Here’s Sly Stallone as Rocky on the cover of the December 1985 issue of National Lampoon. I have a ton of Stallone magazine appearances — especially covers — but this is one that initially escaped me. Thankfully the internet makes finding things easier.
Pull up a seat and sit a spell. Master storyteller Joe R. Lansdale has cooked up a passel of tales for you about the unlikeliest duo East Texas has to offer.
Hap Collins looks like a good ol’ boy, but from his misspent youth on, his best compatriot is Leonard Pine―black, gay, and the ultimate outsider. Inseparable friends, Hap and Leonard attend family gatherings, climb into the boxing ring, get in bar fights, and just go fishing―all while confronting racism, righting wrongs, and eating copious, delicious food.
Chock full of Lansdale’s unique blend of humor, ferocity, and insight, Of Mice and Minestrone delivers five never-before-seen (plus one perhaps familiar) Hap and Leonard stories, a selection of the boys’ favorite recipes, and an introduction from New York Times bestselling author Kathleen Kent.
So come discover the legends of Hap and Leonard, created by Joe R. Lansdale his own self, and featured in the by Hap and Leonard TV series starring Michael K. Williams (The Wire), James Purefoy (The Following), and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men).
1. IT BEGAN WITH SALEM’S LOT.
(Can you imagine if Stephen King and George Romero had made a theatrical version of Salem’s Lot? I loved the tv version of Salem’s Lot, but the thought of a King/Romero movie makes me smile and wonder. – Craig)
9. CREEPSHOW INTRODUCED GREG NICOTERO TO FILMMAKING.
(If getting Nicotero into movies was the only thing that Creepshow was known for it would be enough. – Craig)
10. CREEPSHOW IS PART OF THE STEPHEN KING UNIVERSE.
(I love that Stephen King stories, for the most part, take place in the Stephen King universe. – Craig)
A great cast and an interesting story. Here’s the poster, synopsis and trailer for Knives Out…
Knives Out—In theaters November 27, 2019. Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Noah Segan, Edi Patterson, Riki Lindhome, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer.
OSCAR should’ve been a homerun back in 1991. A madcap comedy was right in the wheelhouse of director John Landis, who was coming off the back-to-back success of COMING TO AMERICA and THREE AMIGOS. Landis perfectly cast Al Pacino in the lead role… (which ultimately went to Sly Stallone)
Stallone particularly gets an undeserved bad rap for this movie.
Stallone is more fun in OSCAR than Pacino ever would’ve been.
Sean Cubillas and CBR.com present 9 Things You Didn’t Know About Calvin & Hobbes. Calvin and Hobbes is my all-time favorite humor strip, and odds are it is yours too. Here are three of my favorites from Cubillas’ list, then click over and read the rest…
EVERYTHING STARTED OFF IN THE DOGHOUSE Right before Watterson would finally receive syndication, he went through quite a bit of rejection. One rejection, in particular, showed the early designs of Calvin and Hobbes. Originally pitched as The Doghouse, a strip that would be described as a hard sell, “Marvin and Hobbes” were on-sided characters that the United Feature Syndicate caught and told Watterson were selling characters.
The United Feature Syndicate, however, would go on to reject his next draft. The Universal Press Syndicate would, fortunately, be a little more welcoming. Despite telling Watterson after his first strip to not quit his day job, Calvin & Hobbes would soon become the best seller that the world knows today.
THE STRIP ENDED BECAUSE WATTERSON WAS FINISHED WITH IT If anyone was wondering why there are no more Calvin & Hobbes strips after 1995 despite only having a decade run and Bill Watterson still being alive to this day, it’s because Watterson just got tired of it. Simple as that. He already had two long running sabbaticals preluding his departure in 1995, but Watterson has gone on to say that he achieved everything that he ever wanted to out of a comic strip and didn’t want to spoil anything by forcing any more out.
It’s genuine and protective to the legacy that he already created, but also a little disappointing to the fans who may have wanted more. But, considering the decline of Garfield and even Peanuts, it’s hard to blame someone trying to go out on top.
BILL WATTERSON REFUSED MOVIE TALKS Three years into Calvin & Hobbes’ run, Stephen Spielberg contacted the Universal Press Syndicate, wanting to talk about a movie deal. Universal Press would excitedly bring the deal to Watterson, who would anticlimactically definitively declare his disinterest. Learning from #6 on this list, Bill Watterson wholeheartedly believed that the magic of Calvin & Hobbes solely remained in its strip format, so much so that he would even turn down toys, animated series offers, and even a multimillion dollar movie deal with the guy who made the Indiana Jones movies.
Despite having a net worth as of this writing of $100 million USD, Watterson is a man of artistic integrity through and through, proving that success is not always about the money but protecting the experience for the audience, which is something that one can’t exactly say for the guy who made Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Today we have a couple of rare videos that are interrelated. The first is The Railrodder starring Buster Keaton.
This short film from director Gerald Potterton (Heavy Metal) stars Buster Keaton in one of the last films of his long career. As “the railrodder”, Keaton crosses Canada from east to west on a railway track speeder. True to Keaton’s genre, the film is full of sight gags as our protagonist putt-putts his way to British Columbia. Not a word is spoken throughout, and Keaton is as spry and ingenious at fetching laughs as he was in the old days of the silent slapsticks.
The video below, Buster Keaton Rides Again takes us behind the scenes as Keaton makes The Railrodder. We get not only a behind-the-scenes look but also some great Keaton anecdotes and excerpts from his silent slapstick classics.
Arsenic and Old Lace is one of my all-time favorite movie comedies. Made in 1944, Arsenic and Old Lace was directed by Frank Capra and starred Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Jack Carson, Peter Lorre, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair and John Alexander.
Arsenic and Old Lace got its start on Broadway running from January 1941 to June 1944. The popular play starred Josephine Hull, Jean Adair and Boris Karloff. When it was time to make the movie, the play’s producers wouldn’t give Karloff the time off fearing that losing him would hurt the play’s attendance. Raymond Massey took over Karloff’s part for the film.
Although Massey did an excellent job, I’d have loved to have seen Karloff in the movie.
Another thing I’d have loved to have seen is Bela Lugosi in the stage play of Arsenic and Old Lace. As you can see from the ad above, Lugosi played the part originated by Karloff (and later Masey) when the show went on the road!
Film School Rejects posted their choices for The 50 Best Comedy Movies Ever. It’s a good list. Using just their list here are my top five choices along with a few thoughts…
5. Airplane (1980): I saw this on it’s initial theatrical release with a full theater. Rarely have I ever seen and heard so much laughter. Granted, repeated viewings are still funny, but there is nothing like watching for the first time with an audience that gets it.
4. Blazing Saddles (1974)
and 3. Young Frankenstein (1974) Again, two more films I saw in packed theaters on their initial release. Mel Brooks was on a roll with his comedic love letters to westerns, movie-making and horror films. They still hold up!
2. Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) A comedy with a message and neither suffers at the expense of the other. Remember, “There is no fighting in the war room.”
1. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944): I love this movie. It’s one I like to share with folks who’ve never seen it. It’s also one I like to revisit every so often.
Two movies that didn’t make the list but should have: Richard Pryor Live and Step Brothers.