General questions about movies, TV and more

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What was the name of this screwball movie (not TV show) about competing funeral homes from the late 80s or early 90s? I only saw the commercial. In one scene, two funeral directors have arrived at the scene of a bad car crash. "There's enough bodies for both of us!" "But we got here first!" In another, there's a dead woman at a fast food drive-in. "She didn't even finish her fries." The tagline was 'Kiss your ash goodbye.'

Brian Katcher

Looking for a 90s movie about a man who has a younger wife with blonde hair. He lives a double life in another city. An article is published which could reveal his secret. He fakes his death and hides at the inn/resort that he and the blonde wife own. Eventually the blonde wife finds him, or he chooses to reveal that he is not dead. She decides to spend time living life as a single woman. The movie begins with her riding a horse. It's not "The Lies He Told" or "My Husband's Double Life."

Answer: There is a 1987 TV movie, "Deep Dark Secrets." James Brolin is married to a blonde Melody Anderson who fakes his death when he discovers a mobster he sent to prison is released. He hides out in one of the cabins they rent as a B and B-type resort.

In a lot of TV shows, a friend or family member will often just walk into a character's home without knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell first. Is there a reason why this is done for TV? Or is it common in real life and I just haven't met people who do this? I've always lived in one area of the United States, so maybe it's a regional difference.

Answer: Since a lot of TV shows usually only have around 22 minutes to tell a story, it helps save screen time by having a friend or neighbor walk directly into the home rather than knocking and having to wait for the occupant to walk over and answer the door.

Phaneron

Answer: This was normal for me, mostly with family, and still is. Normal with some friends but not all.

ctown28

Answer: This was a common practice in comedy shows in the 1970s (such as Good Times and Laverne and Shirley). Viewers were already familiar with the characters and their practices of just walking in, so the show left it in as something nobody really thought twice about.

I know there may not be a standard answer for this, but, in general, are actors supposed to say lines exactly as written in the script? Or is there a lot of ad-libbing/improvising? I once read that Natalie Portman blamed her performance in the "Star Wars" movies partially on herself because she was not good at ad-libbing then.

Answer: It really boils down to the director whether the actors are allowed to improvise or must perform to the script verbatim (or anywhere in between).

kayelbe

Why do so many actors use pseudonyms instead of their real names?

Answer: Along with the Phaneron's answer, using a pseudonym might make it easier for a celebrity to do some things with their real name, such as buying a property or checking into a hotel room alone if they want.

Answer: One of the reasons can be for making a simpler and easier-to-remember name. For example, Andrew Lincoln's real surname is Clutterbuck. Sean Bean changed the spelling of his first name from "Shaun" to look similar to his surname. Another reason is that the Screen Actors Guild does not allow two actors with the exact same stage name, likely to avoid confusion. Michael Keaton's real name is Michael Douglas, which is a name already being used. Michael B. Jordan uses his middle initial because Michael Jordan is technically a member of the Screen Actors Guild for having appeared in Space Jam.

Phaneron

Answer: Agree with the other answers, but would add that in Hollywood's earlier days, movie studios typically made over their new talent. Actors were under years-long contracts, and the studios controlled their publicity and public image, crafted their appearance and style, chose their movie roles, told them who to publicly date, and so on. This remake often included changing actors' real names that were considered too long, unsophisticated, difficult to pronounce, too "ethnic," and so on. A good example is Archie Leach who became "Cary Grant" or Norma Jean Baker who was remade into "Marilyn Monroe." Most actors today use their birth names.

raywest

Answer: But these days, the vast majority of actors use their real birth names.

Ray

I can't remember the name of this horror movie. It's from the late 2000s or early 2010s. A high school girl has a crush on her married teacher. She is a stereotypical quiet "loner." Somehow she dies, then comes back as a more sexy type with powers. At one point, after returning, she tells the teacher's wife "I died for him!" and the wife says "As would I!" (or something similar).

Answer: That sounds like the 2005 horror movie "Tamara." It was technically in theatres, but was primarily a video release.

TedStixon

Thank you. That is the movie.

What are some movies that took an unusually long time to film and release?

Answer: "Roar," written and directed by Noel Marshall, took five years to film. It wasn't worth the effort.

Answer: Boyhood from Richard Linklater comes to mind, which was filmed over 11 years from 2002 to 2013, so a child growing up could be depicted accurately with his own and parents' aging, etc.

