Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)
It’s at times easy to forget that “Better Call Saul” is a period piece, if only because its 2002-2003 setting isn’t always noticeably distinguishable from the present day. But then every once in a while, creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould slap us in the face with a reminder that this show is happening in the past. It can be as simple as a trip to a video store — but not just any video store.
Read More: ‘Better Call Saul’: The 7 Times Jimmy and Kim Kissed On Screen, And How That Makes It The Most Rewarding Romance on TV
It’s something we all accepted as routine, just 15 years ago: Want to watch a movie? Go to Blockbuster Video. So in the Season 3 finale, “Lantern,” Kim (Rhea Seehorn) asks her assistant Francesca (Tina Parker) for a ride to what was once the dominant source for Americans in search of movie rentals, and we then get to see her browse the aisles in search of the perfect comfort viewing, following her near-fatal car accident the episode prior.
Executive producer Gennifer Hutchison, who wrote the season finale, told IndieWire that the decision to have Kim visit a video store came in the writers’ room, as the team discussed what Kim might possibly do after deciding to relax following her accident. “I just really loved the idea of her renting a bunch of videos and sitting around watching movies and eating junk food. Just because it’s something I relate to, it’s something I like to do when I destress. And I feel like it’s not something you see a lot of on TV and in movies,” she said.
And as a result, Gould — who directed the finale — got very excited about the idea of Kim going to not just any video store, but Blockbuster in particular. However, don’t think that this was an easy choice for the show — because according to production designer Michael Novotny, “it was a total nail-biter.”
Novotny told IndieWire that as soon as he received word that “Saul” wanted to recreate a Blockbuster, he got his team to work — specifically, the graphics department. “I can always do a set. A set’s the easy part. The hard part is the graphics and all of the art work you’re going to turn out,” he said.
But that process started before the show had actual permission to recreate a Blockbuster. “We started to build it without approval. That’s part of the nail-biting process,” he said. “It wasn’t until the day before we shot it that we got approval.”
This is because, as anyone who works in production might tell you, trying to depict a real brand on screen can be an incredibly difficult task. And the “Saul” team wanted to actually use Blockbuster iconography, which isn’t the easiest thing given that it’s a brand name you haven’t probably seen in the wild in years.
Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010, and “roughly a dozen” stores currently exist today. Thus, the set was built on one of the show’s Albuquerque soundstages, and in fact, a great deal of what was on screen was made from scratch by the “Saul” production team, including the big Blockbuster sign hanging in the wall and the period-accurate movie covers.
One thing they were able to buy: the shelving units came thanks to an ironic stroke of luck and an Albuquerque video store that was going out of business. The production was thus able to buy those displays, which Novotny made sure were shortened so that, as they shot the scene, Kim and Francesca could be seen walking through the aisles. That framing was based on Gould’s storyboards, which were altered slightly during the production process, but otherwise didn’t require any major additional construction.
But really, here’s what people care about — the movies that are being considered, as Kim prepares for an epic binge in the pre-Netflix days. None of the titles are fake, and Novotny did work carefully with his team to carefully curate the movies that appeared on screen during the scene, all of which were drawn from a list provided by Peter Gould and the writers. Here are just some of the ones we happened to spot while freeze-framing:
“A Knight’s Tale” “Lawrence of Arabia” (the 40th anniversary special edition) “Love Liza” “The Mothman Prophecies” “Punch-Drunk Love” A Richard Pryor stand-up special “Beverly Hills Ninja” “The Cheap Detective” “Hanky Panky” “Blue Thunder” “American Sledge” “Darkness Falls” “Night of the Living Dead”
They’re all movies that feel appropriate to the era at least within a year or two or as classics, though unfortunately a quick Internet search can reveal whether a film in question would have been available on DVD in the year 2003. Perhaps the most glaring oversight is the appearance of Tim Burton’s “Big Fish,” which was released in theaters December 10, 2003 and made available on DVD April 27, 2004 — something Hutchison’s husband (who actually worked at Blockbuster in the past) noticed while watching the final product. “We don’t always get it right,” she admitted.
Novotny acknowledged the “Big Fish” error, but he was relatively zen about it, given the intense pressure of making the scene happen in the first place. “It really was a down to the wire thing,” he said. “If that’s as much as I’m wrong… I’m sad to hear that but at the same time I’m happy that it went as good as it did.”
