Returning to the Scene of the Crime

13 Oct

If I was a police detective searching for a criminal, my method of tracking down the felon would be to take a seat, maybe crack open a beer, and wait for him to come to me.  This might be considered an unorthodox approach to law enforcement, but it is apparently an effective one, if the stupidity of these Dumb Crims who couldn’t help but return to the scene of the crime is anything to go by.

The first such Dumb Crim is Johnny Lindner, a 48-year-old man from South Carolina, US.  Lindner robbed a convenience store in Bishopville, threatening the store clerk with a knife before fleeing with cash and cigarettes in a stolen pickup truck.  So far so good (for Lindner, not the store clerk).

Then the wheels started to fall off.  Firstly, the truck Lindner was fleeing in broke down.  Not much he could do about that.   So he walked to a nearby Burger King and called a taxi, directing the driver to take him to the nearby town of Lydia.  But the taxi driver didn’t know how to get there, nor did Lindner, so they pulled over to ask directions.  This is where Lindner made a minor error.

He pulled over to the same store that he had just robbed.

It doesn’t get dumber than that.  Except that it does.  Not only did Lindner stop off to get directions at the very store he robbed, the person he asked  directions from was THE POLICEMAN INVESTIGATING THE CRIMESCENE!  I’m surprised he didn’t volunteer to pose for a mug shot as they spoke.

I assume this is what Linder was wearing.

I assume this is what Lindner was wearing when he asked the policeman for directions.

Lindner, obviously, fit the description of the thief, and thanks to video footage, was charged with armed robbery (he was also wanted for crimes in Tennessee).  As David Capps, the officer who was asked for directions by the Dumb Crim, said, “I was there and I still don’t believe it.”

Capps might as well get used to it, because Lindner isn’t alone in his stupidity.  John T. West and Ashley Sorensen, both 20-year-olds, stole tyres and rims from a parked car in California, US.  A short time after stealing the items, the pair couldn’t help but return to the scene of the crime.  Why?  Well, as they reportedly later told authorities, they returned to “see if the lady had called the cops.”

She had.

Yes, police were at the scene as they drove by.  The Dumb Crims might not have been noticed, though, except they made another crucial error: they had put the stolen tyres and rims on the car they drove to the crime scene!  And they weren’t hard to spot, as the expensive car accessories were attached to a beat up Geo Metro, shining like a gold tooth in Lil Wayne’s mouth.  That’s like a homeless man walking by London Tower wearing the Crown Jewels. Needless to say they didn’t enjoy the rims for very long.

There's something suspicious about that car...

There’s something suspicious about that car…

Victor Marin stole over $200 from an apartment in Brooklyn, New York, US.  He returned to the building soon after committing his felony because of an unexpected hiccup: he had left his wallet in the victim’s home.  Smooth.  His wallet contained cash, credit cards, photos, and sunglasses, meaning that his theft had resulted in a net loss, an outcome generally avoided by most thieves.

As Marin attempted to re-enter the crime scene, the victim, retired rabbi Yaakov Kanelsky, returned home.  Seeing the stranger at his window, Kanelsky asked him what he was doing.  Marin replied that he had left his wallet in his house, to which the rabbi asked why he was inside his house in the first place.  “He told me he needed to use the bathroom,” Kanelsky told the NY Post.

Unsurprisingly, Kanelsky didn’t buy that, and called the police.  Marin, now at the front door, then told the rabbi that he would give him his stolen money back in exchange for his wallet, holding up a wad of bills to the peephole.

Kanelsky hadn’t even realised any money was missing, however he told the Dumb Crim to slide the cash under the door.  Marin slid $125 of large bills underneath without problem, but the other wad of bills were made up of 93 one dollar notes.  This meant that Marin had to slide the cash under the door a couple of notes at a time, allowing the police ample time to arrive at the scene and arrest him.

Perhaps the dumbest – and most irrationally optimistic – return to the scene of the crime caper happened in Columbus, Ohio, US.

Diana Martinez was parked out the front of her apartment when three men pointed a gun at her and stole her purse and cousin’s wallet.  Martinez screamed and hit one of the men with her car door, and the men fled when threatened by a nearby neighbour.  Less than an hour later, however, one of the men returned.

To ask her out on a date.

Yes, Stephfon Bennett, the Dumb Crim with the dumb spelling, had taken such a fancy to Martinez that he thought he would have a crack.  I’ve never been to finishing school, but as far as I’m aware threatening someone with a gun and stealing their property is not a traditional courting technique.

creepy-guy

I reckon this guy would have had a better shot at a date.

Martinez, who was single, couldn’t believe her mixed luck; whilst no doubt thinking, “Why can’t I attract a nice guy for once?” she also was able to chat with Bennett long enough for her cousin to call 911 and for the police to arrive to make the arrest.  Bennett was charged with aggravated robbery and might be heading to a place where you do not want to be asking people for a date.

I suppose Martinez could have done worse than be asked out for a date by Bennett; at least Bennett wouldn’t have had to get her to pay for dinner on account of leaving his wallet in a rabbi’s apartment.

Punk’d – Ancient Rome Style!

24 Sep

Everyone loves a prank, particularly when they’re not on the receiving end.  Whether it’s putting cling wrap on the toilet seat, bubble wrapping every item in a colleague’s office, or telling your parents that you’re dropping out of high school because you’re pregnant to your maths teacher, pranks can be amazing things.

Last week, a bunch of New Zealanders pulled off a brilliant prank: they rigged the taps of a friend’s house so that they poured beer instead of water.  When their friend and his partner left their home, the pranksters got under the house with a toolbox and several kegs of beer.  With some serious plumbing skills, they connected every tap in the house to a keg, and installed 14 hidden cameras to watch the couple’s reaction when they returned home.

The prank was gold – as was the liquid that poured from every tap the Aucklander turned on.  Whilst this meant that the victim enjoyed a few cool glasses of ale, it also meant that taking a shower didn’t really help him get clean.  Also I’m not sure how the lawn fared, although I imagine running through the sprinkler would have been fun (and a little unhealthy for the kids).

That’s some elaborate pranking, sure, but when it comes to executing pranks on a grand scale, and with no concept of sanity, no one quite did it like my favourite prankster of all time: Elagabalus.  Don’t know who that is?  Well let me paint you a picture.

Elagabalus was creative, so his pranks had never been done before.  He was rich, so cost was no barrier to their execution.  And he was thoroughly insane, so the pranks were always bizarre and often dangerous.

Oh, and he was a fourteen-year-old Emperor of Ancient Rome.

In 217 A.D., Roman Emperor Caracalla was assassinated and replaced by prefect Marcus Opellius Macrinus.  Caracalla’s devious aunt, Julia Maesa, successfully plotted to have Macrinus overthrown and to instate Caracalla’s cousin – her grandson – as Emperor instead.  That person happened to be Elagabalus, who was fourteen at the time.  What do you do when you’re fourteen years old and your grandmother makes you ruler of the most powerful Empire in the known world?

You use your newfound power and riches to become the craziest prankster that ever lived.

Now, it should be pointed out that some modern historians are a little sceptical about the truth of some of these stories, but all of what you are about to read comes from texts such as the Augustan History, and contemporaneous accounts such as those written by Cassius Dio, a Roman senator.  So as far as I’m concerned, they’re all true.  Please be all true.

Elagabalus was eccentric – he often had flakes of gold sprinkled over his food and he liked to dress as a woman – so it’s no real surprise that he liked to pull pranks.  For example, he created a device that he slipped onto the chairs of his dinner guests that when sat upon, made it sound like the victim had let off wind.

Yes, a Roman Emperor invented the whoopee cushion.

Property of Elagabalus.  Patent pending.

Property of Elagabalus. Patent pending.

That’s not all Elagabalus invented.  His eccentricities and insistence on imposing his unorthodox religious beliefs on the Roman populace made him start to become an unpopular ruler.  So to win the people back, Elagabalus created a lottery, thought to be the first ever in Europe.  He gave away tickets to the public, and some of the recipients won prizes just like in modern lotteries.  Well, maybe not exactly like modern lotteries; sometimes the winning prize was a slave.

However this soon got boring for Elagabalus, so to spice things up he began distributing the lottery tickets by catapulting them into crowds and watching them fight amongst each other to claim them.  Even that got boring, so next he decided to prank the citizens by firing something else into the crowds at the same time as the lottery tickets.

Poisonous snakes.

Way to win back the people, Elagabalus.

He didn’t stop there.  Soon he began pranking the lottery winners themselves.  The winners would receive a prize, not knowing what it was.  Sometimes they would open the prize box to see that it contained money.  Other times, the box would contain a dead dog or a swarm of wasps.  Every now and then it would contain an order for the winner to be executed.  Classic!

It wasn’t even safe being friends with Elagabalus, as he loved nothing more than to prank his dinner guests as well.  Of course there were the whoopee cushions, but he had other tricks up his sleeves.

Way before Heston Blumenthal had his cooking show, Heston’s Feasts, Elagabalus served food to his guests that looked like one thing, but were in fact another.  Unlike Heston’s Feasts, though, his prank foods weren’t things like meat prepared to look like fruit, or cutlery that was edible.  Rather, he presented rocks disguised as food.  Apparently he loved nothing more than to watch his guests bite into what they thought was an apple, only to break their teeth on a rock.  What a jester!

It was said that during one of his dinner parties he had installed a mechanism that dropped hundreds of thousands of rose petals on an unsuspecting guest, only for the guest to suffocate under the mountain of petals.  Just a guess, but I’d say that’s probably the only time a coroner’s certificate ever read, ‘Death by petals’.

Perhaps the prank Elagabalus is most famous for is this one.  Elagabalus’ guests would be invited to stay the night after their feasts, his palace’s many bedrooms available for all.  What his guests wouldn’t know is that he would place a special surprise in a few of the random rooms.

Tigers.

Yes, it filled Elagabalus with no end of joy to know that some of his guests would open their bedroom door to receive the shock of their life.  A life that would no doubt end a few seconds later.

"Elagabaluuuus!!!"

“Elagabaluuuus!!!”

Given his propensity for insane hijinks, it’s no surprise that in 222 A.D., just four years after coming to power, Elagabalus was assassinated.  Was a disgruntled prank victim behind the plot to kill him?  No, it was Julia Maesa, the same grandmother that made him Emperor in the first place.  Lil Ol’ Granny Julia: destroying Emperors and stereotypes!

So next time you are thinking about pranking someone, remember the fine tradition that Elagabalus set many centuries ago, and try to emulate his creativity.  Just remember to not take things too far, else you might find yourself killed by your grandmother.

Movie Doppelgangers: The Most Implausibly Identical Movies of All Time – Part II

18 Sep

As we’ve seen in Part I of this post, it’s not unusual to see two movies being made and released at the same time with essentially the same plot.  Whether it’s a case of Hollywood executives being lazy, unimaginative, or flat out stealing the ideas of their competitors, it happens more often than you think.  Here are five more Implausibly Identical Movies of All Time.

The Truman Show v EDtv

He's smiling cos he just saw EDtv's box office takings.

He’s smiling cos he just saw EDtv’s box office takings.

A reality show following Matthew McConaughey?  Spoiler alert: it features a lot of shirtless torsos.

A reality show following Matthew McConaughey? Spoiler alert: it features a lot of shirtless torsos.

The Truman Show   EDtv
5 June 1998 Release Date 26 March 1999
8.0/10 IMDb Score 6.0/10
90/100 Meta Critic Score 48/100
94% Rotten Tomatoes Score 64%
$60 million Budget $80 million
$125.6 million Box Office Gross (US) $22.4 million
$239.0 million Box Office Gross (World) $30.7 million

It’s hard to imagine, but once upon a time there was no such thing as people willingly and enthusiastically stripping themselves of their dignity on camera, but then the late ‘90s came and with it a real surge of reality TV as a viable genre.  Fifteen years later and it seems as though that’s all there is.

It’s no surprise, then, that at the end of that decade, two movies came out exploring the world of reality TV: The Truman Show and EDtv.

Both films are centred on TV shows that follow the lives of an ordinary person, Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) and Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey) respectively.  The movies take a look at the ‘behind the scenes’ goings on of making the shows, but focus more on the impact the shows have on their ‘stars’.

Of course the big difference between the films is that the Ed Pekurny signed up to being on a reality TV show voluntarily, whereas Truman was born into one and remains oblivious until a mid life crisis causes him to start questioning his life.

Actually, there’s another big difference.  The Truman Show was almost universally acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, whereas EDtv’s critical reception was lukewarm and its box office takings were atrocious.

Winner: This one’s easy.  It’s a case of good afternoon, good evening and goodnight to EDtv, as The Truman Show is the clear winner.

Saving Private Ryan v The Thin Red Line

Not as good a poster as the one for 'Shaving Ryan's Privates'.

Not as good a poster as the one for ‘Shaving Ryan’s Privates’.

The best damn army of one-eyed soldiers ever.

The best damn army of one-eyed soldiers ever.

Saving Private Ryan   The Thin Red Line
24 July 1998 Release Date 23 September 1998
8.6/10 IMDb Score 7.6/10
90/100 Meta Critic Score 78/100
92% Rotten Tomatoes Score 78%
$70 million Budget $52 million
$216.5 million Box Office Gross (US) $36.4 million
$481.8 million Box Office Gross (World) $98.1 million

In a slight change of pace, 1998 also saw two of the grittiest and most realistic World War II movies to hit the screen, Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line.  Boasting great ensemble casts lead by Tom Hanks and Matt Damon, and Sean Penn and Adrien Brody, the films were bloody, dirty, and painted an intense picture of war.

Both films were critically acclaimed, being nominated for (and winning) a swag of awards, and receiving positive reviews.  However, even though some would argue it was more powerful and pulled less punches, The Thin Red Line received less attention than its counterpart and underachieved at the box office, whereas Saving Private Ryan treated the box office like an enemy soldier and blew it up, raking in almost half a billion dollars world wide.  Perhaps not having a big name director like Spielberg at the helm hurt, or maybe audiences had World War II fatigue by the time it was released.  Either way, when listing the greatest war movies of all time today, Saving Private Ryan is almost mentioned, whereas The Thin Red Line is often overlooked.

Winner: Saving Private Ryan.

Chasing Liberty v First Daughter

"Don't worry - my dad isn't George W."

“Don’t worry – my dad isn’t George W.”

My god.  Even the poster is boring.

My god. Even the poster is boring.

Chasing Liberty   First Daughter
9 January 2004 Release Date 24 September 2004
5.9/10 IMDb Score 4.7/10
46/100 Meta Critic Score 41/100
19% Rotten Tomatoes Score 8%
$23 million Budget $20 million
$12.2 million Box Office Gross (US) $9.1 million
$12.3 million Box Office Gross (World) $10.4 million

Neither gritty, nor realistic, and definitely not a box office success is this pair of flicks.

Chasing Liberty is a film starring Mandy Moore as the daughter of the President of the United States of America.  Sick of the fact that a swarm of secret service agents are constantly watching her, she sees a trip to Europe as a chance to break free and she rebels, falling in love with a handsome stranger.  In a twist I’m sure no one saw coming, it turns out the handsome stranger is in fact a secret service agent.  Who would have thought!

Chasing Liberty was well and truly a flop.  It barely recovered half of its meager $23 million budget, earning $12.2 million dollars in the US and an atrocious $117,697 in foreign revenue.  So what was Hollywood’s response to this epic failure?  To release an exact duplicate later that same year.

Let’s see if any of this sounds familiar.  First Daughter stars Katie Holmes as the daughter of the President of the United States of America.  Sick of the fact that a swarm of secret service agents are constantly watching her, she sees a trip to college as a chance to break free and she rebels, falling in love with a handsome classmate.  I bet you can’t guess the twist.  Yep!  It turns out the handsome classmate is in fact a secret service agent.  How did you know?!

The other thing that First Daughter has in common with Chasing Liberty (which, by the way, had the working title of ‘First Daughter’ until right before its release) is that it bombed in every way possible.  Its Rotten Tomatoes score was a putrid 8%, and it also barely managed to scrape in half its budget.  The people have spoken, and they want Mandy Moore and Katie Holmes out of the White House.  Immediately.  And preferably with extreme prejudice.

Winner: Terrorism.

Killers v Knight and Day

Most critics would've preferred the bullet.

Most critics would’ve preferred the bullet.

Why is this film even called Knight and Day?  The characters' names are Miller and Havens.  Don't they know how movie puns work?!?  Sheesh.

Why is this film even called Knight and Day? The characters’ names are Miller and Havens. Don’t they know how movie puns work?!? Sheesh.

Killers   Knight and Day
4 June 2010 Release Date 23 June 2010
5.2/10 IMDb Score 6.3/10
21/100 Meta Critic Score 46/100
11% Rotten Tomatoes Score 62%
$75 million Budget $117 million
$47.1 million Box Office Gross (US) $76.4 million
$98.2 million Box Office Gross (World) $261.9 million

Released within a couple of weeks of each other, Killers and Knight and Day are action-comedies revolving around a woman falling for a man, only to find that he kills people for a living, and then the couple subsequently having to rely on each other to survive enemy threats.

In fairness, there are some differences.  In Killers, the lead (Ashton Kutcher) is an assassin, while in Knight and Day, Tom Cruise is just a plain ol’ spy.  Also, Kutcher is married to Katherine Heigl for three years before the action really kicks in, whereas Cameron Diaz only just meets Cruise when hell breaks loose.  Still, no one needs to see two movies about a professional tough guy and his unsuspecting love interest traipsing around twice in one year, let alone one month.

Killers was killed by critics, and Knight and Day was seen as decidedly ordinary.  One thing is for sure though: Cruise and Diaz pull audiences a lot better than Kutcher and Heigl do, as evidenced by the stark difference in box office takings.

Winner: Knight and Day, with one shot to the head of Killers, and one to the heart.  That’s just being professional.

K9 v Turner & Hooch

"This guy is dog gone good."

“This guy is dog gone good.”

"I just had this jacket cleaned."

“I just had this jacket cleaned.”

K9   Turner & Hooch
28 April 1989 Release Date 28 July 1989
5.7/10 IMDb Score 5.8/10
-/100 Meta Critic Score -/100
22% Rotten Tomatoes Score 62%
$17 million Budget $20 million
$43.2 million Box Office Gross (US) $71.1 million
$78.2 million Box Office Gross (World) $- million

Released three months apart to the day, K9 and Turner & Hooch are your typical ‘80s buddy cop action comedies with one notable difference: in each film one of the buddy cops is a dog.  That notable difference is what makes these two films a clear example of movie doppelganging.  Two different people suddenly came up with that idea independently at the exact same time?  Puh-lease.

The main variance between the two is that the canine in K9, Jerry Lee, is a drug-sniffer police dog given to Jim Belushi to help him stop a drug warlord who plans on killing him, whereas Hooch is a dog taken in by Tom Hanks after its owner is murdered, Hanks hoping Hooch will help him find the killer.  Otherwise it’s pretty similar stuff: the dogs test their partners’ patience, spend more time getting up to hijinks than helping, but ultimately contribute to saving the day in an adorable manner.

Both films did fairly well at the box office, although K9 clearly had the poorer reviews.

Winner: Turner & Hooch.  When it comes to choosing between Hanks and a Dogue de Bordeaux, and Belushi and a German Shepard, I’m choosing the former.  Although I’d probably choose both over Kutcher and Heigl.  And definitely over the President’s daughter, no matter who was involved.

Movie Doppelgangers: The Most Implausibly Identical Movies of All Time – Part I

10 Sep

It only takes one glance at your local cinema’s timetable to realise that Hollywood isn’t the most original place in the world.  Do I want to see the superhero movie, the alien/vampire/zombie/robot/alien vampire zombie robot film, the Jennifer Aniston rom-com, or the one where Tom Cruise plays a hero and we have to try to pretend he’s not a crazy Scientologist?

Sometimes, however, even Hollywood goes too far.  Sometimes two movies come out at the same time and with the same premise, so that you can’t help wondering whether executives are looking over each other’s shoulders and copying their exam answers.

For example, this year it was possible to have this exchange:

Boy: “Do you want to see that new movie about the White House getting attacked?”

Girl: “Sure!  I love Channing Tatum!”

Boy: “You mean Gerard Butler?”

Girl: “No, Tatum.”

Boy: “You’re thinking of the wrong movie.  I’m talking about the one where the White House gets attacked.”

Girl: “Yeah, and the President gets held hostage.”

Boy: “Right, but it doesn’t have Channing Tatum in it.”

Girl: “Sure it does, and Jamie Foxx is president.”

Boy: “What? Aaron Eckhart is president.”

Girl: “No he’s not.  It’s Jamie Foxx.”

Boy: “Are you thinking about Morgan Freeman, cos that’s racist.  He’s in the movie, but he’s not the president.”

Girl: “I’m positive it’s Jamie Foxx.  You know, ‘The White House Has Fallen’.  A failed presidential guard is stuck on the inside, has to save the day.”

Boy: “Right, an ex-presidential guard is stuck on the inside and has to save the day.  Is it called ‘White House Has Fallen’ though?  Isn’t it ‘Olympus’ something?”

Girl: “Yes!  ‘Olympus is Down’!  That’s it.”

Boy: “No, it’s ‘Olympus Has Fallen!”

Girl: “That’s it, that’s the one.  It’s called ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ and it stars Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx.”

Boy: “No it DOESN’T!!!  It has Eckhart and Butler!  Eckhart and BUTLER! AND BUTLER SAVES ECKHART FROM THE KOREANS!!!”

Girl: “The Koreans?  What?”

Boy: “Let’s just go watch Wolverine.”

Yes, within three months Hollywood released Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, two movies about the White House being attacked, the President of the USA being held hostage, and a failed presidential guard on the inside the only possibility of saving the day.  And both plots, according to most reviews, are equally ludicrous.  No surprises there.

It’s not the first time Hollywood has managed to release essentially the same movie twice at the same time.  Here is part I of Hesaidwhatnow?’s list of the Most Implausibly Identical Movies of All Time.

The Illusionist v The Prestige

"My crystal ball tells me there will be another movie just like this!"

“My crystal ball tells me there will be another movie just like this!”

"Wolverine's a pussy!" "Shut up Batman!"

“Batman’s a pussy!” “Shut up Wolverine!”

The Illusionist   The Prestige
1 September 2006 Release Date 20 October 2006
7.6/10 IMDb Score 8.4/10
68/100 Meta Critic Score 66/100
74/100 Rotten Tomatoes Score 76/100
$16 million Budget $40 million
$39.8 million Box Office Gross (US) $53 million
$87.9 million Box Office Gross (World) $109.7 million

No, it’s not an illusion.  In 2006, Hollywood pulled the magic trick of releasing two period dramas about magicians within a fortnight of each other.  The similarities are numerous: both films are based on books (the Illusionist on Steven Millhauser’s short story ‘Eisenheim the Illusionist’; the Prestige on the award winning novel of the same name by Christopher Priest); both films are set in Europe in the late 1800s; and both juxtapose the wonder of magic with a darker underside of dangerous rivalries, on stage and for love.  The main differences?  Whilst the Prestige focusses on the rivalry between two competing magicians, the Illusionist focusses on a magician’s quest to take his true love and escape from the evil clutches of her betrothed, Crown Prince Leopold.  Also, the Prestige delves somewhat in the mystical, whereas the Illusionist stays strictly on the seemingly mystical.

