The origin of the milkshake line in 'There Will Be Blood'

Ever since I watched There Will Be Blood a few weeks ago, I can’t hear the words “milkshake” or “you can sit down now” without thinking of the final scene from the movie. But where did that line about milkshake come from? If you’ve not seen the movie or the scene, here’s the line:

“If you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake—there it is. [He holds up his index finger]. That’s the straw, you see. [He turns and walks away from Eli] And my straw reaches acrooooooossssss [walking back toward Eli] the room … I … drink … your … milkshake. [He makes a sucking noise] I drink it up!”

It turns out the line wasn’t made up; it came from a transcript that Paul Thomas Anderson found from the 1924 Teapot Dome scandal congressional hearings.

Sen. Albert Fall described oil drainage thus: “Sir, if you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and my straw reaches across the room, I’ll end up drinking your milkshake.” He was convicted of taking bribes for oil rights on public lands.

(via kottke.org)

The Green Experience

Green is the colour of Kermit the Frog, Mike Wazowski, and two-thirds of Nigeria’s national flag. It’s associated with nature, fertility, tranquillity, money, good luck, health, movement, and ecology. It can also signify illness and envy. Grass is green, the Chicago River is green once a year for St. Patrick’s Day, many political parties are green. Great gardeners have green fingers, inexperienced ones might be greenhorns, and jealous ones might be green-eyed monsters.

Green is my second favourite colour behind red (sorry, blue, you’re in 3rd place now!) thanks to Sporting CP. Green is also a traditional colour in Islam, associated with paradise in the Quran.

A passage from the Quran describes paradise as a place where people “will wear green garments of fine silk.” One hadith, or teaching, says, “When Allah’s Apostle died, he was covered with a Hibra Burd,” which is a green square garment. As a result, you’ll see green used to color the binding of Qurans, the domes of mosques, and, yes, campaign materials.

via Slate

J. Milton Hayes’s “Yellow God” had a green eye (likely an emerald), Andrew Marvell’s “The Garden” said “No white nor red was ever seen / So am’rous as this lovely green.”, and D. H. Lawrence said the dawn was “apple-green”. Aliens are often green, little, and men for some reason.

The green room is where performers wait before they go on stage, there are at least 250 films in Letterboxd with “green” in the title including Green Book, Green Lantern, The Green Hornet, The Green Mile, and 17 films simply called Green.

Green and gold go together perfectly in a room and green Victorian tiles adorn many London Underground corridors (but not Green Park’s for some reason).

Judy Horacek and Mem Fox asked “Where Is The Green Sheep?“, Dr. Seuss wrote about Green Eggs and Ham, and Hemingway talked about the Green Hills of Africa (specifically East Africa). Kermit sang it ain’t easy being green, Tom Jones sang about the green green grass of home and Beyoncé gave us the green light (as did John Legend).

In art, you have Karel Appel’s The Green Cat, Lilian Thomas Burwell’s Greening, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Queen Green, and Jean Gabriel Domergue’s Green Park. There have been 3 green colours chosen as Pantone’s Colour of the Year between 2000 and 2021 (the most recent was emerald in 2014).

There’s a lot of love about green.

Flim: an iconographic search engine

Bespoke search engines are everywhere and as a search engine optimiser (that’s my day job), I love this kind of stuff. Flim follows in the footsteps of Frinkiac and Filmgrab but with a key difference: AI.

FLIM is the answer to the statement: images are everywhere, movies, TV, music-clips, internet. Images are needed at every creative process level. From Fashion to design, via cinema and music video. To meet that need, Dan PEREZ (C.E.O. of Flim) started in 2011 a website « ffffilm.com ». This site collect screenshots from movies. The FLIM’s ancestor had 50 000 monthly users and more than 30 000 screenshots library. This experience is absolutely clear: there is an empty space for iconographic searching.

Flim’s database has over 300,000 screenshots from movies, TV shows, music videos, and loads more. Each one is categorised by media type, director, director of photography, style, and release date but here’s where the AI comes in: it can detect things like clothing, characters, identified colours, and objects. So if you searched for “table”, you’d get screenshots like this:

A search results page for the term “table” on Flim

That’s a lot of tables. I also tried a manual colour search (magenta, although you can search by colour using Flim’s dedicated swatch search feature) and it worked really well.

10 best Black superhero movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes, via Screen Rant

Justin Van Voorhis made a list of the 10 best Black superhero movies based on Rotten Tomatoes ratings. Of course, that means it might now be your top 10 list or anyone’s for that matter. But it’s interesting to see how the general public voted for them.

