MOV125: “Heeeere’s Johnny”

The boys kick off their month of scary movies with the King and Kubrick classic “The Shining”. In theaters, they head out to see the time travel action thriller, “Looper”. From there, it’s off to the trailer park for the 2012 remake of “Red Dawn”. In movie news we ask if you’re ready for a “Hungry Hungry Hippos” movie, if you’d care if “The Wizard of Oz” was converted to 3D, and whether or not “Lincoln” has any influence over your Presidential vote. It’s the 125th reel of COL Movies: “Heeeeere’s Johnny!”

News:

The Past: The Shining (1980)
Rotten Tomatoes 88% Fresh; 91% Audience

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd

Trivia:

  • During the making of the movie, Stanley Kubrick would occasionally call Stephen King at 3:00 a.m. and ask him questions like “Do you believe in God?”
  • Stephen King was first approached by Stanley Kubrick about making a film version of ‘The Shining’ via an early morning phone call (England is five hours ahead of Maine in time zones). King, suffering from a hangover, shaving and at first thinking one of his kids was injured, was shocked when his wife told him Kubrick was really on the phone. King recalled that the first thing Kubrick did was to immediately start talking about how optimistic ghost stories are, because they suggest that humans survive death. “What about hell?” King asked. Kubrick paused for several moments before finally replying, “I don’t believe in hell.”
  • The Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon was used for the front exterior, but all the interiors as well as the back of the hotel were specially built at Elstree Studios in London, England. The management of the Timberline requested that Stanley Kubrick not use 217 for a room number (as specified in the book), fearing that nobody would want to stay in that room ever again. Kubrick changed the script to use the nonexistent room number 237.
  • Stanley Kubrick decided that having the hedge animals come alive (as they do in the book) was unworkable due to restrictions in special effects, so he opted for a hedge maze instead.
  • There is a great deal of confusion regarding this film and the number of retakes of certain scenes. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the scene where Wendy is backing up the stairs swinging the baseball bat was shot 127 times, which is a record for the most takes of a single scene. However, both Steadicam operator Garrett Brown and assistant editor Gordon Stainforth say this is inaccurate – the scene was shot about 35-45 times. Brown does say however that the scene where Hallorann explains to Danny what shining is was shot 148 times, which is a world record.
  • Stanley Kubrick considered both Robert De Niro and Robin Williams for the role of Jack Torrance but decided against both of them. Kubrick didn’t think De Niro would suit the part after watching his performance in Taxi Driver, as he deemed De Niro not psychotic enough for the role. He didn’t think Williams would suit the part after watching his performance in Mork & Mindy, as he deemed him too psychotic for the role. According to Stephen King, Kubrick also briefly considered Harrison Ford.
  • Stephen King tried to talk Stanley Kubrick out of casting Jack Nicholson in the lead suggesting, instead, either Michael Moriarty or Jon Voight. King had felt that watching either of these normal-looking men gradually descend into madness, would have immensely improved the dramatic thrust of the storyline.
  • The scrapbook that Jack finds in the novel makes a brief appearance next to his typewriter in the scene when Jack tells Wendy never to bother him while he’s working.
  • Jack Nicholson ad-libbed the “little pigs” dialog towards the end of the film.
  • During the scene where Wendy brings Jack breakfast in bed, it can be seen in the reflection of the mirror that Jack’s T-shirt says “Stovington” on it. While not mentioned in the film, this is the name of the school that Jack used to teach at in the Stephen King novel.
  • Stanley Kubrick, known for his compulsiveness and numerous retakes, got the difficult shot of blood pouring from the elevators in only three takes. This would be remarkable if it weren’t for the fact that the shot took nine days to set up; every time the doors opened and the blood poured out, Kubrick would say, “It doesn’t look like blood.” In the end, the shot took approximately a year to get right.
  • During filming, Stanley Kubrick made the cast watch Eraserhead, Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist to put them in the right frame of mind.
  • All of the interior rooms of The Overlook Hotel were filmed at Elstree Studios in England, including The Colorado Lounge, where Jack does his typing. Because of the intense heat generated from the lighting used to recreate window sunlight (the room took 700,000 watts of light per window to make it look like a snowy day outside), the lounge set caught fire. Fortunately all of the scenes had been completed there, so the set was rebuilt with a higher ceiling, and the same area was eventually used by Steven Spielberg as the snake-filled Well of the Souls tomb in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • The Louisville Slugger baseball bat with which Wendy Torrance bludgeons Jack is signed by Carl Yastrzemski, Hall of Fame Red Sox player. Author Stephen King is a huge Red Sox fan.
  • Every time Jack talks to a “ghost”, there’s a mirror in the scene, except in the food locker scene. This is because in the food locker scene he only talks to Grady through the door. We never see Grady in this scene.
  • According to Stephen King, the title is inspired by the refrain in the Plastic Ono Band’s song, “Instant Karma” (by John Lennon), which features the chorus: “We all shine on.”
  • At the time of release, it was the policy of the MPAA to not allow the portrayal of blood in trailers that would be approved for all audiences. Bizarrely, the trailer for The Shining consists entirely of the shot of blood pouring out of the elevator. Stanley Kubrick had convinced the board the blood flooding out of the elevator was actually rusty water.
  • Because Danny Lloyd was so young and since it was his first acting job, Stanley Kubrick was highly protective of the child. During the shooting of the movie, Lloyd was under the impression that the film he was making was a drama, not a horror movie. He only realized the truth seven years later, when, aged 13, he was shown a heavily edited version of the film. He didn’t see the uncut version of the film until he was 17 – eleven years after he’d made it.
  • The throwing around of the tennis ball inside the overlook hotel was Jack Nicholson’s idea. The script originally only specified that, “Jack is not working”.
  • Outtakes of the shots of the Volkswagen traveling towards the Overlook at the start of the film were plundered by Ridley Scott (with Stanley Kubrick’s permission) when he was forced to add the ‘happy ending’ to the original release of Blade Runner.
  • The “snowy” maze near the conclusion of the movie consisted of 900 tons of salt and crushed Styrofoam.
  • Stanley Kubrick’s first choice to play Danny Torrance was Cary Guffey, the young boy from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Guffey’s parents apparently turned down the offer due to the film’s subject matter.
  • Billie Gibson, the old woman in the tub, has been falsely rumored to be Ann Gibson, Mel Gibson’s late mother.
  • Neither Lia Beldam (young woman in bath) nor Billie Gibson (old woman in bath) appeared in another movie before or after this one.
  • There were so many changes to the script during shooting that Jack Nicholson claimed he stopped reading it. He would read only the new pages that were given to him each day.
  • Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind wrote and performed a full electronic score for the film, but Stanley Kubrick discarded most of it and used a soundtrack of mostly classical music. Only the adaptation of Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” during the opening credits, the music during the family’s drive to the hotel, and a few other brief moments (such as Halloran’s plane trip) survive in the final version. Wendy Carlos once noted that she’d like to see the original score released on CD, but there were too many legal snags at the time. As of 2005, Carlos’ score for the film has been remastered, and is a part of “Rediscovering Lost Scores Volumes 1 and 2”.
  • For the scene in which Jack breaks down the bathroom door, the props department built a door that could be easily broken. However, Jack Nicholson had worked as a volunteer fire marshal and tore it apart far too easily. The props department were then forced to build a stronger door.
  • Anjelica Huston lived with Jack Nicholson during the time of the shooting. She recalled that, due to the long hours on the set and Stanley Kubrick’s trademark style of repetitive takes, Nicholson would often return from a day’s shooting, walk straight to the bed, collapse onto it and would immediately fall asleep.
  • Prior to hiring Diane Johnson as his writing partner, director/producer Stanley Kubrick rejected a screenplay written by Stephen King himself. King’s script was a much more literal adaptation of the novel, a much more traditional horror film than the film Kubrick would ultimately make. He was considering hiring Johnson because he admired her novel “The Shadow Knows,” but when he found out she was a Doctor of Gothic Studies, he became convinced she was the person for the job.
  • The making-of documentary shot by Vivian Kubrick shows that the hedge maze set, while nowhere near as large as the maze in the film (which was mostly a matte painting), was still large and complex enough to require a detailed map. In the commentary for her documentary, she notes that many crew members really got lost in the maze, dryly noting that it now reminds her of the lost-backstage scene in This Is Spinal Tap.
  • There was no air conditioning on the sets, meaning it would often become very hot. The hedge maze set was stifling; actors and crew would often strip off as much of the heavy clothing they were wearing as quickly as they could once a shot was finished.
