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June 7: Happy Birthday Liam Neeson and Tom McCarthy


Today is Liam Neeson’s 65th birthday.  Neeson worked for a few years as a truck and forklift driver before beginning his acting career at the Lyric Players’ Theatre in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  He began working in films at the end of the seventies, and early in the next decade had supporting roles in two sword-and-sorcery films, Excalibur and Krull.  As the nineties opened he began to get some leading roles, in films like Darkman and Under Suspicion.  But few could have predicted his emergence as a major star in 1993, which came about largely because Steven Spielberg came calling, with a lead role in a film about the Holocaust.  Neeson’s performance as Oskar Schindler brought him an Oscar nomination (and several others) for Best Actor.

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The King and His Court


Elvis Presley was the King of Rock’n’Roll.  But he was also pioneered bad rock’n’roll movies.  This article from the Jan/Feb 1992 issue of Movieline wasn’t credited, but the writing style is certainly that of Joe Queenan.  The author establishes Elvis’ record for starring in movies that are as successful as they are bad and then runs through a list of rockers-turned-thespians who could give the King a run for his money.

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The Best Albums of 1987


What if I told you the two biggest hit songs of 1987 were by Gregory Abbot and Billy Vera & the Beaters?

Well they were. The songs in question are “Shake You Down” and “At This Moment,” two tunes I haven’t given a second thought to in the intervening thirty years. If you had asked me to name the top hits of the year without doing any research I never would have thought of these two. Go a little further down the list and you’ll start to find artists you may associate more with the era, like Madonna, Michael Jackson, U2, George Michael, Whitney Houston, and Bon Jovi. If you know me well, you probably know that not many of those folks are likely to make my list of the best albums of the year from thirty years ago. If you don’t know me well, check out last year’s article about the Best Albums of 1986 and the previous year’s highlight of the top long-form recordings of 1985. That should drive the point home. Since I turned 17 in 1987, I not only developed some intense attachment to the popular art forms of the time, but I also learned a bit of distaste for the stuff that I found less appealing. I’m sure most people who take art seriously go through this at some point in time and over the next few years it would develop for me pretty significantly.

Despite this, you should find some of my choices for the best of 1987 to be accessible enough.

Take a deep breath and dive in!
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Best Worst Picture Bracket Game: Showgirls Vs. Under the Cherry Moon

Showgirls Vs. Under the Cherry Moon

Yeah, I’m pretty happy with the pairing of those two pictures.  It’s the little things like making it look like Prince is watching Elizabeth Berkley lick a stripper pole that make blogging such a rewarding endeavor.  Happy Father’s Day, everybody!  Let’s celebrate with the latest installment of the Best Worst Picture Bracket Game.

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Best Worst Picture Bracket Game: Under the Cherry Moon Vs. Swept Away

Under the Cherry Moon Vs. Swept Away

After a couple of days of stripping and schtupping, it’s time for everyone to put their clothes on.  Or at least get semi-dressed.  We’re changing gears for this bracket and trading in bawdiness for fame.  Today’s match-up includes two icons from the eighties in their less-than-distinguished movie careers.

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Golden Raspberry Awards: 1986

Razzies - 1986

The Golden Raspberries started off as an informal joke.  Something for a publicist and his friends to do after the Oscars had ended.  Over time, it has become and enduring and irreverent tradition.  In theory, The Razzies poke fun at the worst movies of the year.  But like any awards ceremony, the Razzies frequently make the wrong call.  We’re going back and looking at the history of the Golden Raspberry Awards one year at a time.

The seventh annual Razzies nominated the movies of 1986.  Top Gun and Crocodile Dundee were the big movies that year.  Platoon won Best Picture at the Oscars and Hannah and Her Sisters swept the supporting categories with wins for Michael Caine and Diane Weist.  The Razzies saw an influx of 80’s pop stars as well as the arrival of a talking duck.

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