August 16, 2019: 10 Movies I Recommend from My Shelves
Watch these movies at your own discretion. I am not responsible for time lost or gained.
The Terminal (2004) stars Tom Hanks as Victor Navorski who is stranded at the JFK airport. He meets a flight attendant named Amelia Warren, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, and has instant attraction to her. He meets more people the longer he is there, becoming friends, until is able to leave. It’s a feel good story. It also stars Stanley Tucci, Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, and Jude Ciccolella. It is rated PG-13 for brief language and drug references. This drama, comedy, romance film runs 2 hours and 8 minutes.
Whiplash (2014) stars Miles Teller as Andrew and J.K. Simmons as Fletcher. This relationship between student and teacher pushes both of them to the edge. This is a great portrayal of a student’s talent and how a teacher with the best intentions leads to a obsession and disregard for those he’s teaching. It also stars Paul Reiser, melissa Benoist, and Austin Stowell. It is rated R for strong language including some sexual references. This drama and music film runs 1 hour and 46 minutes.
Enemy of the State (1998) stars Will Smith as Robert Clayton Dean who’s a lawyer. When it becomes clear the N.S.A. and a politician named Thomas Reynolds is following his every move, he seeks help from Rachel F. Banks played by Lisa Bonet. After meeting Edward Lyle, played by Gene Hackman, he attempts to get his life back. It also stars Jon Voight, Regina King, Gabriel Bryne, and Barry Pepper. It is rated R for language and violence. This action and thriller film runs 2 hours and 12 minutes.
Pain & Gain (2013) stars Mark Wahlberg as Daniel Lugo, Dwayne Johnson as Paul Doyle, and Anthony Mackie as Adrian Doorbal. This is based on a true story where these bodybuilders build their American Dream the wrong way. It also stars Stanley Tucci, Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, and Jude Ciccolella. It is rated R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout and drug use. This drama, comedy, crime film runs 2 hours and 9 minutes.
Narc (2002) stars Jason Patric as a disgraced police officer, Nick Tellis. He pairs up with Henry Oak, played by Ray Liotta, to find why an undercover narc died. It leads them chasing clue after clue. It also stars Krista Bridges, Lloyd Adams, and Chi McBride. It is rated R for strong brutal violence, drug content, and pervasive language. This crime, drama, mystery film runs 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The Last Station (2009) stars Christopher Plummer as Leo Tolstoy. It focuses on the writer’s later life and his desire to get rid of material wealth. His wife, Countess Sophia, works to persuade her husband to protect his monetary assets. It also stars Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti, and Anne-Marie Duff. It is rated R for a scene of sexuality and nudity. This biography, drama, romance film runs 1 hour and 52 minutes.
Affliction (1997) stars Nick Nolte as Wade Whitehouse and his difficult father Glen Whitehouse played by James Coburn. Wade must solve a murder and deal with this family. It takes place during the winter where relationships are as frozen as the ground. It also stars Jim True-Frost, Sissy Spacek, and Willem Dafoe. It is rated R for violence and language. This drama, mystery, thriller film runs 1 hour and 54 minutes.
Godzilla (2004) stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ford Brody who joins his father Joe, played by Bryan Cranston, as he searches for clues to his wife’s death. They uncover secrets and find themselves face to face with terrifying creatures at the nuclear power plant. These MUTO’s (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) are about to breed unless Godzilla emerges. It also stars Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, David Strathairn, and Carson Bolde. It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem, and creature violence. This action, adventure, sci-fi film runs 2 hours and 3 minutes.
Prizzi’s Honor (1985) stars Jack Nicholson as Charley Partanna and Kathleen Turner as Irene Walker. They are professional killers who fall in love. Things get complicated as they do with crime families and the hit men/women they hire. It also stars Robert Loggia, William Hickey, Angelica Huston, and Lee Richardson. It is rated R. This comedy, crime, drama film runs 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Gosford Park (2001) stars Michael Gambon as William McCordle and his family. Just because it takes place in an English country house doesn’t mean things can’t unravel to the end result of murder. It also stars Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jeremy Northam, Emily Watson, Ryan Phillippe, and Stephen Fry It is rated R for some language and brief sexuality. This comedy, drama, mystery film runs 2 hours and 11 minutes.
August 15, 2019: How Long Did Your Marriage Last in Hollywood?
Marriages turn into crumbling messes called divorces in the real world. It seems the opportunities to experience the Hollywood marriage (separated, annulled, or divorced within a year) are abundant when compared to the rest of us. I wonder how much of it is fact and myth, but here are some of the shortest and longest marriages among Hollywood. I’m including other famous people as not all are considered actresses and actors and most of them end up in the list of shorter marriages. The longevity of marriages tend to be actors and actresses who may or may not have entertainer partners. I included those who were never married, but have been together for a while (more than 5 years). No doubt I missed some along the way and I couldn’t account for every variable, but this is what I came up with today.
The Top 10 Shortest Marriages In History… So Far
10. Kim Darby and James Westmoreland lasted 47 days in 1970.
9. Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman lasted 42 days in 1964.
8. Drew Barrymore and Jeremy Thomas lasted 19 days in 1994.
7. Mario Lopez and Ali Landry lasted 18 days in 2004.
6. Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds lasted 14 days in 2008.
5. Patty Duke and Michael Tell lasted 13 days in 1970.
4. Dennis Hopper and Michelle Williams lasted 8 days in 1970.
3. Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman lasted 6 days in 1998.
2. Nicolas Cage and Erika Koike lasted 4 days in 2019.
1. Britney Spears and Jason Alexander lasted 3 days in 2004.
The Top 10 Longest Marriages in History… So Far
10. William Daniels and Bonnie Barlett lasted 68 years (1936-2016).
9. Chuck Berry and Thelmetta Suggs lasted 68 years (1948-2017).
8. Bob Hope and Dolores Reade lasted 69 years (1934-2003).
7. Stan Lee and Joan Boocock lasted 69 years (1947-2017).
6. Monty Hall and Marilyn Doreen Plottel lasted 69 years (1947-2017).
5. Karl Malden and Mona Greenberg lasted 70 years (1938-2009).
4. Johnnie Wright and Kitty Wells lasted 73 years (1937-2011).
3. Art Linkletter and Lois Linkletter lasted 74 years (1935-2010).
2. Norman Lloyd and Peggy Lloyd lasted 75 years (1936-2011).
1. Irving Benson and Lillian Waldowsky lasted 79 years (1936-2016).
The Top 10 Longest Married Couples Still Living
10. Julie Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall married since 1987 (32 years).
9. Jamie Lee Curtis and Christopher Guest married since 1984 (35 years)
8. Denzel Washington and Pauletta Pearson married since 1983 (36 years).
7. Chevy Chase and Jayni Luke married since 1982 (37 years).
6. Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson married since 1980 (39 years).
5. Meryl Streep and Don Gummer married since 1978 (41 years).
4. Jeff Bridges and Susan Geston married since 1977 (42 years).
3. Sean Connery and Micheline Roquebrune married since 1975 (44 years).
2. Sissy Spacek and Jack Fisk married since 1974 (45 years).
1. Christopher Walken and Georgianne Walken married since 1969 (50 years).
The Top 10 Longest Not Married Couples Still Living
10. Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis together since 2011 (8 years).
9. Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling together since 2011 (8 years).
8. Jason Statham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley together since 2010 (9 years).
7. John Corbett and Bo Derek together since 2002 (17 years).
6. Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson since 2000 (19 years).
5. Don Cheadle and Bridgid Coulter together since 1992 (27 years).
4. Charlotte Gainbourg and Yvan Attal together since 1991 (28 years).
3. Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham together since 1986 (33 years).
2. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell together since 1983 (36 years).
1. Ricky Gervais and Jane Fallon together since 1982 (37 years).
July 15, 2019: 50 Real Life Stories to Watch
I’ve had this list of based on real life people since I started my blog in January 2017. I’m not going to put any descriptions: just movie name, the major person/people involved, and the year it came out. This time it’s the bare bones. Here they are in no particular order.
Name of Person/People
Lean on Me
Rob Hall and Scott Fischer
Into the Wild
Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The Social Network
Heaven & Earth
Le Ly Hayslip
James Connolly and James Bulger
All the President’s Men
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
The Wolf of Wall Street
All Good Things
Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa
The Last Emperor
Marty Baron and John Geoghan
Ray Kroc/Mac and Dick McDonald
John du Pont/Dave and Mark Schultz
Philomena Lee and Martin Sixsmith
Dallas Buyers Club
Oscar Grant III
The Stanford Prison Experiment
Woman in Gold
Sid and Nancy
Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen
The Imitation Game
Boys Don’t Cry
Men of Honor
Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI
The Killing Fields
De Pran and Sydney Schanberg
World Trade Center
John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno
July 2, 2019: Oh Yeah, That Movie, I Remember
I’m calling this the “Oh Yeah, That Movie, I Remember” blog entry. Two of them I completely forgot I watched, but the others I haven’t thought about for a while. The five are from the 1990s and early 2000s. There are brief synopses for each one.
One Night at McCool’s (2001) is a comedy and crime movie about different versions of what happened when meeting a woman named Jewel. It is written by Stan Seidel and directed by Harald Zwart. The scenes between Paul Reiser and Liv Tyler stand out the most. It also stars Matt Dillon, Michael Douglas, John Goodman, Andrew Dice Clay, and Reba McEntire. It’s rated R for violence, sexuality, and language. It runs one hour and 33 minutes.
Wild Things (1998) is a crime, drama, and mystery movie about lies, betrayal, and conspiracy leading to accusations with legal consequences. Nothing is what it seems. It is written by Stephen Peters and directed by John McNaughton. It stars Matt Dillion (again), Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, Theresa Russell, Bill Murray, Robert Wagner, and Jeff Perry. It’s rated R for sexuality, nudity, language, and some violence. It runs one hour and 48 minutes.
