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#041 M. Night Shyamalan: The Sixth Sense vs. After Earth

Download MP3 In today's episode Nate and Austin compare M. Night Shyamalan's best and worst rated films, The Sixth Sense (1999) and After Earth (2013), respectively. Nate is a HUGE fan of the accents in After Earth, Austin doesn't actually think it's a horrible film, and they want to know what the hell M. Night Shyamalan is thinking. Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge (2016) and The Man Without a Face (1993), his best and worst rated films.
Also check out this interview with M. Night Shyamalan and the cast of The Sixth Sense:

After Earth Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.
  • Ratings: IMDb 4.9 | RT 11% C / 36% A
  • Released: 2013
  • Director: M. Night Shyamalan (The Village, Unbreakable, Signs)
  • Writer(s): M. Night Shyamalan and Gary Whitta (screenplay), Will Smith (story)
  • Cinematographer: Peter Suschitzky (Star Wars: Episode V, The Rocky Horror Picture Show)
  • Notable actors: Jaden Smith, Will Smith, Sophie Okonedo, Zoe Kravitz, Glenn Morshower, Kristofer Hivju, Sacha Dhawan, Chris Geere, Diego Klattenhoff, David Denman, Lincoln Lewis, Jaden Martin
  • Budget: $130 million
  • Box office: $243.8 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Although not credited on the finished film, co-writer/producer Will Smith was responsible for much of the movie's direction. While M. Night Shyamalan was primarily in charge of the blocking (composition of shots, placement of the camera) and the visual aspects of the film (color and design), it was Will Smith who personally coached Jaden Smith in his performance and dictated the development of the story and the on-screen action. After both the story and acting were heavily criticized, Shyamalan decided to take the blame.
    • The original idea for the film was a father and son on a camping trip. After the car they're traveling in careens off the road, the son makes his way through the forest to find help for the father. Realizing that the idea had greater potential, producer Will Smith and screenwriter Gary Whitta decided to adapt the basic survival concept into a much larger science-fiction project.
    • The original cut was 130 minutes long and included more backstory on the decline of earth and the formation of Nova Prime. However, the film was vastly re-edited after performing poorly at test screenings and any actors playing Nova Primates were either reduced to extras or cut out entirely. The deleted footage will likely never be seen as M. Night Shyamalan is satisfied with the theatrical cut.
    • The first time in twenty years that director M. Night Shyamalan has accepted a project based on someone else's screenplay.
    • Winner of 3 Razzie awards for worst actor, worst supporting actor and worst screen combo. It was nominated but did not win for worst picture, worst director and worst screenplay.
    • Will Smith personally hired M. Night Shyamalan to direct. Smith had wanted to work with Shyamalan for several years, but couldn't find a suitable project.
    • Producer/co-writer Will Smith envisioned After Earth (2013) as a multi-platform franchise, including books, graphic novels, and interactive video games, which would all inform and add to the ideas and concepts already developed in the finished film.
    • The first film of M. Night Shyamalan's career where he does not appear in the film in some sort of acting role.

The Sixth Sense Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: A boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.
  • Ratings: IMDb 8.1 | RT 85% C / 89% A
  • Released: 1999
  • Director: M. Night Shyamalan (The Village, Unbreakable, Signs)
  • Writer(s): M. Night Shyamalan
  • Cinematographer: Tak Fujimoto (The Silence of the Lambs, Signs, Ferris Bueller's Day Off)
  • Notable actors: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Donnie Wahlberg
  • Budget: $40 million
  • Box office: $672.8 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Reputedly, Haley Joel Osment got the role of Cole Sear for one of three reasons. First, he was best for it. Second, he was the only boy at auditions who wore a tie. Third, director M. Night Shyamalan was surprised when he asked Haley Joel Osment if he read his part. Osment replied, "I read it three times last night." Shyamalan was impressed, saying, "Wow, you read your part three times?" To which Osment replied, "No, I read *the script* three times."
    • Toni Collette has said that she was so moved by the emotional resonance of the story while filming, she did not even realize it was a horror film until after its release.
    • The movie's line, "I see dead people," was voted as the #100 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.
    • While in New York auditioning for Bringing Out the Dead (1999), Toni Collette also auditioned for this film as an afterthought. She said the scene in the car (toward the end of the film), which was the audition scene, was the scene that really drew her to the film.
    • According to director M. Night Shyamalan, Donnie Wahlberg lost 43 pounds for the role of Vincent Grey.
    • Filmed in sequence.
    • Is one of only five horror films to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture; the other four that have received nominations are: The Exorcist (1973), Jaws (1975), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), and Black Swan (2010).

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

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