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Adam Rifkin’s ‘The Last Movie Star’ Showcases Burt Reynolds At His Best!

Adam Rifkin’s ‘The Last Movie Star’ Showcases Burt Reynolds At His Best!

“The Last Movie Star” is a smart, fresh take on stardom that left me nostalgic for the era of classic Hollywood. Reynolds’ Vic Edwards represents a pedigree of Hollywood that has long since faded with the popularity of reality stars and internet flash in the pans. A Hollywood fixture for decades, Reynolds’ translates his ups and downs to Vic Edwards with such ease, you lose yourself in the character as if Reynolds’ tragedies and triumphs weren’t public knowledge.

When first meeting Vic, we find a broken man faced with heartbreaking news – he has to put down his longtime companion, his trusty canine Squanto. We’re immediately drawn into a long life of love and loss through his tough decision to end his friend’s suffering. Upon his arrival at home we see he has nothing left within the walls but faded memories of a better life and ultimately he is alone. But, as things are looking down, Vic discovers he is being honored at a film festival near his hometown in Nashville, Tennessee.

Though skeptical at first, his old pal (Chevy Chase) convinces him to show up and collect the award in-person. Vic finds the accommodations for his travel and stay in Nashville far less than impressive. His fears are realized once he arrives at the festival, a small gathering to be held in the back of a bar. Vic’s frustration turns to anger, and bourbon, and the actor turned curmudgeon lashes out at the young fans Doug and Shane, played exceptionally by Clark Duke and Ellar Coltrane, respectively.

Begrudgingly along for the ride is Lil. Lil is portrayed by Ariel Winter in what should prove to be a breakout role for the promising young starlet. Pushing through years of her “Modern Family” image, Winter is stellar opposite Reynolds in the film. Her quick wit and cynicism match Reynolds’ been there, done that attitude pitch perfectly.

Ariel Winter and Burt Reynolds in ‘The Last movie Star.’

Reynolds and Winter embark on a journey around Edwards’ childhood hot-spots visiting his childhood home, college stomping grounds where he was once king, and everything between. Their chemistry is remarkable given the age difference. Reynolds’ is as old school as they come. Golden age of Hollywood all the way. But Winter’s ability to not only match intensity, but sometimes outshine the veteran, is an impressive feat and testimony of her talents.

The cast assembled for the film is nothing short of wonderful. Lead by Reynolds and Winter, Duke, Coltrane, Al-Jaleel Knox, Nikki Blonsky and Juston Street shine like we’ve never seen from each before.

Penned with love, director Adam Rifkin taps into the zeitgeist of past and present, forming a poetic, cautionary tale presented through the eyes of a weathered film star whose message is clear: Do good, be good.

Rifkin’s script is masterful in hiding a personal love letter to a childhood icon while parading itself as a multi-million dollar property loaded with stars.

“The Last Movie Star” is currently available on DirecTV and opens around the nation on March 30, 2018 from A24.

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Check Out The Trailer For Adam Rifkin’s ‘The Last Movie Star’ Starring Burt Reynolds and Ariel Winter

Check Out The Trailer For Adam Rifkin’s ‘The Last Movie Star’ Starring Burt Reynolds and Ariel Winter

Check out the official trailer for Adam Rifkin’s ‘The Last Movie Star.’ The film stars the legendary Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Clark Duke and Chevy Chase. The uproarious story about getting older arrives on Blu-ray™ and Digital on March 27 from Lionsgate.

Synopsis: Vic Edwards (Burt Reynolds) was the biggest star in Hollywood, a college football legend turned stunt double turned leading man. Now in his eighties, he’s convinced by an old friend (Chevy Chase) to accept an invitation to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at a two-bit film festival in Nashville. The trip launches him on both a hilarious fish-out-of-water adventure and an unexpectedly poignant journey into his past.

BLU-RAY/DVD/DIGITAL HD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Deleted Scenes
  • “The Best Is Yet to Come: Adam Rifkin of The Last Movie Star” Featurette
  • Audio Commentary with Director Adam Rifkin

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Unsung Heroes of Hollywood: The Comedy of Owen Benjamin

Unsung Heroes of Hollywood: The Comedy of Owen Benjamin

Each month I’ve been focusing in on an actor, actress, or filmmaker that I grew up loving and has informed my own career (if calling what I do in the industry qualifies as such) in writing or performing. Films are supposed to be fun, entertaining ventures that allow an escape from the day-to-day happenings of our lives. Why not celebrate the uncelebrated, folks. Join me on my quest as I gush over those who have inspired me to put words on a website that will ultimately never equate what it means to be honored by their peers at an official award show or film festival.

