February 12, 2014

5 Famous Movie Curses Debunked?!

Have you ever not done something because you have the mentality that anything that can go wrong will go wrong? Or not to mess with stuff of a unknown nature because you're scared what could possibly happen. Or just that unexplained coincidences happen to you on the daily? It's not surprising then that there are multiple movies through history that have had strange, tragic, and sometimes fascinating events attached to them, even stranger when they are inter weaved  with almost disturbing coincidences. 

Of course, throughout the years, these events have grown into a status of a movie being cursed. Do you believe in curses? Or just plain bad luck. Some of these curses are so inbred into the mind that there's no questioning it. This list started out as me just giving information about famous movie curses, but as I developed my research, I realized some of these events just spawned from nowhere. Did they really happen? If so, is there something to be said for these movies that have all this darkness attached to them?

5. The Omen

The Omen is a 1976 film starring Gregory "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view" Peck, about a US Diplomat who secretly swaps his wife's stillborn child with (unknowingly) the child of Satan. What a heartfelt family sitcom!

Oven?...like...flames of hell? Bun in the...oh god!

It's considered a classic in the suspense/thriller genre, and my own father claims it is the scariest movie he has ever seen. However, what's possible even more sinister and terrifying about the movie is the behind the scenes brushes with death faced by many of the cast and crew attached to the film. 

Director Richard Donner was first hit by a car but was not injured, then he stayed at  was bombed by the IRA in 1975 during production of the film. Producer Harvey Bernhard and star Gregory Peck took separate planes into London but both were struck by lightening. The first being a minor inconvenience  and the latter's having to perform an emergency landing. To top that off, Gregory Peck later would cancel his flight on a plane that would later crash on it's way to Israel with all souls on board dying. He seems to have bad luck with aircraft. 

Dear Young Love struck woman, GET OFF THAT PLANE.

It Get's Weirder: During production of the film "A Bridge to Far" (1977), stunt coordinator John Richardson (who was responsible for the decapitation scene in the film) was in an accident during production where his girlfriend ended up getting decapitated. 

Credibility: I have found no credible source for most of these events, with most everything just linking back to "The Omen is Cursed!". There was an IRA bombing at The London Hilton in late 1975, which would match up with the time of Donner being in the city. I have found no evidence supporting Gregory Peck canceling a flight to Israel that crashed, as there are no documented flights crashing en route to the country. All sources for the girlfriend getting decapitated link back to articles about how, again, "The Omen is Cursed!". The only source not mentioning The Omen being "trivia" from IMDB. I did find out, though, that John Richardson was a special effects supervisor in the Harry Potter films, so even if the facts are wrong, we still have a fun fact!

4. The Dark Knight

Christopher Nolan's 2008 sequel to Batman Begins, though universally acclaimed with a memorable performance by Heath Ledger, was plagued by a few dark, tragic, and unfortunate events during and after production. First, a cameraman was killed when the vehicle he was filming in crashed into a tree. Then, right before the London premiere of the film, Christian Bale (the goddamn Batman and overall sexiest actor around), was arrested due to allegations from his mom and sister that he assaulted them. Actor Morgan Freeman (who plays Lucius Fox in the films) was in a car crash that nearly killed him and left him in serious condition just weeks after the films release. To this day he still does not have feeling in one of his hands caused by an injury from the accident.

Contrary to popular belief, that glove is NOT used
to keep his pimp hand fresh

It Get's Weirder: I'm sure everyone is well aware that Heath Ledger, who plays The Joker, died of a drug overdose in January of 2008, before the film was even released. He received a posthumous Oscar for his performance. This isn't really an "it get's weirder" thing, just another tragedy connected to the film. 

Credibility: All these events happened. There are news sources, and I'm sure a lot of you remember them being on the news. Is this to say the movie is cursed? Heath Ledger is noted to have had struggles after having to go to a dark place while getting into the dark, demanding role of The Joker, and it's always been thought that could have contributed to his heavy use of prescription drugs. These sad events did create a dark shadow over the opening of the film. This movie doesn't have any crazy coincidences like some of the other films on the list, which almost makes it even more sad that so much misfortune surrounded this one film. 

