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#062 John Boorman: Deliverance vs. Exorcist II: The Heretic


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare John Boorman’s best and worst rated films, Deliverance (1972) and Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), respectively. Nate finally rates a film 1/10, Austin is possessed by Pazuzu, and they both squeal like a pig.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein (1974) and Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with the cast of Deliverance:


Exorcist II: The Heretic Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A teenage girl once possessed by a demon finds that it still lurks within her. Meanwhile, a priest investigates the death of the girl’s exorcist.

  • Ratings: IMDb 3.7 | RT 20% C / 13% A
  • Released: 1977
  • Director: John Boorman
  • Writer(s): William Goodhart (written by), John Boorman and Rospo Pallenberg (uncredited)
  • Cinematographer: William A. Fraker (Rosemary’s Baby, Tombstone)
  • Notable actors: Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Paul Henreid, James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty
  • Budget: $14 million
  • Box office: $30.7 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • William Friedkin, director of the first film, told a story, recalled to by a Warner Bros. executive, at the Chicago Critics Film Festival in April 2013. Studio heads came to the sneak preview of “Exorcist II” in a limo, and told the drivers to go get fast food. They entered the auditorium, and within 10 minutes into the film, an audience member stood up, glanced into the crowd, and proclaimed: “The people who made this piece of shit are in this room!” 10 or 12 other audience members gathered to find the executives. The heads rushed out of the theater and realized that there were no cars to make their escape. They were subsequently chased down the street by a group of angry audience members.
    • The original cast and crew of The Exorcist (1973) were very much opposed to a sequel. William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty actually met to discuss ideas at one point, but when they failed to develop a suitable premise, they abandoned the project. Both Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn turned down repeated offers by the studio, though Blair eventually agreed to return when presented with what she considered a good script. However, according to Blair, due to various rewrites the script ended up a total mess. By that point, however, she was contractually bound to a sequel, and unable to drop out of the project.
    • The original, opening night version of this film was so poorly received that the audience at a theater on Hollywood Blvd. actually threw things at the screen to express their disgust when it was over.
    • Stanley Kubrick turned down the offer to direct. When John Boorman accepted, Kubrick warned him that the only way a sequel to “The Exorcist” would succeed is if it were to be more graphic and horrific than the original.
    • Linda Blair has said that Richard Burton started out sober, but frequently became drunk during the middle and end of filming. She also says that tensions were high among the cast.

Deliverance Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it’s turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they’ll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.

  • Ratings: IMDb 7.7 | RT 93% C / 82% A
  • Released: 1972
  • Director: John Boorman
  • Writer(s): James Dickey (screenplay), James Dickey (novel), John Boorman (additional dialogue)
  • Cinematographer: Vilmos Zsigmond (The Deer Hunter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
  • Notable actors: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, Billy Redden, Bill McKinney, Herbert Coward
  • Budget: $2 million
  • Box office: $46.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • In the year after the film’s release, more than 30 people drowned in the Chattooga River while trying to replicate the characters’ adventures.
    • To minimize costs, the production wasn’t insured, and the actors did their own stunts. Jon Voight actually climbed the cliff.
    • The rape scene was filmed in one take, largely because Ned Beatty didn’t want to film it repeatedly.
    • To save costs and add to the realism, local residents were cast in the roles of the hill people.
    • According to director John Boorman, the gas station attendant’s jig during “Dueling Banjos” was unscripted and spontaneous.
    • Burt Reynolds broke his coccyx while going down the rapids when the canoe capsized. Originally, a cloth dummy was used, but it looked too much like a dummy going over a waterfall. While Reynolds recovered, he asked, “How did it look?” Boorman replied, “Like a dummy going over a waterfall.”
    • Much of the film had to have its color desaturated because the river looked too pretty.
    • “Dueling Banjos” was the first scene shot. The rest of the movie was almost entirely shot in sequence.
    • The rape scene as originally scripted consisted mainly of swearing. The “squeal like a pig” phrase was an attempt to “clean up” the scene for TV viewing. John Boorman liked the “cleaner” version, and used it in the film.
    • Much of the dialogue is taken almost verbatim from the source novel.
    • Burt Reynolds breakthrough role, transforming him from an actor to a film superstar.

