Previews & Reviews that are Z's Views

16 Things You May Not Know About Rambo

Sean Hutchinson and Mental_Floss present 16 Things You May Not Know About Rambo.   Here are three of my favorites…


The veteran movie star actually made it to set and appeared in early advertisements for First Blood, but left the production when he demanded the right to rewrite the script. Douglas favored the ending of the book, and felt that Rambo should die in the end. The actor gave the filmmakers an ultimatum: if the production didn’t let him do what he wanted with the script he’d quit. Kotcheff and Stallone wanted to leave the door open for the possibility for Rambo to live or die at the end of the movie, so they let Douglas quit.

Actor Richard Crenna was then cast with a single day’s notice to fill Douglas’ shoes as Rambo’s mentor and father figure, Colonel Trautman. Crenna would reprise his role in two more Rambo movies before he passed away in 2003. He is the only actor besides Stallone to appear in multiple Rambo movies.

The unused alternate ending of First Blood, in which Trautman shoots and kills Rambo, can be seen briefly in the dream sequence in the fourth film, Rambo.


Initial drafts of the screenplay for the sequel to First Blood were written by James Cameron, who at the time was still looking for his big break. Cameron’s script, which was titled First Blood II: The Mission and was written simultaneously with the scripts for The Terminator and Aliens (two movies which ultimately gave him that big break), differed substantially from what ended up on screen.

According to Cameron: “I was trying to create a semi-realistic, haunted character, the quintessential Vietnam returnee, not a political statement.Cameron’s draft picked up with Colonel Trautman finding Rambo in a psychiatric ward (a concept Cameron would recycle for his Sarah Connor character in Terminator 2), and also featured a sidekick role named Lieutenant Brewer that producers hoped would be filled by John Travolta, who Stallone had recently directed in the 1983 Saturday Night Fever sequel, Staying Alive (yes, you read that correctly, Sly directed the sequel to Saturday Night Fever). Eventually Stallone took over scriptwriting duties, and excised the first half of Cameron’s screenplay to add the film’s prominent POW/MIA message and the love story beats with the character Co-Bao.

Rambo: First Blood Part II is the only Rambo movie to be nominated for an Oscar. It received a nod for Best Sound Effects Editing in 1986 but lost to Back to the Future.


First Blood required Stallone to be ripped (he shot Rocky III shortly before starring in the first Rambo movie, which helped), but for the second outing he really needed to pump some iron. The actor trained for eight months prior to the film’s start date in late 1984, but he maintained a strict regimen during shooting as well.

He would begin with a two- to three-hour morning workout, then he’d move on to the 10- to 12-hour shooting day on the movie. After that, instead of going home like the rest of the cast and crew, he’d cap off the day with another two- to three-hour workout. After six hours of sleep or so he’d be up and ready to do it all again. Maintaining that physique definitely helped Stallone for his next movie as well: he began shooting Rocky IV immediately after First Blood Part II.

15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Stand

Erik van Rheenen and Mental_Floss have posted 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Stand.  As is our tradition, here are three of my favorites…

6. Christian Radio Made a Contribution As Well

King revealed a third inspiration for The Stand in Danse Macabre: A single line he heard in a radio broadcast of a sermon when he was living in Colorado. The line “Once in every generation the plague will fall among them” made such an impression on King that he wrote it down and pinned it over his typewriter. Later, when the author was struggling to write a fictionalized account of the Patty Hearst kidnapping (the unpublished The House on Value Street), he saw the gloomy quote and found the inspiration to start a new project that became The Stand.

8. The Extreme Length Led to Logistical Problems

The 1,200-page novel presented a serious problem – King’s publisher, Doubleday, couldn’t print a novel that long. Literally. In addition to whatever qualms the publisher might have had about trying to sell such a hefty book, its printing presses couldn’t create it. As King explained to Time in 2009, “Doubleday had a physically limiting factor in those days because they used a glue binding instead of a cloth binding, and the way it was explained to me was that they had so much of a thickness they could do before the glue just fell apart.”

10. The Cut Pages Weren’t Lost

Of course, when your fans are as rabid as King’s, it’s hard for lost pages to stay lost. In 1990 King restored the text he had hacked away to create The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition. King didn’t just slip all the cut pages back into the original manuscript, though – he retyped each one. He told Time he “had the manuscript on one side of an IBM Selectric typewriter and I had the pages of a book that I had torn out of the binding on the other side.” The restored edition had another quirk – King also updated the setting of the novel to the then-present day and included references to cultural touchstones like Freddy Krueger that had not existed in 1978.

Z-View: The Martian by Andy Weir

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir

 The Martian by Andy Weir is one of the most unique and enjoyable novels that I’ve read in years. Weir’s stranded [on Mars!] astronaut, Mark Watney, is intelligent, witty, and just enough of a wise guy.

I loved how real science was used. I loved how Weir widened the scope of the story to include not only the people on Earth [who’ve learned of Watney’s plight] but also the only astronauts in a position to attempt a rescue.

Z-View: Bravo by Greg Rucka

BravoBravo by Greg Rucka

I’m a huge fan of Greg Rucka. I really enjoyed Alpha and was hoping that Bravo would be as good or better. Alpha was an action-packed page turner and I was expecting more of the same.

Rucka shifted gears and created more of a psychological thriller with Bravo. It was slow-going for me. I kept waiting for the action.

Hate to rate Rucka’s work so low because he’s always been an author that greatly entertained… but Bravo just didn’t work for me. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Sly Stallone and “The Drawings of Bob Peak”

The Bob Peak drawing above is of Sylvester Stallone from Paradise Alley!

I discovered the piece as part of an advertisement for a new book of Bob Peak drawings being put together by Thomas Peak through Kickstarter.  Here’s the book’s description…

“THE DRAWINGS OF BOB PEAK”.  This new 160 page oversized soft cover book (14″ x 11″) curated collection of his best drawings is a comprehensive look into a rarely viewed side of Bob Peak with never before seen charcoal, graphite, art marker, pen, ink, pencil, and pastel drawings from the maestro himself.  This oversized book will take on the look and feel of the actual artwork with drawings large enough to study and admire the mastery of the artist Bob Peak.  A “Collectors Edition” of (100 copies only) is also available.  Produced by Art Works Fine Art Publishing which also produced the original “The Art of Bob Peak” book, this new book will be of the same high quality that you expect and I require.  I will produce nothing surrounding the legacy of my father Bob Peak that does not meet with the highest standards.  I appreciate your support.  You will NOT be disappointed.

I’ve backed the project and look forward to getting the book in my mitts.  If this sounds like something you’d like, then  jump on board!

21 Things You Might Not Know About “Justified”

Justified is my current favorite tv show so I was glad to read 21 Things You Might Not Know About Justified.

Here are my three favorite of the facts listed…


Before his passing, Leonard was very vocal about being a fan of Justified—particularly with the way that Olyphant interpreted the character of Raylan. In 2012, The Wall Street Journal asked Leonard whether the series had influenced the way he visualized the character in his writing, to which he responded: “No, because Tim Olyphant plays the character exactly the way I wrote him. I couldn’t believe it. He’s laidback and he’s quiet about everything, but he says, if I have to pull my gun, then that’s a different story. And it works. There are very few actors that recite the lines exactly the way you hear them when you’re writing the book. George Clooney [in the 1998 movie Out of Sight] was one. He was very good.”


James LeGros got there first, playing Raylan Givens in the 1997 TV movie adaptation of Pronto. And LeGros has popped up on Justified, too: In 2011, he began a recurring role as small-potato criminal Wade Messer.


In order to be the coolest guy in the room, Olyphant claims that he just acts as Sam Elliott might. The irony, of course, is that Elliott will star as one of the final season’s bad guys. “On his first day of work, I took [Sam] aside and said, ‘Look, buddy, here’s the deal: Raylan is really just me trying to be you and failing miserably,” Olyphant joked to Rolling Stone.

Source: Mental_Floss.

“The Strain” Season 2 Teaser

One of my must-see tv shows is The Strain  on FX.

The Strain is based on the novels created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan and explores the idea of a vampire apocalypse.

Be advised: These are not your parent’s or your daughter’s vampires.  They aren’t dark, brooding or romantic and they sure don’t sparkle.