4John Candy's Last Role
Wagon's East was a forgettable comedy about a bunch of whiny pioneers who talk like characters on a C-grade Seinfeld clone. Well, it would be forgettable if it didn't turn out to be comedy giant John Candy's last role. Candy died during production, and the producers swore up and down that Candy had wrapped shooting before he passed away. This was clearly a load of bullshit.
Even though he was the top billed star, Candy probably ranks third or fourth in terms of total screen time. OK, big deal, that happens in a lot of movies. But then you notice that usually all you see are reaction shots of Candy silently nodding or staring blankly into space just so you won't forget he's there.
Then, at one point it's revealed that he was the wagon master of the Donner Party, and the depressed Candy rides away and is simply missing for most of the rest of the movie. Nobody seems to care that he's gone, and no mention is made of his dabbling in cannibalism once he comes back. And then, it gets stupider.
A sharp eye, or even a casual eye watching the movie over a magazine, will catch scenes where they actually reused certain shots, awkwardly superimposing them over new footage. For instance, the key turning point in the character's story is when he resolves to clean up and stop drinking.
Then, later in the film, he does it again. Only this time, digitally inserted over a new backdrop:
Here's the scene on YouTube, in case you're doubting that a major studio would use a cheap trick that never even occurred to Ed Wood. But, hey, at least they didn't throw in footage from John Candy's funeral.
3Laurence Olivier in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow began life as a teaser trailer produced by a guy in his living room, which impressed movie producers so much they gave him a giant stack of money to make a feature length film that ended up looking like a blurry $80 million Xbox game.
"Captain, open the bay doors and dump this money into the Atlantic. Make sure it's on fire first."
The movie's plot revolves almost entirely around the main characters discovering the identity of the mysterious Dr. Totenkopf, whose name is mentioned approximately every 30 seconds, usually in hushed dread-laced tones.
So after over 90 minutes of build-up we finally come face to face with Dr. Totenkopf, who ends up being Zordon from the Power Rangers as played by... a long-dead Laurence Olivier.
"Sadly, nobody in the theater knows who the hell I am."
The conversation they have with him is bizarre and stilted, which is to be expected when you try to write dialogue for an actor that matches old archival footage they had laying around.
They just manipulated old BBC footage of Olivier when he was young, then used a lot of glitches in the "hologram" to cover the rough spots. Why? Who knows?
We get that the film was supposed to mimic the look of old-time serials, but why they felt like this required them to resurrect a man 15 years in his grave (when the rest of the film starred recognizable, modern actors) is a mystery that will likely never be solved. Meanwhile, Hollywood promptly deposited the director back into his living room after the monumental failure of Sky Captain, and he hasn't made another movie since.