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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#061 Sidney Lumet: 12 Angry Men vs. Gloria w/ guest Kyle Forsyth


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Sidney Lumet’s best and worst rated films, 12 Angry Men (1957) and Gloria (1999), respectively. Nate has beef with Sharon Stone, Austin leaves the country, and Kyle keeps getting interrupting by a barking dog.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare John Boorman’s Deliverance (1972) and The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with Francis Ford Coppola about The Godfather:


Gloria Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A street-wise, middle-aged moll named Gloria stands up against the mobs, which is complicated by a six-year-old urchin with a will of his own who she reluctantly takes under her wing after his family has been gunned down.

  • Ratings: IMDb 5.1 | RT 17% C / 30% A
  • Released: 1999
  • Director: Sidney Lumet
  • Writer(s): John Cassevetes (1980 screenplay), Steve Antin (screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: David Watkin (Out of Africa, Chariots of Fire, Moonstruck)
  • Notable actors: Sharon Stone, Jean-Luke Figueroa, Jeremy Northam, Cathy Moriarty, George C. Scott, Mike Starr, Bonnie Bedelia, Barry McEvoy, Bobby Cannavale
  • Budget: $30 million
  • Box office: $4.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • When asked why he decided to direct this film, Sidney Lumet frankly replied that he liked to work all the time, and if he couldn’t find a good script he’d take a fair one.
    • This was George C. Scott’s final film before his death on September 22, 1999 at the age of 71.

12 Angry Men Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.9 | RT 100% C / 97% A
  • Released: 1957
  • Director: Sidney Lumet
  • Writer(s): Reginald Rose (story), Reginald Rose (screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: Boris Kaufman (On the Waterfront, Splendor in the Grass)
  • Notable actors: Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Jack Warden, Henry Fonda, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec, Robert Webber
  • Budget: $340 thousand (equivalent to $2.9 million in 2016)
  • Box office: $1 million (rentals)
  • Fun Facts:
    • At the beginning of the film, the cameras are all positioned above eye level and mounted with wide-angle lenses to give the appearance of greater distance between the subjects. As the film progresses the cameras slip down to eye level. By the end of the film, nearly all of it is shot below eye level, in close-up and with telephoto lenses to increase the encroaching sense of claustrophobia.
    • Sidney Lumet had the actors all stay in the same room for hours on end and do their lines over and over without filming them. This was to give them a real taste of what it would be like to be cooped up in a room with the same people.
    • Because the film failed to make a profit, Henry Fonda never received his deferred salary. Despite this setback, he always regarded this film as one of the three best he ever made, the other two being The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and The Ox-Bow Incident (1943).
    • Henry Fonda disliked watching himself on film, so he did not watch the whole film in the screening room. However, before he walked out he said quietly to director Sidney Lumet, “Sidney, it’s magnificent.”
    • The ethnic background of the teenaged suspect was deliberately left unstated. For the purposes of the film, the important facts were that he was not of Northern European ancestry, and that prejudice (or lack of it) from some jurors would be a major part of the deliberation process.
    • Henry Fonda immediately complained to Sidney Lumet about the cheap backdrops outside the jury room windows when he walked on set. “They look like shit. Hitch had great backdrops, you could walk right in them,” said Fonda, referring to the previous film he made with Alfred Hitchcock, The Wrong Man (1956). Lumet assured him that director of photography Boris Kaufman had a plan to make them work.
    • The movie is commonly used in business schools and workshops to illustrate team dynamics and conflict resolution techniques.
    • With the death of Jack Klugman (Juror #5) on December 24, 2012, none of the 12 stars are still alive.
    • Shot in a total of 365 separate takes.

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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Second Interview with Actor Jim Meskimen


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We got ourselves a second interview with actor Jim Meskimen (@jimrossmeskimen), who appeared in There Will Be Blood and Magnolia as well as almost 200 other live action and voice acting roles over his career. He talks about working with director Ron Howard, his life in show business, and the stress of auditions. Enjoy!

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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#060 Francis Ford Coppola: The Godfather vs. Tonight for Sure w/ guest Jairo Benavides of “True Bromance Podcast”


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Francis Ford Coppola’s best and worst rated films, The Godfather (1972) and Tonight for Sure (1962), respectively. Nate experiences one of the worst films he’s ever seen, Austin isn’t a fan of Part III, and Jairo takes on another Coppola.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Sydney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957) and Gloria (1999), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with Francis Ford Coppola about The Godfather:


Tonight for Sure Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: On the Las Vegas strip, two unlikely men rendezvous: Samuel Hill, an ill-kempt desert miner, and Benjamin Jabowski, a John Birch Society dandy from the city.

  • Ratings: IMDb 3.2 | RT N/A C / N/A A
  • Released: 1962
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writer(s): Jerry Shaffer and Francis Ford Coppola (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Jack Hill
  • Notable actors: Karl Schanzer, Don Kenney, Marli Renfro
  • Budget: N/A
  • Box office: N/A
  • Fun Facts:
    • Director Francis Ford Coppola shot the film in a motel room in two days and slept in the same room after filming was done for each day.
    • Cast member Marli Renfro had earlier appeared as Janet Leigh’s nude body double in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960).

The Godfather Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

  • Ratings: IMDb 9.2 | RT 99% C / 98% A
  • Released: 1972
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writer(s): Mario Puza and Francis Ford Coppola (screenplay), Mario Puzo (novel)
  • Cinematographer: Gordon Willis (Annie Hall, All the President’s Men)
  • Notable actors: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Al Lettieri, Diane Keaton, Abe Vigoda, Talia Shire, Gianni Russo, John Cazale
  • Budget: $7 million
  • Box office: $245.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Lenny Montana (Luca Brasi) was so nervous about working with Marlon Brando that in the first take of their scene together, he flubbed some lines. Director Francis Ford Coppola liked the genuine nervousness and used it in the final cut. The scenes of Luca practicing his speech were added later.
    • During an early shot of the scene where Vito Corleone returns home and his people carry him up the stairs, Marlon Brando put weights under his body on the bed as a prank, to make it harder to lift him.
    • Animal rights activists protested the horse’s head scene. Francis Ford Coppola told Variety, “There were many people killed in that movie, but everyone worries about the horse. It was the same on the set. When the head arrived, it upset many crew members who are animal lovers, who like little doggies. What they don’t know is that we got the head from a pet food manufacturer who slaughters two hundred horses a day just to feed those little doggies.”
    • Marlon Brando wanted to make Don Corleone “look like a bulldog,” so he stuffed his cheeks with cotton wool for the audition. For the actual filming, he wore a mouthpiece made by a dentist. This appliance is on display in the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York.
    • James Caan improvised the part where he throws the FBI photographer to the ground. The extra’s frightened reaction is genuine. Caan also came up with the idea of throwing money at the man to make up for breaking his camera. As he put it, “Where I came from, you broke something, you replaced it or repaid the owner.”
    • The scenes in which Enzo comes to visit Vito Corleone in the hospital were shot in reverse, with the outside scene shot first. Gabriele Torrei, the actor who plays Enzo, had never acted in front of a camera before and his nervous shaking, after the car drives away, was real.
    • There was intense friction between Francis Ford Coppola and Paramount, in which [Paramount] frequently tried to have Coppola replaced, citing his inability to stay on schedule, unnecessary expenses, and production and casting errors (Coppola actually completed the film ahead of schedule and budget).
    • Marlon Brando did not memorize most of his lines and read from cue cards during most of the film.
    • The cat held by Marlon Brando in the opening scene was a stray the actor found while on the lot at Paramount, and was not originally called for in the script. So content was the cat that its purring muffled some of Brando’s dialogue, and, as a result, most of his lines had to be looped.
    • The smack that Vito gives Johnny Fontane was not in the script. Marlon Brando improvised the smack and Al Martino’s confused reaction was real. According to James Caan, “Martino didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
    • According to Al Pacino, the tears in Marlon Brando’s eyes were real, in the hospital scene when Michael pledges himself to his father.
    • The scene where Sonny beats up Carlo (Connie’s husband) took four days to shoot and featured more than 700 extras. The use of the garbage can lid was improvised by James Caan.
    • Cinematographer Gordon Willis earned himself the nickname ‘”The Prince of Darkness,” since his sets were so underlit. Paramount executives initially thought that the footage was too dark, until persuaded otherwise by Willis and Francis Ford Coppola that it was to emphasize the shadiness of the Corleone family’s dealings.
    • According to Richard S. Castellano, he defended Gordon Willis during a disagreement Willis was having with Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola got revenge on Castellano by making him do twenty takes of the shots of Clemenza walking up four flight of stairs.

