Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Box Office Flop with Cult Classic Status

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a 1998 cult film classic and is the movie adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 novel, entitled Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. The film was directed by Terry Gilliam, and stars Johnny Depp (Raoul Duke) and Benicio del Toro (Dr. Gonzo) as the two lead characters. Other cast members include Gary Busey, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Ellen Barkin, Cameron Diaz, and Mark Harmon.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a fictionalized account of Hunter Thompson and lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta’s trips to Las Vegas in 1971. In the movie, journalist Raoul Duke and his lawyer Dr. Gonzo fly to Las Vegas to cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race, but the vacation becomes a total wreck as the two commit various fraudulent acts and consume copious amounts of drugs.

There have been numerous attempts to make a movie version of the classic novel, with the lead roles to be played by Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando. Film directors Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone also tried to direct an adaptation, but were unsuccessful. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi were reportedly also considered to play the role of the lead duo, but Thompson met Johnny Depp and was immediately convinced that only Depp could play the role of Raoul Duke.

Similarly, Terry Gilliam was not the first choice to direct the movie adaptation. Filmmaker Alex Cox was initially hired to direct the movie with Depp and Del Toro as the lead stars, but Cox had “creative differences” with Thompson as to how the novel will be translated into a movie. Terry Gilliam was subsequently hired to direct the film with Thompson’s approval. Ticket sales for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas fell around $8 million below its budget, but became a cult classic mostly because of its DVD release, and partly precisely because it was not a mainstream hit. This movie poster is a staple wall decor for cult movie lovers and Johnny Depp fanatics alike.

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

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Honor, Blood, and Gore in Frank Miller’s 300

Honor, Blood, and Gore in Frank Miller’s 300

If there’s one Hollywood movie that would satisfy every man’s alpha-male fantasies, Zack Snyder’s 300 would have to be it. Exploring the topics of loyalty, honor, betrayal, glory, courage, and war, 300 is a fictionalized version of the Battle of Thermopylae, and is filled with blood and gore from start to end. The 2007 testosterone-heavy, historical fantasy movie is based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel of the same title, who also served as the movie’s consultant and executive producer.

300 is about the Spartans’ battle against Persian king Xerxes (played by Rodrigo Santoro) and his army of more than 100,000 soldiers. Despite Sparta’s elders’ opposition, and his army being outnumbered, King Leonidas (played by Gerard Butler) led his army of 300 soldiers into battle to defend Sparta’s freedom and glory. As Leonidas and his army battle it out with Xerxes’ soldiers and fierce creatures, Queen Gorgo (played by Lena Headey) rallies support for her husband from Sparta’s council and elders.

The movie starts by showing the viewers a backgrounder of how men are groomed to become soldiers in the kingdom of Sparta – the training they go through, as well as the defining trial to determine whether a young man is ready to defend Sparta and fight for its glory. Most of the scenes were shot with a blue screen, to make the graphics visually superior and to duplicate how Frank Miller illustrated the scenes and locations in his graphic novel.

300 was a box office success, although critics were divided as to whether the superior visuals and graphics made up for the lack of depth in character development. The movie also became controversial because of its political undertones; how the ancient Persians were portrayed, as well as the lines used to refer to ancient Greeks. This 300 movie poster is ideal for Frank Miller fans, and can be useful to those who need to be reminded to persevere even under adverse conditions. (Midterms/thesis season, anyone?)


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A Hard Day’s Night in the Life of the Beatles

Directed by Richard Lester and released in 1964, A Hard Day’s Night is the Beatles’ first full-length film and features the fab four during the peak of their popularity. The movie was written by Alun Owen, who was specifically chosen by the Beatles to write the script because of his aptitude for Liverpudlian dialogue. A Hard Day’s Night gives a half-fictional, half-true inside look at a life with the band as told through the character of Paul McCartney’s grandfather, played by Wilfrid Brambell.

To achieve accuracy in giving an inside look on the Beatles’ success, Alun Owen reportedly spent several days with the group, after which he told them that their lives revolved around a room and a car and a room and a car and so on and so forth. It is from this viewpoint that Owen wrote the script for A Hard Day’s Night — how the Beatles had become imprisoned by their own fame, keeping up with busy performance schedules, studio recordings, etc.

The film crew didn’t have any trouble making the crowd scenes realistic, as the Beatles really were constantly followed and mobbed by fans wherever they went. The movie also depicted scenes when members of the Beatles would go off on their own just to escape from the craziness of it all — George Harrison retreating to a van to find peace and quiet, and Ringo Starr walking around town and drinking in a pub on his own.

Hailed by Time magazine as one of the greatest 100 films of all-time, A Hard Day’s Night was an international success — in terms of ticket sales as well as movie reviews. This official movie poster for A Hard Day’s Night is a must-have for vintage film-lovers, and all die-hard Beatles fanatics, as it marks a milestone in the fab four’s career and popularity.

