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Beauty vs. Beast

 

Christina vs. Joan
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also don't forget that tomorrow night on April Fools Day we'll celebrate Mommie Dearest with a "Best Shot" party

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Entries in Beauty vs Beast (59)

Monday
Mar302015

Beauty vs Beast: Mommie Knows Best

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast," which could be considered a preview of coming attractions (random aside: I can only hear that phrase in Grace Kelly's voice) -- this week's episode of TFE's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series on Wednesday is devoted to the camp masterpiece Mommie Dearest, and so are we. I can't help myself. It's perfect for this series too, and somehow we've never asked the question. In one corner you've got Christina Crawford (played by Mara Hobel as a little girl and Diana Scarwid as a not-so-little girl), adopted daughter and axe-bringer. In the other corner you've got legendary movie star and crazy person Joan Crawford, played by legendary movie star (and perhaps also a crazy person - I have heard stories!) Faye Dunaway, giving a great, dedicated performance - I won't hear a word about her being "bad" in this movie. Not a word of it! On the one hand I'll grant you that it's awfully hard not to side with an abused child... but on the other hand, come on! Who are you watching this movie for???

Whose team are you on?
Team Christina0%
Team Joan0%

PREVIOUSLY Last week we climbed inside the brains of Charlie Kaufman & Spike Jonze and oh yeah Catherine Keener for her birthday with a Being John Malkovich round, pitting Keener's caustic Maxine against Cameron Diaz's desperate Lotte - ultimately it was Cathy's brilliantly sleek sarcasm that won the day with just over 60% of the vote. Said Mr. Goodbar:

"Team Maxine. She is cut of the same cloth as Linda Fiorentino's from The Last Seduction: a misanthrope with irresistible charm and wit, except she finds love and changes whereas Fiorentino just stays on course to become a psychopath."

Monday
Mar232015

Beauty vs Beast: Beauty & (Malkovich) Brains

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" -- I wish that we could use this column every week to celebrate actresses on their birthdays, but it doesn't always work out that way time-wise unfortunately... this makes two weeks in a row though. Last week was La Huppert, and this week no less than the great Catherine Keener is celebrating her birthday! Keener's turning 56 today and so we celebrate with her, looking back at maybe our favorite performance of hers (although that's a tough choice) - Maxine in Spike Jonze's and Charlie Kaufman's brilliant existential-comedy Being John Malkovich (1999).

Maxine is in many ways the nasty yin to John Cusack's sad-sack yang... but nobody's rooting for Craig. That would make this question too easy. Craig's wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) though... the battle for Malkovich Malkovich is in your hands!

Whose team are you on?
Team Lotte0%
Team Maxine0%

PREVIOUSLY As mentioned up top we were all about Huppert last week - specifically her performance in Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher (in a stroke of random continuity today is Michael Haneke's birthday! Happy birthday Mikey boy!) against that of the pretty boy played by Benoit Magimel - Pretty Boy put up a good fight all things considered but when your competition's willing to fill people's pockets with glass to win, it's not really a fair fight. Said Nathaniel:

"...the only way Walter is going to win this is if you post nude photos of Benoit Magimel with it and confuse people as to what they're voting on. That said I voted for Walter because Erika is so fucking depraved. and not in the good way. That ending!"

Monday
Mar162015

Beauty vs Beast: Making Beastly Music Together

Jason from MNPP here with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast," wherein we ask you to pick a side either side in one of cinema's many morality plays. It's the birthday of one of our greatest living actresses - Isabelle Huppert is turning 62 today! And talk about still going strong. She's pounding out some of her most exciting and dangerous-as-ever work ever these days; last year's Abuse of Weakness from Catherine Breillat made me weak in the knees. And the project she's in the middle of filming right now, a rape-revenge thriller from Danish provocateur Paul Verhoeven... well even just writing those words in that sequence makes me break out in a hot sweat of expectations.

So today in her honor we look back at perhaps her greatest achievement to date, Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher. Which - usefully for this exercise - is also giving us one of the hardest-to-root-for lead characters ever put on screen. Not that Benoit Magimel's aggresively manicured Walter is anybody's idea of a saint... Haneke's not going to make this easy for anybody. (Understatement of the century.)

Whose team are you on?
Team Walter0%
Team Erika0%

PREVIOUSLY We made like Buffy for her 18th anniversary and got our vampire boyfriends on - but who slayed? It was the peroxide punk who saved the day - Spike too about 53% of the vote in what was unsurprisingly a close battle. It's been raging for eighteen years, after all! Said JS:

"Spike still takes every and all cakes."

Monday
Mar092015

Beauty vs Beast: Vamp Thru The Heart

It's Monday which means it's time for this week's "Beauty vs Beast" - Jason from MNPP here again to talk us in. Did you know that tomorrow is the 18th anniversary of Joss Whedon's television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer's premiere on the WB? I'd say Buffy's old enough to graduate from High School but we all know what happened the first time around (SNAKES) so let's not. Coincidentally over the weekend Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar was asked what she thought about revisiting the character, what with all these series (The X-Files, Twin Peaks) of yore getting brought back - she doesn't seem terribly keen on the idea, sadly. Anyway I don't know if anybody noticed but Joss is kind of busy right now.

