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Vice Director Explains Why He Cut “Incredible” Musical Number

Vice director Adam McKay explains why he removed a musical number from the final cut of the movie. McKay’s latest, which chronicles the rise of former United States vice president Dick Cheney, is far from your standard Hollywood biopic. The filmmaker incorporated a number of fascinating techniques to tell the story, such as a mock credits sequence that fantasizes a much more happier ending for America, a scene where Christian Bale and Amy Adams channel William Shakespeare during a discussion on power, and plenty of fourth wall breaking to explain various political terms. It was a bold and ambitious approach that didn’t work for everyone, but struck a chord with awards voters.

Though Vice received generally positive (and somewhat mixed) reviews from professional critics, it’s emerged as one of the leading Oscar contenders of the season, scoring numerous key nominations and wins. McKay is in the running for his second Best Director nod, which can be attributed to his out-of-the-box stylistic choices. But even a film as odd a Vice has to draw the line somewhere, and McKay couldn’t find a place for an “incredible” musical set piece.

Related: Screen Rant’s 2019 Best Picture Predictions

In an interview with Variety, McKay detailed the deleted scene, which involved Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) “teaching Cheney about Washington, D.C. and how to get ahead.” He even went so far as to have Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler stage it, but it ultimately had no place in the finished product:

“It’s breathtaking. It’s incredible. And it just didn’t work. You didn’t need it. It was too long in that area of the movie. We tried 15 versions of it. We moved it here, we moved it there. We played it really short. We played it way longer and put scenes in the middle of it. We tried every single thing you could do. The only reason it doesn’t pain me at this moment is because I know we tried everything we could do. You’re in the editing room and you’re like, ‘This is amazing. This is going to work.’ And you just forget the movie tells you what it wants.”

There’s no denying that this would have been quite interesting to see, though it’s probably for the best McKay left it on the cutting room floor. Vice sends viewers on a roller coaster with its bizarre tone as it is, and chances are audiences wouldn’t have been sure what to make of a singing Donald Rumsfeld. One of the toughest lessons of filmmaking is “kill your darlings” (meaning, cut out material that doesn’t fit), so McKay deserves credit for not forcing something simply because he enjoyed it. As he says, he can take solace in the fact he did everything possible in an attempt to make it work, and Vice receiving plenty of awards recognition probably makes the pill easier to swallow. Again, Vice is divisive (unsurprisingly so, given its subject matter), but the movie is working for a lot of people. It might not have if the musical sequence stayed in.

For those disappointed by this development, McKay expressed a desire to include the scene on Vice’s home media release, so fans of the film should be able to watch it in all its glory in a few month’s time. Typically, deleted sequences are removed for a reason, so it’ll be curious to see if the general public agrees with McKay’s decision when they finally get a chance to see it. Perhaps a politically-charged musical number will prove to be too entertaining to resist.

More: Read Screen Rant’s Vice Review

Source: Variety



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2019-01-08 02:01:14

Prince’s Music To Be Used For Mamma Mia-Style Movie Musical

Universal Studios has acquired the rights to several classic Prince songs, with the intention of using them for a movie musical. The movie will not be a biopic, but rather a fictional story using Prince’s songs.

During his lifetime, Prince achieved icon status through his music and other creative endeavors. He’s one of the best selling artists of all time, with over 100 million records sold worldwide. He won eight Grammys, six American Music Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar for his 1984 movie musical, Purple Rain.

Related: Rocketman Teaser Trailer: Elton John’s Biopic is a Musical Fantasy

It’s this seminal, semi-autobiographical film featuring Prince’s music that had sources stressing to Variety that this upcoming project will in no way tell the story of Prince’s life, but will instead use his music to drive a fictional plot. The creative forces behind the project – which include executive producers Troy Carter, the entertainment advisor to Prince’s estate and the manager who helped thrust Lady Gaga into stardom, and Jody Gerson, the Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group and the first woman to run a major music publishing company – are focused on creating something similar to Universal’s Mamma Mia! and its sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, in terms of one artist’s music being used to tell a story.

The idea for a film featuring Prince songs came from Prince’s estate, which had been shopping the notion around to various studios, likely hoping that a film project will help boost Prince’s music sales overall. Universal, who has found success in the past with musicals like Pitch Perfect and the most recent adaptation of Les Miserables, aggressively pursued the rights to Prince’s music. No word yet on which songs will be included or when to expect the film, but Universal already has two movie musicals in the pipeline for next year. The studio is also developing a musical featuring George Michael music titled Last Christmas, and the first film adaption of Cats, one of the longest running Broadway musicals in history.

Mamma Mia! – which uses the songs of Swedish disco phenomenon ABBA to tell the story of a young girl attempting to find her father before her wedding – debuted on the stage in 1999, and helped to usher in a wave of successful jukebox musicals, i.e. musicals that feature songs exclusively from one band or artist or from a specific era in music. Many subsequent jukebox musicals have gone the biopic route such as Jersey Boys (Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons) and The Cher Show (Cher), which officially debuted on Broadway today, December 3.

Besides Mamma Mia!, Rock of Ages, which features 80s glam metal from various artists, also found success as a non-biopic jukebox musical on the stage, though it didn’t make a smooth transition to the screen. While inside sources have gone out of their way to stress that this film won’t be Prince’s life story, it’s likely that Universal is hoping to duplicate the success Fox found with Bohemian Rhapsody, which recently became the highest-grossing music biopic of all time.

More: Steven Spielberg is Producing Color Purple Movie Musical Adaptation

Source: Variety



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2018-12-03 06:12:38

Does First Man Have An After-Credits Scene?

You’ve been to the Moon and back with Ryan Gosling’s Neil Armstrong, does First Man have an after-credits scene in store for you? The new film from Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land) is about the first man to walk on the lunar surface, exploring Armstong’s family life as much as his humanity leaping actions.

It’s a very different sort of biopic for sure. While all the key moments are there – Neil joining NASA, the near-fatal Gemini 8 mission, the successful and unforgettable Apollo 11 landings – the film takes a more abstract approach, with documentary-style filming and moments of reflection creating something more personal than a peek behind the curtain. One of the biggest aspects of this is the lack of any end cards that explain what happened to First Man‘s key players after the Moon landings.

Watch: The First Man Trailer

And if you’re expecting to find out more by sticking around in the theater, you’re out of luck: First Man does not have an after-credits scene. However, there are two very good reasons to still stick about. The first is Justin Hurwitz’s score. In the movie itself, it’s a stunning blend of grounded and magical styles, evoking 2001 and Interstellar while still being its own thing, and the credits suite is a perfect cap. Second, there’s the use of archive NASA recordings at the end that serve as both a reminder of the reality of this story and how space exploration continued beyond the Moon landings.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that First Man doesn’t include anything after the credits. Even with it shirking a lot of drama genre conventions, it’s not going to dip its toe into a trope typically saved for superhero movies. The story of both the Space Race and Neil Armstrong are completed by the movie’s end, so there’s no greater narrative to explore – even if that final scene is rather ambiguous. A stinger showing Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planting the US flag in the Moon would be humorous, but again not totally fitting.

There’ll be other ways to keep up with the talent involved. Chazelle is going to be giving the big screen a break, but is set to direct the first two episodes of upcoming musical Netflix series The Eddy and is writing a project for Apple TV. Ryan Gosling has no other acting projects lined up, but Claire Foy will be back in cinemas next month for The Girl In The Spider’s Web (but not on Netflix for The Crown, where the role of Queen Elizabeth has been recast with Olivia Coleman).

Next: First Man’s Moon Sequences Are Meant To Be Seen In IMAX



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2018-10-11 03:10:50 – Alex Leadbeater

20 Things Wrong With American Horror Story We All Choose To Ignore

The horror anthology hit TV show American Horror Story just might be the magnum opus of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck. Scarier and more riveting than any of the duo’s other projects, the spine-tingling series features a new theme and characters every season that are all still linked to each other’s universe. From the casting announcements to the series hints, theme reveals, and each season’s unique introductory visuals, it’s riveting entertainment all around. Even so, some seasons fall further off the mark than others, with many episodes barely even registering on the “horror” radar while others left us scratching our heads wondering what the heck just happened.

The thing is, we tend to give glaring errors, plot flops, and other things wrong with the show a pass because we love it so much. From intriguing horror to irresistible characters, from unexpected plot twists to some of the best storytelling on TV, American Horror Story keeps us coming back, not because it’s flawless but because it’s still addictive despite, and sometimes because of, its many flaws.

We might love a character and conveniently forget that he or she is a monster. We’ll keep tuning in even after an entire sequence left us feeling disgusted, embarrassed for the actress who had to play out the scene, or even angry at the creators themselves. It’s just that addictive.

We love it and we’ll keep coming back for me, even with these 20 Things Wrong With American Horror Story We All Choose To Ignore.

20 Some Seasons Aren’t Scary

With a name like American Horror Story, you might expect every episode to be a scream-fest. That’s just not the case, especially in seasons four and five. While there’s no shortage of horror-inducing characters in these seasons, they didn’t really give us nightmares like previous and subsequent seasons were able to do.

Were we jaded from all the mutants, ghosts, zombies, and other creatures in previous seasons?

Both Freak Show and Hotel fell short on promises of terror, often vying for more intense drama (a calling card of Falchuck and Murphy) instead. While we still received interesting stories, Gaga’s vampire and Twisty the Clown just weren’t all that scary.

19 There’s No Reason Given For All The Hotel Vampire Kids

In season five, Hotel, Lady Gaga’s character, The Countess Elizabeth, is a little less fabulous than we expected her to be. Perhaps she couldn’t live up to the Gaga we all know and love already. One of the things that just made zero sense about the character was her propensity to collect children and turn them into little vampires. Does Elizabeth have an old woman in the shoe complex? Is she just that bored? What is the point?

Here’s the thing about kids in horror movies: they add instant scare-factor. Take a look at most scary film kids, from Village of the Damned to The Others and you’ll see the scariest moments. The fact that the vampire kid collection wasn’t even scary was a pretty big letdown.

18 Teeth Fall From The Sky For No Reason

Season six of AHS, Roanoke, was able to recover some of the lost ground from the previous two less-scary seasons but still suffered from the lack of the one and only Jessica Lang. The season saw a return to the haunted house theme, always popular in AHS history, and wove in some new elements, like the whole “based on a true story” theme.  Between Deliverance-like hillbillies and more incredible Kathy Bates, Roanake was much better-received than Hotel, but it had some weird unexplained moments, like teeth randomly falling from the sky.

Not only do the teeth inexplicably fall while Matt is at work, but they also disappear.

The reason why is never given, prompting us to chalk this one up to “random scare tactic.”

17 Queenie Tried To Hook Up With A Minotaur

While we definitely applaud Murphy and Falchuck’s use of mythology throughout American Horror Story, it often makes no sense. Gabourey Sidibe was fantastic as Queenie, the young and lonely witch who gave as well as she got, used LaLaurie as her own personal racist slave, and really deserved main credits billing. But there was that one time she tried to hook up with a grotesque Minotaur…

While the inclusion of adult content is pretty standard in AHS, getting involved with a man who has bull’s head sewed over his own is pretty far out there. It didn’t make any sense, nor did Queenie’s own survival following the incident (or anything else including the Minotaur, really), so we just move along and say that there’s nothing to see here.

16 Zoe’s Hell Is Just Life Without Kyle

Zoe Benson, portrayed by Taissa Farmiga, starts out as a compelling character in the third season of American Horror Story, Coven. She has unique powers that pay homage to classic horror and a long journey ahead.

Tossing in a love interest is a great way to derail a personal growth story.

That’s what happened to Zoe with Kyle, her resurrected boyfriend played by Evan Peters. While we’re glad that Murphy and Falchuck used Kyle to illustrate that mothers can be abusive to their sons just as much as fathers can, “life without Kyle” as Zoe’s own personal hell is really stupid and overly angst-ridden.

15 Aliens In Asylum Makes No Sense

When it comes to American Horror Story, many fans reacted to the inclusion of aliens in season two, Asylum, in the same way that fans of Indiana Jones reacted to the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. For many horror fans, aliens don’t enter the territory without very specific rules, and you certainly don’t add aliens into an already-existing story for a scare factor.

The aliens of AHS also just weren’t scary. Sure, they made Pepper more interesting and gave convenient explanations for a few weird happenings, but at the end of the day mixing aliens in with mutants, a mean nun, demons, and war criminals just doesn’t work. It’s a hodgepodge of plot devices tossed together like a salad with too many kinds of dressing. Sometimes simpler is just better.

14 The Musical Sequences

We get that Sister Jude is losing her mind in this tenth episode of season two, Asylum, but must we lose ours as well? The episode itself was gripping, but watching Jessica Lange sashay through “The Name Game” wasn’t nearly as eerie as it should have been. It played off as more of an homage to the creators’ Glee in a way that didn’t work.

While some critics enjoyed the mind-boggling number, many of us like to pretend it never happened.

It’s not the last time the showrunners implemented a bit of music and dance, either. Season four, Freak Show, featured several ditties, including a rendition of “Come As You Are” by Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson’s “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, and Lange singing David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”.

13 What Happens To Dr. Arden’s Experiments?

The mutants created in Dr. Arden’s horrific experiments are the stuff of nightmares, and they definitely present an interesting side story among the rest of the godawful happenings at Briarwood Manor in season two of American Horror Story, Asylum. Their issue, of course, is that they disappear off the radar without much of a peep.

Once turned into a mutant and taken to a hospital, Shelley, played by Chloë Sevigny as a homage to the many women unjustly committed to asylums throughout history, seems as if she may be able to lead the authorities toward Arden, but alas, Joseph Fiennes’ conflicted yet greedy Monsignor Timothy Howard takes her out instead. We don’t hear much about them afterward. What happened to the mutants?

12 The Messed-Up Historical Figures

Anne Frank was lobotomized by the evil Dr. Arden from Briarcliff Manor in season two, Asylum. Not only does this make zero sense, but it also really does a disservice to Anne Frank’s memory. There is a lot of artistic license taken with historical figures throughout American Horror Story, from Delphine Lalaurie to James March. Even characters used as backgrounds for new characters, like Nellie Bly’s inspiration for Lana Winters, often seems a bit much, especially when the representation is so loose.

The misrepresentation or grand re-representation of historical figures is nothing new.

Our own history books present complete falsehoods about everyone from Christopher Columbus to Paul Revere. Perhaps it’s just so glaring because we acknowledge that now, particularly during an age of “fake news” awareness.

11 The Opening Sequence And Spoilers Promise More Than We Get

One of the most exciting elements of a new season of American Horror Story is always the opening sequence and the slowly-revealed spoilers. Cast announcements and cool visuals trickle in until we finally get to see that first episode with its incredible casting graphics. The creepy opening sequence does much more than announce the cast: it revs us up like the announcer for a really scary joust about to take place.

The only problem is that it often goes downhill from there. While season 1 typically delivered, the casting graphics in seasons like Freak Show were actually scarier than the episodes themselves. That’s a real problem if we are supposed to be watching a horror program.

10 We Have No Idea What Happened To The Pig Boys

They were a successful execution of “the scary children” in a way that the little vampire entourage of the previous season just couldn’t seem to manage, so maybe that’s why Murphy and Falchuck decided to never let the “pig boys” of season six be seen again.

Aside from the fact that the boys could have made for some truly scary storytelling, the problem here isn’t just that they had no deeper involvement in the story than “check out these creepy kids” but that they don’t even have a resolution. Why the kids say, “Croatoan!” and why they drink pig milk remains unknown, and we may never know what happened to the charming little tykes.

9 No Consequences for the bad things the “good guys” do

As fans of American Horror Story, we sure do forgive a lot of murderers, don’t we? When someone bad finally goes good, all of their wicked deeds don’t seem to be as problematic. Even sweet Nan takes out Joan. Misty Day, otherwise a kind hippie, offs a couple of guys with alligators.

Were these warranted attacks? Maybe, but that doesn’t erase the fact that many characters end the lives of others and we pretty much turn a blind eye toward it like we wouldn’t if they occurred in real life. Of course, from people returning from the grave to mutant attacks near an asylum, there’s really not a lot in the show that applies to real life.

8 There’s Really No War Between The Coven And The Voodoo Witches

During season three, Coven, there’s a big build up about an oncoming war between the coven and the voodoo witches of the area. Both are led by powerful women, and who wasn’t excited to see Fiona, played by Jessica Lange, and Marie Laveau, played by Angela Bassett, go up against one another?

While there was plenty of tension and a zombie attack, it pretty much stopped there, especially after the witch hunters came to town.

AHS often builds up to something we’re expecting and completely abandon it for another plot instead. While we get that they want to keep us on our toes, broken promises do leave us unsatisfied and underwhelmed.

7 Zoe And Madison Gave Their Souls To Azaezel And It Never Came Up Again

When the bus full of frat boys who assaulted Madison wrecks, taking out all of the monsters on board on Madison’s whim, it’s satisfying. Even seeing Kyle taken out doesn’t bother some of us, given that we’ve already seen Evan Peters return from the grave before and wouldn’t be surprised if he returned. He may have stopped his “brothers” but he certainly tried to help them not get caught, making him complicit in the attack.

When Zoe and Madison decide to put “boy parts” together to resurrect Kyle as the perfect Frankenstein boyfriend, they sell their souls to Azaezel in order to do so, and yet it never comes up again. Given that both girls bite the dust during the show, shouldn’t that at least be an issue?

6 Roanoke’s Reality Show Inception

It was one of the most pointless plot points to ever be inserted into a season of American Horror Story. During season six, Roanoke, we’re treated to a reality show type of setting where re-enactors help us understand what happened to the Millers in “My Roanoke Nightmare”, an obvious play on so many other popular reality-based ghost hunting and experience shows. That’s an intriguing concept that works well for much of the season, but then we’re hit with reality-ception.

Getting all of the actors and people involved in actual events together for the blood moon event is one thing, but what about the disclaimer that nobody even survived the ordeal? If that’s true (which makes sense, since this is Roanoke), how did we get the footage in the first place?

5 There’s No Point To Scathach

Scathach, the mythical warrior from the Isle of Skye in Irish folklore, is an incredible character. It’s too bad we didn’t really get to know her in season six, Roanoke.

Lady Gaga’s Scathnach has a plethora of powers, is said to be the first Supreme and yet has no real point in the series.

The witch does a few nefarious things here and there, from purchasing souls to rendering people evil and insane, but in the grand scheme of things she has no real point except to serve as one of those random elements of horror woven in to just be spooky. Given the history of the traditional character, it would be amazing to see Murphy and Falchuck to use this as a tie-in for a more myth-heavy season.

4 People Are Constantly Offed Only To Be Brought Back

Character losses in the American Horror Story realm are pretty much like those in any comic book series: you don’t ever count them as permanent. Even when an entire series ends and you believe a character to be truly gone, they may return in another season! It’s definitely not a new tactic to have characters return from the grave; it’s a strategy used in everything from Dallas to Supernatural.

It makes us feel a little more jaded and a little less invested when tragedy does strike.

Oh, Fiona is sick? Oh, Ethel’s not going to make it? It’s too often meaningless. We want to feel affected, and we can’t help but worry a bit because we do love these characters, but deep down we’re always still wondering when they’ll return.

3 Twisty’s “Resolution” Is Basically A Deus Ex Machina

Season four’s big villain, Twisty the Clown, turned out to be much more Bozo than Pennywise. Sure, he was scary-looking, and he had the tragic backstory to boot, but Twisty’s crimes felt more garden variety scary movie than the monstrous panache we’d expect from AHS.

Twisty, played by John Carroll Lynch, even had a disappointing resolution as a character. Not only was he never really sorted out by a main character or a victim bent on revenge, but he was literally yanked out of the show to join Edward Mordrake’s nightmarish troupe, collecting the clown’s soul after hearing his tale of woe.

2 Misty Day Was Unjustly Lost

One of the characters fans most resonated with in season three, Coven, was Misty Day, played by the talented Lily Rabe. Misty’s character screamed Supreme, from her unique abilities to her lack of really caring about the position.

Misty was all about fairness, being kind to animals, and protecting the vulnerable, making her a fantastic character to root for.

Unfortunately she was also a red herring. Falchuck and Murphy offed her in such a terrible way in a Hell made up of her own personal vivisection nightmare, which made zero sense given her ability to bring things back to life so easily. Misty didn’t deserve her ending, but neither did Nan and many other characters.

