Summary of “How the Cover Song Conquered Movie Trailers”

Every story, as movie trailers never tire of informing us, has a beginning.
The story of the cover-song trend in movie trailers began nine years ago, when the veteran trailer editor Mark Woollen found himself grappling with a difficult assignment.
If you screen Woollen’s best-known work on YouTube, it’s obvious how he’s influenced the way that movie trailers look.
His “Social Network” trailer quickly became a profound influence on how movie trailers sound.
The auditory signature of the modern movie trailer is a deliberately eerie cover version of a recognizable pop song, usually sung at a dramatically slower tempo, often by a breathy female vocalist whose delivery suggests a ghost beckoning a living playmate from the far end of a haunted-house hallway.
The pop cover conveys two very different promises that a blockbuster-movie trailer has to make inside of an M.P.A.A.-mandated two minutes or less: that this movie will be intense and dark and modern and unlike anything that we’ve ever seen before and that it won’t be too unlike what we’ve seen before, that ultimately we’ll walk away having got whatever spiritual comfort we’re looking for by buying a ticket to another movie about Lara Croft or Godzilla.
In the years since this kind of trailer became omnipresent, the trailer cover song has increasingly come to serve a narrative function, repurposing the text of a song to explain a movie’s plot, often in thuddingly literal ways.
In 1969, the mere presence of acid-rock music in the background of a movie trailer was a big deal; the visually pummelling trailers of today demand something bigger than rock, a reimagining of pop music that fires all of its guns at once and explodes into space.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Sixth Sense 20th Anniversary: Oral History with M. Night Shyamalan – Variety”

“The Sixth Sense” was almost a serial killer film inspired by “The Silence of the Lambs.” In the original draft of the thriller by director and writer M. Night Shyamalan, Bruce Willis’ character was a crime photographer with a son who experienced visions of the victims.
Ten drafts later, Shyamalan morphed the script into what we know today: a psychological drama with a monumental twist ending that would launch the career of a young director with comparisons to Spielberg and Hitchcock.
Haley Joel Osment, who plays the young boy who utters the words “I see dead people,” told Variety that the cast knew intuitively that the script was “Something really special,” and they were right: “The Sixth Sense” earned six Oscar nominations including best picture, best director, best supporting actress for Toni Collette and best supporting actor for then 10-year-old Osment.
M. Night Shyamalan, who is now 48, spent nearly a year on the script, not sure where the story should go or what it should be.
The film landed at Disney’s Buena Vista Pictures, with Shyamalan set to direct his own script.
When thinking back to the scariest scene in “The Sixth Sense,” most will recall Barton writhing under a bed, trying to get Osment to realize her mother killed her.
It’s of Cole in a freezing cold bed saying the line, “I see dead people.” Shyamalan decided not to use CGI to facilitate the image of his breath; instead, he put Osment in a a real-life ice box.
Shyamalan: “The Sixth Sense” was the movie that didn’t have the legacy to deal with.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Celebrating 30 Years of Weird Al Yankovic’s Weird Cult Classic, ‘UHF'”

There, Yankovic had cameoed as himself being greeted at the airport by a throng of adoring fans; after UHF bombed at the box office, that tableaux of “Weird Al” as conquering hero looked even more like a punch line.
In a phenomenally detailed 2015 oral history of UHF compiled by Sean O’Neal for The A.V. Club, director and cowriter Jay Levey cites another Zucker-Abrams-Zucker classic as having been front of mind when he and Yankovic conceived UHF, albeit not exactly as an inspiration.
As Levey suggests, UHF was trying to do something slightly to the side of that.
In terms of its satirical approach, UHF plays pretty much like the cinematic equivalent of one of Yankovic’s albums, toggling between rigorously specific spoofs and a more generalized mode of “Style parody” that lampoons familiar tropes more than specific titles.
Suffice to say that if UHF is a cult classic, it’s not because of its plot, although there is a cunning self-reflexivity in the idea of George-who is, for all intents and purposes, meant to be Yankovic if he’d gone into TV rather than music-achieving success by creatively leeching off of the mainstream entertainment he can’t compete with.
UHF embraces strangeness, and its star’s non-sequitur sensibility achieves liftoff, whether in the cognitive dissonance of the blaxploitation-scored trailer for Gandhi II; the cheerful inanity of the commercial for “Spatula City”; the manic energy of Richards as the meteorically popular Stanley Spadowski; and, obviously, “Wheel of Fish,” with its ersatz Vanna White stand-in and quasi-Dadaist rallying cry: “Stupid! You’re so stupid!”.
What Levey and Yankovic understood, and what keeps UHF hugely enjoyable today, was a concept as old as Shakespeare and as new as YouTube: Brevity is the soul of wit.
Like so many cult items of the late 20th century, UHF found its audience on VHS, a format that may actually have been better suited to the implicitly hit-or-miss nature of its comedy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘The Muppet Movie’ At 40: Kermit, Fozzie And A Lot Of Good Songs”

