MOTL presents a night in outerspace with MIIB

It was a great idea. For his third blockbuster flick, Will Smith starred in a ditty called Men In Black. It was also known as MIB, just as Smith’s previous summer venture was shortened to ID4 from Independence Day.

It was about a secret government agency that controls alien movement on Earth. Straight-laced Tommy Lee Jones was the agent who trained Smith to become one of the elite. The film allowed Smith to combine his music career with Hollywood to produce the film’s soundtrack, plus it gave an opportunity for the comic rapper-actor to say such lines as, “I make this look good.”

Smith is funny. The thought of Jones and Smith together fighting aliens is intriguing. The addition of Barry Sonnenfeld – director of Get Shorty and The Addams Family – should have been the final piece to a great puzzle.

Bottom line: the movie stunk. Sure, it made a lot of jack and a few people laughed. No doubt it shot Smith through the roof as one of the biggest stars working in Hollywood.

But then they did a sequel.

Granted, there were cameos from Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart – always good for a laugh – but Men In Black II, sorry, MIIB, didn’t quite cut it, either. Almost worse than Wild, Wild West – almost.

Smith had just done Ali. Jones doesn’t have a good excuse. After all, he did a sequel to The Fugitive, the flick for which he won an Oscar. Next summer, the former Fresh Prince will do Bad Boys 2. (Sigh.)

But that is Hollywood and the name of the game is making money, even if the product stinks.

And this is USF, where once a year there is Homecoming Week and a movie has to be chosen to appease the masses.

“We chose Men in Black II for the Movie on the Lawn during Homecoming Week because it was something we could have a lot of fun with,” said Ashley Foss, chairwoman for the Homecoming steering committee.

The fun to be had begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Crescent Hill, where a tug-o-war will take place. To fit in with the movie’s theme, green ketchup will be in the mud pit and other alien-type items will be present, Foss said.

The showing of MIIB at 9 p.m. will be preceded by a barbecue at 6 p.m. Foss said vegetarian foods will also be available.

Contact Will Albritton at oraclemovies@