Category: Trivia

FAN2FAN Podcast: Craig Zablo Talking Stallone Interview Part 1

The Fan To Fan (F2F) podcast with hosts Bernie Gonzalez, Peter Charbonneau and Doug Ziegler takes a simple idea and does it well.  Each episode of F2F features a conversation between fans.  The subject could be movies, comics, TV, video games, toys, cartoons, or anything pop culture! Bernie, Peter and Doug pick a fan with a love and/or knowledge of the episode’s topic and then do a deep dive.

Recently, the F2F team spoke with me about Sly Stallone.  When I was approached to be a guest, I explained that there are Stallone fans with greater knowledge and bigger collections than mine.  Still, they were interested in how I became a Stallone fan, the creation of StalloneZone and more.  I was already a fan of  Bernie’s Midnight Mystery, so I checked out F2F and became a fan of it as well.

Talking to Bernie, Pete and Doug was a blast.  It was truly fans hanging out.  Here’s part one of the conversation.  I hope you enjoy it half as much as I did.

Movie Snacks – National Survey Results!

Fandango, the nation’s largest ticketing service surveyed 2,500 film goers across the U.S. about movie concession snacks.  Above we see a summary of the results.

  • 83% said that movie theater popcorn tastes better than popcorn made at home.  (100% agree.)
  • 53% says nachos are the best hot snack, but 77% avoid messy snacks when on a date.  (I agree with the 53% and pity the 77%  – of course I’m married, so she expects me to be messy).
  • 47% buy concessions even if they are late to a movie.  (If I’m late, I don’t go.  There will be other showings.  And to that 47% – shame on you for disrupting the movie for others!)
  • 48% like to mix candy in their popcorn.  (Genius! I’ve eaten popcorn and candy at the same time, but never mixed the candy into the popcorn!  Genius, I say again!)

Survey: Top Five Candies Mixed into Popcorn

Zablo’s Choices

1. M&Ms / Peanut M&Ms

1. M&Ms / Peanut M&Ms

2. Reese’s Pieces

2. Reese’s Pieces

3. Rasinets

3. Goobers

4. Goobers

4. Rasinets

5. Milk Duds

5. I do not want Milk Duds in my popcorn!

Source:  /Film.

“A Fistful of Dollars” Trivia!

Rob Hunter at Film School Rejects came up with 21 Things We Learned from the Fistful of Dollars Commentary.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

Eastwood was paid $15,000 for the film with a six-week Spanish “holiday” included. Other actors originally considered for the role, including Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Henry Fonda, and others, all asked for too much money. (I always find it interesting to see who was offered a role compared to who ended up playing it.  Of the three listed, Charles Bronson is my hands-down favorite.  Eastwood is iconic as the Man with No Name, but it would have been interesting to see what Charles Bronson could have done with that role. – Craig)

The opening title credits were designed by Luigi Lardani and based in part on the popular James Bond title credits of the time. (If you watch the opening credits, the 007 title credits influence is clear.  It was a smart idea to use modern title credits for a movie set in the old west.  – Craig)

You know this already, but the film is very directly based on Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961). Kurosawa had already acknowledged that his samurai films were in some ways a reworking of traditional Hollywood westerns, but A Fistful of Dollars is a very, very clear remake of Yojimbo — “the trouble was that nobody had cleared the rights.” Kurosawa eventually wrote to Leone after seeing the western and said “I like your film very much, it’s a very interesting film, unfortunately it’s my film not your film.” They settled out of court with the Japanese director going on to earn more from this film than from any of his own releases. (Wow!  I knew that A Fistful of Dollars was a reworking of Yojimbo, but had no idea that Kurosawa’s settlement made him more money than any of his own films!  I also love his quote: “I like your film very much… unfortunately it’s my film not your film.” – Craig)

The Ten Best “Twilight Zone” Episodes!

Howard Waldstein, at CBR.com, posted his choices for the Ten Best Twilight Zone episodes.  I decided to compare my Twilight Zone top ten to his.   We ended up choosing five of the same episodes.  Below are how our choices shook out.

Waldstein

Zablo

10. “I Shot An Arrow Into The Air” 10. The Eye of the Beholder
09. “The Rip Van Winkle Caper” 09.The Howling Man
08. “The Howling Man” 08. Time Enough at Last
07. “Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?” 07. The Invaders
06. “Mirror Image” 06. The Midnight Sun
05. “To Serve Man” 05. The Shelter
04. “Nick Of Time” 04. Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
03. “Third From The Sun” 03. To Serve Man
02. “Time Enough At Last” 02. The Monsters are Due on Maple Street
01. “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” 01. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

Time! Fascinating Facts That You May Not Know!

