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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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40 Best Original Movie Songs of the 1980s

 

"'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now' is like cocaine coated ear candy featured the cinematic MASTERPIECE, Mannequin." - Derreck

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Entries in comedy (132)

Thursday
Aug272015

Cactus Flower (1969) - it's all about Bergman dancing

Nearing the conclusion of our Ingrid Bergman celebration, it comes to me, Manuel, to talk about a film that’s perhaps best remembered now for being Goldie Hawn’s Oscar-winning silver screen debut. But I want us instead to think about it as the preeminent film about Bergman dancing.

You see, Cactus Flower, which was the seventh highest grossing film of 1970, is a comedy I very much enjoyed up until the point when I started thinking about it. As if retooling (if not reworking) The Apartment, though of course not really since it’s an adaptation of Broadway play by the same name, I. A. Diamond -- a co-writer for that Oscar-winning film and the writer of Cactus Flower -- opens this 1969 film with a suicide attempt. Dentist Julian Winston (Walter Matthau, here a leading man who women find utterly irresistible despite an almost unsavory but plot-required sense of obliviousness to the women around him) has a "girl" on the side (Goldie Hawn's Toni) whom he has tricked into thinking he's married. Thinking he’s finally chosen to say with his wife rather than go out with her (he’s actually set up a date with another woman), Toni tries to kill herself only to be saved by her neighbor, oft-shirtless Igor.

After Toni tries to kill herself, Dr. Winston decides to marry her only to have to conjure up a wife Toni can meet so as to keep his earlier lie intact. Enter Miss Dickinson (Bergman), Dr. Winston's assistant nurse who has harbored a secret crush on her boss for years and whose role-playing only makes her ache for him even more. You can probably detect where the various plot strands are headed (spoilers in the shots that follow) but that's rarely why we enjoy watching comedies like these.

Miss Dickinson at the start of the film.Miss Dickinson in the film's last scene.

Screwball comedy lives and dies on its performances and thankfully Hawn and Bergman make Diamond's comedy of errors come alive, both imbuing their respective types with a sense of humanity that makes one forgive them the necessary blindspots the plot requires. A trifle of a film with a preposterous setup that somehow sells its female characters short even as it seemingly empowers them, Cactus Flower is worth watching solely for its female performances. Hawn may be best in show (she really does have smart ditz down-pat, those gorgeous giant expressive eyes doing some amazing heavy-lifting) but I urge us to marvel at Bergman who turns her prickly nurse into blooming romantic lead (pun intended) in an amazing dance sequence.

Drunk with adoration (and yes, some alcohol) Miss Dickinson takes over the dance-floor after partying with Señor Arturo Sánchez, and eventually finds herself in the arms of Toni’s Igor, with whom she spends the rest of the night, making both Dr. Winston and Toni jealous. It’s an amazing moment that speaks to the physicality of Bergman’s performance making the word “unwind” feel quite literal:


I mean. Need I say more?

Have you caught Cactus Flower? Can you picture Lauren Bacall or Jennifer Aniston in the role? The former played Miss Dickinson in the Broadway play, the latter in the ill-fated 2010 remake, Just Go With It. 

Saturday
Aug222015

Posterized: Lily Tomlin

with Paul Weitz. Photo via Getty Images

The great Lily Tomlin hits the road literally and figuratively this weekend in Paul Weitz's terrific Grandma, previously reviewed right here by both myself at Sundance and Joe Reid at Tribeca. The movie just opened in the major markets and more cities will follow soon. For my column at Towleroad published earlier today I ranked the ten movie roles that I think of as her best from her now 40 year old movie career. I hope you'll read it.

Consider this weekend the ignition of her Oscar campaign engine, too. It's Lily's first leading role in a feature since (gulp) 1988's Big Business so this doesn't happen very often at all and we must take notice! Go see it I'm so proud that The Film Experience is on the poster for this one.

Lily was Emmy-nominated last month for Grace & Frankie and if Grandma can continue building on this moment of newfound appreciation of a 75 year-old living legend, an Oscar nomination for Best Actress could well follow. You know how that goes sometimes when the culture rallies around an actor in a particular moment like "Oh, right. We've always loved you -- here you go, diva!" (see Diane Keaton's easy nomination rode for Somethings Gotta Give or Julianne Moore's win last seaon)

Let's take a trip through Lily Tomlin's spotty film career via movie posters (with a couple of excerpts from my Towleroad piece)! How many of her 24 features have you seen? 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug182015

Thoughts I Had... Whilst Looking at Chris Hemsworth in "Ghostbusters" Uniform

In the order they arrived...

• This would not qualify as a 'Cool Rider' by Stephanie Zinone's standards. No hell in his eyes. No skintight leather.

•mmmmskintightleatheronaHemsworth

• When are jumpsuits coming back in style? They look so comfy.

• He's playing the Annie Potts receptionist role but this is the new Ghostbusters uniform so even when genders are reversed, male privilege guarantees a slice of the action!

• For his next trick: "Mary Jo" in the gender reversed Designing Women reboot. How is this not a new gay network sitcom already? Get me a pitch meeting.

SOURCE

• Hopefully this is a windblown rather than a hairsprayed look since he needs his bangs for Hair Acting (see: Thor, Blackhat, Rush

• Is this hunky guy still Chris's go-to stunt double?

• The Avengers all seem to be getting a little slaphappy lately what with press rounds and comic cameos and dubsmashes and what not. Chris is clearly in the mood for comic larks.

• <-- See also: Vacation Dong. Whose job is it to provide actors with fake cocks lately (see also: The Overnight) and exactly how profitable is this niche? 

