Phil’s Quick Review’s 100 Best Films… #50-26

Phil’s Quick Review’s 100 Best Films… #50-26

A Blog

Part three of our run down of Phil’s Quick Review’s 100 Best Films as chosen by a select team of hosts, podcasters, fans and writers from Ross And Phil Talk Movies, The Smoking Lamb Podcast, Filmsploitation and the Phil’s Quick Review Facebook group.

So here’s numbers 50-26…

 

 


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Phil’s Top 5… Movie Trilogies

Phil’s Top 5… Movie Trilogies

Other Cr*p Top 5

Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five.  This time out: Movie Trilogies

For most a sequel is an unwanted thing.  And rightly so, after all most can be let downs and for every Godfather 2 there is an Independence Day Resurrection.  However their are also some great sequels and in fact some great threequels out their. This week I take a look at the best movie trilogies (and no the Matrix is NOT included).

 

 

Close But No Cigar: Bourne Trilogy, The Indiana Jones Trilogy, Evil Dead, The Godfather Trilogy, Die Hard, Mad Max 

 


5. Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring,The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)

It’s no mean feat, adapting a multi-tome epic source novel over nearly 5 years with a cast and crew almostly permanently relocated to New Zealand by a director best known for low budget shlock films.  But man did Peter Jackson pull it off.  Epic does not even come CLOSE to describing the Rings trilogy (and the multiple endings of Return Of The King for that matter) but even now, over 10 years after it all finished, they still stand out as some of the best films of the last few decades.

 


4. Back To The Future Trilogy 

There may be technically better films out their for sure, but the story of Marty McFly which spans over a hundred years, is everything that is right with how blockbuster films should be.  It defined a career for Michael J Fox, allowed my fascination with Elisabeth Shue to continue and gave us the iconic Doc Brown.  “What the hell’s a gigawatt?”.  Indeed.

 


3. Aliens Trilogy (Alien, Aliens, Alien 3)

It’s a testament to just how good the first two films are that you almost ignore the fact that Part 3 is considered by most to be a disappointment. Thing is… it’s not. In fact Alien 3 is probably my second favourite of the whole trilogy (just under Aliens and just above Alien).    Okay yes I’m mad but still!  The key point here is just how good the first two films are, with both rating as best of their genre (Sci-fi and Sci-Fi Action).   And trust me… whilst it’s FX’s are dated, try alien 3 Directors cut again. You MAY be pleasantly surprised.

 


2. Toy Story

Toy Story not only defined a genre, it also redefined how animation was done for ever.  It’s groundbreaking and things would never be the same again.  Yet at it’s heart of every one of the films is a great story, expertly told and brilliantly voiced.  Pretty much perfect.

 


1. Star Wars (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi) 

The trilogy that defined my childhood, that ignited my love with film and that left me playing in my room with 3″ plastic toys for years to come.  Ageless (in it’s original form, not the horrid CGI remasters), this is epic storytelling, grandstanding action and odd plot twists at their best.  Iconic.

 

 

 

 

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Blog: The Billion Dollar Movie Car Club (Highest Grossing Movie Cars!)

Blog: The Billion Dollar Movie Car Club (Highest Grossing Movie Cars!)

All Things Film Blog The Blogs

They’ve starred in some of the highest grossing movies of all time, now Hollywood’s biggest four wheeled stars have been named for the very first time.  New research by motoring experts LeaseCar.uk has revealed a handful of motors who qualify for an exclusive Billion Dollar Movie Car Club – vehicles which played a significant role in a billion-dollar movie or movie franchise.

Surprisingly many of Hollywood’s most iconic car movies failed to qualify for the club as only those grossing a billion or more at the box office were deemed worthy of inclusion.  The nine cars which made the cut can be considered the highest earning movie motors of all time – and there are some surprises amongst them.  Researchers carefully calculated exactly how much screen time each car received and worked this out as a percentage of the movie’s run time.  This figure was then used to calculate the exact revenue the cars could have been considered to ‘earn’ at the box office – creating a definitive list of the highest grossing cars in Hollywood history.

