Director’s Cut – The Little Shop Of Horrors (1986)🎃🌷

 

IN THEATERS OCT 29th, OCT 31st

 

Warner Bros. Entertainment Presents

 

Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut

Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut

 

Business is bad at Mushnick’s Flower shop. Shy Seymour and brave Audrey will soon be unemployed. That is until Seymour pricks his finger and a sickly little exotic plant gets its first taste of human blood. The plant spurts ten feet tall. As horticultural interest in “Audrey II” sprouts, Mushnick’s business takes off. But fresh blood must be found—and people start disappearing. Love and business bloom at a hilarious yet bloody cost. (Fathom Events)

I’m so excited to see one of my Halloween favorites back on the big screen. And, fascinated to see  Frank Oz’s restored original dark ending, staying true to the play.

 

 

“It will be very interesting to see if, in this new political and cultural climate, if there will be any association with that, with the plant. Let’s just say that,” says Oz. The original ending, he acknowledges, “may still be too dark for people, and I accept that.

It may not be as satisfying emotionally, and I accept that. But on the other hand, the reason  screenwriter Howard Ashman and I wanted it was that it is the Faustian legend. Seymour does have consequences for his actions. We needed to omit those consequences to keep the audience happy, which I agreed with, by the way. I think we had to do it. But now it will be very interesting to see.” (Yahoo Entertainment)

Fans will not want to miss Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut, which features the rarely-seen original ending and an exclusive introduction from Frank Oz.

Purchase Tickets here.

 

The 1986 Frank Oz film is a remake of the hit Broadway stage production which was a remake of the 1960 movie.

 

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The original 1960 film was a  black comedy horror film directed by Detroit-born (my hometown) and celebrated B-movie legend, Roger Corman and written by Charles B. Griffith. The film is a farce about an inadequate florist’s assistant (Jonathan Haze) who cultivates a plant that feeds on human flesh and blood.

The film stars Jonathan Haze (Seymour), Jackie Joseph (Audrey), Mel Welles (Mr. Mushnick), and Dick Miller, all of whom had worked for Corman on previous films. Produced under the title “The Passionate People Eater”. It was a lot creepier and darker than either the 1986 film or Broadway production.

 

 

For a true Halloween treat, I highly recommend screening the original! Check out Jack Nicholson in one of his first film roles.

Check out this previous post for background and trivia on the Broadway stage production and the original 1960 film.

 

 

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Happy Halloween!

Will 2017 Be Our Groundhog Day⁉

 

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I’ve always believed that we can’t move on to the next level in our life’s journey until we learn the lessons we need to understand. In “Groundhog Day”, Bill Murray has the fortune or misfortune of repeating and repeating again a day which becomes his own private hell.

 

 

Groundhog Day (1993) is a hilarious look inside a day in the life of arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman Phil Connor (played by Bill Murray) who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again.

This fantasy-comedy directed by Harold Ramis, stars Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. It was written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, based on a story by Rubin.

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Andie MacDowell and Bill Murray

After indulging in hedonism and committing suicide numerous times, Phil begins to re-examine his life and priorities in his quest to end the tortuous nightmare of Groundhog’s Day.

The film is often considered an allegory of self-improvement, emphasizing that happiness comes from placing the needs of others above one’s own selfish desires; definitely, food for thought.

Doing my research I discovered that”Groundhog Day”, as an expression, has become shorthand for the concept of spiritual transcendence. As such, the film has become a favorite of some Buddhists who see its themes of selflessness and rebirth as reflections of their own spiritual messages. (Wikipedia)

 

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Once Phil decides to use his knowledge of the day’s events to try to better himself and the lives of the townsfolks, over many loops, he learns how to play the piano, sculpt ice, and speak French. He even befriends the relentless, Ned Ryerson, and sets out to avert accidents and disastrous situations that otherwise would have occurred.

 

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If you believe, you might see versions of reincarnation in the storyline and find great significance in the fact that Connors is saved only after he performs “good deeds” and is returned to earth, not heaven, to perform more.

 

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Imagining German philosopher Nietzsche’s directive to imagine life—metaphorically or literally—as an endless repetition of events is intriguing. I wonder how would this viewpoint shape our actions?

