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Entries in Hit Me With Your Best Shot (185)

Wednesday
Jul292015

[SAFE]

[SAFE]
Written and directed by Todd Haynes. Cinematography by Alex Nepomniaschy.
With Julianne Moore, Xander Berkeley, James LeGros, Beth Grant and Peter Friedman.  

Hit Me With Your Best Shot has been running for six years and we've finally braved one of the most fascinating jewels of the 1990s cinema. Todd Haynes's disturbing, sad, confounding, and highly interpretable early masterwork [SAFE]. It's the film that layed the groundwork for the cult of Julianne Moore (on the heels of her well regarded but little-seen performance in Vanya on 42nd Street). Two years later mainstream stardom with frequent eyes on the art house, hit. In 1997, a seismic year, she had her first major role in a blockbuster (Lost World: Jurassic Park), her first instant classic with accompanying Oscar nod (Boogie Nights), and fell in love with her eventual second husband, then freshmen director Bart Freundlich (Myth of Fingerprints). And by then people were starting to discover [SAFE], too. The film's reputation is such now that people forget that not many people knew about it back then. It grossed just $500,000 in theaters and mystified many critics. 

I've never forgotten this line from a Damian Cannon review back in the day

The acting is amazingly flat and inexpressive, the result of a performance by Moore which is either fantastic or abysmal. "

More after the jump including the Best Shot Choices

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul222015

"Best Shots" and Plentiful Words on VMA Nominees

Presenting: a "very special" (ahem) edition of Hit Me With Your Best Shot in which Nathaniel climbs on a speeding train of thought for an impromptu journey into this year's celebrated music videos. Lots and lots more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul212015

Last Minute BEST SHOT Schedule Change for the VMAs

For tomorrow night's Best Shot we're moving Todd Haynes [safe] back one week to Wednesday July 29th -- trust that I can't deal with it right now emotionally for reasons I will explain next week

TOMORROW NIGHT INSTEAD...

We're talking MUSIC VIDEOS since the MTV VMA nominations were just announced -- and Nicki Minaj is NOT pleased that her "Anaconda" is not in the top category. If you've always wanted to try Best Shot, this is a simple experimental episode that you can do without renting any movies! Watch each video, choose a "best shot" from each, post it and explain why (on any of your social media outlets), let us know and we'll link up tomorrow night!

THE NOMINEES FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Larkin Sieple)

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” (Daniel Pearl)

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Christopher Probst)

FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Justin Brown)

Alt-J – “Left Hand Free” (Mike Simpson)

 

THIS WILL BE FUN, DON'T YOU THINK? JOIN THE PART TOMORROW NIGHT BY 10 PM

Wednesday
Jul152015

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Sunset Blvd" 

For this week's special edition of Hit Me With Your Best Shot -- temporarily redubbed "Hit Me With Your Second-Best Shot" as I've declared that iconic finale off limits -- we're looking at the finest Movie About the Movies ever made. Or one of them at least. The point is it's entirely unmissable and a candidate for any sane All Time Greatest Movie list. The film never gets old or becomes irrelevant even though those are two of its best and most horrifically stared-down topics.

Billy Wilder's masterpiece (or one of them at least), immeasurably aided by inspired performances from William Holden as the screenwriter to Gloria Swanson's screen siren, is not just an acting and writing triumph. It's also a stunner in all the craft categories, particularly its Oscar-winning art direction and its cinematography by John F Seitz, a seven time nominee. His work is magnificent throughout, providing maximum pleasure to "those wonderful people out there in the dark" with his expressive lighting.

So let's get right to those (second) best shots...

A Visual Index of Sunset Blvd (1950)

(Second) Best Shot. According to these 15 movie-loving participants
Click on any image to be taken to the corresponding article
Images presented in rough order as to when they appear in the movie

My New Plaid Pants - this is not technically an entry but people, let this be a lesson to you. If you've already chosen a shot, write a sentence or two about it. The hard part is choosing after all. If you've chosen, do it. We'll link up! 

100% macabre
- Movie Motorbreath *video entry* 


'Stars are ageless.' This shot disagrees."
-I Want to Believe 

There is one entity who has never betrayed her: her 'celluloid self.'"
-The Entertainment Junkie 

Everyone, including Norma, can't help but look at Norma...
-Sorta That Guy 

This image sums up Sunset Blvd., and even more than that,  the entire psychological universe of noir... 
-Antagony & Ecstasy 

No matter how crazy Norma Desmond may be, I always find her incredibly sympathetic...
-Film Actually 


We might be entering the movie’s world through Joe Gillis’s point of view, but unlike him, we *are* here to see Norma Desmond. 
-Coco Hits NY 

It's easy to imagine she does this ever year, even without a handsome writer..."
-Awards Madness 

Already too attached to Norma and her gifts...
-Dancin Dan on Film 


If Norma Desmond is a fictionalized version of Gloria Swanson, Max Von Mayerling is a quasi-(auto)biographical portrait of Erich von Stroheim...
-Paul Outlaw 

We expect cold humiliating truth but what we get is the film's most genuinely warm moment... 
- The Film Experience 


Norma Desmond would be proud of the leading lady portraying her..."
-54 Disney Reviews 

A true star always finds the light...
-Jija Crazy Movie *first time participant*

A one-man army of servants, for her sake, steps back into his role as director once more..."
-Allison Tooey  

Please do visit each article, share, and comment. The more eyes the merrier when it comes to worshipping great stars. You haven't forgotten what a star looks like.

NEXT WEDNESDAY: 1995's [safe] starring Julianne Moore

Wednesday
Jul152015

Poor Joe. This Spotlight is For Norma Desmond

When I issued the challenge of Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Sunset Blvd (1950), with the caveat that you couldn't use that final close up for Mr DeMille, I knew it would make for a great episode. What a stone cold classic it is, filled with potent images in every scene that are too often taken for granted given the combined impact of its haunting iconic opening and closing. What I had dumbly not remembered was how intoxicatingly full Sunset Blvd feels on every repeat viewing inbetween. You can go into each screening with one topic in mind ("I shall write about this") and come out with a dozen more topics boiling, your original thoughts crowded out of the mind's frame. So I must painfully set aside the self-deprecating script, the gestural bravado, the timelessness of its time capsule, its shame-trigger economics and sexuality. So much of it distracts from the real purpose of HMWYBS which is to zero in on a particular image from a public piece of art that seizes your individual imagination with its beauty or thematic resonance or what not, and discuss. 

So Joe McGillis will have to wait. Which is a shame. He's worth at least 11 essays of his own according to my easily distracted notes. They're messier than Norma's epic handwritten "Salome" opus which visually buries Joe long before she works up enough actual crazy to really bury him. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul142015

Are you ready for your closeup? 

Let this serve as a kindly reminder that you do NOT want to miss this week's special edition of  Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Sunset Blvd. (1950). The series is temporarily redubbed "hit me with your (second) best shot" as you may not use Norma Desmond's final scene, that infamous closeup... arguably the greatest final shot in the movies.

Anything else will do and there's plenty to choose from in this Billy Wilder masterpiece expressively shot by seven time Oscar nominee John F Seitz.

The movie is available on Netflix Instant Watch. Post your shot choice anytime before Wednesday night at 10 pm online (blog, tumblr, pinterest, twitter, facebook whatever) and let us know you did and we'll link up.

Can't wait to see your choices!