At 40 years old, the music still astounds, provokes and entertains.
Several songs include what you might call “Singalong” elements, where you hear characters singing along with the music, even when there are no words.
In The Muppet Movie, the avatars on the screen are both making the music and hearing the music.
This is a kid-friendly entry point into movie music and music in general.
In sharp contrast to Disney’s animated films where if you don’t have a perfect singing voice they will have the music performed by someone who does, Muppet music stays in character.
Again: It’s teaching kids how to relate to music in a lot of different ways.
We pull back to a shot of hundreds of Muppets singing, and as the song ends – now it’s “The lovers, the dreamers and you,” of course – you get another taste of movie music as it always is and always must be.
It’s movie music that knows it’s movie music, in the same way that the film observes such a porous boundary between the movie you’re watching and the movie the Muppets are making that at one point, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem find their friends by consulting a copy of the script.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Boy Who Saved Batman”

Teenage Uslan made his own Bruce Wayne-like vow: “I would restore Batman to his true and rightful identity as the Dark Knight, a creature of the night stalking criminals from the shadows…a master detective who survived and thrived more by his wits than by his fists.”
“In my heart of hearts, I believed that if I studied really hard and worked out really hard, and if my dad bought me a cool car, I could be this guy!” Uslan remembers in his 2011 memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman.
Thinking quickly, Uslan, who wore a Spider-Man T-shirt to the meeting, asked the administrator to recite the story of Moses: “Moses was an endangered Hebrew infant sent to safety in a river basket and recovered by a couple who raised him as their own. Later, he became a heroic figure to his people after learning his heritage.” Then Uslan asked him to recall Superman’s genesis: “Superman was an endangered Krypton son sent to safety by his parents in a rocket ship, then recovered by a couple who raised”-there, the dean cut himself off, and the 20-year-old became the world’s first professor of a college-accredited comic-books course.
His father-in-law made him a deal: He’d pay the family’s bills for five months, but if his son-in-law didn’t have that six-figure paycheck by the end of the grace period, Uslan would return to practicing law and stop this Batman nonsense.
Around the time Uslan made that last-ditch deal with his father-in-law, a graphic novelist named Frank Miller published a new Batman title called The Dark Knight Returns.
In November, Uslan watched the Berlin Wall fall on CNN and saw a boy in the wreckage wearing a Batman hat.
Next year brings Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which Uslan and Melniker executive produced.
Uslan had known this since he was a teenager: Batman might not be the superhero everybody wanted, but he was the one that would speak to a new generation.

The orginal article.

Summary of “”Drop Dead Gorgeous,” Which Is Finally Streaming, Is Possibly My Favorite Movie of All Time”

In the Times, Janet Maslin wrote that the movie contained “What may be a record number of miserably unfunny jokes.” In L.A. Weekly, Manohla Dargis declared that it had “No metaphoric resonance, no ostensible target, and finally, no purpose outside of its own existence.” In the San Francisco Examiner, Wesley Morris called it “Relentlessly defective,” and suggested that, given the dearth of mainstream movies about the poor white underclass, it “Should be renamed ‘Drop Dead Ghetto’ and hauled off to the ‘Jerry Springer’ hall of shame.”
The movie is full of stereotypes, actively offensive toward nearly every American subgroup, and occasionally disgusting-at one point, pageant hopefuls, hanging over hotel balconies, vomit pink globs of shellfish en masse.
For two decades, whenever I’ve said “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” it’s invariably been followed by the words “Is possibly my favorite movie of all time.” For twenty years, it’s existed only as a physical artifact, mostly lost in the no man’s land of VHS and DVD cabinets.
The transformation of “Drop Dead Gorgeous” from a flop to a venerated artifact of Y2K-era camp began with bored teen-agers, most of them female and/or queer, who flocked to Blockbusters around the country and rented the movie over and over, as my friends and I did for years.
The movie centers on a lopsided rivalry between Amber Atkins, a working-class sweetheart with corn-silk hair and an after-school job doing makeup on embalmed corpses, and Becky, a stone-cold rich girl who carries her breasts around like a warning and looks at the camera as if she wants to leave it penniless in a divorce.
With the necessary exceptions delivered by Richards and Alley as the movie’s out-and-out villains, there is a profound and unlikely sweetness to the performances in “Drop Dead Gorgeous” that transforms the material of the script into something resembling the performance of femininity itself.
After the movie bombed, Lona Williams tried to tap a similar vein in her next screenplay, writing a cheerleader bank-robbery movie, “Sugar & Spice,” but she was so bothered by changes that were made during production that she took her name off of it.
Five years ago, Allison Janney told BuzzFeed that she’s approached by fans about “Drop Dead Gorgeous” more than about any other project she’s worked on, despite winning four Emmys for her part on “The West Wing.” The movie continues to inspire drag shows and viewing parties and indie-music videos.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Meatballs’ at 40: The Movie That Launched Bill Murray’s Career”

The plot follows the basic contours of summer – what starts with buses ends with same, as hundreds of campers arrive and depart the bucolic grounds of Camp North Star, the best bargain in the Twin Pines region.
This, of course, is the real importance of Meatballs – that it’s the birthplace of Bill Murray, whose persona has played such a towering role in pop culture.
No matter the name he’s using, Murray is always the coolest counselor at camp.
It’s a famous speech among Murray fans as it set the tone for his entire career.
“Parents need to know that Meatballs is a sexual-innuendo-filled summer camp comedy from 1979,” the report reads.
Meatballs was Plan B. Reitman used summer camp as a subject because he’d gone to summer camp.
The film, featuring mostly unknowns, was shot at Camp White Pine, in Haliburton, Ontario – those are real campers in the mess hall.
Murray did not agree to appear in Meatballs until the last minute.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is ‘Space Jam 2’ a Way for LeBron James to Skirt the Salary Cap?”

Since 2014, James has been attached to a sequel to the 1996 classic Space Jam, which came out when I was 6 years old and happened to star my two favorite people on the planet when I was 6 years old, Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny.
Naturally, the cast that would join James in Space Jam 2 has long been a topic of speculation.
On the same day that it was reported the Lakers were scrambling to shed cap space, the first-ever list of James’s Space Jam 2 castmates was also reported.
While the original Space Jam was a one-off opportunity to make Jordan look good to the purchasing public, James seems to view his basketball successes and his future in entertainment as somewhat equally critical parts of his future.
The two feel connected: If James wins a championship with the Lakers in 2020, Space Jam 2 will probably perform better in 2021, and if Space Jam 2 does well, James’s future in entertainment will be firmly rooted in a successful blockbuster, which James hasn’t had yet.
At any rate, a player receiving money for Space Jam 2 wouldn’t be an illegal affiliation between the Lakers and their players.
With James taking on simultaneous roles in basketball and entertainment, he can legitimately argue that the casting of his current and desired future teammates is a strategic choice to boost the success of his movie rather than a salary cap workaround.
LeBron seems to have the power to make Space Jam 2 into the movie he wants, and the best use for it would be as an instrument to make the Lakers into the team he wants.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Problem With IMDb’s Rating System”

We consult Yelp before making restaurant reservations, we skim Amazon reviews before buying light bulbs, and when someone suggests we watch a movie or a show, we inevitably end up on Rotten Tomatoes or IMDb to see if it’s really worth our time.
As of Tuesday, it had a 9.6-star average rating from more than 200,000 users on the Amazon-owned entertainment site.
As one of the 50 most visited sites in the world, IMDb wields considerable power over the entertainment industry.
As Wired wrote in 2016, IMDb’s “Voter system has increasingly become a soft weapon in all sorts of online turf wars.” And the subject of these turf wars ranges from geopolitical disputes to plain sexism.
The site ultimately axed its anticipatory “Want to see” scores before the film’s release to prevent further abuse of the system.
Though the most public instances of IMDb-rating sabotage center on film-related controversies, plenty of other movies have been swallowed or buttressed by the ranking system without any apparent motive.
In 2016, the creators of the indie film Kicks were surprised to discover that a wave of negative reviews from IMDb users with no biographical data had suddenly lowered what was initially a promising rating, and suspected it was due to vote brigading.
The score of a movie does not reflect the mean of all user votes-rather, “Various filters are applied to the raw data in order to eliminate and reduce attempts at vote stuffing by people more interested in changing the current rating of a movie than giving their true opinion of it,” according to the IMDb website.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Speed’ remains a beautiful movie about the importance of public transportation”

There’s a clear difference between Die Hard and Speed, which is maybe why Speed hasn’t claimed its rightful place in the Keanu canon.
It’s not just one of Keanu’s best movies; it’s one of the best movies about public transportation.
Speed refutes one of the most pervasive myths about metropolitan transit systems in the U.S. – that no one rides the bus in Los Angeles – with its economically and racially diverse ensemble of riders, who must work together and with Jack Traven to keep the bus going until the bomb is dismantled.
It’s easy to imagine, were Speed to really happen, what might unfold in the aftermath: increased surveillance, and a decrease in transit service as enterprising automotive lobbyists argue that the “Vulnerability” of public transportation to terrorist attacks is a reason we should dismantle it and make people buy cars instead. In reality, the bomber in Speed wouldn’t be an ex-cop with a brain cooked by cable news out for some extra retirement cash.
It’s not hard to imagine a version of Speed that doesn’t star Keanu Reeves, so the fact that it does in fact star him has additional resonance.
Few male movie stars represented the culture of their era like Keanu: his racial ambiguity, indifference to sexual categories, youthful recklessness, and subtly jacked physique all made him a new and unique screen presence in American movies.
Speed might scare some viewers away from their morning commute, but the movie inadvertently captures what’s special about public transit.
Though it may be the least Keanu of Keanu’s major movies, I can see why Speed sold Sylvia McCann on Keanu: more than almost any of his other films, it actually requires him to be a persona, not a person.

The orginal article.