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December 16, 2011 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Last month How Did This Get Made (previously) held a live panel discussion of Superman III, a movie that started as a bizarre pitch involving everyone from Brainiac to Supergirl and Mr. Mxyzptlk, and ended up as a Richard Pryor vehicle. However for some truly crazy stories you may want to skip ahead to part II, where they are joined by Jack O'Halloran - Non from Superman I and II, boxer and son of the head of Murder, Inc. - who talks at length about his life, the movies, and choking Christopher Reeve.
posted by Artw (30 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
When I heard that oroginally Superman II was a Brainiac film itmade sense to me - Richard Pryor gets these computer skills out of the blue and doesn't know how, right? Clearly in some early draft he's gotten a microchip from a destroyed Brainiac lodged in his head somehow and now it's controlling him. He builds some crazy ass controlling-the-world evil supercomputer in the middle of nowhere? Clearly the chip is making him build a new vessel for the Brainiac consciousness... That would actually have been kind of a cool movie that makes some sense out of some of the bonkers bits of Superman III. But no, you read the treatment and it's actually all over the place and completely insane. I don't think it could ever have been made, and if it had it would have been utterly incoherent. Still, points for widening the scope.

However all that is secondary - you really want to listen to the Jack O'Halloran stuff right now.
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on December 16, 2011


So now a 18 hour conversation we had on Twitter -- which Paul Scheer inexplicable refused to particpate in -- comes to MetaFilter.

I will say here what I told you and Paul: That Superman III is obviously just a silver age Superman story, as evidenced by the fact that there is a magic kryptonite that instantly turns Superman into a dick, and by the film's weird focus on Jimmy Olson, and by the fact that Superman has to fight himself at one point, and by the fact that a supercomputer drawn on a napkin can turn people into robots. All that is missing is the presence of Don Rickles to complete the tail.

The interview with Jack O'Halloran is great, in part because I shared Scheer's fear that maybe O'Halloran would lose it with Jason Mantzoukas and just start choking him.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:28 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


In fairness, O'Halloran chokes a lot of people.
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on December 16, 2011


It's unfortunate that Donald Barthelme's review of this movie for the New Yorker ("Earth Angel," collected in Not Knowing) isn't online - however, there are some nice excerpts here.
posted by with hidden noise at 10:30 AM on December 16, 2011


Tail? Tale.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:30 AM on December 16, 2011


I would disagree with the panel in that I think the scene with Superman fighting himself is FUCKING SUPERB, and together with Goldfinger may have given me a phobia of car crushers, which is possibly not a bad phobia to have.
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on December 16, 2011


Artw, isn't that part of the Arthurian legend for Lancelot? Off to google...

Shucks, AFAICT it was only part of the execrable "Excalibur." Probably somewhere in TVTropes, however... everything is.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:45 AM on December 16, 2011


the execrable "Excalibur."

You are now my enemy for life.
posted by Artw at 10:46 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Listened to this last week - it was really entertaining. As was the previous comicbook movie with Special Guest episode they did for Punisher: War Zone with Patton Oswalt and Lexi Alexander, who directed it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:47 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shucks, AFAICT it was only part of the execrable "Excalibur."

This sentence doesn't even make sense in English.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:49 AM on December 16, 2011


Maybe it's in code? Try only reading every other letter.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:51 AM on December 16, 2011


Oh, yeah. If you do a simple superencipherment decoding, it says "Excalibur is the best film ever."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:53 AM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


You have broken what could not be broken! Now, hope is broken.
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on December 16, 2011


Yeah, I've never seen "execrable" used as a synonym for "phenomenal."
posted by absalom at 11:36 AM on December 16, 2011


The one good thing that could have happened if the original bizarre pitch for III got made would be that if (when?) this movie that was forced in too many villains and familiar characters, it might have taught Hollywood a lesson it didn't learn until Batman and Robin.

Okay, they probably haven't really learned this lesson yet.

I'm not admitting to have developed a slight superhero kink that could be easily traced to misunderstood feelings that stirred in me when I was a child. But if I did, the evil version of Superman in Superman III fighting the good version in the scrapyard might have had something to do with it. Hypothetically, of course.