1 Tate Is A School Shooter

Tate Langdon is one of the most romanticized characters in the history of AHS. The season 1 character is a doting friend, devoted boyfriend who would do anything for Violet, and speaks volumes of teen angst to many a smitten heart. It doesn’t hurt that Evan Peters, who plays Tate, is easy on the eyes as well. Is that why it’s so hard to remember that Langdon is such a deplorable character?

Tate is a school shooter. He took the lives of several classmates and should represent what we most despise and do not condone in this nation right now. He also assaulted Violet’s mother, Vivian, causing her to become pregnant with his Antichrist baby. How can anyone still crush on this guy knowing what harm he’s done?

What other problems with American Horror Story do fans overlook? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-10 08:10:37 – Sara Schmidt

20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Roger Ebert once wrote that The Rocky Horror Picture Show was less a movie and more of a “social phenomenon.” This is probably the most accurate way to describe the 1975 rock musical, as it just isn’t an ordinary film. First released to a less-than-stellar reception, Rocky Horror eventually found long-lasting fame from an unlikely source: audience participation. Its original theatrical run didn’t garner much praise, but the film came into its own when theaters began showing it at midnight screenings, now infamous for the almost ritualistic ways the audience dresses, shouts, and flings objects at the screen.

Rocky Horror is a legend of cult cinema– one of the few movies that has earned that title again and again. The film follows what appears to be a whole married couple, Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon), as they stay the night at a spooky old mansion owned by Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry, in the performance that rocketed him to stardom). What ensues is a celebration of kitsch, camp, horror, and science fiction cinema, a musical that makes very little logical sense but is a ton of fun.

Naturally, a film like that has to have a riveting story behind the scenes. Written by Richard O’Brien and directed by Jim Sharman, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has just as many crazy details behind the camera as in front of it. Those details will be counted down here, and we’ll get straight to it, as we can see you tremble with antici…

Pation. This is 20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

20 It originally had a different title

The original stage version of the movie had a whirlwind creative process, with Richard O’Brien whipping up the show with his artist and actor friends fairly quickly. As it happens, they were originally rehearsing the show under a different title.

It was called They Came From Denton High due to the story being set somewhere near Denton, Texas.

Obviously, that didn’t last, but O’Brien and director Jim Sharman didn’t change it until the very last minute. Sharman suggested the name change just before previews of the stage show, based on the genres they were spoofing. Thus was “The Rocky Horror Show” born (only the movie had the extra “Picture” in the title, naturally).

19 Brad and Janet were replaced

The cast of Rocky Horror is mostly unchanged from the stage show to the movie. Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman kept their creative team mostly intact, too, so when you’re watching the movie it should really feel like you’re just seeing a filmed version of the stage show. Well, except for a few roles.

Aside from the high-profile cameo from Meat Loaf and a few other replacements, the protagonists were also switched out.

The original actors for Brad and Janet wanted to reprise their roles, but studio executives at Fox felt they needed two US actors in those parts to help sell the movie. Rocky Horror fans can’t complain, as Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon did a great job as Brad and Janet, but we feel for those two original actors whose roles were taken from them.

18 The story behind the lips

Everyone who has seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show– not to mention plenty of people who have only seen the poster– are familiar with the lips that open the film. This iconic image is actually the product of several people working together, rather than just one actress.

The lips that appear in the film are Patricia Quinn’s (who also played Magenta), but she’s only lip-syncing the song “Science Fiction/Double Feature” even though she did in the stage show. The singer is actually creator Richard O’Brien. And the lips on that famous poster are those of somebody else entirely, former model Lorelei Shark.

17 The costume designer didn’t want to do it

Costume designer Sue Blane is credited with much of The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s lasting appeal thanks to her designs that spoofed the traditions of cinema and leaned heavily into camp. The movie wouldn’t be the same without her, but it almost had to do just that, as she wasn’t interested in the project at first.

In fact, Blane herself says that it took director Jim Sharman meeting with her personally and getting her tipsy before she saw the light. Blane didn’t like the idea of doing a silly project for very little money, but when she found out Tim Curry and a bunch of her other favorite colleagues and friends were already committed to the show, she relented. Thank goodness for that.

16 Tim Curry wasn’t new to corsets

Tim Curry has a long and storied career on the stage and screen, and his rise to prominence came largely thanks to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Given that it was his first hit movie role, people tend to forget that Curry wasn’t a complete rookie. Case in point: Curry had actually starred in a similar stage show before originating the role of Frank N. Furter in Rocky Horror’s stage incarnation.

Curry had also worn a corset in a production of The Maids.

Costume designer Sue Blane had worked that same production. For Rocky Horror, Blane says she simply asked the theater for the same corset for Curry to wear. Naturally, Blane remarked that Curry took to the corset “like a duck to water.”

15 Susan Sarandon’s sickness

Cinema can be a fickle thing– while you’d expect film sets to be glamorous affairs, with every possible amenity available to the actors, you would occasionally be very wrong. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was no picnic to make, as the cast and crew had to endure unheated sets while filming scenes in pools.

This might not sound like a big deal, but it was for Susan Sarandon, who fell ill during production. The filmmakers had nothing but kind words for her after her gritty effort to push through with the work, as they mentioned that she was literally “shaking with fever” on set but kept on going in spite of that.

14 Rocky was supposed to talk

Sometimes you’ve just gotta improvise when you’re making a film. While the creative team behind The Rocky Horror Picture Show might have thought they had the perfect casting when they got Peter Hinwood to play the character of Rocky Horror, they changed their minds when they found out he was a model who had zero acting experience. Rocky Horror originally had dialogue in the film, but after watching Hinwood act, Sharman and O’Brien elected to remove all his speaking parts.

Another singer dubbed over the character’s singing parts, so Hinwood’s voice never actually shows up in the film.

Clearly, they were in love with his looks, but not the way he sounded.

13 You can book a room where it was filmed

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was filmed at Oakley Court in England, a castle that had been host to several horror films in its past. While it may not have been the most welcoming place for the film crew in 1975 (at the time, it had no heating and few bathrooms), it’s doing a better job of that nowadays.

Oakley Court is now a ritzy hotel, allowing guests to stay in the location that was the home to many of their favorite spooky movies from days gone by. Nowadays, of course, the hotel advertises its proximity to LEGOLAND more than it does its connection to film history, but we’d like to think there are still a few Rocky Horror fans who make the trip.

12 The David Bowie connection

This might seem unrelated to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but it isn’t.

Pierre LaRoche was one of the creative forces behind David Bowie’s now-iconic Ziggy Stardust look, but that wasn’t the only influential job the makeup artist held.

LaRoche was also the person film producers turned to when they wanted a makeup redesign for the characters in Rocky Horror. While Sue Blane gets the lion’s share of the credit for the character designs in the film, we shouldn’t forget that it was Pierre LaRoche who actually came up with the makeup designs. Though the make-up is a touch more subtle than costumes, it’s still one of the main reasons the visuals of the film are so fun to watch.

11 Meat Loaf didn’t actually drive the motorcycle

Singer and occasional actor Meat Loaf has a memorable turn in Rocky Horror as Eddie, the delivery boy and partial brain donor to Rocky, who is tragically stabbed by Frank N. Furter. Eddie gets a fun entrance, bursting out of a freezer on a motorcycle, but the problem is that Meat Loaf didn’t actually ride that motorcycle. Aside from a few less dangerous wide shots, Meat Loaf left the actual driving to a stunt man as he says he didn’t feel comfortable doing anything risky on it.

For the close-up shots that needed to look like Eddie was on the motorcycle, the crew rigged up a wheelchair for Meat Loaf to ride.

That way, safety didn’t need to be sacrificed. Or that was the theory, anyway, as the wheelchair didn’t turn out to be that safe anyway.

10 The on-set injuries

Though it wasn’t Jim Sharman’s debut feature, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was not a film staffed by the most experienced team. This is perhaps reflected best by the apparently high number of on-set injuries that occurred– even ignoring the on-set illnesses, including Sarandon’s.

In the same interview, Meat Loaf describes an incident that happened while he was sitting in his wheelchair, where it fell off a ramp on the set, shattered a camera, caused a few cuts on Meat Loaf’s face and arm, and snapped a stand-in’s leg in two. While some efforts were made for safety, injuries ran rampant even with the wheelchair.

9 The skeleton inside the clock was real

One of the single most famous props in all of Rocky Horror is the skeleton clock; a coffin that has a clock face set on the front. The reveal that there is a skeleton inside the coffin is a fun moment in the movie, but the filmmakers dropped another bombshell in later years: the skeleton inside was real.

The skeleton clock actually lived on past the film.

In 2002, Sotheby’s auction house in London sold the clock for an exorbitant sum, 35,000 pounds. Adjusting for inflation, that would be approximately $63,000 today. Even true Rocky Horror fans might balk at that price, if the real human remains inside weren’t a turn-off.

8 Steve Martin auditioned for Brad

Whatever you think of Barry Bostwick’s performance as Brad in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, have you ever considered how different it might have been if another actor had taken on the role? Well, according to rumors and stories even repeated by the likes of Newsday, the role almost went to Steve Martin.

Given that Martin went on to star in a fairly similar movie musical, Little Shop of Horrors, this shouldn’t be too big a surprise.

Martin apparently auditioned for the role of Brad, but lost out to Bostwick. Maybe he played the antagonist in Little Shop of Horrors as a way to soothe the hurt of rejection.

7 It got terrible reviews when it first came out

Nowadays, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is viewed as one of the greatest classics of midnight cult cinema, as its popularity has only grown amongst its fans since its release. But to become a cult hit, you usually have to be a theatrical flop, and Rocky Horror was exactly that, both critically and commercially.

Some critics straight-up hated the film when it was first released, and others simply ignored it. Partially because of the counter-culture the film represented and the lack of a conventional plot structure, some seemed offended it even existed. Even today, many critics view the film more as an audience experience than a genuinely good movie.

6 Frank N. Furter’s villainous inspiration

The unquestionable star of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is Dr. Frank N. Furter, the role Tim Curry originated on the London stage and reprised in the film. Even critics who didn’t like the film enjoyed Curry’s assured and magnetic performance. That makes sense, given all the larger-than-life figures Curry took inspiration from to create the character.

