Friday, May 26, 2017

A Day Late And Three Dollars Short

Yesterday I missed noting it was the fortieth anniversary of the release of Star Wars.  I was reminded of that last night when I attended Cinefamily's Star Wars Mixtape.  It was a 97-minute collection of rarities and oddities--outtakes, TV clips, commercials, news reports, interviews, parodies, etc.  If you're in Los Angeles, they'll be repeating it twice this weekend, so you might want to check it out.

Much of the collection I'd never seen, but I was shocked to find a rarity in the mix I thought only I knew about.  I'm pretty sure it's from the film Youth Gangs Of Wildwood High*, an ultra-low budget teen comedy I saw in the early 80s.

About the only thing I remember from the movie is a teenage couple discussing what movie to see and one suggests "Revenge Of The Jedi." That made me laugh back then.  "Revenge" was the original announced title, but by the time the high school film came out it has been changed to "Return."  So the moment they thought would make the film sound current was a total failure (as was everything else in the film).

That anyone else knew about this, much less had a copy, was shocking.

*But it can't be Youth Gangs From Wildwood HighAccording to the IMDb, it was originally a film called Team-Mates, released in 1978.  It was rereleased in 1983 with a new title to take advantage of Fast Time At Ridgemont High.

Which would mean unless some new footage was shot, there was no way anyone could have known the false title of the third Star Wars film.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Team Work

When show biz duos break up, they often claim they're still friends.  Still, don't they keep score to see who's doing better?

One of the biggest breakups ever was Martin and Lewis, who ruled show biz from 1946 to 1956.  Jerry Lewis was generally considered the big talent, while Dean Martin a decent straight man and singer.  But after the split, Dean more than held his own--in fact, he probably out-performed his old pal Jer in the long run, becoming a major movie star, TV star and recording star, still on top after Jerry's film career had petered out. (Though Lewis did do everything on his films--acting, writing, directing--creating something that was unique.)

A more recent case is the comedy team of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.  Their show A Bit Of Fry And Laurie spread out four season from 1987 to 1995, and they worked together on other projects.  But since those days, while both have done fine, I don't think there's much doubt Laurie became the bigger star.  His lead work on the hit series House alone, for which he was nominated for numerous Emmy and Golden Globes, got him more attention and, I'm certain, a lot more money, than anything Fry has done.

A closer case is David Cross and Bob Odenkirk, creators of Mr. Show, which ran from 1995 to 1998.  Since then, Cross has done stand-up and appeared in numerous TV shows and movies.  He played Tobias Funke in the highly-regarded Arrested Development, as well as creating his own series The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret.  An impressive resume, but Odenkirk may just have him beat.  It took him a little longer to really get going, but when he did, it was in the role of a lifetime--Saul Goodman, first appearing as a regular on Breaking Bad, and now starring in his own show, Better Call Saul.

The most recent case I can think of is Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. Their sketch comedy show, Key And Peele, ran from 2012 to 2015 and got them a lot of positive notices.  Since then, they did a movie together, Keanu--not a hit.  Meanwhile, Key has done okay for himself, appearing in movies like Don't Think Twice and Why Him?, but hasn't really broken out.  And now, Peele has hit it big--not as an actor, but as a writer-director.  His low-budget horror film, Get Out, has become a blockbuster.  We'll see how he follows up, but for now, he seems to be leading the race.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

It's Not A Game

Typecasting is a high-class problem.  But if you do manage to get a role that everyone knows you for, many who cast films or TV might think twice before giving you a very different sort of part.

The funny thing is, I have a problem with the opposite issue.  If a good actor--Bryan Cranston, to pick an obvious example--plays a farcical sitcom character for seven seasons, I'm more than ready to accept him in a dramatic role as a teacher turned meth dealer for five seasons.

What can be harder to deal with is someone playing something too similar to what he's already done.  Anyway, that's what I was thinking while watching the recent King Arthur movie.  (If you haven't seen it, I'm not surprised, since it flopped.)

Early on, there's a scene where one character, played by Michael McElhatton, is searching for another, played by Aidan Gillen.  But all I could think was "why does Roose Bolton want to find Littlefinger?"

If I worked in casting, I'd be happy to consider the Game Of Thrones people for many roles, but I'd keep them out of fictional medieval settings.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hollywood Futures

I recently saw a trailer for the movie Tulip Fever.  It's an historical drama based on the novel set in 17th century Amsterdam, when there was a mania for tulip bulbs that created a huge economic bubble.

But the trailer reminded me of another kind of bubble.  Almost every film made is a speculation of one type of another, and that certainly includes Tulip Fever.

There's no way to guarantee a hit, but Hollywood likes nothing better than stars for insurance.  But established stars cost a lot, so even better is an up-and-coming star.  And right now, they're going long on Tulip Fever's lead Dane Dehaan.  He's already appeared in a fair number of films--including the latest Spider-Man where he was the Green Goblin--and Hollywood is betting on him big this year.

He's 31 and looks half that.  He has a resemblance to Leonardo DiCaprio, and perhaps producers hope he'll be the new Leo (or will be confused with the old one).  You may not believe in stars, but would The Revenant have made a quarter as much money without DiCaprio?

So DeHaan is starring in three major productions this year.

First out was A Cure For Wellness, which has already flopped. Next to come are Tulip Fever and the biggie, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets.  DeHaan's career rests on their performance.

I have no idea how they'll do, but if they fail, this could be one of the biggest drops since the Taylor Kitsch crash of 2012 (Battleship and John Carter).