3. Rebel Without a Cause

Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 film starring the epitome of cool guys, James Dean, Actress Natalie Wood of Gypsy and West Side Story fame, and Sal Mineo, a two time Academy Award nominated actor. It's a social commentary about american youth in the 1950's which made blue jeans cool as shit to teenagers. Dean was only in three films his whole career, East of Eden and Giant (adapted from two of my favorite books of all time) being the other two, which are both great movies. So he's basically 3 for 3. His life was tragically cut short in 1955 (a month before the movie came out) when he crashed his Porsche 550 Spyder head on with another car on Highway 466 in California. 

Unfortunately, that's not the end of deaths of people connected to the film Natalie Wood died mysteriously at the age of 43 when she drowned after falling off a yacht in 1981. At the time the death was ruled accidental, but recently the case has been in talks of being reopened or at least re examined due to new evidence. Sal Mineo was murdered in 1976 when he was stabbed while parking his car.

It Gets Weirder: You know James Dean's Spyder? That thing has some bad vibes attached to it. After Dean's Death, the Spyder, so sweetly named "Little Bastard"  was bought by George Barris who originally customized the car (he also designed the Batmobile in the original live action television series). It later slipped off the trailer and broke the mechanics leg who was working on it. Parts of the car were sold to two physicians. One died hitting into a tree during a race, and the other was seriously injured when his car rolled after locking up. Add to that, a thief injured himself trying to steal the steering wheel from the owner of the rolled car. Keep in mind, these were only parts of the car that were salvaged after the wreck and because of all the separated parts, nobody know where the parts of the Porsche are now. Dun Dun!

"Holy Porsche" takes on a whole new meaning

Credibility: Though all three actors did die (also very young like others on the list) tragically, the information about the Spyder doesn't match up. Multiple posts and articles about it all give varied information about the "events" including the parts, injuries, when, and where's. The two men who bought parts to the cars were both Doctors, but I found no other information on them except when linked to articles stating "the curse of James Dean's car!". One blogger gives similar information, but at the end updates it with more information about where the parts might be now. This was interesting because he supposedly spoke with George Barris about the infamous Porsche. I'm sure some of these events did happen, it's just not clear to what degree. Also, the car parts are SOMEWHERE. So, if you believe in curses, watch out! Scary demon car.

2. The Misfits

The Misfits is a 1961 film starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift  about a old cowboy, his new girlfriend, and his rodeo buddies who come up with a plan to turn wild horses into dog food. It's a melancholy Western...that's how I can sum it up. It was a box office failure at the time of it's release, and only recently has the movie, and the performances of it's three leads has been praised by modern critics. That's sort of unfortunate for a cast and crew who faced 106 degree Nevada weather, along with one of the lead's (Monroe) marriage to the guy who wrote the movie (Play write Arthur Miller) broke down...and shortly before the premiere they were divorced. Those are some hapless circumstances for a film that wasn't even well received during it's time. 

This describes the situation perfectly. 

So, maybe that's all just some bad luck, but want to know the interesting thing about The Misfits? It was was both Monroe and Gable's last films. Gable had a heart attack two months after filming, and died ten days later. Monroe died a year and a half later from an apparent drug overdose. Monroe stated in her memoir My Story (a fascinating highly recommended read written during her life but published posthumously) that she had the idea that her birth father looked like Clark Gable and imagined that he was her father...and the two end up working on their last film together?! However, both are considered on a small list of the greatest movie stars of all time, and a lot of those actors worked with each other at least once through the years, so it's not really a "what are the chances?!". Either way, I did always found it sweet she got to be in a film with him. Of course, he played her boyfriend so that's sort of creepy now that I think about it since this was her father figure and childhood idol. 

And now I bet you're uncomfortable

It Get's Weirder: Montgomery Clift, also one of the greats, had three more films after The Misfits. However, he did not have a successful career after the movie, as his personal demons took over and he slowly deteriorated. Clift passed away in 1966 of a heart attack in New York City. His last reported words were "Absolutely Not!" to his personal secretary when asked if he wanted to watch a movie that was playing on TV. What was the movie, you ask? Yup. The Misfits.

