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Entries in All That Jazz (7)

Friday
Jun052015

What Does 1979 Mean To You?

Our first Supporting Actress Smackdown of the year is this Sunday, looking at the nominees of 1979. If you haven't yet voted (readers, collectively, are the final panelist) you have until 9 PM EST tonight to do so. Out of curiousity I looked at the National Film Registry to see which films have previously been added from that year.

three of the year's stone cold classics

As a reminder each year 25 films join the registry at the Library of Congress and to be so honored a film must be deemed:

culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

I was SHOCKED to realize that Kramer vs. Kramer, which undeniably fits the first two criteria has not been added. Neither have these other major Oscar players from that year: Breaking Away, Being There, and The China Syndrome (the latter my guess as to which movie just missed the Best Picture list that year). The only movies from 1979 that are part of the registry are All That Jazz (recently discussed), The Black Stallion (recently discussed), Apocalypse Now, The Muppet Movie, Norma RaeManhattan and Alien. Tough to argue with those inductees. The public is free to suggest films before they choose each December and I always forget. But I won't this year! One film I'm totally voting for this year (not from 1979) is Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (1969) which needs some renewed attention since it's such a good companion piece to the Mad Men finale. But that's another topic... 

MEET THE PANELISTS FOR THIS SUNDAY'S SMACKDOWN!

Here's a little bit about them to prep you for our conversation this weekend...

First Time Panelists

K.M. SOEHNLEIN (Novelist)
Bio: K.M. Soehnlein's first movie memory is seeing Funny Girl at a drive-in with his parents. He spent his childhood inventing an alternate Hollywood with fictional actors, directors, movies and Oscar nominations. He went to film school at Ithaca College, wrote about film for the Village Voice, Out and Outweek, and now writes novels ("The World of Normal Boys," "Robin and Ruby," "You Can Say You Knew Me When"). He hopes at least one of them gets made into a movie. 

What does 1979 Mean to you?

In 1979 I was a 13-year-old suburban New Jersey boy, staring across the river at Manhattan and longing to live inside a Woody Allen film. Movies I saw in the theater include a wave of post-Rocky boxing stories (Rocky II, The Champ, The Main Event); two starring early SNL breakouts (The Jerk, Meatballs); and two that wound up in the Oscar race: Breaking Away (early screen crush: Dennis Quaid) and All That Jazz (mind forever blown). 

 

KRISTEN SALES (Blogger)
Bio: Kristen Sales is a Los Angeles native who’s been blogging about movies since 2010. She enjoys Buster Keaton and aggressive feminist punk rock. You can find her yelling about things on Twitter and Tumblr.

What does 1979 Mean to you?

I have absolutely no associations with the year "1979," except that Smashing Pumpkins song. But Smashing Pumpkins suck.

 

Returning Panelists

BILL CHAMBERS (Film Critic)
Bill Chambers is the founder, editor, and webmaster of FilmFreakCentral.net, which recently turned seventeen. A graduate of York University's Film program, he is a member of both the Toronto Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society. He has a cat. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1979 Mean to you?

One of my earliest memories is quite apropos: Seeing a movie for the first time on the big screen. I was four years old; the film was The Muppet Movie. I couldn't have asked for a more beguiling introduction to the cinema, a gently postmodern work that simultaneously taught me what movies are and demonstrated, via its very Muppet-ness, their ability to unite generations in the dark. Though I wouldn't catch up with them until I was a little older, lots more personally formative films were released that year, like The Jerk, Alien, All That Jazz, and even Rocky II; to borrow a term from Blade Runner, I think of 1979 somewhat narcissistically as my cinephile 'incept date.'

 

BRIAN HERRERA (aka "StinkyLulu")
Brian convened the first Supporting Actress Smackdown and hostessed more than thirty. He is a writer, teacher and scholar presently based in New Jersey, but forever rooted in New Mexico. Follow him on Twitter

What does 1979 Mean to you?

My movie-world opened wide in 1979. I was on the cusp of adolescence, about to experience the first real stirrings of my actressexual leanings, when I found myself with ready access to a betamax video player and a library of tape recordings that someone's relative had captured from HBO. 1979 was also the first Best Actress race I remember agonizing over long after the fact. I loved that Sally won, even though I believed Bette deserved it. It's a conflict I struggle with to this day...

