6 Shots From 6 Films: Special Al Pacino Edition


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

With all the excitement (or not) surrounding the Oscars, it might be easy to overlook the fact that today is also the birthdays of one of the greatest and most iconic American actors of all time!  We cannot let this day end without wishing a happy birthday to the one and only Al Pacino!

In others words, it’s time for….

6 Shots From 6 Al Pacino Films

The Godfather (1972, dir by Francis Ford Coppola, DP: Gordon Willis)

Dog Day Afternoon (1975, dir by Sidney Lumet, DP: Victor J. Kemper)

Scarface (1983, dir by Brian DePalma, DP: John A. Alonzo)

Heat (1995, dir by Michael Mann, DP: Dante Spinotti)

The Devil’s Advocate (1997, dir by Taylor Hackford, DP: Andrzej Bartkowiak)

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019, dir by Quentin Tarantino, DP: Robert Richardson)

 

 

Scenes That I Love: Cliff Booth Beats Up Clem Grogan in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


Today is Quentin Tarantino’s 59 birthday.  In order to celebrate the occasion, here’s Brad Pitt beating up a hippie.

This scene, of course, is from my favorite Tarantino film, 2019’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.  While some may say that Cliff goes overboard on the hippie, you should understand that this is no ordinary hippie.  This hippie is meant to be Steve “Clem” Grogan, a real-life member of the Manson Family who, in 1969, murdered an actor and stuntman named Donald “Shorty” Shea.  Shea, who worked on the Spahn Rannch, had apparently once taken Grogan under his wing but, when it was decided the Shea knew too much about Manson’s crimes and that he was a threat to Manson’s control of ranch owner George Spahn, the order apparently went out that Shea had to die.  While Manson, Grogan and Manson’s second-in-command, Bruce Davis, were the only three people convicted of Shea’s murder, it’s felt that they were probably aided by Tex Watson (played by Austin Butler in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood).  In real life, Grogan was sentenced to death for Shea’s murder, though his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment, with the judge reportedly saying that Grogan was obviously too stupid and too stoned to decide to murder Shea on his own.

The 18 year-old Grogan was a high school drop out and was also nicknamed Scramblehead, due to even the members of the Manson Family considering him to be abnormally dumb.  Grogan, reportedly, wrecked several cars, including one owned by Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and, shortly before the murders, he was arrested for exposing himself.  That said, it’s also been suggested that Grogan was never as dumb as he pretended to be.  According to Ed Sanders’s book, The Family, Grogan did turn his life around once he was locked far away from the rest of the Family and free from Manson’s influence.  A model prisoner, he eventually led the police to the location of Shea’s body and he was paroled in 1985.  To date, he is the only one of the Manson murderers to have been released from prison.  (Bruce Davis, who was also convicted of killing Shea, has been ruled suitable for parole six times over the past ten years but, each time, the decision has been overturned by California’s governor.  He was mostly recently ruled suitable for parole on January 22nd of this year but Governor Newsom has yet to announce whether he will be blocking the decision.)  Grogan is 69 years old now and, as of a few years ago, he was working as a musician in the Los Angeles area.  Regardless of whether Clem Grogan turned his life around or not, considering what happened to Shorty Shea, it does seem appropriate that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood sees Clem getting his ass kicked by a stuntman.

In fact, Cliff’s entire visit to the Spahn Ranch is one of the best moments in Tarantino’s entire filmography.  It plays out like a combination of a horror flick and a western and there’s just enough odd humor tossed in to keep the audience especially nervous.  Given just how creepy the entire sequence is, there’s something very cathartic about Cliff’s refusal to play any games with Clem and the other hippies.  Cliff’s refusal to even let Clem wipe the blood off his face feels especially satisfying, in an odd sort of way.

Anyway, a happy birthday to Quentin Tarantino!  Last year, I observed Tarantino’s birthday by ranking all of his film, in order from worst to best.  You check that out by clicking here!

Ranking The Films of Quentin Tarantino


Since Today is Quentin Tarantino’s 57th birthday, I figured this would be a good time to rank the ten films that he’s directed so far!

Please note that I have not included things like Natural Born Killers, True Romance, Four Rooms, Sin City, or those episodes of CSI and ER on the list below.  These are just the feature films that Tarantino has directed.

So, without further ado, for worst to best, here are the ten film of Quentin Tarantino:

10) The Hateful Eight (2015)

The Hateful Eight is one of those films that people either seem to love or hate.  I personally think that it’s the one Tarantino film in which QT truly stepped over the line and became a parody of himself.  From the punishing run time to the lengthy “chapters” that went nowhere to the overwritten dialogue that read more like someone trying to write like Tarantino than Tarantino himself, The Hateful Eight is my least favorite of his films.  For me, the final straw was when — after already having forced audiences to endure two and half hours of this film — Tarantino stopped the action completely for a totally unnecessary flashback that apparently only existed so Tarantino could work in a Zoe Bell cameo.