  • Tony Burton, who had a brief role as Larry Durkin the garage owner, arrived on set one day carrying a chess set in hopes of getting in a game with someone during a break from filming. Stanley Kubrick, an avid chess player who had in his youth played for money, noticed the chess set. Despite production being behind schedule, Kubrick proceeded to call off filming for the day and engage in a set of games with Burton. Burton only managed to win one game, but nevertheless the director thanked him, since it had been some time that he’d played against a challenging opponent.
  • Stanley Kubrick wanted to shoot the film in script order. This meant having all the relevant sets standing by at all times. In order to achieve this, every soundstage at Elstree was used, with all the sets built, pre-lit and ready to go during the entire shoot at the studios.
  • To construct the interiors of the Overlook, Stanley Kubrick and his production designer, Roy Walker purposely set out to make it look like an amalgamation of bits and pieces of real hotels, rather than giving it one single design ethic. Kubrick had sent many photographers around the country photographing hotel rooms and picking his favorite. For example, the red men’s bathroom was modeled on a men’s room in the Biltmore Hotel in Arizona designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Colorado lounge was modeled on the lounge of the Ahwanee Hotel in the Yosemite Valley. Indeed, the chandeliers, windows and fireplace are nearly identical, so much so that people entering the Ahwahnee often ask if it’s “the Shining hotel”.
  • Steadicam operator Garrett Brown accomplished many of the ultra-low tracking corridor sequences from a wheelchair on which his invention was mounted. Grips would either pull backward or push forward the wheelchair, depending on the requirement of the shot
  • In the party scene, Stanley Kubrick told the extras to mouth their words.
  • One of the shots in the part where Jack is bouncing a ball against a wall took several days to film. This was because the shot entailed the ball bouncing from the wall onto the camera lens as it filmed. As Stanley Kubrick was so determined to get this precise shot, the camera kept rolling while the ball was continually hit against the wall in the hope of it bouncing back and hitting the lens. It took everyone on the entire unit having a go at it in between other shots before the shot was finally achieved after several days.
  • The famous opening scene was shot in Glacier National Park in Montana just north of St. Mary’s Lake. The road seen in the scene, Going-to-the-Sun Road, does actually close down during winter and is only negotiable by snowcat. Kubrick initially sent a second unit to the Rockies in Colorado, but they reported back that the area wasn’t very interesting. When Stanley Kubrick saw the footage they had shot, he was furious, and fired the entire unit. He then sent Greg MacGillivray, a noted helicopter cameraman, to Montana and it was McGillivray who shot the scene.
  • This was voted the ninth scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
  • The movie’s line “Here’s Johnny!” was voted as the #68 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100), and as the #36 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” by Premiere in 2007.
  • Much like the casting of the “Jack” character, Stephen King also disliked the casting of Shelley Duvall as “Wendy.” King said that he envisioned Wendy as being a blond former cheerleader type who never had to deal with any true problems in her life making her experience in the Overlook all the more terrifying. He felt that Duvall was too emotionally vulnerable and appeared to have gone through a lot in her life, basically the exact opposite of how he pictured the character.
  • The film was released in the United States on star Scatman Crothers’ 70th birthday.
  • The role of Lloyd the Bartender was originally to have been played by Harry Dean Stanton, who was unable to take the part due to his commitment to Alien.
  • Scatman Crothers was a friend of Jack Nicholson’s, and when he heard about the Halloran role, he asked Nicholson to talk to Kubrick about casting him.
  • The two tracked vehicles in the movie are the Activ Fischer VW Powered 4 Speed Snow-Trak (referred to and labeled on the vehicle as a “SnowCat”) and a Thiokol Imp Snow-Cat (this is the vehicle Wendy and Danny escape in).
  • During an interview for the UK’S The 100 Greatest Scary Moments, Shelley Duvall revealed that due to her role requiring her to be in an almost constant state of hysteria, she eventually ran out of tears from crying so hard. To overcome this she kept bottles of water with her at all times on set to remain hydrated.
  • The image of the two girls in the hotel corridor was inspired by the photograph “Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967” by Diane Arbus.
  • First film of Manning Redwood.
  • Approximately 5000 people auditioned for the role of Danny over a six-month period. The interviews were carried out in Chicago, Denver and Cincinnati by Stanley Kubrick’s assistant Leon Vitali and his wife, Kersti. Aspiring actors were asked to send in photographs of themselves, and from the photographs, a list was made of the boys who looked right, who were then called in to interview. Vitali would then have the boys do some minor improvisation on camera, and Kubrick would review the footage, gradually narrowing the list down.
  • According to Variety magazine, the film took almost 200 days to shoot. However, according to assistant editor Gordon Stainforth, it took much more, nearly a year. The film was originally supposed to take 17 weeks, but it ultimately took 51. Because the film ran so long, Warren Beatty’s Reds and Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark were both delayed as they were both waiting to shoot in Elstree Studios.
  • When Steadicam inventor/operator Garrett Brown was hired to work on the picture, he was assured that there was no way the shoot would run over six months, as he had to be back in the US in six months time to shoot Rocky II. Six months into the shoot, less than half the film had been shot, and for several months, Brown worked one week in London on “The Shining,” one week in Philadelphia on “Rocky,” commuting by Concorde every Sunday.
  • To achieve the smoothness of the opening shots, cameraman Greg MacGillivray secured a wide angle Arriflex camera to the front of a helicopter, then balanced the blades to remove any vibrations. Even the shot where the camera comes down behind the car, passes it out, and goes over the edge is done via the helicopter.
  • The idea for Danny Lloyd to move his finger when he was talking as Tony was his own; he did it spontaneously during his very first audition.
  • For the scenes when we can hear Jack typing but we cannot see what he is typing, Kubrick recorded the sound of a typist actually typing the words “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Some people argue that each key on a typewriter sounds slightly different, and Kubrick wanted to ensure authenticity, so he insisted that the actual words be typed.
  • The maze was constructed on an airfield near Elstree studios, by weaving branches to chicken wire mounted on empty plywood boxes. The maze was shot using an extremely short lens (a 9.8mm, which gives a horizontal viewing angle of 90 degrees) which was kept dead level at all times, to make the hedges seem much bigger and more imposing than they were in reality.
  • The only shot in the film not achieved in-camera was the slow zoom in on the model of the maze, with the tiny figures of Danny and Wendy walking around at the center. To achieve this shot, a model of the maze was shot from six feet above. Then the small central section of the maze was built to scale next to an apartment complex. Actors Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd then walked about in the central section whilst the camera crew filmed it from the roof of the apartment building. The two shots were then simply composited together.
  • The shot of the tennis ball rolling into Danny’s toys took 50 takes to get right.
  • The scene of Hallorann approaching the hotel in the snow-cat was shot in real snow approaching the real Timberline hotel in Oregon.
  • The scene towards the end of the film, where Wendy is running up the stairway carrying a knife, was shot 35 times; the equivalent of running up the Empire State Building.
  • The 1921 photograph at the end of the film was a genuine 1920s photo, with Jack Nicholson’s head airbrushed onto the body of another man. Stanley Kubrick originally planned to use extras and shoot the photo himself, but he realized he couldn’t make it look any better than the real thing.
  • Despite receiving generally unfavorable reviews upon its initial release, the film is today regarded as one of the best horror movies ever made. In 2001, it was ranked 29th on AFI’s ‘100 Years…100 Thrills’ list. In 2003, Jack Torrance was named the 25th greatest villain on the AFI’s ‘100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains’ list. The film was named the scariest film of all time by Channel 4 in 2003, and Total Film had it as the 5th greatest horror film in 2004. Bravo TV placed it 6th on their list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments in 2005. In addition, film critics Kim Newman and Jonathan Romney both placed it in their all-time top ten lists for the 2002 Sight and Sound poll.
  • Jack mentions Portland, Maine to Lloyd in the bar. Portland, Maine is where Stephen King grew up.
  • Despite Stanley Kubrick’s fierce demands on everyone, Jack Nicholson admitted to having a good working relationship with him. It was with Shelley Duvall that he was a completely different director. He allegedly picked on her more than anyone else, as seen in the documentaries Making ‘The Shining’ and Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures. He would really lose his temper with her, even going so far as to say that she was wasting the time of everyone on the set. She later reflected that he was probably pushing her to her limits to get the best out of her, and that she wouldn’t trade the experience for anything – but it was not something she ever wished to repeat.
