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#072 Francois Truffaut: The 400 Blows vs. Fahrenheit 451




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Francois Truffaut’s best and worst rated films, The 400 Blows (1959) and Fahrenheit 451 (1966), respectively. Nate talks about the fight between the French and Austrian, Austin talks future tech, and they both try to look smart and fail.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996) and A  Life Less Ordinary (1997), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out the first audition director Francois Truffaut did with actor Jean-Pierre Leaud for The 400 Blows:


Fahrenheit 451 Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: In an oppressive future, a fireman whose duty is to destroy all books begins to question his task.

  • Ratings: IMDb 7.3 | RT 81% C / 72% A
  • Released: 1966
  • Director: Francois Truffaut
  • Writer(s): Francois Truffaut and Jean-Louis Richard (screenplay), Ray Bradbury (novel), David Rudkin and Helen Scott (additional dialogue)
  • Cinematographer: Nicolas Roeg (Walkabout, Don’t Look Now, The Witches)
  • Notable actors: Julie Christie, Oskar Werner, Cyril Cusack, Anton Diffring, Jeremy Spenser, Alex Scott
  • Budget: $1.5 million
  • Box office: $1 million US
  • Fun Facts:
    • Oskar Werner cut his hair for the final scene to purposely create a continuity error. This was due to his hatred for the director.
    • The film’s credits are spoken, not read, in keeping with the film’s theme of destruction of reading material.
    • According to producer Lewis M. Allen, François Truffaut and Oskar Werner hated each other by the end of filming. For the last two weeks, they didn’t speak to one another.
    • Author Ray Bradbury never did any fact-checking in regards to the title. He asked a fire chief what temperature book paper burned at, and was given the answer “451 degrees Fahrenheit.” He liked the title so much, he didn’t bother to see if it was the correct temperature. Actually, The Chief went to burn an actual book, because he didn’t know the answer when Bradbury asked him; he read the temperature with a thermometer.
    • The location filming of the final sequence with the “Book People” took place in poor weather. It was hoped that the weather would improve for the final days of shooting. Instead, they discovered that it had begun snowing during the night. The filming of the final shots while it was snowing was an unplanned contribution to the film’s memorable ending.
    • François Truffaut said that this was his only film in which he clashed with an actor – Oskar Werner. Truffaut asked Werner to forgo heroics and act with a level of modesty, but Werner chose to play it with arrogance. Truffaut disliked the stilted performance Werner gave and insisted he play it like a monkey discovering books for the first time, sniffing at them, wondering what they are; Werner argued that a science fiction film called for a robotic-like performance.
    • Producer Lewis M. Allen said the studio’s legal department requested that only books in the public domain be shown burning for fear of being sued by offended authors. Director François Truffaut and Allen ignored the request, believing that anyone would be flattered to have their book included.
    • François Truffaut reportedly said that he found science fiction films uninteresting and arbitrary. Because of this, a friend of his told him the story of Ray Bradbury’s novel ‘Fahrenheit 451’. Immediately afterward, Truffaut wanted to make a film from the novel and subsequently spent years raising the financing.

 


