Friday, September 15, 2017

A Special Announcement...


It's Agatha Christie's birthday!

The Queen of Crime was born on this date in 1890, 127 years ago! More than 41 years after her death, she is still the world's best-selling fiction author - but, more relevant to what we do here, she is also experiencing a cinematic comeback! For not one, but two films based on her works are coming to the screen this winter. One is the first ever adaptation of her infamous crime thriller Crooked House; the other is the fifth screen version of one of her most famous novels, Murder on the Orient Express:


Mom was right: prayer does work! I've been wishing and hoping for a resurgence of silver screen Agatha Christeries for ages. Sure, we've had the recent Poirot, Marple and Partners in Crime series to keep us company - in addition to the new miniseries of And Then There Were None and The Witness for the Prosecution - but the last time Christie was on the big screen* was 1989's Ten Little Indians, a re-working of her most famous novel that transferred the action from a British island to an African safari. Now...now, we have two!

(*I'm speaking strictly American/British releases. I am well aware that India and France have had a number of theatrical adaptations in the past decade, but none of them seem to leave their respective continents.)

Let us celebrate properly. Throughout the month of October and into the first week of November, we're celebrating the on-screen works of Agatha Christie. Every Tuesday, a Casting Coup, in which we dream-cast adaptations of some of her most popular works. Each week, a set of films to watch so we may explore her characters, interpretations of them, and their international appeal.

The schedule, after the jump:

Monday, September 4, 2017

I Have Some Thoughts

Here's what I've been watching since last we talked about 2017...

Ingrid Goes West
dir: Matt Spicer
scr: David Branson Smith & Spicer
Vicious, uncomfortably funny takedown of social media stardom, fandom, and LA's bright young things. Works like a slow-drip poison. Chilling, chuckle-worthy - highly recommended.

Girls Trip
dir: Malcolm D. Lee
scr: Kenya Barris & Tracy Oliver, story by Eric Rivinoja and Barris & Oliver

Generous, hilarious ensemble of women, buoyed by smart, sincere writing! Hard to choose a best in show, but know I laughed non-stop - as did everyone else in my theater.

Okja (옥자)
dir: Bong Joon-ho
scr: Bong and Jon Ronson, story by Bong

Sincere An Seo Hyun shares unbelievable chemistry with CG beast. Haunting, inventive sound design. So-so script. Embarrassing Gyllenhaal.

Thoughts on Atomic BlondeDunkirk, and more, after the jump....

Friday, September 1, 2017

Part Two: 1986 Retro Hollmann Awards

Previously, on the 1986 Retro Hollmann Awards...

A Room with a View led the nominations, with twelve....

Aliens and Peggy Sue Got Married lead in wins so far, with two apiece...

Overall, the Top Ten films have been dominating the proceedings, though Top Gun and Legend snuck in with wins of their own...

And now, Part Two - beginning with....

Best Supporting Actress


Maggie Smith as Charlotte Bartlett 
A Room with a View

2. Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet; 3. Dianne Wiest in Hannah and Her Sisters; 4. Judi Dench in A Room with a View; 5. Mia Farrow in Hannah and Her Sisters

The key scene for Charlotte Bartlett comes late in the movie, when Lucy realizes her cousin has blabbed about her and George's kiss in Italy. "I shall never forgive myself," Charlotte insists, going back to a regular phrase that usually sets people right. Instead, Lucy snaps, "You always say that, but you always do forgive yourself." You see a shift in Charlotte's eyes, and not only is she suddenly vulnerable, able to express both warmth and regret...you realize that Maggie Smith has actually kept much of her face...not immobile, but calculated. Slight eyebrow-raise here, a firmness of the jaw there, but otherwise Smith maintains Charlotte's mask of wide-eyed innocence, something that helps when doling out insincere remorse calculated to make the injured party comfort her. That she went two hours with limited movement conveying all - and still getting the best laughs in the film - says it all. She is one in a million.

Isabella Rossellini wins second for her portrayal of the sadistically abused yet confusingly masochistic chanteuse Dorothy Vallons. Dianne Wiest comes in third for her portrayal of the sister searching for herself wherever she can, whether it's in an audition or up her nose. Judi Dench places fourth for her pretentious romance novelist that loves her voice and mind. Mia Farrow is in fifth as the strong-willed, helpful sister who keeps her own frustrations buried deep.

Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song, Best Actor...and Best Picture of the Year...after the jump

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Part One: 1986 Retro Hollmann Awards

It's the first day of the 1986 Retro Hollmann Awards - a day late, but it did, indeed, take me a while to finally choose my Number One picks in each category.

The first nine categories will be presented here, beginning with Best Supporting Actor. If you'd like to know all the names of the nominees, do consult the complete nominations announcement.

And now - our first winner!

Best Supporting Actor

Dennis Hopper as Frank Booth
Blue Velvet
2. Daniel Day-Lewis in A Room with a View; 3. Andy Garcia in 8 Million Ways to Die; 4. Wang Xiao in A Great Wall; 5. Simon Callow in A Room with a View

A perfect outlet for Dennis Hopper's particular brand of intensity, Frank Booth is one of the most frightening characters in cinema. His sudden outbursts make him unpredictable - are they strategic, or the result of a truly diseased mind? Hopper suggests it's both, and they get worse as the movie continues, as Frank unravels. But then there's that look when he hears "In Dreams" - Hopper knows what that song means to Frank, you see it in his eyes - and it's a moment that haunts.

In second, DDL's "decadent" snobbery. Andy Garcia's drug lord, calm and collected until the unexpected occurs, in third. Wang Xiao as a poor Chinese teen jealous of his beautiful neighbor's American cousin in fourth. Simon Callow's gleefully indulgent vicar in fifth.


Best Actress, Best Visual Effects, Best Adapted Screenplay, and more - after the jump.

Monday, August 28, 2017

1986 Retro Hollmann Awards Nominees

Ladies and gentlemen, readers both faithful and transient, here they are, my nominees for the 1986 Retro Hollmann Awards! The actual doling out of awards will take place Wednesday and Thursday, giving you time to read this post, stew over the choices, and comment!

For further reference, check out the Top Ten here. And, of course, each flick received a mini-review, which you can read by clicking the title the first time it shows up.

Now, then, the nominees in 18 categories, presented in the order in which I figured out my final picks...

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY 

David Lynch

Peter Wang & Shirley Sun

Woody Allen

Hanif Kureishi

Jerry Leichtling & Arlene Sarner

The rest after the jump....

