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#065 Tony Kaye: American History X vs. Detachment

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In today's episode Nate and Austin compare Tony Kaye's best and worst rated films, American History X (1998) and Detachment (2011), respectively. Nate actually finds a film too depressing, Austin is at a loss for words, and they both talk about diva directing. Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Terence Young's Wait Until Dark (1967) and Inchon (1981), his best and worst rated films.
Also check out this interview with Tony Kaye about Detachment:

Detachment Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A substitute teacher who drifts from classroom to classroom who finds a connection to the students and teachers during his latest assignment.
  • Ratings: IMDb 7.7 | RT 57% C / 74% A
  • Released: 2011
  • Director: Tony Kaye
  • Writer(s): Carl Lund
  • Cinematographer: Tony Kaye
  • Notable actors: Adrien Brody, Marcia Gay Harden, James Caan, Christina Hendricks, Lucy Liu, Blythe Danner, Tim Blake Nelson, William Petersen, Bryan Cranston, Sami Gayle
  • Budget: N/A
  • Box office: $1.48 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Betty Kaye, who plays Meredith, is a daughter of the director of this film (Tony Kaye).
    • The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Adrien Brody and Marcia Gay Harden; and two Oscar nominees: James Caan and Bryan Cranston.

American History X Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.
  • Ratings: IMDb 8.5 | RT 83% C / 96% A
  • Released: 1998
  • Director: Tony Kaye
  • Writer(s): David McKenna
  • Cinematographer: Tony Kaye
  • Notable actors: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D’Angelo, Jennifer Lien, Ethan Suplee, Fairuza Balk, Avery Brooks, Elliott Gould, Stacy Keach, William Russ, Guy Torry, Joe Cortese
  • Budget: $20 million
  • Box office: $23.9 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Edward Norton turned down Saving Private Ryan (1998) to do this film.
    • Before filming began, Edward Norton and Edward Furlong shaved their heads for their roles. Edward Norton also gained 30 pounds of muscle.
    • Seth wears a shirt during the basketball game featuring the number 88. This is a Nazi skinhead code for HH, or "Heil Hitler," H being the 8th letter of the alphabet. It also refers to a set of 88 precepts written by the neo-nazi leader David Lane. The 88 precepts are rules and concepts that all White Supremacists lived by.
    • The diner that Danny and Derek go to get breakfast at before Danny goes to school in the morning is the same diner that is used in The Big Lebowski (1998), during the infamous "toe" scene. It's located at Wilshire and Fairfax in Los Angeles and is called Johnie's Coffee Shop and is only open for filming.
    • The character Derek Vinyard is based on real life skinhead Frank Meeink.
    • During the party scene the swastika on the back of Seth's jacket is counter-clockwise. In the skinhead world the counter-clockwise swastika indicates that the person bearing it leads, not follows.
    • Marlon Brando was considered for the role of Cameron Alexander.
    • Edward Furlong and Edward Norton constantly changed around the script and made Tony Kaye's vision of American History X not what he envisioned and made him not want to make the movie anymore. He was so unsatisfied with Norton's performance that he still, to this day feels the movie is unfinished.
    • This film uses the word "fuck" 214 times.
    • Joaquin Phoenix was offered the role of Derek Vinyard but found the subject matter of the film distasteful and passed on the project.
    • In the midst of the dispute about the time he was taking to edit the film, Director Tony Kaye attended a meeting with Michael De Luca (then New Line's senior product president). Kaye arranged for a Jewish Rabbi, a Catholic priest and a Buddhist monk to be present at the meeting to support his argument and "make the meeting a more spiritual one".

Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down - Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0

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