Answer: The movie "The Plot Against Harry" was shot and completed in the late '60s. It didn't get a proper release until 1989.

Answer: The Outlaw. It was made in 1941 but was not released because the Hollywood Production Code didn't like the way it featured Jane Russell's breasts. It was released for seven weeks in San Francisco in 1943, but pulled because of complaints from the Legion of Decency. It was released in 1946, in Chicago, Georgia and Virginia, with six minutes of footage cut from the film. They had trouble advertising it so it ran in a limited number of theaters. However, it sold out all showings making a tidy profit. It was released again at the beginning of 1947, in one theater by the end of the year it made $2 million. It was released again in 1950 in 25 theaters. There was a release in 1952. By 1968 it had grossed over $20 million.

Answer: The John Wayne movie, "Jet Pilot", was made in 1950 and didn't get released until 1957. David O'Russell's "Accidental Love" began production in 2008 and was released in 2015. Another is "My Apocalypse" that was filmed in 1997 and released in 2008.

raywest

Answer: The film "The Other Side of the Wind" by Orson Welles, currently available on Netflix. It was shot between 1970 and 1976, then only partially edited by Orson Welles (due to many complications) before his sudden death in 1985. His final film was completed and released in 2018.

Super Grover

Answer: Castaway. They filmed Tom Hanks' scenes as a chunky, middle-aged executive, then paused for a year while he lost weight and got buff for the scenes where he had been stranded on the island for a while.

Does anyone remember this after-school special type show from the early 80s? Some popular high school students convince a nerdy kid that an uppity popular girl likes him, causing him to humiliate himself in public. Shortly after, all three of the popular kids start receiving messages from an alien being on their TV. The kids freak out and tell the world they're communicating with a spaceman, only for the alien to actually be the nerdy kid who hacked the TV broadcast as revenge.

Brian Katcher

In the 2000s, many people enjoyed and appreciated movies from the '80s. Why is it that, in the 2020s, movies from the '90s and early 2000s need to be remade/"updated"?

Answer: Honestly, a huge factor is the financial one. Due to many differing reasons (50%+ drop in physical media sales over the last 10 years, streaming making content available for very cheap, skyrocketing production costs, inflation, etc.), studios have been losing money at a much greater rate than they have in the past. The industry has become very financially volatile. Therefore, brand recognition is very important. A familiar brand is typically a safer bet than an original idea. This is why sequels, remakes, adaptations, etc. have become the norm, and are given huge budgets... they're usually more likely to turn a profit. If people want to turn this around and have the studios start taking major risks and making more original films again, they're going to have to actually go see original movies in theaters with some regularity, consider buying DVDs/Blu-Rays again, etc. Basically, vote with your wallet... otherwise we'll continue to get nothing but remakes, sequels, etc.

TedStixon

I completely agree with your response. I think another, tiny factor is that trends and technology move faster now. In 2000, life still had many basic things in common with the 80s, despite changes in fashion and computers. Now, in early 2024, a show/movie from 2014 can already be "outdated": mentioning social media platforms that are less popular now, referring to social media trends, using words and phrases that are now considered offensive, etc.

Answer: I think this is mostly because of the advancements in CGI and special effects. Perhaps they think that better special effects will make the movie better. Also, if they think remaking a movie will make money, they will make it.

lionhead

Money does seem to be a factor. '80s - early 2000s nostalgia has been a big trend for the past few years.

Do networks only make money by selling commercial/ad time? A relative of mine has long insisted that they need to create "hype" and "shock value", because companies will race to pay more for an ad slot during a certain show or news coverage. No content/subject matter will be in a TV show, or on the news, if it "doesn't sell advertising." I know that networks look at ratings, but does everything really revolve around selling the ad spaces?

Answer: Selling advertising space is a major revenue source for networks but they also profit from cable and satellite fees, syndication and licensing fees, product placement, home entertainment sales, streaming services, event sponsorship, etc.

raywest

What TV character approached two people and said "Good morning" to one, then "Good afternoon" to the other, pointing out that the time had changed to noon in between? I know it's a trivial moment, but I suddenly remembered it and now I'm curious.

Answer: In the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VIII, Professor Frink points this out to the family in a parody of "The Fly".

Brian Katcher

Thanks.

What is the name of this possibly Japanese cartoon I saw in the 80s? Futuristic soldiers are converted into cyborgs to work in space. It follows an elite team before and after the conversion. One was an alien from the planet 'Mime' who never spoke. Another were a twin brother and sister who had the code names 'Iron Heart' and 'Iron Will.' During conversion, they realized Iron Heart had a defective heart, so they replaced it with machinery, making his name more appropriate.

