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Previews & Reviews that are Z's Views

15 Things You May Not Know (Have Forgotten) About Momento

Michael Arbeiter and Mental_Floss present 15 Things You May Not Know About Momento.  (And wouldn’t 15 Things You May Have Forgotten About Momento been a cooler title?)  Here are three of my favorites…

1. THE NOLAN BROTHERS CAME UP WITH THE IDEA WHILE ON A ROAD TRIP.
In the summer of 1996, a 26-year-old Christopher Nolan set off from his Chicago home on a 2,000-mile drive toward his new life in Los Angeles with his 20-year-old brother Jonathan along for the ride. In lieu of the license plate game, the Nolan boys passed the time by chatting about potential creative projects, notably Jonathan’s idea for a film about a man with anterograde amnesia.

3. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN ORIGINALLY WANTED A BIGGER STAR FOR THE MAIN ROLE.
Before deciding that the relatively unknown Guy Pearce would be more effective (not to mention affordable) in the role of the amnesia-stricken Leonard, Nolan considered some big-name actors like Brad Pitt, Charlie Sheen, and Thomas Jane for the part. Aaron Eckhart, a rising star who would later appear in 2008’s The Dark Knight for Nolan, was also in contention for the part.

11. NOLAN WANTED TO MAKE A NONLINEAR FILM BECAUSE OF A SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY ABOUT PIZZA DELIVERY.
The complicated chronology of Memento was more than just a stylistic preference to Nolan—it was a cultural necessity in a pre-DVR world. With more and more people watching movies on television leading up to Memento’s release, the director felt films were increasingly sacrificing narrative quality in favor of accessibility to viewers opting to leave the room.

“I think that film narrative has been held back by television,” Nolan told the Los Angeles Times. “It comes down to what I call the pizza delivery scenario: If a pizza arrives while you’re watching TV, you have to answer the door, deal with the man, and then be able to get straight back into the story, having missed three or four minutes. With Memento, on the other hand, if you come in three minutes late you miss the whole movie.”

18 Fun Facts About “The Blues Brothers”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 18 Fun Facts About The Blues Brothers. Here are three of my favorites…

6. ONE OF THE STUNT DRIVERS WAS JOHN WAYNE’S SON.
The Duke’s youngest son, Ethan Wayne, began acting in 1970. But he supplemented his work in front of the camera with a handful of stunting stints.

10. THE STUDIO WANTED THE BAND WHO SANG “CAR WASH” INSTEAD OF ARETHA FRANKLIN.
Universal Pictures wanted new acts like Rose Royce, the band behind hits like “Car Wash” and “I Wanna Get Next to You.” But Aykroyd and company said no. Universal later generated a PR effort to get Franklin an Oscar nomination for her performance. The movie helped revitalize her career.

12. PAUL REUBENS HAS A SMALL BUT VISIBLE ROLE.
The actor best known as Pee-wee Herman played a waiter at Chez Paul, before the band is fully back together.

She Carried His Heart in a Silken Shroud!


Two famous sayings come to mind for this morning’s post…

A reporter once asked Stephen King why he writes such scary stories.  King answered, “It is because I have the heart of a small boy… and I keep it in a jar on my desk.”

The second quote is when a person in love tells his/her lover: “I give you my heart.”

It seems that Frankenstein author Mary Shelley took the second quote literally.  After her husband died Shelley

…kept the heart in a silken shroud, and is said to have carried it with her nearly everywhere for years. In 1852, a year after she died, Percy’s heart was found in her desk. It was wrapped in the pages of one of his last poems, Adonais

Source: Mental_Floss.

Halt Citizen! 15 Facts About “Robocop”

Jake Rossen and Mental_Floss present Halt Citizen! 15 Facts About Robocop. Here are three of my favorites…

7. Weller Refused to Answer to His Real Name.
According to co-star Miguel Ferrer, Weller instructed the producers to issue a memo to the cast and crew advising that no one should refer to him by his real name: he preferred to be called by his character’s name, Murphy, or “Robo.” Ferrer went on to say that, having known Weller for years prior to the film, he enjoyed greeting him with “Hey, Pete.” Weller ignored him.

3. Stan Lee Turned It Down.
In 1984, Neumeier decided to see if he could spin the RoboCop script into a comic book to use as a launching pad for a feature. He ran the idea by Stan Lee; before Lee could commit one way or the other, he and Neumeier attended an early screening of The Terminator, which also had a humanoid as the main character. An impressed Lee told the writer, “Boy, you’re never going to top that!” and passed.

11. Some of the Actors Got Unsolicited Stunt Pay.
Kurtwood Smith and Ray Wise had been standing in such close proximity to a building explosion that the production—without any sense of humor—paid both men for “stunt work,” which amounted to roughly $400 apiece for the scene. But the actors didn’t feel their pay justified the risk to their life: neither was aware the explosion would be that big, and Smith’s coat ended up catching on fire.

You Can Survive An Atom Bomb Survival Wheel

Would you know what to do to survive if an Atom Bomb was dropped on your town?

