Summer is here, and that means a number of people will be engaging in those familiar warm-weather activities. For example, what better way to beat the heat than to make a trip to the local waterpark and go barreling down the various slides? Apart from the risk of losing your trunks, or catching conjunctivitis, going to a waterpark is generally a safe way to spend an afternoon — that is, unless you happen to be visiting Big Wet. This is the splishsplashy setting for Piranha 3DD, opening this week, and the park is infested with, of all things, man-eating fish.
This horror sequel got us thinking about all the various ways in which the genre has ruined outdoor pastimes for years. It seems there isn’t a single summer activity that hasn’t been attacked by monsters, killer sharks, or just unfriendly neighborhood psychopaths. We decided to examine a few of these pastimes that we’re now a bit hesitant to engage in thanks to the movies.
A Day at the Beach
Remember the days when you could just pack up the family station wagon and head to the beach? You could enjoy some sun, drink a few cold ones, and take in a relaxing swim among the waves. That is, you could do all those things prior to 1975. With one fateful cinematic stroke, Steven Spielberg made us all terrified of dipping one toe into the ocean; convinced we’d be gobbled up by an enormous shark just like that Kintner boy. It’s actually unfair to say that Jaws ruined ocean swimming…because that would be too limited. The film actually so adeptly created a fearful association between water and doom that for years afterward, some people reported being afraid to even take a bath.
So forget the beach, let’s head to the woods for a peaceful commune with nature. What’s that? You’ve chosen Crystal Lake as a suitable campground? Why do I have the feeling that is an ill-advised decision? Oh, that’s right, because a certain hockey-mask-wearing maniac calls those woods home. Whether you’re watching the very first Friday the 13th or any of its innumerable sequels (minus the one in space), you can bet that a venture into the woods of Crystal Lake will result in the loss of a vital appendage by way of a dull machete. Sometimes I think these movies were produced by Smokey the Bear; the best way to prevent forest fires after all is to scare humans into never wanting to enter them.
The adversary of the family picnic has always been the ant; although this threat is usually thwarted with a simple swipe of the hand. Enter Bert I. Gordon, the master of the oversized fauna. In 1977, Gordon brought us Empire of the Ants, and forever ruined outdoor dining. In the film, Joan Collins plays a shady real estate mogul trying to sell unsuspecting dupes land that doesn’t exist. She treats them to fine food at a reception in order to sweeten the deal; only she never counted on the location she chose being populated by radioactive insects. Now if only Gordon would make a movie about a giant anteater...
So beaches, camping, and picnics are out, why not try an amusement park? Odds are, unless you happen to follow John Hammond to a theme park featuring resurrected dinosaurs, you’re pretty safe among the coasters and the funnel cakes, right? Oh but wait, we still have to contend with the walking dead. Zombieland showed us that the most harrowing midway game isn’t The Ring Toss, it’s Escape The Flesheaters. Your prize for winning isn’t a stuffed bear, it’s instead not being stuffed piece by torn piece into the mouth of a zombie. Your best bet is to always bring Woody Harrelson with you to the amusement park. That guy creates a whole new approach to the shooting gallery.
The great American pastime, how can any movie possibly corrupt baseball? Well, if you happen to be one of the ill-fated Warriors, running for your lives through gang-infested streets, you’re likely to cross paths with the Baseball Furies. These guys take the game a little too seriously, and aren’t restricted to swinging their bats at curveballs and sliders. Heck, even little league games aren’t safe anymore thanks to Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive. All I’m saying is that it’s hard to make it to the regional playoffs when your starting shortstop is flattened by a steamroller in right field.
You know what, we’re just going to stay home. Nothing is safer than remaining inside your house and — oh wait, Poltergeist. Crap.
How TV Ruined the Beach
Summer 2012 TV: Your Ultimate Stay Indoors Guide
Summer Movie Pool Party: Characters We'd Invite
The outfit, worn by Bert Lahr in the classic movie, has been reunited with the ruby slippers and pinafore dress Judy Garland wore as Dorothy in the film for the Icons of Hollywood sale at Profiles in History in California, scheduled for 15 and 16 December (11).
