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‘Porklips Now’: Spoof of Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ sends up suburban barbecue culture, 1980


 
The strongest period for American film starts with Bonnie and Clyde or The Graduate, which both came out in 1967, and, in my opinion, ends, 12 years later, with Apocalypse Now. Francis Ford Coppola had once been one of the main poster boys for the New American Cinema, having made the first two masterful Godfather movies and The Conversation in the early 1970s. When he chose to adapt Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness as a Vietnam movie—and spent several years and tens of millions of dollars to do it—the American public was made to focus on Coppola’s ego and excesses, which was certainly at least partly fair but, in a way, seemed to misdiagnose the problem. Coppola was being ridiculed for ... wanting to make an ambitious work of art on a socially relevant subject? The abuse seemed out of proportion to the crime. 

It’s difficult to reconstruct just how deep the mockery of Coppola ran at that time. I can remember quite clearly the accepted-by-everyone premise that Apocalypse Now “didn’t have an ending”—this claim that was supposed to be definitively argument-ending on the subject of Coppola’s lunacy but in retrospect seems fairly arbitrary. Coppola had trouble pinning down a final version in the editing room, true, and you can see the lengthier cut of the movie when you watch Apocolypse Now Redux, but it just wasn’t true that the ending was any special index of Coppola’s excesses or inability to make a decision (both of which were real factors for Coppola at that point). As Richard Beggs, who won an Oscar for Best Sound for his work on the movie, later said in defense of the movie: “There were never five endings, but just the one, even if there were differently edited versions.”

At any rate, the idea that Coppola was ripe for a comeuppance was inescapable in the culture. Case in point: Porklips Now, a short movie (16 minutes) directed by Ernie Fosselius to make fun of Coppola’s Vietnam epic. Fosselius’ main claim to fame at this point was certainly Hardware Wars, a parody of Star Wars that had become something of an indie sensation in 1977. Lifting its strategies directly from MAD Magazine, just as Hardware Wars had done, Porklips Now transforms the story of Willard seeking out Kurtz into the following:  “Dullard,” a barbecue practitioner of the suburbs, is sent into “Chinatown” to investigate the unorthodox practices of a rogue butcher named “Mertz” (as in Fred Mertz, from I Love Lucy).
 

 
I won’t ruin too many of the jokes but I will point out that Billy Gray, once best known for playing “Bud” on Father Knows Best, was extremely well cast as “Dullard”—the re-creation of Martin Sheen’s voiceover in Apocalypse Now is one of the best elements of the satire. Fosselius himself does the Brando turn as Mertz, and it’s only fair to say that he does a pretty excellent job in the role.

You can’t take on Apocalypse Now without addressing the Doors, and sure enough, Fosselius comes up with a pretty amusing Doors pastiche under the title “Not the End—Yet” (a dig at the indecision surrounding the original movie), performed by “Scott Mathews and the Back Doors,” whoever that may be. Meanwhile, true to the times, the parody of the big helicopter scene is given a suitably cocaine-y gloss, with the Wagnerian “Disco Valkyries” performed by the Four Hoarsemen, har har.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.18.2017
12:29 pm
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Amazing hand-painted movie posters by legendary Thai artist Tongdee Panumas
05.19.2017
12:11 am
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A hand-painted poster for ‘Apocalypse Now’ by legendary Thailand-based graphic designer and artist Tongdee Panumas. You can see the image above in more detail (and trust me, you want to), here.
 
Thailand-based artist Tongdee Panumas signs his posters using only his first name. Panumas is a legend when it comes to the world of hand-painted movie posters.

Until the late 1990s, film distribution companies in Thailand would routinely commission artists from their own country to hand-paint homegrown original movie posters using stills of memorable characters and scenes from the films as the basis for their renderings. During a span of three decades starting in the 1970s Tongdee churned out a seemingly impossible number of movie posters for classic American films such as Escape from New York, The Terminator, The Silence of the Lambs as well as a myriad of Thai movies, too.

