Republicans seem a bit investigation-shy these days, don’t they? Well, as you might remember from election season, that wasn’t always the case. During Bill Clinton’s administration, House Republicans even called for an inquiry into Socks, the First Cat.
Socks was a fairly normal cat, and by most accounts, he seemed to be a good and cute boy. Adopted by Chelsea Clinton as a lost kitten, he enjoyed the things that most cats do: catnip (which press photographers used to lure him closer on the White House lawn), skulking around the grounds, and loathing his canine counterpart, Buddy the dog.
So what was Socks’s crime? For Indiana GOP representative Dan Burton, Socks himself wasn’t the issue. The problem was that constituents liked Socks so much, in fact, that they were sending him mail. Of course, since most of the letter writers were children, the White House would respond from Socks.
And Burton wanted to know why taxpayers were fronting Socks’s postage.
The Chicago Tribune reported on Burton’s “concern” in 1995. (If you’d like a quick character summary on Burton, he stopped using the House gym after Rep. Barney Frank came out as gay in 1987.)
Here’s an excerpt from the letter he sent to the Clintons:
As a member of the new Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, I would like to inquire what the standard practice is for the White House to respond to mail directed to ‘Socks,’ your cat. How many of these inquiries were responded to over the past two years? Who pays for the postage? If it comes out of the White House mail budget, why are the taxpayers being made to pay for your feline’s fan club?
Seems like a lot!
Burton also suggested that the Clintons follow the precedent of Barbara Bush, who wrote a White House book from the perspective of her dog Millie, then donated proceeds to pay for the cost of Millie’s personal correspondence.
Hillary Clinton did, in fact, compile a book of letters written to Socks and Buddy in 1998. However, proceeds from Dear Socks, Dear Buddy were donated to the National Park Foundation.
In the end, of course, nothing came of Burton’s inquiry. A completely unaware Socks got off scot-free and a lot of delighted kids received taxpayer-funded letters from their favorite cat.
Incidentally, an Arizona newspaper study ranked Burton the fifth-biggest user of free Congressional mail in 2007, which many considered to be abusing the privilege.
As far as we know, Socks the cat who was enjoying an idyllic Chesapeake Bay retirement at the time did not inquire into Burton’s $190,000 expenses.
Its hard to find a legitimately bad flagship phone these days. Sure, one peeks its head out from time to time, but on a whole most phones are pretty good. The screens, the cameras, the internals. There are always a few bits that could use improving (see: battery and durability), but the gulf between good and bad isnt any near where it once was.
And for the past several generations, most flagship devices even more or less look the same. Sure, the fingerprint reader/home button gets moved around here or there, but most casual observers probably couldnt pick a non-iPhone/Galaxy out of a lineup. Perhaps its a matter of copied intellectual property, or maybe there really is an ideal form factor for a pocket-sized communication device thats mostly screen.
Its tough to distinguish yourself when youre not a top-tier smartphone company a qualifier that, in the States at least, seems to apply to pretty much everyone who isnt a Samsung or Apple. Given how cut throat the overcrowded industry can be when youre not in the two top (and, lets be honest, even if you are), its no surprise that the many companies seem to be looking increasingly toward distinguishing factors.
Gimmicks arent bad in and of themselves. After all, once it hits mainstream acceptance, its not really a gimmick anymore. Its a standard feature. Take waterproofing. When a handful of manufacturers started dipping their phones in aquariums at trade shows, it initially seemed like a cry for attention. But we kind of all secretly wantedone. A few years later, its a no-brainer for flagships because its not just about going snorkeling, its about getting caught in a downpour and, yes, accidentally dunking the thing in the toilet.
Sometimes a bag full of dry rice just isnt enough.
The flipside of that is the Alcatels A5 LED. Its the phone equivalent of those L.A. Lights shoes from the 90s, with heels that flashed every time they hitthe ground. Its a hail Mary pass of sorts and a tacit acknowledgement that maybe smartphones arent much more than big, expensive toys.
A good gimmick, on the other hand, is one that actually brings something to the experience of owning a phone. Its a rare moment of thinking outside the box that, if pulled off successfully, can actually be a cause to rethink things. LGs own numbers have stumbled a bit, but thats not for lack of interesting ideas. The company was among the first to introduce a dual-lens camera (the V20) and to offer a taller form-factor (G6), both of which are becoming standard features in flagships.
