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Raquel Welch is turning 77 today. She studied ballet as a girl and won a number of beauty pageants as a teenager. She was born Raquel Tejada, but used her first husband’s last name professionally, even after they divorced, to avoid being typecast as a Latina. She began working in film in the mid-sixties; one of her most famous early roles was in the 1966 version of One Million Years B.C., in which she had only three lines, but will always be remembered for her deerskin bikini costume.
Welch starred in over two dozen films from 1966-1977. She made several Westerns, including Bandolero! and Hannie Caulder, played a skydiver caught up in an espionage caper in Fathom, and starred with Frank Sinatra in Lady in Cement. She was a roller derby queen in Kansas City Bomber, a detective in an adaptation of Ed McBain’s Fuzz, and a beautiful actress in The Last of Sheila. One of her best roles was as Constance Bonacieux in Richard Lester’s two-film adaptation of The Three Musketeers, for which she won a Golden Globe.
He’s Batman. Or he was, anyway. He was also Beetlejuice. But by 1997, Michael Keaton’s batting average at the box office was down. He was coming off a string of disappointments and flops. His next movie, Desperate Measures, wouldn’t make its scheduled summer release date. Instead, it got pushed back to the dumping grounds of January. Keaton’s career was entering its “What the Hell Happened?” stage. In this interview from the August ’97 issue of Movieline magazine, Keaton discusses the roles he turned down, how he almost named himself Michael Jackson and why he believes he sometimes achieves greatness.
Okay, first things first. I’m going to be blunt about this. 1) It’s not 1964 anymore. That should be obvious, considering that I wasn’t born yet in that year and I’m well into my forties now. 2) Peter Parker and his Aunt May live in an apartment in Queens in New York City. Why am I pointing these two very basic things out? Well, unfortunately it’s because I’m imagining some objections to the nature of the new Spider-Man reboot from people who want its supporting characters to adhere firmly to those presented in the comic book stories of the sixties through the nineties. Look, I get it. I grew up in the eighties firmly entrenched in that well-established classic Spider-Man world. If you read my ranking of the first five Spider-Man movies, you’ll know that Sam Raimi’s films were my favorites there in part due to their stylistic and character similarities with those books I read as a teenager. But if you’re going to present a teenaged webhead set in the current day, some changes are just going to have to be made. Are we on the same page with this? Great. Let’s talk about the new movie then.
It is in part due to these changes that this new Spider-Man film is easily one of the best we’ve seen yet. If you are hoping for no spoilers at all in a review I would recommend that you stop reading here and go ahead and see the movie. It has my unreserved recommendation even if it’s not absolutely perfect. If you’re okay with some very mild spoilers, then read on!
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I hope everyone is enjoying their three-day weekend (for those of you who are off work tomorrow anyway). Last week was another busy one here at Le Blog. Just in case you missed any of the fun and excitement, here’s your weekly recap.
Dutch actress Carice van Houten turns 40 today. She has been a major star in European cinema since the late nineties, and has won the Golden Calf for Best Actress (given annually at the Netherlands Film Festival) five times. At least one of the films she was honored for, Paul Verhoeven’s Zwartboek or Black Book, got released for a while in the US.
However, the role that North American audiences probably know van Houten best for is Melisandre of Asshai, the “Red Priestess” from Game of Thrones, the HBO adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire:
For the last couple of weeks, we have been looking back at Batman and Superman movies of the past. After ranking the movies starring Batman from worst to first, I asked readers to do the same. Usually, the reader rankings are pretty close to my own. But we’ve got some big differences this time. Overall, the votes were spread out more than usual reflecting a general lack of consensus.
Let’s take a look at how the readers ranked the Batman movies.
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Next Friday, Superman and Batman will appear on the big screen for the first time. Leading up to the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, we’ll be looking back at the cinematic history of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight. Last week, we ranked the Superman movies. So now it’s Batman’s turn.
On the whole, Batman has fared better than Superman at the movies. But overall, most of his movies still aren’t very good.
Let’s all wish Michael Keaton a happy 64th birthday!
Typically, I have been posting galleries for all the WTHH subjects on their birthdays. But Keaton already has a gallery. So rather than just repost it, I figured I’d do something a little different. To celebrate Keaton’s birthday, here’s a look at the opening monologue from when Keaton hosted SNL last year and he briefly reprised his two most famous roles.
Anyone else get chills when Keaton said “It’s show time!” Just me? Okay fine. If you haven’t gotten your Keaton fix, be sure to re-read What the Hell Happened to Michael Keaton.
Now I have 365 days to figure out how to celebrate Keaton’s 65th birthday…
Daffy and I are back with new episodes of our podcast, Le Show. As we did last year, we’re tackling the Academy Awards. Rather than ramble on for an hour about all the major categories, we decided to split things up. So instead of one long show, we’ll be putting out several shorter installments. In the fourth episode, we run through the five Best Actor nominees, who we think will win and who we think should win.
This past weekend, Dumb and Dumber To exceeded even the most optimistic box office projections. Critics were unkind to the sequel, but audiences who have been waiting twenty years for more Dumb and Dumber didn’t care. Now there’s talk of a Dumb and Dumber trilogy!
The box office success of Dumb and Dumber To has some people talking about a comeback for Jim Carrey. Carrey’s movie career has cooled over the last decade or so. His last unqualified box office hit was arguably Bruce Almighty in 2003. When a Dumb and Dumber sequel was announced, it seemed to some (myself included) like a desperation move. But now, it seems like a “hail mary pass” that connected.
I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday season. I know I did.
This is just a quick entry to let everyone know what I am up to blog-wise. My output has slowed down as of late. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on Le Blog. As those following Le Blog on Facebook are aware, I have gone back to the beginning of the popular “What the Hell Happened” series to update all of the 32 existing articles.
Michael Keaton started out as a manic comic and grew into an unlikely leading man and an even more unlikely super hero. As the first big-screen Batman, Keaton was able to make deals that secured him A-list work. But when he walked away from the Bat-franchise, Keaton’s opportunities dried up. Eventually, he all but disappeared from the spotlight.
What the hell happened?