Monthly Archives: July 2016

July 31: Happy Birthday Wesley Snipes and JK Rowling

Snipes and Rowling

One of our headline birthday celebrants played a vampire and the other wrote best-selling books about wizards.  One paid their taxes and the other served jail time for their failure to do so.  JK Rowling, creator of Harry Potter, turns 51 today.  She shares a birthday with action star and reformed tax evader, Wesley Snipes, who turns 54.

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Building My Movie Poster Puzzle: The Graduate

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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.

The Graduate is an iconic piece of pop culture from late 1960s America, right? And large parts of it are set in the San Francisco Bay area of California. Also, there’s the very famous Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack. It’s about a disaffected, but naive young college grad who encounters the vagaries of the changing sexual culture of the time. And yet, really nothing about the movie reminds us of the hippie culture that is so associated with all of that stuff. Dustin Hoffman’s central character has more in common with the characters from Mad Men than with those from Hair. I’m not sure what I’d expected, but the twenty-five plus years between my last viewing and this one had allowed me to forget what its characters are really like. Let’s have a chat about it!
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July 30: Happy Birthday Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hilary Swank

Swank and Schwarzenegger'

One of our birthday headliners is a two-time Oscar winner and the other was crowned Mr. Universe.  You can probably figure out which is which.  Despite vastly different career trajectories, Hilary Swank and Arnold Schwarzenegger have a couple things in common.  They both came from humble beginnings to conquer Hollywood in vastly different ways.  But ultimately, they both ended up as subjects in the “What the Hell Happened?” series.

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July 29: Happy Birthday Martina McBride and Wil Wheaton

Wil Wheaton

Today’s birthdays include a country music singer and the self-professed King of the Nerds.  Regular readers won’t be surprised that I decided to give the geeky guy the headline.  Wil Wheaton starred in Rob Reiner’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Stand By Me.  After that, he landed a regular role playing Wesley Crusher on the syndicated sci-fi series, Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Unfortunately, Wesley was one of the most irritating characters in all of Star Trek lore.  As an adult, Wheaton reinvented himself as an author and connoisseur of all things nerdy.  Geeks everywhere celebrate as Wheaton turns 44.

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Forget Me Nots

griffith night moves

Twenty years ago, Movieline magazine asked 30 directors to name a movie they thought was underrated, overlooked or neglected.  The results ran in the July 1996 issue.  Here is the list of movies filmakers from two decades ago recommended.

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July 28: Happy Birthday Elizabeth Berkley and Lori Loughlin

Berkley - Dances With the Stars

If you grew up in the 80’s, you probably watched two of today’s birthday girls on TV.  Elizabeth Berkley played the squeaky clean Jesse Spano on Saved by the Bell and Lori Loughlin portrayed Rebecca Donaldson on Full House.  Berkley went on to infamy playing a stripper in the cult classic Showgirls whereas Loughlin has gone back to Full House for the reunion series on Netflix.

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The Flint Beneath the Shimmer

macdowell - multiplicity

Andie MacDowell survived a lot before she became an actress.  When she made the transition from a career as a model, the result was a very public embarrassment that would have sent a weaker woman running back home.  Instead, MacDowell persevered.  Her persistence eventually paid off as she became one of Hollywood’s go-to actresses in the mid-nineties.  In the July 1996 issue of Movieline magazine, Stephen Rebello found surprising depths beneath the actresses magazine-cover good looks.

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July 27: Happy Birthday Maya Rudolph and Triple H

Rudolph - Maya and Marty

I looked for a picture of today’s birthday headliners together and came up short.  But I did find a picture of Maya Rudolph from her sketch comedy show Maya and Marty with John Cena playing Hulk Hogan.  It may not have anything to do with Triple H, but it’s within the world of wrestling, so I went with it.

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LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics: Corey Hart vs. Richard Harris

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Welcome to the next matchup in our continuing search for the most satisfyingly cheesy pop songs of all time! A LeBlog Cheestastic Classic should be both undeniably corny or over-the-top while also possessing some quality that makes some of us grin and pump our fists in gleeful irony. Some people might also use the term “guilty pleasure.” But I’m not going to. For our purposes here, these are “LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics.” The skill and talent involved in producing some of these songs may, in fact, be quite impressive and at their core these songs might actually be rather superior to some which are considered cool. But somewhere along the way the songwriter or performer took that wrong turn at Albuquerque and landed themselves in the land of cheese.

Today we’re looking at two of the most notoriously cheesy pop songs of all time; one from the 1960s and another from the 1980s. It can be argued that neither song could have been conceived, financed, and become popular in anything but their own decade. Let’s have a chat and decide whether these recordings fit our understandings of Cheesetastic.
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July 26: Happy Birthday Sandra Bullock and Mick Jagger

Bullock - Razzies

Some days are loaded with big celebrity birthdays.  Others, not so much.  Today is one of those Big Star Days.  Hold on to this because the stars might not burn quite so brightly over the next few days.  Our first birthday girl today is Oscar winner Sandra Bullock.  Bullock won Best Actress for The Blind Side in 2009.  That same weekend, Bullock won Worst Actress at the Golden Raspberry Awards for the flop, What About Steve.  Proving she has a sense of humor, Bullock showed up in person to accept the dubious award.  If that’s not enough Sandy B for you, we also have a Movieline interview from an early point in the actress’ career in which she is just adorable.  Miss Congeniality turns 52 today.

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Sally Field: When Larry Met Sally

Field - Not Without My Daughter

Sally Field spent years trying to earn respect as an actress.  Even after winning two Oscars, she found herself a bit of a pop culture punchline.  In 1991, at the age of 44, Field was acting in Soapdish and producing the Julia Roberts drama, Dying Young.  Lawrence Grobel had already interviewed Field previously for Playboy magazine in the eighties.  In this article from Movieline magazine, Grobel checks in to see how things have changed for the actress in the nineties.

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July 25: Happy Birthday Matt LeBlanc and Illeana Douglas

Matt LeBlanc and Illeana Douglas

Joey may not share food, but Friends actor Matt LeBlanc shares a birthday with several other people who aren’t quite as famous as he is.  LeBlanc won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Joey Tribbiani over 10 seasons of Friends.  He’s also been nominated for several Emmys without winning.  The Friends spin-off starring LeBlanc wasn’t quite so successful.  In 1996, LeBlanc scored two Razzie nominations for Worst New Star and Worst Screen Couple for starring in the baseball chimp movie, Ed.  Let’s all be there for him as LeBlanc celebrates his 49th birthday.

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Nicole Kidman: The Princess Bride

Kidman - Billy Bathgate

We have had a lot of years to get to know Nicole Kidman.  But when she first came to America, she was shrouded in mystery and overshadowed by her world-famous husband.  In the July 1991 issue of Movieline magazine, Christopher H. Hunt tried to get the real story on Mrs. Tom Cruise.  What he found was not the Cinderella story his editor expected, but rather a woman who was driven to succeed.

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