This next entry in the Unsung Heroes of Hollywood series is going to be all over the place, but I promise that if you stick with me until the end, it’ll all tie together and make perfect sense to you. Which is sort of fitting seeing as how the subject of this piece will take you on a helluva wordy journey to make his point. It is my personal opinion that Owen Benjamin is the smartest comedian to take a stage since George Carlin. Many will disagree with my bold statement, but like film and television, comedy is subjective. You assign your own baggage to any comedian just like you would your favorite actor or director. Owen’s Stand-Up, along with his podcasts, Facebook live sessions, instagram posts, tweets and periscopes never cease to amaze me. He is seriously the hardest working thinker in the game and doesn’t shy away from topics that force his audience to think outside of the box.

I think it is important to state that I do not know Owen personally. Though that’s not entirely true. With the hours upon hours of content he creates, it’s not hard to feel like us fans are invited into his life on a regular basis for a beer and hearty meal. Hell, he periscopes a lot and engages with us die-hards so often that I think I sorta spent Christmas and Easter with him. But in reality, aside from an email exchange and engaging on his social media, we’ve never so much as high-fived or hydrated together (that one was for the fans).

I first fell for Owen’s charms while working post production on Adam Rifkin’s segment “Wadzilla” featured in the anthology flick “Chillerama.” After two weeks on the segment during pre-production, a family emergency topped off with a failing gallbladder and a tumultuous break-up, kept me from participating in principle photography. But before I knew it I was back in LA to assist Rif during post-production. I’ll never forget sitting on Ed Marx’s couch watching the assembly cut of the train sequence of Wadzilla and laughing hysterically at the rough cut of Owen and Rif’s exchange regarding the discomfort in Rif’s character Miles’ balls. The scene hits all the comedic beats for my liking. Rif and Owen play off one another with complete sincerity, never winking to the camera. The absurdness of the material is elevated by their willingness to play the scene out as if this was a normal, everyday problem Miles is experiencing.

A few years later I would find myself driving around listening to Comedy Central Radio with my now wife. Much of the time I would have the radio on just to act as white noise to drowned out the insanity that is Chicagoland traffic, but a few tracks seemed to always jump out at me by three separate comedians. First was a story about Goodyear clothes, by Tommy Johnagin. The second was a great movie pitch about Law and Order and Jerry Orbach, by John Mulaney. The third track that would jump out of the speakers and kick my ass was a story about getting sprayed with bear mace, by Owen.

“Sprayed with Bear Mace” is just one of many hysterical tracks on Owen’s 2013 album “High Five Til It Hurts!” The album is a clinic on how to crush at comedy for 60 minutes straight. From “Dog Lover” to “Feel My Heat,” every single track is a comedian firing at all cylinders. The last six tracks of the album feature Owen accompanying his wit with stellar piano play. Owen is simply a legend, but based on material he shares with fans now, the genius of “High Five Til It Hurts!” isn’t even scratching the surface of his best material. Enter politi

Owen isn’t a political comedian. He certainly doesn’t have a narrative he’s pushing down your throat. But the son of two college professors, Owen is what you would call an intelligent thinker. On a recent appearance on Louder with Crowder, Owen joked with host Steven Crowder that, “when I moved to Hollywood I was a liberal. When I left I was a conservative, only none of my views changed.” Owen has a gift of pointing out the obvious going on in society and dissect it to the truth. He uses logic like a grizzled world war 2 veteran that has “seen some shit.” He’s stated on many occasions that he doesn’t affiliate with any political party, but rather simply believes in Freedom of Speech. As a comedian it is obvious to see why. Owen, like many of the greats to come before him, believes that no subject is off limits in comedy. That laughing is imperative to healing. It’s not like Owen is running out on stage burning midgets (Owen is 6’7″, so literally anyone under 6 foot is a midget to this man) with cigarettes and laughing while the audience is gang raped by rodeo clowns.

Enter “Why Didn’t They Laugh,” Owen’s podcast where he breaks down audience reactions to his jokes. Owen’s ability to dissect his own material is ballsy to say the least. As a headliner he crushes, but every audience is different depending on an impossible amount of variables. Crowd size, alcohol intake, region, etc., is key. A joke that crushes in blue collar Cleveland might not land at a corporate gig in New York. Owen records all of his sets and plays clips of the audience reactions to the setup and punchline like a coach would play tape to his players following a game. One of the great things about WDTL is that fans have seen such a growth in Owen’s joke writing that nowadays he doesn’t have as much material of a joke not landing as in the beginning of the show. He’s been able to dissect his material so well that no matter the circumstance, the jokes are crushing without issue.

