Monday, March 06, 2017

R.I.P. Robert Osborne

A long-time houseguest of mine passed away today.  Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne died at the age of 84.

Osborne started his Hollywood career as an actor, but quickly made the transition to writing.  He penned a reference book about the Academy Awards and had a column in The Hollywood Reporter for more than 25 years.  He eventually made the move to television, where he started on The Movie Channel, but when TCM began broadcasting in 1994, Osborne was there to introduce the network's very first film, Gone with the Wind.

In regard to Osborne's career on TCM, Screencrush writer Matt Singer says it best:

"Though Osborne wielded an expert's knowledge of film history, he never came off as an elitist snob.  He never made viewers feel inferior just because they hadn't seen Dark Victory before; he was always excited that they were ready to watch Dark Victory now.  He made old movies accessible, setting an inclusive tone and striking an inspiring example."

Several of my friends know, even if I'm not going to watch television, I turn the TV on and set it to TCM simply to give the network ratings.  It is because of that odd sense of loyalty that Osborne could be heard throughout my house nightly.  It is a disappointing day for film lovers.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Happy 49th Birthday Daniel Craig

Now somebody make a decision regarding the lead actor for 007.  I'm tired of waiting.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Last Night's Oscar Blunder Kills A Hollywood Rumor

It has long been speculated, but not really believed, that when Marisa Tomei won her Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for My Cousin Vinny in 1993 it was a mistake and she was in reality not the true winner.  The story goes something like this.

Jack Palance, being old, senile, and a bit of a wildcard, either couldn't read the name on the card he pulled from the envelope or he was a bit too drunk from the evening's festivities and simply selected the last name from the teleprompter, which happened to be Tomei.  She was a young actress who had starred in a comedy film from a year before and the other four nominees were more respected and had been a part of more Academy-friendly films (otherwise known as Oscar bait movies) that were fresh on the minds of voters.

While most in the film industry have accepted that Tomei was the true winner, many media outlets have continued the legend of her false victory.  I think it is safe to say that after last night's debacle of an ending with La La Land being named Best Picture when Moonlight was the real winner, Tomei's Oscar is legitimate.  The reason I believe this to be true is because the same accounting firm that was responsible for Tomei's award being given, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), was also behind the awkwardness of last night's Academy Awards finale.  PwC has been the official accounting firm of the Academy Awards since the 1930s and they have representatives at the awards show to ensure that no mistakes are made, which was finally seen to be true during the broadcast last night.

When the wrong movie was awarded, the PwC reps stepped in during the acceptance speeches to correct the mistake.  There is no reason to believe the same thing wouldn't have happened in 1993 with Tomei on stage holding a statue that belonged to another.  Hopefully last night's events will put to sleep once and for all the Tomei myth.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Don't Let The 'La La Land' Hype Ruin Any Expectations

Last weekend I saw La La Land for the first time and after hearing nothing but glowing praise (to say the least) I was expecting the greatest musical since Singing in the Rain.  While it was a very well-crafted piece of work, I wasn't as in love with it as I thought I would be.

Well, after reflecting on it for about a week I can safely say that I let expectations influence my overall enjoyment of the film.  I didn't think this movie would resonate with me like it has.  There's always a couple of movie a year that I cannot stop thinking about for days afterward.  It happened with the cinematography of The Revenant last year and the editing of Birdman two years ago.  I really didn't expect that kind of thing with La La Land, but I've been humming the soundtrack for days, considering the massive achievement in choreography it took to execute the opening dance number on a Los Angeles freeway, and pondering all the references to previous movie musicals and classic films director Damien Chazelle was able to fit into two hours while making something of his own.

My initial response to La La Land was that I really liked it, but didn't love it.  Yet, in the past week that reaction has incrementally increased from great appreciation to sincere pleasure.  La La Land is not only a technical marvel but an honest-to-goodness likable hit.  I regret letting assumptions of what I thought it was going to be like influence my ultimate enjoyment of the film.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Coen Brothers' Full Filmography Ranked

There are a handful of filmmakers out there that I have seen everything they've ever directed/written/shot/whatever.  Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick come to mind quickly.  I lack having watched Charlie Wilson's War to complete the writing credits of Aaron Sorkin.

Another entity of filmmakers I've had the pleasure of enjoying all of their work is Joel and Ethan Coen.  Together they've written and directed 17 feature films, of which I've now been able to decide which is my favorite and which is so much not so that it hurts to even include with the best of their work.  With no further ado, here is the full filmography of the Coen brothers ranked from worst to best.

17. Intolerable Cruelty
16. The Ladykillers
15. A Serious Man
14. The Man Who Wasn't There
13. Burn After Reading
12. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
11. Hail, Caeser!
10. Barton Fink
9. Inside Llewyn Davis
8. True Grit
7. The Hudsucker Proxy
6. Blood Simple
5. The Big Lebowski
4. Miller's Crossing
3. No Country for Old Men
2. Raising Arizona
1. Fargo

Monday, February 20, 2017

First-Half Best Picture Nominee Rankings

After seeing four of the five Academy Award nominated best picture films this past Saturday, my ranking of them would be Manchester by the Sea first, Fences second, La La Land third, and Hell or High Water last.  However, that doesn't mean that Hell or High Water is a bad film.

The more I reflect on La La Land, the more I seem to like it.  It might overtake Fences at some point, but I'm not quite ready to move it to a higher ranking just yet. 

This coming Saturday will be the final five films.  Those are going to be Moonlight, Lion, Hacksaw RidgeArrival, and Hidden Figures.  We'll see where they fall in with the other four.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hans Zimmer Love

At church on Sunday some friends and I got into a discussion regarding the film scores Hans Zimmer has produced.  That in turn led me to listening to the Interstellar soundtrack while at work today, which then led to pondering my favorite music from Zimmer.  Narrowing down to only five was hard enough, especially since after looking into all the soundtracks he has been a part of that I wasn't aware of, but having to put his numerous masterpieces in a ranked order is near impossible.  Therefore, I will be listing eight films total, three of which are honorable mentions and five are my favorites.  The honorable mentions could have gone longer, but you have to draw a line somewhere.  The below list of three and five are in order of their theatrical release date.

Honorable Mention:
The Lion King
Sherlock Holmes

Top Five:
Crimson Tide
The Rock
The Dark Knight