Category: Trivia

Wes Craven’s “Scream” Trivia You May Not Know!

Rob Hunter at Film School Rejects shared 31 Things We Learned from Wes Craven’s ‘Scream’ Commentary.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites and thoughts on each…

Sidney types her distress call out to the online 911 system, and she enters 34 Elm Street as her address — but it was cut for time. (That’s too bad it was cut.  Fans would have loved it! – Craig)

Joseph Whipp plays the sheriff here, and he plays a cop in A Nightmare on Elm Street too. “So the backstory there that I put in is that he was so upset by the events in Nightmare on Elm Street that he moved to a small town in Northern California.”  (That’s funny and probably goes unnoticed by 99% of the viewers. – Craig)

Craven is pleased by his addition to the end credits acknowledgements ending a list of thanks with “No thanks whatsoever to The Santa Rosa City School District Governing Board.”  (Read Hunter’s item #10 and you’ll know why! – Craig)

The All-Time Best Neo-Noir Films

Liam Gaughan, at /Film, came up with his list of The 12 Best Neo-Noir Films Ranked.  It is a solid list.  Before you click over, here are my top three in alphabetical order.  All are well written, well cast and well directed.  If I were to pick four films, I’d have included Se7en since it meets the same criteria.  ; )

  • LA Confidential
  • No Country for Old Men
  • The Usual Suspects

Kurt Russell Presents “Breakdown” Trivia (and Thoughts on Great Acting)!

Rob Hunter, at Film School Rejects, presents 26 Things We Learned from Kurt Russell’s ‘Breakdown’ Commentary.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites and thoughts on each…

Russell says J.T. Walsh might just be his favorite American actor. He also recalls how both he and Mostow (CO-Writer & Director) had independently decided on who should play the trucker and were pleased to discover they were both thinking of Walsh. “He’s flawless. Nothing fake, nothing phony.”  (JT Walsh isn’t an actor most folks think of when talking the best actors.  I love it when big name celebrities recognize and promote lesser known actors. – Craig)

Russell had hesitated on signing on to the film as he had just finished a movie and wanted to be home every night, so De Laurentiis worked some extra magic to make it happen. “You were picked up every morning, taken to a private airstrip, flown by jet then there’d be a helicopter waiting to fly you to the makeup trailer,” says Mostow, “we’d finish somewhere around 4:30 in the afternoon and we’d hear the helicopter coming back.”  (That is amazing that they wanted Russell so bad that they worked this out to get him! – Craig)

“When you’re an actor, you act,” says Russell after Mostow asks if he ever doubted the character or his portrayal. He references Dakota Fanning in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, saying “She screams as much as she talks in that movie, but she’s got fifteen different screams.” His point is that “you’re playing the same beat, but you can’t play it the same way.”  (Again, Russell recognizing a fellow actor, this time a child, and praising their acting abilities.  Gotta love Kurt Russell.)

The All-Time Best Cowboy Movie Stars!

Liam Gaughan, at /Film, came up with his list of The Twenty Best Western Movie Actors and it is a good one.  As I thought about my choices the top two were easy.  The tough part was deciding which order for the top two and who would get the third spot.  After some deliberation here are my top three…

#3.  Kurt Russell comes in at the third spot based on two strong lead performances in Tombstone and Bone Tomahawk.  It’s a shame Russell hasn’t made more westerns because the genre suits him.

#2.  Clint Eastwood was my choice for the number two spot and I really considered putting him in at #1.  Eastwood’s westerns always score well with fan and critics.  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Josey Wales and Unforgiven are considered classics.  I wouldn’t argue too hard against Eastwood in the number one spot, but this time out I gave it to…

#1.  John Wayne.  My first place spot goes to the man that most folks think of first when they think of cowboy movie stars.  Wayne’s career spanned 50 years and he made so many popular westerns: Stagecoach, Angel and the Badman, Fort Apache, Red River, Hondo, The Searchers, Rio Bravo, True Grit, The Cowboys and The Shootist are some of my favorites.  

James Gunn Shares “Suicide Squad” Trivia That May Surprise You!

Rob Hunter, at Film School Rejects, posted a fun piece called 43 Things We Learned from ‘The Suicide Squad’ Commentary with James Gunn.

