Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

The “Handsomest Man in Hollywood” died from the pandemic…in 1918

March 24, 2020

The “Handsomest Man in Hollywood” died from the pandemic…in 1918

The pandemic of 1918 is estimated to have infected 500 million people (roughly a quarter of the world population…the equivalent of about two billion today) and probably killed tens of millions.

One of those is largely unknown today, but was one of the biggest movie stars of the day…the equivalent of the “Sexiest Man Alive”.

He was thirty.

Advertisement for Harold Lockwood movie

Harold Lockwood had worked his way up through the system. He had success paired with Mary Pickford, but really hit it big as a team with May Allison.

He was so popular that magazines wrote “lifestyle” articles just about him…talking about him changing a tire or having a picnic. He also became a writer himself, doing a monthly column for one of the biggest film magazines, Motion Picture.

Not only was the flu devastating the planet, there was a World War happening. We call it “World War I” now, but at the time, they didn’t expect another…it was called “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars”.

Lockwood was active in the effort to sell war bonds to help support the troops abroad…one of the most successful.

It’s now thought that it’s possible he caught the flu while working in a booth…picture George Clooney shaking hands with the public to get them to support a cause.

Thanks to the internet, it’s possible for you to see some of his movies right now. My guess is that he’d appreciate that in another pandemic, more than 100 years after the one that cut short his career, people could still get some pleasure from the work he did.

at Archive.org

Tim Lussier’s excellent article at SilentsAreGolden.com helped expand my knowledge of Harold Lockwood for this post. Please consider visiting it and the rest of that site:


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Amazon’s taking on Disney+ with movies they wouldn’t carry

February 17, 2020

Amazon’s taking on Disney+ with movies they wouldn’t carry

I’ve said, and I think it’s true, that I don’t see why someone who was already paying for a video subser (subscription service) wouldn’t pay for Disney+. I’ve watched quite a bit on it, mostly older content, but also some newer items and originals.

I also watch:

  • Amazon Prime Video (PV)
  • Hulu
  • Netflix

and some others, including YouTube and Tubi.

I didn’t think many people would drop a service to pick up Disney+: some people might, but not most.

Prime Video needs to make itself valuable, though. Even if not many people are going to drop it at first (and certainly, not those who are paying for Prime for other reasons, including shipping benefits), it’s better to keep those eyeballs and thoughts on Amazon.

The are spending tons of money on originals (there is a Lord of the Rings TV series in the works), but I’ve noticed what seems to be an additional strategy.

They are offering offbeat movies, things that Disney+ wouldn’t carry. Sometimes it’s because of the content, sometimes it’s just going to be from other studios besides all the Disney varieties and what D+ has access to from Fox.

That’s a real bonus for geeks like me and exploitation/kitsch fans!

I haven’t found that any of the subsers make it easy to find things, but I do find the JustWatch app helpful. In this post, I thought I’d list ten of these “anti-Disney” movies. I should be clear: some of these may be offensive in some ways, and Amazon isn’t giving you a “trigger warning”, the way that D+ is. I’m also not saying these are the best: I’ve seen them all, though, and found them at least interesting.

Also, movies can move in and out of subser libraries at pretty much any time, so it’s possible that something I listed won’t be part of Prime when you check.

I’m going to work through the movies alphabetically, only picking a few out of the thousands. I probably won’t get very far, so I may do more recommendation posts like this (let me know if you want to see them by commenting on this post).

Okay, let’s step outside the bounds of the Magic Kingdom!

Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
Overview: John Sayles scripted what has been called the Magnificent Seven in space. Stars in include Richard Thomas, George Peppard, Robert Vaughn, Sybil Danning, and John Saxon as the big bad. Roger Corman (he’ll show up again on this list) co-produced but this is different from his low budget efforts of a couple of decades earlier…for one thing, it’s in color. 😉 It’s a lot of fun!

Beyond the Time Barrier (1960)
Overview: Edgar G. Ullmer directs this low-budget time travel movie…it’s hokey for sure, but that’s the appeal. It’s influenced by the Cold War, with a totalitarian government and a Russia vs. USA element.

A Boy and His Dog (1975)
Overview: Don Johnson stars in this adaptation of a Harlan Ellison work. Jason Robards & Alvy Moore also appear. It has violence & sexual content, but a really clever relationship between Johnson & a dog (voiced brilliantly by Tim McIntire)…the telepathic dog is the brains of the pair in a futuristic wasteland. L.Q. Jones’ script (the actor also directed) has dark humor and surprises.

Bride of the Gorilla (1951)
Overview: Lon Chaney Jr. & Raymond Burr appear in this weird low-budget movie where someone is cursed to turn into a gorilla…it’s definitely a gorilla suit picture, and was referenced on M*A*S*H. One of the most brilliant screenwriters of all time, Curt Siodmak, both writes and directs.

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
Bruce Campbell stars as Elvis Presley…wait, I need to say more? 😉 Don Coscarelli wrote and directed, Ossie Davis co-stars as John F. Kennedy (or, at least he says is), and the two of them fight an evil mummy endangering the retirement home where they live.

A Bucket of Blood (1959)
Overview: Roger Corman directed the inimitable Dick Miller is this low-budget horror comedy. It’s one of my favorite Corman works: the title is misleading, it’s really about the acting and script, with Miller as a sad sack busboy who goes to extreme measures to fit into beatnik culture.

Bug (1975)
This is a weird one. Jeannot Szwarc directs, from a script co-written by William Castle and Thomas Page. Page had written the source novel, The Hephaestus Plague. An earthquake releases bugs that can start fires. Bradford Dillman stars and ends up, well, bug-eyed at the happenings.

Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)
After the horror adaptations of the 1960s, Hammer gave screenwriter Brian Clemens a chance to direct his own original script. In the original Dracula, Van Helsing is one of the great proto-geeks, but Captain Kronos is a swashbuckling vampire hunter! R-rated in America, it features Caroline Munro.

C.H.O.M.P.S. (1979)
Overview: Hey, I had to get at least one kid-friendly one on the list! Wesley Eure (Land of the Lost) creates a robot dog in a story by Joseph Barbera of Hanna-Barbera (but this is live action). Conrad Bain and Valerie Bertinelli co-star. It’s got a bit of a Disney feel…but you don’t watch this one because you want to see an exceptionally good movie, it could be fun nostalgia for you.

C.H.U.D. (1984)
Overview: Infamous horror movie with people disappearing, and even the poster made clear that the danger was coming from underground. Daniel Stern and John Heard star. It generated a sequel…

I happened to be posting this on Presidents’ Day in the USA…if you were looking forward to watching a movie at home on this day off, there are ten for Prime Video that you’ll probably never see on Disney+! Enjoy!

Oh, and in case that’s not enough, here is a quick listing of some more…I may describe them in more detail in later posts, if there is interest.

  • Aswang (a traditional Philippine monster)
  • Attack of the Puppet People
  • Countess Dracula (Ingrid Pitt)
  • Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Crash of the Moons
  • Creature of Destruction
  • Bad Taste (Peter Jackson)
  • Crucible of Terror
  • Cry of the Banshee
  • Cthulhu
  • Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
  • Day of the Animals
  • Dead Snow
  • Deadtime Stories
  • Deep Star Six
  • Delicatessen
  • Dementia 13
  • Demon City Shinjuku
  • Destination Moon
  • Devil Girl from Mars
  • Diabolique
  • Dog Soldiers
  • Don’t Look in the Basement
  • The Doomsday Machine
  • Double Dragon
  • Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs
  • Dr. Terror’s Gallery of Horror
  • Dragonslayer
  • Earth Girls Are Easy
  • Earth vs. the Spider
  • Eegah
  • Elvira Mistress of the Dark
  • Embryo (Rock Hudson, Barbara Carrera)
  • Encounter with the Unknown (narrated by Rod Serling)
  • Fire Maidens from Outer Space
  • Flowers in the Attic
  • Forbidden World
  • Frankenstein vs. The Space Monster
  • Frankenstein’s Great Aunt Tillie

Maybe more another time!

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2019 results: the group scored 83% overall, our overall winner was 97%

February 15, 2020

BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2019 results: the group scored 83% overall, our overall winner was 97%

Thanks to everyone who played! BOPMadness is now decades in the running, and this was a good year!

I personally underestimated the recognition of Parasite by the Academy, and that did surprise our group overall. Ford v Ferrari also did better than we (or I…not my best year) expected. That said, as a group, we only missed one and a half Big Six (acting/directing/Best Picture) category, Best Picture. We went with 1917, with Parasite our second choice. Why the half? We were tied on 1917 or Parasite for directing.

On The Incredibly Difficult Maven Section (everything else), we missed on the following:

  • Original Screenplay (we picked Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, then Marriage Story, with the winner Parasite 3rd)
  • Film Editing (we picked Parasite; the winner was Ford v Ferrari, which we had 2nd)
  • Song (we picked Stand Up from Harriet; the winner was I’m Gonna Love Me Again from Rocketman, which we had 2nd)
  • Sound Editing (we picked 1917; the winner was Ford v Ferrari, which we had 2nd…interesting that the two sound awards split)
  • Documentary Feature (we picked For Sama; we had the winner, American Factory, 3rd)

That was it! We predicted every other category!

As to our individual winners, congratulations to the following!

  • The Big Six winner was DBibby with 97% (picked Bong Joon-Ho 2nd for directing), The group was 88%.
  • The Maven winner was George Monkey Experience with 98% (only missed Live Action Short & Sound editing, but had the winners 2nd). The group was 81%
  • And the Overall winner was…George Monkey Experience! They scored 97% overall, missing on only three categories (with the winners being their second choices). They win that most valuable of all human possessions: braggin’ rights! The group was 83%.

I plan to e-mail their individual results to everybody this 3-day weekend.

I do want to mention that I was pretty much liveposting our results during the ceremony, but I don’t see that it actually published. 😦

Thanks again to the players! Hope you all play again next year, and if you didn’t play this time, I hope you will, too!

See you in the movies!

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Bufo’s Alexa Skills

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

2019 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) predictions

February 9, 2020

2019 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) predictions

Thanks to everybody who has made predictions in this year’s BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)!

Here are our predictions, first by category, with nominees within the category ranked in order:

The Big Six

Best Picture

Nominee %Chance
Best Picture [1917 (Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougall…)] 86.67
Best Picture [Parasite (Bong Joon Ho, Kwak Sin Ae)] 73.33
Best Picture [Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh] 64.44
Best Picture [The Irishman (Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Jane Rosenthal, Emma Tillinger Koskoff)] 60.00
Best Picture [Joker (Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips, Emma Tillinger Koskoff)] 60.00
Best Picture [Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, Carthew Neal, Chelsea Winstanley)] 44.44
Best Picture [Little Women (Amy Pascal)] 42.22
Best Picture [Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, David Heyman)] 42.22
Best Picture [Ford vs. Ferrari (James Mangold, Peter Chermin, Jenno Topping)] 26.67

Lead Actress

Lead Actress [Renee Zellweger in Judy] 96.00
Lead Actress [Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story] 72.00
Lead Actress [Charlize Theron in Bombshell] 52.00
Lead Actress [Cynthia Erivo in Harriet] 44.00
Lead Actress [Saoirse Ronan in Little Women] 36.00

Lead Actor

Lead Actor [Joaquin Phoenix in Joker] 100.00
Lead Actor [Adam Driver in Marriage Story] 68.00
Lead Actor [Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory] 52.00
Lead Actor [Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood] 52.00
Lead Actor [Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes] 28.00

Supporting Actor

Lead Actor [Joaquin Phoenix in Joker] 100.00
Lead Actor [Adam Driver in Marriage Story] 68.00
Lead Actor [Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory] 52.00
Lead Actor [Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood] 52.00
Lead Actor [Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes] 28.00

Supporting Actress

Supporting Actress [Laura Dern in Marriage Story] 92.00
Supporting Actress [Scarlett Johansson in JoJo Rabbit] 68.00
Supporting Actress [Margot Robbie in Bombshell] 60.00
Supporting Actress [Florence Pugh in Little Women] 44.00
Supporting Actress [Kathy Bates in Richard Jewell] 36.00

Directing

Directing [1917 (Sam Mendes)] 80.00
Directing [Parasite (Bong Jong Ho)] 80.00
Directing [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)] 64.00
Directing [The Irishman (Martin Scorsese)] 44.00
Directing [Joker (Todd Phillips)] 32.00

 


The Incredibly Difficult Maven Section

Original Screenplay

Original Screenplay [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)] 76.00
Original Screenplay [Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach)] 72.00
Original Screenplay [Parasite (Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won)] 64.00
Original Screenplay [1917 (Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns)] 60.00
Original Screenplay [Knives Out (Rian Johnson)] 28.00

Adapted Screenplay

Adapted Screenplay [JoJo Rabbit (Taika Waititi)] 76.00
Adapted Screenplay [Joker (Todd Phillips, Scott Silver)] 68.00
Adapted Screenplay [Little Women (Greta Gerwig)] 64.00
Adapted Screenplay [The Two Popes (Anthony McCarten)] 48.00
Adapted Screenplay [The Irishman (Steven Zaillian)] 44.00