Topsy-Turvy (1999) is a biography, comedy, and drama movie about two theatrical writers on the brink of splitting up and how they come together to create something unpredictable. It is written and directed by Mike Leigh. Jim Broadbent and Timothy Spall are funny and great together. It also stars Francis Lee, Allan Corduner, Lesley Manville, Kate Doherty, and Dexter Fletcher. It’s rated R for a scene of risqué nudity. It runs two hours and 34 minutes.
Election (1999) is a comedy, drama, and romance movie about a perfectionist student who wants to be her high school’s next class president. It’s a free for all in her quest for recognition. It is adapted from Tom Perotta’s novel and written by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. It is directed by Alexander Payne. It stars Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, and Matt Malloy. It’s rated R for strong sexuality, sex-related dialogue and language, and a scene of drug use. It runs one hour and 43 minutes.
Dick (1999) is a comedy movie about two gullible high school girls during the Nixon presidency. They are hired to walk his dog and because of this find themselves in the middle of the Watergate scandal. It is written by Andrew Fleming and Sheryl Longin. It is directed by Andrew Fleming. It stars Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, Dan Hedaya, Will Ferrell, Bruce McCulloch, Terri Garr, Dave Foley, Jim Breuer, Harry Shearer, and Saul Rubinek. I also give a shout out to the PD, Barb Dunphy. It’s rated PG-13 for sex-related humor, drug content, and language. It runs one hour and 34 minutes.
June 25, 2019: Is High School Necessary? How About Higher Education?
It is a given that high school for the majority of us is necessary. The same goes for college or university. While it might not get you what you thought you wanted, it has valuable lessons. What about those who decided to drop out of high school or not go onto college or a university who are a part of Hollywood? Here are some who dropped out of high school and doing fine when it comes to money and others who are also fine who stepped away from Hollywood to continue their education. For all the ones who come and leave Hollywood within a few years, these are the ones who manged to start on the bottom rungs of the ladder and stayed. The sources are from Bazaar, People, and IMBb.
The Drop Outs
Jennifer Lawrence dropped out of middle school at age 14. The first thing she starred in was a TV Monk episode in 2006.
Tom Cruise dropped out of high school at age 15. The first thing he starred in was the movie Endless Love in 1981.
Catherine Zeta-Jones dropped out of high school at age 15. The first thing she starred in was the movie Les 1002 nuits in 1980.
Johnny Depp dropped out of high school at age 15. The first thing he starred in was the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984.
Chris Rock dropped out of high school at age 16. The first thing he starred in was the movie Krush Groove in 1985.
John Travolta dropped out of high school at age 16. The first thing he starred in was a TV Emergency! episode in 1972.
Nicole Kidman dropped out of high school at age 16. The first thing she starred in was the movie Bush Christmas in 1973.
Cameron Diaz dropped out of high school at age 16. The first thing she starred in was the movie The Mask in 1994.
Hilary Swank dropped out of high school at age 16. The first thing she starred in was a TV ABC TGIF episode in 1989.
Patrick Dempsey dropped out of high school at age 17. The first thing he starred in was the movie Heaven Help Us in 1985.
Daniel Radcliffe dropped out of high school at age 17. The first thing he starred in was a TV miniseries David Copperfield in 1999.
Keanu Reeves dropped out of high school at age 17. The first thing he starred in was a TV Hangin’ In episode in 1984.
Christina Applegate dropped out of high school at age 17. The first thing she starred in was the movie Jaws of Satan in 1981.
Jude Law dropped out of high school at age 17. The first thing he starred in was a TV movie The Ragged Child in 1988.
Ryan Gosling dropped out of high school at age 17. The first thing he starred in was a TV Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode in 1995.
Robert Downey Jr. dropped out of college at age 17. The first thing he starred in was the movie Pound in 1970.
Whoopi Goldberg dropped out of high school at age 17. The first thing she starred in was the movie Citizen in 1982.
Marlon Brandon was expelled from high school and military academy at age 17 or 18. The first thing he starred in was a TV Actor’s Studio episode in 1949.
The Higher Educated
Angela Bassett graduated from Yale in 1980 and 1983. The first thing she starred in was a TV Ryan’s Hope episode in 1987
Conan O’Brien graduated from Harvard in 1985. The first thing he wrote were TV Not Necessarily the News episodes in 1985 and 1986.
Jodie Foster graduated from Yale in 1985. The first thing she starred in was a TV The Doris Day Show episode in 1969.
Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton in 1987. The first thing she starred in was a TV The Doctors episode in 1963.
Connie Britton graduated from Dartmouth in 1989. The first thing she starred in was the movie The Brothers McMullen in 1995.
Julie Bowen graduated from Brown in 1991. The first thing she starred in was a TV Loving episode in 1992.
Maggie Gyllenhaal graduated from Columbia in 1995. The first thing she starred in was the movie Waterland in 1992.
Elizabeth Banks graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 1996. The first thing she starred in was the movie Surrender Dorothy in 1998.
Rashida Jones graduated from Harvard in 1997. The first thing she starred in was a TV miniseries The Last Don episode in 1997.
John Krasinski graduated from Brown in 2001. The first thing he starred in was the movie State and Main in 2000.
Mindy Kaling graduated from Dartmouth in 2001. The first thing she starred in was the movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin in 2005.
Ellie Kemper graduated from Princeton in 2002. The first thing she starred in was a TV Neutrino episode in 1999.
Natalie Portman graduated from Harvard in 2003. The first thing she starred in was the movie Léon: The Professional in 1994.
Julia Stiles graduated from Columbia in 2005. The first thing she starred in was a TV Ghostwriter episodes in 1994.
Emma Watson graduated from Brown in 2014. The first thing she starred in was the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 2001.
Best of the Best
If you’re wondering what are the best ranking U.S. colleges in 2019 from U.S. News & World Report, the top 20 are the following. We all know someone doesn’t need to attend any of them to make a difference or be successful (in your own way), but for those that are smart enough to get accepted (I know a few), great job because not many do for one reason or another.
19. Washington University in St. Louis in St. Louis, MO
19. University of California-Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA
18. University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, IN
16. Rice University in Houston, TX
16. Cornell University in Ithaca, NY
14. Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN
14. Brown University in Providence, RI
12. Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH
12. California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA
10. Northwestern University in Evanston, IL
10. John Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD
9. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA
8. Duke University in Durham, NC
7. Stanford University in Stanford, CA
3. Yale University in New Haven, CT
3. University of Chicago in Chicago, IL
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA
3. Columbia University in New York, NY
2. Harvard University in Cambridge, MA
1. Princeton University in Princeton, NJ
June 21, 2019: Five Recent Independent Movies I’ve Seen
IFC Films is a production and distribution company out of New York City. They have released independents films such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Fahrenheit 9/11, Backcountry, Factotum, This is England, Antichrist, The Ledge, Duane Hopwood, The Other Woman, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, The Killer Inside Me, and the most recent one I watched The Death of Stalin. I’m ranking the movies I’ve seen this last week in the order of least to best liked. There’s a short synopsis for each one and why I rated them the way I did.
Peep World (2010) is the only movie out of the five that was bad and borderline terrible, which is a shame. The writer could have explored and expanded it to the point of making it a good comedy/drama. It did little of this as the humor was one dimensional, therefore flat and grasping for energy. There were many creative opportunities in this kind of story. A man who writes a tell all book about his Jewish family except his father because he is too afraid to offend him, but has no issues about offending the rest of family didn’t resonate to me. The writer is narcissistic (I get it), but as the movie progressed, there were few laughs. A brother who can’t get his life together as a lawyer, a sister who is a failed actress, another brother who seems to be living the great married life, the writer who is a complete jerk, and divorced parents weren’t enough to sustain my interest. The only reason I finished it was to see how it would end. I was correct in that it ended as it started: very shallow and not very funny. It is written by Peter Himmelstein and directed by Barry W. Blaustein. It stars Ben Schwartz as Nathan Meyerwitz, Ron Rifkin as Henry Meyerwitz, Michael C. Hall as Jack Meyerwitz, Sarah Silverman as Cheri Meyerwitz, and Rainn Wilson as Joel Meyerwitz.
I rate Peep World TWO FINGERS at 61%.
I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016) took a while to gain speed, but once it did I’m glad I gave it a try. We’ve all heard about the small Midwestern town with a population of 5,000 or less for the setting and this one takes place in a little town in Minnesota. It’s about a teenager who is fascinated with death and how he keeps his own feelings under control with the help of regular therapist visits. His life is further complicated that his mother owns a funeral home and allows him to help prepare the bodies for funerals. He becomes intrigued with an older neighbor and what looks like puddles of oil after each murder takes place. As the relationship between the teenager and old neighbor, each take risks in their own way. I really enjoyed the last ten minutes of the movie as it all came together with an ending I wasn’t suspecting. It is adapted from the book written by Dan Wells by the same name. It is written by Christopher Hyde and Billy O’Brien and directed by Billy O’Brien. It stars Max Records as John Wayne Cleaver, Christopher Lloyd as Bill Crowley, Laura Fraser as April Cleaver, and Karl Geary as Dr. Neblin.
I rate I Am Not a Serial Killer THREE FINGERS at 80%.
Byzantium (2012) is about a mother and daughter who couldn’t be more different. The story weaves back and forth in time because these two vampires have lived a long, long time. The present time has just as many consequences as they relocate to a coastal town after an unfortunate event. It is at this town the choices made in the past are revealed and the reason to why they are being hunted. The daughter finds herself having to make a choice regarding her relationship with her mother if she hopes to form meaningful relationships with others. While not as great as Interview with the Vampire, this movie does have enough substance with a modern feel to keep you engaged. It is written by Moira Buffini and directed by Neil Jordan. It stars Saoirse Ronan as Eleanor, Gemma Arterton as Clara, Sam Riley as Darvell, Jonny Lee Miller as Ruthven, and Caleb Landry Jones as Frank.
