Movies

Movie Monday: Four Christmases 2008

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Four Christmases Image
Photo Credit: rogerebert.com

Ten years ago, today, the #1 movie at the box office was Four Christmases, starring Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Jon Favreau, Mary Steenburgen, Dwight Yoakam, Tim McGraw, Kristin Chenoweth and Carol Kane (uncredited). One of the Executive Producers, Peter Billingsley, Ralphie from A Christmas Story, has a credited bit part as an airline ticket agent.

IMDB Summary:

“Brad and Kate have been together three years, in love, having fun and, doing all sorts of things together with no intention of marriage or children. Christmas morning, they’re on their way to Fiji, having told their two sets of divorced parents that they’re off to do charity work. Through a fluke, they have no choice but to visit each of their four idiosyncratic parents. As the day progresses, Brad and Kate remember growing up, each learns more about the other and, Kate realizes that her life may not be as good as it could be. Do they know each other well enough to weather the storms families bring?”

Interesting Trivia:
♦ Apparently, Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon did not get along.
♦ All four cast members playing the parents are all Oscar winners.
♦ Carol Kane, (who was uncredited as Aunt Sarah), also appeared in Scrooged (1988), another Christmas movie, as the Ghost of Christmas Present (a violent, shrill fairy that hits Bill Murray‘s character with a toaster).

Award
Film Music (Alex Wurman/2009 Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Film & TV Awards)

Nomination
Favorite Movie Actress (Reese Witherspoon/2009 Kid’s Choice/Blimp Awards)

Movie Monday: The Cat in the Hat 2003

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Cat In The Hat Image One
Photo Credit: tribute.ca
Cat In The Hat Image Two
Photo Credit: rogerebert.com

Fifteen years ago, today, the #1 movie at the box office was The Cat In The Hat, starring Mike Myers, Alec Baldwin, Kelly Preston, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin and, Sean Hayes with cameos from Clint Howard and Paris Hilton. Dan Castellaneta did Thing One and Thing Two voice work.

IMDB Summary:

“Conrad and Sally Walden are home alone with their pet fish. It is raining outside and there is nothing to do until The Cat in the Hat walks in the front door. He introduces them to their imagination and, at first, it’s all fun and games until things get out of hand and, The Cat must go, go, go, before their parents get back.”

Interesting Trivia:
Tim Allen was originally cast as The Cat but, had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict for The Santa Clause II.
♦ There was so much smog during the shoot that the sky had to be digitally replaced.
Audrey Geisel, Dr. Seuss’s widow, was appalled by this movie and decided to reject any future adaptations of her late husband’s work. She was so furious after she saw the film that she legally forbade Hollywood from making anymore live-action stories (all subsequent films have been animated).
♦ Mike Myers said that the Cat’s personality is a composite of director/producer Bruce Paltrow, his Saturday Night Live (1975) character “Linda Richman” and, actor Charles Nelson Reilly.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Magazine had a different take:

“I hated How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which was a smash for Jim Carrey. Cat, another over-blown Hollywood raid on Dr. Seuss, has a draw in Mike Myers, who, inexplicably, plays the Cat by mimicking Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.”

Awards:
Film Music (David Newman/2004 Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Film & TV Awards)
Worst Excuse for an Actual Movie (2004/Golden Raspberry (Razzie) Awards)
Worst Film (2004/Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association (DFWFCA) Awards)
Worst Picture (2003/The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards *Site Defunct July 1, 2007*)
Worst Screenplay for a Film Grossing More than $100 Million Using Hollywood Math (Alec Berg, David Mandel & Jeff Schaffer/2003/The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards)
Most Annoying Non-Human Character (2003/The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards)
The Spencer Breslin Award for Worst Performance by a Child (Spencer Breslin/2003/The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards)

21 Nominations [Not all bad. The kids & teens liked this and, the hair & makeup was noticed by the Guild. The Teen Choice Awards nominated Sean Hayes for Choice Movie Hissy Fit, which I found amusing. ~Vic]


 

Movie Monday: The Rugrats Movie 1998

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Rugrats Image
Photo Credit: gizmodo.com