Update: On Twitter, Gould offered a little clarity as to why “Big Fish” might have time traveled back a year:
And that #BigFish they mention? Could be a shoutout to my former student @johnaugust… #YesYouReadThatRight
— Peter Gould (@petergould) June 23, 2017
Hutchison couldn’t remember every one of the 10 films Kim officially rented, though such a list was made during production. Beyond “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Monty Python,” she said the rest were mostly legal dramas, though she did make sure to include the Luc Besson sci-fi romp “The Fifth Element.” “That was one for some reason I was really stuck on making sure was in her stack,” Hutchison said.
While hardly the most memorable scene of the finale, it still sticks in the mind because of how it triggers memories of an experience we’ve largely lost, traded in for the convenience of Netflix.
“I like the idea of physically walking around and choosing movies,” Hutchison said. “There is something about actually going into a store, having everything broken down by genre. Sometimes with the streaming services it’s a little overwhelming, but having that physical space… I don’t know. It was like a ritual.”
And depicting that ritual was just more proof that “Better Call Saul” will always find a way to surprise us with the seemingly mundane.
Stay on top of the latest film and TV news! Sign up for our film and TV email newsletter here.
Related stories'Better Call Saul': The 7 Times Jimmy and Kim Kissed On Screen, And How That Makes It The Most Rewarding Romance on TVThe 20 Best-Directed TV Drama Series of the 21st Century, Ranked'Better Call Saul' Review: Season 3 Finale Proves A Good Man Knows When to Give Up
Some believe that this is just an interesting fun fact that holds no merit or weight. While the idea that Christian Bale loves Beverly Hills Ninja has been the subject of many listicles, no one ever bothers to source the original link this info came from. Until now. Yahoo has tracked this bit of trivia back to an Esquire interview from 2010. The actor was
Daredevil - Paper Clips
Aliens - Power Loader
An Eye For An Eye - Telephone
Hellboy - Payphone
Beverly Hills Ninja - Fish
Austin Powers - Toothpaste
Hot Shots! Part Deux - Chicken
Hot Fuzz - Wet Floor Sign
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 - Frying Pan
Tangled - Frying Pan
Walking Tall - Frying Pan
Kiss of the Dragon - Chopsticks
Machete - Meat Thermometer
Nacho Libre - Corn
Sleepwalkers - Corn
Project A - Chili Peppers
Hancock - Candy Bar
Law Abiding Citizen -
A new documentary doesn’t look to make things easier with a look at Farley’s life, character, and career through the recollections of those who knew him best. Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Bob Odenkirk, Bob Saget, Christina Applegate and more join David Spade, Farley’s brother Kevin Farley, and Lorne Michaels to remember the late comedian.
From the press release for Network Entertainment’s documentary:
Before his untimely death at only 33 years of age, Farley left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry through his groundbreaking work on television in both Second City and Saturday Night Live,
That was what Christina Applegate had to say about the late comedian Chris Farley as part of a trailer for the documentary that will take a look at the life of the star of Saturday Night Live, Tommy Boy, and Beverly Hills Ninja.
The documentary is directed by Brent Hodge and Derik Murray and features conversations about Farley with David Spade (his co-star in many films), Adam Sandler, Bob Saget, Lorne Michaels, Mike Myers, Molly Shannon, and Dan Aykroyd among others.
It is set to profile the comedian, who died in 1997 of a drug overdose, and speak with some of the people who spent the most time with him.
The film is set to open in theaters on July 31 and will be available on VOD and digital download on August 11.
Chris Farley lived his life full speed
This week’s “Question of the Week” on Jeff Bayer’s “Movie B.S.” podcast is inspired by Sparkle, a remake of the 1976 film that features actress/singer Whitney Houston in her last on-screen performance. This question is, “What dead performer do you wish had made one last movie before they died, and what would it be?”
In honor of Houston, and many others who left us before giving us the movie that they should’ve made last, here’s a list of the Top 7 Imaginary Last Performances from Dead Actors.
7. Phil Hartman
Last Film: The PG-13 family action figure actioner Small Soldiers, 1998.
Should’ve Been Last Film: While it certainly came out some time after 1998, the long-anticipated, now-forgotten Simpsons Movie just wasn’t the same without Phil Hartman, who voiced classic side characters on the TV show like Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure.
