While I often agree with Sorkin’s point of view on issues I find that it is when his motives are most clear that his writing is at its worst. On the other hand, when he chews on something like A Few Good Men and gives everyone a strong voice you end up with good work. I feel like if somebody else wrote the story and let Sorkin write the dialogue the audience would usually get better product.

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        • A good Sorkin evisceration is always worth watching. Although Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip stands out as a case of what you’re probably talking about. Instead of getting a look at what it takes to put on a show like Saturday Night Live, we got one lecture after another and the opposing point of view was just there to look foolish.

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        • I like Pro Football (and what is considered the four major sports in general), but I have soured on it lately due to the bad headlines dealing with deflated balls, bruised people, wrongful death suits, district court judges, and train wrecks who flee the scene of car accidents. I’m present to watch a sport, not to hear about the seedy underbelly of their personal lives. I find that type of coverage exhausting.

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        • See, I think people should be paying more attention to that coverage. But people just want to enjoy their favorite sport. The ugly truth about how the sausage gets made, they would rather not be bothered with all that. I think everyone knows that the NFL is terrible. But they’d rather turn a blind eye to that and enjoy the closest thing we have in the 21st century to the coliseum games.

          But I’m a realist. I know that no amount of bad press is going to harm the NFL.

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        • I think it does muffle the enjoyment for some such as myself though. I’m not saying to hide the truth or anything, but using a sport to negatively carry certain social issues isn’t the way to go either, as those issues (such as domestic violence and cheating) should always be addressed and reinforced, and not just to polish an image of a sports league.
          I don’t know, there’s this Pro Hockey player from my region that is being investigated for rape (he actually met her at a beach bar that’s just down the road from me) and I already know how it’s going to end: he’ll reach a settlement (payoff) and it will all go away. See, something like this goes back to that issue of demonstrating to impressionable ones that to be rich, you must be an asshole. As my father would’ve said, that’s N.G. (no good).

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        • I like how you brought that around and tied up some loose threads there. Well done. Thumbs up for you.

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        • Yeah, that wasn’t too bad; sometimes I do alright:-)

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      • You literally could not pay me to see Sorkin’s treatment of any sports. Didn’t he give us the crap screenplay that was “The Social Network”? He has a long way to go to redeem himself after that. Every woman character in that movie, except for Eisenberg’s date in the opening scene, exists for one purpose: to service the men, either orally in the restroom or by just serving up the cocaine on their stomachs. Horrible movie. At least Reitman gave us the Jennifer Garner character as a somewhat complex and definitely intelligent attorney, in Draft Day. A Sorkin movie about football would no doubt glorify the already over-sexualized imagery of women in sports. Liberal my ass. No thanks.

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        • I’m not sure if you interpreted the message of The Social Network appropriately. While I wasn’t a particular fan of the film, I think it was pretty clear that you weren’t supposed to admire any of the primary characters for their ethics. I also seem to remember a female attorney in the closing scenes who was a professional and reasonable person. My interpretation of the closing scene was that it reinforced the bad things his date at the beginning of the film was saying about him.

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        • As usual, you made my point more concisely than I did. Grrr.

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        • Actually that description about women existing solely to service the men sounds more like The Wolf of Wall Street. However, look at how the movie (as well as The Wolf Of Wall Street) shows the men, With the exception of Eduardo Salverin, all of the men in it are assholes more or less. Not crying foul about that because it’s true. The majority of them are, at least as depicted there, assholes (and in the case of the Scorsese film, far worse). Both films are about men who long so desperately for status/money that they will do anything, no matter how sleazy, to get it. And the principal horror is that at the end, their main regret is that the party’s over.

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        • I too thought of The Wolf of Wall Street. They are similar films in that respect. And I enjoy them both. The Wolf of Wall Street is just more over-the-top. You’re supposed to be laughing at what incredibly terrible people they are. Their sexist behavior is held up for ridicule, not endorsed.

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        • Disclaimer: I realize after writing the following comment that I am voicing a rather strong opposition to your views here. So let me say up front that while I strongly disagree with your point of view, I do so with the utmost respect. Read with a sense of humor. I am goofing around.

