“Airplane” Trivia

I saw Airplane in a packed theater when it was initially released.  The laughter was non-stop.  Airplane is a film that benefits from a crowd.  I’ve watched it several times since and the bigger the crowd the bigger the laughs.   Airplane is still worth a watch either alone or with others.

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 31 Things We Learned from the ‘Airplane!’ Commentary.   Before you click over, here are three of my favorite comments…

These early drafts (of the script) were initially titled The Late Show as they intended to include their commercial gags as well with the spoof movie itself being filler. They brought it to Lloyd Schwartz who suggested that the airplane story was “funnier and more interesting” than the commercial spoofs.

(I think that they were wise to drop the commercial gags.  Playing it straight made for a much funnier film. – Craig)

Lloyd Bridges had a lot of questions trying to understand his character, his motivation, and his dialogue, and Robert Stack pointed out that the visual gags were so frequent and nonsensical that no one in the audience was going to care. “Lloyd, we are the joke,” said Stack to Lloyd.

(Can you imagine you’re the director prepping the scene and Bridges wants to discuss background and motivation for his, “I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue” line? – Craig)

Stack was apparently offered a percentage of the film or an extra $20k, and he chose poorly.

($20K in the hand or a percentage on a risky film with Hollywood bookkeeping?  Not an easy choice. – Craig)

Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out / Z-View

Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out is a four-issue mini-series and paperback published by Dark Horse Comics. .

Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Gyula Nemeth
Colorist: Gyula Nemeth
Letters by: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover Artist: Gyula Nemeth 

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

I first became aware of Steve Niles nearly two decades ago.  Niles was the author of two novels (Savage Membrane and Guns, Drugs & Monsters) featuring Cal McDonald that I highly recommend.

McDonald is a tough as nails detective who deals with things that go bump in the night. After the two novels, McDonald appeared in a number of comic book mini-series written by Niles teaming with different artists.  And that brings us to Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out

Supernatural detective Cal McDonald, found wandering the streets as a disheveled vagrant, is ripped from his self-imposed retirement to resume his monster-killing career.

But Cal is reluctant to return to the fray. What has the hard-bitten investigator so shaken? It’s a long story that begins with a beautiful woman who happens to be a vampire . . . and ends with a bang.

It’s great to have Cal McDonald back.  Who doesn’t love a cynical tough guy who sees the real monsters that walk among us?

The Big Bleed Out follows McDonald as he meets and begins to fall for a mysterious woman who happens to be a vampire.  The romance doesn’t seem to have much of a chance since McDonald is normally a vampire killer.  Meanwhile, Mo’Lock, McDonald’s quasi partner, has gone into the sewers of LA to see if he can discover who/what is down there killing people.

Being a Cal McDonald fan I was excited to see his return.  This was my first time seeing Nemeth’s art and I liked quite a bit of what he brought to the table.  It was interesting to see McDonald falling under the spell of a vampiress and unintentionally venturing into a nest of them.  The romance and its eventual outcome moved at a pretty quick pace with a few surprises along the way.  And let’s not forget that Mo’Lock has his hands full with a sewer monster!  Overall, this was a fun read.

Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out is a nice addition to the Cal McDonald universe.


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Dick Tracy Forever / Z-View

Dick Tracy Forever is a four-issue mini-series and paperback published by IDW. .

Writer: Michael Avon Oeming
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Colorist: Taki Soma
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Cover Artist: Michael Avon Oeming 

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

I was never a huge fan of Dick Tracy.  I’d read some of the comic strips and had seen the Warren Beatty movie.  I knew that Dick Tracy was a straightlaced cop who had an interesting gallery of weird-looking villains. Oh, and he had this really cool video watch!  That was about the extent of it.

When I saw the preview cover of Dick Tracy Forever by Michael Oeming, I knew I had to give the series a go.  I’m a fan of Oeming’s art and thought his take on Tracy would be interesting.  Thankfully, I wasn’t wrong.

Oeming created interconnected stories featuring Dick Tracy through the years taking Tracy from the 1930’s to the future.  The tales are fun and show Tracy as being more than just a straight-laced cop (although at the core, he is a law and order guy).  I liked that his girlfriend/wife was more than just a damsel in distress.  Oeming introduces a couple of new characters that deserve to stick around. Oh, and let’s not forget that cool video watch!  I was already a fan of Oeming’s art, now we can add his writing as well.

Taki Soma’s coloring perfectly supports the story.  Dick Tracy newspaper strips and comics were known for the coloring limitations of their time. Soma gives Dick Tracy Forever the feel of the old stories but adds shading and subtlety when needed (at times leaving the art black and white in support of the story).

I really liked Dick Tracy Forever but wondered if true Dick Tracy fans felt the same way.  They do!  Amazon and Comixology reviewers gave it nothing less than 4 of 5 stars.  So if you don’t take my word, you can take theirs.  🙂


Rating:

“Demolition Man” Trivia

Chris Hayner, at Gamespot, came up with a piece called Demolition Man Easter Eggs: All The References And Things You Didn’t Know.  My guess, is our regular readers will know most of these, but then again, unless you click over, how can you be sure?  At any rate, here are three of my favorites and thoughts on them…

3. Modern-day LA almost looked very different:  When John Spartan goes in to capture Simon Phoenix, he’s brought to the scene by helicopter. Originally, director Marco Brambilla and his team planned to use a blimp in the scene. However, due to the fire effects used in the scene and the presence of heavy winds, it was decided that would be too dangerous.

(While I think blimps are cool, that helicopter scene with Stallone bunging jumping to the rooftop while under fire set the tone for a great action movie!  I wish Demolition Man had leaned harder into that than some of the comedy elements. – Craig)

5. Another Simon Phoenix:  According to many sources, including AMC, Snipes was not the first choice to play the villainous Simon Phoenix. Stallone actually wanted Jackie Chan in the role. However, Chan reportedly turned it down because he didn’t believe his fans wanted to see him play a bad guy.

(Jackie Chan would have made a great Simon Phoenix, but I’m glad the role went to Snipes.  My guess is if Chan had accepted the part, the comedy elements would have increased.  – Craig)

10. Sandra Bullock wasn’t the first choice for Huxley:  Originally, Lori Petty (Tank Girl, Point Break, A League of Their Own) was cast in the role and even shot a scene. “It just wasn’t working,” the director said.

(Bullock was perfectly cast, but I would love to see the scenes shot with Petty. – Craig)

“What We Do In the Shadows” Trivia!

I hope you’re watching What We Do in the Shadows.  It is the best movie to tv adaption yet.  What We Do in the Shadows is funny and clever, but most folks I talk to haven’t checked it out.

Scott Beggs at Mental Floss has.  He came up with  12 Regular Human Facts About What We Do in the Shadows.  So without further delay, here are my top three facts and thoughts on ’em…

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS BEGAN AS A SHORT FILM, AND HAS TURNED INTO A FRANCHISE.
(I did know that What We Do in the Shadows is a television adaptation of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s What We Do In the Shadows movie.  I’ve seen and loved it!  What I didn’t know was the movie was an offshoot of their short film, What We Do in The Shadows: Interviews With Some Vampires.  I will have to look for the short film! – Craig)

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS HOSTED AN EPIC GATHERING OF POP CULTURE VAMPIRES.
(In addition to a perfect cast, What We Do In the Shadows features a variety of guest stars such as Mark Hamill, Wesley Snipes, Craig Robinson, Haley Joe Osment, Taika Waititi, Tilda Swinton, Danny Trejo, Paul Reubens and Dave Bautista. – Craig)

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS CONSTANTLY REMINDS US THAT VAMPIRES ARE HUMANS, TOO.
(THAT is it!  They are so relatable… except for the drinking human blood and turning into bats and stuff. – Craig)

If you haven’t checked out What We Do In the Shadows, please consider giving it a shot.

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Andy Griffith Trivia!

