Did you hear the one about the college football player who made the Star Wars fan film?
That football player is wide receiver Chris Conley from the Georgia Bulldogs (Go Dawgs! by the way). As an obsessive UGA football fan, I’ve watched Conley play over the last few years. Not only is he a dependable, smart football player, it also appears like he might have a future in film making, if not the NFL.
Stars Wars: Retribution is set in Athens, Georgia. Conley premiered the trailer recently, with a little promotional help from head coach Mark Richt. The movie will release later this year. All in all, this is a pretty amazing piece of work by a junior in college. Read more
Here’s your chance to be in the pictures.
Casting for a movie about Ernest Hemingway is about to get underway in Miami and Los Angeles. According to Project Casting, Anthony Hopkins has been rumored to play Hemingway.
What type of roles are they casting for?
I don’t watch a lot of movies. I want to say it’s just a season of life I’m going through, but I don’t think I’ve really been a huge movie watcher since high school.
I don’t avoid them, and don’t dislike movies, but I just don’t feel compelled to watch too many. In the last year, I’ve watched maybe 6 or 7 movies in the theater—and two of them (Planes and The Lego Movie) were with my 3-year-old.
So if I watch that few feature films, I can say with absolute certainty I have no idea the last time I watched a made-for-television movie.
Don’t they usually suck?
I don’t know. What I do know is that horribly long lead-in was meant to introduce the made-for-television version of Their Eyes Were Watching God. The film aired on ABC and was produced by Oprah Winfrey.
Halle Berry played the female protagonist, Janie Crawford. Now I get that Zora Neale Hurston describes Janie Crawford as an attractive woman in the novel, but Halle Berry’s level of attractiveness? I didn’t have that in mind. Wow.
So to recap today’s post:
I misspoke (miswrote?) in my preview of Money last week.
In the post, I said that the character of Lorne Guyland in Money was based on Kirk Douglas, who later would actually play Lorne Guyland in the movie adaptation of Money.
That’s incorrect, at least the second part.
There hasn’t been a film version of Money, unless you include the BBC adaptation. Lorne Guyland was based on Kirk Douglas, that’s true. But that connection came from Martin Amis’s experience working with Douglas when he was writing the screenplay for the movie Saturn 3.
This comes from an interview with Martin Amis by The Independent:
Philip K. Dick might have believed he was Elijah, and he might have believed he was the disciple Thomas, and he might have believed he could communicate with a pink beam of light—yes, he was a little “out there”—but there’s no disputing that the man was the Energizer Bunny of science fiction writing.
When he died at age 53 in 1982, Dick had written 44 published novels and 121 short stories. What might be even more impressive than that was the amount of Dick’s novels that were turned into feature films. Of course, he didn’t write the screenplays, but his novels were the basis of many productions in Hollywood.
Here’s the list of movies based on Dick novels, from Wikipedia:
You know whom I turn to when I want to know about the art of moviemaking?
Well, none other than Kim Jong-il, the late North Korean dictator.
Back in 1973, before he was a tyrannical dictator who tortured his people, disposed of the ones unfortunate to be born handicapped, and routinely threatened nuclear war, “The Dear Leader” wrote a book called On the Art of Cinema. It’s an actual book. With words.
Apparently, he was North Korea’s “culture minister” at the time—a post given to him by his father, the founding prime dictator, Kim Il-Sung. The little guy, Kim-Jong-il, was a movie buff who owned a vault of 15,000 films.
One chapter of his book is titled, “A Film Without Music is Incomplete.” Riveting stuff, this book.
With a chapter title like that, does anyone think he ghostwrote The Sot-Weed Factor? Or remember the book from the A Dance To The Music of Time series called “Books Do Furnish A Room.” Terrible.
The Amazon blurb about On The Art of Cinema sounds about as riveting as the book’s title itself:
I don’t watch a lot of movies.
I don’t dislike movies. But when I have a few free hours, I like to spend it in other ways. Unless it’s a movie I really want to see, like The Great Gatsby a few months ago, I tend to get bored too easily. That’s just me.
So I’m not one of those guys who watches the Academy Awards every year. In fact, I’m not sure I could give you more than two or three films that have won the Oscars off the top of my head. I just don’t keep up with it.
So it’s not surprising that I didn’t even know A Passage To India was a movie—and it’s even less surprising that I don’t remotely pretend to know that said movie won an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director in 1984.
If you will, imagine with me:
A man, mid-thirties, brown hair, sits on a couch. In his hands, he holds Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret with a mild expression of pain and discomfort on his face. He looks puzzled. The soft sounds of a SportsCenter anchor eminate in the background.
A 3-year-old boy runs past, pushing a plastic lawnmower out of which the lower torso of an upside-down Buzz Lightyear pertrudes from the plastic gas tank.
The man’s lovely wife, now seven months pregnant, asks the man if he will bring a laundry basket downstairs. He replies, “Honey, can’t you see I’m reading Judy Blume here?”
[Fade to black.]
Here’s the thing about movies.
If you’re going to remake a film, a film that won multiple Academy Awards and received rave reviews, then you better do an unbelievably good job.
That’s why I believe the Gatsby film was a success. The previous film versions of the classic novel sucked, so the bar was set pretty low when Baz Luhrmann got around to making the movie. It wasn’t just better than previous Gatsby movies–it was a very good movie on its merit.
On the flip side, what about All The King’s Men?
With the novel, which is also my current read from the Time list, Robert Penn Warren won the Pulitzer in 1947. Playing off that success, Robert Rossen directed the 1949 movie, which won three Academy Awards, including the big one—Best Picture.
Here’s a trailer for the 1949 film, which starred Broderick Crawford.
I missed the boat.
I missed the boat filled with people who believe the new Gatsby movie sucked. That ship sailed and I wasn’t on it. I don’t know what’s up with those people.
In this post, I’ll explain why I disagree with most critics on The Great Gatsby movie. The film has been critically panned, receiving 49% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’ve read several recurring arguments online, and I want to take a look at each of those.
As a reminder, I’ve read the Gatsby novel five times. It’s my favorite book, and if a director did a crappy job of putting Fitzgerald’s story on screen, I would be more than happy to ridicule said director.
In this case, I think Baz Luhrmann did a (mostly) excellent job of making this classic novel into a Hollywood film. But let’s take a look at what some of his critics are saying.