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Why’d it Hit? The Greatest Showman (2017)

Kevthewriter sings and dances about Hugh Jackman’s unlikely hit, The Greatest Showman.

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October 13: Happy Birthday George and Marie Osmond


We have had a husband-and-wife pairing as headliners previously; today, we have our first time with headliners who were father and daughter.

George Osmond (1917-2007) served in World War Two, and married Olive Davis in 1944.  He worked at various jobs over the years, including selling real estate and serving as postmaster of Ogden, Utah.  But he also had a love of music, which he passed on to his nine children.  His two oldest sons, George, Jr. (usually called Virl) and Tom, both suffered from partial deafness from birth, which made any kind of performing very hard for them, but their six younger brothers, along with their sister, all had successful careers in music.  The Osmond brothers recorded together for many years, in various combinations, and had a #1 hit in 1970 with “One Bad Apple.”

Marie Osmond was born on her father’s 42nd birthday and turns 58 today.  She began a solo career as a country singer in the early 1970s.  She has had several charted albums and singles in her career, and continues to record and tour to this day.  She and her older brother Donny have recorded and performed together regularly since the mid-1970s, when they had several charted hits and hosted a variety show on ABC for three seasons.  Marie has also performed on Broadway in musicals like The King and I and The Sound of Music.  Her biggest success as a solo artist was the title track from her debut album, a #1 Country single in 1973 that also reached #5 on the Hot 100.

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Man Power

Male movie stars fall somewhere along a spectrum with one extreme being soft and sensitive pretty boys and the other being rugged manly men.  According to this article from the September 2002 issue of Movieline magazine, twenty-five years ago movies experienced a resurgence in machismo (much of it on loan from Australia.  The magazine named five hunky stars who were heating up the movies.

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Readers Rank the X-Men Movies

The X-Men franchise, with its wiggly continuity, spin-offs, reboots and cross-overs, is an odd duck.  Perhaps that’s appropriate for a series of movies about mutants.  Over the last several years, the series has certainly mutated in some unexpected ways.  Seventeen years ago, who would have expected movies like Deadpool or Logan would ever get made?  With the latter representing Hugh Jackman’s final performance as Wolverine, Jeffthewildman marked the occasion by ranking all ten of the X-Men movies from Worst to First.  Of course we wanted to hear from you readers as well.  Let’s see how readers ranked the X-Men movies.

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Worst To First: Ranking The X-Men Movies

Hugh Jackman hung up his claws earlier this year with his final performance as Wolverine in Logan.  The ending of the Jackman-as-Wolvie era got me to thinking about the X-Men movies on the whole. How do they rank when you stack em all up together?

Here, as opposed to other series tackled in the Worst To First series, the overall quality is somewhat higher. When you add together the 10 X-Men movies , 6 are very good, two are passable and the other two are a toss-up as to which is worse. Here, we will sort out the good mutants from the bad and the ugly.  And of course, you will get to share your rankings as well.

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Review: Logan

It’s very rare that the final entry in a series is the best. For proof of that, consider Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, The Godfather 3 or Jaws The Revenge.  However, there are exceptions to that rule. Logan, the third and final effort in the solo Wolverine trilogy, is one of those. Of the three of those released between 2009 and now, it is by far the best. Included with the X-Men movies as a whole, it ranks near the top of that as well.

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October 12: Happy Birthday Hugh Jackman and Luciano Pavarotti


Hugh Jackman celebrates his 48th birthday today.  Most of us probably think of him as a film actor, but he first became known outside Australia for starring as Curly in the 1998 West End revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, for which he received an Olivier Award nomination.  His first feature film roles were in a pair of Australian films from 1999, Erskineville Kings and Paperback Hero, but it was a year later that he was cast in the role that really made him famous, some guy with retractable claws:

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

Van Helsing

With 2004’s Van Helsing, Universal was certain it was sitting on top of a goldmine.  For years, they had been looking for a way to capitalize on their classic monster movie library.  Then along came writer/director Stephen Sommers.  Sommers put a fresh comedic spin on Universal’s troubled mummy movie.  In 1999, The Mummy turned into a surprise hit for the studio.  A sequel followed in 2002 which lead to a spin-off movie, The Scorpion King, in 2002.  Sommers seemed to have a magic touch.  So it seemed like a no-brainer to pair him with Wolverine and give him control of the complete Universal monsters collection.   But often times, what looks like a no-brainer on paper turns out to be a misfire in execution.  Van Helsing was one such case.

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Review: Chappie


When Lebeau and I discussed what sort of theme we might want to attack for late February-early March, there wasn’t much of interest to hook into. It was only when we noticed the release of Neill Blomkamp’s new film Chappie that we landed on movie robots. The topic has been fun thus far, and we’ve enjoyed talking about our favorite cinematic automatons both in our bracket game and in our podcast. But now we have to address the initial inspiration for our robot theme, and it’s a pretty mixed bag.
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X-Men: Days of Future Past Review #2



Directed by Bryan Singer

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence

LeBeau has just finished his review of Bryan Singer’s retconning X-Men: Days of Future Past. As everyone is seeking to follow Marvel’s Avengers formula, either by villain spinoff as Sony and Spiderman are doing, or DC by introducing the team first and doing the solo movies after, or now Fox by creating a movie that makes 3 separate X-Men movie tales and retcons them all into one mostly coherent story. In that, the movie is mostly successful, but as a film, it stands as probably the best film in the franchise’s history, and gives me hope my favorite comic book franchise will at some point become my favorite movie franchise.

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X-Men Dream Cast for my X-Men Movie

With X-Men: Days of Future Past about to be released, the announcement of Channing Tatum playing Gambit (NOOOOOOOOO *vomits* he is terrible) in future films, Hugh Jackman’s continued waffling about coming back as Wolverine, and Bryan Singer facing disturbing accusations, and lots of spin-off rumored, the X-Men universe is growing and in constant flux. I’m going to go out on a limb and say there has never been a great X-Men movie. And X-Men are my favorite comic book heroes. X2 is pretty strong, and the latest Wolverine offering is fantastic until the final setpiece defies all logic and becomes a plothole laden hell from a different movie. I hated First Class and thought it only worsened all the issues the series has been plagued by since the get-go. Read the rest of this entry

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