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Category Archives: Movies

Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: Batman (1966)


In late June of last year 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.

I want to start off this installment in the series by admitting up front that our host Lebeau probably has a stronger and more personally informed take on this particular piece of pop culture. I fully expect he will share some of that in the comments section. Although I did grow up with reruns of the Adam West Batman television show running repeatedly on a variety of stations, I ended up both a Marvel guy and someone who took superhero stories just a little more seriously than this version of the “Caped Crusader” ever did. At the same time, if you ever want to participate in a fully tiresome example of “old man yells at cloud,” you might consider engaging me in a discussion on the merits of the “edgy” tone comic books have taken on in the intervening years. The long term reaction of the art form to what it perceived as its undeserved goofy and childish reputation appears to have resulted in a swing way too far in the other direction. The 1960s television Batman is often cited by those who resent the dismissive attitudes many people held toward sequential art.
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4,000 Blows


Is getting beat up a good career move?  According to Joe Queenan, every handsome Hollywood actor needs to get his face jacked up in at least one movie if he ever wants to be accepted by male audiences.  In this article from the August 1997 issue of Movieline, Queenan examined the benefits of movie stars getting their teeth kicked in.

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Beyonce: The Golden Grrrl in Goldmember


Remember when Beyoncé still used her surname?  Fifteen years ago, Beyoncé Knowles was the lead-singer for a chart-topping girl group.  She was successful by any reasonable measure, but she had not yet conquered the world.  In this cover story from the July/August 2002 issue of Movieline magazine, Beyoncé was still telling people how to pronounce her name.  At the time, there were rumors that Destiny’s Child was breaking up and that Beyoncé’s acting career was off to a rough start with her supporting role in Austin Powers.

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Kevin Reynolds: Reynolds Rap


Director Kevin Reynolds is best-known for two of the movies he made with Kevin Costner; Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and Waterworld.  The two Kevins had a tumultuous friendship.  Their collaborations frequently devolved into power struggles that spilled over into insults that appeared in the press.  And yet, they kept coming back together.  When Reynolds was interviewed for the August 1997 issue of Movieline magazine, he and Costner were no longer on friendly terms.  He discusses his relationship with Costner and what it was like to see Robin Hood become a hit despite the fact he didn’t like it.

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Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: The Painted Veil


In late June of last year 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.

When I set this task for myself, there were obviously some of the included films that I had already seen and there were some others which I had yet to experience. Of the latter group, my anticipation in tackling them has varied for a range of reasons. A movie like For Whom the Bell Tolls comes with its own attached literary and historical interests beyond the content of the actual film. Meanwhile, something like Tarzan the Fearless was an opportunity to consider a character whose wild popularity has mostly dissipated in the intervening years. This time around, the primary interest was in getting an additional look at a legendary film actress: one Great Garbo.
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Portrait of the Young Man as an Actor


For much of the 1990’s, Jonathan Taylor Thomas was a TV star.  The child actor even threatened to make the jump to movies for a bit, but his big screen efforts were less successful.  Eventually Thomas left Home Improvement to focus on his education.  Ever since, he has remained mostly out of the Hollywood spotlight.  This profile from the August 1997 issue of Movieline took place when Thomas still seemed like he might be a movie star.  But even at fifteen, Thomas seemed like he was ready to enjoy some privacy.

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Juliette Binoche: The Secret Meaning of Binoche


When Martha Frankel interviewed Juliette Binoche in her Parisian home for the cover story to the August 1997 issue of Movieline, she knew there would be some cultural differences.  But Binoche is completely unlike the typical Hollywood actress.  Not only did she cook and serve lunch to her interviewer, Binoche ate and laughed heartily.  She also discussed her recent Oscar win for The English Patient when she took home the trophy everyone expected would go to Lauren Bacall.

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Oliver Stone: The Stone Age


The eighties were a good decade for writer-director Oliver Stone.  And based on the success of JFK, there was little reason to expect that to change in the nineties.  But alas, Stone’s post-JFK career has seen the director slowly fade from relevance to the degree that I doubt anyone reading this really cares what Stone is up to when he’s not interviewing dictators.  Or for that matter, when he is.  But in 1992, a lot of us cared about the movies Oliver Stone had made.  So much so that Movieline contributor Joe Queenan did an in-depth analysis of Stone’s filmography for the August ’92 issue of the magazine. Read the rest of this entry

Building my Movie Posters Puzzle: American Graffiti


In late June of last year 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.

Funny how powerful nostalgia can be, even when it’s not for something that’s directly your own. In the case of George Lucas’ 1973 film American Graffiti, it certainly doesn’t hurt that the characters themselves are pretty darned sentimental to begin with. Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve (Ron Howard) are recent high school graduates on their last night at home before they’re supposed to fly away to college and the film as a whole serves as an inspection of transitions personally and societally. Set in 1962, this is a movie full of people who have not yet heard of The Beatles and are still playing out the routines and styles that had been established in the late 1950s. Enough so, that if you ask a bunch of people who haven’t seen the movie for a while, they probably think it’s set earlier than it is. Let’s investigate the unique sentimentality and nostalgia of a movie that was actually pretty revolutionary for its time.
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Vampire Pop


Before Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a critically acclaimed cult TV show, it was a little-loved teen comedy starring the guy from Beverly Hills 90210.  There was a lot of buzz about the quirky movie prior to its release.  A lot of people thought the combination of then-hot Luke Perry and Joss Whedon’s script could make Buffy a sleeper hit of the summer.  The August 1992 issue of Movieline included a warts-and-all look at the making of the movie that would eventually be best remembered for the TV show it inspired.

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Meryl Streep: A Tough Act to Follow


Of all the awards bestowed on Meryl Streep over the course of her long and distinguished career, I’m sure that winning this site’s Best Actress Bracket Game is among the most cherished.  Earlier this year, we spent a lot of time talking about Streep’s career.  In the 80’s, she dominated in dramatic leading roles.  But her movies were not seen by a large audience.  This interview from the August 1992 issue of Movieline magazine was from a time when the actress was switching things up.  Death Becomes Her was Streep’s fourth consecutive comedic role after a decade of critically acclaimed dramas.  In the interview, Streep is very forthcoming about the inequities actresses face in Hollywood and how she deals with competition.

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What the Hell Happened to Movie Stars?


Jeffthewildman wonders where all the big movie stars went.

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Clerical Errors


In the July 1992 issue of Movieline magazine, Joe Queenan asked the big questions about movies about bad members of the clergy.  Like why does God allow these movies to exist and which level of hell is reserved for the makers of Last Rites and Monsignor?

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