Twenty years ago, today, the #1 movie at the box office was The Rugrats Movie.
Voice cast:
Elizabeth Daily (billed as E. G. Daily)…….Tommy Pickles
Jack Riley…….Stu Pickles
Melanie Chartoff (Principal Grace Musso from Parker Lewis Can’t Lose)…….Didi Pickles & Grandma Minka Kropotkin
Tara Strong…….Dil Pickles
Joe Alaskey…….Grandpa Lou Pickles
Michael Bell…….Drew Pickles, Chas Finster & Grandpa Boris Kropotkin
Tress MacNeille…….Charlotte Pickles
Cheryl Chase…….Angelica Pickles
Christine Cavanaugh (the original voice of Babe and Amanda Nelligan in The X-Files episode Small Potatoes)…….Chuckie Finster
Kath Soucie…….Phil, Lil & Betty DeVille
Phil Proctor…….Howard DeVille
Cree Summer…….Susie Carmichael

Notable Guest Stars:
Tim Curry…….Rex Pester
Whoopi Goldberg…….Ranger Margaret
David Spade…….Ranger Frank
Roger Clinton, Jr. (younger half-brother of President Bill Clinton)…….Air Crewman
Margaret Cho…….Lt. Klavin
Busta Rhymes…….Reptar Wagon

Notable Baby Singers:
Beck
Cindy Wilson (B-52s)
Dawn Robinson (En Vogue)
Fred Schneider (B-52s)
Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes)
Iggy Pop
Jakob Dylan
Kate Pierson (B-52s)
Lenny Kravitz
Lisa Loeb
Lou Rawls
Patti Smith

Awards:
BMI Film Music Award (1999/BMI Film & TV Awards)
Favorite Cartoon (1999/Kids’ Choice Awards, USA)

Six Nominations

Movie Monday: The Three Muskateers 1993

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Three Musketeers 1993 Image One
Photo Credit: pinterest.com
Three Musketeers 1993 Image Two
Photo Credit: film1.nl

Twenty-five years ago, today, the #1 film at the box office was The Three Musketeers, starring:
Charlie Sheen
Kiefer Sutherland
Chris O’Donnell
Oliver Platt
Tim Curry (The original Pennywise)
Rebecca De Mornay
Gabrielle Anwar
Michael Wincott
Paul McGann (Doctor Who #8)

A summary from IMDB:

“A Disney-ized re-telling of Dumas’ classic swashbuckling story of three swordsmen of the disbanded French King’s Guard, plus one young man who dreams to become one of them, who seek to save their King from the scheming of the Cardinal Richelieu. Jokes and stunts are the expected fare in this light-hearted and jaunty adventure.”

It was, apparently, panned by critics but, clearly, did well for Disney. The first song from the soundtrack, All For Love, had some notable success as well. Written by Bryan Adams, John “Mutt” Lange and Michael Kamen and, sung by Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting, it reached #1 in 1994 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart, the Eurochart Hot 100, the Canadian RPM chart and, 11 other countries.

Awards:
Most Performed Song From A Film (Michael Kamen/1995 Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Film & TV Awards)
Most Performed Songs From Motion Pictures (Bryan Adams, Robert John Lange & Michael Kamen/1995 American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) Film & Television Music Awards)

Nominations:
Best Editing ~ Sound Effects (Tim Chau/1994 Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) Golden Reel Award)
Best Movie Song (Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting/1994 MTV Movie & TV Awards)
Worst Supporting Actor (Chris O’Donnell/1994 Golden Raspberry (Razzie) Awards)

Interesting Trivia Bits from the Disney Movie Database.


 

Movie Monday: The Boys From Brazil 1978

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Boys From Brazil Image
Photo Credit: filmexcess.blogspot.com

Forty years ago, today, the #1 movie at the box office was The Boys From Brazil starring Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier, James Mason, Rosemary Harris, Anne Meara & Steve Guttenberg. Laurence Olivier was nominated for Best Actor (Academy Awards). Robert Swink was nominated for Film Editing (Academy Awards) and Jerry Goldsmith was nominated for Original Music Score (Academy Awards). Gregory Peck was nominated for Best Motion Picture Actor in a Drama (Golden Globes) for his portrayal of Josef Mengele.