 

What would we choose to live out for all eternity?

 

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Awards

  • British Comedy Awards 1993 (Comedy Film)

  • Saturn Award for Best Actress (Film) (Andie MacDowell)

In June 2008, AFI revealed its “Ten Top Ten”—the best ten films in ten “classic” American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Groundhog Day was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the fantasy genre.

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

  • AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs – #34

  • AFI’s 100 Years…100 Passions – Nominated

  • AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – Nominated

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As we journey into 2017, maybe we should take the events of “Groundhog Day” to heart and strive to be more loving and giving in the coming New Year.

 

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“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Memorable Film Monologues🎬

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I love quoting from my favorite movies. It’s like a secret language that only you and those who love that particular film can understand. The joy is one line can transport you back to that moment in time and creates an instant connection with fellow film lovers.

Image result for movie quotesOn a recent trip to visit family, watching the Michigan game and sharing stories, as usual, my cousin quipped, “the sheriff is near..” and we all broke out laughing visualizing the scene with Clevon Little from “Blazing Saddles”.

So, taking the secret language idea a little further, I decided to showcase some of my favorite monologues from some of my favorite films.

 

Caddyshack – Bill Murray “Cinderella Story”

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Bill Murray was in rare form in this classic 1980 sports-comedy hit. Directed by Harold Ramis and written by Brian Doyle-Murray, Ramis and Douglas Kenney, it stars Michael O’Keefe, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray.

This was Ramis’ first feature film and was a major boost to Dangerfield’s film career; previously, he was known mostly for his stand-up comedy. Grossing nearly $40 million at the domestic box office (17th-highest of the year).

Caddyshack has garnered a large cult following and has been hailed by media outlets, such as Time and ESPN, as one of the funniest sports movies of all time. As of 2010, Caddyshack has been televised on the Golf Channel as one of its “Movies That Make the Cut.” (Wikipedia)

 

Caddyshack

Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight

In 2000, Caddyshack was placed at number 71 on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) list of the 100 funniest American films. In 2005, a line from the movie was chosen by AFI for their list of the top 100 movie quotes from U.S. films.

‘”Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a

mirac…

…It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!”

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Bill Murray

On October 23, 2016, Bill Murray was the recipient of The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. From the stage of The John F. Kennedy Center, a star-studded lineup saluted the achievements of this brilliant comedic trailblazer.

 

“Young Frankenstein” (1974) Gene Wilder “Hello Handsome”

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There is no doubt that Gene Wilder was a brilliant writer and one of the funniest actors of our time. His role as Victor Frankenstein is a standout. His timing is perfect and this monologue is priceless.

“Young Frankenstein” is the 1974 American horror comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard Haydn and Gene Hackman. The screenplay was written by Wilder and Brooks.

 

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Mel Brooks, Kenneth Mars, Marty Feldman, Gene Wilder, Teri Garr

The film is an affectionate parody of the classic horror film genre, in particular, the various film adaptations of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein produced by Universal in the 1930s.

Brooks adapted the film into a musical of the same name which premiered in Seattle at the Paramount Theatre and ran from August 7 to September 1, 2007. The musical opened on Broadway at the Foxwoods Theatre (then the Hilton Theatre) on November 8, 2007, and closed on January 4, 2009.

 

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It was nominated for three Tony Awards and starred Tony winner Roger Bart, two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster, Tony & Olivier winner Shuler Hensley, two-time Emmy winner Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), three-time Tony nominee Christopher Fitzgerald, and two-time Tony & Emmy winner Andrea Martin (Saturday Night Live veteran).

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Megan Mullally

A critical favorite and box office smash, Young Frankenstein ranks No. 28 on Total Film magazine’s readers’ “List of the 50 Greatest Comedy Films of All Time”, No. 56 on Bravo TV’s list of the “100 Funniest Movies”, and No. 13 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 funniest American movies.

 

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In 2003, it was deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the United States National Film Preservation Board, and selected for preservation in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. On its 40th anniversary, Brooks considered it by far his finest (though not his funniest) film as a writer-director.

