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Ask 411 Movies for 02.04.13: Column 43 (really it’s 484, but who’s counting?)

February 4, 2013 | Posted by Leonard Hayhurst

What Leonard Recently Watched
The gist of Movie 43 seems to be if we show A-list Hollywood actors saying and doing vulgar things, it’ll be funny. It’s not. When the opening segment featuring Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman is (SPOILER ALERT!) a total ripoff of an old South Park joke about a man with a scrotum hanging from his chin, you know you’re in trouble. The only segment I found mildly amusing was one on superhero speed dating due to Jason Sudeikis’ completely off the wall take of Batman. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I also enjoyed Emma Stone’s earnest and emotional performance while she talks about sticking fingers up people’s butt holes and having sex with hobos. The key to both is that they commit to the characters. Everyone else comes across like they’re just there to payback a favor owed a producer. A lot of the sketch concepts are clever, but the writing and execution is terrible. The section with Halle Berry on a blind date playing truth or dare actually starts off really promising, but it goes too extreme in the end. Another part has Richard Gere as the head of a company that makes the iBabe, an mp3 player built into what looks like a sex doll. However, their intentions isn’t for it to be a sex doll, so why make it a sex doll when if you don’t want it to be a sex doll? That doesn’t make any practical sense. Even in a comedy sketch you have to follow some sort of logic, at least based on the world you’ve created in the scene. I’d give 3 out of 10.

Obscure Television Series of the Week
Title: Jennifer Slept Here
Air Dates: Oct. 21, 1983, to Sept 5, 1984
Network: NBC
Cast: Ann Jillian as Jennifer Farrell, John P. Navin Jr. as Joey Elliot, Georgia Engel as Susan Elliot, Brandon Maggart as George Elliot, Mya Akerline as Marilyn Elliot and Glenn Scarpelli as Marc
Premise: We continue to look at the failed sitcoms of Ann Jillian. Here she stars as the ghost of a former movie star who haunts her former home. When a transplanted New York family moves into her Beverly Hills pad, Jennifer takes 14-year-old Joey under her wing to teach him about California living and how to pick up girls. Usually only Joey could see Jennifer, leading to his family thinking that Joey was nuts and gags like objects floating in air and Jennifer walking through walls.

Q: Do you think Movie 43 will be any good? Also what are some of the best vignette style movies?
-Kenny Powers Fan

A: You can read my thoughts on Movie 43 above. For some good sketch comedy films, I recommend The Groove Tube, Amazon Women on the Moon and The Kentucky Fried Movie.

If you want to talk horror anthology movies, you need check out Amicus Productions. Their horror short compilations include Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Torture Garden, The House That Dripped Blood, Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, Asylum, From Beyond the Grave and The Monster Club.

When it comes to dramatic vignette type movies, the best are usually those that have distinct characters and stories that then all tie together, good examples would be Robert Altman’s Nashville and Short Cuts and Magnolia, which was heavily inspired by Altman’s work, according to director Paul Thomas Anderson.

Q: I’m not a big fan of them, but for the sake of keeping up the high quality and classiness of the column what are your top 10 fart/poop related scenes in movies.
-Woo in my Wooooo

A: The end all and be all of fart scenes is Blazing Saddles. The scene fits perfectly with Mel Brooks’ deconstruction of the western. You’ve seen cowpokes sitting around the fire eating beans thousands of times, but the natural result of that usually doesn’t come into play.

The second most famous fart/poop scene is probably Jeff Daniels wrecking a toilet in Dumb and Dumber. Daniels’ reaction makes it.

This clip should satisfy the rest of your farting needs.

Q: 6) Why are some series or films only in DVD and not both DVD and Blu-ray? Is it more cost-effective?

7) I have noticed that in movies and TV shows, some actors are always good guys while other are always bad guys. Is this due mostly to typecasting or certain actors prefer to be in those roles? For example, Joe Pantoliano or Mark Strong (mostly bad guys) and Sylvester Stallone or Leonardo Dicaprio (mostly good).

8) For superheroes movies, why do they always go with the origin stories? For example, The Amazing Spiderman told the origin story again even though the first one is not that old. I really like what Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance did. It reminded the audience of the origin during the intro of the movie.

9) About trailers for movies, I remember in the Spice Girls: Spice World movie trailer a scene in which Victoria is asking if her skirt is too short (can’t seem to find it on YouTube though). I don’t remember that scene in the movie though. I know that it happens often that scenes from a trailer will not make it to the movie. Why is that? Are the trailers cut before the film is finished filming? 
Thank you again

A: This is the second half of Christophe’s email I tackled last week.

6) Anymore most movies are released on Blu-Ray and DVD. The big trend now is to release sets that feature a DVD, Blu-Ray and digital copy, because so many people have all the different media players. Some movies are only released on Blu-Ray because regular DVD copies have already been put out and are readily available. To actually make a DVD or Blu-Ray doesn’t cost too much at all. The money goes into the packaging, cover artwork, extras, marketing, etc. That’s one reason why many studios offer films direct from them in bare bones packaging. They can cater to a niche market without spending too much to do so. Low budget distributors are still in the DVD only game because it would cost more to make both and most people still have DVD only, although Blu-Ray is moving up.