• Whatever happens in this movie it is bound to make more sense than whatever was going on with Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron. I just saw that for the third time -- it was my inflight movie over the weekend -- and everything Thor-related, yikes. Not his fault but cut his key scenes and the whole movie plays better. In Related Unpopular Note: I have also come to the opinion that it's a much better movie than people give it credit for... but it is ungainly and it's a miracle that Joss Whedon pulled it off, given the clear presence of a dozen plus agendas outside of Tell This Story.

• If we must have remakes then a Lady Ghostbusters is the best possible outcome on paper. But I hope not to be sick of the movie before it arrives 332 days from now which is always a threat when internet interest is high.

Tuesday
Jul212015

Yes No Maybe So: Judy Greer leads "Addicted to Fresno"

Here's David on a new comedy...

With Judy Greer being the current centre of the ever-increasing storm over the poor state of roles for women in Hollywood (Jurassic World and Ant-Man... they aren't exactly "Judy Greer movies"), a new trailer showcasing both Judy and Natasha Lyonne in a comedy is hopefully a defiant YES on our patented trailer- judgment scale.

But let's put it to the test anyway, after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jul192015

Titus Andromedon and the "GBF"

Please welcome new contributor Kyle Turner to the team, who has previously Smackdown'ed right here. In the wake of the Emmy nominations, he's here to talk about one very particular film & tv trope - Editor
 

In Tina Fey’s book of autobiographical essays Bossypants, she describes with delight and nostalgia her time growing up working at the Delaware County Summer Showtime program for the arts. And while her experiences about her background in theater are the surface, it’s her relationship to the queer community that serves as, perhaps, the thesis and thematic core of the essay. She writes carefully, balancing emotional reaction of the present juxtaposed against examining the events in hindsight. She talks about the lesbian best friends she had for several years, the way her hometown was like “Gay Wales” (“What Wales is to crooners, my hometown may be to homosexuals – meaning, there seems to be a disproportionate number of them and they are the best in the world!”), and, most important, the role of LGBT people in her personal narrative(s). She writes

I thought I knew everything after that first summer. ‘Being gay is not a choice. Gay people were made that way by God,’ I’d lectured Mr. Garth proudly. But it took me another whole year to figure out the second part: ’Gay people were made that way by God, but not solely for my entertainment.’ ”

In one quote, Fey pinpoints a problem that mainstream media often has when depicting queer (usually male) characters: they’re often asexual, thinly written, or designed with tropes built in as opposed to given the benefit of complexity that their straight counterparts more reflexively are given. They are, in a word, tokenized. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jul192015

Box Office: Amy and the Ant (Man)

It was a good week to be Amy Schumer. Thursday saw her among the Best Actress nominees at the Emmys from a very competitive field and the very next day her first star vehicle movie (which she also wrote) opened to great numbers, even slightly higher than those for the more established female comic headlining a summer movie, Melissa McCarthy in Spy (which has had solid staying power and recently topped $100 million)

It was also a decent week to be Marvel Studios executives, too. Despite low grosses (comparatively for Marvel) a $57 million opening for Ant-Man has to be considered a big success given a) the characters microscopic profile in pop culture, b) a non bankable star -- Paul Rudd is well-loved but he has never been a box office draw c) a troubled production history and d) a release date in the summer in which people are just starting to be critical of Marvel Studios after ten years of drooling all over anything they did. 

And of course it continued to be great summer to be Jurassic World which has amassed a simply spectacular fortune despite being merely an OK retread. Every other movie that's grossed over $500 million has had a lot more going for it in terms of newness or critical raves. I'm not trying to be mean -- it's hardly the worst movie in the top ten of all time (that honor belongs to Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace or Shrek 2) -- but the distinct probability that it could threaten Titanic's (1997) domestic gross to become the second most popular movie of all time (if you don't adjust for inflation) is unthinkable and quite depressing. So let's not think about it and become depressed... 

Happy thoughts then: What was most wonderful about your weekend?


BOX OFFICE
Early Estimates. July 17th-19th Weekend
01 Ant-Man $57.5 NEW WIDE
02 Minions $47 (cum. $213.4) Tim on the Minions phenom
03 Trainwreck $30 NEW WIDE
04 Inside Out $11 (cum. $305) Inside Out Articles
05 Jurassic World $10.4 (cum. $610.1) Jurassic Articles 
06 Terminator Genisys $5 (cum. $80) Review 
07 Magic Mike XXL $4.4 (cum. $58.5) Review
08 The Gallows $3.8 (cum. $17.8) 
09 Ted 2 $2.3 (cum. $77)
10 Mr Holmes $2.2 NEW LIMITED

Friday
Jul032015

Review: Magic Mike XXL

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad. It is reprinted here with in the Director's Cut version. i.e. it's longer this time...

 

When Magic Mike opened three years ago it was something of a risky proposition. Male stars exploiting their bodies for a young male star’s dream project loosely based on his own stripping career which he felt no shame about? Who would have guessed? Cut to three years later: Magic Mike and Friends (minus The Kid and Dallas “alright alright alright”) have returned to movie theaters with much teasing and blockbuster fanfare to a relatively new pop cultural context they helped create: male objectification is increasingly the norm. Just ask Chris Pratt, the ascendant superstar of the moment (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World) who has acknowledged that his new body was key to his ascendance and that he’s all for it… the objectification.

This wondrous new world of happily exposed man-flesh makes Magic Mike XXL feel curiously demure. Usually sequels go for more-more-more but XXL (the title is a misnomer) downsizes even as the stages get larger. There’s less plot since it’s essentially a road trip movie but most curiously there’s much less nudity even if the women this time around seem a lot more eager to see it.

This withholding is smart and funny at the beginning of the film in a sensational opening dance number starring Mike alone in his workroom. [More...]

Click to read more ...