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Entries in Original Song (123)

Wednesday
Nov232016

'If Ever I Would Leave You,' List-Making... It wouldn't be in November

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1859 Billy the Kid, future legendary outlaw, is born. He's been played in movies and TV by actors like Buster Crabbe, Hugh O'Brian, Paul Newman, Clu Galager, Val Kilmer, and perhaps most famously by Kris Kristofferson, BAFTA nominated for Pat Garret and Billy the Kid (1973)
1887 Boris Karloff, villainous movie icon (Frankenstein, The Mask of Fu Manchu, Scarface, etcetera) is born
1888 Harpo Marx is born

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov102016

Swing Tarzan Swing: Disney's 1999 Animated Take 

We've reached the penultimate episode of our Tarzan series. Now sailing into Disney wilds...

by Nathaniel R

For over half a century in film and television storytellers didn't think Tarzan needed an origin plot but when the movies told it (Greystoke, 1984), it was as if everyone had always wanted to. Why not Disney then? Disney hadn't quite run out of classic fairytales to adapt by the mid-nineties but they were shifting their focus to boys. This was arguably due to their gargantuan back-to-back biggest-ever successes of Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994), two animated features that deviated from their princess focus. Enter Hercules and then Tarzan. Neither were girly fairytales but both were still firmly embedded in fantasy and heightened enough for musical numbers.

Sort of.

By the time Tarzan rolled into town, Disney executives had clearly begun to wonder if audiences were done with the musical part of their Animated Musicals because Tarzan is only a musical in the sense that non-diegetic adult contemp ear worms keep popping up. They arrive without warning, with all the subtlety of a slasher movie jump scare.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct172016

On a Clear Day You Can See Anniversaries Forever

On this day in showbiz history...

1886 Spring Byington is born in Colorado Springs. Goes on to supporting actress glory in Hollywood including Marmee in Little Women (1933, her feature debut) and an Oscar nomination as the eccentric hobbyist mom in You Can't Take It With You (1938). Curiously her screen daughter in that best picture winner Jean Arthur, an even bigger star, shares her same birthday (for the year of 1900)
1888 Thomas Edison files a patent for the Optical Phonograph (an early step in creating the cinema)
1903 Author and screenwriter Nathanael West is born in NYC. Movies adapted from his work include Lonelyhearts (1958) and The Day of the Locust (1975)
1915 One of the world's most celebrated playwrights, Arthur Miller, is born. His classics include Death of a Salesman, The Crucible and A View From the Bridge. After marrying movie star Marilyn Monroe, he wrote The Misfits (1961) for her which would eerily (considering its elegiac tone) be the last film for both her and co-star Clark Gable and one of the very last for Montgomery Clift who was born on this same day in 1920...

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Monday
Oct032016

Still Blissing Out Over "La La Land"

Over the weekend I wrote up an Oscar preview for Towleroad - which you can consider a companion to our current Best Picture Chart and updated Oscar predictions. Here's what I wrote about La La Land, which I realize I didn't capsule review for you at TIFF: 

This musical from the young writer/director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) won the coveted "Audience Award" at Toronto. That prize nearly always aligns with a Best Picture nomination in January. But the nomination will be the least of it - it has "winner" written all over it. La La Land is a total bliss-out, a colorful two hour romance with song and dance numbers about an aspiring actress and her jazz musician boyfriend. This is the third movie to co-star Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and their onscreen chemistry is even better this go around and it was tremendous to begin with in Crazy Stupid Love five years back.

Here's a shocking statistic for trivia buffs: If La La Land is nominated for Best Picture it will be the first original live-action musical to do so since All That Jazz (1979). The musical nominees inbetween them were either animated  (Beauty & The Beast), adaptations of pre-existing shows (Chicago) or used pre-existing music for their songs (Moulin Rouge!). If La La Land wins it will be the first original movie musical to win the Oscar since Gigi (1958).

In addition to these general notes here are a few slighter more specific ones...

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Friday
Jul222016

The Link Jar

NewsTalk How Cartoon Saloon became a major draw and how those Oscar nominations helped
Playbill Stephen Schwartz says Wicked (the movie) will have several new songs. Geez, it already has a ton of songs. I guess he wants that Oscar.
MTV Frankie & Johnny is Garry Marshall's best film

Variety Idris Elba responds to those endless Next James Bond rumors
Coming Soon Star Wars: Episode VIII (as yet untitled) wraps production. It's due in theaters in December 2017 as these things take time in Post-Production
The Playlist the teasers for all the new Marvel/Netflix TV series: Iron Fist, Defenders, Luke Cage
Towleroad an interview with the stars of Looking 
Comics Alliance Wonder Woman gets her own US postage stamps for her 75th anniversary this year 
AV Club Brie Larson spoils Room for dumb people on Twitter 
The Retro Set looks back at Judy Garland in her final film I Could Go On Singing (1963)
The Guardian celebrates the five great screen moments for Penelope Wilton (of BFG & Downton Abbey fame)
EW Justin Timberlake talks about his theme song to the upcoming Trolls movie 

Finally....
I was going to write a piece about Kirsten Dunst choosing to direct the feature film adaptation fo Sylvia Path's famous novel "The Bell Jar" with Dakota Fanning in the starring role. But Indie Wire's Kate Erbland beat me to it and said basically everything I wanted to say. I love this part.

Dunst’s ability to dive deeply into depression was not just confined to her work in “The Virgin Suicides,” she also captured rich, worldly ennui in Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” and terrifying, world-ending fear in Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia,” for which she won Cannes’ Best Actress award... Even in her younger years, Dunst was uncannily able to translate bone-deep sadness to the big screen in fascinating ways, like she did as a child in “Interview With the Vampire.” And while most fans of Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” remain hung up on Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet’s work in the film (and rightly so), Dunst’s own subplot about lost love (and lost memories) is one of the film’s most heartbreaking elements.

My only fear here with this project is that it's too on the nose for Dunst. Like Terry Gilliam's desire to make a Don Quixote Picture; haven't they already been making these pictures, figuratively speaking, for their whole careers?