Alas, I have only seen 4 of them and heard of 6 which means I have a lot of catching up to do. I like that the list has films from all but one decade since the 70s (nothing from the 80s). I’m sure you can guess what the #1 was and I’m in full agreement.

Check the list and read about my attempt at compiling a crowdsourced list of Black superheroes.

What is 'Star Wars: The Lost Cut'?

"Star Wars: The Lost Cut" Explained

Film Spaced explored the infamous “Lost Cut” of Star Wars: A New Hope. I say infamous because, as Jason Weisberger said, it was a “steaming piece of trash that bored people”. Then Marcia Lou Lucas (née Griffin), acclaimed film editor and George’s wife, worked her magic and won herself the Academy Award for Best Film Editing in 1977 for her efforts.

The breakdown examines clips and interesting facts about the early cuts including rare footage, audio and behind-the-scenes info.

10 'The Man in the' movies

I saw an old advert for The Man in the Iron Mask and noticed it came out in 1998 which I never realised despite watching it last year. During a Google search to confirm that fact, the auto-suggestion brought up terms such as The Man in the High Castle and it got me thinking: how many movies start with the phrase ‘The Man in the’?

I picked 10:

  1. The Man in the Iron Mask (letterboxd link)
  2. The Man in the Moon (letterboxd link)
  3. The Man in the Hat (letterboxd link)
  4. The Man in the Net (letterboxd link)
  5. The Man in the Woods
  6. The Man in the White Suit (letterboxd link)
  7. The Man in the Silo (letterboxd link)
  8. The Man in the Brown Suit (letterboxd link)
  9. The Man in the Wall
  10. The Man in the Raincoat

Honourable mentions: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, The Man in the Glass Booth, The Man in the Orange Jacket, and The Man in the Black Cape

There are at least 3 films with men in different coloured suits (white, brown, and grey), one in an orange jacket and one in a raincoat. Then there’s one in a black cape and one in a hat.

Update: I’ve created a Letterboxd list for them too and may add to it over time.

Danny Elfman didn't like how his Batman score was used in the movie

Acclaimed composer Danny Elfman was a guest on the Premier Guitar podcast where he opened up about the Batman (1989) score and his displeasure at how it turned out.

“I was terribly unhappy with the dub in Batman,” Elfman said. “They did it in the old-school way where you do the score and turn it into the ‘professionals’ who turn the nobs and dub it in. And dubbing had gotten really wonky in those years. We recorded [multi-channel recording on] three channels — right, center, left, — and basically, they took the center channel out of the music completely.”

Nothing worse than people fiddling with your work when you had it just so. Now I’d love to hear Elfman’s original.

In the meantime, check out this suite of the Batman soundtrack, conducted by Shirley Walker and performed by the Sinfonia Of London.

Batman | Soundtrack Suite (Danny Elfman)

Room Rodeo: a Chicago student’s film about Black cowboys

Bill Pickett

I watched Concrete Cowboy a few weeks ago and while I liked it and found it interesting, I felt like it was missing something. It’s by no means the first movie about Black cowboys (see: The Black Cowboy, Harlem Rides the Range, and Black Rodeo) it’s the most high-profile, mixing Hollywood actors with IRL cowboys.

But next week, there’ll be a new film putting its hat into the ring so to speak and it’s called Room Rodeo.

The film is about Jamil, a Chicago boy trying to prove he is a descendant of Bill Pickett, a Black cowboy, rodeo, actor, and ProRodeo Hall of Famer. It stars D’Andre Davis as Jamil, and mixes drama with documentary interviews and footage of Black cowboys and historians.

His dad stands him up. He acts out. Now Jamil is on punishment in his room. He’s also finally reached the fifth grade and has a history project due.

If only his dad would tell him about his great grandpa, rodeo star Billie P – like he promised. But just when Jamil’s dad calls and things begin to look up, the cool kid from class calls with a humiliating declaration: Black cowboys aren’t real. Now, Jamil must drum up the courage to embark on a quest to discover the truth on his own – all from the comfort of his room. With some help from a dubious heirloom, Jamil puts aside whispers of doubt to venture into a fantasy dreamscape where he claims authorship of his own story.

Room Rodeo will be screened online for 24 hours as part of the creator’s thesis requirements, starting on 12th May at 7 pm. A virtual Q&A session will follow on 13th May, also at 7pm.

Werner Herzog on skateboarding

JENKEM - Discussing Skateboarding with Filmmaker Werner Herzog

Jenkem did something unthinkable and unexpected: they tracked down Werner Herzog and discussed skateboarding with him.

He’s a guy who brings a true sense of uniqueness to an industry increasingly overrun with superheroes. But what does he have to do with skateboarding?

