The Road Warrior

Halloween_MichaelMyers

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of The Terminator, a movie that we could say almost didn’t happen. But isn’t that the case with most movies from the 1980s, a decade when there wound up being companies like Orion and New Line rising outside the major studio territory for the very reason of distributing now-classic and cult-classic genre films like this one? The sci-fi action/horror flick is famous for launching and breaking the careers of many involved, bumping up the fame of writer-director James Cameron, star Arnold Schwarzenegger and make-up effects artist Stan Winston. It’s influenced numerous movies since and reached a certified level of prestige in recent years by being added to the National Film Registry. It’s hard to imagine what the world would be like if The Terminator hadn’t happened. Not that we want to go back and kill it before it could be born in order to find out. In selecting The Terminator for my latest list of recommended viewing, I’m admittedly a little late to the game. Two years ago, a book came out called “If You Like The Terminator…: Here Are Over 200 Movies, TV Shows, and Other Oddities That You Will Love.” While I haven’t read the whole thing, I have to acknowledge it for either reminding me of or understandably overlapping with the titles I’ve chosen. Obviously my picks are a lot fewer, and some are thanks in part more to Sean French’s book on the movie for the British Film Institute as far as […]

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IntroCasting

There are a million and a half uninteresting reasons why actors did and did not get certain parts. Usually the casting process is fickle – hell-bent on height and age, sometimes people are rejected just because they don’t seem right for the part. An agent gives someone a script, they like it, contracts are signed. It’s all pretty anticlimactic, which is what makes the following casting stories far more fun.

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silent running drones

If you’re going to see Despicable Me 2 this weekend, there’s a good chance it’s because either you or your children mostly want to see the Minions. Who cares about Gru and the human children let alone whatever the plot is this time around when those little yellow blobs are running around causing trouble? This is just a hurdle until the spin-off movie that’s centered just on the Minions comes out next year. Why do we love them so much? Movies.com writer Perri Nemiroff gave a few likeminded reasons earlier this week, comparing them to pets and plush toys come to life. She also notes that their gibberish is always “immensely more entertaining than any line of human dialogue.” The lack of intelligible dialogue is the reason I believe they’re so popular, combined with their slapstick antics. They’re Keystone henchmen, basically, characters that continue the tradition of silent comedy well into the era of sound cinema. In fact, they are cinema, almost purely visual treats (without their gibberish and occasional English word they would still be as funny). They’re reportedly modeled after the Jawas from Star Wars and the Oompa Loompas from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, while Steve Carrell (the voice of Gru) believes the Minions “are as close to a modern day version of the Marx Brothers as I’ve seen.” One of the Marx Brothers in particular, for me. Harpo was one of the earliest figures in film to maintain the tradition of the dumbshow pantomime once […]

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One of the things I love about the latest Fast and Furious movie (whatever it’s called, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 6 or my own title, “Planes, Tanks and Automobiles”) is its casting. Not only is the ensemble made up mostly of hyphenate professionals who weren’t originally actors (including a wrestler, a bodybuilder, a former Miss Israel, a couple music artists, a couple martial artists), but a few of them are rather fresh faces to film, new to the franchise and surely on the rise in their movie careers. As much as I look forward to seeing what each does next, I’m also excited to have a new reason to spotlight the fairly recent breakthrough performances that likely got them this gig. In addition to using the opportunity to recommend those films, none of which has been seen by nearly as many people as will see a Fast and Furious movie, I’ve compiled a broader list of movies to now watch after seeing Fast & Furious 6. It’s partly a way to note some of its forebears and possible influences without going my usual negative route of criticizing this as a derivative work. It’s obviously imitative to a degree yet it’s also highly original in some of its stunts and their execution. Besides, just as in music we should accept and appreciate derivatives for their potential to lead fans backward to their (often better) predecessors. Of course, there are some reminiscent predecessors I’d rather not choose to recommend (Cars 2, […]

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If you live near an Alamo Drafthouse, you probably already know that Tim League, Zack Carlson, Lars Nilsen and co. have coordinated an amazing summer series devoted to the blockbusting year of 1982. If you’ve been reading FSR lately, you already know that our site co-sponsored a screening of George Miller’s Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior in coordination with the Drafthouse’s site-specific Rolling Roadshow series. And if you live anywhere within five hundred miles of the Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle, Texas, then you probably attended said screening. But for you feral kids who may have not had a chance to witness this awesome event, or for those of you that did, here’s a first-person account of the happenings by one of FSR’s own. The Road Warrior is something of a sweet spot in Mel Gibson’s history. The peak entry in the Mad Max series (sorry, Tina Turner), The Road Warrior gives us a Gibson who is too young, too unknown, and too accented to yet become a bona fide Hollywood star, but someone who has also (thanks largely to the first Mad Max film) developed enough charisma to be a magnetic force of nature onscreen. He’s hardly a man with no name, but Gibson’s one-man machine doesn’t need to say much – hell, he doesn’t even need both eyes – to give us a degree of intensity that hasn’t been seen before, or arguably since. Yes, Max is surrounded by several comic relief characters (notably the Gyro Captain, who […]

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Remember how we told you guys that, as part of the Alamo Drafthouse‘s totally rad Summer of 1982 Rolling Roadshow series, we’d be co-hosting a majestic screening of The Road Warrior that would actually include its own Thermonuclear Flaming Death Race? No? What, did you pass out when you first read the news because it was just that awesome? Wake up then, and start buying tickets for the event nownownow. On May 18, the Drafthouse’s Summer of 1982 screening series will descend on Kyle, Texas (located between Austin and San Antonio) for a very special 35mm Rolling Roadshow with Live Thermonuclear Flaming Death Race for The Road Warrior. Before the screening blows your face off, four fearless daredevil drivers will rev up their wheeled wasteland war machines for a FULL-TILT DESTRUCTION DERBY that will shatter the very Earth!!! Fire will scorch the sky as these no-future automaniacs shatter steel and bones! And also pre-movie entertainment will be provided by Austin’s “post-apocalyptic punk ayatollahs of rocknrolla” – ROCKATANSKY! It’s gonna pretty cool, you guys. Tickets are just fifteen dollars each and you can buy them HERE (along with other Summer of 1982 Roadshows currently on sale). After the break, check out details for this Roadshow, plus a very special new Road Warrior trailer, made just for this explosive event.