Brian Katcher

Answer: "SilverHawks" (1986). The twins were called "Steelheart" and "Steelwill," who had artificial hearts put in during their transformation. Steelheart was the sister, though; Emily Hart, and her brother was Will Hart.

Bishop73

Thank you! Me confusing iron and steel made it impossible to Google.

Brian Katcher

What soap opera (or maybe another type of show) had a young woman character called "Mouse" in the early 90s? I know someone who went to high school with the actress. She got the role shortly before graduation.

Answer: On General Hospital, in 1989, when the character of Frisco Jones returned to the show, there was a new teenaged character named Mouse who slept inside the catacombs in Port Charles. Mouse and Frisco had numerous scenes together for about a year on GH. Perhaps this is the young woman.

Super Grover

Thank you. I spoke to the person who knew her, and they do think it was "General Hospital".

This was a late '90s or early 2000s show. I saw part of an episode where female characters were at a club, and another girl kept having the same Enrique Iglesias song played. I think it was "Rhythm Divine."

For a period of time starting in the mid-2000s, it became common for most major DVD releases to have both 1- and 2-disc editions. Typically, the 2-disc edition just had more bonus content and cost a few dollars more, while the 1-disc edition had less content and was cheaper. I never understood this. This was before streaming became huge, so it didn't incentivize buying the DVD, nor did the 2-disc edition cost much more, so it couldn't have had much impact on profit. So why was this even a thing?

TedStixon

Answer: OP here. From everything I've been able to find, it pretty much just looks like it was just a bit of a gimmick. Put some extra bonus content on a second disc, call it a "Special Edition" or "Collector's Edition" or "Limited Edition," and charge an extra $5 for it. People who wanted just the movie could buy the single disc for the standard price, and people who wanted more special features paid a slightly more expensive "premium price." And it would subtly boost profits.

TedStixon

I think you're right - the extra content largely existed already, there was no significant cost to produce it, and mastering a second version of the DVD wouldn't cost much in the grand scheme of things either, so any extra amount would have been pure profit. Showgirls (first example I found) apparently made $37m in cinemas and $100m in DVD sales. A couple of extra dollars per unit would add up. It might also serve as "anchoring" if that's the right term - having a more expensive 2 disc version makes the single disc version look like better value to the casual buyer (while also appealing more to the movie buff). There are certainly some films I splashed out on for the fancier version because I was a fan (and then of course never really watched the extras much!), but going back a while there was literally no other way to see this extra content unless you bought the special edition.

Jon Sandys

From the perspective of why they were simultaneously released (and with a relatively small difference in price), I'd agree. But this is different from why two-disc versions were released some time after the one-disc version (and with a substantial difference in price). That is, the reasons why this initially happened are different from why it continued to happen.

KeyZOid

I was trying to refer to concurrent releases in my question. Unfortunately, the character limit meant I could not give any examples. I was referring to titles like "Spider-Man 3" or "Transformers." I used to go to the store at midnight to buy new DVD releases around the time those movies came out, and there would almost always be a single disc DVD with just the movie and a few features, and a 2-Disc set with more special features released on the same day. (A 2-disc special/anniversary edition being released a few years later for an older title makes sense, and is a different matter entirely. I'm referring to when multiple editions of the same new release were put out at the same time.)

TedStixon

Yes, I finally figured this out! You are asking about a specific time period and looking for a straightforward answer, without putting things in historical perspective (the developing technology and decreasing costs of mass-producing DVD movies). The extras (plus a little more) that used to be included on the standard editions were now on a second disc with the package costing about $5 more. It probably came down to "will customers [be stupid enough to] pay extra money for this two-disc DVD?"

KeyZOid

It probably came down to 'will customers [be stupid enough to] pay extra money for this two-disc DVD?' "and unfortunately when I was a teenager, I was, hahahaha. But yeah, the more I look into it, the more it does just seem like a total gimmick. (I feel like a good modern comparison might be steelbooks... cool packaging, but usually sold for a very high markup even though it's the same exact discs.)

TedStixon

My "victimization" came much earlier. I had the standard release versions of movies and, later, when I started to see much more expensive two-disc versions, I thought, "Who would buy these now?" Well, I think I ended up buying 3 versions of "Terminator 2." [Why?]

