There once was a wonderful actor named Anthony Hopkins —you might remember him. He starred memorably in Remains of the Day, Howards End, The Good Father and Shadowlands. He was the lead in Equus on Broadway. When he won the Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs, everyone crowed that he had been made to wait too long.
An actor named Anthony Hopkins opens this Friday in a comedy thriller called Bad Company. Shot in Prague by Joel Schumacher, Bad Company was once called Black Sheep. This Hopkins plays a CIA agent who convinces Chris Rock's previously unknown twin brother to take Chris's place when Chris is killed.
Of course, the twin is as different from Chris as night and day. The original was schooled, classy and sophisticated. The replacement is a street guy full of quips and raps.
Bad Company is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It's really and truly atrocious, more so than most bad movies. It's filmed like a music video, and acted like a ham sandwich.
Chris Rock does his shtick — which is very funny — while Hopkins and his CIA cohorts mope about in scenes from Mission Impossible 3. The whole thing seems like an extended trailer for a movie. There is no character development and little logic.
Is it fun? Yeah, sure. There are plenty of explosions, car chases, whatever. Chris Rock gets off some good one-liners. Does it make sense? Not a whit. Not a scintilla. Does it matter? I guess not.
There are some good things about Bad Company. First of all, Prague looks wonderful. The movie was shot there last spring and really, the city's panoramic views and medieval architecture come through beautifully.
Also, both Kerry Washington and Brooke Smith are standouts in small roles. But that's also like saying it was nice two of the eggs in the carton weren't smashed.
Anthony Hopkins cannot possibly need money this badly. If he does, I think he should see an investment counselor.
His choice of projects leaves a lot to be desired at this point: Hearts in Atlantis, The Edge, Instinct, Meet Joe Black and Hannibal were just bad enough. If his third try at Hannibal Lecter in Red Dragon continues him on this path, then Hopkins will have only himself to blame for undoing what should be a stellar reputation.
Eminem, the white rapper who hates his mom, his ex-wife and a lot of other people, has hit it big. And I mean BIG.
He sold 1.4 million copies of his new album, The Eminem Show, last week. By the end of next week he will have sold nearly 2 million copies of the CD since 285,000 were sold last week in a pre-release. Guess who's laughing all the way to the bank?
And that's not all. The tart-tongued vocabulary master Eminem (real name Marshall Mathers) stars in the fictionalized film version of his life, soon to be on the big screen.
Called 8 Mile, the film is directed by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys) and co-stars Kim Basinger. Universal, the same company reaping the benefits of the new album, will release it under the Imagine banner. Yes, the same Imagine owned by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.
Does Eminem have a beautiful mind? You decide. I can't repeat what he says about Lynn Cheney, along with a number of other people.
R.I.P.: So Many Good People
Too many good people have passed away in the last week or so, almost too many to mention. Among them: The New York Times's famous columnist Flora Lewis, the great novelist Lois Gould and Lew Wasserman, the Hollywood mogul who made Universal Pictures into a force with which to be reckoned.
Of course these are celebrated names we've seen in the paper over the course of time. We all suffer deaths in our private lives.
My dear cousin, Richard Friedman, was not famous. But in the mid-1960s he went down to San Juan, Puerto Rico and invested in radio stations. He married a wonderful Cuban woman, had two great kids, and was a real pioneer.
He loved Puerto Rico, taught himself Spanish and all the Puerto Rican dialects, and the people responded to him in kind. His only celebrity connection was that he was the first to feature Marc Anthony on radio down there, and helped give the singer the boost he needed to be a worldwide star.
Last Friday, sailing his beloved Catamaran, Dick died at sea. His boat capsized. It's an incalculable loss for our family.
He was our favorite cousin, a man who loved life and people. Dick was too young — 63 — to leave us, and I can tell you we are all a little mad about the whole thing. We've been denied the chance to get older with him, something we all looked forward to. He will be greatly missed.