Director John Badham's "Stakeout" contains lots of the time-honored elements of crowd-pleasing movies: an overworked cop; an unexpected romance; a very mean, very bad villain; lots of funny moments; and a suspenseful ending. But the picture, which comes out next month from the director of "Saturday Night Fever," "WarGames" and "Blue Thunder," also has one feature that's completely new: a credit that reads "A John Badham Movie." That's an unheard-of credit in Hollywood, where "The Untouchables" is "A Brian De Palma Film," where "Jaws the Revenge" is "A Joseph Sargent Film," where "Revenge of the Nerds II" is "A Joe Roth Film."
If you judge by the credits on everything else in release, this is a town that makes films, not movies. But Badham was so adamant about the "Stakeout" credits that he had the phrase written into his contract; that's the way "Stakeout" will be identified in every ad, poster and press kit.
Dwarfing the Competition
A robot cop, seven animated dwarfs and a mechanical shark all beat out their human counterparts at the box office last weekend -- that is, if you can call Robert Carradine's nerd and Dan Aykroyd's Joe Friday human. It was a classic summer weekend in movie theaters: The three big new releases -- "Robocop," the rereleased "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Jaws the Revenge" -- all made more than $7 million and handily topped the longer running films, but "Revenge of the Nerds II," "Full Metal Jacket," "Dragnet" and "Adventures in Babysitting" held on to respectable totals. Of those, "Nerds" looks to be dropping the fastest, though smart money says the new "Jaws" will plummet even faster now that the negative word-of-mouth has spread and newcomers like "Superman IV," "Summer School" and "La Bamba" are out.
Well, Almost True
The makers of "La Bamba," meanwhile, have talked about how true they've tried to be to the life of Ritchie Valens, the young rock musician who died in a plane crash after cutting three hit records by the age of 17. Coproducer Taylor Hackford and director-writer Luis Valdez bought the rights to the life stories of the members of Valens' family, and used information from Ritchie Valens' half-brother Bob for the sibling rivalry that dominates much of the movie; for his part, Bob Morales recently said the movie "couldn't have been any closer" to the truth.
For the record, though, it's worth noting that a couple of the film's central points aren't so accurate. For one thing, the movie shows Valens (Lou Diamond Phillips) demanding that his reluctant record company release his revved-up version of the traditional Mexican song "La Bamba"; in real life, it was Valens who resisted the song. And in the film, Valens is depicted as being terrified of flying, taking his seat only reluctantly on the flight that killed him, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper; in fact, Valens badgered Holly's guitarist, Tommy Allsup, until Allsup finally agreed to flip a coin for the right to fly rather than take a bus.
A remake of the acclaimed 1975 French comedy "Cousin, Cousine" is reportedly in the works. Paramount Pictures won't confirm it, but reports say it will be shot in a middle-class New York City suburb and will be, as they say, "Americanized" ... Maybe it was President Reagan's Saturday proclamation saluting the film that turned the trick, but "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" set three new records for Disney last weekend: biggest three-day gross in the company's history, biggest opening for an animated feature and biggest single day in Disney history. That day was Saturday, when the 50-year-old movie made almost $2.9 million