June 2019

So, we’re off on vacation for the next 10 days up to Lake Tahoe, visiting with my siblings and father.  I would make a snarky joke but I did it last year which earned a comment that meant that the phrase “It’s not funny if I have to explain it” should have been changed to “It’s even less funny if my mother flat-out explains it.”

Because I’m not bringing my laptop, I won’t have the ability to approve comments so any comments made after late Friday night will be sitting in mediation until I am back sometime on the 7th.  I don’t just let any comments go through without mediating it for another reason that I will address. (more…)

VALMONT: Why not? To seduce a woman famous for strict morals, religious ferver and the happiness of her marriage: what could possibly be more prestigious? (Scene 1)

My Top 10

  1. Dangerous Liaisons
  2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  4. The Accidental Tourist
  5. Little Dorrit
  6. Babette’s Feast
  7. Eight Men Out
  8. A Cry in the Dark
  9. Dead Ringers
  10. A Handful of Dust

note:  Overall, a strong winner, but not a great Top 5 or Top 10.  The Top 5 won’t be this weak again until 1995.  Of course, as is often the case, balanced out by a phenomenal group of original scripts, the second best to-date (A Fish Called Wanda, Running on Empty, Bull Durham, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Wings of Desire).

note:  I checked 1987 and there were 10 films on the list at the bottom with a number in the title; in this year, it’s 14.  From here on, sequels will really become a massive part of this project, ironic in that the #1 film at the box office in this year (Rain Man) is original and has never had a sequel, something only Titanic and Avatar (so far) can say since then.


A Century of Film

United Artists

The Studio

It’s a famous story by now, one of the most famous in film history.  Four artists were tired of the offers they were getting from their studios and so they left their studios and formed their own.  There was a director (D.W. Griffith), a couple of stars (Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, not yet married because of her pending divorce) and the man who could do it all (Charlie Chaplin).

“There is an antique strip of silent film barely two minutes long that is perhaps unique in motion-picture and business history.  It is in two parts, two simple cuts.  The first records the ritual signing of incorporation papers, and there is an appropriate solemnity as signatures are affixed to documents dated February 5, 1919.  The scene is artlessly composed and shot and would be of no visual interest whatever were it not that the four signatories, the founding partners of the newly formed United Artists Corporation, were perhaps the four most famous people on earth.”  (Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven’s Gate, Steven Bach, p 28) (more…)

“Inconceivable!” the Sicilian cried.
The Spaniard whirled on him. “Stop saying that word. It was inconceivable that anyone could follow us, but when we looked behind, there was the man in black. It was inconceivable that anyone could sail as fast as we could sail, and yet he gained on us. Now this too is inconceivable, but look – look -‘ and the Spaniard pointed down through the night. “See how he rises.” (p 105)
Two notes: The first is that Goldman definitely improved on the line for the film. Second, I literally opened the book at random and went with the first scene I saw for this picture and caption.

My Top 10

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. The Dead
  3. Manon of the Spring
  4. Jean de Florette
  5. Roxanne
  6. Full Metal Jacket
  7. The Untouchables
  8. Empire of the Sun
  9. My Life as a Dog
  10. Prick up your ears

note:  This is a much stronger Top 5 and 10 than the year before.  Little Shop of Horrors, my #5 in 1986 would probably be the #9 or 10 here.  There is also a much longer list outside my Top 10 and only one of those films (The Last Emperor) is reviewed because of awards consideration.


A Century of Film


Lead actors, of course, have been a part of film since its history began and certainly since feature films began.  Even then, there was a great range to them.  The three greatest actors of the Silent Era were a clown, a Horror star and a man who would so straight Drama: Chaplin, Chaney and Jannings.  All three of them proved that you didn’t have to be a matinee star to be a great actor though many of the stars who would arise in the first decade of the Sound Era, stars like March, Howard, Gable and Cagney proved that it didn’t hurt if they liked how you looked either. (more…)