Amusing Random

Citizen Steve

Citizen Steve 1987

For his 40th birthday Steven Spielberg‘s friends made him this short film based on Citizen Kane (1941) about his life and career up to that point.

With a March of Time segment voiced by Dan Ackroyd, John Candy plays the reporter who is assigned the task of uncovering the famed director.

Keep a look out for previous Spielberg collaborators such as Dennis Weaver (Duel), Allen Daviau (E.T.), Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale (1941) and Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall (longtime producers).

You wonder how this stuff ends up online but I’m glad it did.

> Steven Spielberg at the IMDb
> More on Citizen Kane at Wikipedia

Amusing Technology

The 8 Billion Dollar iPod

Author Rob Reid recently gave a very funny TED speech on copyright.

It covered a remarkable new field of study ‘based on numbers from entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists’.

> Rob Reid profile at TED
> Find out more about Copyright at Wikipedia


Superbowl Socialism

This short film narrated by Bill Maher points out some salient facts on the eve of the Superbowl.

Using graphics blended against the audio version of a monologue from HBO’s Real Time, it points out a valuable economic lesson in just over 2 minutes.

Notice how the light hearted, comedic vibe is a highly effective tool at communicating serious facts and opinion.

It is an irony that ‘liberal’ Europe’s brand of football hugely favours the rich clubs, whilst ‘capitalist America’ has a much more egalitarian sporting model.

Wouldn’t it be great if this screened during the half-time spot alongside the Ferris Bueller Honda ad?

Intriguingly, Maher’s words are a reverse of George Carlin‘s famous routine about the differences between American football and Baseball:

I’m sure there are more points to be raised (e.g. revenue sharing), so feel free to leave them in the comments below.

N.B. Do any sports writers reading this want to compare Barcelona (a club owned by the fans) to the Green Bay Packers (the only community-owned franchise in American professional sport)? I think there’s an interesting article in there.

> Real Time with Bill Maher
> Buy Maher’s book New Rules on paperback or audiobook from Amazon
> More on Superbowl XLVI at Wikipedia

Amusing TV

Movie References in The Simpsons

For over 20 years The Simpsons has been referencing movies from Citizen Kane (1941) to Basic Instinct (1992).

The show has been running for so long that when you do a comprehensive list like this it reads like an index to a history of cinema.

A French website (‘The Simpsons Park’) has collected an incredible gallery of screen shots and animated gifs that lays out the original Simpsons episode alongside the particular film.

The range is astonishing: Kubrick, Bergman, Hitchcock, Scorsese, Lumet, Spielberg, Coppola and Truffaut are just some of the many directors referenced.

Just click on the links below to visit the relevant page – they aren’t in English, but the visuals speak for themselves.

> Matt Groening & Al Jean on The Simpsons Movie
> Find out more about The Simpsons at Wikipedia 


The Muppets vs Fox News

The Muppets recently responded to criticisms from Fox News about their new film.

For a bit of context, here is the original segment piece which features the obligatory use of the word “liberal” as an insult, shouting-as-debate and swooshing graphics:

At the recent UK press conference, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy responded:

> The new Muppets movie
> More on Fox News at Wikipedia


Kevin Curtis is a Dead Man

This spoof trailer is a brilliant skewering of the clichés that regularly appear in a certain British films.

Think of Outlaw (2007), Rise of the Footsoldier (2007) and Bonded by Blood (2010) and many, many others.

It was first uploaded to YouTube in May but with the publication of the recent DCMS report, it could not be more timely.

> Kevin Curtis on YouTube
> Official site


The Lion King Rises

YouTube user moviemaestroten has synced up the audio of The Dark Knight Rises trailer with The Lion King (1994).

The original trailer is here.

[Via Buzzfeed]

> The Dark Knight Rises
> More on The Lion King at Wikipedia

Amusing Short Films

Michel Gondry’s Taxi Driver

Michel Gondry has done a ‘sweded’ version of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.

The term comes from the French director’s Be Kind Rewind (2008) where video store workers (Jack Black and Mos Def) remake films on the cheap or ‘swede‘ them.

In the film the tapes are described as being shipped from Sweden as an excuse to charge higher rental fees and longer wait times.

As part of the marketing campaign for Gondry did a sweded version of the actual movie and now he’s done this version of Scorsese’s classic of urban alienation.

I especially like how he’s done the ‘You talkin’ to me?’ speech.