The 400 Blows Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.1 | RT 100% C / 94% A
  • Released: 1959
  • Director: Francois Truffaut
  • Writer(s): Francois Truffaut (scenario), Marcel Moussy & Francois Truffaut (adaptation), Marcel Moussy (dialogue)
  • Cinematographer: Henri Decae (Le Samourai, The Boys from Brazil, Elevator to the Gallows)
  • Notable actors: Jean-Pierre Leaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Remy, Guy Decomble, Georges Flamant, Patrick Auffay, Daniel Couturier
  • Budget: N/A
  • Box office: $30.7 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • All the young actors who unsuccessfully auditioned for the role of Antoine were used in the classroom scenes.
    • So pleased with Jean-Pierre Léaud and his screen test (an informal conversation with the film’s director being off-camera), François Truffaut doctored it into the finished film by using fade-outs and substituting his voice with off-camera female psychiatrist’s voice.
    • The English title of the movie “400 Blows” is a gross misinterpretation of the original title. The Finnish and Swedish translations of the title, roughly translatable to “400 practical jokes” are closer to the original meaning, albeit not perfect. The Swedish title: “De 400 slagen” means “The 400 blows” and make no sense. The original title stems from the French expression “Faire les quatre cents coups”, meaning “to live a wild life”, as the main character does. Literal translation of the expression would be “to do the 400 dirty tricks”.
    • Jean-Pierre Leaud’s answers to the questions given to him by the psychologist at the camp near the end of the film were not scripted. Francois Truffaut told Leaud in advance about the scene for what to expect to a certain extent, and did provide some minor coaching when Leaud answered the question in between takes as to what was working and what was not, but at large, Leaud’s answers are unscripted and ad-libbed, per Truffaut’s wishes, who wanted the scene to feel spontaneous and believable.
    • The title of the film comes from the French idiom “faire les quatre cents coups”, meaning “to raise hell”.
    • All spoken lines in the film are dubbed over again by the actors themselves, save for a few minor and trivial parts. For instance, during the last scene, the sound of Antoine’s footsteps was added during editing – the truck that the camera rested upon produced too much noise. Shooting on the streets of Paris, as many films of the French New Wave did, was often hectic and re-dubbing everything allowed François Truffaut to not have to worry about lugging bulky and expensive sound equipment around, and more importantly he would not have to worry about a street scene having too much background noise. This made shooting faster and easier.
    • François Truffaut’s first major motion picture.

Intro music by Eric Lynch


 


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#071 Brian De Palma: Scarface vs. Home Movies




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Brian De Palma’s best and worst rated films, Scarface (1983) and Home Movies (1979), respectively. Nate was bored to death, Austin hates on cinematography, and they both explain what’s happening with the livestreams.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959) and A Gorgeous Girl Like Me (1972), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with director Brian De Palma about Scarface:


Home Movies Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Keith Gordon is a creative young man who films the oddball doings of his family and peers.

  • Ratings: IMDb 5.2 | RT N/A C / N/A A
  • Released: 1979
  • Director: Brian De Palma
  • Writer(s): Kim Ambler, Brian De Palma(story), Dana Edelman, Robert Harders, Stephen Le May, Charlie Loventhal, Gloria Norris
  • Cinematographer: James L. Carter (Ladder 49, My Dog Skip, Tuck Everlasting)
  • Notable actors: Nancy Allen, Mary Davenport, Kirk Douglas, Vincent Gardenia, Keith Gordon, Gerrit Graham, Captain Haggerty, Therese Saldana
  • Budget: $400,000
  • Box office: $89,134
  • Fun Facts:
    • Shot by students of De Palma’s Independent Filmmaking course at Sarah Lawrence College. Intended to be a “learn by doing” experience for the students and grad students, the goal was to budget, finance, shoot, and edit the film using primarily students, with De Palma overseeing.
    • Kirk Douglas was brought on after much debate, mostly concerning costs, but Douglas ended up becoming an investor in the film as well.
    • From an interview in the January 1979 issue of Take One, De Palma said the movie was originally budgeted at $50,000, but then went to $100,000, $150,000 and finally settled at a cost he calls “under a million”.
    • Co-Directed by De Palma with a rotating set of student directors; he defined their contribution of roughly 5 percent of the shots in the film.