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Top Ten of 1986

This was a tough Top Ten to make, and it changed shape many times - I wish I had room for Heartburn, Howard the Duck, and The Mission. But I don't.

In alphabetical order.

8 Million Ways to Die
dir: Hal Ashby
scr: Oliver Stone & R. Lance Hill (as David Lee Henry), from the novel by Lawrence Block
cin: Stephen H. Burum
Apparently not a great experience for Ashby, and both he and the cast are on the record in saying the movie could have been more than the final cut. They want more? Jeff Bridges turns in one of his better performances as the alcoholic Matt Scudder; Andy Garcia's role as a "classy" LA drug lord is his best, and the two play off each other beautifully.

Aliens

dir: James Cameron
scr: James Cameron, story by Cameron and David Giler & Walter Hill, based on characters created by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett
cin: Adrian Biddle
An imaginative continuation, shifting the "old dark house in space" horror of the original to a feminist action thriller. Really, this movie is the reason the franchise has lasted as long as it has, with its development of Weyland-Yutani, the xenomorphs, and Ripley. It's Cameron, so the action is stellar, the dialogue delicious. And Sigourney Weaver? A five-star performance, honey.

The rest of the ten, after the jump....

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Class of '86: Best Picture

As Babs said in 2010, the moment has come. The award for Best Picture could go to any one of these movies.

It could go to the romantic drama about a speech therapist who teaches deaf people to speak...and his love for a deaf woman who refuses to conform to his world, his standards.

It could go to the dramedy about three sisters loving and hating themselves, each other, and each other's husbands in New York.

It could go to the epic about two priests in the South American jungle, struggling to maintain peace, and their vows, as colonialism threatens the lives of the indigenous population.

It could go to the war flick about an intelligent young man who goes to Vietnam to fight alongside his fellow Americans, and witnesses the horrors and degradation of war.

Or it could go to the romantic-comedy about a young woman who becomes transfixed by Italy and spends the next summer fighting her own spirit.

Let Dustin Hoffman tell us who the winner is...


What stands out the most to me as I look at the old-school Best Picture presentation is the acceptance speech. Nowadays, it's customary for everyone to take the stage alongside the producers, a celebration for all involved. Here, it's more focused on the individual, and while Arnold Kopelson certainly deserves his moment in the sun, it feels almost anticlimactic. A night of a thousand stars...and we end on this guy standing on stage alone? After having to sit through Dustin Hoffman's monologue about...something?

None of the Best Pic nominees went home empty-handed. Children of a Lesser God took Best ActressHannah and Her Sisters won Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay; The Mission was awarded Best Cinematography; A Room with a View took home Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Design. But Platoon was the big winner of the night in numbers, too, winning a total of four: Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Director - and of course, Best Picture.

Did it deserve it? Let's talk, after the jump...

Friday, August 18, 2017

Class of '86: Bette Davis Takes the Stage and Best Actor

Family's in town, so forgive the delay.

It's a little difficult to watch post-stroke Bette Davis get through her Best Actor presentation, but good Lord did that woman know how to hold the spotlight. Paul Newman wasn't present to accept the Oscar, but accepting on his behalf was Oscar winner Robert Wise - the President of the Academy! That's power, baby. But Bette's not about to be upstaged...


It's Newman's first win after seven previous nominations, and he would be nominated a ninth and final time for Road to Perdition. Many call this a "gold watch" Oscar, an honor for a body of work instead of the performance - but good Heavens, it's not like the performance is lacking! Still, it was a formidable slate of competitors: jazz musician Dexter Gordon making his acting debut in 'Round Midnight, Bob Hoskins as a whore's chauffeur in Mona Lisa, the previous year's Best Actor Oscar Winner William Hurt as a speech therapist for the deaf and hard-of-hearing in Children of a Lesser God, and James Woods as real life photojournalist Richard Boyle in Salvador.

Let's talk about them, shall we?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Class of '86: Best Original Song

I love Bernadette Peters. Don't you wish she was handing you an Oscar? I love even more that the Original Song nominations named the songs' performers. Do they still? It seemed new when I watched this presentation. Or old, I guess.


It should be no surprise that Top Gun's "Take My Breath Away" went home with the win. Sure, "Glory of Love" from The Karate Kid: Part II spent more weeks at #1, but "Take My Breath Away" was the music of Maverick, baby! It was the number one movie of the year - hell, it was the number one soundtrack of the year, nine times platinum, one of the best-sellers of all time! You can't compete with those numbers baby.

Except on an awards ballot. So let's take a took at the nominees - in order of my rankings, from the bottom to the top. After the jump.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Class of '86: No Shows, Double-Dippers, and Best Original Screenplay

We're back at the spaceship! And what an evening for no-shows, huh? The first two categories of the evening, and not only are both winners absent - this one didn't even send a proxy to accept on his behalf. And the way Shirley MacLaine handles it is...fun?


But, of course, Woody Allen is notorious for never going to the Oscars, for years claiming it interfered with his evenings playing clarinet with his Dixieland jazz band back east. In 40 years and four wins, he's only shown up once: post-9/11, presenting a tribute to New York in the movies.

We know at least three of his fellow nominees were there: actor Paul Hogan, who opened the proceedings, and not only played Crocodile Dundee but helped write the screenplay; Oliver Stone, whose Platoon lost here but went on to win big; and Oliver Stone, also up for Salvador. He's only the fourth writer to ever double-dip in this category; Preston Sturges did it in 1944, and Maurice Richlin and Stanley Shapiro did it in 1959, two of four credited contributors to both Operation Petticoat and Pillow Talk (which won!).

And as for the others? Well, let's discuss all of them, after the jump.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Class of '86: Nervous Sigourney and Best Supporting Actor

Supporting Actor is interesting this year, in that it seems, to me, to consist entirely of the B Squad. Not to deride the accomplishments of these fine men, but most of them aren't even the Best Supporting Actors in their own films, much less of the whole year. The one actor I would argue belongs here is Dennis Hopper, and he's nominated for the wrong movie!

On Oscar night, Jeff Bridges and Sigourney Weaver presented - remember, the previous year's winners teamed up to do Best Supporting Actress - and good Lord people, could it be that presenter banter has actually gotten better in the 30 years since? Were they ad-libbing? Sigourney seems nervous, which is understandable; even though this is her third Oscars as a presenter, it's her first as a nominee, and Best Actress is still to come.


Then comes the anticlimax of a no-show winner - but fortunately, Weaver knows Caine, having worked with him in Half Moon Street, just released the previous September. So it's a sweet moment.

