WTF Fun Fact 13293 – Keanu Reeves’ Martial Arts Background

A lot of people want to know about Keanu Reeves’ martial arts background since he’s been in so many action movies. Is he really doing those stunts? In many cases, yes! Reeves is a trained martial artist!

What is Keanu Reeves’ martial arts background?

Keanu Reeves is a trained martial artist who happens to have years of experience in various disciplines. In fact, the actor’s dedication to physical fitness and martial arts has made him a popular choice for action roles.

Reeves’ martial arts training began in the 1980s when he started studying Karate. Reeves then moved on to study Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). In fact, Reeves has trained extensively with world-renowned BJJ black belt Rigan Machado, who is one of the top instructors in the world.

His martial arts training has not only helped him to perform his own action movie stunts, but he says it has also given him a sense of personal fulfillment.

In interviews, he’s often noted that he enjoys the discipline and focus required for martial arts practice and that this training has helped him stay grounded in both his personal and professional life.

Job training

Reeves has incorporated much of his martial arts skills into his movies. Of course, there were a lot of CGI moments in The Matrix that would be impossible for any human to do, but he did do many of the stunts required in the hand-to-hand combat scenes.

These days, Reeves is starring in the John Wick series about a retired hitman who uses his martial arts training to take down his enemies. Critics have called these fight scenes some of the most intense and realistic in modern action cinema. And that’s thanks in large part to Reeves’ extensive martial arts training and practice.

The actor has said that he trains in martial arts several times a week not just to stay in shape but to maintain his energy levels. While many claim that he has a black belt in judo, it appears the belt may be honorary.

Reeves’ dedication to martial arts has inspired many people to try it for themselves – after all, it looks pretty cool!

 WTF fun facts

Source: “How Keanu Reeves’ Fighting Style Changed From Matrix To John Wick (& Why)” — Screen Rant

WTF Fun Fact 13279 – The First Oscars

The first Oscars ceremony was held on May 16, 1929, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It lasted only 15 minutes, and there were only 270 guests in attendance. Tickets for the event cost $5 each, and the Academy had notified the winners three months prior to the ceremony.

The history of the Academy Awards

The Academy Awards Ceremony, also known as the Oscars, is an annual event that honors the best in the film industry. Today, it’s a grand gala that draws millions of viewers from around the world, but the first Academy Awards Ceremony was far less grand.

The idea for the Academy Awards was first proposed in 1927 by Louis B. Mayer, the head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Mayer wanted to create an awards ceremony that would generate positive publicity for Hollywood. He approached several prominent figures in the industry, including Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Cecil B. DeMille, to help him organize the event.

The first Academy Awards ceremony was held on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner party in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Only 270 people were present, and the ceremony lasted only 15 minutes.

However, despite its modest beginnings, the first Oscars marked the birth of one of Hollywood’s great extravaganzas.

The first Oscars ceremony

The first Academy Awards ceremony honored outstanding achievements in filmmaking during the 1927-1928 season. The newly-formed Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose the winners.

The winners were announced in a matter-of-fact way without the fanfare and spectacle of today’s ceremonies.

In fact, the winners had been notified ahead of time – 3 months earlier. However, the Academy asked them to keep the information a secret until the night of the event to add some suspense.

The ceremony was not broadcast on television or radio. There were 12 categories of awards at the first ceremony, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Original Story.

The winners of the first Oscars included:

  • Emil Jannings for Best Actor
  • Janet Gaynor for Best Actress
  • “Wings” for Best Picture

“Wings” was a silent film about World War I fighter pilots. Audiences and critics praised the film’s impressive aerial battle scenes for their realism. As a result, the film was a commercial and critical success. It even helped to establish Hollywood as the center of the film industry.

From the red carpet arrivals to the emotional acceptance speeches, the Oscars have become an integral part of popular culture. With each passing year, the ceremony becomes more innovative. To this day, the Academy adds new technology and creative ideas to make the event more entertaining.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “The First Oscar Ceremony Lasted 15 Minutes. What Happened?” — The New York Times

WTF Fun Fact 13272 – The Highest-Grossing Movie of All Time

If you adjust for inflation, “Gone With the Wind” is the highest-grossing movie of all time, earning approximately $1.8 billion. The movie was released in 1939 and earned $390 million worldwide in its initial release. It was an unprecedented success at the time.

The highest-grossing movie of all time

In 2009, Avatar became the highest-grossing film in history in nominal terms. But even today, when adjusting for inflation, “Gone With the Wind” still wins.

The film, directed by Victor Fleming and starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, tells the story of a young woman named Scarlett O’Hara, who lives on a plantation in Georgia during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era.

