Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bond Lore

In William Goldman's "Adventures in the Screen Trade" (run out, buy it), he talks about a script he wrote in the 1970s loosely based on a true story. In the 1800s in Virginia, a rich dandy fancied himself a pirate, and even had a pirate ship commissioned (the only one ever) so he could take to the seas and play pirate.

That's the true part, in the Goldman script, the dandy runs across a real pirate, a Blackbeard type, and the two come to loggerheads until (as in true buddy cop movie formula) they must overcome their differences to fight a bigger threat.

Here's the genius part: For the pirates he suggested to the studios that Roger Moore play the dandy, and Sean Connery play Blackbeard.


How come no one else thought of putting the two James Bonds in a movie? I would have paid money to see that.

The script of course never got produced due to the regular list of Hollywood reasons, but still, can you imagine how cool that film would have been?

But...what if...what if they wanted to make the film today? Quick, someone get Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig on the phone!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A pop culture thanksgiving

Here's two of the things I'm grateful for in the world of pop culture:

Jimmy Cagney coming out of retirement after 20 years to be in "Ragtime." He didn't have to do it, but he did. And as I sat in the theater, watching Jimmy Cagney for the first time on the big screen, all I could think of was, "This guy's a movie star!" Thanks Jimmy.

Can you imagine if Cary Grant did the same thing? It would have been amazing.

Also, though I watched "E/R" and enjoyed it, I wouldn't describe myself as a fan. I taped the other Thursday night NBC comedies, but only watched "E/R" when my then-girlfriend was watching it.

That being said, how cool was it that George Clooney came back for Julianna Margulies' final appearance? Think about it, at this time, his contractual obligations were up, he was/is a massive movie star. Massive movie stars simply don't return to the TV series that launched them. Just like Cagney, he didn't have to do it, I'm sure they paid him one-hundredth of what he would have gotten making a movie. The only two reasons I could think of he would do this would be a sense of loyalty to his colleagues on "E/R" and/or a sense of loyalty to his fans. Thanks George.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

More on Lucas

I can't resist adding one more Lucas post. In interviews he's saying he'll be making small personal films now that he's retired. I've been reading interviews with this guy since the '70s, and he's been talking about making small personal films for 35 years now. He's like that old high school friend who keeps telling you he'll be moving to Alaska to run a caribou farm, but everytime you see him, he's still working at the gas station down the street.

It's OK if we're talking about some shmoe in a gas station, but we're talking about the most powerful man in Hollywood. He was talking about making "Red Tails" back in the '80s. HBO beat him to it, and Lucas wound up recycling cast members from the HBO version.

George, you may be the richest, least ambitious person in the history of time.

Side note: You have to love the Mort Drucker one-sheet for "American Graffiti" above. I always thought it was funny that Drucker would later draw the Mad Magazine parody.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Film review: Wreck-it Ralph

A running gag in "Toy Story 3" has the Ken doll insisting he's not a girl's toy. This existential crisis
becomes the basis of "Wreck-it Ralph."

Ralph is a bad guy in his video game, but wants more out of his life. He goes on an adventure driven by the belief that if he earns a medal, he'll be accepted by his peers.

It borrows a lot from the "Toy Story" films (children's playthings have their own lives when the children leave the room), and everytime the characters are in their Grand Central Station, it makes you think of "Monsters Inc." Though not as good as the "Toy Story" trilogy and about as good as "Monsters Inc." if you can put the comparisons aside, it stands alone as a nifty, often clever, dazzling-to-look at film.

It's top heavy with explanation, it seems the first hour is characters explaining the internal logic of the plot, the pace picks up by the third act when we finally get some action, and interaction between Ralph and Venellope, another outcast character who seems to be dealing with her lot in life better than Ralph.

It's no "Toy Story," but a film that comes close is still worth seeing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


In the '80s I had a temp job filling ATM machines. I drove around in the back of an armored truck driven by retired Philly cops. One of the cops, who after spending a career arresting the worst humanity had to offer, was the most bitterest, cynical, hate-filled crank ever. He was like Sgt. Snorkel, except instead of speaking in the symbols found at the top of the number keys on a typewriter, he spoke in actual curses. He hated blacks, he hated Jews, he hated women, on and on.

Anyway, one day he's complaining about Reagan of all people and I couldn't take it anymore. "Who did you vote for?" I asked. "Because I know you didn't vote for Geraldine Ferraro!"

He told me it was none of my business, but my point was, if you don't vote, you're not allowed to complain.