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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 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 Oscars (70s) (73)

Tuesday
Apr012014

Morning Confession: I've Never Seen an Ali MacGraw Movie

Happy 75th birthday today to Ali MacGraw. "Who?" Some of you might be asking, which is telling.

My first and only significant memory of Ali MacGraw, who was quite famous when I was a child, was seeing her face on the sheet music to the theme from Love Story (1970) that my sister used to play on the piano when I was tiny. I have no idea why I remember this so vividly but I do. I also remember my mom grumbling about the movie's tagline which she said was 'TOTALLY UNTRUE'.

love means never having to say you're sorry

My sister had quite a few movie theme songs on sheet music and the other ones I remember looking at were Ice Castles, Jaws and Star Wars. The only one that I had actually seen was Star Wars. I don't remember seeing it in theaters. My true movie memories don't start until the following year in 1978 with Superman and Return From Witch Mountain. (If you're curious here are two of my earliest movie memories in comic book form)

Ali MacGraw was, in the late 70s / early 80s something of a symbol of flash in the pan movie stardom for complicated but, as I'd come to understand it much later, totally normal celebrity reasons: addictions, tough marriage, unlucky film choices, you name it. But this morning as I went to type this up I made the horrifying realization that I've never seen ANY of her films, no not even Love Story (1970). That's a significant gap in my Oscar viewing since it was nominated for 7 Oscars including Best Picture.

Have you seen Love Story. And have you ever played a movie theme on the piano? 

Monday
Mar242014

Monologue: Sterling Archer, Burt Reynolds & Dead Bodies

Have you ever watched Archer? I had tuned in here or there but hadn't ever committed. This weekend I binge watched about 10 episodes and now I'm madly in love. I'm beginning to think it's one of the great sitcoms, each character is so fully defined and there are jokes of so many varieties, not just verbal but visual and physical and recurring and always true to character. One of my favorite recurring gags is Archer's obsession with Burt Reynolds. In the Season 2 episode "Pipeline Fever" he keeps talking about Gator (1976) since he and his ex-girlfriend/coworker are going to the swamp. They're arguing about the element of surprise when Archer gets distracted.

Which is why mobility is key. And how will we achieve mobility, huh? An airboat, Lana. Just like Burt Reynolds in White Lightning. Not to mention Gator! Which... even though it's a sequel I think it's the stronger of the two films.

Remember Jerry Reed's character in Gator? McCall? No? Well, whatever. Check this out, I stol--borrowed it from Woodhouse? RIGHT! It's just like in Gator.

Archer has blown their cover by pulling a gun and an air marshall is now pointing a gun at them. Later in the episode he shows up in an outfit that read suspiciously like Burt's insanely memorable rubber vest from Deliverance (1972) though it's not remarked upon.

Which brings us to a Burt Reynolds speech from that great 70s picture

What to do with a dead body... what to do? That's always a (movie) question. Fifty-three minutes into the classic Deliverance (1972), the shit has hit the fan or, rather, the men have already squealed like pigs. Four increasingly unhinged friends are now freaking out over the fresh corpse in their midst. Drew (Ronny Cox) in particular wants to be done with their time in the woods and turn things over to the law. Burt Reynolds has the answer in his greatest pre-Boogie Nights role (the one he was famously Oscar snubbed for).

 

You let me worry about that, Drew. You let me take care of that. You know what's going to be here, right here? A Lake! Far as you can see. Hundreds of feet deep. Hundreds of feet deep!

Did you ever look out over a lake? Think about something buried underneath it. Buried underneath it!

Man, that's about as buried as you can get.


It must have been tempting to film Burt's take-charge moment entirely in tight sweaty closeup. That's exactly what a modern filmmaker would do, beholden as they now all are to constant closeups and the TV-centric emphasis on the dead center of each frame, as if stardom can't be grasped if more than one person inhabits any frame. Thankfully, director John Boorman, his Oscar nominated editor Tom Priestley and the great cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond trust that alpha male star Burt Reynolds doesn't need any help in seizing a scene.

Instead we get a riveting and creepy mix of longshots, closeups, and slow pans which never let's us forget any of the players, their specific relationships to one another ...and especially the unsettling constant presence of that intruding dead body, draped inelegantly across a tree branch.

 

previous monologues

 

Thursday
Mar062014

Liza at the Oscars. Then, Then, Then, and Now

Liza Minnelli's appearance at the Oscars this past weekend was the subject of much discussion and typical ageist snark ("old people are so ridiculous!") online which was... disappointing. Not that Liza didn't bring some of it upon herself particularly with her slow on the uptake reactions to Ellen's drag queen joke* and the selfies. But before we get into this year's particulars, CONTEXT.

I think it's worth remembering that this was not Liza's first time at the rodeo. Liza has lived her entire life in the unreality of showbiz so if she wants to wear a braless blue pant suit with matching hair stripe, to Hollywood's High Holy Night, she damn well should! After all, few people attending this weekend's ceremony can rival her for true icon status (Meryl, Bette, Poitier... and very few others)

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb212014

Red Carpet Lineup: All of Meryl Streep's Oscar Looks

a better photo of the Silkwood Oscar dressThis is the last Streep-centric post for this Oscar season (unless she does something crazy at the Oscars), promise!

