Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Special Challenge Participant Feature - Rick Daley and Movies!

Today we welcome Rick Daley from My Daley Rant! His theme for the A to Z Challenge was movies, something we can all enjoy. He was willing to answer a few questions about films, remakes, and bad adaptations.

Your theme was movies – which I thought rocked – what made you decide to post about films?

Short answer: I thought it would be easy.

Long answer: I wanted to participate in the A-Z challenge because my blog is more neglected than a fact at a political rally. Posting every day for a month seemed like a great way to force myself into action…I am a world-class procrastinator (MOTTO: Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow).

Before I pulled the trigger and signed up, I wanted to make sure I could finish the task. I needed a topic I could dive into, deep. I’m the kind of guy who knows a little bit about a lot of things—my wife calls me a “vessel of useless knowledge”—but one area in which my inventory of arcane knowledge runs deep is film. I made a list, A-Z, and quickly came up with at least one movie title per letter. It was time to email Alex…

It was an eclectic mix, so I have to ask – what’s your favorite genre?

That’s tough. I think I’ll have to go with Comedy. My favorite movie is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so if that’s my favorite movie, it must be in my favorite genre, right? Besides, laughter is always good. Except maybe at a funeral. But then again, *Death at a Funeral is a damn funny movie.

I don’t know if there is a genre I don’t like. I love horror movies, too. And superhero movies, martial arts movies, action / suspense / thrillers, some dramas, even some RomComs have merit.

*Even though I have some choice words about remakes in general in response to the next question, the re-make of Death at a Funeral with Chris Rock is 100% hilarious.

Talk to us about your R post, Robocop and Ridiculous Remakes.

I went back and re-read that post… Now I have to rant for a minute. Studios are churning out remakes because they think it will net them a quick buck. Marketing can be cheaper when your name is already known. Properties ranging from 70s TV shows to board games have made it to the silver screen without any regard for quality. Many have sucked, while good, original stories deserving of the limelight go unnoticed. Not that I am bitter. It’s just that Remakes are the new Prequel. (Remember ten years ago, when Prequels were the new Sequel?)

Then you have movies like Prometheus, which was tied to Alien, one of the best horror / sci-fi / thrillers of all time, but tied to it in a new way, that supposedly stood on its own.

I was really excited to see Prometheus, and it ended up as the biggest letdown of my film-watching life. Here we have a fantastic tale of wasted potential: a movie with an excellent premise but stocked with characters so dumb you could create a satire like Airplane! without changing a single line in the script. It was lazy writing. The characters had no purpose being together in that story. Formulae was pinched from other properties, but the recycling didn’t work in Prometheus…In LOST, a group of disparate characters waking up and meeting each other for the first time worked because they were on a crashed commercial flight, but that made no sense on a trillion-dollar corporate investment to meet God. In Alien, a roughneck captain leading a crew in deep space worked because the ship was essentially a tractor-trailer; but that made no sense on a trillion-dollar corporate investment to meet God.

Some people argue about the film’s thematic implications of the origins of life, claiming the movie is interesting because of what it leaves unresolved. For me, the problem is not what the movie didn’t tell us; its flaw is what was actually on the screen. I could go on and on (and on), but there are other questions I need to address…

You talked about Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein and Quentin Tarantino. Any other favorite directors?

The Warchowskis did a fantastic job with The Matrix (I’m not a big fan of the 2nd and 3rd in the trilogy, but the original is a modern classic, truly groundbreaking).

Peter Jackson nailed it with LOTR, but I am very disappointed to hear he is breaking The Hobbit into three movies. I think he is giving himself too much license and I worry he will stray too far from the primary story. LOTR succeeded as three movies, but it was also three books.

Steven Spielberg is a director who has made countless exceptional films over the years, demonstrating success in multiple genres. Scorsese has, too.

And speaking as a kid who saw Star Wars at a drive-in when I was six, George Lucas played a large role in my childhood.