9. (Joel) Kinnaman was challenged as he’s not typically associated with comedies, but he quickly showed a talent and an affinity for earning laughs. (For All Mankind is where I first really noticed what a fine actor Kinnaman is.  I highly recommend the series as well. – Craig)

14. Gunn says John Cena is “probably the most gifted improvisational actor I’ve ever worked with in my life.” (I found this a bit surprising, but was happy to hear it. Cena seems like a nice guy off screen. – Craig)

26. Elba doesn’t actually smoke, and he has asthma, so the scene where Bloodsport smokes in the back of the van left his eyes watering. “I had to take a tear out of his eye with visual effects because I liked the shot.” (Elba doing what it takes for his art!  – Craig)

The All-Time Most Influential Horror Movies

Kevin Delsignore at CBR.com came up with his list of The All-Time Most Influential Horror Movies.  It’s an interesting list.  I decided to play along and using Delsignore’s films, came up with my top two.  Interestingly enough, my #1 pick didn’t make his list.

#3.  Jaws:  While some may argue that Jaws isn’t really a horror film, it made Delsignore’s list, so for our purposes here it is.  Jaws not only spawned 3 sequels but also inspired countless other shark, octopus, orca, alligator, piranha… well, you get the idea, movies.

#2.  Halloween:  John Carpenter’s Halloween spawned 11 sequels with a 12th on the way.  It also opened the door for low-budget unstoppable serial killer movies where the victims were usually teenage kids (Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, etc.)..

#1  Night of the Living Dead:  My choice for the top spot is Night of the Living Dead and surprisingly it didn’t even make Delsignore’s list!  Not only did George Romero re-invent the “rules” for zombies, but he kickstarted a genre that has expanded from movies to tv to comics to video games and more.  What’s just as crazy is that the zombie craze is still going strong over 50 years later!

James Bond: Fascinating Facts You May Not Know About 007!

Mathew Jackson at Mental Floss came up with 45 Fascinating Facts About James Bond.  Here are three that I didn’t know and my thoughts for each…

MANY ACTORS WERE ALMOST JAMES BOND.  (Jackson lists: Cary Grant, Richard Burton, Michael Gambon, Burt Reynolds, James Brolin, Sam Neill, and Ewan McGregor as actors who almost played 007.  Cary Grant would have worked as a Roger Moore type Bond.  I can’t see Richard Burton Sam Neill or Ewan McGregor as 007.  I’m not familiar with Michael Gambon.  Burt Reynolds would have been an interesting choice.  How would they have played Reynolds’ Bond?  Ladies man, yes.  More comedy?  I’d hope not.  James Brolin would have made a great looking Bond, but I’ve never heard him do an English accent. ; ) – Craig)

GEORGE LAZENBY SNUCK HIS WAY INTO PLAYING JAMES BOND.  (Lazenby was known as more of a model than actor at the time.  I love how he went after the part.  Lazenby got the 007 clothes and accessories and then snuck into the producers’ office.  The only thing to make the story better was if instead of saying, “I heard you’re looking for James Bond,”  he had said, “I heard you were looking for me.” – Craig)

IAN FLEMING DIDN’T WANT SEAN CONNERY AS BOND.  (Connery was perfect the role and I wonder if they had went with someone else, if the franchise would have taken off.  – Craig)

The All-Time Best Vampire Movies (That Don’t Star Dracula)!


Anna Swanson at Film School Rejects posted her list of the 10 Best Vampire Movies That Don’t Star Dracula.  Her list is a good one.  As I thought about my choices for the top 5 (using just her list) I realized that if you ask me again tomorrow the order might change.

As of today, here are my top five and a three others that didn’t make Swanson’s top ten but would have made mine…

30 Days of Night (2007) is an under-rated horror film.  I love the slow burn set-up. Strange things happen but no one knows what is coming.  When the vampire attacks begin, the overhead shot of the town in chaos is worth the price of admission.

Interview with the Vampire (1994) has grown on me with each new viewing.  I still haven’t read the novel but if it is as good as the movie, I shouldn’t put it off.  Oh, and has there ever been another vampire movie with the star power of Interview with a Vampire?

Near Dark (1987).  A modern western/horror/love story?  Yep and it works.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014).  A mockumentary about vampire roommates and their day to day (un)life.  Sounds terrible, but is truly funny.

Fright Night (1985) walks the line as a horror movie that is funny or a comedy that is scary.  Either way it works.

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Here are three movies that didn’t make Swanson’s list but would have made mine…

Salem’s Lot (1979).  A tv movie that still works.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996).  Any time you can have a crime and horror film mash-up, count me in.

Blade II (2002).  Man, I love this film so much I would have put it in the #1 spot.   (Which is even more surprising since I didn’t care for Blade!)

Spielberg’s All-Time Best Protagonists!


Audrey Fox at /Film came up with her list of The 15 Best Spielberg Protagonists Ranked.  You know me and lists.  So before you click over, here are my choices for the top 5 and two others that would have made my list, but didn’t make hers.

Indiana Jones — The Indiana Jones franchise.  Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones is one of those casting decisions that seems like a no-brainer until we remember that Ford only got the part because Tom Selleck couldn’t make Raiders of the Lost Ark due to his Magnum P.I. commitment.

