Saturday Night Live has always taken great care to strike the right tone after tragedy, and this week’s episode managed to delicately address a terrible week on multiple levels, but with a single, thoughtful stroke.
Instead of a cold open mocking the Donald Trump administration — breaking what must have been some kind of record streak — the first face we saw was that of country singer Jason Aldean, about to make his first public performance since leaving the stage last Sunday as the shooting rampage in Las Vegas began last Sunday night.
Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey! In this new series we will serve up some “easter eggs” and other little savory items you may have missed from your favorite films. Heath Ledger’s Joker from “The Dark Knight” wears a mask similar to the one worn by Cesar Romero’s Joker in his introductory appearance in the 1960’s […]
Behind the scenes photos from The Shining, Goodfellas, Edward Scissorhands, Empire Strikes Back, The Great Gatsby & Indiana Jones. Jack Nicholson goofing around on the set of “The Shining” Robert DeNiro & Joe Pesci filming the Billy Batts bar beating scene from “Goodfellas” Tim Burton filming Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder on the set of […]
Can you believe it?! I don’t know if I do?! Reports are going around that Studio Ghibli has re-opened its doors, started hiring a new team of animators, and will soon start working on a brand new project. It was massive, heartbreaking news a fear years ago when legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement (after finishing The Wind Rises in 2013) and then subsequently the studio he helped start, Studio Ghibli, decided to stop making new films and instead focus on monetizing their old filmography. In the last few years, Miyazaki kept himself busy by making an animated short film for the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. But now the studio is back from the dead and Miyazaki has a new idea for a film, which is what this is about. ›››
Luke confronts a phantasm of Darth Vader… and his own Shadow.
I would argue the best Star Wars movie is The Empire Strikes Back (1980). And one of the reasons is because it trafficked in the some of the most interesting ideas in the SW saga, in particular the relationship of Luke Skywalker to the “dark side” of the Force.
This scene occurs on Dagobah, where Luke has been in training with aged Jedi master Yoda, learning the ways of the Force, and signifies a major turning point for young Luke — as he is forced to confront his own shadow self. It’s a scene thick with metaphorical and symbolic import, and I feel confident in saying that Carl Jung himself would have been proud of it.
EXT. DAGOBAH — DAY
With Yoda strapped to his back, Luke climbs up one of the many thick vines that grow in the swamp. Panting heavily, he continues his course – climbing, flipping through the air, jumping over roots, and racing in and out of the heavy ground fog.
YODA Run! Yes. A Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger… fear… aggression. The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.
LUKE Vader. Is the dark side stronger?
YODA No… no… no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.
LUKE But how am I to know the good side from the bad?
YODA You will know. When you are calm, at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.
LUKE But tell me why I can’t…
YODA (interrupting) No, no, there is no why. Nothing more will I teach you today. Clear your mind of questions. Mmm. Mmmmmmmm.
Artoo beeps in the distance as Luke lets Yoda down to the ground. Breathing heavily, he takes his shirt from a nearby tree branch and pulls it on.
He turns to see a huge, dead, black tree, its base surrounded by a few feet of water. Giant, twisted roots form a dark and sinister cave on one side. Luke stares at the tree, trembling.
LUKE There’s something not right here.
Yoda sits on a large root, poking his Gimer Stick into the dirt.
LUKE I feel cold, death.
YODA That place… is strong with the dark side of the Force. A domain of evil it is. In you must go.
LUKE What’s in there?
YODA Only what you take with you.
Luke looks warily between the tree and Yoda. He starts to strap on his weapon belt.
YODA Your weapons… you will not need them.
Luke gives the tree a long look, than shakes his head “no.” Yoda shrugs. Luke reaches up to brush aside some hanging vines and enters the tree.
INT. DAGOBAH — TREE CAVE
Luke moves into the almost total darkness of the wet and slimy cave. The youth can barely make out the edge of the passage. Holding his lit saber before him, he sees a lizard crawling up the side of the cave and a snake wrapped around the branches of a tree. Luke draws a deep breath, then pushes deeper into the cave.
The space widens around him, but he feels that rather than sees it. His sword casts the only light as he peers into the darkness. It is very quiet here.
Then, a loud HISS! Darth Vader appears across the blackness, illuminated by his own just-ignited laser sword. Immediately, he charges Luke, saber held high. He is upon the youth in seconds, but Luke sidesteps perfectly and slashes at Vader with his sword.
Vader is decapitated. His helmet-encased head flies from his shoulders as his body disappears into the darkness. The metallic banging of the helmet fills the cave as Vader’s head spins and bounces, smashes on the floor, and finally stops. For an instant it rests on the floor, then it cracks vertically. The black helmet and breath mask fall away to reveal… Luke’s head.
Across the space, the standing Luke gasps at the sight, wide-eyed in terror.