Of course, those handsets are also great examples of how a good gimmick alone isnt enough to make a phone a success. An even more obvious example comes in the form of the G5. The handset was released at what seemed the height of interest in modular phones. But the result was downright disastrous, with the phone shouldering much of the blame of the companys resulting financial straits. That didnt, however, mean that modularity is doomed to failure. Announced not all that long after the G5, Motorola/Lenovos Moto Z line has been a marked success for the company. Its already announced millions sold an accomplishment for a line many simply wrote off at launch.
The differences between the execution of the phones is pretty stark. For starters, the Z is a solid piece of hardware, an object lesson in that fact that you cant rest on gimmick alone. The magnetic power system is also the best modular execution to date. And then theres the fact that the phone launched with multiple useful mods. Like a game console needs games, a modularity phone without mods is a pretty usefulness proposition.
Of course, singular success for Motorola does not translate to a game changer in this case. Other companies are likely flirting more with the idea of modularity, but its not like several other companies rushed out to launch their own modular solution in the past year.
The jury is still out on the HTC U11. Even more so, really, as the phone hasnt even hit the market. For now, though, Edge Sense seems like little more than a gimmick. The actual functionality it brings to the handset is limited at best. The company has promised more uses for the squeezable sides moving forward, but the ability to launch apps isnt the sort of compelling feature that drives users to buy phones.
Theres nothing wrong with a gimmick, so long as it isnt a gimmick for its own sake. To be successful, it needs to bea meaningful feature that adds usefulfunctionality to a device, executed in a way that doesnt detract from the rest of the phone experience. And its important not to be myopic. Manufacturers cant rest on its laurels and skimp on the rest of the hardware and software.
Otherwise, you might as well be selling light up sneakers.
On this weeks Technotopia I interviewed Cindy Gallop, the outspoken TED speaker and found of MakeLoveNotPorn. Cindy worked tirelessly to bring SexTech and FemTech out of the shadows and shes bringing all her attention to bear on the creation of technology that will bring us closer together and make us happier something few founders think about.
Gallop believes that the toys we see that are supposed to represent the cutting edge in SexTech are just the beginning. She is also working hard to educate the world about the difference between lovemaking and porn and how, while both have their place, lovemaking is far more fun and constructive. We teach our children to be good people in the wider world, she says, but why wont we teach them how to be good people in bed?
Gallop is currently raising a fund to help female entrepreneurs and SexTech inventors so listen in to see how you can help.
Fidget spinners are a fun, relaxing fount of mindless entertainment. But are they really more than a cheap toy?
Some experts say no. Despite marketing claims, there’s no research that shows the wildly popular spinners are therapeutic tools for people with anxiety, autism, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
“I know there’s lots of similar toys … and there’s basically no scientific evidence that those things work across the board,” Scott Kollins, a clinical psychologist and professor at Duke University, told NPR on Sunday.
That doesn’t mean the three-pronged plastic phenomena don’t provide any real benefits, or that parents and educators are wrong when they say it helps some children focus in the classroom. But retailers may be stretching the truth when they label these devices as treatments for fidgety behavior, minuscule attention spans, or discomfort in a classroom setting.
“It’s important for parents and teachers who work with kids who have ADHD to know that there are very well studied and documented treatments that work, and that they’re out there, so there’s not really quick and easy fixes like buying a toy,” Kollins told NPR.
About 11 percent of U.S. children between the ages of 4 and 17 or 6.4 million kids have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Their parents often search for help beyond the typical medication, which might make them more vulnerable to marketing efforts that falsely lump these toys in the category of evaluated, proven solutions that help students focus and learn.
Another expert had a similarly skeptical view of fidget spinners.
“Using a spinner-like gadget is more likely to serve as a distraction than a benefit for individuals with ADHD,” Mark Rapport, a clinical psychologist at the University of Central Florida who has studied the benefits of movement on attention in people with ADHD, told LiveScience earlier this month.
Still, parents and some developmental specialists have defended fidget spinners, even as teachers and schools banned them from the classroom for being too disruptive. Proponents argue that, under the right circumstances, spinners and devices like them can soothe an anxious student or calm a hyperactive mind.
