'Year of the Month' will never have a ring to it. I know this but I love themes. Don't hate me because I'm thematical. This month we're having a 50th anniversary party for 1964... (next month it's 1989's 25th) which is a fancy way of counting down to Monday, June 30th's Supporting Actress Smackdown wherein we'll be looking at performances from Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, The Chalk Garden, My Fair Lady, The Night of the Iquana and Zorba the Greek.
So get to watching those movies so you can vote in the reader ballot!
But before we get to all that: 1964's vintage in list form (we did this once before for 1983 if you remember) since you always want lists, yes? Let's savor 1964's aged cinematic crop....
Best Movies According To...
Oscar: Becket, Dr Strangelove, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady* and Zorba the Greek were the best picture nominees. They sucked up such a gigantic portion of the nominations (it must have been a record at the time) that it'd be virtually impossible to guess what the almost-rans were that year had we had the 5-10 rule in place.
Golden Globe: (drama) Becket*, The Chalk Garden, Dear Heart, Night of the Iguana, and Zorba the Greek (comedy/musical) Father Goose, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady*, The Unsinkable Molly Brown and The World of Henry Orient
Cannes: Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Box Office: reports vary wildly on this but it's something like... 1) Mary Poppins 2) Goldfinger 3) My Fair Lady 4) The Carpetbaggers 5) Unsinkable Molly Brown with What a Way To Go!, The Pink Panther, Father Goose, Good Neighbor Sam and Viva Las Vegas all posting strong numbers (I mixed the sketchy numbers from both IMDb and "Box Office Champs" a book published in 1990 before the internet *gasp*.)
Half-Century Hotties & Top Ten Actresses Born in '64 after the jump...
Born in '64 Mix Tape
Courtney Love, Patty Griffin, Lenny Kravitz, Eddie Vedder, Diana Krall, Amy Ray, Tracey Chapman, Adam Yauch, Wynonna Judd, Neneh Cherry, and Andy Bell
The #1 song of the year was "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles who basically owned 1964 in its entirety.
1964: The Omnibus Movie Directed by: Joss Whedon (The Avengers), Andrey Zvyaginstev (Leviathan), Bruce LaBruce (The Raspberry Reich), Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), Eytan Fox (Yossi & Jagger), Andrew Niccol (Gattaca), Todd Field (In the Bedroom), Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean), Rithy Panh (The Missing Picture), Peyton Reed (Bring It On), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), Adam Shankman (Hairspray), Mark Waters (Mean Girls), Sergey Loznitsa (My Joy), Thomas Bezucha (The Family Stone), Caroline Link (Nowhere in Africa), and Peter Berg (Lone Survivor) Written by Erin Cressida Wilson, Marti Noxon, Patrick Marber and Bret Easton Ellis Director of Photography Lance Acord Costumed by Mary Zophres Edited by Bob Murawski
... that would be one schizophrenic movie!
Perfect Physical Specimens Designed in Labs
Famke Janssen, Rob Lowe, Monica Bellucci, Laura Elena Harring, Djimon Hounsou, Connie Nielsen, Marisa Tomei, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Ronit Elkabetz, Clive Owen, Matt Dillon, Elle MacPherson, Keanu Reeves
Recently Caught Scene Stealing...
Kathy Burke (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Penelope Ann Miller (The Artist), Garret Dillahunt (everything), Gloria Reuben (Lincoln), Bob Clendenin (Cougar Town)
Whatever Happened To:
Bridget Fonda, of Jackie Brown/Single White Female fame, retired a long time ago to raise a family with composer Danny Elfman; Joanne Whalley, once Mrs. Val Kilmer, was fetching in late 80s films like Scandal and Willow; Janeane Garofalo, Reality Bites, left acting for activism; Zach Galligan from Gremlins -- no seriously what happened?; Kim Richards, one half of the magic twins (my first life crush) from Return from Witch Mountain; One Black Mamba killed Copperhead in Kill Bill Vol 1, it's like Vivica Fox ceased to exist on the big screen -- or have I just not been paying attention?; Queen Margot's romantic hunk Vincent Perez is now directing; John Leguizamo who details what became of his career in his latest one man show; and Deborah Kara Unger has been getting scarcer and scarcer onscreen but boy is she vivid when she's "on" (see Crash)
Small Screen Sweethearts
Mary Louise Parker [insert the sound of sucking on an ice coffee straw here], Hank Azaria, Melissa Gilbert, Stephen Colbert (oh you know he'd love being called a sweetheart), Courteney Cox, Teri Hatcher, Mariska Hargitay, Calista Flockhart, David Eigenberg ("Steve" from Sex & The City), Harry Lennix, Molly Shannon (SUPERSTAR!!!), Blair Underwood, Wanda Sykes, Malcolm Gets...and since they've officially moved to the small screen from the silver, and Hope Davis
