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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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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Entries in Hit Me With Your Best Shot (191)


Best Shot - Season Finale on Tuesday

Hit Me With Your Best Shot soon steps aside for the utter madness of Fall Festivals and Awards Season. It will return for a sixth season next March. Why not join in on the season finale, THE MATRIX (1999). It's enlightening. Take the red pill.

To play:

1) Watch the movie
2) Choose your "Best Shot" (your definition - beauty in the eye of the beholder)
3) Post it online somewhere by Sept 2nd at 9 pm with a few words about why you chose it. We link up 

previously:  Gone With the Wind Pt 1 & Pt 2, Suddenly Last Summer, Under the Skin, Batman




Gone With The Wind's Glorious Ensemble

Entr'acte After last week's screening of the first half of the gargantuan Gone With the Wind. I realized that three fourths of my memories of the movie come from its first half. What would this screening of Act 2 reveal? We return now to wind-swept Georgia and the tale of the most famous of southern belles, Scarlett O'Hara.

Scarlett summed up: Surrounded in Rhett's wealth and love (the future) but still focused on her self and past girlish ideals (Ashley Wilkes in her hand). Perpetually vain and unhappy.

Part 2 The first act of GWTW is, largely, a Civil War film albeit one that's told brilliantly off the battlefield. The second act shifts gears to Reconstruction. While the South is being rebuilt, Scarlett is doing her own life remodelling. It's now a romantic melodrama, but pleasantly also a rich ensemble film as each character comes into sharper focus (Hattie McDaniel's Mammy and Olivia de Havilland's Melanie in particular - both superb)

Ashley Wilkes, simpleton that he is, still doesn't get Scarlett, assessing her strength like so: 

You never have trouble facing reality."

Oh, Ashley! Our semi-delusional Southern Belle is still continually fantasizing about you, a man she can't have and wouldn't want if she had him, while denying her love for the one she has and does actually want... in her own way. All the way she's hoping to recapture or clinging to her obsession of former glories of the Old South: Tara with its lush lands and easy wealth, the cheap labor force (ahem), and even her girlish waistline which alarming grows to a (GASP!) 20" and she cannot figure why. 'Childbirth? Fiddle-dee-dee!'

If Ashley Wilkes, who idolizes Scarlett, were choosing Part 2's Best Shot, I know just what he'd choose.

Click to read more ...


Best Shot Collection: Gone With the Wind (Pt. 1)

Seventy-five years ago this December (yes, we'll celebrate again...albeit in a different way) Gone With the Wind premiered. No, that isn't quite right. This epic about a selfish Southern Belle surviving the Civil War and beyond ARRIVED IN STYLE with a three day celebration in Atlanta which reportedly drew one million visitors -- how'd they fit them all into the theater? (Hee). 1939's Best Picture winner arrived with roughly a bajillion times the anticipation that today's blockbusters get because pop culture was far less fragmented back then and everyone was obsessed with it. It would stay in theaters for literally years (the first couple of them at twice the normal ticket price) and become the biggest cinematic smash the world would ever see. To put it into perspective only Star Wars ever came close with The Sound of Music, E.T. and Titanic fighting for a distant third.

To look at something this large for a single defining image is an impossible task (or two images rather since we've split it in half). My favorite recurring visual motif of the film, Scarlett moving against the current of the crowd as befitting her singular tetchy anti-heroine nature and her duties as protagonist just doesn't look magnificent in freeze frames, but my favorite instances are two: First, when war has been declared and she walks up the stairs calmly through a sea of pastel dresses running down them (bless the film's first fired director George Cukor - that's obviously his work!), and second, her selfish exit from the scene of an amputation when she moves from the sweaty interior nightmare of a hospital to the shock of an exterior nightmare of chaos outside in the streets. Other favorite images were too small or atypical. For instance, there's this calming exquisitely lit shot of Mr and Mrs Ashley Wilkes. [more...]

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Gone With The Wind... Blown To Wednesday Night!

For all your procrastinators, a gift. I'm having an issue with my copy of Gone With the Wind which will postpone my own choice for "Best Shot" until tomorrow. So we'll move the Best Shot party until tomorrow night giving you an extra 24 hours to get on that if you wanted to but were having trouble cramming it in.

If you're shaking your fist into the sunset eager to read about iconic shots from Gone With the Wind (1939) do not fret. Some of our favorite bloggers are already on it:

Timothy -" one of those movies that's so much bigger than anything you can measure it against that even calling it a "movie" seems inadequate..."
Lam - "one of the first English-to-Vietnamese literary translations that my mother read as a child..."
Jason -"The film has no shortage of sumptuous images of the war's destructive power..."
Kacey- "In the seventh and eighth grade, I had this social studies teacher. We’ll call her Ms. B. [she] announces to the class that we’re going to spend a week watching Gone With the Wind..."
Shane - "No matter how you feel about the film, there's no denying its visual grandeur...."