When I think of Andy Griffith, I think of his classic The Andy Griffith Show.  Mr. Griffith played Andy Taylor, the Sheriff of Mayberry, a small town in the south.  Griffith was joined by a perfect cast in a top-rated show that spawned two spin-off series (Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and Mayberry, R.F.D.) and ran for eight years (finishing at #1 in it’s last season).

But Andy Griffith was much more than Andy Taylor.  Andy Griffith made comedy records, sang and played on county and gospel albums, appeared on Broadway, starred in feature films, television movies as well as other tv series.

MeTV has 12 surprising things we learned about Andy Griffith.  A lot of these facts were new to me.  Here are my thoughts on three of them…

His favorite snack was peanut butter and mayonnaise on crackers.
(I grew up eating peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches.  Not many folks I know have ever tried one and the thought usually grosses them out.  I’ll bet Andy would have given a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich a go.  I’d also wager that the crackers he ate were Ritz and after taking a bite he’d say, “Goooood cracker.  Good cracker.”  Most of you probably aren’t old enough to remember his commercials for Ritz crackers where he’d say that after taking a bite of one. – Craig)

He regretted ending The Andy Griffith Show after eight seasons.
(I’ll bet he did.  The Andy Griffith Show was always in the top ten for each season it was on.  It was also one of only three tv series to quit while in the number one spot.  – Craig)

He made $25,000 a week in clubs while The Andy Griffith Show was on break.
(That translates to about $185,000 a week in 2020.  Wow.  Andy was making bank! – Craig)

Click over and check out 12 surprising things we learned about Andy Griffith.

Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: The Art of Darkness Book is Coming!

Fans of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery television series are going to be happy to hear about Rod Serling’s Night GalleryThe Art of Darkness by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson.  Every week Rod Serling would introduce each Night Gallery story by talking about a painting representing the tale to be presented.  The book will be a treasure trove for fans…

The nearly 300-page book is brimming with hundreds of rare, behind-the-scenes photos and artwork. It documents each of the paintings, and traces the complicated (and often twisted) tale of how these iconic masterpieces slowly disappeared from view — only to find their way back, lovingly displayed in two gallery exhibits for appreciative connoisseurs 50 years later.

For more details please check out Night Gallery Paintings Will Soon Be Showcased in a Special “Art Gallery” Book at the Shadows & Substance website.

The MGM 31 Day Movie Challenge

I saw the MGM 31 Day Movie Challenge and thought it would be fun to play along.  Except for days that ask for a very specific movie I’m going to use favorite films that are great but less likely to be chosen.  Here we go…

  • Day 1:  Movie I’ve watched the most – Rocky.  No surprise there.  Also in the running would be some other Stallone films, Enter the Dragon with John Wick and World War Z offering some newer challenges to the throne of most watched.

  • Day 2: Movie that makes me cry – Saving Private Ryan.  When old man Ryan asks if he is a good man.

  • Day 3: Movie that make me laugh – Steamboat Bill, Jr.  Made over 90 years ago by the great Buster Keaton.  It’s a silent film that still resonates.

  • Day 4: Movie with a number in the title – District B13 (2004).  A little know action film with tons of parkour and fun.  

  • Day 5: Movie with a teacher – Rope directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  Two college men host a dinner party with their murder victim hidden in the same room. James Stewart plays their college professor. 

  • Day 6: Movie from the 90s – Last of the Mohicans.  I’ve been wanting to watch this again… now even more!

  • Day 7: Favorite musical – The Wizard of Oz!  Musicals aren’t my favorite genre, but The Wizard of Oz is one of my all-time favorite movies.

  • Day 8: Movie from the 80s – Nighthawks.  Sly Stallone is ahead of the curve with a buddy movie about terrorism in the United States.  At the time a lot of folks thought and said, “That could never happen here.”

  • Day 9: Movie with a person’s name in the title – Rambo.   Stallone returns to the character with one of the best films of the series.

  • Day 10: Movie that reminds you of your mom – Conan, the Barbarian.  My wife and I took my mom to see it and she spent the last half of the movie in the lobby.  She hated it. 