Writer Richard O’Brien describes Frank as a combination of Vlad the Impaler and Cruella De Vil, which makes a lot of sense, but Curry didn’t stop there. On top of those villainous ancestors, he added a posh accent, said to be modeled on both Elizabeth II and Curry’s own mother. That’s one doozy of a mixture for the role, and obviously it worked to perfection.

5 It was a stage show first

When Richard O’Brien first set out to tell his story, it was a work of theater, as that was his primary area of expertise. Thus, The Rocky Horror Picture Show started out as The Rocky Horror Show– the “Picture” part was added for the film. O’Brien wrote the play in his spare time, then gathered some of his friends in London to help him make it.

The play premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1973, and it was an immediate hit, moving to larger venues soon after. The show ran for weeks and weeks and eventually attracted the notice of producers, even Hollywood. This is the origin story for Rocky Horror— we wouldn’t have the film is the London stage show hadn’t been so popular.

4 The writer is Riff Raff

Given its reputation as one of the true classics of cult cinema, viewers today may not know that the original writer– playwright of the stage show, co-screenwriter of the movie, and Riff Raff in both, Richard O’Brien had never professionally written anything before the script for The Rocky Horror Show and its film adaptation The Rocky Horror Picture Show. That’s right, Rocky Horror is a debut work, by a person who never even wanted to be a writer.

O’Brien was living in London as an actor, struggling to make ends meet, and mostly wrote it just to keep himself occupied.

Luckily for him, the project resonated with his artistic friends, and they helped him turn it into the phenomenon it became.

3 O’Brien never thought it would be a big deal

Even when The Rocky Horror Show was making waves on the London theater circuit, it never registered with Richard O’Brien that he might have created a real hit. In an interview, O’Brien recalls when producer Michael White told him he thought this would be something big. “I said, ‘Oh, that’s nice,’ and walked away. It just didn’t register.”

For a while, it seemed like O’Brien was right to think it wouldn’t be a big deal. The film didn’t do well commercially when it came out, despite the popularity of the play, and it looked like that would be the end of the Rocky Horror story. But midnight viewers began to flock to the showings known for audience participation, and the film’s long-lasting appeal proved to be its greatest strength.

2 The writer thinks it was successful because it’s childish

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was originally written by a young actor with no writing experience, who just wanted something fun to occupy his time. Richard O’Brien, the writer in question, thinks that this process lent the show a quality of childlike naïveté, which contributed to its eventual popularity. In an interview, O’Brien said the show’s innocence is “very endearing and not threatening.” Continuing, he mentioned that every character in the show may appear to be intelligent or “sophisticated, but they’re really not.”

This quality allows young viewers to identify with the energy of the film, making it appeal to adolescent viewers.

O’Brien think this might be the key behind the social phenomenon that is Rocky Horror.

1 Originally, it started in black and white

The writing and directing team of Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman had a lot of grand ideas for the film adaption of Rocky Horror, but not all of them were allowed to come to pass. Chief among these was the plan to film the opening section of the movie in black and white.

The film would have burst into color when Frank N. Furter made his entrance.

Everyone who has seen the movie remembers that scene– now imagine if it had this added bit of pizzaz, with the first frame of color coming on a shot of Tim Curry’s lips. Susan Sarandon lamented that they weren’t allowed to make this vision a reality, as studio executives rejected the idea due to budgetary concerns.

Do you have any The Rocky Horror Picture Show trivia to share? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-08 05:10:06 – Eric McAdams

6 Casting Decisions That Hurt It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (And 14 That Saved It)

There are sitcoms that everyone loves, and then there’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — a series which has managed to turn off many with its despicable characters and depraved sense of humor. From faking cancer to trying to eat a homeless person, there are no depths that are too low for the owners of Paddy’s Pub. But you don’t get to thirteen seasons without making a few fans in the process.

While It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia might not pull in the biggest numbers, the show has maintained such a rabid following over the years that one has to wonder if they’ve accidentally gotten there hands on some raccoon meat. But the more likely scenario is that many people have just as twisted of a sense of humor as the makers of this FX series.

The sitcom was created by Rob McElhenney with the help of Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, who would go on to portray Mac, Dennis, and Charlie on the series. Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito fill out the rest of the main cast as Dee and Frank Reynolds, and for over the last decade, fans have been happily following the bizarre misadventures of the Gang. Of course, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in these leading roles. With over 130 episodes, there has been no shortage of supporting characters and celebrity cameo, some of which have been a lot better than others.

Here are 6 Casting Decisions That Hurt It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (And 14 That Saved It).

20 Saved: Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds

In a sea of despicable characters, Dennis Reynolds has slowly revealed himself to be the most reprehensible of them all. Dennis may have begun the series as one of the more sensible members of the Gang — albeit one with an extremely short fuse, but he’s slowly revealed himself to be a cool and calculated sociopath. One who also happens to have a heavy side of narcissistic personality disorder.

While Glenn Howerton didn’t want to name the character after himself for fear of people drawing an unwelcome comparison, that hasn’t stopped Howerton from taking the character to some extremely dark places. He’s more than a little convincing when he lays out one of his manipulative plans. While his temper tantrums may be over-the-top, you never doubt the authenticity of the rage and frustration Howerton has embedded into his performance.

19 Saved: Mary Elizabeth Ellis as The Waitress

One of the most prominent recurring characters on It’s Always Sunny, the Waitress has been a part of the series since the very beginning. She is the unrequited love interest of Charlie throughout the majority of the show — though it seems like the tables have turned in recent episodes.

The Waitress is portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who had previously worked with Charlie Day on an episode of Reno 911! The two were married shortly after It’s Always Sunny began, adding another layer of hilarity to the dysfunctional relationship between the two characters on screen.

Ellis fully commits to her performance as the down-on-her-luck waitress.

She’s an example of the tight-knit community working behind-the-scenes that has made the series such a success.

18 Hurt: Jason Sudeikis as Schmitty

While sitcoms usually lend themselves well to celebrity cameos, It’s Always Sunny has created such a distinct world that more often than not these cameos end up feeling out of place. There have been a few instances where they’ve managed to pull them off. Josh Groban popping up in one of Dee’s fantasies seemed fitting, and Dax Shepard manages to blend in fairly well into the episodes where Mac and Charlie join a cult.

In the case of Jason Sudeikis and a number of other celebrities, the cameos just end up coming across as distracting. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Jason Sudeikis playing Schmitty — an ex-member of the Gang who makes an unexpected return. The whole time, you never forget that you’re watching Sudeikis, which just doesn’t work for the tone of the series.

17 Saved: Mary Lynn Rajskub as Gail the Snail

Though she’s only appeared in three episodes of the series to date, Gail the Snail is definitely one of those side characters that we’d like to see more of. She first appeared back in the season five episode “The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention”, where she is the clingy cousin of Dennis and Dee who talks with a lisp and has the disgusting habit of slurping her saliva. Dennis and Dee have found that the only way to get rid of her is to dust her with salt, hence her nickname of Gail the Snail.

The character is portrayed by the talented Mary Lynn Rajskub, who is best known for playing Chloe O’Brian on 24.

This is undeniably a very different character, and it’s impressive just how committed Rajskub is to playing someone so hilariously obnoxious.

16 Saved: David Hornsby as Cricket

The Gang has dragged their fair share of individuals down into the dirt with them, but none are more apparent than Rickety Cricket. Portrayed by David Hornsby, Cricket is a former classmate of the Gang who was once infatuated with Dee. He debuted in season two as a clean-cut priest who has slowly transformed into the addicted hobo that we have today.

Hornsby has been such a prominent member of the show that last season he was given his own episode with “A Cricket’s Tale”, which cleverly intertwined the character’s other brief appearances throughout the season into the story. Hornsby has also been a big part of the show behind-the-scenes as well, serving as an executive producer and a writer of nearly 30 episodes.

15 Hurt: Brian Unger as The Attorney

It’s Always Sunny has a number of supporting characters who re-emerge every few seasons, only to be dragged down by the shenanigans of the Gang once again. Brian Unger plays one such character with the Attorney, who the Gang often visits for legal advice only to contradict everything the lawyer has to say.

As a former correspondent of The Daily Show, Unger is really good at playing the straight man.

In fact, he’s too good, which makes it hard to believe that he would put up with these self-centered, narcissistic characters for more than a few episodes. Often, these supporting characters are revealed to be a little bit off in their own right, but Unger is just too normal to make his character mesh with the series.

14 Saved: Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds

Danny DeVito first popped up in season two of It’s Always Sunny, and his casting as Frank Reynolds quite literally saved the series. While the higher-ups at FX reportedly loved the first season, not enough people were watching to warrant a second outing. McElhenney, Howerton, and Day were given the ultimatum to add a bigger name or face cancellation. While they worried how DeVito would fit into the series, the veteran actor has more than proven himself as a worthy member of the Gang.

The insane things that DeVito will do for the character are a testament to the actor’s commitment. Even more impressive is how you never feel like you’re watching a performance. DeVito becomes Frank Reynolds. Even when he’s not delivering lines, just watching him futz about in the background is already hilarious enough.

13 Saved: Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly

It’s Always Sunny has turned all of its leading actors into stars, but Charlie Day is the biggest breakout of them all. Since appearing on the show, Day has worked on a number of hit films, including Horrible Bosses, Pacific Rim, and The Lego Movie.

His star power has no doubt helped the show remain on the air for so long.

Thanks to Day’s performance and musical talents, the character of Charlie has no shortage of memorable moments. Bird law aside, Charlie may be the least intelligent member of the Gang. In a lot of ways, he’s the heart of the show. Charlie certainly has his share of questionable moments, but they often stem from ignorance rather than malice, which set him apart from the other employees of Paddy’s Pub.

12 Hurt: Sean “Diddy” Combs as Dr. Jinx

Whenever Sean “Diddy” Combs pops up in a movie or TV show, he often plays a fictionalized version of himself. In It’s Always Sunny, he plays the unorthodox Dr. Jinx who utilizes alternative methods to treat his patients.

Not only is the cameo distracting, but Combs’ performance is pretty flat. It almost seems like the actor is reading off cue cards, and when Dr. Jinx is seen playing the bass guitar during a musical performance at Paddy’s Pub, it’s pretty obvious that Combs isn’t actually playing. The rapper may have stolen the show as Sergio in Get Him to the Greek, but whatever worked for him on that movie isn’t back on display in the sitcom.

