When Mike Nichols and Elaine May teamed up again for the first time in over thirty years, it was to adapt Francis Veber’s most famous and celebrated works, the 1978 film la Cage aux Folles. Veber’s films had been remade in English before – in fact, he’d directed a number of them – but this one was the big one so it needed to be big.

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The introduction of the Borg as an antagonist on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” gave the crew of the Enterprise – and the teams on subsequent shows – one of their greatest villains. Not only are they a terrifying collective, assimilating everyone they come into contact with, but they thematically are the antithesis of everything the franchise has come to represent about technology and the future. Because of all of this, they seemed a natural element to include in the TNG cinematic stories. But the studio wanted them to include a way to personify the villain more than they ever did in the show. The filmmakers also wanted to make a time travel film. With all of these elements, were they able to pull it together to make a cohesive film? 

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When New Line Cinema bought Shane Black’s spec script “The Long Kiss Goodnight” in 1994 for $4 million, it created a new record for the selling price of spec scripts for more than 10 years until 2005 when Terry Rossio’s and Bill Marsilii’s script “Déjà Vu” sold for $5 million. While Black walked away with a hefty paycheck, he had no idea that this sale and the subsequent underwhelming performance of the resulting movie would have a hand in the end of the halcyon days of spec script sales. The way that studios saw screenwriters changed. The way they approached projects changed. Some say the industry has changed for the better, some say for the worse. Whichever side you fall on the issue, Black found himself struggling to get work afterward. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Shane Black series with Renny Harlin’s 1996 film “The Long Kiss Goodnight.”

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This month’s three of a kind takes on music, magic, and a great meal. Amadeus, The Prestige, and Big Night are three films that explore characters with a single-minded focus that drives them toward success but at a tremendous cost. Ambition, tenacity, and a spirit that never gives up can be the keys to success, but what happens if that energy is misguided or directed toward a selfish goal?

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Joel and Ethan Coen may have won big at Cannes with “Barton Fink,” but it wasn’t until 1996’s “Fargo” was nominated for 7 Oscars including Best Picture, and won Best Actress (Frances McDormand) and Best Original Screenplay for the Coens that Hollywood really started believing that these guys could deliver the goods. (They did fail miserably in Hollywood with their previous effort, “The Hudsucker Proxy,” after all.) Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Drama by the Brothers Coen series with our discussion on this homespun tale of murder, “Fargo.”

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