'Green Eggs and Hamlet'
100th birthday to the good Dr. Seuss
Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss (March
2, 1904 - Sept. 24, 1991)
By John Breneman
"To eat them on a train, or not to eat
them on a train: that is the question."
Kenneth Branagh's "Green Eggs and Hamlet," widely
hailed as a rhyme-drenched fusion of Shakespearean tragedy
and Seussian whimsy, is the most ambitious film to date in
the new cinematic genre inspired by the late Theodor Geisel.
Enraged by the murder of his father the king, the youthful
Prince Sam-I-Am (Branagh) seeks to exact his vengeance by
tricking the killer into eating a poison plate of breakfast.
Confusion and high intrigue ensue as his simplistic poetic
badgering is consistently rebuffed.
Now that the box-office bonanza unleashed by "The Cat
and the Hat" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
has trumpeted Dr. Seuss's posthumous emergence as a bankable
Hollywood powerhouse, industry insiders are buzzing about
a slew of new projects.
"It's like 'Citizen Kane' meets 'The 500 Hats of Bartholomew
Cubbins'," Leonardo DiCaprio confided to a blond companion
while nibbling pan-seared sneetch foie gras at Spago. A few
tables over, Danny Devito literally drooled into his wasabi
oobleck puree while discussing the merchandising potential
of "Yertle the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle."
Jonze, director of "Being John Malkovich," is doing
a dark comedy called "Billy Bob Thornton Hears a Who."
Jonathan Demme has signed Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster
to costar in "The Silence of the Brown Bar-ba-loots."
And Jack Nicholson is eager to play the feisty mental patient
Randall Patrick McBoing-Boing in Milos Forman's "One
Flew Over the Ruffle-Necked Sala-ma-goox's Nest."
Fright-meister Wes Craven is plotting an evil adaptation
of one of the good doctor's earliest works. In "Nightmare
on Mulberry Street," the murderous Freddy Krueger slays
his victims with a Luger then feeds the corpses to a cougar.
Even B-movie legend Roger Corman is getting into the act with
the campy "One Fish, Two Fish, Attack of the Giant Man-Eating
As with any Hollywood trend, the Seuss craze is generating
its share of controversy. Robin Williams is demanding $20
million to reprise his role as the brawny, spinach-munching
sailorman in "Hop on Popeye." And a source close
to Tom Cruise says the actor is furious at Warner Brothers
executives for refusing an eleventh-hour plea to change the
title of his new film to "The Last Samurai-I-Am."
Finally, movie-goers have not seen the last of the Grinch,
the green-hued protagonist who grossed $340 million worldwide
for Universal three years ago when Jim Carrey ignited the
Entertainment Tonight reports that Adam Sandler will play
a bumbling, yarmulke-wearing scrooge in "How the Grinch
Stole Chanukah." Sandler's unorthodox Grinch awakens
from an angry Manischewitz hangover in time to learn the true
spirit of the holiday from Little Cindy-Lou Jew.
(Note: The producers may seek an injunction to block a
similar December 2004 release, but friends say the Wayans
brothers are determined to move ahead with their blaxploitation
holiday spoof, "How the Grinch Stole Kwanzaa.")
wins Oscar, thanks Axis of Evil
By John Breneman
And the winner for Best Actor in a Geopolitical Drama is
George W. Bush in "Master and Commander: The Middle
East Side of the World."
Bush, following in the tradition of the legendary Republican
thespian Ronald Reagan, beat out Donald Rumsfeld, nominated
for his portrayal of a bellicose Cabinet official who refuses
to let international objections and shaky intelligence stop
him from waging war in "Pirates of the Mediterranean:
Curse of the Black Oil."
Looking mischievously presidential in a double-breasted Giorgio
Armani tuxedo with a red, white and blue satin bowtie and
$20,000 Bruno Magli ostrich-skin cowboy boots, Bush started
by thanking his director, Dick Cheney.
"I'd also like to thank the Axis of Evil giving me this
opportunity to rid the world of terror," said Bush, who
went on to thank his costume designer for the snappy military
flightsuit he wore in the surreal "Mission Accomplished"
sequence and script consultant Clint Eastwood for such memorable
lines as "Bring 'em on," "smoke 'em out"
and "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."
Warning: Do not drift off to sleep while flipping between
the Oscars and CNN.
Oscar moment brought to you by
the makers of Oscar Mayer bologna:
The annual Oscars pre-awards coverage consists primarily
of stars promenading along the red carpet and smiling while
a TV pinhead poses the obligatory "What are you wearing?"
query. But just once you wish the diva draped in designer
finery would tell the whole truth.
"Well my dress is by Versace. My face is by Dr. Sergio
Scalpelli and my botox is by SkinTech Pharmaceuticals. Oh,
and my cleavage is by Dr. Tripp L.D. Gazongas. He's the best."
Tom Hanks to play "Jesus Gump"
By John Breneman
Resurrected by Mel Gibson as a Hollywood heavyweight, Jesus
is now being eyed for the title role in dozens of new projects,
including "There's Something About Mary Magdalene,"
"Guess Who's Coming to the Last Supper" and the
controversial "Last Tango in Nazareth."
Tom Hanks reportedly is set to star in "Jesus Gump,"
but a source close to the universally beloved Oscar winner
said he is also reading scripts for "Sleepless in Jerusalem"
and "You've Got Nail."
Many of Hollywood's biggest stars covet a piece of the action.
Richard Gere will play a militaristic Jesus in "A Savior
and a Gentleman" and Woody Allen a neurotic, nebbishy
son of God in "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About
Crucifixion But Were Afraid to Ask."
Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" has stirred
passionate criticism that his portrayal of blood-thirsty Jews
is anti-Semitic. But the Aussie filmmaker dismisses the charges,
saying the same thing happened with "Schindler's Grocery
List," "Who Framed Roger Rabbi?" and Dr. Seuss's
"The Cat in the Yarmulke."
Other religious leaders have made favorable comments.
Pope John Paul II gave the film two thumbs up, saying, "It
is as it was
only with bitchin' special effects."
"Fast Times at Bethlehem High"
There is now some question as to whether the Pope actually
made the remark or was just signaling for another jumbo popcorn
and some Milk Duds, but his publicist said John Paul II is
excited about making his big-screen debut opposite Burt Reynolds
in the free-wheeling buddy film "Smokey and the Pontiff."
Also according to the Tinsel Town grapevine, Oliver Stone
will direct the story of a long-suffering Vietnam vet in "Born
on the 25th of December" and Sean Penn is on board as
a cool surfer Jesus in "Fast Times at Bethlehem High."
Other big names attached to Jesus projects include Madonna
in "Desperately Seeking Salvation," Quentin Tarantino
in the ultra-violent "Reservoir Gods" and Gene Wilder
in the madcap comedy "Start the Resurrection Without
The busy son of God will also battle B-movie forces of evil
in "Jesus vs. Godzilla" and heal America's ailing
democracy in the Capra-esque "Mr. Christ Goes to Washington."
Meanwhile the controversy surrounding Gibson's vision of Jesus
Christ, box-office superstar, promises to help make the film
a mega-hit, but Tinsel Town insiders say it would be an altogether
different story had he not scrapped the movie's original title,