Rest in Peace Gene Wilder

Together again, in Heaven.  Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner.

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Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner in 1986 – photo from Wikipedia.org

Gene Wilder. Born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933 died today – August 29, 2016 from complications due to Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 83 years old.

I probably realized it when I watched the film a few years ago, but it was interesting for me to read today at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Wilder that his first movie role was in 1967, as a hostage in “Bonnie and Clyde.” There are so many awesome roles he played but one of my favorites was “Stir Crazy” with Richard Pryor and of course, “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.”  May he rest in peace. – BMT

What’s your favorite Gene Wilder movie? Please comment below.

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Movie Review – “Sausage Party,” Directed by Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan

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Literally the expressions you will make while watching this film! Image obtained from sausagepartymovie.com

Seth Rogen’s long-awaited animated comedy opens in theaters on Friday, August 12, 2016.  I use the term, “long-awaited,” because I recently saw Seth on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where he told Jimmy that he had been working on this film for ten years!  Also, media hype for this movie has been going on for several months now. I, personally, was anxious to see it and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed.  The trailer, which is also R-rated, really does highlight the funniest scenes.

Rogen co-wrote the screenplay with Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, and Evan Goldberg. The story is written by Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Jonah Hill. These three guys are good friends, comedians, screen-writers, and  producers.  I would say that Sausage Party gives us a pretty good glimpse into their somewhat warped minds!  Really, thinking about the characters Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen have played, we shouldn’t expect much more (or less) from this movie!  What is hard to believe is the star-studded cast, along with Seth who plays Frank and Jonah who plays Carl, (both sausages/hot-dogs) are:

  • Kristen Wiig – Brenda – a hot-dog bun;
  • Bill Hader – Firewater – a bottle of tequila and El Guaco – guacamole;
  • Michael Cera – Barry – one of the sausages;
  • James Franco – a human drug addict;
  • Danny McBride – Honey Mustard;
  • Craig Robinson – Mr. Grits – a box of Grits;
  • Paul Rudd – the grocery store manager;
  • Nick Kroll – Douche – a bottle of douche;
  • David Krumholtz – Vash – a lavash;
  • Edward Norton – Sammy Bagel Jr. – a bagel;
  • Salma Hayek – Teresa – a taco;
  • Anders Holm – Troy – another one of the sausages;
  • Greg Tiernan – Potato;
  • Sugar Lyn Beard – Baby Carrots;
  • Lauren Miller – Camille Toh – a tampon; and
  • Scott Underwood – Twink – a twinkie and Gum – a wad of chewed-up bubble gum.

Seth seemed amazed when he told Jimmy Fallon that he actually got eight-time Oscar-winning composer, Alan Menken, who wrote musical scores for movies such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”, to do the music for this movie.  I have to say that if Sausage Party wins any Oscars it will be for the music and animation, which are both fantastic. The food is really brought to life and you briefly forget you are watching a cartoon and get caught up in the drama!  There’s even a heated love story between Frank (Rogen) and Brenda (Wiig)! Seth said that he wanted it to have the feel of a Disney/Pixar film by bringing food to life, but it’s “deranged and insane” because, as Rogen said, “the secret life of food is horrifying, because you eat it.”

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Frank and Brenda can’t wait to be taken home by the “human gods.”  Image obtained from sausagepartymovie.com

This movie is rated – R.  It cannot be stressed enough that it is NOT for children. Even Rogen said it was hard to find a trailer that could be viewed on TV. The trailer on the website requires users to confirm they are 17 or older! Several people brought their children and were warned by the screening host that it was not a movie for children and gave them an opportunity to leave; they did not.  Can somebody say, “bad moms?” LOL! Please trust me; get a sitter, unless you want your kids saying the “F” and other choice curse words and putting their food and/or themselves into sexual poses just in time for the new school year! No joke, this is literally an hour and a half animated movie with enough sex, drugs, and violence to own up to its R-rating; there’s even a rape scene! When I asked my 17-year old daughter what she thought about the movie, she said, “we watched food have sex for an hour!”  I laughed and told her that she just came up with the perfect review! She was looking forward to seeing it more than I and she, too, was disappointed. I hate to say this, because I do not condone drug use and/or excessive drinking, but I think the only people that will really enjoy this movie are those that are high on something.  Honestly, I don’t think Hollywood should be sending out that type of message. I think there should be more movies that stress NOT to do drugs. In my opinion, good comedy does not and should not require its audience to be inebriated. Although meant to be taken in good-humor, I suspect this movie may drum up some controversy from those without a sense of humor, as there are stereotypical jokes and innuendos about Hispanics, Blacks, Jews, and Muslims.

