Earlier this week The Weinstein Co announced that they would be moving their Star Wars geek road trip comedy Fanboys back once again to February 6th 2009. Set in 1998 the film, starring Jay Baruchel, Dan Fogler, Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, and Kristen Bell is a heart-warming comedy that follows a group of young, passionate Star Wars fans on a cross-country quest to break into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch and watch “Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace,” before it’s released. I got the chance to finally see the film at Fantastic Fest 2008, and while it’s not a great film, its the type of movie which will be insanely enjoyable to anyone in the fanboys niche, and in its best moments, its a love letter to fandom.
The theatrical poster, which premiered on Cinematical, is a parody of the Judd Apatow posters. This might be funny if all the other comedy films didn’t already steal this style already. The poster comes off as derivative rather than funny. This is the latest example of The Weinstein Co botching the marketing of this film. If I were them I would have commissioned Drew Struzan to create a poster based of the New Hope design. I know that wouldn’t be original, but at least it would be interesting. Also, there are so many interesting characters and actors in this film (heck, I think Seth Rogen plays three or four different characters), but we don’t see one of them on the poster. WTF?
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If you were looking forward to finally seeing Fanboys on the big screen in 2008, I have some bad news for you. The Weinstein Co has moved the film back to February 6th 2009 from it’s scheduled release late next month. The film will now go head to head with Summit’s sci-fi superhero film Push, Pink Panther 2, and the Jennifer Aniston comedy He’s Just Not That Into You. But before you start writing Darth Weinstein angry letters (is anyone still that passionate about seeing the film at this point?), know that this is part of a bigger decision to push all of their releases (witht he exception of The Reader and Zack and Miri Make a Porno) back to 2009.
John Madden’s action thriller Killshot has been moved to January 23rd 2009. Sean Penn/Harrison Ford drama Crossing Over and Mikael Håfström’s Shanghai have both been pushed to a 2009 TBA slot. Harvey Weinstein assures the LA Times that the date changes has nothing to do with the speculated poor financial health of the company, but instead the changes were made because early 2009 offers a better opportunity to be seen.
Discuss: Is anyone still interested in seeing Fanboys at this point?
I’ve heard many stories about the behind the scenes problems which pushed the release of Fanboys back again and agin, but having just left a screening of the finished version, a director’s cut by Kyle Newman, I can assure you that the problems have been greatly exaggerated. You have a very marketable cast, and a film which seems like an extremely easy sell to the target demographic. I think the problem is that The Weinsteins were hoping for an American Pie type film with mainstream appeal, but they instead have a movie aimed at a very targeted niche. But lets not forget, George Lucas has been able to make tons of money off this targeted group of fans.
After high school, Eric (Sam Huntington) ditched his Star Wars fanboy friends for a job as a car salesman, and now finds himself ready to take over his father’s franchise of car dealerships. When he learns that one of his former best friends Linus (Chris Marquette) has been diagnosed with Cancer and only has months to live, he convinces his former friends (Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel) to go on a road trip to break into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, so that Linus could watch Star Wars: Episode I before he dies.
The film is your typical teen road trip film, laced with so many Star Wars references you’ll probably want to see it twice to take them all in. There are conversations about how Boba Fett is like Michael Bay, style but no substance, and arguments about if Luke really had a thing for his sister. The series of adventures include a stop in Riverside Iowa (the future birthplace of Captain Kirk) to fuck with Trekkies. Kristen Bell plays Zoe, a girl with feisty Princess Leia-like attitude who works at a comic book store, and is well versed in everything from Star Wars to video games. Basically, she’s a fanboys wet dream.
Seth Rogen has triple duty, playing a trekkie (who seems perfectly modeled after Gabriel Köerner from Trekkies), a Star Wars tattooed pimp, and a Star Trek alien who they run into while in Las Vegas. At one point in the film, one version of Seth Rogen fights another version of Seth Rogen on the big screen. Epic! Ethan Suplee plays Ain’t It Cool News’ Harry Knowles, and there is a bevy of other cameos which include Billy Dee Williams, Danny Trejo, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Craig Robinson, Lou Taylor Pucci, Carrie Fisher, Danny McBride, and William Shatner playing himself. Ray Park (Darth Maul) even has a cameo as a THX security guard.
