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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 | letterboxd


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Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

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Entries in Hit Me With Your Best Shot (144)


Visual Index ~ The Bad and the Beautiful

In Hit Me With Your Best Shot, an open source series if you will, movie-lovers are asked to select their choice for the pre-selected movie's finest visual moment. Movies are both communal and private experiences so its rewarding to look at them through multiple sets of eyes. This week's film is Vincente Minnelli's Hollywood-on-Hollywood drama The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) which holds the odd distinction of winning the most Oscars ever (5) without a corresponding nomination in the Best Picture category. (The Academy was weird about the Movies About Movies genre that year since they practically ignored the all time classic Singin' in the Rain) The most deserved of TBATB's historic five Oscars was surely for its stunning black & white cinematography by Robert Surtees, an enduring presence in Oscar's roll call from the mid 40s through the late 70s.

I think you'll really like these nine pieces on the movie (on seven different shots)... even if you haven't seen it! Click on any of these "Best Shots" to read why it was selected by these movie lovers.

Antagony & EcstasyWe Recycle Movies

Minnesota Gneiss - FIRST TIME BEST SHOT'ER !

I Want to Believe

Film ActuallyThe Film ExperienceAllison Tooey

Dancin' Dan

The Film's The Thing

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) available on Netflix Instant Watch, so please consider joining us. All you need is a pair of eyeballs, movie love, screen capture capability, and a web place to post your choice for the chosen film's very best image.


"Hit Me" Season 4 - Last Three Movies !

As we move into prestige Oscar buzz season and restore old internet favorites like the Smackdown and _____ time gets tighter. Hit Me With Your Best Shot must ride off into the sunset until its revival in the spring. So here are your last three movies. Let's go out with a bang. 

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
Amazon Instant | Netflix Rental
Vincent Minnelli's noir was up for a ton of Oscars and Minnelli's films always look great. Which will be your favorite shot and will it incorporate Gloria Grahame's Oscar winning turn in Supporting Actress (which we'll be discussing on Sunday 08/25 in the Supporting Actress Smackdown)?

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Netflix Instant Watch |  Amazon Instant 
We'll be looking back at a few key Robert Redford classics in the build up to All is Lost, his comeback Oscar bid in October. Let's start right here since we've never done a Western in this series. This buddy movie with Redford and Paul Newman won Best Cinematography at the Oscars. 

Spring Breakers (2013)
We never do anything brand new in this series so let's investigate this divisive hypno-oddity before everyone (and the blog) goes 'Back to School' for the fall. We're talking a cue from Nick's suggestion on the podcast that this cinematography is worth fussing & FYCing over. 

On a Housekeeping Note: You wouldn't believe how hard it is to choose films for this series as so many movies that are suggested or that I think would be good choices are increasingly difficult to find with the ever fragmented dvd/bluray/streaming wars going on among studios/stores/sites/netflix. Even things as recent as the 80s are often hard to get a hold of. For instance, I wanted to do Married to the Mob (1988) for its 25th anniversary and given that Michelle Pfeiffer is returning to the mob comedy genre but it's not available for rental on iTunes, Netflix OR Amazon if you can believe it! And the movie is from an Oscar winning director, stars familiar actors who are still working and is only 25 years old.  I own it but the whole point of the series is for many people to be able to talk about the same movie (sigh)

In the comments, please let me know how / what service you use to rent movies since Netflix no longer has the huge library they used to have but their vault is still better than anyone else's. These are dark dark days for non new-releases. 



Visual Index ~ The Color Purple's Best Shot(s)

For this week's edition of Hit Me With Your Best Shot I challenged participating blogs (you should join us next week for The Bad and the Beautiful!) to rewatch Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Alice Walker's THE COLOR PURPLE (1985) and make their choice for "best shot". The cinematography by Allen Daviau was Oscar-nominated, as were its central trio of actresses Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery, and Oprah Winfrey (who returns to the screen in The Butler this weekend). The Color Purple famously lost all of its nominations but remains a touchstone film for many moviegoers and a divisive one for others.

All of which makes it an ideal candidate for this series. Here's what the various blogs chose so click on any of the pictures for the corresponding article. They're mostly in chronological order though I've had some strange html issues that have altered the look of the post which I can't quite figure out so I apologize for the wonkiness. I always marvel when different sets of eyeballs coalesce around the same images and scenes in films as visually showy as this one. 8 of the 13 participants chose the same scene and its aftermath.

The Film Experience

Nick's Flick Picks

More best shot choices after the jump...

Click to read more ...


The Color Purple



A reminder that tomorrow night The Color Purple (1985) will be the focus of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" - three entries are already in from The Pretentious Know it All who marvels at the central trio of actressing and I Want to Believe who loves its bookends and emotional payoffs, and The Film's The Thing who thrills to a Whoopi Goldberg gesture. Check those out!



Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

While we're on the subject of Alfred Hitchcock, having just discussed the most memorable performances in his films, we thought we'd look at Hitchcock's own favorite Shadow of a Doubt (1943) for this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot. I wasn't surprised that the film failed to score in that list we just made, if only because the whole cast is so memorable. How do you choose amongst them? What's more, the subject of the film is, if you ask me, not the gruesome crimes that are continually referenced but the family unit itself. How protective and proud of one's own blood should you be? How do you preserve the family's happy cohesion, whether real or imagined? What to do about the rotten apple in the bushel? 

Since Shadow of a Doubt (1943) is strangely underseen given Hitchcock's own love of it and the endurance of so many of his films, I don't want to spoil any of its surprises (the writing was Oscar nominated and deservedly so). But I will say that the surprises do not include the nature of Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten). He's bad news.

But how bad?

That's up to his family to gaily ignore or vaguely worry over and for his favorite niece and namesake (Teresa Wright) to puzzle out. Shadow of a Doubt has several delicious shots that are case studies in Hitchcock's mastery of visual storytelling and his glorious understanding of the power of shot variation (which is, if you ask me, the single element of filmmaking with the greatest depreciation in quality over my lifetime). I'm absolutely crazy about the way he shoots the growing conflict between the niece and her uncle... which you think will play out like cat and mouse but is closer to cat and kitten in its visual language since Young Charlie is no scurrying fool but a resourceful creature. My favorite shot is one that should be welcoming, but plays out with just as much potency as a disturbingly intense closeup of Uncle Charlie earlier in the film during a particularly nasty monologue.

Uncle Charlie is merely standing on the porch this time. Young Charlie would "like to pretend the whole dreadful thing never happened" but she knows that her "typical American family" home is no longer a sweet or safe one. 

Other Best Shot Choices...

Cal Roth on Hitchcock's repetitive "truth reveal" shot
Film Actually likes the fourth wall broken and Cotten's intriguing performativity
The Entertainment Junkie loves the camera's retreat from Teresa in the library
Antagony & Ecstacy puts a ring on it. It's one of his favorite Hitchcocks.
The Film's The Thing there's evil right beside you!
We Recycle Movies cheats by never getting past the opening credits! 

NEXT WEDNESDAY: The Color Purple (1985). Won't you sing 'Miss Celie's Blues' for us by selecting your "best shot" from that Spielberg hit?


Hitchcock & Oprah on 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot'

Three great (?) movies by three renowned directors (Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and Vincente Minnelli) are next on Hit Me With Your Best Shot

We didn't mean to take two weeks off (whoops) but here we go again. If you've never participated please consider joining. It's easy and fun and gives you an excuse to watch a classic again or for the first time. On Wednesday nights we look at a famous (or interesting) movie and we each select "the best shot", completely subjective of course, from the film. Tell us why you chose it and we link up. It's communal movie fun!

Wed Aug 7th SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943)
It doesn't have the highest profile among Hitchcock's classics so let's boost that up a bit since the Master himself was so fond of it among his own movies and Stoker, now on DVD, riffs on it so shamelessly.
[108 minutes, 1 Oscar nomination. Available on Amazon Instant]

Wed Aug 14th THE COLOR PURPLE (1985)
Let's celebrate the return of Oprah Winfrey to the big screen (in Lee Daniel's The Butler) with a look back at this beloved 80s film. I haven't seen it since the 80s and other people adore it so much more than I that I thought now was the time to give it another chance.
[154 minutes, 11 Oscar nominations]

Wed Aug 21st  THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952) winner of 5 Oscars including Cinematography. We're watching it for the return of the Supporting Actress Smackdown on August 28th and plus, Nathaniel (c'est moi) loves Vincent Minnelli movies. Yes, the Smackdown is coming back.
[118 minutes, 6 Oscar nominations.]

After The Bad and the Beautiful we'll wrap up this Best Shot season with one or two more pictures depending on how many of you are participating and where the excitement level is. What should we close with? Let's do a boy appeal movie since I'm often choosing women's pictures. I can't help myself!


Visual Index ~ Mary Poppin's Best Shots

For this week's 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' we wanted to highlight a film that will be the subject of robust conversation this year. I saved this visual index until this afternoon to make sure all the articles were in. See, this Christmas Disney will be releasing Saving Mr Banks which is about "Mary Poppins" author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) and her resistance to Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) making the movie back in the day. We discussed that new film's trailer recently so let's hit the source material, Disney's classic Mary Poppins

The film opened in August 1964 quickly becoming the most popular film of its year -- adjusted for inflation it was as big in its day as The Avengers was last year. Imagine that! The musical went on to score 13 Oscar nominations and 5 statues: Actress, Visual Effects, Film Editing, Original Song and Original Score.

OSCAR TRIVIA NOTE: This is the only film in the history of the Oscars to win both Best Actress and Best Visual Effects. Mary Poppins best shots after the jump

Click to read more ...

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