' ' Cinema Romantico: Another Walk Down Entertainment Weekly Fall Movie Preview Lane

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Another Walk Down Entertainment Weekly Fall Movie Preview Lane

Last week the truly grim-sounding entity IAC Dotdash announced that the six magazine titles it had acquired from Meredith Corp would cease print publication. That included Entertainment Weekly, the pop culture periodical that bloomed in the 90s and became essential reading for so many of us wannabe cinephiles, Lisa Schwarzbaum and Owen Gleiberman becoming the fourth and fifth movie critics I read semi-regularly after Roger Ebert and the Richards, Corliss and Schickel. EW’s discontinuing print is for all the usual reasons too disheartening to discuss (even as I post, these malevolent bastards continue bleeding out my hometown newspaper The Des Moines Register), which is why I would prefer to look reality straight in the eye and deny it, retreating into cozy, pitiful nostalgia. After all, reminiscing what’s lost and will never be again is at the top of my Skills on the resume, especially where Entertainment Weekly is concerned. 

Last year we took a trip down memory lane involving EW Fall Movie Preview covers of the past and I thought, why not pour one out for Entertainment Weekly by picking back up where we left off, at the turn of century. It turned out to be a wild ride. 


I seem to remember Tom Hanks showing up at the 2000 Oscars with the initial scraggly outlines of that beard and making everyone wonder what was up with his new look. But no, it was just the beginning of his “Cast Away” beard, back in those halcyon days when a movie about Tom Hanks being alone could land the cover of the foremost pop culture magazine rather than get buried on one of the 119 streaming services. 


Talk about a time capsule. Do the kids remember this celebrity relationship? Do people my age remember this celebrity relationship? Now, thank goodness, Pe and Tom are with their true soulmates: respectively, Javier Bardem and “Mission: Impossible” stunts, the way the universe always intended.


Marty gets the EW Fall Movie Preview hammer over LOTR, inconceivable today. Plus, take note of Reese Witherspoon is up there in the window on the right-hand side for “Sweet Home Alabama” which will become important in a moment. 


In retrospect it seems odd that Russell Crowe’s “Master and Commander” never got a sequel, but in retrospect doesn’t that also seem just glorious? This impeccably crafted, joyously watchable action-adventure as a one-off? 


Pour one out for the Oscar campaigns no one remembers. 


Three years after Reese was in the small window at the top for “Sweet Home Alabama” she was upgraded to the cover. This was her “Walk the Line” year, after all, winning the Oscar and coming on the heels of pulling down a cool $15 million for the second “Legally Blonde 2”, on top of the world, looking down on creation. 


Uh oh. Signs of Intellectual Property. But then, Daniel Craig as James Bond was as big a reason for the cover here as just James Bond.


Sometimes you don’t recognize the tipping point until you’re past it. Because it’s not just Reese here, getting the Fall Preview cover for the second time in three years. It’s how they pitch this issue with no movie names and just names of the starring actors. Angie and Will and Jodie and Brad and Nicole and Patrick Dempsey (wait, what, how’d he sneak in there?) and Julia and Denzel and Keira. Little did we know, the sun was setting on the stars. 


Because here comes that Wizard, what’s his name. I mean, really. Kate & Leo couldn’t get the cover? KATE & F***ING LEO??? This is the end. My only friend, the end. 


True story: every time I see “Twilight” showing on some tv channel I didn’t even realize I had I think to myself, “Oh, the one with Paul Newman and Gene Hackman (and Reese Witherspoon)?” It is never that “Twilight.”


Now as we enter the twenty-tens, the wheels truly fall off, following “Twilight” with “Harry Potter” again while Reese is shunted back to the little window and the era of endlessly trying to sell us Ryan Reynolds as something approximating a Movie Star has begun. 


And now we go back to “Twilight”, just trading covers with “Harry Potter” at this point, and Rooney Mara can’t even get the little window as “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” 


The “Twilight” saga again??? Are you kidding me??? Take one autumn off!!! His majesty, Daniel Day-Lewis, was The Great Emancipator!!! That didn’t warrant a cover???!!!


Phew. We really needed a reset. This’ll get the job done, like a parody of an EW Fall Movie Preview over as the real EW Fall Movie Preview cover. 


This isn’t just a parody of EW Fall Movie Preview covers, this is a parody of wedding photos. Savage.


Well, obviously. I mean, this feels more like a Summer Movie Preview issue but they released it when they released it and the golden goose was back. And though they return to just the names of the movie stars down there in the bottom right-hand corner, rendering those names in the same colors as the snow and the lightsaber just seems to make them fade into the background.


Right here, right now, in February of 2022, I have no idea what this movie even is. 




Gaga & Bradley became the hit of the awards circuit in 2019 when they kept cosplaying as Bruce & Patti in the “Tougher Than the Rest” video, but man...this cover goes to show that chemistry was already in full effect. 


Don’t Try and Make Me Grow Up (Before My Time) by New Order. 

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