Posted by: Rita

Miscellaneous - 01/15/11 08:58 PM

Zsa Zsa Gabor just had her right leg amputated. She's 93.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Miscellaneous - 01/16/11 05:06 PM

Good god. How can a 93-year-old recover from trauma like that? Poor woman.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Miscellaneous - 01/16/11 11:57 PM

According to CNN: "When Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband told the actress Saturday night that her right leg was amputated Friday she joked about it, Prince Frederic Von Anhalt said Sunday.

"She said 'I'm gonna die anyhow,'" Von Anhalt said.

Von Anhalt didn't tell his wife what was about to happen when she was being rolled into surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He said he feared she might become hysterical or have a heart attack if she knew they were going to amputate her right leg above the knee."

He is husband #9, BTW...George Sanders was #3.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/01/11 08:03 PM

Now that the Academy Awards gave us no surprises, I want to mention that last week I happened to watch two of the winners' earlier movies, for which they were both nominated for Oscars but both lost. I'd read several times that this year's award would go to Colin Firth in part because he should have won it last year for A Single Man. After seeing that movie, I have to agree. He acted rings around winner Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), no question of that. Likewise, Melissa Leo's brave performance in Frozen River made winner Kate Winslet's acting in The Reader seem rather pedestrian.

Got a theory. I think it was the movies they appeared in that caused them to lose, not their performances. There's a lot of pain in A Single Man, and sometimes it gets to be unbearable. There is absolutely no hope for a happy ending. It's not a perfect movie, but it does get under your skin. Frozen River is also a downer; you know from the very first scene that everything is not going to work out all right. Not an especially well-made movie; some scenes are so dark it's impossible to make out what's going on. But you hurt for the Melissa Leo character, the stress and anguish she feels are so real.

The Motion Picture Academy likes upbeat movies. The King's Speech shows the overcoming of difficult obstacles, the growth of a friendship, the acceptance of responsibility, etc. The Fighter also shows the overcoming of obstacles as well as the regaining of trust and the need for family unity. By contrast, The Social Network shows the loss of trust, the end of a friendship, the breakdown of both business and sexual partnerships, etc. Firth and Leo had upbeat movies working for them this time and I'm glad they both won, but I think they won for the wrong reasons.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/02/11 10:52 AM

Has a downer movie ever won an Oscar?
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/02/11 05:27 PM

Well, Chinatown didn't, although it should have. But it was nominated.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/02/11 10:02 PM

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? got nominations for actors, director, writing, some minor awards, and Gig Young won best supporting actor. But the movie itself wasn't nominated.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/02/11 10:50 PM

Midnight Cowboy wasn't your all time feel good flick. Platoon

[This message has been edited by Kay (edited 03-02-2011).]
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/02/11 11:58 PM

Eraserhead not only gives you nightmares, it IS a nightmare. It got no nominations from the Academy. NONE.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/03/11 09:11 AM

Hm, I'm not sure I'd call Midnight Cowboy or Platoon (both Oscar winners) downers. I was fascinated by the journey of Joe Buck and Ratso, but the way I'd be fascinated by two Martians traveling through their alien landscape. It didn't leave me feeling down. Platoon was so overblown I couldn't take it seriously...Oliver Stone showing off. I'd say Full Metal Jacket came closer to being a downer than Platoon.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/03/11 11:41 AM

Platoon -- I barely remember that; it couldn't have made much of an impression! But that long opening sequence alone qualifies Full Metal Jacket as a downer. The movie wasn't even nominated for an Oscar.

I think the first real downer I saw -- that is, the first that truly got to me -- was The Bicycle Thief. It was nominated but lost. That one left me wiped out, bowed down by the hopelessness so graphically shown in the movie. That's pretty much been my standard for downers ever since. Another one I'd put in that category is Jude, a beautifully made movie which also happens to be depressing as hell. It was completely ignored by the Academy.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/03/11 07:13 PM

That opening sequence of Full Metal Jacket WAS the movie, as far as I'm concerned. I know it was supposed to lay the background for what came next, but I remember very little of what happened after that latrine scene. I think I was in shock! That movie seemed like an antidote to all the joking views of marine training that had come before, like Andy Griffith in No Time for Sergeants drawing latrine duty and rigging all the toilet seats to flap up at the same time during inspection, like a salute. Or Gomer Pyle failing to be intimidated by his sergeant barking at him, answering every snarl with that stupid grin and some good-old-boy remark. Remember the drill sergeant's name for the d'Onofrio character in Full Metal Jacket? Gomer Pyle.
Posted by: Mike

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/04/11 01:49 PM

Requiem for a Dream
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/04/11 03:39 PM

I've heard of that, but I've never seen it. It's supposed to be a REAL downer.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/04/11 07:01 PM

I wish I'd gone to see that. Ellen Burstyn was nominated for an Oscar but the movie wasn't.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/04/11 09:10 PM

I think there's something to the "downer movies hurt outstanding peformances, when it comes to awards" theory. I first formulated something like that back in the 60s, when I was in college, and my friends and I went to see the newest flick in town, The Pawnbroker. We were all knocked out, left speechless, by Rod Steiger's performance. And though we weren't avid Oscar-followers (we lived in the dorm and didn't own TVs) we figured he would win any award going. But he didn't; it went to Lee Marvin for Cat Ballou, in which he got to (a) be unexpectedly funny, and (b) play two roles.

So Steiger got his "make-up" award 2 years later, for In the Heat of the Night. And so it goes.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/30/12 03:45 PM

'Way back when, didn't All's Quiet on the Western Front win?
Posted by: Kay

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/30/12 08:31 PM

Wikipedia says "was the first to win the Academy Awards for both Outstanding Production and Best Director."

More recently (not much) "On the Waterfront" won just about everything there was. My recollection is that it was pretty much a downer, too.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Miscellaneous - 03/31/12 09:29 PM

But it has an inspirational ending: the waterfront will get cleaned up.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Miscellaneous - 08/09/12 12:37 AM

Some sad news. Bob Hoskins has quit acting, because he has Parkinson's. His last role was one of the dwarfs in Snow White and the Huntsman.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Miscellaneous - 08/09/12 10:32 PM

Oh, that is sad. I've lost a couple of friends to Parkinson's...it is not a nice way to go.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Miscellaneous - 08/10/12 12:16 PM

Sad, sad. Michael J. Fox announced his retirement some years back because of Parkinson's but then stabilized to the point that he could do smallish roles again (Boston Legal, The Good Wife). But Hoskins is nearly 20 years older than Fox. He won't be back.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Miscellaneous - 11/08/12 01:57 PM

An interjection about live theater: a friend and I met in NYC on Saturday October 27 (which turned out fortuitously to be the last clear day pre-Sandy) to see 2 shows that both of us wanted to catch:

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The acclaimed Steppenwolf production, already seen in Chicago and DC. I am familiar with the play but somehow had never seen it onstage before. Despite its original reputation (at least to my young ears at the time) as a long grueling dark night of the soul, this was a fast-moving entertaining 3 hours (including the 2 intermissions) in which dramatic grip and ominous undercurrents didn't preclude the glee in gamesmanship and the sparks of dark humor that are also part of it. Tracy Letts and Amy Morton (respectively the playwright of August: Osage County and its premier cast member to my mind) deserve every bit of praise they've been getting. They, director Pam Mackinnon, and Madison Dirks (Nick) pull off that ultimate illusion of making us think its unfolding all by itself before our eyes without premeditation. I'm so glad to have seen it.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The Roundabout Theatre revival of the 1986 musical by Rupert Holmes. Sumptuous-looking, great cast (most of whom are starring players in their own right), and just great fun. As most of you probably know, this is framed as a Victorian music-hall production (which gives them license to kill in terms of inserting extraneous songs and bits -- it's all part of this troupe's presentation), and it stops midway through Act II with the announcement that this is where Dickens laid down his pen and died. So the audience gets to vote on the identity of the detective Dick Datchery, and then on the murderer (and finally gets to match up a romantic pair). At our performance, Datchery was Helena Landless, the murderer was sweet Rosa Budd, and the final loving couple were ancient opium-dealer Princess Puffer (Chita Rivera) and the boy Deputy. Good times.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Miscellaneous - 11/09/12 01:07 PM

Oh, that sounds just great, both of them. The only stage performance of Virginia Woolf I've seen was a local one (Pittsburgh), and it WAS all dark-night-of-the-soul. For Drood, just think of how many different endings the cast had to memorize considering all the possible combinations! How I'd love to see that.

Jon, if you're still here -- you might want to take a look at the Books topic, the last four posts.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Miscellaneous - 11/10/12 12:21 PM

I don't mean to suggest that Virginia Woolf was played shallowly as a laff-riot. It never stopped being about serious matters, but they understood that serious is not the same as solemn: on some level, George and Martha get a kick out of the adversarial relationship they've evolved, and they enjoy (in their different ways) getting this young couple mixed up in it. The script tells us that several layers down, they've never stopped loving each other, but this is the first time I've believed it.