Cinematography

Cinematography [1917 (Roger Deakins)] 100.00
Cinematography [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Robert Richardson)] 60.00
Cinematography [The Irishman (Rodrigo Prieto)] 52.00
Cinematography [Joker (Lawrence Sher)] 48.00
Cinematography [The Lighthouse (Jarin Blaschke)] 40.00

Film Editing

Film Editing [Parasite (Yang Jinmo)] 80.00
Film Editing [Ford v Ferrari (MIchael McCusker, Andrew Buckland)] 68.00%
Film Editing [Joker (Jeff Groth)] 64.00%
Film Editing [The Irishman (Thelma Schoonmaker)] 48.00%
Film Editing [JoJo Rabbit (Tom Eagles)] 40.00%

Production Design

Production Design [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh)] 88.00%
Production Design [Parasite (Lee Ha Jun, Cho Won Woo)] 72.00%
Production Design [1917 (Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales)] 68.00%
Production Design [The Irishman (Bob Shaw, Regina Graves)] 36.00%
Production Design [JoJo Rabbit (Ra Vincent, Nora Sopkova)] 36.00%

Costume

Costume [Little Women (Jacqueline Durran)] 100.00%
Costume [Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Arianne Phillips)] 76.00%
Costume [JoJo Rabbit (Mayes C Rubeo)] 48.00%
Costume [Joker (Mark Bridges)] 44.00%
Costume [The Irishman (Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson)] 32.00%

Makeup and Hairstyling

Makeup and Hairstyling [Bombshell (Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, Vivian Baker)] 80.00%
Makeup and Hairstyling [Judy (Jeremy Woodhead)] 72.00%
Makeup and Hairstyling [Joker (Nicki Ledermann, Kay Georgiou)] 68.00%
Makeup and Hairstyling [1917 (Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis, Rebecca Cole)] 52.00%
Makeup and Hairstyling [Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Paul Gooch, Argen Tuiten, David White)] 28.00%

Score

Score [Joker (Hildur Guonadottir)] 88.00%
Score [1917 (Thomas Newman)] 60.00%
Score [Little Women (Alexandre Desplat)] 56.00%
Score [Marriage Story (Randy Newman)] 52.00%
Score [Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Williams)] 44.00%

Song

Song [Stand Up from Harriet (Joshua Brian Campbell, Cynthia Erivo)] 92.00%
Song [(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again from Rocketman (Elton John, Bernie Taupin)] 68.00%
Song [I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away from Toy Story 4 (Randy Newman)] 52.00%
Song [I’m Standing With You from Breakthrough (Diane Warren)] 52.00%
Song [Into the Unknown from Frozen II (Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez)] 36.00%

Sound Mixing

Sound Mixing [1917 (Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson)] 92.00%
Sound Mixing [Ford v Ferrarri (Paul Massey, David Giammarco, Steven A. Morrow)] 68.00%
Sound Mixing [Joker (Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Tod Maitland)] 60.00%
Sound Mixing [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minler, Mark Ulano)] 60.00%
Sound Mixing [Ad Astra (Gary Rydstron, Tom Johnson, Mark Ulano)] 20.00%

Sound Editing

Sound Editing [1917 (Oliver Tarney, Rachael Tate)] 92.00%
Sound Editing [Ford v Ferrari (Daniel Sylvester)] 72.00%
Sound Editing [Joker (Alan Robert Murray)] 64.00%
Sound Editing [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Wylie Stateman)] 48.00%
Sound Editing [Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Matthew Wood, David Acord)] 24.00%

Visual Effects

Visual Effects [1917 (Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, Dominic Tuohy)] 84.00%
Visual Effects [The Irishman (Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser, Stephane Grabli)] 60.00%
Visual Effects [The Lion King (Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Elliot Newman)] 60.00%
Visual Effects [Avengers: Endgame (Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken, Dan Sudick)] 52.00%
Visual Effects [Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach, Dominic Tuohy)] 44.00%

Documentary Feature

Documentary Feature [For Sama (Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts)] 68.00%
Documentary Feature [Honeyland (Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevsa, Atanas Georgiev)] 64.00%
Documentary Feature [American Factory (Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert)] 60.00%
Documentary Feature [The Edge of Democracy (Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris, Tiago Pavan)] 56.00%
Documentary Feature [The Cave (Feras Fayyad, Kristine Barfod, Sigrid Dyekjaer)] 52.00%

Documentary Short

Documentary Short [Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) (Carol Dysinger, Elena Andreicheva)] 76.00%
Documentary Short [Walk Run Cha-Cha (Laura Nix, Colette Sandstedt)] 64.00%
Documentary Short [St. Louis Superman (Smriti Mundhra, Sami Khan)] 60.00%
Documentary Short [In the Absence (Yi Seung-Jun, Bary Byung-Seok Kam)] 52.00%
Documentary Short [Life Overtakes Me (John Haptas, Kristine Samuelson)] 48.00%

Animated Feature

Animated Feature [Toy Story 4 (Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen, Jonas Rivera)] 84.00%
Animated Feature [Klaus (Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh, Marisa Roman)] 72.00%
Animated Feature [Missing Link (Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner, Travis Knight)] 72.00%
Animated Feature [I Lost My Body (Jeremy Clapin, Marc du Pontavice)] 52.00%
Animated Feature [How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis, Bonnie Arnold)] 20.00%

Animated Short

Animated Short [Hair Love (Matthew A. Cherry, Karen Rupert Toliver)] 84.00%
Animated Short [Kitbull (Rosana Sullivan, Kathryn Hendrickson)] 68.00%
Animated Short [Memorable (Bruno Collet, Jean-Francois Le Corre)] 64.00%
Animated Short [Sister (Siqi Song)] 48.00%
Animated Short [Dcera (Daughter) (Daria Kashcheeva)] 36.00%

Foreign Language Film

Foreign Language Film [Parasite (South Korea/Bong Joon Ho)] 100.00%
Foreign Language Film [Pain and Glory (Spain/Pedro Almodovar)] 68.00%
Foreign Language Film [Honeyland (North Macedonia/Ljubo Stafanov, Tamara Kotevska)] 56.00%
Foreign Language Film [Les Miserables (France/Ladj Ly)] 44.00%
Foreign Language Film [Corpus Christi (Poland/Jim Komasa)] 32.00%

 


 

Now, here are the predictions across all categories, ranked by probable success, so you can see what we consider the surest bets and the longest shots:

Nominee %Chance
Lead Actor [Joaquin Phoenix in Joker] 100%
Cinematography [1917 (Roger Deakins)] 100%
Costume [Little Women (Jacqueline Durran)] 100%
Foreign Language Film [Parasite (South Korea/Bong Joon Ho)] 100%
Lead Actress [Renee Zellweger in Judy] 96%
Supporting Actress [Laura Dern in Marriage Story] 92%
Song [Stand Up from Harriet (Joshua Brian Campbell, Cynthia Erivo)] 92%
Sound Mixing [1917 (Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson)] 92%
Sound Editing [1917 (Oliver Tarney, Rachael Tate)] 92%
Production Design [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh)] 88%
Score [Joker (Hildur Guonadottir)] 88%
Best Picture [1917 (Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougall…)] 87%
Visual Effects [1917 (Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, Dominic Tuohy)] 84%
Animated Feature [Toy Story 4 (Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen, Jonas Rivera)] 84%
Animated Short [Hair Love (Matthew A. Cherry, Karen Rupert Toliver)] 84%
Directing [1917 (Sam Mendes)] 80%
Directing [Parasite (Bong Jong Ho)] 80%
Film Editing [Parasite (Yang Jinmo)] 80%
Makeup and Hairstyling [Bombshell (Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, Vivian Baker)] 80%
Original Screenplay [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)] 76%
Adapted Screenplay [JoJo Rabbit (Taika Waititi)] 76%
Costume [Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Arianne Phillips)] 76%
Documentary Short [Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) (Carol Dysinger, Elena Andreicheva)] 76%
Live Action Short [The Neighbors’ Window (Marshall Curry)] 76%
Best Picture [Parasite (Bong Joon Ho, Kwak Sin Ae)] 73%
Lead Actress [Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story] 72%
Original Screenplay [Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach)] 72%
Production Design [Parasite (Lee Ha Jun, Cho Won Woo)] 72%
Makeup and Hairstyling [Judy (Jeremy Woodhead)] 72%
Sound Editing [Ford v Ferrari (Daniel Sylvester)] 72%
Animated Feature [Klaus (Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh, Marisa Roman)] 72%
Animated Feature [Missing Link (Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner, Travis Knight)] 72%
Lead Actor [Adam Driver in Marriage Story] 68%
Supporting Actress [Scarlett Johansson in JoJo Rabbit] 68%
Adapted Screenplay [Joker (Todd Phillips, Scott Silver)] 68%
Film Editing [Ford v Ferrari (MIchael McCusker, Andrew Buckland)] 68%
Production Design [1917 (Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales)] 68%
Makeup and Hairstyling [Joker (Nicki Ledermann, Kay Georgiou)] 68%
Song [(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again from Rocketman (Elton John, Bernie Taupin)] 68%
Sound Mixing [Ford v Ferrarri (Paul Massey, David Giammarco, Steven A. Morrow)] 68%
Documentary Feature [For Sama (Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts)] 68%
Animated Short [Kitbull (Rosana Sullivan, Kathryn Hendrickson)] 68%
Foreign Language Film [Pain and Glory (Spain/Pedro Almodovar)] 68%
Best Picture [Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh] 64%
Directing [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)] 64%
Original Screenplay [Parasite (Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won)] 64%
Adapted Screenplay [Little Women (Greta Gerwig)] 64%
Film Editing [Joker (Jeff Groth)] 64%
Sound Editing [Joker (Alan Robert Murray)] 64%
Documentary Feature [Honeyland (Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevsa, Atanas Georgiev)] 64%
Documentary Short [Walk Run Cha-Cha (Laura Nix, Colette Sandstedt)] 64%
Animated Short [Memorable (Bruno Collet, Jean-Francois Le Corre)] 64%
Live Action Short [Brotherhood (Meryam Joobeur, Maria Gracia Turgeon)] 64%
Best Picture [The Irishman (Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Jane Rosenthal, Emma Tillinger Koskoff)] 60%
Best Picture [Joker (Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips, Emma Tillinger Koskoff)] 60%
Supporting Actress [Margot Robbie in Bombshell] 60%
Original Screenplay [1917 (Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns)] 60%
Cinematography [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Robert Richardson)] 60%
Score [1917 (Thomas Newman)] 60%
Sound Mixing [Joker (Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Tod Maitland)] 60%
Sound Mixing [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minler, Mark Ulano)] 60%
Visual Effects [The Irishman (Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser, Stephane Grabli)] 60%
Visual Effects [The Lion King (Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Elliot Newman)] 60%
Documentary Feature [American Factory (Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert)] 60%
Documentary Short [St. Louis Superman (Smriti Mundhra, Sami Khan)] 60%
Live Action Short [Nefta Football Club (Yves Piat, Damien Megherbi)] 60%
Score [Little Women (Alexandre Desplat)] 56%
Documentary Feature [The Edge of Democracy (Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris, Tiago Pavan)] 56%
Live Action Short [Saria (Bryan Buckley, Matt Lefebvre)] 56%
Foreign Language Film [Honeyland (North Macedonia/Ljubo Stafanov, Tamara Kotevska)] 56%
Lead Actress [Charlize Theron in Bombshell] 52%
Lead Actor [Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory] 52%
Lead Actor [Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood] 52%
Cinematography [The Irishman (Rodrigo Prieto)] 52%
Makeup and Hairstyling [1917 (Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis, Rebecca Cole)] 52%
Score [Marriage Story (Randy Newman)] 52%
Song [I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away from Toy Story 4 (Randy Newman)] 52%
Song [I’m Standing With You from Breakthrough (Diane Warren)] 52%
Visual Effects [Avengers: Endgame (Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken, Dan Sudick)] 52%
Documentary Feature [The Cave (Feras Fayyad, Kristine Barfod, Sigrid Dyekjaer)] 52%
Documentary Short [In the Absence (Yi Seung-Jun, Bary Byung-Seok Kam)] 52%
Animated Feature [I Lost My Body (Jeremy Clapin, Marc du Pontavice)] 52%
Adapted Screenplay [The Two Popes (Anthony McCarten)] 48%
Cinematography [Joker (Lawrence Sher)] 48%
Film Editing [The Irishman (Thelma Schoonmaker)] 48%
Costume [JoJo Rabbit (Mayes C Rubeo)] 48%
Sound Editing [Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (Wylie Stateman)] 48%
Documentary Short [Life Overtakes Me (John Haptas, Kristine Samuelson)] 48%
Animated Short [Sister (Siqi Song)] 48%
Best Picture [Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, Carthew Neal, Chelsea Winstanley)] 44%
Lead Actress [Cynthia Erivo in Harriet] 44%
Supporting Actress [Florence Pugh in Little Women] 44%
Directing [The Irishman (Martin Scorsese)] 44%
Adapted Screenplay [The Irishman (Steven Zaillian)] 44%
Costume [Joker (Mark Bridges)] 44%
Score [Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Williams)] 44%
Visual Effects [Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach, Dominic Tuohy)] 44%
Live Action Short [A Sister (Delphine Girard)] 44%
Foreign Language Film [Les Miserables (France/Ladj Ly)] 44%
Best Picture [Little Women (Amy Pascal)] 42%
Best Picture [Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, David Heyman)] 42%
Cinematography [The Lighthouse (Jarin Blaschke)] 40%
Film Editing [JoJo Rabbit (Tom Eagles)] 40%
Lead Actress [Saoirse Ronan in Little Women] 36%
Supporting Actress [Kathy Bates in Richard Jewell] 36%
Production Design [The Irishman (Bob Shaw, Regina Graves)] 36%
Production Design [JoJo Rabbit (Ra Vincent, Nora Sopkova)] 36%
Song [Into the Unknown from Frozen II (Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez)] 36%
Animated Short [Dcera (Daughter) (Daria Kashcheeva)] 36%
Directing [Joker (Todd Phillips)] 32%
Costume [The Irishman (Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson)] 32%
Foreign Language Film [Corpus Christi (Poland/Jim Komasa)] 32%
Lead Actor [Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes] 28%
Original Screenplay [Knives Out (Rian Johnson)] 28%
Makeup and Hairstyling [Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Paul Gooch, Argen Tuiten, David White)] 28%
Best Picture [Ford vs. Ferrari (James Mangold, Peter Chermin, Jenno Topping)] 27%
Sound Editing [Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Matthew Wood, David Acord)] 24%
Sound Mixing [Ad Astra (Gary Rydstron, Tom Johnson, Mark Ulano)] 20%
Animated Feature [How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis, Bonnie Arnold)] 20%

