Close Encounters of the Third Kind | Image: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Film enthusiasts usually have definite opinions on Steven Spielberg's works; some not so favorable. Spielberg has often been criticized as being too emotionally manipulative or overly sentimental. Others have been critical of his portrayal of, in their view, an unrealistic idea of American families. Some address Spielberg's critics as resentful of his huge commercial appeal, and in many cases they may be right. However you feel about Steven Spielberg's contribution to American film, there's no denying its significance and influence.
In the linked list below, mental_floss presents 30 facts about popular Steven Spielberg movies. Some examples:
4. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND WAS INITIALLY A VERY DIFFERENT FILM.
Spielberg’s initial story outline involved UFOs and shady government dealings following the Watergate scandal, which became a script entitled “Watch the Skies.” The idea involved a police or military officer working on Project Blue Book, the Air Force’s official study into UFOs in the 1950s and 1960s, who would become the whistleblower on the government cover-up of aliens. There were numerous rewrites—Taxi Driver scribe Paul Schrader even took a crack at it, penning a political UFO thriller titled “Kingdom Come” that Spielberg and the movie studio rejected—before the story we know today emerged.
7. TOM SELLECK WAS SUPPOSED TO PLAY INDIANA JONES.
Prior to the production's start date in May 1980, George Lucas and Spielberg set up shop in the old Lucasfilm corporate headquarters to begin the casting process. Actors and actresses in consideration for the lead roles of Indiana Jones and his tough but beautiful companion Marion Ravenwood included Jane Seymour, Debra Winger, Mark Harmon, Mary Steenburgen, Michael Biehn, Sam Shepard, Valerie Bertinelli, Bruce Boxleitner, Sean Young, Don Johnson, Dee Wallace (who would later go on to star as the mother in Spielberg’s E.T.), Barbara Hershey, and even David Hasselhoff.
For Indy, Lucas and Spielberg eventually settled on actor Tom Selleck. But when CBS got wind of what the two were up to, the network legally barred Selleck—the lead of the hit showMagnum, P.I.—from appearing in the film.Spielberg then suggested Harrison Ford as a quick replacement, but Lucas was reluctant to cast Ford because he was already Han Solo in hisStar Wars films. But Spielberg’s quick thinking prevailed, and Ford was added to the cast just two weeks before principal photography began. (A similar snafu happened with Danny DeVito, the first choice to play Indy’s jovial companion Sallah, who couldn’t take the part due to his contractual obligation to appear on the popular ABC show Taxi.)
If there's something strange in your neighborhood you should call your friends and go check it out, because that means a new Ghost Park location has just opened! Created by the busters who used to zap 'em, trap 'em and dump 'em in the ecto cooler, the Ghost Parks are the latest and greatest in theme park technology. Now the ghosts are free to haunt, scare and otherwise pester humans, but those humans get to experience it all from the safety of their protection pods. So if you want to experience all the thrills and chills of coming face-to-face with Slimer and his friends, or you want to see if that Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man is really as big as they say he is, then grab your buddies and head down to the Ghost Park- where spirits are sure to rise!
Get geared up for amusement with this Ghost Park t-shirt by Donnie, it's the fun way to advertise a fake theme park that we'd all like to visit!
My 7-year old calls a landline phone as a "Grammy phone" because that's what her grandmother owns. That phones could not always show cartoons and operate games makes her jaw drop open.
These millennials aren't that young, but they didn't grow up with rotary phones, cassette tape players, record players, and mechanical alarm clocks. Their grandparents, though, did. In this video from Elite Daily, the older folks teach their grandkids how to operate these sophisticated gadgets.
Jaewoon U is a photographer from South Korea whose landscape shots of his country reflected in the calm surfaces of bodies of water have garnered increasing online attention. These artistic photographs of colorful foliage are so serene and pleasing to the eye that staring at one for any length of time has effects similar to meditation. The South Korean tourist industry should enlist the photographer to help their promotional endeavors.
We’ve heard stories of how some folks involved witH the original Star Wars were convinced it would flop as soon as it hit theaters. We even read about how George Lucas was willing to hedge his bets by trading out some of the film’s profits. But there were those who saw something special in the production.
Peter S. Myers was the vice-president of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox in 1976. In November of that year, he heard reports from people involved with the movie Star Wars and those who had seen rough footage of the film in progress. Myers then sent a four-page telegram to his underlings, outlining an unprecedented distribution plan for the movie.
