Wow. The fact that a trailer forgoes relying on the “directed by…” or the “starring…”, and instead leaves us with beautifully imagery and an accompanying song that sets the mood really means something. Directed by Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder, Zoolander), and along with starring as the lead, he is joined by a solid cast including Kristin Wiig (Bridesmaids), Adam Scott (Parks and Rec.), and Sean Penn (Milk). The film was given a 20 minute preview at CinemCon that got rave reviews with some even hailing it as a major Oscar contender. While obviously they only saw a snippet of the film, it’s still nice to hear good things, cause boy does this trailer make me believe those comments.
Also, a little shout out to Of Monsters and Men whose song “Dirty Paws” is used in the trailer. It fits great for the trailer, and I highly recommend the rest of their album, My Head is an Animal.
Based off James Thurber’s classic tale of the same name, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Ben Stiller stars as a magazine writer who constantly fantasizes about story book elements such as heroism, romance, and action, day-dreaming the themes into his life. When his and his co-worker’s jobs are in danger, Walter embarks on a global journey that could be the real life adventure he has always imagined.
The film is due out Christmas Day, which is perfect timing for a rumored Oscar contender.
So in case you had not noticed pilot season is in full swing at the moment, with each new release giving company execs the glimmer of hope that it will be a success and spawn a franchise. While there is no doubt that some of these will, there will also be some utter turkeys in the mix that will be instantly forgotten. This leads us to the focus of this article because I have (like a fat Indiana Jones) unearthed some of these forgotten unaired pilot treasures and proudly displayed them for all to see. These are the pilots that never got a chance, some due to circumstance and some due to the fact that after watching them you may need to sit back and absorb what utter dribble flowed out of your computer screen. If nothing else they can never be considered boring. So here are the top ten unaired pilots that caught my attention.
10) Heat Vision and Jack (1999)
Oh the 90s when Jack Black was a comedy god among men. His moment of stardom has slipped due to him appearing in some awful movies as well as, in my humble view, not possessing enough comedy skills to do anything other than fall down and shout a lot. But in his defence he has starred in some interesting items to say the least. Heat Vision and Jack is one of these curious pieces. From Ben Stiller’s production company and introduced by Stiller himself, we are given an introduction to the world of Jack Austin; an astronaut who flew too close to the sun. Given amazing new mental powers (but only in the day when his brain absorbs the sun) he is on the run from part time actor and full time assassin Ron Silver (yes the actor Ron Silver playing himself) who is trying to take him out. On his travels he has his companion and former room mate Doug, who has had his consciousness transferred to a motor bike (voiced by Owen Wilson). Together they are Heat Vision and Jack.
A great parody of all those 1970’s shows like the Incredible Hulk and The Six MillionDollarMan, it has its tongue firmly placed in its cheek. Cameos by Stiller’s wife Christine Taylor as a sheriff who falls for Jack and Vincent Schiavelli as a human possessed by the evil alien Paragon all add to the pilots quirky fun. The visual shots and soft focus show some serious care and attention went into this and for fans of those retro shows it is a must see. However saying that this would have been a hard sell for an actual series, as the parody element could have easily become tiresome over time. As a solo piece however it is loads of fun.
9) The Adventures of Super Pup (1958)
Flying right from the year 1958 and into no one’s living room is Super Pup. This unaired pilot pretty much follows the formula of the early Superman comics, but with one twist. All of the characters have become animals. So Clark Kent now becomes the adorable Bark Bent and Superman becomes the Pup of the title.
This seems just plain weird watching it today. I am not really sure what audience they were going for, but one can only assume that viewers would have gazed in shock and awe of what they had seen if this had ever reached households around America. One viewing of this makes it obvious that it was not going to be a mainstream hit, just because it seems so odd! It has a strange Muppets feel to it, with the human actors basically wearing just huge head masks. It makes you feel uneasy rather than entertained, like you have just walked into an adult fancy dress party that you really should not have. It also has that Tex Avery style humour which works… to a degree. It is a strange oddity, but it is hard not to laugh when seeing a tiny bulldog dressed like an editor barking orders while stood on a table.
