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Ask 411 Movies for 10.29.12: A Leg Up on Other Columns!
Posted by Leonard Hayhurst on 10.29.2012

If you haven't seen it on the site yet, read my review of You Can't Do That On Film two-disc DVD set. The documentary is good, but a lack of clips from the series is a major minus.

What Leonard Recently Watched
Here Comes the Boom had the potential to be a heartwarming and humorous underdog sports comedy, but the script doesn't flesh out the pretty interesting characters and premise enough. Most of the supporting cast is strong, particularly Bas Rutten and Charice with Henry Winkler and Salma Hayek being wasted. Kevin James brings his humble everyman quality to the lead, but he's not strong enough of an actor to fill in the holes in the character without help from the script, which he co-wrote. You just don't invest in James' Scott Voss enough emotionally. The final fight is actually pretty exciting and well-choreographed in that over the top Rocky kind of way, but you're just not rooting for Voss to win as much as you should be.

Mockingbird Lane is more The Addams Family than it is The Munsters with darker humor and a sexier flare. Herman (Jerry O'Connell) and Lily (Portia de Rossi) are shown as a young, sexy couple. Eddie Izzard is fun as Grandpa, but he underplays the role a little bit. I like Charity Wakefield as Marilyn, but her character wasn't developed enough. Mason Cook is nondescript as Eddie. It's a little too consciously campy and also seems like it's trying to be a spoof of conventional sitcoms, but that's not hammered through enough. It was mildly amusing, but I can see why NBC balked at a full series and just burned this as a Halloween special.

Obscure Television Series of the Week
Title: Legend
Air Dates: April 18, 1995, to Aug. 22, 1995
Network: UPN
Cast: Richard Dean Anderson as Ernest Pratt/Nicodemus Legend, John De Lancie as Professor Janos Bartok, Mark Adair Rios as Ramos, Jarrad Paul as Skeeter, Robert Donner as Chamberlain Brown and Robert Shelton as Grady
Premise: Ernest Pratt is a drunk novelist in 1876 San Francisco. He assumes the persona of his fictional hero, Nicodemus Legend, and moves to Colorado. He joins up with wacky inventor Janos Bartok who supplies Legend with everything from a steam powered car to spy cameras mounted in radio controlled balloons. Ramos was Bartok's assistant, Skeeter the bellboy at the local hotel Legend stayed in, Grady was the hotel's bartender and Chamberlain Brown was the city's mayor and undertaker. It was a lot like The Wild, Wild West in its humor and reliance on advanced for the time gadgets.

Q: If memory serves, Roger Moore was signed for a three year deal for the Bond series, with deals for the remaining pictures done on an individual basis. The first time it appeared that Moore and MGM were serious about parting ways was Octopussy. The studio had even gone so far as to screen test James Brolin with co-star Maude Adams--although they were never comfortable with having an American ply Bond. At the same time, it had emerged that Connery was going to resurface as Bond in the rival film Never Say Never Again (AKA Thunderball 2.0), and thus the studio was determined to get Moore in for at least one more film--which turned out to be two.
BTW, not counting the rebooted Daniel Craig franchise or Never Say Never.., how would you rank the 20 official Bond films? Which are the best--which are the worst?
-Michael L

A: We've been talking James Bond the past few weeks. Roger Moore was just using that as a contract ploy for more money. He never seriously considered leaving until A View to a Kill. Producers tested James Brolin to call his bluff, but it didn't work and they got itchy when the announcement was made about Connery doing the offshoot film Never Say Never Again.

I actually ranked the first 20 Bond movies in my personal opinion back in June 2004. Below is that list, which I still agree with, featuring trivia and plot synopsizes of the films. I did lower Die Another Day. As I mentioned recently, in retrospect, I think it's pretty bad even though I liked it okay when I first saw it in theaters. I'll skip all the trailers, too much clutter.