“These little gadgets should be called fidget tools, not toys, and they can be part of a successful strategy for managing fidgety behavior if they are introduced as a normal part of the classroom culture,” Claire Heffron, a pediatric occupational therapist in Cleveland, recently told the Washington Post.
A 2015 study found that students with ADHD performed better on a computerized attention test the more intensely they fidgeted. Children without ADHD, meanwhile, did not improve their test score with fidgeting.
But Julie Schweitzer, the study’s author and a clinical psychologist at the University of California at Davis, said it’s too early to know whether fidget spinners could deliver similar results.
“We need to study them to find if they make a difference and for whom,” Schweitzer told the Post.
Cosplay — we’re used to seeing it on Halloween, at comic conventions, and of course in the filthiest recesses of the internet. But while most cosplayers are content to just chill at conventions as Stormtrooper #8, some eccentric pioneers are trying to discover new ways to play their cos’es. They’re no heroes — they just dress like them.
Lottery Winners In China Accept Their Checks In Costume
In China, lottery winners have to appear in public to accept their giant novelty check. Many are uncomfortable doing so, as most people like to avoid letting every criminal and deadbeat cousin know they’re rich as fuck now. This results in some people who show up looking like a poltergeist in an L.L. Bean catalog:
via EgoTV If you’ve ever wondered how Cobra Command makes their money.
But others decide to go a little crazier. After all, money’s about to become a non-issue for them. Case in point, one guy showed up as Baymax, the inflatable robot from Disney’s Big Hero 6. Either that or he’s cosplaying the Michelin Man after losing some weight.
via The Daily Dot “I am Baymax, your personal healthcare companion. Please don’t rob me.”
Another lucky winner showed up as Mickey Mouse to collect his cheddar:
And two guys came dressed as those two Transformers trying to start up a Daft Punk cover band.
One person showed up in this baffling bear costume, which looks more like the love child of Pikachu and that blowjob-ghost from The Shining.
Though we must admit, our lives do feel richer knowing that, once upon a time, Winnie The Pooh’s meth-head cousin held a press conference to claim his gambling money.
And they say millionaires never do anything for the little people.
Batman And Robin Battled Spider-Man In An MMA Fight
It took longer than expected, but someone finally tried to put an end to the age-old playground debates of which superhero could kick which other superhero’s ass. Recently, a superhero-themed MMA fight from the U.K was unearthed, showing a kickboxing match between a ’60s-style Batman and a molten action figure-style Spider-Man, and the result is less of an epic war between gods than a lackluster Halloween-themed Fight Club.
In the right corner, Batman — who, being a gentleman, doesn’t dip into his utility belt, but, less gentlemanly, did bring along his youthful ward to gang up on the web-slinger.
In the left, an alternate-dimension Peter Parker who kept on wrestling after Ben’s murder and is all in on kicking some serious billionaire ass —
— destroying the Dynamic Duo almost as badly as Joel Schumacher did.
Of course, it’s a pretty sad sight to see our beloved childhood heroes brawling like common pee-wee hockey parents — so it’s important to remember that all of this isn’t real, a fact that is abundantly clear by the time a half-dressed Riddler shows up to save Batman’s bacon.
A British Man Had A Costume-Filled Funeral
You know what’s really depressing at funerals? Everyone’s wearing black. In 2013, a Newcastle man overturned that depressing dress code by posthumously requesting that everyone come to the funeral in costume. Meaning Batman, Super Mario, and even some Imperial goons showed up to pay their respects.
Not to mention Fred Flinstone, a strip of bacon —
— and this guy …
… who is apparently a U.K. cereal mascot called the Honey Monster and definitely not a PCP hallucination willed into existence.
All of which led to a distinctly unique and memorable funeral — and presumably a waking nightmare for any intellectual property lawyers coming to pay their respects.
A Shop Owner Forced Teen Thieves To Dress Like The Flintstones
With the exception of forcing sports mascots to gyrate under a scorching sun for the audience’s apathy, costumes are usually not used as punishment. That wasn’t the case for the owner of World’s Best Comics And Toys, who dealt with a gang of shoplifters so hard it knocked them back to the Stone Age.
