Previews & Reviews that are Z's Views

John Ridley and “American Crime”

I discovered John Ridley through his novels.  He’s an amazing writer.

Ridley is probably best known as the Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave

Ridley is also the creative genius behind the series American Crime.  The series is unlike anything on television.  The emotions are so raw, so real, that it was hard to watch some episodes.  But I’m glad I did.  What a ride!

If you tuned in to the series or want to know more about it, why not check out Anna Lisa Raya’s interview with John Ridley?

Source: Deadline.

10 Times Art Imitates Life in Coppola’s “The Godfather”

David Hunter and Flickchart The Blog present The Annotated Godfather: 10 Times Art Imitates Life in Coppola’s ClassicsGodfather fans and history buffs alike will enjoy this piece.

Here are three are my favorites [click over to the article for full details of each]…

1. “Make Him An Offer He Can’t Refuse”: Johnny Fontane and Frank Sinatra

2. “Jack Dempsey’s joint”: Crooks and Crooked Fighters

4. “I’ve loved baseball ever since…”: The 1919 World Series


27 Things We Learned from George Miller’s “The Road Warrior” Commentary

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 27 Things We Learned from George Miller’s The Road Warrior Commentary. Here are three are my favorites…

3. For as much as the film is known for its vehicular action, Semler says they simulated a lot of travel too. “If you can see the road moving behind, we’re moving. If you don’t see anything moving behind, we’re not moving.”

16. Miller loves the bit with the mechanic (Steve J. Spears) in the swing evaluating the truck the engine and the blond guy repeating it much louder. It wasn’t planned, and the pair just started doing it on their own. “This is nice,” says Semler. Miller agrees saying it’s one of the lighter moments in the movie. On that same topic the duo count how many times Max smiles throughout the film, and they get as high as three.

22. The compound explosion was so big that they had to notify airlines in advance in case of any jets passing overhead.

15 Epic Facts About “Gladiator”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 15 Epic Facts About Gladiator. Here are three are my favorites…


Screenwriter David Franzoni received a three-picture deal with Dreamworks SKG after writing the script for Amistad. During a “surprisingly brief” pitch meeting with Spielberg for what would become Gladiator, Franzoni told the Writers Guild of America that the director “really had three basic questions. My gladiator movie, it was about ancient Roman gladiators—not American, Japanese, whatever else? Yes, I said. Taking place in the ancient Coliseum? Yes. Fighting with swords and animals to the death and such? Yes. Great, let’s make the movie.”


While appearing on Inside the Actors Studio, Crowe said that only 32 pages of the script were completed when shooting commenced. Co-writer William Nicholson recounted how Crowe once told him, “Your lines are garbage but I’m the greatest actor in the world, and I can make even garbage sound good.” Initially, Crowe didn’t care for the now-famous line “And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next,” but repeatedly failed to ad-lib anything better.


Before he was hired to play the legendary singer in Walk the LinePhoenix recalled to The Guardian how he once met Johnny Cash by pure coincidence, and how he “started quoting to me the most sadistic dialogue from Gladiator with obvious relish.”

Eight Bizarre Facts About Rod Serling and “The Twilight Zone”

Jake Rosen and Mental_Floss present Eight Bizarre Facts About Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone. Here are three are my favorites…

2. The Episode That Won an Oscar
When Serling’s budget for the series tightened in the fifth and final season, he decided on an unusual cost-cutting measure: the writer paid $10,000 (by some accounts, $25,000) for the rights to broadcast An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, a French short based on the Ambrose Bierce story about a Confederate sympathizer who escapes the hangman’s noose at the end of the Civil War. No dubbing was needed: the short was virtually silent, and its haunting cinematography was a perfect fit for the show. The year prior, it had won an Oscar for Best Short Subject. Bierce’s story was also adapted into an episode of the other popular anthology of the day, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, marking the only time the two series used the same source material.

4. Six Dimensions
When Serling recorded his famous opening narration for the pilot episode in 1959, he began by intoning that there was “a sixth dimension” to explore. A CBS executive heard it and asked the writer why he had skipped a fifth dimension—weren’t there only four? Serling, puzzled, hadn’t really considered it. “Oh,” he said. “Aren’t there five?” The narration was re-recorded before any angry letters from physicists poured in.

8. God Complex
Though he spoke fondly of Serling through his entire career, Zone teleplay writer Richard Matheson (“Steel,” “The Invaders”) found one mandate puzzling: According to Matheson, only Serling could use the word “God” in his teleplays. It was off-limits to the rest of the writing team. “I used to get ticked off at Rod because he could put ‘God’ in all his scripts,” Matheson said. “If I did it, they’d cross it out.” Matheson never asked, and was never told, the reason behind the rule. Chalk it up to a mystery worthy of The Twilight Zone.

15 Things You Might Not Know About “The Green Mile”

Michael Arbeiter and Mental_Floss present 15 Things You Might Not Know About The Green Mile.   Here are three are my favorites…

The character John Coffey’s unique blend of imposing stature and gentle demeanor made casting the part a tricky task. Luckily, Bruce Willis had the right man for the job. Upon hearing of the casting search for the character, Willis was sure his friend and Armageddon costar Michael Clarke Duncan was a perfect fit for the role. Willis used his A-list pull to contact Darabont and suggest his greenhorn friend for the film.


At 6 feet 5 inches tall, Duncan was a large man by anyone’s measure. However, he was practically average height on the set of The Green Mile, alongside costars David Morse (6 feet 4 inches) and James Cromwell (6 feet 6 inches). Blocking tactics gave Duncan the appearance of towering over his costars.

While The Shining claims the longstanding cult esteem and The Shawshank Redemption might top the lot in basic cable omnipresence, the somewhat less heralded The Green Mile that managed to hit an impressive $136.8 million in domestic ticket sales and $286.8 million worldwide.

Star Trek: 57 Nerdy Things About the Original Crew Films

Sven Harvey and Den of Geek present Star Trek: 57 Nerdy Things About the Original Crew Films.  Here are three are my favorites…

13. Khan Noonian Singh is, of course, the same character as the Khan from the original series second season episode, “Space Seed.” His wife was Lt McGivers, who became enamoured with him in the original episode.

The late Ricardo Montalban reprised his role from the original episode, and as a genetically enhanced human or “augment” it was these performances that led to more episodes on the same theme.

14. The character of Lt Marla McGivers was supposed to originally be in Star Trek II, but the actress, Madyln Rhue, had been confined to a wheelchair.

Rather than recasting, which executive producer Harve Bennett thought unfair, the character was written out. That said, the filmed line confirming her as Khan’s dead wife was cut.

31. Hello computer?!? The Apple Mac wasn’t supposed to be in the factory, and the original Commodore Amiga model was originally supposed to be in its place. Commodore Business Machines refused to send a sample machine for filming and simply told the film crew that they had to buy one. Apple just sent a machine and a member of staff to help out.

Commodore also stated it didn’t want to be associated with Star Trek. Facepalm…