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Oliver Stone: Stoned Again


Oliver Stone is a complicated and polarizing figure.  He always has been.  On the one hand, he’s a Hollywood liberal who is best-known for movies critical of the Vietnam war.  On the other, his work is filled with sexism and he’s spending his later years cozying up to the likes of Vladimir Putin.  Recently, Stone made headlines for his contribution to the great Weinstein scandal.  It seems like no matter who you are or where you stand, Stone has said or done something likely to alienate you.

That was less true twenty years ago, but the Oscar winning director was starting down a career path that would slowly erode his cultural relevance.  But Movieline magazine still had enough interest in Stone to publish a two-part interview with the controversial filmmaker.  The second half appeared in the November 1997 issue.

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Oliver Stone: The First Stone


Oliver Stone is a complicated and polarizing figure.  He always has been.  On the one hand, he’s a Hollywood liberal who is best-known for movies critical of the Vietnam war.  On the other, his work is filled with sexism and he’s spending his later years cozying up to the likes of Vladimir Putin.  This week, Stone made headlines for his contribution to the great Weinstein scandal.  It seems like no matter who you are or where you stand, Stone has said or done something likely to alienate you.

That was less true twenty years ago, but the Oscar winning director was starting down a career path that would slowly erode his cultural relevance.  But Movieline magazine still had enough interest in Stone to publish a two-part interview with the controversial filmmaker.  The first half appeared in the October 1997 issue.

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September 15: Happy Birthday Oliver Stone and Agatha Christie


0915StoneChristie

Today is Oliver Stone’s 71st birthday.  He attended Yale for two short periods, then enlisted in the US Army and served in Vietnam.  He eventually graduated from NYU and worked at various jobs while trying to get a start in the film industry.  He directed his first film, Seizure, in 1974, but didn’t really start to become known until winning his first Oscar, for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 1979 film Midnight Express.

Stone then wrote a number of screenplays in the early 1980s, ranging from Scarface to Conan the Barbarian, before having a breakthrough year in 1986.  Salvador, the first of his two films that year, was a critical success, but a box office failure.  It was eclipsed by the partly autobiographical Platoon, which won Best Picture and brought Stone a Best Director Oscar.

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Oliver Stone: The Stone Age


The eighties were a good decade for writer-director Oliver Stone.  And based on the success of JFK, there was little reason to expect that to change in the nineties.  But alas, Stone’s post-JFK career has seen the director slowly fade from relevance to the degree that I doubt anyone reading this really cares what Stone is up to when he’s not interviewing dictators.  Or for that matter, when he is.  But in 1992, a lot of us cared about the movies Oliver Stone had made.  So much so that Movieline contributor Joe Queenan did an in-depth analysis of Stone’s filmography for the August ’92 issue of the magazine. Read the rest of this entry

Movies of 1987 Bracket Game: Predator Vs. Wall Street


predator-vs-wall-street

John McTiernan’s Predator was a manly movie.  Most 80’s action movies would be satisfied with having a bunch of commandos shooting up a gang of insurgents in the jungle.  But that’s Predator‘s starting point.  From there, the military guys find themselves hunted by an alien creature.  By comparison, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street is a lot more grounded.  In his still-topical drama, greedy men do whatever it takes to make themselves just a little bit richer.

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Movies of 1987 Bracket Game: Fatal Attraction Vs. Wall Street


fatal-attraction-vs-wall-street

In 1987, Michael Douglas was having a very good year.  He had the biggest hit of his career to date (adjusted for inflation, Fatal Attraction remains the highest-grossing movie in Douglas’ filmography) and he would go on to win Best Actor (not Best Supporting Actor) for a supporting role in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street.  Douglas’ one-two punch of 1987 pushed him into the A-list and fueled his career as a leading man into the next decade.

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September 15: Happy Birthday Tom Hardy and Tommy Lee Jones


0915hardyjones

Tom Hardy turns 39 today.  His acting career began in 2001, playing a pair of soldiers, PFC John Janovec in the miniseries Band of Brothers, and as Specialist Lance Twombly in Black Hawk Down.  He then played the Romulan leader Shinzon in the box office and critical failure Star Trek: Nemesis, which might have temporarily slowed his career down.  He began to emerge as a star with a scene-stealing supporting role in Christopher Nolan’s Inception:

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Movies of 1986 Bracket Game!: Platoon vs Hannah and Her Sisters


Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 5.09.47 PM

As a part of our welcome to the new year, we here at Lebeau’s LeBlog are going to spend the next couple of weeks looking back thirty years and discussing the best that 1986 had to offer. We hope you readers will help us select your favorite movie from the year that gave us “that’s What Friends are For” and “Hands Across America.” You will notice that two of the biggest box office hits of the year, Top Gun and “Crocodile” Dundee, are missing from our bracket. Lebeau and I consulted on this and agreed that we both liked the included films better than either of those hits. If you disagree, please leave a comment and let us know why. Maybe you’ll win us over by serenading us with “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,”…but I doubt it. Either way, take a look at the bracket we’ve created and help us vote the best movies into the next round!
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What Might Have Been: Val Kilmer


Val Kilmer

Val Kilmer

Actors careers are shaped by choices.  Their performances are made up of small choices; how a character should move, what they should sound like, how they should react.  Then there are the big choices like what roles to take and who to work with.  When an actor commits to a movie, they are dedicating a chunk of their lives to preparing for the role, filming the movie and then doing the promotion circuit.  For a lead actor, each movie can be a year-long commitment.  For an actor who is in demand, this can lead to some tough choices which will ultimately shape the course of their career.

As the old saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20.”  Sometimes, an actor’s choices look foolish in retrospect.  Other times, it seems like they dodged a bullet.  Either way, movie fans love looking back and wondering what might have been.

The first subject of this new series could only be one man:  Val Kilmer.

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What the Hell Happened to Orlando Bloom?


Orlando Bloom

Orlando Bloom

Orlando Bloom starred in one of the biggest movie trilogies of all time, and followed it up by starring in another one of the biggest trilogies of all time. He’s worked with Peter Jackson, Ridley Scott, and Cameron Crowe. He was supposed to be the next big thing.

What the hell happened?

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What the Hell Happened to Colin Farrell?


Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell was one of the biggest up and coming leading men in Hollywood 10 years ago, he’s worked with Michael Mann, Oliver Stone, Woody Allen, Terrence Malick, and Steven Spielberg but now seems to be struggling to stay relevant, despite the most unforgettable eyebrows in Hollywood.

What the hell happened?

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