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17 items from 2012


25 Years of "Moonstruck": What's Its Greatest Scene?

20 December 2012 1:25 PM, PST | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

Moonstruck is a movie that I'm just glad exists. Look at all it did for us: 1) it provided the most fun rom-com charisma of the late '80s (take That, When Harry Met Sally); 2) it gave Cher a role that suited her signature brassiness and her vulnerability; 3) It made Nicolas Cage sexy; 4) It made Olympia Dukakis bankable; 5) it gave us an insane Cher Oscar moment that I'll discuss momentarily.

But first, let's discuss the movie. It's been 25 years since John Patrick Shanley's brilliant comic script dazzled us, and believe it or not I have a hard time picking out a favorite moment, even if Cher's "Snap out of it!" has as hefty a cultural presence as "I Got You Babe."

Since I have a fondness for Best Supporting Actresses, I'll pick this classic Olympia Dukakis moment where she declares, "Your life is going down the toilet" with the »

- virtel

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Blu-ray, DVD Release: That Cold Day in the Park

10 December 2012 2:46 PM, PST | Disc Dish | See recent Disc Dish news »

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Feb. 19, 2013

Price: DVD $24.95, Blu-ray $29.95

Studio: Olive Films

Sandy Dennis tries to overcome her loneliness in That Cold Day in the Park.

Sandy Dennis (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) stars as a wealthy and mentally disturbed spinster who goes to extraordinary lengths to assuage her loneliness in the 1969 drama That Cold Day In The Park, a seldom-screened film directed by Robert Altman (3 Women) that is now seeing its first-ever release on DVD and Blu-ray.

On a cold, rainy Vancouver day, Frances (Dennis) encounters a shivering blond youth (Michael Burns) sitting alone on a park bench. She offers him food and shelter and the apparently mute teenager accepts. Every night she locks his bedroom door, but the boy goes in and out of his room through the fire escape window, returning early next morning without her knowledge. Frances eventually attempts to seduce him and the boy soon »

- Laurence

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"The Good Wife" Recap: Six Degrees of Doma

26 November 2012 6:05 AM, PST | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

Holllerrrrrrr: After two or three weeks of a downhill streak, The Good Wife used a tried-and-true secret weapon -- gayness -- to rebound with an episode that was buzz-worthy in literally a dozen ways. A dozen. And one of them involves guest-star Stockard Channing's accidental Liz & Dick tribute that trumps anything Lindsay Lohan achieved last night on Lifetime. Not exactly a Peabody-worthy feat, but still, glory to Rizzo.

Doma, kids. The Good Wife tackled Doma with a weird case about a shady, heterosexual CEO named Vance and a gay CFO named Dale of TaxLaunch.com. Aggressive lawyer "Bucky" Stabler (Brian Dennehy) argued that incriminating wiretaps between Vance and his wife should be admissible as evidence; smirk-heavy duo Alicia and Diane cited a "spousal shield" that would exonerate not only Vance, but also Dale and his Vermont-wed husband, who were wiretapped too. Ugh, but Bucky knows tricks: Citing Doma, he »

- virtel

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Trailers from Hell: Dan Ireland on Kazan's 'Splendor in the Grass' with Natalie Wood & Warren Beatty

7 November 2012 9:25 AM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Elia Kazan Week! continues at Trailers from Hell, today with director Dan Ireland introducing Kazan's beloved teen romance "Splendor in the Grass," starring Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood as star-crossed lovers in 1920s Kansas. Actor Andrew Duggan was Warner Bros.' go-to guy for folksy 60s voiceovers, and he supplies a warm tone to this trailer for Elia Kazan's popular teen drama. Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood's Romeo and Juliet suffer nobly from living on different sides of the train tracks in William Inge's bittersweet reminiscence of his formative years growing up in 1920s Kansas. It won him an Oscar for best Screenplay. Screen debuts of Sandy Dennis, Gary Lockwood and Phyllis Diller. Remade for television in 1981. »

- Trailers From Hell

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In Honor of Vivien Leigh's 99th Birthday, Pick Your 10 Favorite Movie Performances Ever

5 November 2012 11:13 AM, PST | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

The legendary, enigmatic, and so, so gorgeous Vivien Leigh would've been 99 years old today, and you know what that means? If she were alive now, she'd be spending her 60th (or so) year knowing she'd given the two most respected performances in cinematic history. As Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, the brazen Ms. Leigh redefined the standard for tour de force portrayals and presented infinitely dimensional characters who are still fun to talk (and theorize) about today. This brings me to a poll question whose answers are revealing in the best possible way: What are your personal favorite movie performances?

