When the Academy lost comedian Kevin Hart as host for this year’s 91st Academy Awards, they made an unusual decision. They made the choice to have nobody replace him. As a result people started wondering if the Oscars had ever happened without a host before. The answer is yes, at the infamous 1989 Oscars, where Snow White and Rob Lowe kicked off the show with a song and dance number.
If I’m being completely honest: I had never heard of this moment in time before. I’m actually ecstatic about Kevin Hart dropping out of hosting, since without it this moment would have never been rediscovered. So what’s the story behind this?
The man behind the 1989 Oscar opening was Allan Carr, who had previously produced the classic film Grease and the horrible follow-up Grease 2, along with the horrible Village People film Can’t Stop The Music. When he was asked to take on the Oscars, he came up with the following.
The 11 minutes that ruined Hollywood producer Allan Carr's career forever - YouTube
That’s right, instead of having a host mock the audience, it seemed like a better idea to have Snow White sing for a whole 15 minutes. In another case of audience interaction gone wrong, the A-list celebrities (such as Tom Hanks, and Robert Downey Jr.) who are present look horrified. The whole thing kicks off in such a cringe-worthy fashion, that in another universe it could explain the disappearance of Tom Hulce, Rick Moranis, or Bridget Fonda).
As the sketch was dead on arrival, we don’t think it was a great feeling for Rob Lowe when he had to join the whole thing midway through. A few months earlier Lowe’s career had taken a hit when he was at the center of a sex tape scandal, involving an underage girl. In an attempt to correct his image he agreed to join the ceremony, thereby following up an actual crime with a Hollywood crime. The whole thing would be so badly received that members such as Gregory Peck and Paul Newman would later send a letter to the Academy calling the telecast “an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry”.
Perhaps the best description of this disaster comes from actress Eileen Bowman, who as an unknown actress had landed the role of Snow White. She had the following to say in 2013;
The show itself looked like a gay bar mitzvah. Middle America must have been like: “What is going on? There are dancing tables, there’s Snow White singing with Rob Lowe, there’s Merv Griffin with people with coconuts on their head!”
Allan Carr’s career never recovered from the ceremony. I am very excited to see what the Academy cooked up this time around, and to see which producer and A-lister will be publicly shamed. Do you have any theories about what we’ll see at this year’s Academy Awards?
You might be surprised to find the man who agreed to be in this poster is a dick.
If you’ve visited my blog before, then you must know there are plenty of things I don’t like (see my post on Alien Covenant 2) or am not impressed by (my post on peak TV). One of those is magic, or more specifically the manic crowd-pleasing attitude of magicians. Swedish magician Joe Labero found out the hard way when our styles clashed in an unfortunate case of audience interaction.
Let me backtrack. It’s Wednesday, and I wake up at 5.30 AM. Ideally I wouldn’t wake up until two hours later, but unfortunately I’ve been struggling with insomnia in the last few weeks. It’s not a great day to be tired during, as it’s the day of my company’s Christmas event. You could speculate that perhaps I slept badly due to excitement, but you would be wrong. These type of events aren’t really my thing, nor is being excited. (Again, as Swedish magician Joe Labero would find out later that night.)
At 4PM the festivities at work kick off with sparkling wine in the lobby of my company. I opt to play Mario Kart instead because nothing makes me happier than hearing Toad get fucked up by a banana peel or shell. Seriously. When everyone starts vacating the office to get on a bus that will take us to our next destination, I grab some beers, dally some more and end up in the third bus. It’s empty, except for me and 2 of my co-workers. I have a good laugh about this, unaware that I’m about to face off with Swedish Magician Joe Labero, less than an hour from now.
Our destination turns out to be a boat, where we will be treated to food, drinks, and entertainment. I am guided into the lower deck, which contains a small stage and several rows of seats. The bus I had been in was the last to leave the office, which means the only seats left are in the front. I sit down, and minutes later the show starts.
If you’re on the edge of your seat reading this, it’s because you know Swedish magician Joe Labero is about to enter the story and fuck shit up.
A video starts playing, projected onto a screen in front of me. Through footage from the ’90s I am told I’m about to experience an unforgettable night. That turned out to – technically – be correct. In walks what appears to be magician Burt Wonderstone from the forgotten 2013 film The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. The crowd goes wild, and the magician gladly soaks up the attention. I have no idea who this man is, and only later will I find out it’s Swedish magician Joe Labero. (And no joke, I keep having to scroll up to see what his last name is.)