Anyways, after the jump, the nominees - the adulterer of Hannah and Her Sisters, the recovering alcoholic of Hoosiers, the dueling sergeants of Platoon, and the retired journalist of A Room with a View....

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Class of '86: Liz and Best Director

Let me tell you, there is no one I would rather get an award from than Elizabeth Taylor. Listen to that pure joy when she announces the name of the winner!


It's a sure tonic after the camera focuses on the wrong person for a solid 20 seconds - pity the poor camera person, who I must assume did not cover Best Original Screenplay, where Stone was nominated twice! But good on Stone - his "Cinderella story" began when he wrote the screenplay in 1976, had a few false starts, no one wanted to fund it - and ended as a Time cover story, multimillion-dollar grossing box office hit, and Oscar winner!

And all he had to beat were previous winner Woody Allen, returning nominees Roland Joffé and David Lynch, and newbie (!) James Ivory. But let's get into the particulars after the jump....

Friday, August 11, 2017

Class of '86: Hurt Gets to the Point and Best Actress

They must have been running out of time because William Hurt leaps into the nominees almost as soon as he reaches the podium. And if you think they cut it down for YouTube, may I direct your attention to the remaining 30 seconds of the Live Action Short category:


As you'll see, there is no patter. The man could not wait - and neither could we! After all, this is crowning the creme de la creme! Previous winners Jane Fonda (two times, NBD) and Sissy Spacek are here! Kathleen Turner and Sigourney Weaver are here for the first time, but they're known entities finally being honored! And then there's all-around first-timer Marlee Matlin, who made her film debut playing the lead in an adaptation of a play where she was in the ensemble. As if that wasn't enough of a Cinderella, her boyfriend is presenting her category. And sure enough:


This was a difficult category for me. I've tried to keep to a rule that says I can only repeat the same grade once - as in, two films can be ranked four stars, but not three. And that self-imposed rule meant I had to ding a star from one of my favorites.

Then I realized I make the rules, it's my blog, so who's really going to hold me accountable? Fuck that noise. Read on...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Class of '86: Light Blue Bette and Best Original Score

To the theme from The Rose, out comes Bette Midler, quick to skewer the proceedings with some light blue humor, a dig at the People's Choice Awards, and even good-humored calling-out of people who insist on "whoo-ing" for their favorites:


See how her eyes just light up when she reads the winner's name aloud! And dig how that fine-ass Mr. Hancock is adorably nervous at first, then delivers an elegant tribute to Jazz, "this American-born artform" for which "praise has long been overdue".

But, you know, I have my own tastes - or lack thereof, depending on how you feel about this category! The nominees for Best Original Score, in the reverse order of how I'd rank them; bottom's up, in other words. After the jump....

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Class of '86: Shirley MacLaine's Spaceship and Best Adapted Screenplay

Best Adapted Screenplay was the first award presented this Oscar night, before host Chevy Chase even took the stage for his opening monologue! Instead, it was preceded by "Crocodile" Dundee star (and Best Original Screenplay nominee) Paul Hogan giving the traditional "keep the speeches short" warning - I watched it last week, but for some reason, the Oscars official YouTube page has taken it down. All that remains is his confusion about where to exit at the beginning of the Writing Oscars presentation, a prelude to further insanity:


It is legit crazy that Shirley MacLaine exited a UFO to present screenwriting awards. Her face when she exits! That cut to the crowd with Jane Fonda looking up into the audience as though to ask, "Who is laughing?" Then, God bless, Shirley's joking about writing and cave-painting and Hollywood. And then, the wall of nominees that looks like it should light up like a game board but does not.

Anyway, James Ivory accepts for Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, writer of A Room with a View. Deservedly? Read on, after the jump....

Monday, August 7, 2017

Class of '86: A Song, Some Dance, and Best Supporting Actress

The year is 1987, but the year being honored is 1986. That was the year the Challenger exploded, the year the People Power Revolution ousted Ferdinand Marcos and his wife from power, the year of the Chernobyl disaster. The Legend of Zelda made its debut, Geraldo opened Al Capone's vault, The Phantom of the Opera opened in London, and The Oprah Winfrey Show began airing in syndication. Oh, and Oliver North started shredding documents related to the Iran-Contra affair (where's that movie, by the way?).

In Oscar Land, meanwhile, we had other concerns. Like, is it possible to acknowledge with a wink and a nudge the crassness of the ceremony in the 80s, how it's been reduced to yet another dog-and-pony betting pool? Honey, not only is that a yes - you can sing about it:


But goodness, we are not gathered here today to talk musical numbers performed by Kojak, Arnold, and Burt Reynolds' BFF. Today, we talk about Best Supporting Actress. And honey, it was all about family this year: Southern cousins who don't get along, distant mothers honestly trying to give intimacy a shot, lonely English relatives who won't stop reminding you how sad they are, neurotic New York sisters who trade husbands - and, just for some variety, a hard-bitten girlfriend with secrets and pluck.

But there can only be one winner...


What kind of order is that for nominees, by the way? It's not alphabetical by name, nor by film title. It's like they picked it out of a hat. Meanwhile, Wiest does well by her co-stars and her character, thanking the members of her fictional immediate family: parents first, then the sister she gets along with, then Hannah herself.

Was Wiest the right choice? Let's talk, after the jump...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

1986: The Final 10

The last of the movies screened for our 1986 retrospective!

Power
dir: Sidney Lumet
scr: David Himmelstein

Richard Gere has a mustache in this political...thriller? Fast-paced - two hours went by in thirty minutes, I swear! - and with an intimidating performance from Denzel Washington. But I'm still not sure what happened or why the character reacts the way he does. Gene Hackman doing Tennessee Williams is bizarre, too. Great sets, though.

[one last Best Picture nominee and a sleuthing Sean Connery, after the jump...]

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1986: A Quick 5

We continue our journey through 1986 - but briefly today. Just a quick five.

Invaders from Mars
dir: Tobe Hooper
scr: Don Jakoby/Dan O'Bannon, from the 1953 screenplay by Richard Blake

What on earth is Hooper going for here? Usually, I like something about his films - Lifeforce's opening sequence, Funhouse's tension, Eaten Alive's central performance - but this left me cold. A wasted cast led by a nightmarish child.

[great horror and Bowie in foine form, after the jump]

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

1986: 10 More

August is here, and so is our official month-long celebration of 1986. We've got Oscar Retrospectives ahead, as well as my personal picks with the Retro Hollmann Awards. But first - more reviews of the films screened. In this edition, we hit the big 5-0....