          Yes, Sorkin wrote the Academy-Award winning screenplay for The Social Network. Most people consider that a crowning achievement.

          I will agree with you that the movie presented women in a poor light. But I don’t think that is a reflection of Sorkin who is about as left-wing as you can get. We’re seeing things through the eyes of Mark Zuckerberg – or the movie version of him anyway. As portrayed in the movie, he is overtly sexist. He uses women which is why all the women in the movie exist to serve the men. If the characters in the movie come across a woman that challenges them in any way, they retreat. In the end, we see “movie Zuckerberg” as the sad, lonely person he is. Whether or not this is a reflection of the real guy, I do not know. But I do know that Steve Wozniak has nothing but praise for Sorkins’ latest screenplay. He says it is the first accurate portrayal of Steve Jobs:

          I saw a rough cut and I felt like I was actually watching Steve Jobs and the others (including Rogen’s dead-on portrayal of Wozniak), not actors playing them. I give full credit to Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin for getting it so right.

          I don’t love The Social Network. Like a lot of David Fincher movies, it feels a bit cold. But the dialogue is absolutely fantastic. I actually do love the screenplay. And I like the movie quite a bit too.

          I’m all for strong female characters. But if I were to approach all movies based solely on how they portray women and no other criteria, I would end up liking movies like Draft Day more than movies like The Social Network. And that’s not right because The Social Network is superior to Draft Day in just about every way measurable except for featuring a strong female character. 😉

          Theoretically, if Sorkin wrote a football movie that exposed the NFL for the flagrantly sexist organization that it is, that would be a condemnation of the league. Not a reflection of sexism on the part of the writer. I find it ironic that you condemn Sorkin for writing The Social Network (despite the fact he has a long history of writing strong female characters) and yet give the NFL a pass. There’s not a lot of organizations more worthy of condemnation than the NFL.

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        • The upcoming Will Smith movie “Comncussion” paints a none-too-flattering picture of the NFL albeit not for its troglodyte sexism. I wouldn’t mind seeing a movie about that at all. Perhaps I should write it myself.

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        • I forgot about the scene at the end, Daffy, so I’ll give you that. But I am not confused in the slightest about how you’re supposed to see the primary characters in Social Network. Reading your comment I have to wonder if you think I’m mentally challenged. I don’t think I’m quite that senile, yet.
          The fact that the primary characters are arrogant opportunists, doesn’t make it any better that the female characters only exist to service them in one way or another. It makes it worse!

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        • Sorry for the delay in responding, I was actually at a football game 🙂

          1) I’d love to see Jeff’s screenplay on this topic. In fact let me know if you want a collaborator!
          2) I hated Wolf of Wall Street even more than Social Network
          3) Looking forward to seeing the latest Jobs movie because of Wozniak likes it, that’s a powerful recommendation
          4) I’m not at all perturbed if you disagree, Lebeau. You make some good points. But we’ve disagreed over movie quality before, and I will always think Draft Day is a hands down better movie than Social Network.
          5) You will not, however, find me ever defending the NFL for anything. Did you guys know it is a nonprofit org?

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        • OK, so if you understood that the characters were supposed to be immature and unlikable, how would you feel about a supposedly smart and strong woman who hung out with them?

          For better or for worse the film was about people we should feel uneasy about having success and renown. That is part of what kept me at an emotional distance from the movie.

          It makes complete sense to me that these douchebags would surround themselves with enablers of both sexes. If that is not something you want to see a movie about, I totally understand. It is kind of like having an aversion to certain kinds of violence in movies. Completely reasonable.

          But it doesn’t actually have much bearing on the quality of the film.

          DW Griffith was an awful person whose films glorified the wrong people. That is a separate issue from whether his films were revolutionary or well made. In fact, they were. Leni Riefenstahl was an enormously talented filmmaker who also happened to make propaganda films for the Nazis.

          By comparison, Fincher & Sorkin’s The Social Network shows us awful people doing awful things and judges them for it.

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        • Hi Daffy, I wouldn’t do this for just anyone….
          OK, so if you understood that the characters were supposed to be immature and unlikable, how would you feel about a supposedly smart and strong woman who hung out with them?
          –She wouldn’t, or if she did, her role would be something other than a sidekick or a sex slave.

