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‘Nothing Lasts Forever’: Bill Murray in ‘lost’ sci-fi comedy set in a totalitarian New York City
12:48 pm


Bill Murray
Dan Aykroyd
Tom Schiller

Readers “of a certain age” will fondly recall the “Schiller’s Reel” segments that aired during the early years of SNL right up until 1990. Both Gary Weis and Albert Brooks had previously directed short films (shot on film) for SNL, but when Tom Schiller, one of the show’s original writers, came into the picture the “film” segment was dubbed “Schiller’s Reel” and later “SchillerVision.”

Some of the most iconic moments of the show’s entire tenure were from “Schiller’s Reel” such as his pitch-perfect Fellini parody, “La Dolce Gilda” (with Gilda Radner as a neurotic European actress in exquisite existential agony), “The Acid Generation Where Are They Now?” “Java Junkie” (with Teri Garr and Peter Ackroyd as the caffeine fiend) and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” (an elderly John Belushi who has outlived all of his SNL costars makes a trip to the “Not Ready for Primetime Cemetery” and dances on their graves.) In his SNL segments, the director proved himself to be a master of many cinematic genres, a mimic, if you will, of movie styles throughout the decades. Unfortunately, not a lot of them have been posted online.

“Java Junkie”

Thankfully there is a good quality copy of Tom Schiller’s wonderful short film “Love is a Dream,” made for SNL with Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks and producer/cinematographer Neal Marshad (followed by more SchillerVision goodness):

In 1984, Tom Schiller made his feature film debut with a terrifically ambitious and idiosyncratic little movie titled Nothing Lasts Forever, the tale of a young man (Zach Galligan from Gremlins) who aspires to become “an artist” but whose lofty ambitions are foiled by the Port Authority of New York who run Manhattan like a totalitarian state. He fails the test for a “creativity license” and they assign him to direct traffic at the Holland Tunnel. The film is shot mostly in black and white, with limited but effective use of color and deftly used cut-ins from from vintage movies, giving it a uniquely timeless feel (especially for a film made in the 1980s).

Nothing Lasts Forever is similar in some respects to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, with its depiction of a bureaucracy run amok, but with a hefty dollop of Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 thrown in for good measure: While the Port Authority may run New York City like a police state, it’s really a fraternal order of benevolent Illuminati tramps who are calling all the shots. There’s also a bus trip to the moon and true love. Along the way are vivid cameo appearances from Bill Murray as a suspicious bus conductor, Eddie Fisher playing himself as a broke lounge act, Dan Aykroyd as Zach’s uptight manager, Mort Sahl, Lawrence Tierney, Imogene Coca and Larry “Bud” Melman. Lauren Tom (later of Friends) plays the intergalactic love interest. John Belushi was to have played a small role in the film, but died six weeks before photography began.

Nothing Lasts Forever is as difficult to see as Tom Schiller’s SNL shorts. In fact, the film was never given a proper theatrical release to begin with. It was screened once—once—for a test audience in Seattle who gave it the thumbs down and then shelved. For reasons perhaps having to do with clearing the vintage footage Nothing Lasts Forever has never been released on VHS or on DVD, either, although it’s been screened on the German TCM channel in a dubbed version titled “Alles ist vergänglich” (a version has made the rounds on Demonoid that used that retracked with a visually inferior English language VHS bootleg’s soundtrack). From time to time Tom Schiller, who has gone on to direct over 500 television commercials (I’d love to know which ones) will appear at a screening of the film or Bill Murray will request that it be screened at a retrospective honoring him. Barring one of those rare screenings, you can watch Nothing Lasts Forever, where else, on YouTube:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Spies like them: How Dan Aykroyd & Chevy Chase nearly caused a war
01:26 pm


Dan Aykroyd
Chevy Chase

Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase were almost at the center of a Cold War “incident” during the filming of Spies LIke Us. It all happened when they were in Norway, as Aykroyd explained to the Daily Telegraph:

“We shot some of Spies Like Us in Norway, on the top of a mountain near Sognefjord , and we had a replica of a Soviet SS20 rocket on the back of a launcher parked right there on the mountain. It was a very beautiful spot. We were shooting over a week, and one day we got a call from a representative of the United States Department of Defence because their satellite had spotted our rocket and called the Norwegian government. They thought a Soviet rocket had been secretly moved into Norway, so the producers had to clarify that this was a fake. Thus a major international diplomatic incident was averted.”

Aykroyd was discussing highlights from his life of travel at hotels and venues across the world, and included his spookiest moment:

Ghostbusters evolved from my interest in the paranormal. I remember being in the Hotel del Coronado, in San Diego, and they told me a story about a woman who’d been beaten and strangled in a room there. She had been killed by a sailor more than 100 years before and they said her blood was still on the room’s carpet. They took me up to the room, which looked pretty much as it would have at the time of her murder, and I looked but there was no blood on the carpet. But then, just as I was walking out, the bellboy said, “Look!” I turned back and one, two, three, four brown blotches just seemed to materialise before our eyes. Maybe it’s a trick. You can rent that room – I think it’s number 419 – so go see for yourself.”

Aykroyd also detailed his favorite bar (Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, on Bourbon Street, New Orleans), and his involvement in a bizarre moment on an Air Canada flight, which you can read here.

Via the ‘Daily Telegraph

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd take Brian Wilson surfing, 1976


“C’mon Mr. Wilson. Let’s go surfin’ now.”

“Everybody’s learning how.”

California Highway Patrolmen John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd force Brian Wilson to get out of bed and on his board after issuing him a citation for failing to surf in one of the more iconic music/comedy crossovers of the 1970s. From the Lorne Michaels produced Beach Boys TV special, It’s OK.

Mike Love… he sure do look flamboyant here, don’t he?

Thank you Chris Campion of Los Angeles, CA!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Dan Aykroyd’s Screen Test for ‘Saturday Night Live’ from 1975
12:38 pm


Dan Aykroyd

The lovely Dan Aykroyd runs through a selection of voices in search of a punchline, in his screen test for Saturday Night Live from 1975. It’s an impressive turn, showing his considerable talent, versatility, and a mustache that made him look older than his twenty-two years of age.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Brian Wilson arrested for ‘failing to surf’: Rare footage from 1976

It’s OK: The Beach Boys’ 15th Anniversary TV Special aired in 1976 on NBC. It was a weird affair created when Brian Wilson was at the lowest ebb of his struggle with substance abuse and depression. Produced by Lorne Michaels and written by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, the show features a barely willing Wilson lured back into the studio and, in a bit that is both funny and sad, onto the beach and a surfboard. As most of us know, Brian was not a surfer and in this clip he’s barely a pedestrian. I have a feeling this may have been therapeutic for Brian.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment