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William Holden in Picnic

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Entries in Tina Fey (21)

Thursday
Oct192017

Blueprints: "Mean Girls"

Hi everyone, Jorge here. Welcome to the first installment of Blueprints, a new weekly series where we'll discuss the relationship between the pages of a script and the finalized cinematic products. To start things off, an audience-favorite and one of the most quotable films of all time.

 

Tina Fey’s cult-classic satire on teenage girlhood, cliques, and cheese fries has quickly become an indispensable presence inside the ranks of Most Quotable Films lists. Behind-the-scenes recognition has fallen more on the writer than on director Mark Waters (brother of Heathers’ helmer Daniel Waters; for those keeping tabs on your clique movies). Almost every single line has become a chant for people to drop on each other, so much that Quote-Along screenings of the film have become widely popular.

But what is it about Mean Girls that made it not only memorable, but practically irresistible to mouth along to?

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Wednesday
May182016

Henry & Eleanor, Frank & Bram, and The Breakfast Club

On this day in movie related history... 

1152 King Henry II marries Eleanor of Aquitaine. Their romance is later fictionalized in the ever popular play/movie The Lion in Winter which we've written about several times

1897 Frank Capra is born in Italy. He'll immigrate to the US at five years old and become one of the most famous film directors of all time.  Across the ocean in London a public reading of Bram Stoker's new novel "Dracula, or, The Un-dead" is staged. Frank Capra never makes a movie influenced by Dracula but everyone else does.

Meredith Wilson writing music1902 There's trouble right here in River City Mason City when Meredith Wilson is born. He'll later write The Music Man but not before accruing Oscar nominations for film scoring (The Little Foxes, The Great Dictator)

1912 The first Indian film Shree Pundalik is released in Mumbai. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of movies will follow in its wake from the ever prolific Indian film industry, better known as "Bollywood". Over in the US, Richard Brooks is born and will go on to become a famous screenwriter and director. Four must-sees from his filmography: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Elmer Gantry (1960), In Cold Blood (1967), and Looking for Mr Goodbar (1977)

1931 Robert Morse is born, becomes darling cross media actor winning 2 Tonys and 1 Emmy.

...Unfortunately Emmy, given the opportunity to reward him with a career capping statue, robs him blind decades later for his unforgettable farewell on Mad Men

1970 Tina Fey is born so that we might have 30 Rock and Mean Girls.

1985 Simple Minds hits #1 with Don't You Forget About Me" the theme song from teen classic The Breakfast Club. Oscar forgets about it in the Best Original Song category. Do you think it deserved to knock one of these songs out? Let's readjudicate the race in the comments.

Oh come on you know you want to!

Illustration to the right by Johanna The Mad

2003 Musical sensation Les Misérables closes on Broadway after 16 years and 6,680 performances. Becomes super-divisive big-grossing Oscar-winning movie 9 years later. Is nominated for Best Original Song

Friday
Mar042016

Review: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Eric here with a take on the new Tina Fey film Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, an adaptation of journalist Kim Barker’s memoir of her three years as a war reporter in Afghanistan. 

It’s hard to watch WTF and not think of the film’s clear antecedent, Barry Levinson’s Good Morning, Vietnam with Robin Williams:  both films are custom-tailored star vehicles that take a Western audience into a foreign culture, finding a tone between the comedy we expect from the leads, and light drama that allows them to expand their personas a bit...  

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Wednesday
Dec302015

Q&A: Oscar Ceremonies, Sex Work, and... The Warlocks of Eastwick? 

Soon, we'll be buried in an avalanche of awards news again so tonight a brief respite from the current Oscar race. It's Q&A time. Here are eight reader questions I chose to answer. I skipped anything on Category Fraud because I feel so exhausted by that fight ("though undeterred in my moral superiority!" he says arms akimbo and chin up, like a superhero with cape billowing behind him, sworn to upheld 'the Awards Way') and I might have to freak out all over again on nomination morning so let's ignore it for now.

MDA: What 2015 release that you were looking forward to watching disappointed you the most?

NATHANIEL: It feels stranger to answer with a film I liked, especially one that's already getting a critical rethink by way of surprise top ten placements but maybe Magic Mike XXL? While I admire its super cajzh vibe and its focus on female pleasure, I'm puzzled as to why they went more demure with the sequel when they kept promising it would be more stripperific i.e. what everyone expected from Soderbergh's first brilliant film (which you'll remember was a Bronze medalist for Best Picture right here.)

Another big disappointment was Sisters. It's totally funny don't get me wrong. But that's all it is. It's strange that we know that Tina Fey can write brilliant comic masterworks (30 Rock, Mean Girls) but keeps wasting her star power and comic gift on propping up other people's wildly underwritten cliché-filled scripts. I'm beginning to wonder is she even wants to make another comedy classic? Perhaps she's fine coasting until retirement. But it's hard to not wonder what could be if she'd only apply herself again. 

EZ: I hereby grant you special powers to go back in time and attend an Academy Awards Ceremony of your choosing. Which year do you choose and why?

NATHANIEL: This question sounds nice until you realize the genie has only granted you one wish instead of three.  So stingy!

Retro Oscar Races, Domnhall Gleeson, Bridget Jones's Baby, and more after the jump...

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Friday
Dec182015

Review: "Sisters"

Remember friends, The Force Awakens isn't the only film arriving today, even though it may be taking the lion's share of your multiplex's screens and dominating the cultural landscape. Limited audiences finally have Cannes favorite and Foreign Language Oscar frontrunner Son of Saul and the masses also have Sisters and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip *shhhh, keep walking*.

Sisters is an interesting choice for counter-programming against the behemoth, but should satisfy its own crowds looking for a steady stream of laughs. The film would face more trouble without the trustworthy chemistry between stars Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, as it strains to set up relationships (and not just of its leads) and conflict in a murky and bumpy first act. Once Poehler and Fey are given the room to shine, the film finally finds its footing and becomes the laugh riot you were hoping for.

More...

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