TV & FILM
brian-mcgee - February 1, 2018
Remember Friday? Of course you do, it's a classic. What makes that movie great? The cast. Hey, how about Straight Outta Compton? Good stuff, right? You know why? The cast. You know what else those movies have in common? Director F. Gary Gray, whose hits have all been thoroughly incidental to his involvement.
Well, the director of 2003's The Italian Job, 2005's Be Cool (one of the worst sequels ever made), and 2017's Fate of the Furious (arguably the worst film in the series), is in talks to direct the next Men in Black movie. According to Deadline, the job is his for the taking, it's just not a totally done deal until they get F. Gary Gray to sign on the line that is dotted.
The franchise, until now, has been directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, former Coen Brothers cinematographer and the helmer of 1995's Get Shorty, the film to which Be Cool was a sequel. It's inarguable that Get Shorty has the better cast, but a big part of the reason the film succeeds is because of its director, who understands how to shoot and stage comedy. Be Cool was so awful because the cast was just left to do whatever they could to make thoroughly unfunny setups into comedy gold. News flash, they failed spectacularly.
Men in Black is not some sacred cow franchise. The first movie is great, the second one is lazy as hell, and the third is mostly very good but it's covered in flop sweat because it's trying so hard. I'm not worried that F. Gary Gray is going to come in and ruin this sacred cow of genre filmmaking. He'll likely make a serviceable movie that will make lots of money.
Instead, what I'm suggesting is giving this franchise to someone who understands comedy. The comedy is obviously what set this franchise apart from the rest as it lived in an overtly comical world. F. Gary Gray is going to come in and muck up the comedy and amp up the action and it'll be a totally forgettable movie that keeps the brand alive in audiences' minds. Why not try and reinvent it a bit in the comedy direction? Find a director that understands comedy—like Taika Waititi for Thor: Ragnarok—and have some fun with it.
I guarantee you that doing something new, fun, and original would be substantially more beneficial to the future of the franchise than just doing more of the same. Again. Also, and this is just a question for the movie snobs out there. Is F. Gary Gray the son of F. Murray Abraham?
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