Mel Gibson

10 of Hollywood’s Most Surprising and Heartening Success Stories

Examining the weekly box office reports can be a depressing business, watching every week as terrible movies top the charts and great ones disappear into the wind. But this summer, as we’ve discussed, things have been a little different. Turkeys like The Lone Ranger and R.I.P.D. have taken deserved belly flops; low-budget efforts like The Purge and The Conjuring were surprise hits. And the news got better this weekend: Woody Allen’s wonderful Blue Jasmine expanded to 50 screens and landed in the top 15 with a robust $40K per-screen average — second only to The Spectacular Now, which earned a healthy $50K on each of its four screens. In this money-driven business, it’s always a relief when the bad movies tank, and the good movies make money. Here’s ten more examples of small movies that earned both the acclaim and the box office they deserved: … Read More

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The 10 Best “Credit Cookies” in Movie History

Iron Man 3 is out in theaters tomorrow, and it should come as no surprise that those who are willing to sit through the end credits — and seriously, they run something like ten minutes and include more names than a small-town phone book — will be rewarded with an extra (and very funny) bonus scene. Some call these little bonuses “credit cookies,” others call them “stingers.” In Roger Ebert’s Little Movie Glossary, Serdor Yegulalp dubs them the “Monk’s Reward,” defined thus: “A surprising final line or image, tagged on after the credits have finished rolling… so named because it usually takes monk-like devotion to sit through the credits to get to it.” The previous Marvel movies made a regular habit of including credit cookies, mostly as preparation for The Avengers, but they’re not the only movies to throw in a little something extra for those who stick around to find out who the unit accountant was. (Warning: minor spoilers ahead, but all for movies that have been out for a year or more.) … Read More

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10 Great Movies Based on Poems

We’re all pretty comfortable with the idea of movies based on books — fiction, nonfiction, and even self-help books — but what about books of poetry? Last week, Open Culture posted a fascinating film based on the poetry of Sylvia Plath. While it might seem surprising to see a film based on a poem, it’s actually probably a lot more common than you think. To prove it, find ten great films based on poetry after the jump. Don’t see your favorite? Add it to the list in the comments. … Read More

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10 Movies We Can’t Believe Have Merchandise Tie-Ins

In its first weekend of wide release, Harmony Korine’s hedonistic morality play Spring Breakers did a respectable $5 million and landed in the top ten — certainly a first for Korine, and an indication that newbie distributor A24 may have an indie hit on their hands. And when a movie is big, you know what comes next: merchandising! You wouldn’t think that Korine’s feverish vision of gun-toting, bikini-wearing babes would be a natural for tie-in products, but you’d be wrong; after the jump, we’ll take a look at your must-have Breakers merch, and nine other unlikely movies you won’t believe were merchandised. … Read More

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Hilarious Notes on Modern Classics From Clueless Studio Executives

The image of non-creative types mucking about with (and screwing up) movies and television shows is nothing new — we’ve seen it in everything from Barton Fink to The Player to The Larry Sanders Show — but we got a rare opportunity to observe a real-life example of it recently, when a memorandum of notes from the suits at Tandem Productions to the makers of Blade Runner started popping up online. Those hilarious criticisms and suggestions got us wondering about other classic movies that came close to ruin thanks to studio interference. We’ll take a look at Blade Runner and several other examples after the jump. … Read More

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Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Oscar-Winning Directors at Work

The Oscars are just around the corner, and we’re very much looking forward to sitting down this Sunday night and watching them unfold. (Much more excited than we were about the Grammys, anyway.) The point of interest, as ever, will be who walks away the Best Director award — even with the golden age of the auteur long behind us, the director’s chair continues to hold a certain mystique, as do the people who occupy it. It’s intriguing to watch directors at work, to see how differently they translate their ideas into reality, and in this vein, we’ve collected some fascinating behind-the-scenes photos of the most distinguished directors to receive the Best Director award over the years. And Mel Gibson. … Read More

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The All-Time Weirdest Guest Appearances on ‘The Simpsons’

So if you haven’t heard, Tom Waits was on The Simpsons last night, voicing “a gravelly voiced paranoiac” prepper and joining the long list of illustrious and not-so-illustrious guest stars who’ve graced the show since it started screening way back in 1989. His appearance got us thinking about some of the more unlikely guest stars and/or performances the show has seen over the years — and so we’ve amused ourselves after the jump selecting some of our favorites, from Johnny Cash playing a psychedelic coyote to Thomas Pynchon breaking a 40-year TV silence. Did we miss any of your favorites? Go ahead and let us know. (And advance apologies for the quality of a couple of the clips — Simpsons videos are like hen’s teeth on YouTube.) … Read More

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The Greatest Movie Speeches

Filmic moments of strength, weakness, and wisdom have inspired some of the most powerful speeches in cinema. With the arrival of Patton on Blu-ray tomorrow, we felt compelled to revisit a few memorable speeches in film history. George C. Scott starred in Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1970 war drama as General George S. Patton, and we first meet the actor during a stern opening address to the troops of the US 3rd Army, framed by a massive American flag. It’s a spare, bold moment that sets the tone for the film and introduces Patton as an uncompromising military leader ready to fight. It’s also a reminder that impressive, intense dialogue can outshine even the greatest of special effects. Click through for a look back at some quotable, emotional, and uplifting speeches that have graced the big screen. We’ve left plenty of room so you can share your favorites in the comments, below. … Read More

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1920s-Style Mugshots of Badly Behaved Celebrities

Another day, another sad celebrity mugshot. From the bedraggled hair to the mortified eyes to the general implication that the subject has been awake for days, these photos are all the same, and poring over them has begun to seem nearly as pathetic as starring in them. But Michael Jason Enriquez, an art director and advertising student, has found a way to make them aesthetically interesting again. For his Mugshot Doppelgänger series, Enriquez used what he calls the “eerie beauty” of 1920s Australian police photos as inspiration “to see what it would look like if you took modern day celebrity mugshots and turned them into something worth looking at.” Click through to see badly behaved celebrities like Mel Gibson, Lindsay Lohan, and Phil Spector given the time-warp treatment, and follow the project on Tumblr for more. … Read More

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The Movies Hollywood Was Afraid to Make

Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master opens Friday in limited release — his first film in five years, though we certainly could have been waiting longer. Anderson’s oh-so-thinly-veiled portrait of a cult leader who seems an awful lot like L. Ron Hubbard knocked around Hollywood for a good long while before the writer/director finally found outside financing (more on that later); it’s one of several films — most of them related to religion, the movie industry’s primary hot button — that had to go the indie route when the major studios were afraid to touch them. After the jump, a brief history of movies Hollywood was too scared to make. … Read More

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