 

And yours truly

NATHANIEL R (Host)
Nathaniel is the founder of The Film Experience, a reknowned Oscar pundit, and the web's actressexual ringleader. He fell in love with the movies for always at The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) but mostly blames Oscar night (in general) and the 80s filmographies of Kathleen Turner & Michelle Pfeiffer. Though he holds a BFA in Illustration, he found his true calling when he started writing about the movies. He blames Boogie Nights for the career change. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1979 mean to you?

I have slim recall of this year other than hearing the song "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" by Rod Stewart (?!?) but my strongest memory of the year is my very conservative parents complaining about President Jimmy Carter and the Iran Hostage Crisis non-stop. My movie memories are limited to three: the shock of seeing a bald woman in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (but nothing else about the movie); laughing hysterically when Cloris Leachman broke her fingernails in the Disney comedy The North Avenue Irregulars (but nothing else about the movie) and going little-kid wide-eyed seeing Kermit the frog riding a bicycle in The Muppet Movie and pretty much everything else about that movie which I loved so much I decided I was going to be a puppeteer when I grew up and my parents bought me the soundtrack. 


What does 1979 mean to you dear readers?
Even if you weren't yet alive perhaps you have an association?

 

Friday
May222015

1979: Cannes' Golden Fosse and 'All That Jazz'

In honor of the Year of the Month (1979) and this weekend's announcement of the Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival, Glenn looks at Bob Fosse's All That Jazz.

All That Jazz is my favourite Palme d'Or winner, awarded 35 years ago. Not only that, it's my favourite film from 1979. Actually, if you really want to know, Bob Fosse’s semi-autobiographical musical fantasy is my favourite film of any year, period, and it's remarkable how easily I can come to that decision whenever anybody asks what my favourite movie is considering I have the Libra mentality of terrible indecisiveness.

Looking over the list of subsequent Cannes winners and it’s a remarkably odd choice. Even when juries have given the top prize to an American film, it has never been one quite so big. It's not only a relatively big-budget America studio film, but it had already been a hit with Oscar voters several months earlier than the 1980 Cannes festival at which it won (tying with Kurosawa’s Kagemusha). Unlike No Country for Old Men – directed by this year’s Cannes jury presidents the Coen Brothers – which was apparently the victim of a jury belief that it did not need the prestige of a Palme d’Or, Kirk Douglas’ jury apparently had no qualms with awarding a four-time Oscar and two-time BAFTA winner with the most prestigious prize in international festival cinema. In a strange coincidence, Fosse’s 1979 Oscar Best Picture competitor, Apocalypse Now, had won the Palme d’Or a year earlier. It was the sort of occurrence that would never happen these days and even crazier to imagine something so razzling and dazzling taking the top prize from a competition that included names like Hal Ashby, Samuel Fuller, Bruce Beresford, Alain Resnais, Jean-Luc Godard, Walter Hill and the aforementioned Kurosawa.

Mr. Bob Fosse sent me this telegram. I am very happy and proud to share the Golden Palm with Mr. Kurosawa. I thank Roy Scheider for his collaboration in the film. And I regret not having been able to return myself, to express my joy and my emotion."

more

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May102014

Team Top Ten: The Best Cannes Winners of All Time

Amir here, to bring you this month’s edition of Team Top Ten, a monthly poll by all of our contributing team at The Film Experience. Cinephiles all around the world turn their attention to the south of France in May as the most prestigious film festival in the world gets underway in Cannes.

The festival’s history is a rich one, full of interesting cinematic and political narratives. It’s an event that has celebrated the best in cinema and operated as a launching pad for emerging artists as much as it has played games of politics and festival world favouritism. Still, when all is said and done, the list of Palme d’Or winners can rival any list of the best films ever made.

With this year’s edition of the festival just about to begin, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the past and choose our Top Ten Favourite Cannes Winners of All Time. For this poll, we’ve excluded the first two editions of the festival (1939, retroactively awarded to Union Pacific, and 1946, when the top prize was shared between 11 films.)

There is really no easy way to select the cream of the crop here, because these films are already... well, the cream of the crop. Consider the eight films that finished behind our top dozen: Pulp Fiction; Dancer in the Dark; Viridiana; 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; Farewell My Concubine; Secrets & Lies; The Tree of Life; The Pianist. Not to mention masterpieces like Black Orpheus, Wages of Fear and Rosetta that placed outside the top 20. The point is that this is the highest echelon of films awards so the standards are high and margins are slim. Some of you will surely disagree with our ranking, but we welcome that. Let us know what you think in the comments.