8) Lookwell (1991)
Lookwell has quite a simple premise. Writer Conan O’Brien (yes that Conan) and Robert Smigel created this tale off a washed up actor (played by Adam West) who, having been deputized when he was a hit, believes he can actually solve crimes. This gem came from NBC in 1991 and though well received, never actually got a full series.
This had me in stitches just from the title scene alone where Adam West is doing an incredible job of camping it up, even more than he normally does. The 70’s style music and Adam’s confident stride through the yellow tape straight away tells you this is going to be something special. The self parody Adam employs in this show is incredible and it really out shines some of the other oddities that appear on this list. There is definitely some Batmanisms popping up in here and as you would expect he uses his acting skills to get the job done. It is great to see Adam West exercise his comedy chops before he became a cult icon with his appearances in FamilyGuy and a new audience finding his works from the old Batman series. Out of all the shows on this list this is the one that has the most legs for a series so it’s all the more tragic it was shot down before it had a chance. Lookwell was a role Adam West was born to play and we are lucky he at least got to play it once.
7) The Elvira Show (1993)
Elvira the scream queen with the large ……..assets has moved to Manhattan, Kansas. In tow is her talking cat who likes to drop sarcastic comments when ever possible, and her nutty aunt Minerva. Elvira has gotten a steady job as fortune teller and potion seller but a spanner is thrown into the works when handsome undercover cop Chip arrives on the scene. He is investigating a bad batch of her potions that put someone in the hospital, but Elvira is only interested in investigating him. Then out of no where Elvira’s long lost niece Paige arrives to stay. Antics ensue.
Yeah, this is as bad as it sounds, but for Elvira fans it is a must see as she basically does the same routine she did in her movie Elvira Mistress of the Dark but for an hour shorter. It feels like they were trying to create a show that was a throwback to the classic house based sitcoms of old but with an added element of a quirky family like MarriedwithChildren. Watching it now it is an odd mix that never really gels, nor is it really that funny. There are elements in this show that follow other witch related shows like Bewitched or Sabrina, with spells going wrong and annoying retorts from speaking animals. It is certainly an oddity worth viewing (if not for Elvira herself then for the stupidity on screen) but for how many viewings will really depend on how much you like the central character.
6) Dog Police (1990)
Adam Sandler gives us his idea of the perfect police force with this 1990 pilot DogPolice. Sandler turns up in this as a cameo but it mainly focuses on the antics of some alien crime fighting dogs. Yes, this is a real thing. The dogs are human sized and walk upright. Wearing trench coats, they search the streets looking for crime while moaning about the emotional issues (including divorce!) and are fully authorised by the police department. I really do not want to know what other animal detectives that police force has on retainer.
Sandler’s career has gone off the rails as of late with the heyday days of HappyGilmore and Billy Madison long behind him, but it is kind of comforting to know that even before then he could conjure up utter tripe. This is just too weird a show to even dream of. Much like Super Pup it has actors wearing dog clothes, but the interaction between humans at least makes it a bit more accessible. However it’s just plain weird and not that funny really. Dogs in trench coats talking like Humphrey Bogart is almost bad enough but when you see those human eyes peeping out from the slightly disturbing dog masks it does chill you to the bone………the dog puns don’t help matters much either.
5) The Orson Welles Show (1979)
The Orson Welles Show was Orson’s attempt at getting himself a gig as a talk show host. Suffice to say, it did not end well. Struggling to engage an interesting banter with his audience who looked confused as much as they did amused, Orson in some scenes seems quite terrifying. Most of the footage for this proposed 90 minute show has never surfaced or been pulled for copyright reasons, but there are clips of it on the Orson Welles documentary one man band. The eclectic show had Burt Reynolds as one of the guests and some quick fire questions from the audience, none of which goes smoothly. The weirdest thing is Orson Welles justifying his amazing acting talents in an interview with none other than Kermit the Frog, it is an interesting state of affairs when you need the ear of a Muppet. This is just dying out for some kind of re-release as it seems incredible and has to be one of the lost gems of our time.
