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Entries in Francis Coppola (9)


On this day: Billie Holiday, Sandy Powell, Wham!, Coppola, and More

on this day in showbiz related history

1915 Billie Holiday born in Philadelphia. The iconic singer's voice is still heard in many films and tv shows as is her life story. The Billie biopic Lady Sings the Blues (1972) was nominated for 5 Oscars including Best Actress for Diana Ross. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, a stage play about Billie, was also an awards magnet with Audra McDonald winning the Tony...

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Best Shot: "One From the Heart"

This week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot was derailed by a very tough communal week and also a busy one for entirely different reasons for yours truly. But a few of our regular participants soldiered on. Please read their lovely pieces on this underappreciated Francis Ford Copoola curiousity from the early 80s. I think you can see a bit of it in the DNA of Moulin Rouge! if you need extra incentive to watch it on Amazon Prime.

Antagony & Ecstasy chose...

The film that was meant to be a quick cheapie designed to provide a financial shot in the arm to the fledgling American Zoetrope, but instead almost destroyed the company that Coppola had dreamed up as a sort of director-driven filmmaker's commune. It's one of the most idiosyncratic films of its era, overwhelmingly pleasurable despite being entirely unlikable and toxic in every possible way. I have no idea if it's a great film or a terrible one that could only have been made by a great talent. Frankly, I don't know that I care one way or the other: when all is said and done, we have the film itself, and I adore it even as it maddens me.

Sorta That Guy chose...

Apparently Coppola insisted that the whole thing be shot on a sound stage to make it feel more artificial, which he might have seen as a good thing, but... 

Dancin' Dan on Film chose...

To call Francis Ford Coppola's One From the Heart "stylized" would be an understatement. To call it "artificial" would be even more of an understatement. It is, by a pretty good margin, the strangest American film I've ever seen, and were it not for Nobuhiko Obayashi's completely batshit insane House, it would be the absolute weirdest fucking film I've ever seen, period.


Next Tuesday June 21st
I promise we will get back on track with RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER'S THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT. Please watch it on any of these services and join us. It's shot by one of my all time favorite cinematographers, Michael Ballhaus. [Hulu | Amazon | Netflix | iTunes


RIP: Gordon Willis, cinematography of "The Godfather", "Manhattan", "All the President's Men"...

Here's one of my personal favorite critics, Tim Brayton, with a gracious crossposting of his lovely obituary for one of the greatest cinematographers who ever lived. - Nathaniel

It’s not tragic when an 82-year-old man, who had been happily retired for 17 years, following an incredibly strong and well-regarded career, dies. Any of us would be lucky and blessed to have that kind of live and that kind of death. But the loss of Gordon Willis on May 18 is heartbreaking anyway: it’s always heartbreaking when a true genius, visionary, and leader of his field passes away.

Willis was the most important cinematographer of the last 50 years of cinema. I don't know of any clearer or more concise way of putting it. If he'd only shot The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II, a pair of films that fundamentally altered the way people used lighting and focus and the peculiar film stock of '70s American filmmaking, he would be one of the great masters of his field, and his passing a day of mourning for all cinephiles.

A beauty break featuring some of his greatest achievements after the jump...

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Beauty Vs. Beast: Ladies of the Night

JA from MNPP here, back from vacation with a brand new round of "Beauty Vs. Beast." So here's the question (or rather the first question): what's your favorite Francis Ford Coppola movie? The legendary helmer's turning 75 today and so we look back through his work - the Godfathers, the Conversations, the Peggy Sues... the super sad undead love stories... listen, I'm not going to argue that his 1992 version of Dracula is his best film - I'd rather make it through the day without y'all calling the men in white suits to my door, thank you very much. But it's surely the movie of his I've watched the most times and have gotten the most pleasure from (give or take some Rob Lowe coming out of the shower in The Outsiders). The old fashioned effects work, Eiko Ishioka's astounding costumes - I wore my copy of the behind-the-scenes book down to a nub.

So this is the movie I'm going with for this week's competition. And instead of going the obvious route and pitting Gary Oldman's head bloodsucker against somebody (certainly not Keanu, but Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing perhaps) I felt like centering us on the objects of Drac's affections instead. Slip yourself into his velvety slippers and choose!


They may seem to be two beauties at first but they've both...

... got some beast in them. Ahem. So per usual you have exactly one week to vote and to make your arguments for and against your picks in the comments. Let's hear who gets your undying devotions!

PREVIOUSLY We've got two rounds to close up here since while I was away last week Nathaniel had some superhero-sized fun and asked you guys his own query Avengers-style - twas Black Widow who triumphed, dropping down from the rafters and wrapping her leather-clad thighs around The Hulk's throat til he went limp, taking a full 3/4s of the vote. No smash for him. As thefilmjunkie put it:

"I'll have to reevaluate everything I thought I knew about life if Black Widow loses on THIS site of all places."