 

Billion Dollar Movie Car Club: motors and box office takings for their time on screen

 

  1. Jurassic Park Jeep: $200,940,000
  2. Fast & Furious 7, Dodge Charger: $189,000,000
  3. Back to the Future (Pts 1,2,3) Delorean: $148,393,100
  4. Transformers: Age of Extinction, Chevrolet Camaro, $67,100,000
  5. Harry Potter, Ford Anglia: $44,829,000
  6. Skyfall, Aston Martin: $37,400,000
  7. Titanic, 1912 Renault Coupe: $27,300,000
  8. Star Wars, Luke’s Landspeeder: $26,363,600
  9. Batman v Superman, Batmobile: $24,416,000

 

The focus on box office takings meant some of the best-known car movies didn’t get a look in. The Italian Job, for example, took only $10m in 1969 and its remake managed $176m in 2003 – far below the threshold required for the Billion Dollar Movie Car Club.

 

Surprisingly the research revealed that the biggest car movie star of all time is the humble Jeep from the Jurassic Park movie franchise.  Perhaps most famous for the T-Rex attack scene in the very first Jurassic Park movie starring Jeff Goldblum, a combination of serious screen time and sky high box office takings took the Jeep to the top of the chart when it came to cash generated while on screen. It fought off stiff competition from more iconic car stars such as the Dodge Charger from The Fast and the Furious franchise, the Delorean from Back to the Future and James Bond’s Aston Martin.

 

The Jeep played an important role in many of the Jurassic Park movies and was on screen for a lengthy 24mins and 26 seconds, or 19.7%, of the film which kicked off the franchise. The franchise has grossed a massive $4.1 billion to date with the first movie alone generating $1.02billion. With the Jeep on screen for 19.7% of the movie researchers attributed a massive $200,940,000 to it making it the highest earning car movie star of all time.

 

The only other car to give the Jurassic Park Jeep a serious run for its money is the Dodge Charger from the Fast and the Furious franchise.  The Fast and Furious series has become perhaps the best-known car movie franchise in the world with global box office of $5.1billion. The Dodge, or rather a succession of them, is driven by character Dominic Toretto, played by actor Vin Diesel.  Researchers focused on Fast & Furious 7, a smash which took $1.5billion at the cinema. The Dodge was on screen for a lengthy 17min and 38 seconds, or 12.6% of the movie’s total run time, which meant the car alone ‘earned’ an impressive $189,000,000.

 

Harry Potter is the biggest movie franchise of all time with global box office takings of $8.5billion. The most famous car in the Harry Potter movies is the flying Ford Anglia which plays a key plot role in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which took an impressive $879m at the cinema.  The flying Ford Anglia was on screen for 8mins 55 seconds, or 5.1% of the movie, which was the second instalment of JK Rowling’s Potter series. Researchers calculated the car’s appearance was worth $44,829,000 dollars – 5.1% of the box office takings.

 

Star Wars, the second highest growing movie franchise of all time with takings of $7.5billion, is better known for spaceships than land vehicles but Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder from original movie A New Hope was included in the research. Luke’s main ride on his home planet Tatooine, the Landspeeder is on screen for a total of 4mins and 17 seconds or 3.4% of the movie, making it responsible for $26,363,600 of the film’s total box office figure of $775.4m.

 

James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 is another contender for the most iconic movie car of all time but it is far behind the Jurassic Jeep and the Fast & Furious Dodge in terms of movie earnings. The Bond franchise has certainly done the business at cinemas with global box office of $7.07 making it the third highest grossing movie franchise behind Harry Potter and Star Wars. Researchers from motoring experts LeaseCar.uk focused on the car’s appearance in Skyfall – a stand-alone billion-dollar movie with takings of $1.1billion. The car shared the screen with Daniel Craig for 4mins 50 seconds or 3.4% of the movie run time, meaning it ‘earned’ $37,400,000 of the takings.

 

Another favourite movie car, the time travelling Delorean from the Back to the Future movies, managed to clinch third place on the list of highest grossing cars.  Researchers found that while the entire franchise took $1billion in total, the car really was the star with significant screen time – just under 15% across all three instalments – to earn a box office total of $148,393,000.

