6 Dumbest Ways Visual Effects Saved Movies And TV Shows

Movie magic solves a lot of weird problems.
6 Dumbest Ways Visual Effects Saved Movies And TV Shows

Movie visual effects are amazing things; they can conjure dragons, create outer space battles, and resurrect the dead in abject defiance of all natural laws and good taste.  Sometimes though, amazing cinematic technologies are employed in surprisingly stupid ways. Like imagine learning the ins and outs of an advanced graphics program, only to be tasked with digitally shaving Superman, or how about the time …

Tag Had To CGI Jeremy Renner’s Broken Arms

Jeremy Renner is no stranger to computer technology, as evidenced by the time he launched the world’s cringiest smartphone app. And as you may recall – possibly because you read about it on said app back in 2019 before it was unceremoniously obliterated – Renner co-starred in Tag, a movie about a group of grown men who play an annual game of cross-country tag, based on a magazine article about real (presumably less good looking and charismatic) friends.

One scene, set inside of a church auditorium, required Renner to jump from a giant, 20-foot stack of chairs – which in retrospect, seems like way too high to stack chairs. Seriously, who exactly in this simple church completed the Herculean task of assembling this perilous tower of chairs?

During one take, Renner fell, breaking both arms

According to Renner, he “had to keep going” because he needed to shoot an Avengers movie immediately after Tag wrapped. So to complete the movie, they used visual effects to “cover” his arms, presumably with CGI arms that weren’t in casts – which subsequently caused some people to go down a rabbit hole of overanalyzing Tag frame-by-frame as if it were the Zapruder film.

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The New Walker, Texas Ranger Faked A Loogie With Computers

We’re all familiar with Walker, Texas Ranger, the long-running Chuck Norris show enjoyed by old people who fall asleep in front of the TV and those who ironically get a kick out of scenes such as these:

Because no idea, no matter how stupid and Chuck Norris-y it might be, is immune to being rebooted, there is a new Walker, Texas Ranger show on the air, simply called Walker – leaving the door open for its lead to take up accounting or competitive pillow fighting in future seasons.

But since the show is new, it was obviously made during the pandemic, meaning that certain procedures had to be followed, including, apparently, hocking germ-ridden loogies all over the place. Instead the show had to “use computer graphics to approximate spit.” Amazingly, no one noticed, either because the effects were so seamless or because literally no one on the planet is watching Walker.

Alien 3 Spent Thousands On Sigourney Weaver’s Bald Cap (So They Wouldn’t Have To Pay Her A Bonus)

Alien 3 isn’t typically considered to be one of the best entries in the increasingly convoluted franchise, and as many of us know already, the movie was notoriously riddled with behind-the-scenes problems – like, “let’s put an alien costume on an adorable puppy” levels of production-related madness.

The rocky process also necessitated reshoots, which was a problem, since the role called for star Sigourney Weaver to go full Sinead O’Connor (a reference that we assure you would have made more sense at the time) and she had already grown out her hair out after filming had seemingly wrapped. Complicating matters, Weaver’s contract stipulated that if she had to shave her head a second time, the studio had to pay her “a $40,000 bonus.” 

So instead of simply paying the star of their lucrative franchise, executives instead decided to spend “about $16,000” on a bald cap, which … seems like a lot. The creation of the cap was no small feat; it had to match earlier shots of Weaver, which meant that it needed stubble, requiring effects artists to punch “every hair into the head” for eight days straight, working twelve hours a day. Which seems like a lot of work for any movie, let alone Alien 3.

Martin Scorsese Removed A Cocaine Booger From Neil Young’s Nose

Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz is one of the great concert movies of all-time, featuring performances from The Band, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young, who you’ll notice doesn’t have a speck of cocaine on his nose. Look at that drug-free nose. That nose is clean as a whistle, we tell you.

Yeah … not so much. Originally Young had a “visible cocaine rock hanging out of his nose” during the performance. Which shouldn’t have been all that surprising at the time, considering that the show featured a backstage “white room” (instead of a green room) that was entirely cocaine-themed, decorated with “noses cut out of Groucho Marx masks” and a “tape playing sniffing noises.”   

Young’s manager demanded that the shots of the tainted nostril be removed in post production, which Scorsese initially opposed, claiming that it was more “rock and roll” that way. He eventually relented, and all evidence of the cocaine was erased by an optical effect, which reportedly “took a lot of time and money” and was playfully dubbed “the travelling booger matte.” 

Eyes Wide Shut Secured An R-Rating Thanks To CGI Orgy Guests

Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut famously includes a sequence in which Tom Cruise attends a masked orgy, a first for the actor since the Mission: Impossible movies are so darn prudish. The scene sparked a minor controversy at the time; following Kubrick’s death, the yet-to-be-released film was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA. The studio’s solution? Use computer technology to insert digital partygoers in order to obscure the naughty bits.

A lot of movie fans were understandably pissed off that Kubrick’s film was being tinkered with. Roger Ebert wrote in his review that the effect “evoked Austin Powers' famous genital hide-and-seek sequence.” In retrospect, he wasn’t wrong. 

And speaking of computer effects and people’s junk …

The Northman Created Digital Genitals For A Nude Fight Scene

Disappointing anyone expecting a movie about a Canadian superhero, The Northman tells the story of a Viking prince and his life-long quest to avenge the death of his father. It’s basically Hamlet (based on the same legend that inspired Shakespeare) but with more abs and disembowelment.

At the risk of spoiling the movie – which, again, is based on a story from more than a thousand years ago – the climax features a sword fight between Prince Amleth and his murderous uncle. If that sounds dull, may we point out that said duel is fought in the nude inside a goddamn volcano?

According to director Robert Eggers, he came up with the fiery naked battle because it “seems very elemental.” But behind-the-scenes, the actors weren’t really naked, but actually wearing thongs – not out of modesty, but because “no one wanted to get their bits chopped off.” Which seems fair. But for some shots, the thongs were visible, prompting the filmmakers had to “add some CG genitals … so that they didn’t look too Ken doll-ish.” Hopefully the digital dongs were immediately deleted afterwards in order to prevent Steven Spielberg from really messing with E.T.

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Thumbnail: A24/20th Century Studios


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