Unlike many movies on this list, this pair of films are both very good, with critics and audiences alike reacting positively to both movies.  The cast of the Illusionist is excellent: Edward Norton as the protagonist, Jessica Biel as his love interest, Rufus Sewell as the evil Crown Prince, and Paul Giamitti as the chief of the Vienna police.  However the cast of The Prestige is even better.  Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale play the rivals, with Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine,  Piper Parabo, and David Bowie playing significant roles.  Plus The Prestige is slightly more entertaining throughout, and importantly for a movie about magicians, has the better ‘reveal’.

Winner: The Prestige

Dante’s Peak v Volcano

"I can't believe a volcano is about to erupt in a small town in Washington state."

“I can’t believe a volcano is about to erupt in a small town in Washington state.”

"At least it's slightly more plausible than a volcano erupting in Los Angeles."

“At least it’s slightly more plausible than a volcano erupting in Los Angeles.”

Dante’s Peak   Volcano
7 February 1997 Release Date 27 April 1997
5.7/10 IMDb Score 5.3/10
43/100 Meta Critic Score 55/100
27/100 Rotten Tomatoes Score 44/100
$116 million Budget $90 million
$67.2 million Box Office Gross (US) $47.5 million
$178.2 million Box Office Gross (World) $122.8 million

What we have here are two disaster movies released within a few months of each other about a volcano erupting, threatening the lives of local citizens. Can the experienced but troubled protagonist (Pierce Brosnan, whose girlfriend and fellow volcano expert who four years earlier was killed by, yep, a volcano; and Tommy Lee Jones) convince the local authorities that tragedy is looming?  Can they protect their love interests (Linda Hamilton and Anne Heche) and at least one child from the volcano threatening to erupt?  And can they do so to positive reviews by critics and viewers?  Sadly, they could not, with both movies’ reviews and box office grossings ranging somewhere between ‘ordinary’ and ‘destroyed by liquid hot magma’.

Winner: The volcanoes.

Deep Impact v Armageddon

I'd be hugging someone with gratitude too if I found out that they gave the Aerosmith song to the other meteor movie.

I’d be hugging someone with gratitude too if I found out that they gave the Aerosmith song to the other meteor movie.

"Armageddon that asteroid, that's a promise.  And a pun!"

“Armageddon that asteroid, that’s a promise. And a pun!”

Deep Impact   Armageddon
8 May 1998 Release Date 1 July 1998
6.0/10 IMDb Score 6.5/10
40/100 Meta Critic Score 42/100
47/100 Rotten Tomatoes Score 40/100
$75 million Budget $140 million
$140.5 million Box Office Gross (US) $201.6 million
$321.0 million Box Office Gross (World) $553.7 million

Speaking of disaster movies, once Hollywood were done watching volcanoes ravage the planet, they decided to think bigger.  So it is that two movies about giant space rocks on a path of destruction hurtled through the atmosphere and into our cinemas – within two months of each other.

In Deep Impact, a comet on course to flatten Earth is discovered and the US and Russia secretly plan to send a spacecraft to intercept it and detonate it with nuclear weapons.  However, there are problems, and the world remains in danger, forcing the US and Russia to inform the world of its impending doom.  In Armageddon, an asteroid on course to flatten Earth is discovered and the US secretly plans to send a spacecraft to intercept it and detonate it with nuclear weapons.  However, there are problems, and the world remains in danger, forcing the US to inform the world of its impending doom.

The main differences?  Um… one’s a comet and one’s an asteroid?  One could cause an “Extinction Level Event” and one could cause an “Extinction Event”?  One has Steven Tyler screeching “I don’t wanna miss a thing” whilst Ben Affleck walks animal crackers over his real life daughter’s half naked body, whilst the other doesn’t (thank god)?

Actually, the main difference is that Armageddon is typical Michael Bay over-the-top-ness, whereas Deep Impact is (apparently) slightly more grounded in scientific theory.  That and, despite poor critical acclaim, Armageddon made an asteroid sized amount of money in the box office whereas Deep Impact only earned a comet sized fortune.

Winner: Armageddon I guess.  And animal crackers.

Drop Zone v Terminal Velocity

A movie about skydiving villains happened...

Yep.  A movie about skydiving villains actually happened…

...twice.

…twice.

Drop Zone   Terminal Velocity
9 September 1994 Release Date 23 September 1994
5.4/10 IMDb Score 5.3/10
N/A Meta Critic Score N/A
35/100 Rotten Tomatoes Score 14/100
$45 million Budget $50 million
$28.7 million Box Office Gross (US) $16.5 million
N/A Box Office Gross (World) N/A

1994 was the first time I remember being gobsmacked that two movies with virtually identical premises could come out at the same time.  If, as a thirteen year old, I can think, “Wait – there’s two movies about skydiving coming out?  Is that a typo?” then surely Hollywood should have been able to stop and realise that perhaps doubling up on such a ridiculous concept wasn’t such a good idea.  If only.

The plots?  In Drop Zone, US Marshal Wesley Snipes loses a brother to a terrorist attack on a plane, although he suspects it was an elaborate plot.  It turns out he is correct – the ‘terrorists’, led by the always well presented Gary Busey, were after the computer hacking genius Snipes was escorting, and parachuted to safety, planning to use the computer wiz to help them with their plausible criminal plan: parachuting onto the DEA building in Washington DC, hacking into their mainframe, stealing information on undercover agents and auctioning them off to bad guys.  Snipes must then learn skydiving from a sexy love interest to stop Busey.

Terminal Velocity has Charlie Sheen as a maverick skydiving instructor.  When a sexy love interest goes up with him for her first dive, she falls out of the plane and seemingly dies, although Sheen suspects it was an elaborate plot.  It turns out he is correct – the woman was a Russian spy who wanted to fake her own death so as to recover a shipment of gold.  In what is one of the greatest single lines of a plot summary of all time, Sheen then has to use “all of his skydiving skills to outwit the villains and stay alive”.  And his mother thought he was wasting his time being a skydiving instructor.

These two films are awful.  Both were duds at the box office and were laughed at by critics, although the reviews for Terminal Velocity were particularly scathing.

Winner: Drop Zone.  Whilst both films failed to open their parachutes, Drop Zone hit the earth with slightly less of a thud.  Although in Terminal Velocity’s defence, it did have Charlie Sheen deliver an immortal line: “I’m not just a walking penis – I’m a flying penis!”   Yowsers.

No Strings Attached v Friends With Benefits

"Hey Natalie, you know how I said that love scene was for a movie?  Well you've been Punk'd!!!"

“Hey Natalie, you know how I said that love scene was for a movie? Well…Punk’d!!!”

I'm trying really hard not to make a dirty joke about their hand gestures.

I’m trying really hard not to make a dirty joke about their hand gestures.

No Strings Attached   Friends with Benefits
21 January 2011 Release Date 22 July 2011
6.1/10 IMDb Score 6.6/10
50/100 Meta Critic Score 63/100
49/100 Rotten Tomatoes Score 70/100
$25 million Budget $35 million
$70.7 million Box Office Gross (US) $55.8 million
$147.8 million Box Office Gross (World) $149.5 million

No Strings Attached is a comedy about two attractive friends (Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman) deciding to have a physical relationship without any emotional commitment.  Trouble is, they start developing feelings for each other.  Friends With Benefits is a comedy about two attractive friends (Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis) deciding to have a physical relationship without any emotional commitment.  Trouble is, they start developing feelings for each other.