 

Other cars included in the billion-dollar club included the 1912 Renault Type CB Coupe de Ville from the movie Titanic. Despite not being part of a franchise the movie alone took a whopping $2.1billion at the box office. The car was on screen for 2mins 30 seconds, or 1.3% of the run time, earning a still impressive £27,300,000.  The Transformers movies have earned $4.3billion in total. The Age of Extinction instalment made $1.1billion alone. Researchers focused on ‘Bumblebee’ a Chevrolet Camaro, which was on screen for 10mins and 5 seconds or 6.1% of the film, meaning it was responsible for $67,100,000 of the take.   The Batman movies have taken a total of $4.6billion with Batman vs Superman taking $872m. The iconic Batmobile was on screen for 2.8% of the movie giving its appearance a value of $24,416,000.

 

A spokesman for motoring experts LeaseCar.uk, who completed the study, said: “Cars have played an important part in Hollywood since the days of silent movies. Some vehicles have become almost as famous as the characters and the actors who drive them.

 

“Everyone associates James Bond and Daniel Craig with the Aston Martin and you can’t think about Michael J Fox or Marty McFly without thinking about the Delorean.”  said LeaseCar “Other movies have put cars at the centre of the action and the Fast and the Furious franchise has become popular with petrolheads around the world.

 

“For our study though we wanted to find out once and for all which cars were the biggest stars of all time when it comes to Hollywood blockbusters. We decided to focus both on box office takings and on screen time and crunched the numbers to reach a definitive list. The results might surprise some people. Few would have predicted the Jeep from Jurassic Park was the biggest car movie star of all time but the numbers tell their own story. If there was an Oscar for Highest Grossing Car the Jurassic Jeep would win it hands down. Best Supporting Car would go to the Dodge from Fast and Furious. ”

They continue “Our personal favourite is the Delorean from Back to the Future but you have to add all three movies up to qualify for the Billion Dollar Movie Car Club. Maybe the time travelling car could get an Oscar in Lifetime Achievement category?”

 

Phil’s Top 5… Summer Blockbusters Of All Time

Phil’s Top 5… Summer Blockbusters Of All Time

Other Cr*p Top 5

Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five… this time out: The Top 5 Summer Blockbusters Of All Time

 

Close but no cigar: Speed, Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters, Aliens, ET, Top Gun

 

5 – Die Hard (1988)
Possibly the best action film ever made, Die Hard is iconic from start to finish.

 

4 – Back To The Future (1985)
Innovate for it’s day, Back To The Future is still fantastic all this years later.

 

3 – Jaws (1975)
The original blockbuster.

 

2 – Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
One of the best sequels ever made, James Cameron’s second Terminator film is an action epic from start to finish full of iconic moments and groundbreaking FX.

 

1 – Star Wars (1977)
One of the best sci-fi action films of all time, Star Wars does everything right, cemented a legacy and still holds up all thee years later.

 

 

Ready Player One – A Quick Capsule Review

Ready Player One – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Tonally Ready Player One is a bit of a mess.  The humour doesn’t always work alongside the darker story undertones and the amount of swearing is very unusual for a Spielberg film.  This all said – Ready Player One is visually stunning and as you’d expect the direction is first class, showing once again that Spielberg is still one of the best directors working today.  The cast are generally good as well but personally I’m getting a little bored with Mark Rylance’s increasingly one note mumbling’s.  But it’s the cameos you’ll remember – everything from the Iron Giant to the Delorean and a million more.  Ultimately Ready Player One is a geeks paradise that’s good enough to paper over it’s cracks.

Best Bit: Cameos!

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Cinema

If You Liked this Try: Back To The Future, Minority Report, Tron

Feature: Loren Janes : How The West Was Won

Feature: Loren Janes : How The West Was Won

All Things Film Blog Other Cr*p

“I might jump an open drawbridge, Or Tarzan from a vine. ‘Cause I’m the unknown stuntman that makes Eastwood look so fine.”

From The Fall Guy Theme Tune

Loren Janes Passed away in June 2017, mostly united by mainstream media in the UK.  I figured as I’d interviewed Janes back in 2008 and went into detail about his landmark career it would be a prudent time to rerun the original article, as published in the now gone Impact Magazine.  Enjoy. 

