Previews & Reviews that are Z's Views

16 Hardcore Facts About “Full Metal Jacket”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 16 Hardcore Facts About Full Metal Jacket. Here are three of my favorites…

In addition to the weight gain, D’Onofrio also shaved his head for the role, and was surprised by how much it affected him. ”It changed my life,” D’Onofrio told The New York Times in 1987. ”Women didn’t look at me; most of the time I was looking at their backs as they were running away. People used to say things to me twice, because they thought I was stupid.” To this day, it’s the most weight any actor has ever gained for a movie role.

Schwarzenegger claimed he was too busy to play Animal Mother (the part that eventually went to Adam Baldwin). Bruce Willis was offered a part two days before he was to start shooting the first six episodes of Moonlighting, so he had to say no, too. Denzel Washington wanted in, but didn’t like that Kubrick didn’t send out a script beforehand to audition.

It was J.T. Davis. In 1961, Specialist James T. Davis was the first recorded American battlefield casualty in Vietnam.

14 Facts About “Flashdance”

Garin Pirnia and Mental_Floss present 14 Facts About FlashdanceHere are three of my favorites…

Costner, who didn’t become famous until the mid-1980s, auditioned for the role of Nick Hurley, Alex’s boss and love interest in the film. Lyne paid Costner $200 to lie in bed with Beals, but it apparently didn’t work for him as the part went to Michael Nouri. In a strange twist of fate, prior to auditioning for Flashdance, Costner starred in an Apple commercial directed by Lyne. The commercial aired a few months after the film was released and has an uncanny resemblance to Flashdance: Costner on a bike, with a brown pit bull running beside him.

Lyne told Entertainment Weekly how Paramount thought the movie would be a flop. “In the two weeks before Flashdance came out, I literally couldn’t get anybody on the phone,” he said. “It was like everybody had run for the hills because they thought it was gonna be a total disaster. I didn’t know either. Paramount sold at least a quarter of their interest in the film in those two weeks. In other words, they saw the film, and thought, ‘Well, this is gonna go down the toilet.’” Luckily for Paramount and Lyne, the film opened to a healthy $4 million gross, which would be almost $10 million today. The film remained in the top 10 weekend box office for 15 weeks straight.

Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky’s original lyrics for “Maniac” were as follows: “He’s a maniac, maniac that’s for sure / He will kill your cat and nail him to the door.”

“That direction obviously wasn’t going to work,” Sembello told Song Facts. “Phil Ramone, producer of the soundtrack, [had] the vision to see the potential of the song, [and] asked us to change it to the present concept of a girl possessed with the passion of a gift for dance.” Which is how the far less gruesome lines “She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor / And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before” came about. “Without Phil it would not have happened,” says Sembello.

Z-View: “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”

I saw Glen Campbell perform live when I was a kid.  Glen Campbell was one of the first celebrities that I can remember seeing “in person.”  The concert took place at the Indiana State Fair.   At the time Mr. Campbell was a recording star, but would go on to have his own television series and appear in movies.

Glen Campbell always came across as a nice guy.  Mr. Campbell seemed like someone you’d enjoy sharing a meal with or just talking to.  That made the news that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s even more tragic.  Not that you’d want anyone to get the disease, but especially not one of the good people.

Last October I posted about Glen Campbell’s song, I’m Not Gonna Miss You.  At the time I said it was one of the saddest songs that I’d ever heard.  I still think it is.  Perhaps even more so after watching the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.

Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me takes us behind the scenes for a look at how Alzheimer’s wrecks the life of not only the person with the disease but also everyone who is close to the him/her.

Luckily for Mr. Campbell he has a devoted wife, family and friends and the financial resources to provide him a superior support system.  Still even with all of that, the disease is unstoppable.

Mark Evanier wrote about being at a party a few years ago and the excitement that went through the crowd as it became known that Glen Campbell was going to sing a few songs… and the initial discomfort when they realized the toll Alzheimer’s was taking on him.  Mr. Evanier goes on to say, heck, instead of me telling you what he said, why don’t you just click on over and read his words for yourself.  Like everything Mark Evanier posts, it is more than worth a read.  I’ll be here when you get back.

I want to echo Mark Evanier’s recommendation that you check out Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.


As I was posting this, I noticed (and it was probably unintentional) that the title of the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me can also read like Glen Campbell: Ill Be Me.

The Best Opening Lines from Crime Novels

Sam Wiebe and Eric Beetner got together to discuss some of their favorite crime novels’ opening lines.