> Revisiting Taxi Driver
> Blu-ray review of Taxi Driver


The Cruise Run

With the latest Mission Impossible film opening it is time to ask the question: why is Tom Cruise always running in his films?

This compilation by Xerzes Cortes neatly showcases the films where he is running (75%!) and – for reasons of balance – points out the ones where he didn’t.

I’m pretty sure this meme all began with a spoof Nike ad in 2006, but when you see them back-to-back like this I wonder if it is a coincidence that Cruise just chooses energetic roles or if he’s now just messing with us.

Even in the Ghost Protocol trailer there are at least two sequences (involving the Kremlin and a Dubai sandstorm) where he is doing what can only be termed a ‘Cruise run’.

Maybe the on-set exercise is part of the reason he still looks so young? 😉

> Tom Cruise at the IMDb
> Nike spoof from 2006

Amusing Directors Interesting

Steven Spielberg Cameos

Steven Spielberg pops up in movies more often than you might think.

People of a certain age might remember him in The Blues Brothers (1980) but there are some that are not so well known, like Jaws (1975) and Vanilla Sky (2001).

A YouTube user has compiled this neat video of them.

My favourite?

Probably Gremlins (1984).

> The Voice Cameos of James Cameron
> DGA Panel on Spielberg’s career


The Thing Musical

Worried about the upcoming remake/prequel of The Thing (1982)?

Then check out this Frank Sinatra remix of the original.

I like the first YouTube comment visible under the video:

“My god… It can even imitate Sinatra!”

Music, lyrics and video editing are by Jon Kaplan and Al Kaplan.

> More on John Carpenter’s The Thing and the 2011 remake/prequel/whatever
> Jon and Al Kaplan


Inception in Little China

Does this trailer mashup suggest that Christopher Nolan is a closet fan of Big Trouble in Little China (1986)?

Despite the plethora of Inception-themed trailers online, it is worth checking out:

Made by YouTube user scarecrowsimmons, he says:

“This is what happens when Wes and I sit down to watch “Inception” and both think old Ken Watanabe looks like Lo Pan”

There do seem to be bizarre parallels between the two trailers: key Asian characters who age, dreams, zero gravity fights, elevators, water and crumbling buildings.

Anything else?


Shut Up Movie Compilation

A compilation of ‘shut ups’ from various movies down the years.

There’s some strong contenders but it’s hard to beat Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction (1994) (“shut the f**k up fat man…”), Philip Seymour Hoffman in Punch-Drunk Love (2002) and John Goodman’s recurring command in The Big Lebowski (1998).

[via Buzzfeed]

Amusing Viral Video

Star Wars meets Drive

A YouTube user has cut a rather brilliant trailer mashup of Star Wars (1977) and Drive (2011), with Hans Solo in the role of Ryan Gosling’s Driver.

For reference, here is the official trailer for Drive:

Now, here is the Star Wars remix:

The film opens in the US on September 16th and in the UK a week later on the 23rd.

> IMDb
> The real Drive trailer

Amusing Interesting

Huge-ly Misleading

The DVD cover for the British film Huge features a misleading quote.

Take a look at the cover below and you’ll see that someone from The Guardian found it ‘heartfelt’.

This would normally indicate a positive review, but if you actually hunt down the full review on The Guardian’s website, you’ll find Xan Brooks wasn’t too impressed.

Not only does he give it two stars, but the full sentence containing the word ‘heartfelt’ reads:

“The tale is heartfelt but the technique is shot”

I don’t know about you but the second half of that sentence isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement is it?

What about the remote chance that another Guardian writer found the film to his liking and also used the word ‘heartfelt’?

No, that didn’t happen.

Although not quite up there with ‘freelance runners‘ from UK distributors planting comments on blogs or the major studio who invented a critic to lavish praise on its own movies, it’s still pretty misleading.

The Advertising Standards Authority is the body that regulates the UK advertising industry and its code of practice states:

“no marketing communication should mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise”

In this case, I think the quote on the Huge DVD cover misleads by omission.

Can you think of any other examples of reviews taken out of context?

> Guardian review of Huge
> Huge at the IMDb
> BBC News on the legal fallout in 2005 from a studio inventing quotes

Amusing News

Casting the Murdoch Movie

Who would play who in a film about the current phone-hacking scandal?

It’s obvious that this story deserves better than some wishy-washy one-off BBC2 drama, so how about reuniting the creative team behind The Social Network?

But once the triumvirate of producer Scott Rudin, director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin have been hired, who should be cast in this complex web of media, government and police?

