Coming to America

"When you think of garbage, think of Akeem!"

Eddie Murphy was riding high through the 80s. John Landis, on the other hand, had had a string of flops, not to mention a very difficult Twilight Zone trial. Considering their success together with Trading Places, Murphy thought Landis could use a boost and brought him on to direct his fairy tale film Coming to America. It was the hit Landis needed, and yet another film cementing that Murphy was king of the box office. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our Eddie Murphy series with Landis’ 1988 film, Coming to America.

We talk about why the film doesn’t hold up that well for us now nearly 30 years after its release, even if it did seem to hold up more at the time. We chat about the script problems and director/actor relationship problems this film had, and how things ended up. We look at the talent and what they’re bringing to the table – Murphy, Arsenio Hall, John Amos, James Earl Jones, Madge Sinclair, Shari Headley, Eriq La Salle and more. And speaking of talent, we discuss Rick Baker and his amazing effects work to transform Murphy and Hall into several other characters and how these not only hold up for us but also how they triggered an entirely new direction for Murphy’s career to head. And we talk about the music and how 80s it feels.

It’s a fun conversation about a film that neither of us connected with nearly 30 years after we first saw the film. But it’s still fun to watch and discuss, so check it out!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: Walk of Fame

Pete's Trailer: All Nighter

Beverly Hills Cop

"You’re not gonna fall for the banana in the tail pipe?"

Eddie Murphy proved his big screen comedy prowess with Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places but the studio was still concerned about him helming a movie by himself. Luckily, Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer believed in him and ended up convincing Paramount that he could do it, bringing him on board Beverly Hills Cop after Sylvester Stallone stepped out. And the rest is cinematic history – the movie broke records left and right and firmly established Murphy as a full-fledged movie star. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Eddie Murphy series with Martin Brest’s 1984 film Beverly Hills Cop.

We talk about what holds up in this 80s cop comedy and what doesn’t hold up as well – and where we disagree on these. We look at how the film came together, from the early ideas and the various writers to the period when Stallone was the lead to bringing Murphy on and how the script was finally shaped. We discuss Murphy and how he fits in the film here, and how the rest of the cast works to fill the rest of the world. We chat about Brest and his directing style, and discuss his career and his disappearance from the industry. We talk about the iconic theme by Harold Faltermeier and how it fits into the film, paired with the iconic soundtrack that represents everything Bruckheimer was doing with his movies at the time. And we look at how this film did at the box office, becoming the top film in 1984 and setting the stage for cop comedies thereafter. 

It’s a fun film, even if it has some issues, but definitely represents what Murphy was doing in the 80s. We have a great conversation about it so check out the movie and tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: Spider-Man: Homecoming — "I’ve always been a big Spider-Man fan and have enjoyed the movies for the most part. What gets me excited about this one isn’t the new Peter Parker, even though he looks great. It’s not that Sony and Disney/Marvel are playing nice and sharing characters to make these movies, which is a great thing. It’s that Michael Keaton is playing the villain. And that kicks ass. Okay, so I’m a little worried that they’re going the robo-look with The Vulture like they did with Green Goblin, but I’m willing to let that slide right now because this looks so fun!"

Pete's Trailer: A United Kingdom — "International listeners have had this movie on deck since September, but Amma Asante’s latest hits US screens in February. Looks like another opportunity to see Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo knock it out of the park telling the story of a mixed race couple struggling to lead an African nation at a time of political turmoil. Amma Asante is such a charmer and precise director — can’t wait to see what she does with this story."

Trading Places

"When I was growing up, if we wanted a jacuzzi, we had to fart in the tub."

Eddie Murphy may have been a name on “Saturday Night Live” but he wasn’t a film star. Luckily, when John Landis wanted to cast him as Billy Ray Valentine in Trading Places, Murphy had just appeared in 48 Hrs., proving he had the charisma for the big screen. Without that success, Paramount Pictures was unconvinced. But it worked out and young Murphy became box office gold. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off 2017 with a series celebrating several of Murphy’s 80s classic starting with Landis’ 1983 film Trading Places

We talk about how we find the film hilarious but quite astute with its portrayal of the commodities market and how the story is equally relevant today as it was upon its release. We discuss some of the elements with which we struggle. We look at the comedy stylings Landis brought to the film, pulling from Laurel & Hardy, Preston Sturges, Mark Twain, even the Three Stooges. We look at the actors – including Dan Aykroyd, Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliott and Paul Gleason – and what they bring to the table. And we revel in the wonderful score Elmer Bernstein adds to the film, bringing doses of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” into the folds. 

It’s a really fun film and a great way to celebrate both Christmas and New Year’s. We have a great time discussing it so check the movie out then tune in to the show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: Alien: Covenant — "We’ve discussed this whole franchise on the show and likely will discuss this one at some point. There are definitely problems with some of the films, and I definitely had issues with Prometheus, but it’s still an interesting entry as a prequel. Ridley Scott’s newest entry looks like he’s really amping things up some more and while I’m excited, I’m also hesitant to get too excited. Let’s just say my curiosity is definitely piqued."

Pete's Trailer: War for the Planet of the Apes — "Andy Serkis is back to not win an acting oscar because he’s doing mo-cap I guess. The last Apes film ended up at 12 on our list, a solid showing for the Film Board’s general bucket of crap. This one looks like more stops have been officially pulled, even if they’ve avoided pulling them all. And yes, they put the words of the film’s title in Woody’s mouth in this trailer: 15 demerits."