Hoosiers
dir: David Anspaugh
scr: Angelo Pizzo
Oscar Nominee: Best Supporting Actor (Dennis Hopper), Best Original Score

There are only six or seven players, and I feel like I didn't get to know them, what this sport means to them, how they're bonding with each other/the coach. It's a loss that keeps me somewhat distant. Gene Hackman and the score are doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

[sequels and Streep, after the jump...]

Friday, July 28, 2017

Flashback Friday: Return to Peyton Place


I finally saw Return to Peyton Place, the 1961 sequel to the 1957 Peyton Place, one of my all-time favorite movies, and both based on novels by Grace Metalious.

Have you seen Peyton PlaceIt has everything! Incest, murder, sex, a lack of sex that somehow everyone mistakes for too much sex, bastard children, town gossip raging out of control, dangerously liberal school administrators, suicide! All culminating in a dramatic trial that climaxes with town doctor Lloyd Nolan taking the stand to finger-wag the townspeople! Five of its nine Oscar nominations were for the actors, including Lana Turner's first and only for her role as secretive, untrusting, prudish Constance MacKenzie! Diane Varsi was also nominated for playing her haughty daughter Allison, who fills the interludes with purple voice-over about changing seasons and other metaphors! It was directed by Mark Valley of the Dolls Robson!


Can't beat the original!
How on earth could Return to Peyton Place possibly live up to the deliciousness of its predecessor, a movie that not only dared expose the vicious truth about American pettiness but looked great doing it? How?

Well, truthfully, it doesn't. Find out why.....after the jump.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1986: An Additional 10

Ten more flicks from the year '86. Wokka-wokka.

'Round Midnight
dir: Bertrand Tavernier
scr: David Rayfiel/Bertrand Tavernier
Oscar Winner: Best Original Score
Oscar Nominee: Best Actor (Dexter Gordon)
A quiet study of two men: one an alcoholic jazz great knowing his last days are creeping in on him, the other a French fan who offers him a burst of energy. It's great to see this kind of story taking place between friends, instead of the May-December romance this kind of plot usually describes. It's a little long for what it is, but Gordon is magnetic.

[Captain Kirk, Ferris Bueller, and Mark Twain after the jump...]

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1986: Another 10

Another week, another ten films screened from the year 1986 - it's happening all month long, and on into the next. Journey with me...

My Beautiful Laundrette
dir: Stephen Frears
scr: Hanif Kureishi
Oscar Nominee: Best Original Screenplay
Raises the biggest question I've faced so far: would I rather spit champagne into Gordon Warnecke's mouth, or have Daniel Day-Lewis spit it into mine? I'd accept either, as I would a copy of the idiosyncratic score.

[nine more after the jump]

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

1986: The Next 10

Last week, we started our journey through the films of 1986. This week, we continue with another group of 10 flicks, in order of viewing.

Big Trouble in Little China
dir: John Carpenter
scr: Gary Goldman/David Z. Weinstein, adaptation by W.D. Richter

Fun spin on the traditional White Male Action Star, with Kurt Russell bumbling along while his "sidekick" Dennis Dun kicks ass and gets the girl. A blast to watch, very quotable, and a great showcase for Asian-American actors like Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong, and more.

[the remaining nine after the jump]

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

1986: The First 10

We'll see how long this lasts, but I will try to keep track of every movie I'm watching for 1986 as I see them! So here: the first ten movies I watched, in order of viewing.

Top Gun
dir: Tony Scott
scr: Jim Cash/Jack Epps, Jr., from the article "Top Guns" by Ehud Yonay
Oscar Winner: Best Original Song ("Take My Breath Away")
Oscar Nominee: Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing

Sweaty, sexy, with a real feel for the competitive camaraderie between men. A visual feast that had me practically licking the screen, and I'm not just talking about the locker room scenes: Jeffrey Kimball's amber waves of plane are enchanting.

[the remaining nine after the jump]

Monday, July 3, 2017

2017: We're Halfway There

So now the year is officially half-over, and I have seen but 37 films so far. The movies I'm saddest to have missed before the end of June? Battle of Memories (dir. Leste Chen), Raw (dir. Julia Ducournau), and Prevenge (dir. Alice Lowe), and I'm hoping to catch up with Okja (dir. Bong Joon Ho) and The Bad Batch (dir. Ana Lily Amirpour) in early July.

That said...here are the 38 movies I saw, broken up into several categories.

Barely Remember
But what I do remember is...
  • Burning Sands (dir. Gerard McMurray) - The chick who plays the Whataburger employee the pledges run a train on is the standout.
  • Fifty Shades Darker (dir. James Foley) - That Zayn/Swifty song is oddly placed
If You Can't Say Anything Nice...
Zip ze lips, as my French teacher would say.
  • All Eyez on Me (dir. Benny Boom)
  • The Devotion of Suspect X (dir. Alec Su)
  • It Comes at Night (dir. Trey Edward Shults)
  • New Trial (dir. Kim Tae-yun)
  • XXX: Return of Xander Cage (dir. D.J. Caruso)

The rest of the 31, after the jump...

Friday, June 30, 2017

Part Two: The 1980 Retro Hollmann Awards

The second and final day of the 1980 Retro Hollmann Awards. Can Raging Bull maintain its status as the most-winning flick of the year? Let's find out...

Best Makeup & Hairstyling  

The Elephant Man
Christopher Tucker, makeup creator/designer
Wally Schneiderman, makeup supervisor
Paula Gillespie / Stephanie Kaye, hairdressers

2. Popeye; 3. Raging Bull; 4. Altered States; 5. Kagemusha

It's easy to award the transformation of John Hurt into John Merrick for The Elephant Man. So I will!

In second place, intense forearms, unflattering hair buns, and other recreations of cartoon icons in Popeye. In third, blood, broken noses, and 15 years in Raging Bull. In fourth, primitive man and a mass of God knows what in Altered States. In fifth, blood, ghost-white faces, and salt-and-pepper doublng in Kagemusha.

Best Original Song, Best Actress, Best Picture, and more...after the jump.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Part One: The 1980 Retro Hollmann Awards

The first day of the 1980 Retro Hollmann Awards. I have ordered the categories the same way they came in the original Oscar telecast of March 31, 1981. Just nine categories for today, starting with Best Ensemble (not an Oscar category, but...look, just read on).

