4 Shots From 4 Paul Newman Films: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Cool Hand Luke, The Verdict, The Hudsucker Proxy


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

95 years ago today, Paul Newman was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio.  He would go on, of course, to become one of America’s greatest film stars, an acclaimed actor who was active from the mid-part of the 20th century to the beginning of our current century.  He made his film debut in 1954 with The Silver Chalice (and subsequently paid for an ad in which he apologized for his performance in the film, which I think was a bit unnecessary as he wasn’t really that bad in the film) and he made his final onscreen appearance in 2005 in Empire Falls.  (He did, however, subsequently provide the voice of Doc Hudson in Cars, along with narrating a few documentaries.)  Time and again, he proved himself to be one of the best actors around.  According to most report, he was also one of the nicest.  When he died in 2008, the world mourned.

In honor of his cinematic legacy, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Paul Newman Films

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958, dir by Richard Brooks)

Cool Hand Luke (1967, dir by Stuart Rosenberg)

The Verdict (1981, dir by Sidney Lumet)

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994, dir by the Coen Brothers)

After Last Night, 1917 is your new Oscar front runner!


There were a lot of very important awards given out last night and suddenly, the Oscar race has become much, much clearer.  Yes, Parasite is a big contender and it’s certainly a big deal that it won at SAG.  It’ll probably win quite a few Oscars.  But, as of right now, the front runner for best picture is clearly 1917.

Not only has 1917 won the PGA award but, last night, Sam Mendes won the DGA.  1917 is coming on strong and it’s late release date is definitely working in its favor.  It came out just in time to wow the Oscar voters but also late enough that there wasn’t time for any sort of backlash to develop against it.  If I had to guess now, I’d say that 1917 is going to win Best Picture and we can at least take comfort in the fact that it’s better than the last Sam Mendes film that won.

Anyway, instead of doing like 30 different posts for each group that met last night, here’s a quick rundown:

The DGA (Director’s Guild of America) — Sam Mendes won Best Director for 1917.  Honey Boy’s Alma Har’el won for Best First Time Director.  The documentary award went to Steven Bogner and Julia Reichert for American Factory.

Annie Awards (Animation) — Klaus won Best Feature.  I Lost My Body won best indie feature.

ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) — Roger Deakins for 1917

USC Scripter Awards (Adapted Screenplay) — Greta Gerwig for Little Women

CAS (Cinema Audio Society) — Best Feature went to Ford v. Ferrari.  Best Animated Feature went to Toy Story 4.  Best Documentary Feature was won by Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound.

So, for all you people making your Oscar bets — well, who knows?  Listen, the Oscars are unpredictable.  GREEN BOOK WON LAST YEAR, PEOPLE!  So, anything’s possible.  One thing to remember is that Best Picture is determined by a preferential voting system so it’s a close race between two films, it could easily be everyone’s second choice that wins.  And that could mean an upset victory for something like Ford v Ferrari or even Little Women.

But, as for right now, 1917 is the front runner.

New Movie Posters for you to see (With trailers included!)


I know, I know, I have been away from posting my normal movie previews and reviews for a while, that is my fault!

But I’ll be back to posting my normal movie previews/reviews soon!

Until then here are some things you can look forward to me previewing and reviewing:

A Perfect Host

2020 movie posters

Alien OutBreak

Alien outbreak

Covenant

Covenant

 

And last, but not least, You might have been…

Stalked

Hope you all enjoyed my tour through my movie screeners I get to watch this month!

4 Shots From 4 Jim Jarmusch Films: Permanent Vacation, Stranger Than Paradise, The Limits Of Control, Only Lovers Left Alive


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Happy birthday, Jim Jarmusch!

4 Shots From 4 Jim Jarmusch Films

Permanent Vacation (1980, dir by Jim Jarmusch)

Stranger Than Paradise (1984, dir by Jim Jarmusch)

The Limits of Control (2009, dir by Jim Jarmusch)

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013, dir by Jim Jarmusch)

7 Films That David Lynch Turned Down


Let us take a moment to consider the career of David Lynch.

As we all know, David Lynch is one of America’s most unique and idiosyncratic directors, an unapologetic surrealist whose films always seem to come from a very dark and very personal place.  He began his career with Eraserhead and was then brought to Hollywood by Mel Brooks so that he could direct The Elephant Man.  Following the huge success of The Elephant Man, Lynch signed a contract with Dino De Laurentiis and directed Dune (a movie that Lynch later said was as close as he ever came to “selling out”) and the far better received Blue Velvet.