          For better or for worse the film was about people we should feel uneasy about having success and renown. That is part of what kept me at an emotional distance from the movie.
          — I also didn’t have any emotional connection to the film. I do think, however, that the message of exploitation in the name of getting rich, resonates with more people than who are turned off by it. The glorification of greed and arrogance is part of what repulsed me about the film. Sure, these people are assholes, but what do most audiences conclude when only the assholes get rich? Corrupted values and Stockholm syndrome.

          It makes complete sense to me that these douchebags would surround themselves with enablers of both sexes. If that is not something you want to see a movie about, I totally understand. It is kind of like having an aversion to certain kinds of violence in movies. Completely reasonable.
          –You got my number there, on both counts.

          But it doesn’t actually have much bearing on the quality of the film.
          –Well, in a way, it does. At some point the quality line does get blurred.

          DW Griffith was an awful person whose films glorified the wrong people. That is a separate issue from whether his films were revolutionary or well made. In fact, they were. Leni Riefenstahl was an enormously talented filmmaker who also happened to make propaganda films for the Nazis.
          –I know what you’re saying, and Hitler collected fine paintings and loved dogs. The question to ponder is at what point does the good overshadow the bad.

          By comparison, Fincher & Sorkin’s The Social Network shows us awful people doing awful things and judges them for it.
          –Sort of. Not really. Zuckerberg and company are billionaires… I’m glad you think they are awful, I agree they are awful, but I think many more people aspire to be them. I do see the light that you are shining on the movie, and Eisenberg’s portrayal actually makes Zuckerberg seem less likable than the media images of the real life young billionaire CEO….we in the 99% can judge them all we want, and it will never affect their obscene riches.

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        • Yeah I wouldn’t mind us collaborating. One book I recommend reading as research material is “Pros And Cons. The Criminals Who Play In The NFL”. Very good and disturbing.

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        • I also didn’t have any emotional connection to the film. I do think, however, that the message of exploitation in the name of getting rich, resonates with more people than who are turned off by it. The glorification of greed and arrogance is part of what repulsed me about the film. Sure, these people are assholes, but what do most audiences conclude when only the assholes get rich? Corrupted values and Stockholm syndrome.

          Okay, here’s where it looks like we differ most substantially. I am pretty much only concerned with what message an artist actually intended to communicate. There will always be idiots who misconstrue what is being said. If a writer or other artist continually attempts to adjust for the lowest common denominator’s level of understanding we will end up with boring art with little nuance. We just can’t force ourselves to worry a whole lot about how the stupidest among us will interpret something.

          As Wanda once said: “Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not “Every man for himself.” And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.”

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        • Lebeau- From what I could bring myself to watch, the problem with Studio 60 was that none of the comedy sketches were funny. They apparently didn’t realize how hard sketch comedy is and ended up creating dissonance for their audience. They would have been better off just never showing any of it and telling us it was good or not good. That’s not what we’re there to see anyway. The workplace politics were pretty strong, but the Sarah Paulson character was a serious misstep. It’s too bad, because I like her a lot as an actress.

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        • I stuck with Studio 60 because I really wanted it to be good. Yeah, the sketches were bad. That was a glaring problem. But even when they didn’t show the sketches, they had to discus them. And the sketches as described could not have possibly been funny. The show that the characters were debating could not possibly have been popular. The show was just a train wreck from start to finish. Which is a shame because I really would have liked a smart drama about the making of SNL. There’s lots of material there. Instead, 30 Rock did a much better job spinning that material into comedy.

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        • Indeed. A lot of people misinterpreted Oliver Stone’s Wall Street as a celebration of greed. But just because some people don’t get it doesn’t make it any less good.

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        • The people who don’t get the message are the ones who already bought into the message anyway.

          A movie that says that assholes get rich is just telling the truth.

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        • The message I took from “Wall Street” is that sure, someone could get rich that way, but they also leave many hardworking people holding the bag. Some people just aren’t wired to cause that much upheaval in the lives of others (like Gordon Gekko said when asked by Bud Fox why he wrecked the airline, “because it was wreckable allright!”). The other message I learned is that Sean Young is crazy (kidding, Sean Young).