He starts talking in his native tongue, and it’s apparent he will do the whole show in Swedish. (If you’re surprised about this, I should backtrack once again and explain that this whole thing took place in Stockholm, which is where the company I work at is based.) ((If you don’t know Stockholm: it’s the capital of Sweden. Fun fact! )) It’s not great for me, since my Swedish is limited, as I’m in fact from Belgium and spend my free time watching movies such as Mechanic: Resurrection instead of studying harder. I am feeling quite tired in my seat at this point – remember the insomnia – and the three beers I had before are not helping. Since I imagine Swedish magician Joe Labero to be a visual person I decide to just ride the Swedish language wave and let it all wash over me. Which goes well, until Joe addresses me.
I freeze. I hope he will move onto the next person because I’m not saying anything. Unfortunately Joe repeats himself. In front of a crowd of 100+ co-workers I have to explain to Joe I don’t understand him. He switches to English, and asks me where I’m from. I say Belgium. He says sorry. I repeat “Belgium”. He says “no, I’m sorry you’re from Belgium”. The crowd laughs hysterically. I realize that in a split second I’ve become Joe’s whipping boy, and the only way to get out of it is to match his enthusiasm.
Since I work as a consultant, which means I have to act engaged from time to time, you would expect this to go smoothly But no. I realize I don’t really care about Joe. I believe at this point Joe starts grilling me about my low enthusiasm, and I just mumble. I’m hoping my short replies will establish me as a dull sparring partner, and I can go back to nodding off in my chair. Unfortunately my sluggish nature only seems to make Joe stronger, and he decides to ask me to help out with one of his acts. Begrudgingly, I walk up to the stage.
Joe Labero as he enters the stage for my company’s Christmas event
At this point I’m mentally gone. Joe is not happy with my lack of enthusiasm and as a result I stop listening. (Because really Joe, the last time someone expressed disappointment in my choices I moved from Belgium to Sweden. What did you expect?). I need to pull some rope he cut. Someone else – who stares at me in a very excited manner – comes to help out and instead of me pulling the cord from my end I mishear Joe’s instructions and just move towards this new participant. It almost feels like I’m intentionally sabotaging this stint of audience participation. Swedish Magician Joe (yes, I forgot his last name and can’t be bothered to scroll up) is officially done with me. I’m now being targeted.
The show goes on. New audience members interact with Joe. Some get a rose. All I get is a bitter reminder that Joe does not care for me. “How do you say twelve in Belgian?” asks Joe. I say “twaalf”, which he hears as “twelve”. He is not amused. I then correct him in that Belgian is not a language. He is not amused. Neither am I. In my mind I go over all the things I could’ve done instead of being at Joe’s show. Watching one of mentalist Derren Brown’s specials on Netflix for example. He’s a cool dude.
Joe repeats the phrase “Steven, close your mouth”, as if I’m in awe of his tricks. At this point I my mind has completely drifted off. Joe asks me what 4 plus 1 is. I tell him I wasn’t listening, and that I spaced out after the second bout of being heckled. Joe isn’t happy about this.
Some other stuff happens. Joe asks if anyone has seen his show before. I consider saying “no, but I feel like I have” given how familiar some of the material is. I don’t since – unlike Joe – I don’t have a microphone and I would be yelling a joke that is doomed to bomb and turn the audience against me.
The show ends. Joe runs off the stage, accompanied by a rousing applause. Before returning to the circle of hell he came from, I somewhat except him to come up to me and say “you were a good sport”. Or “it was all in good fun”. But he doesn’t. I like to believe it means I had gotten under Joe’s skin, the same way he got under mine. I am content.
Some other notes:
I am happy I don’t have to perform live shows on boats
Everyone in the office now seems to know I am a) Belgian and b) don’t understand what they’re saying. So thanks Joe.
If you work with me and ended up here. How weird is it that you were googling this, and how freaked out are you about this post existing?
After the show Swedish co-workers told me Joe was a) world famous, b) well, in the ’90s, and c) washed up now. None of my non-Swedish co-workers had ever heard from him.
Since this whole thing was recorded I get to a) relive this joyous evening and b) potentially use the footage as a pilot to launch my own Curb Your Enthusiasm style show.
I’m grouping this post under “slumming actors”, since I don’t have a tag for “slumming magicians”.
In the end, I am grateful my paths crossed with Joe’s. I have never been into magic, but I am a fan of tales filled with cringe-worthy moments, starring me. I just hope I never have to deliver this one to my antithesis, the same way Joe had to.
At this point it’s uncertain if we’ll get an Alien: Covenant 2 or not, but if we do we now have an idea of what the movie’s plot would be. Screenwriter John Logan – who also wrote the first Alien: Covenant – revealed some details in Empire Magazine (source).