It’s a very rare person that doesn’t get at least a little bit nervous on their first day in a new job.  It can be a stressful time – all those new faces and names, ensuring the impression you make is the right one.  It can be a tough day for even the most hardened and confident of people.  Now imagine that your first day on a job sees you standing at the edge of a cliff, staring down at the coastline of California’s Catalina Island.   Golden Globe winning director George Sidney is on the megaphone calling the shots on a film called Jupiter’s Darling and your job is to perform a cliff dive ninety foot straight down, past the rough jagged cliff face into the harsh, unforgiving, cold seas below.   The average person would run a mile.  But the 2011 Taurus Award winner Loren Janes isn’t an average person.  Considered to be one of the best in the business, Janes is a pioneering stunt man whose fifty year career has seen him work on over five hundred films and near two thousand televisions shows. From The Towering Inferno to Back To The Future from in Bullitt to Spiderman he has worked on some of the greatest films ever made.

Janes remembers his first day in the business like it was yesterday. “When I got their I asked them ‘What’s it like down below?’ and they said ‘Don’t worry, it’s plenty deep’.  I wasn’t convinced so I said ‘I wanna go look!’  They said no.  They wanted to get on with it but I insisted!  Eventually they took me out in a boat and I took a look.  Under the water, going 40 feet, out was a shelf!  If I’d done it how they wanted I would have dived 90 feet down into 4 feet of water ! I picked another spot, checked it out and did the dive!”  Janes takes a breath “It was fun but I thought nothing else of it.  I went back to teaching but I kept getting calls.  I had gotten about six calls in six months from studios wanting me to do gymnastics and other bits for them.  I soon had a choice to keep teaching or do movies!  I chose movies and did it for over 50 years!”

Loren Janes grew up in a little Californian town called Sierra Madre.  Sitting at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and with a cramped population of just over ten thousand, the town is famed for it’s annual Wisteria festival, it’s lack of traffic signals and it’s dirt sidewalks.  In fact Sierra Madre back then was still very much a town of the old west.  I guess then it’s no surprise that Janes quickly developed a fondness for horses.  “I loved horses.  I used to go out bare back on horses to deliver my papers!” laughs Janes enthusiastically.  It was this adventurous streak that would takes Janes out exploring to the  uncompromising mountains that towered across his home town.

 

 

It one of these walkabouts that Janes came across an old cabin. “It was in the middle of nowhere… and no one had been their for years.  I looked around inside and I found some old Tarzan books!  Eighteen of them! I’d never read Tarzan before so I took them home.  Within days I’d read them all.  From then on I’d regularly go and spend months in the mountains with just a knife and dressed in little more than a lion cloth!  I wanted to be Tarzan! ”  Janes early pursuits have become legendary.  From spending weeks at a time living off the land, to getting on the wrong side of a deer earning a hoof in the face in the process, to walking the 222 mile John Muir Trail through the unforgiving Sierra Mountains, Janes physicality led him to become the first civilian to enter the United States Olympic Trails for the Modern Pentathlon – an event that combines swimming, riding, fencing, shooting and running.

“I’d run 10 miles a day on location when I wasn’t filming.  Pavements.  Sand.  Whatever.  I’d always run.  I’d swim, ride… do anything I could to keep in shape.  Throughout my life I always challenging myself.  The hardest physical challenge I have ever undertaken was probably when three of us went up Mount Shasta , which is only 40 feet under the highest mountain in the United States.  We went up their in winter on Ski’s, all the way to the top then back down again through 10,00 feet of almost vertical snow. That was typical of the kind of challenges I’d get up to”

 

 

So how does a kid from a small town like Sierra Madre break into the movie business?  “Teach calculus and trigonometry!” Jokes Janes, who as I interview him is sat comfortably at home on his California ranch. “ I was teacher,  doing some diving in my spare time to raise money for band uniforms.  One of the guys in my calculus class’s wife was a big shot at MGM.  One night in passing she mentioned how were struggling to find a couple of guys to do a ninety foot dive from a cliff in Catalina and how the guys they normally use that weren’t available.  He said ‘Well my teachers a diver!’ They called me at school the next day, asked me to come and meet them which I did and they hired me on the spot!”

