Sunday, November 09, 2014

Film Classics of the 20th Century

In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at Dick Tracy,  How To Marry A Millionaire,  Blow OutYou Only Live TwiceSleeper,  Diamonds Are Forever,  Sleepless In Seattle,  My Little Chickadee,  Tootsie,  After Hours,  Edward ScissorhandsChristmas in Connecticut, Desk Set,  When Harry Met Sally . . .,  Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings, especially on repeat viewings.

Writer 1: It's a TV star and she goes on a safari --

Writer 2: Like a Donna Mills or a Joan Collins.

Griffin: A TV star in a motion picture? 

Writer 1:  Not a real TV star, a TV star played by a movie star. 

Griffin:  A movie star playing a television star.  

Writer 1: Julia, Michelle would be good. Bette, Lily. 

Writer 2: Dolly Parton would be good. 

Writer: Dolly would be good.

Griffin: I like Goldie.  I like Goldie

Writer 1: Great, because we have a relationship --

Writer 2: Goldie Goes to Africa

Writer 1: -- and that would be great.  Goldie Goes to Africa.

Griffin: Goldie Goes to Africa.

Writer 1: And she becomes, gets worshiped.

Griffin: Worshiped? 

Writer 1: Well she's found by this tribe. - 

Writer 2: Of small people. 

Writer 1: She's found and they worship her. 

Griffin:  I see, it's kind of like The Gods Must Be Crazy except the coke bottle is now a television actress. 

Writer 1:  Yeah, it's exactly right. It's Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman.

In 1992, Robert Altman directed another classic.  This one was a film noir look at the film industry.

Tim Robbins gave one of his greatest performances as studio exec Griffin Mill who's sleeping with story editor Bonnie (Cynthia Stevenson) and is being threatened professionally with rumors that another exec, Larry (Peter Gallagher), will be replacing him and personally by someone sending him threatening postcards.

Assuming the postcards are coming from aspiring screenwriter David Kahane (Vincent D'Onofrio), Griffin seeks him out and the two argue and Griffin attacks and kills him.

He then begins a flirtation with David's girlfriend June Gudmondsdottir (Greta Scacchi).

As this takes place, studio security honcho Walter (Fred Ward) sniffs around to protect the studio in the David Kahane murder while Detectives Avery (Whoopi Goldberg) and Detective DeLongpre (Lyle Lovett) see Griffin as a person of interest in the case.

Along with the above, Griffin is trying to torpedo Larry by giving him Tom Oakley's script (Oakley is played by Richard E. Grant) -- a script about an execution, where the innocent dies on the electric chair.

Along with an amazing cast, the film also boast cameos from the likes of  Cher, Harry Belafonte, Robert Carradine, Anjelica Huston, Terri Garr, Elliott Gould, Buck Henry, Jayne Meadows, Robert Wagner, John Cusak, Burt Reynolds, Andie McDowell, Lily Tomlin, Sally Kellerman, Sally Kirkland, Annie Ross, Nick Nolte, Marlee Matlin, David Alan Grier, Jill St. John and Susan Sarandon.

Working with a script by Michael Tolkin, Altman added another classic to his canon and everyone involved with the project walked away looking a little more impressive.

It's one of the few films that works on every level.  It's stylish, it's a strong noir mystery, it contains delicious parodies and a larger story of how movies clean up real life.

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