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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Missi Pyle's Oscar Memoir!

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all of Missi Pyle's guest posts

 

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Saturday
May112013

May Flowers: Stage Door

The Calla Lilies Are in Bloom Again... 

Such a strange flower. Suitable to any occasion. I carried them on my wedding day and now I place them here in memory of something that has died.

That line, uttered by Katharine Hepburn in 1937's Stage Door, quickly became synonymous with the actress. One need only adapt that clipped, upper crust voice and mention the bloomin' of those calla lilies for people to know exactly who you're impersonating. No other line is as popular in conveying what a unique star she was. (Well, a strong case could be made for some from On Golden Pond, you old poop. But by then even she seemed to be doing a Katharine Hepburn impression. And none of those have the history of this one.)

The line was used in the film for the play that Hepburn's character makes her theatrical debut in. It came from an actual Broadway flop that Hepburn starred in called The Lake. Just how bad was the show? In Dorothy Parker's review of it, she said, "Miss Hepburn runs the gamut of emotions from A to B." The play was so wildly atrocious that Kate herself paid the director to halt production. But, it was a learning experience for Hepburn.

When they decided to use it in the film, Hepburn proved that despite the seeming haughtiness and snobbishness people perceived in her, she was still able to laugh at herself and poke fun at her previous failings --–especially in the rehearsal scenes where she mechanically goes though the motions. Later in the film, when she says the line on opening night, she surprises everyone with how great an actress she actually is. The public, like her fellow actresses in the film, had underestimated her. (By the way, if you haven't seen Stage Door–you must! You owe it to yourself as an Actressexual. It's all about a theatrical boarding house and co-stars Ginger Rogers, Eve Arden, Lucille Ball, and Ann Miller!)

So, the next time you're doing your Katharine Hepburn impersonations for your movie-loving friends (and, really, who doesn't love a good Kate impression. Hell, Cate Blanchett won an Oscar for it...), remember those calla lilies and make Kate proud.

Saturday
May112013

Visual Index ~ Summertime (1955)

When I scheduled Summertime for the "Hit Me..." series I admit I expect a huge drop off in participation due to its lack of any significant or least still-discussed reputation in the careers of David Lean and Katharine Hepburn. So I was pleasantly surprised to see such a crowd hopping on the water buses in Venice with Kate as Jane Hudson (hee. no, not that Jane Hudson).

What a difference a year has made in this series. Last year, I couldn't get a crowd for Bonnie & F'in Clyde. I almost retired the series. So thank you to the many new participants and the very reliably regulars who have stuck with this series through its popular and fallow episodes. There are only three episodes left before a June hiatus and I hope you'll stick around and get reenergize from a month of No Viewing Assignments. I am a taskmaster I know... but a benevolent one! I bring you good movies.

5/15 The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) 
5/22 Fantasia (1941... special instructions)
5/29 Hud (1963) 50th Anniversary!

But for now, let's look at the selected Best Shots from Summertime in narrative order (though I fear my order is off here since the film isn't very plotty). It's like watching a slide show of your neighborhood spinster's summer vacation!

Y'all packed? Let's go...

Click to read more ...

Friday
May102013

Yes, No, Maybe So: "August: Osage County"

Oscar-teasing trailers are just like Oscar bait movies: they all come out at the same time. Can't there be a little breathing room? After Captain Phillips warned us that Tom Hanks (and Paul Greengrass) are ready to come roaring back... After Gravity teased us with visual effects so terrifying that the prospect of Sandra Bullock acting out existential despair (not something she's known for you must admit) already seems like The Must Event of the Year... After The Butler threw a Handful of Presidents & First Ladies , Oscar Winners, Ten History Lessons, and OpPRRRrraaAAHHHh in one trailer pot and stirred itself into an Oscar Bait Frenzy (or Parody)... came The Weinstein Co's major player: AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY.

The film stars 3 Oscar winners (Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper), 3 nominees (Juliette Lewis, Sam Shepard, Abigail Breslin), 1 underappreciated awesome fellow (Ewan McGregor), 1 recent Emmy winner (Martindale), 1 rising star Benedict Cumberbatch, 1 curiously resurgent Dermot Mulroney and 1 Misty Upham from Frozen River... so you know FYC ads will have to be five page spreads. The Hollywood Reporter's already counting the ad dollars because that's a lot of names to push. [more after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Friday
May102013

Yes, No, Maybe So: The Butler

abstew here with another edition of "Yes, No, Maybe So". Tonight's trailer of choice Lee Daniels's latest, The Butler. Oh, and please be gentle–it's my first time...

When last we caught up with the Oscar nominated director, he was dishing up a heapin' helpin of some southern fried, kitschy, camp in The Paperboy. I think people were a little surprised to see that the follow-up to the Oscar-winning Precious involved an Academy Award winning actress peeing on the star of the High School Musical movies. And, well, surprisingly the Academy didn't feel the need to shower that film with any gold of its own. So, just how will the decades-spanning Butler fair? Will it be more Precious (Oscar noms for all!) or more Paperboy (um, the Razzies are next door...) Let's take a look!

YES

  • One word: OOOOOooooPPPPPPppppPPPRrrrAAAAaaaAAAAaaAaHHhhh!!! [more]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May092013

Boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into weak adaptations of great books

Hi all, Tim here. Like a lot of you, I’ve been waiting on Baz Luhrmann’s brand-new, all-3D, all-CGI version of The Great Gatsby with a kind of curious dread, on the assumption that the no-doubt overwhelming style and glitz would leave F. Scott Fitzgerald’s excavation of the limits of American ingenuity and self-invention a little bit lost amidst all the eye candy. And this seems to have been exactly the case, sadly.

But let us not come down too hard on Baz. There’s also the possibility that Gatsby simply isn’t a novel that’s meant to be filmed, and as evidence I’d like to call upon the last feature film adaptation, and certainly the best known prior to now. Of course, I mean the 1974 Paramount production starring Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby, Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan, and Sam Waterston as Nick Carroway, and a general sense of lifeless ennui as the stimulus-crazed Roaring ‘20s. Other than a fixation on production design and costumes (it won the Oscar for the latter), there’s not much that the ’74 film has in common with Luhrmann’s screamingly excessive vision; if anything a bit more of a willingness to push against the book, rather than to so dutifully illustrate it in the driest way possible, might have benefited it. Movies are not books, after all, and this version of Gatsby badly loses sight of that truth.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May092013

Gravity. Such a Tease. 

I don't have time for a Yes No Maybe So this morning for the Gravity teaser but I'm all YES anyway. And we can wait for a full trailer (though really why can't they leave it at this perfect tease?) for that. The 2013 Oscar prediction charts will be finished over the next few days (finally ~ thanks for your impatience!) but as you can tell from the Best Picture chart, I'm going all in for this one.

And I was doing so long before this tease caught my breath so strongly I nearly lost oxygen. How strongly does this teaser grab you? Do you think Alfonso Cuarón will top his two arguable masterpieces: Children of Men and Y Tu Mama Tambien? What would you give to see it right now?