Best Ensemble
Fame
Howard Feuer / Jeremy Ritzer, casting directors

2. The Blues Brothers; 3. Raging Bull; 4. Airplane; 5. Breaker Morant

What other film could win this category but Fame? I knew I would nominate it when I saw the students, by turns friendly and vicious, with unexpected chemistry and vulnerability in star-making roles (Barry Miller, hello!). But then came the teachers, each fully realized, demanding but not heartless, with their own backstories (Anne Meara, hello!). But what gives it the win - the equal attention in the development of the parents, some pushy, some distant, some not understanding why their kid wants to perform but backing them 100 percent anyway (Eddie Barth, hello!).

In second place, the comic geniuses and genuine music legends of The Blues Brothers. In third, the family and "the Family" crossing paths, and each other, in Raging Bull. In fourth, the mix of comic talents and seasoned dramatic actors to harness Airplane!'s absurdity. In fifth, the three accused, their attorney, and the powers closing in around them in Breaker Morant.

Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and more after the jump....

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

1980 Retro Hollmann Awards Nominees

A total number of 65 films were screened for the 1980 retrospective - including 22 Oscar nominees, eleven Razzie nominees and five Oscar-Razzie nominees (overlap is not uncommon). And so the moment has come: the nominees for the 1980 Retro Hollmann Awards.

I present the 18 categories in the order in which I figured out my lineup:

BEST SCORE

American Gigolo
Giorgio Moroder


The Elephant Man
John Morris


Mad Max
Brian May


Somewhere in Time
John Barry


The Stunt Man
Dominic Frontiere

The remaining categories, after the jump...

Monday, June 26, 2017

1980 Top Ten

After 65 films, 10 Oscar categories, and five re-castings, I am ready to divvy out the awards for 1980....in due time. The nominees tomorrow, the awards later on in the week.

Until then, my personal top ten of the year. The complete list of films screened follows at the end. How many have you seen?

American Gigolo
Dir/Scr: Paul Schrader
Cin: John Bailey

Neon noir with a special hatred for Beverly Hills, a place where the wealthy surround themselves with beauty, until it becomes inconvenient. The clothes, the sets, the attitude, all influenced how we see this decade. Genuine suspense, and a strong and sexy performance from Richard Gere at its center.

The remaining nine, after the jump...

Friday, June 23, 2017

Casting Coup: Tess

NOMINATIONS
Best Picture, Claude Berri/Timothy Burrill
Best Director, Roman Polanski
Best Music - Original Score, Philippe Sarde
Best Cinematography, Geoffrey Unsworth/Ghislain Cloquet - WON
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Pierre Guffroy/Jack Stephens - WON
Best Costume Design, Anthony Powell - WON

It's the last day of Casting Coup Week! Starting Monday, we start wrapping up 1980 with a Top Ten, Retro Hollmann Awards Nominations, then two days of the awards proper.

Before we get into all that, though, let's talk about Tess, baby. It's only the third cinematic adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel, the previous two going back to the silent era. Even TV versions are scarce - one in 1960 for ITV (with Geraldine McEwan!), one in 1998 for LWT (with Justine Waddell!), and one in 2008 for BBC (with Gemma Arterton!).

Perhaps it's the subject matter: Hardy's story takes to task the rich for exploiting the poor, religious institutions for their hypocrisy, patriarchal society for its subjugation of women, and the justice system for its treatment of domestic abuse and rape victims. Now that I've written it all out, I'm surprised there isn't a new version of Tess in the works right now - it is, unfortunately, timeless.

And if they were to make a new version right now - who might they hire to fill the many roles? I have a few suggestions....

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Casting Coup: Raging Bull

NOMINATIONS
Best Picture, Irwin Winkler/Robert Chartoff
Best Director, Martin Scorsese
Best Actor, Robert De Niro - WON
Best Supporting Actor, Joe Pesci
Best Supporting Actress, Cathy Moriarty
Best Cinematography, Michael Chapman
Best Film Editing, Thelma Schoonmaker - WON
Best Sound, Donald O. Mitchell/Bill Nicholson/David J. Kimball/Les Lazarowitz

I trust I do not need to go into my love of Raging Bull again - after all, of the ten categories we covered for the 1980 Oscars flashback, I voted for it in all five categories it was up for. Scorsese has always been concerned with the practiced peacocking of American masculinity and virility; what could be better than a sports drama set in the world of boxing, where fighting prowess makes you a winner?

The cast assembled for Raging Bull was raw. Flawlessly so. No one is ever going to match that. So I'm not even gonna try - the best I can do is offer the best people for the job now. And here they are. I think.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Casting Coup: Ordinary People

NOMINATIONS
Best Picture, Ronald L. Schwary - WON
Best Director, Robert Redford - WON
Best Actress, Mary Tyler Moore
Best Supporting Actor, Judd Hirsch
Best Supporting Actor, Timothy Hutton - WON
Best Adapted Screenplay, Alvin Sargent - WON

So, when I first started this project, I was still working, and when I announced I was going to watch Ordinary People one night, the reactions were decidedly split. My mentor and friend - let's call him Slim Daddy - was thoroughly in the pro camp, a man who believed every actor in the movie should have been nominated, and who was the right age for identifying with Conrad when it came out. He loved Mary Tyler Moore's performance.

Another camp was formed by the Kanye Fan - my generation, the one that grew up with the internet and could major in film studies. He didn't think Ordinary People was a bad movie, just not very cinematic, said if they made it today, it would be a Lifetime movie. It's fine. It doesn't go deep. It's melodrama.

Glory be, I may be a Raging Bull voter, but Ordinary People has stood the test of time because it skirts melodrama, it goes deep, it's better than fine. It's a story of the privileged, yes, but that's only in social class - there's no privilege in the way these people process death and grief. These are characters any actor kill to play - the mother both monstrous and mourning, the father stepping on eggshells, the son racked with guilt over both his actions and inactions. And those are just the leads!

It's a wonderful film - but could the magic ever be recaptured? Maybe if they had the right cast...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Casting Coup: The Elephant Man

NOMINATIONS
Best Picture, Jonathan Sanger
Best Director, David Lynch
Best Actor, John Hurt
Best Adapted Screenplay, Christopher De Vore/Eric Bergren/David Lynch
Best Music - Original Score, John Morris
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Stuart Craig/Robert Cartwright/Hugh Scaife
Best Film Editing, Anne V. Coates
Best Costume Design, Patricia Norris

The Elephant Man is inspired by the true story of Joseph Merrick (called John in Treves' memoir), a curiosity of Victorian London who went from the sideshow to stardom when eminent surgeon Frederick Treves took an interest in his unique case and moved him into London Hospital. It is a life that has inspired books, television specials, social studies (Ashley Montagu's, for example), even primetime animation.


