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Recycling Roger Corman

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Recycling Roger Corman

At first I was heartbroken—okay, maybe just sort of disappointed—that I didn’t have time to participate in today’s scheduled Roger Corman Blog-a-Thon, which was called for on Monday by Tim Lucas of Video Watchblog in honor of Corman’s 80th birthday. Lucas apologized for giving less than three days’ notice—shorter, even, than my call for a Robert Altman Blog-a-Thon Weekend, which happened pretty damned fast—but he offered a convincing justification for going ahead with it: Corman was an exploitation filmmaking machine, a poverty row visionary who shot the original Little Shop of Horrors in three freakin’ days. Still, even though I’m normally a pretty fast writer, various paycheck-related committments made it impossible for me to generate original content to honor Mr. Corman. So I sighed and moped, and a sad little cloud settled in the sky above The House Next Door.

But then it hit me: why the hell am I beating myself up over not being able to produce an original piece in honor of Roger Corman? Corman’s entire career is built on recycling! He reused the same props, the same costumes, the same sets, hell, sometimes the same footage, over and over again, until the recycling became so obvious that it was embarassing even by his standards. Corman’s low-budget movie factory—which doubled as a film school for all the up-and-coming actors and moviemakers on his meager payroll—was recycling central. Roger Corman is the guy who, in 1967, ran out two remaining days on a contract with Boris Karloff by hiring him out to a young film journalist and wannabe-director named Peter Bogdanovich, on the condition that Bogdanovich not ask for additional days with Karloff, and also figure out a way to work in footage from the 1963 Karloff-Corman cheapie The Terror. (Bogdanovich’s solution was the postmodern assassination thriller Targets starring Karloff as a has-been horror star, with a climax set at a drive-in showing The Terror.) Corman is also the guy who tried to cash in on Star Wars by spending an exorbitant (for him) $5 million on 1980’s Battle Beyond the Stars, a crap-a-riffic space fantasy rehash of The Magnificent Seven, then amortized his box office losses by re-using the spaceship footage (including that one ship that looked like fallopian tubes joined by a scrotum) for another 20 years in his movies, and re-selling it to filmmakers who were even poorer than Corman.

I mean, really, why mince words? Corman is the film production equivalent of a high school cafeteria from hell, a place that might serve, say, sliced turkey breast on Monday, turkey casserole on Tuesday, turkey sandwiches on Wednesday and turkey soup on Thursday, then finish out the week with spaghetti and turkey meatballs, then tell anybody who complained, “What the hell’s your problem? It’s edible, ain’t it?” That, boys and girls, is why he’s survived a half-century in the movie business, and why people who have never seen most of his movies still treat his name as a synonym for the ability to look adversity in the face and say, “Hey, brother—wanna buy some spaceship footage?” In that spirit, here’s my entry in the Roger Corman Blog-a-thon: a link to an old New York Press book review that considers Beverly Gray’s biography Roger Corman: An Unauthorized Life and Peter Conrad’s Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life in the context of both filmmakers’ hardscrabble careers. For more on Corman, visit Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, which offers links to other writers’ essays, plus a dandy (and 100% non-recycled) career survey by the blog’s proprietor, Dennis Cozzalio.

Happy birthday, Mr. Corman. Don’t forget to save those candles.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAcftIUE6MQ

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Teaser Trailer

When it rains, it pours.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When it rains, it pours. Four days after Quentin Tarantino once more laid into John Ford in a piece written for his Beverly Cinema website that saw the filmmaker referring to Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and two days after Columbia Pictures released poster art for QT’s ninth feature that wasn’t exactly of the highest order, the studio has released a teaser for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was announced early last year, with Tarantino describing it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood.”

Set on the eve of the Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to get involved in the film industry. The film also stars Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Al Pacino, the late Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern in a part originally intended for the late Burt Reynolds.

See the teaser below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scf8nIJCvs4

Columbia Pictures will release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on July 26.

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Watch the Stranger Things 3 Trailer, and to the Tune of Mötley Crüe and the Who

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

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Stranger Things 3
Photo: Netflix

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. On Friday, Jeff Tremaine’s The Dirt, a biopic about Mötley Crüe’s rise to fame, drops on Netflix. Today, the streaming service has released the trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. The clip opens with the strains of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” all the better to underline that the peace and quiet that returned to the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana at the end of the show’s second season is just waiting to be upset again.

Little is known about the plot of the new season, and the trailer keeps things pretty vague, though the Duffer Brothers have suggested that the storyline will take place a year after the events of the last season—duh, we know when “Home Sweet Home” came out—and focus on the main characters’ puberty pangs. That said, according to Reddit sleuths who’ve obsessed over such details as the nuances of the new season’s poster art, it looks like Max and company are going to have to contend with demon rats no doubt released from the Upside Down.

See below for the new season’s trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEG3bmU_WaI

Stranger Things 3 premieres globally on July 4.

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