11 Saved: Artemis Pebdani as Artemis

Artemis is one of the few supporting characters who can actually hang with the Gang without her life coming apart at the seams. She first appeared up in season one, where she befriends Dee after the two meet in an acting class. She’s also had a relationship without Frank throughout her time in the series.

The character is portrayed by Artemis Pebdani, who landed the role right at the start of her professional acting career.

While she’s continued to reprise her part as the fun-loving and wild Artemis, the actress has enjoyed success in a number of other shows, including Scandal and Masters of Sex. Though a number of supporting characters seem to have fallen off in recent years, Artemis has already popped up this season with “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot”.

10 Saved: Lynne Marie Stewart and Sandy Martin as Charlie and Mac’s Moms

Every since Danny DeVito debuted as Frank Reynolds, it was abundantly clear why Dennis and Dee are they way that they are. After all, Frank is just as self-absorbed and conniving as the twins. In that respect, we’ve also gotten to see how Mac and Charlie are a result of their childhoods by getting to know their moms over the course of the series.

Lynne Marie Stewart does a perfect job of playing Charlie’s mom, a kind-hearted woman who was far too overprotective of her son — which explains Charlie’s numerous irrational fears. Meanwhile, Sandy Martin is the total opposite, as Mac’s mom doesn’t seem emotionally invested in her son at all — which explains Mac’s constant desire for approval. Together, the two are a perfect comedy duo, which is on full display in “Old Lady House: A Comedy Situation”.

9 Hurt: Seann William Scott as Country Mac

In season nine, Seann William Scott made a one episode appearance as Mac’s cousin — who the Gang deems far cooler than Mac. Just like Jason Sudeikis as Schmitty, this is another star cameo that can’t help but feel distracting. Scott has made a career playing characters who are too cool for school thanks to movies like American Pie and Role Models. That might seem like he’s the ideal fit for Country Mac.

Wouldn’t it have been even funnier if the Gang idolized a character for no other reason than to get under Mac’s skin?

With the success of It’s Always Sunny, we’re sure that they could have a star cameo every few episodes. Since they’re kept to a bare minimum, it seems that even they know these roles can be a bit ostentatious.

8 Saved: Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney as Liam and Ryan McPoyle

The McPoyles are the perfect example of just how dark and twisted the humor on It’s Always Sunny can actually get. They are a large inbred family with the two most prominent members, Liam and Ryan, being former classmates of the Gang. They popped up in a number of episodes between seasons one and nine, where they’re often at odds with the owners of Paddy’s Pub.

Liam and Ryan are played by Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney throughout their time on the show. Both fully commit to the unsettling nature of these characters. They might be creepy, but that doesn’t stop them from being a hilarious comedy duo. Our only complaint is that they’ve been absent from the series for the last few seasons.

7 Saved: Catherine Reitman as Maureen Ponderosa

One of the weirdest characters in all of It’s Always Sunny, Maureen Ponderosa is the ex-wife of Dennis Reynolds who slowly makes her transition into becoming a cat in the later episodes of the show. Much like Rickety Cricket, her transition from seemingly normal to totally unhinged takes place over the course of a few seasons — better-allowing audiences to buy into the ridiculousness of it all.

Catherine Reitman seems totally devoted to this outlandish and often unsettling performance.

Since appearing on the show, Reitman’s notoriety has only continued to grow. She currently plays the lead on Workin’ Moms — a show which she also created — along with popping up as another recurring character in Black-ish.

6 Hurt: Guillermo del Toro as Pappy McPoyle

Writer/ director Guillermo del Toro was apparently such a big fan of It’s Always Sunny, that it was one of the reasons he cast Charlie Day in Pacific Rim. In return, del Toro was given this cameo appearance as Pappy McPoyle — who is most likely the grandfather of Liam and Ryan.

One problem right off the bat is that del Toro was cast to play someone who is most likely from Ireland— a fact which the director himself made fun of in a behind-the-scenes interview. This may have been the reason that Pappy McPoyle was given such an over-the-top appearance, which is really the worst part of the character. The McPoyle’s are indeed odd and unsettling, but they’re still somewhat believable.Pappy McPoyle, on the other hand, looks like some deranged wizard who has no place in the series.

5 Saved: Wade Boggs as Himself

The best episodes of It’s Always Sunny usually finds the Gang confined to a single area, where their personalities can do nothing but bounce off the walls and wreak havoc on themselves and anyone in their vicinity. This is what makes “The Gang Beats Boggs” one of the best episodes in the series.

The episode finds the five Philadelphia natives trying to beat Wade Boggs’ record of consuming 70 drinks during a cross-country flight.

While the Gang’s antics are usually based on nothing but nonsense, this true story only adds another level of hilarity to the episodes. The cherry on top is a brief appearance by Wade Boggs himself. In an interview, Charlie Day said that not only was Boggs happy to participate in the episode, but that his real-life record was a lot more impressive than previously thought.

4 Saved: Michael Naughton as the Waiter

Michael Naughton first appeared up in “The Gang Dines Out,” where he is a server at one of the finest restaurants in Philadelphia. He’s crossed paths with the Gang a number of times since, and every time the Waiter emerges worse for wear.

Just this season, Naughton appeared in “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot,” where he is now working as a flight attendant. Once again, the Waiter tries to get the Gang to acknowledge how they’ve sabotaged him in the past. But once again, the Gang can’t remember who he is.

Naughton plays the Waiter with a kind of obsessive desperation beneath his everyman facade; he seems like someone who really would let the Gang get the better of him. He’s also the kind of supporting character that rewards loyal fans every time he pops back up.

3 Hurt: Stephen Collins as Bruce Mathis

Stephen Collins popped up in season two and three of It’s Always Sunny, where he played Bruce Mathis, the biological father of Dennis and Dee. Bruce invests most of his time and money helping out various charities around the world, making him a polar opposite of his children. This also made Collins — who was best known for playing Reverend Eric Camden on 7th Heaven — seem like an ideal fit for the part.

In the years since, Collins has both been accused and admitted to being an abuser. The actor has obviously not appeared on the show since, but going back and watching these episodes with Collins can be more than a little discomfiting.

2 Saved: Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds

With Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton working on the show right from the very beginning, the actors were afforded the opportunity to mold their characters as they saw fit. However, the character of Dee Reynolds was developed before an actress was cast, and she was originally meant to be the Gang’s voice of reason.

Thankfully, Kaitlin Olson nabbed the role, and over time Dee became just as hilariously pathetic as the other members of the Gang.

Being a former member of The Groundlings, Olson clearly had talent as a comedic performer — which might also explain why Dee fancies herself as a bit of an improv comic. The actress isn’t afraid to make Dee as embarrassing as possible, which adds an element of cringe-comedy to the show that’s not found in the other characters.

1 Saved: Rob McElhenney as Mac

Without Rob McElhenney, there would be no It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The struggling actor/writer decided to put plans for the series into motion after a number of other projects fell through. With the help of Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, McElhenney made a short episode of the series, which he used to pitch the sitcom. Over a decade later, McElhenney still serves as an executive produces while continuing to write a number of episodes.

As far as his role of Mac is concerned, McElhenney isn’t afraid to take the character in different directions.

He put on a whopping 50 pounds for season seven and Mac finally came out of the closet for good last year — just a few of the many ways McElhenney has kept the show feeling fresh after thirteen seasons.

 —

Who’s your favorite actor on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Let us know!



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2018-10-07 02:10:26 – Dylan Dembrow

SNL Distances Themselves from Kanye West During Weekend Update

The week after Kanye West’s unaired pro-Trump ramblings during the season 44 premiere of Saturday Night Live, a few of the show’s cast members have made their feelings regarding the incident clear. Though Leslie Jones had previously expressed hope that the show might steer away from politics, that definitely wasn’t the case with this episode, which began with Matt Damon guest starring as Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings. And things only got more political from there.

West, who performed as the musical guest for the Adam Driver-hosted episode, donned a “Make America Great Again” hat for his final performance of the night. While performing “Ghost Town” with Kid Cudi and 070 Shake, the rapper invited the SNL members up on stage to close out the night. Though the cameras were off by this point, West apparently took a break from singing to launch into an aimless rant that touched on Donald Trump, slavery, and the media that was captured by audience members like Chris Rock. A week later, the Weekly Update team was joined on air by Pete Davidson to discuss what happened.

Related: SNL Weekend Update Defies Censoring with ‘S-Hole’ Trump Sketch

Davidson began by commenting on West’s mental health and calling West’s speech “one of the worst, most awkward things” he’s ever experienced while working on the show, comparing it to an encounter with Chevy Chase. Davidson refutes West’s claim that he was bullied for wearing the MAGA hat but pointed out that everyone wears “stupid” things, including himself.

The comedian continued, addressing West’s belief that slavery isn’t real, and pointing out how wrong that is. He added that West is “a genius, but like, a musical genius,” thus insinuating that he doesn’t want to hear about politics from the rapper. Davidson then addressed the importance of mental health, albeit in joke form. West expressed that the person he is now is “the real” him, because he isn’t taking prescription medications. Davidson, who has been open about his own struggles with bipolar disorder, encouraged West to reconsider getting on medication, mentioning how well it works for him. He sent his point home with a well-received statement: “Being mentally ill is not an excuse to act like a jacka**.”

This is far from the first time that West has pushed the buttons of his peers in the entertainment community: a reference to the sunken place from Get Out sparked a tweet from the film’s writer and director Jordan Peele. He also hilariously sparked comparisons to Avengers: Infinity War big bad Thanos last month. West has been on SNL in the past, and this probably isn’t enough to earn him a ban, but considering his choice to shut down his social media accounts following the incident, he may not be willing to go back in the future.

More: Kenan Thompson to Star in New NBC Sitcom, Might Leave SNL

Source: Saturday Night Live





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2018-10-07 01:10:58 – Becca Bleznak

7 New Character Additions That Hurt Buffy The Vampire Slayer (And 13 That Saved It)

It’s been over twenty years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s groundbreaking pilot hit TV screens and it remains one the most beloved and influential shows of all time. The series subverted expectations, in the process shattering illusions of what people thought television was capable of. It forever altered the pop culture landscape, introducing audiences to a feminist icon they could truly identify with. The show popularized serialized storytelling at a time when TV programs were largely episodic and even changed the way that viewers talked by introducing them to “Buffy speak.”

