“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)

MetaCritics Rankings of Every “Rocky” Movie

Mark Birrell at ScreenRant looked at Metacritic ratings for all eight Rocky movies.  I thought it would be interesting to compare Metacritics’ rankings with mine.  Your mileage may differ.

Metacritic

Craig

8. Rocky IV (40)

8. Rocky V (55)

7. Rocky V (55)

7. Rocky IV (40)

6. Rocky III (57)

6. Rocky II (61)

5. Rocky II (61)

5. Creed II (66)

4. Rocky Balboa (63)

4. Rocky III (57)

3. Creed II (66)

3. Rocky Balboa (63)

2. Rocky (70)

2. Creed (82)

1. Creed (82)

1. Rocky (70)

“Jaws” Trivia!

Dan Grant, at Top 10 Films, in honor of the 45th anniversary of the release of the first summer blockbuster presents: 45 Things About “Jaws” You Might Not Know.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorite Jaws facts as well as my thoughts on each…

4. Richard Dreyfuss’ casting – Richard Dreyfuss originally turned down the role of Hooper because he thought making the movie would be a pain in the ass. After he saw himself on big screen in the Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz he thought he was so awful that his career would be over and he immediately called Steven Spielberg to ask if he could have the role.

(Funny the difference a day or perceived poor performance can make. – Craig)

9. Percy Rodriguez’s iconic trailer voice-over – Percy Rodriguez did the voice-over in the trailer for Jaws. When the producers first came to him, they wanted an upbeat, happy-sounding and almost adventurous voice-over for the trailer. It was Percy’s idea to have a darker and brooding and ominous sounding tone. It worked a treat.

He eventually got his way and many people credit lines in the trailer like “there is a creature that is alive today which has survived millions of years of evolution” and “it was as if God created the devil and gave him (dramatic pause) Jaws”, as major reasons why people flocked to the theatre to see it.

(Watching the “Jaws” trailer attached to this fact at Grant’s post it reminded me of how, in the pre-internet days, important a trailer was to the success of a film.  The “Jaws” trailer made you want to see the film.  Much credit needs to go to Percy Rodriguez.  He was right to push for a darker, more ominous tone! – Craig)

14. Dreyfuss’ surprise – Richard Dreyfuss was so disillusioned with the movie that after his time on set was done, he proceeded to trash it on several different talk shows in the United States. But when he saw the film opening day, after he left the theatre, he jumped into Roy Scheider’s arms and exclaimed “He did it! He did it!” Roy asked him who he meant and he said “Spielberg, Spielberg actually did it!”

(Sounds like Dreyfuss was going through a period of seeing the glass half-full.  He only agreed to star in “Jaws” because he thought he was so terrible in his previous film that he wouldn’t be offered more roles.  Then filming wraps on “Jaws” and Dreyfess downplays how good it is… until he sees it with an audience. – Craig)

Sly Stallone’s All-Time 10 Best Movies!

Colin McCormick at ScreenRant decided to do a little research and came up with the 10 Best Sylvester Stallone Films, According To IMDb.  Well, you know me and lists.  Below I’ve compared the IMDb rankings to mine followed by my thoughts…


Sylvester Stallone’s Best Films

IMD Rating

Craig

10. Rocky IV (1985:) 6.9

10. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 (2017)

9. Cop Land (1997): 6.9

9. Rocky IV (1985)

8. Rambo (2008): 7.0

8. Creed II (2018)

7. Rocky Balboa (2006): 7.1

7. Rocky II (1979)

6. Creed II (2018): 7.1

6. Creed (2015)

5. Rocky II (1979) 7.3

5. First Blood (1982)

4. Creed (2015): 7.6

4. Rocky Balboa (2006)

3. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 (2017): 7.6

3. Rambo (2008)

2. First Blood (1982): 7.7

2. Cop Land (1997)

1. Rocky (1976): 8.1

1. Rocky (1976)

The IMDb list is a good one.  For my rankings, I put a little more emphasis on the films that starred Sly than for one’s where he co-starred or had a cameo (GotG2).  Creed rated higher than Rocky 2 because of Sly’s performance.  He should have received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Had I made the Top Ten List I would have tried to find a way to include Nighthawks and Get CarterParadise Alley and FIST… but there are just too many Stallone favorites to list just ten.  Still, it was a fun exercise.  Your mileage may differ, but give it a shot!