It all started when a group of teens stole a replica of Fred Flintstone’s car from the shop — either because they were big cartoon fans or they were so wasted they thought they’d just boosted a brand new Tesla. The culprits got remarkably far, seeing as their getaway car was powered by their feet, but were eventually thwarted by police. But in lieu of criminal charges, the teens accepted the store owner’s unorthodox alternative punishment, a long and humiliating ordeal that started with him uttering “Oh, so you like The Flintstones, do ya?”
Yup, to teach these kids a lesson, they were forced to dress up as Flintstones characters and stand out front of the store trying to lure customers for Free Comic Book Day — menial work the real Flintstones would have entrusted to some poor, abused-yet-sassy animal.
The thieves didn’t even seem to mind their punishment too much, gladly seeing their prank resolved without getting a criminal record. For a story of grand larceny and technical grand theft auto, this light-hearted caper harkens back to a simpler time. A daba doo time. A gay old time.
A Guy Jogs Through Death Valley While Dressed As Darth Vader … Every Year
Surely, if there’s one thing you can take away from the original Star Wars trilogy, it’s that Darth Vader never runs — he menacingly walks towards you with the calm perseverance of a freight train. Runner Jonathan Rice didn’t come away from the movies with the same impression, as he became the founder of the Darth Valley Challenge, in which he runs a mile in Death Valley at the hottest possible time of year, dressed in full Darth Vader get-up.
While Rice (AKA Vader) has described the run as “pointless,” it has set the Guinness record for the “hottest verified run.” Though, to be fair, once you’ve had several limbs burnt off by the fiery molten lake of Mustafar, a light jog through a dry heat must be like a walk in the park.
The decision to cosplay as Vader was less a calculated decision to harness the powers of darkness to boost his athleticism than it was the only Halloween costume in his house. So let’s be grateful it is the Sith apprentice running a hot mile in Death Valley, and not Rice dressed like a sexy nurse.
Canadian Teens Dress As The Justice League To Catch Internet Predators
It’s not totally surprising that a group of people would dress as superheroes and take the law into their own hands — but a group of Canadian men did so in a surprisingly non-violent fashion. The group, who dubbed themselves The Justice Trolls, dressed up as The Justice League, but rather than dumping a ton of money into Batman-like gadgets, or throwing up their internal organs trying to run like The Flash, these guys just bust out their laptops and bait sexual predators.
In fact, they don’t just wear superhero costumes, they improve them. We bet stupid old Barry Allen never even considered slapping a fake handlebar mustache on his Flash outfit. Or holding a press conference at a McDonald’s.
The group would pose as underage girls online to lure potential child sex offenders to a rendezvous — so instead of a minor they could take advantage of, these guys instead found themselves face-to-face with Batman — or at least a guy in a Batman rental costume with sewn-on abs. Either way, you have to imagine it’d be pretty jarring.
They would film the encounter, then post the video online. Like true comic book vigilantes, they caught the attention of the police and were told to back off. Then, again like in the comic books, the cops still took credit for arresting a bad guy who they found through the super-group. At least these cops have a good explanation for why they suck — it’s all part of a narrative that will spur on our heroes to do even more good.
A Juror Wore A Starfleet Uniform To The Whitewater Trial
Our older readers may remember the Whitewater scandal, a real estate fraud investigation with ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Not really a scandal a lot of people know about, because it didn’t involve emails.
But back in 1996, the Whitewater trial was a big event, so it’s only natural that some members of the media took note of alternate juror Barbara Adams, probably because she was the one dressed in a Starfleet uniform from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Adams ended up being kicked off the jury — but interestingly enough, it wasn’t for her get-up, which everyone involved with the trial actually seemed pretty okay with. No, what landed Adams in hot water was violating a gag order by talking to the media — though you have to imagine the judge knew he was going to get annoyed by her making the “whoosh” sound every time the courtroom doors opened.
Quite A Few Rock Bands Shred While Cosplaying
Ever since KISS accidentally wandered into a child’s birthday and had their faces painted by a black-and-white French clown, elaborate costumes have been a staple in certain subsets of rock. But these costumes can go too far, especially when bands starts dressing up in ways that prevent them from doing sex, drugs, and even rock and roll.
