Twenty years ago, today, the animated series The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy or just Billy & Mandy premiered on the Cartoon Network. Created by Maxwell Atoms, the story line follows a ditzy, kind-hearted boy and, a sinister, cynical girl, that have the Grim Reaper as a personal slave after he lost a wager in a limbo match. They use the Reaper’s supernatural powers to visit the underworld and other weird locations for twisted adventures. They encounter creatures such as Dracula, the Wolfman and the Bogeyman.
♥ Billy (Richard Steven Horvitz)
♥ Mandy (Grey DeLisle Griffin)
♥ Grim Reaper (Greg Eagles)
♥ Irwin (Vanessa Marshall)
♥ Harold (Richard Steven Horvitz)
♥ Gladys (Jennifer Hale)
♥ Dick (Phil LaMarr)
♥ Grandmama (Phil LaMarr)
♥ Mindy (Rachael MacFarlane)
♥ Sperg (Greg Eagles)
♥ Phil (Dee Bradley Baker)
♥ Claire (Vanessa Marshall)
♥ General Skarr (Armin Shimerman)
♥ Pud’n (Jane Carr)
♥ Hoss Delgado (Diedrich Bader)
♥ Jeff the Spider (Maxwell Atoms)
♥ Nergal (David Warner)
♥ Nergal, Jr. (Debi Derryberry)
♥ Bogeyman (Fred Willard)
♦ The spooky droning gibberish played in the end credits in a creepy voice is Maxwell Atoms talking backwards, saying: “No, no. This is the end of the show. You’re watching it backwards!”
♦ Originally, Maxwell Atoms wanted Grim to speak in a “British” accent and had Jonathan Harris in mind to voice him. When Greg Eagles auditioned, and spoke in a Jamaican accent, he was impressed and had him retooled.
♦ Tom Kenny was originally considered to voice Billy in the show, but he declined.
“Out of thousands, he tried to save one.”
Fifteen years ago, today, the drama film Holly debuted at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Directed by Guy Moshe and, written by Moshe and Guy Jacobson, it starred Ron Livingston, Chris Penn, Virginie Ledoyen, Udo Kier and Jacquie “Thuy” Nguyen as Holly.
Shot on location in Cambodia, including many scenes in actual brothels in the notorious red light district of Phnom Penh, “Holly” is a captivating, touching and emotional experience. Patrick, an American card shark and dealer of stolen artifacts, has been ‘comfortably numb’ in Cambodia for years when he encounters Holly, a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl in the K-11 red light village. The girl has been sold by her impoverished family and smuggled across the border to work as a prostitute. Holly’s virginity makes her a lucrative prize and, when she is sold to a child trafficker, Patrick embarks on a frantic search, through both the beautiful and sordid faces of the country, in an attempt to bring her to safety. Harsh, yet poetic, this feature forms part of the ‘K-11’ Project, dedicated to raising awareness of the epidemic of child trafficking and the sex slavery trade through several film projects. The film’s producers endured substantial hardships in order to be able to shoot in Cambodia and have also founded the Redlight Children Campaign, […] a worldwide grassroots initiative generating conscious concern and, inspiring immediate action against child sex-ploitation.
IMDb Summary from Anonymous
♦ Tom Sizemore was originally slated to play Freddie but, after being arrested for failing several drug tests, he was dropped from the production and replaced by Chris Penn.
♦ This was one of Chris Penn’s last films.
Ten years ago, today, the #1 movie in theaters was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Released August 5, it was directed by Rupert Wyatt and is based on the novel La Planète des singes by French novelist Pierre Boulle, translated to Planet of the Apes and, Monkey Planet in the UK. Written by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (married writing team), it was produced by Jaffa, Silver, Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark. Thomas M. Hammel was Executive Producer and Patrick Doyle was the film composer. Cast: Andy Serkis (Caesar), James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, David Hewlett, Karin Konoval (Maurice), Terry Notary (Rocket/Bright Eyes), Richard Ridings (Buck), Devyn Dalton (Cornelia), Jay Caputo (Alpha-Caesar’s Father) and Christopher Gordon (Koba).
At the story’s heart is Caesar, a chimpanzee who gains human-like intelligence and emotions from an experimental drug. Raised like a child by the drug’s creator, Will Rodman and a primatologist Caroline Aranha, Caesar ultimately finds himself taken from the humans he loves and imprisoned in an ape sanctuary in San Bruno. Seeking justice for his fellow inmates, Caesar gives the fellow apes the same drug that he inherited. He then assembles a simian army and escapes the sanctuary, putting man and ape on a collision course that could change the planet forever.
I liked this movie but, Roger Ebert was brutal. ~Vic
♦ The jigsaw puzzle that Caesar has nearly completed is a depiction of Taylor and Nova from Planet of the Apes (1968), riding on a horse down the beach, just before coming upon the Statue of Liberty.
♦ Koba, the scarred lab ape and, some apes at the Gen-Sys and sanctuary, are bonobos. This species was assumed, until very recently, to be a subspecies of chimp, explaining its absence in previous films.
♦ Will Rodman’s surname is a nod to Planet of the Apes (1968) screenwriter Rod Serling.
Ten years ago, today, the film Portraits In Dramatic Time was released. Directed by David Michalek and Paul Warner, it starred William H. Macy, Holly Hunter, Liev Schreiber, Alison Pill, Lili Taylor, Patti LuPone, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Alan Rickman, Ludivine Sagnier & William Mapother.
[This was] a series of 40 art films created by artist David Michalek. [It was] a free, public installation that [could] be seen on the facade of the David H. Koch Theatre, between July 5-31, 2011, nightly, from 8:45pm-11:45pm, as part of the 2011 Lincoln Center Festival. Each video depicts a dramatic scene shot in just 10 seconds and played back in hyper-slow motion, extending the length to about 7 minutes. The scenes vary from solos by famous actors […]. The extreme slowness allows the viewer to witness details of movement, such as muscles [or] facial expressions, revealing the gradual progression and in-between moments of developing emotions. Veteran film and theatre director, Paul Warner served as executive creative consultant and assisted in coaching and directing the actors.
Finn McMissile: “Finn McMissile, British Intelligence.”
Tow Mater: “Tow Mater, average intelligence.”
Ten years ago, today, the #1 movie at the box office was Cars 2. Directed by John Lasseter and Brad Lewis, it was produced by Denise Ream. The original story was penned by Lasseter, Lewis and Dan Fogelman with Ben Queen crafting the screenplay. Voices were Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen), Larry the Cable Guy (Sir Tow Mater), Michael Caine (Finn McMissile), Emily Mortimer (Holley Shiftwell), John Turturro (Francesco Bernoulli), Eddie Izzard (Sir Miles Axlerod), Thomas Kretschmann (Professor Zündapp), Joe Mantegna (Grem), Peter Jacobson (Acer), Bonnie Hunt (Sally Carrera, Bruce Campbell (Rod Redline), Tony Shalhoub (Luigi), Darrell Waltrip (Darrell Cartrip), Brent Musburger (Brent Mustangburger), Colin Cowherd (Colin Cowling Blimp), Jason Isaacs (Siddeley Gulfstream V/Leland Turbo), Lloyd Sherr (Fillmore/Tony Trihull Combat Ship), Paul Dooley (Sarge), Cheech Marin (Ramone), Katherine Helmond (Lizzie), John Ratzenberger (Mack), Jeff Gordon (Jeff Gorvette) and John Lasseter as Crew Chief John Lassetire.
The famous race car Lightning McQueen and his team are invited to compete in the World Grand Prix race. There, McQueen’s best friend Mater finds himself involved in international espionage and, alongside two professional British spies, attempts to uncover a secret plan led by a mysterious mastermind and his criminal gang, which threatens the lives of all competitors in the tournament.
Tagline: Going where no car has gone before.
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Twelve and final pick. Thanks for the invitation, Hans!
This has been my worst category as I love science fiction anything. I have struggled over these past six months trying to pick just one. My choice would change, daily. I finally settled on one that is part of my teen years and became a cultural cult classic. I still have the sticker that I got when I went to see this at the theater in 1982. Like The Breakfast Club, this movie means something to me. Released the summer before my junior year, this movie got me interested in computers and graphics. There is also the memory of a scene I saw in the original release at the theater, that disappeared in subsequent showings on HBO, TV and the VHS tapes, and made me crazy:
The 20th Anniversary DVD edition includes a deleted love scene: Tron and Yori go to her apartment, where she pushes a button on the wall. [T]he walls [disappear] and her uniform changes into a different costume. Also included are a partially completed “morning after” scene…(all dialog tracks for this short scene are lost).
