Join us as we strap ourselves into a Jet Car and get our over-thrusters aimed at 1984 to look at the cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th dimension. Does this Action adventure, sci-fi romantic comedy get the formula right and hold up, or will we wish it never made it out of the 8th..or in this case 80’s dimension. Next we suit up and assemble for the Comic Book Juggernaut that is Marvels The Avengers, Does this long awaited franchise deliver on all the hype it has generated? Finally we head out over the Pacific on the haunted flight 7500. Does this look like it’s going to scare the bejesus out of us, or going to be another snakes on a plane? We also have news about Kick Ass 2, Django Unchained, and Avatar 2, 3, and 4?? All this and more on the 104th Reel of COL Movies “We Have a Hulk”
- Kick Ass 2 moving forward and moving studios.
- Another Big Star drops out of Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
- James Cameron gets serious about Avatar sequel
The Past: The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension (1984)
Rotten Tomatoes: 71% Fresh, 68% Audience
Director: W.D. Richter
Starring: Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin
- When it came time to film the end titles sequence, where Buckaroo and pals are walking around a dry L.A. aqueduct in step to the music, the music wasn’t ready. Composer ‘Michael Boddicker’ told the film crew to use “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel as a placeholder because it was the exact same tempo. Those scenes were filmed with “Uptown Girl” blaring from a boom box tied to the back of the camera truck.
- Overall concept and several names appear to be taken from the Doc Savage pulp magazines of the 30’s and 40’s: both main characters are multi-talented surgeons, adventurers, and musicians; and both have an inner circle of sidekicks with nicknames (Renny, Ham, Monk, Long Tom, and Johnny, compared to Reno, New Jersey, Perfect Tommy, and Rawhide).
- Jamie Lee Curtis played Buckaroo’s mother in a flashback, but this scene was cut. The scene is available on the recent DVD release as an optional prequel to the theatrical version, and as a special feature. Jamie Lee Curtis is visible in a photo on the dashboard of the jet car in the wide-screen version.
- The latitude and longitude recited by the technicians during the “alignment” of the Oscillation Overthruster are the coordinates of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
- The “oscillation overthruster” device reappeared as a “spectral analyzer” in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Pen Pals.”
- The US DVD release includes a caption portion entitled “Pinky Caruthers’ Unknown Facts”, which actually adds to the storyline and character development of the film.
- The “jet car” shown in the film (reportedly a 1982 Ford F-350 pick-up truck) included an actual Cold War-era General Electric turbo jet engine that was borrowed from Northrop University in Inglewood, California.
- The end of the movie invites the viewer to watch for the upcoming film “Buckaroo Banzai vs. The World Crime League”. This was the real title for a sequel that Sherwood Studios planned to make if this film had been successful. Unfortunately, it was a box-office bomb, and Sherwood Studios went bankrupt. After its release on video and cable, however, BB became a cult favorite, much in the same way as Mad Max (which crawled from obscurity to spawn two sequels). Legal wrangling due to the bankruptcy prevented any other studios from picking up the sequel rights, and even years later MGM had to fight through a pile of red tape simply to get the OK to release it on DVD.
- Some of the dialogue used in the Jet Car sequence is taken directly from Mission Control chatter heard during a shuttle launch countdown.
- In the original script, Buckaroo was supposed to have an arch enemy named Hanoi Xan, who was never seen but referenced to by Buckaroo and the other characters. All scenes containing dialogue regarding Xan were deleted from the film’s theatrical release but are now available on DVD. Xan was supposed to be the mysterious head of a crime syndicate called the World Crime League and also the man who murdered Buckaroo’s parents and wife Peggy.
- During the jetcar test, the computer screen that has the graphics shows three different words: SINED, SEELED, and DELIVERED.
- Lord John Whorfin’s line, “Character is what you are in the dark,” is a quote from the 19th Century evangelist Dwight L. Moody.
- Many names and terms were taken from Thomas Pynchon’s book “The Crying of Lot 49”, most notably the company name Yoyodyne. To this day, there is a yoyodyne.com, which serves as a fan site for the film. “Yoyodyne” itself was Pynchon’s thinly veiled reference to Rocketdyne, a major defense industry contractor and manufacturer of rocket engines, founded just after WW II to reverse-engineer German V-2 rockets – thereby also making this a further veiled reference to Pynchon’s novel ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’.
