DID YOU READ

10 movies you’ve never heard of starring pro wrestlers

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It’s the year of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Aside from a stint as WWE Champion and headlining Wrestlemania, we’ve seen him in “The Snitch,” “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and “Pain & Gain” so far. Once upon a time, though, a professional wrestler starring in movies would have been considered a lame joke – outside of Hulk Hogan’s goofy stint in “Rocky III” and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper headlining John Carpenter’s “They Live.” But The Rock isn’t the only wrestler who’s tried to make their bones as a movie star, but he’s obviously the only thing close to a bona fide success. To better illustrate why that’s so impressive, here’s a list of ten movies you’ve likely never heard of which feature pro wrestlers in leading roles. It ain’t all that pretty.


1. “Hell Comes To Frogtown” (1987)

Outside of Dwayne, I think we can all agree that Roddy Piper has the best film out there with a wrestler in the lead role – we all love “They Live.” However, that doesn’t mean that The Rowdy One got off scot free as far as cinematic disasters go. In this film, he plays Sam Hell, one of the last fertile males in a post-apocalyptic wasteland riddled with mutant frogs, and he’s captured by a militant group of nurses, fitted with a chastity belt/bomb to force him to follow orders, and then he’s charged with heading into Frogtown to free a group of women being used as sex slaves, so that he can impregnate them instead. See, his name is Hell, and he goes to Frogtown. This time, his extended fight scene isn’t with Keith David, but a guy in a frog mask.


2. “Santa with Muscles” (1996)

Piper’s biggest adversary in his wrestling heyday was Hulk Hogan, arguably the most famous wrestler of all time. He scored big as Thunderlips in “Rocky III,” scored his own starring role in “No Holds Barred,” which even brought Tiny Lister into the squared circle for a while as the incoherent Zeus. The subsequent attempts to cash in on his fame cinematically were very iffy, however, including “Suburban Commando” and this holiday comedy, which has perhaps the lamest title ever. Hogan sports a shorter version of his trademark mustache, as well as disconcerting fake hair covering his infamously bald head, as a jerk millionaire who gets amnesia while wearing a Santa Claus outfit and thinks he’s actually Kris Kringle. Then he has to stop Evil Ed Begley Jr. from harvesting magical crystals under an orphanage. Okay. Keep an eye out for a young Mila Kunis as well.


3. “Santa’s Slay” (2005)

Perhaps the polar opposite of “Santa With Muscles” is this horror comedy, starring WCW legend Bill Goldberg as murderous version of St. Nick. It seems he was actually a demon who lost a curling match to an angel and was thus forced to deliver presents to children for 1000 years – but now, time’s up, and the Anticrhist’s murder spree is in full effect. We’ve also got Robert Culp and Emilie de Ravin along for the sleigh ride.


4. “Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe” (1990)

Jesse “The Body” Ventura certainly made a name for himself not only in Arnold Schwarzenegger movies like “Predator” and “The Running Man,” but also with his improbable victory to become the governor of Minnesota. But did you know that he was also an intergalactic cop trying to stop a renegade officer named Secundus from finding the Comator in order to unlock the secrets of the Anti-Life Equation in order to grant himself omnipotence and immortality? No. No, you probably didn’t. The Comator (Co-Mater?) happens to be a little boy who was conceived and born on the same day when Secundus touched an Earth woman’s belly. Will this odd family teach Abraxas the meaning of humanity? Probably. Jim Belushi won’t be any help, though, as he plays the worst principal ever.


5. “See No Evil” (2006)

In the modern era, World Wrestling Entertainment has their own film division, trying to see if they can’t duplicate the success of The Rock. Their first effort was this slasher movie starring Glenn Jacobs, aka Dr. Isaac Yankem (the evil dentist) and better known as Kane, The Big Red Monster. Standing seven feet tall, Kane is an imposing figure – and in the ring, he usually sports an ominous mask, but even his regular face has an aura of evil about it, making him a fine choice to play an eye-gouging psycho named Jacob Goodnight. Borrowing pages from “Psycho” and “Friday the 13th,” Goodnight was made a monster by his mother.

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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.

17 incredibly awesome movie prosthetics

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1. Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”


Believe it or not, Heath Ledger actually designed the Joker’s cakey makeup in The Dark Night. The cheek scars, however, were the work of prosthetic. Source

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros./Everett Collection

2. John Matuszak, “The Goonies”

The Sloth’s facial deformities are made up of 15 layers of prosthetics and mechanical elements—and no, they weren’t dreamed up by Data. The result turned actor John Matuzak from man to monster. Source

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros./NY Daily News

3. Nicole Kidman, “The Hours”


What a difference a nose makes. Nicole Kidman became virtually unrecognizable in her role of Virginia Woolf all thanks to her prosthetic schnoz, so much so that a test audience didn’t even recognize her in an initial screening of the film. Source

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures/Everett Collection

4. Elijah Wood, “The Lord of the Rings”

Elijah Wood’s huge, hairy hobbit feet aren’t real, thank Bob. The cast and crew went through over 1,800 prosthetic footses to give Frodo that Shire look, even picking up a Guinness world record in the process. Source.

Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema/Everett Collection

5. Johnny Depp, “Edward Scissorhands”


If you couldn’t tell Edward Scissorhand’s scissored hands were fake, you should probably lay off the drugs. The impressive metalwork as well as the accompanying faux facial scars got the crew a nomination for Best Makeup in ‘91. Source.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection

6. Marlon Brando, “The Godfather”


Don Vito Corleone’s famous distorted speech was the result of a little Hollywood trick. Marlon Brando stuffed prosthetics into his cheeks to puff up his lower face and get that intimidating mob boss accent.
Source.

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures/Columbia Pictures
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10 ironic comedy remakes

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This is the era of revamping other eras. That is, the ideas of yore are being mined constantly for the potential to become blockbuster movie franchises to fuel sequel after sequel, and it usually works. In some cases, the best way to make it work is to take something old, strip away the cheesier elements and turn it into something cool and badass. However, in some cases – a prime example being Tim Burton’s satirical take on the goth-soap drama “Dark Shadows” – the cheese is too irresistible, and the remakers instead opt to celebrate those elements with sarcasm, loving mockery and ironic flair. Let’s take a look at ten of these particular efforts.


1. “21 Jump Street” (2012)

One of the more recent efforts in this style seems to be the most well received, as the dramatic teen-heartthrob vehicle from the late ‘80s about young-looking rookie cops being assigned to undercover duty in a local high school gets a raucous send-up that does nothing but mock itself as well as the entire concept of remaking old stuff. Even some of its original cast shows up to do the same thing, but it’s really the Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill show, as their clueless characters stumble into ridiculous situations which play out to a surprisingly hilarious effect, proving that a man named Channing has to develop a sense of humor somewhere along the way.


2. “The Green Hornet” (2011)

After this property bounced around Hollywood for years and went through the obligatory rejected Kevin Smith pitch, Michel Gondry and Seth Rogen finally took a crack at relaunching the movie serial superhero that was turned into a TV series featuring Bruce Lee back in the 1960s. Although he brought Jay Chou in as the competent sidekick Kato, Rogen himself played crusading reporter Britt Reid as more of a bumbling party guy who suddenly had to grow up, but not fast enough to keep himself from looking like an idiot in this new endeavor. Poking fun at superhero movie conventions, Kato agrees to become a masked vigilante, but refuses tights. It didn’t go over quite as well.


3. “Starsky & Hutch” (2004)

A beloved 1970s cop show became a winking buddy cop movie in 2004 for Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, and you know those guys couldn’t take something like this all that seriously. If their mockery of old school car-chase-heavy action-dramas doesn’t get you, perhaps Snoop Dogg co-starring as their slick pal Huggy Bear, Will Ferrell’s perverted prison informant and Vince Vaughn as the ridiculously-moustachioed bad guy will. There’s even some Jason Bateman action to enjoy.


4. “The Brady Bunch Movie” (1995)

In 1995, this riff on the cheery ‘70s sitcom about a guy with three boys marrying a woman with three girls took the self-referential parody to heights it hadn’t reached before, taking the family directly out of the 1970s and throwing them into the too-hip-for-the-room 1990s world. Complete with outdated musical numbers while gallivanting through a Sears. Gary Cole and Shelley Long are the Brady elders, and Ben Stiller’s wife Christine Taylor looks so eerily like the original Marcia Brady Maureen McCormick that it’s been difficult to see her in any other role at all.


5. “Dragnet” (1987)

The long-running no-nonsense police drama starring Jack Webb was brought to comic life in 1987 by Dan Aykroyd doing a pitch-perfect monotone riff on Webb’s stuffy persona, playing his character’s nephew Joe Friday. Tom Hanks, back when he was still known entirely for comedy, was his modern partner Pep Streebek. While the film remains funny and charming, complete with the incomparable Dabney Coleman as a smut king and Christopher Plummeras the villain, one has to wonder about the level of self-awareness. Sure, they were obviously having fun with the concept, but somehow, they thought it was a good idea to rope Aykroyd and Hanks into rapping. Yes, in case you forgot, here is their Dragnet rap “City of Crime.” Watch it and wonder just how aware of themselves they actually were.

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