By taking the idea that high school is Hell quite literally, Joss Whedon was able to use werewolves, witches, and vampires to explore themes of desire, female empowerment, and addiction. The writers personified feelings such as isolation, alienation and humiliation, using them to ground fantastical situations in those very real emotions.

Buffy was praised for a great many things, from snappy dialogue to clever plotting. However, one of the most vital elements of Whedon’s magnum opus was undoubtedly the amazing characters with which he chose to populate this world. These players were as lovable as they were relatable and the series continues to resonate with viewers of all ages. However, not all characters introduced to the series could be as awesome as Buffy, Willow, or Xander. While certain new additions had an undeniably positive effect on the series as a whole, there were also a few that BtVS would’ve been better off without.

Here are 7 New Character Additions That Hurt Buffy The Vampire Slayer (And 13 That Saved It).

20 Saved – Spike and Dru

Sunnydale got its very own Sid and Nancy when Spike and Drusilla showed up in season 2 episode “School Hard”, quickly establishing themselves as the new Big Bads in town. They were never meant to last as long as they did, but stellar performances from James Marsters and Juliet Landau gave both characters a stay of execution. These two didn’t just shake up Sunnydale, but the show’s entire mythology. They were living proof that vampires were capable of genuine emotion. Their intense bond and amazing chemistry made fans fall hard for the couple. 

Spike, of course, went on to play a much larger role in the series as a whole. Writers kept finding new ways to justify his continued existence and fans never complained, because no one wanted the vampire gone.

19 Hurt – Riley

Buffy needed to move on from Angel, but did she really have to take up with “Captain Cardboard”? Riley Finn (Mark Blucas) first appeared in the season 4 premiere, “The Freshman”, and went on to hurt the show in ways almost too numerous to list.

With him came the Initiative, which remains the storyline that most BtVS fans would rather forget.

Even after the organization was no longer part of the narrative, Riley continued to overstay his welcome. Viewers were forced to deal with his constant whining and eventually, his infidelity. These were all plot points that the show could’ve done without. It was sad when Riley helicoptered out of Buffy’s life, but only because we care about her feelings. Ultimately, no one really missed him.

18 Saved – Tara

Now this is how you create a new love interest. Oz and Willow had become one of the show’s most beloved couples and fans were as heartbroken as she was over his sudden departure. Replacing the werewolf was going to be just as difficult as finding a way for Buffy to get over Angel. However, the show chose to go in a new direction entirely with Tara Maclay, who debuted in season 4 episode “Hush”. Not only was she a woman, but she also complemented Willow in very different ways than Oz had.

Not all viewers embraced this storyline initially, but Amber Benson’s performance quickly won most of them over. Before long, fans became incredibly invested in Willow and Tara’s relationship. In many ways, they became the show’s central couple, as well as its emotional anchor.

17 Saved – Anya

Much like James Marsters, Emma Caulfield earned more time on the show through her impressive performance. Her arc wasn’t meant to last much past her first appearance in season 3 episode “The Wish”.  Anya Christina Emmanuella Jenkins went from human to vengeance demon and back again. She was over 1100 old, but had completely lost touch with her humanity before meeting the Scoobies.

It was more than Anya’s evolution that made her special, though. She was the character who posed the questions that most people want to ask but think that they shouldn’t. Whether ruminating on love, loss, or the simple cold truth of mortality, Anya always said exactly what she meant. Even her lack of tact was charming. The former demon brought a different perspective to the group, as well as some undeniable humor.

16 Hurt – Dawn

This is kind of a tough one, because the storyline surrounding Dawn’s existence was one of the show’s best. Her introduction in the season 5 premiere, “Buffy vs. Dracula”, was particularly genius. Dawn was dropped into the series as if she had always been there, leaving viewers wondering if they had missed earlier clues of Buffy having a sister.

Dawn herself was always little more than an annoyance to most fans.

It didn’t help that Michelle Trachtenberg played the character as younger than she was. This wasn’t all her fault, as Dawn was initially meant to be portrayed by a younger actress. The main problem wasn’t season 5 Dawn anyway. In later years, writers clearly weren’t sure what to do with her, giving Buffy’s sister one ludicrous plot line after another: “Dawn’s in trouble. Must be Tuesday.

15 Saved – Glory/Ben

Glory is one of the greatest Big Bads ever to appear on BtVS. Debuting in season 5 installment “There’s No Place Like Home”, she brought the season-long threat to a whole new level. Glory wasn’t just another demon. She was a literal god, just trying to get back to her home sweet Hell. However, it was more than just sheer power that made Glory such a great villain. Clare Kramer’s manic performance is what really set her apart.

Introduced an episode before Glory, Ben (Charlie Weber) was serviceable enough.

What really brought depth to the kind doctor was the revelation that he and Glorificus were sharing a body.

This was one of the show’s most successful twists. Seriously, no one saw it coming.

14 Saved – Wesley

While it can be argued that the character of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce was utilized far better on Angel, there’s no denying that the stuffy new Watcher was another great addition to the cast of BtVS. Debuting in season 3 installment “Bad Girls”, Alexis Denisof imbued Wesley with undeniable heart and humor, despite the character’s uptight personality.

Aside from Wesley himself, it was the dynamic between him and Giles that helped to elevate the series during season 3. We got to explore a whole new side Buffy’s Watcher. It was one thing to know about his “Ripper” past, but it was the juxtaposition of Rupert and Wesley that truly proved how awesome Giles actually was – not that we didn’t love him already.

13 Hurt – Warren

The Trio is kind of everyone’s least favorite Big Bad. However, while Jonathan and Andrew were both worthy additions to the series, Warren never had any redeeming qualities. He first appeared in season 5 episode “I Was Made to Love You” and proved himself a total creep immediately.

Although Warren started out as a punchline, he turned out to be a misogynistic monster.

Adam Busch did an excellent job of making the character incredibly unlikable, but it was Warren’s cruelty that brought season 6 to the lowest of places. “Dead Things” was one of the most brutal episodes of BtVS, and not in a good way. Plus, no Buffy fan will ever forgive him for firing the gun that took Tara’s life. Warren did a lot of damage and his character was never compelling or likable enough to outweigh that fact.

12 Saved – Oz

Fans fell in love with Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Seth Green) around the same time that Willow did. From the moment he appeared in season 2 episode “Inca Mummy Girl”, he was pretty much smitten with her – even in her Hallowe’en costume. Unlike Xander, Oz actually realized how awesome Willow was and fans were overjoyed to see her finally properly appreciated.

Oz was so beloved, in fact, that even though he left under truly awful circumstances, many viewers were still torn when he came back for Willow. A lesser character could never have remained in fans’ hearts after such indiscretions. In the end, the writers found someone even better for Willow, but it speaks volumes that so many viewers were willing to forgive Oz after he locked himself in a cage with Veruca.

11 Hurt – Veruca

Veruca (Paige Moss) made her first appearance in season 4 episode “Living Conditions”. Oz may have thought that she was pretty cool, but viewers noticed that something was off about her.

Most Buffy fans are pretty protective of Willow and no one liked seeing her relationship with Oz threatened.

It’s not that it makes no sense that something would break up Willow and Oz. They dated in high school and many such relationships do not survive the transition to college. The main issue was the werewolf herself. Veruca was kind of over the top, from her musical performances to her evil machinations. Perhaps she was meant to be a two-dimensional mustache-twirling villain. Regardless, no one mourned Veruca after Oz ended her life.

10 Saved – Mayor Wilkins

Fans were introduced to Mayor Richard Wilkins in season 3 episode “Homecoming”. Sure, he was a major Big Bad whose ascension plans would’ve left the world in ruins, but he was also incredibly polite. BtVS has often excelled at creating villains that fans still kind of rooted for. The Mayor was one of the best, and not just because he was such a formidable opponent.

Richard’s relationship with Faith gave his character real depth. Much like the love that Spike and Dru shared with one another, the Mayor’s affections for his protégée made him much more human, which in turn made viewers care more about him. Plus, Harry Groener’s pitch-perfect performance made it impossible not to enjoy Mayor Wilkins.

9 Hurt – Kennedy

Kennedy was as much of an epic fail as Riley. The writers proved that they could craft more than one great love interest for Willow, so what happened with her? Introduced in season 7 episode “Bring on the Night”, Kennedy (Iyari Limon) was spoiled, argumentative and honestly, kind of bland. The key to a great TV relationship is making both characters compelling in their own right.

While fans came to love both Oz and Tara rather quickly, you’d be hard pressed to find many Kennedy fans out there.

There was nothing about Willow’s new girlfriend to even distinguish her from the other Potential Slayers, save her bad attitude. Willow deserved better and so did fans.

8 Saved – Faith

Shaking up things from the moment she arrived in season 3 installment “Faith, Hope and Trick”, Faith Lehane was Buffy’s dark reflection. The Slayers were incredibly different from one another and yet, undeniably two sides of the same coin. Eliza Dushku’s magnetic performance brought so much passion and energy to the role, and she had no trouble fitting in with the rest of the cast.

Faith provided new depth not only for the slayer line, but also to the idea of what it actually means to be Slayer. Before Faith’s arrival, fans had never seen a Slayer go rogue. However, it didn’t matter how far Faith went. Viewers were always hoping that she could somehow redeem herself. Thanks to her time on Angel, she was given that chance.

7 Saved – Robin

Robin Wood’s (D.B. Woodside) debut in season 7 premiere “Lessons” initially painted the new school principal as another villain lurking in the shadows. However, much like the rest of the characters on BtVS, appearances are often deceiving. Not only was Robin one of the good guys, but he was also the son of New York-based slayer, Nikki. The series teased this out slowly until fans realized the truth shortly before it was revealed.

It was a pretty genius move.

Although it’s easy to hate on Robin for his sneak attack on Spike, the vampire did off his mother, so his frustration can be understood. In the end, Robin turned out to be a great addition to the Scoobies, bringing both new perspective and an actual bag of tricks to the mix.

6 Hurt – Adam

Buffy almost always managed to deliver the goods when it came to the season-long Big Bad: compelling characters, with humor and even a bit of heart. The series excelled in that moral grey area, making viewers sympathize with villainous even as they committed unforgivable acts. Sadly, Adam (George Hertzberg) was a giant exception to this success.

