JH You ready?
CD Yup. As I said, not seen this before. I’m aware of the comic where the main character does nothing but phones people.
JH I’m jealous you’re seeing it for the first time. I haven’t seen it since probably highschool, but still, you’re headed into a special place. As I recall, this is kind of like the first time you watch the Garbage Pail Kids film.
CD Which I have
JH I suspect Warren Beatty gave himself more to do than call people but I don’t remember really.
CD Touchstone. I don’t readily associate them with anything. It’s like Fox=Alien, etc
JH A neutral releasing company. I think that was their logo.
CD Yes. That makes sense
CD Is this music Danny Elfman?
JH It sure sounds like it.
CD Offcuts from Batman? Hell of a cast. Mandy Patinkin. Great actor
JH Ah, yeah, there it is. Elfman with touches of Sondheim.
JH Everyone is in this movie. These miniatures are incredible.
CD I remember it having a massive budget
JH This must have been a favor they owed him for something else, Beatty. It must have been a weirdo pet project.
CD I’d throw a cat.
JH These faces, man.
CD They remind me of something else. Maybe when electric guy explodes in Big Trouble in Little China
JH Definitely that. Also that one movie where Dan Akroyd plays a gross slug guy?
CD Don’t remember that. “A little trouble downtown”? Must be his age. Worried we won’t recognise our boy Tolkan
JH Oh that’s true, he could look like almost anything. Such a beautiful world where criminaals look like a different species. It’s almost like a late-stage alien invasion movie.
CD Yeah. Like Aliennation or something (I know they weren’t invaders, but they were integrated)
CD This guy looks like he could have bred with a Deep One in the Cthulhu mythos
JH This movie is NOT afraid of colors. I have a lot of respect for them lighting contiguous spaces in deeply different ways.
CD What’s the betting they got an old German Expressionist guy to do the lighting. Watched a documentary on adverts, and they were on about a black and white beer commercial. The film crew were shocked at this old boy turning up and lighting everything with colour. When they saw the results though, they understood.
JH I wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled in some old heads. I know folks go bonkers over the current wave of comic book movies, but for me this is what a comic book film should be like. It’s definitely the thing that Robert Rodriguez wanted to do with Sin City, but done mostly practically.
CD There’s a Vincent Price film that is in colour (Master of the World, I think), but I think it was lit for black and white.
CD I can imagine being able to light like this is a lost art
JH They released it in color? It is crazy?
CD I don’t know that it was not meant to be colour, but there was something about the way a lot of it was lit. The shadows seemed heavy.
JH I’ll have to check that out.
CD I doubt Pacino put the effort into this he did for Dog Day Afternoon. This is actually a visually appealing film.
JH He seems to be hitting roughly the same volume at least.
JH Yeah I could look at this all day. Maybe not ALL day. For a few hours. Two. The runtime of the film.
CD Have you ever seen Pushing Daisies? They do similar with the colours, but the lighting isn’t of this standard.
JH I haven’t. I recently watched Six Feet Under which I thought was going to be Pushing Daisies, but it’s not.
JH He IS doing a lot of talking to people on his watch.
CD Is that Tolkan in the blue? And who’s the old fella?
JH I looked him up and he plays a guy named Numbers but that’s not really helpful. Mumbles I recognize.
CD It’s Dustin Hoffman.
JH This movie has to have been impossibly expensive. With this cast and these sets and all this makeup?
CD And the egos… Imagine dealing with the egos…
JH I wonder if it helps or hurts that it’s the star directing them.
CD Could… THERE’S OUR BOY
JH WHICH ONE?
JH OH I SEE I SEE. Still charming through all that makeup.
CD The man, the legend…
JH You think that was his only line? Probably.
CD Was that Kathy Bates?
JH I think so? They’re sparing no expense on bit parts even. This might be the biggest crossover event in the history of cinema.
CD People banged on about Heat…. But that had nothing on this.
JH Is Patinkin the piano player? Does he have zero lines?
CD Not sure. Looks a little like him. He did seem high on the cast list. The light doesn’t hide Beatty’s age as much as he thinks he does.
JH This Madonna outfit is pretty racy for a movie that I think is aimed at kids.
