Cult Movie of the Week: Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon

Since I want to shed light on some missed gems, The Last Dragon is almost too easy of a pick since a lot of people are already big fans of the film. However, some younger film fans might not be aware of this kung-fu classic. It is also the only movie I know of where the two leads have one name in real life (Taimak as Leroy Green, Vanity as Laura Charles).

‘Bruce’ Leroy Green searches for the “master” to obtain the final level of martial arts mastery known as the glow. Along the way he must fight an evil martial arts expert, Sho’Nuff the Shogun of Harlem, and an rescue a beautiful singer from an obsessed music promoter.

Despite the backing of music legend Berry Gordy, Vanity never really broke.  Even with the help of this film.  No one in this film did.  And that is just fine.  Everyone was so perfect in their role.  Nowadays they would cast Samuel Jackson as the Sho’Gun and he would ruin the film.  And then they’d cast Selena Gomez or someone already established as Laura Charles.  They’ve been kicking the remake around for a while, but I hope it never happens.

The film is pure 80’s chopsuey, with some of the best one-liners you’ve ever heard.  “Kiss my Converse!” “Take a hike, Cool Breeze.” “Just direct-a your feets-a to Daddy Green’s Pizza!” “Don’t bug me, fix your face.”  Any attempt to remake it would never be able to capture that charm.

Top 10 Anti-Romances

To quality for this list, the guy and girl cannot end up together.  The reason for them not winding up together cannot be because one of them dies (The Fly, Atonement). We, the audience, should want the characters to be together.  But they just can’t be… whether it is them, society or another extraneous circumstance.  As always, I have to be a fan of the movie.

I would include something like Spiderman, but I honestly didn’t want him to wind up with Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane.  I couldn’t stand her.  The same goes for Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane in Superman.

Honorable Mention

  • 8 Mile
  • Far From Heaven
  • Scott Pilgrim vs The World
  • Closer
  • 500 Days of Summer
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Manhattan
  • Your Friends and Neighbors
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Blue Valentine
  • Laurel Canyon
  • Singles
  • All the Real Girls
  • Audition

Penny Black – Artwork

Penny Black is a script I’m currently writing with the purpose of just going out and shooting it.  The thought was to shoot on an iphone 4S, but we’ll see how it all shakes out.  We’ll how the RED Scarlet works out… and I really like the Sony FS100.

The idea is based around the conceit that this girl moves into an apartment with an oddly placed mail slot – attached to a wall.  When mail actually starts showing up it sends her world into chaos, bringing her out of her shell.

The Penny Black was the world’s first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system and is also the name of the main character. It was issued by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 1 May, 1840, for use from 6 May of that year. All London post offices received official issues of the new stamps but other offices throughout the United Kingdom did not, continuing to accept postage payments in cash only for a period.

Top 5 Mother-Son Movies

There were a few criteria in coming up with this list.  No movies about mother’s dealing with grief of losing a child.  No unborn sons (Rosemary’s Baby).  No movies about mother’s and their children (Brothers McMullen or Johnny Dangerously). The mother should be a major character in the film (so no Boogie Nights or Karate Kid).

  • Back to the Future
  • Terminator 2
  • 8 Mile
  • Dumbo
  • Psycho

Honorable Mention

  • Requiem for a Dream
  • Friday the 13th
  • Iron Giant
  • White Heat
  • Cyrus
  • Almost Famous
  • Mother
  • Forrest Gump
  • Sixth Sense
  • Laurel Canyon
  • Little Man Tate
  • Ordinary People

The Beast – Cover

After a very long trial process, I finally decided upon a cover idea for The Beast.  It’s a feature film and I’m working on the novella as well.  Rather than wait for the book to be done (who does things in order?), I have been working on covers.

In The Beast, a high school football team takes a weeklong trip to a preseason camp in the recesses of a mountain town. While the coaches turn a blind eye, the charismatic running back begins a hazing ritual that quickly gets out of control and turns the camp and the team into his private army.  The star Quarterback resists and must battle the team he used to command.  It is, more or less, Lord of the Flies at a high school football camp.

I started the work, realized I was in over my head, brought Karol into the process and then Anna Mancheva (my graphic designer).  She did a kick-ass job getting the decals onto the helmet.  I did the title designs and Karol put it all together.  I have it with the tomahawk in gold as well, but when it is all put together the silver looks best. The tomahawk and X stand for the St. Pius X Tomahawks.  My dad went to middle school at St. Pius X and I wanted a Native American-themed mascot.

Let me know what you think.

Top 5 Movies That Begin With The End

The main criteria here was that the device of using the ending at the beginning had to be integral to the movie. I gave myself a lot of leeway and I’m including bookends here as well – mostly because it was too hard to differentiate.

Top 5

Honorable Mention

  • Amores Perros
  • Clue
  • Double Indemnity
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Never Let Me Go
  • Outsiders, The
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • Ping Pong (not the end – but end of second act)
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Raging Bull
  • Remember the Titans
  • Sunset Blvd.
  • Titanic (even though I hate the book ends of this film)
  • Usual Suspects

Best of the Rest

  • 12 Monkeys
  • 500 Days of Summer
  • A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints
  • American Beauty
  • Basketball Diaries
  • Catch Me If You Can
  • Gattaca
  • Interview with a Vampire
  • Irreversible
  • Milk
  • Rashomon
  • Serpico
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Ladder 49

Script Progress Report

Finally making some headway after being derailed the last two or three weeks.  The first draft of this found footage script I’m working on, right now named Untitled Werewolf Hunter, came in this morning.  And I hit the 50 page mark on Penny Black late last night (script will only be about 80-85 pages).

Itching to get both of these done as soon as possible so I can dive into the adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s The Skin Trade.   I’ve read it a few times already and after the next read I’ll start breaking it down for an outline.  Going to be a lot of fun…