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Entries in Oscars (80s) (107)

Wednesday
Jun102015

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Amadeus" (A Visual Index)

For this week's Best Shot topic, Milos Forman's scrumptious musical duet between jealous Salieri and genius Wolfgang. It was called Amadeus and it was very very good and very very popular -- raking in big box office, too. Though it never landed in the box office top five it had major legs and ended its reign as the 12th highest grosser of 1984.

The music drama won 8 Oscars (from 11 nominations) but curiously one of the prizes it lost was cinematography! The DP was Miroslav Ondrícek who had also been nominated for the previous Milos Forman picture Ragtime (1981).

Amadeus is so visually luxurious that I figured it would be a hard assignment and these eight images surprised me and I can't wait to dig into the articles. Unfortunately I had a computer mishap -- something is not working about my screengrab program (argh-the timing) -- so my own pick for Amadeus will have to wait. But please do read these articles and consider the visual choices. I'm not even going to attempt to put these in chronological order. It's a massive three hour film with lots of performances and difficult to place shots from the luxury overload. Today's Best Shot choices, from brave cinephiles round the web who dare to play this game, are presented in the order in which they were sent to me.

11 BEST SHOTS - AMADEUS (1984)
click on the photos to be taken to the corresponding article 
Next Wednesday: MAGIC MIKE (2012)... grab your singles and pick a shot to shove them into 

Forman wisely draws a visual (and comedic) parallel between the two appearances of the mask.
-The Entertainment Junkie 

When all you can do is seethe in your utter failure...
-Drink Your Juice Shelby 

In a film with such a lavish production, a quiet, almost bare scene caught my eye...
-Sorta That Guy

Hard to pick a shot because its best visual moments come from clever cutting and juxtapositions...
-Coco Hits NY

'It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God...'
-54 Disney Reviews

Thematically, I can't think of a more blunt message statement... 
-Antagony & Ecstasy

VIDEO ENTRY
-Movie Motorbreath 

If every Oscar winner was as loose and irreverent as Amadeus...
-Serious Film 

This resplendent film earned every one of its 8 statues.
-Film Actually

The perfect metaphor for the movie's dynamic...
- The Expert Newbie *first entry* 

"I'm frightened!!!" Yet she was fearless. Cynthia Nixon at 18
-Paul Outlaw

Finis

Friday
Jun052015

Q&A Pt. 2: Rain Men, Paperboys, Oscar Greats

We had too many good questions last week to keep it all confined to one post. So now that you're read part one, so here's part two of the week's reader question roundup. I saved all the Oscar questions for this round to motivate me to update those Oscar chart this weekend. Ready? 

SONJA: Why do we mourn/rage about "undeserved" wins so often? In reality it doesn't change anything....

It's as useless as making your bed in the morning but we still make our beds, right? Or in my case throw the comforter haphazardly across the sheets - close enough! Listen, I consider it a sign of good character to mourn poor choices from awards bodies as long as one does so pointedly and briefly and doesn't allow it to become part of one's whole character like hating an actr- OH WAIT OOPS.  

People like to be dismissive about awards and say 'they don't matter!'  but it's simply not true. THEY DO. Awards permanently influence resumes and entire careers by way of their temporary affect on opportunities and, yes, praise (once considered a "great" it takes decades for the petals to fall off that rose... it took decades for people to start getting snippy about Al Pacino & Robert DeNiro's work!

Plus it goes in the history books. Baby cinephiles decades later still look these things up and watch the movies that were awarded to teach themselves movie history. I speak from experience. I know this to be true.

CASH: Dustin Hoffman's win for "Rain Man" baffles me...

more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
May082015

Revenge of the 80s ~ Now With More 10s Sexism!

When the red band trailer for the revival (not a reboot but a long distant "next generation" sequel) of Vacation premiered yesterday, with Chris Hemsworth swinging a big fake one around for a cheap laugh, it got me to thinking about how phallic-centric Hollywood has become. This is no new thinkpiece notion of course. But with the incredible amount of material from the 1980s that Hollywood has been mining and regurgitating, we're getting about the sharpest resolution picture possible of how Hollywood has regressed in terms of equal opportunities for female stars. Hollywood has always had its share of sexism but today's Hollywood seems especially female-averse. How did it happen exactly? Hollywood will reboot ANYTHING from the 1980s. So long as it did not star a woman. No, not even if it was a smash hit. They won't do it... although they will allow those titles to be remade for television if you're really desperate to see them revamped. 