Goldfinger (1964): Bond seeks to stop a greedy gold magnate from taking over the world's monetary reserves by contaminating all the gold in Fort Knox. It's the Bond film that constantly shows up on ‘best' movie lists and features several icons for the series including Golfinger himself, Odd Job and Pussy Galore. It's where Connery really finds his bearing in the role and solidified the overall tone and style of the series.

From Russia with Love (1963): Playing off the first movie, SPECTRE seeks to avenge the death of Dr. No by luring Bond into a trap as he picks up a defecting Russian agent in Turkey. Desmond Llewelyn makes his first appearance as Q. Directed by the severely underrated and overlooked Terrence Young.

Dr. No (1962): Bond travels to the West Indies after another 00 agent is murdered to confront enemy agent Dr. No. Hawaii Five-0's Jack Lord plays Felix Leiter and Ursula Andress is the first Bond babe, named Honey Rider. Novelist Ian Fleming wanted Roger Moore for the part, but he was contracted to The Saint and couldn't get out of it. Connery was the choice of producer Albert R. Broccoli's wife after seeing the strapping young man in Disney's Darby O'Gill and the Little People.

Thunderball (1965): What can I say, I'm a mark for the early Connery ones. SPECTRE steals two nuclear bombs and plans to detonate them if their demands are not met. The only Bond movie before the current Craig ones to be considered a direct sequel, to Love, although it was intended to be the first film of the series. Screenwriter Kevin McClory sued the producers because Ian Fleming was not giving him proper credit for his own personal creations in the script. This lead to the loss of many key early elements of the series, such as SPECTRE, from later installments.

Live and Let Die (1973): Bond discovers that a UN ambassador is a Mr. Big in the drug underworld. Moore's first foray into the role and his best in my opinion. It's a nice mix of the serious Connery films with Moore's more winking and coy humor subtlety played off. Moore's later ones can be too campy for me.

Goldeneye (1995): Brosnan's first film as Bond that helped revitalize the series after it reached it's lowest point in the early nineties. Brosnan was the original choice to take the part from Moore, but he couldn't get out of his contract for Remington Steel. Sound familiar? A former 00 agent thought dead resurfaces to steal a special Russian satellite that releases a pulse that wipes out all electronic equipment in a certain area.

You Only Live Twice (1967): Bond fakes his own death to go undercover in Japan and investigate SPECTRE's hijacking of several space missiles. Villain Blofeld is shown for the first time here, played by Donald Pleasance. Charles Gray, who plays Henderson, would take over the Blofeld part in Diamonds are Forever.

The Spy Who Love Me (1977): The film that cemented Moore in the role and established many new iconic elements of the series, such as villain Jaws and the Lotus Espirit car. Bond teams with his Russian counterpart to track down a missing submarine. Features the hit song "Nobody Does it Better" by Carly Simon.

The World is Not Enough (1999): Bond feels responsible for the death of an oil tycoon and becomes bodyguard to his daughter as terrorists seek to destroy her new giant pipeline. Naturally, more is going on than meets the eye. Bond looks vulnerable for once as a bad shoulder plagues him throughout the adventure. This marks Desmond Llewlyn's last performance as Q. Even though he was stepping down anyway, he was killed in a car crash soon after the movie's release.

For Your Eyes Only (1981): Bond goes deep sea diving for sunken treasure, namely a British encryption device. Bernard Lee, who played M, died shortly before filming and the part was not recast as tribute to him. It's said that M was simply on leave. Stuntman Paolo Rigon died during the bobsled sequence and further controversy occurred when it was discovered that one of the female extras named Tula Cossey was a transsexual.

Octopussy (1983): One of the most popular entries in the series, Bond follows the trail of a Faberge egg to reveal a plot to kill thousands and weaken NATO forces in Europe. Maud Adams is the only actress to play a primary Bond girl twice, first appearing in The Man with the Golden Gun.

