Archive for January, 2015

31
Jan
15

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS TRADING CARDS HAVE NO DICK

close-encounters1Trading cards were, for Generation X, a past-time like baseball to the Baby Boomers, but having to do with motion pictures like SUPERMAN and the original STAR WARS franchise. For some reason there were no JAWS trading cards (although JAWS 2 and 3D were covered), and let’s now center on another Steven Spielberg film, and probably his most personal… CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND was his first cinematic encounter that he wrote himself and that deals with UFO’s, something he would later revisit in E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL and years after that, WARclose-encounters2 OF THE WORLDS… The thing about the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS trading cards is something a lot of people miss… There are many cards with Melinda Dillon, the little boy and a lot of spaceships… The coolest aspect is the artwork to the bottom-left where each is numbered, a sort of dime novel rendition of the famous highway with the spray of light at the end of the vanishing point… Now to the real point: of all the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS trading cards, there is not one of the film’s main star, Richard Dreyfuss… We don’t know the reason but it obviously had something to do with his contract, or something… He appears in other CLOSE ENCOUNTER propaganda, and being a JAWS alumni it’s obviously not anything personal against the director, so someone out there, clue us in why there’s no Dick Dreyfuss on these cards… we’ll watch the skies for an answer.

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08
Jan
15

SUMMER COLDS ARE THE WORST IN CHINATOWN

Picture 4PROJECT: Chinatown YEAR: 1974 DIRECTOR: Roman Polanski TALENT IN SCENE: Jack Nicholson as Jack Gittes and Perry Lopez as Escobar SETUP: Jack Nicholson’s resilient gumshoe Jack Gittes is finding out about a body that literally washed up… He faked his way onto the crime scene taking place at the Los Angeles reservoir where he meets up with classy chief lawman Escobar, played by Perry Lopez. DIALOGUE: Gittes: “Lou, how are ya?” Escobar: “Lousy cold I can’t seem to shake, but otherwise,” stretches neck, “I’m okay.” Gittes: “Yeah,” pulls out cigarette. “Summer colds are the worst.” Escobar: “Yeah,Picture 3 they are.” IMPORTANCE: We get to know there is a backstory to these two seemingly contrary characters by this subtle banter, which is awkward but comfortable, like a worn shoe. And we realize that Escobar was once probably… not so by-the-book being he was Jack’s partner working in, of all places, Chinatown: We’re told this when the uniformed cop tells Jack not to smoke, and Escobar unveils the exposition. Also, in the next scene, the overweight coroner seems to have the same cold, not being able to shake “this darn cough.” Followed by Jack getting his nose cut at the same location, only at night (by a goon played by Roman Polanski): His nose bandaged for most of the film thereafter. CLOSURE: Perry Lopez was in the biz as far back as the 1950’s, appearing in B-crime-movies, a sort of poor man’s Ricardo Montalban. And he turned up once again as Escobar in the sequel, directed by Nicholson, titled The Two Jakes.

01
Jan
15

EDWARD HERRMANN IN DEATH VALLEY

title05_012020597PROJECT: Death Valley GENRE: Horror Action YEAR: 1982 TALENT: Edward Herrmann KNOWN FOR: The Lost Boys OTHER PROJECTS: Annie, The Purple Rose of Cairo, The Paper Chase, The Great Waldo Pepper, The Great Gatsby, The Betsy CHARACTER: Paul Stanton POSITION: Paul is an upper class businessman in New York whose son Billy is about to go on a trip to meet his mother’s new boyfriend: spending the summer in a place called Death Valley, a desert town that would love up to its name in this underrated horror yarn. CLOSURE: Edward Herrmann proves that even in a small, seemingly unimportant scene he makes a difference… We get to learn how much Billy, played by “shoot your eye out kid” Peter Billingsly, loves his dad; how depressed he is about his parent’s divorce; and how much New York City means to him just by the conversation with his father… That’s setting up a movie right since the first seven minutes have no action or suspense, just dialogue ala Hitchcock. MEDIA: Edward Herrmann passed away today, and he was a great actor, one of a kind, and will be missed… But just to note: imdb should not have described his Lost Boys character… spoilers suck, fellas.




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