Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The 17 Coolest G.I. Joe and Cobra Animal Sidekicks

By Kevin J. Guhl

Both G.I. Joe and Cobra are very diverse organizations, allowing in pretty much any species that wants to join their ranks. Sure, it makes sense that the occasional Cobra or Joe would learn to work with a dog or a falcon, but once they started adding various aquatic life and other random animals, things got pretty god-ri-damned-diculous. Each team's headquarters must have started to look like Noah's Ark! Still, the inclusion of an animal sidekick with a G.I. Joe figure automatically made that toy 250% more desirable, even if the actual human figure was a waste of plastic. Here are the 17 coolest animal sidekicks in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline.
17 & 16) Falcon and Condor (tie)
voltar.jpg raptor with bird.jpg
Two Cobra guys in really dumb costumes equals two very embarrassed avian sidekicks. Voltar was a plain old nut who happened to be a good military commander and for some reason liked dressing up in hilarious armor straight out of Buck Rogers and carrying around a condor. Raptor was insane, too, and didn't even have successes that made up for it. He not only attempted to train an army of falcons to attack G.I. Joe; he loved dressing in the falcons' image and hanging around in a birdcage. He probably loved pooping on car windshields, too. Oh, and he's an accountant. These are two clear cases of bird abuse, and that's just for being forced to be in the presence of these psychos.

15) Barracuda
Okay, it's a nifty accessory. But exactly what function does a barracuda serve in combat? Can you train it to munch on command? Undertow, one of Destro's frogmen, was probably just a big fan of Heart.

14) Scorpion
According to G.I. Joe lore, dropouts from the Cobra Viper program had to go sharpen their skills in hot, sandy environments as Desert Scorpions, where the troopers spent a lot of time with their namesakes. But where the hell is the desert these guys were training in? The Mesozoic Era? Those scorpions are HUGE!

13) Boar
According to the filecard of Gnawgahyde, this Dreadnok poacher likes to grease himself up with rancid hog-fat before going on a hunt, as the horrible scent will mask the chemical additives from processed foods that are in his body and could scare off animals. Translation: The poor boar packaged with Gnawgahyde isn't long for this Earth, his destiny to become Dreadnok cologne!

12) Manta Ray
Cobra Hydro-Vipers are apparently all like Aquaman, summoning the beasts of the sea to do their bidding. It's not clear what exactly these genetically-engineered Cobra troopers use the black mantas for, aside from having them swim curiously around members of the Joe underwater team.

11) Sandstorm
Late in the G.I. Joe toyline, Hasbro decided that established G.I. Joe desert trooper Dusty would get a pet coyote named Sandstorm that shared his proclivity for being a desert survivalist. That's all well and good, but it's hard not to picture Sandstorm running off to try and drop an anvil on the Roadrunner.

10) Max
Okay, who here really believes a bobcat can be adequately trained to be of any use whatsoever in G.I. Joe desert operations? Even the filecard pretty much implies that insurance salesman-turned-point man Spearhead brings along his bobcat Max as a mascot. Thankfully, Max was so cute that we were willing to overlook any lack of practicality on his part.

9) Robot Shark
While not a living animal, the Cobra Eel's mechanical shark pal bested any other fish companion, mainly due to its ability to fire a spring-loaded torpedo from its mouth.

8) Order
If you were a drunken Joe sneaking back into the PITT after lights out, the attuned senses and loud bark of Order (the German Shepherd belonging to M.P. Law) were sure to alert his master and get your Real American ass thrown in the brig.

7) Kangaroo
Brazil took the animal sidekick idea even further and introduced a line of exclusive figures called Force Fera. The animals looked suspiciously like the cheap plastic beasts you would get a in a bag of zoo critters at the grocery store, as evidenced by the tiny lion, tiger and bear that the Joes and Cobras were paired with. The most inspired combination, though, was of Cobra boxing instructor Big Boa (called Kangor in this set) with a kangaroo. Even better, the kangaroo was given Big Boa's boxing gloves! How fantastic is that?! Imagine yourself as a Joe running across the battlefield on Cobra Island and suddenly being confronted with a boxing kangaroo hopping your way. You'd be KO'ed before you could figure out where and when you popped the LSD.