I rate Byzantium FOUR FINGERS at 85%.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013) is a movie about two people trying to outrun their past in different ways. One does it by admitting the mistakes he has done, but not feeling sorry for what he did. The other hangs onto her mistakes and becomes a part of her being. When they are separated, they hope to find a way to reunite again. The rest of the movie involves this tricky process of seeing each other again. One has local law enforcement watching her every move. The other has bounty hunters after him. The ending was good and left a little bit of unknown between two of the characters. It is written and directed David Lowery. It stars Rooney Mara as Ruth Guthrie, Casey Affleck as Bob Muldoon, Ben Foster as Patrick Wheeler, Keith Carradine as Skerritt, and Nate Parker as Sweetie.
I rate Ain’t Them Bodies Saints FOUR FINGERS at 90%.
Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) is the kind of movie I haven’t seen in a while. It’s a combination of a coming of age story for teenagers and adults. It includes quirky personalities, uncomfortable conversations, teenage angst, realistic parenting, and normal human issues. Even though I would never have the guts to write this kind of script, it goes to show variety matters. This movie pushes boundaries, but in a good way. I’d say these scenes are done with thought to the whole story. For example, what it means to an emotionally absent father but physically there. You don’t need to be a hawk, but knowing a little bit about what your children are doing in their rooms is a good thing. The different relationships either remain the same, grow, or die when the movie ends, much like reality but with a little bit of hope tucked away. It is written and directed by Miranda July. It stars John Hawkes as Richard Swersey, Miranda July as Christine Jesperson, Miles Thompson as Peter Swersey, Brandon Ratcliff as Robby Swersey, Carlie Westerman as Sylvie, and Brad William Henke as Andrew.
I rate Me and You and Everyone We Know FOUR FINGERS at 90%.
June 15, 2019: Celebrity Quotes on Celebrity Status
May 31, 2019: Quick Introduction to Film Majors, Studios, Mini-Majors, and Independents
If you’ve ever done any study about the earlier years of Tinseltown, you know about the Golden Age of Hollywood. A major film studio is basically a production and distribution company that releases a substantial number of films and commands a significant share of box office revenue. There were eight original major studios during this time. They were Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists, and RKO Radio Pictures.
Paramount was founded by Adolph Zukor in 1912. Since 1994 has been run by Viacom although it split into two companies in 2006.
Universal Pictures was founded by Carl Laemmle, Pat Powers, Adam Kessel, Charles Baumann, Mark Dintenfass, William Swanson, David Horsley, and Jules Brulatour in 1912. Since 2004 NBCUniversal jointly owned it with General Electric in 2004 and Comcast in 2013.
20th Century Fox was founded by William Fox in 1915. It was renamed 21st Century Fox in 2013 and bought by Disney in 2019 which makes it a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios
Columbia Pictures was founded by Harry Cohn, Joe Brandt, and Jack Cohn in 1918. Since 1987 through 1991 it was run by Columbia Pictures Entertainment until Sony bought it in 1989.
United Artists was founded by Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith, and Mary Pickford in 1919. Since 2005 it has been under MGM Holdings and in 2011 Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase are bondholders.
Warner Bros. was founded by Jack L. Warner, Harry Warner, Albert Warner, and Sam Warner in 1923. Since 1990 was known as Time Warner until 2018 when AT&T bought it and is referred to as WarnerMedia.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was founded by Marcus Loew in 1924. Since 2005 it has been under MGM Holdings and in 2011 Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase are bondholders.
RKO Pictures was founded in 1928 by David Sarnoff. Since 1989 Independent owns the company.
Today there are five major film studios that were active during the Golden Age although two out the the five were part of the original eight. Their various film productions and distribution subsidiaries command approximately 80–85% of U.S. box office revenue. They are Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Walt Disney Pictures.
Paramount was founded by Adolph Zukor in 1912. Since 1994 has been run by Viacom although it split into two companies in 2006.
Universal Pictures was founded by Carl Laemmle, Pat Powers, Adam Kessel, Charles Baumann, Mark Dintenfass, William Swanson, David Horsley, and Jules Brulatour in 1912. Since 2004 NBCUniversal jointly owned it with General Electric in 2004 and Comcast in 2013.
Columbia Pictures was founded by Harry Cohn, Joe Brandt, and Jack Cohn in 1918. Since 1987 through 1991 it was run by Columbia Pictures Entertainment until Sony bought it in 1989.
Warner Bros. was founded by Jack L. Warner, Harry Warner, Albert Warner, and Sam Warner in 1923. Since 1990 was known as Time Warner until 2018 when AT&T bought it and is currently referred to as WarnerMedia.
Walt Disney Pictures was founded by Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney in 1923. Since 2011 it has been referred to as Disney.
There are mini-majors, which are those companies that tend to take smaller and riskier projects. Their distribution isn’t worldwide, but are still well financed. The three known mini-majors of today is Lions Gate Entertainment, MGM, and DreamWorks. There are a handful of mini-majors no longer in existence and is listed below.
Castle Rock Entertainment was purchased in 1993 by Turner Broadcasting System and TBS merged with Time Warner in 1996.
Allied Artists Pictures in 1967.
New Line Cinema was purchased in 1994 by Turner Broadcasting System, TBS merged with Time Warner in 1996, and New Line merged with Warner Bros. in 2008
Relativity Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy July 2015 and May 2018. It sold to UltraV Holdings.
United Artists was relaunched in 2006 by Paula Wagner and Tom Cruise, but in 2008 MGM bought it.
Orion Pictures in 1990 was considered the last of the mini-majors. Purchased in 1997 by MGM.
Avco Embassy in 1967 and acquired by Dino DeLaurentiis in 1986.
TriStar Pictures consolidated in 1987 into Columbia.
DreamWorks Animation acquired by NBCUniversal in 2016.
DreamWorks Pictures is now under Amblin Partners.
The Weinstein Companyfiled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but bought by Lantern Entertainment in 2018 and transferred to Spyglass Media Group.
Republic Pictures was formed by the consolidation of six minor studios.
FilmDistrict merged into Focus Features (Universal subsidiary) in 2014.
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment sold to Universal Studios in 1999 and in 1996 library sold to MGM.
Artisan Entertainment purchased in 2003 by Lions Gate Entertainment.
Overture Films sold to Relativity Media in 2010 and Overture’s film library acquired by Lions Gate Entertainment in 2016.
Summit Entertainmentacquired by Lions Gate Entertainment in 2012.
The Cannon Group
Global Road Entertainment formerly known as Open Road Films filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2018. It was purchased on approval as of December 2018 by a Delaware bankruptcy judge.
Miramax Films owned by The Walt Disney Company from 1993 to 2010. It sold to beIN Media Group in 2016.
Weintraub Entertainment Group
There are past independent companies and instant major studios listed below for reference. There were three instant major studios in 1967, which was a film company that had instant success.
Past Independent Companies
New World Pictures acquired by News Corporation in 1997.
Turner Pictures purchased along with Hanna-Barbera, Castle Rock Entertainment, New Line Cinema and Turner Entertainment Co. in 1996 by Time Warner.
DreamWorks Pictures purchased by Viacom.
DreamWorks Animation purchased in 2016 by NBCUniversal.
Lucasfilm purchased in 2012 by The Walt Disney Company.
Marvel Studios/Marvel Entertainment purchased in 2009 by The Walt Disney Company.
Pixar Animation Studios purchased in 2006 by The Walt Disney Company.
The Samuel Goldwyn Company purchased in 1997 by MGM.
Instant Major Studios
Cinerama Releasing Corporation (distributor for ABC Pictures Corporation).
National General Corporation (distributor for Cinema Center Films).
Commonwealth United Corporation
May 20, 2019: 10 Movies I Watched and Were Worth it Between 2000 and 2015
Sunshine (2007) is a adventure/sci-fi/thriller about a team of astronauts sent to on a mission after the first team failed. This is a do or die situation because the Earth is dying from lack of sunlight. With a new team in place, Icarus II is the last hope for human survival. It stars Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Bryne, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Troy Garity, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong, Chipo Chung, Mark Strong, Ewan McGregor, and Paloma Baeza. It is rated R for violent content and language.
Brick (2005) is a crime/drama/mystery about a teenager living in California on a quest to find what happened to his ex-girlfriend after she is found dead. She gives him few clues except a few words in a prior phone call. Upon gaining entrance into high school cliques, getting closer to drugs, and clashing with rich students, Brendan uncovers the reasons for this tragedy. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Haas, Noah Fleiss, Matt O’Leary, Emilie de Ravin, Noah Segan, Richard Roundtree, Meagan Good, and Brian White. It is rated R for violent and drug content.
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004) is a comedy/drama about an oceanographer who seeks revenge on a jaguar shark that killed his partner. Joining him is an array of personalities that make his journey underwater more difficult and lively. The footage of this expedition will be the second part of his documentary whether he finds the jaguar shark or not. It stars Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, and Bud Cort. It is rated R for language, some drug use, violence, and partial nudity.
A Scanner Darkly (2006) is a animation/crime/drama about a undercover detective trying to find the people responsible for putting a dangerous drug known as Substance D onto the streets of California. As his assignment continues, Fred is further absorbed into this drug world, leading to his identity being fractured and sacrificed for a greater good. It stars Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder, Rory Cochrane, Lisa Marie Newmyer, Dameon Clarke, Jason Douglas, Marco Perella, Alex Jones, and Turk Pipkin. It is rated R for drug and sexual content, language, and a brief violent image.