4) Wonder Woman (1967)
Poor Wonder Woman never seems to catch a break in TV. Sure she had an amazing run in 1975 with the beloved TV series of the same name, but before that there was a rather ropey TV movie from 1974 and then after we had the recent failed 2011 series. Beating all of these to the punch however was this short which went nowhere. Called Who’s Afraid of Diana Prince it took just 5 minutes for the creators of this piece to think they could sell it as a series. How wrong they were, 5 minutes was enough to seal its doom. It starts off with Diana Prince getting freaked out by the rain and then gets worse from there.
There are so many elements wrong with this that it is a blissful release when the clip actually ends. Woman Woman has a moaning old woman as her mum! She acts like a moody teenager! She goes behind a revolving wall to change and prances about like a weird fashion model! Yes this all happens and so much more. The tone is obviously going for the campiness of the Batman Adam West area, with the narrator from that show doing the voice over duties for this. But it’s actually just too painful to watch. Why do we have a minute of Wonder Woman grinning in the mirror and why the hell does she fly off in such a god awful camp manner? It’s because this show sucked and thank goodness the world was spared from a Wonder Woman comedy.
3) A Dog’s Life (1979)
Does the name Norman Lear mean anything to you? If not you may remember his early TV works like All in the Family and Maud. With this show he hoped to break the mold of TV sitcoms with a truly original idea. How would he achieve this? By getting humans to dress up as dogs and talk about the world around them, all from their own canine view. We all know how successful those dogs shows have been so far so I will let you guess how well it did (here’s a hint though – it is in an article about unaired pilots!)
This is dire. It looks tacky and the one liners included in just this small clip are painfully obvious and not funny at all. It plays out more like some school play than an actual show for TV, with grown men and woman in very bad costumes explaining how funny it is to be a dog. Who cares what happens to these dogs really? With awful acting and bad dialogue we should be thankful this was buried outside in the yard with only a bone for company.
2) Infiltrator (1987)
Scott Bakula has always had a soft spot in this reviewer’s heart for his amazing work on the TV series QuantumLeap. Before that though, he appeared in numerous TV pilots that failed to get off the ground. With most of these that is probably for the best but with Infiltrator he was denied the chance to give us a really great TV experience. Scott plays Doctor Sanderson an exciting and passionate scientist who manages to accidentally become one with an experimental probe he was working on that can adapt to any situation – imagine The Fly remake but with Scott getting mixed with technology instead of an insect. He is soon snapped up by the government and with his assistant in tow goes to foil the plans of a rogue scientist who has his own death base. While using his infiltrator skills will he lose his humanity?
Equal parts awesome and cheesy, this works great as a piece of Science Fiction action and would have made a great little TV show. The scenes with Sanderson shooting grapple hooks out his hands are amazing and a must see for any fan of classic 80’s Science Fiction cheese. The full transformation of Sanderson into Infiltrator mode looks pretty much how you would expect it. It’s part RunningMan’s Dynamo, part any robot from any low budget Science Fiction film. It’s great fun watching Scott chomp through the scenery and even with the mandatory love angle it is still as great piece of 80’s action. Not for everyone, but fans of low budget movies will have a field day with this.
1) Poochinski (1990)
I am aware this list is very dog heavy, seems that dogs are an easy subject to work into TV shows. The fact that most of these failed seems to have done little to stop them coming out. So finally we turn to Poochinski, a dog tale with a difference. Stanley Poochinski is an over the hill detective (played by the great Peter Boyle) who looks a shambles but is actually pretty darn good at his job. He seems the perfect candidate for a new partner which he gets in Robert McKay. While on a stakeout for an ATM thief, Poochinski saves a bulldog from getting run over when the thief catches on to their antics, but he gets hit in the process and dies. While at the funeral, the dog starts talking to McKay. No, he has not gone mad, it seems Poochinski’s soul has transferred to the dog. Now the new team have to try and find Poochiski’s murderer together.
