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5 Behind-the-Scenes Features That Show Why Movies Went Wrong

You know what I hate about Hollywood? The fuckin' phonies. Yeah, I said it. Fuck those guys. Everything they say sounds like it comes out of a script, you know? Like it's all planned ahead of time. And I'm sick of it! When I write, I write from the heart. Just brutal honesty. If that honesty is nonsensical and abrasive, I don't give a fuck. Truth hurts. Horse cocks.

Pernille_Westh_Photographer/iStock/Getty Images
Deal with it.

I talk about a lot of serious shit in my columns, and today is no different. Today, we're going to talk about bad movies, and why they happen. Everyone knows that DVD commentaries, production diaries, and late-night celebrity interviews are only for the stupid, stoned, and old, respectively. And that's why they're so good. Because at these times, the celebrities let their guards down. Cracks and stretch marks form in the human-flesh-suit they wear over their cyborg-insect carapaces, and you can stare into the face of evil. If you're strong enough. Are you strong enough?

Me neither. Let's hold hands.

#5. The Hobbit Production Diaries Show That Peter Jackson Is Tired and Old

When The Lord of the Rings came out, it totally changed my understanding of what movies could be and why I should go to the theater. It means just as much to me as Star Wars means to people of the previous generation -- and like the original Star Wars, learning that it isn't real doesn't diminish the magic, because the effort that went into making each scene absolutely perfect actually makes the movie even more mythic. The extended-edition "appendices" found on the extended-edition DVDs are the gold-standard for special features, in my mind. Those are some of my favorite movies, and when you watch the interviews with the cast and crew, you can tell that they had as much fun making these movies as I had watching them. They also went completely insane, which should become totally clear in this video around the time the guy making chainmail starts threatening the gagged Smurf doll on his desk.

But now we're doing The Hobbit and ... I mean, it's pretty whatever, right? Those are all the words I wanna expend on those movies right now.

New Line Cinema

So, naturally, I checked out the special features, to see if they could explain why this movie is that thing it is and ... well, here are some quotes, taken totally at random, from the production diaries and "The Appendices" found only on the extended Blu-ray:

"This is a nightmare." -Peter Jackson

"I asked Peter Jackson if he was going to do The Hobbit and he said, 'No, I'm not interested in doing that.'" -Elijah Wood.

"[This movie] made me feel like I should stop acting." -Sir Ian McKellen

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
"Someone please kill me." -Richard Armitage (I made that one up).

Sure, all those lines are said as jokes -- but it's the only type of joke anyone is making. If you read between the lines, it's clear that the pre-production for The Hobbit was going great -- until Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hell Boy) had to leave. So much money was invested that Jackson had to take over despite not wanting to at all -- seriously, they mention how Jackson isn't interested in this series, like, 15 goddamn times. Which is probably why his motivational speech on the first day is delivered with the enthusiasm of a man who just found out he has to fumigate his garage:

"For a long time I thought that going back to the amazing experience of Lord of the Rings would be a good idea. But, ultimately, I've come around, because films are stressful and hard to make ... if somebody came up to me and said, 'You know, we can carry on pre-production for another six weeks,' I would just say, 'No, no, hell no, let's just start shooting.'"

This totally explains why these movies are so disappointing: Both Hobbit movies so far have been imaginative and almost good interpretations and expansions of the source material, but are held back by lazy visual effects (due to the shortened pre-production time that makes the level of care put into the first film impossible -- kinda like what happened with King Kong) and an apparent inability to edit out extraneous bullshit (because editing is emotionally exhausting, and Jackson looks like he's on the verge of tears in every scene he's in).

I mean, I'm still going to see the new one when it comes out. And so are you, don't fucking lie to me. But at least now we know why we're going to leave the theater feeling like our souls just went through a cheese grater.

moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images
"Why is Luke Evans in this movie?"
"I don't know. We can never know. We can only heal."

#4. Prometheus Commentary Shows How the Movie Was Rewritten into Nonsense

Hey, you know how the Star Wars prequels suck? And then how the Lord of the Rings prequels are also pretty bad? And hey, ya know how the worst Indiana Jones movie -- The Temple of Doom -- is actually a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark? My point is, no one in the world could've predicted that Prometheus, a prequel to the Alien films, could've ended up terrible. But it is. And now, to understand why, I'm going to have to go right into the mouth of hell and listen to the writers' commentary.

