Friday, February 8, 2008

Ten Tidbits, Film Edition

01. A history of the Academy Awards, examining the 2007 nominations as well as past shockers, curses, and odd moments

02. Ten Star Wars toys that look like other celebrities

03. Sure, we have a long history of "teachable moments" courtesy of our past presidents, but about lessons learned from the faux presidents? I think what the president in Superman II taught us is most important.

04. Did you start watching a movie but for some reason had to stop so you missed the ending? Are you wanting to know if the conclusion to the latest thriller is inspired or just plain silly? Check out Movie Spoiler.

05. The Hollywood sign has been around for some time. If you already know it's history, then you realize that four letters are missing:

The Hollywood Sign stands four stories high, each letter running 30 feet at its base along the rugged terrain of the Hollywood Hills. Up close, it's massive, but to those who have been around since its birth, something is missing. Actually, four somethings. Following the familiar HOLLYWOOD that still greets pilots and tourists arriving in Los Angeles today, there once stood more letters: L-A-N-D.

For Morning Edition, Special Correspondent Renée Montagne investigates the origins of the sign. Since its construction, the sign put up by the Hollywoodland Real Estate Group may have undergone a small amount of cosmetic surgery, but then again, what in L.A. hasn't? After all, doesn't the most famous billboard of all time deserve a little pampering?

06. No doubt you'll have some opinion about the 100 best film soundtracks

07. Speaking of film soundtracks, I should mention that today, February 8, is John Williams' birthday. He composed the scores for such films as The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, Heartbeeps, and Monsignor, as well as little known films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and Saving Private Ryan.

08. Unhappy with several aspects of the film version of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (which I must admit, I was unhappy with several things as well), Devin Brown shares his hopes for Prince Caspian. He has five requests: (1) characters' apologies for wrong-doing; (2) an awesome Aslan; (3) a grousing Susan; (4) the consequences of choices; and (5) a good ending.

09. Nine ways Star Wars can save you money

10. Was 2007 the year the bad boys reigned in Hollywood?
''The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted,'' D.H. Lawrence once declared. He shoulda been a movie critic.

Mr. Lady Chatterley's Lover was writing in the 1920s, but let's face it, he might have just emerged fresh from a visit to today's multiplex, his fingers still buttery from a double feature of No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. And he might have been left shaken, as so many of us have, after encountering two of the hardest, most morally isolated and stoic killer-dillers in contemporary movies — Javier Bardem's implacable, Beatle-cut annihilator Anton Chigurh and Daniel Day-Lewis' misanthropic oilman/bowling aficionado Daniel Plainview.

At the conclusion of this year's Oscars, Day-Lewis may well take home the award for Best Actor, and Bardem a matching statuette for Best Supporting Actor. By any measure, it was an awfully good year for awfully-behaved characters. Whether we're talking about Johnny Depp's demon barber in Sweeney Todd, the up-by-his-bootstraps hoodlum Denzel Washington portrayed in American Gangster, Russell Crowe's sketch-pad-wielding Western baddie in 3:10 to Yuma, or the serial killer in David Fincher's Zodiac, evil is artful in some of the best recent American movies.


  1. From the "curses" article: "You won't catch Ledger making a Diet Coke commercial." Please tell me that was written before Mr. Ledger's death!

  2. Oh and calling Mira Sorvino "goofy faced"??? What's with that author?!?!