[What follows is a feature I wrote for The Daily Oklahoman about one of the greatest movie stars and human beings ever… Burt Reynolds]
Maybe it was the mustache. Or the unscripted quips. Or the genteel Southern manner.
Or just maybe it was that laugh, a cackle delivered by one comfortable in his own skin – inviting his audience gut bust with him, as though they were all in a private joke.
That’s our Burt. And he’s, unbelievably, gone.
Fame, according to Jeanine Bissinger, is “often conferred or withheld just as is love, for reasons and on grounds other than merits.” Burt Reynolds earned his fame with raw boned talent and insight into the business of filmed diversion. [Read on here...]
Sometimes it’s wonderful to find someone who hails from the same planet as you. I go to film festivals and am always pleased to find intelligent, well dressed and conversant people on subjects close to my heart. These folks, somewhat like yours truly, are professionals, go to work every day, raise families and live contemplative and productive lives. And, well, like a fool such as I, love, as Pauline Kael once said, “when the lights go down.”
I’ve been extremely lucky – I’ve had mentors and friends who have done their dead level best to educate me in the ways of the world while also sharing their deep and abiding love for everything silver and screen. [Read on here...]
A little preface – I started writing my little nickel and dime pieces for the holidays not before December 25 but after. And I’ll tell you why. How many of us receive as presents gift cards – they’re easily purchased and delivered. However, many have time limits and they’re incredibly easy to lose. Come on, you’ve lost a few, haven’t you?
So, I write up these fabulous video gifts because you have gift money to spend. And please do so.
When I was in the throes of graduation from Purcell Oklahoma High School about 40 years ago, we Seniors observed a tradition that I’m sure in some form or fashion was copied throughout the country – we had to complete a form that listed our personal “likes.” You know, favorite song, favorite type food, favorite movie, etc. [Read on here...]
Since the earliest days of American television, some programs thereon have become phenoms by lancing through public consciousness at the right time and place in popular culture.
You know the list – The Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle, was the first show to become “must see.” The same moniker could also be used for I Love Lucy or The Honeymooners or The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson or even Saturday Night Live.
While these programs and a few shows like them, say All in the Family, breathed rarefied air, none caused a change in the public stratosphere like a comedy sketch show which started airing on NBC Monday nights in 1967, opposite The Lucy Show and Gunsmoke, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In.
Now, to celebrate Laugh-In’s 50th Anniversary, Time Life Home Video has released Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series – including every episode from all six seasons along with exclusive new bonus features and a free DVD. That’s 140 episodes on 38 DVDs. [Read on here...]
I think it’s time we caught up. Walking outside during this Oklahoma summer is like tasting something after it’s been in the microwave about eight minutes. The heat and stupidity started even before Memorial Day and has not abated. It’s like we’re living on Mars – I’ve been pricing those spacesuits which protected Matt Damon.
But thank goodness for the movies. Especially the kind one watches in the comfort of one’s own home. Let’s discuss.
Here’s a serious complaint – as I learned over the years, watching a great film is a multi-sensory experience – you see, you listen, you emote. And for me, always a major component of that experience is the music score. For those who pay attention, music is usually the heart of the movie – name a classic up through about 1990 or so for which you can’t hum a main theme. Or name a dud or two with a score that is better than the picture. [Read on here...]
I’m trying to remember when I put it all together, when it dawned on me that there were these wonderful movies, shown, at the time, when there were only three local stations and local guys programmed the movies, after the last late show. They were cheap, even I could see that, but there was just something about these black and whites that kept me fascinated and many a long night I would suffer through local commercials just to see either justice done or perverted.
And the titles – Private Hell 36, Shack Out on 101, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands and Five Against the House. And the actors, has-beens and wanna-bes, but they were just terrific. Tom Neal and Ann Savage and Dennis O’Keefe and Preston Foster and Lawrence Tierney. And this was the “B” list. [Read on here...]
I had to sit on maybe the biggest movie story in America. For a long time. And now that it’s been completed and is over, I’m shocked that the whole thing hasn’t been on the front page of The New York Times.
I’ve perhaps casually mentioned that I helped create (didn’t get in the way of) a film school here in Oklahoma City, actually at Oklahoma City Community College. The idea was, unlike film degrees that are based on watching and studying themes and points of view and reading scripts, the creative side, so to speak, to offer a technical, hands on degree program, why a community college was selected in the first place. And to enhance the experience, we got the finest equipment in the world – Avid editors and cameras and lenses and lights and then, through a lot of hard work from a lot of good people, here came the ultimate – a full end studio, built to the specs of an actual Hollywood soundstage. If another state funded school has a facility like this, I’d like to see it. [Read on here...]
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Okay, we’re closing out the week with an early look at bunch of new Blu-ray cover artwork.
Because why not right? It’s not like there’s much in the way of announcement news today, and we’re all busy working on new reviews for next week. [Read on here…]
(Photo by Robin Holland Photography)
Robert Altman said his last “that’s a wrap,” can you believe it, some eight or nine years ago and it seems as though any hope of mainstream studio films with emotional weight, sharp characters, social satire and natural, cliché free dialogue was buried right next to him.
Every Hollywood director since the beginning of the medium owes a debt to Robert Altman. His style was so distinctive, so fresh and so natural that people would say to themselves, “Oh that’s what directors do.” [Read on here...]
Now where was I?
Sorry, I’ve not been here. I missed a bit – I’ll admit it and it for sure wasn’t to do with health or disinterest or a lack in passion. I just had to do stuff. But now I’m back.
But I come with good stories. Specifically regarding how movie awards season works. [Read on here...]