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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


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Entries in Sissy Spacek (13)

Friday
Apr102015

In the Link Room

A very quick roundup to begin a Netflixy day (Daredevil anyone). Speaking of... Hi, Sissy!

Sissy Spacek photographed by Christian McDonald

Interview Todd Field (In the Bedroom) interviews Sissy Spacek on Bloodline etc...
NPR talks to Brad Bird on Tomorrowland. And yes, he is finally working on Incredibles 2 (very early writing stages) for which we will eschew our normal eye rolls at animated sequel news and instead cheer wildly.
Tracking Board Logans Run remake still a slight possibility. This time with female lead?
i09 posits that Practical Magic w/ Bullock & Kidman as witch sisters is a perfect movie 
Antagony & Ecstasy film criticism for a good cause: Tim takes on the daunting task of reviewing Vertigo aka "the greatest movie ever made" as part of his cancer charity drive -- he's raised over $2000 already!
Vanity Fair on Ryan Gosling as a director
Pajiba says "eff it... reboot everything" including Cybill. Hee!
Pajiba should you grow a Mad Men moustache? A handy guide 

Today's Watch ICYMI
It gives a whole new meaning to "instant watch"

 

Tuesday
Feb102015

Netflix Sneak: "Bloodline" with Kyle Chandler & Sissy Spacek

Last week here in Manhattan The Film Experience was invited to attend a very exclusive special screening and dinner for Netflix's new series Bloodline. How did they know we had a thing for Kyle Chandler and Sissy Spacek? Even more mysterious: How did they know about our deep abiding love for Norbert Leo Butz and Katie Finneran, two Tony-winning Broadway musical comedy sensations who are surprising but great choices to play husband & wife in a swampy thriller / family drama / murder mystery fusion. 

The storyline concerns the Raeburn family, a rich Southern Florida clan who own and run a very lucrative beachfront hotel. In the premiere episode the parents (Sam Shephard and Sissy Spacek) are celebrating an anniversary and home come there four adult children played by Kyle Chandler, Linda Cardellini, Norbert Leo Butz, and their eldest and most troubled prodigal son Ben Mendelsohn. (Mendelsohn's management team might want to look into a curveball next time he takes a role because seeing his face is now already shorthand for TROUBLE!)

More...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul252014

1973 Look Back: Terrence Malick's Debut "Badlands"

To give the impending Smackdown some context, we're looking at films from 1973. Here's Abstew on a spectacular debut...

With only a half dozen films released over the past 40 years, director Terrence Malick has already earned his place among the greatest American filmmakers. Despite his relatively small filmography, he has carved out a distinct brand of filmmaking that inspires (sometimes as much as it confuses or bores). But before he was an admired and respected filmmaker, he was just a former Rhodes scholar that graduated from Harvard working as a philosophy professor at MIT. His first film, Badlands, began to take take shape as he studied film at the American Film Institute. It was immediately hailed by critics on its initial release in 1973, where it was the closing night film at the New York Film Festival. That year's festival also saw the debut of Martin Scorsese's Mean Streetsm proving that 1973 was not only a very good year for film, but a landmark year for new voices. Both films were sold to Warner Brothers on the same day.

Set in South Dakota in the 1950s and loosely based on the real-life incident of Charles Starkweather who went on a killing spree with his teenage girlfriend in 1958, Badlands follows former garbage man Kit Carruthers (played by Martin Sheen in the role that established his own career in film, having working almost exclusively in television up until then) as he and his 15-year-old girlfriend Holly (Sissy Spacek in only her second film) take off cross-country after Kit kills Holly's disapproving father. Although seen as rebels (Kit is often compared to the original rebel without a cause, James Dean), the two are more simple-minded than that. They seem to be going along for a ride not quite knowing what they're doing or why exactly they're doing it. 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May062014

Visual Index ~ 3 Women's Best Shots

Given that 3 Women is a different picture every time I lay eyes on it, I'm dying to see what other people see in it, too. Thus, this brilliantly strange atypical Robert Altman is an ideal film for Hit Me With Your Best Shot, wherein everyone is welcome to choose what they think of as the "best shot" from the pre-selected film.  Find out what others saw in this picture by clicking on the photos to read the corresponding articles at these fine blogs.

