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Category: Trivia

55 Things We Learned from “The Rock” Commentary with Michael Bay and Nicolas Cage

Posted in Celebs, Movies, and Trivia

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 55 Things We Learned from The Rock Commentary with Michael Bay and Nicolas Cage.  Here are three of my favorites…

20. Sean Connery suggested that Bay “needed to rehearse more and just slow down in the morning,” and the director took the advice.

33. Cage was concerned that he “looked like a little Japanese schoolboy” in his SCUBA gear while the other actors all looked cool. Bay admits to intentionally making him look ridiculous.

39. It took a while for Bay to convince both Cage and Connery to go underwater while flames blasted above the surface at the 1:22:40 mark, but both actors eventually agreed. There are safety divers immediately outside of frame during the sequence. “It was very frightening,” adds Cage. “And Sean wasn’t happy about it.”

 

Breaking Bad: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Walter White

Posted in Celebs, Crime, Trivia, and TV

Craig Elvy and ScreenRant present Breaking Bad: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Walter White.  Here are three of my favorites…

15. HE HAS MUCH IN COMMON WITH THE REAL HEISENBERG

It’s common knowledge that Walter White’s Heisenberg alias is inspired by real life scientist Werner Heisenberg, but like so much else in Breaking Bad, this was not a random choice, and the two figures share more than just a name.

Like Walter, the real life Heisenberg also suffered from cancer, albeit not of the lung. Both men also followed a similar career trajectory, in the sense that they started off on the straight and narrow before becoming involved in something darker. In the case of Werner Heisenberg, the scientist won a Nobel Prize in 1932 but would eventually form part of the Nazis’ Nuclear Research team.

Perhaps the main reason why Walter White was given the Heisenberg alias, however, is because of the scientist’s famous Uncertainty Principle. This theory claims that a particle’s momentum and exact position cannot both be known for certain. This acts as an metaphor for Walter White’s transformation from humble teacher to hardened criminal – as he gains momentum, his moral position becomes less clear.

9. JOHN CUSACK AND MATTHEW BRODERICK WERE CONSIDERED FOR THE PART

John Cusack and Matthew Broderick Breaking Bad: 15 Things You Didnt Know About Walter White

Before AMC was sold on Bryan Cranston’s suitability for the role of Walter White, several other actors were strongly considered, including big names such as John Cusack (High Fidelity, Being John Malkovich) and Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).

Although AMC’s apparent determination to cast an eighties coming-of-age movie icon is certainly odd, both actors would’ve likely been talented enough to portray White’s everyman-turned-criminal character. Cusack in particular has proven himself to be equally effective as both a protagonist and an antagonist.

With hindsight, however, it’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Cranston in the role, and Vince Gilligan has previously stated that he was actively against casting big-name actors, as he felt this would be detrimental to the show. Breaking Bad’s major success proved he knew exactly what he was doing.

4. WALT WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO DIRECTLY KILL JANE

One of the most despicable acts Walter White commits during Breaking Bad is allowing Jesse’s girlfriend Jane to die of a drug overdose during the season two offering “Phoenix,” especially since he could have at least made some attempt to save her. As uncomfortable as this scene is, however, the original draft was far, far darker.

Vince Gilligan’s original intention was for Walt to kill Jane in a more direct way, either by injecting her with drugs himself or by actually moving her into a position that would make her choke. Other members of the writers’ room disagreed with this idea and felt that it would make viewers hate Walt more than was necessary at that point in the show.

Eventually, Gilligan came to the same conclusion, and Walt stood by and watched Jane die, rather than killing her directly. As if that’s any better.

30 Things We Learned from the “John Wick: Chapter 2” Commentary

Posted in Celebs, Movies, and Trivia

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 30 Things We Learned from the John Wick: Chapter 2 Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

15. Common lobbied hard for a role in the sequel after loving the first film and even flew himself to Los Angeles for fight training.

16. There was apparently much debate over whether or not Wick actually needs to shoot Gianno D’Antonio (Claudia Gerini) even after she’s sliced her own wrists. They fought for it though because “in order to fulfill what you need to do you have to pull the trigger.”

20. They agree that one of the secrets to John Wick violence is to start with something funny, end with something funny, and fill the in-between with as much brutality as they can muster.

 

35 Things We Learned from James Mangold’s “Logan” Commentary

Posted in Celebs, Comics, Movies, and Trivia

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 35 Things We Learned from James Mangold’s Logan Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. He and Hugh Jackman began thinking about a follow-up immediately after completing 2013’s The Wolverine, and they knew it would most likely “bring the curtain down on his character.” They both agreed that superhero films in general had grown repetitious and wanted to do “something different, something deeper.”

2. The first thought on the road to crafting the story here was “what is Wolverine frightened of? What is Logan afraid of?” They wanted his final story to be the thing that scares him the most, and after scouring the comics he realized there was no villain or end-of-the-world scenario that would unsettle Wolverine. “The answer that came to me was love. Love scares him, intimacy scares him, being dependent on others scares him, being vulnerable scares him.”

10. Some people assumed Mangold’s interest in the R-rating was that he’d be able to increase the level and detail of violence, foul language, and sexual references, “and in many ways all those things were attractive.” His biggest reason for going this route though “was a little more complicated than that.” An adult-rated film means the studio won’t make an effort to market the film to children with Happy Meals and toy tie-ins, and “what does that mean to the filmmaker?” He says what it changes for the writers/director is that no one at the studio is reading the script on a marketing level and then dictating editing choices to ensure it plays well to kids. “The ideas of the film are allowed to be more sophisticated because you’re no longer having to pace up the movie, edit it faster, make it more charming or colorful for a nine year old’s attention span. The film becomes what I had hoped for which is a comic book film for adults.”

“Star Trek”: 15 Things You Never Knew About The Vulcans

Posted in Celebs, Trivia, and TV

Scott Baird and ScreenRant present Star Trek: 15 Things You Never Knew About The Vulcans.  Here are three of my favorites…

15. LEONARD NIMOY INVENTED MAJOR PARTS OF VULCAN LORE
The fans of Star Trek were introduced to the Vulcan culture through Mr. Spock, who was played by Leonard Nimoy. Whilst Nimoy was often overly associated with the character (to the point of being typecast), he was also proud of Spock’s cultural impact, which was partly due to his performance and his additions to Vulcan lore.

In the episode “Amok Time”, we first see the Vulcan hand gesture. This was pitched by Nimoy, as he felt that the Vulcan’s needed a special greeting. The hand gesture comes from Judaism, as a Rabbi performs a similar move with their hands during prayer. Nimoy saw this as a child and it stuck with him, which is why he used it in Star Trek.

The other major aspect of the Vulcans that was invented by Nimoy was the Vulcan nerve pinch. Spock was originally supposed to knock out an opponent in “The Enemy Within”, but Nimoy felt that this wasn’t something that he would do. Instead, he came up with a takedown move, where he could use telepathic abilities to knock his opponent out. (It was more of a nerve pinch that telepathic powers. – Craig)

11. VULCANS ARE SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE THE DEVIL
There have been fans of Star Trek who have accused the Vulcans of being nothing more than “Space Elves”. The most well-known feature of the Vulcans is their pointed ears, which is shared with the concept of Elves in fantasy fiction (like Lord of the Rings). This isn’t the case, however, as the pointed ears of the Vulcans were created due to budgetary reasons. Creating prosthetic ears was a cheap way of establishing that one of the cast members was an alien, without getting in the way of the actor’s performance.

According to Gene Roddenberry, he intended for the design of Spock to be similar to that of the Devil. The ears and curved eyebrows were intended to evoke the image of Lucifer, which was going to be “provocative” to women. This might seem like a silly idea, but Spock’s design did cause concern at NBC, as they felt it was too devilish. It got to the point where they airbrushed Spock’s ears in the promotional material for the show, in order to remove the points.

13. THE VULCAN TV SHOW
Star Trek: The Original Series ended with its third season. The show had performed poorly during its initial airing (or at least not well enough to justify its budget) and it was axed. It wasn’t until the show hit syndication that Star Trek: The Original Series became massively popular. Despite this, it took over a decade for the franchise to return, in the form of the movie series. There had been many attempts to revive the series before this, as both the fans and the people involved with the production were eager to see Star Trek return to television.

One of the many attempts to revive Star Trek involved a TV show that was set on Vulcan. After The Original Series was cancelled, Paramount approached Gene Roddenberry with the idea of a show that was centered on Spock. The show would depict Spock’s life after leaving the Enterprise, as he returns to Vulcan to live among his own people. Gene Roddenberry refused to helm the project and it was shelved.

