Directed by George Cukor
Screenplay by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin
Starring Ronald Colman, Signe Hasso, Edmond O’Brien, Shelley Winters, Ray Collins and Millard Mitchell
Ronald Colman was an old-style movie star, of the kind we basically don’t see anymore. Handsome, debonair, always clean and seemingly well-pressed, but with a bit of a roguish streak to them. Modern analogues might be George Clooney and Colin Firth. Moreover, Colman always comes across as authentically continental. Worldly.
Directed by John Ford
Screenplay by Frank Nugent and Patrick Ford
Starring Ben Johnson, Ward Bond, Harey Carey Jr.
Ben Johnson was not a star of the sort we’re used to, which is one who actually leads movies. If Johnson was a star at all, it was in the sense of showing up for a few days work in a small role to give a film like Will Penny that flavor of verisimilitude it thrives on. Which means he was the very example of a supporting player.
There’s a story about Ben John in Peter Biskind’s book, Easy Riders, Ragin Bulls, about how when Peter Bogdonavich was casting The Last Picture Show, he really wanted Ben Johnson to play Sam The Lion in that film. Johnson, though, turned off by the language in the script, and the amount of dialog he’d have. Bogdonavich persisted, though, and went to John Ford and asked him to appeal to his frequent actor, Ben Johnson. Ford did, asking Johnson something to the effect of, “Are you just going to play Duke’s [John Wayne’s] sidekick all your life?” Johnson took the part and won an Oscar for it, the irony of which is it still wasn’t for a starring role – the Oscar was for Best Supporting Actor. If anything, Johnson moved from being John Wayne’s sidekick to Timothy Bottoms and Jeff Daniels’ sidekick. Continue reading
Directed by David Butler
Screenplay by Phoebe and Henry Ephron, from the play by Norman Krasna
Starring Ronald Reagan, Patricia Neal, Jack Carson, Edward Arnold, Virginia Field, Wayne Morris, and Katharine Alexander
I’ve never seen a Ronald Reagan movie. Yes, he was President and ‘acted’ his way through that, but that’s more a reality show than a movie these days, if we’re honest. Anyway, what’s amazing about seeing no Reagan movies is I see a lot of movies. Like, way more than the average person. But honestly, I’m probably not alone in not seeing any Reagan films because I’m pretty sure even the idiots who think the man was a great president also haven’t bothered perusing his filmography. The reason? Because the general consensus is his movies are not worth seeing. After all, of his entire filmography just three of those films managed Best Picture nominations, and the only one of those three even rated a mention in The New York Times Guide to the 1000 Best Movies Ever Made was Dark Victory. Even then, that mention probably has more to do with it being a Bette Davis/Humphrey Bogart vehicle than it does for featuring an at-best-fifth-billed Ronald Reagan. Continue reading
Directed by Adam McKay
Written by Adam McKay
Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell, and Jesse Plemons
Here’s a fun game to play when you want to depress yourself about how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has no clue about what is, and is not, Oscar-worthy: Oscar winners vs. Oscar not-winners.
|Writer of trashy suspense novels and creator of I Dream of Jeannie, Sidney Sheldon
|The director of Dumb and Dumber and Shallow Hal, Peter Farrelly
|The director of Dirty Dancing, Emile Ardolino
|Dean Pelson (Jim Rash) from Community
|The director of Galaxy Quest, Dean Parisot
|Voice of K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the 70s, Steven Wright
||David Lynch, George Lucas, Michael Man, Robert Altman, Sam Peckinpah, John Boorman, and Paul Thomas Anderson
Directed by Anthony Man
Screenplay by Borden Chase, from the novel by
Starring James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Julie Adams, and Rock Hudson
In the most famous movie involving the Anthony Mann/Jimmy Stewart/Borden Chase/Rock Hudson quadrumvirate, Winchester 73 (1950), Hudson barely got to play a part, as much as he played a stereotype: he put on red-face makeup to play a war-like Native-American. Of course, while Hudson would be a massive star later, he was a nobody then, so slapping on some red-face makeup was a positive step in his career. Continue reading