THE BEST CANNES WINNERS OF ALL TIME
a non-definitive poll which begins with a three-way tie for tenth

10= La Dolce Vita (Fellini, 1960)

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug142013

Morning Truth Tell: All That Jazz is a Freaking Masterpiece

If you haven't yet seen All That Jazz (1979) or haven't yet loved it -- you better stop and change your ways, daddy! Joe Gideon deserves the kind of hallowed cinema rep that Michael Corleone and Charles Foster Kane enjoy.

Live this truth. Carry it with you today.

Tuesday
Nov132012

Top Ten: Strange Golden Globe Musical Snubs

Glenn here with a tuesday top ten on a topic dear to my heart, and Nathaniel's too. We both have a strange fondness for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual Golden Globe Awards. Beyond the gif-ready celebrities-getting-drunk setting and the organisation’s occasional flurries of bonkers brilliance (too many to list), I think I like most of all that their splitting of films between drama and musical/comedy means so many very worthy films get big awards and nominations that they otherwise wouldn’t have. The general rule of thumb is that musicals have a much easier time getting a nomination because there are far fewer of them and, thus, stick out more. Sure, Burlesque, Across the Universe, Nine, and Mamma Mia are recent examples of none too acclaimed musicals landing big time best picture nominations.

Forgotten Awards Trivia: The Globes didn't consider "Dancer in the Dark" a musical (???) and Björk's awards show bird fetish didn't begin with the Oscar swan dress. Note that owl purse!

But what about those that didn’t? There’s more than you’d think!

11 with an Asterisk
Given the somewhat lax definition of “musical” by the HFPA – Ray? Coal Miner’s Daughter? Walk the Line? The Rose? – it’s a surprise that Robert Altman’s classic Nashville and Lars von Trier’s masterpiece Dancer in the Dark weren’t classified as such. The former because, well, it’s also pretty funny, right? The latter because it was a true, honest to god MUSICAL in the tradition sense. Altman’s ode to country garnered a whopping 11 nominations (including multiple for the now defunct “Best Acting Debut” category) and Dancer in the Dark snagged one for Bjork’s performance. Still, it’s about as dramatic as you can possibly get so we’ll let it slide.

TOP 10 MOST MYSTIFYING GOLDEN GLOBE MUSICAL SNUBS


10. Xanadu (1980)
Nominated instead: Airplane!, The Coal Miner’s Daughter (won), Fame, The Idolmaker, Melvin & Howard
Oh sure, laugh! Yes, this infamous movie was scorned upon release, but so was Burlesque and they had no trouble nominating that fabulosity twenty years later. Given the universal acclaim for, if nothing else, its soundtrack you’d think it could have at least gotten an original song citation for the title track. No, it’s not great art but who’s ever heard of Taylor Hackford’s The Idolmaker since?

Nine more increasingly acclaimed and tuneful snubbees after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar282011

Reader of the Day: Jamie

Today's Reader of the Day is Jamie who lives in LA.  I've never met her but she once volunteered as a magical Film Experience elf to give us a few articles direct from the Cannes Festival (this year's lineup is announced very soon, so stay tuned). So let's start there.

Nathaniel: How did your Cannes journey come out? What's your favorite memory from it?
JAMIE: I had the privilege of attending twice (2008, 2009) through my university. Unlike many college programs, our mandate was simply to see as many films as possible. Simply getting to worship at the altar of film that frequently over the course of two weeks is irreplaceable.

My favorite memory was not seeing one of the many award-winners or much-hyped titles, but rather attending the world premiere of the restored print of The Red Shoes. Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker hosted the screening, and hearing Scorsese talk at length about the passion the film inspired within him, as well as Thelma's relationship with Powell, made me feel like I was part of some exclusive club of cinephiles. I ended up having to miss the premiere of Precious to attend, a decision that bewildered my fellow festival-goers, but it was so worth it. I had never before seen The Red Shoes and seeing it in that environment was almost a holy experience.

                           

A holy experience.

First movie? First movie obsession?
I do not remember my first movie (for shame), and I had a lot of strange obsessions when I was younger. Due to my father's job, we always had access to all of the premium cable and pay per view channels, so I would just re-watch the films I loved on some type of continuous loop until I could move on. That's why I still know all of the dialogue to Selena.

