Weekly Recap: “Raising” Reigns, “Titanic” Sinks and “Teen Wolf Too” Howls


Jason Bateman gives this week’s recap a furry thumbs-up.  Wanna know what you missed at Le Blog?  A furry week of fun after the jump.

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January 22: Happy Birthday Diane Lane and John Hurt


Diane Lane celebrates her 52nd today.  She was 14 when she made her debut as one of a pair of precocious teens falling in first love in A Little Romance, and not long after made the cover of Time Magazine for a story on “Hollywood’s Whiz Kids.”  One of the films supporting players, one Laurence Olivier, dubbed her “the new Grace Kelly.”  That was hype that anyone would have had a hard time really living up to, and Lane never quite did it, but she’s had a fine career.  This article/interview discusses the first couple of decades of Lane’s career, including the burnout that forced her to take 2-3 years off after filming The Cotton Club.

Lane has appeared in a wide variety of films over the years.  She played rocker Ellen Aim in Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire, Paulette Godard in Chaplin, Judge Hershey in Judge Dredd, race horse owner Penny Chenery in Secretariat, and Martha Kent in Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman.  She was an Oscar nominee, and received a bunch of other acting accolades, for starring in 2002’s Unfaithful:

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: Jackie Brown vs The Game


Today we have a matchup between films by two unique and widely admired directors who aren’t afraid of taking on violent or upsetting subject matter. Unfortunately, despite our admiration for both of these movies, neither one managed to fulfill expectations at the box office. The Game spent a week in the number one spot and raked in more than $100 million (if you include overseas receipts), but when compared to Fincher’s hit Se7en from just two years prior, this number had to feel disappointing to the film’s producers. The fact that the film’s production budget is not easily available also suggests that Fincher and company might have over-spent on it. Meanwhile, Jackie Brown‘s production budget was a pretty reasonable twelve million dollars, which would make its eventual domestic gross of close to forty million more than acceptable in most cases. But, like Fincher, Tarantino’s most recent full-length project Pulp Fiction had not established reasonable expectations for some people, not only because of its domestic take of more than $100 million, but because the director had become a star in his ow right. Both have continued to do the kind of work they’ve wanted to and have had some successes along the way, making these movies simply look like well-reviewed base hits in the long run. But which one do we want to stick around another round in our game?
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January 21: Happy Birthday Geena Davis and Paul Scofield


Geena Davis, a WTHH subject, celebrates her 61st birthday today.  Her screen debut was in a supporting role in Tootsie in 1982.  She then was cast in a regular on Buffalo Bill, but (in a recurring trend with Davis and prime time television) the show ran only two seasons.  Her film career, however, began to take off with prominent roles in Fletch, The Fly, Beetlejuice, and most notably The Accidental Tourist, for which she won Best Supporting Actress.  In 1991, she starred opposite Susan Sarandon in a genre-blending road film:

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Starlog Archives: James Cromwell and Alfre Woodard

The one constant in Starlog’s publication history was Star Trek.  We have seen it in every decade we have looked at so far this month.  1997 was no exception.  In the January 1997 issue of the magazine, they were still covering Star Trek: First Contact.  I have had a bit of Trek overload in the archives of late, but I couldn’t pass up interviews with James Cromwell and Alfre Woodard who tagged along for this adventure.

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: L.A. Confidential vs Air Force One


Okay, so these two films have only very tenuous similarities. What it came down to was that I found most of the mainstream action films of 1997 to be pretty forgettable or outright bad (coughCon Aircough), but also thought that the crowd-pleasing action movie Air Force One was one that couldn’t be ignored here. That left it with no naturally matching group of films to share a bracket with. What I’ve done is basically to create a “crime” bracket and awkwardly include this Harrison Ford-led box office hit alongside Jackie Brown, The Game, and L.A. Confidential. Hopefully everybody is okay with that. If not, well…it’s done already. Let’s see what we can say about these wildly different films in which people shoot at one another.
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January 20: Happy Birthday David Lynch and George Burns


David Lynch, often considered to be America’s leading surrealist filmmaker, is turning 71 today.  After many years of making short films, Lynch first came to people’s notice with the horror film Eraserhead, which became a popular midnight movie during the late 1970s.  He followed up with the highly acclaimed The Elephant Man, and went on to explore various genres through the years—epic science fiction (Dune), contemporary noir (Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive), road movies (Wild at Heart), and more.  Three of his films—The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive—have brought him Best Director nominations.

