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Stallone's take on THE EXPENDABLES Screening last night

Hey folks, Harry here - and ya know what - it is a strange strange thing to wake up hearing Sylvester Stallone's voice - but as my waking eyes looked at the caller ID, I knew what it was about. Last night, as you know, in Chatsworth, there was a test screening for THE EXPENDABLES, since Sly was calling me, I could only assume we got some reviews in that he wished to discuss. I assumed correctly. However, I was at a disadvantage - as I had not yet seen the reviews. Sly was in a good mood. A tad annoyed at the one negative review, because the film tested very high with the audience, not the disaster that the one reviewer was making it out to be. That said, Sly had no qualms talking about the short comings of the film in its current state. You see, this was the first time that Sly was seeing the film outside of a monitor. When putting the cut together, he decided to test a whole series of elements that he was on the fence for. He discovered that there were several moments that he could lose, because they didn't play with an audience the way they were intended. Basically, this screening was, what at the heart of the Test Screening process... what it is all about. He talked about how he had this one song laid into the movie that just completely did not work. Dolph telling the infamous joke that I detailed upon my set visit - that's going the way of the DoDo. That said, Sly felt the overall tone of "The Recruiter" review was written with no regard for the changes that even a blind man coming out the screening would make. As Sly said, "Judging the film at this point is like pointing at that little girl with braces and making fun of her. You do know, those braces are coming off and you'll regret making fun of her." Now, I don't think Sly intended to call THE EXPENDABLES a little girl in braces, but I do think he hit on something, when he mentioned taking those braces off. Even in "The Recruiter's" review - "A perfect film...for 1985." Did "The Recruiter" mean 1985 as an insult? Because I remember 1985 pretty goddamn well. That was a pretty damn good year for Sly. He made ROCKY IV and RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II. That was the year that Arnold made COMMANDO. Billy Friedkin unloaded the awesome TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. upon us - and Jon Voight and Eric Roberts were fucking astonishing in RUNAWAY TRAIN. Mickey Rourke was kicking ass in YEAR OF THE DRAGON and Jackie Chan was unbelievably awesome in POLICE STORY. Charles Bronson was in his third DEATH WISH movie and REMO WILLIAMS began his adventure. Christopher Walken had amazing hair in A VIEW TO A KILL and some hack named Akira Kurosawa made RAN while Kasdan made SILVERADO. Well, if THE EXPENDABLES is a "perfect film for 1985" then I can pretty much declare, "THANK FUCKING GOD!" I'll mention one last story before letting you go, that Stallone related to me. This goes all the way back to the initial test screening for FIRST BLOOD, the original Rambo film. Sly's agent left the film to puke in the alley. The film was three hours and fifteen minutes long at that stage. Sly asked his agent what they could do, and his agent told him to buy back the negative and burn it. Now imagine that. At one point, Sylvester Stallone's own agent, upon seeing a cut of FIRST BLOOD, felt it was so awful, that it deserved to be burnt. I can't imagine. But Sly said they got back into the editing room and edited it down to 93 minutes and it became a classic. With the film being released August 13th, 2010 - Sly's got plenty of tinkering time, and as anyone that has watched Stallone work with the process can tell, he's incredibly open to change. I don't know about you, but I'm dying to see what this film is going to be. Right?

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