And, of course, it has inspired dramatists. Bernard Pomerance's Broadway play debuted in 1979, won three Tony Awards including Best Play, was adapted for a 1982 ABC TV movie, and has been revived on the stage twice more. On stage, the role has been played by David Bowie, Bruce Davison, Mark Hamill, Billy Crudup, and Bradley Cooper, the latter two getting Tony nominations for their efforts. Pomerance was famously peeved about the film The Elephant Man, which had no relation at all to his play and probably hurt the film sales for it. And worse yet, if anyone were to finally adapt Pomerance's Elephant Man for cinemas, you know it would be reported as a remake of this version.

Of course, we today are not imagining a cinematic adaptation of Pomerance's work, but a remake of David Lynch's Oscar-nominated classic. Still. There's precedent for multiple versions of the story. Here's ours.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Casting Coup: Coal Miner's Daughter

NOMINATIONS
Best Picture, Bernard Schwartz
Best Actress, Sissy Spacek - WON
Best Adapted Screenplay, Thomas Rickman
Best Cinematography, Ralf D. Bode
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, John W. Corso/John M. Dwyer
Best Film Editing, Arthur Schmidt
Best Sound, Richard Portman/Roger Heman Jr./James R. Alexander

At the heart of Coal Miner's Daughter is a love story. Loretta Webb was only 15 (she claimed even younger) when she married 21-year-old Oliver "Doolittle" Lynn - she was only 16 when he whisked her away from her family and hometown of Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, to Custer, Washington, where they knew absolutely nobody. All throughout their marriage, which lasted until his death in 1996, Doo was an alcoholic, a womanizer, sometimes violent. But he also bought Loretta her first guitar, booked her first gigs, drove her all over the United States to get her music on the radio.

The marriage of Loretta and Doo is the main attraction of Coal Miner's Daughter, beautifully acted by native Texans Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. It just doesn't work without that particular chemistry. The rest of the film is anchored in their alternating affection and tension - the friendship of Loretta and Patsy Cline isn't just of mutual respect between two artists, but two successful women who know from men problems (Patsy's ex-husband tried to quell her singing career). And of course, stepping out with an older man would certainly effect the relationship a 15-year-old has with her parents, to say nothing of actually moving clear across the country.

Casting director Michael Chinich (who also did The Blues Brothers and Melvin and Howard the same year), director Michael Apted, and Loretta Lynn herself assembled a fine ensemble to embody this unique conflict/blessing. But if they were to do this film today, what might that group look like? I know who I'd gather...

After the jump, of course.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Best Picture of the Year, 1980

The moment has come - I present to you, the Best Picture nominees of 1980:

Coal Miner's Daughter
***
A conventional biopic - rise, semi-fall, recovery, immortality - though well-written and -acted enough that we forgive the familiarities. Sissy Spacek deserved her Oscar, but most notable, to me: the design! I'm talking the sets, costumes, sound, the hair! Detailed and authentic. Entertaining overall.

The rest of the lineup after the jump....

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Raging Winner: Actor, 1980

In The Elephant Man, John Hurt is John Merrick, a real-life Victorian-era personality whose unique deformity made him into a celebrity. This was Hurt's second and final nomination.

In The Great Santini, Robert Duvall is Bull Meechum, a fighter pilot between wars who makes his home a new battlefield, pushing his oldest son to "man up". This was Duvall's third nomination, still three years away from his first (and so far only) win.

In Raging Bull, Robert De Niro is Jake La Motta, the championship boxer whose life hit a unique series of highs and lows, including a long time as an uber-plus-size club owner and comic. This was his fourth nomination - and resulted in his second win:


In The Stunt Man, Peter O'Toole is Eli Cross, a megalomaniacal director whose on-set tactics and off-set personality make him appear dangerously mad. But is it all just one big joke? O'Toole famously never won, despite eight nominations; this was his sixth.

In Tribute, Jack Lemmon is Scottie Templeton, a Broadway press agent who tries to repair his relationship with his son when he learns he may be dying. This was the seventh of eight nominations for Lemmon, who had already won twice before.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fame from Nine to Five: Original Song, 1980

And now, a special musical break with the nominees for Best Original Song. "Fame" was the winner this year - though Dolly still got a moment:


The nominees, in reverse order of how I'd rank them (that means bottom's up):


"People Alone" from The Competition
music by Lalo Schifrin
lyrics by Will Jennings
*
Schifrin's fifth of six Oscar nominations, first and only time in Original Song
Jennings' first nomination; later won this category for An Officer and a Gentleman and Titanic


"On the Road Again" from Honeysuckle Rose
music and lyrics by Willie Nelson
***
first and only nomination


"Fame" from Fame
music by Michael Gore
lyrics by Dean Pitchford
***
Gore's second Oscar in one night; later nominated for Terms of Endearment's score
Pitchford's first Oscar nom and only win; nominated thrice more here, two of them for Footloose


"Out Here on My Own" from Fame
music by Michael Gore
lyrics by Lesley Gore
****
Lesley Gore's first and only nomination


"9 to 5" from Nine to Five
music and lyrics by Dolly Parton
*****
first nomination; nominated again for Transamerica 25 years later


Tomorrow, the nominees for Best Actor: Robert De Niro (Raging Bull), Robert Duvall (The Great Santini), John Hurt (The Elephant Man), Jack Lemmon (Tribute), and Peter O'Toole (The Stunt Man).

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

People Who Read People: Adapted Screenplay, 1980

Though I pride myself on being a reader, I'm reminded of how little I know, how little I've read, every time I look at the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay. And what's fascinating about this lineup is how many options each nominee offers!

For instance, Breaker Morant. The true story of three Australian lieutenants in the Boer War, courtmartialed for executing prisoners - and murdering a civilian. The film itself is mainly adapted from a hit 1978 stage play by Kenneth G. Ross, but also tips a hat to the non-fiction book The Breaker by Kit Denton - even though Ross and the production had just won a lawsuit against Denton for claiming to be the film's source. Why two credits, then? Girl, I don't know.

The Elephant Man, another true story, is likewise adapted from multiple sources. Following the true story of famously deformed Victorian personality Joseph "John" Merrick, the film's main inspiration is the memoir by Merrick's physician, Dr. Frederick Treves - yet it also takes from the anthropologist Ashley Montagu, the man appointed by UNESCO to investigate The Race Question. It bears no relation to the stage play of the same name, which was contemporaneously running on Broadway, a fact that stuck in the craw of the show's producers.

