Best dressed at Kimye’s wedding goes to…
Jaden Smith. Sorry, Kim!
You recognize the warning from the fine-print at the bottom of every financial investment mailing you’ve ever received: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”
It applies to Hollywood, too. Tom Hanks made The Terminal, Harrison Ford did K-19: The Widowmaker, and Julia Roberts starred in The Mexican (a romantic comedy with Brad Pitt!) — three disappointments that featured huge stars in vehicles tailor-made for their proven brand of character. No one is immune to an inevitable hiccup, and last weekend, it was Will Smith’s turn.
After Earth, Smith’s futuristic science-fiction adventure, was pronounced a flop after earning $27.5 million in its opening weekend, trailing Fast & Furious 6 and movie about magic starring Jesse Eisenberg. What must cause consternation for Smith is that After Earth was designed as the precise type of entertainment that had made him the undisputed king of summer blockbusters, beginning with Independence Day in 1996 and built upon the successes of Men in Black, I, Robot, and Hancock. Smith himself is an obsessive student of industry “patterns” and figuring out what succeeds and what doesn’t in Hollywood. After Earth wasn’t some high-minded departure (like his 2008 wannabe Oscar-bait, Seven Pounds). This was sold as Will “I Make This Look Good” Smith battling special-effects aliens. Yet the critics were merciless and, of greater concern, audiences yawned. READ FULL STORY
The day a new M. Night Shyamalan movie hits theaters might as well be labeled Critics’ Christmas. Ever since 2004’s The Village — and, even worse, 2006’s Lady in the Water — each successive film from the Academy Award-nominated writer/director has given writers a golden opportunity to one-up each other with jabs at Shyamalan’s oeuvre.
And even though it’s more of a Smith-Smith joint than a Shyamalan picture — notice the absence of the director’s name from all of the movie’s promotional material – After Earth has been no exception. So far, the film has earned a paltry score of 32 on Metacritic and a horrendous 12 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes (EW’s Owen Gleiberman gave it a C+), which makes it just slightly more popular than recent misfires like The Host and The Big Wedding. Below, we’ve compiled the 10 best insults critics have lobbed at After Earth since its release:
10. “Summer 2013 has its first bomb, and sadly, it’s landed right on Will Smith.” — Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News
9. “It’s impossible to take this movie seriously, certainly not as seriously as it takes itself.” — Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
8. “Even with his charismatic dad in his earpiece calling the shots, Jaden can’t turn himself into a movie star by sheer force of Will.” — Dana Stevens, Slate
7. “As for the plot, I guess recycling remains in vogue centuries from now.” — Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
6. “Not since John Travolta kicked the tires on Battlefield Earth and pronounced it good to go has there been a big-name sci-fi flameout quite as disastrous as Will Smith’s After Earth.” — Kurt Loder, Reason.com
5. “The director of The Sixth Sense used to be known for his surprise endings, but the only twist that could explain this mind-numbing nonsense is if we awakened to discover we’d been imprisoned in pods and subjected to a sequel called After Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Shyamalan.” — Joe Williams, St. Louis Post Dispatch
4. “Actually, in Critics Academy we are taught never to end a review with a sarcastic quote from the film under consideration; the tactic is just too easy and cheesy. Yet here the temptation proves irresistible. So here’s one more. After some mini-castastrophe, Kitai mutters, ‘That sucked.’ Radios his dad: ‘Correct, Cadet.'” — Richard Corliss, Time
3. “After Earth has a hint of the skin-crawling fright of Shyamalan films past [... but] not enough to explain why the director’s films keep getting worse. It must be body snatchers, ones from a planet that has no clue how to make a movie.” — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
2. “Eleven years and several progressively more dreadful movies after Signs, director M. Night Shyamalan would be lucky to get a gig directing traffic.” Lou Lumenick, New York Post
1. “I fear Jaden might face online wrath for his performance here, especially thanks to the numb-tongued Kiwi accent he’s forced to adopt. He’s not bad, especially, but he is a kid asked to do the extraordinary: compel us as he pretends to do ridiculous bullsh–. As Will Smith coldly instructs him to feel, to root in this moment now, to master his own creation, I felt the purest horror I ever have at a Shyamalan film: What if this is what Jaden Smith’s life is actually like?” — Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice
Filming his new post-apocalyptic film After Earth in Costa Rica last year found Jaden Smith battling both CGI beasties and scaly creatures that were all too real, including crocodiles, snakes, and piranhas. “There were a few moments where questionable parenting tactics were used [during filming],” Jaden’s father (and costar) Will jokingly told EW’s Jess Cagle during a SiriusXM Town Hall filmed in New York City yesterday. “The crocodile — that was the day I was glad your mom wasn’t there.”