6) Gold Cobra
The gold cobra that came with Serpentor was perfect not just as the terrorist organization's mascot, but as a toy that allowed you to re-enact two key scenes from G.I. Joe: The Movie. The cobra can serve as the snake javelin that Serpentor almost killed Duke with, and can also serve as Cobra Commander in his snake state when he persistently annoyed poor Roadblock by repeating, "Was once a man!"

5) Freedom
Freedom was the bald eagle teamed with Spirit, the Native American tracker. He was also the living mascot of the Joe team's American spirit, perfect for those posed, patriotic group shots the Joes liked so much.

4) Alligator
In what is apparently a running joke, every version of Cobra henchman Croc Master comes with a pet alligator. "Alligator Master" doesn't have the same ring, we suppose. Either way, it's still a pet alligator on a leash, and that is awesome.

3) Polly
Polly the talking parrot managed to fly a fine line between being annoying and endearing, but he earns a high spot on this list because he was an integral part of the whole package of greatness that was G.I. Joe sailor Shipwreck. Shipwreck's look and personality seemed patterned after Jack Nicholson in the Last Detail (and he also unfortunately looked like a lost member of the Village People). He was the team's wiseass and Polly was his foil. Polly even turned a bit creepy during Shipwreck's extended drug-induced hallucination in "There's No Place Like Springfield."

2) Junkyard
Just for the record, Junkyard was the Joe team's resident Rottweiler and Mutt was his even more vicious human trainer. They also had the distinction of being the first human/animal pair in the Real American Hero toyline, back in 1984. A fixture of both the cartoon and comics, Junkyard sadly went to Doggie Heaven in the comics due to old age, but his son, Junkyard, Jr., entered the fray with Mutt to take a bite out of Cobra's butt. And yes, they were probably both doing the biting.

1) Timber
There have been many Snake-Eyes figures over the decades, but the prize gems are the instances when the Joe team's mute ninja came packaged with his pet wolf, Timber. They are a dynamic pair, one clothed all in jet black and one sporting stark white fur. (Sometimes Timber is painted black, too, and that's just a shame.) They go together like the two halves of a black and white cookie and rival Constable Fraser and Diefenbaker of Due South for best human/wolf pairing. Timber played a role in Marvel's G.I. Joe comic book series and died of old age in the Devil's Due series, but not before siring a litter of little Timbers.

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Coldplay Settles Joe Satriani Lawsuit

Coldplay and Satriani have settled their legal disputes and the guitarist’s lawsuit alleging copyright infringement has been dismissed.

Last Winter guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani, sued Coldplay for ripping off his 2004 track “If I Could Fly” for their own Grammy-nominated hit “Viva La Vida.” According to court documents obtained by Justia News, the lawsuit was dismissed “upon Stipulation” by Judge Dean D. Pregerson, and “each party bears [their] own cost.”

More than likely the two have agreed on some sort financial conclusion to get this train wreck of a case over with. I actually feel bad for Coldplay on this one. It’s just a melody line and similar ideas come close to overlapping all the time. I mean come on, everyone writes in the same keys using the same scales (major, minor, blues) over similar tempos.

It’s doubtful but even if Coldplay does listen to Satriani, anyone who writes music knows that some things can come out on a subconscious level without you having a clue. It’s not usually intentional and a lot of times it may be too late before you realize that it is similar to a song you have listened to before. If anyone should know this, it’s Satriani who seems to be writing the same songs over and over again since “The Extremist“. Then again maybe he doesn’t realize it if it is being done on subconscious level. Oh man we’re getting deep here.

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The Ten Greatest Films of Steven Soderbergh

Posted by Turk182 in Lists, Features

With Steven Soderbergh's latest slice of cinematic greatness hitting theaters this week in The Informant!, we thought we'd take a look back at the amazing career of one of the most important filmmakers of the last two decades. With as impressive a range of films as anyone working today, what's remarkable about Soderbergh is his ability to go from completely mainstream blockbusters like the Ocean's franchise to much smaller films like Bubble to something in between like The Good German (cast was mainstream but concept was definitely not). He's completely unpredictable and his work ethic should be inspiring to everyone. The one thing his films have in common is that you can tell that Soderbergh loves making film. How else do you explain releasing Che, The Girlfriend Experience, and The Informant! in less than a year's time? He's passionate about his craft and inspiring in his refusal to deliver anything predictable.