Lynch has at various times sampled being a singer-songwriter and a painter and photographer.  However, his other big venture has been the Twin Peaks project, which has so far consisted of the 1990-91 TV series, a 1992 prequel feature film, and the upcoming revival miniseries on Showtime.  The original series has often been ranked among the greatest TV programs of all time.

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Lego Dimensions: Fun With Fun Packs: Emmet and Uni-Kitty


Two years ago, The Lego Movie got snubbed by Oscar voters.  Birdman may have won Best Picture that year, but does it have a series of toys-to-life figures included in a popular video game?  I don’t think so.  At least not yet.  Given some of the oddball inclusions in Lego Dimensions, we probably shouldn’t rule anything out.  Among the many licensed properties in Lego Dimensions, the least surprising inclusion would have to be characters form The Lego Movie.  Today, we’re going to look at a couple of the year one Fun Packs.

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: As Good as It Gets vs Good Will Hunting


In this top portion of our 1997 movies bracket game we’re focusing mostly on those films of the year which garnered a lot of critical and awards season attention. In some cases this also means that we’re reliving those moments when people we didn’t really know at the time took that next step and became actual movie stars. It’s a never ending process in the entertainment industry: the “next big thing.” Sometimes it’s a dream that actually pans out with an honest to God A-list career and sometimes we look back and realize that was their one big project. Sometimes it’s something in between.
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January 19: Happy Birthday Dolly Parton and Janis Joplin


Country superstar Dolly Parton turns 71 today.  Born in eastern Tennessee, she began performing on Knoxville radio and television stations at about the age of ten, and she moved to Nashville the day after she graduated from high school.  In 1967, country star Porter Wagoner invited her to become a regular on his show, and then persuaded his label, RCA, to sign her.

Parton began recording duet albums and singles with Wagoner along with several solo efforts, and gradually built a fan base.  Her 1970 single “Joshua” became the first of 25 #1 country hits in her career, a record for a female performer.  It also received one of the earliest of her 47 Grammy nominations (she has won seven).  Like any musical artist active over a long period, she has had ebbs and flows to her success; her heyday was from about 1974-85.

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: Titanic vs Boogie Nights


Can it possibly have already been 20 years? That’s what I find myself asking when I look at this set of movies. Sure, ten years easy, maybe even fifteen. But 20? My math must be off. That’s what it is.

With the 1987 bracket now in the books, next up is a decade’s move up to the most memorable movies of 1997. We were slap dab in the middle of the Bill Clinton Presidency, the internet was the new hip thing, the Green Bay Packers returned to the top of the American football world, the Teletubbies premiered on BBC, Princess Diana was killed in an auto accident, the U.S. economy was booming, and the world began to slowly come to an end when The Spice Girls and Hanson became top-selling musical artists. Was this an important year for you? How did our movies here reflect that? Come along as we talk about two of them!
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January 18: Happy Birthday Mark Rylance and Cary Grant


Mark Rylance, who is celebrating his 57th today, is the newest of England’s long line of “theatrical knights.”  He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982.  During his stage career, he has worked extensively on both the West End and Broadway.  He has won two Olivier Awards, as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and in the lead role in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem.  To go with them, he has three Tonys, one for Jerusalem, one for a revival of Marc Camoletti’s Boeing-Boeing, and one for playing Olivia in an all-male performance of Twelfth Night.  He served for 10 years as the artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe.

Rylance’s first major film role was as Ferdinand in Peter Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books, a very loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  He has won two BAFTA Television Awards for Best Actor, for the 2005 TV movie The Government Inspector, and for the 2015 miniseries Wolf Hall, adapted from historical novels by Hilary Mantel, in which he plays the lead role of Thomas Cromwell.  The latter role brought him nominations for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe.  Last year, Rylance won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies.

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The Best Albums Of 1997

1997. The year yours truly graduated high school. The year of the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. The year Bill Clinton began his second term as president. A loose cross between the calm and the chaotic.

1997 was pretty great cinematically, an improvement over 1996, the weakest year of the 1990s. Musically though, it was a step-down. If in 1996, there was still a sense of possibility that the “alternative rock revolution” might lead somewhere, 1997 offered definitive proof that the moment had passed and all the possibilities that had leapt forth following the early 90s breakthrough had reached an impasse or petered out totally.

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