Credibility: All three stars did die at a fairly young age. Gable was 59, Monroe 36, Clift 49. However, Gable was a heavy smoker, drinker, crash dieted for roles, and did insist on performing his own stunts in The Misfits. Monroe died from prescriptions bills and Clift was admittedly just as self destructive. It's probably can come to no surprise that all three were taken too soon, but the fact that each was surrounding the same movie they all starred in is slightly eerie or at the very least, fascinating. 

1. Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby is a 1968 film directed by Roman Polanski starring Mia Farrow as a young, naive pregnant  woman who starts to believe her baby is going to be used in a satanic ritual, and later finds that her husband made a pact with their neighbor's coven to further his career  and that the baby is, in fact, the spawn of Satan (another sitcom Satan baby daddy plotline!)

Because Ross was always the fucking worst

Not so creepy as unfortunate  but during the beginning of filming Mia Farrow was served divorce papers on set by then husband Frank Sinatra. After the film was released, producer William Castle claimed  to have received many threatening emails concerning the movie and developed a condition that required a spinal tap to remove blockage in his urinary tract. 

Disturbingly, a year later director Roman Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered at their home along with three others by a small group of Charles Manson's followers. Tate was 8 and a half month's pregnant at the time. The following night, they carried out another series of murders when they killed grocery store owner Leno LaBianca and his wife...Rosemary

What's the big deal, it's just an herb. Oh.

Where it get's Weirder: Charles Manson, leader of The Manson Family (not a cheery family band, btw, even though Manson had a music career) believed in "Helter Skelter" a term taken from a Beatles song by the same name. Shelf that in your mind for a minute (or longer if you read slow as shit)...

Or  if you also have another window open while reading this,
Take Your Time.

Rosemary's Baby was filmed in New York City, with it's exterior shots being The Dakota, a historical apartment building. It was called The Bramford in the film. John Lennon, a former Beatle, lived at The Dakota when he was gunned down in front of it in 1980. 

Credibility: The events that happened following the movie were tragic enough, but added to the connections to specific details of the film add a new level of eeriness. The movie centers around a pregnant woman...the director's wife was murdered when she was pregnant. Charles Manson's term "Helter Skelter" was based off a song by The Beatles who's member lived and was killed at the same hotel the movie was filmed at. These are twisted connections that certainly make one question what and why bad ju ju surrounds this film.

January 28, 2014

Who should win Best Picture at the 2014 Oscars?

It's that time of year again! The most wonderful time of the year! Oscar season! I usually set myself a goal of seeing every best picture nominee so I have a legitimate reason as to why that movie should win instead of it just being the only movie I saw. 

2008 was a rough year.
I usually fail. This year, I was ahead of the game. Before the nominations came out, I had already seen 4 of the 9 nominations. Now, I'm up to 6. This is a work in progress post, I am hoping to see 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska, and Philomena before March 2nd. These are the standings as of now, in order from least to best of Best Picture worthiness. My pick for best picture is the last on the list.

Captain Phillips

(Note: this was the only one I saw outside of theaters. Not sure how this effected my opinion on the film)

I didn't particularly enjoy Captain Phillips, I'm going to just throw that out there right now. It was disappointing to say the least.The only redeeming quality was that it rep'd the offical Navy standard PT shirt I wear multiple times a week, and the film was partially filmed on the destroyer my brother is on.

DDG 103 wad up

Besides that I actually found the movie pretty boring. I was not captivated by the story, thought it was slow paced and drawn out. I couldn't really tell you WHY it was so long, because I can basically sum up the plot right here: Captain Phillips boards Maersk Alabama, captains around for awhile, pirate warning, pirate hijacking, tense conversations, Captain Phillips taken ransom, tensions rise on the small lifeboat, the Navy gets involved, tense negotiations, pirates get sniped, Captain Phillips loses his shit (understandably). There now you don't have to see it.

Dis ain't my blood

The second half was better than the first,  the end was the only reason I'm not writing this movie off completely. It was pretty powerful, and that is thanks to Tom Hanks. The WHOLE movie he has a distracting accent and it was pissing me off, but his performance in the final scenes reminded me why he is a great actor. Also, like I said, the Navy BITCHES!

I would say the thing this movie lacked most was life. I had no interest in the characters, I knew nothing about them. Not the crew, not the pirates, not even Captain Phillips. There was no character development, and in a movie NAMED after the main character, that is weird to me. It was based off a true story, yet I wasn't moved at all.