Most directors don't have three films that diverse on their ENTIRE resume and the fact that all three are excellent is all-the-more amazing. Soderbergh has already had three periods of brilliance. The first came when he changed the face of independent cinema with Sex, Lies and Videotape and followed it up with an amazingly unique series of films including Kafka and King of the Hill. The independent film movement was decidedly different in the late 1990s as it was in the late 1980s when Soderbergh first came on the scene, so Steven went mainstream but brought his own energy and talent to a ridiculously good string of popular films like Out of Sight, Traffic, and Erin Brockovich. To this viewer, Soderbergh entered his darkest period in the mid-2000s by going too much "Inside Hollywood" with films like Full Frontal and the first Ocean's sequel. But in the last few years, Soderbergh has perhaps pulled off his greatest feat by blending all the different directorial personas of his past from the independent maverick who might have made a film like The Girlfriend Experience to the more mainstream filmmaker who puts Matt Damon in The Informant! And he's doing some of the best work of his career.

Skipping the TV work and his part of Eros, Steven Soderbergh has given us twenty complete films (viewing Che as one) to choose from and it was actually very difficult to whittle this list down to ten. Despite some respected critics who claim otherwise, Ocean's Twelve is Soderbergh's biggest misstep in my eyes. One man's "subversive" is another's "narcissistic, boring, and stupid." Full Frontal and Schizopolis can be immediately scrapped for most of the same reasons. But everything else should be seen and would be recommended. Gray's Anatomy doesn't have the impact that makes me remember it well enough to include (besides, Swimming to Cambodia is a better Spalding Gray film anyway) and The Good German was undeniably flawed, even if I think it got unjustly slammed by most people.

As for true runner-ups – Kafka was a daring choice for a second film; King of the Hill is perhaps the most underappreciated-by-the-public film in his career; Ocean's Thirteen was a lot more fun than it was given credit for being; Erin Brockovich probably would have made the list if I hadn't seen it recently and thought it looked extremely dated; and as much as I truly want to love Solaris, I just don't. Perhaps it is being too familiar with the original but there's something about Soderbergh's Solaris that strikes me much like Van Sant's Psycho – I'd rather see the original.

10. Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Probably the most straight-up popular film on this list (if you gauge popularity by being played on basic cable interminably), Ocean's Eleven represents Soderbergh playing with a classic representation of the essence of cool (in the rat pack) that clearly had an impact on him personally, but also just trying to deliver a film that will leave audiences smiling on their way out the door. After the incredibly serious one-two punch of Erin Brockovich and Traffic, which had both come out only the year before, could you blame a director for wanting to get together with an amazing ensemble and have some fun in the city of sin? When the Ocean's films work, which is in most of the first and third and some of the second film, that's what they do best, create an infection of the joy of the con and the beautiful men and women involved in the game.

9. The Underneath (1995)

God, I wish Soderbergh would make another noir (although he arguably would again in the neo-noir The Limey, which you'll find further up this list). 1995's The Underneath is an underrated attempt at the genre fueled by a great performance from the always-excellent William Fichtner and turns from Peter Gallagher and Elizabeth Shue before they became so predictable. The final act holds it back from greatness but The Underneath proved that Soderbergh could make movies for the masses. After Sex, Lies, and Videotape; Kafka; and King of the Hill, it looked like Soderbergh might always be a director who appealed more to the arthouse than the mainstream. The Underneath was when I realized that Soderbergh would eventually not be just a Sundance darling but someone who would probably take the stage at the Oscars (which he would just a few years later). It's not that The Underneath is Oscar-caliber filmmaking, but it's where I think Soderbergh really developed into the director who would make most of the films on the rest of this list, including the blockbusters, independent experiments, and award-winners.


Proof that Soderbergh isn't concerned about expectations and simply makes the films he WANTS to make can be seen in the excellent The Girlfriend Experience from earlier this year. This is evidence of Soderbergh telling the stories that interest him; ones he wants to tell by experimenting with the form. TGE is about the life of a high-priced escort (Sasha Grey) and is shot on digital video with almost entirely unbroken takes. It looks both amazingly refined and feels voyeuristic at the same time. The design of Girlfriend is subtle but remarkable and Soderbergh proves to have an eye for talent as Grey is simply great, bringing a genuine quality to the role that so many actresses would have turned into melodrama or missed entirely. I love Girlfriend because it shows Soderbergh taking chances with subject matter and style. Track it down on DVD on September 29th.