Canada’s Cybertronic Spree is what you might call a Transformers tribute band, covering the soundtrack of the original Transformers movie while dressing up like said Transformers. Which is way better than just getting one Transformer to turn into a crappy boombox.
And keep in mind, this is back when the Transformers soundtrack consisted of jaunty Stan Bush and Weird Al Yankovic riffs, not the Linkin Park and trace amounts of Michael Bay’s hostility psychically burnt into the audio nowadays. And this is just the tip of the cosplay band iceberg; there’s a Klingon band that plays death metal:
Not to mention how many Korean cosplay bands exist, but there really isn’t a part of Korean culture that hasn’t completely been taken over by geekdom, so these might just be regular bands.
Join Jack O’Brien and Cracked staffers Carmen Angelica, Alex Schmidt, Michael Swaim, plus comedian Blake Wexler for a retelling of history’s biggest moments you didn’t realize everyone was drunk for. Get your tickets here.
When you take two of todays most admired actresses and cast them in brief but crucial roles as surprise two of the most admired actresses of their respective generations, what do you get? Two of Feud‘s most inspired more-than-cameos from Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sarah Paulson, natch.
Zeta-Jones tells Mashable she had enormous respect for British actress Olivia de Havilland, one of the most glamorous and talented actresses of the 30s and 40s, who is still remembered today for her star-making roles as Maid Marian, in 1938s The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Melanie Wilkes, well-mannered rival to Scarlett OHara in Gone With the Wind not to mention her Oscar-winning turns in 1946s To Each His Own and 1949s The Heiress.
Zeta-Jones notes that, despite the competitive fractions that were all too common and encouraged between many of the leading ladies of the era, de Havilland and Bette Davis bonded quickly and became extremely close.
It was Bette who became a friend to Olivia, first, says the actress. Olivia had a touch of royalty. She was an ex-pat; she had an exotic air she was born in Tokyo, but she lived here. She started doing Shakespeare in upstate California; she was certainly not found having a popsicle at the diner. Her name alone de Havilland!
Bette saw that she was more than a pretty face very early on and Olivia never forgot that and they became friends, adds Zeta-Jones. I think Bette wasnt threatened by Olivia and Olivia wasnt threatened by Bette. It was a great dynamic they had and they respected each other for that.
Shes a woman who didnt take a lot of BS at the time and who left [Hollywood] of her own accord, Zeta-Jones says of de Havilland, noting that when the actress had fulfilled her seven-year contract to Warner Bros and the studio tried to forcibly extend her commitment, she filed suit and won an important legal victory for all actors that is still enforced today.
Despite a two-year virtual blacklisting in Hollywood, when she returned to the screen de Havilland quickly reclaimed her box office clout and critical accolades, before retreating to a quieter, semi-retired life in France, taking occasional roles as when she stepped into help Davis save 1964s HushHush, Sweet Charlotte after Joan Crawfords acrimonious departure.
She was very happy to go out to France, to Europe, says Zeta-Jones. She wanted real stuff in her life. She went up against the studio heads. You dont do that now, but to do that then, when they were literally pawns in the chess game of Hollywood, the women she was tough! If a woman can live into her hundredth year, she must have been a lot tougher than [people thought].
De Havilland celebrated her 100th birthday in 2016 and remains a living link to Hollywoods Golden Age much like Zeta-Jones father-in-law, Kirk Douglas, whom the actress says has schooled her on the close-knit friendships of many Golden Age stars.
There were a lot of really true friendships then, says Zeta-Jones. My father-in-law had good relationships with a lot of actors: Tony Quinn, Tony Curtis, Frank Sinatra really good friendships. Women of that time were always, in the press, made to look like they were feuding; bitching. I found that a lot of strong friendships were made in those studio system years. It was like all the women were vying for the better roles; vying for the popularity contest, but they knew that they had to have each others backs.
Emerging a generation after de Havilland to become one of the most revered actresses of her own generation, Geraldine Page respected the value of professional camaraderie among actresses by the time she encountered the more manipulative Joan Crawford in 1963 and agreed to, in necessary absentia, let Crawford accept her Academy Award for Best Actress for Sweet Bird of Youth if she won a role she originated on Broadway and which provided the second of eight career nominations.