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        • She really hates when people say that. 😉

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    • Jason started off strong. But he has really stumbled badly on his last couple of movies. He’s got an uphill climb coming back from Labor Day and especially Men, Women and Children. I think he’s headed into Neil LaBute territory where no matter what he does he will be dismissed as a promising director who didn’t pan out.

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      • Jason’s first 4 were pretty good (both Thank You For Smoking and Up In The Air were on my top ten list for their respective years). But if he continues on the path he’s been on the for past couple, I could see a WTHH article on him.

        Hope it doesn’t happen. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up joining the aforementioned Labute and John Singleton in the category of directors who are more than one film wonders but less than the major filmmakers they promised to be at one time.

        There’ve been a few who’ve been able to reverse the slide. David Gordon Green seemed after Your Highness and The Sitter to have followed in their footsteps. But Prince Avalanche and Joe were a return to form of sorts for him.

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      • See I really liked Labor Day, a lot. While I could see his dad’s influence in Up In the Air, a FANTASTIC film in all ways, I thought Labor Day was more Jason’s own voice, rich in subtle interweaved communications. The critics were so heavily focused on the admittedly improbably plot elements that I think they missed out on the beauty of the art. That scene where the escaped prisoner gives the boy in the wheelchair the one free afternoon he ever had… so subtly done you almost miss the message… sheer genius. What do I know though. That was just my personal reaction viewing.

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        • I have only watched bits of Labor Day. So, not a fair viewing at all. What I saw felt far from subtle. It was heavy-handed, over-the-top melodrama like a Lifetime movie. There was some beautiful cinematography. And again, I haven’t watched the whole movie so I’m in no position to render a verdict. But I can see how critics would be willing to write it off as a TV movie that somehow got feature treatment.

          Hopefully, that’s not Jason Reitman’s voice. If it is, he’ll end up like LaBute for sure. He’s an indie film-maker. Indie film-makers who loose the support of critics are forgotten. He needs to remind critics why they liked him in the first place.

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  8. To Daffy’s point, I agree that whatever the artist is intending to communicate, is of the most importance. And I sure as heck don’t want us all to end up with boring art with no nuances. It’s just that I think a lot of times, we don’t know. The artist may or may not choose to clarify. It isn’t always obvious what the message is, and not often but sometimes, even the artist is undecided or purposely ambiguous. For my purposes, if the onscreen imagery is offensive to me personally, there is a threshold where it just won’t matter what the message is. This dividing line where we differ in opinion is related, I think, to the fact that Daffy is in the business whereas I am in the audience. It has been a pretty clear consistent line.
    I will agree that no one can adjust the messaging for the lowest common denominator without sacrificing – but I will always optimistically assume that the mass instinct is actually “perilously close to intelligence.”

    What Jeff said about Wall Street just blows my mind. I love the movie and will re-watch it from time to time – but it didn’t exactly leave room for subtle interpretation of its message, Michael Douglas played his “Greed is Good” character with clarity as opposed to nuance (and was brilliant). As for the NFL I’ve got an idea for the script. It could involve two parallel storylines about how the degree of inflation of the football was treated as a more serious matter than the brutal beating of a star player’s wife – by her husband -OH WAIT that actually happened…

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    • I am surprised that you are surprised about Wall Street. It’s extremely common for people to pull out the “greed is good” speech without a hint of irony. To me, Stone’s intent is as clear as Sorkin’s in The Social Network or Scorsese’s in Wolf of Wall Street. But Gordon Gecko has been hailed as a hero by many of the decades regardless of the fact the movie and film-maker obviously don’t approve of his actions.

      What I’m getting from your first paragraph is that movies that feature unlikable characters behaving in abhorrent ways don’t appeal to you. That’s basically what Daffy is saying. Doesn’t make them bad movies. Both The Social Network and Wolf of Wall Street feature expert work from master writers and film-makers. They just aren’t to your taste. Differences in personal preference, I can understand. But I definitely wouldn’t write off Sorkin as a sexist or a bad writer based on not liking The Social Network. He also wrote The American President, which if I recall correctly you are a fan of. Point being, like it or not, his filmography is longer than just that one project.

