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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Ashley Judd, Pulp Queen

"Double Jeopardy is my jam!!! I ain't mad at cha, Miss Ashley! " - Dorian

"Ashley reminds me of Ida Lupino, who in the '40s had a lot of talent but was undervalued because of her association with genre potboilers." -Brookesboy

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Tuesday
Jul262016

Oscar Trivia, Indie Sensations, and Evita's Death

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

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Monday
Jul252016

HMWYBS: "Islands in the Stream"

Best Shot 1977 Party. Chapter 1
Islands in the Stream (1977)
Directed by: Franklin J Schaffner
Cinematography by: Fred J Koenekamp


No, dear readers, quit humming.

Though this post is retro it is not about Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers' classic Grammy-winning 80s duet. Islands in the Stream is also the name of a 1977 movie very loosely adapted from a collection of possibly unfinished Ernest Hemingway stories which were released after his death under this title. I regret to inform that I had not even heard of it, the film or the book. The three sections of Hemingway's posthumous book include his previously published "The Old Man and the Sea," something I had heard of. (I'm not an animal.) 

The poster to your left begins with the tagline:

How long has it been since you've seen a really good movie?

Which was maybe not the best marketing tactic in March of 1977 considering what a sensational film year 1976 was and it had just ended. What ingrates! But that's a topic for another day.

George C Scott and David Hemming watching Scott's boys fishing

The internet doesn't provide much quick info on what people thought of this film back in the day but it does hold the scrappy distinction of being a first quarter release that ended up competing at the Oscars an entire year later (and we know how depressingly difficult that is to pull off).  After the jump, a few thoughts on the movies visuals and a little inappropriate ogling of 80s hunk Hart Bochner in his film debut...

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Monday
Jul252016

Feeling really "sorted out" about Absolutely Fabulous

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Do you remember that bit in the AbFab series when Edina is turning 40 and her ex husband’s new wife Bo (the hilarious Mo Gaffney), already in her 40s, is feeling really zen about the aging process…

I mean, golly, I wish I could tell her it’s no big deal. I had a ball on my 40th birthday. I felt really strong, really sorted-out about it. I realized what a lucky, wonderful person I was. And whether in your 30s or your 40s, you’re still the same gorgeous person. Enjoy life!

…only to hyperventilate at the mention of her own impending 50s? I kept thinking about that bit during the new AbFab movie...

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Monday
Jul252016

Beauty vs Beast: Stuck In Mortville

Jason from MNPP here, saying howdy from a steamy-as-Hell Monday in New York. The heat reminds me that the Film Experience is celebrating 1977 this month -- 1977 in NYC was the "Summer of Sam," with heatwaves and black-outs and serial killing, oh my. We don't have it that bad, thank goodness. Anyway I just recently celebrated the Year of '77 on my own site with a Top 5 but there was one movie I hated leaving off, so let's take advantage of the opportunity with this week's "Beauty vs Beast."

John Waters' Desperate Living was released on May 27th 1977 - sandwiched as it is between Female Trouble (his masterpiece, says me) and Hairspray (his big mainstream hit) Desperate Living often gets overlooked, but it's High Trash Heaven thanks to its two leading ladies, John's manic & marvelous muses of manure...

PREVIOUSLY Sharon Stone achieved near dominace (and she wouldn't want it any othe rway) with last week's Basic Instinct poll - she topped Michael Douglas (ahem) with nearly 92% of the vote! Said forever1267 and Ryan Murphy, heed our call!):

"Such delicious filthy trash Brilliant movie movie dialogue, and that all empowering Scene. The only person in that room with power is wearing white... and nothing else.

Sharon really should chat up Ryan Murphy."

Monday
Jul252016

Marni Nixon (1930-2016)

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that Marni Nixon, beloved voice of Hollywood's supersized musicals of the 50s and 60s has died of breast cancer at 86. It was a long and good and musical life, if never celebrated enough by the culture she gave so much to. It had been our long held dream to see her given an Honorary Oscar which must now be a dream unfulfilled. Because I don't have the words today, I thought I'd share a piece I wrote ten years ago on how special Marni Nixon was to me, a baby cinephile growing up with musicals as my favorite form of cinematic bliss.

Marni Nixon is my Kathy Selden
by Nathaniel R 

Toward the end of Singin' in the Rain (1952), which chronicles Hollywood's seismic shift from silent films to sound production, a hilariously dim and screechy movie star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) gets her comeuppance. She has cruelly locked the sweet voiced Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) into a contract to provide her a suitable movie voice. Lamont is after self-preservation: she can't make sound movies with her own unappealing voice, but she also cruelly takes pleasure in preventing Kathy from pursuing stardom. At a live performance Kathy stands behind a curtain, her dreams in tatters, as she sings for Lina. But Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) pulls the curtain on the act in progress, rescuing his new girl from obscurity and dooming his former co-star to a fast fade.

Singin' in the Rain is many things: a true musical masterpiece, a stellar romantic comedy, and the best movie Hollywood ever made about Hollywood (give or take Sunset Blvd). It's a completely absorbing viewing experience but for this: Every time I see it my mind drifts away to Marni Nixon during this particular scene. Kathy's story isn't exactly Marni's. Marni wasn't forced into submission as the silents were dying. But she was the songbird woman behind the curtain for beloved movie musicals and she was born in 1930 as the silents were emitting their death rattle (Hollywood studios had halted silent film production by 1929. Only a few emerged in movie houses of 30s). Marni Nixon was to be a famous voice but not a famous face ...just like the almost-fate of the fictional Kathy Selden.

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