Welcome to the House of Crouse. I like Bryce Dallas Howard. Interviewed her a few times and I know two things, she is very nice and has a great laugh. She’s down to earth and says things like, “I have a very strong body, a dense body, I’m big boned.” She’s not your typical star and today we talk about a number of things including her new film Pete’s Dragon, her dad Ron Howard and working with Robert Redford. It’s good stuff and you’ll like it. C’mon in and sit a spell with me and Bryce Dallas Howard.
Listen to Bryce Dallas Howard and the other 59 House of Crouse podcasts HERE!
The summer movie season began amid doom and gloom. I don’t mean George Miller’s filling screens with his dystopian vision of the future in Mad Max: Fury Road or the career ending fallout from the Sony hack. No, I mean the sky-is-falling predictions that circulated about the movie business.
Box office is down! No one goes to the movies anymore! And best of all: Movies are dead!
To paraphrase Mark Twain, I’m happy to say the reports of the death of cinema have been greatly exaggerated. The summer box office of 2015 will go down in the record books as the second-biggest in history with almost seven billion dollars generated by Minions, Ant-Man, Mad Max, dinosaurs and a sad little girl named Riley.
Superheroes helped put bums in seats, but 2015 won’t be remembered as the Year of Ultron. Now that the summer silly season is over, a definite trend toward female-driven movies like Trainwreck, Pitch Perfect 2 and Spy showed that, as Amy Schumer told me, Hollywood has finally realized “our money works, too. Our banks also accept the female dollar.”
But it wasn’t just women going to the movies. With Jurassic World pulling in 1.6 billion samolians worldwide, it seems everyone put down the remote and went to the cinema.
We didn’t rush out to everything — cash grabs like Ted 2 and Terminator: Genisys flopped — but the naysayers, the folks who, in January, were declaring movies to be a thing of the past, an old outmoded form of entertainment in the digital age, missed the point.
People flocked to the movies in huge numbers this summer, filling seats and studio bank accounts, not simply to sit in air conditioning for a few hours as relief from the summer heat or to dine out on popcorn and Twizzlers, but to engage in an age-old ritual.
Of course, you can watch movies at home or on your phone. New technology has made it easier than ever to enjoy a film from the comfort of your coach on a 60-inch screen with surround sound and healthy, homemade snacks, but no matter what set-up you may have in your living room, the thing missing is the ancient practice of sharing entertainment with a large group of strangers. It’s a primal thing, hard-wired into our DNA, that dates back to when tribes of cave dwellers would sit around fires and tell stories through to the Globe Theatre, vaudeville, the talkies and right up to today’s IMAX and AUX screenings.
People have gathered to be entertained since there were tales to be told because there is no better way to enjoy the storytelling experience than surrounded by strangers who are laughing, crying, gasping— whatever — in response to a shared event.
No matter how large your TV or comfortable your sofa, home viewing misses the magical element of community. In the theatre you’re getting the sound and the picture the director intended, but more than that the experience brings people together, inspires conversation, respect and triggers actual physical interaction with others. Try that as you stream a movie on your iPhone.
Of course, as in any other community there are a few troublemakers — texters, seat kickers — but I spend more time in theatres than most and find the pros far outweigh any negatives.
In the era of home entertainment the idea of going to the movies may sound old fashioned or quaint but I like the way English novelist Angela Carter described watching a film in a theatre. She called it “dreaming the same dream in unison” and that, for me will never go out of style.
Where would Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career be without these three simple words: “I’ll be back”? Taken from The Terminator it’s as simple a phrase as was ever uttered in the movies, but became a pop culture catchphrase, and came to define Arnold’s career on screen and off.
He’s used the line—or a slight variation on it—in three other Terminator movies and eight other films. In 1993’s Last Action Hero he says it three times! He utters it one more time as he jumps from one helicopter to another in this weekend’s Terminator Genisys.
Few actors have done so much with so little. But the perfectly crafted saying almost didn’t happen.
“In the treatment it was ‘I’ll come back,’” The Terminator director and co-writer James Cameron told me. “In the script it was ‘I’ll be back.’ I don’t remember why I changed it. It just sounded better.”
The line certainly played no small part in establishing Schwarzenegger larger-than-life action hero image even though Arnold had problems with it when they were shooting the film.
In his autobiography, Total Recall, Schwarzenegger recalls, “Our biggest disagreement was about ‘I’ll be back’. I was arguing for ‘I will be back’. I felt that the line would sound more machine-like and menacing without the contraction.