Looking two weeks back to our Talented Mr. Ripley showdown y'all found the cruel sexy stylings of Dickie Greenleaf too irresistable to, uh, resist - we're all no better than Tom; all we want is Dickie's sunlight upon us. Henry summed it up nicely:

"It was Dickie all the way. I'll take a beautiful bitch (been there, done that) over a plain bitch (been there, done that) any day."


Top Ten 1970s

for discussion & Oscar-break fun

The Tuesday Top Ten will get more article-like soon once we're clear of Oscar-Night Mania but since it was so fun to discuss the 1930s in brief recently, let's talk about the other greatest American cinematic decade for a minute, the 1970s. Like all of you I know I have holes in my viewing but off the top of my head here are my 10 favorites from that much obsessed-over decade.The order is semi random beyond the top three which are always my top three from that decade though the order has occasionally varied.


  1. Manhattan (Woody Allen)
  2. Cabaret (Bob Fosse)
  3. Nashville (Robert Altman)
  4. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola)
  5. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese)
  6. Network (Sidney Lumet)
  7. Annie Hall (Woody Allen)
  8. All That Jazz (Bob Fosse)
  9. Carrie (Brian de Palma)
  10. Cries and Whispers (Ingmar Bergman)
  11. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola)

    oops i cheated... I forgot Carrie when I was typing it up.  


With apologies to: Klute, Three Women, Jaws, McCabe and Mrs Miller, and The Godfather (I know it's supposed to be everyone's favorite... but I'm allowed to think it's brilliant without personally loving it) and whatever else I forgot. I'm sure I did! And with a warm hug/shout out to four sentimental childhood favorites: Star Wars, Grease, Breaking Away and Superman.

Your Turn! I'd love to hear your list... especially if you want to champion something you think is criminally underseen or underdiscussed. Maybe it'll give others rental ideas. Hell, maybe it'll spur me on to finally see it. 


Love Letters Pt. 2: Kathy Najimy, Rosemarie DeWitt, Xander Berkeley

Melanie Lynskey Guest Blogging!

I made a little dream list of people I respect and admire beyond all reason and sent them a little e-mail saying:

I've seen you do work that has made me want to write you a love letter because it's moved me so deeply. Who or what would you like to write a love letter to? What piece of art or artist or feeling has moved you in this way?"

Here are a few amazing responses I got. [PART ONE featured Zachary Quinto, Ahna O'Reilly and More...]


To the beautiful, soul-baring goddess Rosemarie DeWitt "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Rachel Getting Married OF COURSE BECAUSE I'M IN LOVE WITH IT"

Rosemarie's love letter:

Seeing Mark Rylance in "Jerusalem" is momentarily eclipsing every other performance I've seen or fallen in love with. He made me rethink what was possible as an actor and at the end of that play my body was literally quivering in anticipation of the gods coming. I felt as if I had witnessed some sacred ritual and was blown away by the transformative power of that kind of whole bodied- soul stirring-storytelling. I had long admired him but now my love for his work makes me feel like a 14 year old girl who would hang a poster of him on my bedroom wall. And in fact I have the Playbill cover hanging over my desk. :)

Sonya Walger and Adam Scott in "Tell Me You Love Me"To the glorious, strong, sexy, and really fucking brave actress Sonya Walger "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Tell Me You Love Me..."

Sonya's love letter:

I have a strange moment I think of often when I work and it was when I first became aware of this fragile line between life and art and how the best work leaves you not knowing which one you just witnessed. my grandmother was on the board of governers for a school near her house and she would diligently attend all the school plays and fetes and events even though none of her grandchildren/family attended. she took me with her to see the school play of "BUGSY MALONE". I must have been 8 or 9, and the kids peforming must have been maybe 14-15? I couldn't believe what I saw. I was blown away. I'd never seen anything so glamorous, so alive, where everyone was having so much fun. I'd been to plays in London and musicals, but nothing, nothing like this. It was completely transporting and unlike anything I'd ever seen. And at the very end, they all sang the finale, and Bugsy pulled Blousey into his lap and they were all breathless, panting as we stood and applauded, rained applause on them, and he beamed at her and pulled her in and kissed her. quickly, on the mouth, on stage. and I remember feeling so alive in that moment, so completely full of wonder, was that real? was that supposed to happen? is he allowed to kiss her? was that in the script? (although I doubt I knew the word script at that age). I think about it still.

I wonder if those kids remember that production, those kids now in their 40's with wives and children and jobs and mortgages. I wonder if it sparked anything in any of them the way it did in me. i think about it often, strangely, that one tiny moment in a school play. and I still don't know exactly why or what it means, except, that, as I said, it made me feel so alive, so engaged, so curious, so full of wonder for what they had done, pulled off, been swept up in. and more than anything, it made me long, body and soul, to be up there with them too. to be kissed on Bugsy's lap."

Gillian Jacobs, Xander Berkeley, Kathy Najimy, and Matt Ross after the jump

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