On this day in history as it relates to the movies...
Comment(s) Du Jour
The Turning Point (1977)
"This film is like Beaches long lost relative." -Mark
"I've said it before and I'll say it again, this film's 2 Best Actress nods should've gone to 3 Women" - Yavor
"I really loved Tom Skerritt in this. I think he deserved a nomination for Supporting Actor." -Tyler
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On this day in history as it relates to the movies...
In the effort to stay au courant we're going to try to do "new to streaming" weekly, alternating between Netflix and Amazon Prime sometimes, big lists, sometimes highlights. This will also give us a chance to link to previous coverage of the old films that are "new" again via the power of the internet. But first a last chance notice...
Last Chance Netflix (Expires July 16th)
-Y'all were watching I take it. Did you see us fight?
I've been curious to watch Serenity (and Firefly for that matter) again to see if you can easily chart Joss Whedon's growth from self-created warm-up to Studio-hire mega-success in The Avengers. He was always good at selling team dynamics, though. That was clear from the earliest episodes of Buffy. We previously covered Serenity in Season 3 of Hit Me With Your Best Shot. I miss Whedon as TV creator on his own urges -- Agents of SHIELD just did not do it for me.
New to Netflix
We've freeze framed nine more titles totally at random to share whatever popped up for your amusement. Here we go...
-Lot of smug looking people here.
- It's like someone hit a piñata filled with white people who suck at golf."
The Big Short (2015)
Remember when this was suddenly a major Oscar player last season. That took me off guard even though I was at the actual premiere. It won Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. Serious films with funny memorable lines are often popular in those categories.
I've decided to join the human race again.
Hello, Dolly! (1969)
Babs. Babs. You're really overworking this monologue...
Guardian the kids of the controversial Oscar nominated documentary Jesus Camp 10 years later - how are they doing and how do they remember their evangelical childhoods?
ESPN's Bodies issue is out. Check out the gallery. The human body is really so beautiful. But I realize we're not supposed to acknowledge that because people are so angry about the profile at...
Vanity Fair on Margot Robbie. Which is... Honestly I can't see anything wrong with it. Almost every good celebrity profile talks about what the star looks like, and what their big screen appeal is. It's not especially salacious as these things go. I'm stunned that it offended so many people. But me...
Nathaniel... I don't want to live in a world where we cant celebrate movie star beauty
Playbill Kristin Chenoweth doing a reading of proposed Best Little Whorehouse in Texas for the stage? Oh god oh god let this Broadway musical happen. Amen.
Dear Cast & Crew Dear Harry Nilsson -- (great letter re: A Bigger Splash)
EW Five Nights in Maine poster and trailer. Apparently this premiered at TIFF last year. I don't remember reading about it but Dianne Wiest, Rosie Perez, and David Oyelowo are all in it!
Vanity Fair Hive A.I. isn't just all the rage in movies and on television. It's an investor obsession, too.
Twitter Apparently some dumb people launched a petition to have Jesse Williams fired from Grey's Anatomy due to his BET Humanitarian Awards speech
Look at This!
Production has begun on Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool which stars Annette Bening as Oscar winner Gloria Grahame in her final days. Jamie Bell is The Bening's leading man. We hope The Bening is making one last sustained run at winning that Best Actress trophy that's eluded her. Momentum counts for a lot in Oscar races so if it doesn't happen this year for 20th Century Women, maybe it'll happen next year for this biopic of sorts? Though actors win Oscars all the time for playing real life people, the only star who has won an Oscar for playing an Oscar winner is Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator (2004).
Random Emmy Thought
By now you've probably heard that the 7th/8th Game of Thrones season will start shooting later than usual due to weather issues. Different websites have different wording on this news. Sometimes it sounds like just the slightest delay and not worth reporting but for the clickbait traffic. Other articles suggest that this will delay the premiere until late Summer instead of GoT's traditional late spring early summer airing. If the latter take is true that means we'll actually have an Emmy free year of Game of Thrones in 2017. That would be a welcome relief for those of us who hate to see the same shows dominating year after year. Unfortunately they're also splitting GoT into two more super short seasons with only 13 or so more episodes left before the series finale. It worked for Breaking Bad and Mad Men in terms of Emmy statuettes though it was bad for interrupting the natural flow of storytelling arcs (at least with Mad Men - I can't speak to how it affected Breaking Bad). At any rate I stand by my proclamation that these split final seasons are anti-audience and nothing more than a cynical cash grab for advertising dollars, extended media attention, and double the awards that a show should be eligible to receive. It's gross. I wish Emmys would rule against 6 or 7 episodes counting as a full season. There really ought to be some standards and "season" by its very name suggests a few months of time. Six episodes is not a few months of story -- it's barely more than one!
Eric here with thinking about the past 40 years of Oscars Best Director category.
This past Saturday, director Michael Cimino passed away at age 77. Cimino won the Best Director Oscar for 1978’s The Deer Hunter, beating Woody Allen (Interiors), Hal Ashby (Coming Home), Warren Beatty and Buck Henry (Heaven Can Wait), and Alan Parker (Midnight Express). While those five actual films are of varying quality, the names behind them are all heavyweights and it was formidable company.
