Ask 411 Movies for 03.11.13: Leonard the Great and Powerful!
Posted by Leonard Hayhurst on 03.11.2013
Is John Wayne the best stuntman-turned-actor of all-time? Is Oz the Great and Powerful a great and powerful film? Is Howard Stern working on a Porky's remake? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Movies!
What Leonard Recently Watched Oz the Great and Powerful might be great, but not so powerful. I liked the opening harking back to The Wizard of Oz with its quaint black and white charm. I also found the finale to be spectacular. However, there was way too much CGI as at no point did my suspension of disbelief kick in. It was always painfully obvious the actors were just in front of a green screen. I also think James Franco was miscast as he seemed to be as impressed with his surroundings as if we were in line at the DMV. The casting of the witches were great though, as Michelle Williams Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis were all great by not going into camp, but keeping it on a children's story level. I'd say 7 out of 10.
Obscure Television Series of the Week
Title: Mr. T and Tina
Air Dates: Sept. 25, 1976, to Oct. 30, 1976
Cast: Pat Morita as Mr. T, Susan Blanchard as Tina Kelly, Pat Suzuki as Michi, Ted Lange as Harvard, Miriam Byrd-Nethery as Miss Llewellyn, Hatsuo Fujikawa as Uncle Matsu, Gene Profanato as Sachi and Gene Profanato as Aki
Premise: This is not a series about Mr. T from The A-Team and Tina Turner teaming up to fight crime. That would be too awesome. Mr. T was a brilliant Japanese inventor who had been transferred by his firm from Tokyo to Chicago. In tow were his sister-in-law, uncle and two kids. They clashed with housekeeper Tina, landlady Miss Llewellyn and hip handyman Harvard.
On Out Last Episode...
Most people were galvanized one way or the other on Seth McFarlane as host of the Oscars. They either thought he was great or terrible. Me being in the middle seemed to have fried some minds. As opposed to what a couple commenters wrote last week, at no point in my statements did I say McFarlane was the worst Oscar host ever or boring, two things he certainly wasn't. I said he was okay, meaning he was average. My main complaint was I thought he was trying too hard to be hip and controversial as he was predicted to be, not trying too hard not to be boring. I thought I was more positive on him that a lot of people and I still got flamed for it.
It's Your Move also proved to be the most popular obscure television series I've highlighted so far in that section. It prompted a few followup questions.
Q: "It's Your Move" gave us Jason Bateman? Do you mean in terms of his own series? Prior to this sitcom, Jason had a role on the final season of "Little House on the Prairie" when the Ingalls's children were too old. Then, he played Derrick, the best friend of Ricky Stratton (Ricky Schroeder) on "Silver Spoons."
Related to Jason Bateman: In a radio interview many years ago either Jason or the interviewer strongly intimated that Ricky Schroeder demanded that Jason be removed from the series "Silver Spoons" because he was becoming too popular. And, he did leave the series when his character's (Derrick) parents got a divorce (to my memory). Subsequently, Alfonso Ribeiro (character name of Alfonso Spears) became Ricky's best friend. Is there truth to this story?
A: Let me clarify my statement from last week. The series gave us Jason Bateman in the sense that it was his first starring role, which led to other major roles, only having had minor recurring roles on other shows previously.
Jason Bateman in interviews said his popularity on Silver Spoons led NBC to develop It's Your Move specifically for him. In the below clip from Inside the Actor's Studio, Bateman directly states he and Ricky Shroeder were great friends and got along fine on the set, even playing together when the cameras weren't rolling.
Q: One of my favorite episodes of It's Your Move had to do with him creating a band called The Dreggs of Humanity Part 2 and it ended up with them having a gig at the Hollywood Bowl (I believe). It was a two part episode, but the 2nd part was interrupted by something and I never got to see what happened. do you know if this series is out on DVD or Hulu or something?
A: "The Dregs of Humanity" is a two-part episode and the most remembered from It's Your Move. Matthew Burton (Jason Bateman) helps out his friend Eli (Adam Sadowsky) when he loses the money to hire a band for the school dance. Matt creates the fake band The Dregs of Humanity with the help of four skeletons from the science lab and a smoke machine. The performance is so popular, Matt allows neighbor Norman (David Garrison) to do an interview with them for a magazine. This fuels their popularity and the Dregs are offered $20,000 to play the New York City Palladium. Matt can't pass up the cash and takes the gig, but naturally the band doesn't show. He's getting sued and Norman is suspicious by this point. Matt concocts the band dying by falling off a cliff into the ocean. On a later episode, the Dregs are shown being inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame.
It's Your Move is not out on DVD, but all episodes can be watched on YouTube. Below is part one of the two part Dregs episode.
Q: Whatever happened to the cast members of Porky's? That was a pretty big hit at the time, and I find it weird that none of them transitioned into furthering their movie careers as a result. Dan Monahan (Who played Pee-Wee) went on to co-star with Animal House alumni Tim Matheson & Stephen Furst in another "sex comedy" Up The Creek, but basically dropped off the planet after that. Kim Catrall went on to Sex In The City fame, but for the most part, the rest of the cast virtually disappeared. I know another prominent cast member, Wyatt Knight (Who played Tommy) committed suicide a couple of years ago, but can you track down the current whereabouts of the rest of them?
Also, Howard Stern was reportedly behind efforts to remake it. Has that been lost in the shuffle of development hell?†
A: Howard Stern in 2002 said he wanted to do a Porky's remake. It was pretty much in limbo, until reports were he was ready to go into production in 2011. At that point, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the Lontano Group stepped forward saying they bought the rights to Porky's in 1994 from the original producers and Stern's claims to the project were bogus. Lontano was also in process of suing Mola Entertainment, who it said optioned rights to do a remake and sequel in 2001. Pimpin' Pee Wee was released in 2009. It was a very low budget production from director Brian Trenchard-Smith. Trenchard-Smith told THR that the plans were to do a $10 million big budget reboot, but a $1 million college set sort of sequel was done in order for Mola to retain their rights from Lontano. Lontano stated the contract specifically said the reboot had to be done before any sequel and the remake had have a budget of at least $10 million, so Mola was in violation of contract terms. Apparently, the case is still in litigation.
The original film from 1982 took from Animal House, but was pretty much the godfather of the 1980s teen sex comedy. Porky's II: The Next Day followed in 1983 with Porky's Revenge in 1985. The most famous member of the original cast is probably Kim Cattrall as a cheer coach who howls while having sex. She went onto a pretty successful career, most famously playing on Sex in the City.
Dan Monahan as Pee Wee: He continued to act sporadically in films and in regional theater until the early 2000s. According to IMDB he now runs a non-profit call center and enjoys photography and golf.
Mark Herrier as Billy: He did guest spots and television shows and roles on stage until the early 2000s. IMDB lists him as retired from acting and focusing on writing and directing shorts. It also says he's a lesbian, so not sure how reliable that info might be.
Wyatt Knight as Tommy: He died of suicide in October 2011 from a gunshot. He had been battling non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma for about a decade.
Roger Wilson as Mickey: He can count Christy Turlington and Elizabeth Berkley among his ex-girlfriends. According to the New York Post, in 1998 he got into a fight with friends of Leonardo DiCaprio outside a New York bar relating to them apparently trying to pick Berkley up to go with them. He unsuccessfully tried to sue DiCaprio for $45 million. After Hurricane Katrina he returned to his native New Orleans and campaigned for a state law giving tax breaks to the performing arts. In a New York Post story from 2009, he was working as a bartender at Phillippe East Hampton in New York and was set to take over as manager of the then-coming Los Angeles location.
Cyril O'Reilly as Tim: Still acting here and there, O'Reilly is also a producer working with director Dana Schroeder. IMDB has their 2009 film Lost Soul set for release this year and Gemini Rising came out last year. It also has him producing a comedy called Daddies' Girls he'll act in too.
Tony Ganios as Meat: IMDB has him helping O'Reilly with Daddies' Girls as an actor, writer and co-producer. In 2000, under the name Nick Fury, he provided a voice for the online animated series "Bad Vlad" with Leslie Easterbrook. He's an expert in ancient military history and weapons along with being an original student of jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts pioneer Rorion Gracie.
Kaki Hunter as Wendy: She has an architectural firm and teaches white water rafting in Moab, Utah, according to IMDB.
Q: Continuing on the trend of best _____ turned actor:
best stand-up comedian turned actor? (Robin Williams? Whoopi Goldberg? They both won oscars)
best extra turned major actor?
best stuntman turned actor?
A: Robin Williams would easily get my vote for the best stand-up comedian turned actor because he has had equal success with dramatic and comedic roles throughout his career. He was nominated three times for a best actor Oscar (The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam) before winning a best supporting actor trophy for Good Will Hunting.
A dark horse I'll mention is Andy Griffith. Few today might know he started out as a stand-up comedian, playing a country bumpkin character who described his takes on things like football and Shakespeare. It was a character he was so good at playing it carried him through his career from movies like No Time For Sergeants and Onionhead to The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock. However, if you question his abilities as an actor, I suggest you watch A Face in the Crowd if you haven't.
Many actors started off as an extra. Oscar winners Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have recounted in several interviews how they were in the crowd during the Fenway Park scenes in Field of Dreams. Bruce Willis has talked about how sitting in the back of a courtroom in The Verdict not only inspired him to really become an actor, but a desire to work on equal footing with Paul Newman. He got his chance with Nobody's Fool.
One of the most famous and popular actors of all time started out as an extra and stuntman in silent films, John Wayne. Even better, his first break in Hollywood came as a prop man. While a student and football player at the University of Southern California he traded silent screen star Tom Mix football tickets for a prop job during the summers. IMDB has him with 17 uncredited roles before his big break with The Big Trail His first credited role was as Duke Morrison in 1929's Words and Music playing Pete Donahue.
Gary Cooper also started as a stuntman in silent flicks. IMDB has him with more than 20 westerns as a stunt rider. He moved to California originally to become an illustrator, but couldn't find work. Thankfully, he grew up on a ranch and could ride a horse like nobody's business.
Burt Reynolds also did stunt work in between acting gigs starting out. This is how he became friends with stunt coordinator Hal Needham, who went onto direct some of Reynolds' biggest hits like Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run. He played a Hollywood stuntman in 1978's Hooper, with Needham at the helm.
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"Nobody ever won an Oscar for second best."