When the film was released, it received critical acclaim. It won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress. The movie is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Margaret Mitchell, which was published in 1936.

Despite its enduring popularity, the film has also been criticized for its depiction of slavery and its portrayal of African Americans. In recent years, there have been discussions about removing the film from circulation or adding disclaimers about its controversial themes.

In any case, the adjusted gross earnings of “Gone With the Wind” demonstrate its enduring popularity and cultural significance. Even after 80 years, the film remains a classic example of Hollywood’s Golden Age and continues to captivate audiences with its sweeping story and memorable characters.

Other high-grossing movies

In terms of box office revenue and NOT adjusted for inflation, the highest-grossing movies of all time are:

  1. Avatar (2009) – $2.8 billion
  2. Avengers: Endgame (2019) – $2.79 billion
  3. Titanic (1997) – $2.19 billion
  4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) – $2.07 billion
  5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – $2.04 billion

These figures only take into account box office revenue and do not factor in inflation or other revenue streams such as home video sales or merchandise.

Other movies that have high box office grosses when adjusted for inflation include:

  • “Star Wars” (1977) – $1.6 billion
  • “The Sound of Music” (1965) – $1.3 billion
  • “The Ten Commandments” (1956)
  • “Doctor Zhivago” (1965)
  • “Jaws” (1975)
  • “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)
  • “Titanic” (1997)
  • “Avatar” (2009)

 WTF fun facts

Source: “What is the highest-grossing movie of all time? And other box-office record breakers” — USA Today

WTF Fun Fact 13268 – Cocaine Bear is a Real Story (Mostly)

Have you seen previews for a strange-looking moving called Cocaine Bear and wondered what is going on? Well, you might be shocked to know that cocaine bear is a real story.

What is cocaine bear?

In 1985, a black bear in Georgia ingested more than 70 pounds of cocaine. The drugs had been dropped from a drug smuggler’s airplane. The bear, later dubbed “Cocaine Bear,” was found dead in the woods. The bizarre story has become something of a legend. People clearly remain fascinated by the unlikely chain of events that led to the bear’s demise.

According to a recent New York Times article (cited below), the incident began when drug smuggler Andrew ThorntonThornton’suring a parachute jump after a drug trafficking operation went wrong. Thornton had been carrying several duffel bags filled with cocaine. As he fell to his death, the bags tore open and their contents scattered across the forest.

Days later, authorities found a bear dead in the woods near the site of Thornton’s fatal fall. A necropsy later revealed that the bear had ingested a large amount of cocaine and had died as a result.

The story has become something of a pop culture phenomenon in recent years. Now, Hollywood has released a movie based on the incident, with Elizabeth Banks directing and Keri Russell in the lead role. The movie is a fictionalized retelling of the incident.

What’s fictional about the story?

Cocaine bear is a true story up to a point. The film’s writers invented the killing spree plotline. We don’t actually know what happened to the bear in its final days anLexington’st we do know that it didn’t kill anyone.

Despite the sensational nature of the story, the incident is a reminder of the dangers of drug trafficking and the tragic consequences that can occur when individuals engage in such activities.

Where is the bear now?

Oddly enough, the bear appears to be on display in Lexington’s Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall. In an August 2015 blog post, the mall staff said the stuffed bear was once owned by the country singer Waylon Jennings. The rumor is that he kept it in his home in Las Vegas, but the NYT was unable to verify that part of the story.

Another partly true and strange fact about the bear is that its taxidermied body has the authority to officiate legally binding weddings. According to Wikipedia:

“This claim is only partly true; the bear does not have the authority to solemnize weddings, but the state of Kentucky cannot invalidate marriages performed by unqualified persons if the parties believe that the person marrying them has the authority to do so. As such, it is a belief in the Cocaine Bear’s authority that allows it to officiate legally binding weddings in Kentucky.”

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Yes, ‘Cocaine Bear’ Was Real. Here’s the Back Story.” — The New York Times

WTF Fun Fact 13197 – Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Credits

Did you know Steven Spielberg was a college dropout? Well, in any case, he returned to his college, Cal State – Long Beach, when he was in his 50s to earn his BA degree. But the story of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic credits is less well-known.

A director drops out of college – and comes back

Speilberg has been given some honorary degrees over the years and spoke at a commencement or two. For example, he spoke at Harvard’s 2016 graduation ceremony. It was there he revealed his own college story.

He told students and their parent’s about his own graduation, just 14 years earlier.

Spielberg began college in his teens but was then offered his dream job at Universal Studios in his sophomore year. He told his parents that if his movie career failed, he would re-enroll.

