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Entries in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (9)

Saturday
Mar112017

Feud: Bette and Joan. "Pilot"

by Nathaniel R

The title sequence for Feud, really couldn't be better. The Saul Bass inspired graphics cut-outs act out both the iconic beats in hagsploitation classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) and Joan Crawford and Bette Davis's own rivalry as stars while alluding to their embattled natures (the hearts as tears is a particular fine move) within Hollywood where both had been wildly successful but not without their backs up and claws out, as it were.

When the action kicks off in Feud though we're in 1961 and both were now "has been" at least in terms of A list leading lady roles at 55 (Crawford) and 53 (Davis). Feud: Bette and Joan casts much older actresses to play them with Jessica Lange (67) and Susan Sarandon (70) which is maybe the most unintentionally positive takeaway of the show; it takes much longer to be considered "old" in Hollywood now!

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan182017

46 Days Until "Feud"

first promotional shot from FEUD

The new Ryan Murphy anthology TV series' first eight-episode season, premieres on Sunday March 5th (yes exactly one week after the Oscars which seems very kind). The season looks at the legendarily bitchy Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) vs Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) wars. Two Oscar winners playing two Oscar winners. We're in!

We don't want to know too much ahead of time as that ruins so many TV shows and movies these days but it would be nice to have a leaked list of films referenced beyond Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) so we could do a little revisiting of some key titles before the premiere, though it seems likely that the series will also cover the production of Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964) given the character list in the credits. Jessica Lange doesn't look or feel much like Joan Crawford in face or persona which could be a problem but Sarandon might well be the perfect choice for Davis. Alfred Molina is playing the director Robert Aldrich and Kiernan Shipka will play Bette Davis daughter B.D. Hyman. Other celebrity mimicry going on will include Sarah Paulson as Oscar-winner Geraldine Page, Catherine Zeta Jones as Oscar-winner Olivia de Havilland, Kathy Bates as Joan Blondell, Judy Davis as the oft-played gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren recently played her in Trumbo and Tilda Swinton played a twinned riff on her in Hail Caesar!), and multiple non-famous actors playing various Oscar winners (Gregory Peck, Eva Marie Saint, Maximillian Schell) in single episode showcases and/or cameos... who knows.

QUICK POLL
The image above most makes you want to...

🔲  Watch Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? again for the umpteenth time
🔲  Give in to the impending T***pocalypse and regress to childhood fantasies with ice cream in hand...
🔲  Find a time machine and skip the next 45 days.
🔲  Other [please describe] 

Saturday
May072016

The Mother of all Feuds

a must readAs you've surely heard by now, since it's one of the most striking actressy announcements in some time, Ryan Murphy's next anthology series will be called "Feud" and for its first season the subject is the über showbiz catfight: Bette Davis vs. Joan Crawford. Bette & Joan's famous loathing for each other was not confined to just the horror classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) but the series will be confined there since that set is the natural place to dramatize. It was the only film the two combative actresses made together. After the success of Baby JaneHush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) was intended as a reunion but ultimately Olivia de Havilland (who had her own legendary feud with sister Joan Fontaine) took Crawford's place.

Since Ryan Murphy can't live without Jessica Lange he's cast her as Joan Crawford. It's a terrible call because their screen personas are antithetical...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr232016

The Huntsman: Winter's War

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad...

The Huntsman: Winter’s War, now playing, promises a “new” fairy tale. That’s true only if you’re willing to stretch the definition of the word. This “new” and awkwardly titled picture is both prequel and sequel to Snow White with some Frozen fan fiction in the middle. It begins long before the events of the revisionist Snow White & The Huntsman (2012) and eventually skips ahead to pick up where the last movie left off. In case you’ve forgotten your blockbuster history — spoiler alert! — Snow White and her Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) triumphed at the end by killing the true twin stars of the picture: Queen Ravenna and Her Oscar Nominated Costumes (a.k.a. former Oscar winners Charlize Theron & Colleen Atwood).

Dead though Ravenna was, when there is money to be made in franchise resurrection, nobody stays buried. In the new film we learn that the royal witch came to power alongside her kind loving sister Freya (Emily Blunt). After an unspeakable tragedy, though, Freya also became evil. Ravenna had that Magic Mirror to inspire her wickedness but Freya opts for a worn Blu-ray of Frozen as unholy talisman...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug122015

Little Link on the Bloggie

Today's Must Reads
Cleo Journal has an excellent piece by Sara Black McCulloch on audience complicity, cat-fights, and star persona in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 
Grantland Mark Harris, typically brilliant, looks at this weird dispirited holding place (2015) before the next wave of superheroes are due to hit the movies for five plus years

