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Woman sues “Drive” for not being “Fast and Furious”

Woman sues “Drive” for not being “Fast and Furious” (photo)

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We’ve all gone to see movies based on trailers that turned out to be not entirely true. If you went to see “The Road” after checking out its trailer, for example, you were probably wondering where the hell Charlize Theron went. In the trailer, she looks like one of the main characters. In the movie — SPOILER ALERT! — she’s dead before the opening credits and appears only in flashbacks.

What we all haven’t done is walked out a movie and decided to sue its distributor for misleading us. But that’s exactly what one woman did last week to Filmdistrict, the distributor of the new movie “Drive.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sarah Deming of Michigan has filed suit against Filmdistrict for promoting “Drive” “as very similar to the ‘Fast and Furious,’ or similar, series of movies” when in fact, the suit alleges:

“…”‘Drive’ bore very little similarity to a chase, or race action film… having very little driving in the motion picture… ‘Drive’ was a motion picture that substantially contained extreme gratuitous defamatory dehumanizing racism directed against members of the Jewish faith, and thereby promoted criminal violence against members of the Jewish faith.”

It did? I thought the movie was equally violent against members of all faiths — and if you want to be really technical about it, most of the onscreen violence was committed by Jews against characters whose religious affiliations are unclear. But whatever, that’s really not the main issue.

The main issue is the trailer, which Deming argues misled her into believing “Drive” would deliver a similar experience to “The Fast and the Furious” (essentially she’s complaining about the very thing that critics love about the film — namely its romantic, poetic take on the heist genre). Let’s take a look at the trailer in question and see whether it’s misleading. Here it is:

For point of comparison, here’s the trailer to the original “The Fast and the Furious”:

Hard to say that “Drive” sells itself like a “Fast and Furious” movie when you see how a “Fast and Furious” movie sells itself. “TF&TF”‘s trailer has lot more quick cuts, a lot more CGI shots inside engines, and a lot of dudes wearing shirts with no sleeves acting macho. Which brings me to the part of Deming’s lawsuit I really don’t understand, and what I don’t understand about other people complaining that they didn’t like “Drive” because the trailer misled them: the “Drive” trailer is actually too accurate. It may not depict the full scope of the onscreen violence, it may not fully imply how slow certain portions of the film are, but it reveals almost every major details of the plot, including the twist about Carey Mulligan’s character’s husband returning from prison and the major double-cross during the big heist scene. To my eyes, it doesn’t contain any footage that doesn’t appear in the film itself, something you occasionally see in trailers for stuff that undergo significant revision in the editing room. Deming would have a much stronger case if she was suing because she felt like she saw the entire movie in the trailer, because basically she did.

Deming wants her ticket price refunded and the practice of “misleading” Hollywood trailers ended. Here’s the problem: Misleading trailers like the one for “The Road” might be frustrating, and maybe they do sometimes cross the line from fudging the truth to false advertising (“Four out of five doctors agree: ‘Drive’ is a smash-hit!”). But what’s the alternative? Trailers going even further than “Drive” to explain every last detail of what you’re going to see in a movie? Sports movie trailers that show you the last play? Horror movie trailers that reveal the identity of the killer? If the trailer tells you exactly what the movie is and what happens, why even bother going to the movies in the first place?

One of the fundamental pleasures of film is surprise. The day the movies lose that, is the day the movies lose my interest. If I can predict a movie’s ending from its trailer, that’s a bad thing. Maybe not according to Deming, but definitely according to me.

What’s the most misleading film trailer of all time? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

Dane Cook finds “Answers to Nothing” in new trailer

Dane Cook finds “Answers to Nothing” in new trailer (photo)

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Why do all comedians want to be dramatic actors? Does drama pay better than comedy? Is getting an Oscar that insanely awesome? Does working the comedy club circuit make you so dead inside that you become incapable of feeling or even portraying human joy? Whatever the reason, Dane Cook has been far too successful a comedian not to try his hand at dramatic acting. And here comes that try: “Answers to Nothing” from “Dead and Breakfast” director Matthew Leutwyler. The trailer:

I know the title and all, but I hope the movie has answers to something, because the trailer left me with a lot of questions, namely what exactly this movie is about besides Cook’s crossover to quote-unquote “real” acting, which actually looks promising. The answer (to nothing) follows, courtesy the official plot synopsis from the trailer’s press release:

“Dane Cook leads a stellar cast, including Elizabeth Mitchell (‘Lost’), Julie Benz (‘Dexter’), Zach Gilford (‘Friday Night Lights’), and Barbara Hershey (‘Black Swan’), as a man struggling with his own infidelity in ‘Answers to Nothing.’ Set against the backdrop of a missing girl case, the film tells interweaving stories of several Los Angelenos trying to do the right thing.”

That’s a little, but not much, more to go on. All we be revealed (and, presumably, be revealed to provide solution to not very much at all) when Roadside Attractions releases the film on December 2.

What do you think of Dane Cook’s acting chops? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Five more directors who should act more

Five more directors who should act more (photo)

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We were delighted to hear the news that Werner Herzog is going to appear as the villain in Tom Cruise’s next movie, “One Shot.” Herzog’s a great director, but he’s an equally great screen presence. We’ve dug his serious movies with Harmony Korine and his silly movies with Zak Penn. We have no doubt he will prove a magnificent onscreen adversary (or topless beach volleyball teammate) for Maverick.

And while there are some directors who could stand to do more directing and less acting — M. Night Shyamalan, Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino between the years 1994-1996 — Herzog is not the only auteur with as many gifts in front of the camera as behind it. Here are our picks for the five (living and working) directors ready to take the leap from occasional cameos to working thespians. In no particular order they are:

Martin Scorsese
Director of: “Mean Streets” (1973); “Taxi Driver” (1976); “The Departed” (2006).
Notable Performances: Martin Rittenhower in “Quiz Show,” Passenger in “Taxi Driver” (see below).
Ideal Casting: A fast-talking newspaper editor in a period screwball comedy.


Spike Jonze
Director of: “Being John Malkovich” (1999); “Adaptation,” (2002); “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009).
Notable Performances: Various Old Men and Ladies in “Jackass,” Vig in “Three Kings” (see below).
Ideal Casting: The charming owner of a vintage bookstore in a romantic drama.


Mel Brooks
Director of: “The Producers” (1968); “Young Frankenstein” (1974); “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” (1993).
Notable Performances: Yogurt in “Spaceballs,” Governor Lepetomane in “Blazing Saddles” (see below).
Ideal Casting: Ben Stiller’s dad.


Michael Bay
Director of: “The Rock” (1996); “Armageddon” (1998); “Transformers” (2007).
Notable Performances: Car Driver in “Bad Boys II;” Michael Bay in Verizon Commercial (see below)
Ideal Casting: The jock who used to torture the hero of a high school reunion comedy (we also would have accepted “Any role that keeps Michael Bay from directing more”)


Adam McKay
Director of: “Anchorman” (2004); “Talladega Nights” (2006); “Step Brothers” (2008).
Notable Performances: Erin Gossamer in “Green Team,” “Dirty Mike in “The Other Guys” (see below)
Ideal Casting: As Will Ferrell’s onscreen partner in a buddy comedy.


What director do you want to see acting more? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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