Top 8 Questions after watching the new trailer for Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
(Get Out of this page if you don’t want any spoilers.)
Yes, the Armitage family is cool. So hip! Rose (Allison Williams) is a knockout AND willing to stick up for her black boyfriend, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), when a white cop gives him a hard time. They arrive at her parents’ estate where her parents don’t disappoint. They have created an environment where their kids are comfortable swearing in front of them. And talking about sex! Hell, Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener) even let them stay in the same bedroom. So chill! Despite Dean’s clumsy (but genuine) praise of Obama as opening conversation with a black man, their coolness is still intact by nightfall. Should we be worried yet?
(Note: Boblius is rarely invited to studios’ critic screenings therefore at Get Out he found himself seated near an older couple with a 4 year old girl. Yes, these grandparents brought their granddaughter to Get Out. More on this later.)
(Spoilers below? Oh yeah.)
A few years back there was a Lego movie. It’s name escapes me right now. Anyway, the Lego movie was thought to promote collectivism and criticize capitalism. The makers of the Lego movie (whatever it was called) denied an anti-business agenda BUT… the bad guy in the film was named “Lord Business.”
Well, a few years have passed and now we have The Lego Batman Movie on our hands. Perhaps to bring a Ra’s al Ghul-ish balance to the cinematic Lego-verse, this film asserts a strong critique of police policies largely revealed through the Barbara Gordon character. Her shedding of the commissioner’s uniform (Don’t get excited, it’s a PG film) in favor of her Batgirl costume formalizes her abandonment of supposedly enlightened law enforcement policies.
In the first reel Police Commissioner Jim Gordon finds himself in a crisis: The Joker has assembled a huge bomb to blow the literal floor out from under Gotham City. Gordon does what the G.C.P.D. does best: Call BATMAN!
It’s hard to believe a full-fledged Ghostbusters film hasn’t been in theaters since 1989, but it’s now 2016 and they’re back…sort of. Whether or not you’ve embraced the franchise’s reboot, it’s worth paying tribute to the fact that many consider the original 1984 film to be one of Hollywood’s most libertarian blockbusters.
After losing their jobs at Columbia University, paranormal investigators, Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Egon Spengler start their own extermination service known as the “Ghostbusters.” Naturally, no one takes them seriously, until a rise in paranormal activity begins to threaten New York.
As their service becomes more in demand, the Ghostbusters do what any successful business does: expand. They purchase an office in the form of a firehouse, make a cheesy advertisement, and hire extra staff: receptionist Janine Melnitz, and a fourth buster, Winston Zeddemore. The Ghostbusters new found fame and success, however, is short lived when the Environmental Protection Agency has them arrested and their business shut down for operating unlicensed waste, deactivating their spirit containment system and inadvertently releasing hundreds of ghosts, who begin terrorizing New York.
The situation escalates even more when the ghosts successfully summon Gozer, the god of destruction, to bring about the end of the world. The government, having no means of combating the supernatural threat, releases the Ghostbusters from custody to battle Gozer. When our heroes finally come face to face with the god of destruction, it allows the Ghostbusters to choose the form of the destructor. Trying to think of something completely harmless, Ray envisions his favorite corporate mascot, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, which arrives in giant form and begins to destroy the city.
When South Park first came onto the scene in 1997, it caused quite a stir. The animated sitcom that follows four foul-mouthed boys and their exploits throughout a small town in Colorado was loved by audiences and hated by parents who caught their young ones quoting the show’s signature fart and pee pee jokes.
What has ultimately set South Park apart from most TV shows is its no holds barred attitude when it comes to making fun of sensitive subjects. The feature film that followed shortly after the show’s release, “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999),” tackled the issues of censorship and bad parenting.
The film centers on the release of a new R-rated movie: “Terrance and Phillip: Asses of Fire,” which main characters: Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny are first in line to see. The film becomes all the rage in South Park and soon after its release; every kid in town is quoting its crude humor. This of course sets the parents off in a rage, so much so that they end up banning all Terrance and Philip’s films and merchandise and send their kids to a rehabilitation center, so that they’ll stop swearing. They take it a step further when they end up abducting Terrance and Philip and wage war on their native country – Canada. When Cartman voices his displeasure of all this by singing a song about Kyle’s mom being a bitch, the parents implant a v-chip inside of him giving him an electric shock every time he swears. The kids of South Park are then forced to lead a resistance against the parents, save Terrance and Philip and prevent Satan from rising up and taking over the world.
Although this film came out in 1999, its stance on freedom of speech and anti-censorship are more relevant than ever. Earlier this month, the newly released X-Men Apocalypse’s marketing campaign was hit with controversy when a billboard depicting the film’s main antagonist, Apocalypse, choking Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence. Actress Rose McGowan slammed the advertisement, saying it was “offensive” and seemingly approved of violence against women. The backlash resulted in 20th Century Fox making a public apology and later taking down the ads, even though, according to Deadline Hollywood, a top female Fox executive approved the advertisement before it was released.
