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Found 14 results

  1. The connection between "Carrie" and "The Handmaid's Tale" is stronger than one might initially think - the difference in stifling oppression occurring between that of an insanely religious, psychopathic mother, and a falsely religious, psychopathic, male-dominated society. Both are tales of attempts at absolute female submission - Carrie by one, sick individual (while tormented by a Lord of the Flies-like hell-school); Handmaid by an entire, dystopian society. Sissy Spacek distanced herself from the rest of the cast (hopefully via Director's decision) early on in the film, during her amazingly poignant and sad shower scene (interestingly, Brian De Palma used nearly the exact same, piercing sounds that Alfred Hitchcock used in "Psycho," shortly following the shower scene (if he had used it during, this film would have immediately descended into farce, and would have been ruined)). Has anyone else noticed this? Some of the scenes in this film are so poorly acted that it nearly comes across as farce, despite itself. PS - Remember Nancy Allen, the High School Bitch from Hell, that fellated John Travolta, and was the mastermind of the entire prom plot? Guess who married Brian De Palma three-years after Carrie was released? A classic chicken-and-egg mystery. Sissy Spacek was beautiful in this movie; not so much physically beautiful, as just a beautiful person -her "first kiss" scene at the prom was as touching as it was tragic to the viewers who knew something awful was about to happen. Stephen King is a real prick for the ending, which I had completely forgotten about.
  2. Does anyone remember "Adventure?" (that's what I used to call it, anyway). I used to play it in the late 1970s, and thought it was about the most fun thing I'd ever done. In the early 1970s, my parents bought me a game from Sears called "Odyssey" which was played on your TV screen using mylar overlays. In truth, the best part of Odyssey was "Pong," which was the inspiration for Atari's arcade game of the same name. The worst overlay (these were like sheets of plastic wrap that stuck to your TV screen due to static electricity) was the "Skiing Game," during which the player would guide his dot down a ski slope. There were no penalties for leaving the slope (the overlay was just a solid piece of purple plastic with a transparent "ski slope" running down it), and no rewards for successful navigation: There were no points, there was no clock; It just ... was. This skiing overlay was so lame that I can't even explain it properly. Come to think of it, *I* wrote an interactive-fiction game when I was 14 for my Computer Math class when I was in 9th grade. Players were flying through space, and the game would give them options - I even had a graphic monster, and in some instances, the players spaceship would fly into an asteroid and blow up (this was all text-based, of course - even the graphic monster).
  3. I preferred it on first listening, but after listening to Fuller's version (by itself - you can't listen to them side-by-side) a couple times, he's starting to win me over. Just the thought of him playing in some rinky-dink "hall," with 30 people standing around him in a circle, clapping the beat while he's puffing out notes on his kazoo (probably with a cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth) - that's just a great visual.
  4. The Shootist begins with a combination of montages and credits as follows: Dino De Laurentis Presents A Frankovich/Self Production The team of Mike Frankovich and William Self lasted just over a year, and produced only 2 movies, both in 1976: "The Shootist" (John Wayne's final film) and "From Noon Till Three" (with Charles Bronson). John Wayne [as J.B. Books: "The Shootist"] Lauren Bacall [as the widow Bond Rogers, The Innkeeper] "in a Siegel film" Don Siegel only worked on several major movies, and was the Director of "The Shootist" THE SHOOTIST The film starts with a montage of date-stamped shooting scenes, quickly taking you through the previous 20 years of John Wayne's life, and accompanied by brief narration: 1871 - Ron Howard narrating (amazing!) "His name was J.B. Books. He had a matching pair of "˜45s with antique ivory grips that were something to behold." 1880 - "He wasn't an outlaw. Fact is, for awhile, he was a lawman." 1885 - "Long before I met Mr. Books, he was a famous man. I guess his fame was why somebody-or-other was always after him." 1889 - "The Wild Country had taught him to survive. He lived his life, and herded by himself. 