Janes career took off in the 50’s and 60’s with some of his greatest work back in the heyday of the Western.  In fact if your a fan of the early Westerns it would have been pretty hard Not to have seen Janes at work– from the Emmy nominated TV series The Rifleman and Gunsmoke, to Oscar nominated Cheyenne Autumn and The Magnificent Seven.  “In those days we really did the stunts.  Their was no green screen like today. Every stunt I did was real and every stunt I did, done wrong, could have been really dangerous.  I’ve done one hundred and twenty stair falls.  One time I did twenty six bare back saddle falls in one day!  I had to do twenty six different falls, each time dressed as a different Indian!”

It was back in the early sixties that Janes did one of his favourite stunts, on the John Ford directed How The West Was Won… “ That was a tough film!  They had me on a train that was going over thirty miles an hour.  I had to leap off, hit a cactus and fall over the cliff!  I planned it, worked it out, cut the cactus at the right point because, you know, even at 30 miles an hour hitting the cactus would be like hitting a telegraph pole otherwise.  I remember I even took a blow torch to the spines where I though I was going to hit.  We prepared for days and then when it came down to it I just did it.  Rough and wild like we always did.  And you know what?  I hit it EXACTLY where I burnt the spines off!  I’m very proud of that stunt.  In fact I heard that when they showed that one in France, when it got to my bit the after they watched it the audience stood up applauded!”

 

 

It’s not many people who can boast working with Elvis Presley, Charlton Heston, Spencer Tracey, John Cassavetes, Gene Hackman, Clint Eastwood or Robert DeNiro let alone working with all of them but Janes has, and many more besides.  But it was his relationship with Steve McQueen that would prove to be the most memorable, as they enjoyed a twenty eight year partnership that would see them working together on almost all of McQueen’s TV shows and movies from his early work on Wanted: Dead Or Alive through to The Hunter in 1980.  Janes remembers McQueen fondly “Steve was a great guy for sure.  If he really liked you there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for you!  If he didn’t… boy you were in trouble!  We were great friends, we’d dine at each others houses. He was a real legend in every sense of he word.”

It was his work on The Hunter, McQueen’s last before his untimely death in 1980, that would allow Janes one of his finest on screen moments.  Doubling for the dying McQueen, Janes found himself hanging free off a ladder swung out at a 90 degree angle from the top of an “L” train travelling at 55 MPH through downtown Chicago.  Shooting for three days, Janes spent his time on the film hanging for dear life over the freeway as commuters watched on agasp below unaware what was happening was actually being shot for a movie.  It was a dangerous sequence that he would repeat time and time again with no harness, no clips, not mats and most of all no CGI. “That was fun film” remarked Janes, “I sure miss Steve, even now”.

His relationship with McQueen was just one example of the status and respect that Janes would receive in his time working in the industry.  From dining with Chinese President Chiang Kai-shek to being entertained by like likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, Janes was respected by all.  Mentioning Sinatra reminds Janes of a rather interesting evening they shared together after a days filming on the  John Wayne/Dean Martin film The Sons of Katie Elder. “Sinatra, like McQueen was another one who IF he liked you would do anything for you!  If he didn’t well…”  Well indeed.  As Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford and many others found out, you didn’t cross ‘The Leader’ as Sinatra was affectionately known. Janes continued: “After one movie Frank invited us up to one of his concerts.  We sat at the back but it wasn’t long before someone came up to us and moved us to the front of the room on this little table with two chairs, right in front of the stage.  Afterwards, we went to dinner and Frank leaned over to me and asked ‘Anyone owe you money?’ I said ‘No!’   He moved in closer ‘Well if someone ever does just call me and I’ll get it for you!’” Janes laughs, before continuing  “A few more drinks later and he turned to me and said ‘Do you need anybody off’d?’.  I looked at him and said ‘What?’, Frank said ‘You know, taken care of?’.  ‘No!’ I said quickly  ‘Well if you do just let me know!’  I never took him up on the offer but it was nice to know it was there!”