That may be the only thing I still like about the movie. That and my "half-cent rounded down" hacking plan which is basically my retirement plan.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:49 AM on December 16, 2011


Shucks, AFAICT it was only part of the execrable "Excalibur."

This sentence doesn't even make sense in English.

Maybe it's in code? Try only reading every other letter.


Be sure to drink your Ovaltine? WTF?
posted by Naberius at 12:24 PM on December 16, 2011


I recognize that there was been 79 years of marketing efforts to make Superman relevant to contemporary readers and tastes, but if I ruled the world and was making a Superman movie, I would set it in the 1930's. Yes, I would try create a story that resonated with a contemporary audience, but I think part of the reason the character makes less and less sense is that he's hopelessly connected to a romanticized past.

Of course, to me, the ultimate Superman story would be a World War 2 era story that involved Hitler, the spear of destiny and an epic battle featuring Superman on his own against an army of jetpack wearing Nazi robots, so take my opinion with a larger grain of salt than normal.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:52 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course, to me, the ultimate Superman story would be a World War 2 era story that involved Hitler, the spear of destiny and an epic battle featuring Superman on his own against an army of jetpack wearing Nazi robots, so take my opinion with a larger grain of salt than normal.

This is where the ability to insert the image "FuturamaShutUpAndTakeMyMoney.jpg" would come in handy.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:10 PM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, what, Superman only works in the far off distant age of 1978?
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on December 16, 2011


Listened to this last week - it was really entertaining. As was the previous comicbook movie with Special Guest episode they did for Punisher: War Zone with Patton Oswalt and Lexi Alexander, who directed it.

Yeah, I think I have kind of a big crush on Lexi Alexander now.
posted by EmGeeJay at 1:16 PM on December 16, 2011


Of course, to me, the ultimate Superman story would be a World War 2 era story that involved Hitler, the spear of destiny and an epic battle featuring Superman on his own against an army of jetpack wearing Nazi robots, so take my opinion with a larger grain of salt than normal.

I'm pretty sure you cribbed this from Hellboy, or an Atomic Robo story.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:25 PM on December 16, 2011


You want to check out El Sombra for some great Jet Pack Nazis (fighting a Zorro in Mexico, naturally) or the follow up Gods of Manhattan for a pretty cool Doc Savage/Superman hybrid fighting Nazis, a Zorro and a The Shadow/Green Hornet.
posted by Artw at 1:33 PM on December 16, 2011


Last month How Did This Get Made (previously) held a live panel discussion of Superman III . . .

"Underrated flick."
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 3:54 PM on December 16, 2011


And to this day, I will defend the scene where Richard Pryor decides to replace "unknown" with "tar" in the formula for Kryptonite as one of the funniest things I've ever seen in a movie.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 3:55 PM on December 16, 2011


I'm pretty sure you cribbed this from Hellboy, or an Atomic Robo story.

Hitler and the Spear of Destiny are canon DC elements - it was the reason the superheros couldn't just fly over and end the war.

Jetpack Nazi Robots I more or less tole from TV Tropes.

So, yeah, cribbed, just different sources. Woot!
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:11 PM on December 16, 2011


It's since presumably been retconned by the Nu52, but at one point DC Universe Hitler was beheaded by Frankenstein.
posted by Artw at 4:13 PM on December 16, 2011


So, what, Superman only works in the far off distant age of 1978?

I don't think he really worked in 1978. The movie had a nice retro-charm, but the exact same plots of movie #1 and movie #2 would have worked just as well (I would argue better) if they'd been retro in both style and period. The characters all still interacted with each other as if it were 1940 in the '78 film.

Side note: as the newspaper industry continues to collapse and transform, it will be interesting to see what jobs Clark Kent and Peter Parker have in 15 years.

It's since presumably been retconned by the Nu52, but at one point DC Universe Hitler was beheaded by Frankenstein.

And that was among the greatest things ever.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:17 PM on December 16, 2011


I thought it would be funny by pointing out the obvious.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:15 PM on December 16, 2011


After reading this thread today, I saw the Superman III DVD in a sale bin for $4.99. I didn't buy it, but I was pretty tempted.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:39 PM on December 16, 2011


It's early on a saturday. but just "Huh"??
posted by sammyo at 5:26 AM on December 17, 2011


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