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Interview With Elvis Mitchell

Aired July 4, 2003 - 20:51   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: "Legally Blonde 2" is one of two potentially huge sequels that have opened just in time for the long holiday weekend. But is Elle Woods worth seeing the second time around? To help us out, I'm joined by Elvis Mitchell, he is a movie critic for "The New York Times." Elvis, thanks for being with us. Nice to meet you.
ELVIS MITCHELL, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I was hoping I could take the Statue of Liberty home with me tonight. It's a Gucci suit.

COOPER: "Legally Blonde 2."

MITCHELL: It's just more of the same. It's the kind of movie that put the "B" in subtle. You know what I mean? I mean, the movie you kind of -- people who sort of lost out on the kind of the nuances of the first one.

COOPER: And there were so many nuances to that. I enjoyed the first one.

MITCHELL: Who didn't? And the thing is, Reese Witherspoon is really a movie star. She's basically probably the first woman of her generation under 30 to just sort of take away from Julia Roberts.

COOPER: She's making like $15 million or something I read for this movie.

MITCHELL: She should be giving some of that back to us, a class action suit on this movie. It is a movie that should be a lot smarter than it is, because the first one is really very smart about making fun of those cliches about blondes being a beleaguered minority.

But this time around, you can figure out the jokes before they come around.

COOPER: That's too bad.

MITCHELL: It is just a really tacky movie.

COOPER: All right, let's talk about "Sinbad." It's an animated movie a lot of kids would probably want to go see. Now, first of all, when I first heard of this, I thought it actually would involve the comedian Sinbad, but I'm glad to hear it doesn't.

MITCHELL: No, you might actually wish it were the comedian Sinbad. That's the kind of movie it is. You think about all the actors with really expressive voices, who can really like make you think and just create a character with the way they talk, does the name Brad Pitt come to mind? You think about his best performance, it's probably playing that stoner in "True Romance." And he sort of has that kind of slow, arrogant -- the great thing about that voice is it kind of works in reaction to that amazing physique of his.

COOPER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). In your review, you said there is actually homoerotic subtext to it, which sounded kind of interesting, between Sinbad and all the guys in the boat.

MITCHELL: Well, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) very a long time. This is going to be a really great DVD, director's cut of this movie. But not one for really young kids.

COOPER: All right. "Terminator 3," so much hype around this thing. Is it the termination of Arnold's career?

MITCHELL: This one is just so boring, after a while you hope he terminates Article 2 so he can actually run for president. It is just more of the same. And the first two movies are really incredibly inventive; the second one, especially, for making him a hero instead of the villain. This one basically it's very confident about the car chases, but at this point he has had so much scientific abetment, he actually starts to look like a robot at this point. I mean, he can't move from the forehead up.

COOPER: Because the first two, I mean, I loved. The first one was kind of edgy.

MITCHELL: The first one is like an astonishingly good B movie. Really incredibly smart. And it makes fun of the fact that he's not an expressive actor. The second time around it makes fun of the fact that he's not an expressive actor, but this time he's the hero. And he's actually as an actor, you pardon the expression, he's a fairly remote figure, so it's kind of cool that they use everybody else around him to make him a sympathetic figure. This time around there is really nothing you can do. You kind of wonder, where is Edward Furlong.

COOPER: When you start wishing for Eddie Furlong, you know things are...

MITCHELL: Or Sinbad.

COOPER: That's right. Very briefly, the passing of Barry White today, obviously sad news. You've interviewed him a number of times.

MITCHELL: A couple of times. You know, you're talking about debunking American myths. One of the things he did in his remake of "Louie, Louie" is he sings the lyrics very clearly. So you hear it's not a dirty, kegger song and any of that kind of stuff. It is really this wonderful impassioned Jamaican love song. And it turns into a Barry White song. And it's really kind of smart. He did one of my favorite soundtracks, for a blaxploitation movie called "Together Brothers." And you hear it sampled in clubs, and I know the big CNN crowd, is a huge club crowd. But you hear it sampled all around. It's really a great soundtrack. He worked with this guy named Gene Page (ph), who helped him arrange a lot of stuff. And he did one of mine -- produced one of my favorite songs, "Love Jones," you know.

COOPER: Right. Yes. That's great.

MITCHELL: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He just really -- we will miss him enormously.

COOPER: Yes, he'll definitely be missed.

Elvis Mitchell, it was really a pleasure to meet you. I hope to see you again.

MITCHELL: Thank you.


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