- When John Whorfin calls collect for John Bigboote, he tells the operator he is calling “Grovers Mill.” Grovers Mill was a real-life community in New Jersey which was used in Orson Welles’ famous radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds” and is now a part of West Windsor Township in Mercer county.
- The kanji lettering on Buckaroo Banzai’s headband as he drives the jet car reads “seikatsu-bi”, which appears to be Japanese, but does not make sense. The first two kanji mean living or lifestyle, but the second character, “bi” (not “bei” as has been reported elsewhere) or beautiful, does not add up to coherent Japanese. It seems to suggest the “beautiful life” but these 3 kanji together do not have a particular meaning in Japanese.
- Banzai’s mentioned but unseen foe Hanoi Xan seems to homage Hanoi Shan. In the genealogical section of Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (1973), Philip Jose Farmer added Hanoi Shan to the Wold Newton Universe. Hanoi Shan is an allegedly real-life criminal mastermind documented in the works of criminologist H. Ashton Wolfe. Farmer’s thesis was to make Hanoi Shan the same individual as Sax Rohmer’s totally fictional Dr. Fu Manchu.
- President Widmark is clearly intended to look and sound like Orson Welles, who directed and starred in the radio presentation of “War of the Worlds” referenced in the film.
- Between his escape from the insane asylum and his ransom call, the movie’s main villain, John Worfin, is not seen for more than 42 straight minutes – over 40% of the film’s runtime.
- On “At the Movies” in 1984 just before the film’s release, Gene Siskel correctly guessed that the movie would attain cult status.
- Both Peter Weller and John Lithgow went on to appear on the hit TV show Dexter. Lithgow played the Trinity Killer in season 4 and Weller played a corrupt cop in season 5.
- John Lithgow’s dialect coach, Roberto Terminelli, was actually a tailor on the Fox lot with a heavy Italian accent. John had Roberto speak his lines from the script into a tape recorder, which he then used to practice the accent. John then got him credit in the movie as the dialect coach for his help.
- What makes a movie a “Cult” movie.
- Positives: 24+/10- on Rotten Tomatoes: Oddball in a good way, offbeat way to poke fun at pop culture, pure nutty fun
- Negatives: Too many characters, non-flowing plot is hard to follow, comes off like being on a receiving end of an inside joke that you’re not an insider on, violates every rule of storytelling
What We Learned:
- Ford F-350’s make excellent jet cars despite them having the aerodynamic properties of a brick wall.
- No matter where you go, there you are.
- A quadrillionth has a lot of zeros
- Buckaroo Bonzai and the Hong Kong Caviliers sported hipster glasses before they were cool
- Don’t leave the keys in your helicopter
- There’s a long form and a short form declaration of war.
Jeff: Irreverent, weird, random, awesome. A classic 80’s sci fi comedy, I’d definitely recommend a look see.
Ray: Well, this is a movie that I have fond memories of, however it’s not really holding up to my expectations.. it is a quirky strange look into B sci fi movies of the 80’s though. It might be fun to watch with a group of friends who are old enough to remember this one… but not sure I’d recommend it to someone who’s never seen it before unless I know for sure this is their kind of movie.
Steve: Not my thing. Too schizophrenic for me. I find no real plot in this movie and it’s just not my cup of tea. Skip it unless you’re in the cult.
The Present: The Avengers
Rotten Tomatoes: 93% Fresh ; 96% Audience
Director: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson
- Edward Norton was originally set to reprise his role from The Incredible Hulk but negotiations between him and Marvel Studios broke down. Norton was replaced with Mark Ruffalo.
- The first Marvel film to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.
- Before Mark Ruffalo was cast as The Hulk, Joaquin Phoenix was rumored for the part.
- Morena Baccarin, Jessica Lucas, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Cobie Smulders screen tested for the role of Agent Maria Hill. Smulders was eventually cast.
- Lou Ferrigno voices the Hulk in this film. He has played the Hulk in almost every live-action version since 1978: he played the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk and its subsequent three TV specials, and he voiced the Hulk in the big-screen The Incredible Hulk (he was seen in Hulk but it was a cameo role as a security guard, which he repeated in The Incredible Hulk ). He also has voiced the Hulk in various animated productions.
- Chris Hemsworth had to increase and expand his dietary/food intake in order to maintain the physique he built up for Thor.
- Mark Ruffalo describes Bruce Banner as “a guy struggling with two sides of himself, the dark and the light; everything he does in his life is filtered through issues of control.” He furthermore describes Banner’s alter ego the Hulk as “a loose cannon – he’s the teammate none of them are sure they want, it’s like throwing a grenade into the middle of the group and hoping it turns out well!”