Big Eyes (2014) is a drama based on real life painter and her fight to be legitimately recognized for her artistic talent and work. Margaret’s working relationship with her husband seemed good at the time, but as she gains more recognition greeds gets in his way. It is in court where people learn the truth. It stars Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Jon Polito, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Terence Stamp. It is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language.
The Science of Sleep (2006) or La science des rêves (original title) is a drama/fanstasy about a young man falling in love with his neighbor. Through the use of his dreams, he escapes into a world of fantasy and imagination to deal with his actual life. It stars Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Miou-Miou, Alain Chabat, Emma de Caunes, Sacha Bourdo, Aurélia Petit, and Pierre Vaneck. It is rated R for language, some sexual content and nudity.
Inherent Vice (2014) is a comedy/crime/drama adapted from Thomas Pynchon’s book (still sitting on my shelf) about a private investigator in Los Angeles. He’s investigating the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. With each new piece of information dug up, Doc uncovers a possible conspiracy regarding the FBI and syndicate known as Golden Fang. It stars Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone, Maya Rudolph, and Martin Short. It is rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence.
Joy Ride (2001) is a mystery/thriller about two brothers and a friend on a road trip. Theyengage in innocent pranks over the radio, but they learn someone doesn’t view it the same way. A truck driver named Rusty Nail hunts them down one by one for embarrassing and playing childish games with him. It stars Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski, Jessica Bowman, Stuart Stone, and Jim Beaver. It is rated R for violence/terror and language.
3:10 to Yuma (2007) is a crime/drama/action about a rancher who hopes to get out from under his debts by helping to escort an outlaw to a train station in Arizona. Being part of this transport proves difficult as the outlaw in custody has a posse eager to rescue him. It stars Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Logan Lerman, Dallas Roberts, Ben Foster, Peter Fonda, Vinessa Shaw, Alan Tudyk, Luce Rains, Gretchen Mol, and Lennie Loftin. It is rated R for violence and some language.
Prisoners (2013) is a crime/drama/mystery about a man’s quest to find his missing daughter and her friend. As the police search for the missing girls, he targets a young man in a van for clues. He finds himself on a mission, willing to sacrifice himself for his daughter’s safe return. It stars Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Dennis Christopher, Dylan Minnette, Zoë Soul, Erin Gerasimovich, and Kyla-Drew Simmons. It is rated R for disturbing violent content including torture, and language throughout.
May 5, 2019: Five Movies in Two Weeks
I’ve been watching movies here and there in the last few weeks. Because time is always a factor for me, I am ranking them in the order of least to most liked. They were watched on Netflix, Hulu, or from my own shelves. There’s a short synopsis for each one and why I rated them the way I did.
The Sisters Brothers (2017)/Les frères Sisters (original title) is about the Sisters brothers, Eli and Charlie, during the 1850s. Hired by a man named The Commodore, they chase a man, a gold prospector, named Hermann Warm on the west coast. It is written by Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain and directed by Jacques Audiard. While I really like all the main actors in this movie, the story went in a different direction I thought it would go. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but after this path was taken, the tension built throughout the movie had deflated. I still wanted to see how it would end, but the ending was a little abrupt.
I rate The Sisters Brothers Three Fingers at 75%.
The Hills Have Eyes (1977) is about a family getting stuck on their way to California after their car breaks down. Both families want to survive, but there can be only one. Oh, the suspense. It is written and directed by Wes Craven. There were hokey parts in this movie, but that’s a given. I knew pretty much how it would end. There would be a few survivors in both families, and the ones that did survive would hopefully live to see another day, After you get past the terror of the family behind the walkie talkies, the real battle begins. The story progressed nicely although I have to say they could have made the recently stranded father a little more likable.
I rate The Hills Have Eyes Three Fingers at 80%.
An Education (2009) is story about a teenage girl living with her overprotective and overbearing father in the 1960s. When she meets an older man, her life unravels piece by piece. It is adapted from the memoir by Lynn Barber and script written by Nick Hornby. It is directed by Lone Scherfig. I like movies based from memoirs. It’s not a new story, where a highly intelligent sheltered teenager wants to find her own way instead of following what her parents want, but the pressures involved still resonate. The power dynamic between Jenny Mellor and David Goldman continues until the end.
I rate An Education Four Fingers at 87%.
Doctor Zhivago (1965) is about a Russian doctor and poet who falls in love during a revolution and war. It is everything an epic movie would be. It is adapted from the novel by Boris Pasternak and script written by Robert Bolt. It is directed by David Lean. Some characters begin their life with a troubled childhood and that is Yuri Zhivago. He becomes a doctor even though his mentor persuades him not to and soon has a family of his own. The movie goes back and forth in time, eventually solving the mystery of who really is “the girl.”
I rate Doctor Zhivago Four Fingers at 90%.
Marathon Man (1976) is about a graduate history student caught in the middle of an conspiracy involving stolen diamonds, a Nazi war criminal, and a rogue government agent. It is adapted from the novel by William Goldman and script written by William Goldman. It is directed by John Schlesinger. This is the only movie in these five that I’ve seen twice. The opening scene is excellent and as the movie progresses the whys and hows are answered. The ending scene between Szell and Babe is as powerful as ever.
I rate Marathon Man Four Fingers and One Thumb at 100%.
April 16, 2019: 10 Movies I Shouldn’t Have Watched but Did Between 2000 to 2015
Hard Candy (2005) was one I struggled with and thought was overall bad from start to finish. It was casting, story, and pacing all rolled into one. There wasn’t enough suspense to keep me engaged. I understand Hayley’s how to catch a predator mission, but it could’ve been more effective had it focused less on that. I didn’t get a good sense of who had the real power. It seemed to sort of fall into her lap throughout the movie. The ending with Sandra Oh? What a waste. Enough said. It stars Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Odessa Rae, and G.J. Echternkamp. It is rated R for disturbing violent and aberrant sexual content involving a teen, and for language.
Alone in the Dark (2005) was entertaining to a tiny point, but bad because there’s a supernatural detective in it. What is a supernatural detective? I’ll tell you. This kind of detective finds paranormal subjects and lets them meet their justice. Think about human experimentation, paranormal, and demonic creatures to complete this not very believable story. The door has now opened. It stars Christian Slater, Tara Reid, Stephen Dorff, and Frank C. Turner. It is rated R for violence and language.
Daddy Day Care (2003) had decent actors and actresses, but Daddy Day Care versus Chapman Academy is a little far-fetched. It’s clear those in charge wouldn’t have an abundance of parents leaving their children in their care. The good thing about this movie is Eddie Murphy and Steve Zahn but the laughs are few and far between. It also stars Anjelica Huston, Regina King, and Jeff Garlin. It is rated PG for language.
Return to Sender (2015) was okay as it had some promise, but then it completely went off the rails by the end of it. The character’s profession did not match her actions. Sure, there are secrets healthcare professionals have, but not to this extent. Strong beginning, but weak ending. It stars Rosamund Pike, Shiloh Fernandez, Nick Nolte, and Camryn Manheim. It is not rated but has adult material not suitable for children.
Tree of Life (2011) is one I thought I’d like, but didn’t because it was too back and forth without making much sense. I like to consider myself pretty good at understanding concepts in movies, but I needed a little more clarity and direction in this one. Sure, it had spiritual and natural elements, but the ugly wasn’t ugly enough. It stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, and Fiona Shaw. It is rated PG-13 for some thematic material.
Twilight (2008) is the movie where vampires sparkle and the dialogue includes all the words tweens recognize. Everyone wants to be bitten by Edward and protected by Jacob. Remember the ridiculous looking wig Taylor Lautner wore? I won’t deny I saw New Moon and Eclipse, but I stopped there. What was I thinking? Just think if it wasn’t for this series, there would be no Shades trilogy. It stars Kristen Stewart, Billy Burke, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, and Nikki Reed. It is rated PG-13 for some violence and a scene of sensuality.
Stealth (2005) is one I saw in the theater with someone I’ve apologized to bringing him there more than a few times. This movie failed because artificial intelligence danger in the form of an unmanned fighter jet needs a little more substance. Getting shot down in enemy territory still needs something else to accompany it. There just wasn’t enough. It stars Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel, Josh Lucas, Sam Shepard, Joe Morton, and Wentworth Miller. It is rated PG-13 for intense action, some violence, brief strong language and innuendo.
White Chicks (2004) can’t be taken seriously because look at Shawn and Marlon Wayans’ faces. They are trying to pass as two young socialites in this movie with their zombie like eyes and rubber faces. Even if we are to suspend reality here, it’s about disgraced agents needing to work their way back in the ranks of their agency. I’m okay with this, but less makeup please. It stars Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Jaime King, Brittany Daniel, and John Heard. It is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, and some drug content.
Catwoman (2004) was obviously not memorable because I hardly remember it. Therefore, I am putting it into this category. As we all know, comic book fans will rip an adaptation apart if it doesn’t keep the candle lit. What I do remember is her petting a black cat that appears in her apartment and the rest is downhill from there. It stars Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, and Lambert Wilson. It is rated PG-13 for action violence and some sensuality.
Coyote Ugly (2000) is the movie where liquor, women, and dancing come together and all because a NYC transplant didn’t rocket into a singing career as she hoped. Lucky for us she meets a wannabe record agent and now has to become a bartender. Another important question is how do you afford an apartment in NYC on the salary of a bartender? It stars Piper Perabo, Adam Garcia, Maria Bello, Tyra Banks, Bridget Moynahan, Izabella Miko, and John Goodman. It is rated PG-13 for sensuality.
April 15, 2019: 10 Movies I Liked That Many Did Not Between 2000 to 2015
Sanctum (2011) highlights the fear of many people: being trapped somewhere without a way out. As Frank McGuire and his team find out, nature and human survival can bring out the worst and best in people. The questions of will they survive and who does survive is why you watch this. It stars Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield, Alice Parkinson, Dan Wyllie, and Christopher James Baker. It is rated R for language, some violence and disturbing images.