1895 - "He had a credo that went, "˜I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.'" The film then, somewhat surprisingly, switches from black-and-white to color. Co-Starring Ron Howard [as Gillom Rogers, Lauren Bacall's son] Bill McKinney [as Jay Cobb, a creamery owner (with the original food truck)] Guest-Stars James Stewart [as Dr. Hostetler, the town physician] Richard Boone [as Mike Sweeney, brother of one of Books' victims] John Carradine [as Hezekiah Beckum, the local undertaker] Scatman Crothers [as Moses, a stable keeper] Richard Lenz [as Dan Dobkins, a reporter with "The Morning Appeal"] Harry Morgan [(Colonel Potter on Mash) as Marshall Thibido, the town marshall] Sheree North [as Serepta, an old flame of Books Hugh O'Brian [as Jack Pulford, a professional gambler and marksman] Production Designer Robert Boyle Film Editor Douglas Stewart Music by Elmer Bernstein [unrelated to Leonard Bernstein, but the two were friends] Director of Photography Bruce Surtees, A.S.C. Based on the Novel by Glendon Swarthout Screenplay by Miles Hood Swarthout [son of Glendon Swarthout] and Scott Hale Produced by M.J. Frankovich and William Self Directed by Don Siegel MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR THE REST OF THE WRITE-UP [Plot summaries bore me to tears, and always have (unless you're cheating the night before a test in high school, reading the Cliff Notes for "Hamlet") - I figure if you're going to watch the movie, you'll do just fine learning the the plot on your own, so allow me to offer up pure commentary] The backbone of the movie now starts as Wayne rides up to a man standing on the other side of a creek. It's January 22, 1901, and the papers are reporting that Queen Victoria died. So, it's the end of the Victorian Era in the wild west of America. The opening scene establishes Wayne as a non-nonsense, "˜don't mess with me, leave me alone and I'll leave you alone' man in no uncertain terms. He then rides into Carson City, Nevada. If you don't remember what made Jimmy Stewart so popular and beloved, all you need to do is watch the brief scene in Dr. Hotstetler's office. Marshall Thibido enters Books' room, at first scared, but then irritatingly arrogant when he learns of Books' impending death. Obviously, Books is a man who is simultaneously feared, respected, and hated by many. The Marshall implied he would piss on Books' grave when he died. Gillom Rogers and Moses discovered Books' true identity from inspecting the brand on his horse - it turns out this man is a nationally famous gunman, and a celebrity. Gillom was eavesdropping, Books found out, and he yanked Gillom through a window (using an impressive, Data-like, one-armed body throw). The viewer starts to get worried when the words "Second Day," "Third Day," etc. occasionally flash up on the screen. Dr. Hotstetler told Books he only had a couple months left (he has "a cancer"), and here his days are numbered, literally. When Dan Dobkins, the mercenary reporter from the local daily newspaper, began intentionally overacting in seeking to write a series about Books, it was not difficult to know that when he left through the front door, it wouldn't be by walking. I understand this has some degree of comic relief to it (up until now, we've dealt with some pretty serious subject matter, without a whole lot of yucks), but I prefer my salve to either be subtle, or so outrageous that it causes belly laughs; this fell somewhere in-between, and didn't do much for me. The scene where Dr. Hotstetler gives Books his bottle of laudanum reminds me of how much I enjoy watching pretty much anything Jimmy Stewart does. He can be the very definition of "corny," but he plays the corn so naturally that it seems to permeate his inner fiber in real life. You know? There is something very Star Trek about this movie, and I can't quite put my finger on why. I know I've been intensely working my way through the first two Star Trek series lately, but the "feel" I get in the saloon scene (where Jack Pulford kills the man), for example, is similar to what I got in "The Royale" (The Next Generation, season 2, episode 12). There have been several moments in this film so far (and I'm only 38 minutes into it) where I've "felt" The Next Generation. Maybe it's because I've been *so* intensely involved with Star Trek that the smallest resemblance seems to scream loudly. Seeing Scatman Crothers haggling with Books over buying his horse made me realize how oddly these characters are cast. Lauren Bacall? Ron Howard? A smug-bordering-on-sadistic Harry Morgan? But it's all knit together beautifully - does anyone know who is responsible for putting together the ensemble, the producer, or the director? Amazingly John Wayne was not the first choice to play Books; Paul Newman was - it's a good thing Newman was committed to another project, because Wayne positively owned this role. The conversation Books and Gillom had about Bat Masterson was a nice touch, and really grounded the movie. This "shooting lesson" was a strong scene, and bonded the two lead characters nicely. Serepta probably reminds a lot of viewers about someone they know. There are a lot of Sereptas in this world. Picture Ron Howard and Lauren Bacall strolling to church in their Sunday finest, when Howard starts whistling Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag." Bacall: "You know that kind of music gets on my nerves - especially on Sunday." Good thing you didn't make it to the 21st century, Mrs. Rogers. I'm 1:18 into a 1:37 movie, and I get a strong sense that this is going to have a "Gran Torino" finale. If that's the case, it's remarkable how much these two plots overlap. The Act that begins with "Last Day," and continues with Books looking at his own tombstone is somewhere between morbid and chilling. *Not* a Gran Torino finale! And "The Shootist" is a far superior movie, too. If anyone has seen Gran Torino and liked it, I suspect you'll love The Shootist. Thanks for the recommendation, Joe Riley.
