Top 5 Kate Winslet Performances

Without a doubt, one of my favorite actresses is Kate Winslet. She is the quintessential British actress, she is fearless, natural and does everything 100% and makes it great. I am excited every time I see a trailer for one of her new movies, and my anticipation is its highest. She frequently uses the term “ballsy” to describe her characters. The term “ballsy” could easily describe Winslet herself and her choice of films. She has never been stereotyped other than having a reputation for being great at what she does. When I decided I was going to choose my top 5 favorite Kate Winslet movies, I realized I had taken up a challenging topic.

Professionally acting since she was very young, her credits begin in 1991 when she was 16, and it would be just three years her breakthrough role come to her. A small independent film with a young director, Oscar winner Peter Jackson. The film, Heavenly Creatures would be a smash hit in the independent film world, and Winslet never looked back. Two years later she received her first Oscar nomination for Sense And Sensibility. The year after that she was the lead character in the juggernaut film, Titanic.

Since all of this, Winslet’s resume reads like the stats of a baseball Hall of Famer. Since her first Oscar nomination, she has received seven total nominations and one win for her performance in The Reader. She has 11 Golden Globe nominations with four wins. 8 SAG award nominations and three wins and finally 8 BAFTA nominations and three wins… All of these accolades in the last 20 years. These are accolades equal to some of the best actors and actresses in the history of the industry. With all that said, on to the list of my top 5 favorite Kate Winslet roles.

5. Mildred Pierce

The only role on the list that wasn’t theatrically released, the 5 part HBO miniseries was carried entirely and focused on Winslet. Kate was in every scene of the epic series, and her performance made everything right about the series, even better. Her ability to give the character a fierce personality and watch her become humble and almost broken shows the talent that we have come to expect every time out.

4. Steve Jobs

This role in last years biopic gave her, her seventh Oscar nomination and won her a fourth Golden Globe and her third BAFTA award. The part of Joanna Hoffman was a particularly challenging one for her due to a few reasons. First, this was the first time that Winslet had to tackle the difficult task of mastering Aaron Sorkin’s fast-paced, back and forth dialogue. She passed that test with flying colors. The second difficulty was one that Winslet had learned to master the slight Polish accent beautifully. There would have been no debate if she had taken home the Oscar instead of Alicia Vikander.

3. Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road marked the second time she teamed up with extremely close friend Leonardo Di Caprio and first time working with her husband at the time, Oscar winner Sam Mendes. Movie fans everywhere had been eagerly awaiting Winslet and Leo to reunite on screen, and they did not disappoint. It proved to be the perfect choice for a reunion. They played anything but the perfect couple everyone remembered from Titanic, as well as showing how much they had both grown as actors and people. She won the Golden Globe for her performance in the leading dramatic actress category. It would prove to be a historic night for Winslet.

2. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Her fourth Oscar nomination would come in 2004 for her masterful performance as Clementine Kruczynski in Michel Gondry’s opus, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Playing opposite Jim Carrey, who was terrific himself, she pulled in what has been called one of the 100 greatest performances ever. The only reason she didn’t walk away with the Oscar was due to the buzz saw that year in the form of Hilary Swank. With an all-star cast, Winslet stood out, way out. Full Film Review Here

1. The Reader

There is no question this was her best role in my opinion. She finally took home Oscar gold for playing Hanna Schmitz. The incredibly moving and stirring story was made palpable by Winslet. The story of an eventually convicted Nazi war criminal and her intimate relationship with a young student who opens her up to all kinds of literature and stories are so compelling it leaves an indelible mark. Winslet’s performance is a massive reason for this. It is the fear her in her cap. One thing is for sure she’s not done churning out award-winning performances by a long shot.

Saturday Night Fever Captured The Disco Era With Perfect Accuracy

Every decade seems to have a movie that captures perfectly the feeling and times of that era. The music, the clothes, the voice. A movie like Saturday Night Fever captured a time and place unlike many other movies do.

The 70’s was a time of party and excess. The Vietnam war came to a close, and a new genre of music rose to dizzying heights for the first time since Rock ‘N’ Roll busted through in the 50’s. So if one movie truly captured this and those who consider this time, “their generation,” what would it be? A more dramatic way to answer would be with a specific beat, but this is not an interactive blog yet, and there is no podcast, however.
Saturday Night Fever captured post-high school life without college in working-class America. The film would make a household name out of John Travolta and at the same time make him a more prominent film star than anything else could have done.