The Fountain (2006) is about the past, present, and future. The three stories include love, immortality, and fate with elements of fantasy and spirituality. The first story centers on a conquistador and his captured queen. The second story deals with a researcher and his dying wife. The third story involves a space traveler on a personal journey. As the stories intersect with each other, the meaning of life and death is the basis of this movie. It stars Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, Mark Margolis, Stephen McHattie, Cliff Curtis, Sean Patrick Thomas, Donna Murphy, and Ethan Suplee. It is rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violent action, some sensuality and language.
Eight Legged Freaks (2002) is about a common phobias to cross the minds of people. Spiders are fast moving suckers, and now are a much bigger menace for a small town called Prosperity. Two of the townspeople, Chris Mccormack and Sam Parker, have no choice but to rally those brave enough to go head to head with these behemoths. It stars David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra, Scarlett Johansson, Doug E. Doug, and Rick Overton. It is rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence, brief sexuality and language.
John Carter (2012) is about a Confederate Army captain and the time when he was transported onto another planet called Barsoom. There he gains powers beyond human ability. This allows him acceptance on Barsoom, finding friends and a love interest, but predict the unpredictable. There are others not happy he’s there, and now has to scramble to save himself no matter what planet he’s on. It stars Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, and Daryl Sabara. It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action.
House of Wax (2005) is definitely a guilty movie of mine I’ve seen too many times. It involves six friends who find themselves on a little detour in a small town called Ambrose. As they explore Ambrose, everyone realizes the town isn’t what it appears. There’s enough cheesiness for everyone in this movie. Besides, how can I pass up a movie with Paris Hilton? Better question, where’s the popcorn? It stars Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki, Jon Abrahams, Robert Ri’chard, and Damon Herriman. It is rated R for horror violence, some sexual content and language.
The Gunman (2015) is about a sniper who goes into hiding after a successful mission. Terrier returns to the Congo on a job, but has to go back into hiding when it is clear certain people want him dead. He works from the start to find out who is trying to kill him and innocent people close by. It stars Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Mark Ryland, and Idris Elba. It is rated R for strong violence, language and some sexuality.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) is about the end of the world in the form of an asteroid. People have named it Matilda, and she’s hurtling towards Earth ready to kill. What would you do in the last weeks of your life? Dodge decides to find his high school girlfriend with his neighbor. Long live the past. It stars Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Adam Brody, and Connie Britton. It is rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence.
G-Force (2009) is about a team of elite guinea pigs, mole, and fly on a mission for the US government because we all know you can train any of them to be a part of a FBI team. With the help of animals they meet along the way, they devise a plan to win the war against a billionaire and his household appliances. It stars Bill Nighy, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Kelli Garner, and Tyler Patrick Jones. It is rated PG for some mild action and rude humor.
Along Came Polly (2004) is about a newly married man, Reuben, who is unlucky in love. He reunites with a high school classmate and goes on a few dates, but he’s too rigid to let things naturally evolve. It doesn’t help that his friend, Sandy, is an embarrassment and often gives him bad advice. It stars Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Debra Messing, Alec Baldwin, and Hank Azaria. It is rated PG-13 for sexual content, language, crude humor and some drug references.
Run All Night (2015) is about a been around the block a few times hit man, Jimmy Conlon. Things get complicated when his old boss, Shawn, is out for blood. The cat and mouse game plays throughout the night. It stars Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, and Boyd Holbrook. It is rated R for strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use.
March 25, 2019: Gregory Peck Weekend Removed a Few Times
Quote from Moby Dick by Captain Ahab: “Sleep? That bed is a coffin, and those are winding sheets. I do not sleep, I die.”
Quote from On The Beach by Julian Osborne: “In the end, somehow granted the time for examination, we shall find that our so-called civilization was gloriously destroyed by a handful of vacuum tubes and transistors. Probably faulty.”
I regard Gregory Peck as one of the best actors of all time to grace the movie screens. The first movie I watched him in was To Kill a Mockingbird and he will continue to be a screen legend. Like this movie, Moby Dick and On the Beach, include pressing societal issues and in the case of Moby Dick, mental issues as well of Captain Ahab. Peck would be nominated for five Academy Awards in his career and finally won an Oscar for To Kill a Mockingbird.
Moby Dick (1956) is an adventure and drama about Captain Ahab and his quest to get revenge on the white whale who physically injured him, but more to seek revenge for his damaged pride. It is told from the viewpoint of Ishmael, one of his crew. I have yet to finish reading the book, which has sat on my shelf for over two decades now. This story is adapted from Herman Melville’s book, screenplay by Ray Bradbury and John Huston, and Norman Corwin where no credit was given. It is directed by John Huston and stars Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, Richard Basehart as Ishmael, Leo Genn as Starbuck, James Robertson Justice as Captain Boomer, Harry Andrews as Stubb, Bernard Miles as The Manxman, Noel Purcell as Ship’s Carpenter, Edric Connor as Daggoo, Mervyn Johns as Peleg, and Royal Dano as Elijah. It doesn’t have a rating and is 1 hour and 56 minutes long.
The film opens with Ismael meeting a Polynesian cannibal named Queequeg. He along with Queequeg agree to take part of a voyage despite being warned about Captain Ahab. On the Pequod, there are others who serve as company and some of them comfort to Ishmael including Starbuck, Stubb, Tashtego, Flask, Daggoo, Peleg, Elijah, and Fedallah. It takes a while for Captain Ahab to appear, but when he does everyone finds out how ruthless and unforgiving he is when it comes to whales. As they find success on these hunts, stories are bountiful including the real reason Ahab never wants to be on dry land. The various ships they encounter have stories that paint a bleak picture for them. Ahab might never find the white whale, but he will continue until the sea or the whale stop him. When Moby Dick is finally seen, Ahab does everything in his power to weaken the white whale. The chase is on and after Moby Dick destroys boats and terminates lives, Ahab has no choice but to go eye to eye with him. The visuals in this movie are stunning, and while it clearly is not an actual whale, the final scene between Moby Dick and Ahab is one I will remember for a long time. Despite Captain Ahab being a character I would not want to meet, I give Moby Dick a rating of 100% for the acting, direction, production design, and everything else that makes it a perfect movie.
On the Beach (1958) is a drama and romance about Commander Towers and his duty to his crew and survivors of the radiation fallout after World War III, including Moria Davidson who grabs his attention despite increasing tensions between the two. This story is adapted from Nevil Shute’s book and screenplay by John Paxton. It is directed by Stanley Kramer and stars Gregory Peck as Cmdr. Dwight Lionel Towers, Ava Gardner as Moira Davidson, Fred Astaire as Julian Osborn, Anthony Perkins as Lt. Peter Holmes, Donna Anderson as Mary Holmes, John Tate as Adm. Bridie, Richard Meikle as Davis, John Meillon as Ralph Swain. It doesn’t have a rating and is 1 hour and 56 minutes long. I would say this is more depressing of the two films because of how death is presented.
The film begins in Australia where devastation from war has killed most of the inhabitants in the northern hemisphere. It is in the south where people seek refuge including the American Commander Towers. Most of them know the severity of the situation including Lt. Holmes and encourages his wife to face the fact they might die. A few remain hopeful that the radiation poisoning will not reach them. Despite the small chance of finding a few survivors, Towers and his officers sail on the USS Sawfish in search of them. When they reach the west coast, the reality of the situation becomes authenticated in several ways. This leads to the officers dealing with the inevitable in their own way whether it be through car racing, romantic getaways, or nostalgic monologues. As USS Sawfish submerges underwater for the last time, it’s a somber ending to what could have been. Unlike Captain Ahab, I wouldn’t mind meeting Commander Towers, but not under these circumstances. The acting in this movie too was perfect. It didn’t hold my attention as much as Moby Dick, but it was a near perfect movie. Therefore, I give On the Beach a rating of 96%.
March 22, 2019: 10 Foreign Movie Recommendations
I’ve been thinking of the foreign films I’ve watched in the past. Here are the ones I remember from each year starting in 2000 to 2009. The countries chosen are from Mexico, France, China, Hong Kong, Italy, UK, Germany, Austria, Spain, Taiwan, and South Korea. Here they are in order of year.
Amores Perros (2000) is a drama and thriller movie from Mexico. It is rated R for violence, gore, language and sexuality. It runs 2 hours and 34 minutes. The story centers around three strangers: Octavio (Gael García Bernal), Valeria (Goya Toledo), and El Chivo (Emilio Echevarría). Taking place in Mexico City, dogs and dog fighting, social classes, and different forms of violence make the three stories gritty, dark, and realistic.
Amélie or Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (original title) (2001) is a comedy and romance movie from France. It is rated R for sexual context. It runs 2 hours and 2 minutes. The story centers around Amélie (Audrey Tautou) who had a sheltered childhood because of her father. As an adult, she spreads her wings in Paris and searches for the meaning of life including finding love. It also stars Matheiu Kassovitz as Nino Quincampoix.
Hero or Ying xiong (original title) (2002) is an action, adventure, and history movie from China and Hong Kong. It is rated PG-13 for stylized martial arts violence and a scene of sensuality . It runs 1 hour and 47 minutes. The story centers around an officer who doesn’t have a name (Jet Li). Nameless tells of how he defeated three enemies of Qin, the ruler. It also stars Tony Chiu-Wai Leung as Broken Sword, Maggie Cheung as Flying Snow, Ziyi Zhang as Moon, and Donnie Yen as Sky.
The Dreamers (2003) is a drama and romance movie from France, Italy, and the UK. It is rated NC-17 for explicit sexual content, but the R version is basically three minutes shorter. It runs 1 hour and 55 minutes. The story centers around two twins, Théo and Isabelle (Louis Carrel and Eva Green) and how they influence an American student, Matthew (Michael Pitt), to give up his conservative mindset during the 1968 Paris student riots.