Overall Consensus: At the end of the day, I understand why Captain Phillips was praised and nominated...even if I don't agree with it. I think it's ridiculous that the movie get's nominated, but not Tom Hanks. He's a gem, and takes this movie from a turd to MAYBE like a garnet or something.

Semi-Precious stones FTW!

American Hustle

Am I the only person who liked American Hustle...besides the critics rounded up on rotten tomatoes who gave it a 93%? Everyone I talked to in my real life thought it sucked. I'm somewhere in the middle. Did I enjoy the movie and laugh a lot? Yes! I thought American Hustle had it's clever moments. Do I think it is deserving of 10 Oscar Nominations? God no. That is ONE less nomination than Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. THAT is bullshit. Of course, that movie swept and won every award it won, Hustle will not AND Return of the King had no acting nominations, while Hustle is nominated for all four acting accomplishments.

"Oh, you saved middle earth but couldn't get nominated? Y'all
ain't shit"

Moving on, where American Hustle shines is comedic timing, sountrack, style, and cast. The movie was funny, I laughed out loud multiple times. It was all about the timing, and what I liked best was that it didn't take it self too seriously most of the time. Everyone was in on the ridiculousness of the situation, the stupid hair of Bale and Cooper, how much of a douche Cooper's character is, how much of a lunatic Lawrence's character is. WE ALL KNOW. It's funny and lighthearted, even with the possibility of going to jail and being busted by the FBI, the audience isn't that worried. I think some people might have been disappointed because they were expecting something more gritty? Who knows.

Now, the soundtrack was ballstastic, I was grinning with each new song that came on. As an adopted child of music from the late 70s, I was in movie soundtrack heaven. I'm talking ELO, Elton John, DONNA SUMMER, Wings, America, Bee Gees, Bowie...I GOT A MUSIC BONER. The soundtrack alone made me love this movie (I'm listening to it right now, thank you very much!)

Most underrated band of the 70s amirite?

 This is an "all star" cast. I loved the cast, I thought their chemistry was fantastic...but Adams and Lawrence shouldn't have gotten the globe, and they certainly shouldn't win the Oscar.  Jennifer Lawrence is awesome, she is a good actress, and she is entertaining off screen as well. Her performance was awesome and entertaining as well. She should be nominated, but she shouldn't win. Same with Adams, Bale, and Cooper. If anything, I think Bale had the best performance out of the group, but there is no way he is more deserving than his competition.

I was so entertained by American Hustle for 4/5 of the it's lengthy run time. I didn't want it to end, UNTIL it got to the point where the movie needed to be over. It happened in an instant. One moment I was entranced by this movie, the next I was over it. The ending was meh. I didn't like it. It wasn't even a No Country for Old Men controversial ending where you either loved it or you hated it. I wasn't angry about the ending, I wasn't like THIS IS AWESOME. I was like meh. That is the WORST.

Overall Consensus: Funny, stylish, and well casted with an awesome sountrack, American Hustle isthe funnest movie nominated. Fun movies don't win best picture. This was mindless entertainment. This was a Saturday night "You know what I haven't seen in FOREVER?" "OMG I LOVE THAT MOVIE, LET'S WATCH IT" kind of film. Get the HELL out of best picture category, American Hustle.

Wolf of Wall Street

I didn't think I was going to enjoy Wolf of Wall Street as much as I did. That's the honest truth...I thought it was just going to be okay. It was actually pretty great and I'm glad I finally went to see it. Maybe because out of all the movies, it seemed that everyone I knew had already seen it. That's not meant to be a "mainstream sucks" thing, I just don't really trust the opinions of some people I know on movies.  Maybe it was the thought of being trapped in a movie theater for three hours. Maybe it was it's only semi favorable reviews, compared to the near universal acclaim of most of the other nominees. Whatever, this movie was very entertaining and pretty well made. I also will say that I now want to be worth millions, snort cocaine, and buy a bunch of hookers. 

