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The 7 - Movies & TV - 'Be Cool' getting chilly reception...
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Boston Idol
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#1 Posted on 1.3.05 1913.11
Reposted on: 1.3.12 1914.53
"Be Cool" is getting short shrift from
critics in early reviews, but it doesn't
look like there will be much absolution
for director F. Gary Gray and his cast.

"Be Cool" is the belated sequel to "Get
Shorty", a dark, offbeat satire of the
movie business that debuted in 1995.
Both are based on Elmore Leonard novels.

Early reviews have not been flattering.

Kirk Honeycutt of Hollywood
was the most charitable, writing "'Be Cool'
is not really cool as 'Get Shorty' was,
but it's entertaining, a frivolous cocktail
rather than a vintage wine.

Emanuel Levy gave "Be Cool" a C-, later
downgraded to a D, saying "itís one of
the weakest sequels in recent memory"
and "All too generously, Gray gave each
actor one take of a scene to do whatever
they wanted to do or improvise. The result
is a messy, episodic, and disjointed film
to a fault, with nothing to unify the
pieces together."

Dr. Frank Sweitek, one of my favorites,
complained that director L. Gary Gray
"demonstrates absolutely no affinity
for quirky humor and no sense of comic
timing. The upshot is that 'Be Cool'
is pretty much an unmitigated disaster",
but his criticism can be ignored because
he didn't know how to spell "Arrowsmith."

Rob Blackwelder of, who
did know how to spell Aerosmith, agreed
with Sweitek's sentiments. "'Be Cool'
is the kind of sequel that gives sequels
a bad name", wrote Blackwelder, "A bland
lifeless, uninspired cash-in with an
assembly-line script and a star whose
sleepwalking performance isn't even a
faint shadow of its original incarnation."

Blackwelder did have something nice
to say about The Rock however,
writing "It is side-splittingly funny to
watching this buffed, 290-lb. half-
Samoan warble through Loretta Lynn
songs and proudly smack his own rear
when catching a glimpse of himself in
a mirror -- and he manages to do this,
and much more, without becoming a
homosexual caricature. As outlandish
as he seems, this guy is the most
human character in the movie."

That's good news for pro wrestling fans
(and editors) who are cheering for The
Rock to achieve lasting crossover appeal
that might somehow lend credibility to the
faux fighting burlesque that spawned him.

The Rock's career started with a bit of
a bang when he milked $91 million out of
the "Mummy" franchise, which failed to
cover production and marketing, but it
has gone down from there. "The Rundown"
failed to garner $50 million domestically
and also didn't cover expenses. "Walking
Tall" finished in the same range on a
smaller budget, but still failed to cover.

These figures may seem large by historic
standards, but for comparison, Matt Damon's
two "Bourne" movies took in about $300
million domestically and another $200
million overseas. The "Ocean's" movies,
in which Damon got second billing, took
in another $300 million domestically and
almost $500 million overseas. Against
competition like Damon, The Rock could
hardly be considered a major draw.

Kirk Honeycutt wrote that "Be Cool" is
unlikely to eclipse "Get Shorty", which
only drew $72 million, though that number
is higher when adjusted for inflation.

Nevertheless, The Rock may have finally
made a wise choice as "Be Cool" allowed
him to showcase comedic ability that was
largely ignored when he was miscast as
the strong, silent lead.

Also The Rock can't be blamed for the
failures of "Be Cool", though Rolling
Stone singled him out for criticism,
saying the soundtrack was "dragged
down by The Rock's very lame gay-joke
version of Loretta Lynn's 'You Ain't
Woman Enough.'"

Whether "Be Cool" will help The Rock's
acting career remains to be seen. He
has signed on for several films based
on video games. That isn't a good sign
for an actor who hasn't made his mark
yet, but along the way The Rock has made
so much money that it is impossible to
criticize his decision to give up his
pro wrestling career for Hollywood.

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#2 Posted on 1.3.05 2014.56
Reposted on: 1.3.12 2015.14
My friend and I talked about this movie recently, and we both had the same exact response. We both felt that Get Shorty was disappointed and overrated, but we nevertheless very much are interested in this movie.

My friend wants to see it because of his love for music and its use as a central theme in this movie, and me because I'm looking forward to Rock's role. I also am looking for some cool cameo work.

Because of the critical love for Get Shorty, I am not very swayed by the negativity for Be Cool. It kinda makes me want to see the movie more. I may be disappointed, but as a fan of improv, I think that I will be entertained.
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#3 Posted on 1.3.05 2107.05
Reposted on: 1.3.12 2107.47
    Originally posted by Boston Idol
    "Be Cool" is getting short shrift from critics...Kirk Honeycutt...Emanuel Levy...Dr. Frank Sweitek...Rob Blackwelder

Frank, this movie may indeed be lousy, but who are these guys? I know the guy from the Hollywood Reporter may have a legit rep (only by nature of writing for the HR), but the rest? How does the opinion of these guys effect business? If critics like Roger Ebert, A.O. Scott, Leonard Maltin, Janet Maslin or Elvis Mitchell pan it, I would think that it would have a much larger impact on public perception.

(edited by NickBockwinkelFan on 1.3.05 2249)
Boston Idol
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#4 Posted on 2.3.05 0151.51
Reposted on: 2.3.12 0156.52
We'll all read what Ebert thinks on Friday. I went
with the reviews that were available. I happen to
respect Sweitek more than Ebert, just as I respect
you more than published author (that idiot) SKeith.

I'm not saying these guys effect business, but it is
not a good sign when the best of the early reviews
is a lukewarm endorsement from Hollywood Reporter.

And heck, "Be Cool" could suck and rake in millions.
"Meet the Fockers" was generally panned by critics,
including many big names, and it still drew well.

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#5 Posted on 2.3.05 0226.22
Reposted on: 2.3.12 0226.33
Meet the Parents was released in October 2000 and grossed $166 million domestically. Universal released Meet the Fockers later in the year, capturing the Christmas audience and the film (which is STILL in many cinemas) has grossed $275 million...and counting.

Get Shorty was released in October 1995 and grossed $72 million domestically. Be Cool is being released in the early Spring, where there are very few films expected to draw well. Be Cool's getting released on 3000 screens. Get Shorty did 1612. At a per-screen average comparable to Get Shorty's $7800 per, we're looking at a gate of $23 million for the opening weekend. Not bad. It's opening against The Pacifier (which looks terrible by all accounts), so it has a good chance at opening at #1.
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#6 Posted on 2.3.05 1037.27
Reposted on: 2.3.12 1038.17
I read the original book Be Cool is based off of (titled.. um, "Be Cool") and it was really a fun read. Sort of straddled the line between being silly and serious, sold the music industry as being a pit of vipers, and worked pretty well.

Judging from the trailers, though, most of the characters are nothing like they were in the book, and there's no way the plot could even be similar judging from the changes made. It could work on its own merits or it could just be a hodgepodge of random stuff that they felt might sell better to an audience... guess we'll see.

But even in a hodgepodge one character/actor can stand out, and it sounds like that's what Rock did. Good for him.
The Vile1
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#7 Posted on 2.3.05 1226.58
Reposted on: 2.3.12 1226.58
The Rock did a great job in Be Cool, its his finest role yet, mainly because he played against time in a rather interesting way. His character is a little over the time, and he is a homosexual, but what makes it kind of brilliant is that its THE ROCK doing it. He put on a good show.

The movie overall was pretty entertaining, I'd say about on par with the original. Its basically the same story and character types just with a different packaging. But for the most part it worked I think.

EDIT: My review of the movie -

(edited by The Vile1 on 2.3.05 1647)
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