In today’s movie news, there’s a definite ’80s vibe: We tell the story of a homemade Rambo movie; examine a Back to the Future debate, and learn about a straight couple’s fight with the Reagan Administration over their gay porn store. Also: 15 screenplay competitions you should consider entering.
Make Your Rambo Movie: Years ago, a filmmaker named Zack Oberzan made a Rambo movie in his 220-square-foot apartment, playing all 26 parts himself, for $96. This is his story — which should be an inspiration to everyone trying to stay creative while quarantined.
Submit That Screenplay: We’ve compiled a list of 15 screenwriting competitions we recommend, presented by Film Freeway.
Circus of Books: We interviewed documentarian Rachel Mason about her acclaimed new Netflix film, Circus of Books. It recounts how her parents — a nice Jewish couple named Karen and Barry Mason (left) — took over the iconic LGBTQ bookstore Circus of Books and became major distributors of gay porn in the 1980s. Their success made them targets of government sting operations. It’s a fascinating doc we highly recommend.
Is Back to the Future Perfect Now? There’s a lively and fun Twitter debate about what movies, if any, are perfect. It led to a debate about whether Back to the Future qualifies. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn pointed out a possible flaw — why don’t Marty McFly’s parents in the 1980s remember him from the 1950s? — which drew a thoughtful explanation from Guardians star Chris Pratt. Now Back to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale has told The Hollywood Reporter (in its current most-popular story) that Pratt was right, and that Marty’s parents barely remember his exact appearance from the ’50s because that was a long time ago and they only knew him for a few days. Contacted for comment, my mom replied: “This is the top story on The Hollywood Reporter?”
Making The Mandalorian: Disney+ just released a trailer for its new docuseries Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, coming May 4, aka Star Wars Day. In the series, Mandalorian executive producer Jon Favreau assembles the cast and crew to share behind-the-scenes details of the show, including the time Werner Herzog tried to direct Baby Yoda and Baby Yoda yelled at a gaffer out and then wouldn’t come out of his trailer for like six hours.
A Different Length of Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Variety exclusively reports that a new Disney+ Star Wars series is in the works from from Russian Doll co-creator and showrunner Leslye Headland, and that sources say it will be “a female-centric series that takes place in a different part of the Star Wars timeline than other projects.”
Stray Observation: The brilliant Mr. Show With Bob and David once did a skit about a folksy mom-and-pop porn shop, and it’s like a more believable Circus of Books. The skit came out in the mid-90s, when Karen and Barry Mason’s business was still going strong. In fact, Mr. Show filmed just a few miles from Circus of Books, all of which is a long way of saying that life is beautiful.
And now, yesterday’s movie news.