For those that haven't seen it, the film revolves around a theater troupe led by Alan, a rather mean-spirited director, who brings them to an isolated island for a night of fun and games. This includes digging up a corpse named Orville and holding a séance with the goal of raising the dead.
The party continues, despite the failure of the séance. All the while, Alan berates his actors and uses Orville's corpse as the butt of his jokes. The director's ensemble is no better, with all of them willing to walk over each other to garner Alan's favor. And while
But as you can imagine, it was an enormously difficult task to get even one version on that photo taken, and you can only imagine the stories that come out of this kind of hurricane of talent from across the generations. The Playlist were the only online press there at the shoot (suck it, TMZ!), and we can now exclusively bring you ten of the key things we observed over the 17-hour-shoot.
What Could They Possibly Have Talked About? 1: Jack Black
The Archives, Right Here
Check out my other column, This Week In Trailers, at SlashFilm.com and follow me on Twitter under the name: Stipp
IP Man 2 -Review
It’s Sammo Hung who deserves the kudos for this sequel.
It may be Donnie Yen’s reprisal of Ip Man, the man who would mentor Bruce Lee if you’re unfamiliar with this man’s provenance, who is bringing the same kind of furious fists and feet that he brought to the first film or director Wilson Yip’s fresh take on a genre that has been beaten like the prunish face of any man coming out of the well-choreographed fight sequences but it’s really all about the action when it comes to Ip Man 2. It’s the latter of these points that explains why this film needs to be consumed and enjoyed for what it is and not,
From the Press Release
A deadly driving competition spawns a racing legend in Death Race 2, an all-out action thrill ride, coming to Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital Download January 18, 2011 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment DVD Originals™. Danny Trejo (Machete), Ving Rhames (Piranha 3D), Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Luke Goss (Hellboy 2: The Golden Army) star, along with returning cast members Fred Koehler (“Lost”) and Robin Shou (Beverly Hills Ninja), in an all-new prequel to Paul W.S. Anderson’s 2008 adrenaline-fueled action-thriller, Death Race. Packed with more of the heart-stopping action, spectacular stunts and shocking twists that propelled the original to cult status, the 2-disc Death Race 2 Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD will include unrated
Do those get you engines running? Below is the press release and look for more on this film from Killer Film!
A deadly driving competition spawns a racing legend in Death Race 2, an all-out action thrill ride, coming to Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital Download January 18, 2011 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment DVD Originals™. Danny Trejo (Machete), Ving Rhames (Piranha 3D), Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Luke Goss (Hellboy 2: The Golden Army), star along with returning cast members Fred Koehler (“Lost”) and Robin Shou (Beverly Hills Ninja), in an all-new prequel to Paul W.S. Anderson’s 2008 adrenaline-fueled action-thriller, Death Race. Packed with more of the heart-stopping action,
From the Press Release
A deadly driving competition spawns a racing legend in Death Race 2, an all-out action thrill ride, coming to Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital Download January 18, 2011 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment DVD Originals™. Danny Trejo (Machete), Ving Rhames (Piranha 3D), Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Luke Goss (Hellboy 2: The Golden Army) star, along with returning cast members Fred Koehler (“Lost”) and Robin Shou (Beverly Hills Ninja), in an all-new prequel to Paul W.S. Anderson’s 2008 adrenaline-fueled action-thriller, Death Race. Packed with more of the heart-stopping action, spectacular stunts and shocking twists that propelled the original to cult status, the 2-disc Death Race 2 Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD will include unrated and rated versions of
According to Movie Hole, based on the initial worldwide reception to Death Race 2 (releasing in most territories over the next few weeks) the studio’s home entertainment division has put Death Race 3 into development.
Believe it or not, there's been a lot of positive word of mouth surrounding the prequel. Then again, is it really that hard to make a better film than Paul Anderson did based on the same material?
From the Press Release
A deadly driving competition spawns a racing legend in Death Race 2, an all-out action thrill ride, coming to Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital Download January 18, 2011 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment DVD Originals™. Danny Trejo (Machete), Ving Rhames (Piranha 3D), Sean Bean (The
IMDb.com, Inc. takes no responsibility for the content or accuracy of the above news articles, Tweets, or blog posts. This content is published for the entertainment of our users only. The news articles, Tweets, and blog posts do not represent IMDb's opinions nor can we guarantee that the reporting therein is completely factual. Please visit the source responsible for the item in question to report any concerns you may have regarding content or accuracy.