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      • I have to heed your cautionary note, and you are right on, I did love the AP.
        Unlikable characters behaving in abhorrent ways, I don’t know about the umbrella characterization there. It really all depends on all the factors and the circumstances that make up any given project.
        You have to admit this has all made for some great discussion anyway 🙂 You have no idea what you guys have accomplished here, that my attention has been diverted from my favorite football blog.

        Like

        • Lol. Mission accomplished. I find it amusing we have a debate going on the merits of The Social Network in the comments section of an article about Ivan Reitman. Y’all know how to keep things lively.

          There’s definitely a combination of factors. I don’t think that you or Daffy are necessarily averse to anti-heroes. But clearly the unsympathetic characters in TSN and WoWS didn’t appeal to either of you. Personally I enjoyed the crisp dialog in TSN and laughed hysterically at the satire in WoWS. But I don’t expect my tastes to be universal. One thing I have learned from conversations here is the preferences are personal and there’s no point debating them because you aren’t likely to change the way someone responds to movies. But quality is less subjective. Even if a movie isn’t to my personal tastes, I can admire quality work. Conversely I can recognize flaws in movies I love.

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  9. (Podcast Special) Kindergarten Cop Commentary:

    Oliver is joined with Richard Jackson and actor Duncan Casey to discuss Kindergarten Cop.

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  10. Ivan Reitman and @DanAykroyd examine past and future of #Ghostbusters: http://ow.ly/TYg7M

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  11. Good Bad Flicks: Ghostbusters II (1989)

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  12. WHY GHOSTBUSTERS 3 NEVER HAPPENED

    http://www.looper.com/9594/ghostbusters-3-never-happened/

    At the time of this writing, the female-led Ghostbusters reboot is in the can and slotted for a coveted summer blockbuster release date. With a built-in audience of diehard fans and a comedically proven cast, this new incarnation of everyone’s favorite supernatural sleuths is poised for great success. But it’s a real departure from the original Ghostbusters concept, and it comes nearly three decades after Ghostbusters II debuted. Why did this new project replace the original characters and universe of the first two movies? Are we really never going to see Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, and Zeddemore again? Here’s why Ghostbusters 3 never happened.

    BILL MURRAY ACTED SUPER BILL MURRAY ABOUT IT

    As incredible as Bill Murray is on screen, he’s as quirky in real life to the point of becoming somewhat of a living legend. Stories about him range from randomly showing up at house parties to drunkenly joyriding a golf cart around Stockholm. He’s also notoriously picky about the projects he chooses despite the fact that Garfield and Aloha will forever disgrace his IMDb page. For years, Murray turned down script after script for the third Ghostbusters installment without speaking publicly about it, a move that sort of accidentally vilified him in the process. He eventually addressed it—presumably because nerds wearing homemade proton packs were threatening to kill him—to Variety and it turns out, he just wasn’t that impressed. Telling them the scripts were “not well executed,” or “too crazy to comprehend,” Murray gave the kind of vague, non-committal Murrayism that everyone should be expecting at this point. This is a guy who the director of St. Vincent couldn’t actually get on the phone for days at a time during production of the film, so it’s kind of amazing that he bothered to read the scripts in the first place.

    HAS EVERYONE FORGOTTEN ABOUT GHOSTBUSTERS 2?

    Even Harold Ramis, who played Dr. Egon Spengler, has admitted that Ghostbusters 2 was a critical flop despite a healthy showing at the box office. The fans who paid for those theater tickets weren’t that impressed either. Ghostbusters 2 made money because Ghostbusters was so great and popular, but the general consensus of the sequel was that it failed to improve upon the concept and ultimately left people wondering what happened. So, when asking the question of how such a groundswell of support for a third movie even existed, it becomes obvious that it sort of didn’t. Well, for a few decades anyway. With the release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and the fact that Dan Aykroyd never stopped working on drafts of the next sequel, excitement for Ghostbusters 3 emerged. Any wariness about Bobby Brown songs or psychomagnotheric slime has been replaced by “Ooh! There’s a new version of a thing I liked when I was a kid!” which if you think about it, kinds of brings us right back to having no good reason for Ghostbusters 3 to exist at all.