All the data on the Internet states that the scene was removed from the final cut. I beg to differ. I distinctly remember seeing them go to her “apartment.” That being said, what I remember from the scene is a little different from the “official deleted scene” (she glowed, her hair was blowing around and her helmet floated off her head). I think a shortened version of that scene was released to theaters and when the movie was released to HBO & VHS tapes, they wiped all of it out. This is a very clear memory. The prologue to the movie, when released to theaters, was also removed. The “original” opening monologue (that I’ve never heard) was restored in the 20th Anniversary DVD. ~Vic
Directed by Steve Lisberger, the screenplay was written by Charles S. Haas & Lisberger, adapted from the original story by Bonnie MacBird (whom is married to DARPA-connected computer scientist Alan Kay). Produced by Donald Kushner, it starred Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Barnard Hughes, Dan Shor and Peter Jurasik and, was released July 9.
Kevin Flynn is a software engineer and an ex-employee at ENCOM. He runs a video arcade and tries to hack into ENCOM’s mainframe, looking for proof that his video games were plagiarized. The Master Control Program stops him. Programmer Alan Bradley and engineer Dr. Lora Baines, his girlfriend, discover that they have lost access to their projects. When Alan questions Senior Exec. VP Ed Dillinger about the restriction, Dillinger states that extra security is needed to stop outside hacking. When Alan leaves, Dillinger asks the MCP about the issues and realizes that the MCP has become a power-hungry virtual intelligence. Dillinger is blackmailed into complying with the MCP’s wishes due to his theft of Flynn’s material. Alan, Lora & Flynn break into ENCOM and Flynn winds up digitized inside the mainframe when the MCP uses an experimental laser to dissect him. Flynn must navigate his way around a strange digital landscape where all the programs resemble the users that created them and find his way back out.
♦ [T]he Motion Picture Academy refused to nominate Tron for a special-effects award because, as director Steven Lisberger put it, “The Academy thought we cheated by using computers”.
♦ Originally MacBird envisioned Flynn more comedically, suggesting the then-30-year-old Robin Williams for the role.
♦ Bruce Boxleitner and Peter Jurasik would later work together on Babylon 5.
♦ Nine script revisions caused bitter credit disputes.
♦ Though it made $50 million from a $17 million budget and had $70 million in merchandise sales, it was considered a financial failure.
♦ The ENCOM laser bay was real. It was actually the target bay for the twenty-beam SHIVA solid-state laser facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
♦ The soundtrack was primarily composed by Wendy Carlos with two additional tracks provided by Journey after Supertramp had to leave the project.
Bruce & Cindy Discuss Deleted Scenes (Beyond The Marquee/12-24-2013)
Tron Then and Now (Digital Content Producer/Archive/07-07-2012)
Deleted Love Scene (Fandom Wiki)
Tron 30th Anniversary Screening Review (Nuke The Fridge/10-30-2012)
Tron’s 20th Anniversary (SFGate/01-09-2002)
End of line…
Opening Scene (Missing Prologue)
Officially Deleted Scene
Bruce Boxleitner & Cindy Morgan @ California Convention
(helmets coming off mentioned) 11-16-2013
Five years ago, today, the film Casual Encounters was released. Directed by Zachary Adler, it was written by Sebastian J. Michael and Erik Steinmetz. Filmed in Los Angeles, it starred Taran Killam, Brooklyn Decker, David Krumholtz, Mark Boone Junior, David Arquette, Sienna Farall and Aimee-Lynn Chadwick.
When Justin’s girlfriend of five years leaves him heartbroken and embarrassed after a public breakup, his “trying to be helpful” but, somewhat misguided friends talk him into the strange world of on-line dating.
With easy access to HD equipment, aspiring filmmakers can now make low-budget movies which look very slick. However, there’s not much [that] can be done for bad acting. Most every movie genre is difficult to master but, the raunchy sex comedy may be one of the most difficult. [They] struggle to find a balance between lewd jokes which often involve bodily fluids and anything remotely clever or interesting. Sadly, [this movie] doesn’t come close to finding this balance or presenting anything which is remotely humorous. The line between cringe-worth and funny is very thin but, this movie isn’t even close enough to the line…
June 1, 2016
Hmmm…sounds like a dog of a movie, even with David Krumholtz (Numb3rs TV Series). ~Vic
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Eleven pick.
Film: Love Actually
All I have to say is, this is a great movie. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. ~Vic
Written and directed by Richard Curtis (with six producers in tow), this is a Christmas romance romp with an all-star ensemble cast, mostly comprised of Brits. There are ten separate stories, that become interwoven in places…with one exception. This was Curtis’s Directorial Debut.
The movie opens with Prime Minister David talking about the state of the world.