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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#059 Terry Gilliam: Twelve Monkeys vs. The Brothers Grimm


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Terry Gilliam’s best and worst rated films, Twelve Monkeys (1995) and The Brothers Grimm (2005), respectively. Nate doesn’t hate the worst movie for once, Austin forgets our segment, and they both sound exhausted.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST for our 60th milestone episode where we will compare Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972) and Tonight for Sure (1962), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with Terry Gilliam about Twelve Monkeys:


The Brothers Grimm Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Will and Jake Grimm are traveling con-artists who encounter a genuine fairy-tale curse which requires true courage instead of their usual bogus exorcisms.

  • Ratings: IMDb 5.9 | RT 38% C / 39% A
  • Released: 2005
  • Director: Terry Gilliam
  • Writer(s): Ehren Kruger
  • Cinematographer: Newton Thomas Sigel (Drive, Three Kings, The Usual Suspects)
  • Notable actors: Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Mackenzie Crook, Richard Ridings, Peter Stomare, Jonathan Pryce, Lena Headey, Monica Bellucci
  • Budget: $88 million
  • Box office: $105.3 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Matt Damon and Heath Ledger were originally cast in opposite roles. They petitioned and switched their roles.
    • Because of problems with the Writers Guild of America, Terry Gilliam and Tony Grisoni were not able to credit themselves as writers of the screenplay, despite the many changes they made to Ehren Kruger’s original script. They invented a credit for themselves as “Dress Pattern Makers” and were quoted as saying that the film was made from a “dress pattern,” not necessarily made a “screenplay.”
    • Robin Williams turned down the part of Woodsman, eventually played by Tomás Hanák.

Twelve Monkeys Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.0 | RT 88% C / 88% A
  • Released: 1995
  • Director: Terry Gilliam
  • Writer(s): Chris Marker (film La Jetee), David Webb Peoples & Janet Peoples (screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: Roger Pratt (Troy, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
  • Notable actors: Bruce Willis, Jon Seda, Vernon Campbell, Bob Adrian, Simon Jones, Bill Raymond, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Frederick Strother, Frank Gorshin, David Morse, Christopher Plummer
  • Budget: $29.5 million
  • Box office: $168.8 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Bruce Willis took a lower salary than his star-status would normally entitle, partly because of budget restrictions, but mostly because he wanted to work with Terry Gilliam. Actually Bruce did the movie for free. It was only after the movie was released that he was paid.
    • Terry Gilliam was afraid that Brad Pitt wouldn’t be able to pull off the nervous, rapid speech. He sent him to a speech coach but in the end he just took away Pitt’s cigarettes, and Pitt played the part exactly as Gilliam wanted.
    • Terry Gilliam gave Bruce Willis a list of “Willis acting clichés” not to be used during the film, including the “steely blue eyes look”.
    • When Cole is drawing blood from himself, the shadow of a hamster in a hamster wheel can be seen on the wall. This scene would normally be shot in 5 minutes, but took a whole day because the hamster would not move, and Terry Gilliam is such a perfectionist, that he insisted that even this detail should work as intended. For the rest of the production, Gilliam’s perfectionism was nicknamed “The Hamster Factor”.
    • Director Terry Gilliam first met Bruce Willis while casting his film The Fisher King (1991). He was impressed by the sensitivity shown by Willis in the scene from Die Hard (1988) where McClane (Willis) talks about his wife while pulling glass from his feet. Talking to Willis, Gilliam discovered that this part was ad-libbed by Willis. Gilliam remembered this, and was convinced to cast him in this film.
    • A tagline originally suggested for this film was; “The future is in the hands of a man who has none.” This was considered to be a confusing tagline, as it made it sound as though he had no hands, as opposed to having no future.
    • Terry Gilliam’s first choice for the lead role was Jeff Bridges, whom he had enjoyed working with on The Fisher King (1991), but the studio wanted a bigger star, so he cast Bruce Willis. Ironically, Willis had originally auditioned for “The Fisher King”, but lost out to Bridges.
    • Most of the actors took a pay cut just so they could get the chance to work with Terry Gilliam.
    • Brad Pitt was signed to this movie for a relatively small salary, when he was still an “up and coming” actor. By the time of the movie’s release, however, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), Legends of the Fall (1994), and Se7en (1995) had been released, making Pitt a top-salary actor.
    • Brad Pitt received his first Golden Globe for his performance as Jeffrey Goines.
    • The final cut didn’t do too well in the test screenings and so those involved discussed making major changes to the movie, but Terry Gilliam eventually decided to keep it as it was. When released, it went on to make over five times its budget.

