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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Tootsie (2)

Tuesday
Mar122013

Top Ten 1980s

for discussion fun

Tootsie, one of the inarguably great American comedies

"The Tuesday Top Ten will get more article-like soon," he said (again). "It really will." But it was so much fun to discuss the 1930s and the 1970s, which are arguably the two most respected decades (critically speaking) of American cinema. So how about a decade that gets no respect? The 1980s. The '80s are tough for me to feel discerning about because I lived through them and was a) young and b) just falling in love with the movies and c) just falling hard for the movies so how could the cinema possibly have been hitting its nadir? I still have inordinate fondness for movies that might more safely be called guilty pleasures like Yentl, Superman II, Splash, Return of the Jedi, Clue, and about half of the filmography of John Hughes... and so on. I even like revisiting really bad movies from that decade. 

Off the top of my head my ten favorites of the decades. 

A Sean Young polaroid from the set of Blade Runner

  1. The Purple Rose of Cairo (Woody Allen)
  2. Blade Runner (Ridley Scott)
  3. A Room With a View (James Ivory)
  4. Tootsie (Sydney Pollack)
  5. Dangerous Liaisons (Stephen Frears)
  6. Amadeus (Milos Forman)
  7. Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen)
  8. Aliens (James Cameron)
  9. Law of Desire (Pedro Almodovar)
  10. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg) 

 

With apologies too... Silkwood, Reds, Diva, The Empire Strikes Back, The Little Mermaid, The complete works of Michelle Pfeiffer, Moonstruck, Raging Bull, Jean de Florette, Manon of the Spring, The King of Comedy, Heathers, sex lies and videotape, The complete works of Kathleen Turner, The Shining, Victor/Victoria, The Right Stuff, Bull Durham, Little Shop of Horrors, The Terminator, Witness, Broadcast News, Running on Empty, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Raising Arizona. I could go on and on and on but I'd better stop before I start singing Xanadu again.

 

I'd love to hear your lists, both guilty pleasures and critically lauded efforts you think deserve their reputations.

Wednesday
Dec262012

RIP Charles Durning (1923-2012)

2012 has been, so definitively, the year for huge teeming male casts (Argo, Lincoln, Zero Dark, Magic Mike) of stars and character actors playing anxious determined men that I felt an extra pang of sadness to hear about the passing of Charles Durning on Christmas Eve. He was 89 years-old. 

Charles Durning at the SAG ceremony in 2008 accepting his lifetime achievement award

Had any of those movies (well, not, Magic Mike) been made in the 1980s, he would with certainty have popped up --  100% -- growling great lines in a suit or stove pipe hat.

Since the seeds of my movie mania were planted in the early 1980s, Charles Durning was one of the very first actors that embodied and defined the term "Character Actor" for me. I absolutely loved him in Tootsie (1982), one of the all time great movie comedies, as Jessica Lange's widower dad who took an unfortunate shine to Dorothy (Dustin Hoffman in drag). I remember experiencing early onset Oscar confusion when I realized (a couple of years after the fact) that he had been nominated for an extended cameo in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas instead. So I rented that one in 1985 of 1986, I think, on the sly -- my parents did not approve of "raunchy movies" -- and just delighted in his "little sidestep ♫ "

Other roles I have slightly less vivid memories of from that decade were his Oscar nominated turn in Mel Brooks comedy To Be Or Not To Be (1983) and his monsignor in the gay drama Mass Appeal (1985). The Golden Globes got to him before the Academy -- as they so often do -- nominating him for Best Supporting Actor for his hostage negotiator in Dog Day Afternoon (1975) which we recently discussed. Durning won a Tony Award in 1990 for playing "Big Daddy" in a revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opposite Kathleen Turner (who he worked with onscreen immediately thereafter in the failed would be franchise launch VI Warshawski) but sadly he never won any major competitive acting award for his onscreen work despite Globe, Emmy, and Oscar nominations. His most recent Emmy honors were for a stint as Denis Leary's father on "Rescue Me".

What's your favorite Charles Durning role?
Have you ever seen his Oscar nominated roles?