7. Bubble (2005)

Probably the least seen film on this list, Bubble is disturbingly underrated. It's probably unlikely to become your favorite film but there's a mastery of craft on display in Bubble that's mind-blowing to this viewer and I think the reason I rank it so high is because I see it as the opening act to the latest chapter of Soderbergh's career, a step back from the mistakes I think he made in the mid-2000s. Made for under $2 million, shot on digital video, largely improvised, and released on DVD four days after being released in theaters, Bubble represents Soderbergh experimenting with the form in much the same way he did with his breakthrough Sex, Lies, and Videotape. He's not only playing with the delivery structure of film but he's playing with the expectations of what an audience brings to a film when they see a director's name above a title and driving home that you should have none when it comes to his films.

6. Che (2008)

Oh, Che. The lengthy, heated debates I've gotten into about Soderbergh's epic about the failure of revolution are one of the reasons I love it. When someone tells me they hated Che, I smile. It's one of the few films of the last few years that I think is honestly worthy of discussion. You were bored during the second half of Che? What if you were supposed to be? It's a film about the fizzling out of the passion required for revolutionary action. I think Che is remarkable in its construct with each driven action of the first half matched by apathetic failure in the second half. With Benicio Del Toro giving arguably the best performance in all of the Soderbergh films (if it's not this one it's probably the one he gave in Traffic), I find Che mesmerizing. With critics and movie goers constantly telling me that they wish more filmmakers would take honest risks, I feel like we need to support experiments like Che. You say Che was a difficult film? What if it was supposed to be? Shouldn't the life of someone as complex as Che Guevara be more than disposable entertainment?

5. The Informant! (2009)

Soderbergh's newest is a wonderful comedy that gets richer in memory and discussion, as all great films do. Damon gives the performance of his career as Mark Whitacre, a man who is so delusional that he basically lives inside his own head. Like a lot of Midwesterners, Whitacre has read a few too many Crichton and Grisham novels and when he becomes involved in an international, billion-dollar investigation, he makes mistake after mistake. Damon is simply perfect in the role and Soderbergh's direction is masterful, making for a film that's almost jarringly unusual at first. But once you get on the wavelength of this nearly screwball story of a man who poisoned nearly everything around him with his own delusions, it is a wonderfully brilliant examination of high-level greed and stupidity. (Come back for more on The Informant! with our full-length review on Friday.)

4. The Limey (1999)

Terence Stamp simply rocks in The Limey. Giving one of the most driven, remarkable performances of his career, Stamp stars as Wilson, a violent Englishman who heads to the city of angels to get revenge for the death of his daughter. Thrilling from beginning to end, The Limey transcends its genre by hinting at how Soderbergh would later experiment with the form through unusual editing and flashback techniques. The Limey is one of my personal favorites because it brilliantly displays Soderbergh's multi-faceted abilities as a director. A lot of directors can make a taut thriller but very few can make one with a performance as complex as Stamp's in the lead role and break so many of the traditional rules of the genre while still providing an intense, riveting experience.

3. Out of Sight (1998)

Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing, Out of Sight is an underrated classic, a film that turned George Clooney into the modern Cary Grant and a film that thoroughly entertains from first frame to last. I grew up on films like North by Northwest and Charade, films with charming leads, gorgeous women, and intriguing mysteries and those films defined my love for the medium. That love is there in Out of Sight. Out of Sight is a direct descendent of those films, a masterpiece of cool style and clever dialogue. It is one of Soderbergh's best-directed films by far, a movie that gets better every time I see it, feeling more like a modern classic with each passing year.

2. Traffic (2000)

What more is there to say about Traffic? It's ambitious, flawless, and riveting filmmaking and probably Soderbergh's most universally-acclaimed film ... for good reason. Traffic worked different, related narratives into a full experience long before the narrative structure had reached the point of over-saturation. With a massive running time, huge ensemble, and daring subject matter, Traffic was a risk in every way and it paid off with four Academy Awards, including Best Director, Supporting Actor, Editing, and Adapted Screenplay. (And it should have won Best Picture over Gladiator.) Soderbergh had displayed incredible technical and storytelling ambition with small films like Kafka and The Limey but Traffic proved that the scope of the film wouldn't dictate his willingness to take risks. All directors should follow his lead.