I AM SAYING THE PICTURE SHOULD GET BETTER TREATMENT THAN GODFATHER, KING KONG, JAWS, POSEIDON, OR TOWERING INFERNO.
It's called a "doofnado." Urban Dictionary says that doof is an Australian slang term for an outdoor rave in the countryside. When the electronic music is blasting at a doof, even the weather can't help but feel the energy and respond.
A dust whirlwind appeared at the Earthcore festival in Pyalong, Victoria. Olivier Bonenfant captured this incredible footage of it forming in the middle of the party. Concertgoers got their kicks by running in and out of it. It looks like fun! The festival organizers were very thoughtful for arranging it.
A snowman in a store window is not all that uncommon at Christmas time. This one is firmly in the 21st century, with a smartphone and a text conversation. He’s obviously conversing with another snowman. I like the way the glass itself is used as a medium for captions. The scene has nothing to do with the clothing being sold in the store behind him, but this would get me to stop and look, and that’s what counts. -via reddit
Most of us outgrow that "I need an adult!" feeling by the time we're in high school, or during our college days at the latest, but sometimes we encounter scary stuff that makes us feel like a kidult in need of adult supervision.
That's the feeling you get when you see something creepy that makes you want to hide in the closet and count to a hundred, or someone who gives you nightmares like a 5-year-old after watching Gremlins.
You may find it quite comforting to know there are other grown folks out there who feel like little kids when they encounter something creepy, but try and stifle your screams if you look through this post while you're all alone!
The Maccabeats have unveiled their annual holiday parody song for the occasion. This year, it’s set to the tune of “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon. The lyrics are at the YouTube page. This is from their new album A Maccabeats Hanukkah. -via Viral Viral Videos
This ridiculous photo series was put together by Portland-based photographer Neil Dacosta as a satirical jab at The Church Of Latter-Day Saints' stance on homosexuality. Oh, I think they got the message!
We are about two weeks away from the premiere of the seventh episode in the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens. How long has it been since you’ve seen the six movies leading up to this point? Years? To prepare for The Force Awakens, you could sit down and watch all 13 hours 17 minutes we have so far (plus five more minutes if you’re watching the special editions). Or you could watch this.
Master remixer Eclectic Method edited the most essential clips of all six films into three minutes to tell the story up to this point. It’s very quick. I wouldn’t recommend this as a substitute for watching the full movies, in case you haven't seen them all. For one thing, there’s no Han Solo. Is he really that superfluous to the story? But on the up side, there’s no Jar Jar, either. There are no Ewoks, no Chewbacca, no Wampa, no Cantina band, no hints of incest, and no wretched hive of scum and villainy. But it will remind you of what happened, in a hurry. -via Tastefully Offensive
We have to act quickly! This person fell into the river and has drowned. But there's still time to save him. First, pull down his pants. Then insert this tube into his bottom. Next, light a cigar. Now pump the bellows!
According to Eighteenth Century British medicine, that it was possible to revive a person who had stopped breathing by blowing tobacco smoke up his rectum. Emergency enema kits like these were the defibrillators of the day: essential lifesaving tools designed by medical professionals. Ella Morton of Atlas Obscura writes:
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, was still centuries away from common usage. Instead of pumping the chest or giving mouth-to-mouth to a drowning victim—a practice that prominent British doctor William Hunter called "vulgar" in 1776—rescuers employed a variety of other dubious methods when attempting to revive those with waterlogged lungs. Rubbing the skin, inflating the lungs via a tube inserted into the trachea, and bloodletting were among the approaches. The most creative technique, however, was rectal tobacco insufflation—piping smoke into the unconscious person’s intestines via a bellows inserted in the anus.
Occasionally the process worked. The medical journal The Lancet repeats a story from 1746:
A man's wife was pulled from the water apparently dead. Amid much conflicting advice, a passing sailor proffered his pipe and instructed the husband to insert the stem into his wife's rectum, cover the bowl with a piece of perforated paper, and ‘blow hard.’ Miraculously, the woman revived.
Who are you gonna follow when the rotten dead come walking into your camp looking to take a bite out of you and your crew? Daryl, that's who, the man who was built for life on the road and whose lifestyle isn't really affected by the zombie apocalypse. He's less likely to trust folks than, say, Rick or Carol, but in the end he'll help folks out if it means mutually assured survival. Oh, and one more thing in Daryl's favor- he's one hell of a fighter!