CD A little something for the dads…
JH It’s also funny that Beatty is basically the only one with a real skin face besides young woman and the kid. So there’s really nothing else to reveal anyone’s age.
CD Tracy hoping that someone’s been fingering those nuts. Dick van Dyke! Tried to introduce my son to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but he’s too young – kids’ patience is shorter now
JH Too young for a flying car? So sad. They must have spent so long lighting this.
CD They have so much accessible media. As a kid, I had to wait for stuff I wanted to see to come on TV – no video, no DVD, no streaming, so when it was on, I stuck with it.
JH Oh man, yeah, I never thought about that. Growing up with everything on demand!
CD Hell, when I was young, TV stopped at midnight and they played God Save The Queen, then the announcer said goodnight
JH I love that. Over here they’d show the “indian head” which never didn’t seem kinda weird. A guy in a feather headdress.
CD Our most famous test card was a girl playing noughts and crosses with a clown doll
JH That sounds much cuter.
JH Also mayyybe creepy?
CD https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test_Card_F#/media/File:Testcard_F.jpg And when the TV broke, they showed a potter’s wheel
JH Oh definitely creepy.
CD Another nice shot
JH Is this the Sondheim swinging in? Or is this weirdly normal-sounding Elfman?
CD He’s going for retro I think, not his usual bombast
JH Oh yeah I guess Sondheim just wrote the songs Madonna is singing?
CD Possibly. Was the script written on a cigarette packet?
JH I would buy that. Both that idea and that cigarette packet.
CD Our boy there right at the front. Have you seen Punisher: Warzone? Jigsaw could easily have fit in this.
JH I love Punisher: Warzone. Similarly bonkers.
CD Yes. It got slated, but it’s great fun.
JH This has to be Mandy at the piano.
CD I haven’t seen anyone else it could be.
JH Incredible. It’s really everyone.
CD The old detective. Sure I know him. Proper character actor.
JH Yeah but can you recognize Pruneface?
JH If this movie cost less than a Thor movie I’m gonna spit.
CD I think it was famously a big loser at the box office.
JH I bet. I can’t imagine that a movie this weird would be a smash.
CD Should have hired a decent scriptwrite and dropped one of the big names. I mean, was that it for James Caan?
JH MAYBE he has one other scene, right? I bet that cost them $80k.
CD “I am the law”? Judge Dredd wants his line back (don’t you DARE mention Stallone… other than some of the art design, that was balls)
JH Yeah, but how do you feel about the more recent Dredd movie?
CD Loved it. Had Chopper references, belly wheels, loads of little touches for the 2000AD addict like me. Also, Matt Berry on the soundtrack.
JH Same. So fun. And yeah, Snuffbox theme is maybe the only song in the whole film.
CD If you can find, it… Oh, was about to mention Snuffbox. Didn’t know if it had travelled. Loved that show.
JH Yeah. Very good. I found it streaming somewhere randomly, but I’ll watch mostly anything Matt Berry I come across. I make everyone watch at least the moment where he kicks the poodle.
CD Flat top is based on an older actor, I’m sure. Not sure who.
JH I can’t pin him. He seems like he has to be someone, though.
CD Was going to say, love the Snuff Box bits where he helps a young lady out until she mentions her boyfriend.
JH My favorite.
CD And Elton John and his heart pills.
JH I keep thinking that Al Pacino is Joe Flaherty (spelling?).
CD Don’t worry. The one thing I check is spelling. With Tracy being a Golden Era hero, would he really cheat on someone?
JH I can’t imagine. But that’s the role of the femme fatale, right? Madonna’s pushing for it REAL HARD.
CD I think it’s easy to forget just how attractive she really was.
JH Yeah there’s so much culture around her, and commentary. Now that’s a beautiful shot of the tram station.
CD And that’s Mandy. Would love to see a breakdown of actor’s fees to screen time.
JH There we go. I would love to pore over the full spreadsheet for this thing. How much on lamps, how much on paint,, how much building fake cars, how much restoring real old cars.
CD Without sounding obsequious, I did like what you did with the style of Soft Matter. Plus, I think you did well with your lead.
JH Thank you. I appreciate that. I try to play with colors and stuff, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go as far as these guys did.
CD You know what would be interesting? Watching this in black and white.