 


There you go! The ceremony is scheduled for 5:00 PM Pacific today, Sunday, 9 February! I’ll report how we to do, and the winners for The Big Six, The Incredibly Difficult Maven Section, and Overall. Thanks again to everyone who is playing this year!

See you in the movies!


 

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All aboard our The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project (AKA Enwoven)! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

The Oscars are next Sunday! Help us predict the winners

February 1, 2020

The Oscars are next Sunday! Help us predict the winners

For decades, I’ve done an Oscar prediction contest, BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness).

We tend to be pretty accurate, predicting most of the categories.

Why is that?

It’s the wisdom of crowds, and the method I use for people to make their predictions.

You can still make your predictions, and the more people who do so, the better I think we’ll do. Use this form:

https://forms.gle/TANNaLckU4nhniWw5

It should just take you a couple of minutes: you rank every nominee in every category.

You have until noon Pacific time on Sunday, 9 February to complete it. I’ll close the voting then.

That will give me time to put out our predictions before the ceremony.

In case you are wondering, I make my own predictions before I receive anybody else’s, so I’m not unfairly influenced. I also don’t make our predictions publicly available until I close the voting.

While so far, I’ve talked about the group value, individuals certainly do compete as well. We announce winners in The Big Six (the acting categories, Best Picture, and Director), the Incredibly Difficult Maven Section (everything else), and Overall (combining the two). We play for that most valuable of human possessions…Bragging Rights. 😉

You also have the option to have your guesses e-mailed to you, so you can play along.

I’d love it if you play, but even if you don’t, you can see our predictions in this blog on Sunday.

See you in the movies!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project (AKA Enwoven)! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog

 

2020 Oscar noms

January 13, 2020

2020 Oscar noms

Oscar nominations are being announced at 5:18 AM Pacific time on Monday, 13 January.

Last year, geeky movies didn’t have the strength in noms that they had the previous year. 2020 does look like there will be a Best Actor nom (for Joaquin Phoenix in Joker), but beyond that? There are some possibilities, but my feeling is that it’s going to be muggle-heavy. When we get to wins, I could see special effects going to The Irishman (as I write this, we don’t even know the nominees) and make-up going to Bombshell…not that those awards always go to geeky movies, but “de-aging” in dramas certainly gives the Academy the opportunity to award muggle movies in potentially geeky categories.

This years, I’m going to list what I think are possible geeky noms ahead of time. I’ll do that in italics. Then, I’ll try to update this live during the announcement, moving those that actually get noms up.

As always this year, I plan to do my BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness), where anyone can predict the nominees. In the aggregate, we’ve done pretty well during the decades of playing. I did use Gold Derby to help me see what had “buzz”. I’m grouping them based on what I consider likely, mostly to make it easier for me to move ones which do get nominated (if I’m right, of course).

A couple notes on what I qualified as geeky:

* I debated Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…I generally consider alternative history to be geeky, but I decided not to include this, that it wasn’t the intent
* I did count A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is a fantasy show, and for noms, I count biographies of geeky figures (and documentaries on makers of geeky works)

My guess? Joker gets some Big Six noms. Us get recognized, and could in the Big Six (as well as original screenplay). Cats could get nommed, which would get pushback. Best Animated Feature may not have the big studios, which would get noted. Otherwise? We’ll know soon. 😉

UPDATE: 1st reactions…well, I probably shouldn’t have cut and pasted some of my nominees, because I did okay picking possible ones. Joker did very well, even better than I might have thought. Us was shut-out. JoJo Rabbit surprised me with how well it did (6 noms) and Parasite also got 6 noms. A Marvel star got two (!) noms: Scarlett Johansson got supporting for JoJo Rabbit and lead for Marriage Story. Margot Robbie got supporting for Bombshell. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil getting nommed may surprise people. Oh, 1917 got 10 noms and may “take away” some wins from possible geeky pictures. Frozen II was perhaps underrepresented.

