Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cher winning an Oscar for Moonstruck - 1988

Pay attention to Meryl Streep. Isn't she the best?!

Not that year obviously.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Excerpt from Sarah Vowell's "Assassination Vacation"

I began reading Assassination Vacation, Sarah Vowell's chronicle of her voyage across the states to landmarks related to various presidential assassinations of the past, last night. In the preface, she describes how the Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins (one of my favorites) inspired her to take a road trip to revisit these moments in history. I nearly laughed my ass off when she is describing to a group of uptight New England folk her views of Emma Goldman in the musical:

"Maybe I'm too swayed by the way Maureen Stapleton played Goldman in the film Reds. She was so bossy! And remember Stapleton in that Woody Allen movie, Interiors? Geraldine Page is all beige this and bland that so her husband divorces her and hooks up with a nosy, klutzy Maureen Stapleton, who laughs too loud and smashes pottery and wears a blood-red dress to symbolize that she is Alive, with a capital A. Wait, I lost my train of thought. Where was I?"

Englishman: "I believe Dracula was in love with Maureen Stapleton."

I'm looking forward to more obscure references like this!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ann-Margret in "Tommy"

When I do my Oscar picks for 1975, I intend to give Best Actress to...
*don't hurt me*
Ann-Margret in Tommy.

I always have to explain to people why I think Ann-Margret is better than say- oh- Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Well, I probably should explain that here. While Fletcher is brilliant as Nurse Ratched, I think Ann-Margret's over-the-top performance is a perfect match for The Who's rock opera based on their 1969 album of the same name. Even in this gaudy excuse for a film, she shines through with an actual performance in a film so devoid of creativity from its ensemble of actors/singers.

Tommy tries SO hard (too hard) to have some sort of message. It fails to make the viewer think. It only affects the eyes and ears, but not the brain. It's fun, entertaining, but as far as substance goes, it is severely lacking. The absence of character development is really a testament to how poor the writing is. The story doesn't call for performances from the "actors" but only singing heads. The lack of depth is evident from the rest of the cast. Ann-Margret refuses to become a singing head. She carves out a character from a hunk of garbage and makes it beautiful. Without proper writing or direction she was forced to create an actual person all on her own. For that achievement alone Ann-Margret deserves all the praise in the world.

I want this chair

Her performance as the title character's mother Nora is incredible. Feverish intensity, wild vocals and insane dancing (complete with hair-flipping) collide to create something that is absolutely brilliant. Nora Walker-Hobbs completes many transformations throughout the film and Ann-Margret is right there with her. As a character, Nora must embody the desperation of a mother trying to help her son, the greed of a woman nearly poisoned by wealth, and the determination of a soldier of religion when her son is miraculously cured. A less capable actress would have gotten lost in the muddled storyline, but her ability to envelop the character keeps the whole piece together.
In the most memorable moment of the whole film, the actress is asked to swim in baked beans and chocolate. Though it may be hard to see in the middle of the thrashing and clawing and singing, her anguish over her son's condition is driving her. The heightened reality of it all only makes it more emotional. The energy almost comes right out of the screen. And, of course, it's one of the sexiest scenes in cinema history. I should know, as someone who despises baked beans, because I was ready to jump in and join her.

Whenever she is on the screen one cannot help but focus on her. She commands the story and only lets go when she is forced to near the film's conclusion. The last half hour of the film drags on...and on...and on...and on. There is a reason, it is that Ann-Margret is relegated to the background and Roger Daltrey's wide-eyed, uninteresting Tommy takes over the story. The effect she leaves on the viewer is still fresh when the film ends and, in some cases (like mine), for days after .

Friday, June 26, 2009

And Five More

I got sidetracked yesterday. COMPLETELY forgot about recent Oscar news. I think Sid can explain it better than I can.

“After more than six decades, the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year,” said Ganis. “The final outcome, of course, will be the same – one Best Picture winner – but the race to the finish line will feature 10, not just five, great movies from 2009.”

Does he think this is going to keep the Academy from picking complete - well, I hate to say the word but - shit? Last year was a prime example of how they can screw up the five nominees. Benjamin Button still gives me headaches. If this had been going on last year, I'm sure we would have seen classics like Doubt, The Dark Knight, and *gasps* Mamma Mia! Shoot me.

Even if it WAS the best film of 2008 WALL-E STILL wouldn't have gotten in. Rachel Getting Married is a masterpiece. It was probably much lower on the list than WALL-E.
You know, I could go on and on about this but I won't. Honestly, will it change things?

