RANDOM CRUSH: Greta Gerwig

Greta Celeste Gerwig, born on August 4, 1983, is an American actress and filmmaker. She initially became popular through the mumblecore movement, but has since starred in “bigger” films, such as Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress and the godawful Arthur remake. She does voice work on the Adult Swim series China, IL, and also co-wrote her most recent film. Frances Ha.

To me, she seems to be the “thinking man’s Katee Sackhoff”… or, if you prefer, Katee Sackhoff for hipsters and\or film nerds. What do you think?

Stuff I Missed #324

As a kid, I remember that there was a bit of mild parental and feminist outrage over the movie poster for the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only:

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Of course, being an almost 11 year old boy, I loved it! Sure, the main attraction was the model’s butt hanging out. But there was more than that: the “shininess” of her long legs and the strappy heels were really hot (remember, this was 1981, when “shiny” and “strappy” were in vogue). And the crossbow was sexy. This girl, whoever she was, was not only hot, she was dangerous, too!

It wasn’t until a couple of nights ago, when I caught the film on G4, that I googled the movie poster for the first time in years… and realized that the photographer was able to make the model’s ass fall out… by having her wear the bikini bottom backwards. Which is now something else I’ll never be able to unsee.

Little Annoyances #107

Early in the film Pulp Fiction, Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) notices a hamburger that Brett (Frank Whaley) is eating. Jules asks if he can have a bite, and a terrified Brett says that he can.

When Jules picks up the burger, it’s whole:

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(click to embiggen)

But when he brings it to his mouth, it’s nearly halfway eaten:

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(click to embiggen)

Stupid, I know. But it’s one of those things that, after you notice it, is impossible to unsee.

FRIDAY FUN: Bond Theme Trivia!

So…. the Internet kind of blew up over the past couple of days since Adele’s “Skyfall”, the theme to the new James Bond film of the same name, leaked on the Internet (hear it for yourself here). Of course, this got me thinking about Bond themes… and I found a bunch of nifty trivia I thought I’d share:

– Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” is the only Bond theme to reach #1 in the music charts in either the US or UK.

– Amusingly, Duran Duran became involved with the theme after bassist John Taylor approached Albert Broccoli at a party and drunkenly asked when he was “going to get someone decent to do one of [his] theme songs” (after Dr. No was an international hit, American film producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli started a company called Danjaq, which owns the copyrights and trademarks to the Bond properties; its subsidiary, Eon Productions, actually produces the Bond films).

– New Wave group Blondie really wanted to do the theme for 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, and sent the producers a tape of a song they’d written for the film. Producers preferred another song written by Bill Conti and Mike Leeson, but offered to let Blondie perform that song on the film. The band refused, and the song ended up on Blondie’s 1982 album The Hunter:

– Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better”, the theme to 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, was the first Bond theme to not share a title with the film. Simon does, however, include the title as a line in the song:

I wasn’t lookin’ but somehow you found me,
It tried to hide from your love light;
But like heaven above me,
The spy who loved me,
Is keepin’ all my secrets safe tonight.

– “All Time High”, the theme to 1983’s Octopussy, is the only other theme to not share a title with the film in the pre-Daniel Craig era. In fact, it’s the only Bond theme to not mention the film at all (perhaps not surprising, as it would be kind of hard to work “Octopussy” in normal song lyrics).

– Conversely, Adele’s “Skyfall” is the first Bond theme of the Daniel Craig era to share the title of the film. Casino Royale’s theme was “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell and Quantum of Solace’s theme was “Another Way to Die”, by Jack White and Alicia Keys.

– Scottish singer Sheena Easton, who sang the theme to For Your Eyes Only, is the only artist to actually appear onscreen singing the theme during the film’s title sequence:

Continue reading FRIDAY FUN: Bond Theme Trivia!

The Movie Location Game (Special Engagement!)

Yes, it’s back, for one day only!

