Film Longevity: Box Office vs. Oscars

Posted in Side Topics at 2:53 pm by Sam

Sooner or later, every film fan who engages in discussion of movies will encounter both of the following disparaging remarks:

  1. Those snooty Academy Awards! Why do they always nominate obscure art films? In 20 years, nobody will remember them. When the films of today have stood the test of time, they’ll have been forgotten. The films people will remember, see, and cherish are the ones that dominate the box office!
  2. The public is stupid! Every year they turn the most mindless drivel into cash cows. But the fame these movies have will not endure. When the films of today have stood the test of time, they’ll have been forgotten. The films people will remember, see, and cherish are the ones that win Academy Awards!

These claims are obviously at odds with each other. They can both be false, but they cannot both be true, except in cases where the movies that win at the box office are also the ones garnering awards attention. In all probability, both statements are partially true: that is, some of the old movies we remember were box office hits and some were award winners. And some were both and some neither, but never mind. What I am interested in exploring is which of these two statements is more true? That is, if we are to use either the box office or the Academy Awards to predict which which of today’s movies will be seen and loved in 20 or more years, which would yield the more accurate forecast?

Technical details follow; skip to the pretty graphs at the bottom if you so desire.

Read the rest of this entry »


Paramount Location Shooting Map

Posted in Side Topics at 4:13 pm by Sam

This has been making the rounds. Ambrosia Voyeur originally uploaded this to flickr.

Paramount Location Shooting Map

It’s a map used by Paramount in 1927 as a handy reference for where to go when you want to shoot a movie on location but don’t want to spend the money travelling all the way to wherever the story is set. Location scouting is an art unto itself and one we haven’t really talked about much on All Movie Talk. But I love snippets of movie lore like this. Thanks to wintermute for bringing this to my attention.


Summer Movie Preview 2010

Posted in Side Topics at 12:19 pm by Sam

Over on the RinkWorks Message Forum, I posted my annual Summer Movie Preview for 2010. On the slate this year: lots and lots and lots of remakes.


Title Tangles

Posted in Side Topics at 5:00 am by Sam

Silly fun movie-related exercise: pick two different movie titles, preferably one that ends with the same word the other starts with, and mash them together. Hilarity ensues.

Embarrassingly, this idea consumed four hours of time in RinkChat yesterday, starting with song titles and progressing to movie titles. Go here for the full transcript.

Some of the highlights:

* My Big Fat Greek Wedding Singer
* Seven Brides For Seven Samurai
* The Unbearable Lightness of Being John Malkovich
* The Madness of Curious George
* A Bug’s Life Stinks!
* Snakes On Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
* Jason X-Men
* Groundhog Day of the Triffids
* From Russia With Love, Actually
* Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Nude Bomb
* Darby O’Gill and the Little People Vs. Larry Flynt

Any more?


Remake This

Posted in Side Topics at 11:53 am by Stephen

With the success of the Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (it’s awful by the way), news is that one of the long-in-production remakes of The Wizard of Oz may actually get made. Oh, here’s a twist: one of the ideas is to do a dark, spooky version.

I can’t wait for a whole series of dark and gritty remakes of classic movies. But I think Hollywood isn’t going far enough. So listen up, studio execs, because I have an idea for you: you know that movie Taxi Driver? Yeah, the “You talkin’ to me?” movie. Everyone loves that line. What I’m saying is, let’s remake that one, only this time we’ll make it dark and gritty! Feel free to leave me your e-mail address in a comment, and I’ll tell you where to send my check.


Bakery Brawls: Part 2

Posted in Side Topics at 5:00 am by Sam

Earlier, I posted some thoughts on how pie fights and saloon brawls start. But why do they start? To anybody reading this right now: have you ever in your life witnessed a saloon brawl or pie fight in real life? They are so common in movies, I expect future civilizations to think we have them all the time.

I’m less interested in saloon fights as pie fights for this subject. Pie fights get put in movies because they are thought to be funny. I know of no other use for the pie fight than to induce laughter. But are pie fights really funny?

Read the rest of this entry »


Bakery Brawls: Part 1

Posted in Side Topics at 9:25 pm by Sam

A particular old staple of westerns is almost exactly the same thing as a particular old staple of comedies. I’m talking about saloon brawls and pie fights, respectively. Both have roots as old as film itself. One is played for action and the other for laughs, but both work the same way and serve the same purpose.

It is wrong to apply logical thought to these two phenomenons. They happen in the kinds of movies they happen in because they are supposed to happen in the kinds of movies they happen in. If you follow me.

But I can’t help myself. My logical mind is compelled to break it all down. Here’s what I can’t quite figure out.

Read the rest of this entry »


Bond. Suburban Angst Bond.

Posted in Side Topics at 6:08 pm by Sam

News came in about the director of the next James Bond film, and the name couldn’t have been more surprising to me. It’s Sam Mendes, director of American Beauty and Revolutionary Road.

Read the rest of this entry »


He Say You Blade Runner

Posted in Side Topics at 10:57 am by Stephen

If you’ve listened to the show much, you know that I’m a big fan of Ridley Scott’s brilliant 1982 film Blade Runner. The movie was one of the first DVDs released, and last year saw a slight update to that disc with a better transfer. But fans of the film know that this was the movie which started the whole idea of the “director’s cut” on home video, and the fact that there has only been one version available on DVD has been a real sticking point to many of us who love the medium’s ability to give us multiple versions of our favorite films. That’s all about to change.

Read the rest of this entry »


Robert Redford Presents: The Robert Redford Lectures

Posted in Side Topics at 5:18 am by Stephen

Have you folks seen the trailers for Lions for Lambs, the upcoming Robert Redford movie (starring and directed by Redford)? I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more pretentious and off-putting trailer than the two I’ve seen for this flick. Near as I can tell, it’s two hours of Redford and Tom Cruise lecturing characters about international relations. Now, I like politics as much as anyone — my bachelor’s degree is in political science — but this looks like the most excruciating movie experience I could imagine. What kind of marketing campaign is this?

« Previous entries