And a brand new participant who starts with this wonderfully funny promise!

Clover - "I barred myself from anything that has been or ever will be used in an Oscar montage..."

Scarlett is NOT pleased that you aren't planning on picking your own "Best Shot". Get on it, people!

Reminder: This "Best Shot" episode is a two-parter. Choose a Best Shot from somewhere between the opening credits and the "I'll never go hungry again" intermission. Next Tuesday, August 26th, we'll complete the film with our Part 2 selections.

Frankly, you should all give a damn. Join us. There's still time.


Gone With The Summer

Hattie is judging you. Stop with your fiddle-dees and choose a 'BEST SHOT' alreadyI'm like one of those horrible teachers that gives you endless homework. But I hope in the end when you graduate you'll be all 'he was the best. O Captain My Captain' and whatnot.  But here's what you should be watching for maximum participatory glee here at The Film Experience as the summer draws to a close.

Retro: To close out "Best Shot" we'll be celebrating Gone With the Wind in two parts for its 75th anniversary year on August 19th (pre-intermission) & August 26th (post-intermission) and The Matrix on September 2nd (if you've always wanted to participate, why not now?); Anne Marie will look at Long Days Journey Into Night and Guess Who's Coming To Dinner as she hits the glorious 1960s in "A Year With Kate". And we'll be celebrating a few films from 1989 leading up to the Supporting Actress Smackdown on August 31st: Julia Roberts (Steel Magnolias) vs Dianne Wiest (Parenthood) vs Brenda Flicker (My Left Foot) vs Lena Olin + Anjelica Huston in (Enemies: A Love Story). Make sure to get your votes in on those since you are the 7th panelist! 

The Now: Emmy countdown madness. More on Boyhood. Reviews of The Giver, Frank, and The Congress. And coverage of two must-see indies Love is Strange with John Lithgow and Alfred Molina and The One I Love with Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss. 

Elisabeth Moss in "The One I Love"

And then we hit The Toronto International Film Festival to start September off right. This fall is going to be so exciting. I can feel it. More interviews. More festivals. More guest star actors. More. Whoo-hoo! 


A Year with Kate: Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

Episode 33 of 52: In which Katharine Hepburn is like the Goddess from the Machine.

I want to write about Katharine Hepburn, but the movie keeps getting in the way! Reading last night’s contributions to Hit Me With Your Best Shot, I was struck by how many bloggers described Suddenly, Last Summer as “camp,” “wildly expressive,” or “absolutely batshit gonzo crazy.” This is a film that will not be ignored. It’s garish and shocking. The psycho-babble hasn’t aged well--as Nathaniel points out, such things rarely do. The themes of cannibalism, sexual deviance, and monstrous madness creep like kudzu vines hanging in Violet Venable’s garden, blocking the light and threatening to squeeze the resistance out of unwary viewers who venture into the film unwarned.

This unsettling excess had been, up to that point, unusual for director Joseph L. Mankiewicz--best known for character dramas--but can be easily traced to his collaborators. Gore Vidal adapted Tennessee Williams’s short lyric play about a rich widow’s attempts to hide her dead sons secrets by lobotomizing her niece into a Southern Gothic by way of Freaks. There are scenes with sanitariums and gardens, and many things are said. In fact, you might overlook how talkative the film is thanks to Jack Hilyard’s beautiful black and white cinematography. Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn (both Oscar nominated) battle over and between Montgomery Clift against the lurid Louisiana locations created by Oliver Messel and William Kellner (also nominated). In short, this film is sensory overload.

But I digress. This series is about Katharine Hepburn, not censorship or deviance or strong production design. One shot stands out to me as the definitive Best Shot when discussing Kate’s turn as Violet Venable: an empty chasm in the ceiling into which Dr. Cukrowicz gazes as the elevator whirs to life. You hear Violet Venable before you see her...

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Visual Index ~ Suddenly Last Summer (1959)

This week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot episode is devoted to the film adaptation of Tennessee William's Suddenly Last Summer (1959) in which a brain surgeon (Montgomery Clift) whose hospital is in dire need of cash is enlisted by a filthy rich woman (Katharine Hepburn) to perform a lobotomy on her niece (Elizabeth Taylor) because that niece keeps telling lies about her dead gay son. Got that? That's just the kick-off to the crazy.

This sensationalistic film, which was the third and final onscreen pairing of bosom buddies and immortal stars Taylor and Clift, was nominated for three Oscars: Two Best Actress nominations and Art Direction.


Cinematography by Jack Hildyard
Shots are displayed in their rough chronological order. Click on the shot to read the corresponding article.
11 Shots Selected By 12 Participants

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