  • James Mason can be seen visiting the set of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining in Vivian Kubrick’s TV documentary Making ‘The Shining’. Stanley Kubrick did not usually allow visitors to his set, but made an exception for Mason, who had memorably played Humbert Humbert for him in Lolita.
  • Stephen King didn’t know that ‘redrum’ spelled murder backwards until he actually typed it. He loved the various connotations of the word.
  • Wendy swings the baseball bat 41 times.
  • According to Shelley Duvall the infamous ‘Heere’s Johnny!’ scene took 3 days to film and the use of 60 doors.
  • On the DVD commentary track for Making ‘The Shining’, Vivian Kubrick reveals that Shelley Duvall received “no sympathy at all” from anyone on the set. This was apparently Stanley Kubrick’s tactic in making her feel utterly hopeless. This is most evident in the documentary when he tells Vivian, “Don’t sympathize with Shelley.” Kubrick then goes on to tell Duvall, “It doesn’t help you.”
  • Stanley Kubrick had envisioned Shelley Duvall as his more timid, dependent version of Wendy Torrance from the very beginning. However Jack Nicholson after reading the novel, wanted Jessica Lange for the part of Wendy, and even recommended her to Kubrick, as he felt she fit Stephen King’s version of the character. After explaining the changes he had made, Kubrick convinced him that Duvall was the correct choice, as she best suited the emotionally fragile Wendy he had in mind. Many years later, Nicholson told EMPIRE magazine he thought Duvall was fantastic and called her work in the film, “the toughest job that any actor that I’ve seen had.”
  • This film was shot in the same film studio that was used for Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. In fact, much of the same fake snow used for this film was used for the Hoth scenes. Stephen King visited the set of both films, and met director Irvin Kershner. This later became the basis for part of his book “It.” Kirshner had been nicknamed “Kersh,” and was directing the first Star Wars film to feature Yoda. In the book, It, there is a character named Mrs. Kersh, who we are told sounds like Yoda when she talks.
  • The outtakes link between this movie and Blade Runner was not the only element that connected the two. Actor Joe Turkel who plays Lloyd (the bartender who serves Jack), also played Dr. Eldon Tyrell in Blade Runner. Outtakes aside, Turkel is the only other common cast/crew link between both films.
  • The two Ray Noble and His Orchestra songs used were not actually from the 1920s: “Midnight, the Stars and You” (played in the ballroom) was recorded Feb 16, 1934, and “It’s All Forgotten Now” (heard faintly when Grady is talking to Jack in the bathroom) was recorded July 11, 1934.
  • Shelley Duvall is the only actor/actress playing a member of the Torrance family whose character name is not the same as his/her real life name – Jack Nicholson plays a character named Jack and Danny Lloyd plays a character named Danny.
  • For a TV commercial in 2010 for “Premier Inn” hotels (UK), British comedian Lenny Henry re-enacted Jack Nicholson’s “Heeere’s Johnny” scene (“Heeere’s Lenny”) in which he demolished a hotel bathroom door with an ax.
  • Despite the critical success of the film, it was nominated for two Golden Raspberry awards: Worst Actress for Shelley Duvall and Worst Director for ‘Stanley Kubrick’. It “lost” both awards.
  • There is a character named Richard Haloran in the film Dementia 13, about an axe murderer. It was produced by Roger Corman, who directed several of Jack Nicholson’s early films.
  • One of ‘Stanley Kubrick”s favorite films was Eraserhead, directed by David Lynch. Kubrick cited the film as a creative influence during the making of The Shining and screened Eraserhead to put the cast and crew in the mood he wanted to achieve for the film.
  • When Jack uses an axe to break through the bathroom door, he shouts “Here’s Johnny”. This is probably a reference to the catchphrase of chat-show host Johnny Carson. However an alternative explanation is that it is a reference to an incident that occurred in the 1960s when Johnny Cash used a fire axe to break a connecting “doorway” between two motel rooms that he and his band members were using while on tour, and then broke through one of the doors from the corridor to make it look as if a thief had broken in and trashed the rooms.
  • Stephen King got the idea for The Shining while his family were staying at the Stanley Hotel. They were the last guests before it shut down for the Winter. He saw a group of nuns leaving the hotel, and it got him thinking that the place had suddenly become godless. The King family stayed in Room 217, the haunted room in the novel but Room 237 in the film; a fire hose also resembled a snake (which doesn’t appear in the film but does in the TV mini-series), and King had already been playing around with a story idea about a boy with ESP, so he combined the two plotlines.
  • Jack tells Lloyd in the bar that Danny once messed around with his work papers. This mirrors an event in Stephen King’s life, when his son once started playing around with his writing notes. He felt like killing him.
  • The first of Stephen King’s books to be banned from school libraries because of the theme of wicked parents.
  • The script was constantly changing on set, sometimes several times a day. The cast got very irritated by this, especially Jack Nicholson. Whenever the production team would give the cast copies of the script to memorize, Jack Nicholson would throw his away without even looking at it, as he knew that it was only going to change again.
  • The book that Jack was writing contained the one sentence (“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”) repeated over and over. Stanley Kubrick had each page individually typed. For the Italian version of the film, Kubrick used the phrase “Il mattino ha l’ oro in bocca” (“He who wakes up early meets a golden day”). For the German version, it was “Was Du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf Morgen” (“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today”). For the Spanish version, it was “No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano” (“Rising early will not make dawn sooner.”). For the French version, it was “Un ‘Tiens’ vaut mieux que deux ‘Tu l’auras'” (“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”).
  • Kubrick originally wanted approximately 70 takes of the scene where Halloran (Scatman Crothers) gets killed by Jack Torrance, but Jack Nicholson talked Kubrick into going easy on the 69-year-old Crothers and stopping after 40. At one point during the filming, Crothers became so exasperated with Kubrick’s notorious, compulsive style of excessive retakes that he broke down and cried, asking “What do you want, Mr. Kubrick?”
  • Director Trademark: (Stanley Kubrick):[Bathroom] Wendy hides from Jack in a bathroom during Jack’s ax attack.
  • When first released, the film had an alternate ending: after the shot of Jack’s body, the film dissolves to a scene of policemen outside the hotel. It then cuts to a scene in a hospital, where Wendy is resting in a bed and Danny is playing in a waiting room. Ullman arrives and tells her that they have been unable to locate her husband’s body anywhere on the property. On his way out, Ullman gives Danny a ball – the same one that mysteriously rolled into a hallway earlier in the film, before Danny was attacked in room 237. Ullman laughs and walks away and the film dissolves to the move through the corridors towards the photo. Stanley Kubrick had the scene removed a week after the film was released.
  • Danny croaks “Redrum” 43 times before his mother wakes up and Jack starts to break into the apartment.
  • There is only one on-screen murder in the film.
  • The scene where Jack is chasing Danny through the maze took over a month to shoot. During the shoot, crew-members often found themselves lost and had to walkie-talkie for assistance.
  • Alcohol consumption was a federal crime between 1919 and 1933. The year Jack appears to have photographed for the last scene (1921), and the year President Warren G. Harding (in the book) ordered a case of Coors Beer from the bar (1922) would have occurred during Prohibition.
  • Stephen King was reportedly disappointed in this film. In an interview in the June 1986 issue of American Film he said “It’s like a great big beautiful Cadillac with no motor inside, you can sit in it and you can enjoy the smell of the leather upholstery – the only thing you can’t do is drive it anywhere. So I would do everything different. The real problem is that Kubrick set out to make a horror picture with no apparent understanding of the genre. Everything about it screams that from beginning to end, from plot decisions to the final scene”. In particular, King disliked the casting of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance. This was because he felt that in the novel, it was pivotal that Jack is initially a good man who is slowly overcome by the forces of evil and who is fighting a losing battle against alcoholism. King was of the opinion that due to the casting of Nicholson, who was well known for playing unstable characters, Jack in the film is very much on the edge when the story begins, and the character does not possess the inner goodness so vital to Jack of the novel. King wanted to cast someone who could play the character as more genial in the early stages; apparently he was very keen on Jon Voight. He was also hugely disappointed that the themes of the evils of alcoholism and the disintegration of the family unit were relatively unimportant in the film due to his own battle with alcoholism and because of this personal investment in that aspect of the novel he was largely disheartened by the film.
  • In the novel, The Shining, Dick Hallorann survives (though Jack attacks him with a croquet mallet, not an axe), and he, Wendy, and Danny escape together.
  • In the novel, Wendy is first attacked by Jack with a croquet mallet; in the movie, she serves the first blow to Jack with a baseball bat. Even more ironically, he never strikes her at all throughout the entire film; he becomes violent and homicidal with only one other character.