11 BEST SHOTS FROM 3 WOMEN (1977)

They float about as a pair throughout the film as creepily as those cinematic twins in another Shelley Duvall classic...
-The Film's The Thing 

She tries it on for size, decides she's gotten enough, and goes on her merry way... 
-Dancin Dan on Film

 

A magnificent construction that highlights all of these themes while subtly foreshadowing what will happen later in the film...
-The Entertainment Junkie 

I’m a sucker for shots involving reflections, so I find this one very beautiful...
- Coco Hits NY 

The film opens in a sort of dream space and never quite leaves even as many sequences (especially in the first hour or so) seem fairly straight forward...  
-Musings and Stuff 


I would attend the hell out of one of Millie's dinner parties...
- Stranger Than Most 

"Persona 2: One More Woman Makes 3"
-Best Shot in the Dark  

Point #2 is that this is the exact moment where the distinction between Millie and Pinky starts to break down...
- Antagony & Ecstasy 

Dreams can't hurt ya."
-Intifada 


Millie, singular and perpetually out of place Millie, with twins both literal and figurative...
- The Film Experience 

 

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this creepy, disturbing film...
- Film Actually  

Next on Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966) 

Tuesday
May062014

"We don't like the twins" - On Robert Altman's 3 Women (1977)

I've seen 3 Women exactly 3 times. Look at me all numeriffic. Each time it shapes-shift fluidly like its still half submerged in the embryonic waters of pools, aquariums, nursing home baths, and dream floods that keep engulfing the women, particularly Sissy Spacek as "Pinky" (or "Mildred" depending on how you read the picture). She's the most permeable of them all.

Permeable, maybe, but never painlessly transforming; if the movie camera had never discovered Sissy Spacek's face in various stages of psychotic breaks (see also Carrie) it would have missed its calling entirely. 

The first time I saw the film it was like looking a crystal clear umbillical cord between Persona (1966) and Mulholland Dr (2001). The second time it was a singular experience, untethered to other films from my favorite genre (Women Who Lie To Themselves™) and played as a remarkable feat of interiority and actressing (Shelley Duvall won "Best Actress" at Cannes and that jury deserves a prize of its own for going there.). With this third screening 3 Women morphed into a messy horror comedy, a pitch black and deeply uncomfortable but still funny horror comedy about social autism, menstrual cycles, and the terrors of having no center and no support system to reinforce your youness. Follow?

Whichever film 3 Women is while you're watching it, it's impossible to miss its obsession with twins.

We don't like the twins. You'll learn about them soon enough"

Or, I'd argue more emphatically, its obsession with triplets; two identical, one fraternal. Though Altman's undervalued picture spends most of its time with the odd twosome of Millie (Duvall) and Pinky (Spacek) and though Pinky's initial trajectory seems to be very Single White Female in her urge to be with (or just be?) Millie, we're almost always dealing with triplets; the third is easy to miss, never identical and nearly always silent. Whether we're looking at actual twins (unfriendly blondes Polly & Peggy) or one woman reflected who appears to be two, or two women who appear to be three or four (reflections galore and too many images to screencap) or an actual rarer three-shot of the film's stars there's always some sort of triangulation going on when the image is placed in its narrative context.

Which is why my choice for "Best Shot" multiplies the multiples yet further and encapsulates absolutely everything that's so rich and weirdly specific yet vaguely disconnected about Millie and the movie itself. Millie has just been displaced from her own bedroom by Pinky when she returns to work and talks about nothing but Pinky.

I think she'll be back to work next week. The doctors really thought she was going to die. What's worse there could have been brain damage! 

Millie, singular and perpetually out of place Millie (note how Duvall towers over the other women like some absurd weed that needs pruning), trails her oblivious co-workers down the hallway in a continuous shot, talking non-stop as she does for the entire film. No one is listening despite her dramatic flourishes. Each of them are paired with their twin, literal or figurative ("Doris the Chinese one - she and I are best friends") shutting Millie out entirely. The last line as the undifferentiated women begin to dissipate out of the shot is brilliantly apt. It starts out all inclusive before it shuts someone out with its casually exclusive desperation. It's as lonely as Millie's foldout bed outside the now shuttered bedroom door. 

She asked about each and everyone one of you... especially the twins."

There's every reason to believe that Millie didn't like Pinky as her perpetual shadow/other before the medical drama. But now she's alone again. And what could be worse than that?

More 3 Women?
Here's a Visual Index of all the "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" entries 'round the web. 

Oscar Shut-Out
Oscar voters had no time at all for 3 Women despite their fondness for Altman in the 1970s. I'd gladly hand it nominations for Actress, Director, and Art Direction for starters. In fact, an early aborted mental draft of this article was entirely about the art direction. 

Programming Note
One change in the upcoming schedule. I didn't realize that Warner Bros / DC had chosen an official day for Batman's 75th (the date of his birth is complicated) so we'll postpone that Batman-related Best shot episode until July in the second half of this season

 

Thursday
May012014

"You're going to be the patient, and I'm going to take you in"

Millie: Okay, now what's wrong with ya? 
Pinky: Nuthin'
Millie: Well there's gotta be something wrong with ya."
Meet Millie (Shelley Duvall, Cannes Best Actress Winner / BAFTA Best Actress Nominee) and Pinky (Sissy Spacek). You won't ever forget them once you do. Join us Tuesday night when Hit Me With Your Best Shot looks at Robert Altman's 3 Women (1977). It's available on Netflix Instant Watch, Amazon Instant, and iTunes. Watch it, choose a shot, and play along!