Star Trek II: The Wrath of the Allegory.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of the Allegory. (photo)

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As someone who dug the way this year’s “Star Trek” reboot dug up memories from a few years of a wasted youth (let’s not talk about it), I’m none too thrilled at this piece in the LA Times that suggests that for the sequel, J.J. Abrams & co. are considering adding topical political allegory.

Co-writer Robert Orci says that in post-release interviews with “the fans,” a phrase that came up a lot was “Make sure the next one deals with modern-day issues.” Boucher inquired if that meant “Starfleet grappling with the ethics of torture or dealing with a rising terrorist threat or perhaps a painful, politicized war with the Klingons.” Orci: “Well yeah, those are the kind of issues we’re talking about. Wow, you’re good!”

Um, not necessarily. Boucher just knows exactly what kind of “issues” Hollywood feels comfortable shoving into a blockbuster — ones that are at least two years old and for which there’s an easy position to fall back on.

To be sure, Gene Roddenberry’s intentions for the original show were unbelievably grandiose. The crew was multi-racial and male-female to demonstrate the end of racism and sexism in the future. The Vulcan race was there to show us how to end our violent instincts and cultivate peace. The futuristic setting let Roddenberry, in his own words, “make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics, and intercontinental missiles.” And none of these were the reason it became a cult hit and eventual occasional commercial juggernaut. That happened because the show was so detailed and meticulous about creating its own universe (literally) in a way people didn’t get much on ’60s and ’70s TV. It’s no wonder that J.J. “Lost” Abrams dug its potential for a multi-faceted landscape to be explored in detail.

What the new “Star Trek” did so nicely was ignore all the idealist garbage and concentrate on the basics: characters with hard-earned, long-forged camaraderie battling through a hostile, surprising universe. “Star Trek” can stand next to “Spider-Man 2″ as a rare example of intelligently crafted blockbuster life in the 21st century. So why, pray tell, ship the Klingons off to the camps or make them Islamic extremists? Summer blockbusters don’t do subtlety well, which means that any allegory about the present global climate rendered in “Star Trek” terms will be clunky and leaden and will just slow stuff down.

The “Trek” fanbase will always believe there’s no more sophisticated way to address geopolitical problems than via prosthetics, green make-up and didactic speeches, but everyone else will throw their hands up, and rightfully so. Orci and Abrams? You did good. Now please don’t do this.

[Photo: Classic “Trek,” Paramount, 1966]


Pox Kegger

This Is How the Benders Throw a Chickenpox Party

It's a Pox Kegger on tonight's all-new Benders.

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On this week’s Benders, Paul and Karen take their relationship to the next level when they both get the chickenpox. What do you bring to a chickenpox party? Chicken wings? A bucket of pox?

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For us, a sick day is best spent on the day on the couch, watching episodes of Portlandia on Netflix (guessing!) eating bowls of chicken soup, and sipping weak tea. But Karen didn’t count on the team spirit that binds Paul’s amateur hockey team together. So when the Chubbys find out that one of their teammates is in need, they have no choice but to be there for him–whether his wife likes it or not. Find out what happens when Benders airs tonight at 10P on IFC.


Goon Squads

The 9 Most Unruly Hockey Teams in Movie History

Get on the ice when Benders premieres Thursday, Oct. 1st at 10P on IFC.

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There are heartwarming sports movies, and then there are hockey movies. Unlike the glossy nostalgia of The Natural, or the goofy shenanigans of Space Jam, hockey movies tend to have a bit more edge. And by edge, we mean crazed dudes kicking the crap out of each other. Here are some big screen hockey teams who left it all out on the ice, along with a decent amount of blood.

9. Thunder Bay Bombers, Youngblood

If Roadhouse proved anything, it’s that you don’t mess with Swayze and walk away with your throat inside your neck. But that didn’t stop the bad guy Bombers, whose goon-in-chief Carl Racki hit the dirty dancer so hard they had to put a plate in his head.

8. Monroeville Zombies, Zack and Miri Make a Porno

They may not be pros, but the rec league Zombies sure knew how to bring the pain. Particularly their goalie, who had the helpful habit of skating out and attacking opposing players.

7. The Annapolis Angels, H-E Double Hockey Sticks

When one thinks of Disney hockey movies from the ’90s, the first thing that comes to mind is always…H-E Double Hockey Sticks? Well, maybe not the first thing, but this ragtag group of underdogs also deserves a place in our hearts. They might not be as famous as The Mighty Ducks, but they did use their skills on the ice to save Matthew Lawrence’s soul from Satan in the form of Rhea Perlman from Cheers. Seriously. This is a movie that happened.

6. Lansing Ice Wolves, Tooth Fairy

The only thing more intense than the hits Ice Wolves star Derek Thompson (Dwayne Johnson) laid on opposing players are the life lessons he learned after becoming a real life Tooth Fairy. Sure, the rest of his teammates weren’t the most fully fleshed out lot, but The Rock is like ten men in one, so that’s an unruly team right there.

5. The “Saturday Game” team from Mystery, Alaska

This team of rowdy townies aren’t afraid to bang the mayor’s wife or shoot a guy in the foot. What do you expect when your leader is Russell Crowe? Mediocre pub rock and a phone to the head. Okay, I guess he does that too.

4. The Nuggets, MVP: Most Valuable Primate

The Nuggets exploited a loophole in the junior hockey league bylaws which didn’t expressly state that chimps can’t play hockey. You’d think that would’ve been implied, though.

3. The Mighty Ducks from The Mighty Ducks franchise

The Ducks stole pucks and hearts over the course of three hit ’90s movies thanks to the mighty fists of Fulton Reed, the superior goalie skills of Goldberg and the, uh, getting a DUI and being forced to coach a pee-wee hockey team abilities of Emilio Estevez.

2. The Halifax Highlanders, Goon

The Highlanders recruit a Masshole bouncer to crack heads in a movie that’s basically Road House on ice. Who says Canadians are nice?

1. The Charlestown Chiefs, Slap Shot

Glasses-wearing goons The Hanson Brothers brought The Chiefs to the championship by spilling a lot of blood on the ice.



Ghostbusters Everett

Ghostbusters In Hell?

7 Lost Ghostbusters Movies That Almost Happened

Catch a Ghostbusters marathon Saturday, Nov. 7th starting at 8P.

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With a new Ghostbusters movie set to debut next year, it’s time to start getting ready for an all out blitz of slime-flavored nostalgia. It’s been 26 years since we’ve seen a Ghostbuster on the big screen, although it hasn’t been for a lack of trying. Ray Stantz himself, Dan Aykroyd, has fought to make another movie in the franchise for decades. Bill Murray famously stood in the way of his efforts, refusing to even read a script. But behind this Ghostbusters Cold War, there were always a plethora of rumors, many coming from Aykroyd himself. Before you catch the Ghostbusters movies this month on IFC, check out a few of the Ghostbusters projects that could’ve been.

1. Ghostbusters in the Future

Columbia Pictures

In Making Ghostbusters by Don Shay, director Ivan Reitman recalled the stacks of pages Aykroyd had spent years putting together when he first joined the project. Originally conceived as a Blues Brothers-esque romp for Aykroyd and John Belushi, the early versions of the script saw a team of “Ghostsmashers” battling demons through a variety of “different planets or dimensional planes.” Reitman describes the first pages as one unending action sequence that was heavy on the ghost busting, light on anything else. He guessed those 50 pages would cost hundreds of millions of dollars (and these are ’80s dollars, remember) so the team went back to the drawing board.

2. Ghostbusters: The Next Generation

Paramount Pictures

Many considered Ghostbusters II a disappointment. Murray supposedly described it as “a whole lot of slime, and not much of us.” Apparently Aykroyd wasn’t in that camp, almost immediately starting work on ideas for a third film. The concept he quickly hit on, and has seemingly continued to champion in one form or another for the last two decades, was the idea of introducing a new, young crop of Ghostbusters. Over the years the rumors of who these new ‘busters might be, often started by Aykroyd himself, have included everyone from comedy superstars to TV witches. Chris Farley, Will Smith, Chris Rock, and Ben Stiller all seem like obvious choices. As time went on Bill Hader, Seth Rogen and Anna Faris joined the list. But Alyssa Milano, Eliza Dushku and Criminal Minds actor Matthew Gray Gubler? Aykroyd may have been drinking a bit too much of his Crystal Skull vodka at that point.

3. Ghostbusters Vs. Greek Gods

Columbia Pictures

In the late ’90s, rumors started to circulate that a script for a third Ghostbusters was ready to go. An early indication of how to sidestep Murray’s involvement, this outing would deal with Egon and Ray trying to keep the business afloat while battling Hades, Greek God of the Underworld. But it appears those rumors were just that. No script has ever seen the light of day.

4. Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent

Aykroyd, along with former SNL writer Tom Davis, penned the script for this iteration. The concept involved the Ghostbusters being sucked into an alternate version of Manhattan, called Manhellton, where the people and places of New York City were replaced by demonic versions. Of course, a new crew was involved. IGN reported at the time that the new team included a pierced New Jersey punk, a “pretty but uptight gymnast,” a “Latino beauty,” a “dread-locked dude” and a young genius whose giant brain made his head comically over-sized. The main villain was reportedly the Devil by way of Donald Trump, which shows Aykroyd may hate ghosts, but he might just be psychic. While the script was never produced (Murray dubbed it “too crazy to comprehend), the story was repurposed as a video game in 2009, with the original cast reprising their roles.

5. Ghostbusters: Cadets

Columbia Pictures

In 2009, Aykroyd and Ramis were at it again, talking up the idea of a new generation of Ghostbusters. Though Murray still wasn’t on board, Aykroyd laid out his vision for the threequel, which would center on the team “learning how to use the psychotron, the accelerators…all these great tools that they’re going to have.” Um…okay? What’s wrong with good ol’ fashioned proton packs?