After the success of Blue Velvet, Lynch turned to television.  Twin Peaks was, in its way, Blue Velvet adapted for network television.  While people across the world were debating who killed Laura Palmer, Lynch won the 1990 Palme d’Or with Wild At Heart.  Frustrated with ABC’s attempts to interfere with the direction of Twin Peaks, Lynch became less involved with the televisions series and it was canceled after its second season.  Lynch’s cinematic prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, was released an initially tepid response, though — like much of Lynch’s work — it has since been positively reevaluated.

In 1997, Lynch directed his most surreal film yet, Lost Highway.  He then shocked critics by directing the G-rated The Straight Story and proving that his surreal vision could be heart-warming as well as frightening.  When Lynch couldn’t get a network to commit to his proposed second televisions series, Lynch filmed some more footage and released the pilot as a feature film.  Mulholland Drive has gone on to be recognized as one of the greatest films of all time and it also earned Lynch his third Oscar nomination for Best Director.

Despite the success of Mulholland Drive, Lynch still struggled to find the financial backing for the films that he wanted to make.  In 2006, he directed Inland Empire, a film that’s as surreal as any that he’s ever directed and also, in its way, one of the most emotionally powerful films ever made.  Again, much like Fire Walk With Me and Lost Highway, Inland Empire was initially dismissed by critics but it has since been rediscovered.

Eat My Fer by David Lynch

Following Inland Empire, Lynch focused on painting, music, and promoting meditation and it was feared that he had retired from filmmaking.  In 2017, he brought Twin Peaks: The Return to Showtime and, for a few brief months, we were again enraptured by his genius.

David Lynch has directed ten feature films.  (Eleven, if you count Twin Peaks: The Return.  I do.)  He has one of the greatest filmographies of any living director.  But what about the films that David Lynch didn’t make?  In his memoir, Room to Dream, Lynch wrote about not only the projects for which he couldn’t find backing but also about several films that he was offered but turned down.

Here are a few of the films David Lynch turned down:

  1. Frances (1982)

Frances Farmer was a Golden Age actress who was famous for her refusal to conform to the demands of 1940s society.  She was outspoken in her political views.  She drank heavily.  She was open about her drug use.  Following the end of her affair with playwright Clifford Odets, Farmer had a nervous breakdown and was sent to a draconian mental hospital where she was horrifically abused, suffered through electroshock treatments, and was eventually lobotomized before being released in 1950.

It’s a pretty disturbing story and one can imagine that Lynch could have made a powerful film out of it, especially as Frances Farmer is the archetype for the troubled women who are often at the center of his films.  Mel Brooks, who also produced The Elephant Man, produced Frances and was hopeful that Lynch would direct it.  However, Lynch had already signed a contract with Dino De Laurentiis and was not available.  Frances was eventually directed by Graeme Clifford, who took a far more straight-forward approach to the material than Lynch would have.

2. Return of the Jedi (1983)

This is probably the most famous of the films that David Lynch turned down.  George Lucas was a fan of Eraserhead and, in the early 80s, Lynch was riding high as a result of having received his first Oscar nomination for The Elephant Man.  Reportedly, Lucas actually did offer the film to Lynch.  Lynch turned him down, saying that he felt that the film would ultimately have been seen as being Lucas’s film and not the film of whoever was hired to direct it.  Instead, Lynch directed another sci-fi epic, Dune.  

Lucas reportedly then offered the film to another maverick director, David Cronenberg.  After Cronenberg turned it down, Lucas settled on Richard Marquand.

3. Tender Mercies (1983)

Robert Duvall won his first Oscar for this film, in which he played an alcoholic country singer who finds redemption with a Texas widow and her son.  This rather gentle film may seem like the furthest thing one would associate with Lynch but I personally think that David Lynch could have done a good job with it.  Tender Mercies is a film that feels like it might be distantly related to The Straight Story and Lynch’s unapologetic love of Americana would have served the story well.

Lenny Von Dohlen, who played a small role in Tender Mercies, later played the shut-in who had Laura Palmer’s diary in Twin Peaks.

4. Manhunter (1986)

Also known as Red Dragon, this film was the first to feature Dr. Hannibal Lecter.  The film was offered to Lynch by Dino De Laurentiis.  Lynch turned it down so he could concentrate on Blue VelvetManhunter was instead directed by Michael Mann, who — it must be said — filled the film with surreal imagery that occasionally felt very Lynchian.  Considering that Lynch’s films are full of flamboyantly evil men, it’s hard not to be curious what Lynch would have done with characters like Hannibal Lecter and Francis Dollarhyde.

5. American Beauty (1999)

American Beauty was one of the many scripts that was sent to Lynch in the 90s.  Lynch turned the film down and it was instead made by Sam Mendes.  American Beauty went on to win Best Picture.  That said, it’s also one of the most pretentious film ever made and the fact that some people love it will never cease to amaze me.  Interestingly, one of the main problems with the film is that, as a director, Mendes often tries too hard to capture the mood and feeling that Lynch was later able to so effortlessly create in Twin Peaks: The Return.  Lynch probably could have made a decent film out of American Beauty but, fortunately for us, he devoted his attention to Mulholland Drive instead.

6. The Ring (2002)

This film was offered to Lynch but he turned it down. (Interestingly enough, when the film was made, it starred Naomi Watts, who had just appeared in Mulholland Drive and who went on to appear in both Inland Empire and Twin Peaks: The Return.)  I would have been curious to see what Lynch would have done with the killer video.

7. Motherless Brooklyn (2019)

In 1999, Lynch was among the directors who Edward Norton approached about directing a film version of the just-published detective novel, Motherless Brooklyn.  Lynch, who was working on Mulholland Drive, turned Norton down.  20 years later, Motherless Brooklyn was finally made into a film, with Norton starring and directing.

It’s hard to guess what the future holds for David Lynch.  There have been reports that Lynch will no longer make films though Lynch himself says that his disillusionment with cinema has been overstated.  There are also rumors that Lynch might give us another season of Twin Peaks.  Who knows?  Even if David Lynch spends the rest of his days promoting transcendental meditation and never again steps behind a camera, no one can deny that he’s given us some of the most amazing and important films of all time.  Happy birthday, Mr. Lynch!

 

 

The SAG Honors Parasite and All The Usuals.


The SAG Awards were held tonight.  I did not bother to watch them but apparently, a good time was had by all.  Parasite won the award for Best Ensemble, which is the SAG equivalent for Best Picture.  (1917, which won at the PGA  Awards earlier this week, was not nominated for the Ensemble award.)  This might mean that Parasite is the new front runner for Best Picture or it might not.  Do you remember what won last year?  Black Panther.

(I’m a little bit surprised that SAG didn’t go for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which is is a film about actors.  I mean, Birdman won a prize it didn’t deserve by appealing to the ego of actors.  Then again, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood centers on an actor whose career is going downhill so maybe it hits too close to home.)

Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger, Brad Pitt, and Laura Dern won the acting prizes and I imagine that they’ll repeat at the Oscars.  To be honest, it’s hard for me to remember who else is nominated in any of those categories.

Avengers: Endgame won for Best Stunt Ensemble.  Why isn’t their an Oscar category for Best Stunts?  Seriously, that’s messed up.

Anyway, here’s your list of film winners.  They also gave out some TV awards but, to be honest, who cares about that in January?  The Emmys are over!  If you want to see a full list of winners, click here or do a google search.  Whatever works for you.

Best Ensemble — Parasite

Best Actor — Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Best Actress — Renee Zellweger, Judy

Best Supporting Actor — Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress — Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Best Stunt Ensemble — Avengers: Endgame

The Producers Guild of America Honors 1917


Last night, I heard that the PGA had honored 1917 as the best film of 2019 and I thought to myself, “Well, that’s good for the golfers but since when did they become film experts?”

This morning, I woke up and I realized that the PGA was the Producer’s Guild of America, which means that 1917‘s victory is now officially a big deal.  If Sam Mendes wins at the DGA, I would imagine that would mean that 1917 is officially unstoppable as far as the Oscars are concerned.  Of course, just yesterday, I was saying that the Eddie Awards had made Parasite into an unstoppable Oscar winner.

So, maybe I know what I’m talking about and maybe I don’t.

Anyway, the PGA gave out a lot of awards last night but here are the three that you need to know while making your Oscar predictions:

Best Feature Film — 1917

Best Animated Film — Toy Story 4

Best Documentary Film — Apollo 11

(Apollo 11 was, incredibly, not nominated for Best Documentary.)

For a full list of the PGA winners, click here.