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Franchise Killers: Alien Resurrection

In the late nineties, Twentieth Century Fox had a franchise problem.  The studio’s most successful series of the day, the Die Hard trilogy, appeared to be done.  They had tried and failed repeatedly to find a cost-effective way to reboot the Planet of the Apes movies.  The X-Men series was still a couple of years away.  Macaulay Culkin had aged out of the Home Alone movies, but Fox was so desperate that made a third movie without him anyway.  With nowhere else to turn, Fox tried to resurrect the Alien franchise.  Instead, they ended up killing the series.

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October 29: Happy Birthday Ben Foster and Tracee Ellis Ross


Ben Foster is turning 37 today.  He made his acting debut in 1995 starring in the Disney Channel Series Flash Forward, which also starred Jewel Staite.  On television, he has gone on to win a Daytime Emmy for the 2002 TV movie Bang Bang You’re Dead and to play the recurring character of Russell Corwin on Six Feet Under.  However, he has chosen to concentrate more on feature films.  He had a major role in the fourth of Barry Levinson’s “Baltimore films,” Liberty Heights, and then, in what seemed almost an obligatory step for young performers of his generation, he starred in a high school rom-com, Get Over It.

Foster has had a few lead roles, as in 2009’s The Messenger, but generally has played character or supporting parts.  He has made a small number of big budget films—he was unable to soar above the mess that was X-Men 3, but appeared to better effect as gunfighter Charlie Prince in the remake of 3:10 to Yuma.  He has generally preferred to work in smaller productions, like 11:14, Nick Cassavetes’s Alpha Dog, or last year’s Hell or High Water, for which he won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor.

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Career Advice for Young Hollywood


March was Young Hollywood Month at Movieline Magazine.  In the March ’92 issue of the magazine, writers Rebecca Morris and Kevin Hennessey offered free career advise to some of Hollywood’s hottest young stars.  A few of them needed all the help they could get.  Some did just fine on their own.  And at least one should have been warned about the dangers of shoplifting.

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Who’s the Best Actress in Hollywood?


In the November 1996 issue of Movieline, the magazine followed up their list of the 10 Best Actors in Hollywood with ten choices for best actress.  There are some notable absences from this list and a couple of choices that don’t hold up as well twenty years later.  These are ten very talented actress ranked in no particular order as chosen by ten different Movieline contributors.

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October 29: Happy Birthday Richard Dreyfuss and Winona Ryder


Richard Dreyfuss celebrates his 69th birthday today.  He began acting in his late teens and his first major roles were in 1973, as Baby Face Nelson in Dillinger and Curt Henderson in American Graffiti, a role that brought him a Golden Globe nomination.  He then worked on two films with Steven Spielberg, as a shark expert in Jaws and an ordinary guy who experienced Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  The same year as Close Encounters, he also starred in a romance written by Neil Simon:

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The Best-Dressed Actresses in Hollywood

stone - diabolique

The month of September was dedicated to fashion at Movieline.  In the 1996 “Style” issue, Diane Clehane made a list of the best-dressed actresses in Hollywood.  The list originally included ten actresses, but apparently only seven made it to the archives.  So I’m guessing Nicole Kidman, who is referenced more than once, and two others are lost to the internet.

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Movieline Cover Gallery 1990

Movieline Cover Gallery 1985-1988

Johnny Depp: Johnny Handsome

Depp - Cry Baby


It took a while for Johnny Depp to catch on as a movie star.  The actor was an overnight sensation on TV, but he hated his “21 Jump Street” image.  When Depp started pursuing leading roles in movies, he worked with the likes of John Waters and Tim Burton.  Stephen Rebello caught Depp just as he was beinnging his movie career.  In this interview from the May 1990 issue of Movieline magazine, Depp discusses his troubled path, his engagement to Winona Ryder and his feelings about being a pretty face on TV.

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Girls! Girls! Girls!

stowe - bad girls

This one is going to be divisive I think.  Movieline contributor Michael Atkinson wrote a screed about what he perceived as a lack of mature actresses under the age of thirty in 1995.  Atkinson assessed the sex appeal of that generations of actresses and found them wanting.  Now that the twenty-somethings he wrote about are pushing fifty, we can look back and discuss whether or not he had a point.

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Winona Ryder: Ryder on the Storm

Ryder - Movieline Cover

Twenty-five years ago, a 19-year-old Winona Ryder sat down for a Movieline interview to promote her upcoming movie, Edward Scissorhands.  At the time, Ryder was engaged to Johnny Depp and surrounded by paparazzi at every turn.  She had also made headlines by dropping out of The Godfather: Part III due to exhaustion which many saw as a code word for something else.

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Winona Ryder Gallery

What Might Have Been Wednesday: Winona Ryder in The Godfather: Part III

Ryder in Godfather III

In honor of Winona Ryder‘s birthday, we’re looking at one of the actress’ biggest missed opportunities.  Originally, Ryder was supposed to appear in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part III which was released in 1990.  But Ryder dropped out of the picture at the last-minute citing exhaustion (or something – accounts are vague and sometimes contradictory).  The role was eventually played by Coppola’s daughter, Sofia, who proved that as an actress, she makes a great director.

Many claim that Sofia Coppola’s stiff performance in a key role ruined the ending of the beloved trilogy.  I don’t know about all that.  The third movie in the series had flaws that had nothing to do with Sofia’s performance.  But there’s no denying that an actress of Ryder’s calibre would have been an improvement.

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