Pauline Kael and Shane Black: The Beautiful and the Damned
Shane Black, the poster boy for overpaid Hollywood hacks, is set to write and direct his first film for producer Joel Silver. According to Done Deal, the specifics are as follows:
Title: Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang
Log line: A thief posing as an actor teams up with a tough-guy private eye and a frustrated actress. The three stumble upon a murder.
Writer: Shane Black
Agent: David Greenblatt at the Endeavor Agency
Buyer: Warner Bros. Pictures
Genre: Action Comedy
More: Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures will produce. Shane Black will make his feature directing debut. Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan will star.
Sounds like another classic Black film, fitting somewhere between The Last Boy Scout (a tough-guy private eye and a frustrated ex-quarterback try to solve a murder) and The Long Kiss Goodnight (a tough-broad former secret agent turned amnesiac mom and a frustrated detective try to solve the mystery of her past).
What bothers me is the title, which is boosted Pauline Kael‘s second book of movie reviews. Kael explained her title this way:
The words “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies. This appeal is what attracts us, and ultimately what makes us despair when we begin to understand how seldom movies are more than this.
(From Spicy Quotes)
One of Hollywood’s highest paid, most notoriously mediocre screenwriters lifting a title from the most respected film critic of all time? Not cool. Not even a little ironic.
Also, done, done, done, and done before.
Since she was smarter than I’ll ever be, I’ll give Pauline the last word, with this sideswipe at Black and Silver’s Lethal Weapon, by way of complimenting Jonathan Demme:
“Sometimes movies which you would think would be big box-office successes just don’t attract the wide audiences, either because of the way they’re promoted or because the audience is just drawn to Terminator and Lethal Weapon and doesn’t relate to the nuances of something like Married to the Mob or The Fabulous Baker Boys.”