THE UPSIDE with Shane Whitbread: BURNING THUNDERBIRDS WITH NAPALM

Since the last week has been a maelstrom of activity, I’ve again found myself with little time to work on the pieces gathering dust in my “drafts” section of my email account.  Yes, I don’t use a real word processor.  I write these from my webmail account.  The idea is simple; it gives me access to them anywhere. I figured it would improve my work flow, and that would happen if I wasn’t 513+6pk7rlL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_doing things like sleeping 12 hours straight on my day off.  Anyway, it’s a few days before all this activity slows down so I am gonna do another quick and dirty article.  So sadly, the “Upside” is more like “the calling-it-in-side” again this week.  I actually feel bad about doing this but an increase in responsibilities has limited my time and the heat has taken it’s tole on my brain

The only thing I’ve been doing outside of working is reading a fucking fantastic book called The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made by David Hughes, on the many failed attempt to bring various sci-fi duds to a theatre near you.

The best part of the book is the depth the author has gone to in telling the troubled tales of these movies.  It’s kinda amazing how forthcoming people are with information on how fucked the political situation behind the scenes is in
Hollywood.  I was expecting a book of fairly restrained explanations about production woes and maybe a couple funny little antidotes here and there, not puppets-thunderbirds-431x30full on shit slinging between people on the production staff.  It makes it not only a super fun read that’s really informative, but it has enough gossipy “he said she said” bullshit to keep you interested in movies you probably wouldn’t give a fuck about.  Anyone that can write an interesting chapter on a failed film, based on the TV show “The Thunderbirds*“, is doing their job correctly.

Highlight chapter for me is the tale of “Supernova”, a movie I haven’t even seen, but is on Netflix.  Production on the film began in the early 1990’s as a low-budget “Dead Calm in space” type thriller that was gonna be made by the team behind the classic “Creature (aka Titan Find)”.  The script was strong enough to get picked up by a major and re-worked, and by re-worked I mean prometheus-david-michaelfassbender-271x300became a 10 year nightmare of pre-production, dozens of re-writes, a handful of directors taking it over, then giving up on the project, and even some big name people brought in to help “fix” the overpriced disaster in editing.  Among them was Walter Hill (who also did a lot of directing) and Francis Ford Coppola.  It’s a great example of how when you are writing by committee shit can just get totally destroyed, and all you’re left with is an empty, pointless 80 million dollar disaster.

The book is on Amazon.  I doubt you will find it anyplace in Ottawa since the film book selection around here kinda stinks.  If you enjoy it, I highly recommend the sequel “Tales from Development Hell” (which I actually read first because there was a digital version available on amazon), which is equally awesome.  The chapter on “Planet of the Apes” alone makes that book worth reading. – SHANE

ASIDE:  The Thunderbirds still creep me the fuck out; in the way spiders creep some people the out.  I wanna burn them with fucking napalm.