Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Essential Films Podcast - Episode #040: SUNSET BLVD. (1950)

 




EPISODE DESCRIPTION

We ARE big! It's the podcasts that got small. Today we delve into the Hollywood nightmare of Billy Wilder's SUNSET BLVD. (1950)


On this week’s show:

Our weird movie year
COVID adventures
RIP Chadwick Boseman
Joe the Gigolo
Skirting the production code
How Gloria Stuart built Paramount
Why Montgomery Clift turned down the film
RIP Olivia De Haviland
Is Holden too old for Olsen?
How Wilder filmed the pool shot
The original opening of the film
What is a “reader”
“This year I’m trying to make money.”
Monkey undertakers
Greta Garbo & Steve Gutenberg
The sad story of Yvette Vickers
Norma’s great Chaplin impression
The difference between Gloria and Betty
The often misquoted line
“You’ve befowled you’re own nest”
Who WAS the better actresses? Bette Davis or Gloria Stuart
Sunset Blvd the Musical


FILMS REFERENCED:

QUEEN KELLY (1932)
CAPTAIN BLOOD (1935)
THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938)
GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)
DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)
THE SNAKE PIT (1948)
THE HEIRESS (1949)
SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949)
ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)
BORN YESTERDAY (1950)
DRAGNET (1951 TV series)
ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN (1958)
THE APARTMENT (1960)
THE GODFATHER (1972)
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)
42 (2013)
BLACK PANTHER (2018)
UNCUT GEMS (2019)
DA 5 BLOODS (2020)
TENET (2020)



Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Essential Films Podcast - Episode #039: ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)



EPISODE DESCRIPTION

Fasten your seatbelts as Adolfo and Mark take you on a bumpy podcast! On today’s adventure: ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)



On this week’s show:

• Quarantine movie woes
• Mark’s sleazy movie tastes
• How we first experienced the film
• Unmatched dialogue
• Adolfo owns the film in multiple formats
• Barbara Stanwyck, Claudette Colbert and Joan Crawford were all considered for Margot Channing.
• Bette Davis’ “difficult” reputation.
• Ronald Reagan was a ham
• The on-set conflict with Davis and a young Marilyn Monroe
• The entire opening sequence tells you everything you need to know by the character body language
• Smoking looks so cool in black and white
• Thelma Ritter should have been in more of the film
• Adolfo’s terrible frame of reference at the time he saw the film for the first time
• Margot’s drunken speeches
• “A milkshake?”
• A roller coaster of tension
• People aged differently in the 50s
• Bill is a good boyfriend
• Classy restrooms
• How Addison DeWitt is interpreted in 2020
• Only film in Oscar history to have 4 female acting nominees



FILMS REFERENCED:

• SUNSET BLVD. (1950)
• BEN-HUR (1959)
• APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
• ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST (1980)
• HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980)
• CANNIBAL FERROX (1981)
• THE BEYOND (1981)
• THE NEW YORK RIPPER (1982)
• PLATOON (1986)
• BORN ON THE 4TH OF JULY (1989)
• HAMBURGER HILL (1987)
• SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (1991)
• FORREST GUMP (1994)
• PULP FICTION (1994)
• THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)
• TITANIC (1997)
• TROPIC THUNDER (2008)
• ZOMBIES VS STRIPPERS (2012)
• LA LA LAND (2016)
• MOONLIGHT (2016)
• THE VIETNAM WAR (Mini-Series, 2017)
• JOKER (2019)
• BIRDS OF PREY: THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF HARLEY QUINN (2020)
• THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020)
• SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (2020)
• CORONA ZOMBIES (2020)
• TIGER KING (mini-series, 2020)

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Essential Films Podcast - Episode #038: ROCKY (1976





EPISODE DESCRIPTION

Yo, Adrian! Take your mind off what’s going on in the world and join Adolfo and Mark on today’s adventure: John G Avildsen’s ROCKY (1976)


On this week’s show:


  • How the current pandemic has affected the movie industry.
  • How people’s first impression of Rocky is often wrong
  • Thunderlips: The Ultimate Male
  • Stallone is a carny
  • Stallone’s story of the making of Rocky is a little too Hollywood
  • The unlikely names suggested for the role of Rocky before Stallone insisted on playing the role himself
  • The bluff that paid off for Stallone
  • The real story is better than the myth
  • Is ROCKY a better Oscar movie than TAXI DRIVER?
  • Casting choices for Adrian and why did Talia Shire have to audition?
  • The Rocky steps
  • The paradox of the opening theme and the first shot
  • The difference between the first and last fight in the film
  • Lloyd Kauffman’s cameo
  • Willie Cici
  • “That pet shop dame”
  • The differences of Stallone and Burgess Meredith at 69.
  • How the production used its limitations to its benefit
  • Rocky would have gotten #MeToo’d
  • DO NOT DRINK RAW EGGS!
  • Running in Converse All-Stars seems unwise
  • The emergence of the steadicam
  • Chicken bones
  • Going the distance
  • “Cut me, Mick”
  • The alternate ending for the film
  • Favorite sequels.



FILMS REFERENCED:


  • THE PARTY AT KITTY AND STUD’S (1970)
  • BANANAS (1971)
  • THE GODFATHER (1972)
  • THE GODFATHER PART II (1974)
  • THE LORDS OF FLATBUSH (1974)
  • JAWS (1975)
  • CAPONE (1975)
  • DEATH RACE 2000 (1975)
  • NETWORK (1976)
  • TAXI DRIVER (1976)
  • ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN (1976)
  • STAR WARS (1977)
  • ROCKY II (1979)
  • RAGING BULL (1980)
  • ROCKY III (1982)
  • THE KARATE KID (1984)
  • ROCKY IV (1985)
  • ROCKY V (1990)
  • THE GODFATHER PART III (1990)
  • STOP OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT (1992)
  • INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996)
  • ROCKY BALBOA (2006)
  • CREED (2015)
  • CREED II (2018)
  • THE MANDALORIAN (TV Series, 2019)




SOCIAL MEDIA
TWITTER: @EssentialFilms, @FPMoviePodcast, @Adolfo_Acosta, @Sportsguy515
FACEBOOK: The Essential Films







Thursday, April 9, 2020

El Topo (1970)



EL TOPO
Alejandro Jodorowsky
1970 • 124 Minutes • 1.33:1 • Mexico
ABKCO Films

Cast: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, Mara Lorenzio, David Silva, Paula Romo, Jacqueline Luis
Screenplay: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Cinematography: Raphael Corkidi
Producers: Juan López Moctezuma, Moshe Rosemberg, Roberto Viskin

THE LEGENDARY CULT CLASSIC



You are seven years old. You are a man. Bury your first toy and your mother's picture.

This movie is a trip. An acid trip. Or at least, that’s what people who have taken acid tell me, anyway. If you’re unfamiliar with the works of Alejandro Jodorowski, then you are in for a treat. Maybe. Depending on your view surrealist art.

If you were to boil it down to one genre, EL TOPO is a western. However, it is unlike any western you have ever seen before. Jodorowski himself plays the title character (translated to English: The Mole), a black-clad gunfighter in the mythical Old West as he travels the landscape, challenging other master warriors, stopping bandits and avenging the slaughtered. As he fights his way through his challengers, he contemplates his own mortality and his personal demons.

The film is basically split into two parts. The first half feels like a surreal spaghetti western. Sort of Sergio Leone meets Federico Fellini. The second half is much more contemplative and focused on religious symbolism and eastern mysticism. Jodorowski himself calls the film an “Eastern” not a Western.

El Topo travels with his young son, simply known as “Hijo” (“son” in Spanish). After hunting down
a warlord known as The Colonel, El Topo leaves his son in the care of monks. He rides off with (abducts?) a woman named Mara, whom the Colonel kept as a slave, and she tells him that if he defeats the four greatest gunmen in the West, he will earn her love. Each gunman represents a different religion and El Topo manages to defeat them all. After defeating the gunmen, Mara betrays El Topo by shooting him in the hands and he is carried off by a band of mutant dwarves. The remainder of the film features El Topo as a religious savior to the group of mutants, of which he as promised to help them escape persecution from a town of cultists, by digging a tunnel through a cave to their freedom. Hijo arrives in the town, now a grown man and wearing his father’s black gunfighter clothes, and upon discovering his father, he intends on killing him. The film then ends in an extremely violent and bloody massacre.

The film is relentlessly brutal and purposefully shocking. Jodorowsky claimed at one point that the rape scene in which El Topo rapes Mara Lorenzio was real. He later claimed in 2009 that this was a publicity stunt intended to shock audiences. Honestly, I can believe both stories.

One of the original “Midnight Movies,” the film has become a cult classic since its original release. It’s a violent, bloody, sexual and allegorical film. What the allegory is is open to interpretation. There is a messy combination of symbolism from Christianity and Zen Buddhism. Is it about death? Or rebirth? Is El Topo Jesus? Or is he the Anti-Christ? The film ran for 5 years as a Midnight Movie, and eventually caught the attention of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who bought the film for distribution.



Sunday, February 9, 2020

The 2020 Essential Film Awards

Celebrating the cinematic achievements of 2019.

Official 2019 Selections


 

 

 

 
___________________

Best Film - Drama



PARASITE
Bong Joon-ho
CJ Entertainment

Cast:  Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Lee Jung-eun, Chang Hyae-jin
Screenplay: Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won
Producers: Kwak Sin-ae, Moon Yang-kwon, Bong Joon-ho, Jang Young-hwan
Cinematography: Hong Kyung-pyo

Nominees:
1917
THE IRISHMAN
MARRIAGE STORY
UNCUT GEMS
___________________

Best Film - Comedy or Musical


ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD
Quentin Tarantino
Sony Pictures

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Al Pacino, Luke Perry
Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino
Producers:  David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh, Quentin Tarantino
Cinematography: Robert Richardson

Other Nominees
BOOKSMART
THE FAREWELL
JOJO RABBIT
KNIVES OUT
___________________

ACTING AWARDS

Best Actor - Drama


Joaquin Phoenix
JOKER

Other Nominees
Antonio Banderas - PAIN AND GLORY
Adam Driver - MARRIAGE STORY
Robert Pattinson - THE LIGHTHOUSE
Adam Sandler - UNCUT GEMS
___________________

Best Actress - Drama


Lupita Nyongo
US

Other Nominees
Scarlett Johansson - MARRIAGE STORY
Florence Pugh - MIDSOMMAR
Charlize Theron - BOMBSHELL
Renée Zellweger - JUDY
___________________

Best Actor - Comedy or Musical


Leonardo DiCaprio
ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD

Other Nominees
Daniel Craig - KNIVES OUT
Roman Griffin Davis - JOJO RABBIT
 Taron Egerton - ROCKETMAN
Eddie Murphy - DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
___________________

Best Actress - Comedy/Musical


Jessie Buckley
WILD ROSE

Other Nominees
Ana de Armas - KNIVES OUT
Awkwafina - THE FAREWELL
Kaitlyn Devyn - BOOKSMART
Beanie Feldstein - BOOKSMART
___________________

Best Supporting Actor


Brad Pitt
ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD

Other Nominees
Willem DaFoe - THE LIGHTHOUSE
Tom Hanks - A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Al Pacino - THE IRISHMAN
Joe Pesci - THE IRISHMAN
___________________

Best Supporting Actress


Laura Dern
MARRIAGE STORY

Other Nominees
Scarlett Johansson - JOJO RABBIT
Jennifer Lopez - HUSTLERS
Florence Pugh - LITTLE WOMEN
Margot Robbie - BOMBSHELL
___________________

Best Ensemble


Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Lee Jung-eun, Chang Hyae-jin
PARASITE

Other Nominees
THE IRISHMAN
KNIVES OUT
LITTLE WOMEN
ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD

___________________

Best Voice Acting/Motion Capture Performance


Jake Gyllenhal
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

Other Nominees
Josh Brolin - AVENGERS: ENDGAME
Chiwetel Ejiofor - THE LION KING
Jason Schwartzman - KLAUS
Tony Hale - TOY STORY 4
__________________

SKILL & TECHNICAL AWARDS

Best Director


Sam Mendes
1917

Other Nominees
Bong Joon Ho - PARASITE
Martin Scorsese - THE IRISHMAN
Quentin Tarantino - ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD
Lulu Wang - THE FAREWELL

