Remembering Jonathan Demme

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Something Wild is one of those movies where after you see it, you wonder why the hell it isn’t more well-known.  It’s two perfect movies smooshed into one.  When it goes from a happy-go-lucky sort of fantastical farce into something much more sinister, there’s a literal and visual shift that you can witness.  When Ray Liotta, as Ray Sinclair, the psychopathic villain of the film, is introduced, the color palette literally transforms.

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Bill Paxton: 1955-2017

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Bill Paxton has long been one of my favorite actors.  In a lot of ways, his acting style reminds me of Nicolas Cage, when Nicolas Cage is at his best.  They always take risks that sometimes, but not always, pay off to an incredible result… they just need the right project for them.  Paxton’s work was usually more consistent, and he was capable of great subtlety, like his performance on the HBO series Big Love.  He was also capable of amazing, over-the-top performances like that of Private Hudson in Aliens, or when he’s pleading for his life and saying he has a little dick in True Lies.

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Wes Craven – Remembering a Master, and the Comfort of Horror

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In his life, Wes Craven directed less than a handful of movies that would not be considered horror.  For the majority of his life and artistic output, he was most interested in scaring audiences.  And because of that determination, I don’t think there’s hardly any adult over the age of 25 or so that hasn’t had at least one nightmare featuring Freddy Krueger in it.  Wes Craven has transcended films and traditional fears and has literally created something that has scared us while we dream.  That’s a hell of a legacy to leave behind.

Wes Craven died on August 30, 2015 at the age of 76.

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Sam Simon and His Contribution to “The Simpsons”

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Without hyperbole, The Simpsons is a top-contender as being “The Funniest TV Show of All Time.” What show is as endlessly quotable over 25 years after it first premiered? Even today, modern memes mirror events happening in the news (Ant Overlords; Snowpocalypse’s 0 death-count to mock a media overreaction to everyday events).

When the show began, there were three people responsible for its birth: Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and Sam Simon.

Matt Groening knew cartoons. James L. Brooks knew how to tell a story. Sam Simon bridged the two worlds by using cartoons to tell a story that was laden with humor, heart and the ability to tell stories that no other medium on television could do. The Simpsons could tell huge stories live action couldn’t, because of production costs, and appeal to an incredibly broad audience just by being as funny as it could possibly be. Watch an episode of The Simpsons and try to count how many gags there are in just one scene.


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Rest in Peace, Robin Williams

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You know how sometimes you’re thinking about life in general and you think about getting older and how, one day, the celebrities you grew up with when you’re a kid will eventually die sometime in your lifetime?  Never, never, not in a million years did I ever think I would live in a world where Robin Williams of all people would kill himself.

The thought of such a thing actually happening hurts my heart and makes me immeasurably sad.  I can’t believe it.  I can understand it and I can accept it without judgment, but holy fucking shit does it hurt my soul.

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Guillermo del Toro – A Career in Review

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Very rarely are there directors or filmmakers that I would outright label as an “auteur.”  An auteur, I think, is someone who has their work oft-copied and oft-imitated, but has such an original visual flare that you can instantly recognize the real deal from a forgery as long as you’re pretty familiar with the real work from the master.  I would consider Martin Scorsese to be an auteur, especially in his early work.  Wes Anderson fits the bill–you know you’re watching a Wes Anderson movie just by a single frame and its composition.

To that end, I would definitely label Guillermo del Toro as an auteur.

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George A. Romero – A Career In Review

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George A. Romero’s career has varied wildly, from smash hits to forgotten gems to curious oddities that only the man who made Night of the Living Dead could manage to ever get funded.  And while I haven’t experienced his full filmography, here is a list of his works I have seen and will hopefully be a place to start for anyone previously uninitiated with his films.

George Romero

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David Gordon Green: A Career In Review

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In preparation for this year’s Joe (directed by David Gordon Green and not to be confused with the 1970s hippies vs slobs film starring Peter Boyle), in which Nicolas Cage is thought to be nominated for an Academy Award for his performance, I wanted to break down David Gordon Green’s seminar films.  A career unlike any other filmmaker alive today.
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