Profiles boss Joe Maddalena tells WENN, "This costume was worn when the Cowardly Lion first meets Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road and sings If I Only Had the Nerve... Just like the ruby slippers we offer in the same auction that Dorothy wore when she clicked her heels together and returned to Kansas, this Cowardly Lion costume is very special because it was worn in some of the most magical moments of the film. It is one of only two known costumes worn by Bert Lahr."
The costume, made from an actual lion hide, is expected to sell for more than $2 million (£1.25 million).
Other items going under the hammer at the auction include the lavish trailer Elizabeth Taylor used as a home from home on the set of 1963 movie Cleopatra; Taylor and Eddie Fisher's marriage license from their Las Vegas wedding; Steve McQueen's two-piece Gulf racing suit from film classic Le Mans; Marilyn Monroe's wedding ring; Bela Lugosi's Count Dracula cape, and the DeLorean sports car from Back to the Future III.
No more Drama for Kevin Dillon. Now that Entourage is in the final stages -- we'll see the conclusion of the HBO series this summer -- Dillon is moving onto other projects, namely with a starring role in a new pilot for CBS.
The project comes from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's writer and the character known as Cricket, David Hornsby. He'll take the lead as Alan, a writer who does a weekly column about how to be a gentleman -- hence the show's title, How to Be a Gentleman. All we know about Johnny-Drama-no-more's role is that his name will be Bert. Well, it doesn't look like Dillon's prospects have improved as far as his character's name goes; sharing a name with one half of a Sesame Street duo doesn't quite have the same ring as Johnny Drama of Vincent Chase, the movie star's, entourage, but we'll see.
While I seriously doubt Hornsby will have the freedom that a channel like FX allows him with It's Always Sunny, I think that with the addition of someone like Dillon, we can be certain that this show will differ from your typical CBS fare -- and that's a refreshing notion if you ask me.
The Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities star is currently undergoing treatment after checking into rehab earlier this month (Aug10) for the second time this year (10).
A day after he was admitted to the facility, the actress took out an apprehended violence order (AVO) against the star, alleging she was the victim of two "gravely serious" attacks by Newton while they were vacationing together in Rome, Italy.
But in a new interview, the troubled star's parents insist the holiday was a romantic getaway and their son proposed to Taylor during the trip.
His mother, Patti, tells Australian news show A Current Affair, "He kept ringing me from all parts of the world. Russia, London and then the last one, he said Rachael and he were in Italy - and I've just found out they were... engaged. He bought her a ring and... then everything went sour.
"His biggest problem is the fact that (his temper is) not a drug, it's not an alcohol problem as much as it's a mental health issue. He's always had a bit of a problem with his temper, even as a kid, but I do think it's accelerated. We don't know how to handle it."
Newton's father, Bert, told the show his son's bad behaviour stems from "his lifestyle in Sydney and getting in with the wrong people."
He adds, "I do love him and I do support him, but I don't support or condone any of the things that have happened. We should have seen the signs... but we didn't."
The full interview is due to air in Australia on Monday night (30Aug10).