Both of these films have the same plot, both star male leads who probably shouldn’t be in movies, and both earned roughly $150 million worldwide.  However Friends With Benefits had more support from critics and is generally considered the superior film.  Still, the only thing worse than trying to have a physical relationship with a platonic friend is to make two movies about it and release them at the same time.

Winner: Friends With Benefits.  Loser: anyone trying to convince someone that they should try being friends with benefits.

That’s five pairs of movies with the same premise released at the same time.  But there are plenty more.  Check back into Hesaidwhatnow? for Part II of Movie Doppelgangers: The Most Implausibly Identical Movies of All Time.

Justin Bieber: Diary of a Douchebag

1 Sep

Justin Bieber.  He’s an evocative person.  If you’re a girl aged ten to fourteen, he’s someone you dream of being with.  For everyone else, he’s someone you dream of punching in the face.  Except, of course, for Bieber himself; to him he’s the coolest person on the planet.  You and I, however, know differently.

Justin Bieber is a douchebag.

How does a douchebag spend his time?  Doing douchebaggy things of course.   Here is a recap of Bieb’s year so far, in all its glorious douchebaggery.

In March, Bieber got caught trying to smuggle his pet capuchin, Malley, into Germany without the proper papers.  What’s a capuchin?  Whilst you might think it’s a Pokémon, it is actually a type of monkey that douchebags like to own.  Although I suspect Biebs probably owns a lot of Pokémon too.

Not even his monkey likes him.

Not even his monkey likes him.

Malley was put into quarantine, but Bieber never collected the poor capuchin, so German customs eventually donated him to a wildlife park (Malley, not Bieber) and issued a bill of $1500 to cover the cost of caring for it in the meantime.  Bieber hasn’t paid, hasn’t collected Malley, and has since bought a new monkey.

First of all, only Michael Jackson is allowed to have a pet monkey.  Secondly, if you’re going to get a pet, don’t give it a stupid name like Malley.  Dub him something timeless like Bubbles.  Last of all, don’t try to smuggle one into a country and then refuse to cough up the $1500 needed to look after it when you get caught.  What a tightwad.  He would make that cash in less time than it would take him to read this post, and not because of his presumably low grade reading skills.

In June, Bieber was charged for a hit and run on a photographer outside an LA nightclub.  A little bit naughty, but if you’re going to (allegedly) commit a misdemeanour, at least be original and not commit one that every other troubled star has already committed.  So clichéd.

In July, Bieber (allegedly) spat on fans from a hotel room in Toronto.  Knowing his fans, they probably felt honoured to have Bieb’s saliva on them, but that’s not really the point.

Also in July, Justin peed in a cleaning bucket at a restaurant, told the staff that they were lucky to have such a big celebrity pee in the place, and sprayed a pic of Bill Clinton with detergent yelling ‘[Fudge] you Clinton!’  How do we know this happened?  He had his entourage film it.  Perhaps for his next music video.

Bieber peeing into a restaurant bucket.  And possibly also pooping into his pants.

Bieber peeing into a restaurant bucket. And possibly also pooping into his pants by the looks of it.

A few weeks ago, fans at one of Bieber’s concerts were throwing items on stage.  Unfortunately these items were symbols of adoration, not explosives or starving Rottweilers with a hankering for Canadian wieners.  Nonetheless annoyed, Bieber took a girl’s iPhone, shoved it in his pants, and then threw it into the crowd in the opposite direction from where the girl was.  Classy.  That phone now has chlamydia.

Around the same time as the iPhone-my-junk incident, Bieber started a brawl in a night club because someone was talking to a girl he was trying to hit on.  The poor victim was just trying to retrieve a bow-tie he had leant the girl, but ended up being subjected to a stream of verbal abuse by Bieber and some roughhousing by his entourage.  Later, when the victim left the club, Bieber drove around the car park trying to find him.  As one witness fantastically described it, Biebs “jumped out the sunroof of his car and slid down the car like he was in Die Hard…He dropped his shirt and threw his hat and wanted to throw hands. His people surrounded [the victim], who was getting punched from all angles.”  What’s an entourage for if not for holding someone helpless whilst you bash them with your shirt off?  Oh right, filming you pee into a bucket.  I forgot.

"What do you mean someone just compared me to Bieber?"

“What do you mean someone just compared me to Bieber?”

And then finally this happened.  A couple of weeks ago photos emerged of Bieber doing something that is totally not weird: serenading his grandmother naked.  Yep, armed with only a guitar to cover his instrument, Justin sang to his grandmother to wish her a happy Thanksgiving Day, with typically cerebral Bieber lyrics such as, “I love you grandma, how are you, hello grandma.”  Her reaction?  Go put some clothes on.  Good call Granny Biebs.

Dear lord Bieber.  Even the guitar has a g-string.

Dear lord Bieber. Even the guitar at least has a g-string.

So what does the future hold for Bieber?  To what new heights of douchebaggery can he reach?  Who knows?  Although one can hope it involves twerking with Miley Cyrus.

Random Objects Saving Lives

21 Aug

Life is a funny thing.  You could be going about your day the same as any other, when danger suddenly decides to pay you a visit.  Next thing you know you are faced with an armed robber, a runaway train, or a horde of sharks pummelling down at you from a tornado.

When confronted with unexpected life-threatening danger, there’s usually only one thing that can save you: dumb luck.  Here is a collection of people who survived near-death experiences with no thanks to skill or quick thinking, but to random objects saving their lives.

The first story takes us to Brazil, where 58-year-old Ivonete Pereira hopped aboard a bus in Salvador, the capital of Bahia.  There had been frequent bus attacks in the region, so Pereira decided to hide her money.  Her caution was justified when two men announced that they were about to rob the bus.  A shootout ensued with a police officer on the scene, and a stray bullet hit Pereira in the chest.  It would most certainly have been a fatal blow…

…except that the bullet struck the wad of bank notes Pereira had stuffed into her bra.

Pereira’s secret wad of hidden money absorbed enough of the impact of the bullet that her life was saved, although she still had to be taken to hospital to have the bullet removed.  It seems that money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a reprieve from death.  It’s also an alternative to surgery when looking to achieve a fuller, perkier look.

This smart lady is taking sensible measures that could save her life.

This smart lady is taking sensible measures that could save her life.

Amazingly that isn’t the only case of money stopping a bullet.  Elizabeth Pittenger, 22, had just stepped into her truck on campus at Middle Tennessee State University, US, when a man pulled a gun on her and demanded her phone, purse and laptop.  Pittenger refused to give up her possessions, and in an unorthodox move to avoid danger, got out of the truck “to keep a struggle going”.

She got what she hoped for, the man shooting her with a .38 calibre revolver, before fleeing the scene.  Even though she was shot from just four feet away, Pittenger survived, thanks to a random object.  Like most women, Pittenger was carrying an oversized purse chock full of an assortment of items (most of which she probably never uses – am I right?!).  Thanks to being so full of junk, the bullet was lodged in her purse and didn’t even make it through the other end, acting, as it were, like a bulletproof vest.  Some of the contents of her purse included a calculator, umbrella, a sunglasses case, and a bullet.  Accessorising can not only make or break an outfit, but also the trajectory of a deadly projectile.

 

A typical woman's bag.

A typical woman’s bag.

Juan Camarena was also shot at close range and lived to tell the tale.  Camarena, 54, was sweeping the floor of an apartment building in Harlem, New York, after being hired by the building’s new superintendent.  Unfortunately for him, the building’s old superintendent was not happy about being fired, and showed up to the building to confront his replacement.  Seeing Camarena instead, the man kindly suggested that he, “Get the [fudge] out of here.”  Camarena continued with his work, and so the man pulled out a gun and shot him from 5 feet away.

Camarena didn’t have an oversized purse over his shoulder, or a bra to stuff a wad of notes in (probably) so how did he survive?  The bullet struck his mobile phone.  Talk about a close call!  The gunman fled without capture.  Camarena would have called 911, but…

David Fitzherbert of West London was enjoying a spot of skiing in Switzerland when he almost suffered an untimely death.  He was skiing down a glacier on Switzerland’s Matterhorn when the snow gave way beneath him, causing him to plummet 20m down a crevasse.  He was about to fall through the bottom and plunge to his death, when the gap narrowed.  The gap was just large enough that Fitzherbert would have fallen through, but he survived.  How?  He had his BlackBerry mobile phone in his jacket pocket, and it caught on a ledge, preventing him from falling.  No doubt it was the only time Fitzherbert had been happy to be put on hold.

We've all been in this situation before.

We’ve all been in this situation before.

The BlackBerry was sturdy enough to keep Fitzherbert safely wedged within the crevasse for two whole hours until he could be rescued.  Not only that, but after being taken to the hospital (Fitzherbert broke his jaw, cracked a rib, smashed his teeth, and almost had his nose completely torn off) he was able to use his phone to call his wife and let her know that not only was he alright, he had never been more grateful to be stuck on the phone.

Perhaps the greatest example, however, of being saved by a random object happened in 2011. Israeli “model and actress” (if you know what I mean) Orit Fox was appearing on countryman DJ Shmulik Tayar’s radio show.  As part of the show, Fox was fondling and licking a poisonous snake (as you do).  It’s not clear whether the snake realised it was being handled by one of its mortal enemies – the Fox – or whether it was aroused by the fondling and thought it would reciprocate, but the snake lashed out at the model.

And latched on to her breast.

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, that’s hilarious.  But it was also life threatening; or at least it would have been had Fox not been saved by a random object.

Her breast implants.

Yes, Fox’s ginormous, perfectly shaped breasts were not, as it turns out, natural, and the extra padding bore the brunt of the snake’s fangs, leaving Fox’s breasts untouched (a situation that doesn’t occur very often for Fox I’m sure).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvhbstbE0o4

The tale does have a sad ending however.  A few days after the incident, the poor snake passed away, dying from poisoning.  In a complete turn of the tables, the snake was poisoned from a most unlikely source: Fox’s silicone implants.  Yes, the snake punctured Fox’s implants and the leaking silicon killed it.  Talk about having a killer body.

If only the snake had a wad of cash or a phone in its mouth it might still be alive.  Perhaps its memory lives on – as an oversized purse.

A Joining of Titans

8 Aug

Something unusual happened in New York yesterday that has baffled many people.  However, upon examining the evidence to hand, I have determined that this seemingly random event has a perfectly understandable, and awesome, explanation.  Sit down and put on a helmet – I’m about to blow your mind.

Yesterday a commuter on New York’s subway, identified only as ‘Mary M’, stepped into a carriage in Manhattan and immediately noticed something was wrong: there was an unusual odour on the train.  Now of course something would be wrong if there wasn’t an unusual odour on the train – we’re talking the New York Metro here – but as Mary M described the stench, “It’s not the typical urine/trash smell, it’s…fishy.”

Let’s overlook the fact that the New York subway normally smells of human waste, bodily or other, and focus on what Mary M saw.  “I look down to the end of the car,” she said, “to see a dead shark on the floor.  I think I stood there for a good minute just staring, thinking ‘Is this for real?  Oh come ON, NYC!’”  (I love Mary M!)  Sure enough though, there was a dead shark sitting on the floor of the carriage.  That’s weird, even by New York standards.

"So buddy, did you catch the Knicks game last night?"

“So buddy, did you catch the Knicks game last night?”

When asked how it would dispose of the dead shark, a Metropolitan Transportation Administration official stated, “Live sharks are wrangled by Shark Maintainer IIs, who have passed the qualification test and have minimum three years in the Shark Maintainer I title.  Dead ones are handled by Shark Maintainer Is, or if none are available on that shift, then by Aquatic Mammal Handler IIs.” Typical New York smart ass.

The shark was in fact disposed of, but no one knows how it came to be on the New York Metro in the first place (especially without a ticket).  As Mary M might say, something smells fishy.

The answer, however, is obvious.

Less than a month ago, US’s SyFy channel aired what is widely considered one of the decade’s top ten movies about sea-dwelling creatures in airborne weather patterns, Sharknado.  Due to the social media attention it garnered, it wasn’t long before a sequel was announced.  Not much has been revealed about the sequel to date, but we do know one thing: it will be set in New York City.

Mystery solved.

Yes, this dead shark on the Metro MUST be a publicity stunt for Sharknado 2: Sharks and the City (my early vote for the movie’s title).  Not only that, it could be a clue for what might happen in the film.

The only other fact about Sharknado 2: Biting the Big Apple that we know, besides its intended 2014 release date, is that Tara Reid will not be back to reprise her role of April Wexler, estranged wife of chainsaw-wielding, jumping-into-sharks’-mouths hero, Fin (played by Ian Ziering).  This means that there will need to be a new cast of actors, a new band of heroes.

"What? I'm not good enough to be in Sharknado 2?  This is a new low for me."

“What? I’m not good enough to be in Sharknado 2? This is a new low for me.”

Now, should it be the case that part of Sharknado 2: Some Fin in the Air is that the sharks will find themselves on the New York subway, as this incident seems to indicate, who would be a suitable actor to fill the void left by the departure of Reid’s vacant stare?  It would have to be someone unafraid of dealing with terrifying beasts, and preferably someone who has experience dealing with them on transport.

Of course!  There’s only one man for the job: Neville Flynn, aka Samuel L. Jackson’s character from Snakes on a Plane!

What better choice to be Ziering’s wingman than the furious Jackson?  Even their characters’ names are similar: Fin and Flynn!

And who wouldn’t want to hear Jackson, chainsaw in hand, scream out, “Enough is enough!  I have had it with these muthaf*ckin sharks on this muthf*ckin train!”  The answer: no one.  Except maybe Tara Reid.

He's not saying 'fudge'.

He’s not saying ‘fudge’.

I, for one, cannot wait for Sharknado 2: Sharks on a Train.  As the original Sharknado poster brashly stated: enough said.

A World Full of Cheats

5 Aug

I think it was the Dalai Lama that once said, “Cheating is what separates us from the animals,” moments before he swindled Desmond Tutu in a game of high stakes poker.  As humans, sometimes we can’t help it (some more than others – cough, cough, Lance Armstrong, cough) but in recent weeks there have been some people in the news for cheating (or almost cheating) in the most ludicrous of ways.

First comes a man who cheated the system.  Lenin Carballido narrowly won the mayoral election of San Agustin Amatengo, a village near the colonial city of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, and was all set to take up public office.  I know what you’re thinking, but no – Carballido did not rig the election to cheat his way into office.  There was a different problem.

Carballido was dead.

Well, strictly speaking – from a purely scientific perspective – Carballido wasn’t actually dead, insofar as he was technically alive.  However a death certificate had surfaced, indicating that he supposedly had died in 2010 of a diabetic coma.  A slight problem if someone wants to take office.

"I can't believe that worked!"

“I can’t believe that worked!”

It turns out that Carballido had forged his death certificate in order for his family to convince police to drop an arrest warrant against him.  It had worked – until Carballido was stupid enough to run for the most public role in the town and think no one would be suspicious that he also was legally dead.  Not the smartest mayoral policy.

In a bizarrely analogous story of people being both dead and alive, doctors at St Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, New York, were about to operate on a dead woman in order to harvest her organs.  Just as the doctors were about to remove her organs, the woman, Colleen Burns, woke up.  Now a zombie, Colleen rampaged through the hospital, killing innocent people and eating their brains.  OK, that bit’s not true, but she did wake up on the operating table moments before being carved open, surprising everyone.

