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August 8: Happy Birthday Keith Carradine and Robert Siodmak


 

0808CarradineSiodmak

Keith Carradine, one of the most prominent members of the famous acting family, is turning 68 today.  He made his film debut in a supporting role in Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and later went on to star in the director’s Thieves Like Us and to a major role in the ensemble cast of Nashville.  Some of his other film roles have included starring in Ridley Scott’s first feature, The Duellists, appearing with his brothers David and Robert in Walter Hill’s The Long Riders, as the Younger Brothers, and roles in several of Alan Rudolph’s films.  On television he was an Emmy nominee for the 1983 miniseries Chiefs, and appeared in the early episodes of Deadwood as Wild Bill Hickock.  More recently he has had recurring roles on Dexter and, as President Conrad Dalton, on Madam Secretary.

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August 8: Happy Birthday Dustin Hoffman and JC Chasez


Dustin Hoffman

Two-time Oscar winning actor, Dustin Hoffman turns 79 today.  Before hitting it big, Hoffman was roomies with Gene Hackman.  Hoffman hit it big when he starred in Mike Nichols’ comedy, The Graduate in 1967.  He won his first Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer in 1979 and won again in 1988 for Rain Man.  Hoffman has starred in some memorable movies like Midnight Cowboy, Tootsie and All the President’s Men but kids probably know him as the voice of Master Shifu in the Kung Fu Panda films.

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Building My Movie Poster Puzzle: The Graduate


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In late June 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.

The Graduate is an iconic piece of pop culture from late 1960s America, right? And large parts of it are set in the San Francisco Bay area of California. Also, there’s the very famous Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack. It’s about a disaffected, but naive young college grad who encounters the vagaries of the changing sexual culture of the time. And yet, really nothing about the movie reminds us of the hippie culture that is so associated with all of that stuff. Dustin Hoffman’s central character has more in common with the characters from Mad Men than with those from Hair. I’m not sure what I’d expected, but the twenty-five plus years between my last viewing and this one had allowed me to forget what its characters are really like. Let’s have a chat about it!
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Warren Beatty: Dick Does Tinseltown


Dick Tracy

In 1990, every Hollywood Studio was looking for the next Batman – a tentpole movie that wouldn’t just sell a lot of tickets but could also be marketed out the wazoo.  Disney was pretty sure they had exactly that with their big summer release, Dick Tracy.  They had a big star/director in Warren Beatty, a pop culture sensation in Madonna and a character who had stood the test of time like the Dark Knight.  Not to mention a cast that included all of Beatty’s famous Hollywood friends.

The road to the big screen was a long one.  The June issue of Movieline documented all of the project’s false starts, delays, struggles and law suits.

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Totally Awesome Facts You Need to Know About Get Shorty


John Travolta - Get Shorty - 1995

John Travolta – Get Shorty – 1995

Look at me.  Today is the twentieth anniversary of the release of Barry Sonnenfeld’s adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel, Get Shorty.  To celebrate, I’m going to be the guy telling you the way it is as we review the totally awesome facts that you absolutely need to know about Get Shorty.

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That Moment In All The President’s Men (1976)


All the President’s Men isn’t just a great movie from the 70’s.  It’s a great movie ABOUT the 70’s.  The Watergate scandal was one of the defining events of the decade.  Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman – two of the biggest stars of the seventies –  portrayed journalists Woodward and Bernstein in the Hollywood version of the biggest scandal of the day.

This review of All the President’s Men is from the wonderful website, That Moment In…

That Moment In All The President’s Men (1976)

“The Best Comedy of the Year!” 1980’s


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The first two posts of this series took us back through cinematic humor from today’s genre confusion and obsession with idiots and into the 1990’s which featured a greater proliferation of quality comedy writing and the unfortunate origins of some of today’s most disappointing trends. Now I step into Reagan era comedy with both anticipation and trepidation.

The years 1980-1989 contain both the end of my childhood and the entirety of my teenage years. This means that for more than half of the decade, I did not get to choose which films I got to see at the movie theater. Also, the 1980’s featured the explosion of home entertainment options, but this didn’t really get going for my family until about 1987. So while I saw each of my yearly selections from 1986-1989 on the big screen, the rest of these, I’ve had to catch up with on video or cable and only some of that happened during the 80’s.

My opinions of big screen comedy may be inexorably tied to my own development through this era as my expectations were first established and then subverted. Nobody experiences everything in exactly the same way. But I’m going to keep hold of some of my opinions here with all 32 teeth.

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