Drood does indeed have a ton of possibilities for the cast to absorb, which I've always thought makes it hard on the schools and community theaters who do it but typically give only a very few performances: they have to prepare all these endings and they never get to use most of them. I think there are 4 possible Datcherys, 8 potential murderers (though only 7 at any given performance because one will have been chosen as Datchery), and... 24?... final romantic possibilities (though that's only a matter of different dialogue lead-ins to a duet reprise).

Here are some production shots, and here is a video preview.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Miscellaneous - 12/05/12 09:51 PM

Forbes has released its annual list of the most overpaid stars in Hollywood (based on the amount earned per dollar paid to the actor averaged over their last three movies). Here they are:

1. Eddie Murphy
2. Katherine Heigl
3. Reese Witherspoon
4. Sandra Bullock
5. Jack Black
6. Nicolas Cage
7. Adam Sandler
8. Denzel Washington
9. Ben Stiller
10. Sara Jessica Parker

Sandra Bullock is a surprise. I thought she was box-office gold.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Miscellaneous - 12/06/12 02:25 PM

Yeah, so did I. Couple of other surprises too, Nicolas Cage and Denzel Washington.
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Miscellaneous - 12/06/12 04:57 PM

I'm moderately familiar with all of the above, except for Katherine Heigl, of whom I've never heard. The ones who are a plus for me are Reese Witherspoon and ... er ... Eddie Murphy in Trading Places and ... that's about that.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Miscellaneous - 12/06/12 11:34 PM

I'm surprised Katherine Heigl is considered a star. I'm not sure I'd know her if I saw her.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Miscellaneous - 12/07/12 03:12 PM

Maybe that's because she keeps changing her hair color...

Posted by: Barbara

Re: Miscellaneous - 12/08/12 11:36 AM

Still don't know her.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Miscellaneous - 12/11/12 08:58 AM

I suppose that's part of their point, in a way: she's well paid for her movies but not in any functional sense a real star. She had a TV series, transitioned into a couple of romantic comedies, but I doubt anybody sees a movie because she's in it. But then, I may well be wrong about that -- I know I'm out of touch with the desirable moviegoing demographic.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Miscellaneous - 12/11/12 08:11 PM

I usually manage one movie a year and I've already seen two this year...Lincoln...and something else (Not PI, the book gave me nightmares)...and I will be seeing Le Miz probably before the end of the year. For me this is a veritable movie marathon.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Miscellaneous - 12/11/12 08:12 PM

Somethng awful with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin...or was that two years ago?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Miscellaneous - 01/12/13 01:26 PM

Please note that this forum has a new moderator. Rita has agreed to take over the moderating chores from Scribbler -- a big THANK YOU to both ladies!
Posted by: Kay

Re: Miscellaneous - 01/13/13 03:58 PM

Welcome, Rita...let the fun resume!
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Miscellaneous - 02/05/15 08:34 PM

George Takei will be appearing on Broadway starting in November...in a musical, no less! The show is called Allegiance, and it's about a family during the period of Japanese internment in World War II. Takei is 77 years old. I think he's just trying to outlast Shatner.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Miscellaneous - 02/06/15 12:01 AM

He probably will, since Shatner is six years older. You know, of all the regular casts of all the various incarnations of Star Trek, I always thought Takei was the poorest actor. And oh, he wanted his own starship so much!
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Miscellaneous - 02/06/15 07:15 PM

He BEGGED Berman and Piller to create a new series starring himself as the captain of a Federation Starship. He thought he had a chance when Voyager was in the planning stage, but B&P snagged Genevieve Bujold to play the lead. Unfortunately, Bujold lasted only 4 days because she could not (or would not) adjust to the hurry-up pace of American television. Since the role was written for a woman, she was replaced by a woman. B&P threw Takei a crumb, though. He played the captain of a starship in one episode of Voyager.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Miscellaneous - 02/07/15 09:48 AM

All Quiet on the Western Front?
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Miscellaneous - 02/09/15 01:23 PM

Hmm. I don't get it, Pete.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Miscellaneous - 02/09/15 03:55 PM

Christopher. Somewhere along above, it was posited that downer movies didn't win Oscars. All's Quiet on the Western Front won Best Picture, I think in 1930, and ends with the hero getting killed by a sniper. That's about as downer as I can think of.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Miscellaneous - 02/10/15 06:25 PM

Ah. We were talking about George Takei, and I didn't see the connection (because there was none!). But yes, All's Quiet is especially remarkable for being a downer so early in movie history.