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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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Entries in Judy Garland (20)

Wednesday
Mar062013

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "The Wizard of Oz"

A brief preface for new readers: "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" is a series in which we invite all movie lovers to share their choice of 'best shot' from a single pre-selected film on their own web space (twitpic, blogger, tumblr, whatever) each Wednesday night. The joy of the series is seeing the same film through multiple eyes. "Best", not just Beauty, being in the eye of the beholder.

I love the sepia opening scenes more than I can say...

So, what is the takeaway image of The Wizard of Oz (1939) for you? How do you define best and does that definition change with each movie? My choice and several others are somewhere over the rainbow after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb202013

Jesse Unleashed. And Other Links

i09 the best critical responses to Safe Haven's batsh*t ending (spoilers, obviously)
Natasha VC the Boogie Nights premiere photos are debilitating. (amen)
Cinematic Corner expresses disatisfaction with The Master. I think the qualms expressed here are very imply put the problem a lot of people have with the second act of Paul Thomas Anderson's career. I wonder if he'll change again?
Awards Daily salutes the hard working Oscar publicists as ballots close
MNPP Judy Garland's A Star is Born even wins over JA! She's just brilliant in that film. One of the worst Oscar losses ever. 

Coming Soon on a new Bruce Lee biopic in the works. I read a few articles on this last night and not one of them mentioned that there already is a Bruce Lee biopic, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story which came out in the 90s and starred the hotness that was Jason Scott Lee (no relation)
Playbill Les Misérables will be returning to Broadway in 2014, just 11 years since the original long running show closed. Meanwhile the show has never closed in London and has now been playing for 27 years
Jesse Williams the actor (the hottie from Cabin in the Woods) doesn't pull punches detailing his issues with Django Unchained's treatment of race and slavery
Advocate Kelly McGillis will reminisce about Top Gun generically but she won't talk about Jodie Foster's coming out!
Lainey Gossip checks in with the pre-Oscar gingers Jessica Chastain & Nicole Kidman
In Contention looks at Sound Mixing which I personally think is terrifically hard to predict this year 

Finally... if you believe that math can predict the Oscars check out Ben's Oscar Forecast. He's a Harvard student who's trying to predict them with formulas. He's predicting the usual suspects that have been winning everything for acting but for best director... Ang Lee (!?!)

Monday
Oct292012

Hurricane Sandy Open Thread

To all our Eastern Seaboard US readers, stay safe! "Sandy" is raging toward us. Should I lose power there are are a few posts ready to be published. The storm begs a movie question... What movie scenes or entire movie sequences come to mind when you think about stormy weather? 

 

I mean besides Dorothy & the twister and her sudden transport to Oz... which has never and will never be bested in human movie history... especially once you include her technicolor recap of the events. Which is like the best in-movie "previously on..." moment ever.

♫  It really was no miracle.
What happened was just this. 

The wind began to switch,
the house to pitch
And suddenly the hinges started to unhitch.

Just then the Witch,
to satisfy an itch
Went flying on her broomstick,
thumbing for a hitch. ♩♪

My god, I just love that movie so much, don't you? Judy. Judy. Judy.  Any chance to think of her is welcome. Even if it means violent house threatening weather.

But oddly the first thing I thought of out in the rain today was the climax of Four Weddings and a Funeral when Andie MacDowell was all...

My brain is so weird.

Before I embarrass myself further, I'll turn it over to you. Favorite stormy movies?
 

Wednesday
Apr182012

A Link is a Blog's Best Friend

Stale Popcorn Popcorn Glenn is a Scream (1996) fanatic and he almost got to correct that little problem of "never seen it on the big screen".Sympathies!
Film Doctor has a spoileriffic analysis of a crucial late scene in Cabin in the Woods
Basket of Kisses has an insightful guest post on misogyny, goal-post moving and blistering reactions to Megan on Mad Men who is "too" everything.
La Daily Musto today's arguments about Judy Garland's legacy. Are young gays still 'Friends of Dorothy'? 

Pulitzer Prizes congratulations to this years winners, particularly to the Boston Globe's Wesley Morris (pictured above) who is easily one of the best film critics working. If you aren't reading him, you're missing out.
Tom Shone, another of my favorites, on box office and spiritual pain. Don't let the "pre-sold" suck your soul.
Go Fug Yourself Lindsay Lohan three times... and behind a transparent umbrella!

 The ULTIMATE in wanting to be seen not wanting to be seen.

i09 I can haz nostalgia? "Even in the 1870s humans were obsessed with ridiculous photos of cats"
The Awl interesting interview on gothic horror with Hemlock Grove author and screenwrither Brian McGreevy
Boy Culture "i want you to hold me like you hold your money" ('Love Spent' is totally Madonna's best new song) 

Finally... perhaps it's time for another Cute Hierarchy.
I'll take your suggestions for recent Cute Achievements in the comments but until then, this pressing question inspired by Too Fab's story about Josh Hutcherson adopting a special needs puppy "Driver" who is missing some toes and just had surgery on his femur.