Talking Points:

  • Still Scary?
  • The Soundtrack (Done by Wendy Carlos of Tron fame)
  • The horror of it being all in the mind and not a “typical” horror film – more scary?

What We Learned:

  • Some places are like people, some shine and some don’t.
  • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I’ve always appreciated this movie, and other Stanley Kubrick movies for it’s technical value. The acting was great, the cinematography was great but the problem I have with it is its pacing. I always feel a little bored when watching this movie. It’s a movie for your what you haven’t watched and should see list, but it’s not on my rewatch list.
Carlos: My siblings and I would watch this film every time it was on, which happened always to be on Saturdays right before midnight. It succeeds because it is a slow paced horror film – it is one about atmosphere and tension. The entire film builds to the end when the craziness happens. It is also a masterwork of imagery, not fancy complicated, but powerful images that stop you dead and work into you. Everyone who has ever seen The Shining is affected by it, and that’s impressive even 30+ years later.
Steve: I’ve always liked this movie, but not loved it. It’s probably just that I was waaay to young to understand it as a kid and today it just seems to drag along. However, I love just about anything Stephen King puts out there and when put together with an epic director like Stanley Kubrick I would expect nothing less than a classic. Innovative and truly scary because it’s “all in your mind”.

The Present: Looper
Rotten Tomatoes 94% Fresh; 90% Audience

Director: Rian Johnson

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

Trivia:

  • This movie marks the third collaboration between director Rian Johnson and lead actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the first being Brick, and the second being a quick cameo in The Brothers Bloom as a bar patron with guitar
  • Emily Blunt revealed that she agreed to star in the movie after reading half of the script. She didn’t even know what her character was.
  • The incredibly large “Gat” pistols are actual production firearms, and not just a prop created for the film. It is a Magnum Research BFR (Big Frame Revolver) chambered in .45-70 Government, a rifle round originally adopted by the U.S. military in 1873. The BFR weighs roughly 4.5 pounds.
  • Bruce Willis fires two modern-looking submachine guns in one scene. These are examples of the FN P90, designed and manufactured by FN Herstal in Belgium.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt had prosthetics to make him look more like Bruce Willis in order to play his younger self. He also watched a lot of Bruce Willis films in preparation for the role so that he could impersonate some of his mannerisms.
  • Numbers are never shown on clocks/watches throughout the movie. Either symbols or no numbers are used on the clock-faces.
  • According to director Rian Johnson, Noah Segan (Kid Blue) took a number of classes to learn how to spin his GAT gun around his finger. Johnson told Entertainment Weekly that he filmed numerous takes of Segan spinning the 8-lb gun, but ended up using the one take where he accidentally flubbed and nearly dropped it, because Johnson thought it was funny.
  • A diner was built in the small town of Thibodaux, LA (about an hour north of New Orleans) where all of the diner interior/exterior scenes were shot. Locals saw the diner set and kept asking the film crew on when the new diner was going to open. Director Rian Johnson was later told that the diner set was still standing after Hurricane Isaac moved through in September 2012.
  • The scene where Young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) falls off the fire escape was filmed on the actor’s 30th birthday. Gordon-Levitt was left hanging on the stunt wires while the crew sang “Happy Birthday” and wheeled out birthday cake.

Talking Points:

  • Was it what you thought it would be?
  • There is always something scary about children with powers

Critic Notes:

  • Positives: Original and fresh; Clever dialogue; There is enough left unexplained that the viewer has to contribute his or her own interpretation; Interesting characters
  • Negatives: The time travel aspects were not well defined and just seemed to be affectations; Too many things going on just made it mind-numbing

What We Learned:

  • Time travel will be invented 30 years from now.
  • Time travel fries your brain like an egg.
  • In the future, don’t go to Paris – go to China.
  • Never let your target escape, even if it’s you.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I’m assuming this was awesome and when I do see it, I expect to love it.
Carlos: I was amazed. Having the time travel movie be a shell for an entirely different story was mind-bendingly brave. There were a few images/moments in this movie that made me squeal. The time travel isn’t deeply thought through because 1. it just makes your brain hurt and 2. it’s a way of telling this particular story. Rian Johnson is one of my favorite films, as Brick is like nothing you’ll ever see, but this movie really blew me away in how ballsy and interesting it becomes from about halfway in.
Steve: I didn’t really know what to expect going in, so I found the story and plot twists very interesting and different. Definitely an action and cerebral thriller in one, so it sucked me in. All in all, kudos for an original concept!

The Future: Red Dawn

Release: November 21, 2012

Director: Dan Bradley

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson

Summary:

A town in Washington becomes the initial target of a foreign invasion. Under enemy occupation, the town’s citizens are taken prisoners. A group of young people, calling themselves ‘The Wolverines’ (after their high school mascot), band together in the surrounding woods. There, they train and organize themselves into a group of guerrilla fighters in order to liberate their town

Talking Points:

  • Necessary?
  • Significance of changing to North Koreans? (1984 was Russia, Cuba & Nicaragua)
  • Timing – we were not “at war” when the first came out so it was a gut check

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Good little modern take on a classic movie. In some sense I wish they would have called it something different or not make it a “remake”. Maybe mentioned the inspiration for it, but not really being a remake. Does that make any sense?
Carlos: Lost him!! 🙁
Steve: I always loved the original, so again this will be something from my childhood that’s being redone with a new spin. I’m going to give it the opportunity to be good, but I don’t think I’ll have the same visceral reaction I did when I was younger.

The Past: The Exorcist

The Present: Pitch Perfect

The Future: The Host (2013 – Saoirse Ronan)

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MOV104: “We Have A Hulk”

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”

News:

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

Trivia:

  • ​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.

Talking Points:

  • ​What makes a movie a “Cult” movie.

Critic Notes

  • 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.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
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.

Intermission: Flickchart

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

Trivia:

  • 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.

Talking Points:

  • ​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?

Critics:

  • 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.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
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

Summary:

The film follows a group of passengers who encounter what appears to be a supernatural force while on a transpacific flight.

Talking Points

  • So of course the immediate reaction is.. So instead of snakes, we got ghosts on a plane.

Trailer:

Excitement:
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!! 🙂

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV101: “Bring down the walls of Jericho!”

It’s the one hundred and first reel of COL Movies where the boys start off with 1934’s “It Happened One Night” A movie that shows up on not one, not two, not three, but 4 of AFI’s top films list. Does this one stand the test of time and earn its place on those lists in our eyes? From a romantic comedy to a movie that seems to defy typical classification we head to “The Cabin In the Woods” Did it hold up to our expectations or blow them out of the water. Last but certainly not least we head to the not so distant future to check out Seth MacFarlane’s directorial debut “Ted”. Does the idea of a foul mouth walking talking teddy bear get our fur up? All that plus news about Movie Studios, Mockingjays, Mercenaries and more on this reel of COL Movies: Bring down the walls of Jericho!

News:

The Past: It Happened One Night (1934)
Rotten Tomatoes: 97% Fresh, 92% Audience

Director: Frank Capra

Starring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly

Trivia:

  • Robert Montgomery turned down the male lead, saying the script was the worst thing he had ever read.
  • Director Frank Capra came up with the idea about “the walls of Jericho” because Claudette Colbert refused to undress in front of the camera.
  • This was the first film to win the Oscar “grand slam” (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Screenplay).
  • When Clark Gable showed up for work on the first day, he reportedly said grimly, “Let’s get this over with.”
  • Claudette Colbert only wears four different outfits throughout the course of the film: a flimsy nightgown at the beginning, her traveling suit, Clark Gable’s pajamas, and her wedding dress.
  • While shooting the scene where he undresses, Clark Gable had trouble removing his undershirt while keeping his humorous flow going and took too long. As a result the undershirt was abandoned altogether. It then became cool to not wear an undershirt which resulted in a large drop in undershirt sales around the country. Legend has it that in response, some underwear manufacturers tried to sue Columbia
  • Was the first film to win both the Academy Award and National Board of Review Award for the Best Picture.
  • The first of only three films to win every major Academy Award, including Best Picture. The Last Emperor and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  • When director Frank Capra asked Claudette Colbert to expose her leg for the hitchhiking scene, she at first refused. Later, after having seen the leg of her body double, she changed her mind insisting that “that is not my leg!”
  • Is often credited as the very first screwball comedy
  • Columbia Pictures was considered a Poverty Row studio at the time of the film’s release. Both MGM and Warner Brothers would lend out temperamental actors to Columbia as a ‘humbling experience.’ Studio boss Harry Cohn, who was loath to pay for his own roster of contract stars during the early 30’s, would invariably assign them to work on Frank Capra’s films. Although the studio had received Oscar nominations prior to this picture, its success virtually single-handedly lifted Columbia out of the ranks of poverty row.
  • Clark Gable gave his Oscar for It Happened One Night to a child who admired it, telling him it was the winning of the statue that had mattered, not owning it. The child returned the Oscar to the Gable family after Clark’s death.
  • she was so convinced that she would lose the Oscar competition in 1935 to write-in nominee Bette Davis, that Claudette Colbert decided not to attend the awards ceremony. When she, contrary to her belief, won that year for her performance in It Happened One Night she was summoned from a train station to pick up her Oscar.

Talking Points:

  • the original runaway bride?
  • The first “Screwball” comedy?
  • The portrayal of the media and differences today

What We Learned:

  • Don’t sit on newspapers with white pants.
  • You could smoke a pipe on a bus back in the day
  • You gotta be too careful with who you hit it up with
  • Darn clever those armenians
  • Watch out for road thieves.
  • Women, the colder they are, the hotter they get.
  • No two men undress the same way
  • When hitchhiking, show a little leg.

Trailer

Recommendations:
Jeff: Maybe it’s just me, but this just felt like a typical movie of these times. I didn’t feel anything special about it. I just liked it. Good old timey movie. It was good. Yeah.
Ray: This is another one of those archetypal stories… of two polar opposites finding each other while on a journey. It was entertaining and enjoyable. If you’re into old movies it’s a fun one, not boring at all. Rent it and watch it on a night in for two.
Steve: OK, I will admit that I was entertained. However, still very old school and misogynistic, which annoyed me.

