Monthly Archives: January 2012

What the Hell Happened to Eddie Murphy?

eddie murphy

Eddie Murphy

By this point in the “What the Hell Happened?” series, a pattern has developed.  The career usually begins with TV roles or modeling gigs.  Then a big break, super stardom and a stint on the A-list.

Sometimes the celebrity rides on the top of the a-list for years.  Other times, they come crashing down relatively quickly.  Eventually, their time in the spotlight ends.  Sometimes they flame out in a spectacularly public fashion.  Other times, they just walk away.

Eddie Murphy’s story breaks from the formula.  Sure, there is a rise and fall.  But in Murphy’s case, there’s not just one.

Murphy rose to superstardom, slipped into irrelevance, reinvented himself as a family friendly leading man, had a scandal, dropped into obscurity, and then threatened to stage a come back multiple times without ever actually coming back.

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Juror #3: Lee J Cobb

“WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU GUYS? You all know he’s guilty. He’s got to burn!”

In “12 Angry Men,” Lee J Cobb carries more than his fair share of “angry” as “Juror #3.” The question is: “what is he really angry about?” When somebody declares from the beginning that he has no personal feelings about something, you can bet the farm on the opposite being true. The moment one of his fellow jurors suggests that the defendant may not be as guilty as he seems, this guy’s blood begins to boil. The volcano that is Lee J Cobb takes center stage throughout much of the film. It is a part he was born to play.

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Review: The Assassination of a High School President

The Assassination of a High School President is a cult move.  It just hasn’t been discovered by enough people to form a cult around it yet.  I’m here to change that.

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The Growing Pains of the Walking Dead

For whatever reason, I couldn’t get this video to embed correctly.  So a link we’ll have to do.  I’ll let it speak for itself.


I would rather watch this version of the show than more of what AMC aired in season 2!

The Frustration of the Compulsive Trip Planner

Regular readers (and most anyone who knows me) know I have been planning my family’s next trip to Walt Disney World for quite some time.  Typically, my “planning for the next trip” process starts on the ride home from the current trip.  My wife calls it an obsession.  I quibble with her word choice, but I can’t argue too strongly.

Our last trip was in the spring of 2010.  By my standards, a long time ago.  But I am told that a 2 or 3 year break between trips to Disney World is not at all unusual.  Point is, I am jonesing to go back. 

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Juror #2: John Fiedler

“He called me an idiot…so I yelled at him.”

John Fiedler’s “Juror #2” in “12 Angry Men” starts out as part of the problem. He seems timid and eager to go along with the crowd. Nobody takes him seriously and he knows it, and as a consequence he lets other members of the jury bully him. This is a guy in dire need of a friend. By the end of the film he may be the same gentle soul, but one gradually inspired by the fact that his voice matters as much as anyone else’s in the room. He stops being part of the problem and ends up being part of the solution.

You know John Fiedler. Yes you do. Yes you do. He is adored by millions. He may, in fact, be more famous than Henry Fonda. In his way. Would you like to know how you know John Fiedler? Click below to find out.

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The Lowdown on Conan Movies

Last week, I was surprised to see that the 2011 version of Conan the Barbarian had been delivered to my mailbox thanks to Blockbuster.  Apparently, I had added it to my queue and forgotten to delete it when the reviews were atrocious.  It was nowhere near the top of my queue, but sometimes Blockbuster will go pretty deep down the list.  This was one of those times.

Part of the appeal of the Blockbuster program is that it offers the option of in-store exchanges.  I have a Blockbuster store 5 minutes from my house.  I considered just exchanging Conan unwatched for a movie I actually wanted to see.  But I have a blog to maintain.  I figured I might as well go ahead and watch the damn thing and write about.

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Juror #1: Martin Balsam

“Boy, I don’t care what you do.”

As “Juror #1” in “12 Angry Men,” Martin Balsam embodies the well-meaning, but easily discouraged middle class. Surrounded by stock brokers, architects, ad men, and loudmouths, the assistant high school football coach appears to wonder why he was given the job of foreman. In a room full of men, with no air conditioning, on the hottest day of the summer, he is the sweatiest of them. He is also inexplicably clad in a polo shirt and tie.

Martin Balsam (sometimes known as “The Bronx Barrymore”) was one of those actors who the layman might only recognize from whatever film they happened to have seen of his recently, and then they probably wouldn‘t know his name. He was, however, one of the premier supporting actors of his generation. His links to important figures in 20th century drama, and his impressive list of credits are a testament to this.

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Top 10 Best Super Hero Movies – Follow-Up

Marvel Movies

Yesterday, I posted a Top Ten list.  I rarely engage in lists because I am really bad at them.  I always worry I will forget something important.  And I find ordering things based on subjective reasoning to be extremely frustrating.  I enjoy debating (and ripping apart) other people’s lists.  But I hate making my own.

The response to this list was so positive, I may have to rethink my stance and start posting more Top Ten lists in the future.  But for now, I thought I’d write a follow-up to yesterday’s list.

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Top 10 Best Super Hero Movies

As with any Top 10 list, there are provisions.  This is a list of super hero movies, not movies based on comic books.  So, no Men in Black.  No, Road to Perdition or History of Violence.  No, The Mask who was certainly a colorful comic book character, but was not a super hero.

With that in mind, here are my picks for the 10 best super hero movies ever made:

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The A-List: Emma Stone

Before anyone accuses me of jumping the gun on this one, let me state right up front that Emma Stone is not yet on the A-List.  What she is is a rising star with a lot of potential.  Hollywood is littered with with the hopes and dreams of starlets who never quite made it to the top.  I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Emma Stone will not be one of them.

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What the Hell Happened to Sharon Stone?

Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone

Hollywood is a treacherous place.  It take a certain kind of person to make it as an actor.  But however hard actors have it, actresses have it that much worse.  For an actress to make it in Hollywood, well, they have to be strong.  Some might even say they need to be made of stone (Get it?  I’m sorry.  I couldn’t resist.)  Whatever it takes to climb to the top of the A-list, Sharon Stone had it in spades.  She had the looks, the talent, the determination and she was more than a little crazy.

For a time, Stone was the among the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood.  She had the power to get a project green-lit.  She could choose her directors and co-stars.  Stone was A-list.  But her time atop the A-list ended quickly.  As the 90’s ended, Stone’s spotlight faded with it.

What the hell happened?

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What the Hell Happened to Mel Gibson?

Mel Gibson

For a long time, I debated whether or not to write-up Mel Gibson.  On the one hand, the answer to the question “what the hell happened” is known by all.  Gibson’s personal life and bad behavior exploded very publicly.  I’m not sure if any celebrity has ever had such a public melt-down.

It’s easy to forget now, but not all that long ago Gibson was one of the undisputed kings of Hollywood.  He was so popular and so beloved that he could do no wrong.  Even if he made a cinematic turkey, his legion of fans practically guaranteed a hit.  And while the hits rolled in, his eccentric behavior was portrayed as charming in the media.

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