A number of brilliant artists contributed their unique vision to The Fifth Element, including Gaultier and Moebius. But one of the main influences on the film was Jean-Claude Mezieres, the comics artist whose time-travel comic director Luc Besson is adapting . Check out some of Mezieres' original Fifth Element concept art right here.
“A lot of people have directed Stephen King novels and stories, and I finally decided if you want something done right, you oughtta do it yourself.”
(Stephen King in the trailer for Maximum Overdrive, 1986)
The cultural cachet of The Shining (1980) is familiar to everyone who has had fleeting exposure to American television, books or movies in the past century. The Simpsons referenced it, your mom loves it, and it’s the movie you put to the front of your horror collection to impress acquaintances. The only thing more fabulous than the reputation, weight, and criterion re-issues of said film is how much its original creator despises it.
By now, Stephen King has somewhat tempered his opinion, but in the years right after its release, highly quotable trash talk was readily available whenever a reporter was nearby. “I like everything Stanley Kubrick has done–except The Shining,” he said in 1986, in what I assume was a gruff Hulk Hogan talk-scream before dropping the mic and offering Kubrick the re-match of a lifetime.
Everything about the movie seems to grate on King: the hotel, the ghosts, the cinematography, even Kubrick himself. Possibly most egregious to King was (and still is) the portrayal of the Torrance family, presented at arm’s length like “ants in an anthill.” The aura of old goldminer creepiness surrounding Jack Nicholson spoiled his character’s descent into madness, whereas King wanted more of an everyman, somebody the viewer could relate to, someone who spoke to King’s own fears as a young father struggling with alcoholism. Recently he tore into the warping of Wendy Torrance (played by Shelley Duvall), calling the way her character was written in the movie to be outright misogynistic. If he had a chance, he said, he “would do everything different.”
This frustration finally culminated into a cinematic event. While he would have to wait until 1997 to fix the events at the Overlook Hotel, a chance to do right by his work appeared in 1986 with the completely unanticipated Maximum Overdrive. Based on his short story “Trucks,” it would be the first movie written and directed by Stephen King. In an interview remarkable for how few times he tries to scare his serenely unshakable host with loud noises, he explains his decision to move behind the camera after receiving so many letters from like-minded fans upset by The Shining, and, as he saw it, demanding accountability. Perhaps this outpouring of support was further evidence that only his interpretation of a story was the right one, and that only he could make real Stephen King movie. “I was curious–if I did it myself, what would happen? Would people say ‘you ruined it yourself’…?”
Or would they say: yeah, we knew you could do it better?
And so, he took matters into his own hands:
To have been alive in 1986, when Stephen King declared that finally, someone was going to do him right, by God, no more beating around the bush, no more soulless dead-eyed storytelling and obfuscation of the meat of the narrative. To have witnessed this advertisement for Master of the Macabre Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive, a promise of “Maximum terror. Maximum King,” which sounds like a rejected slogan for a cobra themed roller-coaster. A “coked out of his mind” King directed a 98-minute film about possessed trucks with a thirst for human blood, complete with a 100% AC/DC soundtrack and the slaughter of an entire Little League baseball team, and he kind of liked it.
Did you see the trailer? Maybe you should watch it again. You’re cornered in a garage by this man, and he’s definitely going to scare the hell out of you.
This, admittedly, might not have been the most successful way to tell Stanley Kubrick to go fuck himself.
Maximum Overdrive opened on July 25, 1986, and ran for two weeks. Its opening weekend was to the tune of $3,205,644, an exact match to 2005’s pseudo-military fantasy Stealth, fittingly also about evil technology you could sit in. I think this actually speaks rather well of Maximum–it grossed as much, uninflated, as a movie with a much higher budget and Jamie Foxx would make nineteen years later.
