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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, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

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Thelma & Louise - A Tag Team Revisit

"I love how Thelma slips into a swimsuit in the middle of all this -- I imagine most criminals are this bad at being criminals, and it makes complete sense to me she still hasn't quite processed how screwed she and Louise are." -Marsha

 "This was a great read. I really liked your take on how Ridley Scott frames the actresses throughout this portion of the film." -Suzanne

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Tuesday
Oct142014

Top Ten Reasons I Should've Bought that "Baker Boys" Photograph When I Had The Chance

Today the new season of TFE begins! We're celebrating with an all top ten list day. Every few hours, a new and highly random top ten list to kick off the Fall Movie Season (our favorite time of year!). Let's start with something that's been haunting me because I forgot to post about the 25th anniversary of The Fabulous Baker Boys yesterday, one of my all time favorite films. A long time ago in a New York City that still felt like a galaxy far far away (I was a recent transplant... 1999/2000?) I attended a Jeff Bridges photography show. He's really a very good photographer and takes photos on the sets of his movies. I stared and stared at this enormous black & white photograph of Michelle Pfeiffer that Bridges had taken. 

This photo is so magnificent in person

My bank account was humiliation in numeric form though I don't remember how much the giant beauty cost.

TOP TEN REASONS I SHOULD'VE BOUGHT THAT FABULOUS BAKER BOYS ON SET PHOTOGRAPH OF MICHELLE PFEIFFER ANYWAY...

10. However $$$, it would have long since paid for itself in number of looks / pleasure derived.

09. Though there were several things that contributed to my cinephilia and actressexuality, many of which have been oft-referenced at The Film Experience (among them: Streep & Turner & Woody in theaters, a neighborhood revival house, Hitchcock on VHS and old Natalie Wood films on the TV, etcetera) Michelle Pfeiffer on the piano top was the final nail in my 'normal person' coffin. I would never again not be obsessive about these things

08. If I (inexplicably) couldn't have a reunion of Bridges & Pfeiffer onscreen, it least it would have been on the wall sandwiching me with Baker Boys mania when the pair were reunited on my television in 2010.

07. The picture would have looked even bigger in my impossibly small training-wheels Manhattan apartment

06. Jail time served from robberies to afford it, would have only brought me closer to the best of her Bad Girls: Elvira Hancock, Lamia, Velma and Catwoman, but especially icy predator convict Ingrid Magnusson (White Oleander, which should have won Pfeiffer her second or third Oscar but who's counting?) 

05. Though the frames edges were sharp and glass is hard, perhaps it would have emotionally cushioned the blow of the recent discovery that Michelle Pfeiffer recently turned down ANOTHER Oscariffic role -- Lisa Genova, the author of Still Alice discusses its journey to film and the handful of A list actresses that turned it down, starting around 5:45 mark. 

Dr. Lisa Genova Part 7 Being Present is the Best Thing You Can Do for Someone with Alzheimer's and Yourself from Bill Slater on Vimeo.

 

(Turning down Thelma & Louise and Silence of the Lambs and now Still Alice which might well give another long Oscar-denied actress the gold? Painful... although it probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere near Oscar with Brett Rattner attached so maybe it was smart for all those A and B+ listers to say no)

04. For a reminder of that movies insanely great cinematography. How Michael Ballhaus lost the Oscar I shall never understand.

03. Because black and white goes with everything.

02. Because this Bridges photo above was not available for purchase. I love it so much because it challenges all of my feelings and perceptions of La Pfeiffer and renders her thoroughly human... in a perfect Not Susie Diamond way.

01 For further vindication: Ain't nobody would ever spent thousands of dollars to get a framed photo of Jessica Tandy on the set of Driving Miss Daisy. Truth bomb.

Monday
Oct132014

NYFF: A Conversation About "Inherent Vice"

Hello dear readers. Your host Nathaniel here for our penultimate article on this year's New York Film Festival. I hope you've enjoyed the reviews from Glenn, Michael, Jason and me. Several people have asked why none of us reviewed Inherent Vice or if any of us had seen it. Strangely we all were there. But then no one claimed it so we've opted to have a conversation about it at least in part to figure out what held us back. Let's begin...

NATHANIEL R: It just goes to show you you never know. Alejandro G. Innaritu is one of my least favorite wildly acclaimed auteurs and Paul Thomas Anderson is one of my all time favorite wildly acclaimed auteurs. And yet here I am at the end of New York Film Festival after screenings of Birdman and Inherent Vice and guess who provided cinematic ecstacy and guess who gave a bad trip? It's Opposite World!