I went to see Zootopia last week expecting a solid children’s movie. What I didn’t expect was arguably the most libertarian children’s movie in recent memory. Seriously, Ayn Rand could have written this thing. Zootopia can teach kids about all sorts of libertarian ideals, such as citizen accountability, skepticism of government officials, civil liberties, and the rejection of majority rule justification.
We start with a relatively simple premise common in kid’s movies: our lead character has a dream that the world says will never come true. In this case, that lead character is a bunny, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) who wants to be a police officer. A bunny has never been a police officer before, but Judy works hard and becomes the first one. What makes Zootopia somewhat unique is that it spends relatively little screen time telling us how that dream comes true. Instead, the movie focuses on all of Judy’s struggles after she becomes a cop and how sometimes dreams aren’t everything we thought they would be.
As an independent filmmaker, the single biggest obstacle to getting your film made is: paying for it. You can have all the other elements you need lined up: a great story, a fast and efficient crew, talented actors, and your aunt has even agreed to let you film at her vacation home in the mountains, (as long as you pay for the maid service afterwards,) but if you don’t have a budget to pay for it all, you will not make your film. This is where Taliesin Nexus’ Liberty Lab for Film program comes in.
The Liberty Lab for Film (or LLF) is an advanced program for those who have filmmaking, screenwriting, and/or producing experience and want an opportunity to work alongside liberty-minded creatives under the guidance of seasoned professionals such as Daniel Knauf, (co-executive producer, NBC’s The Blacklist) Adam Simon (creator of the FOX series Salem) and screenwriter David H. Steinberg (American Pie 2) in developing, writing, filming and editing your short film or web series idea.
If you and your treatment are selected, you will receive a grant for $10,000 to fund your project and be paired with an established industry professional who will mentor you through a 100 day process. At the conclusion, Taliesin Nexus will host a gala showcase screening in Los Angeles where your film will premiere along with your fellow LLF participants’ projects.
This is not for the faint of heart. You and your partners will be responsible for producing a high quality film. For 100 days, you must contend with: a rigorous development process, valuable collaboration, working within a budget, and notes & feedback from your mentor and the network. It’s a process not unlike aspects of the Hollywood system or any independent film production.
To submit, all you need is a one-page treatment of your story idea for a short film or web-series that touches on some aspect of liberty. Why Liberty? Taliesin Nexus is committed to helping storytellers, who share a passion for human freedom and diversity, succeed in their entertainment career.
One great aspect about applying is, if you apply early, it will give them time to review your application and reach out to you to offer feedback. If they can help you with your treatment even before you make it in to the program, they want to do it. Taliesin Nexus is committed to ensuring that you and your project receive as much support as possible.
Please follow this link to learn more about the program, the application process, and what to expect when you are selected into the program. Applications are being accepted NOW and you have until April 15, 2016 to submit.
(Taliesin Nexus is the owner and operator of SmashCut Culture)
Shady Grove Rest Home promises residents tranquility in their final years. Instead, it delivers terror in the form of Bingo, a palliative care cat that snuggles up to whichever resident is next to die. Is Bingo’s power supernatural, or is something more ominous at play?
Death Cat is written by SCC contributors James C. Harberson III & Frazer C. Rice with the script by Harberson III. Artist is Stephen Baskerville, a brilliantly-talented comic book, video game, and advertising artist. He has worked for, inter alia, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Egmont Fleetway, Curve Studios, Asylum Entertainment, and KUJU Entertainment. He resides in the UK and you can learn more about him here.
Click top right arrows for full screen.
[The NSFW version is available after the page break.]
This post introduces a new theme in addition to page to screen adaptations. That is: things you may have missed. In case you don’t know, Bubba Ho-tep is a movie, and a short story, where neither Elvis nor JFK are dead. They are both in a Texas rest home and have been robbed of their identities by fate and the powers that be. To make matters worse, an Egyptian mummy has started to raid the home and steal the soles of residents. Elvis and Jack are the only ones who know and therefore the only ones who can do anything about it. You can watch the trailer here, though it doesn’t do the movie justice.
I think a lot of people view this movie as a silly B-movie send up, and I had a similar opinion before I watched it. Now, it might just be my lifelong affection for Bruce Campbell, but from my first viewing I was in love. Sure, it has a ridiculous premise and outlandish characters, but I have only ever seen a beautiful portrayal of aging and the struggle to maintain one’s identity and dignity. Why else would the cast feature such American icons as Elvis, JFK, and the Lone Ranger? When I found out the movie was based on an existing story I was the most excited to see more of the world.
