Did you know Patti Smith’s “Because the Night” — arguably one of her most accessible pieces — actually began as a Bruce Springsteen song that he wrote and rejected? The A.V. Club, in their column “Hear This,” has this week set its focus on songs written by men that women interpreted better. Check it out for more on how Patti Smith vitalized, morphed and rewrote Springsteen’s sloppy seconds and made “Because the Night” one of the most memorable rock ballads of the 70s. … Read More
Twenty-five years ago this week, a small movie starring a has-been and an unknown crept into theaters and unexpectedly took America by storm. The Cinderella story of a Hollywood prostitute and the tycoon who becomes her knight in shining armor, it made Julia Roberts a star, made Richard Gere a star again, and made $463 million worldwide, contributing to the glut of romantic comedies that would populate 1990s cinema. The movie was originally called $3,000, but you might know it by its second, Disney-imposed title, Pretty Woman. And that moniker wasn’t the only thing that changed between the page and the screen; Pretty Woman has become a legendary example of how a movie can come out of the studio, writing-by-committee system bearing very little resemblance to the script it once… Read More
You know the dangerous feeling of being in a supermarket on an empty stomach, where everything from the dregs of deli chicken salad to frozen tilapia to tabloids plastered in unflatteringly altered photos of John Travolta looking like frozen tilapia not only start to look delicious, but also crucial? Well, I unknowingly must have been hungry while perusing the internet today, because here I am with a shopping cart full of vaguely sustenance-related links. … Read More
Some play tennis, some memorize baseball stats, some decorate toilet seat lids. Point is, everyone’s got a hobby, but Christopher Orgeron spent his past two years of free time on a genuinely unusual project: restoring The Dark Crystal to its original, darker version. Wait, you’re thinking. I didn’t know there was an original, darker version of that, especially since the version they released was such hardcore nightmare fuel if you were a small child in the early ‘80s (OK, now I’m just projecting). Well, if you do enough poking around in Hollywood history, you’ll find there was an original, darker version of a whole lot of movies, which studio execs and other muckety-mucks demanded filmmakers brighten up before they saw the light of a projector. … Read More
In his Bigger Little Movie Glossary, Roger Ebert defines the “Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude” (or “Semi-OLI,” for short) thus: “Scene in which soft focus and slow motion are used while a would-be hit song is performed on the soundtrack and the lovers run through a pastoral setting.” He notes that the Semi-OLI first came into prominence in the late 1960s, and though it eventually fell out of favor, it soon mutated into the “Semi-Obligatory Music Video” from the 1980s forward; the Semi-OLI or Semi-OMV remained prominent in romantic movies, though usually to show a particularly successful first date, or to compress the process of a couple falling deeply in love.
The Semi-OLI became such a cliché that it seemed had finally disappeared, which is why your correspondent was horrified to see at least three examples of it at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival — and these were in (otherwise good) independent films, mind you, not insipid Katherine Heigl rom-coms or something. Is the Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude making a comeback? We hope not. For this week’s video essay, we’ve smashed together over a dozen egregious examples of this device, along with a couple of parodies for the sake of levity. Check out our latest video essay after the jump. … Read More
There’s a lot to be learned from makeover movies — how to look cool, how to style hair, how to successfully fool your wife into thinking you’re a woman. Whether you’re itching to please your resident “Plastics” or hoping to land a gig as your children’s nanny, the key to success just might lie in a cinema-style makeover. Of course, oftentimes our favorite made-over protagonists come to conclude that they never quite needed their makeovers in the first place, but hey — we can still take their one-of-a-kind beauty advice, right? Check out 14 awesome fashion and makeover tips from 14 awesome makeover movies after the jump — or as Regina George would say, “Get in, loser. We’re going shopping.” Let us know how “fetch” you look in the comments. … Read More