7) Why certain actors wind up in certain roles usually comes down to typecasting. However, some do prefer to play a certain type of character, because it’s what they’re good at and are comfortable with. Most actors will tell you it’s much more fun to be the villain than the hero. It usually comes down to casting directors going for a certain look or having worked with certain actors in the past and knowing they can do a certain character well. A lot of it with big names is star text. When a viewer sees a certain actor they make certain assumptions about the character. If you’re watching a western and see John Wayne on a horse, you expect certain things from the character and the movie than if you see Clint Eastwood on the horse. So the actor, the casting directors and the audience usually winds up putting people into particular parts.

8) General audiences might know Spider-Man, Superman and Batman, but not the particulars of how they became the people they are. Even when there are several Spider-Man, Superman and Batman series out there making the first film an origin story allows the filmmaker to not only relay the basic foundation of the character, but to establish their take on the character and history. Christopher Nolan’s Batman is a lot different than Tim Burton’s Batman. Even though I felt The Amazing Spider-Man could have fit easily into the Sam Raimi universe, director Marc Webb wanted a reboot to establish his universe and his story lines. Yet, the biggest reason is probably because producers know refreshing the cash cow every few years is going to give more milk.

9) Often times trailers are made and put out before a movie is finished filming, or at least before the final edit. Trailers are also put together by people other than the main editor and director. They’re just splicing the raw footage together in a way that will get over the basic story and entice people to see the completed picture. You might also notice the music is different, because scoring a film is usually one of the last steps.

Below is the Spice World trailer with the short dress bit. It’s the teaser trailer. Notice it doesn’t include any movie scenes. A teaser trailer is about 30 seconds long and is put out way in advance to start stirring up excitement for a movie, usually a year or more before release.

Q: A few weeks ago, I asked about best athletes in movies/tv. However, has any actors gone the other route and become a pro/olympic/decent amateur athlete?
Who is the best model turned actor? (Halle Berry; Bridget Moynihan?)
Best singer turned actor? (Frank Sinatra; Dean martin; Jennifer Hudson?)
Best rapper turned actor (will smith; ll cool j; queen latifa?)
Best politician turned actor (fred thompson?)

A: Dr. J in the comments last week mentioned Andrew Shue, star of Melrose Place and brother of Elizabeth Shue. After graduating college in 1989, he taught math in Zimbabwe and played soccer for the Bulawayo Highlanders. In 1993, he played one game for the Los Angeles United of the Continental Indoor Soccer League. In 1996, he played for the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer, recording one assist in five games. He sat out 1997 on injured reserve. Below the siblings talk about the 2007 soccer movie, Gracie, they worked together on, partially inspired by their family.

Awhile back we talked about actors with boxing careers and Mickey Rourke is the most prominent example. After starring in several movies, Rourke said he lost his way and became jaded with Hollywood. To find himself, he turned back to boxing, which he had done as a youth. He turned pro in 1991 and retired in 1994, after numerous injuries. His final record was 6-0-2.

Geena Davis took up archery as a hobby in 1997, years after starring in A League of Their Own, Thelma & Louise and taking an Oscar for The Accidental Tourist. She was among 300 women who tried out for the U.S. Olympic archery team in 2000. She didn’t make the team, but did place 24th overall.

Many actors have went into professional race car driving, with the most notable probably being Paul Newman. He got into racing while training to play a driver for 1969’s Winning. He turned professional in 1972, competing in Sports Car Club of America events, winning four championships. In 1979, he took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where his team finished second. At the age of 70, he became the oldest driver to ever win a sanctioned race when his team took the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1995. His last race was doing the 24 Hours of Daytona again in 2005. In 2009, he was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame.

For best singer turned actor, I have to go to the classic crooners like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Sinatra won the best supporting acting Oscar for From Here to Eternity and received a best acting nomination for The Man With the Golden Arm. Crosby upped him by winning the best acting Oscar for Going My Way and earning nominations for The Bells of St. Mary’s and The Country Girl.

Elvis Presley was very prolific in a short amount of time, doing 31 feature films from 1956 to 1969. His potential was never realized, because manager Tom Parker refused to let him take certain parts, like the controversial role of Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy and a washed up rocker in Barbara Streisand’s A Star is Born. The part went to Kris Kristofferson. Streisand and Kristofferson are two others who had good acting careers too.

I would probably be remiss in not mentioning Cher, who won the best actress Oscar for Moonstruck in 1987.

For rappers, I think Will Smith is head and shoulders above everybody, even though Ice-T and Ice Cube have done well. Smith has plenty of box office hits and some Oscar nominations for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness. Still, below is the best ever from him.

A lot of actors have gone into politics, but not many the other way around, unless it’s a guest spot here and there as themselves. Fred Thompson has done about 35 movies and played a district attorney for a few seasons on Law & Order. He started out as a lawyer and lobbyist. As minority counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee, Thompson is credited with breaking the scandal open when he pursued President Richard Nixon’s oval office recordings.

In 1985, director Roger Donaldson was working on the movie Marie, based on a case Thompson had worked on. After talking with Thompson, Donaldson asked Thompson to play himself in the film. Donaldson used Thompson a couple of years later in No Way Out and he began getting character parts from there, usually as lawyers, politicians and other authority figures. Thompson served in the U.S. Senate for Tennessee from 1994 to 2003 and had a failed presidential bid on the Republican side in 2008.

Next week we’ll talk about Bobby’s World, Life With Louie, Transformers and how movie productions clean up the messes they make. Be sure to send more questions by email or comments section. Much obliged.

Don’t die.
“What’s your name?
“Well, my name is Jim, but most people call me… Jim.”


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Leonard Hayhurst
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