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Found 6 results

  1. Midnight Cowboy is one of "those movies" I assumed that I'd seen before, but upon watching it, I realized there's absolutely no way I had. What an amazing acting duo by Voight and Hoffman (Hoffman got top billing, but I think Voight captured this film). While this may be the first example of a long string of overacted character roles by Hoffman, he still managed to pull it off. Voight, on the other hand, just plain owned this movie - I cannot imagine anyone playing a better Joe Buck. This plot became so complex and dark that I was mesmerized and stunned into silence. I'd had a long day, and had to work to stay on top of things - this is not a film to be tossed off lightly. It's interesting that 1967 was considered the Big Year of Hollywood turnaround ("the year Hollywood grew up"), and Midnight Cowboy, two years later, carried that torch appropriately into the near future. This film was very sad, and it was progressive of the Academy to award it Best Picture given it's nudity and melancholy overtones.
  2. I'd heard about "Little Big Man" since it was released in 1970, but had never seen it until the past two days. After having seen it through, I can say that it's one of the finest, little-known American films, post-1970, that I'm aware of. It's a magical story, and yes, I truly believe that it was a major inspiration for "Forrest Gump"; I don't see how it could have possibly been otherwise. Dustin Hoffman plays 121-year-old Jack Crabb - the oldest man in the world, and the only white survivor from the Battle of the Little Big Horn, i.e., "Custer's Last Stand." Hoffman's grotesque makeup is mercifully shown for only the small parts of the movie; the rest of it is shown in flashback, and what magical flashback it is, too - Hoffman's "right place at the right time" tendencies were surely an inspiration for "Forrest Gump" - once you see it, you'll notice the same thing. You'll meet General George Custer (nailed by Richard Mulligan) and Wild Bill Hickok (Martin Balsam) along the way. This fairly long film (about 2'20") is well-worth the time to watch, and is a wonderful "yarn" (as Roger Ebert puts it). This has a 96% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it deserves it. It is an *extremely* progressive film, dealing with Native Americans as intelligent, philosophical people, and even introducing what surely must be the first-ever gay native-American role in cinematic history (does anyone know of any earlier than this?) Bigamy plays a large role in one scene, and I suspect the two of these really pissed off some conservative critics, but not any more. This is a fine movie, that may be one of the better movies, post-1970, that you've never heard of - do yourself a favor and watch it.
  3. "Straw Dogs" is a divisive film that, well, stars Dustin Hoffman and Susan George (it's unlikely that you can name a second film that Susan George was in), but regarding the film, *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** suffice it to say that Director Sam Peckinpah's nickname was "Bloody Sam." A very typical early-70s filming of a gorgeous, cinematic, English landscape, the inevitable denouement being something you can see coming, but not necessarily something you want to see happening. Note Peckinpah's rapid-fire cuts coming into being once the cat is found. *** END SPOILERS *** "Straw Dogs" was remade in 2011. PS - I'm pretty sure that John Niles (Peter Arne) was the inspiration for Anton Chigurh. Also, the red nose during the break-in is *exactly* like the false nose during the break-in during "A Clockwork Orange."
  4. "Lenny" (1974) - Directed by Bob Fosse (Academy Award Winner for Best Director of "Caberet," Academy Award Nominee for Best Director of "All That Jazz," Academy Award Nominee for Best Original Screenplay for "All That Jazz") Produced by Marvin Worth (Co-Producer of "Malcolm X") Written by Julian Berry (Co-Writer of "The River") Featuring Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce (Academy Award Winner for Best Actor as Ted Kramer in "Kramer vs. Kramer" and as Raymond Babbitt in "Rain Man," Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor as Benjamin Braddock in "The Graduate," as Enrico Salvatore "Razzo" Rizzo in "Midnight Cowboy," as Michael Dorsey in "Tootsie," and as Stanley Motts in "Wag the Dog," Thomas Babington "Babe" Levy in "Marathon Man,"), Valerie Perrine (Montana Wildhack in "Slaughterhouse-Five," Eve Teschmacher in "Superman" and "Superman II"), Jan Miner as Sally Marr (Madge the Manicurist) --- As of this writing, "Lenny" is one of 43 films to be nominated for the Academy Awards "Big 5" - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress (it didn't win any, but with "The Godfather, Part II" and "Chinatown," there was some stiff competition that year. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** One interesting thing that viewers may not notice is the scene where Bruce is talking about "stag films," and how harmless they are compared to, for example, "King of Kings." However, right after that, Bruce is driving away in a rainstorm, gets T-boned by another car, and then smashes into a ... stag. I'm not sure what this means, but it can't possibly be a coincidence. The cinematographer Bruce Surtees gets credit for this, and numerous other shots, such as Lenny and Honey glancing at each-other between the legs of other people. I found the initial threesome scene utterly fascinating - there was no dialogue, and no music; just facial expressions on top of complete silence. Yet, the eye contact "spoke" more than any words could ever say. And this is another example of Bruce using real-life situations to give him inspiration for his stand-up comedy routines (obviously, many comedians do, but it's *really* apparent in this film that Bruce positively milks his antics, extracting all he can from them). Like so many stand-up comedians, I don't find Lenny Bruce to be the least bit funny - he comes across to me as more of an Andy Kaufman: a performance artist; at least Richard Pryor made me laugh, and George Carlin, even if I wasn't always laughing, entertained me endlessly. Similarly, this film had certain things in common with "Man on the Moon," which was more depressing than funny.
  5. 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.
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