You might think that with less material to dissect his show episodes would be few and far between, but luckily for us that isn’t the case. WDTL has evolved into a show about human nature. Owen takes the same approach, but now is pulling the curtain back behind tweets, instagram posts, headlines, you name it, Owen is talking about it. Again, he’s not a political comedian. He is a critical thinker that stands up for free speech. I seriously can’t recommend WDTL enough to anyone that enjoys laughing a lot. Also, his social media is on fire. His periscopes are an unfiltered glimpse into pure joke writing. Watching him ask the room what song he should play while sitting at the piano and then writing a parody of that song on the fly with input from the comment section is magical.

So how does Owen Benjamin tie into a person that influenced my own craft, as each of these Unsung Heroes have. Well, Let me explain. Owen’s ability to write on the fly is truly inspiring and though I didn’t grow up with Owen, I do continue to grow with Owen. His podcast has influenced me on countless episodes and honestly has helped me grow as a public speaker. I’m no longer as quick to silence myself on a thought because I might not be as informed on a topic. Owen has shown me that dialogue is good. Expressing ideas are good. I’m 31. I don’t know everything. Why wouldn’t I want to continue to learn and evolve as a human. Owen is quick to acknowledge when he was wrong. But at least the subject was open in the first place and he was able to grow from the experience. In today’s society of what’s trending, many are quick to argue, but not willing to admit defeat.

Los Angeles lost a legend when Owen left to raise his family near his hometown. Owen currently resides in upstate New York with his wife Amy and son Walter. Many of his adventures can be seen on his periscope and instagram pages, as well as heard on Why Didn’t They Laugh and Case Closed Beers Open, a podcast with his brother Jason were they solve cases in exchange for beer. Be sure to check out Owen’s website HugePianist.com for info on upcoming stand-up dates and also pick up a sweet beer coaster. They’re hand made from trees Owen and Jason have cut down. Owen will be recording his next special this fall on his UK tour in Glasgow Scotland. You can support Owen’s podcasts on Patreon, as well.

Follow Owen Benjamin on social media via Twitter at @OwenBenjamin and on Instagram at @OwenBenjam. For all his upcoming tour dates, visit www.hugepianist.com.

Jeremy Morrison – Staff Writer
Co-creator/host of the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, film reviewer, screenwriter, Jeremy has more than eight years experience in television and film production. His childhood fascination with the naked breasts featured in the “Friday the 13th” franchise prepared him for absolutely nothing in life. J-Mo lives by one motto: #wecantallbezacksnyder
Twitter: @acidpopcult
IG: @almostgothim

 

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Unsung Heroes of Hollywood: The Films of Miles Dougal

Unsung Heroes of Hollywood: The Films of Miles Dougal

Every month I will look at an actor, actress, or filmmaker I grew up loving and who informed my career (if calling what I do in the industry qualifies as such) in writing or performing. Films are supposed to be fun, entertaining ventures allowing an escape from mundane day-to-day happenings. Why not celebrate the uncelebrated, folks. Join me on my quest as I gush over those who inspired me to put words on a website that will never equate what it means to be honored by their peers at an official award show or film festival.

Miles Dougal

Miles Dougal is one of the greatest actors of the 21st Century you may not know. He’s the type of actor who, once cast, makes scenes stronger and the film better. His pinpoint accuracy for finding the best way to play a scene is a prime example that some people have “it” and others don’t. Some actors can train a lifetime waiting for their big break to come and it never happens. A small number of actors are born with a gift to entertain. Miles is in a smaller number of actors: the gifted kind. However, if you talk to Miles about acting, you might get the impression he could take it or leave it. The man with pitch perfect comedic timing could probably walk away at any moment, living the rest of his life listening to old 45s and watching Cubs games. Shit man. What the hell am I doing with my life?!

Okay folks, full disclosure: I know Miles Dougal. Don’t let that deter you from anything I’ve said thus far, because it is all true. I’ve known Miles for around 10 years. Our paths cross every few years when Miles’ old pal and genius writer-director-actor-smoothie maker Adam Rifkin makes a film or television show. Rifkin has also been my mentor for 10 years. The greatest advice he ever gave me was, “cast Miles in everything you ever make.” When I asked why Rif always casts Miles in his projects the answer was, “Miles is hilarious!” Over the past 10 years I’ve seen Rif’s answer was an understatement.