Scarface Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: In Miami in 1980, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel and succumbs to greed.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.3 | RT 82% C / 93% A
  • Released: 1983
  • Director: Brian De Palma
  • Writer(s): Oliver Stone (screenplay), Armitage Trail (based on the novel by), Howard Hawks and Ben Hecht (1932 screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: John A. Alonzo (Chinatown, Star Trek: Generations, Harold and Maude)
  • Notable actors: Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robert Loggia, Miriam Colon, F. Murray Abraham, Paul Shenar, Harris Yulin, Angel Salazar, Pepe Serna
  • Budget: $25 million
  • Box office: $65.9 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • When Scarface (1983) was re-released in theaters in 2003, the studio wanted Brian De Palma to change the soundtrack so that rap songs inspired by the movie could be used. De Palma refused.
    • Oliver Stone wrote this film while fighting a cocaine addiction. He had moved to Paris to be away from a plentiful supply of the drug in the U.S.
    • When director Brian De Palma submitted the film to the MPAA, they gave it an “X rating”. He then made some cuts and resubmitted it a second time; again the film was given an “X rating” (one of the reasons apparently being that Octavio the clown was shot too many times). He yet again made some further cuts and submitted it a third time; yet again it was given an “X”. De Palma refused to cut the film any further to qualify it for an R. He and producer Martin Bregman arranged a hearing with the MPAA. They brought in a panel of experts, including real narcotics officers, who stated that not only was the film an accurate portrayal of real life in the drug underworld, but ultimately it was an anti-drug film, and should be widely seen. This convinced the arbitrators that the third submitted cut of the film deserved an “R rating” by a vote of 18-2. However, De Palma surmised that if the third cut of the film was judged an “R” then the very first cut should have been an “R” as well. He asked the studio if he could release the first cut but was told that he couldn’t. However since the Studio execs really didn’t know the differences between the different cuts that had been submitted, De Palma released the first cut of the film to theaters anyway. It wasn’t until the film had been released on videocassette months later that he confessed that he had released his first unedited and intended version of the film.
    • In the scene where Tony is in the bathtub watching TV, he says to Manny, “Look at dem pelicangs fly.” This line was what Al Pacino practiced with a language coach to get the Cuban accent right.
    • Robert De Niro was offered the lead role but turned it down.
    • The word “yeyo” is used by Tony Montana (Al Pacino) as a slang word for cocaine. This word was not in the script, and was ad-libbed by Pacino during the first drug deal scene (chainsaw scene), and Brian De Palma liked it enough to keep using it throughout the film. Pacino learned the word while learning the Cuban accent.
    • Al Pacino reportedly stated that Tony Montana was one of his favorites of all the characters he’s played.

Intro music by Eric Lynch


 


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#070 Peter Jackson: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King vs. The Lovely Bones w/ guests Hannah Wheeler and Eric Lynch




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Peter Jackson’s best and worst rated films, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) and The Lovely Bones (2009), respectively. The show has its first official livestream on twitch.tv/bwbpod, Hannah watches LOTR for the first time, and Eric tries out his best Gollum impression.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983) and Home Movies (1979), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out the behind the scenes footage from the making of The Fellowship of the Ring:


The Lovely Bones Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.7 | RT 31% C / 52% A
  • Released: 2009
  • Director: Peter Jackson
  • Writer(s): Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson (screenplay), Alice Sebold (novel)
  • Cinematographer: Andrew Lesnie (The Hobbit, King Kong, The Last Airbender)
  • Notable actors: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli, Saoirse Ronan, Rose McIver, Christian Ashdale, Reece Ritchie
  • Budget: $65 million
  • Box office: $93.6 billion
  • Fun Facts:
    • For his role as George Harvey, Stanley Tucci had his skin lightened, his chest and arm hair dyed to match his blondish-brown comb-over wig, and wore false teeth to alter his jaw line. He also wore blue contact lenses and a lentil-filled fat suit to widen his girth, all topped off with square-frame eyeglasses, a fake mustache and sideburns. Since Tucci was uncomfortable playing a child molester, he wanted to alter his appearance for the role as much as possible.
    • The mother, Abigail’s, major storyline from the book–her affair with the detective, and her reasons for leaving the family–was filmed, but cut out of the movie.
    • In Alice Sebold’s original novel, a disturbing rape scene is recounted in great detail, an experience that Sebold herself had had as a young woman. Director Peter Jackson chose to omit this section of the story, feeling that the re-enactment of the ordeal would have not just overwhelmed the film, but been too traumatic a sequence for the young Saoirse Ronan to endure. Alice Sebold reportedly disagreed with this omission. Stanley Tucci, for his part, claimed that it was difficult enough for him to play scenes in which George was thinking about molesting Susie, and that he never would have agreed to perform an actual rape scene.
    • The main reason Ryan Gosling quit his role as Jack before filming started, was that during read-through sessions with Peter Jackson and the rest of the cast, he felt that, at 26, he was too young for the role. Jack was supposed to be in his late 30s. Despite repeated assurances from Jackson that he could portray Jack with proper make-up, Gosling insisted that, as a method actor, he would not be able to portray the character well enough, and was finally let go. Mark Wahlberg was brought in only one day before shooting started.
    • Saoirse Ronan landed the role of Susie Salmon based on an audition tape she sent in. They were so impressed by the tape, that no meetings or further auditions were necessary before offering her the lead role in the film.
    • Despite the fact that the violence in the novel had been toned down for the film, Stanley Tucci still had a hard time portraying Mr. Harvey.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron’s army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.9 | RT 95% C / 86% A
  • Released: 2003
  • Director: Peter Jackson
  • Writer(s): J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson (screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: Andrew Lesnie (The Hobbit, King Kong, The Last Airbender)
  • Notable actors: Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Alistair Browning, Bernard Hill, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis, Harry Sinclair, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban, Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, Elijah Wood, Miranda Otto
  • Budget: $94 million
  • Box office: $1.12 billion
  • Fun Facts:
    • The movie made a one thousand four hundred eight percent profit for New Line Studios on their initial outlay.
    • The dead oliphaunt carcass, used in this film, is reportedly the largest prop ever built for a movie. According to members of the Prop Department, Director Peter Jackson still thought it could have been bigger.
    • Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood were each given prop rings by Peter Jackson, used in the movie. They both thought they had the only one.
    • Great caution was taken for the scene where Faramir is dragged back to Minas Tirith on his horse. The filmmakers were afraid that the horse might suddenly start to run, dragging David Wenham behind it, so a release system was built into the saddle. Wenham held a handle in his right hand, and if the horse started to run, he could simply pull it and be released from the stirrup. Fortunately, they ended up not needing it.
    • Each of the cast members was given a gift on their last day of shooting, usually a prop that was significant to their roles. Miranda Otto received one of Eowyn’s dresses and her sword, Liv Tyler received Arwen’s “dying dress”, Orlando Bloom got one of Legolas’ bows.
    • Peter Jackson is arachnophobic, and based the Shelob design on the types of spiders he feared the most.
    • Since John Rhys-Davies suffered constant rashes from wearing the Gimli make-up, the Make-up Department gave him the opportunity to throw his Gimli mask into the fire on his last day of pick-up photography. He didn’t hesitate a moment to grab and burn it.
    • A normal movie averages about two hundred visual effects shots. This film had one thousand four hundred eighty-eight.
    • Horses owned by the production company were placed up for auction to the cast and crew after the film was shot. Viggo Mortensen purchased two horses, the one he rode for most of the film, and one for Liv Tyler’s riding double.
    • The Lord of the Rings trilogy became the most nominated film series in Academy Award history with thirty nominations, surpassing both the Godfather trilogy (twenty-eight) and the Star Wars franchise (twenty-one).
    • To get enough extras for the Battle at the Black Gate, a few hundred members of the New Zealand Army were brought in. They apparently were so enthusiastic during the battle scenes, that they kept breaking the wooden swords and spears they were given.
    • Fans of the film often speculate why the characters didn’t just fly on the giant eagles into Mordor and drop the ring into Mount Doom. This is not, in fact, a plot hole. This was explained in the book, but the filmmakers didn’t think there would have been a need to, because they felt it was obvious why they didn’t do this. The Eye of Sauron would have been a major obstacle. Even Professor Tolkien vetoed the abuse of eagles’ intervention, when presented an early project of a movie from his book, also it is explained that the eagles are very proud creatures, and did not take sides in the War of the Ring until the end, so they would not have assisted.
    • Viggo Mortensen estimates that during the course of filming the entire trilogy and including all takes, he “killed” every stuntman on the production at least fifty times.
    • The final day of filming on the trilogy actually happened over a month after this movie was theatrically released, and three weeks after the 2004 Academy Awards. Peter Jackson arranged to film one final shot of skulls on the floor in the tunnel of the Paths of the Dead, which was included in the Extended Edition DVD. He thought it was funny to be doing filming on a movie that had already won the Best Picture Oscar.
    • It has the highest perfect score at the Academy Awards, with eleven wins out of eleven nominations. Its wins also means that The Lord of the Rings franchise has won every category, for which it was nominated, except one (Best Actor in a Supporting Role).
    • In the scene when Denethor attempts to burn Faramir on the pyre, the pyre could not truly be on fire, because Gandalf’s horse would not go near it. To solve this, the crew reflected a real fire onto a pane of glass in front of the camera, so that it looks as though the pyre is burning.