The game is simple: I post a picture of a movie location, you guess which movie it’s from. Hints will appear after the picture; highlight them to read. Using TinEye or Google in ANY WAY is cheating. There are no prizes, other than bragging rights.

LOCATION #1 – This home played a central role in a 1940s film that’s considered THE classic of its genre.

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(click to enlarge)

HINTS (highlight to view): I hope you have enough insurance!

LOCATION #2 – Although this building has appeared in many TV shows and movies, the film I’m thinking of was an 80s smash.

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(click to enlarge)

HINTS (highlight to view): I hope you’re from the right side of the tracks!

LOCATION #3 – This restaurant is seen at the beginning of a 1970s smash hit. The studio, however, was sure would be a giant flop.

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(click to enlarge)

HINTS (highlight to view): If you’re not leaving you’re… and if you’re not dead you’re…

Answers after the jump!

Continue reading The Movie Location Game (Special Engagement!)

The Best Worst Movie Ever!

Up until a few weeks ago, if you’d asked me what the “best worst movie” ever made was, I’d say, without hesitation, Road House. And why not? Patrick Swayze, at the zenith of his popularity, stars as James Dalton, a philosophy major turned cooler (super-bouncer) who shows up at the Double Deuce, a bar in Jasper, Missouri. The Double Deuce is the kind of place where the janitors are just as likely to find eyeballs on the floor as spare change and lost sets of keys. Ben Gazzara stars as Brad Wesley, the town’s resident Evil Rich White Guy™… whose relatives and associates work at the Double Deuce and are fired by Dalton. Wesley also owns the liquor distributorship, so he has the Double Deuce (and Dalton) in a bind. Kelly Lynch stars as Elizabeth Clay, the too-pretty-to-be-real doctor who sews up Dalton’s cuts and falls in love with him, and Jeff Healey and his band appear as the house band in the film.

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It’s all great cheesy fun. And every time Road House shows up on TV I have to stop and watch it. Seriously: if I was having a three-way with Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson and somehow found out that Road House was on TNT… sorry ladies: I want to be nice, but now it’s time to not be nice.

But all that changed a few weeks ago. I was hanging out at Snug Harbor here in Charlotte,  ostensibly to see a popular local band. But my friend William and I were mesmerized by a movie they were showing on the TVs there. I went home and did some googling and found out that it’s a 1967 Japanese film called Kingu Kongu no Gyakush?, or King Kong Escapes in the English-speaking world.

As I say, it’s Japanese. It’s from the late 1960s. It has campy goodness written all over it. It’s obvious that the film had a tiny budget, and not only are the special effects laughable to modern eyes, the scale of them is all wrong (sometimes Kong appears to be 50 feet tall; other times he’s not much bigger than a modern linebacker). And there’s one scene where the camera pans across some military equipment (Jeeps and such) and it’s painfully obvious that they’re the same Revell models I put together as a kid, with some of those fake trees used on model railroads. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s a Japanese film with white people in it, too!

The plot is simple: an evil genius named Dr. Hu (get it? Dr Who?) has created a robotic King Kong which he wants to use to mine “Element X”, a highly radioactive substance which Hu can use to… make weapons? Blackmail or extort governments for huge sums of money? Hell, I forget. But while this is going on, a delegation from the UN is in a submarine doing peaceful research when engine trouble forces them to stop at the mythical Mondo Island, home of the real King Kong. When they go to investigate Kong’s existence, Lt. Susan Watson (Linda Miller, voice provided by Akiko Santou) is attacked by Gorosaurus, a Godzilla-like creature. Kong kills Gorosaurus, allowing his new love to escape, but not before Kong battles a sea serpent that’s attacking the submarine. Hu ends up kidnapping both Kong and the submarine, and he hypnotizes Kong into digging for Element X. But Kong snaps out of it and escapes, swimming off to Tokyo. Hu tracks them down, and Mechani-Kong (yep, that’s his name) picks up Watson and carries her to the top of the Tokyo Tower. And then the real Kong takes care of business by saving Watson, killing Mechani-Kong, killing Hu, and then swimming for home. The end!