Quint — Jaws Robert Shaw had the gravitas and acting chops to ensure that Quint wasn’t a one-dimensional character.  We felt safe with Quint running the shark hunt until…

Hooper — Jaws.  This was the part that made Richard Dreyfuss a household name.  The role required Dreyfuss to be intelligent (but not too much a nerd), humorous (but not off-putting) and a foil for Quint (without alienating the audience).  Dreyfuss succeeds on all levels.

John Miller — Saving Private Ryan.  Tom Hanks is great at playing an “every man” put in an unusual situation who then rises to the challenge.  This role required that and so much more.  Hanks has to come off as a strong, thoughtful, brave leader who has the respect of his men but must deal with his own nerves and fears in private. 

Oskar Schindler — Schindler’s List Liam Neeson received a well earned an Oscar nomination for this role.  

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Columbo – Murder by the Book.  Sure, it is a television episode.  I’d say it qualifies as a tv movie.  Either way, are we going to leave one of the all-time great protagonists off this list?

Sergeant Horvath – Saving Private Ryan.  This could be Tom Sizemore’s best role. He plays the dedicated Sgt. who has his Captain’s back even when he doesn’t agree with him.

The Scariest Scenes from the “Alien” Movies!

Chad Collins at /Film came up with his list of The 10 Scariest Scenes From The Alien Franchise.  Collins’ list is a good one and got me thinking.  Here are my top three scariest scenes, comments on each and a couple of scenes that would have made my top ten, but didn’t make Collins’ list.

The chestburster scene — Alien I was surprised that this scene didn’t rate higher on Collins’ list.  If, like me, you were saw the original release of Alien you can remember the shock that went through the actors on the screen (they hadn’t been prepped for what was about to happen) and the screams from the audience viewing the film. It was truly scary to see the alien bursting from William Hurt’s chest.  Scenes like that (especially with CGI) have become common place, but Alien was the first and remains the scariest.

Monsters in the vent — Alien.  This scene is a slow build to a jump scare and works perfectly.  Dallas, alone in the vents is searching for the creature.  His radio contacts are telling him it is close and getting closer.  He can’t see or hear it.  His only light is the small flame coming off the tip of his flamethrower.  They keep telling him it is closer and closer and RUN!  Too late.

A stowaway — Alien.   Ripley is alone on the escape pod… until we see the alien slowly come out from its hiding spot.  Ripley is unarmed and barely dressed.  She has no weapons… talk about a scary scene!

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I’m glad that the underwater chase scene from Alien Resurrection made Collins’ list.  It almost made mine.  I’m a fan of Alien Resurrection.

A couple of scenes that would have made my list but didn’t make Collins’…

Aliens inside the perimeter – Aliens.  The Colonial Marines have set up a perimeter with automatic weapons and have huddled together in a room hoping the aliens can’t get in.  Hudson is monitoring the aliens coming. He calls out their location and they are closing in.  Hicks’ tells Hudson reading can’t be right, that would put them inside the perimeter.  They all slowly look up… could the aliens be in the crawlspace above them…

Colonial Marines Escape – Aliens.  The Colonial Marines have had their first encounter with the aliens and are now in retreat.  As they get their wounded on the transport driven by Ripley, the aliens are still attacking.  Finally they are all on board and as marines pull the doors closed…an alien’s hands grip the door pulling it open…

Val Kilmer – His Best Films!

Matthew Monagle at /Film came up with his list of The 14 Best Val Kilmer Movies Ranked.  Monagle’s list is a good one, but only one of my top three Kilmer films made his three best.  So, before you click over, here are my three favorites with my thoughts on each.  I also list a couple of other Kilmer films that didn’t make Monagle’s list but would have made mine…

Tombstone:  If this was the only film Kilmer ever played in, it would be enough to secure his legacy as a great actor.  It’s a shame that Kilmer wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Doc Holiday. 

Heat:  While Doc Holiday is arguably Kilmer’s best role, Heat may be the best film on his resume. 

The Salton Sea:  I’m a big fan of The Salton Sea.  I wish more people were aware of it.  Under-rated to say the least.

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Films that didn’t make Monagle’s list that would have made mine…

  • Willow
  • Thunderheart
  • True Romance  

Excellent Movies with Sequels that Weren’t Needed or as Good!

Did you love a movie and then go to see the movie’s sequel only to find that the sequel wasn’t really needed and definitely wasn’t as good?  Yeah.  Me, too.

What got me thinking about this was David Court’s 14 Sequels That Truly Didn’t Need To Happen posted at /Film.  Before you click over, let me comment on three films that made Court’s list that would also make mine (and a couple more that he didn’t list, but I would have).

