In This Reel of COL Movies, It’s our 2nd Anniversary Episode! And the Cubs from Cubs Out Loud are here to celebrate with us. In the past we find out what happens when you put Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn in a movie where they just CAN’T DIE?!? Catfights and immortality combine in this 1992 film that–surprisingly–also starred Bruce Willis. “Death Becomes Her.”Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more room for another vampire film, the curse of the Collins Family is back. Vampires, Ghosts and Witches, oh my! Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team up for a movie you can really sink your teeth into. It’s “Dark Shadows.” In the future, we find out if Milla Jovovich can finally put Umbrella Corp. in it’s place. Will Oded Fehr live down The Mummy Returns. It’s zombies and fabulous hair in “Resident Evil: Retribution.” We’ve got all that plus news about a Steve Jobs movie, Pee-Wee Herman, And how the Avengers is driving up not only box office receipts but apparently Shawarma is flying off the shelves as well! It’s the 105th Reel of COL Movies – It looks like a pulsating beacon of blood and urine!
- Aaron Sorkin Confirmed to be working on Steve Jobs Biopic
- New Pee-Wee Herman movie still on the way!
- Avengers keeps raking it in and helps drive up business for Shawarma Joints
The Past: Death Becomes Her (1992)
Rotten Tomatoes: 45% Fresh, 58% Audience
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn
- The date when Helen drinks the potion (October 26, 1985) is the “present” date in Back to the Future, also directed by Robert Zemeckis.
- In the scene where Helen sits down onto a shovel handle, she didn’t sit in the way she was expected to do, so the SFX people had to morph the image to make it look like the shovel handle was pushing up into her chest.
- Meryl Streep accidentally scarred Goldie Hawn’s cheek with a shovel during the fight scene.
- Catherine Bell was Isabella Rossellini’s nude body double.
- In the scene where Madeline punches in the entrance code and enters the gate as Helen slips past her unseen, you get a brief glimpse of her license plate. It reads “2HYE305”, not “ZHEMEKIS” as previously noted
- A pneumatic bra was built to create the effect where Meryl Streep’s breasts become higher and firmer after drinking the potion, but the effect didn’t look realistic enough. In order to get the shot Meryl Streep’s dresser stood behind her, out of sight of the camera, and pushed her breasts into position.
- An edited picture from the original ending was used during Ernest’s funeral scene. The picture of him aged was actually a of him in full age makeup from the first ending. Bruce Willis’s aged face was used, but put on an actual picture of a mountain climber, which thus resulted in the end picture of Ernest at his funeral.
- During the description of the plot to kill Madeline, there was a quick shot of the folder being stamped “case closed” at a desk. Also on the desk was a brain in a glass jar labeled “abnormal” – a tribute to the original Frankenstein.
- Bruce Willis replaced Kevin Kline as Ernest.
- In an interview Meryl Streep revealed that she assumed the role of Helen (Goldie Hawn’s character) was meant for her. Not the “song-and-dance” role of Madeline.
- The three main character’s names are a play on words. Madeline, Ernest and Helen can be shortened to Mad, Ern, Hel, or “Madder ‘n Hell.”
- At one point Lisle Isabella Rossellini asks Madeline Meryl Streep how old she thinks she is. Streep answers 38, to which Rossellini gives a dirty look. Rossellini was in fact 39 at the time of filming.
- In the opening scene, Meryl Streep’s character is starring in a musical version of Sweet Bird of Youth, a play by Tennessee Williams about an aging actress who pines for her lost youth.
- Director Robert Zemeckis is a good friend of Steven Spielberg. Production designer Rick Carter and cinematographer Dean Cundey both previously worked with Zemeckis on the Back to the Future sequels. They would both subsequently work with Spielberg on Jurassic Park. This led to writer David Koepp coming to Spielberg’s attention. He was hired to finalize the Jurassic Park script, and later became a regular Speilberg collaborator, having been called upon to polish the scripts for Men in Black, Twister, and to write the scripts for The Lost World: Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
- The film underwent some major re-editing after negative feedback was received at test screenings. The entire ending was changed, and the role played by Tracey Ullman disappeared from the film completely, despite the fact that she was featured briefly in the trailer for the film.