The film is not perfect, nor is it even on par with the best the teen comedy genre has to offer. Some of the problems include a kid dying of cancer who shows very little (if any) signs of sickness, a poorly developed romantic subplot, and a scene in a gay biker bar which should have been completely exorcised from the completed film. Oh, and Dan Fogler is painfully annoying. If only they had cast Jonah Hill or Tyler Labine instead. But the target audience of Star Wars fanboys and comic book geeks will surely eat it up. In it’s best moments it is a love letter to fandom and friendship.
/Film Rating: 7 out of 10
Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 by David Chen
In this episode of the /Filmcast, Dave, Devindra, and Adam discuss Fanboys, share reflections on the Comic Con, and wonder why the new X-Files movie was made at all. Myles McNutt also joins us to review the season premiere of Mad Men. Other special guests include Erik Davis, editor-in-chief of Cinematical, and Dave3, webmaster at Geeks of Doom. Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Want to sponsor or advertise with the /Filmcast? Feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com. You can also reach our voicemail number at 781-583-1993.
Join us next week as we broadcast the /Filmcast live on MONDAY night at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST to review The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor with legendary actor Stephen Tobowlosky (the star of, amongst many other films, Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party).
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The word “Fanboy” is one of the hundred or so new words that Merriam-Webster has decided to add to their Collegiate Dictionary this year.
Apparently the first occurance of the word was in the year 1919. Who knew? Merriam-Webster ‘s definition is:
“a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies)”
In other news, The Weinstein Co still can’t find an angle on how to release the much anticipated Star Wars comedy Fanboys. I’m guessing an announcement is forthcoming at Comic Con.
Fanboys creator and co-screenwriter Ernie Cline has confirmed my report from last month that director Kyle Newman has been brought back to recut Fanboys.
“I’ve just received word that the director Kyle Newman has just completed a new cut of the movie with the original plot intact, and that it’s the version that will be released later this year,” Cline told UGO. “We’re hoping that the Weinstein Co. announces the release date soon.”
So there you have it. I’m guessing they will have something to announce at Comic-Con next month.
The /Filmcast: After Dark is a recording of what happens right after The /Filmcast is over, when the kids have gone to bed and the guys feel free to speak whatever is on their minds. In other words, it’s the leftover and disorganized ramblings, mindfarts, and brain diarrhea from The /Filmcast, all in one convenient audio file. In this episode, Dave, Devindra, Adam, and Peter discuss the Grayskull script, whether or not The Happening will bomb, and how annoying cutscenes are in gaming. In addition to Alex from Firstshowing, we’re honored to be joined by El Mayimbe of Latino Review, who provides us with some fantastic industry insider perspectives. Join us on Monday night when we review Dreamworks’ latest, Kung Fu Panda.
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It appears that The Weinstein Co has brought director Kyle Newman back on board to make the final cut of Fanboys. The New York Times ran a story a couple weeks back about Microsoft. Newman worked on a short film / advertisement for the Redmond-based software company. Apparently no one in the movie sector read the article because buried somewhere in the advertising section. Thankfully /Film reader Iron Monger spotted it, because hidden inside the article was a one-line quote from Kyle himself:
“I have been brought back into the editing room to work on a final version,” Kyle said. “All the key people are back. That’s all good.”
So there you have it. It appears that Kyle Newman has officially returned to work on a final version of the film. No word on if the movie will get a theatrical release or go direct-to-dvd. Although if I were The Weinstein Co, I’d at least test the waters with a limited theatrical release. A fanbase is certainly there, but can TWC convince them to see it after all the shit they pulled?
photo credit: Flickr
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