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.

119

#058 Peter Weir: The Truman Show vs. Green Card


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Peter Weir’s best and worst rated films, The Truman Show (1998) and Green Card (1990), respectively. Nate was completely taken by surprise with every twist and turn of Green Card, Austin hates the French, and they both oggle over Jim Carrey some more.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995) and The Brothers Grimm (2005), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out these interviews with the cast of The Truman Show:


Green Card Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A man wanting to stay in the US enters into a marriage of convenience, but it turns into more than that.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.2 | RT 56% C / 51% A
  • Released: 1990
  • Director: Peter Weir
  • Writer(s): Peter Weir (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Geoffrey Simpson (Shine, The Sessions, Little Women)
  • Notable actors: Gerard Depardieu, Andie MacDowell, Bebe Neuwirth, Gregg Edelman, Robert Prosky
  • Budget: N/A
  • Box office: $29.9 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Star Andie MacDowell was totally surprised when Peter Weir asked her to gain weight. She had always been asked to do the opposite.
    • First American film for and first film shot in the USA of French actor Gérard Depardieu.
    • The picture was Oscar nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Peter Weir but lost out to Bruce Joel Rubin for Ghost (1990). The film remains Weir’s only ever Oscar nomination for screen-writing. Of Weir’s six nominations [to date, June 2015], four are for directing, and one each for producing and for writing (Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) the latter being for Green Card (1990).
    • Green Card (1990) was the first cinema movie helmed by director Peter Weir after his critically acclaimed film Dead Poets Society (1989).

The Truman Show Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: An insurance salesman/adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a television show.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.1 | RT 94% C / 88% A
  • Released: 1998
  • Director: Peter Weir
  • Writer(s): Andrew Niccol (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Peter Biziou (Life of Brian, In the Name of the Father)
  • Notable actors: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, Brian Delate, Peter Krause, Ted Raymond, Judy Clayton, Ed Harris, Paul Giamatti, Harry Shearer, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Glass
  • Budget: $60 million
  • Box office: $264.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Ed Harris and Jim Carrey never met during filming.
    • In an interview, director Peter Weir stated he wanted to have cameras installed in every theater the film was shown in, having the projectionist at one point cut the power, cut to the viewers, and then cut back to the movie.
    • The Trumania bit, where Truman draws on the mirror with soap and acts strange, was completely improvised by Jim Carrey. In another take, he drew long curly hair and a dress.
    • People on the set were forbidden from uttering phrases from Jim Carrey’s past “silly” movies.
    • In an early scene, a bottle of vitamin D is on on Truman and Meryl’s kitchen table, needed for those without exposure to the (real) sun.
    • According to a 2008 New York Times article, psychologists in Britain and the U.S. reported a number of people experiencing “Truman Syndrome” or “the Truman Show delusion,” the belief that they are the unwitting star of their own reality TV show. Reportedly, many of those afflicted have specifically mentioned the film while in therapy. More recently, on September 16, 2013, the detailed account of one Ohio student who suffered for years from the Truman-Show delusion is documented in the New Yorker magazine article, “Unreality Star,” by Andrew Marantz.
    • The film is studied in Media Ethics courses, particularly focusing on the characters of creator Christof, best friend Marlon and the “prostituting” of Truman’s wife, Meryl.
    • Jim Carrey was Peter Weir’s first choice to play Truman from the outset.

