Stallone Month: Lock Up

Lock Up is a strange lesson in how Hollywood movies are made…[W]e have a star, a theme, a shooting date, a budget, a studio, but…no script.” — John Flynn, director of Lock Up

I don’t know how often films are made on the fly, but in putting together Stallone Month, it seems that it was common for projects Sly worked on to barely make it to completion. Another commonality in these films is that Sly worked very hard to keep the projects together. Whether it’s Eye See You (later this month), or Tango & Cash (tomorrow), or today’s film, the people who worked with Sly are effusive in praising him for the efforts he made to make sure a movie came off. Still, production troubles rarely bode well for a film. Continue readingStallone Month: Lock Up”

Stallone Month: Paradise Alley

Before there was Rocky, there was Paradise Alley. That might not make any sense, since Paradise Alley was made two years after Rocky. But back in the mid-1970s, when Sylvester Stallone made his pitch to Rocky producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler, this was the screenplay Sly wanted to make. They passed, but according to Sly, they said they would look at any other ideas he had. He went home that night and began to write Rocky. But there was still this screenplay out there, and after the success of Rocky, Sly was able to make this film. Not only did he write the screenplay, he also directed, starred, and, God help us, sang the opening theme song, Too Close to Paradise. All of this is very Orson Wellesian, in that it’s an overindulgent exercise in filmmaking, storytelling, and acting, but it doesn’t have the benefit of being any good. Continue readingStallone Month: Paradise Alley”

Schwarzenegger Month: Last Action Hero

Is it an homage? Is it a parody? Last Action Hero is both. It is also a film whose idea was better than its execution. From 1993, Last Action Hero was released two years after Terminator 2. In the interregnum, Arnold directed a TV movie, Christmas in Connecticut (which I will NOT be watching), did a little voiceover work, became a restaurateur, appeared as himself in Dave (another film I’m choosing to skip), and slept on a mattress filled with Krugerrands. I’m not totally sure that last bit is true, as, sometimes, facts which we find on the internet turn out to be less than truthful. What I do know is that two years was an awful long time to wait for Arnold to build on the success of Terminator 2. I’m also not convinced that Arnold’s sabbatical from starring roles was unrelated to the decline of the American action star. Continue readingSchwarzenegger Month: Last Action Hero”