5 Behind The Scenes Stories That Ruin Great Movies
Making a movie is hard. Every project involves a lot of talented people's blood, sweat, and tears. Those bodily fluids are then mixed together in a giant vat until they are a smooth, black slurry. Then that slurry is drunk by a director who speaks the incantation and then, infused with the sacred powers, makes a movie. If he says the incantation right, we get a film charming enough to inoculate us against the pain of living in this crapsack world.
The problem arises when the Money Men (a species of parasitic squid that scurry around the bottom of large creative projects) sneak into the vat of movie-juice and take a big old steaming shit right in there. Just a huge plop of crap right into that pristine blend of blood, sweat, and tears. And when we drink our cinematic elixir, we are poisoned, and we don't even know it.
Marvel Fought In A Court Of Law To Get Mutants Defined As Non-Human
X-Men have appeared in comics, several Saturday morning cartoons, and eight movies, each with their own baffling continuity. But through all that, the stories have stayed true to one simple idea: Our mutant heroes, though different, deserve to be treated the same as all other human beings. In fact, the X-Men can easily be tied to the most topical civil rights questions of the day: In the '60s, Professor X and Magneto could be compared to Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, while today the stories are usually read as a gay rights parable.
And Marvel stands by this 100 percent. Mutants are people and deserve equal treatment, until that idea costs literally any money, in which case the whole damn thing can, well ...
I don't like to use dirty words.
Back in 1994, Marvel and Toy Biz went to court to argue that their X-Men action figures are non-human monsters rather than human dolls. Why? Because money, obviously: Imported human dolls were taxed slightly more non-human dolls. That's right: Our toy import laws are speciesist. Go make a Tumblr about it.
So Marvel's lawyers went to the judge and said, "These characters can't be human: Beast is blue! And Wolverine has scary claws!" The argument was literally that the characters shouldn't count as human because they look different. Even though, in the case of Wolverine, it's because a mad scientist mutilated him against his will.
If he's human, then why can't he walk? Checkmate, SJWs.
If that sounds familiar, it's because it's the exact same arguments every X-Men villain has ever used. The judge not only agreed, he decided to publicly humiliate Audrey Hepburn. Wait, what? Sorry, I got my notes mixed up. Let me start over. The judge not only agreed, she eventually ruled that all Marvel heroes -- not just the mutants, all of them -- are non-human. Peter Parker, Steve Rogers, Tony Stark -- all inhuman monsters in the eyes of the law, and all sold out to satisfy Marvel's greed. As if "money" is all any of this was ever about. Man, it's really starting to feel like the people who named their eye-laser superhero "Cyclops" don't take their work very seriously.
The Real Jordan Belfort Hypes Himself In The Wolf Of Wall Street
The Wolf Of Wall Street is about Jordan Belfort, the Wall Street criminal who defrauded* $110 million from 1,513 innocent people in the '90s. It's pretty good, too. My only criticism is that they gave the guy they were supposed to be criticizing a glamorous cameo where he gets to pimp his own real-life business.
*"Defraud" is rich-person for "steal."
In that scene, Jordan Belfort (the real one) delivers a monologue where he describes himself as a "bad motherfucker" and "the world's greatest sales trainer," right before Belfort (as portrayed by 1998 MTV Movie Award-winner Leonardo DiCaprio) steps on stage in a pressed white shirt and DiCaprios the fuck out of the scene. Even worse, the scene is a re-creation of something that really happened. Belfort really held that training seminar. Everyone in that room paid $500 to be there, and some paid $2,400 for a 10-CD, 10-DVD kit to learn how to rip people off the way Belfort did. The guy can't even do a legal job without making it sound like a con.
On the other hand, look how miserable this movie makes crime look!
Even though this is a scene where a convicted con-artist promotes his newest real-life venture, I still get what Scorsese was going for. It's meant to make me uncomfortable by reminding me that Belfort's crimes were inadequately punished and there's always a new batch of suckers to be taken in by the goblins. But while the scene is telling me that, it is also advertising Belfort's real business, Straight Line. Seriously: If you Google the words that show up on the stage behind Belfort in the movie's last scene, you're taken straight to Belfort's website, which proudly plasters the words "As seen in the blockbuster movie The Wolf Of Wall Street" right above the buttons that will allow you to willingly give your own money to a man famous for tricking people into giving him their money. I know I'm repeating myself a lot, but I can't stress this enough. The movie ends with an advertisement for the thing it's been supposedly indicting the entire time. This is like if the Special Edition Scarface DVD had the phone number of your local coke dealer written on it, or if every viewing of Requiem For A Dream ended with Jared Leto jumping out from behind your couch to inject heroin in your eyeball.
Mad Max: Fury Road Fucked Up A National Park
Mad Max: Fury Road is the best environmentalist movie ever, because no future has ever looked as bleak as this one. Water is a scarce commodity controlled by warlords. Trees are so rare that Nicholas Hoult doesn't even know what they are. And worst of all, Mad Max's super cool Ford Falcon has been totally destroyed.