The ersatz Frankenstein’s monster – or Walsh’s monster, as the case may have been – first appeared in season 4 episode “A New Man”. The only cool thing he ever really did was skewer his creator, Maggie, who was also not a great addition to the series. All in all, Adam was very powerful, but a boring villain. Defeating him required a major deus ex machina, which would’ve been fine if he had been a better character in the first place.

5 Saved – Andrew

Andrew Wells, aka Tucker’s brother, initially seemed as irredeemable as Warren Mears. When we met him in season 6 episode “Flooded”, he was a whiny coward with nothing even resembling a moral compass. After Andrew returned the following year, the first thing he did was take his best friend’s life.

Most fans weren’t happy to see him again, but somewhere over the course of season 7, this changed.

Like BtVS has done with the best of its characters – most of whom, let’s be real, have done some terrible things – the show found a way to endear him to viewers. Andrew may not have exactly been instrumental in Buffy’s battle with the First, but the former villain definitely brought some levity to a fairly dark season. He also provided an excellent example of the power of compassion.

4 Saved – Kendra

Interestingly, Bianca Lawson was originally cast in the role of Cordelia Chase. However, due to scheduling conflicts, the actress was forced to take a smaller part in BtVSIf we can all just put aside her painfully awful accent, everyone can probably admit that Kendra herself was a pretty cool addition to the series.

Fans were introduced to the other slayer in season 2 installment “What’s My Line Part 1”. She appeared initially to be another enemy, but instead proved vital in saving Angel’s life. Kendra’s existence answered important questions about the slayers and it was this new line, beginning with her, that later allowed for the introduction of Faith. The juxtaposition of Kendra and Buffy was also quite interesting, as they each approached their calling so differently. She also helped Buffy see that slaying was more than just a job.

3 Hurt – Forrest

Another irritating and useless season 4 addition, Forrest Gates (Leonard Roberts) was introduced in “The Initiative”.

He was little more than a foil for Riley and Buffy’s relationship.

Forrest’s feelings for his fellow soldier bordered on obsession and there was nothing interesting about him in his own right.Riley’s other pal Graham may have been boring, but at least he wasn’t so annoying. Forrest was self-righteous and obviously had very little going on in the way of an actual life. No one mourned him after he his passing. The worst part about Forrest’s demise was that it wasn’t even the last we saw of him, because Adam chose to reanimate his husk. Even then, he was still a total drag.

2 Saved – Jonathan

Jonathan Levinson (Danny Strong) had a continuing presence on Buffy the Vampire Slayer for years after his first appearance in season 2 installment “Inca Mummy Girl”. He was always on the periphery, being picked on, rescued or taken advantage of. Prior to joining the Trio, Jonathan was at the center of season 3 episode “Earshot” and season 4 installment “Superstar”. The former was incredibly poignant and the latter, a hilarious change of pace.

Many fans were surprised to see Jonathan pulled by the dark side, but he never fully committed like his cohorts did. Less obviously evil than Warren and not as easily manipulated as Andrew, he eventually saw the error of his ways. Sadly, by the time Jonathan made an effort to redeem himself, it was too late. That opportunity was stolen from him by his best friend.

1 Saved – Angelus

None of Buffy’s greatest Big Bads were quite as personal or painful to witness as Angelus. Aside from the unfortunate implications of essentially punishing Buffy for being intimate with her boyfriend, there is no denying that the second half of season 2 was the show at its best. This was due in large part to David Boreanaz’s villainous turn.

Two people who were so in love destroying each other was utterly brutal and completely gut-wrenching. It also led to some of BtVS’s most empowering moments. Buffy was just a teenage girl shouldering the weight of the entire world. Feeling as though she had lost everything led to the epiphany that she still possessed what mattered most. Much of the series is about surviving life on life’s terms. More than just enduring this pain, Buffy managed to recover from it.

What new characters do you feel hurt or saved Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-06 04:10:54 – Jamie Gerber

A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad (And Always Has Been)

WARNING: Major spoilers for A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born‘s ending undoes what could have been a Hollywood classic – but that’s not exactly Bradley Cooper’s fault. From its first version in 1937, A Star Is Born has always had a problematic resolution to its story, one that’s only got worse over the past century, and this latest version is no different.

A Star Is Born is a classic story that Hollywood loves so much it’s told it four times (with a suspiciously-similar earlier version, several failed attempts and many, many imitators). A top-of-his-game star (in 2018, Bradley Cooper’s rock star Jackson Maine) is suffering from alcoholism and in a stupor discovers a struggling artist (Lady Gaga as Ally, a waitress moonlighting in a drag bar), falling in love with both her and her talent. He provides her with a big break, sending her fame into the stratosphere just as his addictions begin to derail his career. The pair marry, but despite their love things begin to fray.

Related: Read Our A Star Is Born Review

It’s a tale of rags to riches, of falls from grace, of the power of love, and personal identity within all of that. And, for much of the runtime, A Star Is Born 2018 is genuinely a great version of all those stories. Gaga’s first major concert leaves you floating, Cooper shows mental affliction with grace, both perform their songs incredibly (to actual live crowds, no less), and are utterly believable as troubled lovers. It is, for much of its runtime, a very good film worthy of that deafening hype.

However, everything implodes into a black hole of pretentiousness as what could have been a great film its own right has to follow through on being called A Star Is Born

  • This Page: The Problem With A Star Is Born’s Ending
  • Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad
  • Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

What Happens In A Star Is Born’s Ending

We’ll stick with Cooper’s take for now before going deeper into the past. A Star Is Born‘s third act is kicked off by Ally winning the Grammy for Best New Artist – a major step for her career, undercut entirely by Jack drunkenly taking to the stage with her and relieving himself on live TV. He goes into rehab and she wrestles with where her focus should lie, eventually deciding to try and protect her recovering husband. She cancels her European tour when her agent, Rez, blocks the duo playing together.

As a result, Jack kills himself. He’s confronted by a seething Rez who has no sympathies or expectations of sobriety and states outright Jack’s ruining his wife’s career. When she matter-of-fact states the tour cancellation, he sees the impact of his actions and, while she plays a concert, he hangs himself in their garage.

Related: Every Song On A Star Is Born’s Soundtrack

This breaks Ally at first, leaving her emotionally distraught, before her understanding the meaning of Jack’s sacrifice – to enable her to truly become the star he always saw – helps her pull through. The film ends at a tribute concert in Jack’s memory. “My name is Ally Maine.” she declares before singing “I’ll Never Love Again”, a song based on their relationship they wrote together while he was recovering. A flashback shows the pair singing, she looks through the camera at the audience, the end.

Why A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad

Removing the ending of all presentation and self-imposed importance (a character looking into the camera at the end is an overused trope that Cooper simply doesn’t earn), in just writing down the events of A Star Is Born its problems should be obvious.

Jack decides to kill himself to save his wife, committing suicide because it’s the only way to set her free. This comes about two hours into a film which has slowly built up its numerous interpersonal relationships, and so comes as a drastic and rather unearned turn. Now, there is an argument to be made about accuracy to the unpredictability of mental illness, but given the intimacy audiences had with both Jack and Ally up until this moment, that doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. A Star Is Born, plainly, presents suicide as the only way out. It’s meant to come across as a selfless act but still values success as a true route to happiness, meaning anything emotional about the “gesture” is laced with hypocrisy.

But it’s what comes after and Ally’s coming to terms with her loss that’s so disquieting. For all her innate talent being the drive of the story and her freely made decision to step back what motivated Jack to kill himself, the final scene makes everything about Jack; the mononymous singer for the first time takes on her husband’s surname at his concert, where she performs a song that he helped her write in her original singer style. The suggestion is meant to be that Jack was holding her back, but in the shadow of the previous two hours the strange implication is that the act of a true star being born came from the adversity of Jack’s sacrifice. Making Ally’s success symbiotic to her dead husband is already heavily in the text of the film, but the final scene makes her final ascension even more indebted to his drastic act.

It’s hard to not read A Star Is Born‘s ending as trivializing suicide down to a plot point to give the fundamentally broken male lead the defining role in its female protagonist’s arc. It’s a weird move to make in 2018, although don’t believe this is just the product of an 80-year-old movie being remade. There’s something flawed at the heart of A Star Is Born.

Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad

The True Story Behind A Star Is Born’s Ending Explains The Problem

There have been four versions of A Star Is Born: the 1937 Hollywood-skewering original starring Janet Gaynor and Frederick March, the 1954 musical starring Judy Garland and James Mason, the 1976 shift to the music industry with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and the latest Cooper/Gaga release. Each one has its own quirks, but all endeavor to tell the same story of love and fame intertwined, and all have the same basic ending. But the 1937 version isn’t the start. While A Star Is Born‘s narrative is a fiction, it’s very much based on truth; each movie is rooted heavily in the entertainment industry of the time – Hollywood for the 1937 and 1954 versions, music for 1976 and 2018 – and aims to tell an encapsulating story. There are some real-life events that inspired it.

The established star falling for an unknown as she climbs to the top was seen in actors Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay’s relationship, with the pair marrying in 1928 when the former was an unknown after starring in a Broadway show together. Their marriage fell apart after she rose above him and he fell into alcoholism. They separated in 1935 after seven years of marriage, two years before A Star Is Born was released. This appears to have been composited with the death of silent film actor John Bowers, who died at sea in 1936 after failing to win a part (whether it was a suicide or not is unclear). There are others (as we’ll see) but these are regarded as the ones who powered the 1937 version.

Related: Lady Gaga Fans Are Trolling Venom With Fake Bad Reviews

Of course, there’s one key distinction between inspiration and movie: in real life, it was two unrelated stories. There are the famous lovers who piggyback success and the past-it star who takes his own life, but in all cases these two aspects are entirely independent; the woman goes on to greater success by cutting the man out, while elsewhere another man falls from grace. Both stories epitomize Hollywood together, and taken alongside each other rather than melded have an ingrained believability. A Star Is Born trades that for something more streamlined in having the suicide be the culmination of the romance, but it’s also idealistic and wistful, losing the real moral of either.

