David Lynch's Return of the Jedi

May 20th, 2014

David Lynch's Return of the Jedi:

Had he agreed to direct ROTJ I don't think there's any chance whatsoever that Lynch would have got to give the conclusion of the Original Trilogy a properly Lynchian feel. But it's fun to imagine, isn't it…

Even better, imagine the path Lynch's career could have taken if he'd been credited with directing a bona fide blockbuster and he'd had his pick of mainstream Hollywood's hottest projects. Can you imagine David Lynch's Titanic? David Lynch's Fight Club?

Then again, that path might not have led Lynch to Twin Peaks, and that's too high a price to pay.1

[Via MetaFilter]

  1. Sorry Dave, back to total creative freedom on lowish budgets and critical respect you go.

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American Doctors

May 29th, 2013

Doctor Who: An Alternative History of 11 American Female Doctors is rather good…

Second Doctor: Virginia Mayo (1966 – 1969)

It started as a sort of sexist joke in a production meeting about how often women change their clothes, but the concept of regenerating a new body when the old one was damaged was to become a core concept in the Doctor Who mythos. When Eve Arden stepped out of the Tardis for the last time, former vaudeville turned screen star Virginia Mayo sauntered in.

You could not possibly have two more different women. Arden relied on a quirky poise, while the vivacious Mayo tended to use her undeniable physical beauty combined with a slightly off-putting style of humor to manipulate her surroundings. She had a tendency to cater to ditzy dame stereotypes, but used her appearance as a somewhat helpless damsel to secretly save the day out from under threats.

She's most fondly remembered from an incredible performance in "The Silver Pyramid," where she took on Eric Kleig (Richard Attenborough) as he snidely accused her gender as incapable of logic while he sought to resurrect the Cybermen from their frozen tombs. The line, "Logic, Mr. Kleig, is just another kind of madness in the hands of a fool," is widely considered one of the best lines ever spoken on the show.

Jef With One F, the author of that post, did a similar recasting exercise featuring male Doctors earlier this year. That article included the single best casting idea of them all.1 How great would Alan Alda have been in the role?

Fun as they are, there's one very important point that neither piece covers. If the Doctor was an American (so to speak), what familiar-but-outdated shape would the TARDIS have got stuck in so it could prompt all those 'bigger on the inside' reactions? Did early-mid 20th century America even have police phone boxes?

[Via feeling listless]

  1. Yes, even better than Steve Martin and Robert Downey Jr. Though I must confess that part of my objection to the latter casting is based on the notion that it's just not fair to let one man be Tony Stark, Sherlock Holmes and The Doctor.

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Kneel before Zod … punk!

January 16th, 2012

Movies From An Alternate Universe. A different cast. A different era. A different poster.

I'm not sure even Sam Peckinpah could have convinced me that Al Pacino could play Wolverine1 but I would absolutely have paid good money to see Sean Connery in The Fifth Element, with Christopher Lee in the Gary Oldman role and Daniela Bianchi replacing Milla Jovovich.

Also, I so want to see Fritz Lang's 2001: Odyssee im Weltraum.

[Via MetaFilter]

  1. Though I do find the supporting cast, with Rutger Hauer as Sabretooth and Peter Weller as Maverick … intriguing.

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'It's only by treating ourselves to the irritation caused by Harry that we can fully appreciate Hermione herself.'

July 20th, 2011

In praise of Joanne Rowling's Hermione Granger series:

It's the end of an era. The entertainment which has stretched across books, movies, and countless marketing tie-ins, which has captivated children and adults for well over a decade and which has, for better or worse, managed to become the defining myth for an entire generation, is winding to its close. I speak, of course, of the Hermione Granger series, by Joanne Rowling.

So, before she goes away for good, let us sing the praises of Hermione. A generation could not have asked for a better role model. [...]

Hermione is not Chosen. That's the best thing about her. Hermione is a hero because she decides to be a hero; she's brave, she's principled, she works hard, and she never apologizes for the fact that her goal is to be very, extremely good at this whole "wizard" deal. Just as Hermione's origins are nothing special, we're left with the impression that her much-vaunted intelligence might not be anything special, on its own. But Hermione is never comfortable with relying on her "gifts" to get by. There's no prophecy assuring her importance; the only way for Hermione to have the life she wants is to work for it. So Hermione Granger, generation-defining role model, works her adorable British ass off for seven straight books in a row. Although she deals with the slings and arrows of any coming-of-age tale – being told that she's "bossy," stuck-up, boring, "annoying," etc – she's too strong to let that stop her. In Hermione Granger and the Prisoner of Azkaban, she actually masters the forces of space and time just so that she can have more hours in the day to learn. [...]

[Via kottke.org]

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"There was never a moment when the flight from Rivendell was not a catastrophe."