JH For sure. I wonder how much would just disappear. So many of these colors feel like they’re roughly the same brightness but SO saturated.
CD I think, when this came out, I would have had a black and white portable still, for my Spectrum. TVs should have a black and white button. Unless they do and I’m ignorant of the fact.
JH I love that idea. I guess you could go into your settings and desaturate, but it wouldn’t be a thing you could flip in and out of. I just looked and Flat Top is William Forsythe. Because of course he is.
CD Ah. It’s actually obvious now!
JH This film might contain Pacino’s best eyeball work.
CD Might find the makeup meant he had to!
JH He could just be trying to see I suppose.
CD Was just looking at the cast of Groundhog day to find someone’s name, and found Michael Shannon is in it!
JH WHAT? As who?
JH Ah yes. Fred.
CD Not to be confused with Ned.
JH Fred Ryerson. Freedlenose Fred.
CD Don’t remember him.
JH Oh, no, that’s Ned. Ned Ryerson. I don’t know who Fred is.
CD Didn’t I say “Not to be confused with Ned”.
JH Oh sorry. I got confused.
CD Heh. That step’s a doozy.
JH Who’s the guy with the ears? I know his face too.
CD That’s who I was trying to find out. Think he might have been in Groundhog day, but was the tramp who dies in the drain in Scrooged
JH OH YES. I feel like I should know this already from years of Dick Tracy existing but is he an actual cop or is he a PI? I always assumed he was out on his own, with just watch-phone based associates, but it seems like he’s a normal detective in this. A normal detective in the most visible coat he could afford. I know he doesn’t have lines and just stands places, but Tolkan is good casting for Numbers.
CD Not sure what’s going on with laptop so temporarily on phone…
JH Do you need to pause?
CD Should be OK in a mo. Restarting.
CD That ship shot was nice too. This could have been good. I think they went overboard on the cast and the style and forgot the basics
JH Gorgeous. The painted moon? The huge pool of actual water? Awesome. It does seem like they’re overreaching. This must have ridden the wake of Burton’s Batman, right? But they blew every aspect of production up until it was too much to pay off.
CD Yes. I was expecting this to be a review like MotU, but like a lot of Corking Movies reviews, it’s not been that way. This has been more of a discussion of film.
JH It is like MotU in that there’s no way this film would EVER make its money back. Touchstone was clearly more of a stable environment able to take that hit than Cannon.
CD I do have Electric Boogaloo to watch at some point. The history of Cannon intrigues me.
JH What if MotU is the most inspirational film ever made? Could it be?
CD I am inspired not to make a film that bad.
JH You should double-feature that doc and the one that the Cannon guys put out at the same time.
CD That would be interesting. Mandy Patinkin is such a good actor that even in a small moment, you can tell.
JH It’s pretty impressive that he’s able to play a guy who doesn’t feel too small for the movie, where everyone is screaming through wild applications, and he can still really put a human element in his character.
CD Yes. In a way, he reminds me of John Cazale. He doesn’t want or need the limelight. He’s happy to be the mirror that the big stars reflect off.
JH He seems happy to be there and act. Which everyone must be a little, but like, Beatty wanted to direct this and star in it, right? So there’s something else going on there. Patinkin is just gonna show up and do his job.
CD I didn’t watch all of Homeland, but he was fantastic in that (and in Dead Like Me). Every role he plays has a real humanity to it.
JH I’m so bad at TV. I need to get more into it.
CD There’s so much rubbish to wade through though, but even the bad stuff sinks its hooks in. “Just one more episode, see if x escapes y”
JH That’s what’s so scary to me about it. I feel like if I start a movie I’ll be out in a few hours no matter what. I have a lot of trouble dropping out of a show partway through.
CD I really enjoyed Daredevil and Cage, but then there’s Defenders and I feel like I need to watch the others to get to season two of Cage. And as for Walking Dead, every now and then, I see a trailer and think “I should get back into this”. Fortunately, I’ve shaken that – it’s a soap opera with tedious montages.
JH It’s so much easier for me to get into a show that’s already ended because then at least I know how much I’m in for.
CD Is Brandon the cop in Dog Day Afternoon? I Know he’s one of those actors in a million films.
JH He’s definitely in a bunch of Coen Brothers films. But I don’t think I know his name.
CD There’s a bloke in the cast called Pat Patton. That was my friend’s dad’s name when he was a pro wrestler over here (I was fortunate enough to count him among my friends. An absolute top bloke).
JH David Huddleston. I just looked him up. He’s in all kinds of things. WHAT? That’s incredible. I’m going to look for his matches on youtube as soon as we finish this.
CD He was fantastic. Local legend. The church was overspilling when he passed.
JH No chance it’s actually him in this film, huh?
CD No. Never acted, but his friend Pat Roach did. In at least the first two Indiana Jones films (two roles in Raiders)
JH There’re always good roles out there for wrestlers I think.
CD The guy I was thinking of was Charles Durning and was in Dog Day Afternoon
JH Yes Charles Durning.
CD Pat Roach was the German air force mechanic who got chopped by the propellers. He went to my friend’s house a few times and my friend was scared of him… after all, he’d seen him trying to kill Indiana Jones
JH Oh man! There are few moments as iconic as that. Getting punched into a propellor by Indy? So good.
CD Yeah. I never met him personally. Was weird realising just who this fellow who was my friend’s dad (and who I worked for at a pub) was, and the life he’d lead.
JH I hope that someday people are surprised to learn about my life. There’s nothing nicer you could say about the guy.
CD How much did this scene cost! You made a film… That’s a big deal. And that was the image they used to sell this.
JH Do you think this is based on a run in the comic strips? It was a newspaper strip, right, not a comic book?
CD Yeah. I think it was one of those where they extended it past what it could carry, lengthwise. Like when a film is obviously based on a short story
JH It feels like they had enough plot for a short film and then filled the space with famous people.
CD Absolutely! I mean, what is the real threat? A gangster wants to take over the mob in the city? Great.
JH The whole segment where Tracy’s in jail seems to serve to show that the threat is just that when Dick Tracy isn’t doing stuff things get out of balance.
CD Might be one of those where he’s ended up causing more trouble…
JH The city is fine but messy but when he’s gone it’s very bad.
CD The villains are only doing everyday villain stuff until he gets involved.
JH Yeah they’re extorting or something. Snatching purses. It’s pretty low-grade criminal activity.
CD Yes. They’re not trying to poison the city with Laughx or whatever it was called.(sober edit – Smilex – “Love that Joker”)
JH Or like where Danny DeVito is taking over the government and Walken is bombing everyone or whatever. Definitely a different scale.
CD They were doing whatever criminals normally do in real life.
JH It seems like they were really just banking on scale as the sell for the film. Don’t you want to see these sets? Don’t you want to see these people in crazy makeup?
CD Even the personal attacks are only happening because he got involved.
CD Have you seen the Addams family set in colour (I may have mentioned it before)
JH No I have not.
CD It’s all sorts of mad colours. Was designed to look good in black and white. Old designers knew how to make colour stuff to appear good in black and white.
JH I love that. I bet the process involves a lot of black and white polaroids.
CD Yeah. I would like to see actors in black and white films in colour photos. They were made up to accentuate shadow etc.
JH For sure. Especially noirs and stuff where it’s deeply dramatic.
CD “Hey, I’ve spent the whole film trying to get off with Madonna. Glad you’re OK”
JH That’s both Beatty and Tracy talking there.
CD Aye. According to my fiancee, he treated her like dirt during this, and when they had a spell together
JH Your fiancee? Or Madonna?
CD Heh. Madonna. Otherwise I’d be round there giving Beatty a taste of shoe pie.
JH That’s too bad.
CD Again, that scene with the clock works and stuff. Beautiful. Would have been great in black and white
JH Amazing. The set is so crazy. The lighting is so dramatic.
CD And now the overlaid fireworks look rubbish.
JH Don’t they always? You should definitely do a black and white coloring on this movie and put it on vimeo or something.
CD Nuts. I wrote a short story, and at the end, the hero gives a kid who comes to his aid a communicator watch. It’s already published, but I need to rewrite it.
JH They RIPPED YOU OFF.
JH Sue Beatty.
CD Beatty has no kind of moral centre in this. He’s not likeable, or heroic, or honest or anything.
JH He’s vaguely a supercop or something, but yeah. He’ll kiss anyone, he hates the kid, he doesn’t treat anyone well or respect his coworkers.
CD Was THAT his proposal? I wrote a short story, got it published in an anthology and stuff
JH “Eyy, why not?” – Tracy proposing.
CD Did I miss what happened to James Caan?
JH Yeah they could only afford to get him to one location for one afternoon, that’s what happened to him.
CD I think I need to check the IMDB trivia for this. Dick Van Dyke had about 30 seconds. Apparently every birthday, Charles Bronson baked him a cake.
JH Also definitely a one-day shoot. How did they know each other? Just show business in general?
CD They lived nearby
JH That’s SO lovely.
CD Bronson, badass and baker.
JH Yeah but were the cakes any good?
CD I think Dick Van Dyke is still alive, so can’t have been too bad. Or did he die recently?
JH Still kicking. I waited until the credits but I looked up the kid because I recognized him (from Hook it turns out) but he’s apparently a lawyer now.
CD I can imagine this would put you off acting as a kid. Working with all of these actors, I can imagine wasn’t easy. Imagine messing up when you’re in a scene with Pacino and Beatty?
JH Ooof, that would be horrifying. Pacino all making huge eyeballs at you, furious that he can’t take his face off yet.
CD Aye. I wonder which actors are more accepting of kids.
JH I bet Pacino is chiller with kids than Beatty.
CD I reckon you’re right. By the way, that was one of those films that I don’t really remember the narrative having any real effect on me.
JH I bet James Tolkan teaches kids on set how to gamble and do tricks with lighters. I don’t remember the narrative at all and it’s just ended. This movie is about fake cities and gross faces and yellow hats.
CD Yeah. Amongst the screeners I’ve had, there’s been a few like that. No real story to grab you. I don’t get how some films get made. There’s no love of cinema evident – you can tell nobody involved is enjoying themselves, it’s obvious the script only had one draft
JH It must have, at some point, been a project that somebody cared about, but early in the process it ballooned out of control for sure.
CD Have you seen the documentary about Isle of Dr.Moreau? That really started as a passion project by Richard Stanley. He made two great films – Hardware, which I’ve watched so many times, and Dust devil. Then he wanted to make Dr.Moreau. It spiralled out of his hands because of inexperience.
JH I haven’t. That’s so strange. Hardware is brilliant, but I haven’t seen Dust Devil. I’d love to see a Moreau on the scale of Hardware.
CD His initial designs were fantastic. He’d created a horrifying world.
JH I bet.
CD Brando was really onboard, by all accounts, but when it came to it, and he and Kilmer were on set, it became a battle of egos that Stanley was ill equipped to deal with. Speaking of Kilmer, have you seen his bits in The Iceman? Worth watching for shock value. He’s dubbed, and a lot is shot from behind – it may not even be him.
JH So strange. Is that a sequel based on his Top Gun character?
CD Heh. No. It’s a Scandinavian murder thing with Michael Fassbender.
JH Is Fassbender dubbed?
CD No. It’s all in English with a largely English cast.
JH Did they just dub Kilmer because he couldn’t do the lines?
CD Yep. Apparently he was ill
CD Well, Jeff Goldblum was largely dubbed in The Sentinel.
JH I suspect there’s a lot more dubbing going on in general than I have any idea about.
CD A lot of adverts where it’s just a voiceover are dubbed. Cheaper to get the actor’s permission and hire an impersonator.
JH Makes sense.
CD Although the form of this review has been different, it’s been highly enjoyable again
JH Agreed. This film doesn’t have the electrical content of a MotU but I certainly enjoyed it much more with your digital company than I would have alone.
CD Maybe we should do something more obviously ‘wrong’ in the future? Howard the Duck maybe?
JH I’m fine with that direction. I will warn you that as far as I remember I love that particular film.
CD Tim Robbins at his best.
JH Plus a duck you can tell is a small guy in a suit. That’s my jam.
CD It’s been fun and I’ll speak to you soon. It’s been a blast.
JH And I have dinner waiting for me. But it’s been great. Let’s do it again.
CD Enjoy dinner. Thank you for joining me.
JH Thank you.