Further accolades: according to “Box Office Mojo” it ranked number 34 out of the 39 movies attributed to the Stephen King “brand”, as far as gross profit. All together with me: NOT! LAST! It beat out contenders such as Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (“God made him simple. Science made him a god. Now, he wants revenge,”) and The Mangler, the story of an evil laundry press. It currently has a 17% “freshness” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is 7% more than 47 Ronin has right now.
It is difficult to predict, when polling acquaintances, who has seen Maximum Overdrive and who has never heard of it. Bad movies are in, the same way pencil skirts and wool coats are, fashionable: they never are unpopular per se, but fade to the background of our cultural consciousness until someone makes a ton of noise about discovering them again. But Maximum Overdrive isn’t bad in the way Troll 2 is bad, or The Room: both of those movies lack any sort of narrative cohesion and you can tell, immediately, how much of a bad idea they were after the first scene. The effects are home-made, you have no idea who any of the actors are, and nothing, nothing makes any goddamn sense. Maximum Overdrive, then, doesn’t have the acid-trip logic or that extent of mouth frothing ridiculousness to enjoy widespread revival, but it does have a certain something. “It’s like Speed meets Christine mixed with Roadhouse,” is how I usually try to sell it. Its insanity is focused, convincing. It has charisma, it has style, and it is aggressively pleased with itself until the last frame. It has King, a master of telling stories about normal people in extraordinary situations, just doing their thing until a waking nightmare finds them.
So let me lay it on you: A classic example of Man vs Machine, Maximum Overdrive starts in outer space, and then fades into Wilmington, North Carolina. A comet has appeared, anything with an electric pulse is now hell-bent on revenge and, apparently, the subjugation (if not straight-up murder) of the human race. It is a premise rich with potential commentary on the hubris of humankind set against the fiery hellscape they have created; rich also with thick puddles of fake blood and spectacular vehicular stunt work.
Representing mankind, we have blue-eyed ex-con Bill Richardson, who stepped straight out of a John Mellencamp song to work at the Dixie Boy truck stop and diner. Emilio Estevez, fresh from The Breakfast Club, brings a generous amount of smoulder and a frankly impressive level of dedication to his role. This drive is shared by the other assembled mechanics, motorists and various North Carolinians that populate the Dixie Boy, who appear to have succumbed completely to the script with an energy expected from a much better movie. While Wanda June the waitress doesn’t exactly speak to me on a soulful level, I am pretty determined to see her recoup after being attacked by an electric meat slicer. Other notable MVPs include:
- Curt and Connie, newlyweds who Dukes of Hazard-style ramp their car (with AC/DC playing in the background) into the relative safety of the Dixie Boy after being menaced by a grizzled old tow truck. Connie is played to piercing perfection by a young Yeardley Smith, as if to make trivia for this movie that much stranger in the years to come.
- Brett, comely hitchhiker with a straight razor in her boot and a chip on her shoulder, who kicks a lecherous Bible salesman to the curb and dutifully takes on the role of tough-girl love interest (as AC/DC plays in the background).
- Deke, the lone survivor of a Little League team that suffers fatal blunt trauma injuries from a furious soda machine. After witnessing the only other player to escape the flying cokes get smashed to death by a steamroller, Deke rides his ten-speed to the Dixie Boy to see his father, who was unfortunately blinded, hit by a truck (to the sounds of AC/DC) and rolled into the basement. Deke has seen too much, too young.
Plus a motley crew of other diner folk and assorted truck drivers seemingly there only to provide oddly dubbed, redundant exclamations. Everyone speaks in hyperrealistic Midwestern colloquialisms, unflinchingly saying things like “champeen,” “shitsky,” and “pea-turkey.” Before Brett was forced to acknowledge the phrase “road twitch” as if it were a substantial insult, I was certain it was trucking lingo for taking too many uppers. But perhaps we are in one of King’s famed alternate universes, a la The Gunslinger, as suggested by one mechanic’s melancholy declaration that “The whole world’s gone tits-up.”
While some of us are thrilled at the idea of the Winkelvoss twins departing this earth for a few hours, we have to ask what it will it cost them.