Charlie Sheen, best known for his movie blog
Take you to the Picture Show, launched in 2011

Leonardo DiCaprio is what makes this film so engaging. He is actually pretty brilliant (and due for an Oscar, C'mon...no love for Calvin Candie?). I am back and forth on DiCaprio/Scorsese collaborations. The Departed is one of my favorite films, The Aviator was okay, Gangs of New York was okay, and I've never seen Shutter Island). As a purely Leo/Martin partnership, this was probably the best. I loved the "Ferris Bueller" Jordan talking to the camera, which I thought was much more effective than American Hustle's overtalk montages to explain the plot (yuck!). 

Pure gluttony and lust take center stage in this film. Titties galore! Drugs galore! Midgets galore! Fancy cars galore! Beatiful women galore! You see this character transcend into this crazy lifestyle and come crashing down, but it's not quite the fall you'd expect from a movie like this. It's quite, even though the Feds being after Jordan for a majority of the film, and there is no lesson to be learned from Jordan's fall from grace (if you could even call it that). 


One criticism I would have of this film, is yes it is shocking and yes it is superficial, but what do we get coming away from this movie? Jordan Belfort is still a sleazeball when the movie ends, cashing out on a new plan for money after he gets out of jail. I'm not trying to say that the movie should have ended with him being like a born again Christian or finally becoming a good person because not only is that not following the actual real life events or realistic, but it would leave you with the same feeling of so what? I didn't come out of this movie a more thoughtful person or thinking to myself "well, I guess that throws my dream of becoming a stockbroker out the window". Three hours later, all I can say is I enjoyed the film, much like I just simply enjoyed American Hustle. Both films had similar themes and parallels, Wolf did it better. 

A lot of controversy surrounds the film for it's graphic portrayals of sex and how many times the "F" word is said. One: Have you EVER watched Game of Thrones? Two: I personally use the "F" word as a sprinkle to any conversation. Get over yourselves, it's a rated R movie about sex, drugs, and money. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?  

Overall Consensus: Wolf of Wallstreet brings together DiCaprio and Scorsese for their best effort yet. It was brilliantly performed, and though not best picture worthy, DiCaprio has a chance to win the Oscar for the first time. Wolf doesn't hide anything, and goes for the kill handing out sex, drugs, and immoral behavior like candy. Extremely captivating. 


I almost walked out of the theater watching Gravity about three times. Now, this wasn't because it was a bad movie, it was mostly because I was so stressed out the whole time watching it, I almost aged 5 years. Gravity  will leave you on the edge of your seat. There is no need for murderers, monsters, Kevin Spacey putting Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box, Hitchcock, or Hannibal Lector to give you chills. It's literally just shit going down in space. Space is terrifying... it's not like the space episode of Magic School Bus where the worst thing that happened is Janet came along.

They should have left you in space.

 I was so upset by so much of this movie, I never actually want to see it ever again. It was all so suffocating and real, I was pretty much overwhelmed. That doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend it, I was in awe of this movie for a few days after I saw it. It was like nothing I've ever seen. It's not quite a disaster movie, it's not  a Sci-Fi movie, it wasn't a drama, it's not a complete thriller...I'm not really sure WHAT it is except amazing.

Despite all it's blockbuster-ness, I wasn't even planning on seeing it. I saw the trailer for it and was like "uhm...so they're in space? Yeah, okay, I'm sure that will be an entertaining movie" (with a sarcastic scoff), but believe me (for those who haven't seen it) the film runs smoothly. If Alfonso Cuaron doesn't win best director...heads will roll. Just kidding.


Sandra Bullock's performance was praised universally for her portrayal, and I think it's a shame that buzz died down. The majority of the movie is Bullock on her own, and she carries herself through the film. Yes, George Clooney provided his charming self, some comedic relief, and was actual a very important plot device, but it was Bullock's performance that won me over. Her emotion was so raw and real, I was feeling everything. Not only her "problems" in space, but also the sadness of her life left behind on earth. No matter what shit was waiting for her, or what she was running away from, she still had the will to live. She was lost in space, but also sort of lost in life too. It was a beautiful, sentimental, and real performance.

Overall Consensus: Gravity seamlessly blends emotion, disaster, and space together for a truly thrilling movie. It's a wonderful achievement, that DOES deserve all the hype it is getting. Not quite best picture material, director Alfonso Cuaron and Sandra Bullock are fully deserving of the nominations they received.