Hard Days Night

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The Beatles and the Psychedelic 60s: Across the Universe

The Beatles and the Psychedelic 60s: Across the Universe

Of the many movies that pay homage to the Beatles’ legendary legacy, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe is one of the very few that got the thumbs-up from the Beatles members themselves. Written for the big screen by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, Across the Universe takes us back to the hippie, flower-power era that shook and stirred our consciousness and woke the world from their spiritual slumber.

Across the Universe depicted actual 1960’s events interspersed with the lives of a group of Beatles-inspired characters, led by Jude Feeny (played by Jim Sturgess) and Lucy Carrigan (Evan Rachel Wood). The names of virtually all the characters that appeared in the movie were drawn from Beatles songs: Jude Feeny (Hey Jude), Lucy Carrigan (Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds), Maxwell Carrigan (Maxwell’s Silver Hammer), Sadie (Sexy Sadie), Prudence (Dear Prudence), and tons more.

The main plot of the story revolved around Jude Feeny, whose life progression resembled that of John Lennon’s — who left Liverpool to pursue personal freedom and his love for music. Across the Universe also depicted the social movements and awakenings that pervaded the 60’s, among which was the fight for peace and non-violence during the Vietnam War, as well as the violent anti-war student protest at the Columbia University.

Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono were said to be in touch with director Julie Taymor throughout the film production, and even Ringo Starr and Olivia Harrison praised the movie after seeing it. According to an interview with Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess, the actors said that they had the honor of watching their movie with no less than former-Beatles member, Ringo Starr.

Celebrity cameos in the movie include U2’s Bono as Dr. Robert, and Salma Hayek, who personally requested director Julie Taymor to include her in the movie. Aside from the Beatles, the movie also referenced other popular musical acts and prominent personalities of the 60’s like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Dr. Timothy Leary, Jackson Pollock, etc. This Across the Universe motion picture poster is ideal for Beatles fanatics, as well as 21st century hippies, who live by the credo of peace, love, and freedom — the main components of the hippie ideology.

Across The Universe

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Take a Closer Look: The Sheer Subtlety of American Beauty

Earning an international gross revenue of more than 350 million dollars, the Oscar-winning dark dramedy American Beauty is hailed by critics as a masterpiece that would be remembered in the annals of film history as a millenial classic. Starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari, Wes Bentley, and Chris Cooper, the movie is set in modern American suburbia and deconstructs the myth of seemingly perfect suburban lives. American Beauty revolves around the life of Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), a 42-year-old advertising executive who wakes up from his personal coma when he meets his daughter’s friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari).

Lester makes life-changing decisions from that day onwards: he quits his job and applies as a burger-flipper at a local burger joint, starts working out, and smokes marijuana. Much to his daughter’s embarassment, Lester becomes wildly infatuated with Angela, and has recurring sexual fantasies of a naked Angela covered in nothing but red rose petals. There are some noticeable references throughout the movie to pertain to middle-aged Lester’s infatuation with the young Angela. Some say that Angela’s last name, Hayes, is a reference to the last name of Lolita Haze, the lead character from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel, Lolita.

Another reference to Nabokov’s Lolita is the name of Spacey’s character, Lester Burnham, which is an anagram for “Humbert learns.” Humbert Humbert is the name of the lead character in Nabokov’s book. Contrary to what a lot of people think, the movie’s title does not refer to Angela Hayes as an American Beauty. Rather, the title refers to a breed of roses that looks beautiful from afar but is prone to rot underneath the branches and roots. This refers not only to Angela Hayes’ character, but also to the myths of perfect suburban lives.

The movie’s cast and crew took home five Oscars in the 2000 Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Cinematography, Best Writing, and Best Picture. The hand and stomach that appears on this movie poster do not belong to Mena Suvari, and are actually those of model-actress Chloe Hunter.

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The Lowdown on Men and the Godfather

Generally considered as one of the “essential male movies” of all time, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather is a classic Italian mafia movie released in 1972 that follows the life of the Corleone family, and explores the topics of crime, mafia life, love, sex, betrayal, death, power, and loyalty. Based on Mario Puzo’s 1969 novel of the same title, The Godfather boasts of an all-star cast including Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, James Caan, Robert Duvall, and tons more.

The Godfather received numerous Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor. There was a lot of pre-release hype surrounding the Godfather that a lot of people claim that Coppola was already planning on a sequel even before the movie was shown. True enough, the 1972 movie was followed by two more sequels: The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III (1990). The Godfather trilogy chronicles the mafia life of the Corleone family from 1945 to 1955.

Due to its popularity, the Godfather has been referenced and parodied in various forms of popular media. Lines like “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” and “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” have been used in latter movies and books to refer to the hard-knock life and dealings within the mafia. In the movie You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan’s character asks Joe Fox (played by Tom Hanks), “what is it with men and the Godfather?” — to which Tom Hanks answers: “The Godfather is the I Ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question.”

A lot of men say that the Godfather is a classic male movie because it serves as a guide on how to survive in a dog-eat-dog world, while holding on to your honor and dignity. It could also be because of the bloody, violent scenes, and explosions that most men look for in movies. Whatever the reason, this Godfather movie poster of Don Vito Corleone would be a staple among Brando and Coppola fans, classic film enthusiasts, and…well, men in general.