9) Death Proof (2007)

Oh, Death Proof.  I really liked Death Proof the first time that I saw it but whenever I’ve tried to rewatch it, it’s been a struggle to get through it.  Yes, Kurt Russell is great as Stuntman Mike and, unlike her previously mentioned cameo in The Hateful Eight, Zoe Bell is a welcome addition to Death Proof‘s ensemble.  But oh my God, why doesn’t the film just start in Tennessee?  Why do we have to suffer through all of that crap in Austin?

8) Kill Bill: Volume One (2003)

Now, it may seem like I’m ranking the first volume of Kill Bill fairly low on the list but you have to understand that, as far as I’m concerned, Tarantino has only made two bad films.  Kill Bill: Volume One is an exciting thriller and it not only features Uma Thurman at her best but it also has some of the best and most energetic fight scenes of all time.  If Kill Bill: Volume One seems ranked low, it’s just because it has some truly tough competition to deal with.

 

7) Jackie Brown (1997)

The first time I saw Jackie Brown, I thought it was a bit too slow and I guess I didn’t really “get” it.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to better appreciate this surprisingly low-key and rather sad film.  Jackie Brown features Tarantino in the type of contemplative mood that he wouldn’t really return to until making Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

6) Pulp Fiction (1994)

One of the most influential films ever made, Pulp Fiction was not only the first of Tarantino’s first film to be nominated for an Oscar but it was also his first film to truly establish that his filmography takes place in its own separate, pop culture-centered universe.  If there’s anything that’s keeping Pulp Fiction from being listed higher, it’s the painfully self-indulgent taxi cab conversation between Bruce Willis and Angela Jones and Quentin Tarantino’s own terrible cameo as Jimmy, the casually racist homeowner.  That said, this is still one of the most — if not the most — essential film for the 90s.  If you want to understand that decade, you have to watch Pulp Fiction.

5) Django Unchained (2012)

Despite the fact that it features one of Leonardo Di Caprio’s worst performances (I know I’m the only one who thinks that), Django Unchained is still Tarantino at his most provocative and angry.  After decades of Hollywood films that attempts to explain away the history and legacy of slavery or that suggested that racism could easily be overcome, Tarantino and Django stepped up to say, “Fuck that.”  While the film received a lot of attention for its violence, I think it revealed that Tarantino is an artist with a conscience.  When Christoph Waltz speaks against the evils of slavery, it’s obvious that he’s speaking for Tarantino as well.  In much the same fashion of 12 Years A Slave (which would come out a year later), Django Unchained doesn’t flinch away from showing the horrors of slavery.

4) Inglourious Basterds (2009)

With Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino showed how art could be used to fix history’s mistakes.  In reality, many of the leaders of Nazi Germany escaped justice by committing suicide.  In Inglourious Basterds, they get blown away by a group of Jewish soldiers.  The film itself features some of Tarantino’s best set pieces and one of his best casts.  Despite the film’s length, this is also one of the few Tarantino films where there’s not a single scene that you can look at and say, “Well, that could have been cut.”  For once, every minute of the run time is needed to tell the film’s story.  Christoph Waltz became the first actor to win an Oscar for appearing in a Tarantino film.

3) Kill Bill: Volume Two (2004)

The Kill Bill saga concludes in grand fashion in Kill Bill: Volume Two.  For all of the fights and the violence, this film is more about accepting the consequences of your actions.  Uma Thurman and David Carradine give great performances but the heart of the film belongs to poor Michael Madsen, sitting in his trailer and waiting for justice to come and get him.  The scene where Thurman digs herself out of her grave is a justifiable classic and the final confrontation between Carradine and Thurman is Tarantino at his best.

2) Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Tarantino’s debut film is still one of the most exciting and, in it’s way, funniest crime films ever made.  Every line is quotable.  Every performance is perfect.  Every song on the soundtrack is perfectly selected.  Who can forget Harvey Keitel’s incoherent scream of pain as he realizes that he’s been betrayed?  Personally, I just hope Mr. Pink escaped with the diamonds.

 

1) Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)

Tarantino’s latest film is also his best, a love letter to the movies and the actors whose legacies live on in his own films.  For all the criticism that the film took for Margot Robbie’s lack of dialogue, her performance as Sharon Tate is the perfect epitome of everyone’s fantasy of what Hollywood was like in the years before the Manson murders made everyone lock their doors.  Leonardo Di Caprio and Brad Pitt are perfectly cast as Rick and Cliff and the film’s finale may be bloody but, at the same time, it corrected history in much the same way that Inglorious Basterds did.  By the end of the film, Rick Dalton knows that he’ll probably never be as big of a star as he could have been but at least he’s made some new friends.  He’s been accepted, in much the same way that a somewhat dorky former Hollywood video store clerk was eventually accepted by a film industry that, at first, wasn’t sure what to make of him.