  5. Don: I think this is the ONLY great 17 year run characterized by a single coach and a single starter. The ONLY one. Simply unprecedented. One other remarkable thing about this run of coach/player/superstar and many many changing parts: Their style of play has changed ...and changed dramatically over this run. In the early years Duncan was the hub of the offense and was a "twin tower" with David Robinson. Robinson, who had been a huge star in his own right graciously moved from being the offensive highlight of the team and put even more effort into defense...and Tim Duncan was the offensive focus. Then over many years the team changed and kept changing in composition...and over the last several years especially as Duncan has aged the focus of the offense changed considerably. Between the Robinson years and the more recent years...a different offensive focus arose as Parker and Ginobelli became stars in their own right and style and partook in 4 of the 5 championships while becoming stars in their own right. Parker significantly evolved as he added passing to his repertoire and his remarkable ability to penetrate, along with developing a reliable jump shot. Ginobelli is a remarkable player in his own right. In the last couple of years the team evolved again. This particular team this year remarkably showed off an exquisite passing attack spread throughout the team. So many players contributed in this thorough passing attack. Really remarkable that an entire team participated. I particularly found it fascinating in that Tiago Splitter, who looked like a big stiff to me, became the recipient and the passer of so many effective incredibly quick "touch passes" that resulted in baskets. Was he capable of this before he joined the Spurs? I doubt it. Finally this article expounded on advanced metrics by stats.com that chart things like "miles run by the team" spacing, and other advanced metrics that work to explain this transformation. The spurs outran the Heat by almost 1 mile in their 3rd and 4th games...and outpassed them by over 100 passes per game in that dominant stretch. Of relevance here: within the world of basketball, and often publicized, Coach "Pop" is well noted as a foodie. Last year, after losing the championship, two long time assistant coaches left to take over other pro teams and two new assistant coaches joined the team. One thing they noted was that at team and group preparatory meetings there diets were going to change from beer and burgers to wine and fish and finer dining. Maybe its Coach Pop's foodie obsession that has helped fuel this extended period of excellence. Were the Spurs that great in this series or the Heat that bad? I'm not sure. But it was a dominant victory during a long stretch of excellence.
  6. I saw "Taxi Driver" years ago, and the only thing I remembered was finding Jodie Foster's portrayal of a 12-year-old prostitute unsettling. I am one year younger than Jodi Foster, so, at the time, her character stood out in my mind. I recently re-watched the film, and I am glad I did. "Taxi Driver" is a masterpiece. It is a gritty tale about the underbelly of New York City. Robert De Niro's portrayal of Travis Bickle, a lonely and depressed former U.S. Marine who becomes a taxi driver, is phenomenal. Is this troubled young man insane, a hero, or a little of both? De Niro's nuanced performance captures the essence of Bickle, and we are drawn into his world of paranoia, violence and redemption. There are outstanding performances by Jodie Foster, a long-haired and buffed Harvey Keitel, and Peter Boyle. Even Scorsese has a very good cameo as one of Bickle's more interesting passengers.