- In several scenes, references to deceased musicians and actors are visible. When Bruce Willis’s character falls through the glass roof and lands in the pool, Jim Morrison can clearly be seen with a girl. Later on, an extra playing James Dean turns around (with his signature hairdo) as Willis steals his Grey Spider.
- Robert Zemeckis: The shots in the psychiatric clinic where Helen is brought look exactly like those in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
- There are two scenes (both involving Ernest Menville) that foreshadow Madeline Ashton’s and Helen Sharp’s fall down the stairs outside Ernest’s memorial – when Ernest pushes Madeline down the stairs during the fight that ensued after she took the potion and when Ernest argues against taking Lisle Von Rhuman’s potion by speculating what would happen if he were “pushed”, rather “fell”, down the stairs. Their fall outside his memorial can be interpreted as his revenge against them for for their treatment of him in their ongoing battle with each other and for using him as a tool in their pursuit of everlasting youth and beauty.
- Despite lackluster reception, it won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and Meryl Streep was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance. The film opened at #1 at the box office with $12,110,355 upon the also opening weekends of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bebe’s Kids. It went on to earn over $149 million worldwide.
- I remember this being a “how the heck did they do that movie” Does it hold up?
- Plot hole!? If it mends a cut, why wouldn’t an extra dose heal them?
- Positives: the “bitchery” between Hawn and Streep is fun; Daring and risky; for the time, effects were amazing; Black comedy at its best
- Negatives: there is no glee, simply narcissism and insult comedy; Younger audience won’t get it; too focused on the effects and some “serious” parts of the movie didn’t fit in the comedic overtone
What We Learned:
- Bruce Willis knows how to rock a porn stache.
- Happiness is a completely inappropriate expression for death.
- Everyone that works in Beverly Hills salons has an accent
- You can’t use ordinary paint on dead people
- If your going to lie, do it QUICKLY.
- A guy who sticks to his word at the cost of everything else is an idiot
- Mind the stairs.
- Death can be achieved in small, expensive doses
Jeff: This has always been a classic to me. I mean, Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis? How can this not be a good movie. Something is wrong with the Rotten Tomatoes ratings. I say a definite buy.
Damon: I always enjoyed this movie as it brought back memories of the campy movies of the early 90s. This was a pretty good movie with some interesting choices of actors. How could you go wrong?
Ray: This is one of those quirky little fun dark comedies that I love so much. Unless your a particularly squeamish person this is one that you should check out some time if you can.
Robert: Meryl is fabulous. Goldie is chilling. Bruce is one pedophile wind breaker away from being a tour de force. 10 out of 10.
Steve: Always been a fun one for me. Hawn and Streep give great performances as frenemies who eventually have to help each other survive. Clever and definitely displayed some state of the art effects for the time! Definitely memorable!
Ben: Nowhere do movie characters defy the laws of the physical universe as gleefully as they do in Robert Zemeckis’s films.
The Present: Dark Shadows
Rotten Tomatoes: 42% Fresh; 54% Audience
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Johnny Lee Miller, David Selby, Jonathan Frid, Katherine Leigh Scott, Chloë Grace Moretz, Gulliver McGrath, Helena Bonham Carter, Bella Heathcote
- There were 1245 episodes of the 1966-71 series. More than most shows on television even to this day.
- This is Tim Burton’s eighth film with Johnny Depp, his seventh film with Helena Bonham Carter, his fifth film with Christopher Lee, and his second film with Michelle Pfeiffer (Pfeiffer had starred in Batman Returns twenty years previously).
- Anne Hathaway, Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for the role of Angelique.
- Kathryn Leigh Scott reported at the Dark Shadows Festival in Brooklyn (August 19-21, 2011) that she, Lara Parker, David Selby and Jonathan Frid were treated “like royalty” when they arrived on set for their cameos during the first week of July 2011, and that Johnny Depp walked up to Jonathan Frid and said, “None of this would be possible had it not been for you” referring to Frid’s original portrayal of the Barnabas Collins role and its impact on the success of the original series.
- Chloë Grace Moretz (Carolyn Stoddard) and Gulliver McGrath (David Collins) were also both in the the film Hugo but shared no screen time together.
- Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, David Selby and Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played Barnabas Collins, Angelique, Quentin Collins and Josette DuPres in the original Dark Shadows, appear in the ball at Collinwood Manor.
- To prepare for his role as Barnabas Collins, Johnny Depp undertook a weight-loss regime and a diet of green tea and low-sugar fruit, getting his weight down to 140 pounds.
- Eva Green described her role of Angelique as “Bette Davis and Janis Joplin mixed together.”
- Christopher Lee stars with Jonny Lee Miller in this film; decades earlier, Lee had appeared with Miller’s grandfather Bernard Lee in the 007 film The Man with the Golden Gun, which was based on a novel written by Lee’s cousin Ian Fleming.
- This was Jonathan Frid’s last film.
- Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer were fans of the original Dark Shadows, having watched it when they were young.
- Makeup artist Joel Harlow applied several layers of custom greasepaint to create Barnabas Collins’s chalk-white complexion.
- When Michelle Pfeiffer heard about an adaptation of Dark Shadows, she called up Tim Burton to ask him for a part in the film, a practice she rarely does.
- With no time for rehearsal prior to filming, Tim Burton found a way to put his entire main cast in the mindset of their respective roles: He gathered them together on the set for a photo session in which they replicated the famous image of the original Dark Shadows cast all standing in the foyer of Collinwood. This image evolved into the film’s teaser poster.
- The producers scoured the UK and Maine to find an appropriate fishing village to film Collinsport in, but couldn’t find one that fit. Thus they constructed the whole town from scratch in Pinewood Studios.
- For the sex fight sequence, the actors worked with stunt coordinator Eunice Huthart and wore harnesses that spun them through the air. Eva Green was not too fond of the sequence since she doesn’t like heights.
- A 33-foot-high miniature of Collinwood Mansion was constructed, measuring 1/3 in scale to the actual set of the Mansion.
- Production designer Rick Heinrichs designed Collinwood to reflect its maritime heritage (the mansion was close to the ocean, and its owners have a background in fishing); ocean motifs like fish and mermaids are present throughout the house and its furnishings, including seahorses in the fireplace along with statues of the sea god Neptune.
- Tim Burton wanted the film to reflect the era of its setting, and showed cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel several 1970s vampire movies to help him understand the way the film should be shot.
- According to costume designer Colleen Atwood, she designed the 18th and 20th century costumes and then overlaid and blended in elements from both to create a smooth, similar feel that suited the film.
- Colleen Atwood created Josette duPres’s dress from nylon and aluminum.
- Josette duPres’s ghost scenes were shot in an underwater tank.
- The actress who played Dr. Julia Hoffman in the original Dark Shadows TV series was Grayson Hall, wife of Sam Hall, head writer of the show. In the same way, Helena Bonham Carter, who played Dr. Hoffman, is the long-time partner and fiancée of the film’s director Tim Burton.
- Shipped to theaters under the code name “Night Moves”.
- The trailer for the film premiered exclusively on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on March 15, 2012. That same day, the trailer made its online debut on Apple.com.
- The film was again scored by long-time Burton collaborator, Danny Elfman.
- The soundtrack features a score of several contemporaneous 1970s rock and pop songs, along with others from later and slightly earlier, including “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues, “Top of the World” by The Carpenters, “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” by Barry White, “I’m Sick of You” by Iggy Pop, “Get It On” by T. Rex and “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath. Alice Cooper, who makes a cameo in the film, sings “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Ballad of Dwight Fry”. A cover of the Raspberries’ song “Go All the Way” by The Killers also plays over the end credits.
- Does it even compare to the original stories?
- Alice Cooper – boy he’s always looked that bad – “That is the ugliest woman, ever!” Barnabas Collins
- Little bit of Amityville Horror (Bleeding Walls) and Death Becomes Her (Immortally young witch)
- Bad trailer marketing?
- Is this like “21 Jump Street” – taking serious content to comedy in a remake?
- Positive: Fun and offbeat; Great for fans of Depp;
- Negative: Not what fans of “Dark Shadows” want in a remake; Can’t decide if it’s a comedy, horror movie, or melodrama
What We Learned:
- Dreams really can come true!
- Blood is thicker than water.
- Blood can mean a life of privilege for some or a life of burden to others.
