FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Francis Ford Coppola |||
Francis Ford Coppola

Coppola is an amazing talent whose inspiration and influence spans many generations. Virtually the link between the studio system of yesteryear and the independent minded filmmaker of the modern age, Coppola became the first major film director to emerge from a university degree program in filmmaking, thus legitimizing a now common route for many future filmmakers.

This Academy Award winner continues to enjoy an enormous critical and popular success due in large part to Coppola’s ability to break down an epic saga of crime and the struggle for power into the basic story of a father and his sons, punctuating the prevalent theme throughout Coppola’s oeuvre: the importance of family in today’s world. His personal portrait mixed tender moments with harsh brutality and redefined the genre of gangster films.

This intense, yet unassuming thriller has an impact that touches the viewer on a personal level and raises the question of privacy and security in a world of technology – thirty years ago! Coppola’s then virtually unknown cast is a roster of inevitable superstars, including Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, and Robert Duvall. This Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Sound lost out to Coppola’s other great effort of the year, The Godfather: Part II.

Coppola's masterful Vietnam War-updating of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" was the first major motion picture about the infamous “conflict”. This colossal epic was shot on location in the Philippines over the course of more than a year and contains some of the most extraordinary combat footage ever filmed. Unforgettable battle sequences and sterling performances from every cast member (including Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, Harrison Ford, Scott Glenn, and Martin Sheen) mark this Academy Award-winning drama as a must-see for any true film fanatic.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht


Cage’s “The Weather Man,” to Begin Filming in Mid-February, Looking for Family

By ChrisFaile

October 20th, 2003

Further production and character details are coming to light on the upcoming Nicholas Cage family drama film “The Weather Man,” to be helmed by Gore Verbinski (“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “The Ring”). Set to begin filming mid-February in Chicago and New York, the 40-day shoot is now looking to cast the Cage character’s family, each struggling with their own set of problems.

In the film, Cage will play popular Chicago weatherman Dave Spritz, who has a shot at the big-time when "Good Morning, America" calls him for an audition. Professionally, Dave is on top of the world, but his personal life is in complete disarray. Dave's painful divorce, his dad's illness, and trouble with his kids have him poised on the knife's edge between stability and disaster, and whether he keeps his balance or takes a bruising fall remains to be seen.

According to sources, casting documents that describe the Spritz family have been sent to actors and actresses’ agents last week. Among the characters now being sought to be cast are:

  • Noreen Spritz: Dave's ex-wife and the mother of his two kids, she is a bright and attractive woman who has always held down the fort on the home front of the now-fractured Spritz family. Listed as between the ages of 35 and 38, she grew tired of Dave's constant absences, both emotional and physical; but the casting notes say that “there's no denying that there's still chemistry between these two.” Dave would like nothing better than to get back together with Noreen, but a stint in therapy only further convinces Noreen that Dave is still the insensitive, distracted and self-centered guy he always was. Now Noreen is planning to marry her new boyfriend soon -- and the sooner that Dave accepts that, the sooner he can start rebuilding his life.
  • Mike Spritz: Dave's 15-year-old son is a nice-looking, average kid with a mature look. He's still quite gullible, and masks his insecurities and troubles beneath an air of cheerful equanimity. However, Mike is fresh out of his first stint in rehab due to smoking pot, and he's struggling to stay clean. When a trusted male counselor from Mike's rehab turns out to be a sexual predator, Mike freaks, attacks the man and winds up in hot water with the law. Grateful to his dad for straightening out a truly frightening situation, Mike starts cleaning up his act and putting his life back together.
  • Shelly Spritz: Mike and Noreen's youngest child at age 12, she’s a glum and overweight girl who is obviously terribly unhappy. Upset over her parents' break-up, Shelly has started smoking cigarettes and hanging out with a tough crowd, courting ridicule at school with her too-tight and unsightly clothing. However, in point of fact, she's actually a sweet, rather innocent child who is still struggling to find her niche. Shelly is increasingly alienated and upset when Dave pressures her into sports or hobbies that she hates. Later, however, after a trip to New York with her father, Shelly's relationship with her father takes a definite upswing, and her personality and appearance reflect her growing happiness.
  • Don Bodeen: A counselor at the rehab center where Mike was undergoing treatment, this supporting character is listed as between the ages of 35 to 42 years old. Bodeen acts hip, is nice and outgoing and is often talking trash— just trying his best to be just one of the guys. He strikes up quite a friendship with the gullible Mike, who is shocked to learn that Bodeen is really a sexual predator with an all-too-obvious agenda.

    The involvement of Cage in “The Weather Man” – as well as Mark Ruffalo’s directorial debut “Sympathy for Delicious,” which is scheduled to begin shooting in March – has many comic book fans wondering when they’ll see him star in the film adaptation of “Ghost Rider.” Producer Gary Foster told IGN Filmforce in early August that they were on track for an early 2004 start date, but – since that time – we have heard from several sources that the earliest start for the film would be mid-May or June at this point, due to Cage’s other commitments.

    The Scorecard
    Producers: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch
    Director: Gore Verbinski
    Writer: Steve Conrad
    Casting Director: Denise Chamian
    Start Date: Mid-February 2004
    Location: Chicago and New York
    Production Company: Escape Artists