Finally, while we’re talking about directors, I must lament the passing of Tony Scott, who directed my T-movie and one of my all-time favorite films, True Romance.

You also mentioned books to movies. What are some of the worst adaptations?

The Sum of All Fears tops my list of bad adaptations…Harrison Ford declined the role of Jack Ryan in this film, and the studio fixed that problem by making the character of Jack Ryan a junior analyst instead of the senior agent who had Hunted for Red October, played the Patriot Games, survived the Clear and Present Danger, and rescued the Cardinal from the Kremlin. (NOTE: The lattermost title never made it to film, but the story has a huge role in the plausibility of Ryan’s actions in The Sum of All Fears).

By casting a young actor (Ben Afflek), the writers removed Ryan’s experience and zapped the film of the realism that makes Clancy’s books so damn good. The result is a brainless romp with a cheesy ending.

Do you consider yourself a real movie geek?

No, I only geek out about fake movies ;-)

Have you ever done an all-day, extended-version marathon of Lord of the Rings?

Not yet. I don’t have the extended editions of The Two Towers or Return of the King, so an extended-edition marathon is out of the picture (yeah, there’s a pun, take it or leave it). The real challenge is getting permission from my family to let me just sit on the couch for ten hours watching LOTR at volumes that shake the very foundation of my home, which I would gladly do if only they would let me.

If you do the Challenge again next year, what theme would you consider?

I’m also a musician, so next year I may go after bands and songs, another area where I have very eclectic taste.

Thanks, Rick! Music would be an awesome theme for next year.

Co-host Ninja Captain Alex is the author of CassaStar and CassaFire and his blog can be found HERE


mooderino said...

I never realised how much the ministry of funny walks looks like a Michael Jackson dance.

Entertaining interview.

Moody Writing

Rick Daley said...

I feel that with a government grant, I could make my walk a lot more silly...

Rick Daley said...

Thanks for the interview, Alex!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Rick, thank YOU for doing the interview!

Unknown said...

Enjoyed this interview very much and I agree, Speilberg seems to hit gold with everything he touches!Also dissapointed the hobbit will be cut in three.

Siv Maria's blog, Been there, done that...


A great interview Alex, made excellent reading.


Ella said...

Great interview guys~
I love to read opinions on movies and directors~
Peter Jackson may be able to pull it off. The question will be timing. I hate it when they make one and wait forever for the next flick.

Music would make a great A-Z challenge! I look forward to it :D

Rick Daley said...

At least Peter Jackson films everything at once. That helps make the multi-film experience more seamless, and he can hold to an annual release schedule. The Hunger Games franchise could use that kind of efficiency.

-Rick at work

Rick Daley said...

At least Peter Jackson films everything at once. That helps make the multi-film experience more seamless, and he can hold to an annual release schedule. The Hunger Games franchise could use that kind of efficiency.

-Rick at work

Arlee Bird said...

Bands and songs always make for fun topics. Nice interview!

Tossing It Out

D.G. Hudson said...

A very interesting interview, guys.

I hate remakes too, shows laziness in Hollywood. Putting Ben Affleck in a movie written for an actor like Harrison Ford is a recipe for disaster. Only one of them is a good actor. I also felt disappointed by Prometheus. AND putting The Hobbit (not a large book) into 3 films sounds like a cash grab. So basically, I agree with you, Rick.

Music sounds like a great idea for you in 2013. I'm still thinking about my new theme for next year's A to Z. Thanks for featuring Rick, Alex, anyone who can do that Monty Python 'funny walk' is ok in my book.

JudyH329 said...

Interesting interview. I think I saw the "Sum of All Fears". It was confusing. Robocop is a favorite, I think it's the noise of when he walks. lol

Andrew Leon said...

We tried to do an extended LotR day once. We made it through Fellowship in about 7 hours. That's what comes of having three kids and repeated use of the pause and rewind function. We've never tried again.

cleemckenzie said...

Oh yes. Monty Python is the greatest, isn't it? Nothing like an afternoon of dark humor with popcorn to make me happy.