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997): Jonathan Pryce plays a crazy media mogul in the vein of Rupert Murdoch who tries to use his empire to start World War III. Teri Hatcher and Michelle Yeoh are of note as the Bond girls. Producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli died while the film was in pre-production and it is dedicated to his memory.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969): Bond saves a girl from suicide and her grateful father wants him to marry her. To sweeten the deal, he provides information on the whereabouts of Blofeld. Bond marries the girl at the end of the film, but sluts the world over shouldn't lose heart as she was quickly killed off. George Lazenby would play Bond for the only time. Lazenby was an unknown commercial actor who won the part based on testing well and Cubby Broccoli thinking he looked like what Bond should look like. Lazenby said he was asked to reprise the role in the next movie, but turned it down thinking Bond was outdated and on his way out. Riiiiiiiiiiigggghhhht.

The Living Daylights (1987): Timothy Dalton debuts by taking on a ruthless arms dealer and romancing a cellist. Dalton was first offered the role at some point during the transitional period from Connery to Moore, but turned it down thinking he was too young and inexperienced as an actor. I personally though Dalton was too bland, but serviceable.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974): Bond becomes the target of the world's greatest assassin, Scaramanga. He is armed with a gun that fires golden bullets and a superfluous third nipple. Herve Villechaize and Christopher Lee chew the scenery with gusto as villains, but the movie always felt like a throwaway to me.

Diamonds are Forever (1971): Bond investigates a diamond heist in Las Vegas and finds his old nemesis Blofeld has a scheme cooking. Connery was offered the then unheard of sum of $1.25 million, 12.5% of the royalties and financing for two films of his choice to come back as Bond one last time. Sausage king Jimmy Dean plays reclusive millionaire Willard Whyte.

A View to a Kill (1985): It has a soft spot in my heart by being the first Bond movie I ever saw. It's not a particularly good movie though and features Grace Jones as possibly the worst Bond girl. It marks the last appearance of Roger Moore and he teams up with Patrick Macnee of The Avengers as a fellow agent. Christopher Walken is great as a genetically enhanced psycho trying to flood Silicon Valley.

License to Kill (1989): Bond's friend Felix Leiter is mauled by a shark and his wife murdered by a vengeful drug lord. Bond goes rogue to take him down. This doesn't feel like a Bond film at all and more like a standard ‘80's action movie. It bombed big time in a crowded summer season and almost killed off the series.

Die Another Day (2002): A botched assassination leads to Bond being held captive by the North Koreans. He seeks revenge on those who betrayed him upon his release and gets put on the trail of a suspicious diamond magnate. The 20th Bond film, it includes numerous references to the other films. Additionally, rumors had it that Sean Connery filmed a cameo as Bond's father, but it was dropped after it was realized that Bond has been firmly established as an orphan. The filmmakers denied this. Halle Berry's character of Jinx was considered for a spin-off movie that was yet to reach fruition.

Moonraker (1979) : Stupid and farfetched even for a Bond film, it's often considered the worst of the lot by critics. A space shuttle is stolen and Bond finds that Hugo Drax wants to destroy the earth and start a new super race of people in space. For Your Eyes Only was to be next, but this got the go ahead based on the success of Star Wars and other sci-fi flicks.

Q: For pics and vids filler for the column, who has the best (female) legs in movies and TV?

A: Betty Grable is known for having the all time best legs ever in Hollywood. The dancer, singer and actress was the top pin-up girl for soldiers during World War II. Her most famous picture had her looking over her shoulder at the camera, giving full focus to her shapely legs and rear end. 20th Century Fox had Grable's legs insured for $1 million by Lloyds of London, a publicity stunt more than anything else. The Girl with the Million Dollar Legs was one of her nicknames, which came from her 1939 movie Million Dollar Legs. If you want to see her legs today, they're immortalized in concrete at Grauman's Chinese Theater. Hosiery specialists at the time said Grable had the perfectly proportioned legs with a thigh of 18.5 inches, calf of 12 inches and an ankle of 7.5 inches.