What criteria should be used to pick a director's best film? If we're talking influence, nothing touches Sex, Lies, and Videotape, a movie that really changed the game when it came to the potential of independent film. If we're talking performance, no one in the cast was ever better than they were here. And if we're talking storytelling, Sex, Lies, and Videotape is as timelessly riveting as anything the man has made in the twenty years since. Yes, it looks a bit like a product of its time, but that's not as much of an issue as with other films because it's an essential part of the film. Sex, Lies, and Videotape put a stamp on the end of the selfish era of the 1980s and ushered in an era where technology, whether it be videotape, computers, or your damn Facebook page, would become a major part of the way men and women interact. Witty, clever, honest, and fascinating, Sex, Lies, and Videotape won several major awards, including the Palme D'Or, and became a cultural touchstone for the generation that would follow. Seeing Sex, Lies, and Videotape made me want to become a writer in the hope that I could somehow bring work this good to a wider audience. No film by one of my favorite directors was more personally motivating, and, so, I can't claim any was better.

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Burt Reynolds In Rehab, Found Lying In Pool Of Blood

Burt Reynolds has checked into rehab in West Palm Beach to be treated for an addiction to painkillers, following an allegedly grisly and bizarre incident in late August. He was found semi-conscious and covered in blood in his Hobe Sound, Florida, home, the National Enquirer reports.

"The houseman found Burt lying in a pool of blood. He'd fallen and was badly cut. The houseman drove him to the hospital. But this time, Burt was behaving strangely, and doctors were so concerned about his state of mind that they sent him to the county mental health facility in West Palm Beach," a source told the tabloid.

His admission to rehab may not have been entirely voluntary. The facility allegedly refused to release Reynolds unless he agreed to head straight to rehab.

"He's been increasingly abusing booze and prescription drugs, mainly painkillers. There have been many times recently when he's been completely out of it, and twice in the last few months he's ended up at the ER," the source said. "...Burt wasn't happy about it, but he checked in, went through detox and then joined a regular 30-day rehab program."

Take what you want from the Enquirer's report, but the tabloid has gotten it right before. Reynolds' manager, meanwhile, has put forth a less colorful version of the events that landed the 73-year-old actor in rehab.

"After a recent back surgery, Mr. Reynolds felt like he was going through hell and after a while, realized he was a prisoner of prescription pain pills," he said in a statement to People. "He checked himself into rehab in order to regain control of his life. Mr. Reynolds hopes his story will help others in a similar situation. He hopes they will not try to solve the problem by themselves, but realize that sometimes it is too tough to do on their own and they should seek help, as he did."

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Misdirection: When Hollywood Directors Take Credit For Movies They Didn’t Direct

Hollywood is a self-congratulatory industry. It devotes millions in time and money to constantly patting itself on the back. But it's even more unbelievable to be self-congratulatory about a project you had virtually nothing to do with. Increasingly, famous Hollywood directors are "presenting" movies. They neither directed nor produced these movies, but for the sake of clout, marketing, and getting more people in the theatre, 'presenters' seem to be needed. Too bad if the real director did all the work and now their name is eclipsed by Spielberg, Scorsese or Tarantino. Here is a list of the biggest names in Hollywood's “misdirection.”

1. Steven Spielberg

You'd think the (arguably) most successful director of all time would have his plate full. Apparently not. The films Spielberg has leant his name to are impressive: An American Tail, Tiny Toon Adventures, or Animaniacs to begin. While Spielberg acts more as an executive producer, rather than the common presenter, it must suck to direct the classic The Goonies or The Gremlins, and no one remembers your name. Richard Donner and Joe Dante anyone?

2. Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino is talented, famous and revered by audiences. He's one of the few directors (often) more famous than the actors in his films. Yet, he is not shy to "present" films he had absolutely nothing to do with. Usually Tarantino attaches his name to Asian action films he loves. Tarantino "presented" Hero directed by Zhang Yimou and The Protector directed by Prachya Pinkaew. The best job he did of presenting was Iron Monkey, a film from Hong Kong director Yuen Woo-Ping. This movie was released in 1993. Tarantino presented this film in its US release in 2001. Nothing like an 8-year-gap to really hone your presenting skills. Tarantino spread his love to some Americans, as well. He was the executive producer, for example, on Eli Roth's Hostel.