Burns was lucky to cheat death, but the hospital is now under investigation after it was discovered that there were several things that could have indicated to a talented doctor, if he or she were observant enough, that Burns was in fact not as dead as was claimed.  For example, the day before the operation her toes moved in response to a reflex test.  Also, her nostrils flared on the way to the operating room, indicating that she was breathing independently.  Her lips and tongue were also moving.  I don’t claim to be a doctor, but I would be fairly confident that these are signs of a living person.

The good news is that a spokesman for the hospital stated that they have learned from the experience and “modified our policies”.  I assume that the modified policy is along the lines of “don’t harvest organs from living people”.

Possibly Colleen Burns.

Possibly Colleen Burns.

In Japan, men and women all over the country are trying to cheat fate, and doing so in a peculiar manner: by having surgery on their hands.  How does that work exactly?  The trend relies on the ancient practice of palmistry, the belief that someone’s future can be read by looking at the lines on their palm.  So people who don’t like their future are having surgery to extend or add lines, thus altering their destiny.

Apparently men are interested in changing their business and financial lines, whereas women are most interested in changing their marriage lines.  Robin Thicke is interested in blurred lines.

Dr Matsuoka of Shonan Beauty Clinic’s Shinjuku branch said that you cannot perform the surgery with a laser, as it “heals, and it won’t leave a clear mark.”  Instead he performs surgery with an “electric scalpel and make a shaky incision on purpose, because palm lines are never completely straight.”  Ouch.  And so it is that many people try to improve their future health and finances by booking themselves in for a painful surgical procedure that will cost them $1100.  That makes perfect sense.

In the US, there was an interesting story about a man trying not to cheat.  Melissa Nelson, 33, had worked as a dental assistant to James Knight for a decade, before Knight fired her.  Nelson was a diligent worker who was very good at her job, but Knight felt that he had no choice but to dismiss her, on account of the fact that she was too attractive and he was worried he would have an affair.  Looks like the only occasion where it wouldn’t pay to be a ‘model employee’ (pun!).

Nelson sued Knight, but the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the District Court’s original ruling that such firings do not count as illegal sex discrimination because they are motivated by feelings rather than gender.   Following that logic, I expect a spike in other firings motivated by feelings in the workplace.  Of hatred and annoyance.

The case also raises another question.  How does it make the other members of Knight’s all-female staff – including Nelson’s replacement – feel?  It must be the only workplace in the world where staff are offended if they don’t get fired.

The most blatant cheating of recent weeks, however, happened in Nigeria, and it didn’t even involve an email seeking bank account details.  Two amateur soccer teams, United Feeders and Police Machine (awesome names!), were fighting it out in a tournament to get promoted to the Nationwide League Division 3, Nigeria’s lowest professional league.  As both teams had the exact same records and the exact same for and against, the team that won their final game by the most goals would score the coveted promotion to the professional league.  In a very, very subtle ploy to be the successful team, Police Machine won their game 67 – 0.  Not a typo – that’s 67 goals!  Given that they had scored a combined two goals in their other two games, the result raised some eyebrows.

"Oh no!  I totally let in another goal!  Oh darn it."

“Oh no! I totally let in another goal! Oh darn it.”

I don’t think there could have been any way that they could have cheated more blatantly.  Oh wait – apparently there is a way.  United Feeders won their game 79 – 0.  That’s almost a goal a minute!  And the score was only 7 – 0 at halftime, so in the second half they scored a goal every 40 seconds!!!  It comes as no surprise that both teams – and their opponents – are being investigated for cheating.  Although it is Nigeria so maybe it is a little surprising.

The only way that officials could have missed the fact that these teams were cheating would have been if they worked at St Joseph’s Hospital.  Next time they want to win, the teams should just have palm surgery on their success lines.

Arnie’s Best One Liners

30 Jul

When it comes to one liners in action movies, no one can compete with the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  In honour of his awesomeness, and to celebrate his 66th birthday today, I’ve compiled the very best of his puns, wordplays, and wisecracks.  I couldn’t narrow them down to ten, so here are his fourteen greatest efforts.  Get in the chopper, strap yourself in, and enjoy.

"Hi, I'm Arnold.  Check out these great one liners from some of my moofies."

“Hi, I’m Arnold. Check out these great one liners from some of my moofies.”

14. Eraser

Eraser is a film that doesn’t immediately jump to mind when thinking of Arnie greats, but it certainly follows the usual format: action, some mandatory muscle shots, and of course, classic one liners such as this one.

Having trapped the bad guys’ limo on the railroad track, the vehicle gets demolished by the train with the requisite explosion.  Love interest Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams) then asks Arnie for an update on their disappearing pursuers:

Cullen: “What happened to them?”

Arnie: “They caught a train.”

13. Commando

Commando is without peer for classic Arnie one liners, and features heavily in this list.  As a retired Black Ops Commando, Arnie is faced by a green beret called Cooke who is keen for a fight and a little trash talk.  A mistake on both counts.

Cooke: “You Scared motherf*cker?  Well, you should be, because this green beret is gonna kick your big ass!”

Arnie: “I eat green berets for breakfast.  And right now, I’m very hungry!”

12. Total Recall

Before Colin Farrell was running around as  Doug Quaid in last year’s reboot, Arnie was the man running around in the sci-fi mind trip Total Recall, and I for one can’t imagine anyone other than Arnie delivering lines like this quite so well:

Arnie: (Whilst killing the traitorous mutant Benny with a giant drill) “Screw you!”

11.  Eraser

To prove that his one liners aren’t reserved for human enemies, Arnie delivers this gem:

Arnie: (Shoots dead an alligator) “You’re luggage!”

10. Commando

Early in the movie, Arnie promises a low level thug called Sully that out of all the bad guys, he would kill him last.  Later, he interrogates Sully for information in the typically Arnie manner of dangling him over a cliff by his ankle.  Only when he has the information he needs does he give a one liner:

Arnie: “Remember, Sully, when I promised I’d kill you last?”

Sully: “That’s right Matrix!  You did!”

Arnie: “I lied.”

(Arnie releases Sully, who falls to his demise.)

9. Commando

Not stopping with giving Sully a quip before releasing him off the cliff, Arnie immediately backs it up with a rare one liner double play to love interest Cindy:

Cindy: “What happened to Sully?”

Arnie: “I let him go.”

8. The 6th Day

Set in a future where cloning humans is possible, Arnie confronts bad guy Michael Drucker, and sets him up for a one liner:

Arnie: “If you believe that, then you should clone yourself while you’re still alive.”

Drucker:  “Why is that?  So I can understand you’re unique perspective?”

Arnie: “No.  So you can go f*ck yourself.”

7. The Running Man

In this classic film in which people are forced into a life or death live TV game show, Arnie is challenged by a character named Buzzsaw who, surprisingly, has a chainsaw as his weapon of choice.  There’s only one way this can end for Buzzsaw – badly.  Namely being cut in half by his own weapon.  At least it resulted in a one liner:

Amber: “What happened to Buzzsaw?”

Arnie: “He had to split.”

6. Last Action Hero

A film within a film, Arnie plays a caricature of himself as the titular hero, Jack Slater.  Which means, of course, a few Arnie-esque one liners:

Arnie: (To a policeman barring his way) “You wanna be a farmer?  Here’s a couple of acres!”  (Kicks policeman in the groin)

5. Commando

Again, Commando comes through with the goods!  After killing a thug sitting on the seat next to him on a plane, Arnie gets the attention of the flight attendant so he can tell her this:

Arnie: “Don’t disturb my friend.  He’s dead tired.”

4. Predator

You can’t make a list involving Arnie action movies without including Predator (another Arnie film so good it was remade).  And you can’t make an Arnie action movie without a signature one liner:

Arnie: (Throws knife at bad guy, pinning him to the wall) “Here, stick around!”