Kerry Wolfe at Mental Floss posted an interesting article titled 28 Fascinating Facts About Time.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites…

We can thank the railroad industry for standardizing our time zones.  Until the 19th century, towns and villages synchronized their clocks to the local solar noon. This created thousands of local times that all varied and made scheduling transportation a major headache. Train schedules in different cities had to list dozens of arrival and departure times for each train to account for all the mini time zones. On November 18, 1883, railroad companies in the United States and Canada began using a system very similar to the standardized time zones we still use today. In the UK, the railroad companies began using a standard London-based time in 1840. (I didn’t know this.  It’s crazy that it was the railroad industry that brought standard times zones about! – Craig)

Though a lot of people believe daylight saving time was adopted to keep farmers happy, that’s a myth.  The first person to seriously advocate for daylight saving time was an entomologist who wanted more sunlit hours to look for insects after work in the summer. He proposed his idea to a scientific society in New Zealand in 1895. (Wow!  I had always been taught daylight saving time was brought about to give farmer’s more daylight!  Another myth busted. – Craig)

Even with the advent of standardized time, people still struggled to keep their clocks in sync.  One London family used this to their advantage, and made a living by selling people the time. An astronomer named John Belville would set his pocket watch to the time at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. He would then travel around the city and visit his network of subscribers, who paid to set their own clocks by Belville’s pocket watch. After Belville died in 1856, his wife, and then later their daughter Ruth, carried on the tradition. Ruth continued to sell the time until World War II. By then she was in her eighties, and a couple of factors led to her timely retirement: Improved technology had made her role less important, and the war was making treks around London too dangerous.  (Hats off to John Belville for figuring out how to use his pocket watch to provide for his family.  Crazy that his wife was still able to do this as late as the start of World War II — that’s less than 100 years ago.  If there is money to be made, someone will figure out a way. – Craig)

Rarely Told Behind-the-Scenes Facts of the Assassination of President Kennedy!

If you have any interest at all in the Assassination of President Kennedy, you will want to check out Ten Tales from Dallas’s Parkland Hospital, Where JFK Died by Christopher Dale at Listverse. 

Normally I would pick out my three favorite items from the list.  I won’t this time because each fact/tale of the ten is rare and interesting.  Without giving too much away, Dale’s behind-the-scenes of the Kennedy Assassination tells…

  • Why Jackie Kennedy wouldn’t immediately let the Secret Service take President Kennedy into the emergency room.
  • Why doctors performed procedures that they knew were useless and what Jackie had for them.
  • What a doctor said and immediately regretted.
  • How one of the procedures the doctors performed destroyed potential evidence.
  • Prank calls received at the hospital once it was announced that President Kennedy had died.
  • Why the Last Rites were performed even though the President had died, and how the Priest disobeyed warnings from the Secret Service
  • Why Vice President Johnson delayed an official announcement that President Kennedy had died.
  • Why local authorities struggled with Secret Service agents in an effort to take control of President Kennedy’s body.
  • What happened when President Kennedy’s suspected assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was taken to the same hospital as President Kennedy after being shot.
  • The contents of the self-serving memo released by Parkland Hospital Administrator Charles Jack “CJ” Price less than a week after the murder of President Kennedy.

Hats of to Christopher Dale!

Ranking All “Rocky” Fights From Worst to First!


DekeDasilva (from the StalloneZone forum) posted a link to Ranking The Various ROCKY Fights: From Worst To First at ActioNews.  Several forum members weighed in and it got me thinking about how I would rank Rocky’s fights from the franchise.  So here are my rankings compared to those at ActioNews and my thoughts on each…

ActioNews

Craig

9. Rocky vs Tommy Gunn (Rocky V, 1990)

9. Rocky vs Tommy Gunn (Rocky V, 1990)

8. Rocky vs. Thunderlips (Rocky III, 1982)

8. Apollo Creed vs Ivan Drago (Rocky IV, 1985)

7. Apollo Creed vs Ivan Drago (Rocky IV, 1985)

7. Rocky vs Clubber Lang, 1st fight (Rocky III, 1982)

6. Rocky vs Clubber Lang, 1st fight (Rocky III, 1982)

6. Rocky vs Mason Dixon (Rocky Balboa, 2006)

5. Rocky vs Mason Dixon (Rocky Balboa, 2006)

5. Rocky vs Apollo Creed, Rematch (Rocky II, 1979)

4. Rocky vs Ivan Drago (Rocky IV, 1985)

4. Rocky vs. Thunderlips (Rocky III, 1982)

3. Rocky vs Apollo Creed, 1st fight (Rocky, 1976)

3. Rocky vs Ivan Drago (Rocky IV, 1985)

2. Rocky vs Apollo Creed, Rematch (Rocky II, 1979)

2. Rocky vs Apollo Creed, 1st fight (Rocky, 1976)

1. Rocky Vs Clubber Lang, Rematch (Rocky III, 1982)

1. Rocky Vs Clubber Lang, Rematch (Rocky III, 1982)

9. Rocky vs Tommy Gunn (Rocky V, 1990): All of the fights in the Rocky franchise are well done, and while this one came in last, it is still entertaining. It did feel a bit out of place since all the other battles took place in the ring.

8. Apollo Creed vs Ivan Drago (Rocky IV, 1985): I enjoyed Creed’s fight against Drago better in Sly’s director’s cut, but the fact that Apollo dies makes it hard to rank this fight higher.

7. Rocky vs Clubber Lang, 1st fight (Rocky III, 1982): This fight was short but not sweet. Rocky gets knocked out and Mickey dies.

6. Rocky vs Mason Dixon (Rocky Balboa, 2006): Rocky proves his still has the “Eye of the Tiger”.

5. Rocky vs Apollo Creed, Rematch (Rocky II, 1979): What a fight and what a finish!

4. Rocky vs. Thunderlips (Rocky III, 1982): While this wasn’t a boxing match, I love it. Rocky is definitely the underdog – the size difference is amazing. The fight has humor, drama and is exciting from start to finish.

3. Rocky vs Ivan Drago (Rocky IV, 1985): Rocky has never had a more personal reason to fight and has never fought in a more hostile environment, yet he still finds the will to win.

2. Rocky vs Apollo Creed, 1st fight (Rocky, 1976): The fight that kicked off the entire franchise. Rocky was given no chance to win the title, but all he wanted to do was be standing when the final bell rang. Surprisingly (because it’s a movie and heroes are expected to win) Rocky loses, yet the audience is standing and cheering!

1. Rocky Vs Clubber Lang, Rematch (Rocky III, 1982): Rocky is going against a warrior who destroyed him in the first fight. He’s lost Mickey and perhaps “the Eye of the Tiger”. Will Apollo’s training and Adrian’s heart-to-heart provide the motivation to win? (You better believe it!)

“The Mummy” (1999) Trivia That May Surprise You!

Todd Gilchrist at Mental Floss came up with some surprising trivia about the 1999 reboot of The Mummy which he calls Unwrapping 16 Facts About The Mummy.  Before you click over, here are three of my favs and my thoughts on each…

FILMMAKERS SPENT MANY YEARS TRYING TO REVIVE THE MUMMY.  (While I did know this, I wasn’t aware that at one point George (Night of the Living Dead) Romero was recruited to write and direct the reboot. – Craig)

AT ONE POINT, DANIEL DAY-LEWIS WAS BEING EYED TO PLAY THE MUMMY.  (While I could see Day-Lewis playing the Brendan Fraser role, would the producers really wanted Daniel Day Lewis as the Mummy?  He’d be, uh, under wraps for most of the film! – Craig)

STEPHEN SOMMERS WON UNIVERSAL OVER WITH HIS CONTEMPORARY APPROACH. (Writing Rick O’Connell as an Indiana Jones-type character and adding in the humor was genius! – Craig)

Interestingly enough, I didn’t care for The Mummy (1999) but greatly enjoyed the sequel, The Mummy Returns (2001). 

Universal Monsters Trivia!

Mark Mancini at Mental Floss came up with 11 Facts About The Universal Monster Movies.  If you’re a fan of the Universal Monsters you probably know all eleven.  (Is there anyone who isn’t a Universal Monsters fan? Ah, but I digress.)  Before you click over, here are my top three and thoughts on each…

LON CHANEY JR. BECAME THE ONLY ACTOR IN THE FRANCHISE TO PLAY DRACULA, WOLF MAN, FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER, AND A MUMMY.  (Lon Chaney, Jr. is often considered one of the lessor actors to star in Universal Monster movies, yet he is the only actor to play the big four!  – Craig)

FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN ARGUABLY INVENTED THE IDEA OF A “CINEMATIC UNIVERSE.”  (What a genius idea! I can remember the excitement I had as a kid when one of the monster team-up movies was set to appear on Sammy Terry’s Nightmare Theater! – Craig)

BELA LUGOSI WAS BURIED IN HIS DRACULA CAPE.  (Dracula was the role that made Lugosi a star.  It’s interesting that Bela Lugosi only played Dracula twice (Dracula and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein)!

Movie Franchises That Should Have Stopped at the First!

Devin Meenan at CBR.com created a list of 10 Movie Franchises Where The First Film Is The Best.  Meenan’s list is a good one and I’d only disagree with…

#8 Alien Was Lightning In A Bottle.  While Alien is an awesome movie, I’m not prepared to say it is better than Aliens.  Both are amazing, but if push came to shove and I had to pick one for the top spot it would be Aliens.

#7 Terminator Has Seen Diminishing Returns.  I’ll agree that Terminator is a great film.  I’ll also agree that the sequels after Terminator 2: Judgment Day fell short.  Again, if I had to pick just one, T2 would get the nod.  (I’d also like to point out that despite what Meenan says in the heading for Terminator, T2 made more at the box office.)

Two other film franchises that I would have included are HIghlander (There should have been only one!) and Escape from… (NY over LA).

“Janet” Jackson – The Poster and Extended Trailer are Here!

I like her music/videos and am interested in seeing the Janet Jackson documentary.

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Night one of #Janetdoc premieres Friday, January 28th at 8/7c.

The four-hour event, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Janet’s first album, Janet Jackson (1982), is set to simulcast on Lifetime and A&E, two of the flagship channels of the A+E Networks portfolio. With full, unprecedented access to the global icon, JANET is an intimate, honest and unfiltered look at her untold story. Producers Workerbee have been filming the incredible documentary for over three years and were granted exclusive access to archival footage and Janet’s never before seen home videos, along with star-studded interviews.

This will be the definitive story on Janet Jackson. One of the best-selling and highest-earning artists in music history, Janet has enjoyed immense levels of success, experienced incredible tragedy, and endured a tumultuous private life in the face of extraordinary public scrutiny. With no stone left unturned, JANET lifts the lid on her private life for the very first time and reveals some of her most intimate moments ever caught on camera.

Keanu Reeves’ List of Movies Everyone Should See!

Keanu Reeves is the focus of a cover story in the Winter issue of Esquire magazine.  In the piece Keanu Reeves Shares His List of the Movies Everyone Should Watch.  It’s an interesting list with some surprising picks.  Here are the movies the chosen one chose (and my thoughts on each):

The Neon Demon: Stars Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks and Keanu Reeves.  I’ve not only never seen The Neon Demon, I don’t remember hearing about it.

A Clockwork Orange: is a classic.

Rollerball:  There are two versions.  I prefer the original starring James Caan (and I’ll bet Keanu does too).

The Bad Batch:  Here is another film I haven’t heard of. It stars Suki Waterhouse (?) and Jason Mamoa.  Here’s the synopsis – In a desert dystopia, a young woman is kidnapped by cannibals.  I’m going to put The Bad Batch on my list of movies to be seen.

Dr. Strangelove: is a classic that gets better with every viewing.  Must see.

Seven Samurai: is also a classic that influenced movies worldwide.

Amadeus:  I saw Amadeus years ago and liked it.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead:  I’ve never seen this one.

The Evil Dead:  I’ve seen The Evil Dead and it didn’t like it as much as most folks.

Raising Arizona: is a truly funny movie that just writing about makes me want to watch it again.

The Big Lebowski: is another film I’ve never seen.  (I know, I know.  I need to correct that.)

La Femme Nikita (the French version):  I’ve never seen the French version.

The Professional: is an excellent film that kickstarted Natalie Portman’s career.

Young Frankenstein: A classic that should be seen as part of a double feature with the film below.

Blazing Saddles: A classic that should be seen as part of a double feature with the film above.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: I’ve seen MPatHG and it had its moments but it doesn’t rate as high with me as it does with most folks.