Kung Fu Hustle (2004) is an action, comedy and crime movie from China. It is rated R for strong stylized action and violence . It runs 1 hour and 39 minutes. The story centers around the Axe Gang and how Sing (Stephen Chow) in his quest to be a part of it leads to a battle between the gang and residents of the town. It also stars Xiaogang Feng as Crocodile Gang Boss, Wah Yuen as Landlord, Zhihua Dong as Donut, and Kwok-Kwan Chan as Brother Sum.
Downfall or Der Untergang (original title) (2005) is a biography, history, and drama movie from Germany, Italy, and Austria. It is rated R for strong violence, disturbing images, and some nudity. It runs 2 hours and 36 minutes. The story centers around Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara), Adolf Hitler’s (Bruno Ganz) secretary, and their time together before he kills himself. It includes those closest to him during this time, Heinrich Himmler (Ulrich Noethen), Joseph Goebbels (Ulrich Matthes), and Eva Braun (Juliane Köhler), and how despite their presence, Hitler’s increasing fragility is all too evident.
Pan’s Labyrinth or El laberinto del fauno (original title) (2006) is a drama, fantasy, and war movie from Spain, Mexico, and the US. It is rated R for graphic violence and some language. It runs 1 hour and 58 minutes. The story centers Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) who copes with her new stepfather and home by immersing herself into a world of fantasy. It also includes Captain Vidal (Sergi López) and Mercedes (Maribel Verdú), and Fauno/Pale Man (Doug Jones).
Lust, Caution or Se, jie (original title) (2007) is a drama, romance, and history movie from Taiwan, China and the US. It is rated NC-17 for some explicit sexuality. It runs 2 hours and 37 minutes. The story centers around the attempted assassinations of Mr. Yee (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) and whether Mai Tai Tai (Wei Tang) will be able to successfully asked what they were sent to do. It also stars Joan Chen as Yee Tai Tai, Leehom Wang as Kuang Yu Min, and Tsung-Hua To as Old Wu.
Persepolis (2008) is a biography, drama, and animation movie from France and USA. It is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including violent images, sexual references, language, and brief drug content. It runs 1 hour and 36 minutes. The story centers around Marjane Statrapi (voiced by Chiara Mastroianni) and her family during the Iranian Revolution in 1979, and how she handles this change when she returns from abroad. It also includes Danielle Darrieux (Grandma), Catherine Deneueve (Mom, and Simon Abkarian (Dad).
Mother or Madeo (original title) (2009) is a drama, crime, and mystery movie from South Korea. It is rated R for language, some sexual content, violence, and drug usage. It runs 2 hours and 9 minutes. The story centers around a mother (Hye-ja Kim) who seeks to find out who framed her son Do-joon (Won Bin) for the brutal killing of a woman, in order to prove his innocence. It also includes Goo Jin as Jin-tae, Je-mun Yun as Je-moon, and Sae-byeok Song as Sepaktakraw Detective.
March 3, 2019: Going Back to the 1980’s
There were 33,493 movies released in the 1980s according to IMDb. I was going to narrow it down by the major genres according to AFI, but that doesn’t work since I’ve only seen a few animated movies from this time. I definitely need more than two to have a list of five in every genre. I next thought I could cover the most popular directors from that time, but that would cover basically a lot of movies. I’d like to make this somewhat manageable. I then thought about the movies that defined the 1980s, but that would take a whole month to try to come up with a suitable list. I finally decided to just wing it and see what happened. Here it goes for now, but later I will probably expand on this decade in some way.
This was the year of 9 to 5, Private Benjamin, and The Blue Lagoon. I decided to pick Coal Miner’s Daughter, which is the story of Loretta Lynn, a mother of four from Kentucky that became a famous country singer. It stars Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn. It is directed by Michael Apted.
Fun Fact: Sissy Spacek beat Meryl Streep for this role.
This was the year of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman II, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. I decided to pick Mommie Dearest, which is the story of Joan Crawford and her adopted daughter, Christina. It stars Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford. It is directed by Frank Perry.
Fun Fact: Faye Dunaway needed a voice coach to help her after she lost it due to all the screaming.
This was the year of Tootsie, Rocky II, and Annie. I decided to pick E.T the Extra-Terrestrial, which is the story an alien stranded on Earth and the relationship with a boy. It stars Henry Thomas as Elliott and Drew Barrymore as Gertie. It is directed by Steven Spielberg.
Fun Fact: The theatrical run for this movie was over a year.
This was the year of Flashdance, Mr. Mom, and Risky Business. I decided to pick Trading Places, which is the story of a businessman and con man. It stars Eddie Murphy as Billy Ray Valentine and Dan Aykroyd as Louis Winthrope III. It is directed by John Landis.
Fun Fact: Eddie Murphy had no understanding of commodities trading.
This was the year of Gremlins, Footloose, and Splash. I decided to pick The Karate Kid, which is the story of an old master who teaches karate to a teenager who just moved to California. It stars Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi and Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso. It is directed by John G. Avildsen.
Fun Fact: Chad McQueen is in the movie. He’s Steve McQueen’s son. His character’s name was Dutch.
This was the year of Back to the Future, The Color Purple, and The Goonies. I decided to pick Witness, which is the story of an Amish boy and his encounter with a police officer. It stars Harrison Ford as John Book and Lukas Haas as Samuel. It is directed by Peter Weir.
Fun Fact: This was Viggo Mortensen’s film debut.
This was the year of Top Gun, Aliens, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I decided to pick The Name of the Rose, which is the story of murders in an Abbey and how a friar is sought to solve these deaths. It stars Sean Connery as William von Baskerville and Christian Slater as Adso von Melk. It is directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
Fun Fact: The preparation for this movie was five years.
This was the year of Fatal Attraction, Three Men and a Baby, and Lethal Weapon. I decided to pick Predator, which is the story of a special operations team sent to Central America on a rescue mission. It stars Arnold Schwarzenagger as Dutch and Carl Weathers as Dillion. It is directed by John McTiernan.
Fun Fact: The human body count in the movie is 69.
This was the year of Rain Man, Twins, and Die Hard. I decided to pick Young Guns, which is the story of a group of gunmen seeking revenge. It stars Emilio Estevez as William H. Bonney, Kiefer Sutherland as Doc Scurlock, Lou Diamond Phillips as Chavez y Chavez, Charlie Sheen as Dick Brewer, Dermot Mulroney as Dirty Steve Stephens, and Casey Siemaszko as Charley Bowdre. It is directed by Christopher Cain.
Fun Fact: Kiefer Sutherland accidentally popped his squib blood pack, which had taken an hour to rig up.
This was the year of Batman, Dead Poets Society, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. I decided to pick My Left Foot, which is about a man with cerebral palsy who paints with his left foot. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown and Brenda Fricker as Mrs. Brown. It is directed by Jim Sheridan.
Fun Fact: Brenda Fricker has only been nominated once for an Academy Award and won it for this movie.
March 2, 2019: Underrated and Overrated Actresses and Actors of Today
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I rented an apartment that Hollywood actresses and actors stayed. The executives would then shuttle them to any of the studio lots for whatever movie they were in and after a long day, bring them back to this apartment. It had an elevator, I think, but it wasn’t operating at the time. You could tell the building had been around for a while as the architecture was a throw back to that time period. While this practice is no longer being used, here is my list of current underrated and overrated actresses and actors.
The underrated actresses and actors come first because they deserve more spotlight. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad, but for whatever reason they aren’t given the chance to be a powerhouse star like the ones we already know. Although on the flip side, they probably aren’t looking for stardom and just want to act. Here they are in no particular order.
John C. Reilly
Gael García Bernal
The overrated actresses and actors come last because they get enough spotlight. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad either. Maybe, some of the movies they starred in weren’t that good. When you start talking about craft, basically two come to mind for their lack of it. People’s fascination for them doesn’t match what they offer on the screen movie after movie. Sorry, but it’s just how I feel. I’m not going to tell you if they are male or female as you will have to make your own decisions regarding this list. Here they are in no particular order.
Robert Downey Jr.
And there you have it, my list of underrated and overrated actresses and actors. I was going to put up pictures, but in the whole scheme of things does it matter. If you are wanting to see their faces that much, I will leave it up to you to browse the internet.
February 7, 2019: Back to the 1990s Again!
Now that we are done bringing back 80s fashion and trends for the most part, we have crept into the 90s finally. Back then, semi established writers/directors were casting their nets wider in Hollywood such as Jane Campion, Kevin Smith, Amy Heckerling, Quentin Tarantino, Mira Nair, Gus Van Sant, and Joel and Ethan Coen, Sofia Coppola, and Todd Solondz. Here are my favorite movies for each writer/director listed above from that decade. Note that some of the movies were adaptations by previous works.
My Own Private Idaho (1991) is a movie about male hustlers. Mike finds guidance under the more experienced Scott, played by River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves. They go on a journey together, mainly for Mike to find his mother. It sends them across state lines and overseas. It’s a drama that has a tragic element from start to finish. It’s directed by Gus Van Sant. It has a R rating for strong sensuality, language, and drug use.
The Piano (1993) is the movie about a young girl and mother, both struggling for their independence. Anna Paquin played Flora, which won her an Oscar, and Holly Hunter played her mother, Ada, also won an Oscar. Sam Neill (underrated actor in my opinion) and Harvey Keitel lent their hand in making the tone creepy in their own distinct ways. There is great cinematography throughout it and the story is quite haunting. It’s a period piece drama directed by Jane Campion. It has a R rating for extreme graphic sexuality.
Mallrats (1995) is the movie where college students focus on the wrong things. Brodie and TS, played by Jason Lee and Jeremy London, don’t have much going for themselves except to try to win back their girlfriends. What’s the best place to put their winning plan into motion? It’s called a mall where losers usually stay losers, but cool losers. It’s a comedy directed by Kevin Smith. It has a R rating for strong language, sexuality, and drug content.
Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) is the coming of age movie with a sarcastic tone. Dawn Wiener, played by Heather Matarazzo, is an outcast in school and has earned unfortunate nicknames by her classmates. She searches for acceptance in all the wrong places including a boy named Brandon and a much older student named Steve. I think every student who wasn’t part of the popular crowd can relate to this. It’s a comedy directed by Todd Solondz. It has a R rating for language.
Clueless (1995) is a movie about living and maintaining the status quo in Beverly Hills, California. Cher Horowitz and her best friend Dionne, played by Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash, set out to make their circle bigger. They befriend Tai, played by Brittany Murphy, who becomes too much for either one to handle. It’s a comedy directed by Amy Heckerling. It has a PG-13 rating for sex related dialogue and some teen use of alcohol and drugs.
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996) is a movie about two friends who end up in competition for a man. Tara and Maya, played by Indira Varma and Sarita Choudhury, are close but opposites. Tara is a part of royalty and Maya’s role will only be of a servant. They each have their own desires and agendas for Raj Singh, played by Naveen Andrews. It’s a period piece drama directed by Mira Nair. It has a R rating for strong erotic sequences, nudity, and some violence.
Fargo (1996) is a movie about a car dealer who digs himself into a further hole to get out of debt. Jerry, played by William H. Macy, is married to a woman who is about as smart as himself. As the plan goes from bad to worse and bodies pile up, it’s the sheriff from Brainerd, Minnesota to the rescue. It’s a crime drama directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It has a R rating for strong violence, language, and sexuality.
Jackie Brown (1997) is a movie about a flight attendant who is also money smuggler for Ordell, played by Samuel L. Jackson. When Jackie, played by Pam Grier, finds herself in trouble, she has to use her charm and negotiating skills to outmaneuver the agents, bosses, and enemies never far away. It’s a crime drama directed by Quentin Tarantino. It has a R rating for strong language, some violence, drug use and sexuality.
The Virgin Suicides (1999) is a movie about five sisters who each deal with living with strict Catholic parents in their own way. This family keeps taboo matters hidden rugs and sensitive topics under lock and key. The Lisbon family, maladjusted as they were, leaves a lasting impression on the town. It’s a drama direct by Sofia Coppola. It has a R rating for strong thematic elements involving teens.
And there you have it, more 1990’s movies. I eventually have to venture out of this decade and move either to a time way before or into 2000 and beyond.
January 29, 2019: Quote by Kubrick
January 18, 2019: Movie Review: Papillon (1973) and Papillon (2017)
Quote from Papillon (1973) by Toussaint: “If you’re going to catch leprosy, it’s better to catch it from money than from people.”
Quote from Papillon (2017) by Dega: “Now what’s the son of two school teachers doing in a place like this?”
Allied Artist and Columbia Pictures
Czech Anglo Productions, Ram Bergman Productions, and FishCorb Films
I’ve been wanting to watch these movies for a while. I finally got around to brushing the dust off the cases and putting them into my Blu-ray player. I’ve seen a handful of prison movies and enough to know what it can be, shouldn’t be, actually is, history of it, and current reality of the institution that has grown its own wings and become a beast of its own. I liked both versions although the original matches more to the book than the remake. The original script was written primarily by Dalton Trumbo and the remake by Aaron Guzikowski. Instead of separating them, I’m going to semi blend both into one piece of synergy, keeping in mind Henri Charrière more than likely did not experience everything he wrote about. It was more an amalgamation of the prisoners he met and the things he witnessed, but he never lost sight of what he went through as well. This is a good thing because it’s almost unimaginable if he actually did go through all that and survived as well as he did.
Pisaries Creator’s Note: I tend to put spoilers in movies that were released for quite some time and although the remake is newer, the story is not. There will be some spoilers about Henri Charrière’s and other prisoners’ experiences below. If you care not to know about them, do not read any further, but do watch these movies if you haven’t already.
Papillon is based from the autobiography of Henri Charrière’s time in the French Guiana penal colony where the mortality rate at one time was 75%. The colony opened in 1852 and housed political prisoners at Devil’s Island, those in solitary confinement at Saint-Joseph Island, and the general population at Royale Island. Additional housing was later built. Much like other facilities that closed its doors because of poor conditions, rampant abuses, and public criticism, the French government stopped sending prisoners there in 1938 and the colony closed in 1953. While many prisoners died of violence, diseases, lack of nutrition, and forced labor, a few were lucky to escape and live. One of them was Henri although records say instead of escaping from Devil’s Island, he escaped from the main island. There has been authentication issues regarding his book as some argue Henri embellished his story. Either way it makes for a great story and this is why he probably angled it as an autobiography rather than fiction. There is no disputing he was housed at this general penal colony and was sentenced to live there for his entire life, starting in 1931.
Getting to Know the Major Players
To sound like a broken record, Papillon is an adaptation of Henri Charrière’s autobiographical book although more accurate is a narrative book by today’s standards. Dalton Trumbo and Lorenzo Semple Jr. are credited as the screenwriters and William Goldman as a contributing writer. The director was Franklin J. Schaffner. It was given an MPAA rating of R. It has a running time of 2 hours and 31 minutes. It is produced by Robert Dorfmann, Franklin J. Schaffner, and Ted Richmond. It is distributed by Allied Artists and Columbia Pictures. In the 2017 version, Aaron Guzikowski is the screenwriter who adapted his script from the books “Papillon” and “Banco” by Henri Charrière’s with Michael Noer as the director. This version also has a MPAA rating of R for violence including bloody images, language, nudity, and some sexual material. It has a running time of 2 hours and 13 minutes. It is produced by Czech Anglo Productions, Ram Bergman Productions, and FishCorb Films. It is distributed by Bleecker Street. Both movies included Louis Dega, a prisoner playing a major role in Henri Charrière’s attempts to free himself, and this is the platform on which the story progresses and evolves. Dega is played by Dustin Hoffman in the first movie and Rami Malek in the second. Charrière is played by Steve McQueen in the first movie and Charlie Hunnam in the second.
I will start with the summary of the original and then remake. You are pretty much thrust into the harshness of Henri Charrière life. It’s not going to be easy for him as he takes his walk of shame down a crowded street after being convicted of murder. He is with others who have been charged to carry out their sentence in the French Guiana penal colony and those who are sentenced 8+ years spend their whole life there. He hears about another prisoner named Louis Dega who is rumored to have lots of money. Henri meets the soft-spoken prisoner after Louis gets a little too close to violence. They come to a an agreement where they will help each other out once they arrive: Louis will provide Henri money for his future plans and Henri will provide Louis with physical protection against other prisoners and guards. They aren’t the only ones with plans as one prisoner tries to escape and the other hurts himself to be sent to the infirmary. The rest are given a lecture about what happens if they try to escape: the first attempt gets a man two years in solitary, the second attempt means gets a man five years in solitary, and a third attempt means the guillotine.
Because of Louis’s crime, he is sent to hard labor with Henri in tow. It is here Henri makes his first attempt at escaping, only to find you shouldn’t be so trusting, and is sent to solitary confinement. He is given nothing to do but pace back and forth and eat the little meals he receives each day. He is able to get by when he finds half a coconut in his bucket, but it doesn’t last long. This extra food given to him allows Warden Barrot (William Smithers), the chance to show how much worse it can get. He punishes Henri with small rations and makes him live without any light. This leads to a sort of mental breakdown where he imagines his life before he came there, illustrating his questioning the choices he made. When he is released from solitary confinement, he reunites with Louis and meets another prisoner, Maturette (Robert Deman) who is being preyed upon by a guard.
They come together and with the doctor’s help named Pascal (Val Avery), Henri makes a second escape attempt. Initially Louis only wanted to help him, but after it doesn’t go as planned, he is forced to go with Henri. They scale the walls and make it to the jungle, only to find another problem. Yet, luck is on their side as Henri, Louis, and Maturette find another boat with the help of a trapper and leper colony chief named Toussaint (Anthony Zerbe). They land in Colombia and are forced to separate right away as guns are pointed at them. Henri has no choice but to leave and meets a Spanish prisoner. He next wakes up in a village of natives who feed and house him. It is here he sees what true freedom really means. Their bond is solidified when Henri gives the leader a butterfly tattoo like his own.
He next finds refuge in a convent until he is betrayed again. He is sent back to the penal colony, and this time for five years in solitary confinement which leaves him looking older and weary. He somehow makes it through this period and is sent to Devil’s Island to a cabin for live the rest of his life. Despite his aging, he recognizes Louis tending to his garden and pig. More time spent with him reinforces Henri’s own need for freedom, even if it costs him his life. This time there is no jungle to battle through or boat to secure. He is high up with nothing to keep him afloat except coconuts strung together. After he says goodbye to Louis, he makes the jump to freedom he’s wanted throughout his incarceration.
The opening of the remake immerses you into the life of Henri Charrière prior to talking the walk to the boat that will carry him to his new life at the penal colony. It gives you a little window into Henri, allowing you some sympathy for his situation. He might be part of the Parisian underworld, but it doesn’t mean he’s a murderer for which he was framed. After being found guilty despite his alibi given from his lover, Nenette (Eve Hewson), he find himself walking close to Louis Dega. It is here where Louis’s wife tells him he will get out soon. As they are loaded onto the boat that will take the prisoners to South America, Henri settles into the madness as best he can. He is now in a place where every man is for himself, and despite this he still only takes physical action when it is only necessary. He comes to an agreement with Louis after helping him during an altercation. They exchange money for protection, giving you the first glimpse into prison reality. When they finally arrive on the island, a few try to escape in front of everyone. They don’t get very far and the ones that do eventually are brought back. It is at this moment Louis realizes this is not what he thought it would be and is truly scared for the first time since arriving.
After an escaped prisoner, Julot (Michael Socha) is guillotined, it’s Henri and Louis who have to move the body to its final resting place. It is here Henri makes his first attempt at escaping, but he doesn’t make it far. It leaves Louis dazed and frightened. Henri is given two years in solitary confinement where he can’t talk. The only human interaction is when he sticks his head out of the hole for a haircut. He is annoyed when another prisoner asks him how he looks, but after a prolonged amount of time there, he finds himself asking how he looks too to another prisoner. He does a lot of walking back and forth along with push ups until he is too weak to do anything. His rations have been cut in half after the guards find out someone has been supplementing his food with coconuts. After keeping his silence with Warden Barrot (Yorick van Wageningen) about this, he still survives and is released to the infirmary.
He reunites with Louis and makes an aquaintance with a prisoner named Maturette (Joel Basman). Reluctant at first to help Henri, Maturette decides to help him by sacrificing himself sexually. This helps clear the way for a successful second attempt at escaping. This time it isn’t only Henri, but also Dega, Maturette and Celier (Roland Møller). While they are now free, it isn’t all that great because there are too many people in their boat. This leads to an altercation where not everyone lives. They leave what happened behind as best they can and find solace at a convent in Colombia. Despite their willingness to live better lives, they are captured again and sent back to the penal colony.
After five years has passed, Henri is released from solitary confinement and sent to Devil’s Island to live for the rest of his life. He isn’t willing to settle for less and despite Louis who tries to convince him to stay, he commits to jumping from the cliff into the water where many have died before. In this third escape attempt, Henri swims to his makeshift coconut raft hoping to find freedom he desires.
Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman or Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek
I was thinking McQueen and Hoffman were going to be the better choice when it came to acting. Dustin Hoffman carries himself on the screen in such a way that you don’t blink too many times in case you might miss something. I have now seen two movies Steve McQueen starred in, this and The Magnificent Seven, and while his performance edged out Hunnam, it wasn’t by much because Hunnam’s portrayal of Henri was good and borderline great. Where McQueen’s performance was a little more aggressive in nature, Hunnam’s performance was just as insistent but more of a quiet nature especially when had to dig deep during his solitary confinement days or should I say years. This isn’t to say Hunnam wasn’t capable of showing his darker side when his character’s life depended on it. I thought Hunnam’s was a more likable Henri compared to McQueen’s. While he might not have had quite the range of McQueen, I found Hunnam more believable in terms of portraying and showing vulnerability and strength between himself and Malek. Yet, I preferred McQueen’s portrayal of Henri’s mental and physical breakdown during solitary confinement from his mind to his teeth. Hunnam lost around 35 pounds for this role where I couldn’t find anything about McQueen weight loss. I preferred Hoffman’s performance in that his unassuming and non-threatening manner on which he played Louis was done in an understated way that you forget it’s him. While this was done superbly, I missed some of the rare opportunities found in Malek’s portrayal of Louis such as the result of when you agitate him one too many times. While Hoffman and McQueen played characters who became friends because they were forced at first, I felt Malek and Hunnam were better able to portray their character’s friendship out of convenience at first and then because they truly wanted it by the end. I would say both were compelling and convincing, but overall I preferred Hunnam and Malek’s performances.
Which Butterfly Had the Prettier Wings?
While the story was the same, there were some notable differences between the versions. Much of it had to do with the different time periods, but maybe also how the director envisioned the movie. Leprosy was incorporated in the original, but it doesn’t hold as much weight compared to today so I assume they took it out to make it a little more modern. The scene where Henri and Louis work together to fight an alligator is not in the remake yet had held some importance as it kept them together as prisoners. While the settings are richer in terms of color in the remake, there is less connection to the native animals or animals. There was more of an effort to incorporate a connection to the outside world in terms of loved ones in the remake as Dega longs for his wife and freedom to see her again. The original had Henri facing his demons with a panel of judges telling him he was guilty. I preferred the remake where it was more creative of him visualizing a safe and the meaning of it in his life. There was also a nod to his Parisian lifestyle that you hardly got in the original. The special effects were better as well such as the blood. It looked less like a combination of ketchup and food coloring. There were some scenes that could have been eliminated in the original. Therefore in terms of overall production, I preferred the 2017 version over the 1973.
As I bring this to a close, this movie had mixed reviews among top critics and viewers. While I would have liked to seen more closure about what happened with Nenette in the remake, it signals the fact most of the prisoners once released never returned to France. The biggest issue with the original was the length. After the book was released, the French government invited Henri back. He died in 1973, almost being 67 years old. Charles Brunier who claims he was the inspiration for Papillon died in 2007. He lived much longer at the age of 105.
PC’s Rating for Papillon (1973)
Four Fingers of GREATNESS at 86%
PC’s Rating for Papillon (2017)
Four Fingers of GREATNESS at 90%.
January 11, 2019: Some TV Statistics
The highest paid TV actresses or actors in 2018 (Forbes)
The longest running U.S. TV series (Wikipedia)
The longest running scripted U.S. TV series (Wikipedia)
January 11, 2019: How Much are You Worth in Hollywood by the 2018 Statistics?
Many of us dream and think what it would be like to earn and have a net profit in the millions. We think it will bring us all kinds of happiness and indeed, it does in some respects, but in others not. There are pitfalls to most everything. You lose your privacy when you become an actress and actor. You are subject to magazine gossip. Lovers want to know everything about you: what you eat, drink, and crap. You better have a thick skin. The haters can rip your soul from your body and step on it without missing a beat. The thing is this kind of job, while a few earn into the millions, the majority do not. It’s hard to have longevity in Hollywood and yes, more so for women. Most every actress has some kind of Botox injected into them and some actors do it as well. Is talent (some less than others) measure up to what they have in their bank accounts? I’m not sure, but even if you have a family member working in Hollywood doesn’t mean you have it made. Did Jennifer Aniston not teach us anything? Here are some statistics about wealth and longevity in Hollywood and then adding some general statistics so the lower classes don’t feel left out.
The world’s highest paid actresses in 2018 (Forbes)
The world’s highest paid actors in 2018 (Forbes)
The best investment return of actors and actresses in 2018 (Forbes)
This means for every one dollar paid to the actress or actor, the average return of her or his movies earned was great to good.
The worst investment return of actors and actresses in 2018 (Forbes)
This means for every one dollar paid to the actress or actor, the average return of her or his movies earned was okay to bad.
The rest of us sit way below any of these people unless you come from a great source of wealth. You are probably in the same boat as me.
According to the Business Insider from 2017, the wealthiest 30 people in the world control 1.23 trillion dollars.
About 13.6 U.S. adults have a net worth above one million so that accounts for 41% of the world’s millionaires. However, Switzerland has the most millionaires per capita so that means 1 out of 8.6 people can call themselves a millionaire.
The U.S. may have the largest amount of millionaires, but the median wealth per adult if $44,977 and only goes down for certain pockets of minorities. The distribution isn’t equal by any means.
This might give perspective for all of us regarding wealth in the U.S. and the world. There’s definitely enough to go around, but unfortunately the very top doesn’t seem to want to share all that much.
January 3, 2019: 10 Movies Based from Real People
As we are in the first week of 2019, here are ten movies based on real life where by the end of any of them, you should be a little bit inspired.
127 Hours (2010) is about Aron Ralston who finds himself trapped while hiking Blue John Canyon in Utah. It is based from his memoir, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. The only problem is it’s a remote area and no one really knows his true location. So, he begins a video diary for several purposes. It stars James Franco as Aron.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) is about Chris Gardner’s way from homelessness to entrepreneurship. It is based from his memoir with the same name. The movie stars Will and Jaden Smith, as son and father, focusing on their new relationship while Chris proves himself as an unpaid intern stockbroker.
Hotel Rwanda (2004) is about Paul and Tatiana Ruseabagina whose decision to help refugees saves many lives. It takes place during the heightened tensions between Hutu and Tutsi people. It stars Don Cheadle as Paul and Sophie Okonedo as Tatiana.
Unbroken (2014) is about Louis Zamperini who was a prisoner during World War II. It is based from the book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. It focuses primarily on the relationship between Louis and “The Bird.” It stars Jack O’Connell as Louis and Miyavi as Mutsuhiro Watanabe.
12 Years a Slave (2013) is about Solomon Northup who was kidnapped in Washington D.C. and sold into slavery. It is based from his memoir, Twelve Years a Slave. Solomon lives his captive years in Louisiana, owned by Edwin Epps, before he proves his status as a free man. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon and Michael Fassbender as Edwin.
Catch Me If You Can (2002) is about Frank Abagnale Jr. who is a con man and commits enough check fraud to catch the eye of an FBI agent. It is based from his memoir, Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake. Carl Hanratty and Frank play a cat and mouse game. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank and Tom Hanks as Carl.
The Pianist (2002) is about Wladyslaw Szpilman who as a Holocaust survivor finds surviving on Polish streets tough and unbearable. He meets Wilm Hosenfeld and a relationship forms. It is based from his memoir, The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw, 1939-45. It stars Adrian Brody as Wladyslaw and Thomas Kretschmann as Wilm.
Hidden Figures (2016) is about Karen Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson who were integral to NASA’s achievements during the 1960s. It is based from the book by Margo Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race. It stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughn, and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson.
The King’s Speech (2010) is about King George VI and his speech therapist who helped him overcome his stutter. Lionel Logue becomes an integral part of his life. It stars Colin Firth as King George and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel.
Chariots of Fire (1981) is about two athletes from different backgrounds including their time in the 1924 Olympics. Eric Liddell is a Christian and Harold Abrahams is a Jew, but both find passion and purpose in running. It stars Ben Cross as Harold and Ian Charleson as Eric.