Intro music by Eric Lynch


 


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#069 Neill Blomkamp: District 9 vs. Elysium




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Neill Blomkamp’s best and worst rated films, District 9 (2009) and Elysium (2013), respectively. Nate becomes a programmer, Austin feels better prepared for the future, and they both want to fight some fookin’ prawns.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 (2009) and Elysium (2013), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with director Neill Blomkamp and actor Sharlto Copley about the making of District 9:


Elysium Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.6 | RT 67% C / 58% A
  • Released: 2013
  • Director: Neill Blomkamp
  • Writer(s): Neill Blomkamp
  • Cinematographer: Trent Opaloch (Captain American: Civil War, Chappie)
  • Notable actors: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner, Brandon Auret, Josh Blacker, Emma Tremblay, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Maxwell Perry Cotton, Faran Tahir, Adrian Holmes
  • Budget: $115 million
  • Box office: $286.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • The biography of John Carlyle displayed by the computer indicates that he was born in 2010, which makes him about 144 years old.
    • When Kruger retrieves the rocket launcher from his vehicle, the name of the agency he is working for is seen– the “Civil Cooperation Bureau.” The South African Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB) was a government-sponsored under cover direct action intelligence agency during the apartheid era.
    • Kruger and his men incorporate numerous Afrikaans slang words into their dialogue. Examples include “Boet,” an informal derivative of “brother,” “Boykie,” meaning “little boy,” and “lekker,” a slang for approval.
    • The main role was first offered to Ninja, a South African rapper, who despite being a fan of District 9 (2009) (he has a D9 tattoo on his inner lip) did not take the role. The role was then offered to rapper Eminem, who also turned it down. So Neill Blomkamp moved on to Matt Damon as his next choice.
    • The line, “Don’t breathe on me… Cover your mouth!” spoken by John Carlyle to the Plant Manager was ad-libbed by William Fichtner.

District 9 Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.0 | RT 90% C / 82% A
  • Released: 2009
  • Director: Neill Blomkamp
  • Writer(s): Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Trent Opaloch (Captain American: Civil War, Chappie)
  • Notable actors: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt, John Sumner, William Allen Young, Nick Blake
  • Budget: $30 million
  • Box office: $210.8 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • After the feature film based on the Halo (2001) video game series (which was to be directed by Neill Blomkamp) fell through, producer Peter Jackson went to Blomkamp and offered him $30 million to make whatever he wanted. The result was District 9 (2009).
    • Around six different endings were created during filming.
    • The language used by the aliens (clicking sounds) was created by rubbing a pumpkin.
    • The first documentary-style film to be nominated for Best Picture Oscar.
    • The title is a nod to a real place and a real incident. District 6 was a mixed race neighborhood of Cape Town which the apartheid government demolished in 1966 to make room for whites.
    • Star Sharlto Copley had not acted before and had no intention of pursuing an acting career. He stumbled into the leading role as director Neill Blomkamp placed him on-camera during the short film.
    • All the shacks in District 9 were actual shacks that exist in a section of Johannesburg which were to be evacuated and the residents moved to better government housing, paralleling the events in the film. Also paralleling, the residents had not actually been moved out before filming began. The only shack that was created solely for filming was Christopher Johnson’s shack.
    • As part of the marketing campaign in North America and the United Kingdom, posters were put up in major cities on bus stops, the sides of buildings, etc., designating areas that were restricted for humans only, with a number to call (866.666.6001 in the U.S., 0207 148 7468 in the U.K.) in order to report non-humans. The title of the film was generally not included, although the URL address for the film’s official website was.
    • The idea of the prawns being obsessed with cat food came from two inspirations. In impoverished areas of Johannesburg, director Neill Blomkamp would see people selling cheese poofs and other snack foods out of large three-foot tall bags and wanted the aliens to have a similar cheap food. The decision to make them cat food came from one of the producers who used canned cat food to bait traps when fishing for prawns in Vancouver.
    • The creatures used in the small fighting arena were meant to be rodents/pests which were aboard the ship.