- Mark Ruffalo personally portrays the Hulk through virtual-camera motion-capture. Previous live-action versions have had Bruce Banner and the Hulk be played by separate people (Bill Bixby and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno), or had the Hulk rendered into the film in computer-generated imagery.
- Director Joss Whedon had earlier been considered to direct X-Men in the 1990s. A big fan of the X-Men, he even wrote a script, from which only two lines made it into the film.
- Producer Kevin Feige compares the film to Transformers: Dark of the Moon: “It set a standard for that level of ZOMG-awesomeness and scale. We’re working to try to outdo that.”
- Mark Ruffalo states it was an honour to take over as Bruce Banner from his friend Edward Norton: “Ed has bequeathed this part to me, I look at it as my generation’s Hamlet.”
- The Science and Entertainment Exchange provided a science consultation for the film.
- According to Joss Whedon, the film is strongly influenced by the early 1960s Avengers comics, which he was a fan of while growing up: “In those comics these people shouldn’t be in the same room let alone on the same team – and that is the definition of family.”
- Tom Hiddleston spoke of his role as Loki in an interview by saying, “I can tell you that it’s all of them against me. I am the super villain. So it’s Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Nick Fury forming a team because I’ve got so bad ass.”
- After Loki is brought on board the Helicarrier, Tony Stark can be seen wearing a Black Sabbath T-shirt. Black Sabbath is better known for their song “Iron Man.” Although the song was not originally associated with the Marvel Comics character, it has since been referenced in the comics and the end of Iron Man when Tony quotes the lyric, “I am Iron Man.”
- This film holds an unusually high number of Academy Award nominees in the cast/crew for a comic book movie, or most movies for that matter: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, director Joss Whedon, and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, possibly many others. This tops Iron Man 2, and Iron Man which each had four nominees a piece.
- The cast became good friends while filming so if all the actors happened to be filming scenes together in the same place, they would go out together after.
- Despite the fact that the studio had no involvement in producing the film, neither in marketing or distributing, the Paramount Pictures logo still appears in advertising. Despite Disney buying the distribution of Marvel films from Paramount (as Marvel is a Disney company), the latter studio will still receive partial box-office royalties for these projects. No reference to Disney is made until the very end of the closing credits, where “Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures” is credited for the film’s distribution.
- The film was converted to 3D during post-production for the theatrical release.
- Chris Evans once sent a text message to Clark Gregg simply saying “Assemble”, which is the tagline for the movie. Gregg stated that this was his favorite text message ever sent to him.
- Tony Stark describes his group as “Earth’s mightiest heroes, that kind of thing.” This refers to the bold label that has appeared on “The Avengers” comic books since its 1963 publication. The phrase has also been used as the subtitle for The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the most recent animated series before the live-action Avengers film.
- This is the second time that Bruce Banner/Hulk and Thor have appeared together in a movie. They previously appeared together in The Incredible Hulk Returns.
- According to director Joss Whedon, the original cut of the movie was over 3 hours long. There will be about 30 minutes of the excised footage included in the DVD Release, most of which revolves around Steve Rogers (Captain America). Whedon revealed that one of these scenes involved Rogers struggling to adjust to the modern world in his Brooklyn apartment and another revealed Steve Rogers’ reunion with Peggy Carter, his love interest from Captain America: The First Avenger.
- Tom Hiddleston revealed in an interview with the Guardian that the code name for the film early in its production was ‘Group Hug’.
- With Samuel L. Jackson’s role as Nick Fury in this film, he is now the second actor after Hugh Jackman (who has appeared in all X-men movies) to play the same comic book superhero in five different movies.
- The Chitauri appear in the first story arc of “The Ultimates,” an alternate universe retelling of the origins of the Marvel superheroes. In the comics, their leader claims that they go by many names, including Skrulls. The use of the Chitauri name in this film, over the more popular Skrull designation, stems from complicated legal rights issues resulting from the licensing of the “Fantastic Four” characters (the series in which the Skrulls originated) to Fox Studios. At the time of production, Fox held the rights to all theatrical film versions of the “Fantastic Four” and their related characters; as such, Marvel/Disney had to use the Chitauri name for the aliens, as to not offend the previous agreement with Fox.
- Thor spends most of this movie in his Asgardian armor but with bare arms, a nod to his early appearances in the comics. During his time on the Helicarrier, he is also seen without his cape, an allusion to his Ultimate Comics appearance.
- The movie basically holds true to the comic book origins, save that Nick Fury and SHIELD did not create the Avengers. Also, founding members Ant-Man/Goliath (Hank Pym) and Wasp (Janet Pym) were not cast (Ant-Man had not appeared in a previous Marvel film and, therefore, had not been established for movie-goers, and Wasp merely appeared in a small cameo in Thor).
- Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is from the Ultimate Marvel Universe created in 2000 to re-imagine and update the Marvel heroes for the 21st century. Fury’s likeness was actually based on Jackson, who gave Marvel permission to do so. Subsequently, based on that likeness and his star power, Jackson was cast as Fury for all Marvel superhero films owned by Marvel/Disney.
- Though Mark Ruffalo is the only actor not to appear in a previous Marvel Comics film as his character, Lou Ferrigno reprised his role as the voice of The Hulk from Edward Norton’s 2008 film. Ferrigno has voiced the hulk in virtually every incarnation since The Incredible Hulk television show with Bill Bixby in 1977. The exception is Ang Lee’s 2003 film Hulk version where Ferrigno played a security guard.
- Complex legal issues prevented a number of “Avengers” characters from their inclusion in this film. Most notably, these include Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch, the twin children of X-Men) villain Magneto, and frequent adversaries Doctor Doom (nemesis of the Fantastic Four) and Norman Osbourne/Green Goblin (the primary antagonist of Spider-Man). Though all characters are owned by Marvel/Disney, the “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four” characters had all been licensed to Fox Studios, and those of “Spider-Man” to Sony before work began on an “Avengers” film. Marvel has said that in the future they hope to regain the rights to all licensed properties, that the aforementioned characters might have a role in subsequent “Avengers” films.
- In the movie, Captain America is a founding member. In the comics, Captain America was unfrozen in Avengers #4 when he was accidentally discovered when the team was looking for Namor the Sub Mariner.
- To prepare for the role of Agent Clint Barton (Hawkeye), Jeremy Renner was trained by Olympic archers.
- The crew hired 25 members of the Ohio based 391st Military police force battalion for the attack on New York city scene to add realism for the battle.
- At the end all thats left of the Stark Tower sign is the letter A which reassembles the Avengers logo. In the comics Stark Tower later becomes the headquarters of the Avengers.
- The battle cry of the Avengers, “Avengers Assemble” was not spoken throughout the film. However Chris Evans would say it behind the scenes to call out the rest of cast via text message to hang out off the set.
- The final end credit scene was added after ‘Robert Downey Jr’. encouraged a rewrite of a previous scene. After Thor rips off Iron Man’s mask to reveal an unconscious Tony Stark, who had just fallen back to Earth, Tony originally awakens and asks, “What’s next?”. Robert Downey Jr. thought the line could be more interesting, and the idea of going to a local shawarma restaurant was born. The scene was added two days after the Hollywood premiere.
- The outdoor scenes which were supposed to take place in Germany, but were filmed in downtown Cleveland, contained numerous Cleveland Historical landmarks including; Tower City, Higbee Building & Casino, Renaissance Building, and the Soldiers & Sailors Monument.
- When they filmed the extra post credits scene after the premier, ‘Chris Evans (v)’ had to wear a prosthetic face to cover up the facial hair he had on his face that he needed for a film he was filming at the time. They also had him cover his face partially with his hands.
- The Avengers, while on the Helicarrier, realize that they are being turned against each other via mind manipulation from Loki. This happens when Banner unknowingly picks up the staff that Loki has with him and uses to both shoot and turn humans into his minions.. The tip of the spear has a blue sparkling crystal at the end that many believe is energy from the Cosmic Cube…this is false. It is actually the Blue Infinity Gem that allows the user to control others and enter the thoughts of others. It is part of Marvel’s “Infinity Gauntlet” which involves the Avengers taking on Thanos, the character seen during the credits. After a long war spanning dozens of Marvel comics issues (including a canceled story line) the Gems are dispersed among superheros and mutants after Iron Man and Steve Rogers reclaim them. In fact, one of the Gems makes it into rival DC Comics story lines and is given to Darkseid, who is the DC equivalent to Thanos.
- The “wishbone” section of the helicarrier where Banner’s lab is located is referred to in naval architecture as a “well deck”; it provides a sheltered docking area typically used for launching small boats or hover craft for carrying troops ashore.
