August 30, 2008

Quote of the Day: Titanic

My friend Roni is not terribly enthusiastic about new Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, citing her far right-wing sentiments, including long-time involvement with the NRA, and her backwoods Alaskan interests, including ice fishing. After she repeated "Ice fishing!" to me with much emphasis in our conversation yesterday, I suddenly thought of a certain quote from a certain movie, even going on to tag it to her rant.

"Ice fishing is, you know, where you..." ~ Leonardo DiCaprio making small talk
"I know what ice fishing is!" ~ a frustrated Kate Winslet just wanting to jump off the boat
"...Sorry. You just seemed, like, kind of an indoor girl." ~ DiCaprio in "Titanic"

*look for it at the 2:32 mark*


August 29, 2008

Random Musing: Major Box Office Flops

In performing my nightly ritual, checking all of my e-mail, I happened upon this interesting article on the Yahoo home page. I think I will let it speak for itself, but it is certainly worth a peek. (It takes about five minutes, and it is quite informative and occasionally amusing.) This article covers everything from "Ishtar" to "Howard the Duck" and concludes with what it considers the biggest flops of the summer ("The Dark Knight" will certainly not be found on that list, that is for sure).

After reading this article, I would love to hear what other films you faithful readers think deserve a mention on the list. Comments appreciated...


August 27, 2008

Quote of the Day: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

"No, sir, I will not yield!" ~ Jimmy Stewart fighting for the truth during the longest filmed filibuster in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

*look for it around the 3:04 mark*


August 25, 2008

Quote of the Day: On the Waterfront

In honor of Prof. Sam B. Girgus' mention of the film today in class and the film's ethics in reference to the philosophy of Levinas, I have decided to make this memorable quote from "On the Waterfront" the "quote of the day."

"You don't understand - I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am. Let's face it." ~ a miserable, reflective Marlon Brando in "On the Waterfront"

*look for it around the 4:23 mark*


August 18, 2008

Random Musing: Gone With the Wind

Few of you know this, but thanks to Professor Anne Kern from Purchase College in New York, I was interviewed for an NPR program called "Studio 360/American Icons" almost two years ago. Having spoken with Professor Kern following a special guest lecture of Professor Sam B. Girgus' America on Film class, she learned that my favorite film is "Gone With the Wind." Being asked to interview for an NPR program about that film just weeks after our chat, Professor Kern contacted me (through Professor Girgus) to see if I would be interested in interviewing as well - as a "young person with whom the film still resonates." I jumped for joy at the opportunity, and just a few weeks later, my voice would be heard on the program, released November 10th, 2006.

I wanted to share this (shortened) version of the program with you, my faithful readers, as well as treat you to some news - as of right now, I will be working with Vanderbilt Television Network's new director, Kristina Lyons, providing opening commentary for many classic films to be added to the network's weekly programming schedule. Having seen Robert Osbourne for years on Turner Classic Movies, it makes me abundantly happy to make this similar job a reality! I am uncertain at this time if those lead-ins will be available on YouTube for posting here, but I am in the works of bringing my film reviews to a separate series on the network - Ebert & Roeper style! Hopefully those will come to fruition, and as they become available, I intend to publish those here for your viewing pleasure.

But for now, sit back, relax, and take a ride back to the antebellum South of "Gone With the Wind"...


August 13, 2008

Scene of the Day: Blazing Saddles

Already considered one of the funniest comedies of all-time by such reputable sources as the American Film Institute (AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs), Mel Brooks' 1974 classic "Blazing Saddles" really doubles me over during Lili Von Schtupp's (Madeline Kahn) "I'm Tired" performance. With the right amount of familiarity with the 1930's Hollywood films of Marlene Dietrich, "I'm Tired" becomes a riotous experience, playfully mimicking the half-talking, half-singing style of the famous German import. Watch now as Kahn wreaks havoc on your funny bone in this classic comic sequence...


August 10, 2008

Scene of the Day: Of Human Bondage

Continuing with the persistent series of Bette Davis idolatry, today's "scene of the day" comes from RKO's 1934 "Of Human Bondage," a film that propelled Bette Davis to stardom while on loan from Warner Brothers (I've discussed it before). In this scene, Philip (Leslie Howard) tells selfish, manipulative Mildred (Davis), "You disgust me," to which she responds with the fervor and dramatics synonymous with her acting. I enjoy the fire in her eyes as she flails wildly about, shouting, "You cad! You dirty swine!"

Watch this classic scene with me now...


August 9, 2008

Scene of the Day: The Little Foxes

Director William Wyler's last film endeavor with legendary actress Bette Davis was 1941's "The Little Foxes," which transformed Lillian Hellman's play into a critical (count the Oscar nominations) and commerical success. The most memorable scene of the entire film (and a Bette Davis classic) is the one in which her ill husband, Horace (Herbert Marshall), suffers a heart attack and requires his medicine. Realizing the serendipitous cards she is dealt in allowing him to amble toward the staircase to his death, she sits harrowingly transfixed with a stark look of combined excitement and horror on her face, interpreted through her slowly turning head and her remarkable eyes, notoriously wide.

Watch this classic scene with me...


