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#051 Jean-Pierre Jeunet: Amélie vs. Alien: Resurrection


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s best and worst rated films, Amélie (2001) and Alien: Resurrection (1997), respectively. Nate spoils the entire Alien franchise, Austin got too hyped over  Amélie, and they both just wanted Alien: Resurrection to not exist.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare James Mangold’s Walk the Line (2005) and Knight and Day (2010), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet discussing Amélie:


Alien: Resurrection Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Two centuries after her death, Ellen Ripley is revived as a powerful human/alien hybrid clone who must continue her war against the aliens.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.3 | RT 54% C / 40% A
  • Released: 1997
  • Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  • Writer(s): Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett (characters), Joss Whedon (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Darius Khondji (Se7en, Midnight in Paris)
  • Notable actors: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, Michael Wincott, Kim Flowers, Dan Hedaya, J.E. Freeman, Brad Dourif, Raymond Cruz, Leland Orser
  • Budget: $60-75 million
  • Box office: $160.7 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Sigourney Weaver made the behind-the-back half-court basketball shot successfully after 3 weeks of basketball practice, tutored by a basketball coach. Her conversion rate during this time was 1 of overt 6 shots. When the day came to shoot the scene, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to have the ball dropped in from above, rather than wait for Weaver to sink the shot herself, which “would probably take about 200 takes.” Weaver insisted she could get the shot in herself, and was allowed to do. Though it is commonly said that she sunk the basket on her first attempt, it actually took her endless takes to complete the stunt. Jean-Pierre Juenet gave her one last try to sink the basket before they would give up and use CGI or a second ball. The very next take, Sigourney Weaver successfully managed the trick. Ron Perlman was completely stunned (and thoroughly impressed), and turned directly at the camera and broke character, saying; “Oh my God!” The editors looked at the shot, and decided there was “enough room to get the scissors in.” Weaver was excited about making the shot, but Jeunet was concerned audiences would believe the shot to be faked due to the ball leaving the frame. Upon Weaver’s insistence, he kept the shot as it was. Weaver described the miracle shot as “one of the best moments in her life”, after her wedding day, and the birth of her daughter.
    • Actor Ron Perlman nearly drowned while filming the underwater sequence. At one point, when trying to surface, he hit his head on a sprinkler in the ceiling, knocking him out cold. He was rescued by nearby film crew members.
    • When pre-production was underway, the original ‘Alien Queen’ could not be located and the molds that were used to build the original were damaged beyond usefulness. Fortunately, the original life-size puppet was located… in the personal collection of an avid Alien (1979) fan.
    • The opening shot of Ripley cloned, albeit as a young girl, was based on photographs which Sigourney Weaver had given the special effects crew of herself as a child.
    • Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to have a scene where a mosquito stings Ripley, then vanishes into smoke because of her acid blood. Eventually, he dropped the idea after the SFX team told him how much it would cost.
    • Sigourney Weaver signed on to the film largely because of one scene in particular – when Ripley 8 encounters her previous 7 aborted genetic incarnations.

Amélie Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.4 | RT 89% C / 95% A
  • Released: 2001
  • Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  • Writer(s): Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (scenario), Guillaume Laurant (dialogue)
  • Cinematographer: Bruno Delbonnel (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dark Shadows)
  • Notable actors: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Jamel Debbouze, Dominique Pinon, Yolande Moreau, Maurice Benichou, Michel Robin
  • Budget: $10 million
  • Box office: $173.9 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Whenever this film was shot on location, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the crew would clean the area of debris, grime, trash and graffiti, so that the film would match his fantasy more so. This was an especially difficult task when it came time to shoot at the huge train station.
    • The main colors in the film (green, yellow and red) are inspired by the paintings of the Brazilian artist Juarez Machado.
    • The traveling gnome was inspired by a rash of similar pranks played in England and France in the 1990s. In 1997, a French court convicted the leader of Front de Libération des Nains de Jardins (Garden Gnome Liberation Front) of stealing over 150 gnomes. The idea was later used in an advertising campaign for an Internet travel agency.
    • It was in 1974 that Jean-Pierre Jeunet began collecting the memories and events that make up the story of Amélie.
    • Jean-Pierre Jeunet originally wanted Michael Nyman to score the film, but was unable to get him. Someone then gave Jeunet a CD by Yann Tiersen, who composes in a similar minimalist style, but with an extremely quirky, eclectic mix of instruments. Jeunet fell in love with the music and scored the film largely with existing pieces by Tiersen, for which he bought the rights. In addition, Tiersen wrote an original main theme, “La Valse d’Amelie,” which was recorded in numerous variations and used throughout the film.
    • Audrey Tautou doesn’t know how to skip stones; the stone-skipping scenes were made with special effects.
    • With the exception of brief exchanges on the phone at Sacre Coeur and in person in the Deux Moulins; Amélie and Nino do not exchange a single line of dialogue during the course of the entire film.

Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down – Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0


 

The Best and Worst of the Best Podcast is a show where host’s Nate and Austin compare a film director’s best and worst rated movies to see where they went wrong.



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