“[But] we shot it as written in the script. The truth was that, even after all these years of speaking English, I still didn’t understand contractions.”
“There is something about the way the line plays,” says Cameron, “not just Arnold’s delivery, but the fact that you’ve seen enough of him in action up to that point to know that when he says ‘I’ll be back’ something really bad is going to happen. There is a counterpoint between the innocence of the words and the threat that is a wink to the audience. And the audience likes to be in the position of knowing what is going to happen next. They may not know the details but they know something bad is going to happen and then it pays off. He just comes flying through the window in a car and takes out the whole place. So there is something kind of delicious about the anticipation that it produces.”
The line’s popularity wasn’t planned. Cameron, who has three quips on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes list—“I’ll be back,” “Hasta la vista, baby” from T2 and Titanic’s “I’m king of the world!—says it is a bad idea to try and write catchphrases.
“I think it is a very hard thing to try and do that,” he says. “I think I was somewhat self conscious about it when I did Terminator 2 and he says ‘Hasta le vista baby.’ That I knew I was doing a line, an Arnold line. I think it is a very dangerous area because it can so easily blow up on you and I tend not to do that.”
Schwarzenegger has been associated with dozens of one-liners. So many, in fact that a youtube video titled 160 Greatest Arnold Schwarzenegger Quotes has over twenty million hits, but as widely imitated as “Hasta la vista, baby” was—even Chilean president Michelle Bachelet aped Arnold’s famous delivery of the line—“I’ll be back” remains his most iconic line.
After 31 years, four movies, two classics, one almost ran and one Rotten Tomatoes reject, it was only a matter of time until Hollywood had pushed the “Terminator” franchise too far and had to cannibalize itself and reinvent the story.
In “Terminator: Genisys” after time travel has landed Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) to her future but his past (Huh?) Detective O’Brien (J.K. Simmons) tries to wrap his head around the situation.
“I know whatever’s going on here must be really, really complicated,” he says.
“We’re here to stop the end of the world,” says Sarah.
“I can work with that.”
Hopefully so can the audience. The fourth “Terminator” movie warns us time and time again not to pay too much attention to the plot, which is a confounding mess of time travel that completely rewrites the Connor mythology.
“Everything has changed,” says Sarah, “the 1984 John sent you to no longer exists,” which is essentially sci fi screenwriter lingo for, We’ve changed most everything you thought you knew about the “Terminator” folklore. Reese put it in simpler terms, “Time travel makes my head hurt.”
The action begins in 2029, years after Judgement Day when artificial intelligence system Skynet became sentient and tried to destroy humanity. Resistance hero John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his right hand man (and son) Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, make sure she survives and in turn will live to give birth to John who will save humanity. It’s a bit of a Möbius strip, but at least it is a familiar one.
Once Reese transports back in time there’s a glitch and the past has changed. Lethal T-1000 Terminators are waiting for him and Sarah is already a warrior aided by her man-machine companion, the T-800 model Terminator (Arnold “I’m old but not obsolete” Schwarzenegger). “There’s a new mission,” says Sarah, “if the past can change so can the future.” The plan is to destroy Genisys, a computer operating system that will link everything—phones to tablets, tablets to cars… it will run the whole shebang—and will enable Skynet. And you thought having to change your Apple passwords all the time was a pain. Throwing a wrench into the job is (ALMOST A SPOILER BUT NOT REALLY) an unwelcome and unexpected family reunion.
There’s enough time travel here for three regular movies, but “Terminator: Genisys” is no regular movie. It’s a summer blockbuster meant to breathe life back into the silvery skeletoned franchise. It bigger, louder and dumber than ever before with a big action sequence every ten minutes and an ending that guarantees a sequel. The heretical meddling with the story aside, “Terminator” fans will likely enjoy watching the relentless T-1000 (Byung-hun Lee) scenes, old Arnold going mano a mano with a younger version of himself or the relationship between Sarah and the T-800 (although she calls him “Pops” too many times for my taste) but endless exposition—this is a story that needs some explaining—drags the middle part of the movie down.
“Terminator Genisys” is robotic in its presentation of the story. In an effort to make something new out of the pieces of the past, the movie relies on twists and time travel theatrics to push the plot instead of an actual coherent story. Reese’s past may be O’Brien’s present and Connor’s future, but the time spent watching this movie is two hours of our time spent in almost total confusion.