Blog Archives

Movies of 1988 Bracket Game: Big Vs. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

We are rounding out the second round of the Movies of 1988 bracket game.  After today’s match, we will have our final four.  Today’s contest is between two popular comedies both of which had some cross-generational appeal.  Roger Rabbit‘s blend of animation and live action appealed to both kids and adults.  To sweeten the deal, the movie includes a heavy dose of nostalgia and some risqué gags that will go over the heads of most youngsters.  Big created a fantasy that plays out differently depending on your age.  Kids could fantasize what adult life and the freedom that comes with it might be like whereas adults could imagine what it might be like to recapture some of their childhood wonder.

One of these ostensibly family friendly comedies will advance to the final four and the other will be eliminated from the game.

Read the rest of this entry


Movies of 1988 Bracket Game: Coming to America Vs. Big

As this game illustrates, 1988 was a banner year for comedy.  In fact, renowned film critic Daffy Stardust wrote “1988 has to be considered one of the greatest years in the history of film comedies.”  So there you have it.  Case closed.  In today’s match-up we have two more successful comedies both of which represented attempts at growth by their leading men.  After breaking out as a massive movie star playing fast-talking hustlers on Saturday Night Live and in movies like 48 Hours and Trading Places, Eddie Murphy wanted to be a romantic leading man.  Tom Hanks had already established himself in the romantic-comedy, Splash, but Big offered him the opportunity to show a little more range than most of the goofy parts he had played up to that point.

Read the rest of this entry

July 9: Happy Birthday Kelly McGillis and Chris Cooper


As we begin the second year of the birthday article series, it is appropriate that one of our headliners is a WTHH subject.  The other is one of the greatest character actors of our time.

Kelly McGillis is turning 60 today.  Her WTHH article contains a lot of detail about her career, so I will just hit the important high points.  McGillis began working in film and television in the early eighties.  She made a couple of TV movies, appeared for a short while on One Life to Live, and starred in a feature titled Reuben, Reuben.  Then she made her breakthrough in 1985 in Witness, receiving BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.  She starred opposite Tom Cruise in Top Gun, and two years later was one of the leads in The Accused along with Jodie Foster.

Read the rest of this entry

Look Before You Leap!

Hanks - Bosom Buddies

TV actors want to be movie stars.  That’s a given.  But some of them are better suited to the small screen.  It’s a tricky prospect making the transition from TV to film.  A few actors have made it look so easy you forget their humble beginnings.  Other have wiped out spectacularly.  In the October 1996 issue of Movieline magazine, contributing writers Kevin Hennessey and Elaine Bailey examined some case studies in TV stars deciding when it was time to leave the show that made them famous.

Read the rest of this entry

Movieline Cover Gallery 1985-1988

What Might Have Been Wednesday: Tom Hanks in Police Academy

Tom Hanks in Police Academy

The raunchy cop comedy, Police Academy, made Steve Guttenberg a star in 1984 (or at least a viable leading man).  But Guttenberg wasn’t the producers’ first choice for the role of Mahoney.  They wanted Tom Hanks who starred in Bachelor Party and Splash that year instead.  Their wish list also included Michael Keaton and Judge Reinhold.  After their top three choices passed, they settled on the Goot.  Which is probably for the best.  I don’t see Hanks or Keaton sticking around for Police Academy 4.

Was I Wrong?: Joe Vs. the Volcano

Meg Ryan - Joe Vs. the Volcano - 1990

Meg Ryan – Joe Vs. the Volcano – 1990

Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of the first movie to costar Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Joe Vs. the Volcano.  And I’m pretty sure this is the only site on the internet that will mark the occasion.  Hanks and Ryan went on to appear in two more successful movies together.  But Joe Vs. the Volcano seemed to confound critics and audiences alike.  The movie received mixed reviews from critics and flopped at the box office.  It effectively killed writer-director John Patrick Shanley’s directing career.  The Oscar-winning screenwriter of Moonstruck returned to theater after his directorial debut.

But 25 years ago, I sat in an almost empty movie theater and was completely enchanted by Joe Vs the Volcano.  I didn’t just like it.  I loved almost everything about it.  I was certain that a movie this wonderfully unique would eventually find an audience.  And while I have found others who love Joe Vs. the Volcano as much as I do, popular opinion on the movie hasn’t really changed.

I used to watch Joe on a regular basis.  But as adult responsibilities made repeat viewings of any movie less and less frequent, Joe Vs the Volcano faded from memory.  Eventually I reached a point where I was almost afraid to watch it again.  What if I didn’t love it anymore?  What if I had been wrong and everyone else who thought the movie was silly and stupid was right?

For the movie’s 25th anniversary, I decided it was time to take a chance and jump back into the volcano.

Read the rest of this entry

Best Actor Oscars Bracket Game: Anthony Hopkins vs Tom Hanks

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 10.23.08 AM
There have been some truly legendary and some sadly under appreciated performers to be named Best Actor at the yearly Oscars party. Which is which? With the 87th annual Academy Awards ceremony approaching later this month, we here at LeBlog decided to have another of our popular bracket contests to throw a little attention at some of these great performances. There are only 16 available slots in these things, while there have been 86 Best Actor designees so far, leaving 70 acting greats on the outside looking in from the beginning. That’s some pretty brutal math. I tried to represent the entire history of the award by including at least two actors from each of the last eight decades and pairing those up in the first round. That will almost certainly result in some stunning early exits, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.
Read the rest of this entry

Movies of 1995 Bracket Game: Braveheart Vs. Apollo 13

Braveheart Vs Apollo 13

We’re looking back at the movies from 1995.  What was hot twenty years ago?  Which movies dominated the awards?  And which movies have stood the test of time?  In the Movies of 1995 bracket game, we’re pitting 16 of the biggest and best-remembered movies of the year against each other.  Readers will vote until only one movie reigns supreme.

Read the rest of this entry

“The Best Comedy of the Year!” 1990s

As I indicated in my previous post and in the comments section that came with it, I went into this project fully expecting to prefer the film comedies I would have to choose from as I moved back into my younger days. Is this a bias based on personal tastes? Is it a generational bias that we would see repeated reliably if we polled thousands of people of different ages? Or are there really certain eras for different art forms that are simply of a higher quality than others?

As we roll back into my young adulthood in the 1990s, my guess is that it’s a little bit of all of the above.
Read the rest of this entry

A-List: Tom Hanks


He’s a two-time Oscar winner and one of the most well-liked and respected actors in Hollywood.  Tom Hanks has long been compared favorably to the legendary Jimmy Stewart.  He’s an actor audiences almost inherently relate to and cheer for.  He started off as a goofball in drag and somehow managed to change course in his career to be taken seriously as a dramatic actor.

Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: