Monthly Archives: August 2017

August 31: Happy Birthday Van Morrison and James Coburn


Sir Van Morrison is turning 72 today.  One of Britain’s most recent “rock and roll knights,” he is the father of what is sometimes called “Celtic soul” music, which blends soul, R&B, and jazz sounds along with Celtic music.  He was from a working-class household in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and left school at 15, working as a window cleaner to bring in some income while beginning his music career.  He first became known as the lead vocalist and a songwriter for the blues-rock band Them in the mid-1960s.

Morrison has had a goodly amount of commercial success over the years, especially in the UK, where he has had a number of Top Ten albums.  But he is also regarded highly as an artist—as highly as anyone who falls within the boundaries of rock, with the possible exception of Bob Dylan—and as one of the most unique vocalists of his time.  Among his best known songs are “Gloria,” which has been covered by a huge list of performers, including Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Patti Smith, Tom Petty, and many more, and “Brown Eyed Girl,” often described as his signature song.

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Anthony Kiedis: I’m A Pepper

For the last couple of months, we’ve been digging through articles from the July/August 2002 issue of Movieline magazine.  As I have said before, it was a strange issue.  The magazine was struggling and tried to reinvent itself with a music-themed issue.  As a result, a lot of the articles were only tangentially related to movies.  Here we have a profile with Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis who had been in a couple of movies, but you wouldn’t exactly call him an actor.  If you ever wanted to know what the rock star thinks about movies, this is the interview for you.

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August 30: Happy Birthday Shirley Booth and Fred MacMurray


Shirley Booth (1898-1992) began her career working in regional theater.  She made her Broadway debut in 1925 in the play Hell’s Bells, which also starred none other than Humphrey Bogart.  For the next 25 years or so she was well known to Broadway audiences, if not to the nation at large.  She starred the hit play Three Men on a Horse in the mid-thirties, co-starred with Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story, and originated the role of Ruth Sherwood in My Sister Eileen.

In 1949, Booth received a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play for Fay Kanin’s Goodbye, My Fancy.  She then starred as Lola Delaney in William Inge’s first play, Come Back, Little Sheba, and won her second Tony, for Best Actress in a Play.  In 1952, she was the one major member of the Broadway cast asked to return to her role for the feature film adaptation, and won an Oscar for Best Actress in her film debut.

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Annabella Sciorra: Gal Talk

In the early 90’s Annabella Sciorra was riding high after back-to-back hits; Jungle Fever and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.  Her next movie, the erotic thriller Whispers in the Dark, would test whether or not Sciorra was a box office draw on her own.  In the August 1992 issue of Movieline magazine, Sciorra met with Martha Frankel to discus her new movie.  Frankel tells Sciorra that she has a reputation as a difficult interview but not to worry because she is sure they will be fast friends.  Awkward silence follows.

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Why’d it Bomb?/Why’d it Hit? The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) and Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Kevthewriter looks at two Guy Ritchie movies and asks who one was a hit while the other wasn’t.

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August 29: Happy Birthday Lea Michele and Preston Sturges


Actress and singer Lea Michele celebrates her 31st today.  She made her first appearances on Broadway in the 1990s, performing the young versions of both Cosette and Eponine in Les Miz, and appearing in a small role in the original production of Ragtime.  She later returned to Broadway as Shprintze in the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof, and in the central role of Wendla in the original production of the Tony-winning musical Spring Awakening, for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, and shared in a Grammy for the cast album.

In 2009, Michele was cast in her signature role, as Rachel Berry on Glee.  She remained with the show for all six seasons, and received nominations for an Emmy and two Golden Globes, and also shared in three Grammy nominations for recordings made for the series.

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The 25 Best Soundtracks and Scores

The July/August 2002 issue of Movieline magazine included a list of the top 25 movie soundtracks up to that point.  Some of the usual suspects are here, but a few inclusions and omissions are likely to be controversial.  Did your favorite movie soundtrack make the cut?

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Twin Peaks: The Return – Part 16

This is the episode we have been waiting for.  The penultimate episode of Twin Peaks: The Return moves all the pieces in place for next week’s two-hour finale.  The most important piece of all, Agent Dale Cooper, is finally back!  Despite the fact I have been waiting for more than fifteen hours for this to happen, the reveal was surprisingly rewarding.  The wait, which tested the patience of many a viewer, made the return which was promised in the season’s title that much sweeter.

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August 28: Happy Birthday David Fincher and Jack Black


Director and producer David Fincher turns 55 today.  He began his film career working in the visual effects field; at Industrial Light and Magic in the early 1980s he worked on Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  Later in the decade he directed a number of music videos and commercials.  His first feature directing job was Alien 3, which is not a favorite with many people.  But he really put himself on the map with his next feature, a contemporary noir with a famously dark ending.

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Weekly Recap: The McCarthy Era

The latest installment in the What the Hell Happened series celebrated America’s favorite sensitive nice guy from the mid-eighties, Andrew McCarthy.  You know him from coming-of-age movies like St. Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink or from high concept comedies like Mannequin and Weekend at Bernie’s.  Like most of the Brat Pack, McCarthy struggled to transition to adult roles as the decade came to a close.  However, he managed to bounce back with two fall-back careers; directing television shows and travel writing.

Last Sunday I skipped the weekly recap in favor of wrapping up the McCarthy article, so today’s recap will be double-sized.  Let’s get started.

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August 27: Happy Birthday Tom Ford and Barbara Bach


Picking headliners for today was interesting.  Tom Ford was a pretty easy choice given his multiple talents and mix of achievements, but a second choice was a little more difficult, until I decided that you simply can’t go wrong with a Bond Girl.

Tom Ford is turning 56 today.  He attended several colleges before graduating from Parsons School of Design—his degree was in architecture but he was actually studying fashion design during his final year.  He worked in the fashion industry for many years, at famous brand names like Perry Ellis, Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent, and winning a number of awards.  In 2006 he went independent and launched his own line of products.  His list of celebrity clients has become quite lengthy; as one example, he designed Daniel Craig’s suits for the latest three James Bond films.

Ford started his own film production company in 2005.  He produced, wrote, and directed his first film in 2009, an adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man.  Although a first-time filmmaker, he was able to secure an excellent cast—Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Goode, etc.  Firth received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and the film received a number of accolades, including a nomination for the Golden Lion at Venice

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P. Diddy: Slow Daddy

Continuing its music theme, the July/August 2002 issue of Movieline magazine included a profile on Sean Combs following his appearance in the Oscar-winning drama, Monster’s Ball.  Combs come across as a genuine movie fan who really took his side job as an actor seriously.

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August 26: Happy Birthday Dylan O’Brien and Keke Palmer


Dylan O’Brien is celebrating his 26th today.  In the early days of YouTube, when he was about 14, he began making short films and posting them to his channel.  They attracted the attention of a few people in the film/TV industry, and he began to pursue an acting career.  His first major role was as Stiles Stilinski on MTV’s Teen Wolf.  During the series’ run, he also began pursuing a film career.  He starred with Britt Robertson in the high school rom-com The First Time, and co-starred in The Internship.  He then landed the lead role of Thomas in a film series adapted from the Maze Runner novels, a dystopian sci-fi series by James Dashner.

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