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4 items from 2012

Who's the Greatest Classic Christmas Balladeer? Let's Judge and Score.

12 December 2012 1:26 PM, PST | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

1. Burl Ives, "Silver Bells"

Here's the problem with Burl Ives' Christmas tunes: I just want him to interrupt every recording by announcing, "I am an Oscar Winner, kids. I'm not just your f*cking grandpa with the pointy beard. I beat Lee J. Cobb and Gig Young. Suck on that sugar cube, Blitzen." Indeed, Rudolph's narrator scored a Supporting Actor trophy for 1958's The Big Country, and he wasn't the jolliest bastard you've ever seen in it. But here's the thing: Christmas is about bubbling-under rage, which I've decided that Burl has, and therefore "Silver Bells" is a definitive yuletide anthem. Score: 8

2. The Carpenters, "Merry Christmas Darling"

All right. It doesn't take a looped screening of the Carpenters' Christmas specials featuring the McNichols, John Denver, and Yuletide Anorexia to realize that Christmas meant everything to the Carpenters. Karen and Richard were nothing without their plasticine grins, that true indicator of the holiday spirit. »

- virtel

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The Noteworthy: Coppola's Comeback, McTiernan's Philosophy, Lynch's Hiatus

5 December 2012 5:58 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »


The news that Francis Ford Coppola was moving back to the Paramount lot was exciting enough, but now it sounds like the director has some big plans in store:

"I have a secret investor that has infinite money. I learned what I learned from my three smaller films, and wanted to write a bigger film. I’ve been writing it. It’s so ambitious so I decided to go to L.A. and make a film out of a studio that has all the costume rentals, and where all the actors are. My story is set in New York. I have a first draft. I’m really ready for a casting phase. Movies are big in proportion to the period. It starts in the middle of the ‘20s, and there are sections in the ‘30s and the late ‘40s, and it goes until the late ‘60s."

The winners of »

- Adam Cook

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Grace Kelly: Remembering The Actress-Turned-Princess 30 Years After Her Death

12 September 2012 8:56 AM, PDT | Moviefone | See recent Moviefone news »

Grace Kelly's film career spanned just five years and 14 movies, yet her legacy is indelible. Thirty years after her death (on Sept. 14, 1982) and 56 years after she made her last movie, the actress-turned-princess remains a trendsetter for her beauty, style and poise, and her on-screen performances continue to mesmerize with their unique blend of ice and fire. The details of Kelly's biography remain familiar, as they dovetail so neatly with many of the roles she played. Born in 1929, she grew up a Philadelphia socialite, but rather than live the debutante life, she moved to New York, where she became a model, a stage actress and a TV actress. Her acting icon was Ingrid Bergman, a star with a similar mix of icily perfect composure and radiant sensuality. When Kelly was 21, in 1951, she moved to Hollywood and, within months, scored her first lead role, as Gary Cooper's prim, pacifist bride »

- Gary Susman

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Happy Birthday, Marilyn Monroe! Here are Her 5 Most Underrated Screen Moments

1 June 2012 6:49 AM, PDT | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

Marilyn Monroe, born June 1, 1926

I spend a lot of time resenting popular opinion about female icons. For instance, I don't think Madonna is just a "business-smart chameleon": She's cooler than Michael Jackson, cannier than Prince, smarter than Elvis, and her very essence was more meaningful than most poet laureates' magnum opuses. So there. I don't think Grace Kelly was just a "living fairytale": She was a killer screen star with astonishing charisma in three Hitchcock movies -- and Mogambo. I reserve my strongest feelings for the woman who would've turned 86 today, Marilyn Monroe, since her continued pop culture presence is shallower and lamer than any icon before or since. Based on how popular she remains and how unpopular most of her filmography is, you'd think the reason her legacy lives on is because people figure one historical blonde has to be most famous, and it may as well »

- virtel

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