You dont become an actress and not know about the genius that is Geraldine Page, says Paulson, who played Page in Episode 5, set at the Academy Awards.
Paulson dove into her research on Page: the Lee Strasberg-trained actress was a stage sensation during her formative years in the 1950s, starring in productions of playwright N. Richard Nashs The Rainmaker and Tennessee Williams Summer and Smoke and Sweet Bird of Youth, which also led to her first Tony nomination.
While she remained a huge stage attraction throughout her career, Page also scored many Hollywood roles including Hondo, Toys In the Attic, Pete N Tillie, Interiors and A Trip to Bountiful, for which she finally claimed an Oscar, two years before her death in 1987.
I know a lot of people from New York in the theater community who told me a lot of things about her that were utterly useless to me in what was required of me in this part, in terms of what I was having to do, admits Paulson. I was serving a bigger picture story of Joans and her need, so it wasnt about Geraldine. So some of the information I had gathered, I had to kind of chuck out, because it wasnt really about that.
Paulson adds that shes itching to reprise the role, should opportunity knock: Boy, would I long to play her in a really larger fashion! Shes a fascinating woman, and an extraordinary actress, and a very proper human being I want a whole Feud about Geraldine Page and whomever shes feuding with, but I dont know who shes feuding with!
Unlike Page, de Havilland did have a public personal and professional feud of her own, as hinted at during the course of the series: a longstanding and often bitter rivalry with her only sibling, actress Joan Fontaine, who was also a Best Actress Oscar winner a contentious relationship that Zeta-Jones suggests was likely exacerbated by Hollywood.
Even today, people will say what a tough business were in, she says. But back then it was really tough, and really tough for women. And it was a popularity contest, where if you were in, you were in with the studio behind you. And they showed you in a wonderful light. And if you were out, you could be ostracized and kicked out of town, like the Blacklist. It was a real tough time.
Zeta-Jones admits that she was oblivious to the politics of the studio system when she started out. Myself, growing up I didnt know. It always sounded wonderful. I knew I wanted to be part of it. I came to Hollywood at my time; a different generation, and its not as glamorous. Its not all autographs and sunglasses, as they say. Its sad: women in Hollywood are still having a tougher go at it than men. Its changed somewhat, but its still baby steps in the whole bigger spectrum of it all.
WATCH: What film stars really think about Hollywood’s diversity issue
Hollywood has proved that it’s willing to turn literally anything into a movie, from children’s toys, to Reddit posts, to E.L. James novels. So, if you ever notice a film-worthy property that has remained conspicuously un-adapted, you can bet your ass that it’s not for lack of trying. In fact, some of the stories behind these non-adaptations would make pretty good movies of their own (mostly comedies, with some hints of psychological horror).
Gore Verbinski’s R-Rated BioShock Movie Is Dead Due To Watchmen
Video game adaptations tend to be utter garbage for one simple reason: It’s hard to turn a plot like “portly Italian steps on hundreds of turtles” into a coherent screenplay. If there’s one game that could break the curse, though, it’s BioShock. Why? Because it already has a more cogent story than most movies.
2K Games Not to mention, way more diving suit-wearing mutants with giant drills on one hand.
The game’s critically acclaimed storyline (centered on a utopic underwater city created by a combination of Walt Disney and Ayn Rand) is ripe for the taking — and there’s one director willing to do it. Gore Verbinski of Pirates Of The Caribbean fame is a big fan of BioShock‘s “cinematic potential” and “strong narrative,” and we’ve already talked about why he would actually be perfect for this adaptation (assuming he doesn’t succumb to the Burton Syndrome and casts Johnny Depp for every part).
Verbinski was all set to shoot a BioShock movie in 2009, and fittingly for someone named “Gore,” he wasn’t planning to shy away from the game’s violence and general fucked-up-ness. In his own words, he “just really, really wanted to make it a movie where, four days later, you’re still shivering and going, ‘Jesus Christ!'” The movie’s concept art confirms that, at the very least, this thing would have been visually amazing:
Verbinski wanted between $160 and $200 million to properly recreate the underwater city of Rapture, but after Zack Snyder’s dour superhero slo-mo-fest underperformed, Universal got nervous about financing such an expensive R-rated film. Verbinski wouldn’t budge on the rating or the budget, so that was it. The studio tried to keep going with another director, but the same problems came up again. Eventually, BioShock‘s creators decided they didn’t need a stinking movie anyways.