  • Day 11:  Movie with a color in the title – Black Rain.  Another under-rated film.

  •  Day 12: Your favorite Rom-Com – The Apartment.  I’m not a huge Jack Lemmon or Shirley MacLaine fan, but they are perfect in The Apartment.

  • Day 13: Movie from the year I was born – Elevator to the Gallows.  A man murders his boss who is also the husband of his mistress.  Unexpected events lead the police to his trail…

  • Day 14: Your favorite horror flick – Night of the Living Dead.  George Romero’s movie’s impact is felt to this day.

  • Day 15: A  movie from the 70s – Enter the Dragon.  The best Bruce Lee and martial arts movie of all-time.  Pure perfection.

  • Day 16: Your favorite movie to quote: Rocky Balboa.  “Life ain’t all sunshine and roses… It’s not how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can be hit and…”

  • Day 17: Movie from the 60’s – Requiem for a Heavyweight.  One of the best boxing movies of all time.  Written by Rod Serling, directed by Ralph Nelson and starring Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason and Mickey Rooney.

  • Day 18: Film based on a book – To Kill a Mockingbird.  Classic book and classic movie.

  • Day 19: Favorite Action/Adventure movie: Since I’ve listed Enter the Dragon, Rocky and Rambo and because John Wick is an obvious choice, I’m going with The Adventures of Robin Hood directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn in his greatest role.

  • Day 20: Favorite comedy – The Great Race.  I’ve come to love this movie more with every viewing! (Maybe I’m more of a Jack Lemmon fan than I knew.)

  • Day 21: First movie I saw in a theater – It may have been Goldfinger, Help! or Mary Poppins.  

  • Day 22:  Movie that stars my favorite actor or actress – Cop Land.  Sly held his own with Deniro, Keitel and Liotta.

  • Day 23: Favorite cult classic – From Dusk Till Dawn.  I love this film!

  • Day 24: Favorite film series – Rocky.  No surprise there.

  • Day 25: Favorite remake – Dawn of the Dead directed by Zack Snyder.

  • Day 26: Favorite Holiday Movie – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. (Yeah, I love A Christmas Story, too.)

  • Day 27: Movie with the Best Soundtrack – Sharkey’s Machine directed and starring Burt Reynolds.  More folks should give that soundtrack a play. 

  • Day 28: Movie made by my Favorite Director – Paradise Alley directed by Sylvester Stallone.  His first directorial effort and it is under-rated.

  • Day 29: Favorite Animated movie – The Incredibles.

  • Day 30: Favorite Childhood movie – The original Planet of the Apes!

  • Day 31: Movie that starts with the first letter of your name: Cabin in the Sky.  Made in 1943 with an all black cast and it is amazing.  One of my all-time favorites.

“Big Trouble in Little China” by Rich Kelly!

Check out Rich Kelly’s poster for Big Trouble in Little China!

If you’re a fan of ole Jack Burton and his Porkchop Express, or you like John Carpenter’s cult classic or you just think that Rich Kelly’s poster is the bomb, have I got news for you?

Why, yes, I do!  You can see a bigger version or even buy a limited edition print of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA by Rich Kelly at Mondoshop.

RIP: Jerry Stiller

Jerry Stiller died today from natural causes.  He was 92.  Most folks know Jerry Stiller as the father of either Ben Stiller, George Costanza .  Ben is, of course, Mr. Stiller’s real-life son and George was his son on Seinfeld.  Others may recognize Jerry Stiller as Arthur Spooner, Carrie Heffernan’s dad on The King of Queens.

I first knew Jerry Stiller as one half of the comedy team Stiller and Meara.  You’ve probably figured out that he made up the Stiller half of the duo, but did you know his wife, Ann Meara, made up the other 50%?  I can’t tell you how many times I saw them turn up on The Ed Sullivan Show and other variety series.  I enjoyed their humorous routines. It was (and still is) unusual to see a husband and wife comedy team.  Especially one that lasts over 60 years.