Movie Monday: The Way We Were 1973

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The Way We Were Image One
Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk

Ok, folks. I am shifting things a bit. What used to be Flick Friday is now Movie Monday! *applause*applause* All blogs change and evolve…and, we’re off…

Forty-five years ago, today, the #1 movie at the box office was The Way We Were, a film described as a romantic drama. It’s drama alright. Directed by Sydney Pollack, it is a period piece based upon a novel by Arthur Laurents. He wrote about his college days at Cornell University and his experience with HCUA, which ultimately led to Hollywood Blacklisting. I’m not going to comment any further on the details as it is a little too close to the political nonsense of today.

That being said, Marvin Hamlisch won two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song.

Flick Friday: Night of the Living Dead 1968

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Night of the Living Dead Image
Image Credit: neatocoolville.blogspot.com
Krya Schon Karen Cooper Image
Photo Credit: horrornews.net

Fifty years ago, today, the #1 movie at the box office was Night of the Living Dead, starring Judith O’Dea (her best known role), Duane Jones (his best known role), Karl Hardman (one of the producers of the film), Marilyn Eastman (business partner of Karl Hardman and, make-up and prop artist of the film), Judith Ridley (Karl Hardman & Marilyn Eastman’s receptionist and, eventually, producer Russell Streiner‘s wife), Ronald ‘Keith Wayne‘ Hartman (the only role he ever had) and Kyra Schon (the zombie kid and Karl Hardman’s daughter). The Zombie Family that plays together, stays together, I guess.

It was directed, edited and co-written (with John Russo) by George A. Romero, considered to be the ‘Father of the Zombie Film’. He was also known for The Crazies, Monkey Shines, directed Creepshow and, created and executive-produced the television show Tales from the Darkside.

Duane Jones is, now, an actual character in The Walking Dead graphic novel/comic.

The original movie is slated to be re-released this month in certain cinemas on the 24th & 25th in celebration of its 50th anniversary. It’s a shame that George Romero passed away in July of last year:
www.nightofthelivingdead.com

Flick Friday: Prisoners 2013

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Prisoners Movie Image
Photo Credit: flixter.com & rottentomatoes.com

I think by now everyone knows this is Flick Friday.

The #1 movie five years ago, today, was Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano.

I don’t think I want to watch this one. I love Hugh Jackman & Terrence Howard but, I can’t take little kid abduction and torture movies. The synopsis was quite enough. ~Victoria

Flick Friday: Burn After Reading 2008

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Burn After Reading Image
Photo Credit: fanart.tv

It’s Flick Friday! Ten years ago, today, the #1 movie was Burn After Reading, a black comedy from the Coen Brothers that brought us hits like Fargo and The Big Lebowski. I’ve never seen this movie, or The Big Lebowski for that matter but, I have seen Fargo, which was an absolute trip. At least the brothers aren’t as gory as Tarentino. ~Victoria

Flick Friday: Dickie Roberts 2003

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Dickie Roberts Image
Photo Credit: imdb.com

It’s Flick Friday! The 1# movie fifteen years ago, today, was Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. The list of cameos is interesting.

I haven’t the first clue… But, I will say that the trailer offered a nice view of an older Leif Garrett and Barry Williams. Bonaduce? I’ve seen enough of him, already. Ditto Alyssa Milano. ~Victoria

Flick Friday: There’s Something About Mary 1998

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Cameron Diaz Image
Photo Credit: diffuser.fm

It’s Flick Friday! The #1 movie twenty years ago, today, was There’s Something About Mary.

Honestly, I’ve never seen this movie. ~Victoria

Flick Friday: The Fugitive 1993

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Harrison Ford Fugitive Image
Photo Credit: rogerebert.com

Twenty-five years ago, today, the number one movie was The Fugitive, a suspense film that was based on the TV Show that ran from 1963 to 1967 on ABC starring David Janssen.