This adaptation was interesting because I have more experience with novels being adapted into films and this was a short story. As such it means the expansion of the world as opposed to the reduction. The film allowed for more time with the characters and the introduction of the funeral home workers who pick up the bodies of residents. They, in particular, brought the “youth” perspective of the plight of the rest home residents and the lack of empathy and interest the rest of the world have for them.
Veteran comic Colin Quinn’s one-man show, Colin Quinn Unconstitutional, debuts on Netflix and offers an often doting and hilarious look back on the creation of the U.S. Constitution by the founding fathers. Quinn never masks his love for the Constitution and is brilliant at placing himself outside of the traditional red-state vs blue-state mentality that, as he puts it, is tearing this country apart. The comedian has no problems using the 1st Amendment to go after the trigger warning crowd that can’t take a joke, or reminding you that before it existed, talking crap about a king or dictator anywhere else in the world in history would get you killed. The bulk of the show deals mostly with the writing of the articles of the Constitution and why and how the government was intended to operate. Being the classic Irish-American that Quinn is, he uses a bar room analogy to explain how the government is supposed to operate. As mentioned, Quinn tackles 1st Amendment issues, as well as a bit on the 2nd Amendment, but leaves the rest of the Bill of Rights for another time.
Smash Cut Culture is proud to support the up & coming filmmakers who make up part of the nexus that is Taliesin Nexus. Please take a moment to check out alum Jeremy Michael Cohen’s pitch for his latest feature film project Yinz and its Kickstarter campaign below:
Today we’re launching the Kickstarter campaign for my first feature film as a director. The film is called YINZ, and it’s inspired by growing up in my Rust Belt hometown in Western Pennsylvania. I’m making the movie with Hailey Hansard, my long-time girlfriend and a working actress, and John Hermann, an experienced producer I’ve worked with before.
The first day is the most important time for any Kickstarter campaign. It’s the make-or-break day for whether it will go viral. We know not everyone can or wants to put money into a Kickstarter, and we’re cool by that. But we’d love and be grateful if you’d share the campaign with your friends today.
There’s a ton of information about YINZ on the Kickstarter page and in the video. However, we’ve come up with this nifty little phrase to sum up the movie: Yinz is a dark comedy about growing up in Western Pennsylvania. A violent and funny forbidden love story in the the heart of the Rust Belt.
I’d like to ask you to do two things, please:
1) Please visit our Kickstarter page and watch the video. We’re pre-selling the movie for $25, and we’ve put together some pretty cool rewards for higher levels of backing. There’s a ton more information about the project on the Kickstarter page. We’d love any comments you want to leave on the page, too. Watching the video and chipping in even a single dollar is the most important thing you can do for us. If you want a direct link to the campaign, it’s: www.jerm.co/yinzkickstarter
Off of the tease announcements from McDonald’s that the Hamburgerler is coming out of hiding, filmmaker Leigh Scott debuts this re-imagining of our favorite fast food mascots. From Wendy to Col. Sanders to the King and the Clown , in all honesty, this works great on so many levels. My particular favorite appearance is from the purple guy himself, Grimace. It’s the Supersize Squad.
Jerry Seinfeld, who’s most famous stand-up comedy bits usually revolve around socks, pajamas and clothing in general, spoke to ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd on the state of doing stand-up comedy on college campuses around America. Seinfeld admits he doesn’t perform at colleges, but offers an insight into what college students today consider to be sexist, racist, bigoted or any number of the other SIXHIRB words that are bandied about without any rational thought.
Next up in our ongoing series highlighting the film projects that were produced during the 100 day challenge laid out by Taliesin Nexus’ Liberty Lab for Film, we bring you another comedy web-series. Wigs was created by writer Richard Mattox and director Matt Edwards (both SCC contributors).
Sick and tired of seeing all the attention that comic book superheroes garner on the sidewalks of Hollywood Blvd., Virginia, a widowed grandmother with some disposable income, forms “Wigs on Wheels”, a group of historical re-enactors who travel around Los Angeles bringing real American heroes like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Dolley and James Madison to life. Overzealous police, smart-aleck kids, and internal subversion are all present in this hilarious comedy.
Wigs garnered first place and the filmmakers were awarded $2000 for their work during the 100 Day Challenge of the Liberty Lab for Film.
[Update: Taliesin Nexus has extended the deadline to apply for this year’s Liberty Lab for Film until midnight Monday the 25th for all you last minute shoppers out there.]
Smash Cut Culture: What drew you to becoming a filmmaker?
Richard Mattox: I was always interested in the performing arts. I had experience acting, playing music, and singing all throughout my childhood. But I think it was Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy that inspired my to become a filmmaker. I remember writing my own sequel to the films. It was a 10 page script in which I was the lead. I can still remember standing behind my mom as she operated the camera, banging pots and pans together for sound as my neighborhood friends tromped around the snow fighting with plastic swords.
