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Entries in Monty Python (3)

Friday
Aug172018

Showbiz History: Wild at Heart, Treasure Island, Superbad, Etc...

A dozen random things that happened on this day (Aug 17th) in showbiz history...

1920 Maureen O'Hara born on this day in Dublin. We've written about her frequently. We ♥️. 

1934 The first (of many) sound film adaptations of Treasure Island the novel opens in movie theaters starring Oscar winners Lionel Barrymore and Wallace Beery, along with child star Jackie Cooper, himself already an Oscar nominee...the youngest Best Actor nominee of all time in point of fact. Cooper and Berry had previously co-starred in the instant classic tearjerker The Champ (1931)  so the advertising pushed the reunion hard...

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Thursday
Oct162014

No More Movies for John Cleese

Margaret here to break it to you that British comedy icon John Cleese is done with the movies. So he claimed, anyway, at a promotional appearance for his new memoir, So Anyway..., at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. 

In answer to a fan who asked about upcoming film projects, he flippantly announced that at age 74 he is too near death to work on new movies. "I have only got five or six years left, and then I will be gone." Noting the upside that this exempts him from worry about ISIS or Ebola, he quips: "Most of the best people are dead - I will be in excellent company having a wonderful time."
 
Perhaps he's not serious about quitting film; many of his showbiz peers have cried retirement only to be back at work almost immediately. (Remember when Steven Soderbergh claimed to be retiring and then it turned out he has no idea what that means?) It could also be that full retirement won't constitute an enormous shift for him. Over the last decade and change, Cleese has been primarily been cropping up in the voice casts for animated studio features. His last movie project as writer/producer, Fierce Creatures, is almost 20 years old. 
 
He can at least rest comfortably on the knowledge that his best work is immortal.  A Fish Called Wanda is a comic treasure (and earned Cleese an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay), but it's his work with Monty Python that keeps him at legend status. Naturally, a fan at the Cheltenham Literary Festival asked Cleese about that comedy group. He was typically acidic in his response, insisting that the Python members were never "huge friends" and sayin this of his former co-stars:
 
 
"Michael [Palin], as you know, makes those travel programs that I put on any time I can’t sleep. Eric Idle is very good at lyrics so he is writing songs. Terry Gilliam is off trying to raise money for one of his plotless ­extravaganzas. And [Terry] Jonesy is just insane – he writes children’s books and recently went to Lisbon and directed an opera about vacuum cleaners."
Harsh, perhaps, but certainly in the biting Python spirit. Which former Pythons are you still keeping up with? What Cleese/Python project will you treasure most once they're all fully retired?
Saturday
Jul192014

Team Top Ten: Best TV to Film Adaptations of All Time

Amir here, to welcome you to another edition of Team Top Ten, a poll of all of the website’s contributors. The topic du jour given that it's Emmy season is Best Films Adaptated from TV Series.

For as long as film and TV have coexisted, their fates, stars, successes, failures and histories have been entangled. Their ever-shifting dynamic has had an immense impact on both industries. The complexity of their relationship made devising a list like this one quite difficult, beginning with the question of what really constitutes an adaptation. For example, The Holy Grail and Life of Brian are not adapted from Monty Python's The Flying Circus; they are inspired by it, but one is more inspired than the other, so we rendered the former film eligible and the latter ineligible. On the other hand, series like Mission Impossible and Naked Gun present a different type of challenge because the sequels are continuations of the original film, rather than the TV series, but we considered them eligible nonetheless. We faced another difficulty with franchises like The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values, based on a series that is itself based on comics. The extent to which the films were inspired by either source was taken into account and we considered only the former film eligible in this case though the latter has far more ardent fans among the team here.

And so on and so forth. The point is to take this list with a grain of salt and add your personal favourites in the comments below. Without further ado…

TEAM TOP TEN
BEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME INSPIRED BY TV SERIES

10. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
Unlike these days, David Lynch needed to make a film in order to portray all of the incest, rape, pedophilia, murder and drugs that his and Mark Frost’s television series mostly only alluded to. While Twin Peaks, which ran for two seasons in the early 1990s, was a woozy blend of murder mystery, soap opera, dark comedy and surrealist imagery, the film was an altogether different beast. A dark and often brutally ugly ‘horror melodrama’, it angered many fans and even filmmakers (Quentin Tarantino was not a fan). For people willing to take the plunge, however, into the dark recesses of Lynch’s mind, it is a compelling and tragic affair that remains one of the definitive directorial statements of the ‘90s. Plus, David Bowie as an FBI agent who may be a ghost. Or an alien. Or a shape-shifter. Who can tell? –Glenn Dunks

9. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Ghost Protocol
seemed like a squeaker eligibility-wise, with the show a distant, tenuously related memory and three other movies interceding between them. But the film is one of the great pop entertainments U.S. studios have produced in recent years, dynamically edited and gorgeously shot by Robert Elswit without the self-conscious handsomeness of There Will Be Blood or Good Night, and Good Luck. With set-pieces as stunning as the Kremlin infiltration, the sandstorm chase, and everything else that happens in, on, or around the Burj Khalifa, this is top-notch, exuberant, and imaginative action filmmaking.  I liked De Palma’s gimcrackery and Abrams’ more traditional and character-driven suspenser, but Ghost Protocol is the franchise’s happiest marriage of scene construction, silliness, and star charisma (not just from Cruise, but from everybody).  Its division into discrete, flavorful sequences gives it the roaming energy of a television serial. You want to binge four more movies afterward. –Nick Davis

8 more after the jump

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