The rule is, you have to pick 10. Not 11, not nine. And in a brief description, explain why. Here's my personal tenpack of fabulous movie performances.

1. Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire

Part of Vivien Leigh's power in Streetcar »

- virtel

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Which Pop Culture "Sandy" Should Be The Face of Hurricane Sandy?

29 October 2012 1:25 PM, PDT | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

Just about everything is canceled in New York today thanks to the 75-85 m.p.h. prowess of Hurricane Sandy, and we're already seeing the effects of the storm system's devastation on Twitter: @SalmanRushdie tweeted "Who'd have thought the End of the World would be called Sandy? If this was a movie, would it be played by Olivia Newton-John?" Said musicians Alex and Nat Wolff (@natandalex): "Guys, why is the squirrel from sponge bob having a hurricane tomorrow? Sincerely, someone who still watches spongebob ***Alex***"

This proves only one thing: We need to pick the right pop culture Sandy to officially represent this hurricane once and for all. Here are the best five candidates for the job, ranked fifth to first. And they are:

5. Sandra "Sandy" Bullock

The Oscar-winning Blind Side thespian just sneaked past Little Orphan Annie's dog to land the fifth spot on this list, but I »

- virtel

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Best Movie Ever?: "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

31 July 2012 9:57 AM, PDT | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

My birthday is this Saturday, so I thought we'd celebrate with a little get-together. A soiree for just the four of us. A little brandy. Conversation about the college. Games. Laughter. Screaming. Vomiting. Psychological warfare. Ruining you and throwing you in the toilet and murmuring into your ear about what a miserable flop you've become. Then more drinking. Then horrified silence. Then more.

Congrats and condolences, because you're dropping in on one of my favorite movies and my personal national anthem, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, this week's candidate for "Best Movie Ever?" Bizarre secret: I often keep this movie in my computer's DVD player while I'm writing, because nothing propels my creative juices like Elizabeth Taylor's bellowing and Richard Burton's deadpanned despair. It's my Powerade. Liz and Dick shoot the electrolytes right into my skull. Forty-five years after Virginia Woolf's sensational release (and fifty after the debut »

- virtel

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Summer Lovin': 9 Summer Movie Scenes I Care About

6 July 2012 11:03 AM, PDT | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

Now that Fourth of July is well behind us, it's time to follow up our list of nine essential spring movies with a definitive list nine essential summer scenes. These movies pinpoint the glorious ennui, whimsical romance, and slight intrigue of summer's humid charms. Light up a sparkler and let's go.

1. Addams Family Values's pilgrim pageant

There are actual layers of hilarity to this scene: First, dour Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) is stuck at Camp Chippewa for the summer. Funny. Then, she's forced to play Pocahontas in the summer camp's Thanksgiving pageant. Think about all of that for a moment. Funnier. But best of all, Wednesday ditches her script, exacts revenge on the awful blonde in the main role, and burns down the camp on behalf of Native Americans.

Her climactic, self-penned monologue is unbeatable -- just like the expressions on befuddled counselors Gary and Becky's faces (Peter MacNicol and Christine Baranski, »

- virtel

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Film Feature: The Top 10 Underrated Woody Allen Films

27 June 2012 11:57 AM, PDT | HollywoodChicago.com | See recent HollywoodChicago.com news »

Chicago – Just as Groucho Marx refused to join any club that would have him as a member, Woody Allen would most likely turn down any invite from an adoring fan club. He’s repeatedly voiced his belief that he doesn’t have a high regard for his own work, and recently told documentarian Robert B. Weide that he could live a life devoid of cinema as long as there was a sports team to follow. This may sound like a curious statement from a filmmaker who averages one picture a year, but it speaks to the compulsory spirit of a man trapped within the boundaries of his perfectionism. He can’t bear watching his own films once they’re completed because all he sees are the flaws.

