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Previews & Reviews that are Z's Views

15 Fun Facts About “Weird Science”

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

9. THE SCENE WHERE GARY TALKS LIKE AN OLD AFRICAN-AMERICAN BLUESMAN WAS INSPIRED BY RICHARD PRYOR.
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?’”

11. IT TAKES ITS TITLE FROM A 1950S COMIC BOOK, BUT OTHER SIMILARITIES ARE COINCIDENTAL.
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.

13. BILL PAXTON GOT HIS CHARACTER’S DISTINCTIVE MILITARY-STYLE HAIRCUT WITHOUT HUGHES’ PERMISSION.
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

Hollywood.com 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.

 

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.

****SPOILER ALERT****

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.

15 Fun Facts About “City Slickers”


Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 15 Fun Facts About City Slickers. Here are three of my favorites…

1. JACK PALANCE WAS BILLY CRYSTAL’S ORIGINAL CHOICE TO PLAY CURLY.

When Crystal first came up with the seed of the idea for City Slickers, he immediately thought of Jack Palance as the crusty bad guy with the heart of gold. He thought of him because the first movie he had ever seen was the 1953 movie Shane, where Palance played the bad guy. The actor left a lasting impression on Crystal, who was seven years old at the time of his first movie-going experience. Because his father produced jazz concerts, Billy saw Shane seated on Billie Holiday’s lap.

5. CHARLES BRONSON WAS ANGRY OVER BEING ASKED TO PLAY CURLY.

Jack Palance initially turned down the role of Curly, as he was committed to another project. So Crystal offered the part to Charles Bronson, who was not pleased. He cursed Crystal out because “I’m dead on page 64!” Palance, of course, ended up taking the role (and the rest is history).

6. PALANCE GOT INTO AN ARGUMENT WITH THE DIRECTOR ON THE FIRST DAY OF SHOOTING.

The veteran actor yelled at Ron Underwood over his first direction, but everything went smoothly after that. When Crystal asked what had happened, Palance explained that he always gets nervous on his first day of shooting. Sure enough, Tim Burton told a similar story about Palance snapping at him on his first day of shooting on Batman over how he was told to walk out of a bathroom, with Burton admitting that the incident scared him “to death—I literally saw white and left my body.”

Celebrity Phobias

A phobia is defined as…

…a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.

Common phobias are a fear of public speaking, spiders, snakes, heights, dogs, thunder or lightening, flying and so on.

Eddie Deezen takes a look a celebrity phobias in his piece, “Hey, What Are You Afraid Of” at Neatorama.

14 Deep Facts About “The Hunt for Red October”


Eric D Snider and Mental_Floss present 14 Deep Facts About The Hunt for Red October. Here are three of my favorites…

1. Even though the novel had been a bestseller, nobody wanted to make the movie.

Tom Clancy’s book is a complicated story with a lot of technical jargon, which made Hollywood executives antsy. It also made the movie hard to summarize. “In Hollywood, because of time constraints, very few people in a position to say yes to a project like this read the book,” admitted producer Mace Neufeld. “They generally read the reader’s report. [And] this book doesn’t condense well into two or three pages.” Neufeld got the project off the ground by getting a Paramount executive to read the novel—not just the book report—and see for himself how cinematic it could be.

3. Sean Connery was a last-minute replacement.

The film had been under production for two weeks when word came that Klaus Maria Brandauer (Out of Africa), the Austrian actor who’d been signed to play the rogue Soviet sub commander Marko Ramius, couldn’t do it after all because of a prior commitment. Connery took the part instead, needing only one day for rehearsal. Coincidentally, he and Brandauer had acted together in 1983’s Never Say Never Again and would reunite again for 1990’s The Russia House, which was shot shortly after The Hunt for Red October.

9. Alec Baldwin wanted to return for the sequels but was edged out when Paramount learned they could get Harrison Ford.

It’s complicated, and there are at least two sides to every story, but here’s the gist: While negotiations with Baldwin were still ongoing, Paramount allegedly offered the part to Ford, who was a bigger box office draw and to whom the studio owed money anyway because of a previous project that had fallen through. Baldwin had been dithering over the specifics of his deal, and now a Paramount executive used that indecision to force his hand: either commit right now to an open-ended contract for Patriot Games and whatever came next, or the offer would be withdrawn. Not wanting to give up a chance to appear in A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway, Baldwin left Jack Ryan behind.