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


 


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#068 Kathryn Bigelow: The Hurt Locker vs. Blue Steel




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Kathryn Bigelow’s best and worst rated films, The Hurt Locker (2008) and Blue Steel (1990), respectively. Nate goes on a rant about Alien: Covenant, Austin has a problem with female directors, and they both hate incompetent people.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 (2009) and Elysium (2013), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with director Kathryn Bigelow about the making of The Hurt Locker:


Blue Steel Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A female rookie in the police force engages in a cat and mouse game with a pistol wielding psychopath who becomes obsessed with her.

  • Ratings: IMDb 5.6 | RT 71% C / 36% A
  • Released: 1990
  • Director: Kathryn Bigelow
  • Writer(s): Kathryn Bigelow & Eric Red (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Amir Mokri (Man of Steel, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Lord of War)
  • Notable actors: Jamie Lee Curtis, Ron Silver, Clancy Brown, Elizabeth Pena, Louise Fletcher, Philip Bosco, Kevin Dunn, Richard Jenkins, Markus Flanagan, Mary Mara, Tom Sizemore
  • Budget: N/A
  • Box office: $8.2 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Tom Sizemore’s film debut.
    • Was originally set to be released by Vestron Pictures and its offshoot label Lightning Pictures but ultimately acquired by MGM due to Vestron’s financial problems and eventual bankruptcy at the time.
    • Philip Bosco plays the father of policewoman Jamie Lee Curtis. In real life, he’s the son of policewoman.
    • In Germany, it was distributed as “a film from Oliver Stone”, even though Stone was only one of the movie’s producers.

The Hurt Locker Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.

  • Ratings: IMDb 7.6 | RT 98% C / 84% A
  • Released: 2008
  • Director: Kathryn Bigelow
  • Writer(s): Mark Boal (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Barry Ackroyd (The Hurt Locker, Captain Phillips, The Big Short)
  • Notable actors: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly, Christian Camargo
  • Budget: $15 million
  • Box office: $49.2 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • The film was shot on location in Jordan. Part of the shoot (one week) was to take place in Kuwait on a U.S. Military Base; however, access was denied.
    • Kathryn Bigelow claims that no scene filmed was left out of the final cut.
    • The expression “the hurt locker” is a preexisting slang term for a situation involving trouble or pain, which can be traced back to the Vietnam War. According to the movie’s website, it is soldier vernacular in Iraq to speak of explosions as sending you to “the hurt locker.”
    • It was James Cameron who convinced his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow to direct this film. She originally had planned on doing another project and wasn’t sure about doing this film. Cameron read it and told her to do this film, and it ended up earning her an Oscar nomination and award for Best Director. In fact, the film was nominated in nine categories against Cameron’s Avatar (2009), and won six awards, including Best Picture. Cameron himself had said, “I wouldn’t bet against her.”
    • Jeremy Renner tripped and fell down some stairs while carrying an Iraqi boy on the film’s set. Shooting was stopped for several days while Renner’s ankle healed.
    • During filming, three, four or more hand-held super 16mm cameras were used to film scenes in documentary style. Nearly two hundred hours of footage was shot at an eye-popping 100:1 shooting ratio (a higher ratio of expended film than the notorious Francis Ford Coppola epic, Apocalypse Now (1979)).
    • Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Academy Award, the BAFTA, and the DGA for Best Director, with this film. This is also the first film to win Best Picture that was directed by a woman.
    • Jordan is such a safe location that the actors didn’t want to have bodyguards, as was first intended. There was no Jordanian military acting as security for the film. Security, set dressing and onset, was provided by a private company.

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


 


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#067 Luc Besson: Leon: The Professional vs. Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Luc Besson’s best and worst rated films,  Leon: The Professional (1994) and Arthur and the Revenge of the Maltazard (2009), respectively. Nate hates Malt Lizards, Austin thinks Natalie Portman peaked in Phantom Menace, and they both are HITMEN for GARY OLD-MAN.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Kathrn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker (2008) and Blue Steel (1990), her best and worst rated films.


Also check out this behind the scenes footage from the making of Leon: The Professional:


Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Arthur answers a distress call from Princess Selenia, who is menaced by the nefarious Maltazard.