When it comes to sequels, there an expectation to raise the bar. If you think of some of the best sequels of all time, whether that’s The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan or Aliens (to name a few), each film improved upon the foundation of the first in major ways. In the second part of our weekly Spider-Man retrospective series leading up to the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 7th this summer, we take a look at how Sam Raimi raised the bar for not only Spider-Man movies, but the entire superhero genre itself with Spider-Man 2. The superhero sequel hit theaters on June 30th, 2004 (that’s 13 years ago!), just a week before 4th of July, and it once again went on to set records at the box office and beyond. ›››
The live-action Scooby Doo is now 15 years old. Originally, the filmmakers were going for a PG-13 rating, but after filming was completed and an early cut got an R-rating from the MPAA, Warner Bros. decided to turn the raunchy teen comedy into a movie for children. Scooby Doo‘s writer, James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), thought it was a mistake, but a decade and a half later, he still looks back on the experience with a great deal of fondness.
Below, learn more about the R-rated Scooby Doo film we never saw.
There are a few moments in Raja Gosnell‘s (Never Been Kissed) take on Scooby Doo where you can see hints of the R-rated version, like when Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) tells Mary Jane (Isla Fischer), “Like, that’s my favorite name.” You can also spot where they might’ve cut around other pot jokes, but those were far from the only gags revised or cut.
Some significant changes were made during production. Midway through the shoot, Gunn had to rewrite the whole third act because of budgetary reasons. When it was all said and done, though, Scooby Doo ended up making a lot of kids happy and grossed $ 275 million at the box-office.
On Facebook, Gunn looked back on the movie for its 15th anniversary:
I had loved the character of Scooby-Doo since I was a kid and was excited at the prospect of making a live action film with 2002’s cutting CGI technology(!!). Yes, it was not exactly what we planned going out — I had written an edgier film geared toward older kids and adults, and the studio ended pushing it into an clean cut children’s film. And, yes, the rumors are true — the first cut was rated R by the MPAA, and the female stars’ cleavage was CGI’d away so as not to offend. But, you know, such is life. I had a lot of fun making this movie, regardless of all that. And I was also able to eat, buy a car, and a house because of it.
He had what sounds like a great experience shooting in Australia and, after the movie came out, it opened more doors for him:
At about 5:30 Saturday morning opening weekend Lorenzo DiBonaventura – the head of production at Warners, and one of the people who gave me my start – called me and woke me up at home to tell me we made 18 million the Friday before. Now that doesn’t seem to be all that much today – Guardians will make around that on a Thursday night alone – but back then it was enough to make the movie the biggest June opening ever. Until that moment, I thought if the movie came out and didn’t do well I’d be able to continue getting writing jobs, and my life was going to be the same. But in that one single moment I knew everything had changed.
And it did. I was offered every movie you can imagine. Like, uh, the Jabberjaw movie, and The Jetsons movie, and the Captain Caveman movie. I was offered tons of money to do all of these things. So, of course, me being me, I chose to write Dawn of the Dead. Go figure out my brain, who knows.
Gunn went on to write the Scooby Doo sequel, which was a little less challenging. The writer and all involved knew what movie they were making from the start the second time around. The PG-rating was set in stone for the sequel. As for the R-rated cut of Scooby Doo, it’s not ignored on the special features for the first movie. The commentary and other bonus features give an idea of the movie they set out to make. I’m doubtful it’ll ever happen, but it would be great to see the R-rated cut of Scooby Doo on Blu-Ray someday.
Make sure to check out Gunn’s full post about Scooby Doo on Facebook, via the link above.
Today, Melissa McCarthy was spotted rolling down a Manhattan Street on her White House podium for a skit that will appear on this weekend’s Saturday Night Live. The famous bit, in which she dresses as White House press secretary Sean Spicer, has become a favorite among fans of the show. McCarthy was seen yelling at traffic to get out of her way as she sped along on her podium. The skit comes just in time, as the real Sean Spicer resumed his duties in the White House press room today, as well. Check out a couple of photos below: @olv Melissa McCarthy spotted outside CNN office window. Dressed as Sean Spicer filming for SNL. pic.twitter.com/ytwRfTYiG6 — Roxanna Kavanagh (@rox731) May 12, 2017 @olv Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer 58th and 8th Ave. NYC pic.twitter.com/ZeA1zHLjZr — Thomas Gish (@gosh14) May 12, 2017
“I hope you’re ready for what comes next…” 20th Century Fox has finally released the first trailer for the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle, once again directed by Matthew Vaughn, bringing back Taron Egerton as the British superspy known as “Eggsy”. We’ve been waiting for this, and it’s finally here and it actually looks fun. Colin Firth also returns, with Mark Strong as Merlin, and a cast featuring Channing Tatum, Pedro Pascal, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Vinnie Jones, as well as Hanna Alström, and Sophie Cookson. This seems to be a riff on America, as the Kingsman guys end up working with an American agency. I’m digging all the action so far, and I’m wondering if this could be a surprise hit. ›››