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Some sadistic jerk off session
October 7, 2011 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Lexi Alexander director of the so-bad-it's-legendary Punisher: War Zone gives an in-depth interview with Paul Scheer (with Patton Oswalt) for his podcast, "How Did This Get Made?"

Previously HDTGM
PWZ Previously (50 references to how bad it is)
posted by Potomac Avenue (47 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Most interesting moment to me was when she admitted that the only reason she agreed to do it (after directing two acclaimed films Green Street Hooligans and Johnny Flynton (full movie) was her manager and agent saying: "No other woman has ever directed a R rated comic book action movie, and hardly any have made action movies ever at all."

You have to admit even if this wasn't a success, PWZ certainly proves that women can produce a dark insanely-violent movie.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:15 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


(*cough*)
posted by gwint at 8:17 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's no Punisher: Armoury.
posted by Artw at 8:20 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


LOL ouch
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:21 AM on October 7, 2011


(*cough*)

Thank you. Near Dark is such a great movie.
posted by NoMich at 8:25 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gwint: They do bring up Bigelow in the podcast: Alexander says that's who everyone mentions when the subject of women and action movies are brought up. She also points out that Bigelow is the only female director everyone mentions when it comes to action movies. And it's true. Can you cough up any more?
posted by notmydesk at 8:26 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


PWZ is widely considered bad? I LOVED it!
posted by brundlefly at 8:26 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why did the Parkour guy get taken out by a shoulder-launched SAM? Was he a evil Parkour-ist?
posted by Mister_A at 8:28 AM on October 7, 2011


Mental Note: do not try to remake anything that previously, for better or for worse, involved Dolph Lundgren.
posted by mhoye at 8:29 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Karyn Kusama.
posted by Artw at 8:30 AM on October 7, 2011


Why did the Parkour guy get taken out by a shoulder-launched SAM? Was he a evil Parkour-ist?

This is also explained, hilariously, in the podcast. Basically Alexander would tell her friends that she was working on a violent action movie and they would all say "Just don't you dare put any fucking parkour guys in there!" (This was during that brief, weird period when seemingly every action movie had a parkour scene.) So she thought, "Hmm, if people hate these parkour scenes so much..."
posted by DaDaDaDave at 8:31 AM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'd also throw in Mary Harron's American Psycho and Julie Taymor's Titus as excellent, recentish violent movies with female directors.

I've only seen bits and pieces of PWZ. I was at a barber in Astoria, and it was playing on the flatscreen behind me. Whenever an especially "kick-ass" part was about to play, the barber spun me around to watch it with him. I laughed politely because I didn't want to be a dick, and besides, the man had scissors.

...

In somewhat related news, I actually think the 2004 Punisher movie was pretty underrated. It felt like a 70s Frankenheimer movie, and it has an absolutely terrific Spaghetti Western score.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:40 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I fall into this weird place of actually liking all the Punisher movies for totally different reasons; Lundgren's was great because Lundgren is great and it was filled with wonderfully bad one-liners. Jane's was entertaining because, well, I don't know exactly, but I really liked it (and it had Rebecca Romijn who is always awesome), an PWZ which was so stupid it hurt (but still kinda fun), and yet weirdly felt the most true to the cheesy nature of the ultra-gun-porn of the comics.

I also sort of get a kick out of how, in each movie, Castle's family gets killed in completely different ways. So much so that I still like the idea that in every new Punisher film, they should find yet another, increasingly bizarre, way to murder them.

Next, I vote for mafia ninja robots from the future...
posted by quin at 8:40 AM on October 7, 2011


I'm still trying to understand how Potomac Ave came up with the declaration that "Green Street Hooligans" was acclaimed.
posted by incessant at 8:43 AM on October 7, 2011


Wasn't there a recent-ish Punisher origin story comic that attributed the death of Frank's family to some sort of deal he made with a demon or something?
posted by griphus at 8:44 AM on October 7, 2011


Ive just started listening to The How Did That Get Made podcast...really great stuff.
They LOVE making fun of "the Cage" god knows hes made some questionable career decisions (*cough WickerMan*)
posted by ShawnString at 8:44 AM on October 7, 2011


I'm still trying to understand how Potomac Ave came up with the declaration that "Green Street Hooligans" was acclaimed.

