October 21: Happy Birthday Carrie Fisher and Dizzy Gillespie


Carrie Fisher celebrates her 60th birthday today.  The daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, she made her Broadway debut in the 1973 revival of the musical Irene and her film debut two years later in the comedy Shampoo.  And two years after that, she appeared in the role that made her famous, Princess Leia in Star Wars, as well as in its two sequels:

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Frozen Toys and Cultural Impact: Another Look at Modern Disney Merchandise and Movies

WDW - Frozen dolls

Recently, I wondered whether or not Frozen was the only recent animated movie that Disney mattered. It was just kind of a random thought I had really, as I was thinking one day, “y’know, ever since Disney’s bought Marvel and Star Wars and everything, it seems like the only animated movie they focus on is Frozen. I wonder if there’s any correlation to that?” and just sort of made a theory that they were mainly focusing on Frozen because their animated movies were no longer their only big franchise.  The original article sparked a conversation about movie merchandise that I would like to follow up on.

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October 20: Happy Birthday Danny Boyle and Viggo Mortensen


Danny Boyle celebrates his 60th birthday today.  He began his directing career in British theater, with the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.  He didn’t make his first film, the black comedy Shallow Grave, until he was nearly 40; it won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British film at the BAFTA Awards.  He followed that one up with another black comedy, about a circle of heroin users in Edinburgh:

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Who’s the Best Actor in Hollywood?

Bridges - White Squall

For the October 1996 issue of Movieline, eight of the magazine’s writers made a case for who they thought was the best actor working in movies at that time.  Some of these choices have stood the test of time better than others, but all of them are still reasonably well-respected today and all but one is still actively working.

I’m expecting lively debate in the comments section.

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October 19: Happy Birthday Jon Favreau and Jason Reitman


Jon Favreau celebrates his 50th birthday today.  He was living in Chicago, working at local improv theaters, when he was cast in a significant supporting role in Rudy.  He then had a supporting part in PCU, a small role in Batman Forever, and a guest spot on Seinfeld; a bit later in the 1990s he would have a recurring role on Friends.  But it was the 1996 film Swingers, which Favreau both wrote and starred in, that put him on the map:

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Starlog Archives: Making First Contact

The October 1996 issue of Starlog was yet another Star Trek anniversary issue.  The coverage of the 30th anniversary contained a lot of the same kinds of articles we have seen in other October issues.  It also contained a feature on the making of what is generally considered the best of the Next Generation movies, Star Trek: First Contact.

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October 18: Happy Birthday Wynton Marsalis and George C. Scott


Wynton Marsalis celebrates his 55th birthday today.  A trumpeter who is accomplished at both jazz and classical music, Marsalis performed with the New Orleans Philharmonic at 14 years of age.  After graduating from the Juilliard School in 1981, he immediately began to make a mark as a recording artist.  In 1983, he became the first, and so far only, artist to win Grammys for classical and jazz recordings in the same year, the first for a recording of the trumpet concertos of Haydn, Hummel and Leopold Mozart, the second for his album Think of One:

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Teri Hatcher: The Hunger

Hatcher - Heavens Prisoners

In 1996, Teri Hatcher was playing Lois Lane on “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”.  She also had the distinction of being the most downloaded image in the early days of the internet.  She had appeared in some movies prior to becoming famous, but when Stephen Rebello interviewed Hatcher for the October issue of Movieline magazine, she was trying to transition from TV into movies.  Unlike a lot of actresses Rebello had interviewed, Hatcher wasn’t shy about her ambition.

Note: The interview makes reference to a David Schwimmer called Dogwater.  When the movie was actually released, it was retitled Since You’ve Been Gone.

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An Extraordinarily Uninformed Review of the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness


As you know if you’ve been watching the Daffy Does Disney videos I’ve been posting for the past couple of weeks, I visited Walt Disney World with friends for a long weekend recently. What some of you might not have realized, because I included very little footage that would have tipped you off, is that my friends and I stayed in one of the cabins in Disney’s Fort Wilderness resort. Because I was there for just three nights and spent most of my time either in the parks or asleep there is plenty about the resort that I didn’t get to experience firsthand (hence the title of this article), but I will try to share with you what I did find and some other stuff that is important to know about the resort.
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October 17: Happy Birthday Felicity Jones and Eminem


Felicity Jones turns 33 today.  She began acting in her teens, and for several years worked in British television, not making her film debut until 2008.  Since then she has worked very steadily—in 2011, for example, she had five films come out, including playing Miranda in Julie Taymor’s version of The Tempest and Beth Fischer in Albatross, opposite Jessica Brown Findlay.  Her career took a bit step forward in 2014, when she was cast as Jane Wilde Hawking in The Theory of Everything:

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Starlog Archives: Sarah Douglas

In the early 80’s actress Sarah Douglas was type cast as a villain with a British accent.  She was best known for playing the leather-clad vixen Ursa in the first two Superman movies.  Then she played a wicked queen in Conan the Destroyer.  In 1986, Douglas played an evil scientist in the sci-fi flick, Solarbabies.  She discussed her niche career with Starlog in the October issue.

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October 16: Happy Birthday Tim Robbins and Angela Lansbury


Tim Robbins celebrates his 58th birthday today.  He began acting while a teen living in New York and made his first television appearances shortly after graduating from UCLA, with guest spots on shows like St. Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues.  He also picked up roles in films like The Sure Thing and Top Gun (as Merlin, Maverick’s RIO during the final battle sequence).  He began to get positive notice when he played rookie pitcher “Nuke” LaLoosh in Bull Durham.

1992 was a breakthrough year for Robbins.  He made his debut directing and writing with Bob Roberts, which he also starred in, receiving a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.  He was beaten out for that Golden Globe, however, by one Tim Robbins, who won the Golden Globe for playing Griffin Mill in Robert Altman’s The Player:

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Why’d it bomb? Bridget Jones’s Baby


Before you correct me, I know Bridget Jones’s Baby is technically a hit because, while it’s a box office bomb in America, it’s making a lot of money in other countries. However, I’m still counting this because, while it’s not bombing everywhere, I am kind of interested in counting down the ways Americans are ignoring it. So here we go!

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