Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scott's Links January 2012

For those who don't know, Scott roams the internet far and wide. Because of this, he supplies interesting links to Big Hollywood every day. I've asked Scott to give us a list of the best links he finds each month and a quick synopsis of what's behind each one. Check these out. . . share your thoughts!

A look back at Last Action Hero

1993's ill-fated Last Action Hero starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is another guilty pleasure of mine. After reading this article, it's a miracle the filmmakers managed to get a frame of film shot. Egos, paranoia, money, and a release date against Jurassic Park all spelled certain doom for this tongue-in-cheek deconstruction of the (80s) action genre.

39 things we learned from the Dark City commentary

I haven't seen the film in years, though Andrew reviewed it back in 2009. I'm a fan of informative DVD/BR bonus features and while Roger Ebert recorded an excellent commentary track for the film, this article focuses on what director Alex Proyas has to say.

Why can't Hollywood get Washington D.C. right?

Try as they might, it's simply impossible for a film crew to get every single detail correct when they shoot one location for another. This article focuses on the Showtime series Homeland in which North Carolina doubles for our nation's capital.

The 100 greatest Simpsons movie references

I haven't watched a new episode of The Simpsons in years and I stopped collecting the DVDs after season 10 but as far as movie references go, it doesn't get any better than Troy McClure in Planet of the Apes: The Musical.

Out of print Blade Runner sketchbook available online for free

When this film was released 30 years ago, a book of artwork was published, featuring work by futurist Syd Mead, director Ridley Scott (an accomplished artist in his own right), and more. A kind soul has scanned every page and put it online for all to see.

Movie plots that technology killed

The author of this article is correct: Marion Crane would still be alive if she could check out the Bates Motel on her Trip Advisor app.

George Takei's greatest and weirdest moments

I'd say this one is pretty self-explanatory. Oooh myyy.

25 things you didn't know about Three Amigos!

This movie still makes me laugh after all these years. I recently bought the Blu-Ray release which has some deleted scenes, including a brief appearance by Fran Drescher as an actress (and the Amigos' studio rival). Sadly, the rest of the deleted footage - including a Sam Kinison cameo! - has been lost forever.

4 unexpected fanbases in popular culture

I'll never get over the idea of grown men who watch My Little Pony. I'm not kidding - they call themselves "bronies"!

The Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker comedy glossary

These guys have been responsible for much of what I watched during my childhood (and continue to watch today). This article explains the method to their madness. "Nice beaver!"

Last night's listening:

La-La Land Records recently released a 2-disc album of Elliot Goldenthal's score to Batman Forever. It's so nice to be able to hear music from the film that wasn't on the original score album from 1995. Yes, even as a 12-year old, I was aware of such things. The remastered music sounds great and, while many of the technical terms found in the liner notes go over my head (tritone?), it's interesting to get Mr. Goldenthal's take on the music and the superhero genre itself. I also love his inspiration for Batman's theme: when children play, they tend to make up their own theme music! So Goldenthal simply unleashed his inner-child and wrote!


Tennessee Jed said...

I checked out the Hollywood D.C. link

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Thanks for the links. I look forward to checking them out a little later today.

DUQ said...

I hated "Last Action Hero" when I saw it the first time. I can see where it's not horrible now, but I still don't like it.

Ed said...

Scott, Where are you finding all these things? I've seen your list at BH and I think you must spend ours looking for these links?

Ed said...

Jeez, I just checked out the fanbase link. "My Little Pony"? Seriously? And that's not even the worst one.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I saw that. I'm amazed. I knew from talking to writers that "erotica" is a huge market for the mainstream publishing industry now, but I never really asked what kind and I never suspected it was women buying gay male porn. Someone should call Rick Santorum and warn him. ;)

Scott, I'm a big fan of Dark City and also Ebert's commentary. I think it shows what Ebert is capable of, it's only too bad he doesn't often use his abilities. Interestingly, I've never seen the theatrical cut -- just the directors cut, so I never knew there was a voice over at the beginning. That's really unneeded. Proyas' version is better.

Anonymous said...