The theme song of The Mary Tyler Moore Show claims she could turn the world on with a smile, but before that she turned on the world with her legs. Moore started out as a dancer and did commercials as Happy Hotpoint, an elf for Hotpoint Appliances. Her first recurring television role was as the receptionist on Richard Diamond, Private Detective. Only her voice was heard and her legs were seen on screen. Finding out who the mystery woman was became a national phenomenon and "TV Guide" revealed that it was Moore in a 1959 feature that her modeling hosiery.

Stacy Keibler is well known to professional wrestling fans, but went mainstream with her appearance on Dancing With the Stars where judge Bruno Tonioli called her "The Weapon of Mass Seduction" for her incredibly long legs. Keibler has several television guest spots since then and is dating George Clooney.

When a U.S. President and Mick Jagger both say you've got the greatest legs in show business, there's probably something to it. In 2004, President George W. Bush specifically mentioned Tina Turner's legs in his speech welcoming those from the Kennedy Center Honors to the White House. Turner has always been known for her high energy stage shows along with her raspy and powerful voice. She has done some acting over the years, most notably as the Acid Queen in Tommy and Auntie Entity in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Q: Leonard - quick question about 70s cult hit "Car Wash", starring Richard Pryor, Danny DeVito, George Carlin and the Pointer Sisters (among others), about a typical day in the life of an LA inner city car wash during the disco era.  My dad and I watched this movie several times on Saturday late night TV in the late 70s/early 80s, and about a year ago at a flea market I found the VHS version.  Upon viewing it, I noticed that all of Danny DeVito's scenes had been cut.  Watched it again on Showtime a few weeks ago, and same thing, Danny DeVito cut from both the movie and the credits.  Only thing I've been able to find thru IMDB or Wikipedia is that DeVito's scenes were deleted for the theatrical version.  Any info?

A: The network television version of Car Wash is very different from the theatrical version. That's because several raunchy scenes, including most everything with Lindy the drag queen, had to be cut for network censors. To make up the time, many deleted scenes were added. This includes scenes at the hot dog stand next door to the car wash, Big Joe's Dog House owned by Big Joe, played by Danny DeVito. Brooke Adams plays Joe's girlfriend and waitress. Also, by the time the movie hit television in the late 1970s, DeVito was a big TV star on Taxi, so adding his scenes back in helped to promote the movie. I couldn't find a definitive answer as to why they were cut in the first place, but was probably for the simple reason of time and story as the subplot with Joe and Terry adds nothing to the main narrative. I couldn't find any of their scenes on YouTube, so enjoy Richard Pryor's arrival as Big Daddy Rich instead.

Q: While I have yet to see Argo, I am intrigued by the premise as it was a real life event that took place in my lifetime. In the movie, John Goodman plays a big deal Hollywood make-up master, (his characters name is the same as his real life counterpart, whom created Spock's ears for Star Trek and the make-up concepts for the original Planet Of The Apes) However, Alan Arkin's Lester Siegel producer character seems to be a fictitious name, according to IMDB. So who was the real guy working behind the scenes on the faux production with the CIA? By all accounts from what I've read, the movie paints this person as a once prominent producer that was entering the decline of his career? Was this a real person or is it an amalgam of various people that contributed to the effort? And if so, who were they?

Also, a couple of Late Night questions with regards to Craig Ferguson. I know I've seen it online previously, but who voices Geoff, the robot skeleton sidekick? Does he also do the voice impersonations the robot busts out from time to time? (Awesome Morgan Freeman, plus someone else mainstream {not Regis} last week whose name escapes me) With it being a robot, they could conceivably bring in all kinds of different voice actors, and they have in the past. Just wondering on what info you may be able to gather.

And in closing, Furguson's show recently introduced  a young hot female "CBS Executive" to keep the foul-mouthed host in line. Obviously she is an improv trained actress. I was just wondering if you could figure out who she is.
-Ben Piper
Columnist-DVD Reviewer

A: Skeleton robot Geoff Peterson on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson is voiced by Josh Robert Thompson. He does celebrity voices on the series as well such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert De Niro and Morgan Freeman. The Cleveland native, 37, first rose to notice in 2003 when he pranked Fox and Friends by calling in as Schwarzenegger. This won him recurring appearances doing celebrity voices on The Howard Stern Show and other radio programs. When Peterson was first created, Thompson recorded several sayings for the character that could be activated at the push of a button. He occasionally voiced the character live when needed and has done so on about every show since June 2011.