The internet entrepreneurs best known for legal tussles with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have purchased tickets to be space tourists on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. And they purchased them with bitcoin, according to their melodramatic announcement.
The tickets cost $250,000 (up front, please, according to Virgin Galactic’s booking page). CEO Richard Branson, who had the company begin accepting bitcoin in November, presumably takes that up front, too. If you go by today’s average conversion rate, the two tickets are about 716 bitcoins. The early-adopting Winkelvii at one time claimed to own 1% of the cryptocurrency, perhaps 100,000 bitcoins.
But the SpaceShip Two still hasn’t actually been to space yet, and there are still months of test flights ahead. Branson still aims to begin commercial service this year, but he’s said that every year since 2007. Were the Winkelvii buying that expensive trip with dollars, they’d have no problem putting up the cash today—hanging on to it would only lead to a slight drop in value as inflation did its thing.
But bitcoins are a speculative commodity, and any transaction you make with them is also a bet with the market. Let’s say, generously, the Winkelvii take their trip six months from now, in September. Six months ago, a bitcoin cost perhaps $150, today it costs $663, and in between it got as high as $1,200—that’s some volatility. When the plane takes off, those $500,000 tickets could be free—or, say, $860,000.
The Winkelvii’s announcement post compares the modern-day builders of bitcoin and rocketships to the European discovery of America and the architecture of the post-World War II financial system. So what does their transaction tell us? After the latest crises in the bitcoin ecosystem, a cynic wouldn’ t be blamed for seeing a nice attempt to short the currency via a spaceship put, in the event of further collapses in value. An optimist might see generosity in the twins’ investment in the potentially revolutionary space tech.
The SpaceShip Two, while it technically crosses the border to space by soaring above the 100km high Karman Line, can’t fly high enough to reach even low earth orbit, where the International Space Station resides, or the higher orbits occupied by geosynchronous satellites, much less the moon or Mars. A third-generation Virgin Galactic ship—or a spacecraft made by competitors like SpaceX or Boeing—will have to realize those goals.
Similarly, bitcoin may just be the first step in the launching of the future of finance.
via Russian Sledges: "I don't like ideological interpretations, this type of mythology of Pope Francis," the pope told Corriere. "If I'm not mistaken, Sigmund Freud said that in every idealization there's an aggression. Depicting the pope as a sort of Superman, a star, is offensive to me.
"The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person."
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis finds the hype that is increasingly surrounding him "offensive," according to an interview published Wednesday, even as the Vatican itself is marking the anniversary of his election with commemorative stamps and coins and a DVD with never-before-seen footage of the pope.
Sean Green, who has operated medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane and the Seattle suburb of Shoreline, proclaimed the document "beautiful" as it was handed to him at a state Liquor Control Board meeting in Olympia.
The license will allow him to grow 21,000 square feet of cannabis at his Spokane facility — the first pot that will be grown for sale under the highly taxed system approved by voters in 2012. The possession of marijuana became legal for adults over 21 soon after the vote, but it's still illegal to grow or sell it for recreational use until pot shops open in the state later this year.
Green plans to start by raising marijuana starter plants to sell to other growers, and later expand to growing buds for retail pot shops.
"Cannabis prohibition is over," Green declared to applause from a room packed with his supporters. "I'm coming home with jobs, Spokane."
So-called Peeping Tom laws protect people from being photographed in dressing rooms and bathrooms when nude or partially nude, but the way the law is written, it does not protect clothed people in public areas, the court said.
"A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is 'partially nude,' no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing," the court said in its ruling.
State law "does not apply to photographing (or videotaping or electronically surveilling) persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA," the court said.
WASHINGTON—According to a study published Wednesday in the Journal Of The American Medical Association, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between regular meat and sugar consumption and premature death among those who choose to ...
Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage on Wednesday, but suggested in a newspaper interview that it could support some types of civil unions.
