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May 10 2009

"Seven Things I Love About Sci-Fi" by Joss Whedon. Number seven is Kurt Russell. Pure genius of a list.

Heh, he said "tool".
This list reminded me I need to buy The Fall on DVD. What a great movie. Helps that I have a man-crush on Lee Pace, but even without that.
It is a great list. But I really like Soldier. And I'm not sure that Joss should be calling in rocks on his personal glass of "doesn't add up."
I'm sorry but it just doesn't sound like Joss to me. I mean by now, when we read his interviews, we hear his voice in our head. I'm not hearing Joss in this.
Sounds exactly like Joss to me. I'm guessing it's condensed down from a bigger interview.
You mean you think it's not him, madmolly? Maxim would have much to lose by a false celebrity. And it sounds like him to me.
Never heard of the fall, but since it just got mentioned by Joss and it apparently has Lee Pace in it, it seem I have no excuse not to check it out.
Wow, somebody actually admits to liking "Sky High". I don't know anyone who has seen that movie, but it was great.
I thought Sky High was lots of fun. Deserved to have done better at the box office.
Saw "Escape from New York" for the first time recently, and God was Kurt Russell amazing in that.

As for "The Fall", this is the second time it's come to my attention, so I need to watch it now... I can't seem to find a good, short description about what the film's actually about, but I'm sure all will become clear soon enough.
A lot of it seemed like his favorite cheesy, cliche, or low-budget things in sci-fi. Especially if he was the one choosing the pictures, because the first shot is from Starship Troopers, a classicly bad but still fun cheesy sci-fi movie.

On an unrelated topic: on that page there was a video on the side with some new generic "hot girl" who is a new movie that happens to be Into the Blue 2. Bwuh? It's just annoying to me that a movie that opened the same weekend as Serenity and only barely made more money total while having much worse reviews gets a sequel and our BDM doesn't. Huh, guess I'm still a little bitter about all that.
this is the second time it's come to my attention, so I need to watch it now

SFX magazine loved it from what I remember. So I put it on my LoveFilm queue.
Wow, somebody actually admits to liking "Sky High". I don't know anyone who has seen that movie, but it was great.

I kind of think of it as X-Men without all the angsty backstory. Good for a lazy afternoon.

And yes, Kurt Russell does rule. Though I was disappointed not to see Big Trouble In Little China on the list (though I suppose it's not all that sci-fi; still, it's my favorite).
I thought Sky High did pretty well... Coulda sworn there was talk of a sequel for a while.
I can't seem to find a good, short description about what the film's actually about, but I'm sure all will become clear soon enough.

This is pretty simplified, but basically, a paralyzed man (Lee Pace) in a hospital meets a little girl (Some French Girl) who asks him to tell her a story. So he does, and the story is super colorful and fantastic and fun. While I think the story was pretty good, it's probably not the film's best quality. Cinematography and... whatever you'd call use of color. Those two really knock it out of the park.
Joss like robots? No wonder he likes TSCC.

And I still want my "April The Robot" Buffy spin off dammit! Shonda Farr is available....

(Though to be fair, the writer in me says much of her story would come out very similar to Anya)
Did Joss just make a Space: Above and Beyond reference? That just made my day (even though Invitro's aren't really robots).
the Fall is a special work of art. Perfect chemistry between the two leads and probably the best child performance ever captured on film. The story is simple but its about so much more than the story. I don't wanna say more to not give anything away to those who haven't seen it, but it may be the most "beautiful" movie ever made. It was filmed in like 11 different countries so everything that isn't the hospital is some gorgeous place that you usually don't see.
Also I thought Sky High was a great fun movie and my best friend and i are constantly- well once or twice getting into arguments cause he thinks Zoom was a better movie .
I'd love to see Joss do a project with Kurt Russell.

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2009-05-11 00:05 ]
"Snake Pliskin Versus The Vampires".
Crap, now I really do want a Snake Pliskin vampire movie.
Escape From Transylvania

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2009-05-11 00:04 ]
Yes, precisely.
I'm not crazy about The Fall but the locations are absolutely the best thing in it (as well as the photography, costumes, really anything visual). Plot-wise, it reminded me of The Princess Bride, just with thinner characters and a less interesting story.

Sky High, on the other hand, is genius.
Did Joss just make a Space: Above and Beyond reference?

It would appear so, Niels. God, I love that show. Fun to see Joss referencing it so specifically and semi-obscurely. Unless there's something else that "who monitors the birds" gets used in?

Also: yeah, 'Sky High' rocks. I own it on DVD and have seen it a couple of times. It's very amusing.

ETR: a big honkin' typo

[ edited by GVH on 2009-05-11 00:29 ]
Escape From Transylvania

Or perhaps: "Escape From Sunnydale"
Only seven? Must think hard and fast.

1. Buffy in her cheerleader's outfit.
2. Joice holding Buffy resuring her everthing would be OK.
3. Angel(us) going evil.
4. Willow's eyes turning black (that was just plain scary).
5. Spike finds his soul.
6. Wait, we're at six already?!
7. A season of televison without Joss. (Sigh)
That was fun. I love that he liked The Fall. (The little girl is actually Romanian. And also adorable.)
Count me in on the "Sky High" love, too. Found families, alienation from parents, high school angst... can't say I'm surprised that Joss likes it too, but I am pleased.

BTiLC is another very, very fun and wild movie.

And (sigh) it looks like Dollhouse may soon be joining S:AaB anf Firefly on the list of sci-fi shows that really should have had a second season.
I love the Kurt Russel props in that list. Pure Gold.
Ripley was my first love...then I met Buffy.
Kurt Russel is just awesome. Carpenter's remake of the The Thing is an all time favorite . My roommates and I watch it at least once a year. We actually just watched Sky High on TV about a month ago. None of us would actually admit to liking after it was finished though.
They should have choosen a better Kurt Russel picture, like as Snake or in the Thing. Not... whatever that was.
Personally I don't care for Kurt Russell. But I love Joss, and he's not on his own list, so I'll agree to disagree.

The Fall is gorgeous. I watched it at my daughter's on Blue Ray with a wall sized projection TV.
The Fall was one of my favorite movies that came out last year (I'm still sad that I missed it in theaters). Joss has good taste. :-)
Equilibrium was one of the worst movies I've ever seen.
Equilibrium was one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

Nonsense! I get great enjoyment from watching the actors' (specifically the ones who play villains or red shirts) heroic attempts to portray drug-induced emotionless people.
Kurt Russell gets points with me for his cameo in It Happened At The World's Fair (1963) kicking Elvis' shin back when he was a little kid. Now there's a classic start to a career (his first movie outside of television roles).

Kurt Russell's first film role:
Kurt discussing the connection:

My mom's favorite movie used to be Overboard with Kurt and Goldie Hawn. I've seen that film SO MANY TIMES. LMAO.

Here's Kurt's Star Wars audition (imagine him as Han Solo):

[ edited by NileQT87 on 2009-05-11 04:03 ]
I still need to see The Fall. I've wanted to for a long time, but I haven't found it anywhere.
The Fall is one of the most daring productions I've recently seen. The director funded it largely himself. The young girl ad-libbed many of her lines, and they used her as inspiration for the fantasy portions of the film, which was shot in over 20 countries. And the last act made me think of Whedon.

Also, Starship Troopers (assuming the picture was his choice) works really well as eerily prophetic political satire. The whole thing is meant to be a bad propaganda film. How do a bunch of aliens without technology manage to send an asteroid to Earth? They didn't - the fascistic government blamed it on the bugs and used it as a recruitment tool. (That isn't to say they caused the disaster themselves, but they probably knew it was going to happen.) The military wages continual war in order to justify its rule, and insists that only servicemen and women are allowed to vote. The movie comes off as dumb and brash, but I think it's a lot smarter than it leads us to believe ... or maybe I'm just reading into things.

And I've never heard of Slipstream. Anyone here seen it?
SteppeMerc, that was KR as "The Commander" from Sky High. He plays the well-meaning superhero dad of the main protagonist.
I agree with everything he said except, "Dear, dear Milla." If Joss means Jovovich, hmmm, eh, I dunno. Has her acting gotten better? The Fifth Element was fun, but I have no desire to see Ultraviolet, which I think he's referring to (and I always considered Resident Evil to be high-tech horror, not sci-fi). Soldier is a sadly overlooked film in which, again Joss is right, Russell is exceptional.

If you haven't taken the time to watch "The Fall"....... Watch it now. Buy It, rent it. add it to your netflix/blockbuster/etc. account.

Fetch your box of tissue first.
And yes, Kurt Russell does rule. Though I was disappointed not to see Big Trouble In Little China on the list (though I suppose it's not all that sci-fi; still, it's my favorite).

Never fear! It was included when Joss said "Then check out his entire Carpenter oeuvre." That includes the Escape movies, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China (If there are more, I can't think of 'em right now).

And I totally agree that Kurt rules. I even liked Escape from LA just to see more Plisskin. I wonder what the remake of Escape from New York will be like.
It always amuses me how little Joss and I see eye to eye on movies, but this was a very fun list.
zoinkers, I loved Sliptream! That is if it is the 1989 title with Mark Hamil, F. Murray Abraham, Bill Paxton, and Robbie Coltrane. Not to mention Ben Kingsley! You can see what he means about the actors.

Actually, Slipstream is one of those movies that always comes to mind when I think of of one of MY favorite things about Sci-fi: The Production Design. Anyone else ever think they have the coolest clothes, furnishings, and architecture? Talk about some cutting edge, re-purposed, unconventional, thinking outside the box interiors. And exteriors. I was something like nine, and I so wanted to live in Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen's house.