Linkage
Variety Melissa Gilbert, that little girl from that Little House on the Prairie must have liked her role as SAG President some years ago -- now she's running for Congress in Michigan where she moved in 2013! Michigan politics are SO messy. Perhaps Laura Ingalls can help clean things up!
Gabby Sidibe loves Jussie Smollet cleaning her floors. LOL. Get all of that dirt, papi!
Criterion Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons look back on The French Lieutenant's Woman 
LA Times talks to the men behind Shaun the Sheep's dialogue free wonders
Rope of Silicon Angelina Jolie's By the Sea gets a hard "R" from the MPAA  


Empire Reese Witherspoon to produce and star in a supernatural thriller called Cold. She stays busy, that one
Defamer talks about the twist in Joel Edgerton's The Gift. I can't read this yet because I haven't seen the film but I love Rich Juzwiak's articles
The Hairpin "32 Things That Are All In Your Head" 
MNPP Gratuitous Miguel Angel Silvestre
The Film Stage PT Anderson made a music video again. This time for his Inherent Vice supporting actress Joanna Newsom
Uproxx a sequel to the one-off wonder Edge of Tomorrow is a possibility. Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossble - Rogue Nation) and Tom Cruise maybe thinking about it
Slate argues that the problems with the Fantastic Four might just be in the source material 
AV Club on the proliferation and pros and cons of the anthology format, post American Horror Story. Interesting but I dearly wish people would stop crediting Ryan Murphy with inventing a genre. Anthologies have existed since the beginning of television. He just popularized them again after a few decades when they went mostly extinct. It's like crediting Baz Luhrmann for inventing musicals or something.

ICYMI
Here at TFE we recently discussed that recent damning Miles Tellers profile in Esquire and The New York Times has now published "a brief history of the tough celebrity profile"  featuring Mira Sorvino, Cara Delevingne, Ernest Hemingway, and more. I thought I'd share it since we were just talking about Mira Sorvino at length in Mighty Aphrodite.

Stage Door
Playbill awww. Cyndi Lauper visited the stars of Fun Home backstage. Incidentally the show has been selling out houses for months now. That Tony win did good for a great musical. I keep wondering if anyone will dare make it into a movie?
CNN Benedict Cumberbatch is on stage in London as Hamlet but having trouble with fans who are filming him do it. Jesus, what is wrong with people? Just watch the thing you've paid to see. 

Thursday
Mar052015

Whatever Happened to... NO!

I beg the industry to debunk this rumor immediately. This is Meryl Streep's page at IMDb Pro (I added the magnifying glass) 

 

THIS IS NOT APPROPRIATE ! 

Meryl must be stopped. If it wasn't enough to get her pick of every new role, she wants all the old ones, too? Even a signature role belonging to a fellow member of the Oscar Holy Trinity*? NO! There's no improving on Bette Davis. None. Support new stories and look for an original duet with another fab actress.

 

* If this goes forward, god forbid, I'd so much rather see her in Crawford's role. Let Sissy Spacek torture Meryl for her Oscar sins.

Wednesday
Jul092014

you wouldn't be able to do these awful things to me if i weren't still in this Blog | But cha'aar, Link, ya'aar!

Boy Culture counts down 100 best Golden Girls guest spots - movie stars of yore!
The Daily Beast has an excellent piece on Tammy and Melissa McCarthy's career and body (also body of work) by Teo Bugbee
New Yorker thorough piece on the arguments for and against VOD for indies and the question of "cultural endurance" (I'm against VOD in general but I recognize that's probably because I live in NYC where I can actually see the movies and I think moviegoing is so much more immersive than watching things at home)

Me Says considers Notes on a Scandal (2006) the Whatever Happened to Baby Jane of our time 
Bad-Ass Digest on Exodus: Gods and Kings' 'white men with bronzer' cast. Will it finally crystallize the white-wash problem for people who still don't get it? 
Nathaniel R and have you seen that tacky black&white-in-color poster?
EW Dick Jones the voice of Pinocchio dies at 87 
Radar apparently Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes are 7 months pregnant... I thought they broke up? I can't keep up with celebrity lovelives 
Cosmopolitan has a cool piece on top stuntwomen... stunts are on my mind alot given that it's blockbuster season and this piece a month back...
TFE an interview with Hollywood's top stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton
Movie Dearest interviews the screenwriter of the 80s shocker Crimes of Passion starring Kathleen Turner  

Finally, what do you make of this plea for a collaborative performance Oscar?

Outstanding Collaborative Performance: Andy Serkis and company from Press Play Video Blog on Vimeo.

 

On the one hand I absolutely agree that Andy Serkis needs an Oscar and I've been saying so since 2002. But, like Mark Harris, I don't think it needs to be a competitive one. Creating Oscar categories or changing Oscar rules due to one or two special things (like say a Batman movie directed by Chris Nolan or a really great year for animation) usually results in far more problems and undeserving honors than it's worth. I say bring back the special Oscar for cinematic achievements that don't have competitive categories. When I was a kid that was a semi-regular event and it was nearly always cool.