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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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Emmy Aftermath - how to fix the Emmys?

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Entries in Oscars (80s) (84)

Thursday
Aug212014

Throwback Thursday FYC: sex, lies, and videotape (1989)

Our 1989 25th anniversary celebration continues...

Have you ever seen sex, lies and videotape? Steven Sodebergh won the Palme D'Or at Cannes for his very first film and somehow it wasn't all downhill from there. The film, which was a minor box office hit, was crucial in planting the seeds for the American indie boom of the 1990s but when Oscar nominations rolled around the Academy played it very safe largely shunning both of the year's most provocative critical darlings (the other being Do the Right Thing which we honored earlier this summer in a post just like this one). I spotted these FYC ads on eBay and thought I'd share them.

Andie MacDowell has won a lot of harsh criticism over the years for various performances, most notably Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (for which she was dubbed over by Glenn Close) and Four Weddings and a Funeral but she's really wonderful in this picture and in Short Cuts. Blame Steven Soderbergh and Altman if you must but don't even try to deny it! 

More...

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Monday
Aug182014

Meet This Month's "Smackdown" Panelists

The Supporting Actress Smackdown of '89 arrives on Sunday August 31st, two weeks from now. We'll be celebrating 1989 here and there until then as "the year of the month". You need to get your votes in, too, (instructions at the end of the post). If you've wandered in from elsewhere and are like, "What's a Smackdown?," here's how it started and here's last month's entry on 1973 with its companion podcast. The year in question this time is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

no, these ladies are not the panelists

The Smackdown Panel for August

Without further ado let's meet the voices who will be watching and discussing the '89 hits Steel Magnolias and Parenthood. They'll also be sounding off on the Oscar-winning bio My Left Foot and the underseen actressy curio Enemies: A Love Story. Stay tuned.

new panelists

KEVIN B LEE
Kevin B. Lee is a filmmaker, film critic and producer of nearly 200 video essays exploring film and media. He is Founding Editor and Chief Video Essayist at Fandor Keyframe and founding partner of dGenerate Films (a distribution company for independent Chinese cinema). His video "Transformers: The Premake" was featured in over 20 news outlets including the New York Times, Slate and Entertainment Weekly. [Follow him on Twitter | IMDb]

What does 1989 mean to you?

1989 was such a fascinating year for summer movies: could one imagine the likes of "Do the Right Thing" and "Born on the Fourth of July" slated among the current stack of superhero blockbusters? So many other great movies worth mentioning... but what comes to mind first is "Dead Poets Society" and Robin Williams as the high school English teacher we all wish we had..

 

TASHA ROBINSON
Tasha Robinson is a Senior Editor at The Dissolve, Pitchfork Media’s playground for movie lovers. Her writing and interviews have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles TimesOrlando Weekly,Science Fiction Weekly, and at the NPR Books website, and she's been a recurring guest on Filmspotting, Slashfilm’s Filmcast, and The Sound Of Young America, now known as Bullseye. She is still trying to cope with Hayao Miyazaki’s kinda-for-real-th-s-time retirement. [Follow her on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?:

It was such a crossroads year. The Little Mermaid brought American animation back from the abyss, and the Disney Renaissance enabled the animation boom that followed. We’re still feeling the impact of the revelation that America could produce animation that was not just art, and not just fun for adults as well as bored kids, but insanely profitable in a way that made studios sit up, take notice, and get involved. And James Cameron’s The Abyss was similarly a turning point for CGI effects. That entirely digital not-a-Russian-water-tentacle was like a signpost pointing to how innovative and creative special effects could get, when anything filmmakers could possibly imagine could be rendered inside of a computer. All that, plus Steven Soderbergh’s debut, Spike Lee’s breakthrough, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which gave us Keanu Reeves: Major Movie Star. 

 


TODD VANDERWEFF

Todd VanDerWerff is the Culture Editor for Vox.com, where he writes a lot about TV and movies. Before that, he was the TV Editor at The A.V. Club. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Grantland, Salon, Hitfix, and The House Next Door. [Follow him on Twitter]  

What does 1989 mean to you?

"Honey I Shrunk the Kids". Which isn't even accurate, because I didn't see it until it came out on video the next year. But I remember feverishly waiting all summer, checking the movie listings every week, to see when it would hit one of the two (two!) screens in the nearby "big city" of Mitchell, S.D. Then I would go to the pool, and my friends and I would imagine what the movie might be like, based entirely off of the vague recollections of another friend who had seen it on a trip to Sioux Falls. By the time Honey made it to Mitchell, it was almost time for school. "Batman" had held it off that long. So I didn't see it until the next year, when it finally hit video. I liked it, but of course I would like it. I was 9, and 9-year-olds don't yet know how to be disappointed. (It also received my father's highest praise: "Boy, I'll bet they had fun making this one!") But it might have been my first true movie obsession, and for that, I have to thank it for a lifelong love.

 

returning panelists


NICK DAVIS
Nick Davis tweets, blogs, and writes reviews and is a professor of film, literature, and gender studies at Northwestern University. His first book "The Desiring Image" was published last year. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?

I experienced 1989 as the Berlin Wall falling to the tunes of "Back to Life" and "Buffalo Stance," with Blush and Bashful spotlights strobing all around us.  My family moved to Germany a year later and I was disappointed to see the reunification going down somewhat differently. No one was dancing in a brown slip before a burning cross, which was how I then conceived of freedom in action.  For the first time, I saw four of five Best Picture nominees in theaters (Oliver Stone excepted) and I walked a mile each way to see "Steel Magnolias" three times in the cinema, which is what all the 12-year-old boys on the Marine Corps base were doing. Ken(ny) Plume and I got in trouble in English class the next winter for talking while Mr. Petrashune was trying to teach us. We were simply agreeing that "Driving Miss Daisy" obviously didn't deserve to win if the director wasn't even nominated.

 


TIM ROBEY
Tim Robey has been reviewing films for the Daily Telegraph since 2000, alongside a few interviews and other bits and bobs. His writing is mostly here. His recommendations series is here. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?

I'd love to pretend I was all across Hou Hsaio-hsiaen's "A City of Sadness" at age 11, but no. 1989 means scattered things to a bookish child swotting up for exams, not yet a movie buff, much more of a fantasy and computer game nerd. I remember three films at the cinema – "Batman," "Indiana Jones," "Back to the Future III," "Ghostbusters II," at a push. A cast and crew premiere for "License to Kill" (my dad was involved on the insurance side). Strange peer obsession with "Look Who's Talking". This was maybe a year before I was Oscar-aware, but it may mark the point where I started watching flicks on VHS I wasn't meant to see yet ("The Fly," "Aliens," "Robocop") and, via these illicit thrills, just beginning to get the bug.

 

And your host

NATHANIEL R
Nathaniel is the founder of The Film Experience, a reknowned Oscar pundit, and the web's actressexual ringleader. He fell in love with the movies for always at The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) but mostly blames Oscar night (in general) and the 80s filmographies of Kathleen Turner and Michelle Pfeiffer. Though he holds a BFA in Illustration, he found his true calling when he started writing about the movies. He blames Boogie Nights for the career change. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?

Three visual memories became so burned into my psyche it's like I'm still watching them on loop 25 years later: Pfeiffer slinking on a piano top, Madonna dancing in a field of burning crosses, and Ursula the seawitch's body language.  All other '89 film memories are relatively wispy intangibles by comparison but there's two I should share. This was the year I learned what 'business' was in acting, watching Andie MacDowell fiddle with a glass during conversation in "sex, lies and videotape" and the year I first tasted the lurid addictive thrill of being an 'Opinion Maker' dragging a guy's guy high school friend of mine to "Steel Magnolias" and feeling way too proud when I talked him into loving it. 

 

YOU'RE INVITED, TOO!
The readers are the final (collective) panelist. You have until Thursday August 28th to get your votes in on any of the performances you've seen grading them on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (perfect). We excerpt quotes from reader ballots and your votes count toward the outcome.  

1989 Supporting Actress Nominees
• Brenda Fricker My Left Foot [Netflix Instant | Amazon Instant | iTunes]
• Anjelica Huston & Lena Olin Enemies: A Love Story [Amazon | Netflix | iTunes]
• Julia Roberts Steel Magnolias [Netflix Instant | Amazon | iTunes]
• Dianne Wiest  Parenthood [Amazon Instant -whod've thought that the biggest hit among them would be the hardest to find now? It's not available through either Netflix or iTunes!]

 

Say "HELLO" to our panel in the comments and tell them what you think of when you think of "89". And like the film experience on Facebook and follow Nathaniel on Twitter while you're at it.

Sunday
Aug172014

Podcast Extra: The Trouble with Diane Keaton

In this free flowing conversational extra [23 minutes]  Joe Reid tells Nick, Katey and Nathaniel  about where his devotion to Diane Keaton has taken him: to the "nothing" of And So It Goes (2014). We discuss the dangers of "comfort zones" and working with paychecks.