Tommy Lee Jones won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and, the film was nominated for Best Cinematography, Film Editing, Best Original Score, Sound, Sound Effects Editing and Best Picture. Jones reprised his role of U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard in the spin-off U.S. Marshals.

Some trivia: The bus/train wreck is a tourist attraction in Dillsboro, North Carolina.

The television show started before I was born and I was just an infant when it ceased production. I have picked up a re-run or two over the years. Harrison Ford managed to capture the intensity that David Janssen displayed nearly 30 years earlier. ~Victoria

Flick Friday: The Dream Master 1988

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Freddy Krueger Image
Photo Credit: fanpop.com

The number one movie 30 years ago, today, is A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master! I never did get into the Freddy movies…or any other ‘slice & dice’ type movie. I saw about 10 minutes of the second Jason movie & about five minutes of Halloween III. Yeah. That was enough. I love a good suspense piece or a nail-biting thriller or a ‘whodunit’ but, guts & gore? No thanks. ~Victoria

Flick Friday: National Lampoon’s Vacation 1983

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National Lampoon's Vacation Photo
Photo Credit: ifccenter.com

It’s Flick Friday! The number one movie 35 years ago, today, is National Lampoon’s Vacation!

[I saw this movie in the summer before beginning my senior year of high school. It is a very different movie from the sequels as there was nudity. It wasn’t considered a ‘family friendly’ movie back then. It was very risqué. It is the only movie of the series with an ‘R‘ rating. The movies afterwards were toned down. And, it’s a little embarrassing, too. My mother’s maiden name is Griswold. I kept my mouth shut in school but, boy did my cousins take some ribbing. And, yes. We are just that weird. LOL! ~Victoria]

Flick Friday: Grease 1978

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Grease Image One
Photo Credit: pinterest.com

It’s Flick Friday. The number one movie 40 years ago, today, is…Grease! I was 11 years old when it was released. I was such an Olivia Newton-John fan. I begged my mom to buy me the album soundtrack. I nearly wore it out. I still have it to this day. And, I remember those shoes… I was headed to seventh grade that year and ALL the girls had to have a pair of the Candies that ‘Sandy’ made famous. Can you imagine a bunch of tween girls in the late 70s trying to change classes, going up and down stairs…in ‘Sandy’s Candies’? Oh, my…

I STILL love this movie. What wonderful memories… ~Vic

Released June 16, 1978, it was a romantic comedy musical, based on the 1971 musical created by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Bronte Woodard crafted the screenplay and Randal Kleiser directed.

Grease Image Two
Photo Credit: importanceofbeingvintage.blogspot.com

Produced by Robert Stigwood and Allan Carr, it starred John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway, Barry Pearl, Michael Tucci, Kelly Ward, Didi Conn, Jamie Donnelly, Dinah Manoff, Eve Arden, Frankie Avalon, Joan Blondell, Edd Byrnes, Sid Caesar, Alice Ghostley, Dody Goodman, Sha-Na-Na, Susan Buckner, Lorenzo Lamas, Fannie Flagg, Dick Patterson, Eddie Deezen, Darrell Zwerling, Ellen Travolta, Annette Charles and Dennis Stewart.

From IMDB:

During a visit to America, Australian Sandy meets Danny Zuko at the beach and falls in love. She is heartbroken when summer ends [as] she has to return home and their last kiss on the beach is a very emotional one. But, fate lends a hand — her parents decide to stay in America and she finds herself attending the same school as Danny.

Grease Image Three
Photo Credit: jewelwpg.com

But, Danny at school is different from Danny at the beach. He is the leader of the T-Birds, a black leather-clad gang and has a reputation to keep up. He can’t be seen to fall in love with just one chick! Sandy is upset and seeks solace with some new friends she has made – a girls’ club called The Pink Ladies. But, her prim and proper virginal ways do not fit in and she soon finds herself almost alone. A change must be made. Does she attempt to get her man by turning him into a jock? Or must she get rid of her “Sandra Dee” image?

