Author Archives: lebeau

Too Beautiful for You?

I have a Movieline triple play for you today.  These three profiles come from the February 1998 issue.  First, supermodel Claudia Schiffer discusses her first major movie role in Abel Ferrara’s The Blackout.  Then Welsh newcomer, Catherine Zeta-Jones, takes no prisoners on the set of The Mask of Zorro.  Finally, Showgirls survivor Elizabeth Berkely tries desperately to tell herself and a Movieline reporter that everything will be all right when audiences see her in The Real Blonde.

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Carnal Knowledge

If this month’s Movieline articles seem raunchier than usual, it’s because the magazine traditionally devoted it’s February issue to the topic of “Sex”.  Not that the subject of sex was ever very far from the minds of the magazine’s writers and editors.  I think Movieline made a point of publishing an annual “Sex” issue to underline the point that they were sexier than other movie magazines on the shelves.  In this article from the February 1993 issue, ten film directors with some experience on the subject talk about what makes sex scenes work.

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“The Best Comedy of the Year!” 1980’s


A television commercial for the Melissa McCarthy movie Identity Thief proclaimed it “the best comedy of the year”.   February seems a bit early in the year to make such a proclamation, but marketing departments are rarely held back by modesty.  As it turns out, Identity Thief wasn’t even the best Melissa McCarthy movie of 2013.  That honor goes to The Heat.  But the boastful advertisement got Daffy Stardust thinking about the actual best comedy of the year which kicked off a series of articles breaking down the best comedy of each decade.  Today, we’re revisiting his picks from the 1980’s.

via “The Best Comedy of the Year!” 1980’s

Kevin Spacey: The Thinking Person’s Sex Symbol

Remember when you liked Kevin Spacey?  Believe it or not, it wasn’t all that long ago.  Before the allegations and scandals made the actor and exile, he was a two-time Oscar winner starring in a popular show on Netflix.  Now, studios drop big bucks to remove Spacey from their movies.

This cover story from the February 2003 issue of Movieline magazine makes a point of the fact that readers didn’t know much about Spacey’s private life.  It turns out, he was keeping bigger secrets than most of us imagined at the time.

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Weekly Recap: Welcome to Wakanda

Marvel’s Black Panther is shredding box office records this weekend.  The movie is performing like a summer blockbuster in the traditionally slow month of February.  That bodes well for Panther‘s long-term prospects since it is unlikely to face any real competition in the coming weeks.  Additionally, Ryan Coogler’s superhero epic is a damn good movie.  Arguably, the best Marvel movie yet and undoubtedly the most complex.  Fans are going to want to revisit the fictional world of Wakanda both for the amazing visuals on the screen and the complicated ethical questions the movie poses.  Black Panther has a lot to say about the world we live in, but it never gets preachy nor does it offer easy answers.  Better still, it works on the level of a butt-kicking superhero adventure and hero’s quest should you be in the mood for pure escapism.  As the 18th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther needed to find a way to differentiate itself from the movies that preceded it.  And it does while also remaining a piece with the overall fabric of the Marvel franchise.  Really, truly, Black Panther is a remarkable achievement.

To celebrate the release of Black Panther, I updated my Worst to First ranking of all the Marvel movies to date.  But there was a lot more than just superheroes at the site this week.  What did you miss?  Let’s recap and find out.

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Jon Bon Jovi: Music to the Eyes

Movie stars want to be rock stars and rock stars want to be actors.  Most singers-turned-thespians don’t get very far in their second career, but Jon Bon Jovi actually got good reviews for his acting debut in Moonlight and Valentino.  That lead to a lot of supporting roles and indie movies.  Most recently, Bon Jovi appeared in the ensemble rom-com New Year’s Eve which may be his swan song as an actor.  But at the time of this profile from the February 1998 issue of Movieline magazine, his acting career looked like it was just heating up.

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Worst to First: Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel Universe Posters

Black Panther, the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, hits theaters this weekend with glowing reviews and off-the-charts buzz.  Before you visit the nation of Wakanda, why not review the previous Marvel movies from Worst to First?  Since this article originally ran last November, I have added Thor: Ragnarok to the list.

via Worst to First: Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Pretty Gone Plain

When an actress wants to win awards, she plays down her looks.  Just like for a while there, actors could count on nominations for playing characters with disabilities, usually glamorous actresses were often rewarded for playing down their physical beauty.  The often controversial Joe Queenan made this observation in a very politically incorrect column from the February 2003 issue of Movieline magazine.  I expect this one will ruffle some feathers, so be warned.  Queenan’s viewpoint was out-of-date 15 years ago and it hasn’t improved with age.

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Movies that were supposed to launch franchises (but didn’t): Action Jackson

This week marks thirty years since Carl Weathers made his bid for leading man status with the blaxploitation flick, Action Jackson.  Up until this point in his career, Weathers had played second banana to Sylvester Stallone (the Rocky movies) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Predator).  Action Jackson was Weathers’ one real shot at being the hero rather than the side-kick.  Unlike a lot of other movies we talk about in this series, Action Jackson was successful enough to warrant a sequel.  But because of studio politics, that never happened.  Let’s take a look at how Apollo Creed almost launched a movie franchise, but didn’t.

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Advanced Chemistry

Happy Valentines Day, everyone!  It’s the perfect time to snuggle up with your favorite romantic movie.  Preferably with someone with whom you share great chemistry, but even if you are watching Pretty Woman by yourself for the 100th time, at least you know the actors on screen will be vibing off one another.  On-screen chemistry is unpredictable and it can’t be faked.  Actors either have it or they don’t.  Sometimes real life couples fizzle on the big screen whereas seemingly mismatched pairings click.  In this article from the February 1998 issue of Movieline magazine, actors and actresses were asked who they thought they would have great chemistry with.

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Jennifer Lopez: The Wow

Remember when Jennifer Lopez was an actress?  Her success as a pop star has eclipsed her acting career to the point that you probably don’t remember that her first record was met with skepticism.  Another actress trying to sing.  Now she’s viewed as another signer trying to act, but really, Lopez can do both.  Twenty years ago, when she graced the cover of Movieline’s annual “sex” issue wearing nothing but a fur and jewelry, Lopez’s acting career was just taking off.  Following Selena and Anaconda, Lopez was just breaking into the ranks of movie stardom, but she was already a fully formed diva.  At the time, the actress was promoting Oliver Stone’s neo-noir, U-Turn, which no one gave a damn about.  But her next movie, Out of Sight, would establish Lopez as the real deal.  In this interview from before she was Jenny From the Block, J-Lo dishes about her costars, her directors and her husband.

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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.

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Those Lovely Liars

There was a time when Hollywood was glamorous.  No there wasn’t.  The reality is that Hollywood was a dirty place filled with unscroupulous people doing very inappropriate things.  Movie stars who appeared to be gods and goddess on the silver screen were often sad, damaged people.  The glamour of old Hollywood was an illusion.  Or if you are feeling less charitable, it was a lie.  This article from the February 2003 issue of Movieline magazine looks at the real lives of some of the best liars in Hollywood’s bygone era.

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