Marlon Brando Found God in a Fart Maker Toy

02/07/2010

(YouTube Link)

Johnny Depp worked with Brando, I sometimes forget.  But this lil story is awesome.


Great Movies That Don’t Get Major Play

02/07/2010

For some reason, cable television will always be in a rut of showing the same 40 movies each year, and that sucks.  Variety is the spice of life, and exactly what’s missing in the realm of “well-known” movies that populate channels like TBS, TNT and AMC, among others.  So, in a state of nostalgia, and an attitude of recommendation, I offer (what I think is) the most under promoted/worthy movies out there (and there’s a bunch out there).

1. Wonder Boys

I meet many fans of Tobey Maguire that only know him from Spiderman, and have never seen his earlier genius in stuff like this and The Ice Storm.  I can only conclude that this excellent character study of a film is not prescient due to the main character (Michael Douglas, no!) being quite the stoner.  Too bad the powers that be missed the message completely on this one; the scene where he throws his bag down is ultimate.

And the characters in this movie all seem to interact like a force of nature, yet are consumed by the very trappings that come with being writers.

2. The Sugarland Express

Early evidence of Steven Spielberg’s cinematic prowess can be found throughout this 1974 flick with the tagline “A girl with a great following.”  It has the intimacy of a heartfelt human drama as well as the expansive, chaotic elements inherent in 70s era Spielberg fare (many scenes from Jaws come to mind).  Based on the true story of Robert and Ila Fae Dent, Steve’s first theatrical film features the first use of a tracking shot in a car from front to back seat, and signified the beginning of a career-long partnership with composer John Williams.  It’s basically a chase movie with an uncharacteristically negative ending for Spielberg, but it’s a lot of fun getting there. (WATCH IT)

3.  The Ghost and the Darkness

Every once in a while I’ll see the cable networks showing Heat, the other excellent Val Kilmer flick made around 1996.  This one, while similar in themes of violence (albiet animal savagery, not human), is a suspenseful gem of the highest caliber.  The way the story plays off the similarities between the pair of marauding lions and the two men (Kilmer, subdued, and Michael Douglas, fantastic) tasked with hunting them down is a brilliant touch.  And yes, Douglas makes this list twice.  Dig this:

4. Fandango

For me, this was the movie that helped bridge the gap between teenhood and adulthood.  I actually broke off a part of my sunglasses in order to channel the character of Gardener Barnes, played with acerbic Texan wit and depth by Kevin Costner.  The road trip story is a non-stop adventure the likes of which are rarely caught on road trip films, filled with laughs and thoughtful moments.  The sequence where Judd Nelson’s character skydives is a perfect blend of plot twist, suspense, and score.  Everyone should be aware of this movie. (WATCH IT)

5. On the Waterfront

The video above is just a taste of the awesome power of this movie.  Karl Malden’s indignation, Brando’s doubts, Eva Marie Saint’s vulnerabilty are all on perfect display here, and the entire film is an exercise in doing it right.  (WATCH IT)

But basic cable being what it is, we’ll just have to settle for the worst, and hope for the best. At least I keep seeing this one on AMC, and it never gets old…

(WATCH IT)

(Credits> Wonder Boys: Paramount, The Sugarland Express: Zanuck/Brown, The Ghost and the Darkness: Constellation Entertainment, Fandango: Kevin Reynolds)


Basketball Jack Does Not Approve

01/08/2010

via Buzzfeed

Let us not forget that we are living on the same planet as this guy, Mr. Jack Nicholson.  Buzzfeed has a great roundup of him in his other life, the sideline superfan of the Lakers.  The impossible cool is like scratching Jack’s surface, and I’m 80% sure he’s actually an alien.  Sent here to redeem the nihilistic and the burnt Brando fans.  Jack’s spaceship was totalled decades ago, but he’s here to help.  And thank the fates he’s not a Scientologist.


Chillin’ With Marlon Brando

09/26/2009

Brando

I love this piece featured on The Selvedge Yard about Brando’s rented home in 1954.  Just check him out, enjoying himself like a normal person.

Brando3

You know you've arrived in the 1950s when you own two record players.

You know you've arrived in the 1950s when you own two record players.


Role Reversal

08/12/2009

There have been many foul-ups in the history of the Academy Awards, of that it is certain.  The infamous case of Marisa Tomei comes to mind.  Paramount of these mistakes are the times they simply gave it to their favorite actor that year, regardless of the performance he gave.  Indeed, the winner had a previous performance that was way more powerful, memorable, or simply better acting.  Here’s Three cases of that.

Denzel Washington

The gentleman star won Best Actor for playing a bad guy, when his work in Courage Under Fire was inspiring and emotional.  I had more fun watching Ethan Hawke in Training Day, and think he was more deserving that year.  If not Courage Under Fire, he should have at least been recognized sooner, before he slipped into the Man-With-A-Dark-Side phase.

Russel Crowe

Not His Best Work, seriously.

Not His Best Work, seriously.

This one really gets carbon scoring on my inner droid.  The year before, Crowe was up for Best Actor for The Insider, where he pretty much owned the entire acting community when it comes to character development.  His portrayal of real life whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand was so simultaneously believable and haunting, it was a shame he lost to Roberto Benigni, of all people.  To make matters worse, the year after Gladiator found him nominated again for A Beautiful Mind, which won Best Picture.  Russel did not win, because obviously, the Academy felt they had already lauded him enough with the token Gladiator award.  Boo!  (Which brings us back  to Denzel’s award.)

Marlon Brando

I loved you in Streetcar...

"I loved you in Streetcar..."

Actually for my money, this guy really shone best in A Streetcar Named Desire.

And one more for the case of someone getting the award before his best performance…
Sidney Poitier

I’m sorry, but just because he was likeable and sang with nuns doesn’t mean he gave his best performance!  That’s clearly what happened later with In the Heat of the Night.


The Poor Man’s Marlon Brando

08/10/2009

I first saw John Saxon in the Six Million Dollar Man.  Yeah, the one where he removes his freakin face to reveal he’s a robot.

lee

I was blessed with the knowledge of his semi-rise to fame in the 70s and 80s in crappy movies through my favorite source of abstract moviedom, Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Yes, the last episode, with Joel, #512, where Joe Don Baker battled John Saxon in Mitchell.

JOHN_SAXON

But here he is in all his early days, looking and acting like a real actor.  In fact, there’s more Brando in this character than Brando offered up in On The Waterfront AND Streetcar combined.  Love it or hate it, I find it entertaining.  Kinda like the G.I. Joe movie.

Cry Tough


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