But it didn’t happen quite like that. It did, however, take him 37 years to finally graduate.

He told the audience:

“…eventually, I returned for one big reason. Most people go to college for an education, and some go for their parents, but I went for my kids. I’m the father of seven, and I kept insisting on the importance of going to college, but I hadn’t walked the walk. So, in my fifties, I re-enrolled at Cal State — Long Beach, and I earned my degree.”

Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic credits

It’s probably a lot easier to master college and its demands when you’re wealthy and have nothing to lose. But that’s not an attempt to diminish his achievement (just a nod to college students out there still grinding away)!

Another thing that helped the Hollywood director? Spielberg told that Harvard grads that he was given three credits in paleontology for making Jurassic Park.

Now, if you’ve seen Jurassic Park, you know there’s some sketchy molecular biology in there, but we’re hoping they got the paleontology right!

Regardless, Spielberg finished up his degree in film production. And we’re guessing he had a pretty high GPA by the end – at least in his major!

Here are some other words of advice he had to offer:

“And the way you create a better future is by studying the past. Jurassic Park writer Michael Crichton, who graduated from both this college and this medical school, liked to quote a favorite professor of his who said that if you didn’t know history, you didn’t know anything. You were a leaf that didn’t know it was part of a tree. So history majors: Good choice, you’re in great shape…Not in the job market, but culturally.”

Hey, we know an awful lot of history majors working in museums, journalism, marketing, politics, and law! We even know some who work as consultants on movie sets, Spielberg!  WTF fun facts

Source: “Steven Spielberg to Grads: ‘Earn This'” — TIME

WTF Fun Fact 13192 – Frank Sinatra Was Offered Die Hard Role

It’s hard to imagine anyone but Bruce Willis playing the lead character in Die Hard. But believe it or not, Frank Sinatra was offered Die Hard role John McClane.

Frank Sinatra offered Die Hard role but turned it down

Had Sinatra starred in Die Hard, it would have been a very different movie.

The film is based on a book by Roderick Thorpe called Nothing Lasts Forever. It was published in 1979 and was a sequel to Thorpe’s 1966 novel The Detective.

Now, The Detective WAS made into a movie. And this one did star Frank Sinatra as the main character, Detective Joe Leland. Is it starting to become clear why Frank Sinatra was offered the later Die Hard role?

The Die Hard we know and love

The sequel to The Detective, which we now know as Die Hard didn’t get a green light for production until the late 1980s. That was a good decade after the book was published. And by then, Sinatra was 73 years old.

However, since the movie was technically a sequel, the production company was obligated to offer the role to Sinatra first. As we all now know, he turned it down. (But can you imagine Sinatra as John McClane? We can’t!)

And believe it or not, Bruce Willis wasn’t the second choice. The role was then offered to Arnold Schwarzenegger. According to Business Insider (cited below), “the movie was pitched as a sequel to the actor’s 1985 film Commando rather than a sequel to The Detective. Schwarzenegger also turned down the offer…”

It wasn’t until after the second strike and miss that producers offered the role to Bruce Willis and the leading role was tweaked a bit, with the character renamed John McClane instead of Joe Leland.

At the time, Bruce Willis was known for his comedy roles, so the producers were taking a risk casting him in an action film.  WTF fun facts

Source: “73-Year-Old Frank Sinatra Was Originally Offered The Lead Role In ‘Die Hard'” — Business Insider

WTF Fun Fact 13154 – Shaggy’s Real Name

The character Shaggy from the cartoon Scooby Doo has a real name. It turns out that Shaggy is just a nickname. Now, that’s not surprising, but the fact that someone decided to give him enough of a backstory to name him Norville Rogers sure is.

The lowdown on Shaggy’s real name

Norville “Shaggy” Rogers is one of a group of amateur detectives and the slacker of the group, truth be told. Scooby-Doo is his dog, and is just as fond of running away from danger as his owner.

Shaggy is a bit of a hippie, and when the legendary Casey Kasem was asked to voice the character, he was reportedly unsure what hippies were supposed to sound like. Kasem ended up basing the character Walter Donton on the tv show Our Miss Brooks.

Kasem even convinced the producers of Scooby Doo that Shaggy should also be a vegetarian, like Kasem himself.

Since the show began, the character of Shaggy has been voiced by over 20 different people.

Shaggy’s family

Shaggy has quite an extended family. And they have some unique names, including a little sister named Sugie, Uncle Gaggy, Uncle Shaggworthy, and Betty Lous Shaggbilly. Pretty impressive for a guy who is only nicknamed Shaggy!

