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Entries in Hit Me With Your Best Shot (194)


Best Shot Visual Index: Mommie Dearest (1981)

For our April Fools tradition of celebrating 'bad movies we love' (last year it was Can't Stop the Music) we opted for Frank Perry's ill-fated but extremely memorable Mommie Dearest (1981). The film, which was quickly adapted from Christina Crawford's 1978 best-selling memoir (published just a year after her famous mother's death), starred Faye Dunaway as the great movie star and Mara Hobel and Diana Scarwid as Christina, Steve Forrest as Crawford's longtime boyfriend Gregg Savitt and Rutanya Alda as Crawford's loyal assistant Carol Ann. The book was controversial in its day, with many stars defending their former co-star but the stories stuck in the public consciousness and the movie lives on in infamy. It was greeted with much derision, winning multiple Razzies (the entire principle cast just listed was nominated in their individual acting categories) but Dunaway's work, oft-quoted and beloved to this day in certain communites (ahem), has always had its share of valiant defenders.

Paul Lohmannn (Nashville, High Anxiety) was the director of photography and here are the films most memorable or "best" shots, according to participants around the web.

13 images chosen by 14 blogs
Click on the images to read the corresponding articles 

Click to read more ...


What Becomes a Legend Most? On "Mommie Dearest"

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Mommie Dearest (1981)
Directed by Frank Perry. Cinematography by Paul Lohmann (who also shot Robert Altman's Nashville!)

As a practicing film buff ever since adolescence I've spent a lot of time thinking about two different questions. The first, what is it that makes some stars last in the public imagination beyond their own lifetimes while other giants fade? The second, entirely unrelated, what is the difference between a great movie and a terrible movie, and by extension this -- are 'bad movies we love' ever truly terrible or are they actually funhouse mirrors of greatness, very nearly the same but for the random comic distortions?

In Mommie Dearest (1981), the infamous movie based on an infamous tell-all about an infamous movie star -- that's a lot of infamy -- these questions collide...

Click to read more ...


"Yesterday Today and Tomorrow" - Best Shot Visual Index

This week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot subject is Vittorio de Sica's gorgeous comic love song, three of them, to Italy and super-sized movie star charisma. Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni are special on their own but together it's something else again. Vittorio de Sica is one of Italy's great directors but usually when people reference him they're talking about neo realism and his classic The Bicycle Thief. That's nothing at all like this colorful playful romantic comedy. The film was shot by Giuseppe Rotunno who also lensed Rocco & His Brothers (previously covered in this very series) and later went on to an Oscar nomination for the Bob Fosse masterpiece All That Jazz (1979). Yesterday Today and Tomorrrow was a hit, another feather in both stars caps (they were already international superstars) and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film and a BAFTA for "Foreign Actor" for Mastroianni but today it's underdiscussed.

It remains most famous for one scene in particular, Sophia's modest but ultra sexy little striptease pulling a stocking down to the horny delight of childlike Marcello. The stars later riffed on that scene together in Robert Atlman's fashion comedy Pret a Porter. Since there are so many images in this post (one from each short film from most of the participants) they'll have to go after the jump. And if these images and great articles don't convince you to see this Oscar winner, all hope is lost!  

Click to read more ...


Hit Me Globe-Hopping: Lush Ireland, Classic Italy, Psychotic Hollywood

Thank you for making the return of Hit Me With Your Best Shot, a success with its first three episodes The Sound of Music, Paris is Burning and The Quiet Man. We hope you'll join us Tuesday night for a special "triptych" episode (inspired by the current anthology craze in film & tv. Have your pick posted anytime before 10 PM on the day of the event and send us the link to be included. 

Tues March 24th - YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW (1963)
*SPECIAL EPISODE* Let's look at the anthology romantic comedy from the great Vittoria DeSica starring Oscar's favorite Italians Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. It won Best Foreign Film for 1964. I saw it for the first time last year and l-o-v-e-d.. There are two options for this episode: pick three shots, one from each mini film OR if you're pressed for time, pick one of the three films within the film to choose a shot from. It breaks down like so if you're instant watching:

Adelina of Naples (00:01-51:30) Sophia is always pregnant, Marcello her perpetually unemployed husband.
Anna of Milan (51:30- 1:13:00) Sophia is a wealthy callow socialite, Marcello her frustrated side piece.
Mara of Rome (1:13:01-1:58:00) Sophia is a flirty call girl, Marcello her favorite client. 