If you don’t, then you need the handy-dandy You Can Survive An Atom Bomb Survival Wheel!

I wonder if the Atom Bomb Survival Wheel can confirm that the best way of surviving a direct hit from an A-Bomb is to get in a refrigerator (and hope you don’t suffocate) a la Indiana Jones!

Source: Channing Thompson.

10 Things You May Not Know About P.T. Barnum

Evan Andrews and History.com present 10 Things You May Not Know About P.T. Barnum.   Here are three of my favorites…

1. Barnum was an entrepreneur from an early age.
Barnum’s knack for moneymaking first manifested during his youth in Bethel, Connecticut. The future showman sold snacks and homemade cherry rum during local gatherings, and by age 12, he had made enough money to purchase his own livestock. By 21, his holdings also included a general store, a small lottery and even his own newspaper called the “Herald of Freedom.”

2. He first rose to prominence by engineering a famous hoax.
In 1835, Barnum launched his career in entertainment by purchasing Joice Heth, a blind slave touted as being the 161-year-old former nurse of George Washington. After billing Heth as “the most astonishing and interesting curiosity in the world,” Barnum put her on display in New York and took her on a small tour of New England. Visitors lined up to gawk at her withered body and hear her tales of “dear little George,” and Barnum helped fuel popular interest by spreading a rumor that she was actually an automaton controlled by a ventriloquist. The truth about Heth didn’t emerge until after her death in February 1836. During a public autopsy—staged by Barnum at the price of 50 cents for admission—it was revealed that she was most likely no older than 80.

3. Barnum didn’t go into the circus business until relatively late in life.
Barnum is best known for his traveling three-ring circuses, but he didn’t make his first forays under the big top until he was 60 years old. Before then, he was better known as the owner of the Manhattan-based American Museum, a sprawling collection of historical artifacts, aquariums, animal menageries, zoological curiosities and freak shows. Some of the museum’s most notable exhibits included General Tom Thumb, a child dwarf who Barnum famously brought to audience with Queen Victoria of Britain; and the “Fejee Mermaid,” which was actually the upper half of a monkey sewn to the bottom of a fish. Barnum only launched his traveling circus after his museum was twice destroyed by fire. He later teamed with his famed partner James Bailey in 1881, and the two went on to make a fortune running their “Greatest Show on Earth.”

15 Peachy Facts About “Face Off”

Eric D. Snider and Mental_Floss present 15 Peachy Facts About Face Off Here are three of my favorites…

2. IT WAS WRITTEN WITH STALLONE AND SCHWARZENEGGER IN MIND.
Separately, they were among the top action stars of the day (the day being the early ’90s), so teaming them up was an irresistible idea. Moreover, they were both really famous, and as Colleary once said, “The movie doesn’t work unless the actors have a well-established persona” so audiences can appreciate them impersonating each other. (Editorial note: there’s no way Schwarzenegger and Stallone could have imitated one another’s mannerisms as well as Cage and Travolta do.) The two didn’t make Face/Off, but they did eventually make Escape Plan, in which they escape from a futuristic, off-the-grid, middle-of-the-ocean prison very much like the one in Face/Off.

12. THE JOKE ABOUT TRAVOLTA’S “RIDICULOUS CHIN” WAS TRAVOLTA’S OWN IDEA.
He said, “Nic [Cage]’s character is such an egomaniac. He loves himself—the way he talks, acts, walks, everything about himself. So, we just figured that it follows that he would hate being in my body, having my face. So I added a lot of lines where he makes fun of the way I look—like ‘this ridiculous chin,’ things like that.”

6. THE EPILOGUE, WHERE THE ARCHERS ADOPT CASTOR TROY’S ORPHANED SON, ALMOST DIDN’T HAPPEN.
It was part of the writers’ original story and survived all of their many rewrites, but Paramount didn’t think audiences would like an ending where the hero adopts his enemy’s son. Woo’s alternate idea was for the film to end with some ambiguity about whether or not Eve Archer had her real husband back. When a test audience found that unsatisfying—and, moreover, wanted to know what happened to Castor Troy’s kid—the studio ponied up the money to get the necessary cast members back to film the original ending. According to Werb, “The next time we tested, the numbers went through the roof. There was spontaneous and thunderous applause at the end.”

Six Famous Coincidences

If you ever saw Violet Jessop (the lady pictured above) as a passenger on a ship with you, you’d probably want to disembark and get your money back.  Ms. Jessop was on board three ships that suffered major accidents (two which sank and resulted in many fatalities).

In 1911, Ms. Jessop was working as a stewardess on the RMS Olympic which was the longest ship in the world.  On September 20th the Olympic collided with the HMS Hawke.  Despite major damage and the flooding of two compartments the Olympic made it back to port.

In 1912, Ms. Jessop was again working as a stewardess, this time on the RMS Titantic‘s initial and ill-fated voyage. As the Titanic was sinking after hitting an iceberg,  Ms. Jessop was ordered into a life boat and given a small child to hold. Both Ms. Jessop and the child survived when the lifeboat occupants were picked up by the RMS Carpathia.  The child was claimed by a woman who also survived.