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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#057 Ron Howard: A Beautiful Mind vs. The Dilemma


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Ron Howard’s best and worst rated films, A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Great Expectations (2011), respectively. Nate wakes up a new person and doesn’t hate the afternoon killer, Austin hates Jennifer Connelly, and Ramsey wished he was invited onto the Tyler Perry episode, his favorite director.

You can find out more about Ramsey’s Road Cinema Reviews show on his Facebook here.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Peter Weir’s The Truman Show (1998) and Green Card (1990), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with Ron Howard discussing A Beautiful Mind:


The Dilemma Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A man discovers that his best friend’s wife is having an affair.

  • Ratings: IMDb 5.3 | RT 24% C / 29% A
  • Released: 2011
  • Director: Ron Howard (Rush, Apollo 13)
  • Writer(s): Allan Loeb (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Salvatore Totino (The Da Vinci Code, Cinderella Man, Frost/Nixon)
  • Notable actors: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum, Queen Latifah, Amy Morton, Chelcie Ross
  • Budget: $70 million
  • Box office: $69.7 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • The film’s trailer caused an almighty fuss because of one line where Vince Vaughn’s character says “Electric cars are gay. I mean, not homosexual gay, but my-parents-are-chaperoning-the-dance gay”. Universal contacted the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to see how they felt about it; not surprisingly GLAAD were not keen on it. Sure enough, the trailer attracted a lot of criticism for this one line when it was released, even being publicly criticized by Anderson Cooper. Universal were forced to release a new trailer without the offending line. Ron Howard, however, refused to cut the line from the film itself as he felt it was tantamount to censorship.
    • During shooting in the United Center for the “Shoot the Puck” scene, Kevin James actually made it into the net while practicing for the scene. The extras in the United Center erupted with “Chelsea Dagger” to commemorate his accomplishment.

A Beautiful Mind Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: After John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician, accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.2 | RT 75% C / 93% A
  • Released: 2001
  • Director: Ron Howard (Rush, Apollo 13)
  • Writer(s): Akiva Goldsman (written by), Sylvia Nasar (book)
  • Cinematographer: Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption, No Country for Old Men, Sicario)
  • Notable actors: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Josh Lucas, Anthony Rapp, Jason Gray-Stanford, Judd Hirsch
  • Budget: $58 million
  • Box office: $313 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • The equations seen on the classroom chalk boards are actual equations written by the real life John Nash.
    • John Nash visited the set, and Russell Crowe said later that he had been fascinated by the way he moved his hands, and he had tried to do the same thing in the movie. He thought it would help him get into the character.
    • Nash’s mutterings after he loses the board game (along the lines of “the game is flawed,” “I had the first move, I should have won”) are in reference to “Game Theory,” the economic theory that John Nash is probably most famous for.
    • The film was shot in sequence in order to help Russell Crowe develop a consistently progressing manner of behavior.
    • The Riemann Hypothesis mentioned throughout the movie is a real and famous problem in mathematics that has gone unsolved (it has not been proved yet) for nearly 150 years. Many other important theories have been proved on the condition that the Riemann Hypothesis holds, hence its importance. In the year 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts listed the Riemann Hypothesis as one of seven “Millennium Prize Problems” and offered a $1,000,000 reward to the person that proves it.
    • The scene towards the end of the film, where John Nash contemplates drinking tea, is based on a true event when Russell Crowe met the real John Nash. He spent fifteen minutes contemplating whether to drink tea or coffee.
    • To create the “golden” look of the campus scenes early in the film, the filmmakers took a low-contrast stock (Fuji F-400 8582) and exposed it to an orange light before loading it into the camera for shooting.
    • John Nash is shown smoking in the film. In reality, he was a militant anti-smoker.
    • Barnard College professor Dave Bayer served as the math advisor on the film, and also was Russell Crowe’s hand double for the scenes where he is writing equations on windows, etc.