 

 

Throughout his career Loren Janes was very much a man in demand, working almost non stop for near fifty years.  Renowned for his physicality, his ability to move effortlessly on screen, his unflinching honesty and his professionalism he was one of the industries most highly sort after stunt performers.  But in over 2000 TV show sand 500 films Janes is famous for never having broken a bone in his body. “I’ve always kept in shape, I never drank, smoked, used dope.  I’d take time to work out the stunt, make sure it was right and then do it.  That’s why I’ve never hurt myself” Janes has never refused to do a stunt in his career… well at least when it was possible ”Anyone who asked me to do something I would do it as long as it could be done” says Janes remembering back “BUT there was this one time I was asked by a director to jump across a ravine turn in mid air and come back!  That, well that was impossible… even for me!”

 

So how influential is Loren Janes?   In the 70’s wire work (which would later become known as wire fu) became the staple of Hong Kong action movies, a technique that in itself would eventually be appropriated back to the US mainstream in The Matrix and pretty much every mainstream action film since.  This development has for a long time been credited to the work of visionary industry pioneers like Yuen Woo Ping and Tsui Hark.  Incorrectly it turns out.  In fact according to US stunt performer Jeff Imada these techniques had a much more Western origin: “There’s an interesting story I was told from Woo Ping about the filming of the movie The Sand Pebbles.  Loren Janes went to over to Asia to work on the film and, according to Woo Ping, it was HIM that introduced wire stuff and the mini trampoline to them!!!” Said Imada when I interviewed him last year “ Before Sand Pebbles the Chinese never did that.   He showed them a little wire set up with piano wire and also mini tramps…”

Janes concurs, “That’s right!  It came from my gymnastics training.  High bar.  Parallels. Trampoline.  All things I did in High School & college. I did a demonstration and they just loved it.”.  So does it frustrate Janes that he isn’t rightly credited with this groundbreaking invention? “Not at all.  Those in the industry knows.  I know… and that’s what counts!”

Our conversation soon drifted to modern movies.  From someone who has been around since the pioneering days of stunt work in cinema, I wanted to get Janes take on how the modern approach, with their green screens and well rehearsed complicated stunt sequences compare to the more traditional approach of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  “Nothing looks real nowadays! It’s not just the stunts but the even the stars are different now as well.  For sure the 50’s and 60’s bred a very different type of actor than today” says the man who worked alongside famed on (and off) screen tough guys like Gary Cooper, Clark Gable James Garner.  Janes remembers fondly back to these stars of yesteryear.  “Back then those guys would come onto the set, they would know their lines, they’d take time to talk to you and share a joke.  Today they are learning their lines as they arrive, you can’t talk to them, even look at some of them.  They even scream at everyone, although never at stuntmen because they know we’ll hit ‘em!  There terrible!” Janes names a few names but I’ll spare their blushes ! “They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore!”.  You can almost sense the disappointment Janes has on just how much the industry has changed since he started back over fifty years ago and whilst he doesn’t mention overtly, his affection obviously sits back more on the legends of yester year than the likes of the Brad Pitt’s and Josh Hartnett’s of today.

 

 

So does Janes have any regrets looking back?  “None.  None at all.  I am proud to have been in this business at what I consider to be with the best people at the best time.” Janes pauses for a second.   “Actually that said maybe one small regret.  When we did Bullitt we had three of the Mustangs [1968 Ford Mustang 390 CID Fastback].  When the film was over the director [Peter Yates] and Steve offered me one of the cars to keep.  To be honest I was into horses more than cars so I said thanks but no thanks.  I just figured there would be someone who would appreciate it more than me.  Well I just found out the guy who got it just sold it for a million dollars. And I didn’t want it !!!” Janes laughs.  Okay so no regrets then but how about any one person that he wouldn’t work with again? Janes doesn’t hesitate in putting forward a name: “Barbara Streisand. Three crews quit working with her on Hello, Dolly!  She’s just terrible…”

Away from his work on screen, Loren Janes has long been a supporter, advocate and spokesman for stuntmen and the industry alike, an unofficial role that on more than one occasion has seen him at loggerheads with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for their refusal to reward the stunt industry for their work in the industry.   In part Janes thinks it comes down to the studios themselves. “The studios say that the actors do their own stunts so then the actors say they do their own stunts.  No one wants to admit that WE do their stunts!  We’re the only one’s that don’t get an award yet when I’ve been on different movies every body tells me, from the grips to the props guys, make up… everybody that we are the best guys in the business.  We do what we do right, we’re always nice and polite and how we make the stars looks good… “ So will this ever change?  Janes isn’t sure.  “I don’t think so.  It’s a shame because in truth without us those big movies, the ones that makes all the money, they wouldn’t happen.”

Whilst the little bald gold statue may allude Janes and his fellow stunt and action performers, he himself has been recognised numerous times for his contribution to the industry not least with the coveted life time achievement Golden Boot award in 2001.  Awarded by the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation, the award sets out to honour the achievements of cowboy heroes and heroines both in front and behind the scenes.  “The golden Boot was great, a real honour for sure.  I was only the tenth ever stunt man to get that so that’s pretty nice!” enthuses Jane.

As well as the Golden Boot,  2003 saw Janes awarded with a Silver Spur Award  for his outstanding achievement in entertainment and Western films, an honour that would seem him standing shoulder to shoulder with such previous winners and genre luminaries as Burt Reynolds, James Garner and Jack Palance whilst in 2004 he was inducted to the Walk of Western Stars in Santa Clarita, California.  According to Janes however, recognition never means more than when it comes from those who you worked alongside.  “I did a picture with Jon Voight called Runaway Train, on which he won the golden globe.  When he went up to accept it he said ‘This is great.  But you know what, the people that really deserve this was the stunt coordinator and the stunt man.  People like Loren Janes…’ .  he talked about how we did this and that, how important we were, how great I was.  In fact he went on and on about me for almost ten minutes.  That was pretty special.”

 

Janes retired from the industry four years ago now, with Spiderman being his last major film as a stunt performer, but considering it wont be that long before his eightieth birthday retirement doesn’t seem to have slowed this renowned adventurer down one bit.  Janes keeps up a daily fitness routine that includes swimming, hiking, horse riding, running and archery.  But even though he’s retired as a stuntman, Janes is still involved with the organisation he founded back in 1961, The Stuntmen’s Association Of Motion Pictures  which acts both a lobbying group and one stop shop for some of the industries brightest stunt talents  “When I started in the business, the movie moguls ran the studios.  Back then they knew who the best stunt men were, who was best to use and where to go to hire them.  Now  the corporate guys who run the studios, well  they know little about the industry.  They hire anyone off the streets to do stunts.  These guys do it for nothing, they get hurt and make the rest of us look bad.  So I wanted a way they would know where the real stunt men were.  And now they come to us… we have 140 members and still going strong.  Our work has changed the face of the industry for the better”

So what advice would Janes offer to the plethora of talent looking to break into the industry today?   “When I first got in the business I checked out all the stunt men going all the way back to the silent films right the way up to now.  The top ten were all leading gymnasts and acrobats.  All the best guys. ”  Guys like Ronnie Rondell, Mickey Gilbert, Freddy Waugh, Royden Clark who between then have worked on every major film and TV show since the early 40’s and 50’s and in the process making the industry what it is today.  Janes continues “I have people call me all the time and ask me how to break into the business.  I like to look at their background, what sports they have done, their disciplines.   If they have gymnastics and so forth.  Then I tell them that if they really want to do it expect it to take a long time.  And if you don’t, if you can’t give that then get away now  because you’ll never make it. It’s SO competitive.  There’s over six thousand people trying to make it in Hollywood as stunt men today and the fact is most never will.  So I try to talk them out of it.  And if they still want to… well then at least there on the right path”

From anecdotes about McQueen sitting down to lunch on Peanut butter and Banana sandwiches, to sending an unnamed studio executive at Warner’s flying across a table after being told to donate twenty five percent of his salary to the communist party, Janes he is never anything less that captivating.  A true gentleman he achieved what he has through hard work, dedication and a genuine passion for the industry he works in.  What’s more his legacy is one that endure for many years to come.  As for those who either aspire  or dare  to follow in Janes footsteps?  Well it’s a legacy that will be hard to surpass.

