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Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: Batman (1966)


In late June of last year I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

I want to start off this installment in the series by admitting up front that our host Lebeau probably has a stronger and more personally informed take on this particular piece of pop culture. I fully expect he will share some of that in the comments section. Although I did grow up with reruns of the Adam West Batman television show running repeatedly on a variety of stations, I ended up both a Marvel guy and someone who took superhero stories just a little more seriously than this version of the “Caped Crusader” ever did. At the same time, if you ever want to participate in a fully tiresome example of “old man yells at cloud,” you might consider engaging me in a discussion on the merits of the “edgy” tone comic books have taken on in the intervening years. The long term reaction of the art form to what it perceived as its undeserved goofy and childish reputation appears to have resulted in a swing way too far in the other direction. The 1960s television Batman is often cited by those who resent the dismissive attitudes many people held toward sequential art.
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August 18: Happy Birthday Christian Slater and Robert Redford


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Last year on this date, we had the first case during the birthday series of three WTHH subjects with birthdays.  I went with two of them as the headliners then, so today we’ll pick up the other fellow, along with another film actor who people may just have a tiny awareness of.

Christian Slater is turning 48 today.  There is a very detailed review of most of his career in his WTHH article, so I will just hit a few high points.  He made his acting debut as a child, on television on One Life to Live and on Broadway as Winthrop Paroo in The Music Man.  Highlights of his film career have included starring roles in Heathers, True Romance, and Broken Arrow, along with major supporting roles in The Name of the Rose, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Interview with the Vampire.  As that WTHH article outlines, his star faded after the mid-nineties, but of late he’s been making a comeback as the title character (but not the lead) on Mr. Robot, which has brought him his first major acting award, a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television.

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August 17: Happy Birthday Martha Coolidge and Maureen O’Hara


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Two red-haired ladies of Hollywood, born about a generation apart and known for their work on opposite sides of the camera, are our headliners today.

Director Martha Coolidge celebrates her 71st birthday today.  She was the first film major at the Rhode Island School of Design in the 1960s, and then earned an MFA from NYU.  She made a number of documentaries in the 1970s, along with a partly autobiographical first feature, Not a Pretty Picture.  In the 1980s she began to make a name for herself with two youth-oriented comedies, the high school rom-com Valley Girl, and a sci-fi oriented comedy set at a thinly disguised Cal Tech, Real Genius.

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4,000 Blows


Is getting beat up a good career move?  According to Joe Queenan, every handsome Hollywood actor needs to get his face jacked up in at least one movie if he ever wants to be accepted by male audiences.  In this article from the August 1997 issue of Movieline, Queenan examined the benefits of movie stars getting their teeth kicked in.

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August 16: Happy Birthday James Cameron and Angela Bassett


 

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Our two headliners both played major roles in the 1995 thriller Strange Days—he was a producer and writer, she was one of the stars.

James Cameron turns 63 today.  He was born in Canada but moved to California as a teenager; he attended Fullerton College for about a year, dropped out to work as a truck drive for a while, and was inspired to go into filmmaking as a career by seeing Star Wars.  He worked for a time for Roger Corman Studios, notably as the art director on Battle Beyond the Stars, and did special effects work on John Carpenter’s Escape from New York.  He directed at least part of the horror film Pirhana II: The Spawning, and around that time came up with an idea for a script about a cyborg assassin who traveled through time to kill a woman.

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Why’d it Bomb? The Cat in the Hat (2003)


Kevthewriter wonders why the live-action movie based on Dr. Seuss’ most popular character bombed at the box office.

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August 15: Happy Birthday Rob Thomas and Wendy Hiller


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Writer and producer Rob Thomas (not to be confused with the lead singer of Matchbox Twenty) is turning 52 today.  After graduating from college, he taught high school for several years and worked for Channel One News in the early 1990s, before starting to make his name as a writer.  He wrote several young adult novels in the late 1990s; the first published was Rats Saw God in 1996.  He also began writing for television at this time, working for a while as a staff writer for Dawson’s Creek.

In 1998, Thomas’s series Cupid aired on ABC, but was canceled after only one season.  He wrote the screenplay for Drive Me Crazy, and then created a second TV series, which began airing on UPN in 2004.   It centered on a high school junior with a talent for solving mysteries.

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Beyonce: The Golden Grrrl in Goldmember


Remember when Beyoncé still used her surname?  Fifteen years ago, Beyoncé Knowles was the lead-singer for a chart-topping girl group.  She was successful by any reasonable measure, but she had not yet conquered the world.  In this cover story from the July/August 2002 issue of Movieline magazine, Beyoncé was still telling people how to pronounce her name.  At the time, there were rumors that Destiny’s Child was breaking up and that Beyoncé’s acting career was off to a rough start with her supporting role in Austin Powers.

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Twin Peaks: The Return – Part 14


With only five hours left to go (four remaining after this installment), Twin Peaks: The Return has entered its endgame.  The pace is picking up as Lynch begins paying off plot lines that were set up in the early episodes.  This hour was filled with more head-scratching “did I just see what I think I saw” moments than most.  As Lynch got down to the business of ending his story, this was an episode about story-telling.

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August 14: Happy Birthday Marcia Gay Harden and Danielle Steele


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Oscar and Tony winning actress Marcia Gay Harden is turning 58 today.  While attending the University of Texas, she appeared in a short film directed by Edward Dmytryk, who was teaching a class there.  After she graduated from Texas she earned an MFA at NYU and began making television guest appearances.  Her first big film role was as Verna Bernbaum in Miller’s Crossing in 1990; three years later, she made her Broadway debut in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and received a Tony nomination.

Harden won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress as Lee Krasner in the 2000 film Pollock, and was nominated for a second Oscar for the role of Celeste Boyle in Mystic River.  A few of her other notable films include The Spitfire Grill, Casa de los Babys, The Dead Girl, and American Gun.  Recently she has appeared in the Fifty Shades of Grey films as Grace Trevelyan Grey.  She won a Tony for starring in Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage, and currently stars as Dr. Leanne Rorish on CBS’s Code Black.

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Weekly Recap: Jestak’s Year of Birthdays


What’s better than a plain, ordinary birthday?  A celebrity birthday of course!  Regular readers know that Jestak has been serving up slices of cake here at Le Blog on a daily basis in celebration of famous people’s birthdays (and anyone else who may share them).  This week, he crossed a milestone.  On Tuesday, Jestak published his 365th consecutive birthday write-up.  That’s a lot of celebrities blowing out candles!  So grab yourself a slice of birthday cake and let’s recap this week’s activity here at Le Blog.

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August 13: Happy Birthday Sebastian Stan and Dan Fogelberg


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Today is Sebastian Stan’s 35th birthday.  The Romanian-born actor moved to the US at about 12 when his mother married an American educator.  He studied at Rutgers and began working regularly in film and television in the mid-2000s, appearing in supporting roles in films such as Red Doors and The Architect, and as the recurring character of Carter Baizen on Gossip Girl.

Stan began to be noticed when he appeared in the role of Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011.  That he was going to be an important figure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe became very clear three years later, when he returned in the role, with a new name attached, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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Daffy Does Disney – MagicBand Unboxing and Advice


Every time you visit Walt Disney World and decide to stay on property at one of their resort hotels, the mouse and company will offer you a brand new MagicBand. This wrist strap has technology inside it which identifies you and allows you to enter your room, enter the parks, and take advantage of your FastPass reservations. Some people visit the parks enough that they have a bunch of these things just lying around the house. Should you refuse a new MagicBand and just carry along your favorite? Join me as I unbox my newest band and talk about why having more than one might be ideal.

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