15 Things You Should Know About “The Last Supper”

Kristy Puchko and Mental_Floss present 15 Things You Should Know About The Last Supper.  Here are three of my favorites…

2. The Last Supper captures a climactic moment.

Everyone knows the painting depicts Jesus’ last meal with his apostles before he was captured and crucified. But more specifically, da Vinci wanted to capture the instant just after Jesus reveals that one of his friends will betray him, complete with reactions of shock and rage from the apostles. In da Vinci’s interpretation, the moment also takes place just before the birth of the Eucharist, with Jesus reaching for the bread and a glass of wine that would be the key symbols of this Christian sacrament.

6. Very few of da Vinci’s original brushstrokes remain.

Although the painting itself was beloved, da Vinci’s tempera-on-stone experiment was a failure. By the early 16th century, the paint had started to flake and decay, and within 50 years, The Last Supper was a ruin of its former glory. Early restoration attempts only made it worse.

Vibrations from Allied bombings during World War II further contributed to the painting’s destruction. Finally, in 1980, a 19-year restoration effort began. The Last Supper was ultimately restored, but it lost much of its original paint along the way.

3. You won’t find it in a museum.

Although The Last Supper is easily one of the world’s most iconic paintings, its permanent home is a convent in Milan, Italy. And moving it would be tricky, to say the least. Da Vinci painted the religious work directly (and fittingly) on the dining hall wall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie back in 1495.

19 Fun Facts About “Married with Children”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 19 Fun Facts About Married with Children. Here are three of my favorites…

5. THE SHOW WAS PITCHED WITH SAM KINISON AS AL AND ROSEANNE BARR AS PEGGY.

Both Kinison and Barr’s managers told Moye, Leavitt, and the other producers that their clients were shooting for the movies, not television.

9. THE SHOW BRIEFLY RUINED O’NEILL’S MOVIE CAREER.

O’Neill had to be recast long after the 1991 war film Flight of the Intruder had finished shooting because test audiences kept laughing whenever he appeared on screen, even though he was playing a Navy captain involved in a court-martial.

6. MICHAEL RICHARDS AUDITIONED TO PLAY AL.

Two years before he landed the career-making role of Kramer on Seinfeld, Richards auditioned to play the Bundy family patriarch. Moye estimated that out of the many people who auditioned for the role, “80 percent” played Al like Jackie Gleason as Ralph Cramden and “five percent” went the Jack Nicholson in The Shining route.

15 Giant Facts About “Shrek”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 15 Giant Facts About Shrek. Here are three of my favorites…

4. CHRIS FARLEY WAS THE ORIGINAL SHREK.

Farley was not only cast in the title role, but he had actually completed recording somewhere between 80 to 95 percent of his dialogue before he passed away in 1997. In the version of the film Farley worked on, Shrek was a teenage ogre who didn’t want to go into the family business and had aspirations of becoming a knight.

12. THE MOVIE WAS SCREENED BY DREAMWORKS AND DISNEY LAWYERS TO AVOID POSSIBLE LAWSUITS.

Shrek was considered by some to be a series of jabs at Disney, with its general cynicism toward the traditional fairy tales that Disney had presented in movie form since 1937, Farquaad’s castle resembling Disneyland, and Farquaad’s diminutive stature possibly a reference to an infamous quote by Katzenberg’s former Disney boss Michael Eisner about his hatred of the former employee in a lawsuit. While there was no legal action, some Radio Disney affiliates did not allow Dreamworks to buy ad time to promote Shrek.

5. NICOLAS CAGE TURNED DOWN THE LEAD ROLE BECAUSE HE DIDN’T WANT TO BE AN OGRE.

Dreamworks executives considered Tom Cruise and Leonard DiCaprio for Shrek, until Katzenberg offered Nicolas Cage the part. Cage told the Daily Mail that he turned the role down because “I just didn’t want to look like an ogre.” Though, upon reflection, Cage realized that “Maybe I should have done it looking back.”