Panumas’ posters are exuberant, appearing as though they could at any moment leap off the page thanks to Tongdee’s masterful use of color, composition, and realism. The artist is also adept at utilizing every inch of his canvas—such as his jaw-droppingly epic poster for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam war film masterpiece, Apocalypse Now which is pictured in all its hypnotic glory at the top of this post. In 2012, an exhibit called Eyegasm: The Art of Thai Movie Posters showcased Tongdee’s posters as well as those of another wildly talented Thai graphic artist, Somboonsuk Niyomsiri (aka “Piak Poster”) in order to help shine a light on the art form that has sadly experienced a huge decline over the last decade or so.

From what I was able to ascertain it appears that Tongdee is a rather private individual, as there is little to nothing written about him on the Internet.  According to the beautifully curated blog Film on Paper written by interaction designer Eddie Shannon, in 2016 he was able to commission Tongdee to create an exceptional poster based on the 1987 film Predator, giving nearly all creative control to the artist. The result is nothing short of fantastic. Of course, the admission for entry somewhat suggests that you too could perhaps engage the services of Tongdee to create the movie poster of your dreams. Some of the images that follow are awesomely NSFW.
 

The incredible ‘Predator’ commission done by Tongdee for Eddie Shannon in 2016.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.19.2017
12:11 am
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Intriguing behind-the-scenes images from ‘Apocalypse Now’
06.14.2016
10:22 am
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“My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam.”—Francis Ford Coppola

Brutal, intense, fascinating, whimsical and yes, even beautiful photographs from behind-the-scenes of Apocalypse Now. As you can tell right off the bat with these images, filming was “Hell on earth.” Dennis Hopper once said of the film, “I felt like I had fought in the war.” The actors and crew battled tropical diseases, monsoons, alcoholism, drug-binges, insects and insanely humid weather. And that’s just the fun stuff.

Death by Films wrote this about the lead actor’s mood during the shooting of Coppala’s war opus:

One day early on, Sheen got completely shitfaced and ordered the crew to film him. He got aggressive, punching out mirrors and even tried to attack Coppola. The director kept rolling, and the footage is now in the scene with Martin Sheen sitting on the edge of his bed.

Martin Sheen has since described the making of Apocalypse Now as “chaos,” and even told friends back home that he genuinely believed he was going to die.

The majority of these photographs, shot in the Philippines, were captured by the celebrated photographer Mary Ellen Mark, who died on May 25, 2015. If you dig these photographs, many of them can be found in Mark’s book Seen Behind the Scene .


Francis Ford Coppola working his movie magic in the Philippines
 

Francis Ford Coppola and Dennis Hopper
 

 

Brando and Coppola
 

Marlon Brando goofing around
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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06.14.2016
10:22 am
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The Ho Ho Horror: Patton Oswalt’s amazing ‘Rudolph’ meets ‘Apocalypse Now’ parody


 
I can vividly remember growing up and watching those Rankin/Bass holiday specials every year. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year. The New Year’s one I recall best, because I had, shall we say, “prominent” ears as a child, so I felt the Baby New Year’s pain when everyone cried “Those EARS!!” It was still a great program. And who can forget the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser from The Year Without a Santa Claus?

In Silver Screen Fiend, his forthcoming follow-up to his 2011 memoir Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, comedian and actor Patton Oswalt discusses in great detail his twentysomething years as an addict of cinema, and part of the tale involves his stint as a writer on MADtv in the mid-1990s. Oswalt excoriates himself for being a terrible employee of Rupert Murdoch, pitching abstruse sketch ideas and then not bothering to try to execute them properly and sneering at anyone in his orbit who didn’t happen to be swooning over Sam Peckinpah that very minute. He’s very hard on himself, but I suspect he threw in more useful writing ideas and was easier to get along with than he remembers—there’s a reason he stayed there for roughly two years, after all, and a reason The King of Queens wanted him as a featured player even though his acting chops were still being honed.
 