Pick sides with this The Archer t-shirt by Machmigo, it's sure to make your fellow fans drool with delight, and should be enough to keep those nasty biters away, for now...
Kyle Shearrer didn’t just put his Christmas tree up. He and his father pulled out the Stormtroopers and gave them the job! In a series of 27 pictures, they unpacked and assembled the tree almost completely before Darth Vader arrived to inspect the work.
But like most projects, the real work was done by a small contingent, while the others goofed off under the pretense that they were “guarding” the work site. Keep your eye on the background, as one particularly dense Stormtrooper experiments with a fork in the electric outlet, while another gets in trouble for sleeping on the job. The background provides several subplots for the main tree chore. What they left at the top for the crowning ornament is a surprise you’ll have to check out for yourself.
Adam recorded this update of The Chanukah Song (the fourth incarnation, apparently) at a show he played with some funny friends in San Diego, and shared it just in time for the holidays on his YouTube channel Happy Madison. What a great gift, thanks Adam!
George Barris was rightfully known as the king of custom cars. When television and movie programs needed a uniquely styled vehicle, they knew to call Barris. Over his career spanning several decades, Barris became famous for building the 1966 Batmobile, the Munsters’ car, and KITT from Knight Rider.
Barris died on November 5 at the age of 89. His funeral on Saturday at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles was a truly grand spectacle. You can see photos of it at the Los Angeles Times. His coffin was no exception to the parade of astonishing customs. It’s modeled to resemble Barris’s most famous car: the Batmobile from the 1960s television show Batman.
The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.
Research looking at looking alike by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research staff
Do Dogs Resemble Their Owners? Yes. “Do Dogs Resemble Their Owners?” M.M. Roy and Nicholas J.S. Christenfeld, Psychological Science, vol. 15, no. 5, May 2004, pp. 361-3. (Thanks to Richard Wassersug and numerous others for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, who are at the University of California, San Diego, report that:
Forty-five dogs and their owners were photographed separately, and judges were shown one owner, that owner’s dog, and one other dog, with the task of picking out the true match.… The results suggest that when people pick a pet, they seek one that, at some level, resembles them, and when they get a purebred, they get what they want.
Do Dogs Resemble Their Owners? Maybe Not. “Do Dogs Resemble Their Owners? A Reanalysis of Roy and Christenfeld (2004),” D.W. Levine, Psychological Science, vol. 16, 2005, pp. 83–84. The author, at the University of South Carolina, reports:
Roy and Christenfeld’s (2004) recent article claimed that student judges were able to match purebred dogs with their owners. The analyses reported fail to support this claim, however, because they rely on statistical assumptions that cannot be met with the experimental design.... the analyses and results presented here demonstrate that it is premature to conclude “dogs resemble their owners.”
But a larger, and probably older and wiser, tortoise comes to save the day. Tortoises look out for their friends, after all. And a wise tortoise knows he might need to call in that favor someday. -via Tastefully Offensive
Salavat Fidai is an artist in Ufa, Russia. Among other media, he paints tiny images on pumpkin seeds. He features famous works of art, such as the above version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, as well as characters from pop culture, such as the Star Wars characters below.
Here’s a time-lapse video showing how Fidai made the Starry Night seed. With a nearly microscopic brush, he applies layers of paint from the background to the foreground.
Queen’s song “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a hit in 1975, and then was introduced to a whole new generation in 1992 when it was included in the movies Wayne’s World. I was quite surprised to hear the song in such a Gen-X movie. How did that happen? Rolling Stone assembled some of the people behind Wayne’s World to explain how the scene was conceived.
Mike Myers (writer, "Wayne Campbell"): I grew up in Scarborough, Ontario of British parents. I'd gone to England in '75 with my family and heard "Bohemian Rhapsody" on the radio. We were obsessed with it. Me and my brother, our friends' car was a powder blue Dodge Dart Swinger that had a vomit stain on the side of it that someone chiseled in the shape of Elvis Presley. We'd drive down the Don Valley Parkway, listening to Bohemian Rhapsody. We would time it to enter the Toronto city limits when the rocking part would kick in. I was "Galileo!" three of five. If I took somebody else's "Galileo!" or somebody took mine, a fight would ensue. It's just something that I always back-pocketed. Wayne's World was my childhood. I knew only to write what I knew.
Penelope Spheeris (director): All of us, it was our first studio movie.