The Pope reiterated the church's longstanding teaching that "marriage is between a man and a woman." However, he said, "We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety."
Am I being overly hopeful, or is this huge news? In the past, civil unions have seemed to represent the first tentative step toward acceptance for gay marriage opponents. Catholic bishops have supported civil unions, but this marks the first time a Pope has ever expressed support for the idea. Civil unions are separate-but-equal bullshit, but for the Catholic Church, this seems like a big step in the right direction if Francis actually holds true to his word.
Barrett Brown, a self-proclaimed spokesperson for the hacking group Anonymous, was arrested in 2012 and has criminal trials scheduled for later this year. The charges against Brown stemmed from when he posted a hyperlink from one Internet relay chat channel, called #Anonops, to another channel under his control, called #ProjectPM.
Federal prosecutors filed papers today indicating that they want to drop all but one of the 12 charges in their original indictment, including all the counts related to hyperlinking. Brown no longer faces 10 charges of "aggravated identity theft," but he is left to deal with a charge of possessing stolen credit card numbers.
The government's backing down comes a day after Brown's defense lawyers filed a motion to dismiss all the charges against him. Brown's lawyers say that all he did was post a hyperlink, which can't amount to the "transfer" of stolen information. The charges against him violate First Amendment free speech protections, the motion argues.
In 2005, along with all the other youngsters in Mr. Clark’s class, Redditor ah1117 had to practice typing by writing a letter to her future self. In 2014, she discovered that her mom had saved the note for her.
The message from the past briefly touches on technology, romance, and pets. But it stays mainly on point, discussing the most important thing in life: Tacos…
Determining which music is the “most hipster” has long been plagued by ambiguous methodology, such as reading the comments on any single article ever posted about any band ever. While that can lead you to the safe, blanket conclusion that the mere act of listening to recorded sound is incredibly “hipster,” figuring out which sounds are the most hipster has traditionally eluded us, causing endless debate—a pursuit that is itself ironically “hipster.” But now the data-miners at Priceonomics have devised a mathematical formula to help you determine which bands are the most egregious examples of that vaguely applied term, so you can more easily avoid them and get back to listening to non-hipster sounds, like fire trucks.
The Hipster Music Index plots bands along two of the most crucial hipster points besides haircuts: critical acclaim and obscurity. The first factor was determined by its review from Pitchfork; the second ...
When Frozen topped the billion-dollar mark at the global box office last weekend, the significance wasn't just that Disney execs are going to be snapping up the world's stock of private islands when Christmas bonus time rolls around this year. Nope. Frozen is now the first film to make a billion dollars... that was also directed by a woman.
If you've been watching True Detective, you know that in this past Sunday's episode, ex-detective Marty Hart (played by Woody Harrelson) saw a video so upsetting that he completely freaked out. Thanks to Rifftrax's Conor Lastowka, we can now reveal the horrible truth of what Hart saw.
Rob Ryan and an army of impostor Rob Ryans were in full display at Mardi Gras.
Tuesday was Mardi Gras, the No. 1 day for drinking in New Orleans. In Rob Ryan's first year as the Saints' defensive coordinator, we found out that he quite enjoys drinking in New Orleans. Therefore, this was the Mardi Gras of Rob Ryan.
The results were terrifying.
For starters, one Krewe -- a group charged with putting together a parade -- the Krewe of Argus, decided to have Ryan as their grand marshal.
itwbennett writes "Oregon is holding back $25.6 million in payments from Oracle (out of some $69.5 million Oracle claims it is owed) over work the vendor did on the state's troubled health care exchange website. The site was supposed to go live on Oct. 1 but its launch has been marred by a slew of bugs and it is not yet fully functional. This week, Cover Oregon said it had reached an agreement with Oracle laying out 'an orderly transition of technology development services, and protects current and future Cover Oregon enrollees,' according to a statement. Oregon officials reached the deal with Oracle after the company reportedly threatened to pull all of its workers off the project and essentially walk away."