Happy birthday, Quentin Tarantino!

Here Are The Oscar Winners!


Best Picture — Parasite

Best Director — Bong Joon-ho for 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 Original Screenplay — Parasite

Best Adapted Screenplay — JoJo Rabbit

Best Animated Feature Film — Toy Story 4

Best International Feature Film — Parasite

Best Documentary Feature Film — American Factory

Best Documentary Short Subject — Leaning to Skate In A Warzone (If You’re A Girl)

Best Live Action Short Subject — The Neighbors’ Widow

Best Animated Short Film — Hair Love

Best Original Score — Joker

Best Original Song — Rocketman

Best Sound Editing — Ford v Ferrari

Best Sound Mixing — 1917

Best Production Design — Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Cinematography — 1917

Best Makeup and Hairstyling — Bombshell

Best Costume Design — Little Women

Best Editing — Ford v Ferrari

Best Visual Effects — 1917

Here’s What Lisa Wants To Win At The Oscars


Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019, dir by Quentin Tarantino)

Yesterday, I posted my list of the film and performers that I believe will win Oscars tonight.

Below is a different list.  This is what I wish would win tonight.  These are the nominees that I would vote for if I was a member of the Academy.  Now, to be honest, there were a lot of films and performances that I liked that were not nominated.  My favorite film of 2019 was The Souvenir.  It received zero Oscar nominations.  But, for the purposes of this list, I’ve limited my choice to the actual nominees.

So, here we go:

Best Picture — 1) Once Upon A Time In Hollywood 2) The Irishman 3) Parasite 4) 1917 5) Joker 6) JoJo Rabbit 7) Little Women 8) Ford v Ferrari 9) Marriage Story

Best Director — Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor — Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Best Actress — Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Best Supporting Actor — Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Best Supporting Actress — Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Best Original Screenplay — Parasite

Best Adapted Screenplay — The Irishman

Best Animated Feature Film — I Lost My Body

Best International Feature Film — Parasite

Best Documentary Feature Film — The Edge of Democracy (which I didn’t even really like, it’s just the only nominee that I’ve seen)

Best Documentary Short Subject — Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If you’re a girl)

Best Live Action Short Subject — Nefta Football Club (that’s for you, Jason)

Best Animated Short Film — Sister

Best Original Score — 1917

Best Original Song — I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away from Toy Story 4

Best Sound Editing — 1917

Best Sound Mixing — 1917

Best Production Design — Parasite

Best Cinematography — The Lighthouse

Best Makeup and Hairstyling — Judy

Best Costume Design — Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Editing — The Irishman

Best Visual Effects — Avengers: Endgame

4 Shots From 4 Films About Hollywood: The Bad and the Beautiful, The Stunt Man, Mulholland Drive, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


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!

Today’s edition of 4 Shots from 4 Films is dedicated to four of the best films that I’ve ever seen about Hollywood!  I mean, it is Oscar Sunday after all!

4 Shots From 4 Films About Hollywood

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952, dir by Vincente Minnelli)

The Stunt Man (1980, dir by Richard Rush)

Mulholland Drive (2000, dir by David Lynch)

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019, dir by Quentin Tarantino)

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions For Sunday Night


The Oscars are tomorrow and I guess that means that it’s time for me to post my predictions for what will win at the big ceremony on Sunday night!

So, without further ado:

Best Picture — 1917

Best Director — Sam Mendes for 1917

Best Actor — Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

Best Actress — Renee Zellweger in Judy

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

Best Supporting Actress — Laura Dern in Marriage Story

Best Original Screenplay — Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Adapted Screenplay — Taika Waititi , JoJo Rabbit

Best Animated Feature Film — Klaus

Best International Feature Film — Parasite

Best Documentary Feature — American Factory

Best Live Action Short Film — Nefta Football Club

Best Animated Short Film — Sister

Best Documentary Short Subject — Learning To Skateboard In A War Zone (If You’re A Girl)

Best Original Score — 1917

Best Original Song — (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again from Rocketman

Best Sound Editing — Ford v Ferrari

Best Sound Mixing — Ford v Ferrari

Best Production Design — Parasite

Best Cinematography — 1917

Best Makeup and Hair Styling — Joker

Best Costume Design — Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Editing — Parasite

Best Visual Effects — The Irishman

The Casting Society of America Honors Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


The Academy does not have a category to honor Best Casting.  They really should, though.