To prove the point here are a list of the most successful 1980s movies starring women. I only looked at the top 25 or so box office hits from each year of the 1980s. To give you a contemporary correlative of their success that's like from the tippity top American Sniper sized behemoth down to the Lucy-sized hit levels last year if you pretend that each year is roughly the same as the last in terms of gross domestic box office.

Disclaimer: This list should in no way be mistaken as a plea to remake these pictures -- we have more than enough remakes. We need original material!  It's just to make a point. 

40 BIGGEST HITS LED BY WOMEN IN THE 80S
(in very rough order of success) 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr262015

Happy Birthday, Giorgio Moroder

Tim here. Today's the 75th birthday of Giorgio Moroder, pioneering electronic-dance-pop mastermind, and winner of four Grammys. But this being a film site, what we're interested in is his work in movie scoring, for which he won three Oscars. And what stellar work it is!

Moroder's soundtracks - and even more than that, his songs - are absolutely definitive. Any child of the '70s or '80s can't help but associate Moroder's compositions with a certain kind of glossy, high-concept spectacle. Moroder's sleek, borderline-campy music brought pop-art grandeur to everything from the political drama Midnight Express (his Best Score Oscar) to the smutty musical Flashdance and from the kitschy Superman III to the sparkling black fantasy The NeverEnding Story. His compositions for these films are the opposite of timeless; they are emphatically and proudly mired in a specific period of pop culture history.

But for the same reason, his scores and songs are the best imaginable fit for the giddy, playfully shallow cinema of that decade, bringing the energy and dazzle of the first years of the Blockbuster Era to life with style and flair whose period-specific artificiality is their greatest strength, not any kind of weakness. But let's allow the man's music to speak for itself. Here are my three personal favorite from his 80s soundscapes.

From Cat People (1982): "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)", later used to magnificent effect in Inglourious Basterds

From Flashdance (1983): "Flashdance... What a Feeling" (his second Oscar, the first for Best Song)

From Top Gun (1986): "Danger Zone" (he won his third Oscar for "Take My Breath Away" from the same movie)

What are your favorite Moroder film scores and songs?

Wednesday
Apr222015

Nine to Five: "Best Shot" Visual Index

For this week's episode of Hit Me With Your Best Shot: the classic comedy Nine to Five (1980). We chose it to coincide with the forthcoming premiere of Grace & Frankie which will reunite Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin at last. Pity that Dolly Parton doesn't figure in! 

Nine To Five was a smash hit when it premiered in December 1980, finishing that year as the top grossing movie without light sabers. Awards bodies weren't as kind as the public. Though the title song won two Grammys for Dolly Parton, she didn't win her Oscar category (the film's only nomination) and even more bizarrely, the movie wasn't nominated for Best Comedy at the Golden Globes. The film has endured quite well in pop culture so it doesn't need resuscitation but we thought it would be interesting to think about the way it's shot. Comedies are rarely considered in that regard. The film was directed by Colin Higgins who only made three films (all of them comedy hits) due to an early death at only 47. It was shot by cinematographer Reynaldo Villabolos who is, more happily, still with us and still working in film and television.

Best Shots from Nine To Five (1980)
10 shots from 12 participating blogs

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr222015

Have you heard the one about the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot?

I have a terrible terrible just awful confession to make, dear readers. I hope you'll find forgiveness in your hearts as it will surely sound like blasphemy. My favorite performance in the classic lady comedy Nine to Five (1980) belongs to Dabney Coleman. Yes, the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot himself. "The Man," in Nine to Five in both the symbolic and the literal sense. But he's superbly funny in this beloved comedy, completely committed to his grossly entitled and just awful boss person whose demise his underlings fantasize about. Can you blame them?

Coleman is even better when his characterization morphs into Looney Tunes caricature in the fantasy sequences, when he gets personality transplants, sweating and terrified, humbled and guilty, or shy and objectified. If haven't thrown your internet device aside in total disgust at my betrayal, you should click to continue so that we may pick a Best Shot...

Click to read more ...