Friday, January 3, 2020

Movie Review: “The Movies That Made Us”

By Matt Pascarella

Running time: Various

We are all familiar with, or at the very least know of these four popular movies: “Home Alone”, “Ghostbusters”, “Dirty Dancing” and “Die Hard”. Have you ever wondered what went on behind the scenes? Or what it took to do some of the stunts/action?

This four-episode, one season Netflix series gives interesting background information about these well-liked films. It features interviews with cast, producers and those involved with the movies. They talk about working on the films and give tidbits about these well-liked movies. Here are just a few fast facts about some of these classics:

Dirty Dancing (Episode 1)
Baby is based on an actual person.
Initially, Winona Ryder and Sarah Jessica Parker were considered for the role of Baby. Billy Zane was almost cast as Johnny Castle.
Swayze and Grey weren’t exactly crazy about each other – in the beginning.

“Home Alone” (Episode 2)
Daniel Stern originally turned down the opportunity to be a henchman
Large portions of the movie were filmed in an abandoned high school
There were no special effects or CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) for any of the stunts done on “Home Alone”, so all the hits and slips and falls actually happened

“Ghostbusters” (Episode 3)
Dan Ackroyd wrote ‘Ghostbusters’ for himself, John Belushi and Eddie Murphy.
There were two different titles for the movie; they lucked out to get the one everybody knows.
There were 12 slimers created before the designer landed on the one in the movie.

“Die Hard” (Episode 4)
It is based on a book called “Nothing Lasts Forever”.
They were legally obligated to initially offer the lead to Frank Sinatra.
Neighbors and occupants of the buildings and areas around where they were shooting complained of all the noise and explosions that happened during filming.

The big scene where the helicopter and the top of Nakatomi Plaza explode is a little different than you might imagine.

Overall, this is a fun series. It’s interesting to learn the story behind the script. Sometimes, I felt like producers, directors, creators, etc. go on a little too long about lesser interesting parts of a film – like what it took to secure funding. Some of these episodes are more entertaining than others, depending on which movies you like, but I found all the episodes feature facts about the movie that I may not have expected. I would recommend this series as a post-holiday, watch-in-one-weekend series. I’m hoping and looking forward to a second season. Two VHS cassettes way up. Now, where’s that VCR?

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