Dallas Buyers Club

Slightly undercover, compared to a lot of the nominated films, most people I had to explain what this movie was about before I could rave about it. Now THIS is a movie about a real life person that deserves some praise (Ahem Captain Phillips). When people hear "It's about a guy who becomes HIV positive in the early part of the AIDS epidemic and..." they RUN (at least that was my experience talking about this film). Nobody wants to see a movie about AIDS, because AIDS is sad, especially in the early part of it's history.

You know what kept this movie from being a sappy lifetime movie? Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto's chemistry. It really goes to show you that when faced with adversary and challenges, people come together despite different backgrounds. OH GOD, that sounds so corny and lame AND SO like a sappy lifetime movie. We see Ron (McConaugheyand Rayon (Leto) develop this unlikely /business partnership that grows into a poignant and powerful friendship

As custom in my country, an obligatory"Alright, alright, alright"
is needed for any talk of Matthew McConaughey

We also slowly Ron's former homophobia and denial about his disease chip away. There's no moment this happens, it's a slow process, and you don't realize Ron's growth until after the fact. He starts out as a stubborn, resourceful, scared, lost man and ends as a still stubborn, still resoureful...but resilient, brave, strong willed survivor brilliantly portrayed by McConaugheyLeto as a transgender woman, transforms physically, but that's not what is so amazing about his performance. He takes a character that could have easily became a caricature and stereotype, and creates a poignant and funny person who you grow to love and shed legitimate tears for in the end.

And she's fabulous

Overall Consensus: I felt these characters (Ahem Captain Phillips) and was so moved by this film. McConaughey and Leto are fully deserving of their nominations, and Leto should definitely win. I loved the Ron/Rayon relationship dynamic, and I loved the whole "Dallas Buyers Club" club. Despite it's subject, this movie transcends just being "about AIDS"...and despite how I described it initially, it's not about a man who "get's HIV". It's about human resilience and survival, and most importantly learning about the world around you and the people who inhabit it no matter who they are. It doesn't quite reach Best Picture, but this is a great movie.


Her was weird.Nothing wrong with weird, but I'll say it again...Her was WEIRD. AND I loved it.

I don't know what it was...maybe it was the small things like the slightly futuristic setting, Joaquin's mustache, Scarlett's voice, or the crude/adorable video game character, but this movie was so charming and sad...in a weird, weird, weird way.

Did I mention it was weird?

The reason I liked Her the best -and what set it apart from the other movies nominated- is it made me THINK. About everything. Relationships, how we grow and adapt as human beings, what are our limits as humans, communication in this age of technology, why we fall in love, what are the boundaries of love and what draws the line for intimacy?  I haven't thought that much watching a movie in who knows how long. Her didn't ask me to think, it wasn't pretentious or anything....it was just plain fascinating.

I'm actually surprised that Phoenix didn't get a nomination. He has three noms under his belt already (Gladiator, Walk the Line, and The Master), I would think him as a shoe in, especially for a performance as good as his. Olivia Wilde's character said it best "You're a creepy dude"...and he was REALLY creepy in the most adorable,and at the same time, unnerving way possible. Theodore wasn't really likable, actually he was a self absorbed as hell, but you felt his struggle throughout his relationship with Samantha and his relationship with his wife. A very vulnerable and honest performance. Likewise, Scarlett Johannson as Samantha was extremely engaging for a just a voice. Now that was a struggle you felt without being to empathize at all...unless you're a computer program with no body reading this, then I'm sure you know how that feels.

*Que virtual tear falling*

Her is a love story, a dark and poignant love story that also manages to make you optimistic about love and the ability to move on despite heartbreak. I know that doesn't make sense and is contradicting, but I left the theater feeling good about life despite the melancholy tone. It was an intimate movie, where despite being in a theater full of people, you (and you alone) were transported into the world Spike Jonze created.

Overall Consensus: Out of all the nominees, Her is the one to rule them all. Clever, imaginative, funny, sad, thought provoking, weird, absurd, philosophical, heartfelt AND heartbreaking...so many things in this film that remind you that movies can be truly great and make you feel. Even if it doesn't win, you should see this film. Out of every film on the list, Her is the only one I want everyone to see and 100% recommend.

OMG! THERE'S A POLL! Who do you think should win best picture? Vote now!