Myers: I wanted it to sort of reflect a kind of spirit, a time in your life before you had to do adult things and pay taxes and all that stuff. If the TV show was restricted to the basement, I wanted "Wayne's World" the movie to be as cinematic and in the world as possible. I thought "Bohemian Rhapsody" would be a great way to introduce everybody.
Spheeris: I thought it was an odd choice because if you are headbangers that wouldn't be your first choice to slam to in the car when you're cruising.
The guys who played Garth, Phil, and Terry all joined in to give their recollections of the BoRhap scene, as you can read at Rolling Stone. Oh yeah, Brian May is in there, too. (Link contains autoplay video) -via Digg
So it appears the xenomorphs have invaded the cartoon universe by using some sort of interdimensional travel doohicky they discovered in the recesses of space. It was only a matter of time, really, because those aliens seem like primal killing machines but they're actually quite crafty. Notice how they chose to assimilate one of the cutest characters in the toon world? That was no accident, they simply knew that nobody would suspect that poor orphan deer of being an acid blooded killing machine, heck, even that dumb butterfly don't know the difference!
The wearer of this Bambi Burster t-shirt by ZombieDollars should prepare for people to be delighted and disturbed at the same time by this twisted version of their beloved Bambi, so wear it with caution!
Visit ZombieDollars's NeatoShop for more delightfully geeky designs:
On the other side of the aquarium glass is a fresh dog tail. In fact, it's so fresh that it's still attached to the dog!
The penguin makes several passes, but is unable to reach the dog with his beak. The dog, long domesticated, has forgotten that he is the prey of penguins in the wild. He is dangerously unaware of his surroundings.
Olivier Bernard is a pharmacist in Quebec with a popular blog, Le Pharmachien. That’s where he posts comics that take complicated medical subjects and breaks them down into everyday language. Usually, that everyday language is French. This explanation of cancer treatments is available in both French and English. First, there’s the analogy that compare cancer to dandelions in your yard. If that’s not clear enough, the analogy is explained in more cute comics. Then he goes into the details not covered earlier.
My initial idea was to write a cartoon entitled “5 toxic beliefs about chemotherapy”. The goal was to take 5 myths about chemo and deconstruct them. In doing this, I wanted to challenge the false notions about chemotherapy that are perpetuated over the internet.
However, along the way something became obvious: it’s absolutely pointless to attack false beliefs on chemo… when the majority of people do not know what cancer really is.
Then, by pure chance, two oncologists appeared out of nowhere and proposed to help me make a comic on cancer! It’s great how things work out.
The result is a lesson that starts out simple, and then gets more in-depth. If you were sharing this with children, you’d find an appropriate place to stop depending on their understanding. For adults, the more you read, the more clear cancer treatment gets. Read the entire comic in English or in French. That’s where I found out that the French word for dandelions is pissenlits. -Thanks, Yan!
These are all good if you want to sleep. But what if you don't want to sleep, but also not, you know, work. Rocket News 24 reports that the Japanese firm Thanko offers a brilliant new product called the Chin Rest Arm. It’s a adjustable clamp-mounted padded arm. You can use it to nap, if you wish. But you can also use it to just slouch, thus preserving precious energy for other, more important tasks once your shift ends.
It’s that time of year, when video artists, list makers, and bloggers look back over the previous year to bring us the highlights and lowlights. Here is the first of what will be many film tributes to 2015.
Benjamin Zuk edited together clips from 164 films for an overview of the year in movies. They aren’t ranked or critiqued in any way, but the one-second clips are arranged artfully in an order that makes the video flow nicely. -via the A.V. Club
The Nazis are still widely condemned and despised to this day, and yet their influence can still be seen over seventy years after Hitler bit that big schnitzel in the sky.
There are Neo-Nazi hate groups, political organizations preaching Nazi ideology, and dumb racist parents who name their kid Adolf Hitler. And then there's the strange world of Nazi inspired Asian underground fashion, which tends to send mixed messages.
Asian Nazi Chic is possibly tongue-in-cheek, possibly retro militarism, possibly a strange form of cosplay, maybe all three or none of the above.
It's moderately offensive to Westerners, extremely offensive to the world’s Jewish population, but most Asian people don't seem to be offended by Hitler Chic.
In fact swastikas and images of Der Fuhrer are seen as a novelty in many Asian countries, which could lead to misunderstandings when tourists see people doing the Nazi salute on the sidewalk.