___________________

Best Screenplay - Original


Bong Joon-ho
Han Jin-won
PARASITE

Other Nominees
Noah Baumbach - MARRIAGE STORY
Rian Johnson - KNIVES OUT
Quentin Tarantino - ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD
Jordan Peele - US
___________________

Best Screenplay - Adapted


Taika Waititi
JOJO RABBIT

Other Nominees
Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster - A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Greta Gerwig - LITTLE WOMEN
Lulu Wang - THE FAREWELL
Steven Zaillian - THE IRISHMAN
__________________

Best Art Direction/Visual Design


Production Design: Barbara Ling
Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD

Other Nominees:
AD ASTRA
JOKER
THE LIGHTHOUSE
MIDSOMMAR
___________________

Best Cinematography


Roger Deakins
1917

Other Nominees
A HIDDEN LIFE
JOKER
THE LIGHTHOUSE
ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD

___________________

Best Costumes


Jacqueline Durran
LITTLE WOMEN

Nominees
JOJO RABBIT
JOKER
ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
___________________

Best Editing



Ronald Bronstein
Benny Safdie
UNCUT GEMS

Nominees
FORD V FERRARI
THE IRISHMAN
ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD
PARASITE
___________________

Best Make-Up & Hair



Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker
BOMBSHELL

Nominees
DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
JOKER
JUDY
ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD

___________________

Best Music - Score


James Newton Howard
A HIDDEN LIFE

Nominees
1917
AVENGERS: ENDGAME
JOKER
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

___________________

Best Music - Song


“Glasgow (Ain’t No Place Like Home)”
Writers: Mary Steenburgen, Caitlin Smith, Kate York
Performer: Jessie Buckley
WILD ROSE

Nominees
“I Won’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” - TOY STORY 4
“I'm Gonna Love Me Again" - ROCKETMAN
“Into the Unknown” - FROZEN II
“Speechless” - ALADDIN

___________________

Best Music - Song Score or Soundtrack


WILD ROSE

Nominees
FROZEN II
JUDY
ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD
ROCKETMAN
___________________

Best Sound Design



AD ASTRA

Nominees
1917
AVENGERS: ENDGAME
FORD V FERRARI
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

___________________

Best Stunts



JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 - PARABELLUM

Nominees
1917
AVENGERS: ENDGAME
FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW
FORD V FERRARI
___________________

Best Visual Effects



AVENGERS: ENDGAME

Nominees
AD ASTRA
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

___________________

FILM CATEGORIES

Best Action/Adventure Film



1917
Sam Mendes

Nominees
FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW
FORD V FERRARI
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 - PARABELLUM
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
___________________

Best Animated Feature Film


KLAUS
Sergio Pablos

Nominees
FROZEN II
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
THE LION KING
TOY STORY 4
___________________

Best Blockbuster Film


AVENGERS: ENDGAME
Joe Russo
Anthony Russo

Nominees

CAPTAIN MARVEL
JOKER
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
___________________

Best Documentary


AMERICAN FACTORY
Steven Bognar
Julia Reichert

Nominees
APOLLO 11
THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY
HONEYLAND
KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE
___________________

Best Foreign Language Film



PARASITE
Bong Joon-ho
South Korea

Nominees
ATLANTICS
THE FAREWELL
PAIN AND GLORY
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
___________________

Best Horror or Thriller Film



THE LIGHTHOUSE
Robert Eggers

Nominees
DOCTOR SLEEP
MIDSOMMAR
READY OR NOT
US
___________________

Best Independent or Limited Release Film



WILD ROSE
Tom Harper

Nominees
CLIMAX
A HIDDEN LIFE
THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO
THE LIGHTHOUSE
___________________

Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Film



AD ASTRA
James Gray

Nominees
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
AVENGERS: ENDGAME
SHAZAM!
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

___________________

Special Recognition



Best Animated Short Film
KITBULL
Rosana Sullivan

___________________


The following films did not win any Essential Film Awards but are noteworthy for their cinematic contributions in 2019:

ATLANTICS
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
BOOKSMART
DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
THE FAREWELL
FORD V FERRARI
HUSTLERS
JUDY
KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE
MIDSOMMAR
PAIN AND GLORY
ROCKETMAN
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
THE TWO POPES