Saturday Night Fever was based on a short story out of the New Yorker magazine about a Brooklyn youth who works at a blue collar job whose life revolves around blowing off steam every Saturday night at the local discotheque where he and his friends are the real kings and most popular.

Travolta brought Tony Manero to life with what may still be his best performance on screen, with all due respect to Pulp Fiction. Manero was the leader of a group of friends who, when they enter the 2001disco are known as “the faces.” Tony is hands down the ruler of the dance floor and the taste of every woman in the club. Events unfold that lead Tony to ponder his choices in associates and lifestyle. He begins to look to the future for a life that gives him any sense of fulfillment like he feels when he’s dancing.

With a soundtrack that still may be considered at the top of the heap after all these years, Saturday Night Fever created and revived a small culture of disco lovers and made disco the most significant and hottest trend in the world. Disco lifestyle became everything that represented cool. Studio 54 would not have existed without Saturday Night Fever. It was the exact definition of a phenomenon. The polyester clothes, the perfect hair, the dance moves, everything was just so and couldn’t be replicated without it feeling cliche.

The 1970’s is a time I have only experienced through movies and television and stories of those that lived it. From all I’ve gathered and learned, Saturday Night Fever was what everyone remembers and thinks of when the 70’s are referenced. There were other cultures and fads like the rock music with bands like Skynyrd and Zeppelin and so on. But no other film captured such a period and lifestyle like Saturday Night Fever. It was a real time capsule if a movie ever made one. It was post-Vietnam life and showed how the youth was much rougher around the edges and let middle America experience how the youth was living. There was nothing sugar coated in Fever, and no subject was taboo, from drugs to suicide to rape. It was a glimpse into the youth that not everyone wanted to see.

No doubt when you hear a disco song on the radio be it K.C. and the Sunshine Band or whether it is Barry Gibb’s signature falsetto voice, images flash in your head from large afro hairstyles to bell bottoms to Tony Manero’s iconic white suit. Regardless there is no question Saturday Night Fever screams 70’s and will always be associated with the decade

John Hawkes Is A Face You Know

Five and a half years ago I wrote about the character actor John Hawkes and how his talents had gone largely unknown to mainstream movie fans. His career has since blossomed more so but he is still a name you should know, therefore, I am reposting this piece.

It is not uncommon for an actor to experience success later in his career unlike he’s ever experienced. The hard part of dealing with the progress is maintaining the artistic integrity they have carried with them all along. The big Hollywood machine is easy to get wrapped up in. John Hawkes is a perfect example of one who has been able to maintain all of this while experiencing great success. He is indeed a master of his craft and acts for the love of the art and desire to expand his abilities.

John Hawkes grew up in rural Minnesota, far from any hotbed of acting and filmmaking. Undeterred he would eventually move to Austin, Texas to pursue acting and musical career. In 1985 Hawkes landed his first film role in the very forgettable Future-Kill. But then he was off and running.

Over the next 25 years, he would amass over 100 film and television credits. With various roles, he would eventually make a name for himself in the independent film world. With minor roles in bigger movies such as Congo and From Dusk Till Dawn, he was slowly starting to become a recognizable face. But it wouldn’t be until 15 years after his film career began that he would land the role that would have people recognizing his work in the big blockbuster hit, The Perfect Storm. His work ethic and dedication to the project would soon be his defining mark.

In 2004 he landed the role that would be one of the proudest projects on his resume. David Milch cast him in his new HBO series, the western drama, Deadwood. Starring as Sol Star, the Jewish business owner of the gold mining camp, he would show his real talents on every end of the spectrum.

Fresh off the conclusion of Deadwood he would take a critical role in Ridley Scott’s latest film, American Gangster. The chance to star with such Hollywood heavyweights such as Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington, Hawkes would show that he could more than hold his own.

Continuing to work very steadily, Hawkes landed his most significant role in the independent thriller, Winter’s Bone as the uncle of breakout star Jennifer Lawrence. Winter’s Bone would bring Lawrence and Hawkes Academy Award nominations and bring them to the fore of actors everyone needs to take notice.

Shortly after Winter’s Bone, Hawkes would star as deranged cult leader Patrick alongside another breakout star Elizabeth Olsen in the very chilling Martha Marcy May Marlene.
John Hawkes is poised to garner his second Oscar nomination for his portrayal of  Mark O’Brien, the real-life story of a man in an iron lung who is determined to lose his virginity at the age of 36 with the help of professional sex surrogate.

Never being afraid to tackle any role no matter the subject matter or how odd it may seem on the surface, Hawkes will always lay his best on the screen and use his experience to better his ability. He is an actors actor who works for the love of the art and not for the perks that come with it. Well respected and much loved his respect among his peers Hawkes will always be one to give his best for the sake of the project and self.

Top 10 Cult Comedies

When creating a top 10 cult comedies list there is a lot to consider about cult comedies. The identifying of a cult film is a unique thing in the film industry. Cult films are not unique to any one genre and cannot be determined upon immediate release. It takes time and a sense of how an audience reacts to the film. There is no set of guidelines as to what makes a film a cult classic or just a cult film in general. A cult film can be highly critically acclaimed and yet it can be some of the worst movies ever released. They can be quite accessible and also extremely rare and even not available for viewing except rarely on minor television stations and strange hours. It seems to be that the only common thread amongst cult films is that viewers either absolutely revere the movie in high esteem or don’t understand it and therefore do not enjoy it.

With all this in mind, while looking through a book of the 500 best cult films, I discovered that cult films or films that are sometimes labeled as cult films will always get film enthusiast talking and debating. It is with these thoughts and “guidelines” of sorts that we decided to create the list below and a few more to come of different fields of film and the ones that are considered cult films and how we rank them as best movies, not necessarily most popular of cult films.

To begin this series of lists, we will strictly focus on cult comedies and will rank the best this genre produced in the area of cult films. This list is likely to be highly debatable, and we welcome all thoughts good and bad. One thing is sure of cult films we have noticed everyone has at least one they love.

10. Slap Shot


Director George Roy Hill is often credited with creating one of the most memorable and most enjoyed acting duos ever when he cast Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. He brought them together again in the Oscar-winning movie, The Sting. Four years after The Sting Hill would team up with Newman again, this time without Redford. The result was not only the greatest hockey movie ever but one of the greatest sports movies ever.

Newman plays Reggie Dunlop, an aging player/coach on a failing team in a town that is about to go under with it. Dunlop begins turning the team, and it’s attendance around with some unusual players and style that not only translates to wins on the ice but quite a few teeth as well.

With Newman displaying his extremely underrated comedic skills, Slap Shot delivers memorable scenes and lines that will leave you in tears with laughter. So why is it a cult comedy classic? There are a few reasons one of which is the fact that it’s about hockey. Hockey is the least popular of the major sports; therefore, some people don’t get the humor.

9. Pink Flamingos


It’s not a coincidence that some directors, writers, and producers, make several cult films. Their styles tend to find a tiny niche audience, but their fans can be the most loyal in cinema. King of all these is John Waters. Waters has long since been revered as the ultimate cult filmmaker.

Pink Flamingos is the film that made Waters the director he is while using his muse, the original famous drag queen, Divine. In Pink Flamingos, Divine declares herself the filthiest person alive. Divine escapes to the suburbs while the those wanting to take her spot as the most disgusting person active, go on a criminal warpath that includes dealing heroin to school children.

One of the darkest comedies of all time and genuinely bizarre plot lines make Pink Flamingos to strangest and possibly the vilest film on our list. One thing is sure, John Waters fan’s swear by what could be called the original cult comedy.

8. Heathers

Despite being a cult comedy and one not as many people have seen as should see it, Heathers made a star out of Winona Ryder. With a common theme in a cult, comedy is that they tend to be on the dark to even black side. Heathers is no different. The story of a girl who wants to be part of the popular clique until she meets a fellow outcast in Christian Slater, who was at the peak of his teen idol days. The two team up and eventually end up killing off the popular students.

With several wannabe films to follow over the years like Jawbreaker and Mean Girls, Heathers proves to be the original, and some say the anti-Hughes teen movie. It doesn’t wrap up neatly at the end or bring everyone together. It is a dark slant on high school cruelty and life, but it’s not something every outcast hasn’t wanted to do to at least one classmate.

7. Clerks

Clerks is the ultimate low budget comedy. Shot in black and white with great dialogue that genuinely has an authentic feel as to what most friends talk like in language and pace. While it’s a movie with flaws, it made Kevin Smith an indie film icon. Smith has since seemed to fall from that status, but Clerks remains the feather in his cap.

The story of a convenience store clerk and his best friend it follows there night at the store one night with different conversations and different visitors including the infamous characters, Jay and Silent Bob. It has become a calling card film for several generation Xer’s. It is a movie with dialogue that will offend some and others will feel like they are watching themselves.