It should come as no surprise that Logan (at the behest of director Ridley Scott) would’ve continued to explore the engineers. These bulky aliens were first spotted in a throwaway scene in the original Alien film from 1979 and for some reasons now dominate a franchise that thrived when it was at its most simplistic. Alien was a simple survival story, and Aliens a simple war film.
Space Jockey/Engineer as seen in 1979’s Alien
A sequel to Alien: Covenant is not a given, as the film was a box office disappointment, but if it is to happen it will revolve more around David (the android played by Michael Fassbender) and the engineers. As is stated in Empire:
Logan’s script would have seen the return of Prometheus’ Engineers, with that species’ survivors coming after the genocidal David. Setting-wise, Scott said it was obvious ‘We’re gonna actually go to the planet’. by which we assume he means LV-426.
It’s possible that all of this leads to explaining who was in that suit that was briefly spotted in the original Alien film. In case you had forgotten: both Prometheus and Alien: Covenant are prequels to the Alien film from 1979 because apparently there’s enough people that care about the non-xenomorph alien that was spotted in the first movie. This is really making our heads hurt.
If you’re asking us – and to be fair: it doesn’t matter as this is our site – we don’t see this coming to fruition. Scott is a busy man and already 81 years old, and the studio that owns Alien (Fox) is now owned by Disney which might want to course correct this possible cash cow. (See here what movie rights Disney now owns.)
We are now 10 years into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has been behind big superhero films such as Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War. The latter proved that the Marvel machine is still running as smoothly as ever, with the latter having made over 2 billion USD globally. It’s safe to say that when superhero fatigue sets in, Marvel won’t be the cause of it. Let’s have a look at some of the studios that are adding to the yearly output of superhero movies and could cause the downfall of the genre:
Although we’ve recently seen Spider-Man show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony still owns the film rights to the character. After they made a mess out of their previous Spider-Man series (with the worst offender being Amazing Spider-Man 2, starring Andrew Garfield) they made a deal with Marvel to return the superhero to his past prime. As a result of this Sony is restricted in how it can use the character.
Since the studio is limited in its superhero catalog, they decided to launch a Spider-Man related universe, which – because of the deal – can’t contain Spider-Man. See, Marvel studios doesn’t want Sony’s Spider-Man related movies to be part of the Marvel canon. Yes, it’s weird, and you can read more about the deal here.
The first of those movies is Venom, which has gotten trashed by critics yet is on track to make money. We can see the perception of superhero movies suffering as a result of this, since the average audience could be confused about what counts as a Spider-Man movie, and what as a superhero movie.
Beyond this Sony is also investing in a Valiant cinematic universe. If you don’t know what Valiant is, it’s a smaller comic book publisher started in 1989. Its heroes obviously don’t enjoy the same fame as their DC/Marvel counterpart so the quality of these films will have to be high for them to draw an audience. Since the first movie in the universe will be Bloodshot, starring Vin Diesel, our hopes are low.
DC Films/Warner Bros.
Although DC comics boasts one hell of a superhero catalog (Superman! Batman! Wonder Woman!) their movie department has failed in utilizing them properly. The Nolan Batman films rank among the best superhero films have to offer, but beyond that there is mostly crap (such as Green Lantern, Justice League, Suicide Squad). The perception of the DC films has become so bad that despite having Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and The Flash, Justice League still turned out to be a box office bomb.
Next up for the studio is Aquaman, for which an extended trailer was just released and uh… it’s not great.
AQUAMAN – Extended Video – Only in Theaters December 21 - YouTube
It’ll be interesting how this movie and after this Shazam do.
Since Disney is launching its own streaming service in 2019, it will end its deal allowing Netflix to contain the Marvel films. As a result Netflix has already made a deal with comic book writer Mark Millar to produce and release his content. If Netflix manages to create successful superhero movies on its platform, will viewers still want to go to the cinema to see Venom III?
Any studios or franchises you are worried about? Let us know in the comments!
When actor Tom Hulce got nominated for his role in 1984’s Amadeus, he was only in his early 30s. The most notable role he had played on film before that had been in the comedy classic Animal House. It’s hard to imagine a gifted actor such as Hulce not thriving in Hollywood after a nomination, yet besides 1989’s Parenthood, Hulce seemed to vanish. Which begs the question: whatever happened to Tom Hulce?
At the moment Hulce only has 31 roles on film and television attached to his name. That is a far cry from the amount of movies someone like Eric Roberts has made. The roles Hulce did play are not even all live action, or film. As an example: one of them is as the voice of Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, whereas the other is a guest spot on Frasier.
