Jeffrey Jones Gallery

September 28: Happy Birthday Naomi Watts and Mira Sorvino


Naomi Watts, who turns 48 today, was born in England but moved to Australia in her teens, so her acting career began in Australian film and television.  She began working in Hollywood in the 1990s, but much of her filmography during that decade is, many would agree, undistinguished.  She co-starred in the dystopian sci-fi comedy Tank Girl, which has at least some cult classic credibility, and her performance in Persons Unknown, a 1996 thriller, is worth noting (for reasons that will be clear before the end of this article).

It wasn’t until David Lynch cast her as Betty Elms in Mulholland Drive that Watts began to break out as a star.  A year later, she headlined Gore Verbinski’s horror film The Ring, a critical and commercial success, and then was cast in a central role in the first Hollywood film made by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu:

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Starlog Archives: Howard the Duck

With Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, George Lucas didn’t just produce massive hit movies.  He reshaped the pop culture terrain.  As someone who was the perfect age for those movies, I can honestly say that George Lucas shaped my childhood.  Once Lucas wrapped up his Star Wars trilogy, movie fans waited to see what he would do next.  Expectations were high that this wunderkind would continue to turn out one great idea after another.  Instead, Lucas produced Howard the Duck, an expensive flop that would set the tone for his post-Star Wars career.

The September 1986 issue of Starlog included a feature story on the infamous cult classic.  Thanks to a cameo appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, Howard has enjoyed a surge in relevance thirty years after his big screen debut.  The movie gets extra points around here because the cast includes WTHH subjects Lea Thompson and Jeffrey Jones.

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September 27: Happy Birthday Gwyneth Paltrow and Avril Lavigne


Gwyneth Paltrow celebrates her 44th birthday today.  The daughter of Blythe Danner and the late Bruce Paltrow, she made her film debut in her late teens, and first attracted notice playing the wife of Brad Pitt’s character in Se7en.  She followed up by playing the lead in an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, and then appeared as the lead in no less than five films released in 1998, including one about a fictitious love affair between a young woman and an English playwright:

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Andy Garcia: The Conscience of a Conservative

ryan - when a man

For a while in the nineties, Andy Garcia was one of those guys everyone expected to become a movie star.  While he was a respected actor, stardom never quite happened.  By the time Martha Frankel interviewed Garcia for the September 1995 issue of Movieline, the “next big thing” talk was starting to die down.  But Garcia doesn’t seem overly motivated by the fame thing.  Instead, he comes across as a pretty level-headed perhaps a bit old fashioned kind of guy.

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Fear the Walking Dead: Date Of Death

ftwd - Date Of Death

“Date Of Death” is the penultimate episode of the second season of Fear the Walking Dead.  You might expect the episode preceding the finale to set up some major conflict, but instead, this is a Chris and Travis story told largely in flashback.  The outcome of the father-son struggle was apparent to us at the end of last week’s episode when we saw Travis all by himself.  And yet, even as this episode ends, Chris’ ultimate fate is uncertain and we, the viewers, have learned nothing we didn’t already know.

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September 26: Happy Birthday Linda Hamilton and Olivia Newton-John


Linda Hamilton celebrates her 60th birthday today.  Her first major roles came on a pair of short-lived TV soap operas that come across as flagrant imitations of Dallas—CBS’s Secrets of Midland Heights, followed by ABC’s King’s Crossing.  In 1984, she had a pair of significant film roles.  One was Children of the Corn, a Stephen King adaptation; the other a modestly-budgeted sci-fi thriller involving time travel:

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September 25: Happy Birthday Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones


Our two headliners today are married, making it very easy to find a photo of the two of them together.

Michael Douglas, son of actor Kirk, turns 72 today.  In the 1970s his acting career took off on television’s Streets of San Francisco, but during that decade his greatest fame came as a producer, when One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won Best Picture for 1975.  He produced and co-starred in The China Syndrome, but he did not emerge as a convincing leading man until another film he produced in 1984, involving a map, a fabulous emerald, and Kathleen Turner:

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Starlog Archives: Bob Gale’s Dr. Strange

Following the unexpected success of Back to the Future, writer Bob Gale could do just about anything he wanted.  That meant overseeing a movie adaptation of The Shadow that would never be made and writing the script for an unproduced Dr Strange movie.  Now that Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme is finally making his big screen debut later this year, I thought it would be fun to read an interview with Gale from the September 1986 issue of Starlog in which he discusses his take on the character.

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September 24: Happy Birthday Brad Bird and Jim Henson


Brad Bird celebrates his 59th birthday today.  He worked briefly as an animator for Disney in the 1980s, and later was a creative consultant on The Simpsons.  In the late 1990s, he wrote and directed his first animated feature, The Iron Giant, which wasa box office failure in the US but a critical success, enough of one that Pixar was willing to produce Bird’s second feature, an animated film about a family of superheroes—in which Bird also had a voice cameo:

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Movieline Cover Gallery 1995

My Adventures in Filmmaking: The Beginning


Before my recent contributions to LeBlog I’d been on an almost two year hiatus. There was a litany of reasons for this: working 80 hours a week, becoming a high school teacher, moving across the country to Orlando, FL, almost getting shot, getting married, and moving back across the country to Texas. On this site I’ve previously extolled my theatrical endeavors and history, but over the last few years I’ve done something a little different: I’ve gotten into film acting and filmmaking.

Now, don’t get too excited; you’re not going to see me in anything. It has been mostly acting in local shorts and beginning to dip my toes into producing my own. So, what this article is about is mostly to shamelessly promote a few of the projects I’ve been in before (they vary in quality) and share where I’m looking to go with it.

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September 23: Happy Birthday Bruce Springsteen and Ray Charles


Today we have the birthdays of some giants from the world of music.  We’ll begin with The Boss.

Bruce Springsteen celebrates his 67th birthday today.  Born, as most know, in New Jersey, he began his career playing at colleges and clubs along the east coast from Massachusetts down to Virginia.  He was signed by Columbia Records and released two albums in 1973, to positive reviews, but initially poor sales.  Given a final chance by Columbia, he worked for over a year on the album that would be his first big hit and his breakthrough:

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