Mr. Stiller’s resume contains 115 acting credits but it was his roles on Seinfeld and The King of Queens that I’ll remember best.  Often Jerry Stiller got the biggest laughs and considering the talent involved that’s saying a lot.  From all accounts Jerry Stiller was a humble, giving man and one that made everything he appeared in better.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

“Pippo” – a CGI Animated Short Film by Chris Keller

Check out Pippo a CGI Animated Short Film by Chris Keller.  Here’s Keller with an short intro…

In a bleak world that has lost its sense for joy and wonder, an old clown reminisces about better days.

Pippo is primarily a mood piece and a cinematic metaphor for how I increasingly feel about our world. The film’s unique style was achieved by combining miniature photography with CGI.

Jackie “The Great One” Gleason Trivia!

When I was a little kid for most of the country The Jackie Gleason Show was must-see tv.  As I got a little older I discovered, in reruns, The Honeymooners.  Then in high school Jackie hit big again with his classic role as Sheriff Buford T. Justice in Smokey and the Bandit.

Gleason was also great dramatic actor (see The Hustler and Requiem for a Heavyweight if you don’t believe me) but comedy was where Gleason spent the majority of his career.  Gleason was a true talent making it big on stage, television, radio and movies.

If you don’t know much about the man known as The Great One, check out 18 Fascinating Facts about Jackie Gleason presented by the fine folks at MeTV.  Here are three of my favorite facts and my thoughts on each…

When you see him pat his stomach on The Honeymooners, it’s because he forgot a line.  Well, perhaps it wasn’t 100% photographic. The sitcom was filmed live, so there were no do-overs.

(If you’ve never seen The Honeymooners you owe it to yourself to check it out. Classic comedy! – Craig)

His debut album still holds the record for most consecutive weeks in the Billboard top ten — a whopping 153.  Gleason was a massive music star. In a way, he was a forerunner of ambient pioneer Brian Eno, in that he wished to craft records of what he called “musical wallpaper.” His easy listening instruments, especially Lonesome Echo, remain cult favorites. His first album, 1952’s Music for Lovers Only, spent a mind-boggling three years near the top ten. To put that in perspective, Thriller only managed 78.

(Who’d a thunk it? – Craig)

He believed in aliens.  Gleason studied the paranormal and UFOs. It is rumored that President Nixon shared secret information about UFOs with the Hollywood star.

(Gleason told people that then President Nixon actually showed him a captured alien ship and alien corpse! – Craig)

The All Time Funniest Movies!

Christopher Dale at Listverse presented his list of the Top 10 Funniest Movies Of All Time.  While Dale picked some good comedies, my list would have looked a lot different.  First, here’s Dale’s top ten and my rankings of his choices.

Dale

Zablo

10. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

10. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
I’ve never seen the movie or the tv show…
and don’t have plans to. – Craig

9. Airplane! (1980)

9. Superbad (2007)
The other movie on the list I’ve never seen but may watch it at some point. – Craig

8.  Caddyshack (1980)

8.  Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
I saw this in a theater and was underwhelmed. I’m in the minority though. – Craig

7.  The Naked Gun (1988)

7.  Borat (2006)
Borat had it’s funny moments. – Craig

6.  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

6.  Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
It’s funny but not as funny as some of Farrell’s other movies that didn’t make the list. – Craig

5.  Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

5.  Caddyshack (1980)
I saw Caddyshack in a theater and liked it a bunch. – Craig

4.  South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

4.  Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
So funny… more so if you like the 60era Bond! – Craig

3.  Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

3.  The Naked Gun (1988)
The Naked Gun is truly funny – especially the Umpire scenes. – Craig

2.  Borat (2006)

2.  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
A Christmas classic that never fails to entertain. – Craig

1. Superbad (2007)

1.  Airplane! (1980)
I saw this in a crowded theater and the experience was one of my favorites. Watching it at home without a crowd and it is just not as funny. – Craig

Movies I would have included but didn’t make the cut… Stepbrothers; Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The Great Race, Arsenic and Old Lace; Dr. Strangelove; The Princess Bride; Richard Pryor Live....