Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar Hoover biopic J. Edgar is out on DVD today, following a fall theatrical run notable mostly for its lack of awards consideration; the film, and particularly Leonardo DiCaprio’s leading role in it, had been the object of much presumptive Oscar buzz (hitting, as it does, multiple circles in the Oscar Venn diagram: slightly villainous, based on a real person, wide range of aging, secretly gay). But the film underwhelmed, for one very simple reason: we’re just getting tired of biopics.
The biographical film portrait has been a venerable institution since the early days of cinema; Georges Méliès made a Joan of Arc biopic clear back in 1900. And while there have been scores of great ones, the tropes of the form (the birth-to-death chronology, the trials and triumphs, the romantic struggles, etc.) are so firmly established that the only biographical films that really make an impression any more, it seems, are those that buck the trends and experiment, or at least futz with the form a bit. After the jump, we’ll take a look at ten great biopics that made an impression, and float some theories as to why.
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Brad Pitt is the latest Hollywood star to threaten to leave the spotlight and has given a three-year timetable to make his exit. The actor — fresh off some stellar reviews for his role in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life — wants to adopt more of a producer’s role. “I am really enjoying the producing side and development of stories and putting those pieces together. Getting stories to the plate that might have had a tougher times otherwise,” he recently told Australia’s 60 Minutes. Pitt’s already found his place in the producer’s chair, working behind-the-scenes on Malick’s movie and past efforts like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, as well as the upcoming World War Z and Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave. It’s hard to imagine a Hollywood without the likable actor. If he does follow through on his word, we hope he’ll still make an appearance every so often. History proves, however, that the acting bug is a pesky one and most screen stars renege on their promises to quit for good. Click past the break for a history of other actors that wanted to say goodbye.
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Yesterday we told you that Dark Blood, the movie that River Phoenix was working on (and 11 days from completing) when he died back in 1993, was finally going to be making its way to theaters. Along with some re-editing, part of what was needed to make that happen was voiceover work by River’s… Read More
1. Deadline is reporting that Dianne Wiest and Chris Cooper are negotiating to play the leads in HBO’s forthcoming Noah Baumbach-helmed adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s award-winning novel, The Corrections. We approve heartily!
2. Dark Blood, the movie that River Phoenix was filming at the time of his death, might be getting released almost… Read More
Pitchfork reported recently that Drew Barrymore is apparently going to direct the next Best Coast video. When you think about it, the collaboration actually makes perfect sense. Barrymore has spent time on the other side of the camera in the past — she directed 2009 roller derby feature Whip It, along with a TV documentary back in 2004. And she’s also by all accounts well into her indie music (you can read Jens Lekman’s hilarious account of meeting with her about the Whip It soundtrack about a third of the way down this page). Anyway, the news got us thinking about other videos that have been made by people known for other things apart from making music videos. Here’s a selection of the most notable.
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“I am on a drug,” Charlie Sheen says. “It’s called Charlie Sheen.” Okey dokey. “It’s not available because if you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off, and your children will weep over your exploded body. Too much?” Um, yes. It is difficult to refrain from piling on to the Charlie Sheen nightmare, since this is clearly a sick man —mentally, physically, psychologically — who is losing his reality right before our very eyes. But it is his willingness to do so — to have an Elvis-style damn-the-torpedoes meltdown in the full view of cameras who are, y’know, recording this — that is the real miscalculation. Why doesn’t Charlie just disappear somewhere with his hookers and blow and go buck wild, instead of sitting down for TV interview after TV interview and insisting he’s just fine?
If there’s one piece of delusional behavior that celebrities have never been able to resist, it’s the misguided notion that, in the midst of a PR nightmare, they can “get in front of the story” by appearing on TV and showing themselves to actually be sane and normal and even a victim; that they can close their eyes and make it so with the power of their minds. It seldom works, of course (there’s Hugh Grant and… anybody else?). More often than not, it just makes for a trainwreck. We’ve compiled ten of the most unfortunate examples after the jump.
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Celebrities are always coming up with side projects and trying to explore new creative genres. It’s certainly not a new phenomenon — think the Rat Pack — although we do think in the modern era there’s probably some building pressure to “expand the brand” across industries. However, some celebs, though often beloved in one area, can branch out a little to quickly or a little too far, and well, embarrass themselves. Hey, it happens to the best of us (obviously, because James Franco is on this list), but that doesn’t mean we can’t judge. Click through for our roundup of the most embarrassing celebrity side projects — and let us know if you have any famous fails to add to the list.
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Halloween: It’s always more complicated than you want it to be. Even if you’ve got your plans set, it’s a struggle to find the perfect costume — without resorting to the same crappy, overpriced, pre-packaged getups everyone else will be wearing. So, this October, Flavorpill is helping you out with easy, weekly DIY costume guides tackling four different pop-culture realms. Don’t worry — there’s no sewing involved.
For this third installment, we’re tackling some of the year’s biggest films, from zeitgeist-y smashes to campy flops. Whether you’re goth or glam, nerdy or mysterious, or long to emulate a total trainwreck, explore your movie-inspired costume options after the jump.
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On Sunday there were reports, first appearing in London’s Sunday Times, that the United Nation had appointed Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist, as head of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA… the sound an alien might make?). Unfortunately someone seems to have jumped the gun, as Othman has subsequently denied the appointment. To help cope with our disappointment, we thought we’d take a look at 10 Hollywood actors who’d also make fine ambassadors. You know, just in case.
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1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a 10th anniversary show in Williamsburg last night. Here are some live clips and the set list.
2. Katy Perry’s music video with Elmo will not air on Sesame Street because her massive cleavage — which is actually covered by flesh-colored mesh — is causing complaints with… Read More