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Screenwriters Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel To Receive WGAW’s Laurel Award For Screenwriting Achievement



Veteran comedy screenwriting partners Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel, known for such acclaimed box-office hits as Splash and Parenthood, have been named the recipients of the Writers Guild of America West’s 2019 Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement, presented to Guild members who have “advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter.”

The screenwriting duo will be honored at the WGAW’s 2019 Writers Guild Awards L.A. show on Sunday, February 17.

“Starting in the 1980’s with a string of critical and commercial hits, the imprint Ganz and Mandel have left on movies is profound. Their scripts are always a balancing act; funny and moving, edgy but never offensive. They understand that in order for the jokes to work, the characters have to be compelling and relatable, but never lose sight of the fact that in a comedy, you need comedy. Two truly funny, talented writers whose careers the WGAW Board of Directors is thrilled to honor with this award,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman.

WGAW members since 1972 and 1973 respectively, Ganz & Mandel made the transition from writing for television to the big screen in the early 1980s, co-writing a string of hit comedies during the decade. It began with 1982’s Night Shift, followed by 1984’s Splash (Screenplay by Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel and Bruce Jay Friedman, Story by Bruce Jay Friedman), for which they received Academy and Writers Guild Award screenplay nominations and won a National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay, 1985’s Spies Like Us (Screenplay by Dan Aykroyd and Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel, Story by Dan Aykroyd and Dave Thomas), 1986’s Gung Ho (Screenplay by Ganz & Mandel, Story by Edwin Blum and Ganz & Mandel), which was spun-off as a TV series, based on characters created by Blum and Ganz & Mandel, and the 1989 dramedy Parenthood (Screenplay by Ganz & Mandel, Story by Ganz & Mandel & Ron Howard), which was later turned into an NBC drama series in 2010, developed by Jason Katims and based on characters created by Ganz & Mandel & Howard.

During the 90’s, Ganz & Mandel extended their successful run as screenwriting partners, co-penning the feature films City Slickers, A League of Their Own, which was turned into a TV series co-created by Ganz & Mandel, Mr. Saturday Night (Written by Billy Crystal and Ganz & Mandel), Greedy, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold (Written by Crystal & Ganz & Mandel), romantic comedy Forget Paris (Written by Crystal & Ganz & Mandel), Multiplicity (Screenplay by Chris Miller & Mary Hale and Ganz & Mandel, Based on a short story by Miller), Father’s Day (based on the French film Les Comperes by Francis Veber), and “reality TV” satire EDTV.

In the new millennium, the prolific screenwriting team has continued to collaborate on such films as Where the Heart Is (based on the novel by Billie Letts), Fever Pitch (based on the novel by Nick Hornby), and the animated feature Robots, co-written by David Lindsay-Abaire.

Ganz & Mandel’s additional shared writing credits as a duo include 1988’s Vibes (Screenplay by Ganz & Mandel, Story by Deborah Blum and Ganz & Mandel), co-creating the TV series Hiller & Diller, Knight and Daye, and Take Five, and episodes of TV’s Amazing Stories.

Beyond collaborating with Mandel, Ganz’s additional writing credits include penning episodes of hit TV series The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Busting Loose, The New Odd Couple, Here’s Boomer, and futuristic satire TV movie America: 2100, often with his earlier writing partner Mark Rothman, as well as co-creating the 1979 series Makin’ It with Rothman and Garry Marshall, and the Happy Days spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi (Created by Garry Marshall, Lowell Ganz, Developed by Thomas Miller, Robert Boyett). Apart from his work with Ganz, Mandel’s additional writing credits include co-penning episodes of TV series M*A*S*H.

The WGAW’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement is awarded to Writers Guild members who have advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the screenwriter. Past recipients include James L. Brooks, Elaine May, Oliver Stone, Harold Ramis, David Mamet, Paul Mazursky, Lawrence Kasdan, Eric Roth, Steven Zaillian, and Robert Towne.

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No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters



If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago. 

It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced. 

 Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game. 

From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.

Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.

The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.

What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?

And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Back to the movie. 

Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.

Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.

The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!

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Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023



Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).

Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm

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Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3



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