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[whitespace] Winona Ryder and Adam Sandler
No Bad Deeds Goes Unpunished: Adam Sandler dares to remake Frank Capra's 'Mr. Deeds Goes to Town' as just plain 'Mr. Deeds' this summer.

Terrorism Alert Schedule

Homeland security requires all filmgoers to be ever vigilant

By Richard von Busack


Notorious C.H.O. (July 3) Future Hollywood Square Margaret Cho puffs out her cheeks, maligns people who slept with her and failed to provide an orgasm, imitates fresh-off-the-boat accent of her mom. Audience screams.

The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (July 12) In real life, the certifiably insane Steve Irwin taunts the world's cruelest reptiles. In this fictional tale, he battles poachers while sticking his hands into the mouths of bad snakes and gators. Of course, I watch him: one of these days he's going to get eaten, and I'm going to be there to see it.


Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (June 7) Old Southern ladies (Ellen Burstyn, Fionnula Flanagan, Shirley Knight, Maggie Smith) get drunk and reminisce about when they were young girls (Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, et al.). Adapted from the quintessential Oprah novel and its sequel, Little Altars Everywhere. Maybe, since Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise) co-wrote and directed, they'll all drive off a cliff at the end?

Jackass: The Movie (August) New stunts for the stunted with Johnny Knoxville, Jason "Wee-Man" Acuna and the rest of the septic gang.

Chelsea Walls (Late summer/early fall) Ethan Hawke grabs his video camera and prowls the fabled Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan for a seemingly nine-hour-long ensemble film based on Nicole Burdette's deeply precious play. Though the hotel sheltered doomed writers from Thomas Wolfe to Brendan Behan, Burdette seems uncertain about the place's history; the cops, when they arrive, are talking about how "40 years ago, this place was beautiful" and how back then, the tenants had class--you're thinking, yeah, transsexual star Holly Woodlawn (as seen in the much better Chelsea Girls by Andy Warhol) and later on Sid and Nancy. The cast runs the gamut from C (Kevin Corrigan) to Z (Steve Zahn, squandered here). The film is made in the new spirit of responsible rebellion--no one has sex or takes drugs. Bad Wilco songs moan along with the general angst. ("The critics pan / I write your defense"). This critic pans, all right. Wandering through this thicket of moping half-written characters is like being stuck with a group given to reciting song lyrics passionately or extemporizing haikus about their inchoate emotions.


Slap Her, She's French (Aug. 30) Piper Perabo--the Pia Zedora of our new century--stars as a faux-French exchange student wreaking havoc on the plans of Splendora High Student Starla Grady (Jane McGregor). First, Le Pen; now this.

Mr. Deeds (June 28) After bottoming out with the intermittently OK Little Nicky, Adam Sandler goes for the bar mitzvah movie in this remake of the Frank Capra film about a small-town nouveau riche who becomes a society swell. Director Steve Brill stocks the pond with newer versions of the Capra stable (John Turturro, Steve Buscemi, Peter Gallagher). But Wynona Ryder is to Jean Arthur what the people we used to have are to the people we have today.

The Country Bears (July 26) MY SISTER: The good thing about the Country Bears Jamboree is that it's a place where you can take your kids and sit down and have a nap in the middle of Disneyland.

Q: What about the horrible music?

A: Bad. [She pauses.] But I had a friend who worked in It's a Small World for six months, and when you think how many times he heard that song ... (Her voice trails off, like someone recalling the story of a massacre.)

The previews show a kid in a bear suit realizing he was adopted, then heading for Nashville where he meets other people in bear suits playing guitars. All the families unite into a loud pantomime bear-suit countrypolitan concert with stage dives and ZZ Top guitar twirls. Willie Nelson macked himself out for this. Curse you, IRS!

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From the May 16-22, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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