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#081 Sam Raimi: Evil Dead 2 vs. Spider-Man 3




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Sam Raimi’ best and worst rated films, Evil Dead 2 (1987) and Spider-Man 3 (2007), respectively. Nate goes on about horror films again, Austin has a nostalgia trip, and they both go off on tangents.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) and The Brothers Bloom (2008), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with director Sam Raimi about his lowest rated film, Spider-Man 3:


Spider-Man 3 Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A strange black entity from another world bonds with Peter Parker and causes inner turmoil as he contends with new villains, temptations, and revenge.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.2 | RT 63% C / 51% A
  • Released: 2007
  • Director: Sam Raimi
  • Writer(s): Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent (screenplay), Saim Raimi & Ivan Raimi (screen story), Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (Marvel comic book)
  • Cinematographer: Bill Pope (The Matrix, The Jungle Book, Bound)
  • Notable actors: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons, James Cromwell, Theresa Russell, Dylan Baker, Bill Nunn, Bruce Campbell, Elizabeth Banks, Ted Raimi, Perla Haney-Jardine, Willem Dafoe, Cliff Robertson
  • Budget: $258 million
  • Box office: $890.9 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • On May 4th, 2007, while promoting the film on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992), Thomas Haden Church revealed that he broke three knuckles during the subway scene where he swings to punch Spider-Man and ends up punching a chunk of the wall away. Church said that the effects crew had told him that the brick in the middle was fake while the upper and lower ones were real. Unfortunately, the foam brick had not actually been put in place yet, and when Sam Raimi yelled ‘action’, Church spun around and punched the real brick on the first take.
    • All of the screams Kirsten Dunst had for this film were recycled from Spider-Man 2 (2004).
    • Bryce Dallas Howard performed her own stunts during the crane accident scene, unaware that she was pregnant at the time of filming.
    • In total, the film took 2 years and 10 months to make.
    • There were many scenes that were shot but never released on DVD including a montage of Peter (in his black suit) taking down criminals and leaving them strung up, tons of character-building moments, a confrontation scene between Captain Stacy and Eddie Brock (where Gwen dumps him at her father’s house) and Peter freaking out after he looks in a mirror and sees a nightmarish version of the Venom symbiote screaming at him.
    • It was considered at one point to split the movie into two films.
    • One of the sounds used for Venom is of a Tasmanian Devil.
    • According to James Franco, they had to go back and do some re-shoots just prior to the release, because test audiences felt that there was not enough action in the film.

Evil Dead 2 Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.

  • Ratings: IMDb 7.8 | RT 98% C / 89% A
  • Released: 1987
  • Director: Sam Raimi
  • Writer(s): Sam Raimi & Scott Spiegel (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Peter Deming (Twin Peaks, Oz the Great and Powerful, Mulholland Drive)
  • Notable actors: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva, Ted Raimi, Denise Bixler
  • Budget: $3.6 million
  • Box office: $5.9 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • During the scene where the severed head of Linda bites Ash’s hand, Bruce Campbell says the single line “work shed”. This line was later re-dubbed in post-production due to the quality of the audio, giving it a strange, slightly “disproportionate” sound to the audio. Nine years later, while filming his cameo in Escape from L.A. (1996), the first thing Kurt Russell said to Bruce Campbell on the set was, jokingly, “Say ‘work shed'”.
    • Stephen King was such a huge fan of The Evil Dead (1981) that he convinced producer Dino De Laurentiis over dinner (who was producing King’s Maximum Overdrive (1986) at the time) to have his production company DEG (De Laurentiis Entertainment Group) finance Evil Dead II.
    • Often considered to be a remake of The Evil Dead (1981); however, this is not accurate. The rights to show scenes from the original could not be obtained to re-cap what happened, so the beginning was remade to explain how Ash got to the cabin, etc.
    • The recap of The Evil Dead (1981) includes a shot where the “evil force” runs through the cabin and rams into Ash. When this shot was filmed, Bruce Campbell suffered a broken jaw when Sam Raimi (who was operating the camera) crashed into him with a bicycle – or so people were led to believe. This was a story concocted by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell as a gag to see how many people would believe it actually happened.
    • Most of the film was shot on a set built inside the gymnasium of the JR Faison Junior High School in Wadesboro, North Carolina.
    • Ash’s chainsaw appears to switch hands in one scene. This is because Sam Raimi decided Ash should walk the opposite way across the room in that scene, so he flipped the negative.

