Werner Herzog and Abel Ferrara want to know who’s “Bad.”

Werner Herzog and Abel Ferrara want to know who’s “Bad.” (photo)

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So the long-awaited “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” — the Werner Herzog movie whose absurdist trailer has been an Internet favorite for months now — is finally dropping at the Venice and Telluride festivals and, predictably, people are generally underwhelmed. This is what happens when people more familiar with Herzog’s reputation than his frequently uneven work get something less consistently outrageous than they expected and — okay, maybe it’s not all that. (Though I doubt it.)

As a result, the media narrative is shifting back one last time to the Herzog-Abel Ferrara feud. You know the deal: Ferrara is angry about the remake of his 1992 crime story, the disrespect shown to his creative labors and — most importantly — that he didn’t get paid very much for the rights and had no say in it. Herzog, for his part, thought it was hilarious and claimed never to have seen the original film or even know who Ferrara is, comparing him to Don Quixote. And now Ferrara and Herzog are together at Venice together, and Herzog is, for once, erring on the side of restraint: “I hope that he will see my film while he is here,” he announced yesterday. (And apparently he knows something of Ferrara’s reputation, since he suggested sorting it out over whiskey.)

Let’s just say this story is stupid and leave it at that. I’m not really surprised that when it’s time to go potentially mano-a-mano, Herzog wants to make things right; he’s not lacking in bravery (and, in an unlikely fight, our money would be on the robust Herzog over the, uh, erratic Ferrara), but he doesn’t seem mean-spirited. And continually using Ferrara as grist for easy press-pleasing quotes just seems rude. The truth is that Ferrara probably wouldn’t care at all if he’d: a) been paid however much he believes he was deserved to be paid (which would never happen) or b) Herzog hadn’t, conversely, made much more than Ferrara did for the first film. (So Ferrara claims anyway.)

But the other thing is, Ferrara has to be wondering why Herzog still has a financially viable career and he doesn’t. Ferrara played by the rules: when there was a market for movies that were arty as long as they were exploitation-y, he made “Ms .45.” When it seemed like a good idea to do a big-budget studio movie, he made “Body Snatchers.” In a time when every movie sells easier if it has a “name,” he roped in Willem Dafoe and Bob Hoskins to star in “Go Go Tales” and still can’t get distribution. Meanwhile, the patently wacky, often unsummarizable Herzog makes one movie a year, except for when he skips a year and then puts out two. Where’s the justice? Play by the rules, get screwed; follow a muse literally no one else fully understands, and voila! — success. I can’t answer it, but I suspect there’s more behind Ferrara’s grumblings than simple proprietary pride.

[Harvey Keitel in “Bad Lieutenant,” Bad Lieutenant Productions, 1992]

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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