December 4th, 2010

John Reilly's The Gray Havens is an alternate history of the end of the War of the Ring:

"The end of the world is one thing, but missing lunch is serious."

It was March 25, in the 3019th year of the Third Age, and Arwen was not taking the lack of news from the South well. She needed to get out of her rooms. As for me, being a Hobbit, I would have gone to lunch even if I were on fire. [...]

The Point of Departure for this particular bit of alternate history is that Frodo failed and the One Ring found its way back to Sauron. As you might imagine, this complicates the lives of Men, Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits1 in all sorts of ways.

[Via MeFi user BungaDunga, posting to this thread]

  1. Including Bilbo Baggins who, as the story begins, is hanging around Rivendell, talking Arwen into going to lunch whilst waiting for word of his nephew Frodo's quest.

1 Comment »

Pity about Jeff Lynne, though…

November 12th, 2009

The best comment on MightyGodKing's heartbreaking, heartwarming, downright awesome Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted Lorne Michaels' Generous Offer came from MarvinAndroid:

MarvinAndoid said on November 11th, 2009 at 2:16 am
I think Douglas Adams would appreciate this, and that's just about the best thing I can say about anything.

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What If Gordon Brown Had Played?

October 10th, 2009

What if Gordon hadn't lost an eye…

Today he is one of the most familiar celebrities in British life, a sporting legend whose mellow Scottish charm as a team captain on A Question of Sport has won new generations of admirers. Even the embarrassing scenes on Celebrity Big Brother a couple of years ago – that poodle business with Rula Lenska! – have largely been forgotten. It is funny to think that, for Gordon Brown, it could all have been so different. [...]

It's no What if Gordon Banks had Played? or Thaxted, but it's not bad.

[Via The Browser]

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Berlin, 1939

August 31st, 2009

The event: a Town Hall Meeting on Health Care Reform. The place: Berlin. The year: 1939

Protester #4: Hey, what about the fact that Hitler combs his hair over to hide his democratic sympathies?

Nazi Rep: Well, I have to admit that that would be an extremely odd way for the Führer to hide something like that. But you can rest assured that he has no such predilections. He believes in totalitarianism and the power and judgment of the state. It's a wonder I'm even here right now, soliciting opinions and questions from you all. You can rest assured that nothing you say will make it back to the Führer.

Protester #4: What about the secret holes he has in his nose where he hides his boogers?

Nazi Rep: Those, sir, are what I believe are referred to as nostrils. Everyone has them.

Protester #4: And if someone doesn't – are they entitled to free health care under Hitler's crazy plans for reform?

Nazi Rep: No, it's my understanding that people without exactly two nostrils will likely be shot.

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"Nobody ever says they have to be at business early."

March 23rd, 2009

Fred Clark proposes a thought experiment:

Imagine a newspaper with no "Business" section. Where the Business section is now, there is, instead, a "Work" section.

It would make sense for the paper from a, you know, business standpoint. Higher circulation means more revenue for the paper, so it makes sense to focus on the needs, concerns and interests the largest number of potential readers. The current model of a Business section is designed for only the tiniest slice of potential readers — those who think of themselves primarily as investors. Why not aim, instead, for the vastly larger, overwhelming majority of potential readers, those who think of themselves primarily as people who work for a living? [...]

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Prezza

July 13th, 2008

Reviewing a collection of memoirs by New Labour figures for the London Review of Books, John Lanchester spotted an interesting point of divergence involving former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott:

There is one fascinating counterfactual to emerge from Prezza. It concerns the incident when he punched an egg-throwing protester in Wales during the 2001 general election. He includes a photo of the punch, a solid left jab right on the man’s chin. There was a furore, which Prescott survived because the public (not the papers, not at first) were largely on his side. But Prescott was an amateur boxer in his youth, and on page 118-19 there is a photo of him landing what looks like a knockout punch on an opponent. He is right-handed, and the knockout punch was a right. Here is the counter-factual: if 16-stone Prescott had hit the egg-thrower with his right, he would have knocked him out, and quite likely have broken his jaw. If either of those things had happened – if the man had ended up in hospital – Prescott would have had to resign. Whoever Blair appointed as his new deputy prime minister would have had much less pull with the party, because no one had as much pull with the party as Prescott. So when the crucial vote on the Iraq war came, Blair wouldn’t have had a deputy able to bring the party onside in the way that Prescott did. Instead of 139 Labour MPs voting against the war, a majority of them would have voted against, Blair would (as he said in private) have had to resign, and we wouldn’t have gone to war. And all because, for once, a New Labour figure didn’t lean to the right.

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Ghostbusters remade

May 5th, 2008

The Filmspotting podcast recently invited listeners to recast Ghostbusters.

