DID YOU READ

HCFF: Peter Weller talks “Robocop” remake, “Star Trek 2″ and too much more

peterweller

Posted by on

Peter Weller has a lot to say. That’s the main thing that those who attended Saturday’s “Robocop” screening during the Hero Complex Film Festival learned about the actor. He has a lot to say about everything, be it the caves of Lascaux or process trailers or his love of Philip K. Dick. The man went on a wonderfully passionate and slightly unhinged rant for a good hour after the screening of “Robocop,” and everyone present was in for a treat.

In the midst of all that fervor, though, he did talk about quite a few things that we figure those of you reading this site will find pretty interesting. To start, he shared his thoughts on the planned “Robocop” remake that is currently in pre-production. Needless to say, he doesn’t care for the idea very much.

“I couldn’t give a shit,” he said. “I say you know what, god bless them, man. Go make another ‘Robocop.’ I got to tell you this: when I sat there in Dallas three weeks ago to watch this thing, I don’t know. I mean, can they throw a lot of CGI at it and so forth? The morality that’s endemic to the movie that you just watched, it’s hard to replicate.”

He continued, “I mean, it makes you laugh and cry and moves you and hysterical and horrible and all those unbelievable things at once. Well good luck to them. They’ll never do it.”

We agree with Weller, though the way Joel Kinnaman talks about the project has us slightly intrigued. Still, it’s clear from the way Weller talks about the film that it’s near and dear to his heart despite the 25 years that have passed since he filmed it.

It’s some asthetic distance that I have from the film, and I had forgotten the … social history in ‘Robocop;’ you know, I’d forgotten how profound these writers are. They’re not only funny with those extraordinarily acerbic social obsessions like board games called Nukem. I mean, this is 1986. The parameters of friendly aggression even then,” he said.

He added about a recent screening of the movie in Dallas, “I had the first time, I had to say, that I got past the hoopla of the film and was genuinely proud to be part of it, to be really proud to be part of this film, and to see how anthropological it is.”

Weller talked a lot about his upcoming TV series, a modern Western called “Logmire,” but he also teased his role in “Star Trek 2.” He wouldn’t give us any details about his actual role, but he did explain just how strict Paramount was being about actors talking about the movie by telling an anecdote about a recent interaction he had with a man in Dallas.

“This guy is like following me in Dallas and he’s like, ‘”Star Trek,” are you playing an alien?’ And I just turned around — and I’m not going to tell you if I am or not — but I just said, ‘Hey, do I look like an alien?’ and I walked into the thing,” Weller said. “Paramount went just nuts. ‘You can’t say anything!’ I didn’t. What does that tell you? ‘Do I look like an alien?’ What am I going to do, put band aids over my mouth for Christ sake?”

That’s just about as much as Simon Pegg told us the night before after the “Shaun of the Dead” screening, so it seems like Paramount really is cracking down on the actors. Hey, we only have a little under a year to wait to find out the scoop on the flick, since it’s coming out May 17, 2013. That’s not too long in the scheme of things, right?

Do you agree with Weller’s sentiments on the “Robocop” remake? What do you think of the movie’s social message? Tell us 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.

Posted by on
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

maryhartman

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

ikea heights

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

fresno

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

soap

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

cooks2

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

darkplace

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

attitudes

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

peaks

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

invitation

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

stomach

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)

joey

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

acorn

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

pointplace

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

spoils

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.

spoilsdying


15. All My Children Finale, SNL

allmychildren

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.

HCFF: Rainn Wilson and James Gunn talk the cult of “Super”

super

Posted by on

“Super” is a movie that is all still fresh in our brains, and one that that was easily the youngest film present at the Hero Complex Film Festival. But host Geoff Boucher explained that he felt the flick will stand the test of time and one day sit happily next to such classics as “A Clockwork Orange,” “RoboCop” and “Shaun of the Dead,” which is why he included it in the line-up.

Star Rainn Wilson and writer/director James Gunn seemed honored to be present at the festival, even though they said it wasn’t too long ago that they were telling these same stories. That being said, they felt that the movie has really found its niche since it was released in 2010.

“It’s great that it’s really reaching an audience,” Wilson said. “People are loving the movie. I think it’s getting in the groundwater and I think it will really last, and that’s a really cool thing. That’s why you do it, especially kind of a weird, low-budget little cult film like this. People are very moved by it, and I like that.”

“Super” is sort of a comedy, sort of an action flick, sort of a drama and sort of a cult movie, and Gunn always knew that it would be a hard sell. He explained that he made the movie for the specific audience that would like it, instead of trying to appeal to a wide audience.

“I knew it was not a movie for everyone. It really was a movie for a few people and I feel really good about that. I knew that from the beginning,” Gunn said. “The people who love ‘Super’ like fucking love it. It touches them and it movies them. And we meant it sincerely, it was our story. That’s who I made the movie for.”