Intro music by Eric Lynch



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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


 


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#052 James Mangold: Walk the Line vs. Knight and Day




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare James Mangold’s best and worst rated films, Walk the Line (2005) and Knight and Day (2010), respectively. Nate hates afternoon killers, Austin essentially financed Knight and Day, and they both continue their love affair with Joaquin Phoenix.

Check back Sunday, March 26 at 7pm PST where we will compare John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and Phobia (1980), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with director James Mangold discussing Knight and Day:


Knight and Day Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A young woman gets mixed up with a disgraced spy who is trying to clear his name.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.3 | RT 52% C / 49% A
  • Released: 2010
  • Director: James Mangold
  • Writer(s): Patrick O’Neill (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Phedon Papamichael (The Pursuit of Happyness, 3:10 to Yuma)
  • Notable actors: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi Molla, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Falk Hentschel, Marc Blucas, Lennie Loftin, Maggie Grace, Rich Manley, Dale Dye, Celia Weston, Gal Gadot
  • Budget: $117 million
  • Box office: $261.9 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz did a majority of the stunts on their own. Cruise and Diaz are avid drivers, and have experience in doing sharp turns and 180s.
    • Tom Cruise wanted to do another spy thriller, but he thought Salt (2010) and The Tourist (2010) were too similar to his Mission: Impossible (1996) franchise. He ultimately chose this project once it became an espionage thriller with comic elements.
    • With the exception of Roy Miller falling off during the rooftop chase in Austria, Tom Cruise did most of the running and jumping without any wire works.
    • Chris Tucker, Adam Sandler, and Gerard Butler were all considered for the lead role before Tom Cruise signed on.
    • All the car crashes were recorded on studio lots and digitally imposed in the film.
    • Over twelve writers worked on the film but the Writers Guild of America ruled that only one of them, Patrick O’Neill, should be credited. Some of the other uncredited writers were Scott Frank, Laeta Kalogridis, Ted Griffin, Dana Fox, and Simon Kinberg.
    • Eva Mendes was cast as the female lead when Chris Tucker was attached to the project.

Walk the Line Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash’s life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

  • Ratings: IMDb 7.9 | RT 82% C / 90% A
  • Released: 2005
  • Director: James Mangold
  • Writer(s): Johnny Cash (book), Gill Dennis & James Mangold (written by), Patrick Carr (book)
  • Cinematographer: Phedon Papamichael (The Pursuit of Happyness, 3:10 to Yuma)
  • Notable actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin,, Dallas Roberts, Dan John Miller, Larry Bagby, Shelby Lynne, Tyler Hilton, Waylon Payne, Shooter Jennings, Sandra Ellis Lafferty
  • Budget: $28 million
  • Box office: $186.4 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • When Cash wakes up on the tour bus, just after the Folsom Prison performance, he walks past guitarist Luther Perkins, who is passed-out with a lit cigarette in his mouth, and puts the cigarette out. Perkins died a few months after the ‘At Folsom Prison’ recording/performance. He fell asleep in his Tennessee home with a lit cigarette in his mouth, and died from injuries sustained in the resulting fire.
    • During one scene Johnny Cash is high and performing “I Got Stripes”, he walks right up to June Carter and glares at her for an uncomfortably long period of time on stage. According to the director, James Mangold, this was unscripted and improvised by the actors. Mangold said that he simply told Joaquin Phoenix to do what he would do in real life if he were angry at his girlfriend and then had to perform on stage with her. Much to Phoenix’s surprise, this backfired and Reese Witherspoon responded to his actions by simply rolling her eyes, and continuing to perform the song. Phoenix later said that her reaction threw him off because his goal had been to make her as uncomfortable as possible on stage.
    • Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon performed all of the songs themselves, without being dubbed. They also learned to play their instruments (guitar and auto-harp, respectively) from scratch.
    • The film was screened for the inmates of Folsom Prison, 38 years after Johnny Cash’s landmark performance.
    • The director said that Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon developed a very codependent relationship during filming. According to him, after the filming wrapped, Phoenix admitted to him that he and Witherspoon had relied on each other so much that they made a secret pact. The deal was that if one of them left or dropped out, the other would leave as well.
    • The scene in which Johnny Cash pulls the sink off the wall was not scripted; Joaquin Phoenix actually pulled it off the wall.

