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“Top Gun 2″ gains “X-Men: First Class” screenwriters

“Top Gun 2″ gains “X-Men: First Class” screenwriters (photo)

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Here’s some bad news if you were hoping that Tony Scott‘s planned “re-thinking” of “Top Gun” was going to fall by the wayside. Variety has the news that Paramount has hired Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz to write the untitled follow-up to 1986’s hit Tom Cruise flick. The writing duo are responsible for one of the drafts of “X-Men: First Class” and “Thor.” They also have worked together on TV series’ “Fringe,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and “Andromeda.”

Not much is known about the upcoming movie, except that it could have a role for Tom Cruise. From the way Scott described his premise last year, it seems as though Miller and Stentz might be starting from scratch with the “Top Gun” concept and placing it in a world 25 years later where technologies are very different.

“It’s not even a reinvention, it’s not even a sequel. It’s a re-thinking,” Scott told MTV Radio about “Top Gun 2.” “What inspired me is that the world today is great, it’s so different from the world we touched originally. It’s really run by guys sitting in Nevada on computers playing war games. So it’s a mixture of that, and it’s the end of the generation of fighter pilots. Not in a complete end to the generation, because these guys they go up in F-35s and they carry 10 drones with them. [But] it’s a very different movie.”

In addition to another “Top Gun” zooming into theaters near you in the next few years, there are also plans to return the 1986 hit to the big screen — with an added dimension. Legend 3D announced earlier this month that they will be performing the 3D conversion for Paramount in anticipation for its theatrical re-release. No word yet on when “Top Gun 3D” will be hitting theaters.

Do you think Scott’s re-thinking of “Top Gun” is a good idea, or do you wish he’d leave well-enough alone? Let us know in the comments section 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.

Tom Cruise’s next onscreen opponent is… Werner Herzog?

Tom Cruise’s next onscreen opponent is… Werner Herzog? (photo)

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Tom Cruise has been a movie star for roughly thirty years. In that time, he’s fought such onscreen adversaries as Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Oprah’s couch. Now, according to Entertainment Weekly, he’s about to face off against his most intense opponent yet: director Werner Herzog.

EW reports that Herzog has signed on to co-star in the upcoming Cruise vehicle “One Shot” as “a character named The Zec, an ex-prisoner of war that first came to life in one of Lee Child’s bestselling Jack Reacher novels.” Herzog knows a thing or two about directing movies about ex-prisoners of war — he made the documentary “Little Dieter Needs to Fly” and and the fiction film “Rescue Dawn” about just that subject.

Earlier today, I got a press release about Herzog’s new documentary “Into the Abyss,” which opens in November, and I was thinking about possibly interviewing Herzog. The first question that came to mind: why don’t you act more? Funny timing; I guess Herzog’s been wondering the same thing. He’s known as a director, but he’s so naturally funny I really think he could have a second career in comedy. He’s so droll and poetic as the narrator of documentaries like “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” and he was great in Zak Penn’s two improv comedies, “The Grand” and “Incident at Loch Ness,” where he played himself in a cheerful spoof of one of his doomed productions.

I don’t know how good Herzog will be as the villain of a big Tom Cruise picture — I had a hard enough time taking Hugo Weaving seriously in “Captain America” as the Red Skull when he just sounded like Herzog — but I am really curious to see what happens. If The Zec is a kind of tongue-in-cheek baddie, I can’t imagine anyone more perfect. I’ll be keeping an eye on this project as it develops; it’s currently listed on IMDb with a 2013 release date.

DO you want to see Werner Herzog playing the big bad in a Hollywood thriller? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

“Top Gun” is getting a 3D conversion

“Top Gun” is getting a 3D conversion (photo)

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Upon its 1986 release, “Top Gun” was a colossal hit, and a perfect storm of successful 80s movie ingredients, including Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Cold War-era jingoism and Kenny Loggins. But finally, after waiting for a quarter of a century, fans will be able to see “Top Gun” as director Tony Scott no doubt intended: Semi-ironically through dark glasses with after-the-fact 3D grafted onto it.

The Hollywood Reporter has the news that Legend3D will be performing the 3D conversion for Paramount as part of a revenue sharing deal tied to the film’s theatrical re-release. Legend3D Rob Hummel claimed, “We think there is great potential for catalog titles in 3D, but studios have had trouble justifying the expense.” So if you go see this in theaters, you’ll only have yourself to blame when “Weird Science 3D” comes out.

The scene that will most likely lend itself best to 3D conversion, the dogfight with “Danger Zone” playing, was already screened at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam. Hummel explained, “I think ‘Top Gun’ lends itself to 3D due to the aerial flight,” but oddly failed to mention the appeal that a 3D volleyball scene could have to a somewhat different audience than the film’s original demographic.

Would you go see a 3D conversion of “Top Gun” in the theaters? What if your admission included a pair of Ray-Ban 3D glasses? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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