Entries in Hit Me With Your Best Shot (233)
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
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!
- 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...
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..."
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...
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..."
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
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...]
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!
I was so certain that I owned Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon that I didn't bother to rent it at all for this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot episode. Come Tuesday night I discover that my dvd had vanished into the clouds after apparently leaping from its perch near the top of the dvd shelf. Worse still it's not available for rental on iTunes or Amazon but only for purchase and if I'm going to purchase something I still want the physical object. Old school! Which means that I will be late yet again with my own entry as the host which is all but inexcusable but par for the course this week (experiencing meltdowns backstage - this too shall pass?). But an unexpected development, just this week the sequel -- the reason we were doing this, was moved back to 2016 from its expected August bow.
But please do visit these articles elsewhere on Ang Lee's much Oscar nominated, much earning, much ripped off classic. I know I will. The film won 4 Oscars including cinematography for Peter Pau and probably just missed the Best Director win too since Ang Lee took the Globe, DGA and BAFTA that year. Imagine if he'd taken the Oscar that year. He'd have 3 wins by now.
CROUCHING TIGER'S BEST SHOTS
(click on the pics for corresponding articles)
ACCORDING TO THESE 9 BLOGS
Almost like Cupid’s arrow...?
-I Am Derreck
When you look at this image, you could easily mistake the film for a traditional Western...
That Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon focuses on the traditionally Chinese conflict between reason (li) and emotion (qing) is unsurprising, the way the movie expresses the conflict through images, however, is anything but.
- Coco Hits NY
If I made a list of ‘top 10 overrated movies’ this would definitely make that list...
-54 Disney Reviews
a portrayal of love as the light in the darkness...
-Antagony & Ecstacy
Lee's romanticism is also utilized simply to make interesting, unexpected choices...
-The Entertainment Junkie
Honestly, it’s not a surprise that this is the same director as Brokeback Mountain when you come to think of it, since it’s clear that the man knows how to make emotional self-imprisonment believable and dangerous...
It's all about Zhang Ziyi. For someone so small, she has immense screen presence...
-Sorta That Boy
Where is Michelle Yeoh's international superstardom?
Nathaniel's Placeholder Best Shot
For the record, in closing, this is the single image that my mind races to first when I am reminded of the film. I'm not saying it will be my "best" upon a close rewatch inspection, but I remember the whole scene vividly and fondly and the entire movie felt this way to me the first time I saw it; a magical film transcending the standard laws, balancing delicately and easily in the treetops while breathing rarified instant-classic air.
I'll update this list when more articles come in including my own - you should still join us since the sequel is delayed and we can continue to add articles. Perhaps I'll choose a shot from each half hour as penance? It's been so long since I've seen it and I'm eager to have it memorized again before the possibly ill advised sequel arrives which is no longer next month but early 2016.
NEXT WEDNESDAY: IT'S A MUST MUST MUST MUST PLAY AT HOME EPISODE.
Sunset Blvd (1950). But you can't choose the infamous "close-up" for Mr DeMille at film's end so if that's your shot your choice must be "second best shot". I am starting on this one FRIDAY so that there is no way in hell I'll be late for my own event next Wednesday. If you've always wanted to try "best shot," here's you classic opportunity with a film from Old Hollywood about Even Older Hollywood that nonetheless never gets old.
Reminder that there's no "Best Shot" tonight due to the holiday week - but you should watch July 8th's topic soon -- Crouching Tiger leaves Netflix Instant on July 4th!
CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON (2000)
Wed July 8th
This wuxia blockbuster leaves Netflix Instant on July 4th so choose your shot before then if you don't own it! I've been eager to leap gracefully back into this one for ages and the possibly ill conceived sequel arrives in August so join me.
SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)
Wed July 15th
Mr DeMille would like to know if you're ready for your closeup? But here's the catch -- you can't use it! It's a special episode: "Hit Me With Your (Second) Best Shot" since one of the all time most perfect (final) shots in a movie cannot be your choice -- because wouldn't it be everyone's?! The whole movie is awesome and memorable so this has the makings of a great episode. For younger readers: if you haven't seen it (gulp) fix this huge gap in your budding movie love.
Wed July 22nd
Since 1995 is our 'year of the month,' we're revisiting Todd Haynes much puzzled over drama. The movie, initially barely noticed, has been growing steadily in critical estimation for two decades now. See the origins of the cult of Julianne Moore fanaticism in the disturbingly placid surfaces of this mysterious classic.
3 final episodes in August TBA
How to play:
1) watch the movie
2) pick your "best shot"
3) post it wherever your online presence may be with an explanation as to why you chose it 4) let us know and we link you up in the visual index roundup on Wednesday night each week!