That doesn’t mean Hulce didn’t give working in film a shot. After Amadeus Hulce set up several projects, which unfortunately are mostly forgotten. There was the drama Echo Park (1985), and the thrillers Slam Dance (1987) and Black Rainbow (1989). Having an Oscar nomination (or win) to your name is great, but as Cuba Gooding Jr. and Adrien Brody can confirm: you’re only as hot as your latest film. Although the aforementioned Parenthood did good, Hulce was not the lead in the film, but part of an ensemble.
Despite making occasional appearances in movies after the 80s, Hulce pretty much turned his back on Hollywood after that decade. That doesn’t mean he gave up on showbiz all-together, as Hulce has since gone on to . It was that original passion that had led him to landing the lead role in Amadeus in the first place. He may have moved away from acting for the most part, but over the past decades he has received accolades for his work as a producer on plays such as Spring Awakening (2007), and Significant Other (2017).
Hulce is currently living in Seattle. He still makes the occasional project in Hollywood such as a small acting role in 2008’s Sci-Fi bomb Jumper, and a producer role on 2018’s The Seagull.
A24 is the film production company that has specialized in releasing arthouse films, such as Moonlight and Spring Breakers. Their strategy has paid off with critical acclaim, as they’ve currently already received 24 Oscar nominations.
One of the biggest narratives in culture is to say something is dead. TV is dead, cinema is dead, and music is dead. Anyone who is over 5 years old, knows that’s not true. Culture is too vast to go extinct, and although certain genres can fluctuate in popularity (horror is a good example here) they will never go entirely out of fashion. At the moment the narrative of cinema appears to be controlled by Netflix, and it’s true we have also spend a lot of time writing about the streaming giant disrupting the big screen experience (see How Netflix is banned at Cannes, the problem with film aspect ratio on Netflix, and Netflix’ attempts at localization. It’s also true superhero films are dominating the big screen, but that doesn’t mean there’s no space left for great smaller films. And perhaps no company has been better at releasing those recently than A24.
A24 was founded in 2012, specializes in film distribution, and kicked things off with the unassuming A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. This was a simpler time, when having Charlie Sheen as the star of your movie still seemed like a good idea. Since then however, the logo has popped up in front of some of our favorite recent movies. Here’s an overview.
Spring Breakers (2013, dir. Harmony Korine, cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez): This is a divisive film, but it’s also a true uncompromised work, in this case from the mind of director Harmony Korine. The movie sends up our society’s shift towards vapidness, with protagonists that are either bikini-clad teenagers or James Franco’s Alien, a wigger we still quote occasionally. Look at my shit indeed.
Under The Skin (2014, dir. Jonathan Glazer, cast: Scarlett Johansson): Director Jonathan Glazer doesn’t work much, but when he does his films are a must-watch. Before this he made Sexy Beast (from 2000), and Birth (from 2004). For this tale of an alien (played by Johansson) who moves through Glasgow, Scotland feeding on men he relied less on B-movie schlock such as Species than on older classy Sci-Fi fare such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Man Who Fell To Earth.
Ex Machina (2015, dir. Alex Garland, cast: Alicia Vikander, Domnhall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac): Speaking of great Sci-Fi films, Ex Machina would be in our top 5 for this decade. The movie proves good Sci-Fi can still be seen on the big screen, and not just as Black Mirror episodes. This is a riveting three character piece, focused around an AI robot.
Good Time (2017, dir. Josh & Bennie Safdie, cast: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh): No other film in recent history has riveted us as much as this tale of a robbery gone wrong. This movie is pure energy on film, powered by a pulsating soundtrack from electronic artist Oneohtrix Point Never. It’d be a shame to get into details about this one, but let’s just say you’ll fully embrace Pattinson as a proper actor after having seen it.
Those are our favorites from A24, but it’s been difficult to pick! As we mentioned the studio has been responsible for some of our favorite recent fare, and beyond these we also loved/liked movies such as The Spectacular Now, Enemy, Locke, Obvious Child, The Rover, A Most Violent Year, While We’re Young, Slow West, The End of The Tour, Mississippi Grind, Room, The Witch, Green Room, The Lobster, De Palma, Swiss Army Man, American Honey, It Comes At Night, Moonlight, The Disaster Artist, The Florida Project, and of course A Ghost Story.
It’s one hell of a list, especially given that the company has only been active since 2013. In terms of upcoming movies we are especially looking forward to seeing First Reformed, which we covered in our article on Ethan Hawke’s upcoming movies.
If you want to see the full list of A24’s movies, then head over here.