The Best TV Shows Ever

Posted in Trivia, and TV

Daniella Lucas and GamesRadar present The Best TV Shows Ever.  Using just their choices here are three of my favorites…

2. Breaking Bad
It’s funny thinking of Breaking Bad as an all-conquering franchise. For most of its run, it was barely watched at all. And then, somewhere around season four, the mainstream started to take notice. The story of Walter White – a genial high school chemistry teacher who starts cooking crystal meth following a terminal cancer diagnosis – is a bleak but hilarious crime epic. Walt epitomises Bad’s genius. As each season progresses you find yourself thinking, “Right, I’m done with this guy…” but Bryan Cranston’s remarkable performance means that even at his most despicable – and he gets pretty low – you can always see his lethally pragmatic point of view.

15. The Shield
The first episode of The Shield ends with anti-gang cop Vic Mackey shooting a colleague in the face, and his crimes just get worse from there. A twisted tale of police corruption in LA, it bagged awards by the score and was a clear influence on Breaking Bad. It’s also that rarest of things – a TV show that actually gets better with each season.

12. The Walking Dead
“The zombie story that never ends!” That was creator Robert Kirkman’s initial idea for his absurdly popular comic. It carried over into the TV adaptation which just wrapped up its sixth season, with a spin-off well into its second season. Beyond the scares and the gore and the zombies, it takes a long, hard look at humanity. What does living in a hostile world for so long do to civilised people, it asks. The results are rarely pretty.

Shows not making the list that might have changed my choices include: Justified; The Wild, Wild West and The Honeymooners.  What else?

“Reservoir Dogs” – Tarantino and Cast Reveal Little-Known Facts

Posted in Celebs, Crime, Movies, and Trivia

Jackie Strauss and The Hollywood Reporter present Reservoir Dogs at 25: Quentin Tarantino and Cast Reveal Little-Known Facts.  Here are three of my favorites…

Making Reservoir Dogs was the happiest time of Tarantino’s life.
Tarantino, who had told THR he plans to retire after his next two films, recalled a personal story about the night Keitel had the cast over for dinner after they had finished two weeks of rehearsals and were about to embark on five weeks of filming. “I was living in Glendale, California, with my mom at the time and [drove to Harvey Weinstein’s house in] Malibu, it’s a long drive but it’s a cool drive,” he explained. “I’m sitting there at Harvey’s and I realized almost all the pressure was off my shoulders, cinematically. These guys were so perfect in their parts. They were so vibe-ing with each other and I thought, ‘My God, if I just keep the movie in focus, I’ve got a movie.'” He continued, “I remember that night getting in my car and just taking that drive all the way from Malibu to Glendale on Sunset Boulevard and that was the happiest time of my life. It was this thing I had thought about for so long, making movies in general, and I thought, ‘This might just work out.'”

All of the stars wanted different roles except for Roth.
When Roth received the script, he was instructed to read the parts of Mr. Blonde and Mr. Pink. But he quickly knew he wanted Mr. Orange. “This thing arrives, this ******* script, Reservoir Dogs — which I thought was a spelling mistake,” he recalls. “About 20 pages in I thought, ‘I’ve got to do this.’ I plowed on through and then the liar emerged, the ‘bad guy’ — the good guy.” (Madsen couldn’t help but interrupt to correct him: “The rat,” he scowled to laughs.) Keitel says he initially wanted the role of Mr. Blonde, but realized he couldn’t play it right. “Michael and Chris Penn did one of my favorite scenes in the movie together,” he recalled. As for Madsen, he wanted the role of Mr. Pink and even auditioned for it. “I did all the big scenes and Quentin just stood there watching me,” he said. “At the end I was all done and thought I did a really great job and Quentin looks at me and says, ‘You’re not Mr. Pink. You’re Mr. Blonde or you’re not in the movie.'”

Madsen says Mr. Blonde typecast him as the bad guy.
“I’ve done over 100 pictures and usually the only one that anyone wants to talk about is Reservoir Dogs and/or Kill Bill,” Madsen told THR. While he’s grateful to be a part of cinematic history, he says he thought his roles in Thelma & Louise and Free Willy would have helped to elevate him to leading-man status. “Unfortunately, it typecasted me as a bad guy,” he said. “I would prefer to be a leading man. I’m a leading man in a bad guy’s body, basically. And everybody thinks of me as the guy with the gun.” Still, he said he’s a long way from finished. “Dogs gave me a career. I wouldn’t imagine I would have been able to do that when I started as an actor, and there’s a lot coming that I’m waiting for.”