  • Ratings: IMDb 5.6 | RT 14% C / 32% A
  • Released: 2009
  • Director: Luc Besson
  • Writer(s): Patrice Garcia (characters and universe), Luc Besson (screenplay) (dialogues), Luc Besson & Celine Garcia (characters)
  • Cinematographer: Thierry Arbogast (The Fifth Element, Lucy, La Femme Nikita)
  • Notable actors: Freddie Highmore, Selena Gomez, Logan Miller, Omar Sy, Mia Farrow, Fergie, Jimmy Fallon, Snoop Dogg, Will.i.am, Cem Yilmaz, Robert Stanton, Penny Balfour, Lou Reed
  • Budget: $90 million
  • Box office: $78.5 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Arthur and the Great Adventure is actually a UK only release, an edit of the second and third films, Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard and Arthur and The War of The Two Worlds

Leon: The Professional Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin’s trade.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.6 | RT 71% C / 95% A
  • Released: 1994
  • Director: Luc Besson
  • Writer(s): Luc Besson (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Thierry Arbogast (The Fifth Element, Lucy, La Femme Nikita)
  • Notable actors: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello, Peter Appel, Willi One Blood, Don Creech, Michael Badalucco, Ellen Greene, Elizabeth Regen
  • Budget: $16 million
  • Box office: $46.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • During the scene when Stansfield ‘interrogates’ Mathilda’s father, he smells the father, and gets extremely physically close to him. According to Michael Badalucco, he had no idea that Gary Oldman was going to smell him, nor that he was going to get as close as he did. Badalucco says that in the film, his look of discomfort during the scene is completely genuine, as he felt decidedly intimidated by Oldman, and the physical proximity between the two made him very nervous.
    • According to Jean Reno, he decided to play Léon as if he were a little mentally slow and emotionally repressed. He felt that this would make audiences relax and realize that he wasn’t someone who would take advantage of a vulnerable young girl. Reno claims that for Léon, the possibility of a physical relationship with Mathilda is not even conceivable, and as such, during the scenes when such a relationship is discussed, Reno very much allowed Mathilda to be emotionally in control of the scenes.
    • The scene in which Stansfield talks about his appreciation of Ludwig van Beethoven to Mathilda’s father was completely improvised. The scene was filmed several times, with Gary Oldman giving a different improvised story on each take.
    • This is Natalie Portman’s motion picture debut. She was 11 when she was cast.
    • Keith A. Glascoe, who played the enormous Benny, or 3rd Stansfield Man, later became a member of the New York Fire Department, Ladder Company 21 in Hells Kitchen. Courageously he died in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
    • In a 2014 Playboy interview, Gary Oldman said his screaming of the now iconic line ‘Bring me everyone!’ was improvised to make director Luc Besson laugh “in previous takes, I’d just gone, “Bring me everyone,” in a regular voice. But then I cued the sound guy to slip off his headphones, and I shouted as loud as I could.” The yelled take is the one used in the film.
    • When the film was first tested in LA, the version that was screened incuded a short scene where Mathilda asks Léon to be her lover. However, the audience became extremely uncomfortable and began to laugh nervously, completely destroying the tone of the film. The film received terrible test scores at the screening, and as such, producer Patrice Ledoux and writer/director Luc Besson decided to cut the scene for theatrical release.

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


 


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Interview with Brandon Calvillo (I’m Sorry, Dad Podcast) on Podcasting, Vine, and Tommy Wiseau




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We’ve got a special mid-week bonus episode! Nate and Austin interview Brandon Calvillo about his entrance to podcasting, Vine, and Tommy Wiseau. Find more of Brandon’s work on his YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, and subscribe to his podcast on iTunes.

Check back this Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Luc Besson’s Leon: The Professional (1994) and Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard (2009), his best and worst rated films.


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#066 Terence Young: Wait Until Dark vs. Inchon




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Terence Young’s best and worst rated films, Wait Until Dark (1967) and Inchon (1981), respectively. Nate is seeing in black and white, Austin flirts with Audrey Hepburn, and they both watch one of the worst movies ever made. Spoiler alert: it sucked.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Luc Besson’s Leon: The Professional (1994) and Arthur and the Revenge of the Maltazard (2009), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this segmented series of behind the scenes footage from the making of Inchon:


Inchon Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: During the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur masterminds the amphibious invasion of Inchon in September 1950.

