One of our most anticipated titles at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (oh, yeah, did we mention we’ll be at the Sundance Film Festival? Because we totes will) is Room 237, a new documentary by Rodney Ascher about the obsessive fans of The Shining. According to Entertainment Weekly, one of them posits an intriguing two-part conspiracy theory. First, he holds that Kubrick “directed” the faked Apollo moon landings while shooting 2001 — itself a mere cover for his bigger job. (This one’s been floating around for years — hell, it inspired its own “mockumentary,” Dark Side of the Moon.) But here’s the kicker: the fan also contends that, since Kubrick would have faced dire consequences if he ever revealed his involvement in the moon landing, he instead smuggled clues into The Shining, using his Stephen King adaptation as a giant coded message to tell the world about the ruse.
“It’s a film-nerd love-fest,” according to Sundance programmer Trevor Groth. “These obsessive people dissect The Shining, and they’ve watched it thousands of times, all finding their own coded meaning and language in it.” Reading about Room 237, and salivating for it, got us thinking about some of our other favorite “film-nerd love-fests”; after the jump, we’ve compiled ten of our favorite documentaries about famous films.
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[Editor's note: While your Flavorwire editors take a much-needed holiday break, we're revisiting some of our most popular features of the year. This post was originally published August 10, 2011.] Earlier this summer, a shocking number of our readers flocked to read (and amend) our list of the harshest author-on-author insults in history. But you know who is even more childish, trifling, vindictive, and nasty than your favorite scribes? Your favorite filmmakers. These directors may not have quite the same precision with the written word as those rancorous authors, but when it comes to pettiness, they can’t be beat. After the jump, we’ll run down 30 of our favorite slights, slanders, and cheap shots from filmmakers both classic and contemporary; we’d love to hear yours in the comments.
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1. The editor-in-chief of Jackie, the Dutch fashion magazine that referred to Rihanna as “the ultimate ni**abitch,” has resigned in the wake of complaints over the piece. The pop star tweeted her response to the controversy: “You put two words together, with the intent of abasement, that made no sense … ‘N***a Bitch’?!….Well with all… Read More
We’re going to do our best to keep from setting you up for a disappointment by overselling The Muppets (out in theaters tomorrow). Seriously, we’re going to try. But the fact of the matter is, it’s utterly delightful — a charming, witty, and frequently heartbreaking little gem. If we’re responding to it with more enthusiasm than it deserves, so be it; we grew up loving the Muppet movies, and this new effort somehow manages to summon up the spirit of (to borrow the Star Wars parlance) the “original trilogy” while also existing as its own wonderful addition to the Henson canon. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll leave singing “Mahna Mahna.” So, in celebration of the franchise’s return to form, we’d like to pause and enjoy a few of our favorite moments from the earlier Muppet movies; add your own in the comments.
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If you live on the East Coast, you may be in for some weather-related drama this weekend. Hurricane Irene is scheduled to whip through New York late tonight, so your faithful Flavorwire staffers are huddled up with our canned goods and bottled water, and of course, several piles of movies and books to keep us occupied. Since we specialize in culture and not weather-preparedness, we can’t give you any hurricane-proofing tips, but we can share a few lessons we’ve learned from the many natural disasters that have been immortalized in film, literature and mythology. Click through to see what the calamities of fiction can teach us, and get ready for the storm.
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In a recent edition of our regular Friday feature “Trailer Park,” we took a look at the trailer for the new Daniel Craig/Rachel Weisz haunted house thriller Dream House, and came to the following conclusion: “this is one of those trailers that gives you, about halfway through, the unsettling feeling that they’re showing you the whole movie.” Apparently, concern for that point was widespread enough that executive producer Rick Nicita was compelled to speak up, insisting to Entertainment Weekly that the revealed twist is “not the ending. The twist happens less than halfway through.” But Nicita’s damage control spotlights the fact that our film culture is increasingly dominated by discussion and fear of “spoilers,” and it’s a phenomenon that is only a couple of decades old. (Ever dive into your DVD special features and check out the original trailers for films from the ’40s? Talk about showing you the whole movie.)
We’re still obsessing over Jonah Lehrer’s fascinating study (and subsequent Wired piece) on the effect of spoilers on literary gratification. (The takeaway: knowing a story’s outcome ultimately does not prevent one’s enjoyment of the work, and may even increase it.) A couple of weeks back, we selected some of the books we still read, knowing full well how they end; now we’ve picked out ten movies that still play, even with precise knowledge of their narrative outcomes.
You can probably put this together yourselves, but just to be safe: plentiful spoilers after the jump.
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When Universal announced last year that an epic adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower was in the works, which would include a trilogy of feature films directed by Ron Howard and a two-season television series, it sounded like a massive undertaking — from both a creative and financial perspective. This week, the studio decided it was too massive and pulled the plug on the project, breaking the hearts of fanboys and King readers the world over.
From the beginning, some had wondered if Howard was the right director for the project — now, unless the filmmaker attempts to set the project up elsewhere (unlikely, as both Howard and his Imagine production company have a long history with Uni), we’ll never know. It seems that we can add The Dark Tower to the long list of proposed book-to-film adaptations by famed directors that never saw the light of day. We’ve assembled ten of them after the jump; add yours in the comments.
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In his film poster series The Ones That Got Away, Los Angeles-based graphic artist and web designer Fernando Reza imagines what would have happened if the unfinished dream projects of several legendary directors — namely Alfred Hitchcock’s Kaleidoscope, Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon, David Lean’s Nostromo, and Orson Welles’s Don Quixote — had ever made it off the ground. “There are a lot of projects out there currently that are in limbo, like [Francis Ford] Coppola’s Megalopolis or [David] Lynch’s Ronnie Rocket, but I didn’t want to include those in the hopes that they’ll be released one day. ” Reza told Slashfilm. “You can see a progression through the films of Kubrick or Welles and the omission of these films really leaves a crater not just in their careers but in cinema as a whole.” Click through to check out his posters, and if you like what you see, buy a limited-edition set of four here.
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You might not believe in heaven, but you should believe in development hell. This is a place where entertainment-industry ideas go to die. Since most people are already familiar with the greatest films in movie history, we decided to look at the greatest films that, for various reasons, unfortunately didn’t survive the production phase.
Just recently, Slate published a post on the Worst Movies Never Made. While this might be a good thing, our list is a bit more of a downer if you’re a cinephile. So grab a bucket of popcorn, put your feet up, and witness what you could have been watching this weekend if it was a perfect world.
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1. Orson Welles’ Drunk Outtakes for Paul Masson Wine Commercial [via Pursuitist]
2. Tea Party Poems: The found poetry of Sarah Palin [via Slate]
3. Soviet Hobbit illustrations [via Boing Boing]
4. Make Your Own Mondrian [via Kottke]
5. The Best “Bad Romance” Cover Video Ever [via… Read More