Ask 411 Movies for 04.14.14: Bada Bing Bada Boom!
Posted by Chad Webb on 04.14.2014
Did Ghostbusters lead the best single weekend for movie-going of all-time? Which decade was the best for TV? Why was Anthony Edwards' role in Revenge of the Nerds II so small? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Movies!
An "Ask 411 Movies" column would be nothing without questions, so please toss them my way. Why should you ask me instead of using Google? Well, perhaps I'll tell you something you can't find there, or maybe you just like my conversation and soothing words. You can post any questions or thoughts below in the comments section, email me at email@example.com, or send me a tweet using the links below:
Well, WrestleMania XXX has come and gone. The event delivered a few good matches and one unforgettable moment, for better or worse. Personally I was fine with the streak ending. I've been watching the Undertaker since his debut and I'm a huge fan of the character much more than I was his run at WrestleMania, but that's me. Sure, the match was so-so, but it makes sense in many ways for Lesnar to have beaten him. The biggest fault in all that was how poorly the feud was booked considering these two worked so well together during the "American Bad Ass" days. Still, aside from that, it was good to see Daniel Bryan get his time in the sun. I just hope they leave the belt on him for awhile.
As for movies, I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was excellent. I'm not sure I think it's perfect or an instant classic, but it was a very good movie. I finished Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac and highly enjoyed that. There are no other filmmakers like Von Trier and this effort was thought-provoking, memorable, and well acted by all involved. I also caught The Family on DVD, which was disappointing. As for TV, I started watching 24 from season 1 recently, which is obviously long overdue. Outstanding so far.
If want to know more about my movie tastes, check out my page on Letterboxd by clicking right here. Also, make sure to look at all the great articles and writers at 411, particularly in the Movie-zone because that's where I predominantly am, but all of the zones.
Mickey Rooney died on April 6, 2014 in his sleep at home. He was an American actor in films, television, Broadway, radio and vaudeville. His career spanned 90 years, as he began as a child star. He received an honorary Academy Award, an Emmy, and 2 Golden Globes. He was also nominated for 4 Academy Awards. He appeared in more than 200 films and was the last surviving star of the silent film era, with one of the longest careers in the medium's history. Among his numerous films: Babes in Arms, National Velvet, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Captain Courageous, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, The Black Stallion, and Breakfast at Tiffany's. I forgot about the 13 Andy Hardy pictures. Rooney was survived by his wife of 37 years, Jan Chamberlain, from whom he was separated, as well as eight surviving children, two stepchildren, nineteen grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. He will be missed.
Mary Anderson passed away on April 6, 2014 just 3 days after her 96th birthday. She was an American actress best known for her uncredited role in Gone with the Wind. She appeared in 31 films and 22 television productions during her career. Anderson can also be found in the titles The Song of Bernadette and Lifeboat, among others. On TV, she can be seen in an episode of Perry Mason and Peyton Place. She was married to cinematographer Leon Shamroy until his death. They had one child, who died at two months.
In case I forgot to mention a notable death this week, you can always peruse the list yourself by clicking here.
Why was Anthony Edwards in Revenge of the Nerds 2: Nerds in Paradise but at the same time not really? What I mean is his character had a broken leg if I recall and was basically seen on the phone from Adams college while Lewis and the rest were in Florida. Was he legitimately unable to film on location or had another commitment that he could not break or some other odd reason?
Also, other than Anthony Edwards, Curtis Armstrong, Robert Carradine and a few others who we all know what happened to the rest of the cast, i.e. Wormser? And finally, this movie has to be in the pantheon of can't be remade properly. It's just too much a movie of its time. Do you agree?
Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise is the 1987 sequel to the 1984 comedy Revenge of the Nerds. Its cast featured most of the main actors from the earlier film, including Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards (in a smaller role),Curtis Armstrong, Larry B. Scott, Timothy Busfield, Donald Gibb, and Andrew Cassese. This film also provided an early starring role for Courtney Thorne-Smith. Other cast members include Bradley Whitford, Ed Lauter, and Barry Sobel.
As for why Anthony Edwards had a smaller role and didn't appear in any future installments, what better than a quote directly from the actor himself? This is taken from an interview he did with The AV Club in February of 2013: "I don't think I really necessarily wanted to do it at all—I was just doing other things—but then they really wanted me to do it. So I ended up with a pool in my back yard that I called the Revenge Of The Nerds II pool. [Laughs.] Not that I'm complaining, but they seriously overpaid me for my weeks of work on the film, so I used it to put in a pool." To read the rest of the interview, which includes thoughts on much of his resume, including fond recollections of the first Revenge of the Nerds, click here.
Harold Wormser was played by Andrew Cassese. Since his role in the first two Revenge of the Nerds films, he has continued to work in various avenues of mass media and theatre. Cassese graduated NYU Film School in 1995 and has 3 years production experience with Fox Television News in New York. His true passion seems to be the stage as he has enjoyed starring roles on Broadway in the productions of Smile and Nine, Tommy Tune's award winning musical starring Raul Julia. He was also one of the stars of the CBS series, TV 101. He also had a part in one episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent called "Suite Sorrow." He was a reporter in that. He's also done some voice work. To read a recent interview with Cassese, click here. And see his picture below. As for the rest of the cast, the majority of them have continued to act and can be found on IMDB, though some more sporadically than others. Michelle Meyrink (Judy) stopped in the late 80's, Brian Tochi (Takashi) does a lot of video game voice acting.