Of course, Shaggy hails from Coolsville, Ohio and adopted Scooby Doo from Knittingham Puppy Farm. It was after that when Shaggy met Daphne, Fred, and Velma and decided to start Mystery Incorpotated. And it’s no surprise that he’s also the one who bought and painted the Mystery Machine. It does seem like his taste.

According to his Wikipedia entry, there are some other random fun facts about the cartoon character:

“Shaggy’s old nickname was Buzz (apparently for his buzz cut) until his 10th birthday. Fred says that, contrary to what people believe, Shaggy is not skinny because Scooby is always stealing his food, but rather because he’s a vegetarian. But as healthy as Shaggy tries to stay, he has battled unhealthy habits. Velma calculates that he once ate exactly 45% of his body weight. This led to him dieting and starting a new hobby: collecting decorator belt buckles. Shaggy claims to have the largest collection of decorator belt buckles in the world and currently owns 653. He also states that he wears a different belt buckle for every mystery if one pays attention, the joke being that his baggy shirt always hides them.”  WTF fun facts

Source: “Shaggy Rogers” — Wikipedia

WTF Fun Fact 13153 – Albert Einstein and Yoda

The appearance of the Star Wars character Yoda was partially influenced by a poster of Albert Einstein hanging in the creator’s studio.

What’s the relationship between Albert Einstein and Yoda?

We suppose that a close look and some squinting at the Star Wars character Yoda could conjure an image of Albert Einstein in one’s head. But they’re hardly twins – and that’s not just because of the green skin and alien visage.

Still, they have more in common than just their supposed wisdom.

Stuart Freeborn is the special effects artist that worked as a Star Wars makeup supervisor and was primarily responsible for Yoda’s final look. And he had a poster of Einstein hanging on the wall of his office.

Freeborn said Einstein played a role in influencing his vision of Yoda. But he also admitted that the character is based on his own face.

CineSecrets had a quote from the artist:

“…A picture of Einstein ended up on the wall behind the Yoda sculptures and the wrinkles around Einstein’s eyes somehow got worked into the Yoda design. Over the course of this evolutionary process Yoda slowly changed from a comparatively spritely [sic], tall, skinny, grasshopper kind of character into the old wise spirited gnome that we all know today. The final step in that transformation was Franks [Oz, sic] insistence that the puppet should have no jaw fitted. That allowed him more freedom for expression as a puppeteer but it also meant that the skin hung loosely below the cheeks and that gave Yoda an older, rather chinless look that is quite different to the drawings Ralph [McQuarrie] did.”

Surprising it is not

Look at them side-by-side and see what you think. The more you look, the more you can see it.

We want to know what Einstein would have thought. There are many photos of the genius looking goofy and joking around. But he wasn’t always known as a good guy. Unlike Yoda, his attitude sometimes outstripped his wisdom.  WTF fun facts

Source: “How Einstein Influenced the Look of Yoda” — Mental Floss

WTF Fun Fact 13112 – Psycho’s Toilet Scene

The Hitchcock thriller Psycho has some memorable scenes, a few of which take place in bathrooms. But Pshcyo’s toilet scene, while not the most iconic bathroom scene, was still a pathbreaker. It was the first American movie to feature an audible toilet flush.

Why is Psycho’s toilet scene unique?

Other films had featured toilets in passing. Silent movies had featured toilets flushing (although it was extremely rare). But the film pushed the envelope on the Hays Code (a self-imposed agreement to stay away from anything morally questionable) by featuring the up-close toilet flush.

It seems silly now, of course. We all flush the toilet. But American audiences were scandalized at the time to see and hear such a seemingly private thing on screen.

Interestingly, it wasn’t Hitchcock who wanted the toilet in the movie, it was reportedly screenwriter Joseph Stefano. According to Screenrant, “Stefano was adamant in showing this to add realism to the movie but Hitchcock stated it must be needed in the script. Stefano then wrote the scene in which Marion Crane flushes evidence down the toilet.”

What gets flushed?

The self-assured Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh, steals money from the real estate office where she works and goes on the run. Of course, there’s an ill-fated stop at the Bates Motel, but before the iconic shower scene, we get the toilet flush heard ’round the world.

After her conversation with Norman Bates, the motel owner, Marian returns to her room and makes notes about her finances. Knowing better than to leave such evidence in writing, she tears up the paper and throws it in the toilet. Getting rid of the evidence for good requires a strong flush.

Apparently, it was necessary to hear that to make it clear that the evidence she created tying her to the theft is gone.

Of course, none of that matters to her anyone once she steps into that shower.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Psycho’s Toilet Flush & 9 Other Movies With Obscure Cinematic Milestones” — Screenrant