6. Bottle Rocket

Three tremendous careers were launched with Bottle Rocket. Wes Anderson made his debut as the director, and it’s two lead actors Luke and Owen Wilson made a near perfect film. Wes Anderson laid down the blueprint for the style of all his future movies and won over critics widely while many audiences didn’t get the film (a definition of a cult film). It has its loyal following.

The story of a man whose dreams are to be revered by the criminal underworld and enlists his friend to help him become a master criminal. A series of events make him out to be nothing more than a bumbling small-time crook.

With his signature dialogue and subtleness, Wes Anderson crafted one of the best debut features of the last 35 years. Luke and Owen Wilson played off each other correctly to give the film the dynamic it needed.

5. Little Shop Of Horrors (1960)

Roger Corman is indisputably the king of all B movies, and Little Shop is arguably his most famous or at least most notorious film. Probably most known for having a remarkably fresh-faced Jack Nicholson in 1960 make a small appearance.

The story of a flower shop worker who breads a deadly combination of plants that desire the taste of human flesh. A series of terror and comedy events take place as attacking plants begin to be unstoppable.

It’s more well known for the 1986 remake starring Rick Moranis which is a bit of a cult film itself. We chose the original based on Corman as director and the fact that without the original there is no remake.

4 Dr. Strangelove (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Atomic Bomb)

Once again we come across a director who defines cult film with his entire library of movies. Stanley Kubrick may be the most important and also a critical favorite among not only cult films and filmmakers but among directors in general.

One of the best satiric movies ever made, Kubrick’s biting humor alongside the best performance in Peter Sellers brilliant comedic career. It has all the elements of not just a cult comedy but a cult classic. With great one liners and an insane plot lines. Taking a huge risk to release it during the time in American history when it was just part of what made Kubrick a maverick in the filmmaking community. A film that has stood the test of time and can prove to be relevant at any time in the future.

This film could be talked about for ages and hours, but one thing remains, that is it is a comedic and film classic that is a flat-out brilliant movie.

3. This Is Spinal Tap

Creating a new style of filmmaking with the faux documentary, Rob Reiner managed to fool audiences into thinking Spinal Tap was a real band.

The story of a filmmaker following around the “legendary” heavy metal group, Spinal Tap to find they have fallen into oblivion. Expertly written by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner, Spinal Tap has indeed fallen into the annals of legendary films with some of the most memorable scenes in comedy period.

When it comes to Spinal Tap, every fan has a favorite scene, and every moviegoer knows that you always “turn it up to 11”.

2. Rocky Horror Picture Show

Rocky Horror is recognized as the cult film that first had a rabid following of hardcore fans. Dressing up as characters and acting out scenes at the now legendary, late night screenings. It’s a mixture of sci-fi, horror, musical and comedy it may be the strangest film on the list, and people really either worship this movie or would just as soon never be reminded of it again.

The story is that of a straight-laced young couple who comes across a castle in the middle of a rainstorm after the breakdown in their car. There they discover a most unusual group of people lead by a transvestite played by Tim Curry.

The only way to view the film and attempt to understand it is to attend a midnight viewing and see the obsession that has overtaken its fans. Only there can people begin to understand Rocky Horror and cult film in general.

1. The Big Lebowski

For every one Rocky Horror obsessed fan, you can find five who live by The Big Lebowski. The Coen brothers follow up to their breakout Fargo, Lebowski brought them right back to their roots of offbeat comedy. With absolutely perfect performances from Jeff Bridges and John Goodman, Lebowski has a plethora of quotable lines.

The story is one of mistaken identity that drags an easy-going stoner into a world of kidnapping and extortion. Assisted by his best friend Walter, The Dude embarks on a series of misadventures stressing him out beyond his comfort zone.

Lebowski has as loyal a following as any film or political party you will find. To understand peoples love of the movie you only need attend Lebowski Fest. A traveling festival that is a three-night event where actors from the film show up to greet fans and watch the film on opening night and the highlight is the costume bowling night complete with oat sodas and white Russians.

Lebowski’s a near perfect script that people either love or loath and fans of the Coen brothers consider their crown jewel.

That’s our list let the debating begin. Marc it Dude!

James Gandolfini’s Film Career Remembered

It has been just over five years when on Wednesday, June 19, 2013, the entertainment and acting world lost a true giant when James Gandolfini succumbed to a massive heart attack and fell asleep in death. Gandolfini will forever be remembered as Tony Soprano on one of the greatest television shows of all time, and his character may be one of the best as well. The role of Tony Soprano was superbly written and thought out. Despite his remarkable role of Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini films were to ones to be remembered as well.

