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“The date is set!” — The X-Files returns to TV on January 24, 2016!  Please don’t disappoint me, Chris Carter!!

This is a great article listing 10 Making-Of Documentaries That Are Better Than The Actual Movie.  In many of these cases I don’t actually agree with the “Better Than The Actual Movie” part, but these are certainly ten of the very greatest documentaries about the making of specific movies.  These are all essential viewing for movie fans.  (The only one of the ten listed that I haven’t seen is Cleopatra: The Epic That Changed Hollywood.)  Hearts of Darkness is endlessly fascinating, one of the best movies about movies ever made, period.  I wrote about The Sweat Box, the documentary that Disney doesn’t want you to see about the making of what became The Emperor’s New Groove, here.  It’s fascinating and heartbreaking.  The documentaries on the Alien Quadrilogy are magnificent, particularly the staggeringly no-punches-pulled version on the Alien 3 blu-ray.  (The doc on the original DVD release was edited by the studio who felt that some of the behind-the-scenes material was too honest and raw.)  I have written endlessly about the amazing Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Appendices (elaborate, hours-long making-of documentaries) on the Extended Edition DVD/blu-ray sets.  (Click here for my thoughts on the behind-the-scenes material from An Unexpected Journey and here for my thoughts on The Desolation of Smaug.)  And I am glad this list also included two of the many magnificent making-of documentaries on the DVDs and blu-rays of Ridley Scott’s films, all of which was masterminded by Charles de Lauzirika.  Dangerous Days is an exhaustive look at the making of Blade Runner, and though Prometheus was a bomb, the four-hour long look at the making of that train wreck, titled Furious Gods, from the Prometheus blu-ray set, is amazing.  (By the way, Charles de Lauzirika also masterminded all of the Alien documentaries on the Quadrilogy set, making him the king of this list of making-of documentaries.)  I highly recommend all interested film fans track down these documentaries, they are wonderful.

I recently read Jerry Weintraub’s terrific memoir: When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead.  Mr. Weintraub was a music producer who worked with Elvis and Sinatra, and in his later years he became a movie producer as well, most notably working with Steven Soderbergh on Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.  The book is terrific — Mr. Weintraub is a wonderful raconteur and, man, does he have some great stories to tell. I highly recommend it.  Here’s a link.  In a related story, birthmoviesdeath.com recently posted this loving look back at Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy.  I never thought too highly of any of those films.  Maybe I should give them another shot…

By the way, birthmoviesdeath.com is the new name for badassdigest.  It’s a phenonomenal site, one of my very favorites.  Check ’em out if you haven’t already.  Here’s more info on their recent name-change and revamping of the site.

This is a fascinating interview with David Letterman by David Itzkoff of the New York Times on the eve of Mr. Letterman’s final show.  The end of an era.  For more great Letterman stuff, buckle up and enjoy this lengthy piece in which a parade of former Letterman writers discuss their favorite bits that never made it to air.

This is a phenomenal interview with Joss Whedon that was released just a few days before the opening of Age of Ultron.  Really in-depth and fascinating.  (Click here for my review of Age of Ultron.)

This is a great look behind-the-scenes of the Games of Thrones opening sequence, and an answer to the question that often bugs me of why the map — which does change from week-to-week — is often inconsistent in correctly showing the locations in which the characters are found during each particular episode.  No surprise, the answer is the budgetary impact of any change to the map as well as the need to keep the journey through the map matching to the exact length of the theme music.  Still, I do sometimes wish the map was a little more accurate to what’s happening in each episode.  And I can’t believe they never thought of removing the Harpy from the top of the pyramid in Meereen after we saw it knocked down in the season premiere!  That was the very first thought I had after seeing that scene in the show!!  Oh well…

There are a LOT of characters being added to the already enormous roster of AVENGERS 2.5… I mean, Captain America: Civil War!  Paul Rudd will appear as Ant Man!  So will Emily VanCamp (Agent 13 from Winter Soldier)!  Martin Freeman as an as-yet-undisclosed character!  These characters join a lengthy list of Marvel U super-heroes including, I believe, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Bucky Barnes/the Winter Soldier (Sebastien Stan), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), War Machine (Don Cheadle), the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), the Vision (Paul Bettany), and the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman, making his Marvel U. cinematic debut).  I’ve also read that Crossbones (Frank Grillo, from The Winter Soldier) and, more intriguingly, General “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt, who played the character back in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk) will also be in the movie.  That is a LOT of characters!  I hope they the story takes the time to do right by all of these characters.  I am really getting excited for this one…

Over in DC land, I’m not wild about the look of Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, but the character’s co-creator Bruce Timm approves so maybe I should relax.

Louis C.K. is writing and directing a feature film?  Yes, please!

Enjoy the day, everyone!

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