But we can look back! So look back we shall. I've already used "Buffy vs Faith" for this series before so let's turn our eyes unto the main menfolk of the show - yup, I speak of Buffy's undead amours Angel (David Boreanez) and Spike (James Marsters). Put on your shipper hats and go!

Whose team are you on?
Team Spike0%
Team Angel0%

As usual you've got just one week to vote, so dust off your pointy things and prepare to make some hard choices. 

PREVIOUSLY Last week we were All About Eve... actually make that all about Margo, since it was Bette Davis who took the wheel and drove right over Anne Baxter (talk about a bumpy ride) taking a whopping 86% of the vote. Bette will not be denied. Said Akash:

"All About Eve is an ensemble that ends up feeling like a one woman show. THAT'S how powerful Bette Davis is is in every gesture, quip and sashay. One of the greatest performances in American film history and it's unbelievable that one of her Oscars wasn't for this iconic role."

Monday
Mar022015

Beauty vs Beast: All About Actresses

Howdy folks it's Jason from MNPP here with this week's round of "Beauty vs Beast," wherein we ask you to take sides between infamous cinematic tête-à-têtes... if you've got a seatbelt I'm suggesting right here outta the gate that you might wanna fasten it because, as the saying goes, bumps ho. Yup, it's All About Eve time. I don't really have an excuse for choosing All About Eve this week - the film does turn 65 this year but that's not until October. Bette Davis' birthday is in April. Anne Baxter's birthday is in May. The 106th anniversary of writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's birth was three weeks ago, we could pretend it's an overdue hurrah for that? Sure. A belated good job on this movie, Joe! Really though any time is a good time for All About Eve. To paraphrase a certain somebody, All About Eve looked great sixty-five years ago and it'll look great twenty years from now. I hate men.

Whose team are you on?
Team Margo
Team Eve
Poll Maker

 

Monday
Feb232015

Beauty vs Beast: Break On Through To The Other Mother

JA from MNPP here, with our Oscar Hangover edition of "Beauty vs Beast." I actually intended for this week's edition to have nothing to do with the Oscars at all, but I can't help trace its footsteps back to this year's Awards in a sorta roundabout way... our starting point is Dakota Fanning, who is turning 21 years old today. Yes that preternaturally wise moppet can now legally do tequila shots at her local dive, what a world, what a world. Happy birthday, Dakota!

So five years ago Dakota voiced the lead role in Coraline, Laika's very fine adaptation of Neil Gaiman's terrifying book, about a little girl who wanders through a strange little door in her new home only to find a world funhouse-mirroring her own on the other side. And it's there that she meets...

 

The connection to this year's Academy Awards is of course the beloved production house Laika - Coraline was its first feature (to lose the Best Animated Feature Oscar), ParaNorman its second (to lose the Best Animated Feature Oscar), and The Boxtrolls its third, which yes, lost the Best Animated Feature Oscar last night to the, in my opinion, desperately inferior Big Hero 6. As indifferent to downright-hostile as I was towards many of the wins last night, this one smacks me as one of the most egregious, and one that the test of time will look upon very poorly. It reeks! Of bad cheese! Justice For Laika!

 

Monday
Feb162015

Beauty vs Beast: Little Drummer Bot

Howdy folks it's Jason from MNPP here, pulling myself out of the snow-heap I was buried under last week to drum up a new round of our "Beauty vs Beast" series, in which we ask you to pick sides between good and evil, movie-style. By this time next week the 87th Academy Awards will have come and gone in an explosion of gold-dust and gowns, so I figure I'll get one more contender in here before it's too late... and what better place to celebrate Oscar Season than with the Best Picture nominee that's all about the blood and the sweat and the brutality that goes into slicing and dicing art down to ecstatic perfection? Replace Miles Teller's drumsticks with little golden men and replace JK Simmons with, well, let's say Harvey Weinstein cuz you know why not, and you get the idea. Enter Whiplash, where losers need not apply.

 

You've got one week to pick your picks, and please do furiously hit up the comments, pounding your opinions yay or nay onto your keyboard so hard your fingers draw blood. Although I probably shouldn't say please? Fletcher doesn't like it if I say please.

PREVIOUSLY I go away for one week and before we know it Nathaniel's got us drowning in sexy gingers - he can't help himself! (And we're not complaining!) Last week's competition faced-off Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne two times over, and because we all love them both we were kind enough to spread the wealth - as the mother-son-lovers in Savage Grace it was Juli who came out on top, but it was Eddie and his Jupiter Ascending abs that dominated her goth stab in the dark in The Seventh Son. Said Nika of the latter, winning my heart with pure logic:

"I hated Eddie's performance in Jupiter Ascending, but, boy, he is shirtless. I can't resist."