 
In any case, one of his cinephile pitches was to do a version of Francis Ford Coppola’s fractured 1979 masterpiece Apocalypse Now in the form of a Rankin/Bass Christmas special. It turns out they did it, but only after Oswalt was no longer on staff. Here’s a brief excerpt from Silver Screen Fiend on the subject in which he spreads the credit around as widely as possible:
 

There I was … at MADtv, struggling to explain to a network suit what Apocalypse Now was, and how it could be funny if done through the prism of a Rankin Bass special.* 

* They eventually shot my idea—a year after I left the show. Well, I really didn’t leave. They didn’t have me back. And with good fucking reason. I was a judgmental, sour asshole of a writer. Quick with a criticism and never with a fix. A comedy and film snob who rolled his eyes half the time and turned in typo-filled scripts. But they shot it. And put my name in the credits. Misspelled. Revenge? They were entitled. The sketch was called “A Pack of Gifts Now,” and it was lovingly animated by a stop-motion genius named Corky Quakenbush. An elf [actually a reindeer—Editor] is sent by toy makers to the North Pole to terminate “the Kringle” and his cultlike operation of toy makers “with extreme prejudice.” And, ironically enough, one of the producers I clashed with, Fax Bahr—who codirected the documentary Hearts of Darkness, about the making of … Apocalypse Now—shepherded the sketch through, with all of my visual jokes and references intact, and plenty of his own, which made the sketch even better. Even got a mention in TV Guide. Thanks, Fax. Sorry I was such a dick. Part of being in your twenties is not knowing an ally when you see one.

 
Not too surprisingly, given Oswalt’s status as a passionate consumer of comic books, movies, and TV shows, the details of the sketch, also executed to perfection, are what make it work—the use of eggnog as a substitute for scotch, the substitution of “Saskatchewan” for “Saigon” and “the Kringle” for “the colonel.”

For more on those early Rankin/Bass TV specials as well as “A Pack of Lies Now,” check out The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass by Rick Goldschmidt.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.22.2014
01:53 pm
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‘Apocalypse Pooh’: The pre-Internet video mashup of Winnie the Pooh and ‘the horror’
10.02.2014
06:09 pm
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Think back on the era before the Internet—what savages we were! Ubiquitous genres of media like the mash-up were barely in their infancy and relegated almost entirely to the art world (aside from druggy pastimes like syncing up Wizard of Oz and The Dark Side of the Moon, the political détournée of René Viénet’s Situationist comedy Can Dialectics Break Bricks? or comedic dubs like What’s up, Tiger Lily?). Apocalypse Pooh, a surreal 1987 cut-and-paste of Apocalypse Now and Winnie The Pooh, was one of the first 100% recycled mash-ups, and was distributed almost completely through an ‘80s tape-trading underground.

Video artist (and former childhood TV addict) Todd Graham created Apocalypse Pooh in art school, and it was a mini-sensation among tape-traders. It rarely got much credit from the art world—a reception Graham attributed to the oh-so-serious world of video arts’ lack of humor (he also did a mash-up of The Archies doing “God Save the Queen), but today the video is considered groundbreaking. Apocalypse Pooh is as strange and funny as anything you’d find of its genre on the Internet now, and here it is, remastered in crystal clarity, so you can really see the napalmed Hundred Acre Wood!
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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10.02.2014
06:09 pm
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Machete Maidens Unleashed: A look at ‘70s Filipino Exploitation Flicks

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Mark Hartley—the man who brought you Not Quite Hollywood, the documentary on ‘70s and ‘80s Australian action, suspense and horror b-movies—is back to lay the same treatment on the Philippines. Machete Maidens Unleashed shows how that country became the shooting locale for tons of American-funded monster movies, jungle prison movies, blaxploitation and kung fu hybrids—along with better known shoots like Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which apparently left the land strewn with sets that got repeatedly reused.

Adding to the genre-crazy atmosphere was Prime Minister Ferdinand Marcos’s harsh and corrupt Bagong Lipunan (“New Society”) program of martial law, during which he and his family ruled with the kind of impunity that eventually led to his downfall in the mid-‘80s.

Check the trailer—it’s quite wild—and look for this ‘un soon at yr local movie establishment.
 

 
Thanks to Mark Turner for the heads-up!

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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08.05.2010
01:51 am
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