This week's How Did This Get Made? is the first of its kind. Our guests are Lexi Alexander, director of Punisher: War Zone and Patton Oswalt, one of the movie's most vocal supporters. Together with Paul and June (unfortunately Jason had to miss this one) they honestly explain how this movie got made: From the very first pitch meetings to the week after it was released. Hear how unfortunate timing, poor marketing, and mixed expectations affected the success of one of the coolest, craziest, most fun comic book adaptations of the decade (at least).
Episode 20 — Punisher: War Zone
Posted 03 October 2011 - 05:56 AM
This was a very interesting episode, I love to hear those Hollywood stories of how these kind of movies get made. Lexi had some great stories about the entire proces. Plus, it was great that Patton was there as he has openly expressed how much he loves this movie. That could be something you do more often, just ask the comedians you want to have on what there favorite bad movies are, because it really worked here and in 'The Love Guru' episode. I think that could lead to some really cool results.
Also, The Chemical Brothers didn't score 'Drive', they scored 'Hanna', which has such an amazing action score . 'Drive' was a nice throw back to the 80's, but it didn't work as well as an action score.
Posted 03 October 2011 - 11:12 AM
Absolutely fantastic. I really need to go and buy this movie. I love this line from Ebert's review - "The Punisher: War Zone" is one of the best-made bad movies I've seen. It looks great, it hurtles through its paces and is well-acted. The soundtrack is like elevator music if the elevator were in a death plunge. The special effects are state of the art. Its only flaw is that it's disgusting..
I wish I was in LA to see the screening at the New Beverly...
Posted 03 October 2011 - 02:14 PM
Dave White writes reviews like nobody's business. This was his 4.5 out of 5 review
The Basics: Is this a sequel to the one with Thomas Jane? Or is it part three of the trilogy that began with Dolph Lundgren back in the 1980s? The correct answer is “Who cares?” With a new guy, Ray Stevenson—finally, someone who seems capable of actually punishing a miscreant properly—who’s on that HBO show Rome, this one is about The Punisher reconsidering his career in punishing when he accidentally collateral-damages a good FBI guy. For a while he goes to work for 1-800-Flowers but then decides that punishing is still more awesome. And you get to set your own hours.
What’s The Deal: If you’re a person who craves movies that feel like they’re trying to stone you to death in your seat, then you should run right out and see this. I think more people die in more creatively violent ways in the opening five minutes than in all of the most recent Rambo movie. And that’s a lot of people. I know I’m a fan of this kind of thing. But if you’re someone like, say, my mom, who’s more into stuff like Nights in Rodanthe? You should stay away. You will not enjoy it. Not one bit.
There’s Always A Trade-Off: They could make guts-plosion movies like this witty or good looking or intelligent or well directed or imaginatively shot if they wanted to. But they know that we, the splatter fans, simply do not care. (Am I making this sound like a horror movie? Because it’s not. It’s just more bloodily violent than most of them.) As long as we can howl with pleasure when the bad guy’s face gets mangled in the bottle recycling machine or when a wine glass stem is used to pierce another bad guy’s neck, then we feel like we’ve been entertained. It’s like the top of every page of the first draft (there may have been a second, but it’s unlikely) had “MAKE IT HAPPEN TO THE FACE” written on it in big black Sharpie.
My Personal Favorite Death Moment: When The Punisher is holding a little girl in one arm and blasting a baddie’s entire head off with one shot at close range. This happens even though the cop who happens to be with The Punisher has the bad guy and needs no help at all. The Punisher is just showing off for this kid.
Another Thing I Liked: How The Punisher can just walk around the city in his punishment costume with the bulletproof leotard and giant skull across the chest and gleaming weaponry strapped to his sides and no one seems to notice. Or if they do they just think he's some supernerd who imagines his entire life is one big Comic-Con.
Posted 03 October 2011 - 08:44 PM
Yeah this was great! This is the most fun I've had listening to the podcast since the first episode. Normally I'm content to listen to HDTGM without watching the films they discuss, but I enjoyed this episode so much that I'm definitely going to watch War Zone. It was great to hear a fan of the film break down what he loved about it, and to hear someone involved with the film explain what went into making it. Hope this combination can be replicated in the future.
Posted 04 October 2011 - 05:40 AM
So I'm only half way into this episiode, but I felt compelled to create an account and drop my first comment.
You guys had been losing me, but this episode has brought me back. Patton is fantastic beyond words, but the real gem here was having Lexi Alexander in the studio. Her insights to "HOW THE FILM WAS MADE" and the politics and "Highschool" absolutely made the episode. This should be your future.
You guys are funny and sarcastic. You've got a great thing going, but this should be more your direction. Get deeper into the "How the WTF" instead of the "pure WTF. I loved this movie a long time ago, and it's hilarious bad moments were its charm. I'm glad you all agreed, and I hope you can get more directors and brains like this in the studio in the future.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go look up the rest of Lexi's films, because my respect for her knows no bounds.
Posted 04 October 2011 - 08:52 AM
This is an amazing motion picture, and I'm so glad you guys focused on it, and brought in Lexi to help explain how it got made. I remember I was at working the day after it opened, and my friend came in and said "After work tonight, you're gonna go and see Punisher War Zone. It will melt your face off!" and I followed his instructions, and the film, indeed, melted my face off.
Now I have to go to the New Beverly and ask Lexi who's idea it was about scene where Looney Bin Jim shoots the doll heads, because that was probably my greatest WTF moment in the film. That and the dude with the whole in his face.
Posted 04 October 2011 - 04:56 PM
I've always been entertained just hearing you guys discuss these movies. Afterwards I'll passively think "maybe I'll check that out sometime", but then I never do (with the exception of "Mac and Me", but I saw as a child, and never again since.) This is the first time that I've actually decided that I have to see this film.
Posted 05 October 2011 - 03:08 AM
I wonder if Lexi Alexander knows that the director of Thor 2 right now - well, the frontrunner for the gig - is a female (Patty Jenkins). So she did her part to bust that glass ceiling a bit; she should be proud of that.
And man, War Zone is a ridiculously awesome action movie. I genuinely love it:) Although I definitely waited for it to hit dvd.
Great, GREAT episode. I hope you guys get more directors on your podcast for this thing; heck, bring back Lexi if she wants to do it (she sounded like she was having a good time here). If Doug Benson can get directors and actors for your podcast, you guys should be able to nab them too.
Posted 05 October 2011 - 03:57 AM
Best episode ever! Having Lexi Alexander in the studio was great - her insights really made this episode set a new standard fro the podcast. Really great that you could get the director to be part of the program. I'm now madly tracking down Punisher!
Posted 05 October 2011 - 01:54 PM
I registered just so I could comment about this week's amazing podcast. As a female film directing student, it was completely refreshing to have Lexi Alexander featured on this show. She had great insights, great stories and I hate to sound so cheesy but she really inspired me to keep on going. Women can make films too! Even if they leave you wondering how did this get made ;)
Like everyone else, I would love more podcasts featuring the writer/director/producer/whatever behind one of the films discussed and find out what the hell happened!