Best Picture

Joker

Possible

Joker

Us

Avengers:Endgame
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywaler
Toy Story 4

Best Director

Todd Phillips (Joker)

Possible

Todd Phillips (Joker)

Best Actress

Possible

Lupita Nyong’o (Us)

Best Actor

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

Possible

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

Brad Pitt (Ad Astra)
Ewan McGregor (Doctor Sleep)

Best Supporting Actress

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Joker

 

Possible

Joker

Avengers:Endgame

Best Original Screenplay

 

Possible

Us

Best Cinematography

Joker

Possible

Ad Astra
The Lion King
Us

Best Costume Design

Joker

Aladdin
Us

Best Film Editing

Joker

Possible

Us

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Joker

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Possible

Best Production Design

Possible

Joker

Ad Astra
Aladdin
Dumbo
Us

Best Score

Joker
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Us
Avengers:Endgame
Frozen II

Best Song

I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away (Toy Story 4)

Into the Unknown (Frozen II)

Possible

Into the Unknown (Frozen II)
Spirit (The Lion King)
Never Too Late (The Lion King)
Speechless (Aladdin)
I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away (Toy Story 4)
Catchy Song: The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Best Sound Editing

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Joker
Ad Astra
Us
Cats
The Lion King
Aladdin
Frozen II
Toy Story 4
SHAZAM!
Yesterday
Captain Marvel
Doctor Sleep
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Dumbo
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Gemini Man

Best Sound Mixing

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Joker
Ad Astra
Us
Cats
The Lion King
Aladdin
Frozen II
Toy Story 4
SHAZAM!
Yesterday
Captain Marvel
Doctor Sleep
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Dumbo
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Gemini Man

Best Visual Effects

Avengers:Endgame

The Lion King

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Possible

Avengers:Endgame
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Alita:Battle Angel
Cats
Gemini Man
Captain Marvel
Terminator: Dark Fate

Best Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Lost My Body

Klaus

Missing Lin

Toy Story 4

Possible

Toy Story 4
Missing Link
Frozen II
Abominable
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
The Addams Family
Klaus
I Lost My Body
Bunuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles
Secret Life of Pets 2
The Swallows of Kabul
Funan
Spies in Disguise
Marona’s Fantastic Tale
This Magnificent Cake!

Best Animated Short

Best Doc Feature

Best Doc Short

Best International Film

Best Live Action Short

Complete list of nominees from the Academy website:

http://oscar.go.com/nominees (note: at time of writing they hadn’t updated it yet with the 2020 noms)

Stay tuned for our annual BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) if you want to predict the winners!

Note: at time of writing, Slashfilm had gotten at least most (if not all) of the nominations up: https://www.slashfilm.com/2020-oscar-nominations/

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project (AKA Enwoven)! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Recasting the Avengers with Classic Film Stars #ClassicFilmAvengers

November 27, 2019

Recasting the Avengers with Classic Film Stars #ClassicFilmAvengers

I’ve been having fun with this one on Twitter!

I saw an image of Vincent Price as Dr. Strange in a tweet, and that inspired me to think…what if we recast the Avengers with Classic Film stars? So, I tweeted it!

link to tweet

I set it up this way:

“let’s say you were casting the Avengers with classic hollywood stars…who else would you pick? You can pick them at any of their ages, they don’t have to align chronologically.”

I’m going to put my current version (with understudies in parentheses) at the top, then you can read how I got there. It may shift often, as I think of (or am convinced of) other roles and castings.

CURRENT (retro) CAST | IN PROGRESS (taking me a while to transfer the suggestions into the right spots)

The Avengers (and other Marvel characters)

Dr. Strange: Vincent Price
Iron Man: young Orson Welles
Black Widow: Lauren Bacall
Captain America: Buster Crabbe (Troy Donahue, Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster)
Hawkeye: Jimmy Cagney
Bruce Banner: Jimmy Stewart
Hulk: Lon Chaney Jr. (Ernest Borgnine, Rondo Hatton)
Thor: Kirk Douglas (Burt Lancaster, Johnny Weissmuller)
Ant-Man: Donald O’Connor (Mickey Rooney)
The Wasp: Hedy Lamarr (Myrna Loy)
Scarlet Witch: Judy Garland (Janice Rule)
Quicksilver: Mickey Rooney
Black Panther: Paul Robeson
Shuri: Rita Rio
Ramonda:Lena Horne
Klaw: Barton Maclaine
Everett K. Ross: Roddy McDowall
Nick Fury: Humphrey Bogart (John Wayne)
Professor X: Fred MacMurray
Magneto: Basil Rathbone
Spider-Man: Jackie Cooper (Harold Lloyd, Fred Astaire)
J. Jonah Jameson: Edward G. Robinson
Doc Ock: Peter Lorre
Doctor Doom: Bela Lugosi
Thanos: Boris Karloff
Ben Grimm, The Thing: Ernest Borgnine
The Green Goblin: Joseph Cotten (Danny Kaye, Donald O’Connor)
Red Skull: Erich Von Stroheim (Otto Preminger)
Arnim Zola: Donald Pleasance
Maria Hill: Rosalind Russell
Reed Richards:(Robert Ryan)

DC

Superman: (Rock Hudson)
Green Lantern: (George Segal)
Supergirl: Lee Remick

This was my first set (it was all that fit in a tweet, really):

Dr. Strange: Vincent Price
Iron Man: young Orson Welles
Black Widow: Ginger Rogers
Captain America: Buster Crabbe
Hawkeye: Jimmy Cagney
Bruce Banner: Jimmy Stewart
Ant-Man: Mickey Rooney
Black Panther: Paul Robeson
Nick Fury: Humphrey Bogart

I asked people to respond…and they did! They probably will continue to do so over the next few days. They suggested alternative actors for the above, and added new roles, even going beyond Marvel. I’ll add the others below. I’ll put who suggested it in [brackets]

Spider-Man:Harold Lloyd [John Whatley @jbw4926]
Superman: Rock Hudson [John Whatley @jbw4926]
The Green Goblin : Joseph Cotten (resemblance to Norman Osborn maybe not coincidental). [John Whatley @jbw4926]
Green Lantern: George Segal [John Whatley @jbw4926]
Supergirl: Lee Remick [John Whatley @jbw4926]
Captain America: Troy Donahue [John Whatley @jbw4926]
Scarlet Witch: Janice Rule [John Whatley @jbw4926]
Reed Richards: Robert Ryan [John Whatley @jbw4926]
Hulk: Ernest Borgnine [John Whatley @jbw4926]
Nick Fury: John Wayne [Snowy Dave @quigonusa] (I’d still go with Bogey on this one)
Loki: Danny Kaye (I did this one @bufocalvin…he would certainly bring the God of Mischief part of it.)
Magneto: Basil Rathbone (me…I considered Professor X, but this is better!)
Captain America: Gary Cooper [Jeffs Comics @jeffs_comics] (he also praised Buster Crabbe…I’m staying with Crabbe)
Black Widow: Lauren Bacall [@jeffs_comics] (On reflection, this seems like a better choice. I’d switch. I was looking for someone with movement skills and confidence, but you can just see Bacall playing this)
Captain America: John Wayne or Burt Lancaster [Donovan.morgan @bigdwloz] (I still prefer Buster Crabbe, although I can see Lancaster more than Wayne)
Thor: Burt Lancaster (me, because he could be funny, but you know who would be better? Kirk Douglas! He could really be funny when appropriate, but operatically intense as well. Not as muscled, but they could work with that)
J. Jonah Jameson: Edward G. Robinson [Donovan.morgan @bigdwloz] (I like this one!)
Spider-Man: Fred Astaire (because he’d seen him dance on walls…a good reason 😉 ) [Donovan.morgan @bigdwloz]
Doc Ock: Peter Lorre [Donovan.morgan @bigdwloz] (again, I think this is a good choice)
Doctor Doom: Boris Karloff [Donovan.morgan @bigdwloz]
The Green Goblin: Danny Kaye [@jeffs_comics]
The Green Goblin: Donald O’Connor [@jeffs_comics]
Mysterio: Fred MacMurray [@jeffs_comics]
The Sandman: Ernest Borgnine
Electro (Gabby Hayes)
Doctor Doom (Bela Lugosi)
Thanos (Boris Karloff)
The Wasp: Myrna Loy [ComicsintheGoldenAge @ComicsInTheGA] (I’ve since noticed someone in another thread suggested the same thing. However, I like Hedy Lamarr for the Wasp: why not have an actual genius inventor in the part?)