    DAN AYKROYD’S GHOSTBUSTERS 3: HELLBENT SCRIPT WAS COMPLETELY NUTS

    One of Aykroyd’s scripts, and presumably the one Murray referred to as “too crazy to comprehend,” was titled Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent. It wasn’t just a clever name. According to the Ghostbusters Wiki, the script has the original Ghostbusters alongside several new additions (including two female ‘busters) traveling to Hell, which is basically a parallel universe to our own. Since the films take place in NYC, this time it’s in Manhellton. You read that right, Manhellton—a place where the cops are blue Minotaurs for some reason, and the devil is Donald Trump. Only one of those aspects makes any sense at all, and we feel confident that even if Bill Murray would have agreed to do the movie, no studio would have greenlit the thing. Seriously, Aykroyd, Manhellton? It’s alright, Dr. Stantz, you’re still our favorite Ghostbuster.

    HAROLD RAMIS DIED

    Having shepherded a script from The Office alums, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, then a rewrite by Etan Cohen, Harold Ramis was actively involved in the development of Ghostbusters 3 alongside Dan Aykroyd. Not to mention, he was one of the lead characters. When Ramis died in 2014, a lot of the wind left the sails for that version of the project. Ivan Reitman, who helmed both Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, stepped down from the director’s chair, but agreed to stay on as a producer. He and Ramis had both previously acknowledged that the movie would include the original characters in some capacity, but in more of a “baton passing” way to a new, younger cast. With Ramis’ passing and Murray’s non-commitment, the script would obviously need a major rewrite. Despite all of this, Sony quickly announced plans to move forward with the project, because once a studio knows they’ve generated significant social buzz, that’s not something they let go of easily.

    THE DECISION TO REBOOT

    Paul Feig was already on Sony’s short list of directors to take the helm after Ivan Reitman stepped down. He had tremendous success with Bridesmaids and was a fan of the original Ghostbusters movies, but he kept declining the offer because he wasn’t sure how to handle the project. The all-female reboot seems to have been Feig’s brainchild. It was also the only way he was going to agree to do the movie. Apparently, he was such a top pick for the studio, they ran with his idea. Though Sony never confirmed having serious talks, Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow were supposedly approached for Ghostbusters, because the comedy world hasn’t been oversaturated with those guys at all, right? None of those rumors matter now anyway, because Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones have gotten the proverbial “call.” We just hope they ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

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    • I’m fine with how this all transpired; I just don’t know how a third “Ghostbusters” film would work. I mean, I think the sequel was okay, but if a third installment was to happen and prominently feature the original cast, it needed to happen within a certain time limit. It’s rare to see a sequel released twentysome years after the fact (1990’s “Texasville”, which is the sequel to “The Last Picture Show” is an example, but that didn’t really work out).

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    • Ghostbusters 3 was a highly anticipated sequel. Let’s take a look at it’s history, of all it’s trouble and false starts, and how it was ultimately cancelled forever, only to be sadly rebooted instead.

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      • Yeah, I viewed this video the other day due to my YouTube subscription to Cinemassacre & The Angry Video Game Nerd. At any rate, since there were so many allegations and proclamations made about when “Ghostbusters III” would happen, I don’t know what to believe, other than it didn’t seem likely to me that it would ever happen, since there was no proof. However, I consider “Ghostbusters: The Game” the sequel to the first two films.

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      • This video details how the Ghostbusters reboot actually started out as the Ghostbusters 3 everyone would have preferred, but how Sony executives effectively froze out director Ivan Reitman, and rebooted the property with director Paul Feig and his female centric Ghostbusters instead.

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        • I would not have preferred Ghostbusters 3. I’m glad that disaster didn’t happen. We’ll see about the reboot, but I’m definitely glad GB3 got scrapped. There is no way that would have been good.

          Like

        • To me, it always seemed liked the concept for it lacked an identity and purpose; it was like high school rumors or something. Besides, it’s hard to miss something that never happened. However, I wouldn’t have high expectations for “Ghostbusters III” either.

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        • The second Ghostbusters trailer has been released, and not received any better than the first. Sony, director Paul Feig and select news outlets are in full damage control mode, accusing detractors of misogyny left and right. But can the fan rage be dismissed as just that?

