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March 19: Happy Birthday Glenn Close and Bruce Willis


0319CloseWillis

Glenn Close celebrates her 70th birthday today.  After graduating from William & Mary, she pursued an acting career, and made her Broadway debut in 1974 in a revival of William Congreve’s Love for Love.  She worked steadily both on and off Broadway for the next decade, and won a Tony for Best Actress in a Play for the original Broadway production of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing.  By this time, she had also begun a film and television career; her first three film appearances, in The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, and The Natural, all brought her Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress.  She then received her first nomination for Best Actress for a 1987 thriller:

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Movieline Cover Gallery 1996

Bruce Willis: Planet Willis


Willis - Last Man Standing

One of the things that stood out about Movieline magazine was that they didn’t pull their punches in interviews.  The writers asked their subjects the kind of direct questions you didn’t see that often in other entertainment magazines.  This was true even when the subject was known for being difficult.  If anything, the questions were even more direct with a difficult subject.  That was the case when Martha Frankel interviewed a very defensive Bruce Willis for the cover story of the August 1996 issue.

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Movieline Cover Gallery 1989

Bruce Willis on the Level


andie macdowell - hudson hawk 2

Yesterday, we dredged up Entertainment Weekly’s Summer Movie Preview from 1991.  The big cover story for that issue was an interview with Hudson Hawk star, Bruce Willis.  I figure since we started this trip down memory lane, we may as well see it through to the bitter end.  So here is Bruce Willis from the May 24, 1991 issue of Entertainment Weekly.

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Michael Lehmann: Adventures of a Young Director


Hudson Hawk

When Heathers came out in 1988, it was a quirky black comedy that almost no one saw.  But it quickly gained a cult following on video.  Even though it was a box office failure, the movie launched several careers.  Among them was director Michael Lehmann.

In the early 90’s, Lehmann and Heathers writer Daniel Waters entered the mainstream with the Razzie-winning Bruce Willis movie, Hudson Hawk.  In the May 1991 issue of Movieline, Virginia Campbell asked the director how he ended up in bed with the infamous producer Joel Silver.  Lehmann’s answers are surprisingly frank.

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Golden Raspberry Awards: 1994


Razzie 1994

The Golden Raspberries started off as an informal joke.  Something for a publicist and his friends to do after the Oscars had ended.  Over time, it has become and enduring and irreverent tradition.  In theory, The Razzies poke fun at the worst movies of the year.  But like any awards ceremony, the Razzies frequently make the wrong call.  We’re going back and looking at the history of the Golden Raspberry Awards one year at a time.

The fifteenth annual Razzies nominated the movies of 1994.  The Lion King and Forrest Gump were the highest-grossing movies that year.  David Letterman introduced Oprah Winfrey to Uma Thurman at the Oscars which was a showdown between Gump and Pulp.  Tom Hanks won his second consecutive Best Actor Oscar which set the tone for a Forrest Gump sweep.  The Razzies introduced a couple of new categories which allowed them to spread the love around.

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


Unbreakable

When Unbreakable was released in 2000, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan was riding high.  His previous movie, the supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense, had been a surprise smash.  On a modest $40 million dollar budget, The Sixth Sense became the second-highest grossing movie of 1999 right behind The Phantom Menace.  But unlike the Star Wars prequel, The Sixth Sense also enjoyed critical success as well.  It was also nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

After his second movie as a director, Shyamalan was a Hollywood power player.  Disney, which had released The Sixth Sense, couldn’t wait to make more movies with their new superstar.  He was paid a record-breaking $5 million dollars for a spec script for Unbreakable in addition to another $5 million in directing fees.  That is a quarter of what it cost to make The Sixth Sense.  But if Shyamalan’s follow-up was even half as successful as that movie, it would be money well spent.

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Demi Moore Gallery

Readers Rank the Die Hard Movies


Die Hard Movie Posters

Jeff the Wild Man recently ranked the Die Hard movies from worst to first.  Naturally, we gave you the chance to do your own rankings.  Here’s what readers came up with.

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Worst to First: Ranking the Die Hard movies


Die Hard Movie Posters

Yipeekaiyay!

Before Fast And Furious or Michael Bay came along the original Die Hard set the standard for the action movie genre.  It also introduced us to Bruce Willis as police officer John McClane, an everyman hero who stood in stark contrast to the muscle-bound action stars of the time.  Although the series and the character are beloved, most of the Die Hard movies are really not all that great. Of them all, one stands as a classic, one’s pretty good, two are just okay and one’s quite awful. Let’s rank ’em and see which is which.

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Internet Urban Legends: Was Die Hard Developed as a Sequel to Commando?


Die Hard - 1988

Die Hard – 1988

“If it’s on the internet, it must be true.” – Sarcastic Person

The internet is a marvel of modern technology.  Never before in human history has so much information been available so readily.  Unfortunately, it also follows that misinformation spreads more rapidly than ever.  Someone writes something on-line and someone else repeats it.  Before you know it, the story is accepted as fact despite having no credible sources.

I come across these kinds of tall tales and internet legends all the time while researching articles for the site.  Despite the fact that sites like Wikipedia have a team that theoretically monitors updates for proper sourcing, an amazing number of errors slip through the cracks.  The purpose of this series is to separate fact from fiction.

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Hollywood Throwdown


hollywood throwdown

Hollywood has a head-scratching habit of turning out two movies within a few months of each other, that are basically the exact same film. So not only do we get sequels, prequels, sidequels, reboots, remakes, and adaptations we get White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen practically back to back, because obviously if we liked something once, we want the leftovers next month. And unfortunately that’s how it usually goes, one film becomes the dish, and the other is scrapped by audiences. Studios seem to go head to head, in a pissing contest to prove that their bland actioner is vastly superior to the same thing being developed at the same time. So let’s run through some notable ones and see how it shakes out.

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