The Present: The Cabin In the Woods

Rotten Tomatoes: 92% Fresh; 81% Audience

Director: Drew Goddard

Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford

Trivia:

  • Shot in 2009, but not released until 2012
  • Amy Acker and Fran Kranz both had roles on Joss Whedon’s latest television series Dollhouse. Tom Lenk had a recurring role on Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as appearing on the spin-off series, Angel, in which Acker also had a regular role.
  • The project began filming in March 2009 and completed on May 29, 2009 shooting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Joss Whedon co-wrote the script with Cloverfield screenwriter Drew Goddard, who also directed the film, marking his directorial debut. Goddard previously worked with Whedon on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as a writer.
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on November 3, 2010, but the movie will still be released as one of MGM’s last pre-Spyglass films in development; the film will be released in April 2012.
  • It was slated for wide release on February 5, 2010 and then delayed until January 14, 2011 so the film could be converted to 3D. However, on June 17, 2010, MGM announced that the film would be delayed indefinitely due to ongoing financial difficulties at the studio.
  • On March 16, 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported the following: “New (MGM) chief executives Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum are seeking to sell both (a) Red Dawn (remake) and the horror film The Cabin in the Woods, the last two pictures produced under a previous regime, as they try to reshape the 87-year-old company.”
  • On July 20, 2011, Lionsgate announced that they had acquired the distribution rights to the film and set a release date of April 13, 2012.
  • On the white board in the control room when the staff are taking bets on the victims potential killers, both “Deadites” as well as “Angry Molesting Tree” are listed. These are obvious references to the The Evil Dead films which also featured a cabin in the woods.
  • Immediately after an early preview screening with fan Q&A, the first question Director Drew Goddard was asked was, “Will there be a sequel?” To which he responded, “Have you seen the ending to my movie?”
  • Among the possible choices on the facility’s betting board are the following: Werewolf, Alien Beast, Mutants, Wraiths, Zombies, Reptilius, Clowns, Witches, Sexy Witches, Demons, Hell Lord, Angry Molesting Tree, Giant Snake, Deadites, Kevin, Mummy, The Bride, The Scarecrow Folk, Snowman, Dragonbat, Vampires, Dismemberment Gobllins, Sugarplum Fairy, Merman, The Reanimated, Unicorn, Huron, Sasquatch/Wendigo/Yeti, Dolls, Zombie Redneck Torture Family, The Doctors, Jack O’ Lantern, Giant, and Twins.
  • In the tie-in book The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion, Joss Whedon says that Hadley and Sitterson represent the writers of this movie, Drew Goddard and Whedon himself.
  • Among the various possible monsters on the control room white board, one of them is just listed as “Kevin.” Although Kevin is never seen, in the tie-in book The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion co-writer Drew Goddard said that Kevin was meant to be “a sweet-looking guy who seemed like he might work at Best Buy–until he dismembers people.”
  • During the rampage, one of the monsters that is briefly visible is a Reaver, the main monsters in Whedon’s cult TV show “Firefly”

Talking Points:

  • So, was it what you expected?
  • our original excitement:
  • Jeff: Yeah, I’ll pass.
  • Ray: I’m there… I love that the trailer straight up calls out the fact that you think you’ve seen this movie..and then slaps you in the face with something unexpected.
  • Steve: Looks like it’s going to be just like Friday the 13th, then takes an updated spin. I love Joss Whedon, so I am clearly going to be there!
  • Anyone else hoping it was Cthulhu?
  • Sigourney cameo
  • “options” – after seeing the options, would you have rather seen something else than the zombies?
  • The reason for the delay 2009-2012: 3D conversion: The film’s release date was postponed because the studio wanted to convert it to 3D, despite objections from Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. These plans were eventually scrapped, and the film was released only in 2D.
  • Polarizing movie – why don’t people like it? (some wanted pure horror…thought some of the “tricks” were hokey…thought it was too comedic)
  • Interesting blog comparing “Cabin” to “Buffy

What We Learned:

  • Cops will never pull over the car with a giant bong in it.
  • Never play truth or dare when you’re in a cabin in the woods.
  • Make sure you go into the cellar door that opens randomly when you’re all sitting around in an unfamiliar house.
  • One way mirrors are cool.
  • Zombies.and Zombie Redneck Torture Family are entirely separate things. It’s like the difference between an elephant and an elephant seal.
  • Asian children under 10 are much smarter than American college students when dealing with paranormal monsters, and will kick your ass.
  • Uncreative people work in maintenance.
  • You can die with them, or die for them.
  • Do NOT read the frickin’ LATIN.
  • The Virgin’s optional as long as she dies last.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Honestly, I have a little bit of conflicting emotions about this movie. I really liked it, especially Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins scenes, but it also felt a little flat. It’s definitely worth a look see. Just don’t expect that scary of a movie.
Ray: I’ve always said I love movies that do something you don’t expect. Of course the trailer hints at something.. I felt sort of like I was watching a really cool Twilight Zone episode. Definitely worth going to see! I will own this.
Steve: Definitely enjoyed it! Totally unique and felt very “Buffy” and “Angel” to me. Did several things I didn’t expect, even if they were almost too crazy. Joss did not disappoint me!!

The Future: Ted

Release: July 13, 2012

Director: Seth MacFarlane

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane

Summary:

John, a perfectly normal Boston native whose childhood wish for his teddy bear to come to life comes true. The bear (Ted) remains his best friend well into his adult years. Conflict emerges when Ted’s irresponsible and vulgar slacker lifestyle comes in the way of John’s attempt to embrace his adulthood and the woman of his dreams, Lori.

Talking Points

  • Seth MacFarlane directing!

Regular Trailer:

Red Band Trailer #1:

Red Band Trailer #2:

Excitement:
Jeff: You know, I’m totally excited to not see this movie. It’s going to be hysterical and brilliant. I hope everyone else goes to see it. If this was in a movie draft, I’d probably pick it up for 10 Jeffery Jeffersons.
Ray: What can I say? it’s got a dirty foul mouthed stuffed teddy bear… Voiced by Seth Macfarlane. How could I NOT be excited to see it ?
Steve: When the trailer started, I will admit I gave a huge eyeroll…but then it grew on me. I don’t know if I want to rush out to see it, but seems like I’d enjoy and it would definitely be something different. The effects – especially the interactivity between people and Ted – look awesome!

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV089: “Give the Boo-Boo a kiss and make it better”

It’s the 89th reel of COL Movies, where the boys go back in time to revisit Martin Scorsese’s “epic” “Raging Bull”. Did the combo of DeNiro and Pesci hold our interest for 2 and a half hours? In the theater, they head to check out Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire”. Can Crush from the American Gladiators carry a big budget movie? And in trailers, they check out “A Cabin In the Woods” from Cloverfield’s writing team of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. Will they pack the theater with another “young adults in peril” flick? All this and our thoughts on the 2012 Oscar Nominations. It’s the 89th reel of COL Movies…”Give the boo-boo a kiss and make it better.”

News:

The Past: Raging Bull (1980)
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% Fresh, 92% Audience

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty and Joe Pesci

Trivia:

  • When Paul Schrader was working on the script, he put in numerous shocking moments such as Jake LaMotta masturbating and dipping his penis into a bucket of ice. Schrader later admitted that the film held less personal significance to him than it did for Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese and he added the shocking material just to see what he could get past the studio. Ultimately, the masturbation was cut and, instead of putting his penis into the ice, La Motta pours the ice down his underwear.
  • Mardik Martin wrote the most traditional, linear script for the film (more of a traditional Jake La Motta biography), but backed off on the project due to exhaustion after months of research. Paul Schrader made several changes to the script, including making, Joey La Motta, Jake’s brother, the second most prominent character (by combining his actions with that of Jake’s friend, ‘Peter Savage’) and starting the story in the middle of La Motta’s career rather than at the beginning. Although they kept Schrader’s overall structure, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro spent 5 weeks rewriting his version of the script until they had exactly the film they wanted (Scorsese and De Niro are uncredited as screenwriters for the film).
  • Robert De Niro read the autobiography of Jake LaMotta while filming The Godfather: Part II in 1974 and immediately saw the potential for a film to make with his collaborator, Martin Scorsese. It took over four years for De Niro to convince everyone, including Scorsese, to get on board for this film.
  • Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci are really punching each other in the famous “hit me” scene.
  • To achieve the feeling of brotherhood between the two lead actors, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci actually lived and trained with each other for some time before filming began. Ever since then, the two have been very close friends.
  • Sound effects for punches landing were made by squashing melons and tomatoes. Sound effects for camera flashes going off were sounds of gunshots. The original tapes were deliberately destroyed by the sound technicians, to prevent then being used again.
  • Robert De Niro accidentally broke Joe Pesci’s rib in a sparring scene. This shot appears in the film: De Niro hits Pesci in the side, Pesci groans, and there is a quick cut to another angle. See also Casino.
  • Jake (Robert De Niro) asks Joey (Joe Pesci) “Did you fuck my wife?”. Director Martin Scorsese didn’t think that Pesci’s reaction was strong enough, so he asked De Niro to say “Did you fuck your mother?”. Scorsese also did not tell Pesci that the script called for him to be attacked.
  • To visually achieve Jake’s growing desperation and diminishing stature, Martin Scorseseshot the later boxing scenes in a larger ring.
  • Robert De Niro gained a record 60 pounds to play the older ‘Jake La Motta’, and Joe Pesci lost weight for the same scene (De Niro’s movie weight-gain record was subsequently broken by ‘Vincent D’Onofrio (I)’, who gained 70 pounds for his role as Pvt. Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket).
  • In preparation for his role, Robert De Niro went through extensive physical training, then entered in three genuine Brooklyn boxing matches and won two of them.
  • To show up better on black-and-white film, Hershey’s chocolate was used for blood.
  • The original script was vetoed by producer Steven Bach after he told Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro that Jake LaMotta was “a cockroach”. De Niro and Scorsese took a few weeks in Italy to do an uncredited rewrite of the script, during which time the two found some sympathetic aspects of La Motta, which eventually satisfied the producers.
  • According to Martin Scorsese, the script took only two weeks to write on the island of St Martin in the Caribbean.
  • Was voted the third greatest sports movie of all time after Rocky and Bull Durham by ESPN.
  • Although only a few minutes of boxing appear in the movie, they were so precisely choreographed that they took six weeks to film.
  • Joe Pesci, at the time a frustrated, struggling actor, had to be persuaded to make the film rather than return to the musical act he shared with fellow actor Frank Vincent.
  • Martin Scorsese’s father Charles Scorsese is one of the mob wiseguys crowding the LaMotta brothers at a Copa nightclub table.
  • While preparing to play Jake LaMotta, Robert De Niro actually met with La Motta and became very well acquainted with him. They spent the entire shoot together so De Niro could portray his character accurately. La Motta said that De Niro has the ability to be a contender, and that he would have been happy to be his manager and trainer.
  • Actor John Turturro makes his film debut as the man at table at Webster Hall. Both Turturro and Robert De Niro have played characters named Billy Sunday. De Niro as Master Chief Leslie W. ‘Billy’ Sunday in Men of Honor, and Turturro as Coach Billy Sunday in He Got Game.
  • Beverly D’Angelo auditioned for the role of Jake’s wife, Vicki LaMotta. She also auditioned for the role of Patsy Cline in Coal Miner’s Daughter at around the same time.Martin Scorsese chose Cathy Moriarty (whom the producers saw before D’Angelo), freeing D’Angelo to appear in “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.
  • The role of Jake’s wife was the last to be cast.
  • Sharon Stone also auditioned for the role of Vicki LaMotta.
  • Martin Scorsese claims that nothing should be read into his using the On the Waterfront quote. Jake LaMotta, in his declining years, used to appear on stage reciting dialogue from television plays and even reading William Shakespeare. According to Scorsese, he’d planned to use something from “Richard III” (because in the corresponding real-life event LaMotta used it), but director Michael Powell suggested that “Richard III” wouldn’t work in the context of the film because the film in general and LaMotta in particular are inherently American. Scorsese picked the lines from “On the Waterfront”.
  • Some scenes and phrases are from On the Waterfront because Jake LaMotta admired Marlon Brando’s character and used to quote the movie in real life.
  • Martin Scorsese was worried about the On the Waterfront recitation because he knew he’d be inviting critical comparison between the scene in this film and the original film’s scene. Robert De Niro read it in various ways. Scorsese chose the take in which the recitation is extremely flat specifically to mute the comparison, and to suggest that it is simply a recitation and not indicative of how Jake LaMotta felt about his brother.
  • No original music was composed for the film. All of the music was taken from the works of an Italian composer named Pietro Mascagni. Martin Scorsese selected it because it had a quality of sadness to it that he felt fit the mood of the film.
  • The biblical quote at the end of the film (“All that I know is that I was blind, and now I can see”) was a reference to Martin Scorsese’s film professor, to whom the film was dedicated. The man died just before the film was released. Scorsese credits his teacher with helping him “to see”.
  • The home movie sequences were in color to make them stand out from the rest of the film. Another reason was the feeling of reality, because at the particular time represented by the home movies, 8mm color home movie cameras were very popular.
  • The rooftop wedding scene was directed by Martin Scorsese’s father after he fell ill while filming.
  • In 1978, when Martin Scorsese was at an all-time low due to a near overdose resulting from an addiction to cocaine, Robert De Niro visited him at the hospital and told him that he had to clean himself up and make this movie about a boxer. At first, Scorsese refused (he didn’t like sports movies anyway), but due to De Niro’s persistence, he eventually gave in. Many claim (including Scorsese) that De Niro saved Scorsese’s life by getting him back into work.
  • Was voted the 5th Greatest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
  • When the real Jake LaMotta saw the movie, he said it made him realize for the first time what a terrible person he had been. He asked the real Vicki “Was I really like that?”. Vicki replied “You were worse.”
  • Martin Scorsese had trouble figuring out how he would cut together the scene when La Motta last fights Robinson (in particular when he is up against the ropes getting beaten). He used the original shot-list from the shower sequence in Psycho to help him figure it out. Scorsese later commented that it helped most in that the scene was the most horrific to him.
  • According to Martin Scorsese in the “Raging Bull” DVD, this was going to be one of eight boxing movies to come out in 1980.
  • Martin Scorsese shunned the idea of filming the boxing scenes with multiple cameras. Instead, he planned months of carefully choreographed movements with one camera. He wanted the single camera to be like “a third fighter”.
  • Robert De Niro’s performance as Jake LaMotta is ranked #10 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
  • Neither Director of Photography Michael Chapman nor Martin Scorsese could get the right look for the amateur LaMotta home movies that comprise the only color sequences in “Raging Bull”. Both men gave in to their natural instincts for camera placement and framing, which was the antithesis of what they wanted to achieve. They solved the problem by asking Teamsters working on the set to handle the camera in order to give the 16mm film the appropriate feel of amateur home movies.
  • Jake LaMotta’s autobiography, co-written with friend ‘Peter Savage’, omitted mention of his brother, as did Mardik Martin’s original screenplay. Unhappy with the result, the producers hired Paul Schrader to restructure it, and in the course of doing research on La Motta, the writer came across an article on the relationship between Jake and his brother Joey LaMotta. Schrader incorporated the relationship into the revised screenplay, co-opting the Savage character and creating a composite of the two men in the person of Joey La Motta. That relationship became the central plot theme in the revised screenplay and one of the primary reasons for the film’s success.
  • Frank Vincent also plays a character named Batts in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas.
  • According to Martin Scorsese on the DVD, when first screening some test 8mm footage of Robert De Niro sparring in a ring, he felt that something was off about the image. Michael Powell, who at that time had become something of a mentor and good friend to Scorsese, suggested that it was the color of the gloves that was throwing them off. Realizing this was true, Scorsese then decided the movie had to be filmed in black and white.
  • The word “fuck” is used 114 times in this film.
  • In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #4 Greatest Movie of All Time.
  • Ranked #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Sports” in June 2008.
  • Was voted the 4th best film of all time in AFI’s 10th anniversary of the 100 Years… 100 Movies series.
  • ‘Nicholas Colasonto”s character, Tommy Como, is based on the real-life mobster Frankie Carbo, who basically ran all boxing in New York City during the 1940s and ’50s. He eventually was sent to prison for conspiracy and extortion after being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy.
  • Cathy Moriarty’s film debut.
  • When Martin Scorsese visited some boxing matches he was immediately struck by two images: the blood-soaked sponge wiped across the fighter’s back, and the pendulous drops of blood hanging off the ropes.
  • Cinematographer Michael Chapman drew inspiration for his monochrome camerawork from the famous Weegee snapshots of 50s New York.
  • The boxing scenes amount to barely 10 minutes of the film’s running time.
  • Executives at United Artists were very reluctant to finance the film as they were perturbed by the extreme profanity and violence in the screenplay. With some justification, as it transpired: at one point it was doubtful whether the film would be released in the UK at all due to its extreme nature.
  • The majority of the film with La Motta as a younger man – including the boxing scenes – were shot first. Then production shut down for several months, giving de Niro enough time to bulk up for his role as the older and much fatter La Motta. In those months, de Niro gained 60 pounds. It was de Niro’s idea to do it this way.
  • The later scenes with a more weightier La Motta were generally shot with the minimum of takes as ‘Robert de Niro’ would become exhausted much more quickly.
  • The reasons why the film was made in black and white were mainly to differentiate it from Rocky as well as for period authenticity. Another reason was that Martin Scorsesedidn’t want to depict all that blood in a color picture.
  • The film was edited in Scorsese’s New York apartment every night after filming for the day had finished.
  • United Artists were very frustrated by the amount of time Scorsese took during post-production, thinking he was unnecessarily slow. Scorsese took unusual care as he genuinely believed that “Raging Bull” would be his last film and so he didn’t want to compromise his vision. Conversely, as he neared completion, he also felt that the film was a form of cinematic rebirth for him. For this reason, he dedicates the film to his college film professor Haig Manoogian “with love and resolution”. Manoogian had helped Scorsese get his first film produced.
  • United Artists were unable to actively promote the film for awards consideration as it was then embroiled in serious financial trouble following the _Heaven’s Gate (1981)_ debacle.
  • This marked the first time since his first film “Who’s That Knocking on My Door?” thatMartin Scorsese was able to work with his film school friend Thelma Schoonmaker due to her having been denied membership in the then all-male Motion Picture Editors Guild.
  • The cross that once hung over Martin Scorsese’s parents’ bed can be seen hanging over Jake and Vicky’s bed.
  • Most of the fight scenes are shot through an intense light source to obtain a slight mirage within the image.
  • La Motta’s color family home movie sequence was personally scraped by Martin Scorsese with a coat-hanger to ensure a rough, naturalistic feeling.
  • Paul Schrader was directing Hardcore when ‘Robert de Niro’ talked to him about needing help with a script. The first thing Schrader did was drive down to Key West and check the archives of a local newspaper. It was there that he learned that there were two La Mottas, something which is not referenced in Jake’s autobiography. That was when Schrader knew he had found the hook for the screenplay.
  • Martin Scorsese was at one stage so startled by ‘Robert de Niro”s weight gain that he shut down production, fearing for the actor’s health.
  • A rarity at the Academy Awards, when Robert De Niro won the Best Actor Oscar for playing the fighter Jake LaMotta, the real-life Jake LaMotta was in the audience.
  • The scene where Vickie is first introduced to Jake by the chain-linked fence was completely improvised by Cathy Moriarty and Robert De Niro.
  • (March 31, 1981) Robert De Niro’s Best Actor Oscar win created a rarity in the Academy’s history, in that the real-life Jake LaMotta was in the audience witnessing the victory. That same evening Sissy Spacek won her first Best Actress Oscar for playing singer Loretta Lynn who was also in the pavilion audience, making the gala event unique.
  • Robert De Niro did as many as 1000 rounds when training with the real Jake La Motta. He thought De Niro had what it took to become a professional contender.
  • In each Scorsese movie featuring either of them, Frank Vincent and Joe Pesci beat one another. In Raging Bull and Goodfellas, Pesci’s character beats Vincent. Vincent finally gets revenge by beating Pesci in Casino.

Talking Points:

  • Language! Accents and Subtitles oh my
  • anyone else think De Niro looked like Kramer?
  • Best Sports movies?

What We’ve Learned:

  • An overcooked steak, defeats its own purpose
  • You can’t fight Joe Lewis if you have small hands
  • Madison Square Garden seemed a whole lot smaller in the 1940’s
  • Always check for ID!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: If I need a movie to fall asleep to, I’ve found the perfect one. The excessive New Jersey accents annoyed me to no end. The dialog was terrible and get made me disinterested in everything in this film. Sure, the technical film making aspects were good but I felt no sympathy for any of these character. Again, it’s a good movie to put you to sleep.
Ray: Not sure the film deserves all of its accolades, but De Niro definitely deserves props for his amazing performance.
Steve: DeNiro and Pesci made this movie for me. But otherwise, I was just bored for 2:30…sorry.

The Present: Haywire
Rotten Tomatoes: 81% Fresh, 51% Audience

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender

Trivia:

  • Dennis Quaid was cast but dropped out due to a scheduling conflict with Soul Surfer. Bill Paxton replaced him.
  • Gina Carano’s voice was altered for the film, giving her character a deeper-sounding voice.
  • The film was first announced in September 2009 originally under the title of Knockout, which was later changed to Haywire, before production began.
  • The film’s screenplay was written specifically to be shot in Dublin. The film was shot mostly in Ireland, filming began from 2 February 2010 to 25 March 2010 on a budget of around $25 million. Production of the film created over one-hundred jobs in the area where it was filmed.

Talking Points:

  • The Music
  • Incredibly long shots in a otherwise short movie.
  • Carino’s performance
  • Trailer

What We Learned:

  • Don’t piss off Crush from the American Gladiators.
  • Watch out for Deer

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: The movie was slow and the fight sequences seemed dull without any music. I feel like the movie had some potential but it just felt disjointed and awkward. The title doesn’t make sense to me at all.
Ray: Ugh. I sooo wanted to walk out of this movie. I thought it was incredibly boring, and a perfect example of “you can’t always trust what you see in the trailer”
Steve: I liked it. Didn’t love it, but I liked it. I thought Gina Carano was great and the cast had so much potential…but it didn’t all come together. Pace was slow for such an “exciting” movie…but the fight scenes were awesome. I give Crush all the props in the world for doing her own stunts!

The Future: The Cabin In The Woods

Release: April 13, 2012

Director: Drew Goddard

Starring: Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Chris Hemsworth

Summary:

Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

Trivia:

  • Shot in 2009, but not released until 2012
  • Written by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
  • Amy Acker and Fran Kranz both had roles on Joss Whedon’s latest television series Dollhouse. Tom Lenk had a recurring role on Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as appearing on the spin-off series, Angel, in which Acker also had a regular role.
  • The project began filming in March 2009 and completed on May 29, 2009 shooting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Joss Whedon co-wrote the script with Cloverfield screenwriter Drew Goddard, who also directed the film, marking his directorial debut. Goddard previously worked with Whedon on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as a writer.
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on November 3, 2010, but the movie will still be released as one of MGM’s last pre-Spyglass films in development; the film will be released in April 2012.
  • It was slated for wide release on February 5, 2010 and then delayed until January 14, 2011 so the film could be converted to 3D. However, on June 17, 2010, MGM announced that the film would be delayed indefinitely due to ongoing financial difficulties at the studio.
  • On March 16, 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported the following: “New (MGM) chief executives Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum are seeking to sell both (a) Red Dawn (remake) and the horror film The Cabin in the Woods, the last two pictures produced under a previous regime, as they try to reshape the 87-year-old company.”
  • On July 20, 2011, Lionsgate announced that they had acquired the distribution rights to the film and set a release date of April 13, 2012.

Talking Points:

  • What do you think from seeing the trailer?
  • Is Joss the draw?
  • Why the release delay?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Yeah, I’ll pass.
Ray: I’m there… I love that the trailer straight up calls out the fact that you think you’ve seen this movie..and then slaps you in the face with something unexpected.
Steve: Looks like it’s going to be just like Friday the 13th, then takes an updated spin. I love Joss Whedon, so I am clearly going to be there!

Coming Attractions

The Past: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome

The Present: Underworld Awakening

The Future: ParaNorman

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MOV081: “Someday We’ll Find It”

In this 81st reel of COL Movies, the boys kick off the holiday season by bringing “The Muppet Christmas Carol” back. Conveniently, they then head to the theater to check out Jason Segal’s attempt to bring the beloved characters back into the limelight in “The Muppets”. Does it succeed? They then do a compare and contrast over the two upcoming Snow White tales, Julia Roberts’ “Mirror Mirror” and Charlize Theron’s “Snow White & The Hunstman”. Are fairy tales going to be the new “it” thing for 2012…sure looks like it! In news, we chat about Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus”, then discuss Cinemablend’s Top 25 Muppets list. It’s the 81st reel of COL Movies…”Someday We’ll Find It”

News:

The Past: The Muppet Christmas Carol
Rotten Tomatoes: 68% Fresh, 80% Audience

Director: Brian Henson

Starring: Michael Caine, The Great Gonzo, Rizzo The Rat, Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Frank Oz, Steven Mackintosh, Jessica Fox

Trivia:

  • The first feature-length production in which Kermit’s voice was not provided by Jim Henson (who had recently died). Steve Whitmire took over the role.
  • This was the first major Muppet project after the death of creator Jim Henson. Henson had performed Kermit and the role was now being handed down to Steve Whitmire. According to Whitmire he was incredibly nervous about taking over such an iconic character. The night before he had to go record Kermit’s songs for the movie, he had a dream where he met Henson in a hotel lobby and told him how unsure he was. In the dream, Henson reassured Whitmire that the feeling would pass. After waking up, Whitmire was confident and able to do the part.
  • There is a store called “Micklewhite”. Michael Caine’s real name is Maurice Micklewhite.
  • Towards the end of the film, a tavern called “Statler & Waldorf” (named after the famous Muppet hecklers) can be spotted.
  • David Hemmings, Ron Moody, David Warner, and George Carlin were among the actors who
  • Michael Caine considers the role of Scrooge to be one of his most memorable (to him) roles.
  • SERIES TRADEMARK: At the conclusion of the song “One More Sleep”, Kermit is seen standing alone in the street and a shooting star can been seen streaking across the sky. In many (in not all) of the Muppet movies, a shooting star goes across the sky at some point when Kermit is on.
  • According to Brian Henson, the decision to use Gonzo and Rizzo to narrate the story was made because he wanted to incorporate the narration and prose of the Charles Dickens novel into the film.
  • In the film’s first scene, there is a shop sign that reads “Duncan & Kenworthy”. Producer Duncan Kenworthy was one of the creators of Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock.
  • The movie is dedicated to the memory of Jim Henson and Richard Hunt. Henson, of course, was the creator of the Muppets. Hunt was one of the Muppet voice performers, perhaps best known as the voice of the character Scooter.
  • Jacob and Robert Marley surrounded by wailing cash boxes is a nod to Bob Marley & The Wailers.
  • Jacob and Robert Marley tell Scrooge to leave comedy to the bears. Statler and Waldorf, who play the Marley brothers, are known for constantly heckling Fozzie Bear for his poor comedy.