However, my first informed obsessions came toward the end of my high school career. I impulsively bought a Miramax Best Picture DVD set that included The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love. I fell madly in love with each of the films and became obsessed with the narratives that emerged around them and their unfairly maligned legacies. It's when I first became aware of the many intricacies and politics of Oscar season. The films fostered an obsession with Harvey Weinstein and Miramax that eventually led to my first film internship, my honors thesis, and my current not-allowed-to-talk-about job.

Which current director are you rooting for in a big way in the next few years?
Lone Scherfig earned my eternal devotion with An Education. I think she has the potential to become a vital, female commercial directing voice. I don't usually root for the directors I love to sell out, but I think we need more ladies working within the studios. And Armando Ianucci made me laugh harder than I feel comfortable admitting with In the Loop. I love that he doesn't treat politics as sacrosanct and doesn't allow the humor to get in the way of making a resonant point.

Tell us about the biopic of your life. Who will it star, etcetera?
I will have to anger the movie gods and instead opt for a television series. I want Paul Feig and Judd Apatow to create an updated version of Freaks and Geeks based on my high school experience, still starring the lovely Linda Cardellini. The one thing that always bothered me about that show was that Lindsey was forced to choose between being completely straight-laced with Millie and the mathletes or a burn-out with the freaks. I too went to a suburban public high school rife with the usual parties and drama, but it was also extremely competitive and the popular kids were amongst the highest achieving. I'd love to see someone meaningfully tackle the intricacies of being a seemingly "normal" but hyper-ambitious teen still negotiating the pain and angst of growing up.

Freaks and Geeks is so genius. It takes place in a Michigan High School and name-checks places we actually went while in high school in Michigan. The clothes, the language, the "types" ... everything brings back memories -- more than any other movie or high school set show ever has for me. The show reminds me of my sister (although we were far enough apart in age that we didn't actually go to high school together like the brother / sister in the show) and all my Michigan friends so I it so hard. I really do.


Oops BIG TANGENT! Ok. Let's wrap up. Your favorite movie in the following 5 genres: musical, drama, romance, Woody Allen, and last year (yes, "last year" is a genre). Go.
Due to some unknown childhood trauma, I've always been wary of traditional musicals but I absolutely love All That Jazz and Dancer in the Dark. Regarding the former, the recent news about Bryan Singer directing a Fosse biopic infuriated me. What can any biopic reveal that All that Jazz didn't already cover? 

Network is my all-time favorite film, so it easily takes the drama category. As much as I tired of Aaron Sorkin's tear through Oscar season, I couldn't help but smile at every Paddy Chayefsky reference. Romance: Before Sunset. Even though I think it's Woody Allen's least favorite, I adore Hannah and Her Sisters. The "not even the rain has such small hands" moves me every time I see it. Having said that, I was raised on Woody Allen films and would jump at the opportunity to watch any of them at the slightest notice.

Finally, despite my previous Sorkin slight, The Social Network was by far my favorite last year. It felt like one of those special movies made just for me.

Friday
Jan212011

"It's Showtime" Bob Fosse


I have to ask: Wouldn't a Bob Fosse biopic be better suited to ShowTime  than HBO -- just on account of that catchphrase? Think of the cynergy of marketing. Somehow I'd missed (or had forgotten, more likely) the news that HBO was planning a Bob Fosse biopic and now it's been announced that Bryan Singer will direct.

Haven't any of these people seen All That Jazz (1979)?

See, Fosse already made his own (auto)biopic albeit with silly winking name-changes to protect the guilty. All That Jazz was brilliant (still is), one of the best films of a very amazing decade, and there will be no topping it ever. Face facts: he got there first. Fosse was so committed he even planned ahead by staging his own death scene for film while he still had all his chain-smoking, pill popping, eye-dropping visionary musical wits about him. Another thing that makes All That Jazz untoppable is its distinct lack of hagiography. Or sure you come away from it knowing that Bob Fosse is a genius but he doesn't dwell on this, he just is it, and there's no efforts to soften himself for mass consumption. There's lots of singing but there's not heavenly choruses declaring him Worthy of This.

Despite my reservations I would totally watch this. But it may be a long time off. The project has no writer yet and the producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are not exactly unbusy.

What'cha think about that?