  7. I hadn't seen "Marathon Man" since I was in high school - given my filtered memory, I'm surprised at how slow the film starts off, but once it builds (about one-third or one-half way through), it builds quickly and relentlessly. It's a fiendishly fun thriller that will make you wince, pity, fear, and cheer, all with unresolved questions at the end, but you may be surprised at how slowly the film begins. An obvious repeated theme in this film is pain, and the ability to "run through it," and the marathon motif is no MacGuffin - it's highly symbolic of the horrors which are coming. Speaking of MacGuffins, I've started working my way through "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" whose thread you'll find in that link - I hope people see an episode they remember, and feel free to discuss it, as with all the old TV series that I've gone through - it has been, and continues to be, my hope that our members will find this to be a fun place to discuss their old favorites, right down to the sub-atomic level of detail - same goes with all these old films I've been joyfully revisiting. One of my goals with this website is to get some of my knowledge down on paper for future generations, so they don't have to learn it all over again. Although there's no "knowledge" in this little essay, I hope it at least gives you a stroll down memory lane - who knows? Maybe it will inspire some of you to watch the film again, decades later. My only regret is that our human lifespan isn't 250 years so I could do everything I'd like to do, but if it was 250 years, I'd wish it were a thousand, and if it were a thousand, I'd wish it were a million (unless, of course, I was in "The Escape Clause," - "The Twilight Zone," Season 1, Episode 6, co-starring none other than the first Latino ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, Thomas Gomez). There's a humorous, famous, and somewhat legendary story about an interplay between Dustin Hoffman and Sir Lawrence Olivier about "Why don't you just try acting?" that's worth reading about. It is nearly disturbing how much I find William Devane to resemble Jack Nicholson in this film. I cannot possibly be the only one who has noticed this - if Jack Nicholson and Robert F. Kennedy had had a baby, it would have been William Devane. The other two supporting roles, played by Roy Scheider and Marthe Keller completes the billing of quite a talented cast, with even more character actors who played their roles very well - the cast may have been this film's biggest overall strength, or number two just behind the unrelenting suspense which lasts for over an hour.
  8. One of the greatest and most influential electric guitar-players in the history of electric guitar, his live performances were, well, electrifying: I had the enormous pleasure of catching Freddie King live at the old Jazz Workshop on Boylston Street in Boston, probably about a year after this recording, and man that cat could wail. He had this way of throwing in some really surprising, flawless lick, and then he'd look out at the audience with a sly grin. His set that night was one of the high points of my life. He really tore the house down:
  9. I just read a statistic that's so amazing that it merits beginning a thread about Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts, 1998-2011) Here is the list of all-time NFL career receptions leaders. On it, you'll see that there are only 10 people who have 1,000 receptions or more. Number 7 is (the still-active) Reggie Wayne (2001-) Number 3 is Marvin Harrison (1996-2008) Both of these receivers have played their entire careers for the Indianapolis Colts.
  10. Yes, but was he the best defensive SS since Mark Belanger? It's kind of sad when you win 8 Gold Gloves, and are only the second-best left-sided infielder on your team, arguably only the second-best defensive shortstop in your team's history (Luis Aparicio is more famous), and nobody even remembers who you are despite playing as recently as 32 years ago. (Of course, Belanger is (unfortunately) deceased, and also had a career batting average of something like .032.) It's okay, Mark - *I* remember you. What's interesting about Smith and Belanger (and no, I don't honestly think Belanger was as good as Smith) is that they both played very vertical - [brooks] Robinson and Simmons play more horizontally, if that makes any sense. Yeah, both SSs had excellent lateral range, but they just "looked" like they were playing up-and-down as opposed to side-to-side. [BTW, I welcome people who grew up loving other teams to write about them and their players. All views welcome here, and the more information, the better.]
  11. Presenting the Academy Award Winner for "Best Movie" in 1976: "Rocky." I think we can safely say this was a break-out film for Stallone. The first movie I watched from the Rocky series was Rocky III (with Mr. T as Clubber Lang). I was in college, and it was right up my alley - I *loved* it, in a way that I loved Terminator 2, or even The Twilight Zone believe it or not. It was a combination of superficial, gut, ra-ra survival (Terminator 2) and well-executed pulp escapism (The Twilight Zone). Then, the second movie I saw was Rocky IV (with Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago) which I thought was really pretty bad, even at my tender age. I don't think I saw any of the Rocky films beyond this one. It wasn't until years later that I saw Rocky and Rocky II, and despite having just rewatched Rocky (the original which won an Academy Award for Best Picture), I just can't bring myself to love it, and I'm wondering if it's because my teenage mind was tainted by the superficial glories of Rocky III. I would love to know other people's opinions on this film. Best Picture? Really? Maybe it's like Momofuku Noodle Bar - the right thing at the right time?
  12. That movie was released several years after the not-quite-so cheesy The Gumball Rally, starring Raíºl Julií¡ as an Italian hotshoe and Michael Sarrazin driving a Cobra, iirc. Probably awfully dated by now, but I still giggle when thinking about the Jaguar.
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