Jed -

I hope you enjoyed it. As far as locations go, since I have a year and a half of experience living in the NJ/NY metro area under my belt, I've become more adept at spotting when filmmakers screw it up (like when they shoot in Toronto doubling for NYC).

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

You're welcome! I'll have to get used to a slow trickle of comments as people read the articles throughout the day, as opposed to a bunch of comments coming in at once. :-)

Anonymous said...


I always liked it. Our mother was strict when it came to movie ratings (she later admitted she was too strict) so this was the only Schwarzenegger film my brother and I could watch as kids since all of his other films were R-rated.

It's not a perfect movie but there is a good movie in there waiting to get out.

Anonymous said...

Ed -

It's very simple. I don't have a job! I'm going to school again and I'm only taking two classes this semester so I'm home by noon every day.

I also check out many sites that run their own "daily bulletin"-style articles with links that they find. IMDb also has a mesage board with user-submitted links.

Truthfully, there really are only a handful of sites I check every day; others I'll check once a week.

As far as fanbases are concerned, my opinion is this: I'm okay with anything that makes being a Trekkie seem normal!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Yeah, that's something that's actually happening a lot more lately -- especially at the film site. I'm finding that people comment throughout the day (and often into the next day -- and sometimes even later). It comes with the territory I guess.

On cities, I used to laugh at how they portrayed DC all the time. Almost nothing you see in films about DC is real except for the monuments. One of my favorite goofy moments was in No Way Out. Costner goes into the nonexistent Georgetown Metro station, rides the train and pops right back out in Georgetown.

And of course, DC has no skyscrapers, though you see that all the time in films.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

I've only seen the theatrical version of Dark City... I'll Netflix the Director's Cut one day.

As far as erotica is concerned, after working in a bookstore, nothing surprises me anymore. Years ago, I worked at a Books-a-Million which is a southern chain and has a large Christian section... yet we were the only bookstore that didn't keep the adult magazines behind the counter, which I always thought was strange.

Re: D.C., True Lies is guilty when it comes to skyscrapers. And in the second Transformers film, Shia and the gang go to the Smithsonian (or a similar museum in Virginia), they escape out the back and all of a sudden, they're in the aircraft "bone yard" out in Arizona!!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Here's a funny one. When I was young, Bruce Boxlietner was on a television show called "Scarecrow and Mrs. King." He was a spy who worked in D.C. The show was filmed in Southern California and you could always see the mountains in the background in every shot.

Thus, I assumed D.C. had mountains like Southern California. I never thought about this until I went to law school and discovered. . . no mountains. LOL!

In terms of book stores, little amazes me either, though this one was strange. I know women are HUGE consumers of romance novels, but being the biggest group of purchases for homosexual male stories is just bizarre?

Anonymous said...

I know of that show but I've never seen it. When I used to watch Get Smart as a kid when it aired on Nick at Nite, I always wondered where Control Headquarters was. After all, Max drove up to it every day - I even looked at maps of Washington D.C. to figure it out...

...not knowing it was a fake building on a studio lot!

Re: erotica, I don't know enough about women (or gay men, for that matter) to formulate a hypothesis, except to suggest that straight women probably consider gay men "harmless" because they won't hit on them, as opposed to neanderthals like me who might say something stupid. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It's funny how your view of the world can be shaped by television when you're a kid, isn't it? I often laugh at the things that once seemed real and how fake they seem now!

For example, when I was a kid, it never bothered me at all that the A-Team never hit anything except tires when they sprayed the bad guys with bullets -- they were good shoots and they weren't murderers, so it made sense. Today, it's just laughable.

And on your point about Get Smart, think about how silly it is that he just pulls up in front of the office anyway! How secure is that?!

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

I know. I always wondered, where do the other agents park? But part of the joke was that everyone seemed to know where Control HQ was. And Max, despite being a secret agent, never tried to hide it. His bathrobe even had a monogrammed "86" on it!

Not to mention that Control HQ seemed to change, since they re-shot the "Max pulling up the building" shot multiple times during the series' run.

By the way, I may be out later but I'll try to chime in when I can.

Ed said...

Scott, I hope school goes well for you. What are you studying?