The movie was screened by a full-house (the line was already looped around the theater hallway two-hours before the scheduled start time.)  There was a lot of laughter from the crowd, but many times you could hear gasps of “OMG” and “eeewww,” because what we were watching was so absurd, profane, violent, and nothing one would expect from an animated movie! Even though my daughter is 17, I felt embarrassed watching it with her! I see it is getting mixed reviews, so, as I always say, don’t let me stop you from forming your own opinion.  If you were waiting to see it, by all means go.  It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Personally, I’d wait for the DVD, but that’s just my unsolicited opinion. What’s your opinion? If you see it, please let me know by posting your comments. – BMT

Post-Script – 8/16/16 – I screened Ben-Hur tonight in the same theater that is now showing Sausage Party and there was a sign outside the door stating that the movie is Rated – R and that it is for audiences 17 and older, it also states that no-one under the age of 7 is permitted into the theater!  This sign was also posted outside the theater at the box office.

Rest in Peace Garry Marshall

Somehow this sad news fell under my radar. Writer, producer, actor, Garry Marshall passed away on July 19, 2016.  He was 81 years old. As I feel it is always better late than never, I want to send my thoughts and prayers to Penny Marshall and the entire Marshall family. Garry Marshall was so incredibly talented, it would be terrible not to pay tribute to him. If you aren’t familiar with Garry’s career, just think back to your favorite TV show or movie since the 1960s and he probably had something to do with it. You name it, he’s likely written, produced, directed, and/or acted in it! Just to briefly list his accomplishments in television, he wrote for the Tonight Show Starring Jack Paar; The Danny Thomas Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Lucy Show, Gomer Pyle, and The Odd Couple, just to name a few.  More notably he was the creator and executive producer of classic hits such as Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley (starring his sister, Penny), Mork & Mindy, Angie, Joanie Loves Chachi, and he was the executive consultant for the current version of The Odd Couple, with executive producer, Matthew Perry.  Over the years, Garry starred in several TV shows and movies, including Goldfinger, A League of Their Own, Murphy Brown, The Simpsons, The Majestic, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Louie, Two and a Half Men, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Hot in Cleveland, and The Odd Couple.  

Garry was born, Garry Kent Masciarelli on November 13, 1934 in the Bronx, New York. His father, Anthony Masciarelli, an industrial filmaker, changed the family name to Marshall in 1934. Though I am not certain why, I do know that back in those days, due to discrimination, many Italian-Americans changed their names to something they believed to be less “ethnic.” Being a New Yorker of Italian descent, I have a special place in my heart for stars like Garry. I always enjoyed listening to him give interviews. His voice, that New York accent, always took me back home. I couldn’t post about Garry without a video clip, so here’s an interview Garry did on “CBS This Morning” in 2012 to promote his book, “My Happy Days in Hollywood.”  Such a humble and down-to earth man; they just don’t make them like that anymore.

(Video obtained from YouTube)

Movies Directed by Garry Marshall:

1982 Young Doctors in Love
1984 The Flamingo Kid
1986 Nothing In Common
1987 Overboard
1988 Beaches
1990 Pretty Woman
1991 Frankie and Johnny
1994 Exit to Eden
1996 Dear God
1999 The Other Sister
1999 Runaway Bride
2001 The Princess Diaries

2004 Raising Helen
2004 The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
2007 Georgia Rule
2010 Valentine’s Day
2011 New Year’s Eve
2016 Mother’s Day

If you are like me, you may be reading this list, thinking, “I didn’t know he did that!”  As you can see, not all of his work was comedy, but all of his work was brilliant!

In my research, I came across some of his quotes, “It’s always helpful to learn from your mistakes because then your mistakes seem worthwhile.” He also said, “Learn to work with people you wouldn’t go to lunch with.” Wise words to live by, don’t you think? The world has lost another great artistic legend. Rest in peace Garry. Eternal be his memory.

What’s your favorite Garry Marshall accomplishment? I’d love to hear about it.- BMT