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Entries in Beauty vs Beast (155)

Monday
May152017

Beauty vs Beast: The Maniac From Uncle

Jason from MNPP here using this week's "Beauty vs Beast" to wish one of my favorite actors of Classic Hollywood a happy birthday today - the great Joseph Cotten was born on this day in the year 1905. Cotten got his start on Broadway, where he caught the eye of some fella called Orson Welles - I suppose you can do worse for yourself than have your very first movie in theaters end up being Citizen Kane.

Just two years later Cotten took the job I always identify him with, as "Uncle Charlie" opposite Teresa Wright as his niece (also named Charlie, cuz doubling) in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt. Hitch considered this his greatest film and I'd rank it up there (although "greatest" is a bit much when everything he made between 1954 and 1963 is sitting there) and mainly due to Cotten's subtly deranged work. Wright is also wonderful though - her best work, I think, by far. So where oh where does the Merry Widow's Waltz stop...

PREVIOUSLY Speaking of waltzes we danced the week away with Fred & Ginger for last week's hoe-down, and y'all decided that backwards in heels was your winner, giving Miss Rogers an eight point toe up over her competition. Said Claran (and I'm surprised there wasn't more of this):

"This is CRUEL!!! I propose a tie, since Top Hat wld not hav been so successful w/o their magical chemistry together. As indv performers, they r not so memorable, but as a team, they are certainly on TOP. "

Monday
May082017

Beauty vs Beast: The Charm About You

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" - this Wednesday marks 118 years since the birth of the dancing legend Fred Astaire, light as air, and so let's tackle (with as much grace as we can muster) his greatest film opposite his greatest co-star, 1935's Top Hat with Ginger Rogers. The story, as much as is there one is a case of mistaken identities - Jerry (Astaire) tap dances his way into the heart of Dale (Rogers) while she thinks he's somebody else, yadda yadda, they bicker and they dance and they make eternal movie magic.

PREVIOUSLY The monkey won! Last week's King Kong competition ping-ponged between the ape and the blonde but in the end twas the Beast that finally killed the Beauty this go-round with 55% of your vote. Said Edward L:

"I call this a tie. Kong is the mightiest film character...but all he wants is Ann, so she's got to have something too."

Monday
May012017

Beauty vs Beast: Monkey Business

Jason from MNPP here for another round of "Beauty vs Beast" - today is the 86th anniversary of the grand opening of the Empire State Building, aka the most famous building in the world. And so in its honor we're finally tackling the movie that not only birthed its legend but also gave this series its name...

"It was beauty killed the beast."

The Empire State Building was opened on May 1st 1931. President Hoover pushed a button in the White House in DC and the lights to the tower in NYC flicked on for the first time. Just under two years later the movie King Kong would be released (director Merian Cooper supposedly came up with the idea of the plane battle at its top), immediately branding the iconic skyscraper and its most famous big monkey occupant - and his little blonde friend (Fay Wray) - onto every human brain, and forever thereafter.

PREVIOUSLY Last week's contest faced down the mother-daughter duo of Postcards From the Edge and once again proved you should never bet against Meryl Streep - she stomped right over birthday gal Shirley MacLaine with 61% of your vote. Although forever1267 really summed up my own thoughts on the question:

"Where is the "Both" button?"

Monday
Apr242017

Beauty vs Beast: Look Who's Still Here

Jason from MNPP with our weekly "Beauty vs Beast" fun-time - I'm surprised it didn't occur to me to do this one at the start of this year when we were mourning the epic loss of both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (I even re-watched this film at that time) but perhaps the pain was too much. Anyway as Nat told you earlier it's Shirley MacLaine's birthday so the right time has revealed itself, and today we'll tackle Mike Nichols' glorious 1990 comedy Postcards From the Edge, starring MacLaine and some Meryl woman, based on Fisher's thinly veiled book about a drug-addict actress and her let's-say-ebuillent actress-mother. Mother-Actress? Actress-Singer-Mother? Well that's the question, isn't it?

PREVIOUSLY I'm shocked and flabbergasted by you people - hasn't Jennifer Garner suffered enough? We wished her a happy birthday last week with some 13 Going on 30 love and y'all rejected her star-making performance for Adorable Mark Ruffalo. I... well he is pretty damn adorable. Said Dave S:

"Ruffalo in this movie is top-tier among underwritten love interests; I think him ceding the stage for the female lead is actually a point in his favor. He gets to fill the somewhat vaguely defined dream guy role in a way we're more used to seeing actresses relegated to. See also: Aidan Quinn as the projectionist in "Desperately Seeking Susan"."

Monday
Apr172017

Beauty vs Beast: Age Ain't Nothing But A Couple of Numbers

Jason from MNPP here, wishing Jennifer Garner a happy 45th birthday with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast." I know Garner's got some fans up in here, and I know that we are all hoping she can pull her career out of this slump its been in - even when she's had a hit movie like Dallas Buyers Club most people found her role superfluous to the plot. Anyone who watched Alias knows she deserves better. I'm hoping for a post-divorce Kidman Bump. I contemplated tackling Juno for this competition since the film's turning 10 this year but there's no solid VS. there so instead we'll go back to her big hit in 2004 - 13 Going on 30, in which she abuses in two timelines a never more adorkable Mark Ruffalo...

