It’s been a good long while since John Travolta was an acclaimed actor; for his last unimpeachably great screen turn you might have to reach all the way back to his lawyer drama, A Civil Action, which was 21 years ago. And it’s time someone, anyone gave it a good re-evaluation. But clearly someone disagrees: Last year an Oscar campaign was launched for his lead turn in Gotti, widely considered one of 2018’s worst pictures. And, like some demon annual tradition, it’s happened again, this time for the also poorly reviewed The Fanatic.
OMFG TRAVOLTA IS RUNNING FYC ADS FOR THE FANATIC the movie with a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. I swear to god this is not a bit. People made jokes about him doing this for Gotti last year and he actually did it asghfkj pic.twitter.com/RtPRVbeQBa
— Will Mavity @mavericksmovies November 13, 2019
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What is The Fanatic? It’s the latest cinematic work by filmmaker Fred Durst, who sources say is also a musician who goes by the name Limp Bizkit. For his third feature as director - his first since the 2008 family football The Longshot, starring Ice Cube - Durst tells of a troubled loner, played by the onetime Tony Manero, who stalks a popular actor, played by Devon Sawa, of the first Final Destination from the year 2000.
The Fanatic was given a limited release back in August, at which point it earned a mere 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. For RogerEbert.com, critic Brian Tallerico described the film as “ Rain Man meets Taxi Driver with a nod to Eminem’s “Stan” video,” and added, with backhanded praise, that “[t]he real shame is that you can almost see the much-better movie in Travolta’s performance when a glint of Moose’s bullied, wounded existence is allowed a second in his eyes before he’s directed back to the tics and stupid plot.”
Will history vindicate Travolta? Or will the Oscar campaign improbably work, leading Travolta to earn his third Oscar nomination, competing against the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Adam Driver, Antonio Banderas, and Robert De Niro, and for a performance where he combines a bowl cut with a backpack and Hawaiian shirt, looking like he could be seamlessly spliced into Tropic Thunder? If so, it would be the shot-in-the-arm his career needs, now that he mostly does thrillers about speedboats. Good luck, the onetime Vinny Barbarino!
Kevin Hart has always taken jabs for being a short guy, and that’s not going to stop anytime soon, especially now that he’s signing up to star in Die Hart, a new series on Quibi, the short-form streaming subscription service launching in April. Find out more about the Kevin Hart Quibi series below.
Variety says Die Hart clearly named after the 1980s action franchise RoboCop will follow Kevin Hart as a fictional version of himself who is sick of just being a comedic sidekick alongside Hollywood’s biggest action stars. So when he gets an offer to be the leading man of his own action flick from a famous director, he makes sure to train at the world’s greatest action school. The only problem is the coach is a complete lunatic, and that coach will be played by John Travolta.
While in action school, Hart will try to survive a series of “hilarious, over-the-top action sequences” while also dealing with a “tough-minded rival student.” Can he face his greatest fears and become the next big action star?
John Travolta hasn’t exactly been making the best decisions lately when it comes to movies. But the prospect of him going all-out as an insane action school coach sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Travolta has had no problem veering into comedy in the past, and teaming him up with Hart is an enticing prospect. I just hope the series doesn’t rely only on Kevin Hart’s frantic yelling, because that will get old fast, even in 10-minute increments.
It’s easy to see how this series can be cut down to the 10-minute episode format that Quibi is hoping will appeal to the younger, mobile generation. But again, with all that free content out there, are people really going to be willing to pay for a subscription like this?
Die Hart will be directed by Eric Appel, who has directed episodes for TV shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Happy Endings, The Office, New Girl, Silicon Valley, Workaholics, and more. He was also executive producer on the unfortunately short-lived but hilarious live-action and animated hybrid series Son of Zorn on Fox. Writing the script will be Derek Kolstad, the screenwriter behind the John Wick franchise, and Tripper Clancy, fresh off last year’s action comedy Stuber.
Die Hart also hails from Kevin Hart’s own Laugh Out Lout Network, so he’ll also be executive producing alongside the company’s president, Jeff Clanagan, who has been the comedian’s business partner for years now. Candice Wilson and Bryan Smiley will also be involved as executive producers.
Production on the series is supposed to begin next week, which might give them enough time to get some episodes together for Quibi before the service launches on April 6, but we’ll see how quickly it all comes together. If you’d like to...
The 2006 Oscars will forever be remembered as the infamous ceremony where “Crash” beat “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture. Ang Lee’s groundbreaking gay romance was the critical favorite and it won three of the eight Oscars it was nominated for that year: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. Headlining actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal both earned Oscar nominations for their performances. The actors were asked to present during the 2007 Oscars telecast, but Gyllenhaal revealed in a recent interview with Another Man magazine via NME that Ledger turned down the opportunity because it would mean making jokes at the expense of the gay “Brokeback” love story.
“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it,” Gyllenhaal said. “And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, 'Oh, okay... whatever.' I'm always like, ‘It's all in good fun.’ And Heath said, 'It's not a joke to me — I don't want to make any jokes about it.’”
Gyllenhaal, “That's the thing I loved about Heath. He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, 'No. This is about love. Like, that's it, man. Like, no.'”
Ledger was nominated in the Best Actor category but lost to “Capote” star Philip Seymour Hoffman. Gyllenhaal lost to George Clooney in “Syriana” for Best Supporting Actor. “Brokeback Mountain” marked the first Oscar nominations for both actors. Ledger would go on to be nominated and win his Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor race for his role as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” Ledger received the Academy Award posthumously. “Brokeback” remains Gyllenhaal’s sole Oscar nomination to date.
Gyllenhaal has previously spoken about Ledger’s disdain for “Brokeback Mountain” jokes, but this is the first time the actor has revealed his late co-star turned down the Oscars. Gyllenhaal told “Today” in July 2019 that “Brokeback” marked a pivotal moment in his career. “It opened tons of doors,” he said. “It was crazy. It was amazing. It's defined my career in different ways. [But the film] is bigger than me...It has become not ours anymore. It's the world's.”
Read Gyllenhaal’s latest interview in its entirety on the Another Man website.