Miles broke into the scene in 1993s “Psycho Cop Returns” as Brian, the spazzed out office co-worker who tries to warn everyone they’re being watched by deranged Officer Joe Vickers. There are many reasons to love this Rif Coogan joint, but Miles is on par with the gore and boobies as one of the true standouts of the film. He also pulls double duty in the film as Spongehead, the titular character in the stag film the boys watch while watching Julie Strain and company strip to a wicked rock song that should’ve taken titty bars across America by storm. In “Psycho Cop Returns” as the nerdy pencil pusher, Miles takes command of every scene he is in like a hurricane or hilarity. After years of fans waiting patiently, “Psycho Cop Returns” finally found its way to blu-ray thanks to the fine folks over at Vinegar Syndrome. The disc is a newly restored 2k transfer and restores all the fantastic gore previously cut from recent releases here in the states.

Miles Dougal

A year later Miles shared screen time with Henry Rollins and Josh Mostel in the back of a speeding squad car in the Charlie Sheen vehicle “The Chase.” Ahead of the zeitgeist by a decade or so, Rifkin’s script and Dougal’s performance gave audiences an advanced look at how sleazy producers in Hollywood, especially those of Reality Shows, can be. Even with a gun in his face (spoiler alert. Did I do that right?) Miles’ Liam Segal cares about one thing only, getting the perfect shot for his pseudo cops reality show. Even the questions he feeds the cops before they find them in pursuit of Sheen’s character showcases the old Hollywood motto: If it ain’t broke, break it. Ratings baby!

“The Chase” is the first Adam Rifkin film I’ve seen, so by default it is the first film I’d seen featuring Miles. I used to watch it every week as a young pre-teen as it was one of the only VHS tapes my family owned. Having seen this film at least 100 times before their next films came out, I was hooked on Miles and Adam’s collaboration from the first frame. Fans may have come for Sheen, Kristy Swanson and Ray Wise, but many stayed for Dougal, Rollins and Mostel. The trio bring loads of funny to the high octane action.

In the interest of avoiding a warped version of “This Is Your Life,” we will skip to 2007. In doing so I’m risking fan outrage by not covering “Detroit Rock City,” and for that I apologize, but “Look” is perhaps Rifkin and Miles’ masterpiece. If you haven’t seen it yet, the film is nothing short of amazing. The perfect combination of comedy and drama, Rifkin questions what we do when we don’t think we’re being watched. The answer is humiliating yet honest. Miles and frequent collaborator Giuseppe Andrews (for more on that check out “Giuseppe Makes A Movie” asap!) play a couple of slackers in the film. While Giuseppe jockeys the register inside of a Shell station in the heart of downtown LA, Miles hangs and keeps his pal company on the late shift. The duo huffs whippets, cruises underage muff, and rocks out to Giuseppe’s original tunes. “Look” is a critical darling, and rightly so. Miles is one piece in this puzzle that makes this machine run to perfection.

Miles Currently resides in the LA area and I believe he is still coming down from the natural high all of us Cubs fans received last November after the final out of the World Series. To any fan of hilarious comedy mixed with earth shattering drama, I urge you to check out the titles listed in this piece as well as “A Night At The Golden Eagle,” “Something About Sex” aka “Denial,” “Look: The Series” (cough-cough the first project I ever worked on! cough-cough), “Garbanzo Gas” and “Period Piece.” If you’re looking for laughs, “Homo Erectus” aka “National Lampoon’s Stoned Age” and “2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams” will do the trick. Most recently, you’ll catch Miles in Rifkin’s new film “Dog Years” starring Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Chevy Chase and Clark Duke. And to any filmmakers reading this … cast Miles In everything you make. Seriously, he’s fucking hilarious.

Jeremy Morrison – Staff Writer
Co-creator/host of the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, film reviewer, screenwriter, Jeremy has more than eight years experience in television and film production. His childhood fascination with the naked breasts featured in the “Friday the 13th” franchise prepared him for absolutely nothing in life. J-Mo lives by one motto: #wecantallbezacksnyder
Twitter: @acidpopcult
IG: @almostgothim

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ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 183: Get Flicks and Chill

ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 183: Get Flicks and Chill

acidpopcult-podcast-2015

This week on the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, Jeremy and Jason delve deep in a slew of new films they have immersed themselves over the past week. From rock documentaries “Attack of Life: The Bango Tango Movie” to “I Am Thor” to Eli Roth’s “The Green Inferno” and “Knock Knock,” they leave no stone unturned. Jeremy offers up some timely updates on Adam Rifkin’s “Director’s Cut” hitting the festival circuit, his latest WWE Live experience and a rekindled love for Cannon Films. Jason gives us the run down on the latest set of interviews for the wildly popular Icon Vs. Icon (www.iconvsicon.com) and his thoughts on the crime drama, “Sicario” starring Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt. Spread the word, leave a review and be sure to tune in each week for the latest and greatest!