We’d love to end this entry telling you that the recent string of R-rated genre hits proved those cowardly producers wrong, but it’s not that simple: Deadpool cost only $58 million, Logan reportedly $97 million, and Mad Max: Fury Roaddidn’t exactly make it rain (by Hollywood standards). Shooting an underwater city probably won’t be affordable until we’re actually living in one, so cross your fingers for more climate change, gaming fans!
We’ll Never See Guillermo Del Toro’s At The Mountains Of Madness Because Of Freaking Prometheus
Like his creation Cthulhu, horror author H.P. Lovecraft has managed to indirectly wedge his face-tentacles into everything you love. He’s inspired such disparate works as Dungeons And Dragons, Evil Dead, and even Conan The Barbarian — and yet, very few of his works have been directly adapted into movies. For instance, there’s never been a film adaptation of his classic novella At The Mountains Of Madness, the lovely story of a bunch of scientists who stumble upon forgotten horrors during an Antarctic expedition, and end up getting slaughtered or losing their minds.
Guillermo Del Toro, no stranger to giant monsters from other dimensions, has been trying to adapt Mountains for decades, but the project has been cursed by the unthinkable evils that rule the universe: Hollywood executives. Del Toro had a script ready as early as 1998, and at various points the project managed to attract serious interest from Warner Bros., Universal, and Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Pictures. In 2010, Del Toro even convinced James Cameron to join as producer and had Tom Cruise in advanced talks to star (yes, we might have finally found out what Cruise looks like as an insane person).
The studios always ended up wussing out over the budget and dark tone, but Del Toro kept plugging away, convinced that this was something audiences had never seen before. That is, until he heard about a little movie called Prometheus. You know, the one about a bunch of scientists who stumble upon forgotten horrors during a galactic expedition, and end up getting slaughtered or crushed by slow-moving space donuts.
The similarities don’t end there: Both Prometheus and Mountains involve the scientists discovering an ancient alien race responsible for creating humanity, as well some ugly-ass monsters hell-bent on destroying said humanity. Del Toro didn’t want to cover the same ground as that film, so he announced that his project was on hold or dead. In 2013, he said he would give it one more try … and that’s the last anyone’s heard of it. Oh, well, at least there’s always the new Hellbo– Whoops.
Hamilton Won’t Be A Movie For Decades Because The Creator Just Said So
Chances are that you’ve never seen Hamilton yourself (tickets go from $175 to $2000 and are still constantly sold out), but you sure as hell have heard about it. It’s a freaking cultural phenomenon. The Founding Father-themed hip-hop musical won 11 of its record-breaking 16 Tony Awards nominations, largely for its ability to achieve the impossible: making people pay “could have bought fairly high-quality cocaine” money to see something pertaining to Alexander “National Debt Ain’t Nothing But A Thing” Hamilton.
Since Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is all about making American history more accessible to the masses, a movie adaptation would make perfect sense, right? So thinks everyone, except Lin-Manuel Miranda. In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Miranda stated that if a film adaptation happens, it probably wouldn’t be for at least 20 years. Partially, he wants to make sure people come see it in theaters now (even though 99 percent of us will never have the chance) … but he also claims that the only good play-to-film adaptations are “all 20 years after the fact,” giving examples like Cabaret or Chicago.
At most, those suffering from Hamilust will have to settle for watching a filmed performance of the play, but there are two problems with that: 1) Miranda says he hasn’t decided what to do with the only recording of the original cast, joking (we think?) that he’d throw it in a vault, and 2) no one in the history of humanity has enjoyed a fixed-camera movie of a play. You might as well sneak into one of the inevitable rip-off productions that high school drama clubs will be putting on for years to come.
Steve Carell’s Real-Life Comedy About North Korea, Pyongyang, Was Shelved Because Of The Interview
North Korea has been responsible for a lot of terrible things over the years, but there was one time when they actually tried to save us from a lurking danger we ourselves didn’t fully understand: Seth Rogen’s The Interview. In what we naively thought would be the most bonkers international incident of this decade, Kim Jong-un’s regime took offense at something in the movie (presumably the part about Rogen and James Franco assassinating him, but maybe they’re just tired of stoner jokes) and allegedly hacked Sony Pictures in retaliation.