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Perhaps the only thing that goes better with the Alamo Drafthouse than kick-ass movies are big, fiery explosions, so how convenient that, as part of this year’s epic Summer of 1982 screening series, the Drafthouse will combine both of those things for a very special Rolling Roadshow. And how even more convenient that they’ll be putting all that firepower behind a screening that Film School Rejects is co-hosting. You guys! A demolition derby? You shouldn’t have! On May 18, the Drafthouse’s Summer of 1982 screening series will descend on Kyle, Texas (located between Austin and San Antonio) for a very special 35mm “Rolling Roadshow with Live Thermonuclear Flaming Death Race” for The Road Warrior. You read that right. You want more? You’ll get more! Before the screening kicks into high gear, four fearless daredevil drivers will rev up their wheeled wasteland war machines for a FULL-TILT DESTRUCTION DERBY that will shatter the very Earth!!! Fire will scorch the sky as these no-future automaniacs shatter steel and bones! No, seriously, it’s going to be nuts. Even better? Pre-movie entertainment will be provided by Austin’s “post-apocalyptic punk ayatollahs of rocknrolla” – ROCKATANSKY! Want tickets to this very special Rolling Roadshow presentation of The Road Warrior as part of the Drafthouse’s epic Summer of 1982 screening series? Details (and the rest of that sweet poster) after the break!

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  The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: The Road Warrior (1981) The Plot: After the events of Mad Max (1979), in which Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) saw his family murdered by a vicious gang, he wanders the desolate desert wastelands of Australia after society has collapsed. In his continuous search for fuel, he stumbles across a group of settlers who have come under attack from a gang of marauders, led by the hockey mask-wearing muscle-bound psychopath known as Humungus. The gang wants the fuel that the settlers have been refining, and Humungus shows his determination by brutally attacking the settlers out of their compound. Max makes a deal with the settlers that he will help them retrieve a giant truck that can be used to transport their fuel to a safe destination. In return, the settlers agree to let Max have all the fuel he can carry… if he survives.

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Alamo Drafthouse Summer of 1982

Blade Runner. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The Road Warrior. The list of incredible films released during the summer of 1982 goes on and on. From E.T. to Tron, it could very well be the greatest summer of movies in the history of nerds, geeks, lovers of cinema and eaters of popcorn. It was one of those summers that defined the term “Summer Movie.” The only sad thing about it is that 1982 came before many of us were born. An entire generation of movie geeks who grew up with these movies, but never quite got to experience them all together as they did in that one magical summer. The Alamo Drafthouse is looking to change that. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the “greatest summer of movies ever,” our friends at the Alamo have designed a screening series unlike any other. Mirroring the release schedule — to the best of their ability — of the Summer of 1982, the Drafthouse will present 1982’s best blockbusters in 35mm, with plenty of Mondo posters, special guests and a few other surprises that — and I say this with only limited knowledge beyond what we’re telling you here — will absolutely blow your minds. They’ve asked a special group of websites — Film School Rejects included — to co-host each screening. We drew The Road Warrior. It’s basically the greatest thing to happen to us since, well, we first saw The Road Warrior. So if you’re in the area of an Alamo Drafthouse, we’ve […]

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Let’s face it. If you need to threaten an enemy from a middle range distance, clear a ton of jungle in a hurry or carmelize the top of a crème brûlée, there’s nothing better for the job than a flamethrower. It’s a gun that throws fire. As your head wraps around that awesome concept (just as it does on a daily basis when you daydream about owning one), consider this beautiful instrument of destruction’s place in film. Sure, Bellflower comes out this week (and should energize you to convert daydreaming into action), but there’s a storied history here to uncover, and a future that’s assured to be bright enough to demand protective gear. Here are just a handful of movies that put the flamethrower on the burnt pedestal it deserves to sit upon.

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For those of you new to the column, I am revisiting formative events in my life that have made me what I am today: A Special Effects Make Up Artist searching for relevance in the 21st Century. I left my home in a suburb of Gretna, Louisiana, traveled to Valencia, California where I attended the California Institute of the Arts. I am nineteen… Being in college, in California, in 1981, was like being in the front seat of an incredible roller coaster. Unlike how it was in New Orleans, where I would be lucky if I was able to get a hold of a genre magazine like Cinefantastique because it was not consistently available in news stands, now I felt like I was closer to “the hub” than ever. Magazines, trade papers, Hollywood poster stores, all were up to date with what was happening in motion pictures. There was also the benefit of being in one of the two (or three) “preview” cities for new films. Altered States, for instance, had opened in late November rather than at Christmas time when it opened wide, nationally. This, for a fan and initiate to Make Up Effects, was like being at ground zero.

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We already knew George Miller is planning to reboot Mad Max. But is he hoping to shoot a sequel back to back?

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published: 12.18.2014
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