In 1916, Ms. Jessop was working as a stewardess for the British Red Cross on the ship Britannic.  On November 21st, the Britannic either struck a sea mine or was torpedoed by a German sub.  There are conflicting theories but no one disputes that the Britannic quickly sank with the loss of thirty souls.  Ms. Jessop survived by jumping from a lifeboat that was being sucked into the ship’s propellers.

Ms. Jessop’s story is just one of Six Famous Coincidences described by Sarah Pruitt at History.com.

10 Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know About The Beatles

and Neatorama present 10 Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know About The Beatles. Here are three of my favorites…

2) Most “takes” on a Beatles song.
The Beatles were known as perfectionists in the studio, often recording dozens of takes on a specific song. The Beatle song with the most attempted takes was actually never released by the Beatles.

“Not Guilty,” a George Harrison song, took 102 takes, before it was ultimately rejected for the Beatles 1968 album The Beatles.

5) Strange Beatles products sold.

After the Beatles landed in America in 1964, Beatle products (both licensed and unlicensed) flooded the markets. Beatle t-shirts, wigs, books, hats, guitars, wallpaper, notebooks, board games, were just a few of the successful Beatle-related products sold on the market. In one city, Beatle bedsheets were sold from slicing up the sheets the boys had slept on. Beatle pillowcases were sold in the same manner. Beatle razor stubble and Beatle bathwater were attempted too.

One enterprising salesman in New York supposedly made a profit selling bottles of “Beatle Breath.”

10) John and Paul once composed the score for a ballet.

In 1963, John Lennon and Paul McCartney actually composed the score for a ballet- for the first and only time in their careers. The ballet was called Mods and Rockers.

It opened on December 18, 1963 and ran through January 11, 1964 at the Prince Charles Theater in London. Even by this early point in their careers, the Sunday Times declared John and Paul “the greatest composers since Beethoven.”

16 Hardcore Facts About “Full Metal Jacket”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 16 Hardcore Facts About Full Metal Jacket. Here are three of my favorites…

2. VINCENT D’ONOFRIO GAINED 70 POUNDS TO PLAY LEONARD “GOMER PYLE” LAWRENCE.
In addition to the weight gain, D’Onofrio also shaved his head for the role, and was surprised by how much it affected him. ”It changed my life,” D’Onofrio told The New York Times in 1987. ”Women didn’t look at me; most of the time I was looking at their backs as they were running away. People used to say things to me twice, because they thought I was stupid.” To this day, it’s the most weight any actor has ever gained for a movie role.

5. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER AND BRUCE WILLIS TURNED DOWN ROLES.
Schwarzenegger claimed he was too busy to play Animal Mother (the part that eventually went to Adam Baldwin). Bruce Willis was offered a part two days before he was to start shooting the first six episodes of Moonlighting, so he had to say no, too. Denzel Washington wanted in, but didn’t like that Kubrick didn’t send out a script beforehand to audition.

9. JOKER HAD A NAME.
It was J.T. Davis. In 1961, Specialist James T. Davis was the first recorded American battlefield casualty in Vietnam.

14 Facts About “Flashdance”

Garin Pirnia and Mental_Floss present 14 Facts About FlashdanceHere are three of my favorites…

8. KEVIN COSTNER AUDITIONED TO PLAY NICK HURLEY.
Costner, who didn’t become famous until the mid-1980s, auditioned for the role of Nick Hurley, Alex’s boss and love interest in the film. Lyne paid Costner $200 to lie in bed with Beals, but it apparently didn’t work for him as the part went to Michael Nouri. In a strange twist of fate, prior to auditioning for Flashdance, Costner starred in an Apple commercial directed by Lyne. The commercial aired a few months after the film was released and has an uncanny resemblance to Flashdance: Costner on a bike, with a brown pit bull running beside him.

12. THE STUDIO WASN’T BANKING ON A HIT.
Lyne told Entertainment Weekly how Paramount thought the movie would be a flop. “In the two weeks before Flashdance came out, I literally couldn’t get anybody on the phone,” he said. “It was like everybody had run for the hills because they thought it was gonna be a total disaster. I didn’t know either. Paramount sold at least a quarter of their interest in the film in those two weeks. In other words, they saw the film, and thought, ‘Well, this is gonna go down the toilet.’” Luckily for Paramount and Lyne, the film opened to a healthy $4 million gross, which would be almost $10 million today. The film remained in the top 10 weekend box office for 15 weeks straight.

2. THE SONG “MANIAC” WAS ORIGINALLY COMPOSED FOR THE 1980 HORROR FILM MANIAC.
Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky’s original lyrics for “Maniac” were as follows: “He’s a maniac, maniac that’s for sure / He will kill your cat and nail him to the door.”

“That direction obviously wasn’t going to work,” Sembello told Song Facts. “Phil Ramone, producer of the soundtrack, [had] the vision to see the potential of the song, [and] asked us to change it to the present concept of a girl possessed with the passion of a gift for dance.” Which is how the far less gruesome lines “She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor / And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before” came about. “Without Phil it would not have happened,” says Sembello.