Until the Academy gets their act together, the Casting Society of America will have to do the job.  Here are their picks for the best of 2019:

BIG BUDGET – DRAMA
Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood – Victoria Thomas

BIG BUDGET – COMEDY
Knives Out – Mary Vernieu, Angela Peri (Location Casting), Bret Howe (Associate)

STUDIO OR INDEPENDENT – COMEDY
Jojo Rabbit – Des Hamilton

STUDIO OR INDEPENDENT – DRAMA
Marriage Story – Francine Maisler, Douglas Aibel, Kathy Driscoll-Mohler (Associate)

LOW BUDGET – COMEDY OR DRAMA
The Last Black Man in San Francisco – Julia Kim, Nina Henninger (Location Casting),
Sarah Kliban (Associate)

MICRO BUDGET – COMEDY OR DRAMA
Skin in the Game – Matthew Lessall

ANIMATION
(tie) The Lion King – Sarah Halley Finn, Jason B. Stamey (Associate)
and Toy Story 4 – Kevin Reher, Natalie Lyon

THE ZEITGEIST AWARD
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Nina Gold, April Webster, Alyssa Weisberg,
Angela Young (Associate)

TELEVISION PILOT AND FIRST SEASON – COMEDY
“Russian Doll” – Christine Kromer, Andrew Femenella (Associate)

TELEVISION PILOT AND FIRST SEASON – DRAMA
“Pose” – Alexa L. Fogel, Kathryn Zamora-Benson (Associate), Caitlin D. Jones
(Associate)

TELEVISION SERIES COMEDY
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – Cindy Tolan, Juliette Ménager (Location Casting),
Anne Davison (Associate)

TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
“Game of Thrones” – Nina Gold, Robert Sterne, Carla Stronge (Location Casting)

LIMITED SERIES
“When They See Us” – Aisha Coley, Billy Hopkins (Location Casting), Ashley Ingram
(Location Casting)

FILM – NON-THEATRICAL RELEASE
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Tamara-Lee Notcutt, Tiffany Mak (Location
Casting), Alexis Allen (Associate)

LIVE TELEVISION PERFORMANCE, VARIETY OR SKETCH COMEDY
“Live in Front of a Studio Audience: ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’” – Marc
Hirschfeld, Geralyn Flood, Katrina Wandel George (Associate)

CHILDREN’S PILOT AND SERIES (LIVE ACTION)
“Andi Mack” – Amber Horn, Danielle Aufiero, Steven Tylor O’Connor (Associate)

TELEVISION ANIMATION
“Big Mouth” – Julie Ashton-Barson

REALITY SERIES
“Queer Eye” – Gretchen Palek, Danielle Gervais, Ally Capriotti Grant, Quinn Fegan,
Pamela Vallarelli

SHORT FILM
Skin – Jessica Sherman

SHORT FORM SERIES
“It’s Bruno!” – Bess Fifer

NEW YORK BROADWAY THEATRE – COMEDY OR DRAMA
To Kill a Mockingbird – Daniel Swee

NEW YORK BROADWAY THEATRE – MUSICAL
Hadestown – Duncan Stewart, Benton Whitley

NEW YORK BROADWAY THEATRE – REVIVAL, COMEDY OR DRAMA
The Waverly Gallery – David Caparelliotis, Lauren Port

NEW YORK BROADWAY THEATRE – REVIVAL, MUSICAL
Oklahoma! – Adam Caldwell, Will Cantler

NEW YORK THEATRE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish (Fidler Afn Dakh) – Jamibeth Margolis

NEW YORK THEATRE – DRAMA
Daddy – Judy Henderson, Nick Peciaro (Associate)

REGIONAL THEATRE
In the Heights (Westport Country Playhouse) – Tara Rubin, Claire Burke

LOS ANGELES THEATRE
Sweat – Heidi Levitt, Billy Hopkins (NY Casting), Ashley Ingram (NY Casting), Marin
Hope (Associate)

SPECIAL THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE
Annie – Margery Simkin, Michael Donovan, Beth Lipari, Richie Ferris (Associate)

THEATRE TOURS
Hamilton – Bethany Knox, Lauren Harris (Associate)

Lisa’s Marie’s Top 26 Films of 2019


And now, without further ado, I conclude my look back at 2019 with my 26 favorite films of the years.  Why 26?  Because Lisa doesn’t do odd numbers!

(Want to see my previous picks?  Click here for 2018, 2017, 20162015, 2014201320122011, and 2010!)

1. The Souvenir
2. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
3. Uncut Gems
4. Luce
5. The Irishman
6. Parasite
7. The Lighthouse
8. Crawl
9. Dragged Across Concrete
10. Doletmite Is My Name
11. Avengers: Endgame
12. 1917
13. Joker
14. The Two Popes
15. The Aeronauts
16. Hustlers
17. The Report
18. Brittany Runs A Marathon
19. Rocketman
20. The Last Black Man in San Francisco
21. Apollo 11
22. I Lost My Body
23. The Farewell
24. Us
25. Midsommar
26. Spider-Man: Far From Home

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