Star Wars and Apocalypse Now

(Welcome to The Movies That Made Star Wars, a series where we explore the films and television properties that inspired or help us better understand George Lucas’ iconic universe. In this edition:Apocalypse Now.)

Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now is a frenetic look into the final days of the Vietnam war. Where other films might have looked at the war from a more classic war film perspective, Coppola brought an insanity to it that matched how many felt about the conflict. Martin Sheen stars as Captain Willard, assigned to seek out Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), deep behind enemy lines. His journey is insane, like any war might be. There’s no comfort to be had there, only madness. Based loosely on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the John Milius script and Coppola’s documentary style of filmmaking made this film an instant classic, pushing us into dark places we’d rather pretend war doesn’t take us.

There are a lot of interesting things about the making of Apocalypse Now, it’s an incredible film and was made in an incredibly unorthodox way, but maybe the most interesting thing about Apocalypse Now in the context of Star Wars was that it was originally going to be a George Lucas film.

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Laurent Durieux Mondo art show

Four years ago, artist Laurent Durieux had his first solo exhibition at Mondo in Austin, Texas. Next month, fans are finally getting a sequel.

Keep reading to see three pieces from his upcoming show, “The Art of Laurent Durieux Part Two,” including his takes on Francis Ford Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now, Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining, and James Cameron‘s Titanic.

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R. Lee Ermey Dead

R. Lee Ermey, the gruff character actor probably most remembered for his scene-stealing, vulgar-laced turn in Stanley Kubrick‘s Full Metal Jacket, has died at age 74. Ermey was a United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and drill instructor who broke into acting, and spent a long career playing authority figures.

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10 Great Best Picture Nominees That Should Have Won

Best Picture Nominees That Should Have Won

On Sunday, March 4, 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be holding its 90th ceremony. The Oscars are the Super Bowl for cinephiles. Though the true relevance of the ceremony is often questioned, it still carries prestige as the pre-eminent film awards event.

Looking back through nine decades worth of Best Picture nominees, it’s clear there were a number of years where two or more iconic films were up against each other. 1994, for instance, featured an especially sticky three-way grudge match between Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, and The Shawshank Redemption (Gump’s gotta go, but Shawshank? Never.) There are other years, however, where one nominated title pops up as a clear cut above the rest, and the fact that it did not win seems like an egregious miscarriage of movie justice. 

You can’t always fault the Academy for its short-sightedness. Time has a way of showing what really matters.

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/Answers: The Greatest War Movie Scenes

Dunkirk Trailer

Every week in /Answers, we attempt to answer a new pop culture-related question. Tying in with the release of Dunkirk, this week’s edition asks “What is the greatest war-related scene in a movie?” As always, we have submissions from the /Film writing crew and podcast team.

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Apocalypse Now Video Game

Whenever I get the itch to sit down and watch Apocalypse Now, I always lament the fact that I can’t follow it up by playing a video game that allows me to venture into the horrors of the Vietnam War, all while listening to the insane ramblings of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz. Now I won’t have to worry about that anymore.

A new Kickstarter project has begun, in association with director Francis Ford Coppola and his American Zoetrope production banner, to create an RPG video game based on the classic 1979 movie starring Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Dennis Hopper and more.

Find out more about the Apocalypse Now video game after the jump. Read More »

gareth edwards on the set of rogue one

Last month on the Empire Podcast, director Gareth Edwards teased that he had a brief cameo in one of the final scenes of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It has taken fans a couple of weeks to find it, but now the Gareth Edwards Rogue One cameo has been fully revealed. Also, while we’re talking about the filmmaker, Edwards has released a list of his top 10 films of all time. Hit the jump to learn about both.

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Are These The 10 Best Improvised Scenes Of All Time?

Best Improvised Scenes

While the art of improvisation is most commonly associated with comedy, it’s a creative process that is used on movies of every kind. Sometimes improvisation happens during a table read and inspires something to be written into the script, other times it happens on set while the cameras are rolling. No matter how it happens, it has resulted in some classic moments in cinema.

Now a video attempts to pinpoint the Top 10 Improvised Scenes In Movie History. That’s a pretty tall order, and I can almost guarantee that once you watch the video after the jump, some of you are going to be upset, or will at least have some different opinions on how this list was put together. Read More »

best directed movies

The Directors Guild of America is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and it has decided to commemorate this event in a manner most befitting of the internet age: by making a list. More specifically, by polling DGA members and assembling a list of the 80 best-directed movies made since 1936, when the guild was founded. That’s one movie per year.

And like all internet lists, it’s bound to inspire conversation, eye-rolling, yelling, and maybe even a little cheer or two.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Best Opening Shots

We’ve previously featured videos taking a look at some of the most beautiful opening shots on film, not to mention the importance of opening shots in cinema, but this next video is going to stir up some debate. CineFix has rounded up what they believe to be the Top 10 Opening Shots of All Time. On the list you’ll find shots from Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and more. Check out the full list of the best opening shots after the jump! Read More »