It’s interesting reading and while we’re at it, here are three of my favs…

“They threw me off the hay truck about noon.”  James M. Cain, The Postman Always Rings Twice

“I turned the Chrysler onto the Florida Turnpike with Rollo Kramer’s headless body in the trunk, and all the time I’m thinking I should have put some plastic down.”  Victor Gischler, Gun Monkeys

 “I poisoned your drink.” Duane Swierczynski, The Blonde

15 Fun Facts About “Weird Science”

Eric D. Snider and Mental_Floss present 15 Fun Facts About Weird ScienceHere are three of my favorites…

Hall recounted in an interview that he and John Hughes would “watch Richard Pryor movies on the weekend. And we would imitate this character called Mudball that Richard Pryor would do. And so it was really just a product of being Richard Pryor fans that John said, ‘Hey, why don’t we create this scene where you go into a bar and do that?’”

EC Comics published 22 issues of Weird Science between 1950 and 1953, alongside more popular anthology titles like Tales from the Crypt. Hollywood mega-producer Joel Silver got the rights to all the old EC stuff in the ’80s, and Hughes was in his office one day when boxes of the comics were being delivered and unpacked. Seeing the title Weird Science, and thinking of a beautiful woman he and Silver had seen earlier that day, Hughes said, “What if two kids figure out a way to make that girl that was in the commissary?” This is according to Silver’s recollection, anyway. “I already had rights to the EC books, so that’s how I convinced them to let me have the title.” Now, there was a story in an issue of Weird Science that bore a superficial resemblance to Hughes’ idea—“Made of the Future,” in which a man builds a wife from a kit he got on a trip to the year 2150.

His first day on the set, “I told [the film’s makeup artist] I wanted to do a haircut that was really intense,” Paxton told The AV Club in 2012. “He’s the one who suggested the flattop, but long on the sides and slicked back. And he was afraid he was going to lose his job to cut it like that without having it approved by the producer or the director, but I said, ‘Just do it.’” Fortunately, Hughes loved it, along with everything else Paxton brought to the character.

13 Interesting Facts About M. Night Shyamalan Movies recently posted 13 Interesting Facts About M. Night Shyamalan Movies.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. Sixth Sense was inspired by an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?.

M. Night Shyamalan
GIPHY/Hollywood Pictures

According to M. Night, the film is based on the episode “The Tale of the Dream Girl”, where the premise was: the lead characters are being ignored by the friends/family and don’t understand that they are dead until the end of the episode.

5. M. Night wrote the screenplay for Unbreakable with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in mind.

Touchstone Pictures

He always anticipated the two actors agreeing to do the film. This was also their fourth film together, after Loaded Weapon 1 (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), and Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995).

6. The Happening is the only movie of his in which M. Night does not physically appear.

GIPHY/20th Century Fox

He’s the voice of Joey, who calls out to Alma a few times in the film.

7. All of his films are set in, or very close to, Philadelphia.


Perfect in Every Panel: What Made Alex Toth the Master

Alex Toth is an artist’s artist.  Arguably one of the greatest to ever work in the comic book field, Toth’s 60 year career spanned both comics and animation and sadly isn’t as well known as it should be.

John Parker gives an excellent overview of Toth’s career in Perfect in Every Panel: What Made Alex Toth the Master over at Comics Alliance.

Every Message Left on Jim Rockford’s Answering Machine

The Rockford Files always opened with a message left on Rockford’s answering machine.  The message (unrelated to the episode) “…invited the viewer to return to the quirky, down-on-his-luck world of Jim Rockford.”

Here’s a favorite:

“Jim, It’s Norma at the market. It bounced. You want us to tear it up, send it back, or put it with the others?”

Now thanks to That Eric Alper we can listen and download every message used.

33 Things We Learned From Joe Carnahan’s The Grey Commentary

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 33 Things We Learned From Joe Carnahan’s The Grey CommentaryHere are three four of my favorites…

11. The scene with Ottway waking up in the snow was shot in minus twenty degrees. “See Liam’s face, how red that is, there is no makeup on him,” says Carnahan. “They kept saying ‘you can’t put Liam in the snow, you can’t put Liam in the snow,’ but Liam went in the snow.” Barton says Carnahan and the guys complained so much about how cold it was, but the editing room was probably 75 degrees which was also pretty tough. “There was some days the espresso machine was jammed,” adds Hellmann.

13. Carnahan’s wife told him she thinks Ottway was the lone survivor and the rest were simply facets of his personality. “I thought that was really novel until ten other people, all women, said the same thing to me. I thought my god that’s an interesting little trend.” Barton recalls hearing her say that and thinking “Holy crap, what a great thing to say. We had never thought of that.”

21. The high-pitched howl emanating from the woods as the men scramble to start a fire after being chased by the wolves was actually made by Quentin “Rampage” Jackson. They recorded him and modified it some, but he’s the source.


33. The post-credits shot, a remnant of their attempts to capture Ottway’s fight with the wolves, was included for purely artistic reasons on Carnahan’s part. “It certainly, to me, doesn’t answer any questions,” says Barton, “in a good way.” Carnahan adds that a lot of people don’t seem to realize that’s the back of Neeson’s head resting on the wolf’s slowly breathing form.