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Months of Meryl: THE RIVER WILD


"Great post and comments. Yes, Streep had to navigate the rough waters of being in her 40's! I do think she smashed through the glass ceiling for women since she persevered and then became an even bigger star in her 50's." - Sister Rona

"One of my favourite movies from my teen years - I'm shocked at how long ago this was released. It was Meryl that sold this movie for me and is the reason I saw it. At the time, and I still feel this way, she is the reason to watch and believe this film." -Filmboymichael


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Entries in Oscars (80s) (192)

Wednesday
Oct262016

Oscar Horrors: The Dangerous Editing of "Fatal Attraction"

Boo! It's a bonus episode of "Oscar Horrors". We're looking back on horror-connected Oscar nominations until Halloween. Here's Daniel Crooke on a Best Picture nominee's brilliant rhythms

Fatal Attraction wants you to keep your doors locked; it gets off on invasion. On lulling you into a false sense of security, sneaking in through the back gate, and shredding the nerves of you and everyone inside while it wreaks increasingly deranged havoc with maniacal glee. Such manipulation is not only the mark of a great psychopath but of a great editor, as well. In Fatal Attraction, you’ve got both; Glenn Close’s rhapsodic performance as jilted stalker Alex Forrest slashes at unexpected intervals but she meets her match in the finely screw-tuned cuts of Michael Kahn and Peter E. Berger. Adrian Lyne’s classic cautionary tale of infidelity gone wrong and what happens when you turn down someone’s invitation to the opera goes for the jugular (and the groin and the brain) but it’s up to Kahn and Berger to keep your guard down, raise the hairs on your neck, and provide a clear path for Close to sneak up behind you with the knife.

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Tuesday
Oct252016

Streaming's End: Notorious Ladies, Super Powered Twins, and Desk Sets

Netflix has a paltry offering of new movies coming in November but they're losing a lot of titles (which is their MO of late) so you have just a week to watch the following titles. Amazon Prime is also losing a lot (though they have very strange and sometimes very short streaming schedules and the following titles may be back again before you know it).

It's your last week to watch these titles. You know how we do -- we'll freeze frame a handful of titles and random places just for fun and share what we found. Share your memories of these movies, too.

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Monday
Sep122016

Blue Velvet at 30

by Jason Adams 

With our host Nathaniel off in Toronto seeing movies this week; some good, some bad... but which ones will last forever? It's a question I put forth because David Lynch's masterpiece Blue Velvet played at the Toronto Film Festival exactly 30 years ago today. Did those fortunate souls sitting there in that audience know they were seeing a stone-cold American classic unveiled unto the world. I can't imagine they didn't know they were seeing something unlike anything else they'd ever seen before, that much seems clear. The film made some noise!

Blue Velvet's one of my Top Five Favorites so let's celebrate its anniversary (it was released in US theaters one week after its screening in Toronto). In honor of 30 years here are 30 favorite Blue Velvety facts, figures, and fun stuff, starting with...

1. LAURA DERN'S FACE

2. But seriously this is Lynch's first collaboration with his muse and most important collaborator (so says me and that cow he stood on Hollywood Blvd with) and it's a pleasure to contrast the character of Sandy with the places the two would later go - the sweetness and naivete here evenautally giving way to all kinds of craziness; it's impossible not to look at this nice young lady now and not see the wild woman -- Lulu Fortune anybody? -- about to come beating out from underneath those fuzzy sweaters.

Ears and lots of the F-word after the break...

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Sunday
Sep042016

Podcast: Smackdown Reflections and Film Critics on Acting

Nathaniel talks to Sheila O'Malley, one of the best film critics on acting, as they reflect on recent Smackdown adventures, the chaos of acting careers, and the problems with "best" designations.

Index (43 minutes)
00:01 Acting training, Geraldine Page, and critics who "get" acting
06:45 Glenn Close and Robert Redford Reveries in The Natural
14:00 The quality of acting fields & self-selecting "Oscar movies"
20:45 Romancing the Stone and the "realm of fantasy" versus the "gritty" farm wife movies. Why do some movies hold up so well over time?
27:00 Peggy Ashcroft and Lindsay Crouse. Plus: making out with Ed Harris.
33:00 The rumors about Swing Shift and Jonathan Demme's original cut. Did we lose a masterpiece?
40:18 Sheila's connection to Gena Rowland's Honorary Oscar.

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you?  

P.S. Read more about Sheila's Gena Rowlands tribute here.

a conversation with Sheila O'Malley

Wednesday
Aug312016

Smackdown '84: Glenn Close, Dame Peggy, Lahti, Crouse, and Page

Presenting the Supporting Actress Class of '84. The Academy looked way back in time for this vintage collecting characters from the 1920s through the 1940s: a British senior on an excursion to see "the real" India, a Depression era beautician, the ex-girl of a ballplayer, and a former singer working in a factory during World War II. The sole contemporary character was a chain-smoking furious mother from Greenwich Village...

Glenn Close and Geraldine Page were the regulars... about to lose again!

1984 
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN  

THE NOMINEES: The 1984 Supporting Actress list skewed more mature than usual. Lindsay Crouse, surely buoyed by the love for Best Picture player Places in the Heart, and the promising new star Christine Lahti who was the least familiar face to moviegoers at the time, were the youngest, both in their mid 30s. Glenn Close, on her third consecutive nomination in the category, and Geraldine Page with a surprise seventh nomination from a long and revered acting career, were the "names" of the category... and they were both about to lose again - this time to the stage actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft who had only rarely made films. 

Shut-Outs: There was very little consensus about supporting actresses beyond Ashcroft & Lahti who fought it out for the critics awards...

BAFTA & Globe nominees that failed to make the Oscar cut were many: Melanie Griffith (Body Double), Drew Barrymore (Irreconciliable Differences), Kim Basinger (The Natural), Lesley Ann Warren (The Songwriter), Tuesday Weld (Once Upon a Time in America) and Jaqueline Bissett (Under the Volcano); Other key women that voters could have chosen that year: Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters), Elizabeth Berridge (Amadeus), Polly Holliday (Gremlins), Sabine Azéma (who won the NBR for A Sunday in the Country), Holland Taylor (Romancing the Stone), Sharon Stone (Irreconciliable Differences), Dianne Wiest (Falling in Love), Amy Madigan (Places in the Heart) and Lonette McKee (The Cotton Club

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Here to talk about the nominees are our panelists: Sheila O'Malley (The Sheila Variations), Noah Tsika (Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Queens College, CUNY and author of "Nollywood Stars"), Joe Reid (Decider.com), Nick Davis (Associate Professor of English and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern and author of "The Desiring Image") and your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience).

And now it's time for the main event... 

1984 

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Sunday
Aug282016

Box Office Special: 1984 Hits

Rather than talk about this weekend's boring box office results (nothing new to see here beyond a big weekend for that new kill-the-trespassing-teenagers flick Don't Breathe) let's travel back to 1984 which was a hugely influential year for franchises of many kinds. What can the biggest hits tell us about the then and the now? 

TOP TWENTY OF 1984
numbers adjusted for today's dollars via box office mojo

01 Ghostbusters $589.6  
Two Oscar nods. Spawned 1 terrible sequel, two animated TV shows, and this year's reboot

02 Beverly Hills Cop $581.5
Led to two sequels, a TV remake, and a TV pilot that wasn't picked up. Beverly Hills Cop 4 has been in some stage of development for 20+ years and is still supposedly being made. We'll believe it when we see it.

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