Aug 28: Happy Birthday Shania Twain and LeAnn Rimes


Today is going to be unofficial “Country-Pop Day” here, as our two headliners are both country singers who have made successful crossovers to the pop audience.

Five-time Grammy winner Shania Twain turns 51 today.  She began performing at a young age while growing up in northern Ontario, Canada, and started doing so full time after she got out of high school.  Her career progressed slowly—her first album didn’t come out until she was 28—but with her second album, The Woman in Me, Twain’s career took off.  It was a huge seller, won the Grammy for Best Country Album, and wound up including eight charted singles, four of which reached #1 on the US country charts, including this one:

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Starlog Archives: Ally Sheedy – Staying Alive With Number Five

Starlog Magazine devoted a surprising amount of page space to the kid-friendly robot comedy, Short Circuit.  After having given the movie the cover story in that anniversary issue the month before, the August 1986 issue included an interview with star Ally Sheedy as she was trying to escape the career vortex of the Brat Pack.

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Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 7.10.20 PM

In late June 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.

Just two moves to the right of The Graduate (1967) on my movie posters puzzle is another well-known movie from the same iconic year in American history. This one stars three Academy Award winners and is also set in the San Francisco area. It’s also a reminder that the sexual revolution of the era which is so often associated with the peace and love hippie movement going on just a few neighborhoods over from where the action of this film takes place was a much wider phenomenon than that. The expanding presence of young women in the professional world combined with the advent and wide availability of effective birth control had an effect across a large range of populations. The script for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner touches this in only the gentlest of ways, but its social concerns are much more focused on another issue of the time which has, unfortunately, not shown anywhere close to the progress its characters appear to think it will.
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Aug 27: Happy Birthday Aaron Paul and Paul Reubens


Aaron Paul, who celebrates his 37th birthday today, moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school to pursue an acting career.  He spent nearly a decade “paying his dues,” as the saying goes, appearing in guest roles on over twenty TV series and playing mostly small parts in feature films.  His break came when he was cast as Jesse Pinkman, who teams with his former high school chemistry teacher to go into the meth business, in the AMC series Breaking Bad:

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Movieline Cover Gallery 1991

Readers Rank the 2016 Summer Movies

Summer movies

Earlier today, Daffy and I shared our thoughts on the 2016 summer movie season.  But who cares what we think?  What really matters is how readers here at Le Blog ranked the summer’s cinema offerings.  Given the number of movies released from May-August and the limitations of our usual ranking system, this one was done a little differently.  We had readers indicate which movies they gave a thumbs up, which ones got a thumbs down and which ones they didn’t see.  From there, I am netting the picks and pans and weighting those scores by the number of views to get the total rankings.

Let’s see how the readers ranked this year’s summer movies.

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Aug 26: Happy Birthday Melissa McCarthy and Chris Pine


Like August 22 headliner Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy got her start with the sketch and improve troupe the Groundlings.  Her first major roles were on television.  In 2000 she was cast as Sookie St. James, Lorelei Gilmore’s best friend and business partner on Gilmore Girls.  After another “best friend” role on the series Samantha Who?, she was cast as Molly Flynn, one of the lead roles in Mike & Molly:

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Lebeau and Daffy on Summer Movies 2016

Summer movies

The kids are back in school which is a sure sign that the Summer Movie Season has drawn to an end. Traditionally, this is when the Hollywood studios release their big budget crowd pleasers. It’s the season of popcorn movies. It’s also a make or break period for the studios who are betting big on their summer releases. As this summer movie season comes to an end, I thought I’d check in with Daffy Stardust for a recap.

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KevtheWriter on the Movies of the Year (Part 2)

Kevs Summer Movies

Note from Lebeau: KevtheWriter is back with another update on the year in movies so far.  Tomorrow, Daffy and I will give our take on the summer movie season and we’ll review the reader rankings.  We’ll be sticking to mainstream Hollywood fare, but Kev covers more indie offerings.

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Aug 25: Happy Birthday Sean Connery and Blake Lively


Sir Sean Connery, who turns 86 today, got his first credited film role in 1957, and for several years he frequently had supporting parts, as in Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People, or villains, as in Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure, where he met his end at the hands of Gordon Scott as Tarzan.  But that changed in 1962, when Connery was cast in the role that, for better or worse, or a little of both, defined his career:

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Jennifer Tilly Unbound

Tilly - bound

If you know Jennifer Tilly, you probably have a very specific idea of who she is based on the types of character she is known for playing.  Tilly has played more than her share of helium voiced dingbats.  But it turns out the Oscar-nominated actress is very different from her screen personae.  I guess that’s why they call it acting, huh?  In the August 1986 issue of Movieline, Tilly talked about her upcoming film noir in which she and Gina Gershon played lesbians who try to steal from the mob.  She also explains why she would rather watch the Oscars from home than actually be there.

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Bad Movies We Love About Marilyn Monroe


If you like bad movies and Marilyn Monroe, you will probably like these six bad movies about the iconic actress.  Edward Margulies explored the cinema of Marilyn in the August 1991 issue of Movieline magazine.

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Aug 24: Happy Birthday Rupert Grint and Steve Guttenberg


During his first decade of acting, Rupert Grint appeared in a number of films, including the quirky family film Thunderpants, the coming-of-age story Driving Lessons,  and the romantic crime comedy Wild Target.  However, none of the foregoing is the reason he’s a headliner today, as he turns 28.  In August of 2000, Grint was selected as one of the leads in the first of a series of films based on a set of bestselling juvenile/young adult novels.  About wizards:

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