Great to read your post!

Rick Daley said...

Judy- I like the noise, and the way he turns his head, then his torso, then his hips and legs. There isn't a dull moment in that movie, the remake will be hard pressed to top it.

Andrew- I had to break Fellowship of the Ring into two sessions with my kids. Lots of questions. They loved it, though. Still haven't cleared the time for the other two movies, though.

clee- My older brother has 10 years on me, and be brought home The Life of Brian when he was 18 and I was 8. I was in a Catholic school, so I got the jokes from the first scene where they three wise men go to the wrong manger. I've been a fan ever since.

Tyrean Martinson said...

What?! The Hobbit in three movies!!! and I was looking forward to it . . . oh heck, I still am. Thanks for steering me clear of Prometheus - I was considering it for a late night on DVD, but it doesn't sound like it's worth even that much attention.

Rick Daley said...

Tyrean- I think I'll see thee Hobbit(s) no matter what. There are so many things that can go right.

If you come across Prometheus on cable and it's free (more or less) then you may want to see what it's all about. I would watch it again in a Mystery Science Theater fashion where I just make fun of it all the way through. That could actually be great fun.

You could also have a drinking game where you drink whenever someone says / does something really stupid or totally inexplicable, but you'd risk alcohol poisoning.

Sher A. Hart said...

Blogger ate my 1st comment on Rick's interview so I'm trying again, shorter.

Ditto: Michael Jackson dance move, agree that Hobbit is not 3 movies, and I hate horror movies anyway so no loss over Promethius. But I love SF/ fantasy!

Unknown said...

When I first heard about The Hobbit being made into a trilogy, I thought it was a joke. I lost the bet on that one. Great interview! Thanks, Rick and Alex!

Anonymous said...

How'd you get my senior picture (first image). I love anything Monty Python. I used to come home at 2:00 more than slightly anebriated and turn on the TV to watch Monty Python, Bennie Hill, and Elvira. Great stuff that will never be duplicated.

Tina said...

I really enjoyed this. You and I have some of the same complaints about movies, which I appreciate. Around here, people watch a movie once. Then they go on with life. I watch a movie multiple times, and then am dying for someone to discuss it with, analyze it, break it apart, critique it. Sigh. Engineers and junior engineers in this place.
I have many favorites, but like you, Star Wars came out when I was a kid, and I remember standing in impossibly long lines to see The Empire Strikes Back at THE theater in downtown Washington, D.C. We sat front row center and no movie has ever held my attention like that one. It remains my favorite of the six. Not that I really count 1 and 2, and still haven't stayed awake for 3. Tried four times. Never make it past him killing the younglings...
Sheesh, post length comment here, but you hit a nerve ;-)
Thanks for guesting,
Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host 2012

klahanie said...

Greetings Rick and Alex,
An informative and enlightening interview. Speaking of JRR Tolkien, evidently much of the inspiration for "Middle-earth" came from his time when he stayed in the town I live in, Leek, Staffordshire, England. And noting the locals, I can see why! :)
In kindness to you both, Gary

Rick Daley said...

Sheryl- Thanks, glad you stopped by!

Michael- That would make a great Onion article. Amp it up to 24...release one a month for two years running. It would be like getting hooked on a TV series, but at the movies, kind of like the old serials. Actually, that's not a bad idea...

Stephen- You can do anything with Photoshop!

Tina- I'm a watch-it-multiple-times kind of guy, I get it. Here's a great movie to watch several times: Memento.

klahanie- Do you ever check holes in the ground for Hobbits? Thanks for stopping by from across the pond!

klahanie said...

Yes Rick, I check holes in the ground for Hobbits. I used to think the holes were made by moles. Now I know different...

Angry Wooderson said...

Remakes really do irk me. Or simply borrowing the pop culture legacy of something for no reason. Alot of people enjoy the new "Hawaii Five-0," but it has no reason being named that. I cringe at the commercials for "Elementary." So if "House" was made in 2013, would it be called "Dr. Kildare"?