Allan Danahar/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Combat positions!

Prometheus is so confusing and disjointed that it just feels like a movie that was rewritten into oblivion -- and the writers' commentary track absolutely confirms that. It switches back and forth between Jon Spaihts (who wrote the first draft) and Damon Lindelof (who ruined it), and though they are in different rooms, they're both constantly talking about what the movie almost was and trying to justify the changes made, respectively. Between them, they say the words "in earlier drafts" over 800,000 times (I counted). Lindelof almost gleefully describes all the problems that Aliens fans will have with the movie, and then explains that he did that on purpose, because he doesn't like to answer questions in his screenplay. Which sorta gives me the impression that Lindelof doesn't know how screenplays work and also that an Aliens fan once killed his dog or something.

Dark Horse Comics
I guess they do that.

When I really love or really hate a creative person, I imagine a personality for them in my head, based entirely on the stuff they make. And the personality I created for Lindelof isn't terribly flattering: Because of Lost, I assume he's really pretentious but not actually smart; because of Star Trek Into Darkness, I assume he doesn't know what story structure or characters are; and because of World War Z, I assume that he hates me, personally. Now I know that all these things are true, because of the Prometheus commentary. So I just have to ask: Why do you hate me, Damon Lindelof? What did I do? What did I do?

#3. The Twilight Commentary Proves That No One Gives a Shit About This Movie

The Twilight commentary is a thing to behold, and quite possibly worth the price of the Blu-ray all by itself. First off, Robert Pattinson is clearly as stoned as anyone has ever been, and Kristen Stewart is really excited to go do literally anything else. Director Catherine Hardwicke is trying to be serious for the first ... 15 minutes, at least. But she quite audibly gives up somewhere around this exchange:

Pattinson: Someone was talking about garden burgers the other day. Hayley, from Paramore.
Hardwicke: ... garden burgers?
Stewart: What did she have to say about garden burgers?
Pattinson: I can't remember, but I had never heard of them being called garden burgers before ... I think veggie burger sounds much more appealing. "Garden burger" sounds like something you found in the garden.
[long silence]
Hardwicke: Is Hayley from Paramore a vegetarian?
Pattinson: I dunno.

That's how a high man talks in front of a pretty girl. Look, I'm not a smart man. I don't have a lot of expertise in this world. But I have a lot of experience with being high in front of pretty girls and ... that's how you talk. It's the only way you can talk, and it's the only excuse any man has for bringing up garden burgers out of fucking nowhere.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
What I'm saying is that I get Pattinson on a deeper level than you do.

Pattinson's terminal case of fuckitallitude is infectious: Eventually, Stewart starts reminiscing about all the "acting" she was asked to do:

Stewart: It was like, "Kristen, look at this guy's feet, and then have overwhelming flashbacks that make your eyes flutter." Ooooookay.
Pattinson: What did you do?
Kristen Stewart: I had overwhelming flashbacks and made my eyes flutter.

Summit Entertainment
Given that context, she kinda nails it.

Again, this shit is completely worth the price of the Twilight Blu-ray. Or at least I'm telling myself that, because I own this movie now. Does anyone wanna buy a Twilight Blu-ray from me?

Summit Entertainment
Barely masturbated on.

Look, I get it. When Twilight first came out, I was right there on the front lines, man, hating the shit out of that book and writing goofy jokes about it for my college newspaper (because I was so, so cool in college). But, about a year ago, I had a revelation: It's not fair to judge Twilight as a story, because that's not what it is. It's just porn. It's emotional porn for girls. That's fine. I don't judge my porn by its plot or whether or not its hilariously, disgustingly sexist, so there's no reason people who enjoy Twilight should either. Besides, it's not like anyone's pretending it's a serious thing. Including the people who made it. So save your hate for something that deserves it, like people who give negative reviews to video games you liked.

Seriously, someone buy this Blu-ray from me, because if you don't I'm just going to keep watching the commentary over and over again forever, never get any work done, and be fired.

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J. F. Sargent

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