It seems weird that anyone would have a bone to pick with Kevin Smith. Like his work or hate his work – it’s hard not to respect someone who speaks honestly so consistently about every facet of their career and life. Even when stuff like his terrible Sundance speech comes up, he usually is able to own up to it all in retrospect. Still – it’s pretty irritating that someone can make a living filming dick and fart gags with their friends and that person not be me.
Red State worked for some and not for others, but was clearly a film that this director needed to make. It’s not like the others, and yet it still feels like a Smith film in its dialogue and (occasional) humor.
The cameo in question is directly contrary to most of Smith’s previous roles in that we hear him but do not see him. During the last shot of the film, as the amazing Michael Parks does his thing as the horrifyingly charming preacher crazy in his cell, Smith pipes in with a final “Shut the fuck up.” It’s something we’ve waited the entire film to hear someone say.
4. Ridley Scott Doubles as a Facehugger in Alien
It’s a classic case of not overcomplicating the task at hand. During this introductory scene, John Hurt’s character stumbles upon a nasty batch of alien eggs – only to decide to stick his face right at one. The result is a sweet spider mask, followed by a nifty ribcage realignment.
For the part where we first see the facehugger squirming around in the egg – Scott opted to just stick his rubber gloved hands inside a fiberglass egg and wiggle them things around. That’s what we are seeing there – probably the laziest hand puppet ever seen in a film. But it worked, so whatever.
The simplicity of the effect was kind of a running theme – for later one when they had to dissect the little bugger it was only a matter of laying out some shellfish and various fish guts to get the desired look, proving once and for all that seafood is disgusting.
3. Ang Lee is The Hulk
Everyone hates this film but me, and I’m starting to think that perhaps I’m on the wrong side of history. Still – big green dude jumping around like a freak – I just don’t see the downside of it all. Who cares if it looked ridiculous? The Hulk is ridiculous.
Anyway – quality aside, Ang Lee apparently had some anger issues during the making of this film. You see – along with several other performers, the director contributed his rage to the Hulk’s motion capture performance – apparently channeling his future frustration and regret with the movie into the big green monster’s angst.
The apparent problem retrospectively evident to the director was that he took the film “too seriously” and should have had more fun with it as opposed to “all the psychodrama.” Holy hell, if the director is reflecting on his process as “psychodrama,” you know that had to be a fun time for the production assistants.
2. Sam Raimi Can’t Stop Abusing Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man
Raimi is the sadistic big brother of movie directors, and while he’s made physical appearances in his own films, it’s his off-camera abuse that really stands out. See, it’s one thing when you’re swinging branches into Bruce Campbell’s face because well – that’s his friend. But when you are constantly whacking Tobey Maguire with shit it becomes a whole different beast – or so you’d think. Turns out that Maguire seems to be no stranger to big brother-type abuse, and takes the hits with the greatest of tolerance.
For example – the scene in Spider-Man 2 where Pete bends down to get his stuff and is slammed in the head by a backpack, guess who’s the one doing the slamming? Or later when gold coins are flying left and right during the bank robbery? How about the first film where Pete is being pummeled by popcorn during the wrestling match? This is all Sam Raimi’s handiwork. The guy deals out abuse so often that Wikipedia files it under “recurring trademarks” & “motifs” – right next to his rapid POV shots.
1. Alfred Hitchcock Manages to Stick Himself in Lifeboat
He really was the Waldo of movie directors. Appearing in 39 of his 52 films, spotting Hitchcock became such a fun game that the director actually started making a note to stick himself into each film no later than 30 minutes as to not distract his viewer. It makes you wonder about those other 13 films he did not appear in, and some poor jackass desperately trying to find a man who isn’t there.
For Lifeboat, it was a bit of a challenge. You see, as the name might have tipped you off, the entire film takes place on a lifeboat. Not many opportunities for an overweight Englishman to pass by unnoticed – although it would have been some fantastic balls had he just rowed by in the background.
No – the answer was sticking himself in a newspaper ad for “Reduco Obesity Slayer,” which just so happens to be the name of my 6th level dwarf character in Dungeons and Dragons.
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