How far did this get before Bob realized what was happening?
We like to think that every single shot of our favorite movies was carefully crafted to serve the story -- out of love for the cinema, a sense of artistic integrity, or a burning desire to see Van Damme do the splits just one more time. And sometimes, that's true. Your favorite scene might be a work of art for art's sake alone. Other times, it'll turn out that your favorite scene is really only there to serve as a giant middle finger, perhaps to some arrogant caterer who refused to make mini-cheesesteaks for the craft services table. For example ...
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema, founded by Bob Shaye in 1967, is often referred to as The House that Freddy Built, due to the breakout success of New Line poster boy Freddy Krueger. And that's fairly surprising, because while the bulk of A Nightmare on Elm Street was solid and inventive horror, that ending was plain terrible. In case you need a refresher: After defeating Freddy, young Nancy leaves home, thinking the nightmare is at last over. But somebody wasn't done: Nancy's mom suddenly transmogrifies into a budget sex doll, right before Freddy takes her from behind. That sounded dirtier than we intended.
New Line Cinema
The movie wasn't supposed to end that way. Writer/director Wes Craven, foolishly hoping to create standalone horror haute cuisine, and not 114 subsequent horror Twinkies, had always planned on a solid ending. But when Shaye insisted on a "hook" to leave the possibility of a sequel or 10, the crew gave it to him ... by quickly slapping some makeup on a "squishy" stand-in dummy and yanking it through a window in a scene that Freddy Krueger himself gigglingly described as "pretty silly shit."
But still, Shaye got his way. That scene was shot spitefully, but not solely out of spite -- for that, we look at A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. Shaye hounded director Jack Sholder relentlessly, because he wanted to play a specific role in the film himself. Sholder denied Shaye, insisting he "needed a real actor" for the part, because they were making a movie, not a producer wankfest. Shaye threatened to fire him for it. Since a paycheck trumps integrity every time, Sholder caved and gave him a part.
Spoiler: It wasn't the part Shaye wanted.
New Line Cinema
Sholder sent Shaye -- with his two young daughters in tow -- to Maynard and Zed's favorite sex shop downtown to pick out his own wardrobe for the big scene. Here is a still from that scene, featuring Shaye as "really gross bondage guy" on the right.
New Line Cinema
Responsible for such masterpieces as Universal Soldier and Independence Day, no one ever accused director Roland Emmerich of pretension. But even a director of his caliber can be wounded by a particularly scathing review, and for the better part of two decades, they didn't get more scathing than those dished out by preeminent film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.
So when Emmerich was tasked with rebooting Godzilla (the first reboot, not the second reboot -- the ... preboot?), he wrote in a few very specific parts to get his revenge. Let's see if you can spot his subtle, subtle reference here:
In the film, Mayor Ebert is an inept idiot who makes every wrong decision possible, while his adviser, Gene, is an equally incompetent sycophant. The real Ebert saw straight through this expertly concealed jab, and was disappointed. Not because his doppelganger was a fat moron, mind you, but because he "fully expected to be squished like a bug by Godzilla." And seriously, how cool would it be to watch yourself lose a fistfight to the king of monsters on the big screen? Perhaps the most spiteful thing here is Emmerich's sudden discovery of restraint in the one moment Ebert wanted him to be bombastic.
In Michael Moore's 2002 ode to the horrors of American gun violence, Bowling For Columbine, he interviews Matt Stone of South Park fame. See, Stone grew up in Littleton, Colorado, not far from Columbine High School, of mass shooting infamy, and that gives him a personal stake in the tragedy. Plus, it gave Moore a cheap excuse to launch into a South Park-esque animated sequence about how terrible America is.
Oh, we didn't mean to imply that the South Park guys created that cartoon -- but Moore sure did. But they didn't. And this pissed off fellow South Park creator Trey Parker to no end.
Fast-forward to 2004 and the pair's puppet-boning epic, Team America World Police. And the film did not have kind things to say about Moore:
Not mollified with merely mocking Marionette Moore, they made the man, still clutching a slice of pizza (because he's so very fat, you see), stroll into Team America headquarters and suicide bomb the place with a mushroom cloud of actual mushrooms (and pepperoni, and cheese, etc).
"To be fair, fat men do have a history of exploding."
Before the BTTF trilogy became everyone's favorite protracted Pepsi/Nike commercial, an especially sleazy product placement guy working on the first installment approached the California Raisin Advisory Board and promised to do for them what E.T. had done for Reese's Pieces. The raisin folks, forgetting that they were selling desiccated grape mummies instead of delicious candy, believed him. They coughed up $50,000 upfront. Problem was, the product placement guy accepted all that cash without consulting the filmmakers first, none of whom had the slightest incentive to -- or even slightest idea how to -- promote raisins in a time-travel film, aside from having Marty time travel back to when they used to be edible grapes.
But now they were backed into a corner, and had to find a noticeable yet tasteful way to promote the product. Don't remember seeing California raisins in Back To The Future? Why, just check your favorite scene -- the one in which Marty quickly hops over a passed-out bum on a bench.
An unhappy CALRAB threatened to sue Universal, an unhappy Universal called up Bob Gale, and an unhappy Bob Gale told Universal to give them their damn dirty raisin money back.
Let's take a look at this scene from Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives, because we're being paid to do it, and you're desperate to dodge real, productive work. In it, Jason interrupts a teen couple's coitus with a healthy stabbing session, before sending their RV careening into a horrific crash:
Notice how the box on top of the Winnebago flies off and smashes to bits. That's an odd thing to highlight, isn't? What even was that thing? Let's rewind a bit to the production stage of the film, when it first dawned on director Tom McLoughlin that producer Don Behrns was perhaps the penny-pinchingest son of a bitch he'd ever encountered. If McLoughlin wanted a camera dolly, Behrns told him it wasn't in the budget. ("Have you considered a skateboard and duct tape?") If McLoughlin said he wanted a scene set in the rain, Behrns asked him if he had any freaking idea how expensive H2O was.
And that's because Behrns had made a deal to bring the picture in under budget, and if he managed to pull it off, he would take home a good chunk of that money. He also wanted to take home some on-set equipment, because Hollywood producers and carnies share the exact same set of ethics. In particular, Behrns had his eyes on a lovely little $5,000 swamp cooler.
Have you figured out what that box on top of the RV was yet?
20th Century Fox
In one of the most ridiculously gun-happy scenes in cinematic history, after the Predator fillets future governor Jesse Ventura, the team of commandos led by future governor Arnold "Dutch" Schwarzenegger launches a full-out assault on the surrounding vegetation. If you have a gun fetish, this is your "Marilyn Monroe standing on a subway grate" moment.
20th Century Fox
It makes sense within the film. The commandos are both frightened and angry, and lash out the only way they know how, even if it's totally useless and kind of silly. So we don't really question why such an absurdly over-the-top scene made the movie in the first place. Which is a shame, because if we did question it, we'd find the answer was "petty, petty spite." See, director John McTiernan was already filming a gun-heavy, gung-ho action movie, full of more man-muscles and he-sweat than Tom Cruise's dreams. But somehow, that wasn't enough for the studio. "More guns!" They said. So McTiernan gave them more guns. McTiernan gave them all the guns.
20th Century Fox
Edward W. Baggett, aka Edtrader, can be found on many hard rock music forums. His book, The 50/50 World, is available on Amazon.
For more times people awesomely flipped the bird, check out 5 Villains That Were Thinly-Veiled Versions Of Real People and 6 Albums By Rock Legends That Were Thinly Veiled F#@k You's.
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