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        • The trailers haven’t been good. But they really aren’t worse than the trailers for most movies. The trailer for Spy didn’t make me want to run out and see it. But when it got good reviews I checked it out and was pleasantly surprised. I’m expecting the same thing to happen here. And if it doesn’t, that’s fine. Because GB3 would have been far, far worse. While some of the detractors are criticizing the trailers, most of the complaints I have seen are tinged with misogyny if not outright sexist.

          For now, everyone should just shut up about the GB reboot. Wait till you see the movie then make up your mind.

          Like

        • Long story short, the original cast and director wanted to make a sequel, where the original Ghostbusters pass the torch to a new younger group. Most of the fans also wanted this.

          The original director (Ivan Reitman) wanted to direct the third film, and his original contract from the ’80s said he’d get the right of first refusal for any sequel. However the Sony exec in charge of the project, Amy Pascal, wanted a younger director instead of Reitman and basically did everything possible to push him out. Once Reitman stepped out, Pascal offered the project to a few directors including Paul Feig, who wasn’t interested because a ‘Ghostbusters’ movie wasn’t the style of movie he liked or wanted to make.

          That’s where things went off the rails (IMHO)- Feig then pitched an idea for a Ghostbusters movie that WAS the type of movie he liked to make. In another franchise it might have worked okay, but Feig’s idea was NOT a Ghostbusters movie because it was much more of a stereotypical modern comedy without Ghostbusters’s unique brand of dry, intelligent humor. Nonetheless Amy Pascal loved it and basically forced Reitman out so Feig’s movie could start production. This all was documented in emails released in the big Sony hack.

          When it became clear this wasn’t going to be a ‘good’ movie, and (according to leaks) even the actors hated the way the film was coming together, Sony made everyone sign big NDAs and strong armed the original cast into cameos and endorsements.

          The trailer was then the most disliked trailer in YouTube history. Realizing they were watching a train wreck, Sony and Feig pushed the misogyny card- ‘the only reason people hate this is because it stars women’. From what I’ve read, a lot of intelligent criticisms were deleted from the YouTube comments, leaving only the nasty garbage (pushing the narrative that the only reason people hated it was because it starred women). This of course caused the social justice movement to latch on and turn Ghostbusters into a cause of the day, which is exactly what Sony wanted.

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        • The extended version of Ghostbusters has now been released on video on demand, so after long last, here is the official Midnight’s Edge review of «Ghostbusters: Answer the call – Extended Cut»!

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    • ‘Ghostbusters’ Director Ivan Reitman on Killing Bill Murray in the Ghostbusters III That Wasn’t

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/16/ghostbusters-director-ivan-reitman-on-killing-bill-murray-in-the-ghostbusters-iii-that-wasn-t.html

      Ivan Reitman spent decades entertaining the ethereal dream of getting his Ghostbusters team back together for a third film that, a few years ago, finally seemed to be on the brink of happening. “For 20 years we did nothing because there was always one or two of us who didn’t feel like doing anything,” he told The Daily Beast on the campaign trail for Sony’s new Ghostbusters, the sci-fi comedy reboot he helped guide as producer. “It’s like a rock group: one of them doesn’t want to go on tour, they don’t go on tour.” But just when Columbia signed off on a script for Ghostbusters III, a threequel that would reunite stars Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Bill Murray as mentors to a new

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  13. Cinefix: Should You Give Evolution a Second Chance?

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    • Evolution (2001)

      http://officialfan.proboards.com/thread/545431/evolution-2001

      Post by dav on Jul 3, 2016 at 1:49pm
      After several years, popped this movie back on to watch and really rather enjoyed it. Is overlooked all things considered, but it’s an enjoyable, if not exactly memorable, comedy film. Duchovny and Orlando Jones had some nice back and forth and a fair number of the jokes were good. Also, Randy from My Name is Earl lost a lot of weight between this movie and that series.

      Anyone else remember this movie and have thoughts on it?

