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Entries in Smackdown (39)

Friday
Aug262016

"Don't you have something to do?"

Christine Lahti is pissed. She heard that you haven't voted on the Supporting Actress 1984 Smackdown yet...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug202016

The Smackdown is Coming

The Supporting Actress Smackdown of 1984 is just 8 days away! All of the titles are available to stream online, albeit mostly with rental fees.

The Nominees were...

Dame Peggy Ashcroft, A Passage to India  iTunes | Amazon 
Glenn CloseThe Natural iTunes | Amazon
Lindsay CrousePlaces in the Heart iTunes | Amazon
Christine LahtiSwing Shift iTunes | Amazon
Geraldine PageThe Pope of Greenwich Village Amazon Prime  

Readers are our final panelist for the Smackdown so if you'd like to vote send Nathaniel an email with 1984 in the header line and your votes by Friday August 26th. Each performance you've seen should be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 hearts (1 being terrible 5 being stupendous) -- Remember to only vote for performances that you've seen! The votes are weighted to reflect numbers of voters per movies so no actress has an unfair advantage. 

Monday
Aug012016

Podcast/Smackdown Pt 2: Richard Dreyfuss Double Feature of '77 and Films Oscar Ignored

As a companion piece to yesterday's Smackdown, a two-part podcast. If you missed Part One it's right here. Now we conclude our '77 festivities (did you enjoy or did we go to overboard?) with our panel, which includes Mark Harris, Guy Lodge, Nick Davis, Sara Black McCulloch, and Nathaniel R, discussing Tuesday Weld, Richard Dreyfuss, Diane Keaton, Looking for Mr Goodbar, The Turning Point and a few '77 extras.

Part Two Finale. Index (40 minutes)
00:01 One more anecdote on The Goodbye Girl 
04:45 Richard Dreyfuss' big year and Steven Spielberg's interest/disinterest in actors in Close Encounters of the Third Kind
15:30 Tuesday Weld's career and the divisive Looking for Mr Goodbar
24:00 The Turning Point and a female-heavy Best Picture lineup
32:15 Performances that weren't nominated from: Saturday Night Fever, Opening Night, Handle With Care, Roseland, and Three Women
39:00 Thank yous! 

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

Smackdown 77. Part Two. Close Encounters

Monday
Aug012016

Podcast/Smackdown Pt 1: "Julia" & "The Goodbye Girl"

As a companion piece to yesterday's Smackdown, a two-part podcast. In the first installment Mark Harris, Guy Lodge, Nick Davis, Sara Black McCulloch, and Nathaniel R discuss 1977's Oscar race, Jane Fonda & Vanessa Redgrave's friendship, Neil Simon's quippy writing, and more...

Part One. Index (41 minutes)
00:01 Intros, 1977 Memories, Annie Hall vs Star Wars
05:55 "getting" movies and Oscar-watching before the internet
09:09 Julia and Jane Fonda's curious "supporting" lead
16:23 Gender in Julia, Vanessa Redgrave's politics, and queer subtext
29:45 Child acting and difficult language in The Goodbye Girl
35:45 The influx of divorce/single parenting movies in the 70s
39:14 Nick's family memory of The Goodbye Girl

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

Smackdown 77. Part One. Julia

Sunday
Jul312016

Smackdown '77: Melinda, Leslie, Tuesday, Quinn, and Vanessa Redgrave

Presenting the Supporting Actress Nominees of '77. A mother with extraterrestrial problems, a highly neurotic swinger, a wealthy political activist, a precocious daughter, and a timid ballerina.

THE NOMINEES 

John Travolta opening the envelope

If the characters weren't quite typical this time, the shortlist formation was a familiar mix of career glories. Consider the slotting: Oh look, there's the child actor slot that the Supporting Actress category is famous for going to Quinn Cummings; Tuesday Weld wins the underappreciated enduring talent nod; No typical shortlist is complete without a newish critical darling with momentum which in 1977 was Melinda Dillon (she had created the "Honey" role in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf  on stage but didn't get to do the movie and was finally making film inroads via her role in the previous year's Best Picture nominee Bound for Glory ); Finally, you have to have a current Oscar darling with considerable prestige and fame (Vanessa Redgrave) on hand in any given year. Oops, that's only four. The last type is more rare but not unprecented. The final player fell under what you might call the "novelty" slot (Leslie Browne). When the latter happens it's usually either foreign-born non-actors or famous musicians but in this case it was a soon to be principal dancer with the American Ballet Company.