 

Thursday
Apr052012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Easter Parade"

If you have yet to join in the "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series we urge you to participate next week on April 11th when we look at a movie you've surely seen: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937). Last time we did an animated film we had a super turnout. All you have to do is 1) choose your favorite shot 2) post it on your blog, tumblr, site or pinterest page before next Wednesday night and 3) let me know. Presto, The Film Experience links up. The first step, choosing your best shot, is the only hard part.

This week's film is EASTER PARADE (1948).  

I love a perfect title. Easter Parade promises exactly what it delivers. The Judy Garland / Fred Astaire musical features two actual easter parades which form a through line on which the film can hang its gowns and musical numbers. In the first Nadine (Ann Miller), Don Hewes' (Fred Astaire) ex-girlfriend and ex-dance partner, stops traffic with a smashing gown and the chic accessories that are her show dogs.  Hewes, still hurt over the breakup promises his new partner Hannah (the immortal Judy Garland) that a year from then she'll be the one that no one can take their eyes off of. But the title offers more than just these two holidays. The movie is an easter parade all by itself. The whole movie doubles as one big lavish procession of color. It's got all the yellows, greens, whites, blues, pinks and purples you could possibly expect from an easter movie and every other color in the rainbow, too. Like many real parades it's alternately amazing and garish but there's always something to gawk at for better and worse.

The "worse" would be a hateful brown and pink gown (gag) that may well be the ugliest thing I've ever seen on Judy Garland. The "best" might be the white into hot pink gown that Nadine just floats in near the climax when she attempts to take Don back from Hannah.

The two shots that thrilled me the most both exploded by focusing on only one particularly saturated color. The first of these was Ann Miller's bright yellow gloves and bright yellow tear away skirt in her jaw-dropping toe-tapping solo "Shakin' the Blues Away". 


Keep dancing (and reading)

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb142012

12 Days Till Oscar. What Happened to the Juvenile Oscars?

Remember when... Okay, scratch the "remember when?" question this time. Unless there are some really really ancient AMPAS members reading. The Oscars weren't televised yet so nobody could remember this one unless they were there.

What was Judy Garland so happy about at the 1939 Oscars? (circa February 1940)


I mean besides sitting with 'The First Lady of MGM' Norma Shearer which would obviously make anyone euphoric.

Flashback Discussion if you click to read more

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug082011

Judy Fest: "The Harvey Girls"

Silly me. I had the greatest time at the Judy Garland festival at Lincoln Center this week and the movie I didn't write about Presenting Lily Mars was probably my favorite viewing experience. Rent it! Judy was just so funny in it, it was really charming and I liked her chemistry with Van Heflin (I confess I had to look him up since Shane had slipped my mind and I'd never seen his Best Supporting Actor Oscar performance for Johnny Eager (1941). Have any of you seen that one? Is it worth checking out?

But enough about Lily Mars... on to Judy in another incarnation. The Lincoln Center portion of the festival ends tomorrow though the celebration continues at the Paley Center for Television (since Judy did a lot of variety work on TV in the 50s). The last two films I caught were period musicals and here's the first of them.

 

The Harvey Girls (1946)
I always forget that Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury were contemporaries. They were just three years apart in age (Angela is younger) though in this western musical, Lansbury is clearly meant to be the older woman. Or at least the more experienced one, if you know what I'm saying. Angela is a hardened showgirl (i.e. prostitute) at a rowdy saloon (i.e. casino/brothel) and she's just about the only person in the frontier town who isn't thrilled when Judy Garland arrives "On the Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe".

In fact, that first big ensemble musical number hilarious stops halfway through just so everyone can gawk at Judy as she steps off the train, like she's the most famous beloved celebrity in the world. The showstopping entrance makes no narrative sense whatsoever -- Judy's "Susan Bradley" being a nobody who is about to start work at Harvey's restaurant -- but it makes perfect movie-movie sense because Judy Garland IS famous and beloved. And if there's a musical number already in progress when Garland arrives at the scene it's basically the Red Sea to her Moses.

The town is divided too, right down the middle, between the wild saloon and the proper restaurant. It's basically a battle for both the soul of the town and the town's most powerful man (John Hodiak) with Lansbury and Garland representing for either side. Guess who wins: The good girl or the bad one? The headliner or the newbie (this was only Lansbury's fourth picture)? I'll give you one guess.

The Harvey Girls hasn't aged as well as some of Garland's output. It's pretty creaky and I don't think it's only due to the print we saw that badly needed some restoration and color correction. Part of the problem is that the film grinds to a halt whenever the typically able Garland isn't front and center. Plus, the songs aren't as memorable as those from her other films. Though the young Cyd Charisse is all porcelain loveliness and Angela Lansbury's perma-scowl is amusing the plot points connecting their numbers and several other characters feel insufficiently developed to hold interest in The Harvey Girls as an ensemble piece. It's always "Can we please get back to Garland?" Still, you can't beat that rare opportunity to see Dorothy dance with her Scarecrow again (Ray Bolger). I think she had missed him most of all. B-