Happy MLK Day, everyone! It so happens that the final round of our Movies of 1988 bracket game falls on a holiday, so hopefully everyone has plenty of time to consider and cast their vote! There are usually some surprises in these annual games, but I found this year’s contest to be pretty unpredictable. When I put this together late last year, I fully expected it to come down to Die Hard vs. Beetlejuice. Turns out I was completely wrong in my predictions. Instead, we have two very funny movies either one of which would be deserving of being crowned champion. Which movie will get that honor is entirely up to you guys.
We are entering the final stretch of the Movies of 1988 bracket game! It’s down to action hero Bruce Willis against of trio of very different comedies. Can any of them stop John McClane on his march to victory? Just like in Die Hard, the “fly in the ointment” finds himself opposed by a motley band of criminals led by a suave European. But the gang from A Fish Called Wanda is a whole lot sillier than the terrorists who invaded Nakatomi Plaza. Still, if Detective McClane isn’t careful, he is in imminent danger of having chips shoved up his nose.
We are kicking off the second round of our Movies of 1988 bracket game with two sublimely silly comedies about con men and criminals who are constantly trying to get one over on each other. Both A Fish Called Wanda and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels feature dim Americans pitted against sophisticated Europeans and the culture clash that results generates a lot of laughs. As does the ridiculous physical comedy. While both movies are smart, neither shies away from low-brow humor. As we keep saying, 1988 was a great year for comedy. But there’s only room for one intercontinental caper comedy in the final four. Which one will it be?
Happy New Year, everyone! Here at Le Blog, we ring in the new year with a look back at the movies from decades past. We’re kicking things off with the cinematic offerings from thirty years ago. Rain Man was the highest-grossing movie of the year. It also dominated the Oscars taking home Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. Die Hard redefined the action genre and Robert Zemeckis used new technology to blend live action with animation seamlessly in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Tom Hanks received his first Oscar nomination for Big (he lost to Dustin Hoffman) and Jodie Foster won her first Best Actress statue for The Accused. It was a good year for movies and a great year for comedy. Which movie will readers pick as their favorite from 1988? That’s up to you guys.
Each of today’s headliners has a unique accomplishment in the history of the Academy Awards.
Italian filmmaker and comedian Roberto Benigni turns 65 today. He became well known in his home country as a film and television actor in the 1970s, and directed his first feature film, You Upset Me, in 1983. Followers of the indie film scene in the US will probably be aware of Benigni’s films with Jim Jarmusch, beginning with Down By Law in 1986. He also starred in Son of the Pink Panther, Blake Edwards’s final feature as a director, an unsuccessful attempt to revive the series (although it was a hit in Italy). More recently, he appeared in Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love.
Benigni’s best known film is the 1997 comedy-drama Life is Beautiful, which he wrote and directed as well as starring in. One of the most highly-regarded films of the last three decades, it won a long list of awards—the Grand Prize at Cannes, nine Donatello Awards, BAFTA and European Film Award honors for Benigni for Best Actor along with Best Film at the latter ceremony, and four Oscars, including Best Foreign Language Film along with another Best Actor honor for Benigni, the first, and so far only, winner of Best Actor for a non-English-speaking role.
John Cleese celebrates his 77th birthday today. His screen career began with a short-lived British television comedy series called The Frost Report; Cleese was one of the performers, while some others involved in various aspects of the show included Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. In 1969, that quintet were joined by an American friend of Cleese’s, Terry Gilliam, in creating a sketch comedy series known as Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
In 1971, Monty Python released a movie that incorporated sketches from the first two seasons of their show, And Now for Something Completely Different. It was sufficiently successful that they made a second feature, a sweeping historical epic centered around Britain’s legendary hero, King Arthur, and featuring a major role for the brave Sir Lancelot: