1. When Steven Spielberg showed John Williams the cut of Schindler’s List (1993), he was so moved that he could barely speak and had to excuse himself from the room for a few minutes. When he returned he told Spielberg the movie needed a better composer. Spielberg simply replied, “I know. But they’re all dead.”
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the most nominated film series in the history of the Oscars, with its 3 films collecting 30 nominations. Before 2003 the highest was The Godfather series with 28, with the Star Wars series in a close second at 21.
3. Did you know that WALL-E’s name actually stands for something? It’s Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth Class. EVE’s is Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator.
4. You’ll probably never look at the Alien (1979) monster the same after this… The tendons in his ferocious jaws were created with shredded condoms.
5. When Coco (2017) was released in Brazil they changed the title (and character’s name) to “Viva” because in Portuguese “cocô” is “poop.”
6. Most of us are familiar with the Citizen Kane (1941) and the fuss surrounding that movie. However, when it opened it was a box office flop and it was booed every time one of its nine nominations was announced at the 1941 Academy Awards. It wasn’t until the mid-50’s that it was re-released and began to become accepted by critics and viewers. Today it often sits at #1, or at least in the top 10, on “greatest movie” lists.
7. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) was inspired by a real-life relationship. Robert Keppel is retired today, but he was a law enforcement officer and University of Washington criminology professor and profiler. He not only studied serial killers like Ted Bundy, he also got Bundy to help him investigate the Green River Serial Killings in Washington, which lead to catching Gary Ridgway who plead guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first degree murder.
9. The first Pixar movie to reach the $1 billion mark was Toy Story 3 (2010).
10. You may not have heard of the German-born actor Til Schweiger, but he starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009). According to Tarantino, Til had always refused to wear a Nazi uniform for a movie role, but he agreed to do it in this one because he got to kill Nazis.
11. You may have also never heard of the movie Metropolis (1927), but it was a highly influential silent film. It inspired the name of the city Superman continually saved, and it brought us the look of C-3P0.
12. Robert Zemeckis used Norman Rockwell paintings to inspire shots of the fictional Greenbow, Alabama in Forrest Gump (1994). The scene where he’s sitting outside of the principal’s office as his mother speaks to the principal was a recreation of Rockwell’s “Girl With a Black Eye.”
13. One of James Stewart’s most popular movies is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). It was not, however, popular with some. Congressmen, senators, and other politicians in Washington didn’t appreciate that it insinuated corruption in their ranks (eye roll). Many fascist states in Europe also banned the film because it showed that democracy works.
14. In 2013 the Coen Brothers saw posters for The Big Lebowski (1998) in a movie theater in San Francisco. Ethan asked a teenage girl he saw there what was going on. She told him about how the theater was showing nightly screenings of the movie and that many people would come dressed in costumes portraying some of the characters. According to Joel Coen, she went on to add, “You should come. You’ll like it. It’s fun,” having no idea these were the two men who’d made the movie.
15. 3-D movies were a thing in the 50’s as well as today and Alfred Hitchcock shot one of his movies in this format: Dial M for Murder (1954). But the 3-D technology of the time was limited. There’s a close-up of a finger dialing 6 (or “M”) that the 3-D camera couldn’t focus on close-up. So Hitchcock ordered a giant phone dial and a giant wooden finger to get the 3-D effect he wanted for that shot.
16. In Life of Brian (1979), 6 cast members played 40 different characters.
17. Steve McQueen was the first black director of a movie awarded best picture at the Academy Awards for 12 Years a Slave (2013). The first black director to have his movie receive a nomination for the category was Quincy Jones (The Color Purple, 1985).
18. Not only is a groundhog featured in the movie Groundhog Day (1993), an entire family of groundhogs were raised specifically for the making of the movie.
19. It was very intentional for Belle to be a lover of books in Beauty and the Beast (1991). Not only was it used to depict her as intelligent—a characteristic not shown in prior Disney princesses—it was also intended to emphasize the film’s theme: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
20. In Brooklyn (2015), Saoirse Ronan’s character is born in Ireland and makes a big move to Brooklyn, NY. In real life, she was born in Brooklyn, NY and moved when she was young to Ireland.
Congratulations Brooklyn. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Aside from Ronan, I think the best actress would be Cate Blanchett as Marissa Wiegler in Hanna.
Best Actor: I really liked Emory Cohen (I had to look up his name) in Brooklyn, so let’s give him the nod this week.
Best Quote: “I just missed your heart.” — Saoirse Ronan as Hanna in Hanna.
And, here are my favourite Ireland-based movies, followed by my favourite immigrant-based movies:
Top 7 Favourite Ireland-Related Movies
- Far and Away (1992)
- The Boxer (1997)
- Song of the Sea (2014)
- In the Name of the Father (1993)
- Sing Street (2016)
- Once (2007)
- My Left Foot (1989)
Top 8 Favourite Immigrant-Related Movies
- Brooklyn (2015)
- An American Tale (1986)
- Gran Torino (2008)
- Avalon (1990)
- Children of Men (2006)
- Gangs of New York (2009)
- District 9 (2002) — It’s metaphoric, but still…
- The Godfather Part II (1974)