Weekly Recap: The Dude Abides
Readers have crowned the latest bracket game winner. Let’s all raise a White Russian to Movies of 1998 Champion, The Big Lebowski. The Coen brothers’ comedy beat out Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s crime caper, Out of Sight, to enter the ranks of the Reader’s Hall of Fame. The Big Lebowski is the second Coen brothers’ movie to be so honored following Movies of 1996 Champion, Fargo.
Attentive readers may have noticed we skipped the recap last Sunday. I was a bit behind schedule which means today’s article will be a double sized recap covering the last two weeks. Let’s dive right in and see what you may have missed.
Daffy brought the Movies of 1998 Bracket Game to a close. Here are the final rounds in case you want to see The Dude’s road to victory:
It was another terrific game with a worthy winner. Thanks to Daffy for putting it all together. The bracket games are always a time commitment and the last few rounds involve some tight deadlines because you never know which movies will make it that far. And of course I want to thank all of you who participated in our little game. These activities always seem to energize the comments section which is something I look forward to every year.
As it stands, here are the 8 bracket game winners as chosen by readers:
- 1985 – Back to the Future
- 1986 – Aliens
- 1987 – Raising Arizona
- 1988 – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
- 1995 – The Usual Suspects
- 1996 – Fargo
- 1997 – Boogie Nights
- 1998 – The Big Lebowski
But we’re not quite done yet. Following a suggestion by robbushblog, we’re going to extend the bracket games even further. Usually we stick to the decades of the eighties and nineties because Daffy and I (and probably most readers) are more familiar with the movies from that era. That’s when we were able to make decisions about which movies to see in theaters and with the rise of home video, it was easier to catch up on any movies we may have missed. But this year, we’re going to go back a little further in the 1970’s. Once we get done with all of the awards season content, I will kick off the Movies of 1978 Bracket Game. Let me know in the comments which movies you want to see make the cut.
Tying into the bracket game, I finally finished up the Worst to First article on the Sequels of 1998. A common theme that year was long delayed follow-ups that probably shouldn’t have been made. Blues Brothers 2000 couldn’t overcome the absence of John Belushi and The Odd Couple II felt like a Grumpy Old Men clone. It wasn’t a good year for sequels, but it wasn’t as bad as 1988 either.
A double-sized recap means two weeks of birthdays to cover. Let’s see who received birthday wishes from Jestak over the last couple of weeks:
- January 28 & 29: Elijah Wood, Ernst Lubitsch, Heather Graham, Katharine Ross, Lee Ingleby, MacKenzie Porter, Oprah Winfrey, Sarah McLachlan, Terry Kinney, W C Fields, Will Poulter
- January 30: Ann Dowd, Christian Bale, Eiza Gonzalez, Lena Hall, Norbert Leo Butz, Olivia Colman, Steven Zaillian, Vanessa Redgrave, Wilmer Valderrama
- January 31: Amy Jackson, Jackie Robinson, James Franciscus, Jonathan Banks, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Lynch, Kerry Washington, Minnie Driver
- February 1: Abbi Jacobson, Clark Gable, Don Everly, Garrett Morris, Linus Roache, Michael C Hall
- February 2 & 3: Alex Sharp, Anthony Russo, Barbara Sukowa, Blythe Danner, Gemma Arterton, Isla Fisher, Maura Tierney, Nathan Lane, Pamela Franklin, Ransom Riggs, Shakira, Tom Smothers
- February 4 & 5: Charlotte Rampling, Darren Criss, Gabrielle Anwar, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Laura Linney, Lauren Ash, Mia Hansen-Love, Patrick Bergin, Rob Corddry, Tom Wilkinson, Tony Jaa
- February 6: Alice Eve, Anna Diop, Charlie Heaton, Crystal Reed, Dane DeHaan, Francois Truffaut, Mike Farrell
- February 7: Alexander Dreymon, Ashton Kutcher, Cerina Vincent, Deborah Ann Woll, Eddie Bracken, Eddie Izzard, Garth Brooks, James Spader, Pete Postlethwaite
- February 8: Cecily Strong, Jack Lemmon, John Williams, Lana Turner, Mary Steenburgen, Seth Green, Sherie Rene Scott, William Jackson Harper
- February 9: Ciaran Hinds, Fede Alvarez, Joe Pesci, Judith Light, Margarita Levieva, Michael B Jordan, Rose Leslie, Tom Hiddleston, Zhang Ziyi
- February 10: Alexander Payne, Chloe Moretz, Elizabeth Banks, Emma Roberts, Julius Onah, Laura Dern, Uzo Aduba, Yara Shahidi
- February 11: Burt Reynolds, Damian Lewis, Jennifer Aniston, Leslie Nielsen, Natalie Dormer, Q’orianka Kilcher, Sheryl Crow
That’s a lot of birthdays! We’ve got Frodo, Roller Girl, a Stepford wife, Oprah, Batman, two of the kids from That 70’s Show, a baseball legend who broke down barriers, the performer at this year’s Super Bowl half-time show, Rhett Butler, a Bond girl, Timon, one half of the Smothers brothers, the prisoner of the Hateful Eight, a Robin Hood, a Daily Show correspondent, Dr. Carol Marcus, one of the kids from Stranger Things, a Green Goblin, a doctor from the 4077th, a record-breaking country music singer, Ultron, Mr. Kobayashi, a Not Ready For Prime Time Player, one half of the Odd Couple, the composer of most of your favorite movie scores, a femme fatale, Doc Brown’s girlfriend, Scott Evil, my cousin Vinnie, Tony Danza’s boss, Apollo Creed’s son, Ygritte, Loki, a crouching tiger or hidden dragon, Hit Girl, Effie Trinket, Julia Roberts’ niece, Agent Cooper’s secretary, the Bandit, Rachel, Frank Drebin, and the founder of the Tuesday Night Music Club.
As always, I’m just scratching the surface. If you want to get in depth, you need to dig into Jestak’s write-ups. You never know what you may find.
Kevthewriter weighed in on some big budget remakes of beloved kid’s movies like Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Disney’s live action versions of their animated classics. Despite the fact that a lot of these movies perform well at the box office, no one seems to remember them a year or two later.
With the bracket games wrapped up for now, we dug back into the Movieline archives. We started out with an interview with Steve Zahn which tied into Daffy’s write-up of Out of Sight. Then we had a profile piece on one of the most popular WTHH subjects, Bridget Fonda, from the January 1998 issue. At the time, Fonda was promoting Jackie Brown. The first Movieline article of February was a Joe Queenan piece from the 1993 issue. It was about movies in which middle aged men pursue inappropriately young women. I’m not trying to judge anybody, but this has been one of the most popular articles on the site for over a week now. I’m not sure what that says about our readership.
The cover story from the February 1993 issue of Movieline was an interview with Demi Moore just as she was reaching peak divadom. Then we had a profile piece on Madeline Stowe from the 1998 issue. This was at a point in Stowe’s career where the actress was stepping back into Hollywood after taking some time to start a family. Then to tie in with the release of Fifty Shades Freed, we ran an article in which Martha Frankel and her friends tried to decide to what degree sex acts were simulated in some notoriously steamy movies. The February 2003 issue included a look at the personal stories behind the glamorous movie stars of the 50’s.
One of my initiatives this year has been to clean up some of the site’s archives. To that end, I have been going back and cleaning up some of the older articles. When I find one that newer readers may not be familiar with, I plan to rerun it here on the front page. This week, we revisited Daffy’s article on the best comedies of the 2000’s broken out annually. For the month of February, we’ll work our way back through the decades.
Daffy also reviewed a critically acclaimed movie you may have missed when it was released last year. The Florida Project is about a six-year-old girl living in a budget motel just down the road from Walt Disney World. Just yesterday, he kicked off his Oscar coverage by asking about the relative importance of the Academy’s big prize, Best Picture. It’s a deep dive sure to please any Oscar wonks out there.
That’s a busy couple of weeks! Next week, be sure to bring your tux or designer frock cause we’re going to be in awards season mode. But don’t worry if you’re late to the red carpet. If you miss anything, you can catch up in next week’s action-packed recap.
Next Week: Another week of birthdays, an Out of Sight Movieline cover story, more Oscar coverage, animated flops, Action Jackson and other nonsense