Oscar History

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Entries in New York Times (8)


The New York Times' Great Performers' Shorts, Ranked

by Ilich Mejia

Every year, The New York Times Magazine picks their greatest performers of the year. This year's top ten each got to star in their own silent, "Horror Show" themed short. Italian-Canadian photographer Floria Sigismondi directed the group as characters that wouldn't be out of place in Beyoncé's haunted house. Hopefully next year, the magazine will branch out and recognize some of television's equally terrific performances. Check out the spooky standouts after the cut...

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25 Best Films of the 21st Century Thus Far?


It seems frightfully early to be discussing this post's title. Especially in the random time of early June 2017. What possessed the New York Times to do this beyond clickbait? OOPS, it worked. We immediately clicked on the link. There's not specific criteria or info on how the list was composed. We just know Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott were involved and that they also asked a few directors and a couple of actors (very randomly Robert Pattinson and Michelle Williams) to speak up as well. The list is composed of 10 foreign language films, 2 documentaries, and 12 proposed new additions to the American canon including two Best Picture winners Moonlight  and Million Dollar Baby. You can see their full write-ups here.

Just the lists for fun after the jump, mine included as it only shares 4 titles with the New York Times...

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Doc Corner: 'Obit'

By Glenn Dunks

An observation made towards the start of Vanessa Gould’s Obit: despite the reputation as the reporting of death, most obituaries are only 10% about the death of an individual. The other 90% is about life. How a person lived it, what they did, where they went and how they go there.

That's an appropriate anecdote to lead with given how turned off people may be about a film set within the supposedly dreary old world of an obituary department in a physical news outlet like the New York Times.

It’s a nice thought from a film whose prime subjects are not dead and are in fact living...

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Links. The Top Three Best Whatevah! 

Serious Film does an all time 5 best cinematography ballot. The best ever?  Hmmmm. Well they're all stunning at the very least
TFE Facebook my 3 favorite film scores off the top of my head. I was surprised as you to scribble John Williams there but what can you do. You give props when due. Yours?
The Film Stage Hayao Miyazaki's retirement is truly final this time (failing eyesight *sniffle*) and The Wind Rises gets an Oscar qualifying release
The Playlist Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac is now two films that will run five hours in total. UGH. I am exhausted by movies wanting to be TV series. Be your best self. Be a  MOVIE. 90-110 minutes is ideal! (Same goes for TV with unrelated stand-alone episodes. That's dumb. You're not a movie, be a TV series.)

Bloody Disgusting James Cameron loves Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity. Of course he does!
The Studio Executive is starting a snarky series on 'How to Be A Film Critic'. I don't qualify for the first three how to succeed suggestions (wealthy parents, influential friends, unethical bastard behavior) which only leaves me with the fourth (cock-sucking... also known as sleeping your way to the top), which I have no objection to. But no one famous/influential/wealthy willing to make my career has ever rung me up to ask. #shameless
Yahoo Movies new trailer to August: Osage County 
The Dissolve The Harry Potter world will continue on screen with a (presumably endless) spinoff series Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. For my reaction to this news, I can only share the brilliant tweet of another...




Must Read (If You Haven't Yet) 
What Was, Is, and Will Be Popular in the New York Times Magazine. A fascinating long read discussing the impossible to define notion of popularity in our fractured pop culture be it television, movies, music, opera, museums, or anything really. Candy bars, even! For example I seriously haven't even heard of the actress that they claim personifies modern TV fame (Pauley Perrette? Who dat?) and I don't know if you've heard but I like actresses a little. The essay has also got awesome sidebar goodies... did you know that "Bella" is the most popular name for both cats and bitches now? (Damn you Twilight). There's even a cute little point about 1000 "likes" on facebook putting some kind of artistic wind in your sails for struggling indie "popularity" in our fractured world, so The Film Experience is almost there. Like us.

Today's Awesomest Review
Cinematic Spectacle Lee Daniels' The Butler  review/reaction in gifs. I lol'ed and it's just so true. Also: perfect punchline.


Unmissables I Nearly Missed on Vacation

Nathaniel, here, returning to home base. I'm baaaa--aack. Did you miss me? I shan't take another day off until late October so I'm all yours again! But before we get started again, hugs and kisses and floral bouquets and firm handshakes to Leslye, Melanie, Beau, Jose, JA and Matt for filling in for the week.

The internet moves with such speed -- except while visiting relatives in internet challenged rural Utah -- that if you're gone for a week you can totally miss seismic events. Here are some webthingies I'm so so glad people alerted me to so that I didn't miss them in my spotty connectivity travels. I'm sharing them on the off chance you missed them. No one should have to!

Revenge came out on DVD! - a magical elf in PR made sure I received mine. Thanks you! The cover of the Season 1 box is Emily in her promotional thematic thorn dress but we all know the true magic of the best nighttime soap in decades and decades is Madeleine Stowe's icy glares... deadlier than any thorns have ever been! If you have any love for Stowe's early 90s heyday (Short Cuts, Mohicans, Blink - holla!) or the art of the prime time soap opera, you owe yourself this series. The first handful of episodes are a bit too procedural repetitive for me but once the gears catch... oh my diva, this is an addictive series. Madeleine Stowe for the Emmy! Damn. She wasn't even nominated. #unforgivable. 

Cooler Cinema on the Sight & Sound List - This handwringing discussion of critical failure online is yet another example that that S&S List is proving to have an unusual shelf life in terms of continually trending topics. While it reads a bit to me like too much complaining about the lack of "instant classics" on the list -- I'm personally glad that canon lists focus on the past as that's what canons are for, to give you a foundation of cultural literacy rather than pat you on the back for your pleasure in the world's current favorites -- there's much food for thought here.

AO Scott's Review of The Oogieloves and the Big Balloon Adventure - Speaking of instant classics -- this review! The punchline is The. Best.

Karen O's Best Original Song Contender "Strange Love" - If Tim Burton's animated expansion of his early short Frankenweenie is as weird/cute/fresh, he might really have something. As usual Rich Juzwiak says it best:

I don't know whether Karen has lost her edge or merely child-proofed it, but the song is pretty fucking adorable.

David Fincher: A Film Title Retrospective - his films always have great credit sequences, don't they? This interview and wonderful quote only add to their appeal.


I don’t know how much movies should entertain. I’m interested in movies that scar.

Finally... two things I forgot to write about that I had totally planned to before I left. 

I had the scoop on the Before Sunset sequel prior to anyone in the States and I stupidly forgot to post anything in my rush to pack and fly (Sorry Manolis!) so The Playlist got their first. Good on them. Word is Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are already filming their third romantic duet and Before Midnight might be the title. I love that series so much. If it's as good as Before Sunset several cinephiles could well experience the rapture and vanish from the Earth.

Finally Finally there's one more week left in a peculiar challenge set by Lars von Trier who is asking young filmmakers to choose from one of six masterpieces


  • James Joyce's work Ulysses
  • August Strindberg's famous play The Father
  • The Zeppelinfield in Nuremberg, created by Hitler's main architect Albert Speer.
  • Paul Gaugin's painting Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? 
  • French composer César Franck's improvisations. 
  • Sammy Davis Jr. (in general)

...and create a short film inspired by it but NOT too obviously/directly. A collaborative film will be built around the submissions by female director Jenle Hallund in a project they're calling Gesamt. Sounds interesting/weird/Five Obstructions Von Trier'ish. If you're all "why didn't you tell me this two weeks ago, Nathaniel ?!? I could have created a masterpiece" just think of yourself as a reality TV show contestant. They never give them any time to speak of and they manage. Create quickly by the seat of your pants. Create all the (possible) way into Danish film history.


Vamp Glenn, Crook Michael, and Killer Viola!

If The Film Experience were its own media empire the first thing we would do is some sort of annual gallery of celebrities a la Vanity Fair or the New York Times. For this year's New York Times video gallery ["Vamps, Crooks and Killers" (photos) "Touch of Evil" (video)] the Times has famous actors playing famous film baddies or villainous archetypes. We've mentioned we love this actors as actors business muchly before. It always thrills. 

