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'Superman' Mocked by 'Clerks' Director

Kevin Smith | Dallas Austin | Brandon Routh | Odds and Ends

Superman Mocked by 'Clerks' Director

Superman is facing one indignity after another. Forget about the box office problem. The film dropped significantly yesterday, taking in an estimated $8.5 million on the actual Fourth of July. The total is now around $105 million for eight days (more or less) -- not exactly a speeding bullet.

On Saturday came a new smack in the Man of Steel’s face: a mocking video from the always witty Kevin Smith, director of the upcoming “Clerks II,” one of my favorite films from the Cannes Film Festival.

Smith, you may recall, was the first of many screenwriters who went to work on a script for "Superman." And, like the others, his was tossed aside.

But now, on Smith’s MySpace page, there’s a video ad for "Clerks II" in which the director takes aim at "Superman Returns" while promoting his own film.

It’s very funny, too. While John Williams’ "Superman" theme plays in the background, two puppets that are supposed to be Smith’s characters Randal and Dante making fun of the caped hero.

“If you only see one movie this summer,” Dante says.

“It will probably be 'Superman,'” responds Randal.

“Why in the hell would they want to do that?” Dante says. “It has zero polar bears and not one giant spider.”

After a pause, and Williams' fanfare, the Jay character asks Randal: “Can you read my mind?”

Of course, once Smith was off of the "Superman" project, a series of events unraveled. Brett Ratner came and went, and eventually "Superman" went to "X-Men 1 and 2" director Bryan Singer.

The result is the movie we have now, a kind of washed-out epic that doesn’t deliver and is a little witless in the end. Smith gets the last laugh: His "Clerks II," which opens July 21, should be an enormous indie hit.

To make sure that happens, Smith apparently has agreed to do something unusual: the first 10,000 MySpace members who add the “Mooby’s Presents Clerks II” page to their "friends" list will have their names added to the ending credits of the movie.

I don’t know exactly how this will happen, but it reminds me of a stunt for a Todd Rundgren album back in 1973, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. You sent in your name from his prior album and Rundgren included it on a poster for his “Todd” album. I did it; so did other fans. And I made sure to buy that album just to make sure my name was there.

Hip-Hop Producer Leaves Dubai

Hip-hop producer Dallas Austin is on a plane home this morning after spending a month in a Dubai prison. Sources tell me Austin and his lawyers left Dubai around midnight ET last night and should be back in Atlanta sometime this morning.

Sources in Dubai say Austin received a pardon Tuesday after a short trial on Sunday. Austin was arrested in May when cocaine and a variety of other drugs were found on him.

Dubai, like most countries, takes a dim view of drug possession. But officials there also want their little state to become the Las Vegas of the Middle East. So imposing a larger fine on Austin would have been more of a penalty to them than to Austin in the long run.

Austin went to Dubai for supermodel Naomi Campbell’s birthday party. At this rate, the words “Naomi Campbell” should send out warning bells to anyone associated with the beauty.

Superman's Family: Routh, Justice, Etc.

Newcomer Brandon Routh isn’t the only member of his family who’s latched onto the "Superman" marketing machine.

Introducing Sara Routh, the sister of the former “One Life to Live” actor.

Turns out that Sara is a singer-songwriter in the grand tradition of pretty young things with guitars. One of her songs, “You’re Never Gone,” is featured on a Rhino album dedicated to songs about Superman called “Sounds of Superman.” Is this nepotism? Sure, but why not? The song is good and fits in well with the other tracks, including a cover of REM’s “I Am Superman” by a group called The Academy Is..., and a cover of The Kinks’ “(I Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman” by The Sun.

Sara Routh isn’t the only member of the family to get some media attention from Brandon’s big summer. His uncle, Rodger Routh, an engineer for Des Moines' KCCI-TV, was made the official correspondent for the station at the Hollywood premiere. And Warner Bros. held a special screening in Des Moines so that Routh’s dad could raise money for his local chapter of Variety — The Children's Charity.

Dr. Phil Sees Aerosmith; Beatles Redux; Soul Samplings

The CBS Boston Pops special last night was one of the stranger shows seen in a while. Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were sizzling, but what a weird juxtaposition to have TV’s Dr. Phil and his wife host the show. Do the words “awkward payback” mean anything? It would have been more interesting to have Dr. Phil interview the extended Aerosmith family on his daytime show....

Seems like a few Hollywood celebs managed to make into The Beatles' Cirque du Soleil show without being detected. Personally, I did run into Natalie Portman as she scooted unobtrusively through the crowd. I did not see Billy Crystal or Paul Reiser, but their pictures are on WireImage, so add them in too. There was a sort of miscellaneous group including comic actress Jennifer Coolidge and Trivial Pursuit-answer Corey Feldman.

Neil Patrick Harris, aka Doogie Howser, had some kind of bad interaction with a TV reporter who called him “Doogie.” Where did some of these people come from? How did they get there? And where did they go when the show was over? I still have no idea!

Michael Richards, eternally Kramer from “Seinfeld,” did hang out later. He told me he was finished with TV and was now just doing stand-up comedy.…

Rhino (mentioned above) has two great new compilations from the Atlantic Records vaults. They’re called Atlantic Unearthed, and subtitled “Soul Sisters” and “Soul Brothers.” Don’t miss them. Each volume contains real gems that we don’t often hear including Dee Dee Warwick’s version of “Rescue Me” and Wilson Pickett’s “Can’t Stop A Man in Love.” Five-star stuff, friends....

Gone but not forgotten are two men who couldn’t have been more different: famed theater director Lloyd Richards, who put the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Conn., as well as the late playwright August Wilson on the map; and gentle comedian Jan Murray, who was part of the all-star lineup of a truly legendary generation that included Milton Berle, Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, et al.

The New York Times obit for Murray omitted a specific term for what these men invented. It was Jewish humor, and it was the foundation for early television including the Ed Sullivan and Red Skelton shows….