From Vincent Canby:

“”GREASE,” the film version of the still-running Broadway musical show, is not really the 1950’s teen-age movie musical it thinks it is but, a contemporary fantasy about a 1950’s teen-age musical—a larger, funnier, wittier and more imaginative-than-Hollywood movie with a life that is all its own. Somewhat in the manner of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” which recalls the science-fiction films of the 50’s in a manner more elegant, and more benign, than anything that was ever made then, “Grease” is a multimillion-dollar evocation of the B-picture quickies that Sam Katzman used to turn out in the 50’s […].

Grease Image Four
Photo Credit: pinterest.com

The gang at old Rydell High, which is the universe of “Grease,” is unlike any high school class you’ve ever seen except in the movies. For one thing, they’re all rather long in the tooth to be playing kids who’d hang around malt shops. For another, they are loaded with the kind of talent and exuberance you don’t often find very far from a musical stage.

Olivia Newton-John, the recording star in her American film debut, is simultaneously very funny and utterly charming as the film’s ingénue […]. She possesses true screen presence as well as a sweet, sure singing voice […]. John Travolta […], a not-so-malevolent gang-leader, is better than he was in “Saturday Night Fever.” I’m still not sure if he’s a great actor but, he’s a fine performer with the kind of energy and humor that are brought to life by the musical numbers.

It’s to the director’s credit that the musical numbers slip in and out of reality mostly with hugely comic effect. Let me emphasize, then, that “Grease” stands outside the traditions it mimics. Its sensibility is not tied to the past but, to a free-wheeling, well informed, high-spirited present.”

 

Grease Image Five
Photo Credit: vanityfair.com

Filming Locations:
[1] The opening beach scene was shot at Malibu’s Leo Carrillo State Beach, making explicit reference to From Here to Eternity.
[2] The exterior shots of Rydell High, the Summer Nights musical number and the athletic scenes were shot at Venice High School in Los Angeles, CA.
[3] Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee & Hopelessly Devoted to You, sung at the slumber party, were performed at a private home in East Hollywood.
[4] The drive-in movie scene and the musical number Sandy were shot & performed at Pickwick Drive-In in Burbank, CA (torn down in 1989).
[5] The Frosty Palace (exterior shot), Greased Lightnin’ and Beauty School Dropout were performed at Paramount Studios
[6] Rydell interior shots and the dance in the gym were filmed at Huntington Park High School in Los Angeles, CA.
[7] The race was filmed at the Los Angeles River‘s dry riverbed, starting at the 6th Street bridge and u-turning after passing the 1st Street bridge.
[8] The carnival scenes, You’re the One That I Want and We Go Together were shot & performed at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, CA.
 

Grease Image Six
Photo Credit: tvnewsclips.com

Trivia Bits:
♦ Rizzo’s hickeys were real. Stockard Channing said in an interview that Jeff Conaway insisted on applying them himself.
♦ “Hopelessly Devoted to You” was written and recorded after the movie had wrapped.
 

Grease Image Seven
Photo Credit: express.co.uk

Elvis Presley turned down the role of The Guardian Angel in the ‘Beauty School Drop-Out’ scene.
♦ Due to a zipper breaking, Olivia Newton-John had to be sewn into the trousers she wears in the last sequence (the carnival at Rydell).
♦ Jeff Conaway was so infatuated with Olivia Newton-John, he was tongue-tied whenever she was around. He later married Olivia’s sister, Rona Newton-John.
♦ Danny’s blue windbreaker at the beginning of the film was intended as a nod to Rebel Without a Cause.
♦ Jamie Donnelly had prematurely grey hair, which she dyed black to play Jan. Her hair grew really quickly, so her roots had to be coloured in daily with a black crayon.
♦ Rydell High is a reference to teen idol Bobby Rydell who had a million selling hit with “Swingin’ School” in 1960.
♦ The “blonde pineapple” line was improvised by Barry Pearl.
♦ Olivia Newton-John insisted on a screen test for the role of Sandy. She was concerned that she didn’t have the acting skills and would look too old to be a high school student. The part was originally meant for Susan Dey, who turned it down on her manager’s advice.

Rizzo & Kenickie Image
Photo Credit: pinterest.com
Grease Image Eight
Photo Credit: fanpop.com