Here's Glenn Close as Theda Bara the vamp and Viola Davis as Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) for appetizers.

The Close image reminds us that Glenn has always been thisclose to being a cartoon character who just happens to be made of flesh and blood. That's how most iconic film stars and characters come across... at least after decades in the pop cultural air, though it didn't take Close that long to achieve it.

Doesn't the Nurse Viola Davis Ratched immediately make you want to see her in a villainous role? It hadn't even occurred to me before but it'd be super scary to watch her soulfulness curdle in some choice role. I bet she'd be great. On her performance in this video she says...

I tried to channel all the parts of myself that are probably not pretty. That are not necessarily nice."

Rooney Mara, Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Brad Pitt and Mia Wasikowska, after the jump...

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Team Experience: Recommendations, Hot Wheels To Replace "Cars 2"

Since we have a great roster of erratic contributors here at TFE, we should use them more often, right? What has Team Experience been watching?

What's the best and/or worst thing you saw this week?

Kurt (Cinema de Gym): The best thing I saw this week was Page One: Inside the New York Times, a doc that filled a little empty spot in my soul. Of course it's slanted so as to exalt the Gray Lady, but so what. It's thus far the most comprehensive film we have to address where we stand in the world of media, and thank GOD for the invaluable David Carr, a shut-up-and-listen voice of reason who defends the fundamentals amidst legions of people blindly barrelling toward an all-digital climate of media without merit. The worst thing I saw was Bad Teacher (my review) which couldn't even appeal to my sinful love of hating on goody-two-shoe types ("Bad Santa" this is not) and it contains the year's worst character in Lucy Punch's Amy Squirrell. She's unwatchable.

Robert G: Best: Noriko's Dinner Table--so many questions, so few answers. How could Suicide Club become more confusing and addictive with a sequel? Worst Thing: 8213: Gacey House--I have a high tolerance for bad horror. This overloaded my circuits.

Jose: Eclipse Series 27: Raffaello Matarazzo's Runaway Melodramas. Move over Sirk, Fassbender, Almodóvar and Visconti, this man owned when it came to suffering women! I'm still recovering from gasping and sobbing so much.

JA: I'm sort of completely and totally obsessed with Adrien Brody's brief bit as Dali in Midnight in Paris right now. I can't stop hearing him pronounce "RHINOCEROS" inside my head. He says it so many times that the word loses all meaning and becomes this jumble of sound, all nonsense, which is obviously the point - hysterical nonsense.

Robert (Distant Relatives):  I caught up with the 1962 samurai film Hara-Kiri. It's always great to have even high expectations exceeded and see an old film that still feels modern and poignant. 

Michael (Unsung Heroes):  A second viewing of the terrorism comedy Four Lions on Netflix Instant. I declared it the funniest movie of 2010 and I'm pleased to report it has the main quality that makes a cult classic: it gets funnier on repeat viewings.

Craig (Take Three): The best thing I saw this week, cinematically, was Bridesmaids, which was a daftly hilarious experience. (Yes, there categorically should be Oscar nods for Wiig and McCarthy. I ain't kidding.); worst thing, sadly, was Dario Argento's The Card Player (2004) apart from a ludicrous scene involving a life-or-death poker match played on train tracks to a pounding techno score.

Alex "BBats" The best thing I saw this week was a documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival called Salaam Dunk about a group of Iraqi female students playing college basketball.  I love sports docs (ESPN's 30 for 30 was amazing) and the concept of one focusing on women in the middle east was too interesting to pass up. It was a well balanced film about positive changes that are coming to the region while keeping the problems and challenges in clear perspective (I always forget that Iraqis call the war "The Invasion")  The girls are all so wonderful and their coach is hilarious and so caring towards his students. Definitely check it out when you get a chance.  Didn't see any terrible things this week, but will say that Paddy Considine's Tyrannosaur, while having great moments and acting, was a very emotional confusing movie. It's like a revenge drama where revenge is taken within and often against oneself.