I guess a 72 on Rotten Tomatoes looks like acclaim compared to the firerage that greeted PWZ. I've never seen GSH. Looks ok tho?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:50 AM on October 7, 2011


Yeah, Bigelow is sort of the gold standard for female action directors, I think because she's the only one who's a true technician, up there with Cameron, Frankenheimer, etc.; she has actually wanted to make action films, and dedicated herself to the craft. Others -- Kusama, Mimi Leder, Harron, who else? -- have seemed to do it as a lark, which, there's nothing wrong with that, but it's not the same, and it shows.

Leder may be an exception to that; she did "The Peacemaker" and "Deep Impact" and now appears to be gearing up for a remake of "All Quiet on the Western Front," so good for her.

I recommend the podcast, which is very funny and enlightening about how hacky mid-range Hollywood movies get made.
posted by eugenen at 8:54 AM on October 7, 2011


"Titus" is indeed excellent and relatively violent, but you can't seriously be comparing it with stuff like "Punisher: War Zone". The comparison doesn't seem at least a bit strained? I mean, it's violent, but it's not even an "action movie" by any reasonable definition.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:02 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I guess Titus isn't really an action movie, and American Psycho was only marketed as a straight-up horror movie.

I shall offer instead Rachel Talalay, who made Tank Girl, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, and Ghost in the Machine. She moved on to television a long time ago, which is a shame, because I got a huge kick out of the Looney Tunes vibe she gave Tank Girl and Freddy's Dead.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:11 AM on October 7, 2011


Punished War Zone wasn't bad at all! It was much better than the Thomas Jane version, that's for sure.
posted by The Lamplighter at 9:11 AM on October 7, 2011


a remake of "All Quiet on the Western Front,"

Oh great. I'm sure I'm just being overly cynical, but in the context of most Hollywood remakes these days, it'll be a disaster. I can just see it now: "This summer, Paul Baumer MAKES SOME NOISE! Starring Shia LaBeouf as a mild-mannered accountant forced by circumstances to take up arms against the North Koreans invading California. With Kristen Dunst as Kat, Paul's sultry commander, BUT IS SHE ACTUALLY A SPY? Also starring Dane Cook as Albert, Paul's wisecracking buddy. And introducing Brad Lipinski as the adorable kid KILLED BY A STRAY PATHOS GRENADE!"
posted by kmz at 9:11 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I loved PWZ. It is what it is.
posted by Sternmeyer at 9:20 AM on October 7, 2011


Oh great. I'm sure I'm just being overly cynical, but in the context of most Hollywood remakes these days, it'll be a disaster. I can just see it now: "This summer, Paul Baumer MAKES SOME NOISE! Starring Shia LaBeouf as a mild-mannered accountant forced by circumstances to take up arms against the North Koreans invading California. With Kristen Dunst as Kat, Paul's sultry commander, BUT IS SHE ACTUALLY A SPY? Also starring Dane Cook as Albert, Paul's wisecracking buddy. And introducing Brad Lipinski as the adorable kid KILLED BY A STRAY PATHOS GRENADE!"

Nah, I actually think it'll be more along the lines of The King's Speech or Cinderella Man or something; all righteous and worthy and boring.
posted by eugenen at 9:42 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


...teach you to have a dinner party, motherfuckers.
posted by Naberius at 10:01 AM on October 7, 2011


This just totally got added to my netflix queue.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 10:02 AM on October 7, 2011


I saw it at the New Beverly Tuesday night (and wrote about it). It's great fun to see with an audience, and definitely has cult appeal.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:24 AM on October 7, 2011


I'm still trying to understand how Potomac Ave came up with the declaration that "Green Street Hooligans" was acclaimed.

Ebert acclaimed it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:33 AM on October 7, 2011


I loved this. It was so interesting to hear Alexander talk about how the studios work.
I am watching this movie tonight.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:40 AM on October 7, 2011


Wasn't there a recent-ish Punisher origin story comic that attributed the death of Frank's family to some sort of deal he made with a demon or something?


It was never explicitly stated whether or not it was a deal with the devil, but Punisher: Born does feature a second narrator telling Frank what's what in his future.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 10:49 AM on October 7, 2011


I'm glad this got posted. Well worth a listen even if you're not interested in the movie; it's a surprisingly frank look at what the job's like for a director-for-hire.

