FILM by Shane “Schadenfreude” Hnetka

Whee! Peter Jackson’s overblown, indulgent, eight-hour take on The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic 300-page children’s book is getting an extended, R-rated (?!?!) rerelease. Yes, for a limited time in October we can all torture ourselves with an extra 90 minutes of farting dwarves, flirting elves, nose-picking wizards and other bullshit that has nothing to do with Tolkien’s book.

I’d prefer an de-extended version, personally.

Make Mine Marvel

I shouldn’t feel such glee watching Fox’s rebooted Fantastic Four do a fantastic faceplant at the box office. Wait, yes I should. The new movie opened to terrible critic and audience reviews, and a piddly (for a supposed blockbuster) $26 million in North America — and Fox is taking a $60 million write-down on this stinker. Good. As a long-time Fantastic Four fan, I can’t help but feel the “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” keeps getting the short end of the adaptation stick. Fox’s dark, gritty spin completely misunderstands Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s characters and concept. Fantastic Four is a funny, sci-fi action-adventure series about a bickering super-powered family. Despite the studio’s insistence this is a difficult property, there’s no reason it can’t work. I seem to recall The Incredibles did okay.

Fox has no idea what to do with the FF. It’s time to send Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben home to Marvel where they belong.

The Clown Cries In 2025

Jerry Lewis has given his infamous movie The Day the Clown Cried to the Library of Congress, with the stipulation it won’t be screened for 10 years.

Background: in 1971, Lewis wanted to make a serious film (taking a break from his usual bad comedies), so he directed and starred in this holocaust-era tale about a German clown in a concentration camp who makes children laugh as they walk into gas chambers. The Day The Clown Cried had a troubled production: the producer ran out of money, forcing Lewis to finance the shoot. Screenwriter Joan O’Brien wasn’t paid beyond a $5,000 initial fee and, possibly worse, disowned the film. Threats of lawsuits flew. Still, Lewis finished The Day The Clown Cried.

Then he decided it was terrible, and locked the only copy in a safe.

Now there’s a chance The Day the Clown Cried will see the light of day. I hope it will. It would be interesting to watch.

Shane Hnetka is a Regina film and comic book nerd. He also writes Dog Blog’s weekly “Sunday Matinee” column at