The Deer Hunter was a divisive film upon its release and remains so today (praised for its leisurely-paced first half and its capture of inexpressive male friendship; criticized for the Russian Roulette melodrama and its depiction of the Vietnamese). With The Deer Hunter, Cimino aimed to make something epic and classically Greek in its storytelling, and watching the film you can actually feel his young talent. Cimino next famously (infamously?) went on to direct 1980’s Heaven’s Gate, a film of disastrous proportions that has been covered ad nauseum as one of cinema’s biggest catastrophes. He directed four more films after that, none to any significant acclaim, the last one released 20 years ago.
It’s interesting to look over the list of the men (and one woman) who have won the Best Director Oscar since Cimino in 1978 to see where their careers have gone...
With AMPAS under so much scrutiny this past season for their lack of diversity, they made several rule changes about membership and ruling bodies within the various branches. Here's the big power move. They've invited twice as many people as they are usually prone to invite. Invitations have gone out to 683 film professionals this year.
That is a lot of new members, percentage-wise, for a group known for their exclusivity that for a long time was hovering around 6,000 members. According to Academy graphics 46% of the new invitees are women which is a smart move given that Hollywood has struggled in the gender balance department forever despite the fact that civilization has always been half women. (It might have been smarter to make it 75% for a few years to make up for lost time at eliminating the silly gender disparity but we applaud any efforts to work towards a better 50/50 balance.)
41% of the new invitees are people of color...
I'm finally seeing Hamilton tonight so allow me this theater diversion before we get back to the Emmys and summer movies!
Though the Tony Awards were celebrated for their diversity Sunday night, I knew this sort of thing would crop up afterwards. A site called The Conversation wonders if the diversity of Broadway is overstated. It's an interesting piece with valuable stats even if it seems odd to pursue that impulse in such a strong year for theatrical diversity. Leading up to the Tony Awards I saw a few other articles suggesting that Hamilton was distorting the public perspective about this as well. It's true that Shuffle Along, Hamilton, The Color Purple, and Eclipsed, all nominated popular shows featuring all black casts (and in Hamilton's case latina, black, and asian actors), happened to fall in the same season which is not entirely usual. And, as with cinema, we still have the issue of people thinking of diversity in a binary way (black & white) which is a problem.
But before we give in to negative thoughts (wayyyy too easy), let's give Broadway its due. It is far more diverse than other showbiz mediums and not just this season. Let's take Best Actress in a Play/Musical as an example. One leading actress winner in the 89 year history of the Oscars has been a woman of color - Halle Berry in Monster's Ball (2001) and three leading actress winners in the 67 year history of the Emmys (regular series awards): Viola Davis in How To Get Away with Murder (drama), Isabel Sanford for The Jeffersons (comedy) and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (comedy).
On this day in history as it relates to the movies...
1835 P.T. Barnum and his circus begin their first tour of the US. Wasn't Hugh Jackman supposed to play him in an original movie musical? Is that still on or did the endless Wolverine show derail it? (sigh)
1840 Novelist Thomas Hardy is born. Movies adapted from his work include multiple versions of Jude, Tess, and Far From the Madding Crowd
1904 Johnny Weissmuller is born. We just wrote about Tarzan and His Mate (1934) which you should definitely see
1926 Character actor Milo O'Shea, aka Dr Duran Duran who tried to kill Jane Fonda by excessive pleasure in Barbarella, is born.
1937 Sally Kellerman, the original " 'Hot Lips' O'Houlihan" is born
1944 EGOT composing legend Marvin Hamlisch (of "A Chorus Line") fame is born...or as Cher calls him "Marvin Hamilsmisch". Classic songs include the Oscar winning "The Way We Were" and Oscar nominated gems like "Nobody Does it Better," and "Through the Eyes of Love." Get this: He is the only person other than a director or screenwriter to win more than two Oscars on a single night. At the '73 Oscars he took Song and Original Score for The Way We Were and also Adapted Score (back when they had that) for Best Picture winner The Sting.
1953 The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, aka Helen Mirren's signature role. Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II is now the longest running monarch in British history?
1989 Dead Poet's Society opens in theaters. Goes on to 4 Oscar nominations including Best Picture in one of the all time least satisfying Oscar years. I mean that Best Picture lineup is atrocious given that sex lies and videotape, The Little Mermaid, Fabulous Baker Boys and Do the Right Thing (all nominated for something) were right there for the taking.
No, don't take my picture.
1995 Bridges of Madison County opens in theaters and audiences start loudly demanding Meryl Streep's third Oscar. The conversation lasts for 16 whole years thereafter. (Demands for #4 have not yet begun but it's only a matter of time.)
2006 Peyton Reed's The Break-Up opens in theaters with Jennifer Aniston & Vince Vaughn
And one year from today...
2017 Wonder Woman will open in theaters. Somehow it only took them 75 years to get her on the big screen.