Download the latest episode of Acid Pop Cult on iTunes!

Rate and review the show on iTunes!  Send us some feedback on Facebook or Twitter.


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ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 148: Sentimental Softies

ICON VS. ICON PRESENTS: Acid Pop Cult Podcast – Episode 148: Sentimental Softies

acidpopcult-podcast-2015

This week on the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, Jeremy and Jason reflect on their holiday. The show kicks off as Jason offers his opinion on the latest entry in the Terminator franchise — ‘Terminator Genisys.’ Meanwhile, Jeremy delves into his latest obsessions, Marvel’s ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Batman: Arkham Knight.’ The duo then discuss the launch of their Mystery Care Package Contest. Be sure to check it out and enter today as APC wants to make you a winner. Looking for something new to satisfy your pop culture cravings? Look no further than their “Pick of The Week” segment were we discuss Joe Dante’s ‘Burying The Ex’ and the awesome new album art book, ‘And Justice For Art…’ As always, it is a jammed packed episode served up hot and steamy! Bon Appétit!

Download the latest episode of Acid Pop Cult on iTunes!

Rate and review the show on iTunes!  Send us some feedback on Facebook or Twitter.


Acid Pop Cult on iTunes – Click here!
Acid Pop Cult on Twitter – @acidpopcult
Acid Pop Cult on Facebook – facebook.com/AcidPopCult
Jeremy on Twitter – @almostgothim
Jason on Twitter – @iconvsicon

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Director Adam Rifkin’s ‘Giuseppe Makes A Movie’ Documentary To Play LA Film Festival Saturday Night

Director Adam Rifkin’s ‘Giuseppe Makes A Movie’ Documentary To Play LA Film Festival Saturday Night

'Giuseppe Makes A Movie'

‘Giuseppe Makes A Movie’

Director Adam Rifkin‘s highly anticipated new documentary, ‘Giuseppe Makes A Movie,’ will be playing the LA Film Festival this Saturday night. Get the scoop on the film below along with the trailer and info on this screening below.

“GIUSEPPE MAKES A MOVIE”
Sat, Jun 14th 10:00pm
Regal Cinema L.A. Live- Theater 10

Click here for tickets > 

About ‘Giuseppe Makes A Movie’While the rest of America slept, DIY filmmaker/musician Giuseppe Andrews (a one-time teen actor in INDEPENDENCE DAY and DETROIT ROCK CITY) has made over 30 experimental features with titles like DOILY’S SUMMER OF FREAK OCCURRENCES, TRAILER TOWN and UTOPIA BLUES, set in some demented alternate universe (i.e. Ventura, California) populated by real-life alcoholics and drug addicts, trash-talking senior citizens and trailer park residents dressed in cow outfits and costume-shop wigs, acting out booze-fueled vignettes of severe psychosis filtered through Giuseppe’s John Waters-meets-Harmony Korine-meets-Werner Herzog sensibility. Director Adam Rifkin (LOOK, THE DARK BACKWARD) creates a wildly surreal, outrageously funny and strangely touching portrait of a truly Outsider Artist inhabiting a world few of us even know exists, as he follows Giuseppe and his seriously impaired troupe on the production of his latest 2-day opus, GARBANZO GAS, starring Vietnam Ron as a Cow given a weekend reprieve from the slaughterhouse at the local motel. Beyond the sun-stroked Theater of the Absurd madness of Giuseppe’s vision, there is a remarkable and endearing sense of family among the director, his amiably bonkers dad Ed, patient girlfriend Mary, Sir Bigfoot George and the rest of his surreal Trailer Park rep company. As skate-punk Spit sagely observes about Giuseppe’s movies: “They’re just like, nothing really makes any sense, and I don’t know, that’s kinda how reality is, and nobody really cares to accept that.”

‘Giuseppe Makes A Movie’ is selection of the Hot Docs Documentary Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Rooftop Film Series.

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