Below are some suggestions:

(N.B. If you want to know who the people are just Google them)

> More on the News International phone hacking scandal at Wikipedia
> BBC News, The Guardian and New York Times with further coverage

Amusing News

Rebekah Brooks resigns Harry Potter style

How appropriate that News International chief Rebekah Brooks resigns on the very day the posters for the new Harry Potter movie say that “It all ends”.

(Potter fans can compare her to Bellatrix Lestrange here)

More on the News of the World phone hacking affair at Wikipedia
> Nick Davies at The Guardian (the tireless reporter who kept at this story)
> The Hugh Grant Tapes for the New Statesman and his recent BBC appearances vs a tabloid journalist
Peter Oborne of The Spectator on the code of silence that infects the British press

Amusing TV

Bill Maher and Jane Lynch perform Weinergate

Bill Maher and Jane Lynch last night staged a dramatic reading of Anthony Weiner‘s now infamous Facebook conversations.

For those not familiar, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner recently confessed that was involved in lewd online exchanges with random people on the internet.

On HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the host and Lynch read out one of Weiner’s Facebook exchanges verbatim and the results were predictably funny (although definitely NSFW):

(Click here to watch the video if the above one is pulled down)

> HBO Real Time
> More on the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal

Amusing News

Alamo Drafthouse Advert

The Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Austin, Texas has created this video highlighting its no ‘talking or texting during a movie’ policy.

As they say:

“We do not tolerate people that talk or text in the theater. In fact, before every film, we have several warnings on screen to prevent such happenings. Occasionally, someone doesn’t follow the rules, and we do, in fact, kick their asses out of our theater. This video is an actual voicemail from a woman that was kicked out of one of our Austin theaters. Thanks, anonymous woman, for being awesome.”

> Alamo Drafthouse
> Drafthouse boss Tim League on the Drafthouse blog about the incident

Amusing Posters

Poster for the 2011 Champions League Final

Details on last night’s big game between Barcelona and Manchester United are here and the original poster for The Hangover Part II is here.

Amusing TV

Peter Sellers does A Hard Days Night in the style of Shakespeare

In 1965 Peter Sellers recited The Beatles song ‘A Hard Day’s Night‘ in the manner of Laurence Olivier.

Recorded for the 1965 television show ‘The Music of Lennon and McCartney‘, the British actor was channelling Olivier’s famous performance of Richard III from Shakespeare’s play of the same name.

The mix of Shakespearean delivery and Beatles lyrics makes for a hilarious mashup, decades before the concept became mainstream.

You can check out some outtakes here.

[Via Open Culture]

> Peter Sellers at Wikipedia
> A Hard Day’s Night lyrics
> Christopher Walken doing Lady Gaga’s Poker Face and the South Park mashup

Amusing News

Obama Roasts Trump

President Obama gave a speech last night at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and preceded to roast birther-in-chief Donald Trump.

The annual dinner has been a Washington tradition since 1920 and usually sees the President get spoofed by a comedian.

What added a little spice this year was that reality TV star Donald Trump was in the audience and Obama decided to have a little fun with the current outbreak of birther nonsense that has gripped parts of the US.

The White House even prepared a self-deprecating trailer for the event, using outtakes from Obama’s video addresses and Joe Biden’s gaffes:

Full video of the dinner can be seen here:

Some highlights included Obama doing the following:

  • Showing footage from The Lion King (1994) as his ‘birth video’ and explaining to the Fox News table that this was a joke.
  • Replying to Matt Damon’s disappointment in his presidency (“Well, Matt, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau, so…right back atcha, buddy.”)
  • On Michelle Bachman’s possible run for president in 2012 (“I hear she was born in Canada. Yes Michelle, this is how it starts.”)

Saturday Night Live comedian Seth Meyers continued Obama’s jokes.

Check out his full speech here:

Key quote:

“Donald Trump often talks about running as a Republican, which is surprising, I just assumed he was running as a joke.”

Trump seemed less than amused.

> AP report on the event
> More on the White House Correspondents’ Dinner at Wikipedia


The Onion interview Fast Five Screenwriter

The Onion have interviewed the five-year old screenwriter of Fast and Furious 5 (or Fast Five as it is known in the States).

Today Now! Interviews The 5-Year-Old Screenwriter Of “Fast Five”

> Fast and Furious 5 at Wikipedia
> The Onion

Amusing Interesting

Inception Spelling

Have you noticed what the first letters of each of the main character’s names in Inception spell?

