MOV126: AcaAwkward!

In this reel of COL Movies, Jeff and Steve are riding as a twosome and reviewing one of the most classic horror films of all time – “The Exorcist”. From there, it’s off to hear the acapella awesomeness of “Pitch Perfect”. In trailer-world, they talk about the teaser for “The Host”, coming out in 2013. It’s a slow news week because The Walking Dead premieres tonight, so…it’s the 126th Reel of COL Movies – “AcaAwkward!”

News:

  • Nada mucho

The Past: The Exorcist
Rotten Tomatoes 87% Fresh; 83% Audience

Director: William Friedkin

Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair

Trivia:

  • Ellen Burstyn received a permanent spinal injury during filming. In the sequence where she is thrown away from her possessed daughter, a harness jerked her hard away from the bed. She fell on her coccyx and screamed in pain.
  • The archaeological dig site seen at the beginning of the movie is the actual site of ancient Nineveh in Hatra, Iraq.
  • The first scene to be shot was of a distressed Karras pacing the corridors of Bellevue psychiatric hospital, agitatedly discussing with his uncle his mother’s incarceration.
  • The refrigerated bedroom set was cooled with four air conditioners and temperatures would plunge to around 30 to 40 below zero. It was so cold that perspiration would freeze on some of the cast and crew. On one occasion the air was saturated with moisture resulting in a thin layer of snow falling on the set before the crew arrived for filming.
  • Christian evangelist Billy Graham claimed an actual demon was living in the celluloid reels of this movie.
  • The language lab scene was filmed in a room in the basement of Keating Hall on Fordham University’s Bronx campus. The same room was used as a Pentagon office in A Beautiful Mind.
  • When originally released in the UK a number of town councils imposed a complete ban on the showing of the film. This led to the bizarre spectacle of “Exorcist Bus Trips” where enterprising travel companies organised buses to take groups to the nearest town where the film was showing.
  • The statue of “Pazuzu” was accidentally sent to Hong Kong, before arriving on location in Iraq.
  • In the scene in the language lab, a white banner is visible with the following letters TASUKETE written in red. TASUKETE means “Help me” in Japanese.
  • A filmgoer who saw the movie in 1974 during its original release fainted and broke his jaw on the seat in front of him. He then sued Warner Brothers and the filmmakers, claiming that the use of subliminal imagery in the film had caused him to pass out. The studio settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
  • If adjusted for inflation, this would be the top grossing R-rated film of all time.
  • This is Warner Brothers’ highest grossing film of all time when adjusted for inflation.
  • While he was writing the novel, William Peter Blatty was collecting unemployment benefits.
  • This was the film in which makeup legend Dick Smith hired Rick Baker as his assistant.
  • There were three separate beds built to do three separate movements.
  • The original teaser trailer, which consisted of nothing but images of the white-faced demon quickly flashing in and out of darkness, was banned in many theaters, as it was deemed “too frightening”.
  • The actual residence in Georgetown that is used for the exterior shots has a rather large yard between it and the infamous steps. The window that leads to Regan’s room is at least 40 feet from the top of the steps. This distance would make it impossible for anyone “thrown” from the window to actually land on the steps. In the movie, set decorators added a false wing to the house, so that Regan’s supposed window would in fact be close to the infamous steps.
  • The bedroom set had to be refrigerated to capture the authentic icy breath of the actors in the exorcising scenes. Linda Blair, who was only in a flimsy nightgown, says to this day she cannot stand being cold.
  • The substance that the possessed Regan (Linda Blair) hurls at Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) is thick pea soup. Specifically, it’s Andersen’s brand pea soup. The crew tried Campbell’s but didn’t like the “effect.”
  • On the first day of filming the exorcism sequence, Linda Blair’s delivery of her foul-mouthed dialogue so disturbed the gentlemanly Max von Sydow that he actually forgot his lines.
  • Linda Blair injured her back when a piece of the rig broke as she was thrown about on the bed.
  • Linda Blair received her Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination before it was widely known that previous Supporting Actress winner Mercedes McCambridge had actually provided the voice of the demon. By Academy rules once Blair was given the nomination it could not be withdrawn, but the controversy about Blair being given credit for another actress’ work ruined her chances of winning the award.

Talking Points:

  • Still Scary?
  • The Soundtrack
  • Children

What We Learned:

  • The Power of Christ compels you!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Maybe it’s just an out of time sort of thing but I just found this movie boring. It wasn’t scary at all. I do see some of the merits of it being a good movie at the time but I think I’ll pass on this one. Still watchable so if it comes up to watch it somewhere, I will.
Steve: Classic…not as scary as it used to be, but classic lines, characters, and sets the standard for a genre. See it!

The Present: Pitch Perfect
Rotten Tomatoes 77% Fresh; 88% Audience

Director: Jason Moore

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson

Trivia:

  • One of the movie’s lines refers to being “pitch slapped.” Kelley Jakle competed on The Sing-Off with the Backbeats, and one of their opponents was Pitch Slapped.
  • The movie was filmed throughout campus and inside buildings at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • A special screening of the film was held on 25 September 2012 at the LSU Student Union Theater because parts of the movie were filmed on LSU’s campus. The turnout for the screening was so great that only a little more than half of the students in line got in to see the movie. The producer saw that there were more students wanting to see the film and allowed a second showing immediately following the first.
  • The role of Gail was originally written for Kristen Wiig but she declined due to scheduling conflicts. Elizabeth Banks, one of the film’s producers, eventually took the role.
  • The film is based on Mickey Rapkin’s non-fiction novel Pitch Perfect. Rapkin, senior editor at GQ magazine, spent a season covering competitive collegiate a cappella. He followed the groups from Tufts University, the University of Oregon, and the University of Virginia, writing about the singing, groupies, partying and rivalries.
  • Two members of the a cappella community, Ed Boyer and Deke Sharon, both in Rapkin’s book, were brought on board to arrange songs, produce vocals and act as on-site music directors

Talking Points:

  • Rebel Wilson
  • The music

Critic Notes:

  • Positives: fun, saucy, snarky, good music, mild satire, interesting characters, shows how serious the world of collegiate acapella is – while not realizing how odd it is from those on the outside
  • Negatives: tries too hard to be funny, music is boring, choreography is bad

What We Learned:

  • Nothing makes a woman feel more like a girl than a man who sings like a boy.
  • Even though some of us are pretty thin, we all have fat hearts, and that’s what counts.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I enjoyed this movie primarily for the music. Everything else was . . . meh. This is a worth see on rental but wouldn’t be bad in the theater if you’d like to see it there. I think the soundtrack was worth it.
Steve: Enjoyed about 95% of the movie…that 5% just made me feel oddly uncomfortable. Otherwise, the music is great and it’s just fun with some wacky characters – very acapella.

The Future: The Host

Release: March 29th, 2013

Director: Andrew Niccol

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, William Hurt

Summary:

A parasitic alien soul is injected into the body of Melanie Stryder. Instead of carrying out her race’s mission of taking over the Earth, “Wanda” (as she comes to be called) forms a bond with her host and sets out to aid other free humans.

Talking Points:

  • From the writer of “The Twilight” saga

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: You get alot more information from the written synopsis then you get from the trailer. Which could be a good or bad thing. Personally, Since it’s based on a book by Stephanie Meyer, it’s an immediately turn off, despite the fact it sounds intriguing
Steve: Has an interesting concept. More sci-fi than Twilight, so it will be interesting to see where it goes. Looking forward to a full on trailer with more plot, though. However, the teaser itself is intriguing.

The Past: 28 Days Later

The Present: Frankenweenie

The Future: Lincoln

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