Check out a clip from the interview below — and catch the whole thing on EW’s brand-new SiriusXM station, channel 105, today at 3 and 7 p.m. ET.
Well, now that the Fresh Prince has another movie coming out — M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth — he’s apparently doing the rap thing again. Witness, for example, Smith’s big Late Show entrance last night, which the CBS Orchestra thoughtfully underscored with the strains of “Summertime.” Once he recognized they were playing his song, the movie star couldn’t resist rapping along. And after he noticed that his mic wasn’t capturing his rhymes, Smith also couldn’t resist stealing one of the band’s microphones and starting his verse over from the beginning.
Hollywood is — if nothing else — a land of over-stuffed bandwagons, and as studio suits begin to tire of super-sizing fairy tales, the latest micro-trend in “let’s-try-launching-this-kind-of-franchise” appears to be feature films based on the Bible.
The first, director Darren Aronofsky’s take on Noah, just recently wrapped filming in Iceland with Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins. The rest of the Bible-based projects remain in some stage of development without an official greenlight, but many have A-list names hovering around them. According to Deadline, there are two possible films about Moses, with Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg respectively circling the directors’ chairs. Will Smith is reportedly eyeing the story of Cain & Abel as his directorial debut. Paul Verhoeven is developing a biopic about Jesus, based on Verhoeven’s own book and research, that strips away all the miracles of the New Testament. Most recently, screenwriter Vera Blasi (Woman on Top) penned a script about Pontius Pilate — i.e. the man who condemned Jesus Christ to the cross — that was just snapped up by Warner Bros.
But that is just scratching the surface when it comes to Bible stories that are ready-made for the big screen, especially in the Old Testament. In the interest of providing Hollywood with even more half-baked ideas, my colleague Darren Franich and I humbly suggest the following ecclesiastical tales as sure-fire potential box office blockbusters: READ FULL STORY
Jaden Smith has just cracked one of the great mysteries kept secret by the United States government, or at least he attempted to when he insisted on asking President Obama about the existence of aliens during a recent visit to the White House.
Will Smith told BBC Radio about his 13-year-old son’s encounter with POTUS and the big question he planned to ask, which Smith insisted he keep to himself.
“I was at the White House with my family and we were getting a tour,” recalled the Men in Black III star. “The night before, Jaden had said to me, ‘Dad, I gotta ask the president about the aliens,’ and I was like, ‘Dude, no, no, it’s not cool! Do not ask the president!’”
Smith continued: “So we get into the Situation Room and Jaden gets the look in his eyes and he leans over and he says, ‘Dad, what’s my punishment?’ And I was like, ‘Jaden, do not…’ and Barack is talking about the Situation Room, and Jaden says, ‘Excuse me, Mr. President?’ And Barack said, ‘Don’t tell me.’ And in perfect form—like, this is why he’s the President—he stopped and looked at Jaden and said, ‘The aliens, right?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, shoot!’ And he said, ‘Okay, I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of extraterrestrials but I can tell you if there had been a top secret meeting and if there would have had to have been a discussion about it, it would have taken place in this room.’”
Smith joked that Jaden only has about eight or nine more months left of being grounded, but perhaps Little Smith doesn’t realize that he may very well have sparked a whole stream of conspiracy theorists who have since retreated to their caves and begun the long arduous process of tin foil hat construction.
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