Beth the CBS Executive is played by Dana DeLorenzo. She's done celebrity impressions on the show and has done radio, like "Mancow's Morning Madhouse" where she was called Marissa Sanchez. Her voices include Miley Cyrus, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian.

Lester Siegel, played by Alan Arkin, in Argo is a fictional character. My guess is that he was created to streamline and simplify the Hollywood portion of the story. Special effects expert Bob Sidell is the closest to Siegel; not in character, but in his involvement in the plan.

An article in Wired from 2005 detailed the mission. According to the article, CIA agent Tony Mendez first contacted John Chambers for help in establishing a cover story of a movie crew working in Iran. Chambers brought in special effects expert Bob Sidell. In a matter of days they formed a production company, leased space on the old Columbia Studios lot and began creating the identities and back stories for the six Americans to be rescued.

Chambers brought in a script he had been hired to work on, Lord of Light based on a novel by Roger Zelazny. It had been optioned by producer Barry Geller. Geller wrote a treatment and gathered a few million dollars together to start production. He had a press conference to announce the project, including extras dressed as residents of the alien planet and potential cast member Rosey Grier. He also hired comic book artist Jack Kirby to do story boards and concepts for a possible amusement park called Science Fiction Land. Michael Parks is listed on IMDB as playing Kirby in Argo, but I believe his scenes were cut. The project fell apart when Geller's second in charge embezzled the money.

Chambers still had the script and the setting was perfect. Mendez changed the name to Argo. They bought ad space in "Variety" and "The Hollywood Reporter" to hype the movie and had a per-production party at the Brown Derby.

Q: I recently saw online Adam Scott's shot for shot remake of the Simon and Simon intro. Looking at both side by side. you can see some differences, but it's pretty close. I heard that he's planning on doing four more. Do you know what he's looking to do or what you would like to see him do?

A: The Greatest Event in Television History recently aired on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. There was promotion beforehand, but no idea as to what the event would be. It turned out to be a shot for shot remake of the Simon and Simon opening credits starring Adam Scott and Jon Hamm. The lead up featured a fake making of special hosted by Jeff Probst. Paul Rudd was hyped as the director, but the project was helmed by Scott and Lester Bangs.

In an interview with "The Hollywood Reporter," Scott said the idea came from he and Hamm emailing old television intros to each other. The project was the first from Gettin' Rad Productions, ran by Scott and his wife Naomi, a former producer for Jimmy Kimmel Live. They're working on at least three more credit sequence remakes for Adult Swim and an adaptation of Chuck Klosterman's first book, "Downtown Owl."

Scott hasn't said what the other opening credit remakes they'll be doing are, but they're currently exploring options. He said he wants to do shows that haven't been heavily tread upon in pop culture.

Simon and Simon works because it's a collection of shots from various episodes that are just plain weird when taken out of context. Fortunately, several 1980s series kind of used the same method. I have a few main ideas I'd like to see.

Magnum, P.I. featuring the cast of Anchorman with Will Ferrell as Magnum, Steve Carrell as Higgins, Paul Rudd as Rick and David Koechner as T.C.

Hart to Hart with Scott's Parks and Recreation costars Rob Lowe and Amy Poehler and Harvey Keitel as Max. As a bonus, Lowe does a great Robert Wagner impression as we know from Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

Riptide re-teaming Hamm and Scott with Jason Schwartzman.

Hardcastle and McCormick with Alec Baldwin and James Van Der Beek.

The Greatest American Hero with Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis and his girlfriend Olivia Wilde.

Don't die.
"If it's got horses in it, it's a western."


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