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


 


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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


 


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#049 Guy Ritchie: Snatch vs. Swept Away




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Guy Ritchie’s best and worst rated films, Snatch (2000) and Swept Away (2002), respectively. Nate really enjoyed a fun and original British comedy, Austin calls out Madonna, and they both feel worse off for having watched Swept Away.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990) and Boxcar Bertha (1972), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview of director Guy Ritchie and actor Jason Statham discussing Snatch:


Swept Away Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A snooty socialite is stranded on a Mediterranean island with a communist sailor.

  • Ratings: IMDb 3.6 | RT 5% C / 27% A
  • Released: 2002
  • Director: Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Sherlock Holmes)
  • Writer(s): Guy Ritchie (screenplay), Lina Wertmuller (1974 screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: Alex Barber (Mean Machine, Cashback)
  • Notable actors: Bruce Greenwood, Madonna, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Beattie, Jeanne Tripplehorn, David Thornton, Yorgo Voyagis, Adriana Giannini
  • Budget: $10 million
  • Box office: $1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • When asked why Madonna, his then-wife was cast in this movie, Guy Ritchie reportedly replied: “Because she was cheap and available.”
    • When the studio screened the film for Wertmüller, director of the original film, it is alleged that Lina Wertmüller left the theatre at the end crying out, “What did they do to my movie? Why [did] they do this?”
    • The US opening of the movie was so poor, and the movie was so badly received that it went straight to video in the UK, director Guy Ritchie’s home country.
    • Adriano Giannini plays the role that his father, Giancarlo Giannini, played in the original movie (Swept Away (1974).
    • This is, to date, Madonna’s last starring role in a feature film. The failure of the film is believed to have killed her acting career.

Snatch Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: Unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers, and supposedly Jewish jewelers fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.3 | RT 73% C / 93% A
  • Released: 2000
  • Director: Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Sherlock Holmes)
  • Writer(s): Guy Ritchie
  • Cinematographer: Tim Maurice-Jones (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Women in Black, Kick-Ass 2)
  • Notable actors: Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Rade Serbedzija, Jason Statham, Alan Ford, Robbie Gee, Lennie James, Ewen Bremner, Jasom Flemyng, Ade, Stephen Graham
  • Budget: $10 million
  • Box office: $83.6 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Brad Pitt, who was a big fan of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), approached director Guy Ritchie and asked for a role in this film. When Ritchie found Pitt couldn’t master a London accent, he gave him the role of Mickey the Gypsy.
    • The producers couldn’t afford enough extras for the boxing match sequences. Whenever a camera angle changed, the extras had to move around to create an impression of a crowded house.
    • When Guy Ritchie told Brad Pitt that he would be playing a boxer, Pitt became concerned because he had just finished shooting Fight Club (1999) and did not want to play the same type of role again. Pitt took the role anyway because he wanted to work with Ritchie so badly.
    • Brad Pitt’s character and indecipherable speech was inspired by many critics’ complaints about the accents of the characters in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). Guy Ritchie decided to counter the criticisms by creating a character that not only couldn’t be understood by the audience but that also couldn’t be understood by characters in the movie.
    • When Vinny and Sol are sitting outside Brick-Top’s Bookies, about to give him the diamond, the man that approaches the car is not really Bullet-Tooth Tony, it was a look-alike. Vinnie Jones didn’t show up for shooting that day because he was in jail for fighting the night before.
    • Every mistake that Sol, Vincent and Tyrone make were inspired by various late-night TV shows about real-life crimes gone horribly wrong.

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


 


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#046 Barry Levinson: Rain Main vs. Envy




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Barry Levinson’s best and worst rated films, Rain Main (1988) and Envy (2004), respectively. Nate isn’t envious of Envy‘s box office numbers, Austin apparently enjoys bad comedies, and Amy Adams was in season 2 of True Detective.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980) and Dune (1984), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this awkward interview with Tom Cruise about Rain Main:


Envy Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A man becomes increasingly jealous of his friend’s newfound success.