This is reflected in what is regarded as a proto-Star Is Born, the 1932 film What Price Hollywood? Released five years before the 1937 version and produced also by David O. Selznick (and directed by George Cukor, who was approached for the first A Star Is Born and directed the first remake), this is regarded as something of a dry run at the story. Obviously from the release year it can’t share the same real-life inspirations (although, because this is the Golden Age of Hollywood, there are others pointed to), but the core concept and even smaller story beats are there, albeit with one massive difference: the leads are not romantically involved. Lowell Sherman’s Max drunkenly finds Constance Bennett’s Mary and helps make her a star, eventually killing himself after he sees realizes how far he’s fallen and is hurting his friend, while Mary’s suffers an ill-fated marriage that breaks down due to her absences filming and is reconciled at the end.

Watched today, What Price Hollywood? has a cynicism about the film industry ahead of its time despite ultimately being a movie romanticizing Hollywood – and at the core of this is the tragic story of Max and its impact on Mary’s life. The title question is apt.

How The Remakes Have Tried To “Fix” The Ending

In contrast to What Price Hollywood?, A Star Is Born 1937 carries a self-awareness and charm, but in bridging the romantic and the career side of protagonist Esther creates the problematic suicide reading. It’s not helped by dated elements, including the defining part of Esther’s ascension being the actress known as Vicki Lester taking on her husband’s name with a declaration “This is Mrs. Norman Maine“. It works given the time period, but even 16 years later needed an update.

Related: Watch the Trailer For A Star Is Born

The 1954 version is, for the most part, a beat-for-beat remake, just with dance number expansion to make it a musical, but it does make some strides to justifying the ending. The toll that caring for a drunk has on Judy Garland’s Vicki Lester is shown gradually, most upsettingly in an off-stage breakdown she immediately returns to filming from: an unavoidable presentation of the line between art and performer. But, ultimately, it ends in the same way: Norman Maine overhears Vicki’s plans to quit acting to care for her husband, so he feigns going for a swim and drowns himself; after a traumatic period and being unmasked at her funeral (the invasion of the press), Vicki returns to the public eye where she declares herself “Mrs. Norman Maine“. Every issue discussed is here.

The 1976’s A Star Is Born is overall incredibly melodramatic, nowhere less than its handling of the ending. What it should be praised for is its attempts at giving the female lead a greater sense of autonomy: throughout Streisand’s Esther makes decisions that power the narrative, not just being led along by Kristoffersen as those who came before her, but that’s lost thuddingly in the finale. After his meltdown, John Howard has imposed isolation – not rehab – and when returning home immediately sleeps with a reporter wanting an interview for Esther. The couple tries to power past this, but John figures he’s still broken and crashes his car at high speeds. Again, Esther is sad before taking his name (and singing at a tribute event).

Like we’ve already explored with A Star Is Born 2018, all versions have tried to provide their own contemporary spin on the tale to iron out its kinks, yet all wind up having to repeat the same suicide-anger-name triple-tap that doesn’t belong. A degree can be accounted to the changing times, but that ignores that the original trio of movies released over nearly 40 years, and that Cooper wasn’t able to address it either.

Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

Why Bradley Cooper Can’t Fix A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper certainly tries to bring a modern slant to the worn tale of A Star Is Born. He invests heavily in making Jack and Ally’s opposite trajectories operate independently – Jack is suffering from tinnitus before he’s heard a note of “La Vie En Rose”, while Ally’s SNL appearance is deemed to contradict his advice – while making the love story more immediate. It’s a bigger story, more personal and considerably more consummately paced.

But, like all the others, the ending hits a snag. And some of his decisions make it worse. The method of final descent is different, with the awards show upset and rehab undone not by Maine going off the rails again as in every other take, but rather by Ally’s agent calling his supposed bluff. It’s implied from the British Rez knowing when exactly Jackson first toured across the pond that he was once a fan, now disillusioned with his hero, making him a millennial scapegoat to any affronting reading.

Related: 2018 Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Films to See

This generational push and pull could have been what sent A Star Is Born to greatness. Sam Elliott’s speech about there only being twelve notes played over and over, with the majesty coming from how the artist uses them is a beautiful sentiment that sees Cooper self-justifying another remake and appears like a zen view on the entertainment business that birthed it. Except it isn’t, because this idea is also trying to explain the ending, claiming that the music industry is cyclical and that stars are born and then new stars are born later; Jack’s death is enabling that. What the film seems to miss is that for one state to ever enter another, a star must always die. Ally will fall too. The raw textual argument is that the failures are as eternal as the successes, raising the question of worth, yet the film provides no further exploration and presents it as somehow immediately uplifting.

And that’s the hump that A Star Is Born 2018, like its predecessors, can’t get over. The story thinks it’s a biting, self-aware take on itself, but it’s too close to the subject to see that it’s really just propagating a harsh cycle. This isn’t helped by the film being weighted by so much – the casting of Lady Gaga, his writer-director-producer-actor whammy, even Sam Elliott as the Sam Elliott-type – although those concerns are also the key explanation for what’s really going on.

A Star Is Born Only Exists Because Of Ego

Throughout this article, there’s been one question dangling unspoken. Why are there four versions of A Star Is Born anyway? It’s a story that is flawed and dated, on a topic which has been tackled in more films than any other. Yes, each movie got serious Oscar nominations and wins, but that alone isn’t enough to justify going back. The true answer is enlightening.

1954’s A Star Is Born was conceived as a bid to restart Judy Garland’s career after it stalled over the 1940s. 1976’s A Star Is Born was Barbra Streisand’s attempt (along with then-husband Jon Peters) to boost her standing in Hollywood. And 2018’s A Star Is Born is Bradley Cooper’s grand attempt to win the Oscar that he believes he deserves (his entire post-Hangover career is a carefully played game of chess with a Golden Baldie the King). There are studio concerns too (before Cooper, Warner Bros had been attempting to get a remake off the ground since the early 2010s, although as a Beyonce vehicle has the same career expansion goals), but those are the primary purposes of each version. A Star Is Born is a vanity project on repeat.

Related: A Star Is Born Is An Oscar Favorite – But Could An Infamous Producer Hurt Its Chances?

Now, vanity projects needn’t be bad, and indeed a lot of good comes from each of these attempts. Indeed, each was ultimately successful in both their primary and commercial goals: Garland’s career was rejuvenated; Streisand won her second Oscar; and Cooper’s currently the front-runner in multiple categories for next year’s Academy Awards.

But this aspect appears to be why each version of A Star Is Born struggles to understand the real meaning of its ending. Each powering force believes this movie will be what takes them being a Norman/Jack Maine to a new Esther/Ally while missing that it’s built into the story to be impossible. They believe so much in the two contradictory Hollywood legends wholesale, so don’t see that the story is almost warning against such a thing.

A Star Is Born Is No Longer Needed

In recent years, we’ve seen Hollywood’s reliable rotation of movies about itself take a genuinely incisive slant. 2015’s Best Picture Winner Birdman was an ostentatious exploration of ego that too ended with the protagonist committing suicide, but there it was with the wry critique that fame and adoration are fleeting and that such a bold act was the only way for the self-involved hero to reach the heights he dreamed of. Then there’s 2017’s almost-Best Picture Winner La La Land, which was a celebration of Hollywood-gone-by looking at love in a city of stars, eventually concluding that success required the sacrifice of the central relationship.

Together, these take on all the ideas that A Star Is Born is playing with and apply them in a more thoughtful way. The messages are more widely applicable and their endnotes have considerably less of the hypocrisy. Birdman and La La Land may find joy in the arts, but they also uncover the trials of creativity and fame, keeping the brutal truths in earshot while presenting from a position of success.

A Star Is Born 2018 is a good movie, an undeniable achievement for both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. But there is a flaw at the heart of the tale that just doesn’t ring true. Unless it’s made with a completely revisionist, ego-less eye, in twenty years we do not need another one.

More: Every Version Of A Star Is Born Ranked, From Garland To Gaga



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2018-10-06 01:10:52 – Alex Leadbeater

Hillary Clinton’s Madam Secretary Cameo, New Details Revealed

Hillary Clinton will be appearing on an upcoming episode of Madam Secretary, and details have been released ahead of the season 5 premiere. The CBS political drama stars Téa Leoni as Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst who assumes the position of Secretary of State following the mysterious death of her predecessor. The series, which is executive produced by Lori McCreary, has drawn generally positive reviews and has commented on many of the real-life issues facing the U.S. government.

Though Leoni’s Secretary McCord has been compared to Clinton, the 2016 presidential candidate has not appeared on the series before now. Madeleine Albright, who held the position of Secretary of State under Clinton’s husband’s administration, appeared in a season 2 episode of the series. It was first announced in July that Albright, Clinton, and another former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, would make an appearance in this episode. Now, just days before the premiere, some insight into what went on behind-the-scenes has been shared.

Related: ‘Madam Secretary’ Series Premiere Review

TVLine reports that, during a set visit last month, McCreary and stars Keith Carradine and Erich Bergen revealed what it was like to have Clinton and the other former Secretaries of State on set. McCreary recalls that the politicians were giving with their “time and energy,” adding “it was really an honor that they would spend their time with us.” Carradine, who stars on the show as U.S. President Dalton, shared a funny moment with Clinton, in which she referred to him as “Mr. President.” In fact, he says that all of the Secretaries of State referred to him as such, noting their “spirit of play” on set.

But possibly the most intriguing anecdote comes from Bergen, who plays Blake Moran, personal assistant to Secretary McCord. Bergen has a background in musical theater, which also happens to be a passion of Clinton’s. While chatting with the politician on set, Bergen learned that she knew of his role in the show Waitress, and told him she “was a big fan of Smash,” a musical drama that aired on NBC and was canceled after just two seasons.

Though this is Clinton’s first time on this particular show, it’s not her first time playing a version of herself on T. In fact, it’s not even her first time this year. In the first episode of the revival of Murphy Brown, Clinton shared a moment with the eponymous journalist, making a joke about her emails. The episode also featured a fake Twitter conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump. And, in 2016, Clinton made a brief appearance on Broad City, taking a selfie with Abbi and Ilana at her campaign headquarters in New York.

More: Murphy Brown Revival Premiere Includes Hillary Clinton Cameo

Madam Secretary season 5 premieres on Sunday, October 7 on CBS.

Source: TVLine



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2018-10-05 06:10:30 – Becca Bleznak