 Rock and Roll legend Billy Mack records a Christmas version of the song Love Is All Around (by The Troggs). He thinks it’s crap but, he promotes it, anyway. He spends Christmas with his manager Joe and, you can see him on various TV sets throughout the movie.
 Best man Mark (a very young Andrew Lincoln sans Colt Python) is in love with Peter’s soon-to-be wife, Juliet, though they both believe that Mark dislikes her. He declares his love with cue cards on Christmas Eve.
 Jamie discovers his girlfriend is having an affair with his brother. He meets Aurélia but, she doesn’t speak any English. He learns Portuguese to communicate his love for her.
 Harry & Karen are happily married and raising their children. Mia is Harry’s new secretary. He is drawn to her and nearly destroys his marriage over her.
 Karen’s brother is David, the Prime Minister. He finds himself attracted to staffer Natalie and having to deal with the U.S. President.
 Daniel, Karen’s friend, is still mourning the loss of his wife, Joanna. His step-son Sam is interested in an American classmate, also named Joanna. Sam shows his affection for Joanna at the airport (before she returns to the US). Daniel crosses paths with Carol and is interested.
 Sarah works for Harry and is in love with Karl. Karl is interested but, Sarah’s mentally ill brother Michael is an issue.
 Colin tells his friend Tony that he is traveling to America to try to woo some women there. He meets Stacey, Jeannie and Carol-Anne in Milwaukee and they invite him to stay with them. Roommate Harriet shows up, later.
 John (a young Martin Freeman…Arthur Dent/Bilbo Baggins) and Judy meet as nude stand-ins for a film that Tony is a production assistant for. Comfortable with each other simulating sex, they are shy with clothes on, later.
 Rufus is a jewelry salesman, wrapping Harry’s gift for Mia and, he assists Sam at the airport in getting to Joanna before her flight. He was, originally, to be a Christmas angel but, a script re-write removed that part of the story.
♦ Knowing about Billy Bob Thornton’s quite unusual fear of antique furniture, Hugh Grant would sometimes flash a piece of antique [furniture] (which is abundant in England) in front of Thornton just before the cameras rolled and watch him freak out in amusement (an issue that is part of the dialogue in Sling Blade).
♦ Simon Pegg was considered for the role of Rufus.
♦ For the role of her lovelorn character Karen, Emma Thompson has said that she drew on the immense heartbreak she experienced over former husband Kenneth Branagh’s affair with Helena Bonham Carter with whom he had co-starred, and directed, in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994). This extramarital affair ultimately led to their divorce in 1995.
♦ The airport greeting footage at the beginning and end of this movie is real. Writer/director Curtis had a team of cameramen film at Heathrow airport for a week and, whenever they saw something that would fit in, they asked the people involved for permission to use the footage.
♦ For her one-minute cameo, Claudia Schiffer received a reported £200,000 (roughly $300,000 U.S.).
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Nine pick.
Gore Vidal: […on Truman’s voice…] “To the lucky person who has never heard it, I can only say…imagine what a brussel sprout would sound like, if a brussel sprout could talk.”
This is the second movie on Truman Capote regarding his foray into the Clutter Family murders. Released August 31, 2006, at the Venice Film Festival and widely on October 13, 2006, this film stood in the shadow of Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s Capote and his Academy Award for Best Actor. Unlike its predecessor, this film, with its $13 million budget, lost money. That being said, despite Hoffman’s turn, Toby Jones is no slouch and his interpretation has its own unique depth. Jones was awarded the London Critics’ Circle Film Award for British Actor of the Year. I found this film to be fascinating and quite entertaining, with parts difficult to watch. Bubbly Sandra Bullock brings forth the subdued, Southern To Kill A Mockingbird novelist Harper Lee. Much of the storytelling is done in mock interviews with the actors, in character, talking about their interactions with Truman. I seem to have a thing for underdog/obscure movies. ~Vic
Written and directed by Douglas McGrath, the movie is based on George Plimpton’s book Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career (1997). Produced by John Wells & Christine Vachon, (a pre-James Bond) Daniel Craig is Perry Smith, Peter Bogdanovich is Bennett Cerf (Random House Publishing Co-Founder), Jeff Daniels is Alvin Dewey (Kansas Bureau of Investigation Special Agent), Hope Davis is Slim Keith (ex-wife of Producer & Director Howard Hawks), Gwyneth Paltrow has a singing cameo as Kitty Dean (a Peggy Lee clone and possible reference to The Royal Family play), Isabella Rossellini is Marella Agnelli (Italian Princess and wife of the Chairman of Fiat Automobiles), Juliet Stevenson is Diana Vreeland (Editor-in-Chief of Vogue), Sigourney Weaver is Babe Paley (wife of CBS founder William Paley), Lee Pace is Richard Hickock, John Benjamin Hickey is Jack Dunphy (Capote’s partner) and Michael Panes is Gore Vidal (writer and Democrat party candidate).