Chuck Norris Trivia!

Jake Rossen from Mental Floss is back and this time he brought Chuck Norris with him.  Check out 8 Surprising Facts About Chuck Norris.  Here are three of my favorite facts and my thoughts on each…

STEVE MCQUEEN GOT CHUCK NORRIS INTO ACTING.
(This one surprised me.  I would have thought Bruce Lee would have gotten credit for this since it was Lee who gave Chuck Norris his first big break.  Maybe it was McQueen who first suggested that Norris give acting a try. – Craig)

CHUCK NORRIS NEEDED TO OBEY A PRODUCER’S REQUEST IN ORDER TO FACE OFF AGAINST BRUCE LEE.
(Chuck Norris tells the story that when Bruce Lee contacted him about co-starring in Way of the Dragon, Norris jokingly asked who would win the climatic fight.  Lee replied that he would.  Norris said, “So you want to beat the World Karate Champion?”  Lee’s response: “No, I want to kill the World Karate Champion.” 🙂  – Craig)

CHUCK NORRIS HAD HIS OWN CARTOON SERIES.
(It’s easy to forget just how popular Chuck Norris was.  At one point he had his own line of jeans, a cartoon, a comic book series, a television series, made movies, created his own style of martial arts and more.  Oh, and let’s not forget the ever popular Chuck Norris jokes. – Craig)

If you’ve read this far, you’ll enjoy Rossen’s 8 Surprising Facts About Chuck Norris.

“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.

Rambo Franchise Trivia!

Sam Hutchinson at ScreenRant posted Rambo: 10 Things Fans Never Knew About The Franchise.  My guess is most readers here will know most of these facts.  Here are my three favorites with my thoughts.

The Only Rambo To Receive An Oscar Nomination.
(Rambo: First Blood Part II was nominated for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing.  That’s right, Rambo is an Oscar-nominated film franchise.  – Craig)

Rambo Was Banned In Myanmar.
(Rambo was set in Burma / Myanmar and due to the spotlight the movie brought to the treatment of many in the country, the film was banned. Hopefully some reforms came about due in at least a small part to Rambo. – Craig)

Broken Nose.
(Sly accidentally broke Alf Humphrey’s nose during First Blood filming, which is why his character is seen wearing a bandaid after Rambo’s jailhouse escape. – Craig)

To get all the facts and details click over to Rambo: 10 Things Fans Never Knew About The Franchise.

Bruce Lee Trivia!

Jay Serafino at Mental Floss presents 10 Amazing Facts About Bruce Lee.  Here are my thoughts about three of the best…

BRUCE LEE REFUSED TO LOSE A FIGHT TO ROBIN.
(It’s pretty impressive that Lee took this stand since Batman was one of the most popular shows on tv, and Lee wasn’t the star of Batman or The Green Hornet. – Craig)

ROMAN POLANSKI MAY HAVE (BRIEFLY) THOUGHT BRUCE LEE MURDERED SHARON TATE.
(I was surprised when I first learned of this fact.  What are the odds Lee would lose his glasses around the same time of the murder and that a pair would be found at the scene of the crime?  Coincidences do happen and can get people locked up or worse. – Craig)

BRUCE LEE WAS DEEMED PHYSICALLY UNFIT FOR THE U.S. ARMY.
(This is probably the most surprising fact.  Who’d have guessed that Bruce Lee would be deemed unfit for anything? – Craig)

For more on Bruce Lee please consider checking out…

The All-Time Best Heist Movies!

Matthew Jackson at Mental Floss presents The 25 Greatest Heist Movies of All Time.  Jackson’s list is a good one.  I’ve seen 18 of the 25 films listed.  Here are my thoughts on each of the movies Jackson selected.

1. THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950) – An excellent choice for number one.  John Huston directs a great cast in a classic film.

2. RIFIFI (1955) – The heist itself is an extended classic scene without dialogue.  Another excellent choice.

3. THE LADYKILLERS (1955) – I haven’t seen this one.

4. THE KILLING (1956) – I love this film and it gets better with each viewing. I wouldn’t have argued if it had placed higher.