  • Ratings: IMDb 4.8 | RT 8% C / 26% A
  • Released: 2004
  • Director: Barry Levinson
  • Writer(s): Steve Adams
  • Cinematographer: Tim Maurice-Jones (Snatch, The Woman in Black, Kick-Ass 2)
  • Notable actors: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Rachel Weisz, Amy Poehler, Christopher Walken
  • Budget: $40 million
  • Box office: $14.5 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Performed so poorly in US theaters, that it was released straight-to-video in Europe.
    • Jack Black, Ben Stiller and DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg publicly apologized for the film during a press conference for Shark Tale (2004) at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.
    • The movie having been shot almost two years before it was released in theaters was in danger of being released straight to video due to poor audience response during test screenings. It was only due to School of Rock (2003)’s huge success that it finally got a theatrical release.
    • The scenes featured in the film where Jack Black and Ben Stiller are in Rome were actually shot in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, due to the fact that the film was already over-budget and shooting in Italy would have been significantly more expensive.

Rain Man Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt’s father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.0 | RT 90% C / 90% A
  • Released: 1988
  • Director: Barry Levinson
  • Writer(s): Barry Morrow, Ronald Bass
  • Cinematographer: John Seale (Mad Max: Fury Road, Harry Potter and the Socerer’s Stone)
  • Notable actors: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, Gerald R. Molen
  • Budget: $25 million
  • Box office: $354.8 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • On “Oprah”, Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman said the “farting in the phone booth” bit was improvised when Hoffman actually passed gas while the scene was being filmed. Hoffman said it was his favorite scene ever.
    • For in-flight viewing, several airlines deleted the sequence in which Raymond reels off statistics on airline accidents… except Qantas. They even promoted one of the movie’s writers to first class once when he traveled on their airline.
    • The elderly man in the waiting room who talks on and on about the Pony Express is Byron P. Cavnar, an 89-year-old local who was in the waiting room when the crew arrived to film there. He got to talking on his favorite subject, the Pony Express, and director Barry Levinson got such a kick out of it that he let Cavnar keep on talking as the cameras rolled; all his dialog was spontaneous and not scripted.
    • Hans Zimmer’s first score for a Hollywood production.
    • During filming, Dustin Hoffman was unsure of the film’s potential and his own performance. Three weeks into the project, Hoffman wanted out, telling Barry Levinson, “Get Richard Dreyfuss, get somebody, Barry, because this is the worst work of my life.” Hoffman would nab his second Best Actor Academy Award for his work.

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


 


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#045 Sofia Coppola: Lost In Translation vs. The Bling Ring




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Sofia Coppola’s best and worst rated films, Lost In Translation (2003) and The Bling Ring (2013), respectively. Nate can’t stand the accents, Austin surprisingly doesn’t go on and on about Silence (2016), and Jairo wasn’t a huge fan of either films.

Check out more of Jairo’s podcast True Bromance at TrueBromancePodcast.libsyn.com. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Barry Levinson’s Rain Man (1988) and Envy (2004), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray talking about Lost In Translation:


The Bling Ring Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities’ whereabouts in order to rob their homes.

  • Ratings: IMDb 5.6 | RT 60% C / 33% A
  • Released: 2013
  • Director: Sofia Coppola
  • Writer(s): Sofia Coppola, Nancy Jo Sales (Vanity Fair article)
  • Cinematographer: Christopher Blauvelt and harris Savides (American Gangster, Zodiac, Milk)
  • Notable actors: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Georgia Rock, Leslie Mann
  • Budget: $8 million
  • Box office: $19.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Prior to shooting, Sofia Coppola got the cast to fake-burgle a house to see what mistakes they’d make.
    • Emma Watson’s wallet was stolen while filming.
    • Sofia Coppola considered cutting the slow zoom-in shot of the glass house heist, but cinematographer Harris Savides convinced her to keep it in. It is now the most celebrated shot of the film.
    • The last film of cinematographer Harris Savides, who died in October 2012, six months after the end of principal photography. When he became ill partway through shooting, Christopher Blauvelt was brought on to complete the film; the two share credit.