“Why shouldn’t there be a fizzy, comedic take on the naughty adventures of the Park Avenue gadabout as he fashioned In Cold Blood […]? Why not a movie that concentrates on the contrast between the writer’s frivolous party-boy side and the brutal murders in Kansas, the exotic and colorful tropical specimen who becomes a fish-out-of water when he jumps from his luxurious high-rise swan pond into the Midwestern plains?
[A]fter In Cold Blood, [Capote] never published another major work. Out of career desperation as much as anything else, he sold out his friendships with these […] people, publishing gossipy stories about them in an Esquire excerpt from Answered Prayers in 1976 and was banished from their lives.
[T]he movie centers on the symbiotic relationship between Truman and Perry, pondering the extent of the seduction and, who seduced whom.
Toby Jones inhabits Truman as if he were to the character born, a livelier and more perversely ebullient man than Phillip Seymour Hoffman‘s version in Capote (2005).”
Truman On The Rocks
October 12, 2006
♦ Mark Walberg was to play Perry Smith, originally but, dropped out. Mark Ruffalo was next but, dropped out, as well.
♦ Sigourney Weaver portrays the wife of a CBS Executive and is the daughter of NBC Executive Pat Weaver.
♦ Michelle Pfeiffer was to play Slim Keith, originally.
The Story Behind A Non-Fiction Novel (George Plimpton/New York Times Archive/1997)
Warner Brothers Trailer
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Eight pick.
Film: The Final Countdown
Captain Yelland: […to his Native American Weather Officer…] “Ahhh, Black Cloud, you’ve been doing unauthorized rain dances again.”
Lasky: […as a Japanese pilot is holding Laurel at gunpoint…] “Why don’t you tell him what’s going on here, Commander? You’re an expert on what’s gonna happen tomorrow…”
Captain Yelland: “Go ahead, tell him.”
Commander Richard Owens: “26 November, six carriers left the Kuril Isles north of Japan. The carriers were the Akagi, Kaga, Shokaku, Zuikaku, Hiryu, Soryu. Tomorrow at dawn, these carriers will send 353 planes to attack Pearl Harbor.”
Senator Chapman: “How in the hell do you know all that?”
F-14 Pilot #1: “Mission aborted? But, we can see ’em!”
F-14 Pilot #2: “They’re gonna let the Japs do it, again.”
Directed by Don Taylor, it was produced by Peter Vincent Douglas and Lloyd Kaufman with Kirk Douglas executive producing without credit. The story, and screenplay, was written by the team of Thomas Hunter, Peter Powell, David Ambrose and Gerry Davis. The ensemble cast was Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross, James Farentino, Charles Durning, Ron O’Neal, Victor Mohica, Soon-Tek Oh and James Coleman, with producers Lloyd Kaufman and Peter Douglas playing small parts.
It’s 1980 and Warren Lasky (Sheen) is a Systems Analyst from Tideman Industries, working with the Department of Defense as an efficiency expert. He is dispatched by his secretive employer to board the USS Nimitz before its departure from Naval Station Pearl Harbor for naval exercises in the Pacific. Tideman Industries designed and built the carrier. Not long at sea, a strange storm appears out of nowhere and the Nimitz can neither outrun nor maneuver away from it. Passing thru the storm, electronics and people, alike, are knocked out. Once the storm is gone and everything returns to normal, Captain Yelland (Douglas), his crew and his civilian passenger discover that they have been thrown backwards in time to 1941, just hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor. What now?
It’s original premiere was in London on May 21, 1980, Japan on July 5 and the US on August 1. I didn’t get to see it at the theater but, caught it on HBO a year later. IMDb lists this as Action & Sci-Fi, which it is but, I think it fits in the Adventure/Thriller categories, too. As a contributor on IMDb, I’ve made a suggested update of the genre. Having been on board the USS Enterprise on December 7, 2001, I have a much greater appreciation for the making of this movie. It received mixed reviews and didn’t make a lot of money. Two months later, another time travel film was released…Somewhere In Time and The Philadelphia Experiment, four years later, is the reverse of this movie in time frames. ~Vic
♦ Peter Douglas is Kirk Douglas’ son with his second wife. This was his first film as producer and his only credited acting role.