[Netflix Instant Watch | Amazon Instant]

Wed, April 1st - MOMMIE DEAREST (1981)
PLEASE NOTE THE DATE - this is a Wednesday instead of Tuesday, we're moving back to Wednesdays as in previous seasons due to Tuesday schedule difficulties. This is our second annual April Fools Day episode. We had so much fun last year with a 'Bad Movie We Love' and first Razzie Winner, Can't Stop the Music that we're trying to chase that high. Meet Joan Crawford, one of the great stars, by way of the very committed Faye Dunaway (another one of the great stars, whatever this movie did to her career).
[Amazon Instant | iTunes | Netflix -- currently rental only but moves to Instant Watch on this very day if you're running late.]

Complete list of April titles will be announced on March 26th


Visual Index ~ The Quiet Man's Best Shots


One of the specific things the series Hit Me With Your Best Shot has taught me over the years is how great John Ford is as a director. When I was younger I never liked his films much but now I end up wanting to talk about every other scene in whichever film I'm watching of his; it's easy to marvel at the way he's staging and shooting his stories as an adult. His Ireland themed location-shot romantic dramedy classic The Quiet Man (1952) won the directing and cinematography Oscars in its year. It took the latter surely for those lush emerald landscapes and beautiful pops of color like blue dresses and flowers and The Queen of Technicolor's fiery mane. It inexplicably lost Best Picture in its year (to the oft-reviled The Greatest Show on Earth) but it obviously contributed to the decision to hand Maureen O'Hara's her recent highly deserved Honorary Oscar as its the movie most often cited when people talk about her gifts. But the movie sure is fun and sexy, too.

As usual the Best Shot participants wove interesting personal details and insights into their posts. We even have our first father & son article (!) as befits a film that's a clear family favorite in some homes.

Click on any of the 10 images in rough chronological order to read the 14 corresponding articles at these fine blogs & pinterests.

Images that were made by an enormously talented pair of image-makers to be read as quickly and deeply as possible....
-Antagony & Ecstasy


 As if she's a forest spirit that has stepped out of Celtic folklore.
-The Film's The Thing (Son)

It’s thematically and technically effective, but it’s also a gorgeous and unusual shot. 
-Coco Hits NY 

There are plenty of images to pull from “The Quiet Man” that confirm the Academy’s judgement
- Nebel Without a Cause 

This may very well be the start of a new actressing obsession for me...
-A Fistful of Films 

I’m choosing this as my Best Shot because it reminds me that as husbands, we are called to scoop up God’s grace and bring it just a little closer to our wives.

They may have layers and layers of clothing on, but that is downright erotic. For 1952, it's practically porn
-Dancin Dan on Film 

'"a good Christian act.'"
- Sorta That Guy 

There's more to its cinematography than those outdoors scenes...
-Film Actually 

In every scene you can tell that they'd like to chuck the customs to get to the consummation. Except when it's time to get to the consummation...
- The Film Experience 

Ford was a master of filling every frame with visual information...
-The Entertainment Junkie

Unlike anything else in this particular film... 
-Dusty Hixenbaugh 

Imagine how an inhabitant from the fictitious 1920s Irish community of Inisfree might react to an episode of Fox’s EMPIRE...
-Paul Outlaw  

Although I respect any person’s right to say no—even married people c. 1950s rural Ireland—it really grinded my maidenly gears...
-Video Valhalla  

So, the story takes the same path as expected... the meeting, banter, spats and misunderstanding, conflict, and finally, reconciliation.
-The Film's The Thing (Father)



Don't Forget: "The Quiet Man" on Tuesday Night!

Isn't she lovely?

Put on your Sunday best and by "put on" we mean, stream The Quiet Man at Amazon or Netflix or iTunes today and be ready for Tuesday night's 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' episode. It's a St. Patrick's Day special for our signature participatory series.


Visual Index ~ Paris is Burning's Best Shots

For a film that's less than 80 minutes long, Paris is Burning contains at least that many worthy topics of discussion presenting quite a challenge for Best Shot participants. You could write 80 articles on it on entirely different subjects. The documentary was an instant sensation winning the Sundance Film Festival in January 1991, and opening that summer to big box office ($3.7 million... which was quite a lot for a documentary). It landed on top ten lists, won critics prizes and generated yet more press when it was horrifically snubbed by Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature category. The film documents NYC's ball culture in 1987 with a few scenes from 1989. By 1989 you can already feel the scene changing, being coopted, and about to be appropriated for one of Madonna's biggest hits. 

My choice and a few more words on this landmark film after this gallery of incredible images. PLEASE NOTE: Next week's topic for Tuesday March 17th (St. Patrick's Day) is the classic THE QUIET MAN (1952) set in Ireland starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Like Paris, it's available on Netflix Instant Watch so I expect y'all here Tuesday night with your choices.

Best Shots according to 21 Fine Cinephiles Round the Web

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