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Because the only thing better than King Kong is a ROBOT King Kong.

What I love most about this movie is the shotgun approach the makers took with the film. It’s as if they held a focus group of 8 year-old boys that went something like this:

Focus Group Leader: “So… what would you like to see in a new King Kong film?”

Kid 1: “Submarines!”

Kid 2: “Godzilla!”

Kid 3: “Pretty blonde American women!”

Kid 1: “Helicopters!”

Kid 4: “Sea Serpents!”

Kid 5: “A James Bond style mega-villain… only Japanese and with a bad haircut!”

Kid 1: “More helicopters!”

Kid 6: “OMG! A ROBOT King Kong!”

Everyone: “Coooooooooooolllllll!”

Focus Group Leader: “So… uh… what if we used all those things in the same movie?”

Everyone: “Coooooooooooooooooollllllllllllllll!”

It’s a really horrible film. I mean, seriously. It’s bad. I don’t know how it will hold up over repeat viewings (something tells me that Road House will win out in the long run). But still… this is one awesome bad movie! Walk – don’t run – to add it to your Netflix queue… NOW! You won’t regret it.

Probably.

That Honda “Ferris Bueller” Commercial

So… Honda convinced Matthew Broderick to star in a CR-V ad for the Super Bowl in which he skips work and has a very Ferris Bueller-like day:

There are a lot of “Easter Eggs” hidden in this commercial. Here’s what I’ve been able to find so far:

– The opening shot – with Matthew in bed – is almost identical to the one in the movie, although Matthew is using a cell phone.

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ferris_bed

– Matthew’s agent’s office is one giant Easter egg: “Walter Linder” was the name above Abe Froman’s on the reservation list at Chez Quis; Walter tosses a baseball in his hand while he talks to Matthew; there are three bottles of Wite-Out on his desk, just as there were on Grace’s desk; a trophy similar to the one Ferris used to rig the sleeping dummy sits on the desk behind him; and over his left shoulder you can see the same “horse chair” that was in Ferris’ room.

Walter Linder
(click to embiggen)

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– There are also three pencils on Walter’s desk. Edie McClurg (Grace) felt that her character should have a 60s hairdo in the film, but the on-set hairdresser had only been hired to work on Mia Sara’s hair and had no idea how to do a big 1960s-type hairdo. So McClurg did her hair herself. When she arrived on the set, Hughes jokingly asked her how many pencils she thought she could fit in her hair. So they tried one, then two, then three… but a fourth fell out. That’s the origin of McClurg’s first scene in the movie, when she pulls pencils out of her hair.

– The framed drawing seen next to Walter’s lamp was on Ferris’ fridge. In the original script, Ferris had younger siblings. They were written out of the movie, but their refrigerator drawings made it into the film… in case you were wondering why there were children’s drawings on the fridge when both kids were in high school:

Drawing

drawing2

– When Walter hangs up the phone, we see the name of his agency on the glass: Roeman, Peterson, and Frye. Mia Sarah played Sloane Peterson and Alan Ruck played Cameron Frye in the film. I’m not sure who “Roeman” is, unless it’s a spoof on “Abe Froman”:

sign

– The next two shots – of Matthew sitting up in bed and then opening the blinds – are almost exact duplicates of scenes from the film. However, his line was changed slightly. In the film he asks “[h]ow can I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?” while in the commercial he asks “how can I handle work on a day like today?”

– Matthew is then seen holding a toothbrush in his hand and saying “one of the worst performances of my career and he never doubted it for a second”, a scene from the original film (however, in the film he says “they” instead of “he”, in reference to his parents buying his story).

– The next shot has Matthew with a towel wrapped around his head like a turban, speaking on a red telephone. Both the turban and the red phone were seen in the movie, although if I remember correctly, they weren’t seen onscreen at the same time:

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Continue reading That Honda “Ferris Bueller” Commercial