The best response by far was Ghostbusters: London Calling by a poster called frozenhamster:

An Edgar Wright Film 

In this highly anticipated sequel/re-imagining  of the original Ghostbusters England is about to get slimed! When ghosts get a passport to Europe they take London by storm and it's up to a special team of British parapsychologists to save the city. Killing ghosts and making jokes, all before tea time.

Steve Coogan – Dr. Peter Venkman
Simon Pegg – Dr. Raymond Stantz
Martin Freeman – Dr. Egon Spengler
Nick Frost – Winston Zeddmore
Cate Blanchett – Dana Barrett
Paddy Considine – Louis Tully
Emma Thompson – Janine Melnitz
Christopher Eccleston – Walter Peck
Bill Nighy – Mayor
Ricky Gervais – Male Test Subject
Anna Friel – Female Test Subject
Thandie Newton – Gozer
Edgar Wright – Zuul/Slimer (voice) (uncredited)

I think Ricky Gervais would be better as Louis Tully,1, but that's still a pretty solid cast.

Another poster by the name of minerwerks found a cast list from an alternate timeline where the original screenplay somehow ended up in Woody Allen's hands:

Tony Roberts – Dr. Peter Venkman
Woody Allen – Dr. Raymond Stantz
Jeff Daniels – Dr. Egon Spengler
Christopher Walken – Winston Zeddemore
Diane Keaton – Dana Barrett
Paul Simon – Louis Tully
Mia Farrow – Janine Melnitz
Jeff Goldblum – Walter Peck
Howard Cosell – Mayor
Daniel Stern – Male Student
Mariel Hemmingway – Female Student
Shelley Duvall – Gozer (and the voice)
Woody Allen – Zuul / Slimer (voice) (uncredited)

I'd have paid good money to see that film.

  1. For those of us who haven't seen the film for a while, that's the character played by Rick Moranis who ends up being possessed and becomes The Keymaster.

2 Comments »

Disraelia

April 13th, 2008

Disraelia: A Counterfactual History, 1848-2008.

From the diary of Heinrich Heine, Trieste, December 1849 (published in part in the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung).

This is the second night I have not been able to sleep. I went down to the harbor watching the embarkation of hundreds of Jews on the steamships which had been rented by Hirsch commuting between this harbor and Jaffa. Five hundred are leaving every day, even on Sabbath, the rabbis having decided that this was a case of pikuah nefesh – the commandment of saving souls overrides the full observation of the Sabbath laws. Another 500 are leaving daily from Odessa.

What heartrending scenes! Tears came to the eyes of an old cynic like me. The children of the ghetto leaving a continent that has wrought them so much misery, burned on the stake in the Middle Ages, pogroms in the present new Middle Ages. No one was mourning to leave this continent of suffering and humiliation, and yet who had thought that a history of almost two thousand years would end like this?

By the waters of Babylon we were sitting and weeping – from the desert we came and to the desert we shall return. Judaism is not a religion, it is an affliction. As I watch the children of the ghetto, the poorest of the poor entering the ships with their few bundles, I cannot dispel dark forebodings. It was not just the separation of families for a long period, with husbands and young bachelors traveling as an avant garde and their families and friends following once they will have taken care of elementary living conditions. Will they be able to survive in wholly unfamiliar, often hostile conditions or will they disappear without a trace in the deserts of Arabia? They will have to fight nature, an inclement climate and diseases. They cannot and should not transfer the ghetto but will have to begin a new life in every respect. Will they be able to defend themselves against the elements in a bandit-infested country? Sometimes I feel that there still are enormous energies in this old people which only wait to be released, at other times an inner voice tells me, "Too late."

Montefiore and Disraeli were at the harbor with words of encouragement, promising all kind of help, narrating stories about their travels in these parts. Disraeli approached me, he knows my poems and recited two by heart. He told me to be of good cheer, what do they have to lose but their chains? Montefiore, a giant of a man, and Disraeli, in his red waistcoat speaking with the help of translators to some of the departing Jews and Jewesses, sounded genuine. But they have been over there for a short time as honored guests with red carpets wherever they went. How will these poor wretches, Europe’s stepchildren, fare – pale, weak, so defenseless? Perhaps this is another desert generation and whatever hope there is rests with the next generation. But the odds are against them.

I went to bed with a heavy heart, not at all sure whether I had witnessed the last act of a long tragedy or the beginning of something wholly new.

Marx in London to Heine in Paris, January 1850.

[...] I share your misgivings. In fact I am certain nothing can come of this project. After so many centuries in the ghetto, the Jews are not capable of doing any constructive work. Degeneration has proceeded too far and lasted too long. You talk about new industries – but what and where? Weaving silk and carpets? The Persians are doing it better. There are no raw materials upon which new industries could be based in the Ottoman empire, except may be salt from the Dead Sea and that stinking substance called petroleum which is good for nothing except perhaps putting tar on our streets. [...]

[Via Arts & Letters Daily]

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