As a result, most screenings of the movie were cancelled and the film was banished to the wasteland of home video.
However, this Chinese food-fart of a movie wasn’t the most tragic casualty of the Sony hack clusterfuck: that would be Steve Carell’s Pyongyang, which was a story that actually deserved to be told.
Based on a 2004 autobiographical comic book, Pyongyang details author Guy Delisle’s experiences in the North Korean capital, where he worked as the liaison between a French animation company and a local studio. That studio’s signature creation, by the way, is an adorable propaganda series starring a squirrel and a hedgehog, imaginatively titled Squirrel And Hedgehog.
Because of his particular role, Delisle was given unprecedented access to parts of the country usually hidden from outsiders. His book is a retelling of all the bizarre things he saw and experienced in that crazy-ass regime — a concept that apparently made Gore Verbinski’s ears perk up when he heard about it. In 2013, New Regency announced Verbinski would direct a “dark comedy” based on the Delisle’s experiences, and eventually added Steve Carell as the lead. It would have been an intriguing combination of awkward situations …
The Catcher In The Rye Will Never Get A Movie Because Of A Terrible Version Of Another J.D. Salinger Story
J.D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye has long been considered by hipsters (and assassins) to be the greatest book against phonies ever written. Holden Caulfield’s story of self-discovery mirrors that of many a pissed-off, surly, uniquely rebellious teenager — so, all of them, basically. That probably explains why entire generations of actors, from Marlon Brando to Leonardo DiCaprio, have tried to get the movie done with themselves in the lead.
The problem is that, like his boy Caulfield, Salinger was on a bit of a crusade against the phonies of the world — and to him, no one was phonier than Hollywood (not sure how he got that impression).
Salinger didn’t always feel that way. Early in his career, he sold the rights to his short story Uncle Wiggily In Connecticut, a commentary on materialism in the post-WWII era. According to his assistant, Salinger “thought they would make a good movie,” which wasn’t an unreasonable assumption considering that the script would be written by the screenwriters of Casablanca, Julius and Philip Epstein.
So what did the Epsteins do? They changed the name to My Foolish Heart, ditched all the social commentary, and turned the story into a sappy romantic tale.
Anyway, if you excitedly thought that Salinger’s death might finally bring about a Catcher adaptation, then you’re 1) a shitty person, and 2) wrong. The people who manage his trust were fully aware of his aversion to licensing out any of his works, and will continue his crusade for generations to come. On the upside, think of all the murders from illiterate would-be killers we’re avoiding this way.
Jordan Breeding is a part-time writer, a full-time lover, and an all the time guitarist. Check out his band at Skywardband.com or on Spotify here.
Behind every awful movie is the idea for a good one. Old man Indiana Jones discovers aliens: Good in theory, bad in practice. Batman fights Superman: So simple, but so bad. Are there good versions of these movies hidden within the stinking turds that saw the light of day? Jack O’Brien hosts Soren Bowie, Daniel O’Brien, and Katie Willert of After Hours on our next live podcast to find an answer, as they discuss their ideal versions of flops, reboots, and remakes. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased here!
Jesse Newton woke up in the middle of the night after his four-year-old son had crawled into bed smelling like dog shit. The smell was so horrifying, the man jumped out of the bed, only to discover that their Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner had ran over their dog’s poop, and now covered the entire house with the doggie’s turd – think rugs, floor, furniture and kid’s toys. All of this horror happened while the whole family were soundly asleep…
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Newton, who described the event as a ‘pooptastrophe’ was so shocked that it took him a year to start speaking about the incident. “It’s taken me until now to wrap my head around it and find the words to describe the horror.”
“Do not, under any circumstances, let your Roomba run over dog poop… Because if that happens, it will spread the dog poop over every conceivable surface within its reach, resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting.”
However, Newton was quick to defend his dog Evie: “This is the only time she’s done this, so it’s probably just because we forgot to let her out before we went to bed that night.” Fair enough.
Jesse Newton woke up at night after his four-year-old son had crawled into bed smelling like dog shit