It's just too bad they had to ruin a desert to do it.
One of the hardest parts of filming Mad Max was finding a part of the world that looked as badass as what we see on-screen. Pretty much the only place that fit is the Namib Desert in Africa. It's a place between 50 million and 80 million years old and absolutely packed with rare cacti and endangered reptiles. Was, anyway, before George Miller and friends showed up and drove exploding trucks all over it.
Fourteen species of lizard were incinerated to make this badass scene.
Which is worth it, depending on how much you like lizards.
The issue is that the Namib Desert gets less than half an inch of rain per year, which means the plants and animals are dependent mostly on fog for moisture. Tire tracks affect the dispersal of water and can take decades, if not centuries, to disappear. And you may have noticed that this movie has a lot of cars.
Things got worse when someone on the Mad Max crew got the bright idea to sweep up the tire tracks by dragging a net over them. The tire tracks got smoothed out, but the delicate vegetation got ripped up, so it ended up being a lose-lose situation for the plants.
Turns out when Angharad asks, "Who killed the world?" the answer is, "You guys. The ones making this movie. Right now."
All Of The Hunger Games Marketing Tie-Ins Were Insane
The Hunger Games is a story about a dystopian future where we force poor kids to fight for survival on national TV and everyone dresses like idiots. The writer, Suzanne Collins, got the idea when she was up late one night switching the TV back and forth from a reality TV show and coverage of the Iraq War and realized how horrifically similar they were. In the story, The Capitol's obsession with superficial beauty and horrible treatment of the poor parts of the country are evil and should be destroyed by Jennifer Lawrence's bow and arrow and feminine wiles.
Which makes it sorta weird that every single Hunger Games tie-in ad seems to be rooting for the bad guys.
Easy. Breezy. Totalitarian. CoverGirl.
I understand that it's sometimes difficult for marketing campaigns and movies to coexist, but CoverGirl literally has a "Capitol Collection" of makeup. Because what better way to show you're a fan of The Hunger Games than buying into the kind of superficial crap that it's explicitly mocking? Then there's Subway's "Fiery Footlong" sandwich line. They're literally advertising a movie about food shortage with sponge food-pockets filled with various chicken parts dyed a variety of delicious colors.
I've eaten at far too many Subways to believe those are all different meats.
But I gotta be honest with you right now. Even though all those ads are directly contradictory to The Hunger Games themes, my favorite Hunger Games tie-in ad has got to be this Dodge ad that ran before every YouTube video I watched for like a straight month:
Again, I get that tying a Dodge Charger and Challenger to a sci-fi movie set in a world without cars is hard, but it's like whoever put this together finished his "research" by remembering that he glimpsed a Catching Fire poster on the way into the office that morning. The narrator rambles about fire and sparks and then tells viewers that if they think the odds are in their favor, they should buy a Dodge. Having never owned a Dodge, I can't say for sure if owning one is comparable to being forced by dictators to fight to the death in the jungle, but I do know that the comparison isn't doing the product any ...
Like with the odds.
My Fair Lady Dubbed Over The Lead Actor's Voice
In My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle (played by Audrey Hepburn) has been raised cockney, which means she tawk loike dis, dunt shay. Henry Higgins, on the other hand, is a proper English gentleman, and he talks like this, doesn't he. Higgins, however, is convinced that not only is it possible for her to speak the way the higher English class speaks, but that this would prove that the "verbal class distinction" is outdated and pointless. He sings a song about it, because musical. George Bernard Shaw, author of Pygmalion (the play that My Fair Lady is based on) was frustrated that people were judged by the way they spoke.
Which makes it kinda weird that they decided to dub over Audrey Hepburn's voice because it wasn't refined enough.
In lieu of a joke let's all take a moment to appreciate that fucking hat.
Even though Hepburn was an actor, she wasn't a talented enough singer for the part -- even though she wanted to be. Though originally promised that she would sing every song, halfway through filming she was quietly informed that her singing voice would be replaced by the voice of singer Marni Nixon. Every account of My Fair Lady's behind-the-scenes mentions that Hepburn would spend hours on the sound stage after everyone else was done, trying to record her own version of the song so the final cut could use as much of her voice as possible. Nixon says that she would hear Hepburn on the tapes beating herself up about not being good enough.
Was she? Well, you can compare them here. This is the version Nixon dubbed over (she comes in at about 0:50):
And here's the one Hepburn sings:
I prefer Hepburn's version by a country mile, but I'm also a fan of Rancid, so what the hell do I know. The point is, My Fair Lady stays true to its message that how someone sounds isn't as important as who they are provided that person sings like a fucking angel, because if not, the only morally correct thing is to have them legally declared non-human in a court of law. I mean dub over their voice. Sorry I got my notes mixed up again.
JF Sargent is a senior editor and columnist for Cracked, and it's kinda suspicious how obsessed he is with hidden hypocrisy, huh? Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and check out his new Twitter project "Debunking Trump."
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