Talking Points:

  • Some of the muppets were CREEPY! Ghost of christmas past, kitty,
  • pacing…
  • Very classic telling of the take
  • Any fav Muppets?

What We’ve Learned:

  • December is harvest time for moneylenders.
  • Rat’s are versatile – bookkeepers, window squeege, fire bellows, chimney sweeps, Popsicles
  • Whispering = dramatic emphasis
  • Storytellers are omniscient
  • Rats don’t understand loneliness
  • Business.. its the America…er British Way
  • Never eat singing food
  • Life is made up of meetings and partings.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I’ve always loved this movie and many different versions of A Christmas Carol. Outside of this, I really liked the short Micky’s Christmas Carol which I’d also recommend to anyone. Both of these are Christmas Traditions to watch for me. I think this should be in everyone’s collection, something to watch with family on a cold winter evening.
Ray: It’s cute, It’s the muppets.. if your a muppets fan it should be in your collection. Best version of A Christmas Carol? not sure id go that far.. but it is good
Steve: I like it, but do find the pace a bit slow. Seems like a pretty honest telling of the story and Michael Caine is great! The ghost Muppets, especially future, are really cool. I need to show this movie to my nieces and nephew.

The Present: The Muppets
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% Fresh, 92% Audience

Director: James Bobin

Starring: Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson

Trivia:

  • First theatrically-released Muppet film not to include Frank Oz
  • Of all the actors and actresses making cameos in this film, Alan Arkin is the only one to ever appear on The Muppet Show, back in 1979. Although Whoopi Goldberg appeared in an episode of the follow-up series Muppets Tonight in 1996 – a series set in a TV studio, not the classic Muppet Theater revisited in this film.
  • A picture of Jim Henson appears on a poster outside of the Muppet Theater and a picture of him with Kermit appears on the wall in Kermit’s old office.
  • A hidden Mickey Mouse appears in the fireworks at the end.
  • During the Muppet Telethon, the chickens clucked a rendition of Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You’. At The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, Green performed the same song wearing a feathery costume that paid homage to Sir Elton John’s 25 October 1977 appearance on Elton John.
  • In the montage where the Muppets are retrieved from their current jobs, Scooter is shown in a Google reception area. At the time of release, this is indeed an actual office; it is the reception of Google’s office in Zurich.
  • At one point in the movie, a kid asks Kermit if he’s a Ninja Turtle. The Muppets were Made by Jim Henson, who also made the Animatronics for the Live Action Ninja Turtle film and its sequel.
  • The “standard Fame and Fortune contract” referenced several times in the movie (that would cede control of Muppet Studios and the Muppet name after 30 years), would seem to be a reference to the contract first given to the Muppets by Lew Lord (Orson Welles) in the very first Muppet Movie in 1979. After an impassioned plea by Kermit, Lew asks his secretary to “Prepare the standard Rich and Famous contract for Kermit the Frog & Company”.
  • An appearance by Elmo of Sesame Street was planned for a scene where lawyers would have nixed an attempt by the Muppets to have him host their show. According to Jason Segel, the cameo itself was forbidden by lawyers. Sesame Street characters had previously made cameos in The Muppet Show, The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan and various specials, but have not done so since the purchase of the Muppet characters by Disney in 2004.
  • This is the first time that John Krasinski has been in the same movie as his real-life wife, Emily Blunt, although they do not share any screen time together.
  • Emily Blunt reprises her role from The Devil Wears Prada as Miss Piggy’s receptionist.
  • At the end of the film as the camera tilts towards the sky showing the fireworks, you will see that three of the explosions are in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s iconic head. This is likely due to the Muppet franchise being owned by Disney. It’s also no coincidence that the Muppet Theatre was placed next to Jimmy Kimmel Live!’s theatre – a show on ABC, owned by Disney.
  • Featured some Muppets not seen since the 1980s, including the evil henchman dragon Muppet, ‘Uncle Deadly’.
  • First theatrical Muppet film in 12 years.
  • On its first 5 days it passed every Muppet film except the first in terms of box office gross.
  • In Kermit’s Office, there are many pictures of him with different special guest hosts like Steve Martin and Sandy Duncan. One of the pictures is of Kermit and Jim Henson who originally performed Kermit until his death in 1990.
  • Bret McKenzie taught Chris Cooper how to rap and use typical rapper mannerisms.
  • Rashida Jones plays an executive for the CDE television network. CDE is “ABC” (American Broadcasting Company) if you move each letter up 2 letters in the alphabet. ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company.
  • Jim Parsons (Human Walter) is the only actor whose cameo appearance was never announced or rumored.

Talking Points:

  • Did it have the nostalgia of the originals?
  • References to other Muppet movies
  • Voices
  • Human singers – without Muppets
  • Any fav Muppets?

What We Learned:

  • Kermit is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
  • Selena Gomez has no idea who the Muppets are…who’s she?
  • Kermit imagines the audience naked when he’s on stage.
  • Celebrities aren’t people
  • The Muppets aren’t bilingual
  • Neil Patrick Harris gets snotty when he doesn’t get to host
  • Ma Na Ma Na

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I laughed, I cried, I felt like I was 6 years old again and enjoying every minute if it. I love the Muppets. Go, go see it. NOW.
Ray: I thought it was a nice re-introduction to the Muppets. I really liked seeing how the Muppets had moved on. The audience really seemed to enjoy this one. Everyone clapped at the end. I’d say if your gonna pick one family movie to see this Christmas this would be high on my list.
Steve: I am a huge fan of The Muppets and always have been. However, this one didn’t have me the whole way through. I really enjoyed when The Muppets were on screen, but there was too much human-only stuff that didn’t make i feel like it was a “Muppet” movie…just a vehicle for the actors.

The Future: Snow White & The Huntsman

Director: Rupert Sanders

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron

Summary:

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

Trivia:

  • Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder were considered to play Ravenna, the Evil Queen.
  • Charlize Theron dropped out from J. Edgar to do this movie.
  • Johnny Depp, Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender were considered to play Eric, The Huntsman.
  • For months, Viggo Mortensen was in talks to star as the Huntsman, but negotiations fell through and Mortensen dropped out.
  • After Viggo Mortensen passed on the movie, the role was offered to Hugh Jackman who also declined.
  • Dakota Fanning, Saoirse Ronan, Riley Keough, Alicia Vikander, Bella Heathcote, Selena Gomez, Emily Browning, Lily Collins and Felicity Jones were considered for the role of Snow White.
  • All seven dwarves are named after Roman Emperors: Caesar, Tiberius, Constantine, Claudius, Hadrian, Nero and Trajan.
  • During filming Kristen Stewart accidentally punched co-star Chris Hemsworth in the face giving him a black eye.
  • Production of the film was temporarily shut down in October 2011 after Kristen Stewart tore a ligament in her thumb during an attack scene with the dwarves. Stewart also suffered from a foot injury sustained on set.
  • Filming began in the United Kingdom in October 2011.
  • Lily Collins auditioned for the lead role but lost to Kristen Stewart. She was later cast in the other Snow White movie, Mirror Mirror.

The Future: Mirror Mirror

Director: Tarsem Singh

Starring: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer

Summary:

An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright..

Trivia:

  • Saoirse Ronan was considered for the role of Snow White, but the age difference between her and Armie Hammer was too big.
  • Alex Pettyfer, James Holzier, and James McAvoy were all considered for the part of Prince Andrew Alcott.
  • The original script included a scene between a shirtless Prince (Armie Hammer) and the Queen (Julia Roberts) in which the Queen remarks how smooth his chest is. This line had to be eliminated when Hammer refused to shave the hair off his chest for the scene.

Talking Points:

  • Antz V A Bugs Life, and Deep Impact V Amaggeddon

Trailers:

Excitement:
Jeff: Very different takes on the Snow White story. I actually kinda want to see both of them. Snow White for the action/drama, and Mirror Mirror for the comedy.
Ray: The Huntsman is the one pulling me to the theater, but I prefer a dark fantasy over a comedy.. Mirror Mirror looks a little too Shrekish to me.
Steve: The Huntsman seems more in my personal wheelhouse, whereas Mirror Mirror looks as though it is going to be a bit schitzo – fighting the family friendly Disney-fied look with a sarcastic comedy edge. For me, Nathan Lane and Julia Roberts would be the draw for Mirror Mirror, whereas the dark edge of Huntsman and Chris Hemsworth would be the draws for that one. My money’s on Huntsman – especially since it’s got Twilight power.

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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