PREVIOUSLY Turns out The Film Experience community loves F. Scott Fitzgerald's book The Great Gatsby as much as I do and we've got lots of opinions on the movie versions - as for which Daisy we prefer, it was Baz's blonde Carey Mulligan loved those beautiful shirts just a little more, to the tune of 51% over Mia Farrow's 49. Said Aaron:

"Call me crazy, but I thought Carey Mulligan nailed the vocal pitch of Daisy. She was sinewy, a bit aloof, yet girlish and sexy. I thought she reeked of money, as described in the book. It's an incredibly difficult part to nail, since so much of Daisy (in the book) exists through Gatsby's ideals and dreams. I think it's ok if the actress playing her comes off a little empty, cause I think that's the reality of Daisy herself.

There were a lot of things that didn't work in Luhrmann's version, but I thought the casting was solid for the most part (other than Tobey Maguire, whom I'm allergic to in everything). Edgerton and Debicki were especially good in the film as well."

Monday
Apr102017

Beauty vs Beast: Daisy Daisy Give Me Your Answer Do

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" contest  - the older I get the more amateurish and obvious it feels to call F. Scott Fitzgerald's book The Great Gatsby, which was published on this day in 1925, my favorite book... but then I go read the book again and it lifts me up and swirls me around wildly for 180 brief pages and drops me off along those boats beating against the current, and I'm reconvinced it remains the Great American Novel. So I take comfort in knowing I'm not alone - alongside me stand whole swaths of movie-makers who keep trying to turn it into The Great American Movie, time and time again, to wildly varying degrees of success.

So today let's focus in on the two highest profile adaptations - Jack Clayton's 1974 version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, and Baz Luhrmann's 2013 jazzy flick with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan. And because we're all good and proper actressexuals here at The Film Experience let's head down to the end of the dock and stare at the green light across the bay to dream of the ladies alone. (Since they're both playing the same character I'm going to skip the PROS & CONS this time around since we're judging them by their performances.)

PREVIOUSLY Last week we sent a letter to daddy telling him how much we love What Ever Happened To Baby Jane, and specifically Baby Jane herself, since y'all gave Bette Davis' performance a full 75% of your votes. (But don't worry about Joan Crawford - she just showed up at my house to accept the award in Bette's honor.) Said Jones:

"Bette as Baby Jane is a master act with continuous high-wire moments that never feel absurd or over the top. Her acting shines masterfully when she reveals the broken soul within through tender shifts in her facial expression or voice intonation. The last few minutes are particularly heart-breaking and makes you feel for her. Joan is amazing, but I'm team Baby Jane unflinchingly."

Monday
Apr032017

Beauty vs Beast: Grande Dame Guignol

Jason from MNPP here with a new edition of "Beauty vs Beast" that was so obvious, so "sitting right there and staring me dead in the eyes," that I couldn't believe I hadn't done it already and had to do three searches just to make sure. But no, it's true, we have somehow never used What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? for this series. Perhaps our minds had blocked it off until Ryan Murphy's Feud became a reality? Well much like Emmy nominations for Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon, its moment has come. Of course now it might be tougher than ever to sort through all the extraneous on-set shenanigans to get to the ladies behind the ladies - the Blanche and the Baby Jane behind the Bette and the Joan. It's always about billing, you know. But let's try.

PREVIOUSLY The now classic rom-com My Best Friend's Wedding is celebrating its 20th very soon and you can tell the movie still works because it still has the ability to divide our sympathies among its two extremely charming leading ladies - while the numbers went back and forth over the course of the week in the end it was the pretty woman in the lead who walked away with just over 53% of your vote. Said brookesboy:

"This is one of Julia's best performances. The way she combines ruthlessness with charisma is unique. You realize how awful she is all along, but you still can't help relating to her. That's a pretty nifty trick. And this is a comedy that's actually kind of a tragedy. I hate myself, but I'm Team Jules. GAWD!"

Monday
Mar272017

Beauty vs Beast: My Fiancée's Best Friend

Jason from MNPP here for another round of "Beauty vs Beast." I was doing my umpteenth (literally, my umpteenth) post on Muriel's Wedding over at my own site this past week when I realized that I really do not give enough attention and affection to director PJ Hogan's masterful follow-up film, 1997's deliciously cold-blooded Julia Roberts rom-com My Best Friend's Wedding. Which turns 20 in June! That's nuts!

On the page the character that Julia plays is a selfish and manipulative monster, but Roberts pushes the star wattage to full-tilt (has her hair ever been bigger and bouncier?) and charms us even as she's being despicable. (God do I understand and empathize with Jules, much to my horror.) Meanwhile Cameron Diaz, one year before There's Something About Mary, gave her own off-the-charts effervescence to the woman we were supposed to, but it was impossible to, hate. Take your corners...

PREVIOUSLY We tackled Fake News and the folks who make and fight it with our Broadcast News poll last week - y'all came down on the side of truth of the Albert Brooks sweaty sort with 64% of your vote. Asked Marco:

"Is the film on either man's side? Aaron is infinitely smarter and more genuine than Tom, and in a fair world his talent and knowledge would win him the news anchor job ahead of his more traditionally handsome and charismatic colleague. But he's also, to quote Tom, a prick (in a great way), supercillious, arrogant, and very needy. When he informed on Tom's fake tears during the date rape report, it seemed less of a moral stance and more of a desire to torpedo his relationship with Jane after she spurned his own interests."