 

Jaws (1975) – Quint’s story of the Indianapolis

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I still find myself holding my breath listening to Quint’s (Robert Shaw) story. His vivid recount of his nightmare of the death with his shipmates is absolutely riveting! Wow, one of the most frightening scenes in the film.

Jaws is the 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley‘s 1974 novel of the same name. The film stars Roy Scheider as police chief Martin Brody, Robert Shaw as shark hunter Quint, and Richard Dreyfuss as oceanographer Matt Hooper. (Wikipedia)

Now considered one of the greatest films ever made, Jaws was the prototypical summer blockbuster, with its release regarded as a watershed moment in motion picture history.

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Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss

Jaws became the highest-grossing film of all time until the release of Star Wars (1977). It won several awards for its soundtrack and editing. In 2001, Jaws was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. (Wikipedia)

This classic won three Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Original Dramatic Score, and Best Sound (Robert Hoyt, Roger Heman, Earl Madery and John Carter). It was also nominated for Best Picture, losing to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

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Spielberg greatly resented the fact that he was not nominated for Best Director. Along with the Oscar, John Williams’s score won the Grammy Award, the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, and the Golden Globe Award. To her Academy Award, Verna Fields added the American Cinema Editors’ Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film.

 

Pulp Fiction (1994) – Samuel L. Jackson – Ezekiel 25: 17

This is the scene that not only features the memorable monologue but, introspection of just what it means. This reflection made the speech even more impactful for me. Stop and think about it.

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Pulp Fiction is the 1994 American neo-noir crime black comedy film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, from a story by Tarantino and Roger Avary. Tarantino’s second feature film, it is iconic for its eclectic dialogue, ironic mix of humor and violence, nonlinear storyline, and a host of cinematic allusions and pop culture references.

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Uma Thurman, John Travolta

The film was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture; Tarantino and Avary won for Best Original Screenplay. It was also awarded the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. A major critical and commercial success, it revitalized the career of its leading man, John Travolta, who received an Academy Award nomination, as did co-stars Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman. (Wikipedia)

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John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson

The music is as much a character in the movie as the actors. No film score was composed for Pulp Fiction; Quentin Tarantino instead used an eclectic assortment of surf music, rock and roll, soul, and pop songs.

Dick Dale’s rendition of “Misirlou” plays during the opening credits. Tarantino chose surf music as the basic musical style for the film, but not, he insists, because of its association with surfing culture: “To me, it sounds like rock and roll spaghetti Western music.” (Wikipedia)

 

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The soundtrack album, Music from the Motion Picture Pulp Fiction, was released along with the film in 1994. The album peaked on the Billboard 200 chart at number 21. The single, Urge Overkill’s cover of the Neil Diamond song “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon”, reached number 59.

The film has been called a “terminally hip postmodern collage” and in 2013, selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. (Wikipedia)

 

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These are some of my top classic movie moments. In the Comments, let me know some of yours!

 

“Feed Me Seymour” – The Little Shop Of Horrors🎃🌷

 

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A funny thing happened at my 6-month dental check-up. Sitting in the dentist’s chair a lightbulb came on and the idea for this post hit me square in the mouth, “The Little Shop of Horrors”(1960)!

 

People are probably more familiar with the 1986 musical version directed by Frank Oz and starring Steve Martin (demented dentist), Rick Moranis, (Seymour) Ellen Greene (Audrey), Tichina Arnold, and Tisha Campbell (as the urchins).

 

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The 1986 film is a remake of the hit Broadway stage production which was a remake of the 1960 movie. (Phew, that took the long way around)

I had the fantastic experience of performing in a stage production as one of the street urchins. Chiffon, Crystal, and Ronette are fashioned after girl groups from the 1960’s. It was one of my favorite shows and roles in my community theater career.

The original 1960 film was a  black comedy horror film directed by Detroit-born (my hometown) and celebrated B-movie legend, Roger Corman and written by Charles B. Griffith. The film is a farce about an inadequate florist’s assistant (Jonathan Haze) who cultivates a plant that feeds on human flesh and blood.

The film stars Jonathan Haze (Seymour), Jackie Joseph (Audrey), Mel Welles (Mr. Mushnick), and Dick Miller, all of whom had worked for Corman on previous films. Produced under the title “The Passionate People Eater”. It was a lot creepier and darker than either the 1986 film or Broadway production.

The film’s concept is thought to be based on a 1932 story called “Green Thoughts”, by John Collier, about a man-eating plant. However, author Dennis McDougal in Jack Nicholson‘s biography suggests that Griffith may have been influenced by Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi short story ‘The Reluctant Orchid’. (Wikipedia)

The film became the basis for the horror comedy and Off-Broadway rock musical, Little Shop of Horrors (1982). By composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, the production was notably made into the 1986 feature film.

Trivia:

  • The film also garnered attention as a movie that was made into a Broadway production; it’s usually the other way around.

  • Writer, Charles B. Griffith, was the voice of Audrey 2 in 1960 film.

  • Levi Stubbs (lead singer of The Four Tops-Motown group) was the voice of Audrey II in 1986 movie.

  • Ellen Greene played Audrey in the Off-Broadway Production.

  • The gleefully masochistic dental patient, originally played by Jack Nicholson, is not in the musical but is in the 1986 film, played by Bill Murray.

 

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Off-Broadway Production of “Little Shop of Horrors” 1982 with Ellen Greene immediately right of Audrey 2

A young Jack Nicholson‘s small role as the masochistic dental patient in the 1960 film was a hysterical standout. At the time of filming, Jack Nicholson had appeared in two films and had worked with Roger Corman as the lead in “The Cry Baby Killer”.

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Roger Corman

According to Nicholson, “I went into the shoot knowing I had to be very quirky because Roger originally hadn’t wanted me. In other words, I couldn’t play it straight. So I just did a lot of weird shit that I thought would make it funny.”

Even though this was only his third film you could see that his talent was something quite special.

Because I’m a big-time musical theater lover, my affinity is for the 1986 film. The musical numbers were fabulous, the performances outstanding, and the memories lasting.

I loved performing the opening “Urchin” musical number “Little Shop of Horrors” which was also from the Off-Broadway stage production:

The film, directed by Frank Oz (Muppets), differs only slightly from the stage play. The title song is expanded to include an additional verse to allow for more opening credits. The song “Ya Never Know” was re-written into a calypso-style song called “Some Fun Now”, although some of the lyrics were retained.

 

Four other songs (“Closed for Renovation”, “Mushnik and Son”, “Now (It’s Just the Gas)”, as well as “Call Back in the Morning”) were cut from the original production score. An original song was written by Ashman and Menken, “Mean Green Mother from Outer Space”, was created for the film.

For a fun and dark Halloween double feature, I highly recommend checking out “The Little Shop of Horrors” (1960) and the remake, “Little Shop of Horrors” (1986). A little something for everyone.

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Happy Halloween!

Scrooged and Grateful đŸ˜‡

“Scrooged” (1988)

iheartfilm is dedicating the month of November to the lesson of Gratitude in films; the quality of being thankful.

The Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol” is brilliantly updated in this 1988 adaptation – “Scrooged.” The hilarious Bill Murray stars as the infamous”Scrooge” aka Frank Cross. “Scrooge” has messed over everyone in his life, his employees (Bobcat Goldthwait) (Alfre Woodard), his brother (John Murray – Bill’s real-life brother) and especially his one true love, Claire (Karen Allen).

Claire

Frank Cross (“Scrooge”) represents everything that’s wrong with thoughtless people. He’s an angry, bitter, selfish a-hole. By grace, he’s given the opportunity for a second chance at life with the help of ghosts from “Christmas Past” (David Johansen), “Present” and “Future”, re-visiting the good, the bad and the ugly of his life. A hardcore lesson in Gratitude!

My favorite ghost has got to be (Carol Kane) as the “Ghost of Christmas Present,” When she knocks Bill Murray upside the head with that toaster, I’m cracking up right now just thinking about it!

The ghosts do a phenomenal job because ultimately Murray gives his testimony and not only feels Gratitude but tells people if you want to understand what being thankful is all about, give back, “make your miracle happen.” It’s an incredibly moving moment.

“God Bless Us Everyone” – Tiny Tim

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“Think of your fellow man, put a little love in your heart.”