- All the scenes filmed in Ohio were originally to be filmed in Michigan. Planned production was moved to Ohio when it was revealed that Michigan’s film tax rebates were going to be revoked.
- The first film to gross $200 million in its first three days in the USA.
- Loki is described as being a king in the world from which he came. Shortly after this is mentioned he appears in Stuttgart to gain access to the stores of iridium at a laboratory, aided by ‘bad’ Hawkeye. When The Avengers ask for Loki’s location, Loki is said to be at “22 Konigstrasse”. Konig is German for “king”.
- After Thor and Loki crash down on the mountain side, a large black crow flies by them as they are talking. In Norse mythology, their father, Odin, had two crows, Huginn and Muninn, who would bring Odin information from Midgard (Earth).
- Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders’s co-star from How I Met Your Mother, suggested to director Joss Whedon that he get Smulders to read for the part of Maria Hill. Hannigan had also worked with Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- A Shawarma is another name for gyro, correctly pronounced as “hero”.
- Stan Lee: the old man being interviewed at the end of the New York battle.
- The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
- Tom Hiddleston describes Loki in this film as having evolved since Thor: “How pleasant an experience is it to disappear into a wormhole that was created by some super-nuclear explosion of his own making? I think by the time Loki shows up he’s seen a few things and has bigger things in mind than just his brother and Asgard….”
- Loki brings the Chitauri alien race to Earth to help him invade it, thus requiring the Avengers to be formed to prevent this. This is in keeping with the comics, where Loki was also responsible for manipulating a chain of disasters which brought together the Avengers in the first place (incidentally, in the very first issue of their self-titled comic book series).
- The Hulk only speaks two words during the battle with the Chitauri when he slams Loki back and forth at Stark Tower and says “Puny god.”
- The Chitauri, the villainous alien race of this film, were the primary villains of the first volume of The Ultimates, a comic book re-imagining of The Avengers. Subsequently Loki was one of the primary villains of the second volume of The Ultimates, though his appearance had nothing to do with the Chitari.
- Favorite Fights?
- Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk
- Did you not like anything about this? Can someone explain to me whats up with the hulk?
- Do we want a Hawkeye or Black Widow Movie now?
- Positives: 263+, 18- on Rotten Tomatoes, great spectacle, Whedon knew where to take the characters, Performances by all the actors were solid, well conceived and fashioned toward its audience
- Negatives: (very few) Visual onslaught of too much computerized action, flat performances, seemed like Whedon was handcuffed too much by marketing execs to have characters and shots do certain things
What We Learned:
- Doors, especially cosmic ones, open from both sides.
- An ant has no quarrel with a boot.
- Freedom is life’s great lie
- War isn’t won by sentiment, it’s won with soldiers.
- The unspoken truth of humanity is that we all crave subjugation.
- Loki is a full tilt diva.
- Dr. Banner is ALWAYS angry.
- Sometimes to do great things, all you need is a little push.
Jeff: Holy mother fucking Jesus Christ. This movie has been touted as the best superhero movie of all time and they are not freaking kidding. I actually CHEERED when Hulk Smashed that first flying monster thing and was giggling through most of the battle sequence. This’ll be a repeat viewing I’m sure.
Ray: Wow, Joss Whedon needs to direct more comic book movies, I was skeptical.. how could a movie be getting this good of word of mouth? But it’s true, this is probably one of the best if not THE best comic book movie I have ever seen. It’s going to be interesting to see how The Dark Knight Rises holds up.
Steve: Amazing! Saw it twice…at the drive in and in 3D at the nice theater. It was smart, sassy, and very Joss Whedon. Also very good job at giving each hero about equal screen time so the actors didn’t go all Christian Bale on him.
The Future: 7500
Release: August 31, 2012
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Starring: Leslie Bibb, Ryan Kwanten, Amy Smart
The film follows a group of passengers who encounter what appears to be a supernatural force while on a transpacific flight.
- So of course the immediate reaction is.. So instead of snakes, we got ghosts on a plane.
Jeff: It’s a ghost horror movie. It’s just taking place on a plane. Yeah, thrilling. (sarcasm)
Ray: I’m a fan of the original Japanese Grudge and not so much the American version.. So I am sort of torn by this, I know ill probably see it at some point even if Steve or myself do not put it on the list for this show.
Steve: “Get these motherfucking ghosts off this motherfucking plane!” I’m so there!! 🙂