Andreas (Mix Tape): The best movie I watched was John Ford's unduly obscure Two Rode Together, which is essentially Jimmy Stewart & Richard Widmark reenacting The Searchers. The film is dripping with moral ambiguity & gets really emotionally intense toward the end; also, the usually lovable Stewart plays a total scumbag. It works. I loved the movie.

I (Nathaniel) meant to write a review but every time I sat down to do so I was just angry. I hated -- and I do mean h-a-t-e-d -- the decision to make Pixar's absolute worst character "Mater" the lead of a nearly two hour movie. I figured I had to ask if there was anything salvagable in the concept of anthropomorphic cars.

Which movie car would you willingly spend two hours with?

Jose: The Phantom Carriage so I could grab Cars 2 and send it to hell where it escaped from! (*sob* I really tried to like it.)

Robert G: What could be better than a ride on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? A ride where the flying car lets you know how to avoid the Child Catcher and just have a good time.

Michael (Unsung Heroes):  I would like to see a full length feature starring the second hand police car driven by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in The Blues Brothers. It would have a nice deadpan sense of humor, its radio would play nothing but great rock and roll, and unlike the insufferable Mater it would be a car of few words.

JA: My first thought was Sam Raimi's 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, which has made an appearance in all of his films. It could star in its own documentary - I bet it's got stories to tell. Like, I've always wanted to know what having a 23 year old Bruce Campbell sitting on you was like.

This is where we get off."


Kurt:  I have a soft spot for the Batmobile from the 60s TV show/movie, which actually just made an appearance at my favorite local theater (alas, I missed it). The car reminds me, of course, of watching the show (Pow! Thwack!), but also of being dragged to auto shows with my dad, which I hated in the moment but now think of fondly. They always had cars like the Batmobile at those things. I imagine the Batmobile and I would discuss chasing Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt, how it was ever able to sleep with all those Batcave gadgets buzzing, and if there's any competition among the other Bat vehicles (that Batsub will cut you!).

Alex "BBats":  I wish the car from The Car (1977) would follow Mater across a bridge...


YOUR TURN, READERS... What have you been watching and which movie car would you gladly see anthropomorphized for a couple of hours?


"Something's crossed over in me. I can't go back. I couldn't live."

For those who experienced the tumultous "girlpower" ride of 1990s popular culture this Pretty Woman vs. Thelma & Louise essay in The New York Times is wonderfully mnemonic... and insightful.

Love that accompanying illustration by Tom Gauld. Spot on, spot!

Here's a morsel from the article on the narrative transformational journeys of Thelma (Geena Davis) and Vivian (Julia Roberts), the "ingenues" as the narratives go.

...only Thelma transitions into a new, more independent self, while Vivian finds a way to be preserved as a wide-eyed child-bride forever.

It was precisely this happy ending that made people love “Pretty Woman,” just as it was the flying-off-the-cliff part that made some people object to “Thelma and Louise.” But while Vivian was happily giving herself to a callous oligarch who would purchase her personhood (as she chirped inanities about “rescuing him right back”), Thelma was saving herself by holding up a gas station and locking a cop in the trunk of his car. As every moment of Vivian’s transformative love story — from buying new outfits to subsuming herself to her Pygmalion husband — is transactional, every step of Thelma’s transformation is about evolving from chattel to free agent. In fact, you can make the argument that it was actually Vivian, not Thelma and Louise, who ceased to exist at the end of her film.

Guess which film predicted the next two decades of pop culture? Sigh.

In the magazine version (alas not online) the sidebar features Susan Sarandon Haikus by Adam Sternbergh. These were the two funniest:

Kind Sister Prejean
Bravely faced down injustice
And Sean Penn's Acting.

Nun, hooker, stepmom,
Your only regret, no doubt:
"Mr Woodcock," yes?


Come back to the five and dime Susan Sarandon, Susan Sarandon. And by five and dime, we mean "good movies."