Ordinary People is straightforward, based as it is on Judith Guest's debut novel about a family dealing with the aftermath the death of one son and attempted suicide of the other. No confusion there, especially as it became a critically-acclaimed bestseller. But I do want to point out: it was later adapted into a stage play by Nancy Gilsenan. Mind, that was after the film won its Oscars - including this one.


Coal Miner's Daughter comes from the same-titled autobiography by Loretta Lynn (co-authored with George Vecsey), following the life and sometimes tribulations of the First Lady of Country Music. Loretta remained very hands-on, hand-picking Sissy Spacek to play her - and it doesn't end there! Last year, it was announced that Coal Miner's Daughter was heading to Broadway, and once again Ms. Lynn picked the new her: Zooey Deschanel.

The Stunt Man is the only nominee to stay away from the stage - for now. Based on Paul Brodeur's novel, the film follows a fugitive who hides out on a movie set, only to discover the director may be a greater threat to his physical and mental well-being than any cop. Don't expect to see this on 42nd Street any time soon - the flick is pure cinema.

And do those screenplays do their sources justice? Read on...

Monday, June 12, 2017

Melvin's Mary and Others: Supporting Actress, 1980

It's the first-timers club, an entire category full of nominees who have never before had the honor - and, even more strange, would never be so honored again!

The winner was Mary Steenburgen, as the supportive-then-frustrated housewife in Melvin and Howard. Surprisingly, this is her only nomination so far, though I for one think she should have been up for Cross Creek three years later.


You might think Eva Le Gallienne, 81 years old, is the overdue one - but her film work was minimal. Her medium was The Theatre, and she did it all: acting, directing, even translating the works of Chekhov and Ibsen. Her sage grandmother in Resurrection earned her her first and only Oscar nod.

More overdue: Eileen Brennan. Her ball-busting sergeant in Private Benjamin was her first and only nomination, though she won an Emmy reprising the role for the television series. She previously appeared in Best Picture winner The Sting and Best Picture nominee The Last Picture Show.

Not so overdue: Cathy Moriarty. Girl was just starting out - 20 years old, making her film debut as Jake La Motta's child bride in Raging Bull. Apparently, Joe Pesci had seen her picture on the wall of a bar, where she had won a beauty contest. This was Moriarty's first, and so far only, nomination.

And then there's Diana Scarwid, a woman among men as the waitress in Inside Moves. A busy year for her, as she was also in Honeysuckle Rose and the Emmy-winning TV movie Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (not to be confused with the exploitation fictionalization, Guyana: Cult of the Damned).

Supporting Actress has always been one of my favorite categories, and I will always tip my cap to StinkyLulu's Brian Herrera for helping to fuel that - indeed, he weighed in on this very lineup at The Film Experience, where Nathaniel Rogers has revived the Supporting Actress Smackdowns! Take a look at that. I did not participate at the time, of course, as I'd seen absolutely none of these movies until a month ago. If I had...here's what I might have said......

Friday, June 9, 2017

Extra-Ordinary Achievements: Director, 1980

Our first week of the 1980 Oscars endeth here, with the nominees for Best Director. And here started a new trend, too: bankable pretty boy actors finally winning an Oscar for hiding their looks...behind the camera.


Robert Redford wasn't the first actor-director to win this category, but you wouldn't exactly lump Woody Allen in with him, Warren Beatty, Kevin Costner, and Mel Gibson, would you? It is still Redford's only competitive Oscar win, though he'd later be nominated as director and producer for Quiz Show - can you believe his acting has only gotten him one nod?

David Lynch was the unexpected choice for The Elephant Man, a decision made by executive producer Mel Brooks (!) after seeing his only other feature, 1977's Eraserhead. Some tsk-tsked at Lynch going mainstream, but boy is that a loose definition for what he gave us. Lynch would later be nominated twice more, for Blue Velvet and Mulholland Dr.

Roman Polanski was back with his first film since fleeing the United States following sexual assault charges. Tess, and adaptation of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, was a project he originally envisioned for his wife, Sharon Tate, before she was brutally murdered by the Manson Family. The film is dedicated to her. Polanski was previously nominated for Chinatown and would later win for The Pianist.

Martin Scorsese had already given the world Taxi Driver, yet Raging Bull marks his first Oscar nomination. It wouldn't be the last: seven more Best Director nods would follow over the years, with only one them resulting in a win: The Departed. He should have been up for Silence this year, but who am I?

Two years after it was shot, The Stunt Man finally came to cinemas; seven years before that, director Richard Rush started the ball rolling. More on that when we get to Adapted Screenplay, but for his troubles, Rush got two Oscar nods, critical raves, and cult cinema status.

But what did he get from me? That's after the jump.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

From Coal to Gold: Actress, 1980

What an unusual and varied slate this Best Actress lineup is!

In Coal Miner's Daughter, previous nominee Sissy Spacek plays country star Loretta Lynn in a biopic that charts the singer-songwriter's life from her humble beginnings in Kentucky to eventual fame, fortune, exhaustion, and recovery. That was good enough for a win!


In Gloria, previous nominee Gena Rowlands plays a former gun moll trying to smuggle a mouthy six-year-old to safety after his family is murdered - by the very men she used to hang around with.

In Ordinary People, Mary Tyler Moore plays a wife and mother grieving the death of her firstborn, favorite son - by ignoring it and shutting out the people around her.

In Private Benjamin, previous winner Goldie Hawn plays a spoiled rich girl who enlists in the army following a surprise widowhood - and winds up discovering who she really is along the way.

And in Resurrection, previous winner and frequent nominee Ellen Burstyn plays a young woman who returns to her childhood hometown following a tragic accident that awoke within her a miraculous gift - she can heal with the touch of her hand.

Those are the roles - but how were the performances? Let's talk, after the jump.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Fame Game: Original Score, 1980

And now, a special musical break with the nominees for Best Original Score. Michael Gore was the winner this year.



The nominees, in the reverse order of how I'd rank them (that mean's bottoms up):

Altered States
John Corigliano
**
first nomination; won for The Red Violin

Fame
Michael Gore
***
also won Best Original Song, where he had two nominations; later nominated for Terms of Endearment

Tess
Philippe Sarde
****
first and only nomination

The Empire Strikes Back
John Williams
****
15 previous nominations, three previous wins; another 35 nominations and two wins to follow

And finally, my vote for the win goes to....