Sister of Michelle / Brother of Owen
Dedee Pfeiffer / Andrew Wilson
Michael Berresse, Danny Burstein, Ann Harada
10 Best Actors Born in '64?
(alpha order) Hank Azaria, Don Cheadle, Russell Crowe, Garrett Dillahunt, Matt Dillon, Christopher Eccleston, Clive Owen, Linus Roache (I fell so hard in 1995's Priest and for a few years thereafter he was everything: Wings of the Dove, Shot in the Dark... but weirdly he only found semi-lame tv roles and small film roles for long stretches), Andy Serkis and Dean Winters
[And drum roll please]
10 Most Awesome Actresses Born in '64
This list would change, or at least the order would, if you ask me again tomorrow
10 Famke Janssen
I'm not sure what she's doing on Hemlock Grove but it was charming to see her again, however briefly, in X-Men Days of Future Past. But her turn in Turn the River (2007) suggested that were dramatic depths not yet plumbed with that astonishing high-cheekboned beauty in the way.
09 Sandra Bullock
The popular comic actress is on top of the world again after a group of consecutive drama and comic blockbusters with two Oscar noms and a statue to show for it. What will she do for this encore to her encore from her victory lap?
08 Ronit Elkabetz
The terrific Israeli actress who was so electric in Late Marriage (2001, a must-see for all serious cinephiles) and later in acclaimted titles like The Band's Visit and Or, My Treasure has turned to directing.
07 Rosie Perez
PERSONALITY! Rosie is so entertaining as herself -- and has aged so well -- that it's shocking that Hollywood has only found intermittent use for her over the years. She muted that giant fun personality for her dark cameo in The Counsellor, as a vengeful felon last year but where is her next great comedy? Until then, she's got a memoir out.
06 Emmanuelle Devos
One of France's best actresses though her films haven't been travelling here for a while, damnit. But if you need a get-to-know you double feature do Read My Lips (2001) and Kings and Queen (2005).
05 Maggie Cheung
We must deduct points for the endless retirement when she still shows up at public events as the celebrity she is (as in the photo above). If you're going to put yourself out there, Maggie, use it for the big screen.
04 Paprika Steen
My favorite Scandinavian actress. This Dane is so bold and vivid in everything whether she's doing complex diva portraiture (Applause), intimate savage family drama (Celebration), welcome cameos (Keep the Lights On), or romantic comedy for adults (Superclasico). She recently appeared in the Pierce Brosnan film Love is All You Need but she needs a higher profile international gig to remind everyone of what a powerhouse she is.
03 Marisa Tomei
Oscar loves to crown starlets with the golden statue before they've earned it in their pretty young thing years. Few make their surprise win this justified in retrospect. After a short stint as a mainstream leading lady, Marisa varied up her career and does everything now: leading lady, stage trouper, supporting actress par excellence and does it all very very very well. A true actor's actor.
02 The Lovely Laura Linney
She's disappeared of late but we're hoping for a grand comeback, aren't you? You can count on her for great performances.
01 Juliette Binoche
Oscar winner. French goddess. Acclaimed thespian. Binoche first made her international mark in romantic/erotic dramas like Rendez-vous (1985), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Lovers on the Bridge (1991) and Damage (1992). Two decades later she's still just as erotically and romantically potent but she's an even better rangier actress, proving that it wasn't those those early racy films that set the template but her mesmerizing enigmatic star turn as the grieving woman of Trois Coleurs: Bleu (1992). With recent films like The Flight of the Red Balloon, Summer Hours, Certified Copy that teensy tiny dose of human tragedy in Godzilla (2014) she just keeps on wowing.
Who are your favorites from this 50 year old vintage?