Technically speaking, nothing. Werner has no background in skating. But I believe he is one of us.

He preaches maxims like getting the shot by any means necessary, carrying bolt cutters everywhere, and thwarting institutional cowardice with guerrilla tactics. His entire career has been built on a DIY approach to life, his craft banged into existence through decades of trial and failure.

The result is surreal and short but wonderful. The filmmaker declared his puzzlement at being approached for the interview but found a commonality in what skateboarders do and what he does. One thing he pointed out was his seeming dislike for David Blaine which I was unaware of. In comparison, he said “skate kids” weren’t out for the publicity but did it for the joy of skating.

I think we should have more interviews like this for different disciplines. What does Ja Rule think about the imminent post-pandemic recession? What are Mads Mikkelsen’s views on comic books? How does Whoopi Goldberg feel about skateboarding? Now that I’d like to hear.

100 quotes from 100 movies, counting down from 100

100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers

I love stuff like this. AlonzoMosleyFBI made a video of 100 quotes from 100 films that count down from 100.

You can find the list of referenced movies on their old blog but, being the maths geek I am, I wanted to single out the prime numbers with their referenced movies (with Amazon Affiliate links btw):

97 – Blade Runner
89 – The French Connection
83 – The Magnificent Seven
79 – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
73 – The Jerk
71 – When Harry Met Sally…
67 – The King and I
61 – Singles
59 – The Awful Truth
57 – The Manchurian Candidate
53 – Midnight Express
47 – The Big Sleep
43 – Monty Python and the Holy Grail
41 – Ben Hur
37 – Men in Black
31 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
29 – Young Frankenstein
23 – The Wizard of Oz
19 – The Shawshank Redemption
17 – The Maltese Falcon
13 – Lawrence of Arabia
11 – This is Spinal Tap
7 – To Kill a Mockingbird
5 – The Godfather
3 – L.A. Confidential
2 – Once Upon a Time in the West

Superman as Clark Kent as Superman

Superman changes to Clark and then back and forth

This scene is one of my favourite scenes in movie history. It shows Christopher Reeve as Superman in Superman II playing Superman, Clark Kent, Superman again, and then Clark Kent again. All it took was a change in body language and vocal tone and he was both characters.

Here’s what Ben Kuchera from Polygon had to say about it:

There are many remarkable things about the first Superman film, up to and including the obvious influence on every comic book movie that came later. There wasn’t much of a blueprint in pop culture for what a serious look at a comic book character should look like. There were not yet giants who had shoulders on which Superman could stand.

But what really made the film so special was the performance of the late Christopher Reeve, the only actor who could make the idea that no one recognized Clark Kent as Superman due to his glasses even remotely plausible. His performance as both Clark Kent and Superman kept the characters distinct, and it was done through his body. Christopher Reeve was his own best special effect.

One scene shows this transformation perfectly.

It happens after Superman takes Lois flying, right before her date with Clark Kent. He nearly tells her the truth, and shifts into the part of Superman to prove he is who he’s about to say he is.

The amazing part of this performance is how clearly you can see Christopher Reeve shift his body from Clark Kent to Superman. His voice changes a bit, sure, but it’s all there in the body language. It’s a powerful, physical performance that doesn’t require a change into the costume or any of the special effects that went into the flying scene. The burden is on Reeve to sell the transition, and holy hell does he do it convincingly.

Shout out to the Alexander Technique, which Reeve and a host of other actors and authors used (although there is no scientific proof of its alleged health benefits—I have to make that clear).

MORTAL KOMBAT!!!

For Vox, Aja Romano wrote about the “cheesy, exotified, incoherent action movie mishmash” that was Mortal Kombat the movie.

The first time I watched the 1995 movie Mortal Kombat I felt like I was drunk. Movies can sometimes be joyously terrible, such that they cease to be terrible and instead become transcendent. Reader, I was transported.

Since I first randomly encountered it while Netflix-surfing a few years ago, I have come to love Mortal Kombat — a movie made about a video game I have never played — so much that I no longer know whether I love it merely ironically or have crossed over into loving it sincerely.

My personal memories of the movie actually go back to the mid-00s. I was at my friend’s house and he told me about the movie (I was aware of the game although I’d never played it) and how funny the “MORTAL KOMBAT!!!” shout was at the beginning. And then I heard it and we spent about 10 minutes giggling. Still gets me to this day.

In terms of the game, my last memory was playing MK III with another friend on his Sega Megadrive. Lots of fun was had that day.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember much of the movie. Fortunately, it’s streamable and I will rectify that soon.

Mortal Kombat 1 Movie Opening