3. Total Recall

Being married to Sharon Stone is not a bad thing, right?  Well, unless she’s trying to kill you.  The best way to defend yourself?  Be Arnie and hit her with a patented deathblow/one liner combo:

Lori: “Doug, honey… you wouldn’t hurt me, would you, sweetheart?  Sweetheart, be reasonable.  After all, we’re married!”

(Lori goes for her gun, Arnie shoots her through the head)

Arnie: “Consider that a divorce!”

2. True Lies

The climax of this action comedy finds Arnie in the cockpit of a fighter jet, a terrorist hanging precariously from one of the jet’s missiles.  There’s only one thing that could possibly happen in this situation: a one liner!

Arnie: (Launches the missile, shooting it into the terrorist’s helicopter) “You’re fired!”

1. Commando

What else could be number one on this list other than Commando?  After 90 minutes of classic Arnie where he delivers dozens of one liners and kills hundreds of bad guys, Arnie saves his best for last during the climactic fight seen with friend turned enemy Bennett:

Arnie: (Throws a pipe through Bennett)  “Let off some steam, Bennett!”

If you enjoyed that post, check out some more Movie posts here.

How Your Favourite Film Could Have Looked – Near Casting Choices in ’80s Movies – Part II

21 Jul

It’s fascinating to see what movies almost looked like had certain casting decisions actually happened.  As we saw in Part I of this post, plenty of our favourite ’80s films were very nearly completely different (Charlie Sheen as the Karate Kid anyone?) and in Part II we have a further look at the actors who were almost cast in some of the best ’80s films of all time.  Spoiler alert: Steven Segal does not make an appearance.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

One of the great high school adventures of all time, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off follows the title character as he skips school with his girlfriend and best friend to enjoy everything spring time Chicago can offer a group of teens – all without getting caught by his parents or his suspicious principal, Ed Rooney.

To pull that off, Ferris had to be smart, creative, and extremely likeable, and Matthew Broderick pulled that off perfectly, even adlibbing some of Ferris’s funniest moments.  However, he wasn’t the first person to be offered the role; that was Johnny Depp.  Due to scheduling conflicts, though, Depp had to turn down the offer.  Jim Carrey and Michael J. Fox, among others, were considered, but Broderick ultimately got to play the wannabe sausage king of Chicago.  Danke schoen Johhny!

Johnny Depp wishes he could rock a shower mohawk like this

Johnny Depp wishes he could rock a shower mohawk like this

Big

Along with skipping school, another schoolboy fantasy is to be all grown up and able to do what adults can.  That’s exactly what Josh Baskin got to do as the protagonist in Big.  The instant adult version was played by Tom Hanks, who was director Penny Marshall’s first choice for the part, but it almost never happened.

Initially Hanks had to decline the offer due to commitments to filming Dragnet.  After looking at other options, Marshall offered the part to Robert De Niro.  It might have been a different film; instead of dancing on giant floor pianos and grossing out his best friend with silly string, Josh would have become an organised crime lord.

De Niro actually accepted the offer, so the above could have happened, but his asking price of $6 million was too much and the offer was withdrawn.  In the end Marshall waited until Hanks – and his more palatable $2 million fee – was available, and the film went on to become the first film directed by a female to gross over $100 million.  Now that’s big.

Beetlejuice

Just one look at his films tells you that Tim Burton is a quirky guy.  A guy with scissors for hands?  That’s not weird!  His quirkiness isn’t just limited to his directorial style though, as evidenced by this near casting choice.

Back before the days when every single Burton film starred Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, Burton had one person and one person only in mind to play Betelgeuse, and it wasn’t Michael Keaton.  When he pictured the eccentric ‘bio-exorcist’ in his mind’s eye, Burton apparently envisioned a swinging, happening, Las Vegas crooner.  He envisioned Sammy Davis Jr.  The fact that the Rat Pack member was most popular in the ’50s and ’60s, and was 63 years old at the time didn’t seem to bother him.  It did bother the studio, however, who stepped in and exorcised that thought from Burton’s mind, leaving the role wide open for Keaton.  That’s showbiz, baby!

Beverly Hills Cop

Beverly Hills Cop was the movie that took the rapidly on the rise Eddie Murphy and rocketed him into superstardom.  Not only did that almost not happen, the movie itself was almost very different entirely.

Initially Beverly Hills Cop was an action film, with Sylvestor Stallone set to star.  The story was to follow Axel Foley – who was from east Los Angeles, not Detroit – as he got transferred to Beverly Hills.  Stallone, among others, tinkered with the script but ultimately passed on it (although it’s said he used some of the plot to develop Cobra).  The studio then looked to Mickey Rourke to take it over but that never eventuated.

In the end, to our eternal gratitude, the script was reworked and Murphy brought on board.  The best part about it is that when there were gaps or problems in the reworked script, it allowed Murphy to adlib some of the funniest moments of that movie, such as the ‘super-cops’ monologue.  Don’t believe me?  Watch John Ashton (Sgt. Taggart) closely at about the 55 second mark and you’ll see what I mean.

Ghostbusters

One of my favourite ’80s films, Ghostbusters is unique, hilarious, and boasts a great cast.  But the question, ‘Who ya gonna call?’ almost resulted in a completely different answer, as the cast originally intended was vastly different to the end product.  In fact, the movie itself almost looked quite different.

Originally Dan Akroyd’s vision was of a film set in the future where the ‘Ghost Smashers’ (seriously!) were an on-call emergency response team like fire fighters or paramedics.  Their proton packs had wands on the end of them, and by the conclusion of the film there were ‘Ghost Smasher’ franchises all across the United States – and not a marshmallow man in sight.

Who ya gonna call?  Ghost Smashers!  Wait...what?

Who ya gonna call? Ghost Smashers! Wait…what?

The problem with that script is that to actually turn it into a film would have cost way too much money, so Dan Ackroyd enlisted Harold Rambis to come in and help rewrite it.  He suggested making it a tale of how the team got started, and set it in the present.

The other problem was this: it was always Ackroyd’s intention that Ghostbusters be another buddy flick with him and his good mate John Belushi as Peter Venkman, with the third and final member of the team Winston, to be played by Eddie Murphy.  Needless to say that’s quite a different line up than what actually eventuated.

Belushi, of course, sadly died in 1982, meaning the role of Venkman was up for grabs.  Then Eddie Murphy pulled out to do Beverly Hills Cop, a decision he probably didn’t regret given Beverly Hills Cop was the only film to out-gross Ghostbusters in 1984.  So when Ramis helped Ackroyd rewrite the script, it started taking on a whole new flavour.  The character of Dr Egon Spengler was drafted, and Winston Zeddmore’s role was reduced.

When it came to casting, Ackroyd was the only person left standing from the initial plan.  Michael Keaton was offered the chance to play either Venkman or Egon, but turned the opportunity down.  In relation to Egon, the pair decided that Ramis was the man for the job and, thankfully, after Chevy Chase passed, Bill Murray was signed on to play Venkman and completely own it.

They weren’t the only near casting choices.  John Candy was to play Louis Tully, but he consistently wanted to make changes to the character – making him German with a pair of schnauzer dogs.  When his changes weren’t considered he quit, leaving Rick Moranis to fill the void.  Finally, Gozer was to be played by Paul Reubens, aka Pee-Wee Herman, before he too pulled out.

Talk about a completely different cast.  Just goes to show that casting a film is as dangerous and chancy as crossing the streams.

If you enjoyed this Hesaidwhatnow? post check out these posts: 

How Your Favourite Film Could Have Looked – Near Casting Choices in ’80s Movies – Part I

How Your Favourite Film Could Have Looked – Near Casting Choices in Blockbuster Movies