Janes truly is ’the unknown stuntman that makes Eastwood (and many, many others) look so fine’.

Originally published in IMPACT Magazine in 2008.

For more check out his IMDB Profile here. or his official website here

Phil’s Top 5… 1985 Films!

Phil’s Top 5… 1985 Films!

Other Cr*p Top 5

Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five.  This time out: Films from 1985.  Yup the golden years of movie.s

 

Close but no cigar: Enemy Mine, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, American  Ninja, Police Story

 

5 – Rambo: First Blood Part 2
Rambo is back and this time he’s unleashed in Vietnam, making a heroic return and on the look out for missing war veterans.  Chaotic, ridiculous action sequences and Stallone mumbling through ever scene follows.  It’s brilliant.

 

4 – Day Of The Dead
For me the Best of the original Romero trilogy.  With the dead now outnumbering the living and the remaining humans tearing each other apart you end up with most of the most claustrophobic and down beat horror films ever.  It’s not an easy watch but it’s a good one.

 

3 – Commando
One of Arnie’s most OTT entries (in a decade where OTT was the mantra), Commando is a joy to watch.  From self healing Porches to killer one liners, Commando is the action film of the 80’s.

 

2 – Back To The Future
Marty McFly, Doc Brown, The Delorian, 88 mph, the clock tower… the iconic images and moments just keep on coming.  Any other year back To the Future would have walked film of the year…

 

1 – The Goonies
… but this was the year of The Goonies, the Spielberg produced, Richard Donner directed epic that it just as perfect as an 80’s film could get.  Pirates, adventure, treasure, Giant octopuses (kinda) The Goonies has it all AND more. Epic.

 

 

The 25 Best… 80’s Movies!

The 25 Best… 80’s Movies!

Best... Other Cr*p

In our latest regular feature, coming out the first Friday of each month, Phil (of Phil’s Quick Capsule Review)  along with podcaster Josh Morris, Writer Mike Parkin, Grosse Point Geek’s Will Strong and Motion Picture Manic Jamie Robinson breakdown the 25 Best Films Of each major film decade.

This time out: The 80’s. 

The close but no cigar Films: An American Werewolf In London, Rambo First Blood Part 2, Full Metal Jacket, Rocky 4,  My Neighbour Totoro 

 

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Phil’s Top 5 (ish)… Movie Posters of All Time!

Phil’s Top 5 (ish)… Movie Posters of All Time!

Other Cr*p Top 5

Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five.  This time out: Movie Posters!

Never underestimate how crucial Movie Posters are to getting bums on seats. An iconic poster can make a film.  It’s impossible to pick just 5 so here are a selection in NO order of my top movie posters!

 

 

 

Phil’s Top 5… Summer Movie Seasons

Phil’s Top 5… Summer Movie Seasons

Other Cr*p

In a new semi-regular feature each week Phil takes a lookout a different movie related Top Five… this time out: the best summer movie seasons (Post 1975).

Close but no cigar: 1981 (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Stripes, Escape from New York), 1991 (Terminator 2, Boyz n the Hood), 1989 (Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lethal Weapon 2, License to Kill), 1987 ( Predator, Robocop, Dirty Dancing, The Living Daylights, Full Metal Jacket)

5 – 1984
Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, The Karate Kid, Once Upon a Time in America, Purple Rain, The Last Starfighter, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Top Secret!, Conan the Destroyer

4 – 1999
The Sixth Sense, Run Lola Run, The Blair Witch Project, The Iron Giant, South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut, Dick, American Pie, Bowfinger , The Thomas Crown Affair, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

3 – 1985
Back to the Future, The Goonies, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Cocoon, Fletch, Explorers, Fright Night, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Pale Rider, Prizzi’s Honor, Silverado, Weird Science, Brewster’s Millions 

2 – 1982
E.T., Poltergeist, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Thing, TRON, The Road Warrior, Conan the Barbarian, Rocky III

1- 1986
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Aliens, Top Gun, Stand by Me, The Fly, Big Trouble in Little China, Back to School, Cobra, Labyrinth, Short Circuit, Transformers: The Movie, SpaceCamp, Flight of the Navigator