I’ll keep adding, and I’m posting this before I got them all in there. You can add more on Twitter (please use #ClassicFilmAvengers), or by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project (AKA Enwoven)! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Fans rage against proposed Wizard of Oz remake

August 25, 2019

Fans rage against proposed Wizard of Oz remake

A major studio wants to take Oz fans on another trip down the yellow brick road, but they’d just as soon stay in Kansas.

“I don’t know why Hollywood can’t come up with more original ideas! All they do is the same old thing, and they are never as good as the original,” said one irate member of the large and vocal Oz fan community.

The casting seems to be a particular concern.

“There was one obvious choice for Dorothy and they couldn’t get her. What, are they on the third choice? Pinkie something? And all the comedians! The Wizard, Glinda…and Mr. Gnong-gnong-gnong? Ridiculous!”

The production has been troubled. Injuries have been rampant, including a major actor’s hospitalization (and he was eventually replaced in the part). 14 writers and 5 directors have worked on the movie. It has reportedly run significantly over budget. Maybe the Wicked Witch has placed a curse on it…or perhaps its the collective thoughts of the vast Oz fandom.

We managed to find a producer of the movie who would speak on condition of anonymity.

“We just feel like new technology is giving us a new approach to the story. We’re really experimenting here, and I think it’s going to look nothing like the old version. If the fans will give it a chance, I think they’ll like it.”


Well, in case you haven’t guessed by now, I’ve been describing the version you probably think of as the Wizard of Oz: the 1939 musical version with Judy Garland. Various versions of Oz had appeared on screen before. This, though, was the first sound version, and it was going to take advantage of new color processes.

That color brought major changes: the Wicked Witch wasn’t green in the books, and Dorothy has silver slippers, not ruby ones.

The name “Pinkie” I used? Judy Garland had played “Pinkie” Wingate in Listen, Darling the previous year. There were a lot of comedians: they tried to get W.C. Fields for the Wizard, and Billie Burke was known for comedy before playing Glinda.

One of the fans’ biggest concerns was Bert Lahr, who was a well-known comedian…that gnong-gnong-gnong was basically his catchphrase. Oz fandom really was big, and the Cowardly Lion was supposed to be big, too…the mightiest of the beasts in Oz, and one of Ozma’s main bodyguards (even with the fear factor). Fans were afraid Bert Lahr would largely just do his schtick…New York accent and all, and that’s not far off.

The movie was not a blockbuster in 1939, although it was not a major loser. It only became the beloved American classic we know today after repeated television showings.

I wanted to write this after I saw reaction online to someone floating the idea of Wizard of Oz remake, and how just about every respondent thought it was a terrible idea. I’m sure many of them would have reacted to the idea of the 1939 movie the same way. 🙂

I generally like to find the good in things, and I wrote this back in 2010:

Hooray for remakes!

I need to update it and add in some more…and I think I may have been a bit harsh on some that I cited as reasons not to like remakes.

My main point, I suppose, is that there have been good remakes…and just rejecting the whole idea out of hand is easy, but if there weren’t ever any remakes, we wouldn’t have some real classics.

Feel free to tell me what you think by commenting on this post.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

 

 

My weird movie theatre memories

June 29, 2019

My weird movie theatre memories

I’ve spent a lot of time in movie theatres.

If we count drive-ins (and they were called Drive-In Theatres), I think that probably goes back to seeing Dr. No with my parents. I have to assume that was in 1963 or so. I only have a flash memory of that…I was quite young, as you can imagine.

I’ve also seen many movies at cons (fan conventions), and of course, thousands on TV. My current favorite way to watch movies is in VR (Virtual Reality). I use a Samsung Gear. There are times the picture could be sharper, but I’m seeing a theatre size screen, have good sound through my earpods, and as I do my floor exercises, the screen follows me when I turn my head (at least on Netflix, it does). I usually have a few things going on at once (I have a Charles Band movie with Christopher Lee on TV in the room as I write this), but the VR experience really has me focus more. It’s definitely best when there are subtitles.

I took a film analysis class in high school, and I actually ran and programmed a movie series for a community center.

For this post, I’m just going to count situations where the public could gather to watch.

Let’s start out with some marathons.

There were five films in the original Planet of the Apes series. I was a big fan (although I don’t like the second movie much).

In 1974, 20th Century Fox had “Go Ape” marathons…you could watch all five movies in a row in a regular theatre.

Well, even though I’d seen them all individually in theatres, I wasn’t going to miss that!

I didn’t just go. I watched in an ape suit.

I had a Don Post PotA chimp mask. Don Post masks were great (my first real job was working in a place which sold them, The House of Humor). It did actually allow for some facial flexibility, and while it was hot for all those hours, it wasn’t intolerable (there was an opening in the back of the “throat”, as I recall, enabling you to breath through the mouth). I had a sort of vinyl olive rainsuit. I paired that with gloves and boots. I really wished I had boots with thumbs in them, as they did in the movie series, but no such luck.

Another time I spent more than eight hours in a row in a theatre was a “Golden Turkeys” film festival…I think it was in Berkeley. It was going to run over night, and my friends and I went in pjs and brought a blanket, or sleeping bag, I don’t remember which.

One of the features was The Creeping Terror, which I recently rewatched on Amazon Prime Video (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). It’s a super low budget monster movie made in the Tahoe area. They either lost or couldn’t use the dialog track, so much of the movie is narrated (“Bobby told the sheriff…”). The monster looks like a decaying carpet, and you can absolutely tell that a person is walking inside it. The way I had heard the story was that the director or producer was a con artist on probation or who had previously served time. People were paying to be in the movie, and he hadn’t intended to actually complete and release it…somewhat like the plot of The Producers. The judge/probation officer heard about it, called him in, and said, “If you don’t make this movie, you are going back to jail.” I don’t know that that’s actually true…it’s just my recollection of the rumors, and if it isn’t true, my apologies to the people involved that lots of us thought that was the case.