  • Ratings: IMDb 2.7 | RT 0% C / 9% A
  • Released: 1981
  • Director: Terence Young
  • Writer(s): Robin Moore and Laird Koenig (screenplay), Robin Moore and Paul Savage (story)
  • Cinematographer: Bruce Surtees (Dirty Harry, Beverly Hills Cop, Escape from Alcatraz)
  • Notable actors: Laurence Olivier, Jacqueline Bisset, Ben Gazzara, Toshiro Mifune, Richard Roundtree, David Janssen, Kung-won Nam, Gabriele Ferzetti, Rex Reed, Sabine Sun, Dorothy James, Karen Kahn, Lydia Lei, James T. Callahan
  • Budget: $46 million
  • Box office: $5.2 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • When location filming ran past the original production schedule, Laurence Olivier insisted on being paid his “bonus salary” in weekly cash payments, delivered to him as briefcases full of money, flown to the location by helicopter.
    • The movie had an estimated loss of $44,100,000.
    • The recreation of the Inchon lighthouse was destroyed by a typhoon during filming, and had to be rebuilt.
    • Most of the cast and crew were paid in cash, which furthered suspicions that it was funded by the controversial Unification Church.
    • The film has never officially been released on home video or DVD. It was broadcast on cable TV during the early 2000s.
    • The climactic scene of the fleet coming into harbor had to be re-shot when an assistant director misinterpreted instructions and ordered the ships to head out of camera range.
    • The United States Department of Defense supplied 1,500 American troops (stationed in Korea) as extras. When they found out the Unification Church was one of the financial backers, they withdrew support and asked that credit be removed.
    • Initial footage of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s final limo scene was rejected because the crowd was too small. The scene was re-shot in Korea, but the shots of the crowds and the limo didn’t match. Finally, the crew rented a studio in Dublin and put the limo against a rear projection of the crowds. The three-minute scene cost over $3 million.

Wait Until Dark Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: A recently blinded woman is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin-stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment.

  • Ratings: IMDb 7.9 | RT 95% C / 91% A
  • Released: 1967
  • Director: Terence Young
  • Writer(s): Frederick Knott (play), Robert Carrington & Jane-Howard Hammerstein (screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: Charles Lang (Some Like It Hot, The Magnificent Seven, Charde)
  • Notable actors: Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Jack Weston
  • Budget: $3 million
  • Box office: $17.5 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • In an interview, Alan Arkin talked about the Oscar nominations he received for his early major film roles (The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! (1966) and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968). When asked if he was surprised that he was overlooked for “Wait Until Dark”, his second movie, he replied: “You don’t get nominated for being mean to Audrey Hepburn!”
    • During World War II, 16-year-old Audrey Hepburn was a volunteer nurse in a Dutch hospital. During the battle of Arnhem, Hepburn’s hospital received many wounded Allied soldiers. One of the injured soldiers young Audrey helped nurse back to health was a young British paratrooper – and future director – named Terence Young who more than 20 years later directed Hepburn in Wait Until Dark (1967).
    • In his non-fiction book Danse Macabre, Stephen King declared this to be the scariest movie of all time and that Alan Arkin’s performance “may be the greatest evocation of screen villainy ever.”
    • The role that eventually went to Alan Arkin was difficult to cast because the producers couldn’t find actors willing to be cast in such a villainous role – not only terrorizing a blind woman, but terrorizing beloved Audrey Hepburn to boot! Alan Arkin later went on to say how easy it was for him to get the role because of the reluctance of other actors to take it.
    • During the credits there is no credit for costumes, this is because Audrey Hepburn herself picked the clothes she wore from the stores in Paris.
    • Audrey Hepburn’s only horror film, despite it more commonly being categorized as a suspense-thriller.
    • As a way to get people to see the movie, the filmmakers made a print ad and cautionary trailer that read: ‘During the last eight minutes of this picture the theatre will be darkened to the legal limit, to heighten the terror of the breathtaking climax which takes place in nearly total darkness on the screen. If there are sections where smoking is permitted, those patrons are respectfully requested not to jar the effect by lighting up during this sequence. And of course, no one will be seated at this time.’ It worked and the film became a huge success because of it.

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