Yes, they spell the word ‘dreams’.

Clever, huh?

(Apparently this has been floating around the web for a while but I only just noticed it at the IMDb trivia section).

> Inception review, infographic and cool real-time video
> More on Inception at Wikipedia
> Click a red button for the Inception bong sound


Alan Partridge on YouTube

Earlier this year Steve Coogan did a series of YouTube shorts as his DJ alter ego Alan Partridge.

Currently appearing on the mid-morning show on ‘North Norfolk Digital’, in this episode Patridge takes calls from listeners and does an interview with Tommy (Nigel Lindsay), a former solider who served in Afghanistan.

My favourite moment is when Partridge comes up with a demented scenario involving Bill Oddie as a terrorist, or as he puts it:

“a bearded Catherine Wheel scything through the crowd”

> Alan Patridge shorts on YouTube
> More on Alan Partidge at Wikipedia


Movie Phone Rules

In the movie world there appears to be two major rules regarding phones:

1. Just hang up without saying goodbye

Part of this is presumably so screenwriters can quickly get to the next scene without being slowed down by what would actually happen in real life (i.e. awkward goodbyes or ‘just another thing’).

2. Go to a place where there is no signal

This is a tool which immediately adds tension, as characters in a remote place lose the safety net option of calling the cops (although aren’t cops always late in the movies anyway?). The fact that it has been done to death has made it something of a cliche in recent years.

Got any others?

> A list of 555 numbers in TV shows and movies
> Movie cliches

Amusing TV

More Cowbell

To celebrate Christopher Walken‘s birthday today, here is the famous ‘More Cowbell‘ sketch from Saturday Night Live in 2000.

It depicts the (fictionalised) recording of Blue Öyster Cult‘s classic rock song (Don’t Fear) The Reaper and Walken plays a legendary music producer who suggests they include more of a certain instrument.

Will Ferrell wrote and stars in the sketch, which also features Jimmy Fallon.

More Cowbell! – watch more funny videos

> Christopher Walken at the IMDb
> More Cowbell at Wikipedia

Amusing Viral Video

Star Wars vs The A-Team

This video mashup of the Star Wars series and The A-Team is A-grade stuff.

Notice the spot on use of fonts and footage.

YouTube user kalleanka71 has also done similar videos involving Airwolf and Magnum PI.

> More videos from kalleanka71 on YouTube
> Star Wars and The A-Team at Wikipedia

Amusing music

Rebecca Black Swan

Stephen Dunn and Meghan Greeley of Your Friend In A Box did this video mashup of Black Swan and Rebecca Black‘s Friday video.

It runs out of steam towards the end but the first couple of minutes are very funny.

* Warning: If you haven’t seen Black Swan then there are a couple of spoilers *

> Black Swan LFF review
> More on Rebecca Black and Friday


The Onion report on The Katherine Heigl Disaster

The Onion recently reported on a ‘freak accident’ involving the simultaneous release of 34 Katherine Heigl films.

Some of the fake titles are worryingly plausible.

In Freak Accident, 34 Katherine Heigl Films Released At Once

> Katherine Heigl at Wikipedia
> The Onion


The Big Lebowski Monopoly

Reddit user Samzo has created a special Monopoly board based on The Big Lebowski (1998).

(Click here for a larger version)

I particularly like the ‘Stay out of Malibu deadbeat’ in place of the ‘Go to jail’ square.

> The Big Lebowski at Wikipedia
> Monopoly

Amusing Interesting

The World’s Greatest Extra?

Jesse Heiman is an actor who has worked with David Fincher, Sam Raimi and Steven Spielberg, but you’ve probably never heard of him until now.

Over the last decade he has carved out a career as a background extra, racking up a tremendous amount of appearances in films such as Spider-Man (2002), Catch Me If You Can (2002) and The Social Network (2010) as well as TV shows including Glee (2010), Curb Your Enthusiasm (2007) and Entourage (2005).

This collection of clips is an impressive show reel:

He’ll also be seen this summer in Transformers: Dark of the Moon as a Mail Room worker.

[via Buzzfeed]

> Jesse Heiman at the IMDb
> More on Extras at Wikipedia

Amusing Trailers

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: The Indie Version

This trailer by Joseph Brett recuts Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) as a US indie movie.

Note the correct aspect ratio, sans serif title font, use of atmospheric music and the clever choice of clips from the film.

It makes you think about how certain elements of the original (especially shot composition and pacing) seem more left-field in retrospect.

The music is ‘A Slight Return Home’ by Woodpigeon (iTunes link here).

> Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at the IMDb
> The Trailer Mash

Amusing Trailers

The Hangover vs Casino Royale

This ingenious trailer mashup manages to mix The Hangover (2009) with Daniel Craig’s recent Bond films, Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008).

> The Hangover
> Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace

Amusing Directors Interesting

Cooking with David Lynch

Aside from being a great director David Lynch has some mean skills in the kitchen.

Around the release of Inland Empire (2006) he made these cooking videos where he prepares some quinoa and organic broccoli.

Shot in black and white, they are set to some moody music as the director mentions the qualities of quinoa (“they say that it is the only grain that is a perfect, complete protein”) and he tells a mean anecdote about his travels in Europe involving paper money and sugar water.

I could watch a whole series of this.

> David Lynch
> Find out more about Quinoa at Wikipedia

Amusing Technology

Conan O’Brien iPad 2 Spoof

Conan O’Brien recently did this spoof of those Apple videos about the iPad 2.

> More on iPad 2 at Wikipedia
> Team Coco

Amusing TV

Spanish TV Hotel Prank

The Spanish TV station Cuatro recently pranked hotel guests by dressing a young girl up as a spooky character and secretly filming their reactions.

The reactions are great – like a cross between The Shining (1980) and Ring (1998)

Keep an eye out for housekeeping at 1.35 and the final guest at 1.58.

> The Shining and Ring at the IMDb
> More on Cuatro at Wikipedia

Amusing News

Detroit Will Get a Robocop Statue

Following a crowdsourced campaign on Kickstarter, the City of Detroit will erect a Robocop statue.

If you have seen the film, it paints a bleak depiction of a dystopian Detroit where crime is so out of control (ring any bells?) the privatised police force have to ressurect a barely alive police officer and transform him into a super-human cyborg.

The campaign began last week when someone suggested on Twitter to the city’s mayor (the wonderfully named Dave Bing) that a statue of the character from Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film was needed.

When Mayor Bing, or someone working for him, tweeted back an internet campaign gathered steam via a Facebook group and Kickstarter (a site used to raise small donations online) was used to realise the dream of casting a big metal Robocop in the city.

The organisers recently said:

The financial goal? $50,000, which was reached today. It took just a week to raise that money, thanks in part to a big donation from Pete Hottelet at Omni Consumer Products Corporation (yeah, that’s right) and more than 1700 other people who pledged cash.

And here is the latest update on Kickstarter:

We’ve reached the $50,000 goal with the help of many many supporters and a very generous contribution from Pete Hottelet at, but you can still contribute, so please keep backing the project. All the reward levels still stand, and we’re currently discussing how to branch this project and fundraising into bigger and bigger things with a better and better impact on Detroit. Thank you, everybody! Wow.

Now all they have to do is build the statue, which might not be as easy as they initally thought:

None of us have ever made a giant solid metal permanent sculpture before. It turns out to be a pretty expensive process (who would have thought?), but not too much for the world to fund. After talking to numerous sculptors and metal workers, the current game plan is this: We can take a relatively small figure of RoboCop (conceivably even an action figure), have it 3D scanned by lasers (cool!) and scale its form to create a light-weight model of any size we’d like, which can then be used to pour and cast liquid metal. Casey V. Westbrook and crew are currently leading the charge to create a weatherized 7 foot tall iron statue.

What next? A statue of ED-209?

> Kickstarter page for the campaign
> More about Robocop and Detroit at Wikipedia

Amusing TV

SNL British Gangster Movie Sketch

This Saturday Night Live spoof of British gangster movies starring Bill Hader, Russell Brand and Fred Armisen hits all the right notes.

A fake trailer for a film called Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun to Re Ro it nails the gloomy cliches, thick dialects and general air of naffness that surrounds the genre.

Compare it to the actual trailers of recent crap like Bonded by Blood (2010) and Rise of the Footsoldier (2007) and you’ll get an idea of how spot on it is: warehouse shootings, cockney aggression and overblown acting are all par for the course.

> Saturday Night Live
> Possibly the worst British gangster film ever


Alex Presents: Commando

In this video a young Tanzanian boy explains the 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger action film Commando.

It is the first in a series of videos for the Stop the Pity. Unlock the Potential campaign for the charity Mama Hope which seeks to re-humanize Africa as more than a place suffering from corruption and poverty.

> Find out more about the Mama Hope campaign
> Commando at the IMDb