And then there's the attire. Multicolored, dred-locked, accesorized hair. Layered, beautifully flowing/tight fitting fabrics. Always cool boots. And the tattoos! No one looks anything near that cool in real life outside Harajuku in Tokyo.

Personally, I also have a weird fondness for The Wraith a majorly bad movie from 1986 with Charlie Sheen, Randy Quaid, Sherilyn Fenn, and Clint Howard.

And Kurt Russel is unequivocally brilliant in Soldier.
@Niels & GVH

If memory serves, Joss talked about Space: Above and Beyond in the commentary for Conviction, the season 5 premiere of Angel. The bad guy in the episode was in the series. He also specifically mentions Who Monitors the Birds as an inspiration for Hush. Apparently it was mostly silent? Haven't seen S:A&B myself.
Responses to the thread..

Sky High: Yeah.
Kurt Russell: Mega-Yeah! Especially BTiLC!
Space Above & Beyond: can't hop on that particular love train. Two outta three.
The Fall: on my list to eventually see but never actually gets seen.
Did Whedon write this? Who cares!? Let's pretend!

Responses to the Original Link..

1. Spaceships in Trouble: Especially space ships that defy the laws of physics by allowing the people inside to just strategically shift to the left and right now and then, when in reality they'd be bouncing off ceilings and walls and exploding due to the whole Nature Abhors A Vacuum Thing. Yet still, despite this disregard for physical laws, finds itself in trouble it can't just ignore.
2. Tough Women: Word. This goes without saying. Even tho I just did. Plus? Tough.. AND Women. Mostly the women part. But TOUGH. There's your formula. You can make a career with just that. I seen it done.
3. Famous Actors in the Ghetto: Tho it's fun to see now and then, I far prefer unknowns to big names in my scifi and b movies. Suddenly seeing Adam West turn to face the camera completely takes me out of a film in a way that bad monster costumes or cheesy special effects never do.
4. Lightsabers: George didn't give us these things. If you wanna use one in your movie, you have to pay him exorbitant royalties. I don't even think you can get away with calling yours a "light sword." He'll sue your ass anyway. That's not giving them to humanity. That's extortion. Or.. some other word that's better than extortion but that I can't think of right now.
5. Robots: Robocop was so not a fave of mine, but Westworld? Yeah baby!
6. Locations: Yeah. A lot of great cheap movies are made out in the woods cuz you don't have to build the sets. Nature did that for you.
7. Kurt Russell: Again Mega Yeah! However, I'd give King of the Bs to Bruce Campbell. Actually, a movie with both of those two men on screen at the same time? My brain would assplode!!!1!!!
Equilibrium was a fun 1984/Fahrenheit 451 retelling, but it did suffer from the action scenes, by design, being over way too quickly. I was left wanting more of that (since, as mentioned, the drama was presented by characters who either had no emotions, or were trying not to show them). I enjoyed the film, but walked away feeling that effective, efficient martial arts have no place in sci-fi action movies unless you are going to throw a LOT more expendable villains around!

As far as the Resident Evil movies go, when I watched the first, I came in expecting a horror movie and being a fan of the games and hated it. I rewatched them (because I wanted to see the third), approaching them as action sci-fi films (in the vein of Pitch Black or Aliens) and enjoyed it much more. The third was great, in a Mad Max post-apocalyptic sort of way (definitely my favorite of the three). Of course, I'm not sure that I find Milla particularly interesting in that (despite The Divine Comedy being one of my favorite albums), but her character has become pretty interesting since the first film. I do hope they make more!
Check, Winther! See, if have to catch up on my commentary watching (I own all the DVD's, but I haven't watched all the special features yet). Also: you should try S:AAB. It's quite good (and also yet another show cut down in its prime).
To draw on a more recent source of reference, the bird/robot comment made me think of a certain instance of a whedonverse actor playing a robot with a penchant for watching/talking to/accidentally squashing random birds.
As far as the Resident Evil movies go, when I watched the first, I came in expecting a horror movie and being a fan of the games and hated it.

I seriously think the first one is one of the better horror movies I've seen. I also think Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure and The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen are underrated masterpieces, so make of that what you will.
Resident Evil: Degeneration was really good. Thankfully it tied in with the games. Leon! S! Kennedy! And loads of cheesy scenes. And zombies!
The Fall was superb. You can say that the story is weak, but the protagonist (making up the story as he tells it) is a stuntman, not a writer, so how good can the story be and be in character? One of the ten best of the 2000-2009 decade.
The story is also “weak” due to it being the object of a deconstruction. The film deconstructs what a story is. I put the word in air quotes because I really think the deconstruction is what makes it powerful.
I liked Equilibrium because of the Martial Arts Gun-kata stuff, it was cool but I too thought it was over too quickly. 1 and a half hours just wasn't enough for the plot, characters or fight scenes. Nevertheless I did enjoy it as entertainment.
Yes, the deconstruction! That's what made me think of Joss.
Joss, the master of deconstruction AND construction. He’s like Shiva.
You gotta build it up to break it down! :D

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