Patton Oswalt's original blog post on PWZ.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:12 AM on October 7, 2011


If you listen to the interview, the veracity of the statement that no other woman had directed an R rated comic book action movie isn't the point. it's part of a larger anecdote about how her agents talked her into taking the movie after she repeatedly turned it down.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:13 AM on October 7, 2011


I don't know anything about the underlying comic, or the movie (other than the fact that I now want to see it), but I really enjoyed the podcast. Lexi Alexander's tales of what it's like to try to make it as a big-time producer were really interesting, and gave a peek into a world that I'd otherwise know nothing about.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:56 AM on October 7, 2011


I just got to the line that's the title of this post. I love this podcast.
posted by zippy at 12:33 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


We Had a deal, Kyle. You meant to link here.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:08 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wish I could mix-n-match elements from both of the recent Punisher movies into one good movie, because each of them had things I liked about them. The 2004 film had a sense of humor about itself, and a kick-ass fight scene with the Russian. Ray Stevenson in the 2008 film really looked the part, and that film had the one-guy-somehow-takes-out-an-entire-building-full-of-heavily-armed-bad-guys awesomeness that one expects from a Punisher story.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 1:16 PM on October 7, 2011


I wish I could mix-n-match elements from both of the recent Punisher movies into one good movie, because each of them had things I liked about them.

Yeah, I actually agree with this.

I think the problem with all the Punisher movies so far is that the "one-man-army against crime" thing isn't particularly novel as a filmic concept, so to the degree that they get that right, it's a little like "So what?" His appeal, as far as I see it, is bringing the whole Death Wish vibe to a place that seemed to operate under wildly divergent rules: comic books.

So without camping it up, the movies need to be more "comic book-ish": they need Frank completely steamrolling costumed lunatics who treat it all like a big game, with master plans and elaborate deathtraps, or waging a guerrilla war full of dirty tricks on a single super-villain who completely outclasses him.
posted by Amanojaku at 2:43 PM on October 7, 2011


The problem with the movies is that Punisher the comic was always kind of a dumb, overly-serious rip off of Rocky, Deathwish, and Batman. PWZ makes those negatives fun. I can't imagine a better version of it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:49 PM on October 7, 2011


The problem with the movies is that Punisher the comic was always kind of a dumb, overly-serious rip off of Rocky, Deathwish, and Batman.

And The Exterminator... Bloody Sunday.
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love you for this.
posted by nola at 7:22 PM on October 7, 2011


I think this was the best Punisher film in that the guy playing the Punisher, looked the way he would look. Not some California pretty boy or Swedish guy, he's a New York Italian fighting the mob. He should look like he has guns, ammo, and grenades in on hand, and a pizza from Famous Rays folded in the other.

But there's only snatches of what the Punisher would be like in Marvel and in film. The way the guy in this film looks, yes.
There's a great scene in Punisher/Batman. The punisher is holed up in a series of storage lockers they've broken the walls through as a temporary hideout, there are guns and ammo all over the floor, crates of heavy weapons, high tech stuff, the battle van, all that, and he's complaining to his hacker guy that batman doesn't see that they're on the same team. He's got claws, all that, he doesn't kill people.
The hacker says, Waddya want Frank, the guy dresses up like a giant bat.

The Punisher says "Yeah, that's true. He's a nut job." And goes back to cleaning his extended barrel Uzi. Y'know, so he can go kill criminals full time.

I read that I thought "Yeah, that's the Punisher."

A move would have to make him really sympathetic in order to get away with showing him that self-deluded. Otherwise it's just another Charles Bronson revenge flick.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:26 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I will cop to enjoying it. And my foodie buddy and I have been known to whip out terrible accents and energetically discuss pursuing the return of our applesauce...
posted by Samizdata at 5:28 AM on October 8, 2011


I am loving this podcast. This will be a film I will be seeking out at the soonest possible convenience.
posted by Artw at 10:11 AM on October 8, 2011


I thought the movie was glorious and hilarious, and I loved the podcast.

Here's the video they mentioned, of the Punisher appearing in a kid's cartoon, all chibi and adorable and bugfuck.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:34 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


For once YouTube comments deliver: I'm high as shit right now and this is the craziest goddamn thing I've ever seen. Motherfucking Punisher (Voiced by Ray Stevenson) driving´╗┐ around silver surfer, hulk, wolverine, thor, and iron man in his fucking laser shooting van talking about killing Brussels sprouts. This is some HP Lovecraft innsmouth mindfucking shit right here, seriously my brain has been ripped asunder.
posted by Artw at 9:29 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aw, they all have crushes on Jason Satham.
posted by Artw at 1:22 PM on October 11, 2011


I loved this podcast, but man, that movie was ... a trainwreck? I don't think it was poorly directed, but every single character in the opening ten minutes is so unappealing, I'm not sure this script and these characters could appeal far beyond the existing Punisher audience.
posted by zippy at 8:24 PM on October 11, 2011


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