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October 8: Happy Birthday Bella Thorne and David Yates


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Today is Bella Thorne’s 20th birthday.  She made her first screen appearance in the film Stuck on You at the age of six, and began acting regularly when she was about ten.  After a recurring role on Dirty Sexy Money, she was cast in her first regular role in 2008, on NBC’s My Own Worst Enemy.  When that series was canceled during its first season, she appeared on the web series Little Monk, and then took over the role of Teenie Henrickson on season 4 of HBO’s Big Love.  In 2010, Disney cast her in the lead role of CeCe Jones (with recent headliner Zendaya as her costar) on Shake It Up.

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Extreme Measures: Matt Damon in Courage Under Fire


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1997 was the year Good Will Hunting made Matt Damon into a household name.  Before that happened, Damon was just another young actor looking to make his mark.  The previous summer, Damon dropped a lot of weight and gave a memorable supporting performance in the drama, Courage Under Fire.  Movieline magazine did a brief profile on Damon for their Young Hollywood Issue when no one realized that his upcoming movie (referred to in the article as “a film he wrote”) was going to be his breakout role.

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: Boogie Nights vs Good Will Hunting


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And here we are in the second round of our 1997 movie bracket! The format for this round will be a little different than last round’s trailer and catch-all observations on the films and the people who made them. Over the next four days I’ll be featuring individual scenes from the competing films, discussing how they are written and shot and how they are reflective of the movies as a whole. While this will certainly say something about the films, I want to remind everyone involved that you are voting for the movie as a whole and not the featured scene.

Oh, by the way, SPOILERS!

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: As Good as It Gets vs Good Will Hunting


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In this top portion of our 1997 movies bracket game we’re focusing mostly on those films of the year which garnered a lot of critical and awards season attention. In some cases this also means that we’re reliving those moments when people we didn’t really know at the time took that next step and became actual movie stars. It’s a never ending process in the entertainment industry: the “next big thing.” Sometimes it’s a dream that actually pans out with an honest to God A-list career and sometimes we look back and realize that was their one big project. Sometimes it’s something in between.
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October 8: Happy Birthday Sigourney Weaver and Matt Damon


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Sigourney Weaver celebrates her 67th birthday today.  She made her film debut in a small role in Annie Hall, and was the breakout star of Alien two years later.  In the early 1980s she starred in diverse films, including Ghostbusters (one of her biggest box office hits) and The Year of Living Dangerously.  In 1986 she returned to what has become the role most associated with her, Ellen Ripley in Aliens:

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This Year’s Best Actor Nominees


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It’s a sure sign of our sputtering patriarchy that this has often been treated as the second most important award of the night. The traditional structure of year after year of ceremonies placed it after Best Actress and just before Best Picture on the schedule more often than not. The later the presentation of the award, the more important it is. Then last year, with what I remember to be a complete absence of fanfare, all of a sudden Eddie Redmayne was up on stage accepting his award while Best Actress still hadn’t been given out. I haven’t read any particular explanation for the change…if one was even needed. The first thing that springs to mind is that they knew who the winners were going to be and decided to give Michael Keaton a few minutes between losing for Best Actor and going up on stage as an important part of the Best Picture troupe. Or perhaps they just predicted it? Longtime favorite Julianne Moore winning at last for Still Alice certainly made for a more satisfying storyline late in the show. I’m not sure what the order of presentation will be this year, but I’d like to suggest a pre-arranged cycle in which each is given first in alternating years.

Of course, this is the one of the two that has more heat this year.
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Dead Wife Family Comedy Smackdown: The Descendants vs. We Bought a Zoo


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Winter of 2011 saw the release of two comedy-dramas starring members of the cast of the Ocean’s Eleven films that dealt with a family coming to grips with the loss of a wife and mother.  Both films were written and directed by A-list talents after a relatively long sabbatical.  We Bought a Zoo and The Descendents were both released with great expectations, but at least one of them fell a little short.  With so much in common, which film comes out on top?

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