This has got to be the weirdest show ever conceived (and with this list that is a hard work). Poochiski runs and bites at people’s crotches which is all kinds of wrong and also has very poor and cringe worthy scenes where he whines about getting stuck in a dog’s body. Because this is television, McKay pretty much absorbs all this information with no problem at all and carries on with his normal day with dog in tow. Is there a lot of talking in this pilot? Yes, a hell of a lot. But does it detract from the main story? Not really, it’s a talking dog for goodness sake! The dog effects are pretty poor and Poochinski looks like he is made of plastic most of the time. The writers crammed so many different TV clichés in here that it’s a surprise the show did not implode on itself. Weird cop, partner with lady trouble, nasty thief needing to be caught – it’s all here. At the end of the day when you need to start taking advice from a dog on your love life, you have hit an all time low. But saying all this it really needs to be seen to be believed as you will wonder how the hell it ever made it off the writing board. But the same can be said for a lot of the pilots on this list. In their own way they have managed to give the audience some kind of fun viewing experience, just maybe not quite the experience they were expecting.
What could possibly be funnier then a movie staring Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade? It’s probably one of the funnier group of comedic actors that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (writers along with Jared Stern) could come up with in Hollywood today. This, as one would think, had the potential to be a “dream team” to have in a comedy. Maybe it would have worked if it was just a comedy. However, the sci-fi element seems to be too much to balance with and it makes the poor decisions throughout the movie and results in The Watch being an epic fail of a sci-fi comedy.
It’s time for my favorite part of the year. What time is that you might ask? Well, it’s the time of year when we get the previews for all the summer and fall movies coming out for the year. But why do you get excited just for summer and fall movies, you might ask? Well, simply put, they’re just better. Summer films are meant to entertain, while the fall fare is all Oscar bait and leftover blockbusters that didn’t make the cut so you’re either getting A-grade quality or C-grade cheesiness, both of which are very enjoyable.
In this edition of Trailer Roundup, trailers for what might win Best Picture at the Oscars or Worst Picture at the Razzies will share the stage to be consumed for your film-going pleasures.
The Watch (RedBand)
Formerly known as Neighborhood Watch, the film has gone through some major marketing changes due to some recent current events. The film follows an ‘urbanite’ who moves to a new community and joins the Neighborhood Watch, who soon find out that they are in the midst of an alien invasion. It looked hilarious back before the marketing switch, and it looks even better now that they are focusing on the aliens. – SupaScoot
Stars: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Billy Crudup, Rosemarie DeWitt, Will Forte, and R. Lee Ermey
Release Date: July 27, 2012
In this R-rated gorefest from unknown director Kimble Rendall, Bait 3D follows a group of tsunami survivors who are trapped in a supermarket. And not because of the water. No, there’s a 12-foot killer shark lurking in the surrounding waters, and the only chance of survival they have is waiting for the water levels to die down. Does this sound stupid? Yes. Is the trailer stupid? Yes. But is it going to be a shark-filled, gore-filled, dead-person-filled, cheesy-dialouge-filled piece of awesome shit? Absolutely.
Stars: Phoebe Tonkin, Alex Russell, Xavier Samuel, Julian McMahon, Sharni Vinson, Cariba Heine, and Lincoln Lewis
Release Date: September 6th, 2012
I think we can all agree that Ben Affleck is a better director than he is an actor. So his newest film, which he directed I might add, looks pretty great. I love movies about movies, and that’s what Argo is… kind of. According to IMDb: As the Iranian revolution reaches a boiling point, a CIA ‘exfiltration’ specialist concocts a risky plan to free six Americans who have found shelter at the home of the Canadian ambassador. That risky plan you might ask? Make a fake movie. Argo looks to be the most entertaining war story of the year.
Stars: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Michael Parks, Chris Messina, Victor Garber, Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler, Taylor Schilling, Michael Cassidy, and Clea DuVall
Release Date: October 12th, 2012
It seems like we’ve just got the preview for this year’s biggest stinker. Produced by Sam Raimi of all people, The Possession follows a little girl who purchases a mysterious antique box at a local garage sale. Unbeknownst to her, the box is home to a malevolent spirit that possess her body, and it’s up to her parents to stop it. The problem isn’t that it looks poorly made, it just looks so derivative. It’s even “Based on a True Story”. I can’t wait until the day Hollywood runs out of true stories to tell.
Stars: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Davenport, Natasha Calis, Grant Snow, Agam Darshi, Quinn Lord, and (not even joking around here) Matisyahu
Release Date: August 31st, 2012
Alright, everyone. This is where shit gets serious. Matthew McConaghuey in an NC-17 movie directed by William Friedkin based on a play by Tracy Letts? Count me the hell in. Oh yeah, and the movie co-stars Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple, two of the best young actors working in Hollywood. After accumulating a hefty debt, a young man hires a hit man to kill his evil mother who has a $50,000 life insurance plan on her. Thing is, the hit man is a maniacal wacko who instead accepts the boy’s sister’s hand in marriage instead of monetary payment. Things get a little crazy, apparently.
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon, and Thomas Haden Church
Release Date: June 29th, 2o12
Fat Kid Rules The World (RedBand)
In Fat Kid Rules The World, Troy is a morbidly obese and depressed teenager who, after attempting suicide, is saved by street performer and teenage drug addict Marcus. The two form a bond and start a punk band together, bringing Troy both confidence and fame as he realizes his impact on the world. But when Marcus’ drug addiction becomes a problem, it’s up to Troy to help him live to see another day. From the trailer, it seems like this will be a great quirky coming-of-age film that will appeal to all demographics.
Stars: Jacob Wysocki, Matt O’Leary, Billy Campbell, Sean Donovan, Jeffrey Doornbos, Vivan Dugre, Julian Gavilanes, Russell Hodgkinson, and Matthew Lillard
Release Date: TBD
Stephenie Meyer adaptations have a reputation for being… complete and total shit. Much like the adaptations of Nicholas Sparks, moviegoers appreciate none-too-much the sappiness and artificial fluff that comes with a love triangle between a human and a vampire and a werewolf. So, it’s rather surprising that the teaser trailer for Meyers’ most recent adaptation, The Host, looks halfway not shitty. Starring Saoirse Ronan, the film is about a dystopian future where there is no crime, no hate, and no conflict because of a parasitic alien soul that invades peoples’ bodies… I think.
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, William Hurt, Frances Fisher, Max Irons, Jake Abel, Chandler Canterbury, and Scott Lawrence
Release Date: March 29th, 2013
The We and the I
Michel Gondry understands the human condition better than a psychologist, so it’s fitting that he would make a film about a bunch of seniors during their last bus ride home from school. The premise is fascinating and seems to me like a film that would be adapted into a play or vice versa. From the trailer, it seems like the portrayal of these kids is extremely accurate, and I’m quite excited to see how their different personalities play against one another in a film that takes place in such a confined space.
Stars: Meghan Murphy, Alex Barrios, Brandon Diaz, Joe Mele, Lady Chen Carrasco, Patricia Jade Persaud, Jonathan Scott Worrell, and Raymond Rios
Release Date: TBD
Beasts of the Southern Wild
This trailer for the Sundance Film Festival favorite looks to be equal parts The Tree of Life and Where the Wild Things Are, except possibly even more magical than those two combined. The story follows a six-year-old named Hushpuppy who goes in search of her mother after learning of her father’s deteriorating health. Along the way, she meets a fascinating cast of characters who all teach her something about life. To be honest, this is possibly one of the most gorgeous trailers I’ve ever seen and I truly can’t wait to see this film.
Stars: Quvenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Marilyn Barbarin, Jonshel Alexander, Kaliana Brower, Joseph Brown, and Nicholas Clark
Release Date: TBD
That does it for this edition of the Trailer Roundup!
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Having awoken from their spring break extravaganza at Lake Victoria, the swarm heads upstream where they look to make a meal out of Big Wet, a local water park where when it comes to fun, nobody does it wetter! Thought they came to get wet, get loaded and get some, the staff and patrons get more than they bargained for when they must face the fiercest, most bloodthirsty piranhas yet.
Welcome to Grizzly Dailies! A new feature where we will cover a bunch of movie news in the manner we love. Jam packing a ton of links and info in one post so you don’t have to waste your valuable time (and ours) by combing through a ton of articles!
And if you are unaware of the term ‘Dailies‘ don’t expect this feature every day. It’s a film term and not a promise. Just wanted to get that out there.