Matt Edwards: Growing up in Los Angeles I was exposed very early on to the behind-the-scenes action of some of my generations favorite TV shows. With action scenes from shows like Knight Rider, The Fall Guy and The A-Team being filmed on the streets of my neighborhood, I figured every kid knew how the “sausage was made” and it was no big deal. When I hit college and met more people not from LA, I realized how lucky I was to have sort of a home court advantage when it came to being comfortable trying to make it in Hollywood and I better not waste the chance. Plus I fell in love with Hitchcock movies at about age 9, and never looked back.
In our ongoing series* highlighting the film projects that were produced during the 100 day challenge laid out by Taliesin Nexus’ Liberty Lab for Film, we bring you the comedy webseries C.A.R.E. Force created by comedy writer Crystal Hubbard and fiction writer Mike Pauly (both SCC contributors). The series centers on an obscure law enforcement agency that may or may not be fighting actual crime. Nonetheless, they exist to enforce the laws that time forgot.
SCC: What drew you to be a filmmaker?
Mike Pauly: I’ve always felt compelled to tell stories. The medium of film/television reaches the widest possible audience and can have the most impact.
Crystal Hubbard: I was too old to be Indiana Jones.
April 25th marked one year since I lost Jefferson, beagle and beloved terror. I write to remember him. Doubtless some of you are thinking “It’s only his fourth column and he’s already eulogizing dead pets. Spiraling into narcissism are we? And isn’t this supposed to be a culture blog?” Fair enough. One defense: My dogs have been an education in politics and economics: When two dogs get new the exact same toy, each still wants the other’s; that a toy may be abandoned for months, but as soon as one rediscovers it, the other demands it; that the keeper’s love and attention are always a zero sum game; and that my basset hound, like a French royal unwary of the guillotine, can laze about while demanding my servitude. Another defense: Life is often hideous and crushing; appreciating its blessings softens its blows. Jefferson and I shared plenty of both, and I’m better for it.
Jefferson was a beagle’s beagle (with possibly a little foxhound mixed in): avid hunter, neurotic demander, chaos on four legs. A definitive anecdote: One afternoon, two dumb-dumb tourists picnicked in a favorite dog park upon ground perpetually befouled by urine and feces. They took a few minutes to retreat, but not before Jefferson indulged multiple drive-bys, snatching their food in perfect glee.
Announcing Why I Murdered My Roommate a new television and trans-medial series set and filmed in Buffalo, New York and sponsored by Fractured Atlas.
The project is a creation of three graduates of the Taliesin Nexus 2014 Filmmaker’s Workshop (renamed Apollo Workshop). Feeling inspired by the fact that there was a sympathetic group of liberty-loving filmmakers out there, longtime friends Michael Pauly and Tilke Hill decided to finish working on a script exploring one woman’s desire to live outside of anyone or anything’s control and what ensues when she decides that to be a radical individualist doesn’t have to mean rejecting all human bonds.
Why I Murdered My Roommate is a half-hour dark comedy series where the hash absurdity of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia meets the twisty, violence-promising flashback storytelling of Damages or The Affair. It is the story of EZ Walensa, performance artist, borderline anarchist, and lonely woman looking to make a genuine connection.
Last Monday, I sat on the hardwood floor of my apartment, leering at the white cardboard box in front of me. The box, which contained a disassembled nightstand from IKEA, had been sitting under my bed for weeks. And one night after getting home from work abnormally early (before 8 p.m.), I did the adult thing – I put a load of laundry in the wash, ordered a pizza from Dominos, dragged the box out from under my bed, and put on “Kiki’s Delivery Service.”
“Kiki’s Delivery Service,” or Majo no Takkyūbin, was a 1989 release from Studio Ghibli about a young witch, Kiki, who leaves home with her talking cat companion Jiji on her 13th birthday, part of a custom where a young witch must be apart from her family for a year and find another town to live and use her special ability in. Kiki’s ability of flight seems like an ordinary witch power, but she finds that in her new seaside town she is able to use it as a delivery girl for a bakery. But her journey to using her talent doesn’t come without obstacles. After one delivery goes sour, she seems to lose her powers. She can no longer fly or understand Jiji and becomes deeply depressed before finally regaining her confidence in herself and her abilities.
Melissa McCarthy channeled the late great Chris Farley and absolutely delivered the greatest moment of an excruciatingly long three and half hour tribute to 40 years of Saturday Night Live.
And of course because NBC/Comcast hate to share content on YouTube, you can’t find a decent clip of it online that won’t be taken down more than 10 minutes after being uploaded. So apologies is the video embedded below gets disabled. You can find the whole Weekend Update sketch over on Hulu.