I used to always make a point of saying that Meryl Streep gets nominated for 39% of her performances, having appeared in 46 features and being nominated 18 times. But in truth her record is better than that. Once you eliminate the performances that couldn't have been nominated her record is an even more incredible 53% (a good example is her leading role in Plenty released in 1985 since she was nominated for her leading role in Out of Africa and an actor may only have one nomination per category unlike behind-the-camera people who are allowed to double up). So, fact: as soon as she reports to work on each new film she is more likely to be nominated than not for whatever it is she is about to do.

Is this the best record ever? Among actors, yes (once you eliminate the people who only made a few films and died/quit). But, otherwise, nope. John Williams has the closest thing to infallibility since he's nominated for virtually everything he does but let's not get sidetracked. Let's look at Streep's past in gown form and her future in role form after the jump

All of Meryl's Oscar Nominated Looks 1978-2012
With thanks to Google Image Search and Simply Streep 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb192014

11 Days Til Oscar. Bette Midler & Original Song

Bright and early this morning they announced that Bette Midler will be performing at the Oscars for the first time. That's shocking to type since she's had so many great movie musical moments in her career and she's obviously been to the Oscars as a nominee or to present. But, alas, her material was generally not original* and thus unnominated in the one category that regularly prompts performances.

Though it seems highly likely that they'll have her as underscore songstress for the In Memoriam visuals (zzz. Love that segment but it's never about the singer so they're interchangeable... something you can't usually say for Bette Midler) It's more fun to fantasize about recreating one of her musical moments from a movie on the main stage. So... vote!

 

 

 

* A Shocking Memory
Yes, it's true. The classic "The Rose" from The Rose (1979), written by Amanda McBroom, was NOT nominated for Best Original Song even after winning the Golden Globe. It was not expressly written for the movie though it had never been recorded before that point -- the same tragic reasons for disqualifications as Moulin Rouge!'s "Come What May". That category has been fucking us over for decades - this year's controversy was the least of it, really. The ideal song line up for 1979, an unusually good year for the category, would have probably would have been some combination of the two lists since the Oscar winner "It Goes Like It Goes" from Norma Rae, unnominated at the Globes, is also lovely.

But when you remember that "The Rainbow Connection" was nominated at both awards shows and lost twice, the point becomes moot. Truth: that eternal classic deserved multiple Oscars. An Oscar for 1979 and then an Oscar for every random year thereafter that failed to produce a worthy nominee. As an encore, you know? 

 

What would you have voted for?

I hope you've been enjoying the Countdown to Oscar! We're having so much fun with it so please check out any episodes you missed. Remember this truth: Comments are fuel for more blogging. 

Previously
12 Days - A twelve-wide Best Picture field!!! What does 1934 tell us about "Oscar slots"? 
13 Days - Matthew McConaughey and 2000's Best Actress Race?
14 Days - All About Eve vs. Titanic. The two all time nomination leaders face off!
15 Days - Supporting Oscar Chart fun "how were they nominated?"
16 Days - Irene Sharaff's 16 nominations 
17 Days - Looking back at The English Patient, Sal Mineo... and 1917?
18 Days - Meryl Streep's 18th nomination. Like whoa
19 Days - Julianne Moore's awards history
20 Days - Flashback '93: Age of Innocence, Farewell My Concubine, The Piano
21 Days - What's your favorite Billy Wilder? 

Sunday
Feb162014

Podcast: Our Favorite Films by This Year's "Best Directors"

It's a special edition of the Podcast. And by special I don't mean "filled with sound problems for which I apologize" but that we're not staying in the now but looking back. Joe and Nick join Nathaniel to discuss this year's Best Director Nominees... but not for their new films. We each choose our favorite film by the five artists nominated.

We throw in a few Oscar party food tips as well...

00:00 Oscar Fatigue and Scheduling
02:30 The Films of Steve McQueen
07:45 The Films of Alexander Payne 
16:00 The Films of Alfonso Cuarón 
20:25 The Films of David O. Russell
28:30 The Films of Martin Scorsese 
39:30 Tangent: The Departed and Modern Day Scorsese
43:00 Oscar Parties - Do We Go? Do We Have Them?
47:00 Choosing Oscar Party Food Items

You can listen to the podcast right here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments! Hunger, Shame, I Heart Huckabees, Taxi Driver, King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambíen, 

Director Filmographies

Monday
Feb032014

Podcast: Stranger by the Lake

On this week's brief podcast, Nathaniel, Nick, and Joe meet to discuss the erotic French thriller Stranger by the Lake currently in release after a successful multiple-festival run these past several months. But that's not all!

00:00 WGA & Jennifer Tilly
05:00 Frozen wins Annies, musical tangent
09:00 TCM's Oscar Doc
11:00 Actress '74: Burstyn & Rowlands 
14:00 Best acting shorlist this year?
16:00 Coming Soon: Liam Neeson in Non-Stop 
18:00 Stranger by the Lake 

You can listen to the podcast right here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes and continue it in the comments! 

Stranger by the Guild Lake

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