Thursday, August 02, 2007

Trainwreck Alert

How psyched are you to see Shortcut to Happiness? I know I'm pretty riled up.

You may not have heard of the movie, which is finally leaking out into theater(s) this weekend, even though it stars Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Or maybe you heard about it by its former title "The Devil and Daniel Webster" Or maybe, you heard about it a few years ago, and just forgot. It was filmed back in 2001. It's no Ishtar or Heaven's Gate or Town & Country, but in its own way, Shortcut to Happiness is a perfect little distillation of failure.

Once upon a time, this was a high-profile project. Adapted from Archibald Macleish's play Scratch, The Devil and Daniel Webster was a remake of the 1941 film of the same name and was to be Baldwin's directorial debut. He would star with the venerable Hopkins and the hot Jennifer Love Hewitt. They began filming in early 2001 and then . . . disappeared. Investors went bankrupt and the film was in such terrible shape that it was put in the vault.

Eventually, a company called the Yari Film Group ambled up and bought the rights to distribution. Yari edited the cut so drastically that Baldwin took his name off of the project--you'll see the director credit listed as "Harry Kirkpatrick." And now, after almost seven years, the movie is being released into six markets in a handful of theaters.

If you see it showing in your town, don't miss it.


The Editor at IP said...

Good catch! I had forgotten that this movie was coming someday. How old is it? Watch the trailer, and you'll recognize the voice of the late Calvert DeForrest as the bailiff:

A Typical Matt Love said...

It's too bad it isn't an Ishtar... the world needs more movies like that. It's a wonderful movie, and more and more people are waking up to the fact.

This 20th anniversary year is going to be a great year for Ishtar…
There is a documentary film about Ishtar fandom in the works, the
manager of the Ishtar fan website
( is putting together a tribute CD
featuring cover versions of songs from the movie, and possibly a US
release on DVD (something the heathen in Europe have been enjoying for years). So shake off that square world, get with the countdown, and blast off to Ishtar!