film


A Century of Film

Supporting Actor

Film has always relied on supporting performances but awards groups haven’t always recognized them right away.  It wasn’t until the 9th Academy Awards that the first supporting awards were given out.  Likewise, the BAFTAs would go through their first 20 awards without the category and no critics group would give such an award until 1957.  But eventually, of course, all the awards groups followed through and today it’s one way of celebrating great character actors although it has also been a chance for big stars to win their Oscar at last.  Supporting performances can be a role that runs through the whole film (like the way the Academy nominated Gene Hackman for I Never Sang for My Father or Al Pacino for The Godfather) or for a performance that dominates the film in spite of only being in a few scenes (like Orson Welles in The Third Man). (more…)

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A Century of Film
TriStar Pictures

The Studio

Victor Kaufman is the father of TriStar Pictures.  The name came about because Kaufman convinced Columbia Pictures (where he worked), CBS and HBO to combine to form a new film production and distribution company.  In at least one sense, it was the first major film company formed in Hollywood since RKO in 1928.  The reason Columbia was involved, in spite of already producing their own films, was to form a relationship with HBO which had become extremely powerful in terms of dealing with the majors (You can read more about this and the state of the industry in the early 80’s in History of the American Cinema 10: A New Pot of Gold: Hollywood Under the Electronic Rainbow, 1980-1989, Steven Prince.  The story of the formation of TriStar begins on page 25).  By 1984, TriStar had produced its first film (The Natural), although Where the Boys Are ’84 (which was only a TriStar distribution, not a TriStar production) beat it into theaters by just over a month, debuting on 6 April 1984.  But 1984 wasn’t that profitable (“in its first year of operation Tri-Star gained only a 5 percent share of the domestic theatrical market” (Prince, p 31) and by the end of 1986, CBS has sold their shares to Columbia and Time (the parent company of HBO) had sold them half of its shares as well.  A note here on the name: it was spelled with the hyphen until 1991 and was then dropped. (more…)

A nice ensemble pic from M*A*S*H that doesn’t really have a corresponding scene in the book.

My Top 10:

  1. M*A*S*H
  2. The Twelve Chairs
  3. Women in Love
  4. Lovers and Other Strangers
  5. Patton
  6. Floating Weeds
  7. The Joke
  8. Mississippi Mermaid
  9. Where’s Poppa?
  10. Catch-22

Note:  Not a strong Top 10, although at least it has 10.  The 2-5 are the weakest as a whole since 1965 and there won’t be a weaker group until 1976.  They look even weaker because they are between two very strong years.  Patton would have been #9 in 1969. (more…)

A Century of Film
Crime Films

The Genre:

There seems to be an idea that Gangster Films and Crime Films are interchangeable.  But to me, a Crime film is more than just a Gangster Film and the latter is just a sub-genre of the former.  The Rough Guide to Gangster Movies kind of sums up the idea right away even if they are just talking about Gangster films and not Crime films:

“Every book about gangster movies has to have a working definition of what a gangster movie actually is.  And each will disagree with the other.  For the purposes of the Rough Guide to Gangster Movies, it is one in which the gangster is the protagonist, not the supporting player or bête noir of the long-suffering cop hero.” (p 3) (more…)

Revisiting Childhood Movies Part XXII:

Spaceballs

  • Director:  Mel Brooks
  • Writer:  Mel Brooks / Ronny Graham / Thomas Meehan
  • Producer:  Mel Brooks
  • Stars:  Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Mel Brooks, John Candy
  • Studio:  MGM/UA
  • Award Nominations:  none
  • Length:  96 min
  • Genre:  Comedy (Parody)
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  26 June 1987
  • Box Office Gross:  $38.11 mil  (#31 – 1987)
  • Ebert Rating:  **.5
  • My Rating:  ***
  • My Rank:  #55 (year)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Notables:  Best Opening, Best Line Not from The Princess Bride (“Now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.”)
  • First Watched:  on video when first released
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  5 or so

As a Kid:  When I first saw this, I didn’t have that much of a knowledge of film because, hey, because I was still a kid.  But I knew Star Wars.  Good lord, did I ever know Star Wars.  So all the Star Wars references worked perfectly for me.  I even got the Wizard of Oz references (and even the Bridge on the River Kwai reference).  But to me, at the time, this was mostly a way of humorously looking at the movie that was not only a big thing in my life but had been the big thing in my life for a decade. (more…)

FALSTAFF: We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Robert Shallow. (Henry IV Part 2, III. ii. 220)

My Top 10:

  1. Chimes at Midnight
  2. Z
  3. Stolen Kisses
  4. Oh! What a Lovely War
  5. Midnight Cowboy
  6. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
  7. Boudu Saved from Drowning
  8. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  9. Goodbye Columbus
  10. Cactus Flower

Note:  This year’s post is a bit ugly with a number of source materials I was unable to get.  There is also even a film that I am unable to really review because while I have seen it, it was years ago (well over a decade ago) and it is extremely difficult to get hold of and I wasn’t able to do so. (more…)

RICHARD: You’re getting old. One day you’ll have me once too often.
HENRY: When? I’m fifty now. My God, boy, I’m the oldest man I know. I’ve got a decade on the Pope. (p 48-49)

My Top 10:

  1. The Lion in Winter
  2. Rosemary’s Baby
  3. Belle de Jour
  4. Closely Watched Trains
  5. The Odd Couple
  6. Hunger
  7. Rachel Rachel
  8. Pretty Poison
  9. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  10. War and Peace

Note:  My list is 14 long this year.  My #13 (The Fixer) and #14 (Oliver) are reviewed below because of award nominations.  The other two are listed down at the bottom.  You could make the case that 2001: A Space Odyssey should be listed but the Oscars treated it as original and I do the same.  You can find plenty of places on-line that explained the complicated history of its script. (more…)

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