KeyZOid

Answer: From my experience, the 2-disc versions provided two different formats. Typically, the 1-disc version was Fullscreen and, depending on its release, did have additional content like commentaries and deleted scenes. The 2-disc version included a Widescreen version as well as extra materials, extended cuts, remastered versions, or special edition, etc. Later, when Blu-Ray came out, the 2-disc set usually included a standard DVD version. Some DVDs were sold as 2-sided without a lot of extra content but having a Fullscreen and Widescreen version.

Bishop73

This doesn't really answer the question. I'm not referring to those. I'm more so referring to titles like "Spider-Man 3" or "Super 8". Their DVDs only came in widescreen, but had two versions. A single-disc edition with just the movie and a few special features, and a 2-disc edition that had more special features. I'm curious as to WHY many titles had single and two-disc editions with the only difference being the amount of special features. It just seems more logical to release just the 2-disc edition. This answer basically just explains that 2-disc existed.

TedStixon

I apologise for misunderstanding the question, because what you described in my experience was atypical. And in my opinion, it makes sense to release two versions, but I'm afraid to answer why if I turn out to still not understand the question.

Bishop73

No problem. It's a very weird, specific question, hahaha. Wouldn't surprise me if there isn't even really an answer beyond just "they decided to try it for some reason."

TedStixon

Answer: Simply put MONEY.

Kevin l Habershaw

Profits are almost always, if not always, a factor. The two-disc versions with "extras" might have been enough to get certain movie buffs to buy them, even though they already had the single-disc version - but I doubt very many people actually did so.

KeyZOid

In some English shows or movies, sometimes there's a scene where an English speaker can't understand a foreigner because of the language they're speaking. Like "I'm sorry, I don't speak/understand German." So what happens when these shows or movies get translated/dubbed into that foreign language? So in my example, if it was dubbed into German, would they dub all the German lines into a different language, like French?

Bishop73

Answer: It really depends on the show and the circumstances. In the Airplane! movie, for instance, the Black characters speak with a thick Bavarian accent in Germany and a thick Neapolitan accent in Italian dubs. In some Spanish dubs, however, I've heard characters say 'I don't speak Spanish' in Spanish. It's understood by the audience that the characters are actually speaking English.

Brian Katcher

In shows or movies with some sort of "universal translator" (like "Star Trek" or "Doctor Who"), there is often a scene where a character says he or she is hearing whatever foreign/alien language being spoken is in English. Then it's explained it's just being translated into English. So when these scenes are dubbed into foreign languages, do the voice-over actors change the word "English" into whatever language it's being dubbed into?

Bishop73

I remember a sitcom episode in which a man got angry if someone mentioned David Letterman. He would shout something like "David Letterman? Slowly I turn around!" I don't think he was a main character, though.

Answer: It's from the TV series "Cosby", s02e17, "Fifteen Minutes of Fame." Hilton and Griffin are in a jail cell and Griffin tells the guard they need to get to the David Letterman show. Gilbert Gottfried (who's credited as playing himself) gets angry hearing David Letterman's name and goes into a rant about how David Letterman ruined his life.

Bishop73

Thank you! That sounds like what I saw.

Before the mid-2000s or so, people used to joke about bribing the cable guy to hook up the premium channels (movies, adult channels, etc). Was that always just a misconception? Today's technology prevents the installer from doing it without the cable company knowing.

Answer: It was possible to do that. Even earlier, when cable boxes were far more "primitive", it was possible to merely use a screwdriver to turn a button on the bottom of the box, which gave full access to movie channels like HBO. Later boxes became tamper proof.

raywest

I know companies pay a lot of money to advertise during events such as the Superbowl, but what about "regular" TV? Did they choose to have their ads run during particular shows? I am mostly thinking of broadcast TV, before streaming was popular.

Answer: Companies typically pay to run their ads during times when their target audience will be watching TV, such as toy companies running ads during Saturday morning cartoons, and in particular, a popular company like McDonald's would run their Happy Meal commercials during that time as well.

Phaneron

Answer: To add to the other fine answer, TV advertising costs are determined by how many viewers watch a particular program. TV networks set advertising rates based on different programs' ratings. Those with the highest viewership are the most expensive to advertise on. TV ratings were (and still are) determined by the Nielsen Media Research Company, who measure who and how many people watch each TV show. Companies naturally want to advertise their products and services when the largest number of viewers are watching and also to their target market.

raywest

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