I reach out to you Glenn, Jason, and Michael to help me parse my feelings since you've also been devouring the NYFF. The Inherent Vice screening was a full week ago and I am no closer to writing anything about it. I keep hearing that it's a perfect stoner movie.  Do I not like it because I am not into weed (so perfectly capturing that feeling would be lost on me) or because it's simply not good: shapeless, meandering, super-indulgent, and purposefully incoherent?

[more]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct132014

75th: Absence of Melinda

Two time Oscar nominee Melinda Dillon turns 75 today. Since we don't like any major actresses to totally fade from public consciousness when they stop working, let's look back. Though her last working year was 2007 her most recent high profile gig goes back much further to a SAG nomination as part of the ensemble of Magnolia (1999, pictured left) in which she played wife and mother to Phillip Baker Hall and Melora Walters. 

Though she'd been working for a decade before it in small parts (TV guest gigs and improvisational comedy) her first real claim-to-fame came as "Memphis Sue" Woody Guthrie's wife in the Best Picture nominated bio Bound for Glory (1976). She received a Golden Globe nomination for "Best Acting Debut" (a now long defunct category) even though it wasn't her debut. Dillon's breakout led to bigger parts and two well-regarded Oscar nominations though curiously the Globes, who had first honored her, skipped her both times when her major hits rolled around. Her first Oscar nod made actually history: as the wide-eyed young mother in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1976) she was and will forever remain the first actor to ever receive a nomination for a Steven Spielberg film (it wasn't until The Color Purple when anyone else followed). Later she was nominated as a particularly fragile soul and key character at the heart of a war in Absence of Malice (1981) between journalist Sally Field and businessman Paul Newman (also Oscar-nominated).

Melinda Dillon as "Teresa" in Absence of Malice (1981)

Though Dillon's heyday preceded the birth of my own film/actress obessions I remember getting the sense that she was a critical darling, the kind of actress with a devout if not populist following. By the time I was watching movies regularly and passionately though the roles were all mom roles sometimes with lots of screentime as in A Christmas Story (1983) and Harry and the Hendersons (1987) and sometimes on the peripheries as in those very blonde family flashbacks in Prince of Tides (1991) or "Merna" in To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar (1995).

If you're familiar with her work what's your favorite of her performances? If she could be coaxed out of her retirement what would you have her do?

Monday
Oct132014

Beauty vs Beast: The First Scream Cuts The Deepest 

JA from MNPP here, with our second week of Final Girl themed "Beauty vs Beast"'s leading up to Ye Olde All Hallows - I didn't intend for this to also become a Wes-Craven-a-thon but whatcha gonna do, the man scribbled his name all over the genre in permanent marker, so here we are heading to the sleepy little hamlet of Woodsboro and the film that reinvigorated a slashed-to-ribbons genre for a new generation (my generation) - 1996's Scream. (And my apologies if this spoils a movie for you but I consider 18 years past-due on that sort of thing.) Let's meet our foes!

 

I don't know if putting the tag-team queer-vibe between Billy & Stu counts as plus or a minus for you -- it's a plus for me but I'm probably mentally disturbed so I'll leave just that to y'all to discuss in the comments. You have one week!

PREVIOUSLY Last week it was Wes Craven's 80s horror classic we tackled - in a battle between A Nightmare on Elm Street's dream duo we came down on the side of good (but just barely) - hall-pass-hating Nancy (Heather Langencamp) defeated the nightmare-man Freddy Krueger once again, but with just 52% of the vote. (I personally like to think some of those votes were for her awesomely drunk mother played by Ronee Blakely.) Said Rob:

"Nancy, aka Heather Langenkamp, is great! Not particularly a shining thespian but a charming and sincere one. Rooted for her all the way."

Monday
Oct132014

NYFF: A Second Look At Foxcatcher

The NYFF concluded last night but we've got a couple more pieces for you. Nathaniel reviewed Foxcatcher briefly at TIFF and here's Michael's much more positive take on it...

If it’s true that great storytelling unfolds in a way that is both surprising and inevitable, then Bennet Miller’s Foxcatcher appears at first glance to be missing half of the equation. The most surprising thing about the spare script by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman is how shocking it isn’t. We can see the impending tragedy coming from miles away. Only the film’s characters seem blind to the descending shadows. Tremendous piles of money have a way of obscuring vision like that.

Based on the real events leading up to a 1996 murder, Foxcatcher’s first images show the incredibly rich at play with their pets, sitting atop thoroughbred horses, surrounded by hunting dogs, etc. It’s appropriate for a film about the unfathomably wealthy John du Pont’s attempts to keep champion wrestlers Mark and David Schultz as his own personal possessions. 

Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) doesn’t require much convincing to take du Pont up on his offer...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct132014

Viola Davis, Vanquisher of the Unspeakable

Manuel here with your daily reminder that this is Viola Davis’s world and we’re just living in it. Remember Jessica Chastain (she, champion extraordinaire of actresses all around) telling us that "Viola Davis is one of the greatest actresses in the world"?

Well, it shouldn't surprise us, but Ms Davis is as graceful a person as she is a performer. She was one of several women celebrated by Variety this past weekend at their “Power of Women” luncheon. The roster alone should get you excited: Davis, Reese (don’t call it a comeback) Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, and producer Donna Langley. That they all got beautiful covers and editorial photo shoots is just an added bonus for us readers.

But it was Viola, being recognized for her work with the Hunger Is initiative, who once again showed us why she’s so fearless and magnetic on and off camera. Her speech below is a brave and touching call to action, and I won’t shy away from mentioning that it made me shed a tear or two. As she notes, she’s intent on getting rid of the word “unspeakable,” for everything should be spoken about, including one’s shame and one’s maybe-not-so-happy childhood. Watch her follow her own advice:

What can one say after that? Do you also wish we knew what it is that Viola's husband says to her every day? Are you just as happy that Davis is being feted left and right these days? 

Monday
Oct132014

A New Season Begins

Let's pretend we've been off air for a few month and TFE's fall season starts tomorrow, 8 AM EST with a special Tuesday Top Ten day, reviews as Lists, or Lists as Lists, or Picture Lists or whatever -- top tens all day. Throw some confetti (TFE has, strangely, a devout but possessive following. Don't keep things you love to yourself: share, tweet and like your favorites! Donate a cup of coffee a month - see sidebar) 

Whenever I announce a new season, I like to illustrate with ruthless programmer Diana Christensen even though she'd immediately cancel us for our ratings share and low episode counts 

The Semi-Regulars
Mondays
 Monologues | Stage Door | Beauty vs. Beast
Tuesdays Top Ten | Curio | NEW OR RETURNING SERIES 
Wednesdays NEW OR RETURNING |  A Year With Kate - only 11 episodes left! 
Thursdays AHS: Freakshow | NEW OR RETURNING |  Tim's Toons 
Fridays Posterized | Michael's Weekly Review 
Saturdays Meet the Contenders | Nathaniel's Weekly Review 
Sundays Box Office | Podcast

(This was one of the first blogs to treat itself like a tv network way way back when but now it's the norm across the web. Every one and all the corporate sites have recurring series now.) That's the basic building blocks of our network. We try for three regular series Monday through Thursday and two Fridays through Sundays) but as you know the site offers lots more than that: daily news items, trailer analysis, lotsa lotsa Oscar coverage, anniversary celebrations, occasional celebrity guests, and multiple surprises and special detours. I'm dying to relaunch  "Actressland" (which isn't meant to be standalone comics once a year like it has been but a continuing weekly story - stay tuned!). I know that smackdowns & best shots (♥) have devout fans but there's just no way to juggle them during the constant barrage of Oscarifficness so they return in March 2015.  

NEW INTERVIEWS
Lots coming up in the next few weeks including Guillermo del Toro, Patti Smith, Patricia Arquette, Chadwick Boseman, Birdman's composer, Noah's costume designer, and many more. Before the big wave of contenders catch up with some past chats since you probably missed a few. This year we've interviewed Guardian of the Galaxy's screenwriter, Pride's director, The director of an indie called Test, and stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton (that was a popular one!).

Last year's Interviews ICYMT
Oscar Winners: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club); Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club); Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a SlaveOscar Nominees: Julie Delpy (Before Midnight), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Costume Designer Michael O'Connor (Invisible Woman), Costume Designer Patricia Norris (12 Years a Slave): Globe Nominees Director Asghar Farhadi (The Past); Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) ; Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Enough Said) ; Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks); And Still More Fine Talents!  Colin Farrell (Saving Mr Banks); Jonathan Groff (Frozen); Brie Larson (Short Term 12); Sarah Paulson (12 Years a Slave); Joanna Scanlan (The Invisible Woman); Director Yen Tan (Pit Stop); Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave

Which was your favorite interview last year and who do you hope we snag this time around?