Tragedy strikes the Marshall University community when a plane crash claims the lives of most of the football team coaches and some fans. With the whole town traumatized university president Donald Dedmond (David Strathairn) thinks it's best to cancel the football program but remaining players led by Nate Ruffin (Anthony Mackie) rally the school to support continuing the team's honor. Of course nobody wants to coach in these circumstances--that is until rogue bad boy Jake Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey) asks for the job. Along with surviving assistant coach Red Dawson (Matthew Fox) they build the team back up. Just putting the team back together raises the town's spirits but getting back the winning record is another story. This could have easily been a sappy tearjerker but it sticks to the high road for the most part. There are some sad scenes (i.e. the cheerleader [Kate Mara] returning the engagement ring her dead boyfriend gave her to his mourning daddy) but otherwise the focus is on moving ahead. Just about every actor gets at least one big moment to cry. That's a given in a story of this nature and some of them are better than others. Mackie's stoic attempt to take punches in an injured shoulder is full of passion but Fox's random breakdown is well just like a flashback from Lost. He is better on the field showing us a side to his personality we haven’t seen yet. Strathairn seems the most sympathetic as the pained authority figure making tough decisions. Mara (Brokeback Mountain) looks so innocent you just want to hold her hand and stroke her hair every time she wells up. Aside from that there's also a lot of personality in the film. McConaughey leads the team with a gleam in his eye and a smirk on his lips but it never comes across as insensitive. He’s hip so of course he's the one who can lead them out of tragedy. And as an ensemble film the cast comes together as a community in which a single tragedy can affect them all and a single victory can give them hope. McG totally restrains his bombastic Charlie's Angels style of filmmaking for this character piece. Just about the only noticeably fancy shot is a dissolve from Mara looking up at the plane to her boyfriend staring out the airplane window. It's a moving moment because we know what is coming and it does not call too much attention to the filmmaking process. McG knows how to do some great montages too. Recruiting the new players running the drills--they're all full of visual moments set to a rocking soundtrack. Most importantly he handles the tragedy with class and doesn’t deliberately try to jerk tears. The plane crashes with only a single jump and a fade to black but the wreckage burns through our hearts. Instead McG shows there's a way to honor the dead to take back a community's pride and let life go on without disrespecting any of the departed. The football games in We Are Marshall are filmed with visceral impacts pretty much the way most sports movies are. There's no Friday Night Lights grit but that's fine. These games are about telling a story not exposing the seedy underbelly of the sport.
In adapting a rather flimsy children’s book into a full-fledged feature film one has to take some liberties. We first meet the lovable little monkey in the wild where his curious habits wreck havoc. Meanwhile in the big city Ted (voiced by Will Ferrell)--aka The Man with the Yellow Hat--is a highly enthusiastic guide at the soon-to-be-closed Bloomsberry Museum. In order to save the museum (here’s where they pad it) he is sent on a mission to Africa to retrieve a lost shrine. But when he gets there the only thing he finds is a miniature version of it--and George of course. The lonely monkey decides to follow Ted all the way back to the city where his mischievous tendencies get him into even more trouble. George nearly ruins everything for Ted but somehow the little feller eventually grows on him. How could he not? If I can borrow a line from Madagascar little George is so cute I just like to dunk him in my coffee. When you’re reading Curious George out loud to your kids you don’t get the impression The Man with the Yellow Hat is a good-natured but geeky fellow gangly clumsy and clueless about women. Thank goodness the film has Will Ferrell to clear it up for us! You basically know what you’re in for once you recognize his voice and his natural comic timing shines through lending for some funnier moments (“OK I’m looking directly into the sun. Staring right at it. I’ve got to be honest with you it stings…”). The other voices in the film also do a fine job including Drew Barrymore as a schoolteacher who has a crush on Ted; Eugene Levy as the mad museum scientist; Dick Van Dyke as the museum’s old-time curator; and David Cross as his weasly greedy son. Based on the books and illustrations by Margret and H.A. Rey Curious George embraces the essence of the timeless stories created 65 years ago. The film apparently took awhile to find its voice. Producer Ron Howard originally conceived it as live-action film but quickly realized they could never get a real monkey as cute and fuzzy as George. Then CGI was considered but ultimately the filmmakers kept returning to the source: the late H.A. Rey’s original painstakingly beautiful illustrations. Thankfully they stuck with that idea. Curious George is lush and vibrant with all of Rey’s best efforts fully realized in Technicolor. And much like what the Piglet’s Big Movie did with Carly Simon and The Wild Thornberrys with Paul Simon Curious George is also sprinkled with original songs by hot pop singer Jack Johnson to give it a modern feel. So what if the story gets a little overblown in parts it will still introduce one of literature’s most enduring icons to the young-un’s--while allowing the adults to reminisce.