Highlander – I loved Highlander. It had a great cast (Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown); a fantastic story (Gregory Widen; Peter Bellwood; Larry Ferguson) and was cleverly directed (Russell Mulcahy).  Highlander could have easily been a one and done.  Highlander II was terrible.  Now we’re dealing with an ozone problem that will destroy the earth and aliens who are like Lambert.  What happened to “There can be only one?”  In this case, there should have been only one… Highlander movie.

Jaws: The RevengeJaws is one of the best movies of all time.  Critics loved it.  Fans loved it.  Jaws should have been a one and done.  Sadly, it led to three sequels that were terrible.  Since we’re talking Jaws: The Revenge, let me give you the synopsis: Chief Brody’s widow believes that her family is deliberately being targeted by another shark in search of revenge.  Doesn’t that sound like a Saturday Night Live sketch?  Jaws: The Revenge – critics hated it.  Fans hated it.  Even Michael Caine (the star) said he didn’t watch it, but heard it was terrible.

The Matrix Reloaded – Can you imagine if The Matrix had been the only Matrix movie made?  What a legacy!  It would have been like a movie star that never grew old.  You know, how James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Bruce Lee died in their prime and their legacy’s grew?  Same thing would have happened for The Matrix.  It was so ahead of its time.  The Matrix could have been a one and done film.  The story had been told.  It’s not that the sequels are as bad as the other two films above, but was The Matrix Reloaded really needed?  No.  Was The Matrix Reloaded as good as the original?  No.  Ok then, it belongs on this list.

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Other sequels that I would have included…

  • Speed 2: Cruise Control
  • Basic Instinct 2
  • Beyond the Poseidon Adventure

Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD Trivia!

In Cold Blood was the book that made Truman Capote famous.  Upon publication it quickly rose to best-seller status and is still one of the all-time best-selling true crime books.  A year after the book was released an award-winning movie adaptation premiered which only added to Capote’s stardom.  

I’ve seen the film In Cold Blood.  It’s an excellent movie which gets better with each new viewing.  I’ve had the In Cold Blood novel sitting on one of my many to-be-read book shelves for years.  After reading April Snellings’  7 Chilling Facts About Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood posted at Mental Floss, I’ve decided to finally read Capote’s book.  Before you click over to Snellings’ piece, here are my three favorite facts from her piece and my thoughts on each.

HARPER LEE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN RESEARCHING IN COLD BLOOD.  (That’s right, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird traveled with Truman Capote to Holcomb, Kansas and assisted Capote in getting access to people with for background info for the book! Harper Lee was Capote’s assistant! – Craig)

A FIGHT OVER THE FILM RIGHTS TO IN COLD BLOOD GOT TRUMAN CAPOTE’S AGENT ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT. (Capote’s agent was Irving “Swifty” Lazar!  Lazar also represented Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Cary Grant, Ernest Hemmingway, Cher and Richard Nixon to name just a few.  When Otto Preminger learned that Lazar had sold the rights to someone else, they got into a heated argument.  Preminger ended up with a busted head and a trip to the hospital.  Lazar ended up with charges for felony assault!  Read Snellings’ account for full details! – Craig)

THE MEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MURDERS DETAILED IN IN COLD BLOOD ARE SUSPECTED OF KILLING A FLORIDA FAMILY AFTER THEY FLED KANSAS.  (I had never heard this fact before.  Sounds like there could be another book in the making! – Craig)

 

James Cameron’s Best Films Ranked

Dalin Rowell at /Film posted Every James Cameron Film Ranked From Worst To Best.  Before you click over, here are my rankings for top 7 Cameron films…

  1.  Aliens – I love how Cameron took the Alien franchise in a different direction.  While Alien was a haunted house in outer space, Cameron turned Aliens into a war movie.  
  2. Terminator 2:  Judgment Day – Making the Terminator into the hero AND figuring out a way to make the unstoppable machine an underdog against a more advanced Terminator was such a smart move.
  3. The Terminator – It’s hard to believe at one point there was talk of OJ Simpson playing the Terminator and Arnold playing Reese. It was a clever idea to make Arnold the bad guy (or should I say, “Machine”).  
  4. True Lies – This is one of Arnold’s most under-rated films and perhaps it is one of Cameron’s as well.
  5. The Abyss – is perhaps James Cameron’s most under-rated film. 
  6. Titanic – Before it was released a lot of folks thought Titanic would end James Cameron’s career.  Once released Titanic just kept owning the box office week after week. 
  7. Avatar – Some of the same folks who thought Titanic would sink at the box office predicted Avatar would do the same… and it went on to surpass Titanic!  Never count James Cameron out.