3. Francis Ford Coppola

Creating The Godfather franchise and Apocalypse Now wasn't enough for Coppola - he had to start presenting movies himself. Even though 1987's Barfly was directed by Barbet Schroeder, written by Charles Bukowski and starred Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway, it apparently needed Coppola's presenting skills to really get some name recognition. Although Coppola's executive producer credit didn't do much to help Chatrichalerm Yukol's The Legend of Suriyothai, an epic Thai historical drama. Not that anyone saw it. Then again, Coppola's last film as director was Youth Without Youth. Nope, no one saw that one either.

4. Martin Scorsese

Scorsese's name is synonymous with gritty, crime films so when he presented 2008's Italian modern mob drama Gomorrah at least that made some sense. But who thinks Shakespeare when they hear the name Scorsese? Love's Labour's Lost directed by renowed Shakespearean actor/director Kenneth Branaugh and produced by Miramax was presented to US audiences by Martin Scorsese? Maybe any attempt at Shakespeare starring Alicia Silverstone should take any help it can get.

5. Michael Bay

While Bay's summer has been consumed with the massive success of Transformers 2 not to mention the idiotic ramblings of its hottie lead Megan Fox, Michael Bay had time to lend his name to Horsemen, a Seven-ish ripoff starring Dennis Quaid. Horsemen is directed by Jonus Akerlund and also stars Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Ziyi Zhang. Maybe if Akerlund is lucky, Zhang will be as nutty as Fox and get his name out there since he actually did all the work for the film. Bay must want to do to horror/thriller films what he did to action films, which was make them big and sucky, because he recently produced The Unborn, starring Meagan Goode who bears an uncanny resemblance to Megan Fox. The Unborn was written and directed by David S. Goyer, but who cares. Michael Bay needs his name on everything in 2009.

6. Ron Howard

It's easy to understand every man's secret desire to be an astronaut, especially if you made Apollo 13 and got to use all of NASA's official stuff. Apparently the 16 executive producers of In The Shadow of the Moon were not enough, neither was the participation of real astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. They needed Ron Howard to "present" this film.

7. Spike Jonze

Ever since Spike Jonze brought audiences the very original, quirky Being John Malkovich his name brings a certain coolness to projects. However, it's questionable that his name helped Tarsem Singh's visually stunning The Fall, although the poster looked really cool.

8. Robert Zemeckis

Zemeckis, best known for directing all the Back to the Future films, not to mention the little indie film Forrest Gump, also presented the world to a little known New Zealand director, Peter Jackson. Zemeckis must feel pretty good about himself, or maybe he just taught Jackson a lesson about filming trilogies all at one time. Zemeckis first 'presented' Jackson's film The Frighteners starring Michael J. Fox. See, it's all coming full circle now.

9. Spike Lee

When Spike Lee isn't picking fights with Clint Eastwood or watching the NY Knicks, he's usually directing or producing films. But even Lee is not afraid to get in the presenter game. He leant his name to Kevin Willmott's C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America a British 'documentary' that takes a satirical and scary view if the South had won the Civil War. There isn’t an embeddable version of it, but you can view the trailer to CSA here.

10. Joe Roth

While Joe Roth's early successes came producing movies such as Young Guns, Bachelor Party, and Major League, somehow the studio releasing The Exorcist III, totally NOT in the same genre mind you, needed Joe Roth as presenter. He was also an executive producer on The Exorcist III, which seems normal, but presenter? Who even knows Joe Roth? Well, he did direct Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise.

11. Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme, who won an Academy Award for directing The Silence of the Lambs and most recently directed Rachel Getting Married, for some reason needed to present 1997's Ulee's Gold directed by Victor Nunez. It didn't seem to matter that the lead actor, Peter Fonda, was one of the most highly regarded actors of his generation or that the film featured a young but still sexy Jessica Biel. No, the studio called for the virtually nameless Jonathan Demme to step up to bat, and step up the bat he did.

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