One of my favorite Oscar moments. Dame Helen Mirren knights Daniel Day-Lewis

I forgot about this

When Ed McMahon passed away a few days ago, some woman left this on twitter:

"RIP Ed McMahon, I'll never be on Star Search now."

It almost made me cry and I don't know why.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Old news, and new news

Farrah Fawcett lost her long battle with anal cancer early this morning. It was tragic, but not exactly unexpected. She's been in and out of the hospital for a while now. Last night, when she was rushed back and a priest came to give her the last rites, it wasn't looking good. I began to follow the story, though I've never been a fan. Not to say I didn't like her, but I wasn't around for Charlie's Angels. She was still alive when I went to bed.

Then, when I awoke at around noon, CNN told me the news. Farrah Fawcett was dead. I don't know why, but I immediately became depressed. I needed a laugh. I started to watch Mighty Aphrodite. Soon, I had forgotten, and revelled in the magic that is Woody Allen (and Mira Sorvino, who gives a great performance). When I came back to my computer, Michael Jackson showed up on my screen. He had been rushed to the hospital after going into cardiac arrest.

At the time, it didn't even cross my mind that it could be THAT serious. Then, around five o'clock, I was shocked to see that he had passed away also. My initial thoughts were humorous (always); It's spreading. After I thought about it, I was actually sad. I wasn't raised in the 70s or the 80s, yet I still was a little upset. In a way, I feel bad for Farrah. Not just because of the cancer, but because she had to die on the same day as Michael Jackson. I mean that's a second-billing situation for anybody. However, it certainly doesn't mean she wasn't as important.

When you look back, can you really think of many people who have DEFINED a whole decade? Farrah will always be remembered as the sexy, kick-ass Jill on Charlie's Angels. It's one of the most famous images of the 1970s. Michael Jackson, though I never understood nor really liked him, I cannot deny, drastically changed the music industry and influenced almost every artist after him. His music is the first thing most people think of when you mention the 1980s. How many people can affect the way you think about a whole decade? Not many.

For their individual contributions to the entertainment world, they will be forever remembered.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Reviewing Gone With the Wind is always a joyous experience. I always forget how much I adore Scarlett O'Hara. She is the ultimate in diva-bitches.

Nothing much from this end. Tell me about yourself.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happiness is a thing called TCM

June has been wonderful. TCM has been showcasing the films of great directors every night. Last night, I saw Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and The King of Comedy by Martin Scorsese. A few weeks ago I caught Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Lady for a Day and You Can't Take it With You by Frank Capra, though he is not my favorite director. My favorite of these nights, however, was Ingmar Bergman night: The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Persona and Hour of the Wolf. How can you explain Ingmar Bergman? You can't, so I'm moving on. Unfortunately I missed Stephen Spielberg night (which I normally don't give a shit about, but they were showing his good films like Duel and Sugarland Express). I do regret that I missed Powell and Pressburger and King Vidor, but life goes on. Tonight is Mervyn Leroy (ick!) so I'm waiting for Vincente Minnelli night (which is really going all day so I'm not going to sleep tonight). Lubitsch is next, but I've seen all the ones they're showing so I'll catch some sleep then. After that is Kubrick, who I am interested in. Then, Lumet (yay!), then Fellini, then David Lean, Norman Jewison, Hitchcock, Cukor...*faints*. Wow, the rest of June is gonna be pretty busy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I need followers

Those of you with google accounts and such need to follow my blog and comment. It would make me happy! :)

I really need to write this summer.

I've been saying all year I need time to write. Now here it is. I'm not. Yay Joe. I have ideas but I just need to...write them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Let me entertain you, please.

In my boredom I decided to write my blog again. What's new? Summer, and last year my goal for these three months was completely different. It was to read a lot of the books I had put off. I got through about twenty to thirty books. This year, my goal is to see as many movies as I can. I'm trying to do it by year beginning with 1931, and I'm almost done with 1943 now. I'm trying to get through my whole list (impossible) before summer ends.

Although I'm still trying to figure exactly what I want to do with this thing, I know I don't want it to be me just rambling. Some of it will be about the films that I like, but aside from that I can tell you what's going on in my life. I'll cover any news stories that I feel are important (which means Megan Fox will never make an appearance on this blog). Other than that I'm open to ideas. Feel free to comment. If you want to follow my blog I'd love to have you as a reader. If I feel you are worthy enough I may comment back.

Joe Shetina

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Under Construction

After renewed interest in my blog, I have decided to switch it up a bit. Keep checking for updates. Still talking about myself and the things I love (mainly film and Mary Louise Gummer (google the name)).