Lost In Translation Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

  • Ratings: IMDb 7.8 | RT 95% C / 86% A
  • Released: 2003
  • Director: Sofia Coppola
  • Writer(s): Sofia Coppola
  • Cinematographer: Lance Acord (Being John Malkovich, Adaption, Where the Wild Things Are)
  • Notable actors: Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris
  • Budget: $4 million
  • Box office: $119.7 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Bill Murray’s favorite film of his own.
    • Bob and Charlotte never introduce themselves to each other.
    • Sofia Coppola wasn’t sure if Bill Murray was actually going to show up for the film, going by only, according to Coppola, a verbal confirmation. It was on the first day of filming, that Murray showed up.
    • Sofia Coppola wrote the lead role specifically for Bill Murray, and later said that if Murray turned it down, she wouldn’t have done the movie.
    • Scarlett Johansson said that she was reluctant to be filmed in practically transparent panties until Sofia Coppola modeled the panties herself to show her how they would look.
    • Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola’s father, urged her to shoot the movie in High Definition Video because “it’s the future”, but she chose film because “film feels more romantic”.

 

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

 


 


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#044 Billy Wilder: Sunset Boulevard vs. Buddy Buddy




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Billy Wilder’s best and worst rated films, Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Buddy Buddy (1981), respectively. Nate almost falls asleep, Austin rethinks his love for Jack Lemmon, and they both continue to painfully count down the days until Tarantino’s retirement.

The show will be taking a month long hiatus for Winter break, so check back mid-January where we will compare Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003) and The Bling Ring (2013), her best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with Billy Wilder where he talks about story:


Buddy Buddy Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: During a high profile Mafia testimony case in California’s Riverside County, a hired killer checks-in a hotel room near the courthouse while his next door depressed neighbor wants to commit suicide due to marital problems.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.6 | RT 62% C / 42% A
  • Released: 1981
  • Director: Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Double Indemnity)
  • Writer(s): Francis Veber (play, story), Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
  • Cinematographer: Harry Stradling Jr. (Gunsmoke, Little Big Man, The Way We Are, Blind Date)
  • Notable actors: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Paula Prentiss, Klaus Kinski, Dana Elcar, Michael Ensign, Joan Shawlee, Ronnie Sperling
  • Budget: $10 million
  • Box office: $7.26 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Two weeks into principal photography, co-writer/director Billy Wilder felt he had miscast the hit-man character with Walter Matthau, that the picture did not work with two comic leads, the Matthau part needed to be in a serious mold, like with a Clint Eastwood.
    • After his miserable experience on Fedora (1978), writer-director Billy Wilder had retired from films. However, he agreed to make this film once Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau had signed on.

Sunset Boulevard Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.5 | RT 98% C / 95% A
  • Released: 1950
  • Director: Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Double Indemnity)
  • Writer(s): Charles Brackett & Billy Wilder & D.M. Marshman Jr. (written by)
  • Cinematographer: John F. Seitz (Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, Sullivan’s Travels)
  • Notable actors: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough, Jack Webb, Cecil B. DeMille, Hedda Hopper, Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nilsson, H.B. Warner, Ray Evans, Jay Livingston
  • Budget: $1.75 million
  • Box office: $5 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • As a practical joke, during the scene where William Holden and Nancy Olson kiss for the first time, Billy Wilder let them carry on for minutes without yelling cut (he’d already gotten the shot he needed on the first take). Eventually it wasn’t Wilder who shouted “Cut!” but Holden’s wife, Ardis (actress Brenda Marshall), who happened to be on set that day.
    • The photos of the young Norma Desmond that decorate the house are all genuine publicity photos from Gloria Swanson’s heyday.
    • Upon seeing the film at a star-studded preview screening at Paramount, MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer screamed at director Billy Wilder that he should be tarred, feathered and horse-whipped for bringing his profession into such disrepute. Wilder’s response was a terse, “Fuck you.”
    • Montgomery Clift quit the production because he was, like the character of Joe, having an affair with a wealthy middle-aged former actress, Libby Holman, and he was scared the press would start prying into his background.
    • The movie’s line “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up” was voted as the #7 movie quote by the American Film Institute. (It is also one of the most frequently misquoted movie lines, usually given as, “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”) The other line, “I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.” was voted #24, out of 100.

 

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