5. BOB LE FLAMBEUR (1956) – I haven’t seen this one, but would like to.

6. THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1968) – The first film on the list that I’ve seen and didn’t love.  In fact I would have chosen McQueen in The Getaway instead.

7. THE ITALIAN JOB (1969) – I haven’t seen it.

8. THE STING (1973) – Newman and Redford re-teamed for an excellent follow-up to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

9. DOG DAY AFTERNOON (1975) – A unique story told from a perspective most wouldn’t expect.

10. BLUE COLLAR (1978) – I’ve never seen this one and until this list didn’t realize it was a heist film.

11. THIEF (1981) – Thief takes us into a world alien to us civilians.  You can see the groundwork for Heat being developed by Mann.

12. DIE HARD (1988) – A classic.  Until this list, I had never considered Die Hard to be a heist movie but it is.

13. RESERVOIR DOGS (1992) – My favorite Tarantino movie.  

14. HEAT (1995) – Love this one.  I wonder why it didn’t rate higher.

15. BOTTLE ROCKET (1996) – I haven’t see this one.

16. OUT OF SIGHT (1998) – I was surprised by how much I liked this one.  I need to see it again.

17. SEXY BEAST (2000) – I haven’t seen this one.

18. OCEAN’S ELEVEN (2001) – Saw it when it was first released and thought it was ok.

19. INSIDE MAN (2006) – Another movie that I thought was just ok.

20. THE TOWN (2010) – I love The Town and would have rated it much higher.

21. FAST FIVE (2011) – I like the Fast & Furious series but truthfully they all start to run together as they get more and more outlandish.  I still dig ’em though.

22. HELL OR HIGH WATER (2016) – Surprisingly good and doesn’t follow the typical Hollywood format.

23. BABY DRIVER (2017) – What a stylishly unique film.  I can’t wait to see it again… 

24. LOGAN LUCKY (2017) – This was a much better and funnier movie than I expected.

25. WIDOWS (2018) – I haven’t seen it, but wouldn’t mind doing so.

Click over to Matthew Jackson’s The 25 Greatest Heist Movies of All Time to see trailers and learn more about each film.

“Demolition Man” Trivia!

Tim Buckler at ScreenRant posted Demolition Man: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Cult Classic.  My guess is that you will most, if not all, of the trivia items, but in case you don’t…

And here are my three favs as well a my thoughts on each…

Evil Chan – Wesley Snipes was not the first choice to play the villainous Simon Phoenix. Originally Stallone had his friend and co Planet Hollywood founder Jackie Chan in mind for the role. However, Jackie had never played a baddie before, he decided against the part in order not to alienate or confuse his fans.

Other rumors state that Steven Segal and Jean Claude Van Damme also turned down the part for similar reasons, although both would play villains a few decades later in Machete and The Expendables 2 respectively.

(Craig – Demolition Man would have been a very different movie had someone other than Wesley been selected.  I think with Jackie Chan it would have dipped more into comedy,  With Seagal or Van Damme it would have felt more disjointed unless it went for less comedy.)

Spartan’s Daughter – There is actually an entire subplot in the movie that was cut out of the finished feature. In the final wasteland battle, John is seen protecting a wasteland scrap named Kate. Kate is also seen at the end of the movie standing next to Edger Friendly when Associate Bob introduces himself.

Apparently, in a cut scene Spartan is introduced to Kate where he learns she is his daughter. This, plus other scenes that didn’t make it in the final film were cut because Warner Brothers wanted a much shorter run time.

(Craig – Deleted scenes are usually fun, but deleted for a good reason.  I’d like to see those scenes but don’t imagine they’d add a lot to the movie without slowing it down.)

A New Script – The movie, in its most basic terms, is about a cop and a criminal who fight each other, are frozen for almost 40 years, then keep fighting. However, in Demolition Man‘s original screenplay, the story was set to start straight away in 2032 with no glimpse of the past (which, at the time, was the near future, but nowadays is the past).

Fred Dekker is the man to take credit for changing things up, even though his re-write is uncredited. He gave the film a prologue that showed Spartan and Phoenix in their natural environment. “If you don’t show Kansas, Oz isn’t all that special.”

(Craig – I agree with Dekker.  I also wish that Demolition Man leaned more into the action and less into the comedy.  I thought the opening with Sly jumping from the copter to take down Simon and his crew set the right tone for an all out action fest.)

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.