Ok, so it's not as much work gathering the links, it still seems like a lot of work! :D

I always check those out at Big Hollywood each day, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Ed -

Thanks. I don't have a Bachelor's degree - I have an AA and an AS in film. I decided I had to go back to school and graphic design is the last field that I'm even remotely interested in. :-)

So I'm going to Florida Atlantic University as a Studio Art major and I hope to get into their Graphic Design BFA program. Needless to say, it's going to take a few years. (I'm also trying to last as long as I can without taking out a loan.)

Of course, I will still have my toe dipped in film/TV waters, but filmmaking isn't the same dream it used to be for me. In fact, I recently had a revelation when I told a friend, "The film industry isn't the same one I fell for and wanted to work in 15 years ago." It's amazing to look at all the changes that have taken place since the mid-90s (for better or worse) but I simply can't imagine a 10-year old coming out of a POS like Transformers 2 and saying to his parents, "I want to make movies like that when I grow up!"

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That is clearly one of the jokes! One thing I loved about that show was that so much of it was subtle despite the obvious pie in the face jokes.

Kelly said...

I like the new hours. I never know when I'm going to be on line, but it's usually not in the evenings, so I like being able to come read the articles throughout the day.

Anonymous said...

Kelly -

I like the new hours, too. I can get a head start on comments in the morning.

Andrew, et al -

Not that anyone asked, but the Oscar nominations were announced on Monday. As usual, I haven't seen most of the nominated films, though The Artist and Moneyball are on my list.

Truth be told, what bothers me (aside from all the usual things) is the lack of recognition for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2. I thought for sure it would get some major nominations, honoring the entire franchise (like Return of the King). You'd think at least Alan Rickman would get some attention... buuuuut no.

Having said that, it's awesome to see Gary Oldman get his first (!) nomination (for Tinker, Tailor...)...

...on the other hand, sooner or later we're gonna hear this in a trailer: "Starring Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill." Yes, he was nominated for Moneyball. I hope he doesn't revert back to his old schtick... but wait, he's doing the big screen remake of 21 Jump Street so nevermind. :-)

Oh, and Melissa McCarthy was nominated for Bridesmaids. REALLY?!?!? I liked the movie but she was no more or less funny than her co-stars. The hype surrounding her is nothing more than a bunch of critics snickering behind her back: "Hey, look at the funny fat lady!"

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Several people actually requested the new hours and it makes sense, so I moved everything to 9:00 A.M.

On the Oscars, I must admit that I have never cared for awards -- in any field. It's one thing to win a competition, it's quite another to be given a subjective award.

And Hollywood doesn't surprise me in the least in the way it chooses to hand out awards. Most of it is politics and a lot of it is personalities.

I'm not surprised Harry Potter didn't win anything because (1) it's been a British production and thus they don't play for the home team, and (2) it's "beneath" the judges.

21 Jump Street looks AWFUL!

CrispyRice said...

Thanks for the links, Scott! That'll keep my busy for awhile!

Anonymous said...

Crispy -

Glad to be of service!

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

Re: the Oscars, as I'm fond of saying, time is the only true measure of success when it comes to arts and entertainment. (Some folks on the right will have to acknowledge this sooner or later - just because the vast majority of the public hasn't seen X doesn't render X unworthy of being seen. This concept to be a problem for some people.)

But enough about that... I've stopped caring about most of the awards. Sure, I'm still kinda interested in the tech stuff because those people deserve all the recognition they can get... but I shudder when I think of how excited I used to get when the Golden Globes aired. Really?!? :-)

At film school, we watched a documentary on the Hollywood Foreign Press (the group behind the Globes) - in short, it's a bunch of Eurotrash journalists who want to mingle with celebrities and get some swag!

As for the Emmys, when they nominated Phil Hartman for NewsRadio only after he died, I gave up.

LawHawkRFD said...

Scott: Great fun, and informative. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

LawHawk -

Thanks! There is a ton more where this came from but Andrew said to keep it to 10 items. :-)

At this rate, I'll have enough for a year or two.

Doc Whoa said...

Good stuff Scott. The Blade Runner sketch book in particular fascinates me. It's interesting to see what people were thinking and how it translates onto the screen.

Anonymous said...

