Celebrity Birthday of the Day – March 4

TBR’s resident comic critic Felan has held for quite some time that Hollywood would be a more interesting place if Paul W.S. Anderson swapped projects with Paul Thomas Anderson, and y’know, I think he might be on to something! Imagine P.T. Anderson’s Death Race alongside Paul W.S. Anderson’s Boogie Nights (starring his wife Milla Jovovich, of course). Hey, it could be awesome! Paul W.S. Anderson is an English film director who graduated from the University of Warwick as the youngest student to ever achieve a BA in Film and Literature. He made his directorial debut in 1994 with the film Shopping, starring Sean Pertwee and Jude Law as smash-and-grab thieves who crash cars into supermarkets. The following year he directed the film that would set the tone for the rest of his career: Mortal Kombat. While the big-screen adaptation of the popular fighting video game wasn’t exactly high-brow entertainment, it was a masterpiece compared to other early video-game-to-movie adaptations like Super Mario Bros., and was a big box office success. This allowed Anderson the freedom to make whatever project he wanted next, and that project was initially slated to be Soldier – a sort of spinoff set in the same universe as Blade Runner and starring Kurt Russell, but Russell was unavailable at the time, so Soldier was delayed while Anderson made Event Horizon. Event Horizon proved to be a box office bomb, even if it has since gone on to develop a cult following. Anderson made Soldier the following year, and it likewise tanked, forcing him to put his next movie – a remake of Death Race 2000 – on hold. In 2002, he directed the first Resident Evil movie (another video game adaptation), and it proved to be a commercial success. The series would go on to have several sequels, of which Anderson only directed the fourth: Resident Evil: Afterlife. In 2004, Anderson directed the much-anticipated Alien vs. Predator, and, more recently, he directed The Three Musketeers, which I named as my pick for worst movie of 2011. You might think after bestowing Anderson’s film with the title of “Worst of the Year”, that I might not like the guy’s work, but you’d be wrong. Much like Michael Bay, Anderson is all about testosterone-fueled, adolescent-pandering, explosive, mindless action, and I definitely think there’s a place for that kind of entertainment. Paul W.S. Anderson turns 47 today.

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