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Here to talk about these five turns are our panelists: Mark Harris (Author of "Pictures at a Revolution," and "Five Came Back"), Guy Lodge (Variety, The Observer), Nick Davis (Associate Professor of English and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern), Sara Black McCulloch (Rearcher, Translator, Writer) and your host Nathaniel R (Editor, The Film Experience).

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

1977 
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN 

 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul262016

Five Days 'til the Smackdown

THE SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN OF 1977 is coming. You already met two of our panelists. And here are the other three (including me). 

MEET THE PANELISTS 

Panelist: Sara Black McCulloch
Bio: Sara Black McCulloch is a Toronto-based researcher, translator and writer. She has written for i-D, cleo Journal, Adult, The Hairpin, Gawker, Bitch Magazine and The National Post. You can read more of her work here

Question: What does 1977 mean to you? 

1977 seemed to be steeped in so much disillusionment. I think that, like the years that signal the end of a decade but don't quite bookend it, it was...fraught. The year was packed with events that pointed to change and fueled uncertainty. It was the year the U.S. signed the nuclear-proliferation pact and the same year that the U.S. government voted against covering elective abortions through Medicaid. The Apple II computer hit the market and Jimmy Carter warned Americans about their oil consumption. New York City had a blackout. Culturally, things were brewing, or at least clashing with traditions: The Sex Pistols crashed the Silver Jubilee; Saturday Night Fever and a Star Wars sequel were released; hip-hop was just getting started and Roots was sweeping tv ratings. 

So much of the art produced and general sentiment of the U.S. pointed to different internal and external conflicts -- pushing boundaries, but setting up borders; artists, citizens and politicians all wanted to turn a new leaf but they were still anchored to their past. The best way I can summarize 1977: it's like the last 10 seconds of New Year's Eve, but the clock freezes.

 

Panelist: Mark Harris
Bio: Mark Harris is an editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly, and a contributor to New York magazine. He is the author of Pictures at a Revolution (2008) and Five Came Back (2014). He lives in New York City.
[Follow him on Twitter]  

Question: What does 1977 mean to you?

I was in eighth grade and living pretty deeply in the world of television--Happy Days, Good Times, All in the Family, Charlie's Angels, Saturday Night Live. But I do have some movie memories from that year: Seeing Network just before the Oscars and thinking it was one of the greatest movies ever. Seeing Annie Hall and not getting all the jokes but recognizing parts of my New York neighborhood. Seeing ads for Star Wars and thinking, "Ehhh, not really for me." Seeing ads for Saturday Night Fever and thinking, "100% for me." I now get all the jokes in Annie Hall. Everything else still stands.

 

Panelist & Host: Nathaniel R
Bio: You can read more about me here, but you already know me!
[Follow Nathaniel R on Twitter]

Question: What does 1977 mean to you?

I don't remember much. The only movie I physically remember sitting in the theater for was The Rescuers -- I was really into Evinrude the dragonfly and Medusa's pet alligators.  My most vivid showbiz memories of 1977 are two: making Bionic Woman noises while jumping around the backyard with my best friend and hearing my big sister playing Streisand's "Evergreen (The Theme From A Star is Born)" on the piano a lot.

ARE YOU VOTING ON THE SMACKDOWN, DEAR READER? Get your votes in by Friday early evening. 


The Nominees were...

Leslie BrowneThe Turning Point
Quinn Cummings, The Goodbye Girl
Melinda Dillon, Close Encounters
Vanessa Redgrave, Julia
Tuesday Weld, Looking for Mr Goodbar 

Readers are our final panelist for the Smackdown so if you'd like to vote send Nathaniel an email with 1977 in the header line by Friday with your votes. Each performance you've seen should be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 hearts (1 being terrible 5 being stupendous) -- Remember to only vote for performances that you've seen; the votes are weighted to reflect numbers of voters per movies so no actress has an unfair advantage because her movie is popular. 

Sunday
Jul242016

The Smackdown Is Almost Here

THE SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN OF 1977 IS JUST ONE WEEK AWAY. Get your votes in by Friday early evening. This week will be a '77 blitz at the blog to get you in the mood. 


The Nominees were...

Leslie BrowneThe Turning Point
Quinn Cumming, The Goodbye Girl
Melinda Dillon, Close Encounters
Vanessa Redgrave, Julia
Tuesday Weld, Looking for Mr Goodbar 

Readers are our final panelist for the Smackdown so if you'd like to vote send Nathaniel an email with 1977 in the header line and your votes. Each performance you've seen should be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 hearts (1 being terrible 5 being stupendous) -- Remember to only vote for performances that you've seen! The votes are weighted to reflect numbers of voters per movies so no actress has an unfair advantage. 

Click to embiggen to see the 1977 goodies

MEET THE PANELISTS

We'll do this piecemeal so you don't feel overwhelmed. Here are two of our guests this time 'round...

 

Panelist: Nick Davis
Bio: Nick Davis writes the reviews and features at the website Nick's Flick Picks.  The site's unpredictable cycles of frenzied activity and long dormancy have to do with his also being an Associate Professor of English and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern, where his research and teaching mostly concern narrative film in different eras, genres, and countries. 
[Follow Nick on Twitter]

Question: What does 1977 mean to you?

1977 is the year I personally debuted at the box office. My Star Wars-obsessed brother says it was the second-best thing that happened that year. Sadly, I drew only a modest "B-" on CinemaScore from males 18-29, but since I mostly appealed to middle-aged and older moviegoers, I turned out to have legs.  Shelley Duvall drove to the delivery ward, her skirt caught in the car door, and brought my parents pigs in a blanket and little pudding cups to celebrate my arrival.  When she left, she looked a lot more like Sissy Spacek, which confused all of us.  I was an odd-looking baby, but not as odd-looking as the one in Eraserhead, so that was some consolation.  My mom was just relieved she didn't have to be impregnated by a computer, like Julie Christie was in Demon Seed.  My parents were very careful about vaccines; Han Solo gave me my shots first.  When it was time to leave the hospital, Roy Scheider, Francisco Rabal, and two other guys drove us all home in trucks full of live nitroglycerine. It was a harrowing journey, especially the part on the rope bridge over a swollen river. Once at the house, we opened the door to a huge surprise party.  Liza Minnelli was in the living room belting "New York, New York," with backup from the aliens of the Creature Cantina. Gena Rowlands was sozzled behind her huge sunglasses in a corner, talking to someone the rest of us couldn't see. Charles Burnett, Laura Mulvey, and Derek Jarman were all screening brilliant new footage in the back of the house, wondering what it would take to get more attention from the mainstream partygoers in the front of the house.  Annie and Alvy arrived late, after a very long walk to the curb from where she'd parked.  Once they'd arrived, she sang "Seems Like Old Times" from a bar stool, which was weird, because I wasn't even a day old.  The party was fun until everyone got drunk and Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine started pulling each other's hair.  Everyone dispersed, at which point we all noticed Jane Fonda acting really agitated in her giant hat, and making strenuous excuses for why she didn't want a ride from anyone.  Once we were alone, my whole family expressed gratitude for what a fantastic universe of movies I'd been born into, and then we privately screened the only one from 1977 that really, really, really matters, which is The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Panelist: Guy Lodge
Bio: Guy Lodge is a film critic for Variety, a home entertainment columnist for The Observer, and plans to be Melissa Leo's official biographer whether she likes it or not. Born and mostly raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, he is currently based in what's left of London.
[Follow Guy on Twitter]

Question: What does 1977 mean to you?

My grizzled countenance and cranky Twitter rants may lead people to assume otherwise, but I wasn't close to being alive in 1977 — my parents wouldn't even meet for another two years — so my picture of the year is one informed entirely through history and pop totems. (Admittedly, not always the most popular pop totems: one of my most treasured thrift-store finds remains a double-disc vinyl soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's New York, New York, surely that year's most persistently undervalued triumph.) It's hard not to think of Star Wars when you think of 1977, since it so comprehensively altered the blockbuster template in ways we still feel today (and not just in the ongoing Star Wars films!), but it's a franchise to which I've never been sentimentally attached — perhaps because I never had the chance to discover it in theaters. I know I would have been Team Annie Hall in that year's Oscar race, one that continues to rankle with younger generations of acolytes: perhaps, in a sense, I think of 1977 as the starting point for today's polarized fan culture?

Continue on the Meet the Panelists Pt 2

How about you dear reader: What does 1977 mean to you?