♦ This was made with the full cooperation of the US Navy and 48 Nimitz crew members were credited.
♦ Filming took place on board ship at sea (exterior shots) with interior shots filmed in dry dock at Naval Station Norfolk. The USS Kitty Hawk was a stand-in, pulling into Pearl Harbor. Flight and water scenes were shot at Naval Air Station Key West.
♦ The production crew was allowed to film a real emergency landing and recovery of an aircraft that appeared in the film.
♦ The first setup to film an F-14 takeoff resulted in both camera and operator being pitched down the runway.
♦ The black and white Pearl Harbor attack footage was taken from Tora! Tora! Tora!
♦ WWII ace fighter pilot Archie Donahue was one of the Zero pilots. The Zeros were converted T-6 Texans, flying full throttle and the F-14s were flying at stall speeds so that both aircraft would be in the same shot.
♦ When filming wrapped, possibly early, the USS Nimitz was recalled to home base to participate in Operation Eagle Claw, the attempt to rescue the hostages held at the U.S. Embassy in Iran on April 24, 1980.
Archie Donahue: WWII Ace Pilot (HistoryNet/Jon Guttman/July 2007)
Filming of Final Countdown: You Want Us To Do What? (Pilots For Christ Forum/Administrator Don Gieseke/12-08-2016)
Commander Richard “Fox” Farrell: Lead F-14 Pilot (Dignity Memorial/03-31-2014)
Watch the movie for free: Daily Motion
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Seven pick.
Category: Crime/Film Noir
Film: Cop Land
Written and directed by James Mangold, it was executive produced by the Weinstein brothers (though their names have been removed from the Wikipedia article). Released August 6, 1997 in New York (premiere) and nationwide on August 15, it was an incredible ensemble cast of Sly Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, Janeane Garafalo, Edie Falco, Michael Rapoport, Annabella Sciorra, John Spencer, Cathy Moriarty, Noah Emmerich, Frank Vincent, Malik Yoba, Arthur Nascarella and, cameos of Deborah Harry & Geraldo Rivera.
Sylvester Stallone put on 40 pounds to play Nowheresville, N.J., sheriff Freddy Heflin in Cop Land […]. His town is run by Ray Donlan (Keitel) and the other New York cops who have settled there with their families. He wears blinders when it comes to their lawbreaking and mob dealings. Moe Tilden (De Niro), the internal-affairs officer out to get the goods on Cop Land, correctly pegs Freddy as “a man looking for something to do.” Keitel’s [Donlan] exudes dangerous energy. He cares for his own as long as they don’t cross him […]. Robert Patrick brings sly menace to Rucker […]. Ray Liotta […], as Gary Figgis, [is] a tainted cop who sides with Freddy.
Mangold […] has a rare talent for finding the human drama in ordinary lives.
Writer-director James Mangold […] wrangles an impressive cast […] and spins a compelling tale of cancerous corruption among a secretive group of New York’s finest who have settled in the fictional New Jersey burg of Garrison. [Stallone] indeed looks chunky and plays the sleepy, docile Sheriff […] with sluggishness to spare in a largely commendable performance as a half-deaf small-town dreamer. [He] is not given much in the way of memorable dialogue but, he makes the character work […]. [Having] yet to replace his LP of The River with a CD, [he] carries a torch for the local Jersey girl (Sciorra) he saved from drowning…the reason for his loss of hearing in one ear…[he] once longed to be a big-city cop but, had to settle for policing them.
Freddy gradually realizes that he doesn’t like how the town has turned out.
The Hollywood Reporter
August 11, 1997
I saw this at the theater when it came out and caught it, again, a few nights ago. I was born and raised in law enforcement and, worked in it, too (non-sworn). I’ve known good cops and I’ve known some really bad ones. I love a well written cop movie and this was an unusual one in that Stallone wasn’t playing a bad ass like Rambo, Cobra, Tango, John Spartan (though I do love that movie) or Ray Quick. This character was different…subdued. His scenes with Annabella Sciorra have Springsteen playing in the background which adds depth and texture to the mood. This is clearly a period piece as all the vehicles, hair cuts and clothing styles are, effectively, early 80s. The River came out in 1980 and music from the Director’s Cut, like Blue Oyster Cult‘s Burnin’ For You came out in 1981. This also manages to cover the Crime category via IMDb and the Film Noir category, simultaneously, via Historical Dictionary of Film Noir (2010). ~Vic
♦ There is a disclaimer at the end of the credits which states “This film is a work of fiction. It is currently illegal for New York City Police officers to live outside the state of New York.”