As a longtime admirer of Allen’s work, I’ve been able to savor the sublime moments in even his most problematic pictures, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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"Mad Men" Fabulous Quotient: The Naughtiest Tryst of the Season

30 April 2012 2:57 AM, PDT | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

Grownups: They'll let you down! Or more accurately, they'll let you down by telling you the truth. Jerks. On Mad Men last night, we watched helplessly as elders threw tough love at their kids: Peggy's mother alerted her to the dangers of living in sin; Megan Draper's father warned her about forfeiting ambition; even Sally Draper learned a lesson in filthy adulthood -- but not from her staggeringly terrible father! Bizarre! But within all the cross-generational nuttiness, Mad Men managed to dish some faboo moments too. Here are this week's top five.

1. Megan Draper is a marketing genius and -- sigh -- hates herself for it.

It's predictable that Megan would be so brainy and instinctive. When we met her last season, she seemed like another grinning mannequin in the mold of Don's past flings, but Mad Men's favorite pastime is stunning you with "unexpected" character development. Megan's social »

- virtel

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Interview: Matt, the "75 Supporting Actresses" Genius, Tells All!

16 April 2012 8:16 AM, PDT | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

I'm calling it right now: The "75 Best Supporting Actresses" YouTube video, where a whippersnapper named Matt imitates all 75 winners of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a few minutes, is and will be the best video of 2012 (excepting those wonderful Verbal Vogueing and Weeklings clips, of course). It's a hilarious exhibition of talent, creativity and raw gay nerve. And it validates everyone's obsession with award shows too. Now every Best Supporting Actress from Hattie McDaniel to Jennifer Connelly is immortalized in one flavorful, quirky mix. It's not just entertaining; it's important. Let's bow down.

I caught up with the creator himself, an enigmatic YouTube star who goes by the Twitter handle @Diariesofdoom and prefers to go by just his first name, to talk about his marvelous video. We also spoke about the best Oscar moments, the worst Oscar winners, and the awardees who helped spread his gem on YouTube. »

- virtel

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Ok, Let's Talk About the Amazing "75 Best Supporting Actresses" Reenactment Video

11 April 2012 10:02 AM, PDT | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

I've waited a few days to collect my thoughts and weigh in on the most important YouTube video since Corgis Enjoy A Treadmill, so here goes: A fast-yapping vlogger who goes by the name The Doomsday Diaries (and the Twitter handle @Diariesofdoom) zeroed in on The Academy Awards' Best Supporting Actress category -- the greatest Oscar category, by the way -- and toasted it by reenacting scenes/moments from all 75 winning performances since 1936.

Let me be clear: This is a staggering feat. This guy has democratized everyone from Eva Marie Saint and Lila Kedrova to Gale Sondergaard and Helen Hayes in the clippiest, hippest way possible. It's explosive. It's gigantic. It's a pink diamond. And so much of it is amazingly good. It's like a version of "The Snatch Game"from RuPaul's Drag Race, except with dignified actresses up for satire and not, say, Snooki.

I thought we'd have a little debate. »

- virtel

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Best Movie Ever?: "Clueless"

4 April 2012 1:02 PM, PDT | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

When life grants you a news item about Alicia Silverstone's love of chewing up sorghum and mouth-feeding it to her infant, you have two options: 1) Sit around and think about the gamey taste of Alicia Silverstone's kind saliva or 2) relish the resurgence (regurgitation?) of Alicia Silverstone in pop culture and totally re-watch Clueless. It has aged like a yellow-plaid version of the Hope Diamond, kids, stunning and streamlined even now. As we learned with Nine to Five last week, it's time we started awarding the mantle of "best movie ever" to films that actually matter to us. The movies we revisit, with ease. The movies that have nothing to do with bold auteurism or Charles Foster Kane, but important matters like bold humor, funny women, strong outfits, confidence, unpretentious smarts, and best of all, funny women again. Clueless may look and sound like a feature-length Luscious Jackson video set in Holmby Hills, »

- virtel

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The 5 Most Deserving Best Supporting Actress Oscar Wins

22 February 2012 12:07 PM, PST | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

Cloris Leachman and Timothy Bottoms in The Last Picture Show

Newsflash: I can't stop thinking about the Oscars. I'm writhing around in my bathrobe crying Irving Thalberg's name and opening every briefcase I can find, just in case Price Waterhouse hid the list of this year's winners in my attic. (Still looking!) In the meantime, let's take a moment to honor some occasions when The Academy Awards were worthy of this level of fanaticism. Here are the five greatest winners in my favorite category, Best Supporting Actress. You can't beat a woman going for broke in a secondary role; there's a nothing-to-lose gutsiness about these dames, and they make the most of their every fleeting moment onscreen.

5. Kim Hunter, A Streetcar Named Desire

Though Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) and Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando) are compelling portraits on their own, the genius in Elia Kazan's adaptation of Tennessee Williams »

- virtel

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Robert Redford One-Man Movie: All Is Lost

10 February 2012 12:24 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Robert Redford, 75, has been slated to star in All Is Lost, the story of an old man fighting to survive in open sea. To be directed by J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost won't be exactly an ensemble piece along the lines of Chandor's Margin Call (which featured Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Penn Badgley, and Zachary Quinto, among others). After all, Redford will be the film's sole cast member. Shooting of the adventure drama should begin this summer at Mexico's Baja Studios in Rosarita Beach, where Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio loved and suffered while James Cameron's Titanic sank into the tank. Lionsgate will release All Is Lost in the U.S. Now, let's get Oscar 2014 (or whereabouts) buzz going: does All Is Lost mean a potential Oscar nomination for Redford? Well, why not? If you have fewer actors on screen, you can focus your attention on one single performance. »

- Anna Robinson

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Who? 5 Fascinating Oscar-Nominated Actresses You Might Know Nothing About

9 February 2012 12:52 PM, PST | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

Elizabeth Hartman and Sidney Poitier in A Patch of Blue (1965)

Look, I can't help it: The Oscars rule. I care about them. I refuse to stop thinking about them. And if you read snicks' recent Oscar snubs piece, you'd refuse too. If you love entertainment, glamor, and winning, you simply have to love the Oscars. And Project Runway. But hey, back to the Oscars! Even the biggest Oscarphiles can stand to know more about the precious gold statuette, and I'm willing to bet most of you don't know about these five nominees, actresses who've faded from public consciousness. Let's revisit the weird and wild catacombs of the Academy's most fascinating forgotten ladies, shall we?

Eva Le Gallienne: Respected Actress, Kickass Lesbian

Before Gloria Stuart hurled an ugly diamond into the Atlantic in Titanic, Eva Le Gaillienne was the oldest woman nominated for an Oscar at age 80 for Resurrection, a »

- virtel

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Sins of Omission: 13 Past Performances The Academy Should Have Nominated

1 February 2012 11:32 AM, PST | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

They have a right to be pissed.

It's the most important morning of the year. Hollywood is temporarily jolted from its stupor for a ten-minute rollercoaster of natural highs and shattered dreams. Nothing but ... shattered dreams.

It's those shattered dreams that immediately become the focus after the Oscar nominations are announced. With only five slots per category, deserving actors are excluded, and that's when the fun begins, as the discussion about the "snubs" commences.

That was especially true this year, as a flurry of serious contenders were nowhere to be found. Charlize Theron, Tilda Swinton, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Albert Brooks were the names most bandied about, along with Andy Serkis (and they should really either nominate him, or give him a special Oscar for his unique contributions to film.)

Of course, Oscar has a history of overlooking interesting and memorable performances. Let's take a look at a few notable Oscar omissions. »

- snicks

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17 items from 2012


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