Gunn originally wrote the script back in 2002, and it first got financing back in 2004. He couldn’t find the right actor for the project then — he wanted John C. Reilly, but his financiers felt he “wasn’t a big enough star” (yet) — so it was put on hold while he did “Slither.” After that, it was Gunn’s ex-wife, “The Office” star Jenna Fischer, who turned him on to Wilson.

“I really needed somebody who could do the acting part, who could do the comedic part, who was a big enough goof that you could think he was getting picked on by the cook at the diner but is also a big enough guy that you could imagine him kicking ass at the end of the movie,” Gunn said.

Well, Wilson certainly fits that model to a T. After that, Gunn said it was surprisingly easy to get the cast that they needed. He wanted an Ellen Page-type for Boltie, and they got Ellen Page. Liv Tyler was a passionate supporter of the project, and used her prestigious name to swing a lot of the financing and pull some strings. Kevin Bacon was a last-minute addition, but one that was no less dedicated to the project. With those all set, it was just a matter of making the movie.

One of the things that’s interesting about “Super” is that the superhero storyline in the movie is sort of secondary. Gunn acknowledged that during the post-screening Q&A.

“[‘Super’ is] really much more about the fact that he’s this guy,” he said. “And I think the story could be told without him putting on the suit, but the suit’s kind of like gravy that gives it a little bit of extra something, but it’s really not about him being a superhero. It’s about him being this guy who lost his wife and how he tries to deal with it.”

Much of the influence for the film stylistically came from Asian cinema, but Gunn said much of the inspiration for the story came from Alan Moore.

“He wrote ‘Watchmen’ and sort of deconstructed the superheroes and was really trying to deconstruct the superhero idea in that same way,” Gunn said.

Even though “Super” seemed like an original idea when Gunn was writing it, he soon found himself with another similar project: “Kick-Ass.” But it turns out that there’s no bad blood between him and “Kick-Ass” creator Mark Millar, and in fact Millar was very supportive of Gunn’s film.

“I’m actually friends with Mark Millar online. We’re email buddies,” Gunn explained. “Back in 2004 or whatever he said, ‘What are you working on now?’ and I said, ‘Well, I’ve got this screenplay I’ve gone out with,’ and I told him what the gist of the screenplay was, and I think we’ve got the money for it, I think we’ve set it up, and he emailed me back and was so bummed out and was like, ‘Well shit, I’m writing this comic book,’ which was ‘Kick-Ass.'”

It seems like the making of “Super” was a good experience for both Gunn and Wilson. Though they both have other projects at the moment, they agreed that they would be open to working with one another again. Wilson even teased that he had an idea that he was going to pitch to Gunn in the coming week. Considering how off-the-wall “Super” was, we can only imagine what their next collaboration will be like.

Would you like to see Gunn and Wilson work together again? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

HCFF: Malcolm McDowell discusses the legacy of “A Clockwork Orange” and Stanley Kubrick

malcolmmcdowell

Posted by on

It’s been 50 years since Anthony Burgess released his dystopian novella “A Clockwork Orange,” and 41 years since Stanley Kubrick released his beloved adaptation of the classic work. In the time since, the film has become one of Kubrick’s most famous movies, standing high in the ranks among “The Shining,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Full Metal Jacket.”

Attendees of the Hero Complex Film Festival screening of the movie on Saturday were lucky enough to be treated to a Q&A following the film with star Malcolm McDowell. The 68-year-old still fondly looks back on the project that ended up being his most famous work in his career, and the director who brought that greatness out of him.

“The great thing about Kubrick is that he took on pretty much every genre of filmmaking and made a masterpiece, which must have pissed off a lot of his contemporaries,” McDowell remembered fondly of his director, who passed away in 1999. “He did amazing things.”

Kubrick is now considered one of the most famous filmmaking geniuses of all time, but McDowell said that it was hard to see him that way at the time of filming “A Clockwork Orange.”

“I never could consider him to be a genius because how can you work with a genius? You can’t,” McDowell said. “In retrospect of course he’s a genius I suppose because of all the movies he’d done. I didn’t have them in my mind; you know, I’d just seen [‘2001: A Space Odyssey’]. I didn’t see ‘Strangelove’ until later, thank god.”

It’s sort of strange that a movie as divisive and extreme as “A Clockwork Orange” would have such a strong life nearly half a century after its release, but McDowell credits that to its strong source material.

:”Why does is this movie still relevant today? No movies last 40 years. And it’s an extraordinary achievement on Burgess’s part that he wrote this dense extraordinary novel about a universal subject,” he said. “Kubrick — you know, it’s the perfect storm. To get someone like Kubrick with his vision and his extraordinary eye, the look of a movie was sort of light years against of everything.”

Powered by ZergNet