6. Ghostbusters 3: Grumpy Old ‘Busters


In 2011, Aykroyd dropped hints that the original Ghostbusters would return, even without Murray’s involvement. This time the script would play up their age, adding “My character, Ray, is now blind in one eye and can’t drive the Cadillac…He’s got a bad knee and can’t carry the packs…Egon is too large to get into the harness.” Thank Gozer we never had to see Ray huffing and puffing while carrying a proton pack.

7. Ghostbusters 3: The Return of Oscar?

Columbia Pictures

With Aykroyd trying, and failing, over and over again to get something going, Harold Ramis decided to step in. He hired The Office scribes Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, who also wrote Ramis’ big screen comedy Year One, to put together a script from scratch. Supposedly centered on Peter Venkman and Dana Barrett’s grown son Oscar joining the team, there was some momentum. Once again, Murray still refused to play ball, reportedly shredding a copy of the script and joking he would only appear in the film as a ghost. With the studio refusing to move ahead without Murray’s involvement, the project petered out. The final nail in the coffin appears to be Year One itself. Murray said in a interview at the time, “Well, I never went to see Year One, but people who did, including other Ghostbusters, said it was one of the worst things they had ever seen in their lives.”


Masters of Disguise

10 Celebs Who Went in Disguise For a Laugh

Catch David Krumholtz in Gigi Does It starting October 1st at 10:30P on IFC.

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Are you ready for Gigi Rotblum? Armed with a hefty bank account left to her by her late hubby, the 76-year-old yenta is grabbing life by the balls and shocking everyone within earshot with her no-nonsense attitude.

But it turns out there’s a man behind the granny — Yes, the star of the new IFC series Gigi Does It is actually actor David Krumholtz, who you probably know from shows like Numb3rs and movies like Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Krumholtz causes all kinds of trouble when he encounters people while undercover as his prosthetically enhanced alter ego.

In honor of the premiere of Gigi Does It, join us for a look at a long line of celebrities who’ve gone undercover for laughs.

1. David Krumholtz

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Krumholtz isn’t the first big-name celeb to become unrecognizable for a good, old-fashioned prank, but he’s definitely our new favorite. Accompanied by her trusty male nurse, Gigi isn’t afraid to give an art gallery curator her creative opinion on the works in his collection, or to tell a bunch of grannies how she slipped a nip in front of her grandkids. (Click here to watch a free episode of Gigi Does It.)

2. Drake

Despite his immense stardom, Drake is a polarizing figure. There are many people who have no patience for him or his music, and to weed these people out for himself, the hip hop star went undercover on the street in California. Thankfully, Jimmy Kimmel and his “I Witness News” team were on hand to watch the whole thing play out.

3. Channing Tatum

Everyone loves Channing Tatum. It’s not rocket science. But add in a special early screening of Magic Mike XXL, male strippers, and an added surprise, and it’s no wonder people couldn’t contain themselves. The added surprise was Tatum going undercover as an old man conducting a survey with the attendees. People laughed when he later gyrated on the lap of a woman in the front row, but the party really took off when he revealed his true identity.

4. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Ah-nuld can’t really go anywhere without getting noticed. So in order to promote the After School All-Stars charity, the Terminator star disguised himself as a trainer at a Gold’s Gym who just happened to sound exactly like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thankfully his intense mustache didn’t scare folks off from ever setting foot inside a gym again.

5. David Beckham

Ellen DeGeneres likes to use her powers for good, making some of the celebrity guests on her talk show go in disguise to prank regular folks. For David Beckham, the comedienne had him pose as a Target employee and say and do ridiculous things to get customers to smell his cologne. Like Schwarzenegger, however, people caught on pretty quickly that it was really the soccer star under that fake mustache and glasses.

6. Ashton Kutcher

The That ’70s Show star made a career out of pranking people with Punk’d, so he decided to use his skills in this arena to sell some tablets. The actor became Coordrey, a product engineer for Lenovo, in order to get customers to purchase their new product. Normally we would denounce those who would shamelessly use their powers for commercial purposes, but this is pretty amusing.

7. Kim Kardashian

Raise your hand if you would like to tell Kim Kardashian what you really think of her — to her face, no less. Some people inadvertently got to do that when the princess of the Kardashian clan went undercover on an episode of Celebrity Undercover. The premise was that candidates were being interviewed for a job as Kim’s assistant, while the reality star herself got to hear what everyone was saying about her.

8. Bryan Cranston

Cranston pulled the perfect prank at Comic Con 2013 by walking around the show floor as his Breaking Bad alter ego Walter White. The mask was so spot-on, no one realized it was the actual Heisenberg underneath.

9. Johnny Knoxville

The Jackass maven had a huge comedy hit by disguising himself under prosthetic make-up to play a cranky senior. Perhaps he should drop by Gigi’s place for a cocktail or two.

10. Sacha Baron Cohen

Whether as Borat, Ali G or Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen has made a career out of pranking people with his outrageous characters.

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