Jack Nicholson

10 Wildly Unsuccessful Movie Reunions

Buried among this week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases is a movie that, by the looks of it, was supposed to be one of the summer’s big hits: Blended, the third onscreen teaming of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Their first film, 1998’s The Wedding Singer, reshaped Sandler into a romantic lead and got him less-vicious-than-usual reviews, while grossing $80 million domestic; its follow-up, 2004’s 50 First Dates, did $120 million. But stars can fall over a decade, and Sandler and Barrymore’s big reunion was a big disappointment, only pulling $46 million total (barely more than First Dates’ first weekend). In other words, lightning doesn’t always strike twice, and for every Hope and Crosby or Redford and Newman, there are plenty of cinematic reunions that didn’t quite pan out. … Read More

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Boomer Audit: Despite the Self-Indulgence and the Clichés, ‘Easy Rider’ Retains Its Pulse

Easy Rider is nothing but trouble. Even the most casual of film fans is aware of its importance; an out-of-left-field critical and commercial smash in the summer of 1969, its unconventional approach, anti-authoritarian themes, and pop soundtrack helped set the table for the “New Hollywood” of the 1970s, and all that came after. Without Easy Rider, there would have been no Last Picture Show or Five Easy Pieces. Jack Nicholson may have never crossed over from screenwriting to screen acting. And the studios, falling to pieces after years of expensive flops, might have taken a good while longer to discover that genre-bending young filmmakers were the key to their survival. Easy Rider’s influence, its value, its consequence are irrefutable — and none of that makes it any easier to sit through. Yet saying so sounds like sneering contrarianism, if not outright trollery. You just can’t win with this one. … Read More

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How ‘Batman’ Changed the Summer Blockbuster Forever

The poster was simple, but it was genius. The logo was giant, spilling off the sides of the page, a clean, sparkling, orange-and-black design. Across the bottom, in a simple, white typeface, was a date: “JUNE 23.” That was it. It didn’t tell you what movie it was for; it didn’t spotlight the prominent, marquee names of its stars or its director. It didn’t have to. No one in America who was paying more than passing attention to popular culture had to be told that there was a Batman movie coming in the summer of 1989; it was the most anticipated movie of the season, and that poster knew it. It knew you were waiting for that movie, and it contained one simple bit of information: you could see it on JUNE 23. That was 25 years ago, and with the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to see how Tim Burton’s Batman ended up being one of the most influential films of the modern era — not for what was on screen, which was hardly even relevant. What Batman changed was how the movie-going audience was prepared for summer blockbusters, and how Hollywood grew to depend on them. … Read More

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10 Mystery Movies That Will Blow Your Mind

Forty years ago this week, Jack Nicholson redefined cool, Faye Dunaway redefined icy, and director Roman Polanski and screenwriter Robert Towne redefined film noir with the masterful detective thriller Chinatown. It isn’t just that the period drama boasts terrific performances, crackerjack cinematography, and all the period bells and whistles; it’s also a mighty good mystery, offering twists and turns that blindside the first-time viewer. And isn’t that what really great mystery movies are all… Read More

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Bruce Dern-ology: 10 Must-See Movies by the ‘Nebraska’ Star

This Friday, moviegoers in select cities (and as Letterman likes to say, I certainly hope your city has been selected) will have the opportunity to see Nebraska, Alexander Payne’s wonderful comedy/drama about a father and a son and the moment when you decide to just let things go. But more than anything, it’s about the wonder that is Bruce Dern, the legendary character actor who worked his way out of the Roger Corman factory and became one of the key on-screen personnel in the “New Hollywood” movement of the 1970s. At 77, he gives the performance of a lifetime in Nebraska (he won the Best Actor prize at Cannes), and after seeing it, you may want to go back and check out some of the films that made him the legend he is (particularly if you live in New York, where BAM is hosting a retrospective of his work). Here’s a few starting points: … Read More

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Wild Vintage Posters from Classic Roger Corman Drive-In Movies

Chris Nashawaty’s wonderful new book Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses is an homage to the “King of the B Movie”: Roger Corman, whose cheapo productions for American International Pictures and his own New World outfit, aimed squarely at drive-in and grindhouses, provided not only thrills for movie-goers but opportunities for countless young filmmakers looking for their first break. Nashawaty’s book (out now) is an affectionate tribute to the producer/director, an oral history with contributions by Corman and the many actors, directors, and technicians he employed. But it’s also a handsome coffee-table volume showcasing the distinctive art of these textbook exploitation movies, in which the marketing campaign was often devised before the script was even written. After the jump, we’ve selected ten of our favorite vintage Corman posters, accompanied by explanatory captions from the book. … Read More

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