For The Postseason: Joe E. Brown As Alibi Ike

If you’re a baseball fan, particularly if you’re a Dodgers, Astros, Cubs or Yankees fan, the real baseball season started this past Friday with the inauguration of the American and National League Championship Series. I’m a Dodgers fan, which means I’m among that group who, arguably, have gone the longest without the satisfaction/excitement/nail-biting terror of seeing their team in the World Series, the next step for whoever wins in the Nlcs. The Dodgers last appeared in the World Series in 1988, capping a memorable run with a championship by beating the Oakland A’s. That was 29 years ago. The Cubs are the reigning Mlb champions, having won last year’s World Series after a 107-year drought. And the Yankees, a mainstay of the World Series around the turn of this century, last appeared in an October championship series in 2009.

The only team to come close
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The 20 Funniest Movies Ever Made

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Comedy is very subjective but a great comedy will stand the test of time and continue to make generation after generation laugh. Some people like their humor dry, while some like it shocking and offensive. Whatever your taste, good humor will always be out there. Here are 20 great comedies that will no doubt continue to be appreciated in the future.

20. Fargo: The Cohen Brothers funniest black comedy may not be for everyone's taste, because it is quite violent. However, underneath all that is a droll observation on the human condition, highlighted by a winning performance from Frances McDormand as a very likeable and very pregnant police chief. Her character police chief Marge Gunderson is kind, clever and compassionate. She’s a much more admirable role model than all the recent ‘badass female’ clichés we’ve been inundated with lately. Another standout here is William H. Macy as a two-bit schemer who's plan utterly backfires.
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‘Trumbo’ Writer John McNamara Honored by Writers Guild

‘Trumbo’ Writer John McNamara Honored by Writers Guild
The Writers Guild of America West has named screenwriter John McNamara the recipient of its Paul Selvin Award for his screenplay for “Trumbo.”

Based on the biography by Bruce Cook, the film chronicles the life of Blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, exploring issues of political freedom, censorship and civil liberties.

McNamara, who is also a producer on “Trumbo,” will be recognized at the Writers Guild Awards L.A. ceremony on Feb. 13, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. He recently received a WGA Adapted Screenplay nomination for his script.

“The Paul Selvin Award honors ‘that member whose work best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties that are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere,’” said WGA West President Howard A. Rodman. “Though we’ve given it since 1989, it might as well have been purpose-built for John McNamara’s ‘Trumbo.’ In shining light on a dark corner of our history,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Fisher King’ Writer Richard Lagravenese to Be Honored by Writers Guild

‘Fisher King’ Writer Richard Lagravenese to Be Honored by Writers Guild
The Writers Guild of America East has selected Richard Lagravenese as the recipient of its Ian Mclellan Hunter Award for Career Achievement.

The honor will be presented at the 68th annual Writers Guild Awards at the Edison Ballroom in New York City on Feb. 13.

Richard Lagravenese has been a WGA member since 1986 and written 17 films. He received an Academy Award nomination for original screenplay in 1992 for “The Fisher King.”

His writing credits include “The Ref,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” “The Horse Whisperer” and “Unbroken.” He also directed many of his own screenplays, including “Living Out Loud,” “P.S. I Love You,” “Beautiful Creatures,” “The Last Five Years” and “Freedom Writers,” which won the Humanitas Prize.

He co-produced and co-directed with Ted Demme the Emmy-nominated film documentary “A Decade Under the Influence,” adapted Scott Thorson’s memoir about his relationship with Liberace for HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra,” and wrote and
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Annie Hall’ Named Funniest Screenplay by WGA Members

‘Annie Hall’ Named Funniest Screenplay by WGA Members
Annie Hall” has been named the funniest screenplay in voting by the members of the Writers Guild of America.

The script by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman topped “Some Like it Hot,” “Groundhog Day,” “Airplane!” and “Tootsie,” which make up the rest of the top five. “Young Frankenstein,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House” rounded out the top 10.

The awards for the 101 funniest screenplays were announced at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood at the conclusion of two hours of panel discussions and clips, hosted by Rob Reiner. He noted that his “This Is Spinal Tap” script had finished at the No. 11 spot — a coincidence that recalled the “go to 11” amplifier joke in the film.

The “Annie Hall” screenplay won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1977. Allen had six other scripts on the list — “Sleeper,” “Bananas,” “Take the Money and Run,
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Cummings' Ten-Year Death Anniversary: From Minor Lloyd Leading Lady to Tony Award Winner (Revised and Expanded)

Constance Cummings: Actress in minor Hollywood movies became major London stage star. Constance Cummings: Actress went from Harold Lloyd and Frank Capra to Noël Coward and Eugene O'Neill Actress Constance Cummings, whose career spanned more than six decades on stage, in films, and on television in both the U.S. and the U.K., died ten years ago on Nov. 23. Unlike other Broadway imports such as Ann Harding, Katharine Hepburn, Miriam Hopkins, and Claudette Colbert, the pretty, elegant Cummings – who could have been turned into a less edgy Constance Bennett had she landed at Rko or Paramount instead of Columbia – never became a Hollywood star. In fact, her most acclaimed work, whether in films or – more frequently – on stage, was almost invariably found in British productions. That's most likely why the name Constance Cummings – despite the DVD availability of several of her best-received performances – is all but forgotten.
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Beyond Narrative: The Future of the Feature Film

Editor's Note: is proud to reprint Roger Ebert's 1978 entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica publication "The Great Ideas Today," part of "The Great Books of the Western World." Reprinted with permission from The Great Ideas Today ©1978 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

It's a measure of how completely the Internet has transformed communication that I need to explain, for the benefit of some younger readers, what encyclopedias were: bound editions summing up all available knowledge, delivered to one's home in handsome bound editions. The "Great Books" series zeroed in on books about history, poetry, natural science, math and other fields of study; the "Great Ideas" series was meant to tie all the ideas together, and that was the mission given to Roger when he undertook this piece about film.

Given the venue he was writing for, it's probably wisest to look at Roger's long, wide-ranging piece as a snapshot of the
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10 best baseball movies of all time: League of Their Own, Moneyball

10 best baseball movies of all time: League of Their Own, Moneyball
A great sports movie should also appeal to those who have no particular interest in sports. Accordingly, some of the best baseball movies could just as easily slot into other genres – they're comedies like The Bad News Bears, historical dramas like Eight Men Out, weepies, biopics, coming-of-age dramas and everything in between.

With this week's release of based-on-a-true-story feel-good drama Million Dollar Arm, Digital Spy takes a look at the ten best baseball movies.

1. Eight Men Out (1988)

John Sayles' 1988 drama tackles Major League Baseball's Black Sox scandal, in which eight underpaid members of the Chicago White Sox (including 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson) conspired with gamblers to intentionally lose the 1919 World Series. Sayles' terrific script perfectly captures the time and place and does a superb job of dramatising several elements of a complex story, with impressive attention to detail.

Very much an ensemble piece, the eclectic cast includes John Cusack (as
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Legendary Actress Bacall Has Died

Lauren Bacall Dead: 89-year-old Oscar nominee who starred opposite Humphrey Bogart in ‘To Have and Have Not’ and ‘The Big SleepLauren Bacall has died following a massive stroke earlier today, August 12. Curiously, the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominee for The Mirror Has Two Faces, and the star of film classics such as To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, and How to Marry a Millionaire, had been "killed" by an Internet hoax yesterday. Bacall would have turned 90 on September 16, 2014. According to Media Mass, the Lauren Bacall death rumors began on Monday, August 11, following the creation of a "R.I.P. Lauren Bacall" Facebook page that "attracted nearly one million of ‘likes.’" On the "R.I.P. Lauren Bacall" ‘About’ page, there was the following explanation: “At about 11 a.m. Et on Monday (August 11, 2014), our beloved actress Lauren Bacall passed away. Lauren Bacall was born on September 16, 1924 in New York.
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The Academy Awards Are 3 Months From Today – March 2, 2014

Oscar Sunday is three months from today, March 2, 2014 and this year, it’s anyone’s game. The Academy has a history of playing up all the glamour and suspense, and this year should be no different.

As of today, Gold Derby‘s Top 5 Best Picture predictions for the 86th Academy Awards are: 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, Saving Mr. Banks, Captain Phillips and American Hustle.

Hit Fix’s Top 5 are: Gravity, 12 Years A Slave, Saving Mr. Banks, Captain Phillips and Inside Llewyn Davis.

In what’s classic TV, take a look at the opening of the 43rd Academy Awards in 1971, featuring an introduction by Academy President Daniel Taradash.

The big A-listers of the day all appeared at the Oscars – Goldie Hawn, Jeanne Moreau, Melvyn Douglas, Ryan O’Neal, Leigh Taylor-Young, George Segal, Jennifer Jones, Lee Grant, Maximilian Schell, Ginger Rogers, Jack Nicholson, Ali McGraw, Robert Evans, Quincy Jones, Sally Kellerman, Jim Brown,
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Robert Altman's lacerating black comedy stars Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould as army surgeons fighting to find the bright side of the Korean War. Sally Kellerman gives great sass as nurse 'Hot Lips', while Ring Lardner Jr's Oscar-winning script sets the gutsy, irreverent tone for what became one of the most successful TV series of all time. Trivia: Altman's 14-year-old son Mike wrote the lyrics to the memorable theme song 'Suicide is Painless'.
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'Eight Men Out': 25 Things You Didn't Know About the Classic Baseball Drama

These days, we're all jaded and amused when it comes to scandals in baseball, but 25 years ago this week (on September 2, 1988) came a movie that reminded us of a time when we were actually shocked over events that tarnished the reputation of the national pastime. With a cast led by rising stars John Cusack, Charlie Sheen, and D.B. Sweeney, "Eight Men Out" recounted the story of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, in which gamblers paid several players on the Chicago White Sox to throw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.

Writer/director John Sayles, adapting Eliot Asinof's book of the same title, portrayed the Black Sox players as exploited workers out to punish their skinflint owner and claim bonuses that had been denied them. And while they did so in a way that was illegal and unsportsmanlike, they were meted out an awfully harsh punishment (being banned from the
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Book To Film: M*A*S*H

Mash: A novel about three army doctors, by Richard Hooker, was first published in 1968. Two years later Robert Altman’s screen version was released, becoming the third highest-grossing movie of 1970 and picking up five oscar nominations. The film’s success led to the long-running sitcom of the same name, which went on to become easily the most recognisable version of Mash. The movie was a significant breakthrough for Robert Altman, both commercially successful and critically lauded, paving the way for his ascension in hollywood. Many of the actors also rose to stardom following the film’s success, notably Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould. While the film may languish in the shadow of the TV series, the novel, never as successful as either, is now almost forgotten.

Mash was written by a former army doctor, Richard Hornberger, drawing on his own experiences in the Korean war. After a number of
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Former Academy president and Oscar nominee Fay Kanin dies at 95

Former Academy president and Oscar nominee Fay Kanin dies at 95
While two-time Oscar champ Bette Davis could lay claim to being the first female president of the motion picture academy, her tenure was short-lived, lasting just two months in 1941.  -Insertgroups:12- Fay Kanin, who died Thursday at age 95, was the second woman to head up the organization, serving with distinction from 1979 to 1983. She understood what it meant to contend for an Oscar, having been nominated alongside her husband Michael Kanin for their original script to the Doris Day-Clark Gable comedy "Teacher's Pet" in 1958; they lost to the "The Defiant Ones." Michael had won this award in 1942 for co-writing with Ring Lardner, Jr. "Woman of the Year," which was the first pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.  Kanin, who had penned the play "Goodbye, My Fancy" which won Shirley Booth the first of her three Tonys in 1949, tried her hand at solo writing teleplays in the 1970s. After
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Seven great rebel portraits of the ’60s and ’70s

The French gave us the word “demimonde” – literally, half the world. But what it has come to mean in English, or so says Webster, is “a distinct circle or world that is often an isolated part of a larger world.”

Storytellers have always held a fascination with the dark side of human nature; that part of the psyche which is normally restrained and leashed, taught to be obedient, held in check – as Conrad wrote in Heart of Darkness – by the reproving looks of our neighbors. After all, what was Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but a probing of that other, id-driven half and the entrancing appeal of doing what one wants instead of what one should.

Film is no different than literature, and from its beginning the movies have produced a rich vein of stories about society’s fringe dwellers, those who operate by necessity,
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'Woman Of The Year': 25 Things You Didn't Know About The Katharine Hepburn And Spencer Tracy-Led Classic

Fans of classic movies know that "Woman of the Year" marks the beginning of the 25-year partnership, on- and off-screen, between one of film's most beloved and enduring couples: Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Released 70 years ago today (on January 19, 1942), "Woman of the Year" came to define combustible romantic chemistry, thanks to the two fiery, evenly-matched leads. It launched a partnership that lasted until Tracy's death in 1967, a quarter-century union that resulted in nine films and an extramarital affair that was Hollywood's worst kept secret. What fans may not know is how the partnership came to be, who the real-life inspirations were for Hepburn's high-minded columnist and Tracy's earthy sportswriter, or the forgotten screen pairing of the two stars that came four years earlier. Read on for the untold story of "Woman of the Year" and its long afterlife in the realms of Broadway, TV, and magazines. 1. "Woman of the Year
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Book Review: "Steve McQueen: The Actor And His Films"

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By Tom Lisanti

Steve McQueen: The Actor and His Films by Andrew Antonaides and Mike Siegel from Dalton Watson Fine Books is one of the finest, most lavish movie books about a single actor that I have ever read. All of iconic superstar Steve McQueen’s films are equally discussed from his classics (The Blob, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Cincinnati Kid, The Sand Pebbles, Bullitt, The Thomas Crown Affair, Papillon), to his lesser known earlier movies (Never Love a Stranger, The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery)An Enemy of the People, The Hunter), to his misfires (The Honeymoon Machine, Soldier in the Rain, Baby the Rain Must Fall), to his TV series (Wanted: Dead or Alive). Most coffee table-type movie books that I have encountered are extravagantly- made, featuring glorious photographs, but containing very little substance. However, Steve McQueen
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The Ultimate Baseball Book

Is there a more literary game than baseball? Novelist Joseph Finder hails an entertaining new companion to America's favorite pastime.

The writer George Plimpton once proposed what he called the Small Ball Theory of sports writing: the smaller the ball, the better the literature. Football and soccer and basketball have yielded a few decent books, he pointed out, whereas baseball has inspired fine literary work by such authors as Philip Roth, John Updike, Bernard Malamud, David Halberstam, Ring Lardner, Walt Whitman . . .

Related story on The Daily Beast: The Beginning of History

Until the great ping-pong bildungsroman comes along, I'm dubious about Plimpton's theory. Yet there's no doubt that baseball has spawned a greater quantity of books, fiction and nonfiction, than any other sport. The latest of these is The Cambridge Companion to Baseball edited by Leonard Cassuto and Stephen Partridge-which, if you buy only one book for the baseball fan in your life,
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John Lithgow Shares ‘Stories By Heart’ in One-Man Show

John Lithgow Shares ‘Stories By Heart’ in One-Man Show
John Lithgow has been a transsexual, an alien, a dance-hating minister and a serial killer, and this month he plays himself as told through the point of view of P. G. Wodehouse, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Ring Lardner. The one-man show is entitled “Stories by Heart” and Lithgow performs two short stories that he says greatly influenced his own career as a storyteller and actor. It’s also a tribute of sorts to his father Arthur Lithgow, a pioneer of American regional theater.
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M*A*S*H: No 18

Robert Altman, 1970

War is hell, but Robert Altman made it funny as hell. He was perhaps a little too old and mainstream to be fully part of the counterculture of the late 60s, but he certainly made up for lost time. He was in his mid-40s when he made M*A*S*H and when it was released, it was the hippest thing around – and still is in many ways. With a firmly anti-establishment script by Ring Lardner Jr (one of the gutsy, blacklisted Hollywood Ten), Altman's perfectly cast duo of doctors, Hawkeye and Trapper (Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould), are somewhere they really don't want to be and set about trying to make the army's senseless systems work for them.

The comedy here manages to be both breezy and black, with the Korean war clearly standing in for the then-current conflict in Vietnam; Hawkeye and Trapper spend most
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