The conversation drifts to Edge of Tomorrow and Broadway musicals including Into the Woods. But mostly the 1989 & 1990 Oscar ceremonies. We always end up at Oscars. It's a sickness! Name checked in this extra episode: Emily Blunt, John Lithgow, Graham Greene, Michael Douglas, John Lithgow, Annette Bening, The Silence of the Lambs, Reba McEntire, Michelle Pfeiffer, and the musical stylings of Jasmine Guy. 

You can listen at the bottom of the post or wait till it shows up on iTunes (which usually takes about a day). Continue the conversation in the comments. We'd love to hear your comments on how it's going with Diane Keaton and your memories of the 89 and 90 Oscars, should you have any that is.

Articles Referenced
Joe & Kevin on Diane Keaton's career, Nathaniel on King Lear, and Nick & Joe's halfway mark capsule brilliance

And So It Goes...

Monday
Aug042014

ICYMI & August's 'Year of the Month'

Since I spent the last week completely absorbed in Supporting Actress Smackdown '73 (with a side of Into the Woods spazzing) I didn't have as much time to write. I'm super proud of this month's two part event (written & podcasted) and I'm so tempted to make Dana Delany's impression of Sylvia Sidney my new ringtone. I thank StinkyLulu for letting me be the Whitney to his Dolly. But here's a handful of other highlights you may have missed if you too had a busy week where one project stole your life. The team jumped in since I was smackdowning.

A Dame to Shill For cosign Jason's bigscreen/smallscreen lust for Eva Green's talent
Bergman's Ghosts Cries and Whispers is the greatest haunted house movie. But who or what is doing the haunting?
Is Lucy racist? Matthew refuses to see it
Hepburn's Hair Anne Marie shares a hairography theory
A Most Wanted Man & Guardians of the Galaxy reviewed. Michael is joining me on weekly review duties so you get two each week now + the podcast reviews

UP NEXT: I just got a new computer (it's so big I could trap Jeff Bridges inside it for decades!) and though the size of the screen is beyond glorious and will help with my writing and whatnot (particularly the whatnot) immensely, it rendered many of the ancient software programs I use to create the various entertainments on this here site unusable. Sad face. I will try to recover quickly.

Liz whips her hair back and forth

 But in August you can expect Emmy coverage & Oscar season warmups, The Giver, Love is Strange, the final episodes of "Hit Me" (cannot wait for Suddenly Last Summer and Gone With the Wind!), Anne Marie on Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and of course a celebration of 1989, our "year of the month" culminating in the Smackdown on August 31st.

  • Brenda Flicker, My Left Foot
  • Anjelica Huston, Enemies: A Love Story
  • Lena Olin, Enemies: A Love Story
  • Julia Roberts, Steel Magnolias
  • Dianne Wiest, Parenhood

So queue up those four films and five performances and get your votes in (scale of 1 to 5 hearts) by August 24th. What other 1989 films should we discuss this month

Saturday
Aug022014

Posterized: Famous Singer Biopics of the Past 50 Years

Oscar loves a lot of movie-things with predictable regularity though it should be noted that those things go in and out of style (when was the last time you saw a hooker with a heart of gold?). But one thing that never seems to go out of style with filmmakers: Biopics of musicians. Whether or not Amy Adams ever gets around to her Janis Joplin picture, or Hathaway goes through with the Judy Garland picture (I'd so prefer her to do Liza Minnelli who hasn't been done!) or Jane Krakowski ever gets the greenlight for Jackie Jormp-Jormp, there's plenty to choose from in the library already. And awards bodies, not just Oscar, often choose them. It's as good a way as any to be noticed.

How do you think Get On Up, from the director of The Help will fair with AMPAS? Reviews may be mixed but they don't seem to be for Chadwick Boseman's playful performance in the energetic title role. Hollywood is always searching for "the next Denzel Washington" and he's one of the candidates even though 'the next...' is always so problematic since true stars are always their own unrepeatable thing. Remember that uncomfortably weird forcing of so many actresses into 'the next Julia Roberts' tag? Even Julianne Moore (lol) was once in that lineup in a major magazine.

Let's look back at the past 50 years within this particular subgenre and see how many films we've gotten and how many of them won awards traction. I came up with about 27 pictures (excluding biopics of musicians who weren't singers or snapshots of the industry more than individual singers because you have to narrow it down somehow) though it's possible I missed a few.

27 FAMOUS SINGER BIOPICS (1964-2014)
How many have you seen?

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