August 7, 2008

Quote of the Day: All About Eve

"Many of your guests have been wondering when they may be permitted to view the body. Where has it been laid out?" ~ a facetious Gary Merrill

"It hasn't been laid out; we haven't finished with the embalming. As a matter of fact, you're looking at it - the remains of Margo Channing, sitting up. It is my last wish to be buried sitting up." ~ a drunk, morose Bette Davis as Margo Channing in "All About Eve"

*look for it around the 2:37 mark*


August 5, 2008

In the News: Morgan Freeman

Driving down the road yesterday before going to work, my mother sent me a shocking surprise text message... Morgan Freeman, currently seen in the summer's bonafide blockbuster "The Dark Knight," was "in a really bad car accident and in a hospital in Memphis." Naturally, I was worried for the life of this genuinely talented and respected Academy-Award winning actor...

For those of you not up-to-date on this hot topic, here is something a little more comprehensive to bite into. The Associated Press out of Jackson, Mississippi reported:

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman was hospitalized in serious condition Monday after the car he was driving left a rural road in the Mississippi Delta and flipped several times.

Freeman, 71, was airlifted to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn., about 90 miles north of the accident in rural Tallahatchie County.

The actor "has a broken arm, broken elbow and minor shoulder damage, but is in good spirits," according to a statement from Donna Lee, Freeman's publicist. A hospital spokeswoman said Freeman was in serious condition but would not discuss his injuries.

"He is having a little bit of surgery this afternoon or tomorrow to help correct the damage," Lee's statement said. "He says he'll be OK and is looking forward to a full recovery."
Quite a shock to hear about, but always good to receive a clean bill of health.

NOTE: As a disclaimer to those faithful readers of my blog, I have worked hard to avoid celebrity-related news topics, but this incident was worth reporting to me. It is always a shame to hear about people in such tragic life-threatening situations, famous film actor or not. I am certainly glad that he is still with us today.

UPDATE: The AP has written another article just under an hour ago that purports Freeman's continued well-being! Wonderful!


August 4, 2008

Scene of the Day: Five Easy Pieces

In this unforgettable scene from "Five Easy Pieces," Jack Nicholson just wants to order some toast with his meal. Unfortunately for him, a grouchy, uncongenial waitress continues to prevent him from ordering his side toast until he cooly thinks of a loophole where he can order a chicken sandwich and get the toasted bread if she "holds" its contents. When she figures out his trick, his response is among the funniest lines on film.

Enjoy this classic scene with me now:


August 3, 2008

Random Musing: Kiss of the Spider-Woman

Just as I and many other film buffs were losing hope (I had even considered purchasing a region-free copy from some foreign market on eBay), the 1985 classic, "Kiss of the Spider-Woman," has been released on DVD. I just happened to be searching for the film on the other day when I discovered this surprising circumstance. In building my Oscar-nominated film collection, "Kiss of the Spider-Woman" was one of the first films I bought, but I purchased it on VHS a few years ago just as the format was becoming obsolete, mostly because the film had not found a release through DVD at that time. According to my research, the film was released on July 22nd, 2008, and only through Amazon (with a Blu-ray edition to be released in mid-August, to boot!).

In the film, flamboyant statutory rapist William Hurt befriends his cellmate, political prisoner Valentin Arregui (Raúl Juliá), and comforts him with vignettes featuring the story of a sensuous woman from one of his favorite films. Seems simple, right? The film itself is inherently complex and certainly one that everyone (and any respectable film buff) should study. I suppose now you understand why I am concerned enough about this film's release to inform the public... Nominated for Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay and the winner of Best Actor for Hurt as the flamboyant Luis Molina, "Kiss of the Spider-Woman" is simply a film no collector should be without.

For a link to buy the DVD, click here. I certainly will.


August 2, 2008

Random Musing: Only in Theaters

When times get slow in a nine-hour day at Borders, my mind starts to wander (until the coffee timer goes off). Today while working alone and thinking, I suddenly remembered a pet peeve of mine - when movie trailers pronounce "only in theaters." I have never quite understood this seemingly required declaration because a newly released studio film is naturally going straight to movie theaters across the country. In addition, it appears that I am not the only person who has questioned this signification and pondered at its consistency across new movie trailers.

Their thoughts basically sum up my own... Only in theaters? Blogger Kevin Meltzer naturally wonders "Where else would it be shown?," which is exactly the thought of mine that instantly follows any appearance of "only in theaters." Zoshchenko also questions:

Are they afraid people will think it's a TV show and therefore NOT go to the theater to see it? Are they afraid instead people will sit at home surfing from channel to channel trying to find the movie? Or are they afraid people will go to the store looking for the DVD instead of shelling out $10 to go see it at the theater?
His questions are quite logical - do movie studios really think we viewers will find the new "Mummy 3" at the local blockbuster or on the action channel on TV? Hopefully not.

Do you think the studios are trying to "insult our intelligence" by questioning our ability to pick up on context clues as to the whereabouts of a new film's screenings? Comedian Spencer King thought so on his blog. (Even better, the blog's sole comment mentions the lack of quality in those films that do not start in a theater! Ha!)

Anyway, do studios have real reason for using the phrase "only in theaters" in their newest movie trailers besides questioning the public's intelligence or ability to reason? I think surely not.


August 1, 2008

Quote of the Day: Dick Tracy

"I'm having a thought... It's gone." ~ an eccentric Al Pacino as "Big Boy" Caprice in "Dick Tracy"

*no video available unfortunately*