The Elephant Man
John Morris
*****
second nomination following Best Original Song for Blazing Saddles

Tomorrow, the nominees for Best Actress: Ellen Burstyn (Resurrection), Goldie Hawn (Private Benjamin), Mary Tyler Moore (Ordinary People), Gena Rowlands (Gloria), Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner's Daughter).

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Melvin and Howard Get a Win: Original Screenplay, 1980

Yesterday, we started our journey through 1980 with the nominees for Best Supporting Actor. Today, the nominees for Best Original Screenplay: three fictional, two true-ish. Let's meet the writers, shall we?



The Film: Brubaker
The Plot: The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.
The Writers: W.D. Richter, who later worked on Big Trouble in Little China and Home for the Holidays. Story by Richter and Arthur A. Ross, who wrote Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Great Race. First and only nominations for both men.

The Film: Fame
The Plot: A chronicle of the lives of several teenagers who attend a New York high school for students gifted in the performing arts.
The Writer: Christopher Gore, a playwright known for back-to-back musical flops (and now cult status, of course) Via Galactica and Nefertiti. It is his only film credit, but he was later Emmy-nominated for the animated short Faeries - and, of course, Fame became a six-season series.

The Film: Melvin and Howard
The Plot: The story of hard-luck Melvin E. Dummar, who claimed to have received a will naming him an heir to the fortune of Howard Hughes.
The Writer: Bo Goldman, a previous winner in Best Adapted Screenplay for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; he would later be nominated in that same category for Scent of a Woman. A total of three nominations, with this one resulting in his second Oscar.

The Film: Mon oncle d'Amérique
The Plot: The intersecting stories of three people who face difficult choices in life-changing situations are used to illustrate the theories espoused by Henri Lebroit about human behavior and the relationship between the self and society.
The Writer: Jean Gruault, known for his contributions to the French New Wave: Paris Belongs to UsJules & Jim, Les Caribiniers, etc. This marked the first of three collaborations with director Alain Resnais, followed by the musical Life is a Bed of Roses and Love Unto Death.

The FilmPrivate Benjamin
The Plot: A sheltered young high society woman joins the United States Army on a whim and finds herself in a more difficult situation than she ever suspected.
The Writers: Nancy Meyers, who would later be best-known as the auteur behind comedies like Something's Gotta Give and It's Complicated. Charles Shyer, her then-husband, who collaborated with her on a number of film and television projects, including Baby Boom and the Father of the Bride remakes. Harvey Miller (not pictured), making his film debut after years of writing for Gomer Pyle, USMC, Love American Style, and The Odd Couple. All three also produced.

That's the class of 1980. And now...let's talk about the work.

No Ordinary Performers: Supporting Actor, 1980

We begin the 1980 Oscars Retrospective the way many an Oscar ceremony has begun: with Best Supporting Actor.


In The Great Santini, Michael O'Keefe makes his film debut as a high school senior who alternately loves and hates his hard-ass marine father - both a result of him just wanting that affection from his father in return. O'Keefe also appears in the comedy classic Caddyshack this year!

(The Golden Globes nominated Scott Wilson for The Ninth Configuration instead of O'Keefe - Wilson is also bordering on co-lead in said film, but Glory Osky, it is a great performance)

In Melvin and Howard, Jason Robards plays a dusty old man who identifies himself as the billionaire Howard Hughes, picked up by noted failure Melvin. Is he lying, crazy, or the real deal? This is Robards' third Oscar nomination in this category - his previous two nods resulted in back-to-back wins.

In Ordinary People, Timothy Hutton makes his film debut as a teenager grieving the loss of his older brother, recovering from his suicide attempt, and exploring a new romance. Judd Hirsch plays his therapist, who refuses to let the patient slide into easy answers or self-pity. Hirsch later won an Emmy for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Taxi this same year.

In Raging Bull, Joe Pesci is the brother of Jake La Motta, a former boxer trying to maintain his connections in the mob, while being a good brother...and brother-in-law. It's the first of two Pesci nominations, the second resulting in a win.

Those are the men and their characters - buy what of the performances? After the jump...

Friday, June 2, 2017

June is 1980 Month!

It's a brand new month, and guess what that means? It's time for another Oscar Retrospective, followed by a new edition of the Retro Hollmann Awards! This time around, the year in question is 1980!


What makes this year unique is that I had never seen any of the Best Picture nominees before. Not a one. Coal Miner's Daughter? Missed it. Raging Bull? Passed me by. Tess? Never met her. Ordinary People? Look, you get the idea. This year was a chance for me to fill in some significant gaps in my movie knowledge.

And fill them I did! Not only did I finally watch The Elephant Man and The Blue Lagoon - I also included non-Oscar'd titles like The Blues Brothers and Popeye and American Gigolo. In the end, I watched 59 titles total - and still have a few more to go, as a VHS of Tribute is on its way, and the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles is playing Honeysuckle Rose next Sunday.

The Oscar Retrospective begins Monday, when we look back at the nominees for Best Supporting Actor. If you want to get in on the discussion, here's what's going down:

WEEK ONE
Best Supporting Actor (The Great Santini, Melvin and HowardOrdinary People, Raging Bull)
Best Original Screenplay (Brubaker, FameMelvin and Howard, Mon oncle d'Amérique, Private Benjamin)
Best Score (Altered States, The Elephant Man, The Empire Strikes Back, Fame, Tess)
Best Actress (Coal Miner's Daughter, Gloria, Ordinary PeoplePrivate BenjaminResurrection)
Best Director (The Elephant ManOrdinary People, Raging Bull, The Stunt ManTess)

WEEK TWO
Best Supporting Actress (Inside Moves, Melvin and Howard, Private Benjamin, Raging BullResurrection)
Best Adapted Screenplay ('Breaker' Morant, Coal Miner's Daughter, The Elephant ManOrdinary People, The Stunt Man)
Best Original Song (The CompetitionFame, Honeysuckle RoseNine to Five)
Best Actor (The Great Santini, The Elephant ManRaging Bull, The Stunt Man, Tribute)
Best Picture (Coal Miner's Daughter, The Elephant Man, Ordinary People, Raging Bull, Tess)

WEEK THREE
Casting Coup Week: Re-Casting the Best Picture Nominees of 1980

WEEK FOUR
Top Ten
Retro Hollmann Awards Nominees
Complete List of Movies Seen
The 1980 Retro Hollmann Awards

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