The Godfather

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Totalitarianism, Anarchy, Freedom: Facets of V for Vendetta

Totalitarianism, Anarchy, Freedom: Facets of V for Vendetta

First released in 1982, V for Vendetta is a comic book series written by Alan Moore that is mainly characterized by its dystopian and anarchist portrayal of the future of United Kingdom. The main plot of the comic series is like a modern day adaptation of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, with the main character V, resembling Guy Fawkes. This connection is more evidently seen in how the lead character, V, was portrayed in the comic series and film as wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.

Released in March 2006, the film adaptation of V for Vendetta starred Natalie Portman as Evey, Hugo Weaving as V, Stephen Rea as Inspector Finch, and John Hurt as Chancellor Adam Sutler. The film revolves around the quest of V, an anarchist revolutionary, to bring down the current ruling fascist party in London called Norsefire. This he does by soliciting the help of Evey Hammond, whom he takes under his tutelage and opens her eyes to Norsefire’s murderous, totalitarian grip on power. There were a lot of political references made in the movie, one of which is the name of Norsefire Chancellor Adam Sutler, which closely resembles Germany’s Adolf Hitler.

It is said that Alan Moore, the creator of the comic series, was largely disappointed with how the Wachowski brothers translated his work into the film. Among Alan Moore’s criticisms of the movie adaptation was that the lead character was portrayed more as a freedom fighter instead of an anarchist revolutionary. Moore also criticized the Wachowskis’ removal of drug references and anarchist themes originally contained in the comic book – thus altering the overall political message that Moore intended to convey when he created V for Vendetta.

V for Vendetta, both the film and comic series, is loved by a lot of activists and free-thinking individuals who want to see changes in the current socio-political climate of their countries. This movie poster is ideal for such individuals, film enthusiasts, as well as Alan Moore’s followers.

V For Vendetta

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Choose Your Future. Choose Life. Or Choose Not to Choose.

Cult film fans would immediately recognize these lines from Danny Boyle’s hit cult film, Trainspotting. The movie is based on Irvine Welsh’s novel of the same title, and was released back in 1996. Trainspotting has become a classic among cult film circles because of its defiance to social and cinematic convention during the time of its release.

With explicit portrayals of crime, drugs, and sex, Trainspotting was considered by a lot of young people as a perfect example of those “screw censorship films,” hence, the increased “coolness” factor. Trainspotting follows the story of Mark Renton (played by Ewan McGregor) and his four friends, who all have their own dysfunctional quirks but share the common desire to live meaningless, hedonistic lives.

For Renton, to choose life is to choose a traditional and caged way of living — married with kids, and working a nine to five job to get as much material possessions as possible. For Renton and his friends, these are all insignificant. What’s more important to them is to live blissfully from day to day, and be free to do whatever they want. Renton and his friends’ attempts at heroine sobriety proved to be futile, they ended up right back where they started — a life of stealing and drugs. The turning point of their drug use was the death of their friend’s baby daughter, which was caused by their negligence during one drug session. Renton overdoses on heroin, gets admitted into rehab, gets into a few more mishaps, but eventually goes on to live a normal life for himself.

Trainspotting is appreciated by film circles not so much for the tightness and flow of the plot, but rather for its no-holds-barred portrayal of a life of crime and drugs. This Trainspotting picture poster is ideal for cult film enthusiasts and those whose philosophy resembles that of Renton’s — of choosing not to choose among the dictates of society and living your life the way you want to.


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Subtle Feminism in the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

Starring Allison Hayes, William Hudson, and Yvette Vickers, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is a classic sci-fi film directed by Nathan Hertz and released in 1958. The film was actually a feminized version of other previously released movies that featured humans growing into gigantic proportions, like The Amazing Colossal Man.

Allison Hayes plays the role of Nancy Archer, a wealthy heiress who has an accidental encounter with an alien life form that turns her into a giant woman. She then uses her size and power to seek revenge against her husband Harry (played by William Hudson), who tried to steal her $50 million inheritance and run off with the money with his mistress, Honey Parker (played by Yvette Vickers).

The 1958 movie was remade in 1993 under the same title, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, and starred Daryl Hannah as Allison Hayes. The remake followed the original theme of the movie, albeit with more feminist undertones. In the 1993 version, Allison Hayes would start growing every time she gets angry – a development that a lot of people saw as a metaphor for her emancipation from men who controlled her life.

The Daryl Hannah version also had a different ending, wherein the aliens who gave the lead character “growing powers” also gave the same ability to two other women with similar, philandering husbands. The feminist undertones in the 1993 movie were also illustrated in one of the ending scenes wherein the husbands were held as captives and will only be released when they learn to become better husbands.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was also parodied in the 1995 low-budget film by Fred Olen Ray, entitled Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold. The parody bore little resemblance to the original movie, and was visually inferior as compared to the two earlier movies that used composite imaging to project the characters’ size difference. This limited edition, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman movie poster is a must-have for vintage movie lovers and movie poster collectors.

Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman (The)

Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman (The) Limited Edition

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