♦ Arthur J. Nascarella was a real-life NYPD officer.
♦ Debbie Harry acted in the movie but, was edited out in the final cut. She explained on a live television special that although she was cut, she still got paid.
♦ In the scene in which Ray Liotta confronts Robert Patrick in the bar, the dart that Liotta shoves up Patrick’s left nostril was made out of rubber.
♦ Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and John Travolta were considered for Sheriff Freddy Heflin.
The Making of an Urban Western
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Six pick.
Film: El Dorado
Mississippi: “[…] My name is Alan Bourdillion Traherne.”
Cole: “Lord Almighty…”
Sheriff Harrah: “Who is he?”
Cole: “Tell him your name, Mississippi.”
Mississippi: [sigh] “Alan Bourdillion Traherne.”
Sheriff Harrah: “Well, no wonder he carries a knife.”
Mississippi: “Always make you mad, don’t I?”
Produced and directed by Howard Hawks, the film is a loose adaption of The Stars in Their Courses, a 1960 novel by Harry Brown. The screenplay was written by Leigh Brackett and starred John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Paul Fix, Arthur Hunnicutt, Michele Carey, R. G. Armstrong, Ed Asner, Christopher George and Johnny Crawford. Jim Davis (Jock Ewing) and John Mitchum have small parts. It was released December 17, 1966, in Japan, oddly and didn’t make it to US theaters until June 7, 1967.
Cole Thornton (Wayne) is a gunslinger for hire and land owner Bart Jason (Asner) has offered him a job. J. P. Harrah (Mitchum) is a Sheriff and an old friend of Cole’s. When Harrah informs Cole of Jason’s intention to use him to push the MacDonald family off of their land for water rights, Cole refuses the job. After shooting the youngest MacDonald son, unintentionally, during a volley of gunfire, Cole is wounded by the MacDonald daughter (Carey), in return, after he brings the deceased boy back home. Cole suffers intermittent paralysis on his right side throughout the rest of the movie. With the help of a gambler (Caan) he crosses paths with and the Sheriff’s deputy (Hunnicutt), Cole straightens out the drunken Sheriff, tangles with another gunslinger (George), derails Jason’s takeover and just might stop his previous ways for his lady, Maudie (Holt).
Mississippi repeats parts of the Edgar Allen Poe poem (except the second stanza) during the film, aggravating Cole somewhat (Caan had trouble with the word “boldly”, slurring it to sound like either “bowlie” or “bodie”). He’s also terrible with a gun and couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn (but, I love that hat!). Cole gets him a shotgun and later regrets it as he has scatter shot in his leg at the end of the movie.
This is my favorite John Wayne movie even though it is an ensemble cast. A close second is The Quiet Man where Wayne played another “Thornton” character. ~Vic
♦ Archival footage of this movie was used in The Shootist as some backstory for Wayne’s character J.B. Books.
♦ The artwork in the opening credits was painted by Olaf Wieghorst, the Swedish gunsmith.
♦ At the end of the movie, both Cole & Harrah are on crutches under the wrong arm.
♦ The bathtub scene was Mitchum’s idea.
♦ Mitchum’s brother was a bartender named Elmer. He called him by his real name by accident.
♦ Wayne and Asner did not get along.
Caan on Wayne
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Five pick.
Film: The Ninth Gate
A French/Spanish Roman Polanksi vehicle (director & producer), he co-wrote the screenplay with John Brownjohn and Enrique Urbizu. Loosely based on the 1993 book El Club Dumas, a Spanish language novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez, the Polanski/Brownjohn script removed a sub-plot, changed the two main characters’ names and altered the finale. Filmed in France, Portugal and Spain, it stars Johnny Depp (Corso), Frank Langella (Balkan), Lena Olin, Barbara Jefford and, Emmanuelle Seigner (mysterious woman & Polanski’s wife). Actor Allen Garfield suffered a stroke prior to filming and Polanski incorporated Garfield’s paralysis as part of the character. Released August 25, 1999, in Belgium, France and Spain (premiere), and November 1999 at the Stockholm International Film Festival, it wasn’t released, widely, in the US until March 10, 2000.