The movie that actually drove people out of the place was The Terror of Tiny Town. It’s a musical Western, with a large cast of little people. This came out shortly before The Wizard of Oz, and many of the actors were in both. The tone varies wildly between being a comedy and being serious…and for some reason, there’s a penguin in a barbershop, as I recall. People went out while it was on to get food.

That festival had a pretty full house, but I had quite a different experience one time when a friend and I went to go see a double feature. It was The Mafu Cage, a psychological horror movie starring Carol Kane and Lee Grant. Kane keeps a man in a cage and treats him as though he is a non-human ape. Hm, Robot Monster, which stars a man in a gorilla suit with a space helmet on his head (they couldn’t afford to make the robot costume they had intended, from what I heard, so they modified George Barrows’ ape suit) was part of the Golden Turkeys festival…is there an ape theme here?

The second feature was, I think, called The Arctic Fox. It was a Japanese nature documentary, narrated by “Grandfather Tree”, or something like that. I love animals, but I remember this being very slow.

By the time it finished, my friend and I were the only ones left in the multiplex theatre…and my friend was asleep.

When it ended, the film just flapped in the projector; it was clearly unattended. When I woke my friend up and we went to leave, it was clear why. The projectionist was standing by the exit, arms crossed across his chest. He looked at me pointedly and said, “That’s the first time I’ve had to run that film all the way through!”

Those are a few of my most memorable movie-going experiences. There have been many:

  • I remember watching Saul Bass’ Phase IV ant movie…in the first row (I don’t recommend that…oh, the movie is fine, but my neck was sore after staring up like that for the whole film)
  • I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show where they took a 70mm print and enlarged it to fill a 150 degree screen. That was a thing at one point…it was supposed to cover all of your peripheral vision range, so you couldn’t see anything except the screen. I remember the corners being fuzzy, but that was quite a show!
  • I think the longest line I was ever in was, for reasons which I’ve never known, for the The World’s Greatest Athlete with Jan-Michael Vincent…I had to stand in line through several showings to see this Disney sort of Tarzan comedy
  • I also waited in line for a few showing to see Jaws when it was first released. I could hear audience reaction from inside the theatre sometimes…so I actually had a sense of when one of the jump scares was coming, and anticipated it a bit

How about you? Have you had a strange time in a movie theatre? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Why don’t American horror movies make more money internationally?

May 6, 2019

Why don’t American horror movies make more money internationally?

At The Measured Circle, we track the box office regularly. Here’s is our list for 2019:

2019 The Measured Circle’s Most Profitable Movies at IMDb

Movies have to make $40 million in domestic gross (I say “dogro”) to get on the list…there are 19 movies on there at time of writing.

No surprise that the top two movies, in terms of the amount of profit (we calculate profit based on the reported budget vs. dogro) are Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. However, combine their two budgets, and it’s over half a billion dollars.

The third movie, Us, is in one of the genres with the best return on investment. That’s when you look at the percentage of profit, rather than the gross amount of profit. Us is Double Golden (on a reported budget of $20 million)…here is our scale on those awards:

  • Dogro 2X production budget = “Money”
  • Dogro 3X production budget = “Golden”
  • Dogro 30X production budget = “Platinum” (God’s Not Dead prompted the creation of this new award)
  • Dogro less than 50% of production budget= “Underperformer”

Captain Marvel has gotten to the “Money” level (which is a considerable accomplishment for a movie with an over $100m budget), and Avengers: Endgame will get there.

Every year, there are horror movies with small budgets that have a great ROI. They tend to be a flash in the pan…having a great opening weekend, then maybe riding for a week or two more, but that’s the bulk of it.

Recently, I’ve been looking more at the international box office impact. In July of 2017, we added the “Road Winner” award, for movies which make at least two-thirds of their box office with what Box Office Mojo (which is where I get these numbers) calls international.

Success overseas is definitely part of the Marvel story. Endgame’s dogro percentage is only 28.3% (this is all based on the updating I did earlier today), and Captain Marvel is 37.6%.

Four of the 19 movies on the list are Road Winners. More than half of the movies have a dogro percentage under 50%…they make more money internationally than domestically.

Two genres tend not to make much of their money internationally: comedy and horror.

Comedy makes sense to me intuitively. It is often very language-based, making translation or even dubbing a complex proposition. Puns, in particular, are going to be difficult.

The author Scott Calvin (who is my sibling)

Scott Calvin’s Amazon Author Central page (at AmazonSmile*)

suggested (when I posed the question about horror movies on Twitter) that it could be culturally based. What is scary in one culture might not be scary in another, perhaps due to familiarity with the subject. A car, for example, might be scarier in a society that doesn’t use them regularly (that’s my example, not Scott’s) than it would be for one where they are constantly present.

I’m not sure that’s it, though. Horror movies often take something very familiar and tweak it a bit. There are several American horror movies with cars/trucks as the “monsters” (Christine, The Car, Duel…).

I would also think that a slasher is scary in any culture.

Interestingly, I would say that foreign horror movies have done reasonably well in the USA, my guess would be as well as other genres. In the past decade or two, Japanese horror movies have done quite well here. There is a whole “school” of Italian horror movies called “giallo”. The British studio Hammer has made a definite impression here.

It occurred to me that maybe a movie like Us just isn’t released internationally, but that’s not the case. When I checked, it was released in more than 50 countries, and not dissimilar to Avengers: Endgame.

Humor and horror do have a lot in common. I’ve actually taught people about the use of humor, and I find the best way to understand it is that laughter is a signal that there is apparent danger (it can be social danger), but no real danger.

That’s very tricky even within the same general culture. People make jokes about their own group (using a stereotype, for instance), and it can be seen as funny within that group (because it is clearly seen as not really representing a danger). If someone from outside the group made the same joke to the same group, it might be seen as offensive.

That is similar to what Scott had said, although I think it may be have less to do with familiarity with the threat source than with the language subtlety around it (which would be like humor)…the threat might be imperceptible to someone without a thorough grasp of idiom and shared culture.

I’m just guessing, though. 😉

I still think it’s possible that there is some strategic decision made, perhaps not to spend much on promotion…but that might be based on past experience with low box office returns.

Any ideas? Why do you think American horror movies don’t make much of their money internationally? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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Bufo’s Alexa Skills

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.


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