7 Things You Don’t Know About “Reservoir Dogs”

Posted in Celebs, Crime, Movies, and Trivia

Gordon Cox and Variety present 7 Things You Don’t Know About Reservoir Dogs.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. Tom Waits auditioned.
Tarantino let this tidbit slip as he discussed the casting process. “We had the casting director from ‘L.A. Law,’” the director recalled. “A lot of really wild people came in and read the parts. Tom Waits came in and read. I had Tom Waits read the Madonna speech, just so I could hear Tom Waits say those lines. And actually, other than Harvey, he gave me one of the first profound compliments on the script. No one had ever told me my work was poetic before.” (Roth, Madsen and Chris Penn all got their parts through those L.A. auditions; Buscemi came aboard after a round of casting in New York.)

2. Tarantino wanted to stage “Reservoir Dogs” as a play.
Keitel brought up this factoid as he recalled the film’s unusually long rehearsal process. “We had two weeks of rehearsal, which is unheard of in Hollywood,” he said. “We actually almost went to four, because Quentin thought at one time about doing a play.”

4. Madsen eventually got his inspiration from James Cagney.
The actor didn’t even practice his big moment at home. When it finally came time for him to shoot the big torture scene, he found inspiration in an unlikely source. “I heard the music, and I said, ‘Oh, ****, I better do something,’ and I started thinking about Jimmy Cagney,” Madsen said. “I remembered this weird little thing that Jimmy Cagney did in a movie that I saw. I don’t remember the name of it. He did this crazy little dance thing. It just popped into my head in the last second. That’s where it came from.” They only shot the scene three or four times, and the first shot of him breaking into that dance is the from the very first take.

Your Favorite Movie Gunfights

Posted in Movies, and Trivia

Jacob Hall and /Film recently posted the results of Your Favorite Movie Gunfights.  Here are the top choices and my comments….

– The Matrix: really set a new standard for integrating computer effects into gunfights so much so that everyone knows what “bullet time” means.

–  Raiders of the Lost Ark: Not so much a gunfight as a “Don’t bring a sword to a gunfight.”

– Shoot ‘Em Up: A movie gunfight lover’s dream.

– Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Not so much a gunfight as the joy of watching Arnold use a helicopter’s mini-gun to shoot up everything without ever harming a human.

– Tombstone:  So many excellent gunfights to choose from and they nailed the right one.  “Did you ever see anything like that?”  “I’ve never even HEARD of anything like that.”

– The Way of the Gun: What a great under-rated movie.  The ending is crazy good.  Makes me want to watch it again soon!

So many other movies that could have made the cut: John Wick 1 & 2; Heat; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly are the four that came to mind first.  Others?

30 Things We Learned from James Mangold’s “3:10 to Yuma” Commentary

Posted in Celebs, Movies, Trivia, and TV

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 30 Things We Learned from James Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

17. His second feature, Cop Land, was viewed by him as “a western, but setting it in the context of the suburban tri-state area.” The original 3:10 to Yuma served as an inspiration of sorts, and he extended that film a nod “in the sense that Stallone’s character is actually named Freddy Heflin and I named him after Van Heflin, the actor who played Dan Evans in the original.”

24. The cave where they huddle against a nighttime assault of bullets is in Los Angeles and is actually the same one featured in the Batman TV series where the Batmobile exited. It had gotten “so cold” in New Mexico that they returned to Hollywood to film the scene.

“No one should be playing a villain. Everyone should be playing a fully-realized person… No person in the world including Hitler or Osama Bin Laden walks around believing they’re a bad guy.”

50 Years of Richard Stark’s Parker

Posted in Authors, Books, Comics, Crime, and Trivia

If you’re a fan of Richard Stark’s Parker you’re going to love the 50 Years of Parker site.  Here’s a taste…

Parker’s Rules

  1. Don’t ever show a gun to a man you don’t want to kill.
  2. Don’t talk to the law.
  3. Always split the money fair.
  4. Each man for himself.
  5. Don’t kill somebody unless you have to. It puts the law on you like nothing else.
  6. Never leave a guy alive who’d like to see you dead.
  7. Don’t let yourself be framed in a lit doorway.
  8. Don’t meet in a town where you’re going to make a hit.
  9. Don’t stay in the hotel where you’re going to make a hit.
  10. Don’t take a job on consignment.
  11. Don’t work with anyone you can’t trust or don’t respect.
  12. When there’s no place to hide, stay where you are.
  13. Any job that requires more than five guys to be pulled can’t be pulled.
  14. For a big enough score, any rule can be broken.