I would have to describe the movie like this…:
“[It] is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…”
October 1, 1939
Dean Corso is a bit of a sleazy rare book dealer from New York with questionable ethics. Boris Balkan, a wealthy collector, hires Corso to determine if a book he owns (the book to the left/above) is authentic. The author, supposedly, wrote the book with help from the Devil and only three copies of the book are known to exist after the author was burned at the stake during the Inquisition, along with his works. Corso must find the other two to complete his investigation. Balkan believes that the owner of the book would have the power to summon said Devil. As the skeptical Corso travels and searches, he is followed by a mysterious woman. He eventually becomes obsessed with his task and desires the complete truth. The movie twists and turns to it’s bizarre ending. Depp is a strange cat but, he makes really interesting movies. Visually, Polanski intended for Corso to resemble Philip Marlowe. ~Vic
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Four pick.
Film: The Breakfast Club
“So, Ahab, can I have all my doobage?”
“Chicks cannot hold dey smoke, dat’s what it is.”
“Saturday, March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062 (fictional town). […] You see us as you want to see us… […] You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. […] That’s the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed.”
This is my graduating class…the class of 1984 (despite the age of some of the actors). Released February 15, 1985, I was in my freshman year of college and it was a bittersweet revisit. I knew these characters…every single one of them. My high school even had a library that resembled that set. This movie was made with only a one million budget but, brought in $51 million and, in 2016, was selected for preservation with the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. There is no CGI or special effects. There are no sweeping views of beautiful locations. There are no “shoot-em-up-bang-bang” sequences. There is some action with the cast running through the hallways, dancing while high and Judd Nelson (John Bender/The Criminal) falling through the ceiling tiles. This is, primarily, a study of human nature, parental influence, peer influence, subtle & overt abuse and the struggle to understand. It’s heartbreaking, it’s hilarious and it is so Generation X. ~Vic
Written, produced and directed by John Hughes, it also stars Emilio Estevez (Andrew Clark/The Athlete), Molly Ringwald (Claire Standish/The Princess), Ally Sheedy (Allison Reynolds/The Basket Case), Paul Gleason (Asst. Principal Richard Vernon) and John Kapelos (Carl Reed/The Janitor).
♦ The scene in which all characters sit in a circle on the floor in the library and tell stories about why they were in detention was not scripted. Writer and director John Hughes told them all to ad-lib.
♦ There is a deleted scene of Claire and Allison in the bathroom that didn’t show up until the Blu-Ray edition was released.
♦ Sixteen year old Hall hit a growth spurt during shooting and outgrew 24 year old Nelson, prompting Nelson to joke about writing letters to geneticists.
♦ Bender’s joke about the blonde, the poodle and the six foot salami has no punchline as it was never in the script.
♦ Nelson was nearly fired for method-acting harassment.
♦ Hall’s mother & sister play themselves in the movie.
♦ Keith Forsey wrote the lyrics to Don’t You (Forget About Me) and Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music was approached to sing it. Billy Idol was also approached and recorded his own version, later. An offer to Chrissie Hynde lead to her, then, husband Jim Kerr of Simple Minds.
♦ Nelson improvised the part at the closing of the film where Bender raises his fist in defiance. Everyone loved it and it has also become an iconic symbol of the 1980s as well as cinema history.
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Three pick.
Film: The Other Side of the Mountain
“You know where you’ll find sympathy in the dictionary, don’t ya’? Between shit and suicide.”
Directed by Larry Peerce, the movie is based on the 1966 novel A Long Way Up by E. G. Valens, written about national slalom ski champion (1955) and a 1956 U.S. Olympic skiing team candidate, Jill Kinmont. Produced by Edward Feldman, the screenplay adaption was written by David Seltzer. Jill is played by Marilyn Hassett and, Beau Bridges plays Olympic skiing team member (1952) and stunt pilot Dick “Mad Dog” Buek. Dabney Coleman plays Coach Dave McCoy and Bill Vint plays Buddy Werner. Belinda Montgomery plays Audra Jo or “A.J.”, Jill’s best friend, Nan Martin plays June Kinmont and William Bryant plays Bill Kinmont. Griffin Dunne has a small part.
The film spans Jill’s slalom races to her national championship, her best friend’s polio contraction, her accident while attempting to win the Alta, UT, Snow Cup, her hospital stay, her slow rehabilitation, her heartbreak from the losses of two dear men and her triumph at becoming a teacher.
Released July 25, 1975, the film was panned by critics for being too much of a tear-jerker. That may be true but, she did have a really hard time. The sequel was released February 10, 1978 and was panned even worse. I saw them in reverse order. I was only nine years old when the first movie came out so, I didn’t get to see it until I was an adult. I saw Part II, first, when it was released to television. I enjoyed both films despite the bad reviews. Sometimes, bringing someone’s life story to the big screen is handled poorly. Jill passed away February 9, 2012.
The Complete Movie