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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#056 Alfonso Cuaron: Children of Men vs. Great Expectations


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Alfonso Cuaron’s best and worst rated films, Children of Men (2006) and Great Expectations (1998), respectively. Nate came with low expectations and was still disappointed, Austin decides he he’s not a fan of the book either, and they both oggle over Children of Men.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind (2001) and The Dilemma (2011), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this behind the scenes footage of how they shot the car scene in Children of Men:


Great Expectations Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Modernization of Charles Dickens classic story finds the hapless Finn as a painter in New York pursuing his unrequited and haughty childhood love.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.8 | RT 38% C / 78% A
  • Released: 1998
  • Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Y Tu Mama Tambien)
  • Writer(s): Charles Dickens (novel), Mitch Glazer (screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, The Revenant, Birdman)
  • Notable actors: Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hank Azaria, Chris Cooper, Anne Bancroft, Robert De Niro
  • Budget: $25 million
  • Box office: $55 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • In his book, “What Just Happened?”, producer Art Linson reveals that the narration in the movie was written by David Mamet. It was done for free, on the condition that nobody ever find out he did it.
    • The main character is named “Pip” in Charles Dickens’s novel. But it was felt that the name would sound strange in modern times. The character was named “Finn” after Ethan Hawke’s dog.
    • Alfonso Cuarón always uses green (he even auditioned green eyed girls for A Little Princess (1995)) as the main color of his movies. He uses red and orange (complimentary and opposite colors) to make some remarks.
    • Ethan Hawke later dissed the film, calling it “a lousy experience”. He added that he felt he had been talked into making the movie, something he realized about a month into shooting which was then too late for him to pull out.

Children of Men Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.

  • Ratings: IMDb 7.9 | RT 92% C / 85% A
  • Released: 2006
  • Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Y Tu Mama Tambien)
  • Writer(s): Alfonso Cuaron & Timothy J. Sexton (screenplay), David Arata (screenplay), Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby (screenplay), P.D. James (novel)
  • Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, The Revenant, Birdman)
  • Notable actors: Clive Owen, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julianna Moore, Charlie Hunnam, Danny Huston
  • Budget: $76 million
  • Box office: $70 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • In the movie, the infertility crisis is the result of all women being infertile. In the original novel by P.D. James, it’s the result of all men producing no sperm.
    • The street battle where Clive Owen has to take cover in a battered building caused concern for the studio as it took fourteen days to prepare this one shot, with a delay of five hours every time it had to be reshot. It was shot over the course of two days, but only one complete take was actually captured on film. In the middle of one take, some blood spattered on the camera lens. Alfonso Cuarón nearly ruined this take by shouting “Cut!” but his voice was obliterated by the sound of tank and gunfire. Looking at the footage, Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki persuaded Cuarón to leave it in, and that is the shot that appears in the final film.
    • Sir Michael Caine based his performance on John Lennon.
    • When Miriam is taken off the bus in the refugee camp you can hear the song “Arbeit Macht Frei” by The Libertines. “Arbeit macht frei,” meaning “Work shall set you free,” was written above the entrances of all Nazi death/concentration camps of World War II (with the exception of Buchenwald, where the entrance read “Jedem das Seine”, engl.: “to each his own”).
    • Theo never gets to smoke an entire cigarette.
    • Almost every shot contains an animal, usually a dog.
    • Clive Owen’s character, Theo, does not use or even touch a gun at any point throughout the entire movie.

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.