Monday, May 22, 2017

BB Back

Bush is back. Billy Bush, that is.  He's given his first big interview since being banished from NBC seven months ago.

In it, I discovered he's got three daughters, 12, 16 and 18.  That made me feel for him.

What's he been doing since he left TV?

[He's] engaged in a lot of soul searching, a process that includes time walking on fiery coals with spiritual guru Tony Robbins and a stint at a Napa Valley healing retreat.  He took up yoga and meditation, developed a boxing routine and read books like 10% Happier, written by ABC News anchor and buddy Dan Harris.

That did not make me feel more sympathetic.

That retreat was The Hoffman Institute.  He plans to return to TV and utilize what they taught him.

One thing I learned at The Hoffman Process is that I've always relied on my charm and my quick wit and all that, but I've kept my depth in the shadows.

I decided to go back to the original transcript of Bush and Trump to see what was really said.  I never read the whole thing before, and I doubt many have. (As you might guess, Not Entirely Safe For Work.)

The setting, remember, is a bus.  Donald Trump is preparing to appear on Days Of Our Lives.  It's 2005 and he's recently gotten hitched to Melania, following five and a half years of unmarried life.

It starts with Trump describing how he tried to score with some woman who is not identified (I don't believe):
Trump: "I moved on her actually. You know she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I'll admit it. I did try and fuck her, she was married."
Unknown [Bush?]: "That's huge news there."
Trump: "No, no, Nancy. No this was [inaudible] and I moved on her very heavily in fact I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said I'll show you where they have some nice furniture. I moved on her like a bitch. I couldn't get there and she was married. Then all-of-a-sudden I see her, she's now got the big phony tits and everything. She's totally changed her look."
Then (I think) they see Arianne Zucker approaching.  She's the woman Trump will be appearing with on the show.
Bush: "Yes. The Donald has scored. Whoah my man."
Trump: "Look at you. You are a pussy."
Bush: "You gotta get the thumbs up."
Trump: "Maybe it's a different one."
Bush: "It better not be the publicist. No, it's, it's her."
Trump: "Yeah that's her with the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful... I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything."
Bush: "Whatever you want."
Trump: "Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."
Bush: "Yeah those legs. All I can see is the legs."
Trump: "It looks good."
Bush: "Come on shorty."
Trump: "Oh nice legs huh."
Bush: "Get out of the way honey. Oh that's good legs. Go ahead."
Trump: "It's always good if you don't fall out of the bus. Like Ford, Gerald Ford, remember?"
They get off the bus and here's how he acts when he meets an actual woman.
Trump: "Hello, how are you? Hi."
Zucker: "Hi Mr. Trump. How are you?"
Trump: "Nice seeing you. Terrific. Terrific. You know Billy Bush?"
Bush: "Hello nice to see you. How are you doing Arianne?"
Zucker: "I'm doing very well thank you. [Addressing Trump] Are you ready to be a soap star?"
Trump: "We're ready. Let's go. Make me a soap star."
Bush: "How about a little hug for the Donald, he's just off the bus?"
Zucker: "Would you like a little hug darling?"
Trump: "Absolutely. Melania said this was okay."
Bush: "How about a little hug for the Bushy, I just got off the bus? Here we go, here we go. Excellent."
And they continue walking and talking.

May as well work in white font, then

"[E]ye rolling and inference need to be banished from the news"

What would be left?

"Ow, My Balls" has arrived, only it's "What the Frack is Wrong with You People For Not Listening to Us?"

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spinning Class

In my local convenience store, by the cash register, I saw some fidget spinners on sale.

I'd never heard of them, but that's what YouTube is for.

Still don't get it, but it'll be over soon enough.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Face Offs

Here's a piece in The Hollywood Reporter about the toughest time slot battles in TV's new schedule. The headline says there are six, but I only count five.  Talk about bad editing.  (And they're actually about the major networks, so it's missing quite a bit.)

Here are the battles, with my choices.

Tuesday, 9 p.m.: Black-ish (ABC) v. The Mick (Fox) v. Superstore (NBC) 

I occasionally watch Superstore, and I've never gotten into Black-ish, but I guess I'll go with The Mick. Though if I miss them all it's no big deal.  I expect Black-ish to win this battle, though out of its safe Thursday slot, it may be vulnerable.

Tuesday, 9:30 p.m.: The Mayor (ABC) v. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox) v. The Good Place (NBC) 
This one is painful.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place are two of my favorite comedies. (Not the first time in recent years two comedies I like are scheduled against each other.  Look above to see what's at 9 pm--why couldn't one of them have flipped?) Having to decide between the two, I don't think I'll have time to check out The Mayor.

Thursday, 8 p.m.: Will & Grace (NBC) v. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Never watched Will & Grace before, so I don't think I'll start now.  The Big Bang Theory is getting tired, but I guess I'll stick around.

Thursday, 9 p.m.: This Is Us (NBC) v. Scandal (ABC)

One show on its way up, the other on its way down. Still, NBC is making a big move with its hottest new series.  I'm guessing the fans will stick with it, though some shows just don't work so well in new time slots.  As for me, I'll watch This Is Us if I watch anything.

Friday, 8 p.m.: Once Upon a Time (ABC) v. Blindspot (NBC) v. MacGyver (CBS) 
Friday at 8?  I'll be out at the movies.

I guess I've earned my PhD in newspaper reading

"Journalists drink too much, are bad at managing emotions, and operate at a lower level than average, according to a new study"

Hm. I have a strange new respect for life coaches.

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