Doc -

I'm a sucker for a cool movie/TV concept art. I'm taking a design class in college and I find myself consulting many of my movie art books for inspiration.

It's always cool to see how much bigger the filmmakers' ideas were before the budget came in. :-)

Doc Whoa said...

Or how primitive they are sometimes before they get fleshed out.

T-Rav said...

Thanks Scott! I try to check out your stuff whenever I see it at BH, and there are some good nuggets in there.

"Movie plots that technology killed"--yeah, there are a lot of those. It's not quite the same, but I've often tried to reimagine some of the Sherlock Holmes stories in a modern setting. They often don't work: or at least the methods by which Holmes solves the case don't work, due to different technology. Of course, if Holmes were real and alive today, he'd solve his cases using modern stuff, but it's kind of depressing to think of those stories as being kind of obsolete.

On the other hand, sometimes it depends on if the person is using the technology. I don't bother with apps, for example, so if I were visiting the Bates Motel, I'd have been one dead duck even today.

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

Thanks! Nolte usually mixes up some of his own links with mine and I never know which ones he's gonna discuss. I sent him one which I felt deserved its own article but he didn't do anything with it. Rest assured, I'll be including it in the next Commentarama link collection.

When I think about plots technology killed, I always go back to the old "Trying to replace the answering machine tape" gag we've seen in countless sitcoms. A good quarter of Seinfeld's episodes are now obsolete because of cell phones and the Internet.

And I use apps sparingly. I don't travel enough to use Trip Advisor but I use Amazon's app all the time when I go to best Buy. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I have never cared for any sort of awards and the television/film award are no different.

You're right, by the way, time is the only test of success for art. Money, reviews, awards -- they're all meaningless. What matter is are a large number of people still watching it years later? And sometimes it's amazing what stands the test of time and what doesn't.

I can names lots of films that looked set to become "instant classics" that are long forgotten, whereas the number 10 movie in America that week has somehow found a thriving audience.

I have no use for the Hollywood Foreign Press. I think your description is very accurate.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott and T-Rav, I think it's interesting to see how changes in technology have affected story telling. I think we see it a lot these days because technological change comes so quickly, but it's always been there.

One movie which always made me feel sad in that regard was Cannonball Run of all things. The police are so well equipped today that you can't evade them and highways have made it a no brainer which way to go. I miss the idea of racing across the country.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

I don't want to get into the technology discussion again since it seems to come up at least once a month ("You can't do XYZ anymore!"). :-)

I tend to come up against a wall with my own story ideas with regards to what the characters are capable of doing with technology. The epic teen comedy I started dabbling with in high school would be totally different now - I started writing it in 2000 and there was no Facebook, iPhone, or Twitter. It'd be a whole different movie now! (I haven't looked at it in years but I would have to raise the stakes for the characters - they simply can't just look everything up on their phones when the plot calls for it.)

ScyFyterry said...

Three Amigos rocks! I kind of like Last Action Hero but not enough to really want to see it again.

Anonymous said...

ScyFy -

I agree, it does indeed rock. I even quoted El Guapo's line "It's a sweater!" on another website just this afternoon. :-)

As for Last Action Hero, yeah, I can't blame you for not wanting to see it again. But I like it. I think it's on Netflix Instant - I should watch it again one day.

tryanmax said...

I've got both versions of Dark City and I just grab whichever when I feel like watching. The opening narration is unnecessary, but it doesn't really change the film at all. Other than that, the theatrical version is basically just shorter. Don't stress yourself finding a copy.

I've never listened to the commentary--I'm not even sure if I have the appropriate edition. I'm not big on commentaries, but I might give that one a listen after reading the article.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I'm not big on commentaries either. BUT this one is worth watching. Ebert does a truly inspired job of breaking each scene down and showing you all the things you never notice about film making.

This is one of the three I would recommend. The others are Seven Samurai and (purely for the idiocy) Lost in Space -- the director has no clue how stupid he sounds trying to give his movie depth and praising awful actors (Joey from Friends) as "the best of our time."

Anonymous said...

tryanmax -

If you're not big on commentaries, then I'd like to recommend the five I discussed in this article - they're some of my favorites.

They're definitely as entertaining as the movies for which they were recorded!

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