- Family is the only real wealth
- If the sexes were equal men would be unmanageable.
- Ghosts are simply people who have shifted into another dimension.
- A Curse takes devotion.
- Every year you get half as pretty and twice as drunk.
- A Vampire can drain a stout man in seven and a half seconds.
- Balls are a symbol of power.
- Alice Cooper is the ugliest woman alive.
Jeff: Okay, okay, I admit this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. But was it great? Nope, but enjoyable. I say wait for Netflix or rental.
Damon: Meh…I enjoyed this movie, but it didn’t really leave as big an impression on me. I liked the campiness and did laugh at points, but the story was too much to be in one movie. Understandable, there was a plethora of stories to draw from, which makes it hard. Maybe I’m just not a Tim Burton/Johnny Depp fan. Meh…
Ray: I was worried that this was going to be a horrible comedy, luckily this was a decent homage to the original, with the soap opera-ness turned down slightly and the humor turned up a bit. If you were a fan of the original series you will probably get a good chuckle out of this. It surprised me how much I enjoyed it.
Robert: Didn’t see it. The trailer looked … interesting.
Steve: At first, I thought I was going to pull my eyes out, but it kind of grew on me. I liked the verbal judo Depp used for the character, which made me listen intently. Thought there were too many characters in the film though. Would have liked to see how they would have made this a straight film rather than comedy.
Ben: A very nice retelling of the story, even if it has been told 3 times prior…
The Future: Resident Evil: Retribution
Release: September 14, 2012
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez
Alice is captured by Umbrella once again, and awakens in the heart of their operation facility; as she moves further in the complex, more of her past is unveiled and she continues to hunt for those responsible for the outbreak. Her quest takes her and her newfound allies from Tokyo to New York, Washington D.C. and Moscow. After a “mind-blowing” revelation, she is forced to rethink everything, finally finding out the truth about herself, and the Umbrella Corporation
- Any thoughts about seeing past characters coming back?
- Returning from the previous film are: Milla Jovovich as Alice, Sienna Guillory (Jill Valentine) and Boris Kodjoe (Luther West). Shawn Roberts (Albert Wesker) makes a cameo appearance. Colin Salmon who played James “One” Shade and Michelle Rodriguez who played Rain Ocampo in the first film return. Oded Fehr who portrayed Carlos Olivera in the second and third film also returns. There will be two “versions” of Rain, One, and Carlos; one being portrayed as “evil” and one as “good”. Game characters, Ada Wong (played by Li Bingbing), Leon S. Kennedy (Johann Urb) and Barry Burton (Kevin Durand) will appear in the film. Ali Larter (Claire Redfield), Wentworth Miller (Chris Redfield) and Spencer Locke (K-Mart) will not return and their absence will be explained by their characters being captured by Umbrella.
- How about all the monsters this time…rather than just zombies?
- An element from the fourth video game called the Las Plagas parasite will play a part in the film and will allow the undead to “run around, ride motorbikes, and shoot machine guns”.
- What do you think about the obvious marketing campaign with Sony?
- Random comment:
- On October 11, a platform collapsed during the second day of filming and injured 16 people on the set. According to Toronto police, ten people were taken to the hospital for emergency treatment. Injuries included bruises and broken bones. Emergency workers had a difficult time determining which injuries were real since the people were dressed in zombie costumes with fake blood.
Jeff: Well, it’s a teaser. It’s Resident Evil. Bad movie, but will have fun with the action when i see it. If you’d looking for a dumb action movie you can turn your brain off for and watch women kick ass, that’s this movie.
Damon: Why do they keep making this movie? WHY? I saw the first one and asked for my money back. Didn’t get it, but oh well. The trailer is just lame. And 3D? What’s the point. I’ll save my money for porn.
Ray: Resident Evil movies are hit or miss with me. I sort of enjoy them more when they abandon the video game aspects and blaze new ground. I’m always happy to see Milla though.
Robert: Not very. The first one was okay. The rest were barely tolerable … and this is coming from someone who went and bought Milla’s album, The Divine Comedy.
Steve: Good times with Alice! While I love the series…the last one was lackluster. I hope that this will be so much better! I have confidence and am looking forward to some of the characters coming back and seeing where it goes.