The Outlaw Josey Wales:  Arguably Eastwood’s best western.  (Ok.  I won’t argue it, but let’s agree The Outlaw Josey Wales is one of his best movies.)

The Road Warrior: Mad Max 2: is an excellent choice for movies everyone should see.  Make it a part of a double feature with Mad Max: Fury Road and make an evening of it!

Craig’s 2021 Best Movies, Books, and Posts Lists!

End of the Year lists are fun and so I decided to compile a few of my own. I hope you enjoy them. Below is my Best Of list for 2021…

Movies and Limited Series

In 2021, I watched 372 movies. Most were streamed. The only film I saw in a theater was Rocky vs Drago, Sly Stallone’s Director’s Cut of Rocky IV. Although the total movies watched was less than last year, it was still nearly double of what I saw prior to retiring.  My favorite films and limited series released in 2020 included:

  • Army of the Dead
  • Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali
  • No Sudden Move
  • Rocky IV: Rocky vs Drago Director’s Cut
  • Midnight Mass
  • Who Killed Malcolm X?

Books

In 2021, I read 39 books (5 more than last year). Prior to retiring I usually read about 20 – 24 per year so the increase is a good sign that I’ll some day make it through my book cases of “to be read” books.  My favorites from this year included:

  • The Revelators by Ace Atkins
  • Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
  • Two in the Head by Eric Beetner
  • She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper
  • Paradise Sky by Joe Lansdale
  • Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby
  • Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby
  • The Heathens by Ace Atkins
  • The Driver by Hart Hanson
  • My Darkest Prayer by S.A. Cosby

My Most Popular Posts of the Year

I continue to find some surprises in what became my most popular posts each year. Here are the top ten for 2021 and some thoughts for each…

10. Michael Biehn Talks “Tombstone – broke into the top ten. I’m not surprised due to the continuing popularity of Tombstone.

09. Jack Benny in “Casablanca – dropped from the 7th spot to the 9th. I love that Jack Benny is still popular enough to make the top ten for the year since I consider him very under-rated.

08. Gadot & The Rock Strike a Pose – Two of the most popular movie stars in the world together? Yep and that’s why they came in at #8.

07. Top 10 Most Iconic Horror Movie Villains – dropped from #5 to #7 for the year. Horror movie posts remain popular but maybe a bit less this year than last year.

06. The Girl Who Didn’t “Flinch” Trailer is Here! – This one surprised me more than any other post. A crime film from a director and cast I didn’t know and it not only made the top ten most popular posts of the year but also nearly made the top 5.

05. Rare “Batman” Screen Tests: Lyle Waggoner & Peter Deyell and Adam West & Burt Ward – I love that this one got a lot of love this year.

04. Dracula Through the Ages – was our 4th most popular post last year. Horror movies always get love and Dracula counts (see what I did there) as horror.

03. Louis Meyers: Evidence He was the Zodiac Killer – came in the #2 spot last year. Real life horror trumps fictional this time.

02. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk – was our most popular post last year and clocks in at #2 this year.

01. The TWILIGHT ZONE New Year’s Eve Marathon is Coming and the Full Schedule is Out! – was the most popular post of the year and surprised me almost as much as The Girl Who Didn’t “Flinch” Trailer is Here!

My All-Time Most Popular Posts

There weren’t many changes on the All-Time Most Popular Posts list. One post managed to break through while the others mostly stayed in their same spots. Let’s see how things shook out…

10. Dracula Through the Ages – made it into the top ten!

09. Gadot & The Rock Strike a Pose – was in the 9th spot last year and remained there this year.

08. Real Clown or Horror Movie Clown? – was in the 7th spot last year and dropped to 8.

07. Joel Osteen in Jacksonville – dropped one spot from 6th to 7th.

06. TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS! – moved up 2 spots from 8 to 6 this year.

05. Steve Reeves as Superman – was the #5 all-time most popular post last year and continues to be this year.

04. New Billy the Kid Photo Discovered – was the #4 all-time most popular post last year and continues to be this year.

03. Zodiac Killer Code Cracked? – was the #3 all-time most popular post last year and continues to be this year.

02. Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer – was the #2 all-time most popular post last year and continues to be this year.

01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk” – was #1 last year and continues to be our most popular post of all-time.

It’s always interesting to see which topics resonate with fans and continue to be popular long after their initial post.