While being remembered as Tony Soprano is an extraordinary legacy to have, it is also a little bit sad that some people will never know what a terrific actor Gandolfini was. Tony Soprano is a crucial example of how great he was but only looking at his other work shows how good he was as Tony. I’ve decided to take a look at some of my favorite Gandolfini roles and some of his most diverse.

5. The Mexican 2001 (Winston Baldry)

Winston is a hitman, and that is close to the Soprano character, but Winston has a twist, he’s gay. He not only is gay, but he also has a conscience and doubts about his way of life. He brought a humanity to the character that was desperately needed. It was the character that stood out and made the movie better than it was.

4. Welcome To The Rileys 2010 (Doug Riley)

Doug Riley is stuck in a 30-year marriage with a wife who has never gotten over the loss of their 15-year-old daughter, and while Doug has become numb to his life as well, he begins to show signs of breaking out. On a business trip to New Orleans, he unexpectedly gets hooked up with a 16-year-old prostitute and starts to help change her life. This character is so complicated on the inside while being bland on the outside and near emotionless. He does a beautiful job letting his inner self-come through a little bit at a time.

3. Zero Dark Thirty 2012 (C.I.A. Director)

James Gandolfini in Columbia Pictures’ gripping new thriller directed by Kathryn Bigelow, ZERO DARK THIRTY.

There isn’t much more opposite of the head of a mafia crime family than the head of the C.I.A. Therefore when he played the Director in the award-winning film about the ten-year hunt for Osama Bin Laden his brief time on film had to make an impact. The few words he spoke resonated and gave credibility to different characters and where they stood and what empowered them. Usually, when a more prominent name actor is cast in a smaller role, it is because the expertise is needed despite the size of the part. His skill was just what that character and film needed and got.

2. All The Kings Men 2006 (Tiny Duffy)

When I said that being C.I.A. Director was as opposite as you could get, I meant it, but playing a crooked southern politician in 1950’s Louisiana is just about as different. Tiny Duffy is a corrupt man working with significant politicians to help swing an election but when it doesn’t go their way he is forced to join the man trying to bring them down, and he has all but become his lap dog. With a pretty decent southern accent, he could play the character with the confidence of Tony Soprano until it was needed for him to be brought down to the low level and he filled those shoes just as well.

1. Cinema Verite 2011 (Craig Gilbert)

Gandolfini returned to HBO for this film which did well at the Golden Globes and various festivals. Craig Gilbert was a real-life person who was a television producer who is credited with creating what is now known as reality TV. He had the idea to follow a seemingly average family, and when the cameras come, the normal goes away. He struggles with the morality of what he is doing and trying to keep his feelings for the wife and mother of the family, in check.

Gandolfini will be much missed, and it is safe to assume now that a Sopranos movie is not going to happen. So as we reflect on his career and the things he did, remember these words from The Sopranos theme song: “ She said, you’re one in a million. You got to learn to shine.” Shine he did.

Woody Harrelson Became The Biggest Star After Cheers Went Off The Air

Without question one of the most popular, if not the most popular sitcom of the 1980’s was Cheers. Making stars out of Ted Danson, Shelly Long, Kirstie Alley and of course Woody Harrelson. Cheers was wildly popular and consistently good despite significant cast member changes and additions. Cheers called final call in 1993 leaving the cast to make new paths for themselves and would let us see who would be remembered for their character and who would blaze a bold new trail. Woody Harrelson was in waiting amongst the cast of the popular sitcom. It was Woody Harrelson’s career after Cheers that is the biggest story.

Harrelson was a definite wild card when he was cast to replace the extremely popular Nicolas Colasanto who played the beloved “Coach” after he passed away. Woody was thrust into what could have been an impossible situation. Replaces loved man and character with an unknown actor whose new style had many similarities to Coach. Woody couldn’t have done any better! As the years went on, he fit right in with the cast of characters and proved to be the right choice. The unknown with Woody and his role when the show ended was, would he be typecast as the dimwitted Woody Boyd? Harrelson with a determination and series of acting choices, would not let that happen.

While taking roles towards the end of Cheers in movies like White Men Can’t Jump, and Indecent Proposal audiences were able to notice that, maybe there is more to Woody  Harrelson after Cheers, as an actor than previously thought. But still, audiences weren’t sold. Taking the role of Pepper Lewis in The Cowboy Way alongside Kiefer Sutherland seemed to be more what audiences expected. It would be two months later when Oliver Stone released his highly controversial Natural Born Killers that Woody would make people stand up and take notice. The sadistic character of Mickey Knox was the polar opposite of the innocent, mild-mannered Woody Boyd. With his shaved head and evil look, he was starting down a path that would leave Cheers far in the past.