      Like

  14. Ivan Reitman vs. Barry Sonnenfeld

    https://dejareviewer.com/2015/04/29/ivan-reitman-vs-barry-sonnenfeld/

    Meteoric Rise

    Ghostbusters is part of a great string of hits by Ivan Reitman. Ivan Reitman did a couple of little-seen comedies with Eugene Levy in the early ‘70s, but he really turned heads with 1979’s Meatballs, a fun summer camp movie starring an incredibly young Bill Murray. He worked with Murray again on his next two films, as well: the R-rated Stripes and the PG-rated Ghostbusters. He continued his astonishing string of hits with the underrated Legal Eagles, the charming Twins, the decent sequel Ghostbusters II, and then the wonderful Kindergarten Cop and Dave. Junior wasn’t exactly a runaway hit, but it has enough positive qualities to it that I would definitely include it among his better films.

    Men in Black is one of Barry Sonnenfeld’s great successes.Barry Sonnenfeld had an excellent start with 1991’s dark comedy The Addams Family. He followed that up with the so-so Michael J. Fox vehicle For Love or Money. But then he bounced right back with the superior sequel Addams Family Values, Get Shorty, and, of course, Men in Black.

    Going Downhill

    Evolution is a rip-off of Reitman’s own Ghostbusters.Things fell apart quickly for these two directors. For Reitman, it was 1997’s Fathers’ Day that started him on a quick descent into mediocrity. He followed that up with the odd Harrison Ford/Anne Heche pairing in Six Days Seven Nights. Then came two true bombs: Evolution (a rip-off of Reitman’s own Ghostbusters) and My Super Ex-Girlfriend (which was surpassed in every way by the excellent Hancock two years later. Reitman would ironically produce that film).

    Sonnenfeld disappointed Will Smith’s fans with the abysmal Wild Wild West. It managed to make a considerable amount of money, but it signaled trouble ahead for the director. That was further realized with 2002’s Big Trouble. Based on a Dave Barry novel, this movie was a victim of circumstance because no one wanted to see a crime comedy set in an airport in the aftermath of 9/11. After his success with making a sequel to The Addams Family, it seemed like Men in Black II should have been great. But this lame sequel disappointed fans of the first film. He then made the dull Robin Williams vehicle RV before disappearing into TV movies for several years.

    Return to Glory?

    Reitman made his first R-rated movie since Stripes in 2011 with No Strings Attached. The romantic comedy managed to turn a profit, and he capitalized on that success by making his first drama: Draft Day. Next on his plate is a return to familiar territory with a reboot of Ghostbusters, which he is producing, and a sequel to Twins called Triplets, which he is directing. Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger will be joined by Eddie Murphy as their long-lost brother. The premise sounds just insane enough that it might actually be funny. But all three of these actors are long past their prime, so I’m cautiously optimistic about this movie’s prospects.

    Men in Black 3 is a surprisingly good sequel.After languishing in TV territory for years, Sonnenfeld made his return to the big screen with the surprisingly good sequel Men in Black 3. Next up, he’s working on a comedy that sounds like Oh! Heavenly Dog meets Garfield. It’s called Nine Lives, and it’s about a man who gets stuck in the body of a cat. It’s got a great cast, and hopefully it will help Sonnenfeld start a new winning streak.

    Ups and Downs

    Ivan Reitman and Barry Sonnenfeld have reached great highs and lows in the three stages of their directorial careers so far. I’d say the future looks fairly bright for them. Even if they never recapture their old glory, they’ve made a lot of movies they can be proud of. And we can keep enjoying them long after they’ve stopped making new movies.

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  15. What’s Next For The Ghostbusters Series? Ivan Reitman Has An Update

    https://www.yahoo.com/movies/m/2d35a85b-e972-3a9d-8dd1-8d8f25ccb26e/ss_what%E2%80%99s-next-for-the.html

    This summer saw the release of Ghostbusters, a film that was “controversial” right out the gate because it was opposed by an intense group of online fans. The reboot wasn’t the hit that Sony was betting on and the mixed critical response have left plans for a sequel incredibly unclear. Ivan Reitman, director of the original 1984 film and a producer on the reboot, recently weighed in on Sony’s game plan for the franchise, but those hoping for a direct sequel might be disappointed. In an interview with the Mr. Wavvy podcast (via ComicBook), Ivan Reitman was asked about the fate of the planned Ghostbusters sequel that was teased in the films after credits scene. Sony has kept any news and updates

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