Well, as much as it pains me to say it, anything can be remade, but that doesn't mean it should be remade. I tend to embrace the old curmudgeon attitude towards remakes in general, whereas many people who write in this zone are kinder about the idea of them. Many 80's flicks have been remade and for the most part, they turn up mediocre or worse because the originals were as you said, products of their time. Imagine Back to the Future being remade. The special effects would be updated, but the sense of style and comedy and chemistry would be absent because it is impossible to catch lightning in a bottle twice like that. Granted, with the right director and writer, anything could happen, but that is rarely the case. Most of the time the studio rushes the remakes haphazardly to cash in on the built-in audience. The best remakes are for movies where the original can be improved upon. Now, I won't call Revenge of the Nerds a perfect movie, but what could possibly be improved upon? The nature of the characters, the style of humor, and so forth would likely not mesh well by today's standards. If you want to make a movie about "nerds," start from scratch and call it something else. Many 80's titles fall into this category. Movies from this era, while not flawless masterpieces every time, had a goofy charm that aged well and produced a welcoming sense of nostalgia as the years have gone by. In this PC world, that would be hard to replicate. So, yes, I agree.
So you've done best decade and best year, but is there a way of determining the best opening week-end (wide-release only)? Has there ever been a week-end where three or four outstanding movies have been released at the same time?
Well, I know you are talking about quality, but we'll begin with what movie has the most successful opening weekend of all-time. That would be The Avengers, which was released on May 4, 2012 and grossed $207.4 million in its opening weekend. If we're adjusting for inflation and simply counting the number of tickets sold, the answer would be very different, Gone with the Wind I would guess.
Unfortunately my research to determine the best weekend gave mixed results. Since this is all subjective, picking one weekend to rule them all is extremely hard. We could have dozens where 3-5 really good films were released. I can say that in terms of quality, any weekend in December is a good wager, specifically December 25th when a bunch of films squeeze in before the year's end to qualify for the Oscar race. But I know that's a lame response, so I'll try to do a bit better.
If you were lucky enough to be a moviegoer in the summer of 1984, particularly between July 13 -15, this would have been the Top 14:
3. The Last Starfighter
4. The Karate Kid
5. The Muppets Take Manhattan
6. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
7. Bachelor Party
8. Cannonball Run II
9. Conan the Destroyer
10. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
12. Top Secret!
13. The Natural
14. Romancing the Stone
Obviously there are some duds there, but for the most part that is a damn fine list of fun flicks. These didn't hit theaters the exact same day, but hey. What titles had already come and gone that summer?: Police Academy, Sixteen Candles, Footloose, Splash and This Is Spinal Tap. Which movies were still to come that same summer?: Revenge of the Nerds, The Neverending Story, Purple Rain, and Red Dawn. So I've narrowed it down to a summer. Perhaps I can gradually narrow it further to a month and then a weekend. I'll keep looking into this, but so far this is the best I could come up with.
Do you think this current decade is starting to be the best for TV?
Mahmood gave me a bunch of questions last week, and I realized I missed this one. While I think this decade still fits in with the "Second Golden Age of Television" descriptor, I would say that the previous decade, 2000-2009, was the best for TV. For starters, a lot of huge shows have ended during this decade, like Breaking Bad and now Mad Men, not to mention many others. Furthermore, last decade saw the peak of The Sopranos (arguably the greatest show ever), plus the two aforementioned shows started during that time, in addition to The Wire, the end of The X-Files, Oz, 24, House, Sons of Anarchy, Carnivale, Smallville, CSI, The West Wing, Rescue Me, Six Feet Under, Firefly, Deadwood, Lost, Sex and the City, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, the best of Dexter, and the best of How I Met Your Mother. And that only scratches the surface. This decade has plenty of awesome shows, but from 2000-2009, we were all dedicated couch potatoes.
Randomness: TV Shows and Their Movie Equivalents
A couple weeks back I was asked by reader Mahmood to give a list of shows and the movies that probably inspired them. Now, this does not include shows that were legitimately based off a specific title such as MASH (1970) & M*A*S*H (1972-83). Basically this is a guessing game. What show have you watched that reminded you of a certain movie? I already suggested The Sopranos (1999-2007) = Goodfellas (1990) and The West Wing (1999-2006) = The American President (1995) in that article. I decided to do some more digging, so I asked friends and put out the word where I could to see if anybody else could think of examples. Here is what turned up:
*Battlestar Galactica (1978-79) & Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-81) = Star Wars (1977)
*Tales of the Gold Monkey & Bring ‘Em Back Alive (both 1982-83) = Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
*Project UFO (1978-79) = Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
*Wagon Train (1957-65) = Wagon Master (1950)
*Hustle (2005-12) = The Sting (1973)
*The Young Riders (1989-1992) = Young Guns (1988)
If you haven't heard of some of these shows, I urge you to look them up on IMDB, Wikipedia, or Netflix. I promise you they fit. If anyone can think of more examples, feel free to comment below!
Quick Shot: Johnny Depp
We have Transcendence hitting theaters this Friday, starring Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, and of course Johnny Depp. And so here are 5 Depp performances that you absolutely must familiarize yourself with before checking out the upcoming film. Side note: this was difficult. Think of these not so much as "best films" but rather "best roles."
2) Ed Wood
3) Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
4) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
5) Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
--Thanks to Misty for my banner.
"The plural of Chad is Chad?"
--From the movie Recount