Never abandoning his comedic roots with such films as Kingpin and Edtv and even the critically panned Play It To The Bone, it would be his dramatic work that would define his post Cheers career. He received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the highly controversial public figure and often condemned pornographer, Larry Flynt in Milos Forman’s The People vs. Larry Flynt.

Woody has always made a concentrated effort to stay diverse and open when it comes to film choices and never abandon his comedy talents and roots. With roles in the hysterical Will Ferrell basketball spoof Semi-Pro to the next year being in the powerful post-Iraq war drama, The Messenger for which he again received an Oscar nomination and showed that his dramatic ability is on par with the best actors in Hollywood and his comedic talents are on the same level.

Woody’s latest few movies continue on the tremendous eclectic path he has carved for himself with the great, gutshot movie Rampart alongside the HBO political drama Game Change for which it would be no surprise if he were garnered with various nominations including the Golden Globe. He is most recently in the blockbuster movie The Hunger Games in which he initially seemed out of place but made the character his own to the point he became an excellent choice.

Since this article was written just over six years ago, Harrelson has since been nominated for another Academy Award for his role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. He was also nominated for two Golden Globes in that time period adding to his many accolades.

Woody will continue to awe and entertain with laughter and tears. He has become a safe bet in Hollywood without being typecast like was initially feared. He without a doubt has emerged as the most talented actor and most successful of the Cheers alumni, with all due respect to Kelsey Grammar whose success as Frasier is quite impressive but doesn’t contain the range and ability that Woody has shown.

That Time Jim Carrey Became Andy Kaufman

Anyone who has been a regular reader of my movie blogs knows that we love the undervalued. One of these films is 1999’s Milos Forman’s Man On The Moon starring Jim Carrey as the incomparable Andy Kaufman. After receiving mixed reviews at its release, Jim Carrey went on to win his second straight Golden Globe for his portrayal of the legendary comedian.

The film chronicles Kaufman’s life from childhood thru his rise to fame with his unique and unconventional brand of humor. From the stages of L.A.’s famed Comedy Store to the set of TV’s Taxi, Andy Kaufman made audiences laugh heartily and uncomfortably with his one of a kind brand of comedy. The movie examined and touched on subjects such as his Tony Clifton character to his “wrestling” career to his final legendary performance at Carnegie Hall.

Andy Kaufman was a one of a kind individual who hated his fame but loved his talents. He alienated cast members and fellow comedians, but in the end, most of them saw what he was doing as a borderline genius. Man On The Moon Starring Jim Carrey revealed the truth behind his battles with wrestler Jerry Lawler but still left a little wonderment as to if his death was his greatest joke. The numerous cameo appearances are a testament to peoples love for Kaufman and his ability.

Notably left off the cameo list was Tony Danza who famously did not get along with Kaufman at all; therefore, he was the only Taxi cast member not to appear in the movie. Everyone from his friend and writer Bob Zmuda to the local Memphis ring announcer who called his matches with Lawler.

The shining star of this movie was Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Kaufman and his flawless performance. Within a few minutes of Carrey appearing on screen, the audience is left feeling as if they are watching Kaufman himself instead of Carrey. Carrey gives a once in a career performance, and while he was honored at the Globes, he was snubbed for a second straight year at the Academy Awards despite being one of the best actors of the year.

Courtney Love once again proved she had what it takes to work alongside Hollywood heavyweights for her second film with Forman having been brilliant in The People vs. Larry Flynt. She played  Kaufman’s longtime girlfriend/companion Lynne Margulies.

The comedy of Kaufman is not for everyone. He was an acquired taste that not everyone would like. He none the less made his mark on the comedy world, and whether he wanted to or not, he left a mark on the sitcom world with his lovable character Latka. Kaufman was different but not a bad guy. He saw things differently and expressed himself behind a mask of characters. While he hid most of his life people never really got a chance to know who he was, or maybe that IS who he was.

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The Cape Fear Remake Is a Benchmark For All Reboot Films

As the 1980’s drew to a close, and Martin Scorsese undertook the task of filming a Cape Fear remake, it seemed that perhaps great filmmaking might have passed him behind. It had been ten years since he had made a near masterpiece with Raging Bull and brought Robert De Niro his second Academy Award and brought together one of the greatest on-screen duos with De Niro and Joe Pesci. Scorsese had his moments in the 80’s though with The King Of Comedy and The Last Temptation Of Christ nothing was living up to what had come before with Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull. Then hit 1990, and his opus was born with a return to the streets and life he was more familiar with in Goodfellas. Goodfellas was a cultural phenomenon and revolutionized a genre of films that had been around since Howard Hughes was producing films. The gangster movie was reborn and with a vengeance. It would appear that Scorsese could do whatever he wanted to make anything he felt the desire. Rumor has it this wasn’t the case.

A script had been floating around tasked to remake the 1962 thriller Cape Fear which was a legendary movie with outstanding performances from Robert Mitchum and all-time good guy Gregory Peck. Remakes are a very tricky territory and rarely if ever live up to the original. Only a perfectly casted and directed version could work. The studio initially wanted the already legendary Steven Spielberg to take the helm on this seemingly daunting task. Spielberg declined and recommended Scorsese and helped the studio, his own Amblin Entertainment, convince Marty to undertake the project by telling him that if he made this sure to be the commercial film, he would have the freedom to make any movie he wanted after that.

Scorsese agreed and pulled his good friend along for the ride, Robert De Niro. De Niro immediately decided to play the harrowing villain Max Cady in a real change of gears for De Niro. De Niro seamlessly transitioned from consummate gangster and an Italian tough guy to southern bread psychopath. The juiciest role by far in the film and no doubt the most fun to play.

Cast to play his opposite was notorious Hollywood bad boy, Nick Nolte. Nolte’s family would be round out with the lovely Jessica Lange playing his wife and the ever-versatile Juliette Lewis as his nubile young daughter. Lewis would end up stealing a good portion of the movie and come away with a much deserved Oscar nomination.

Wisely not doing a frame by frame remake of the original Cape Fear (a la Gus Van Sant’s awful Psycho remake) but he made a classic thriller a new classic Scorsese movie without losing the integrity of what made the original so great. Scorsese was at the top of his craft during this time. With Goodfellas and Cape Fear he trusted his camera angles and let his actors act. It was sharp and raw with a feeling that puts you in the moment and never let’s go.

Martin got the best out of every actor and gave legitimacy to this remake when several original actors agreed to appear in the movie, and it didn’t feel like a half-hearted way to garner approval with traditional film audiences.

What Scorsese was able to do with Cape Fear was lay out exactly how a remake should be done and that it can be. What Cape Fear wasn’t able to do is show that not every classic film SHOULD be remade. All the elements have to come together as one. The Actors have to be just right the director has to be bold enough and smart enough not to let the film flow and be it’s own. Scorsese was not afraid to make some scenes seem over the top or, dare I say cartoonish, it was the terror that was central element that mattered and without a doubt Marty and De Niro terrified to the core of what could be called the most celebrated remake in cinematic history and only a film appreciator like Mr. Scorsese could accomplish such a feat.

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind Is One Of The Most Unique Romance Movies

I love a good romance movie but it has to be done in a different way to really make me enjoy it. That’s why Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is unique. It has everything that makes it unique and unconventional and it starts with the writer, Charlie Kaufman. 

Charlie Kaufman gained notarially with his brilliant script for Being John Malkovich which fused one of Hollywood’s most innovative writers with one of Hollywood’s most eccentric people. The film would go on to be a massive independent hit and bring Kaufman an Oscar nomination. The trouble with “Malkovich” is people didn’t get it. It would take five more years, and an upstart production company in Focus Features to help people see that Kaufman wasn’t crazy but just had a detailed profound and different way of looking at everyday life that involved a lot of creativity.

Charlie Kaufman would have 2 Oscar nominations under his belt by the time Eternal Sunshine would begin its production. One for “Malkovich” and one for Adaptation which did bring Oscar gold home for Chris Cooper in his best-supporting-actor role.

Eternal Sunshine is the story of a man named Joel Barish who has recently broken up with his eccentric girlfriend, Clementine. He soon discovers Clementine has enlisted the help of the Lacuna corporation to aid her in erasing Joel from her life and memory. Fueled by his disappointment and anger, Joel then decides to have the same procedure done. It is only at the start and under sedation that he realizes that he doesn’t want Clementine erased from his mind. He wants to keep all the memories, good and bad. The movie then is a trip through the relationship of Joel and Clementine as seen through the eyes of Joel’s memory and their attempt to stay together even if it’s in Joel’s mind.

With a look at relationships and areas of life that most people have felt and have memories they wish they could just altogether forget, Eternal Sunshine shows that life is what it is and makes us who we are despite the great and terrible moments we endure.

Eternal Sunshine would go on to be the movie that would force those in the independent world to take notice of Michel Gondry. It was his American directorial debut and some films to follow would not live up to Eternal Sunshine but would none the less have Gondry’s touch on them all.

Kaufman, however, would continue to make some of Hollywood’s unique and intelligent films which included his debut as a director with Synecdoche, New York starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. Synecdoche would not bring in the viewers that Eternal Sunshine did but would let Kaufman stretch himself as a screenwriter and director.

Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet turned in superb performances which would have made the film mediocre or even bad without such acting. With what, off screen, seemed like such unlikely chemistry, Carrey and Winslet proved they had what it takes to make it work. Winslet was already on her way to being the most celebrated working actress since Meryl Streep (which she has surpassed in the eyes of this reviewer). Carrey would once again get snubbed like he was in ’98 and ’99.

Regardless of awards and recognitions, Eternal Sunshine is a great and different slant on the modern day love story that will leave you thinking about it and then you need to re-live it all over again.

Jeff Bridges Top 5 Underrated Movies

Without a doubt, in the last 10-15 years, one of the most reliable stars has been Jeff Bridges. In the last 6-7 years, he’s enjoyed the height of his career without question. After winning his first Academy Award for Crazy Heart, he followed up with another nomination the next year for his remake of True Grit. He would do a Tron sequel and several other movies where he was the leading man, unlike he had ever been.

This has got me to thinking. The years leading up to his massive boom in success what were some of his indeed under-appreciated films. I went back as far as 1988, when he was a name but not the legend his now. He comes from Hollywood Royalty, so it only makes sense that with the direction his career has gone he has become royalty himself. I was eight years old in 1988, and it’s the first film I remember seeing this larger than life actor. We will touch on that film later, though it is the oldest in my list of underrated Jeff Bridges movies.

5. K-Pax (2001)

When Dr. Mark Powell (Bridges) first meets Prot, he feels he just dealing with another mentally disturbed man who needs his help. Prot (Kevin Spacey) soon starts to have the doctor doubting his advice and question his knowledge. Bridges plays a character unafraid of challenging himself and his world. The heart that Bridges gives to the character is not unfamiliar. He has a knack for doing that.

4. The Vanashing (1993)

The Vanishing may seem a little similar to another film on this list in the doubt it plants in the viewer’s mind, but it nonetheless is a top-notch thriller, and some even classify it as a horror film. One thing is for sure it is an intense ride. Barney Cousins is the boyfriend of a woman who gets abducted, and he never gives up the search for her no matter the opposition he runs into. Terrifying enough is that the abductor is watching his quest the whole time. Bridges plays the role perfectly. I believe this is because he is relatable and plays an Everyman so well.

3. Tucker (1988)

This has got to be the film I first remember seeing Jeff Bridges. I was a mere eight years old and became fascinated with the Tucker automobile and what he had invented. With no internet to do research, this film was all I had. Jeff Bridges wasn’t an actor to me at that point he was Preston Tucker. You could feel Tucker’s passion for his car and innovations come through Bridges performance. Sadly it was such an underrated film and not seen by many.

2. Arlington Road (1999)

These next two films I genuinely believe, in my heart, that no one could have played these parts and would have conveyed exactly the feelings they should. Michael Faraday is a widowed man with a 9-year-old son. He is a professor of terrorist acts at a Washington University who lost his FBI agent wife in an unexpected raid. He soon begins to suspect his new neighbors of suspicious activity. His paranoia almost takes over the shattered life he is attempting to live until he has proof that his suspicions are real. Jeff Bridges runs the gamut of emotions and thoughts through the whole movie that you hang on every move he makes

1. White Squall (1996)

The role of Captain Sheldon was nothing short of challenging. He played a hard disciplinarian, teacher, and captain in 1960. When he takes aboard eight teenage male students with various shortcomings, they discover hardship, camaraderie, and brotherhood. Various events test the limits of all their loyalty. Captain Sheldon never abandons the boys and his responsibility, even in the face of the worst storm he’s witnessed and the loss of much of the crew including his wife. He still strives to teach the boys in his actions far after the tragedy. No one could play this role and emit the feelings and emotion of Captain Sheldon and his crew and life and his loss. It was a top-notch performance and film that never got it’s just due.