AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FILM MADE WITH STUDENTS AT SARAH LAWRENCE, RELEASED IN NYC MAY 16, 1980
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The latest episode links Garry Marshall's Pretty Woman and Brian De Palma's Body Double, which, Amanda and Tara note, both take place in Los Angeles, with shared themes of authenticity and performance. "Can we call ourselves feminists and still enjoy these movies?" they ask in the episode description. "(We can and we do.) But we can admit it’s a BIG problem. BIG. HUGE. The lesson this week: Life is not a fairytale. Princesses need to save themselves. So pry yourself away from the telescope and join us."
Anderson notes that Dmitri’s (Adrien Brody) walk down the hotel hall feels inspired by Brian De Palma. “We were talking earlier about Brian De Palma,” he adds a beat later.
The Untouchables, Casualties of War, The Bonfire Of The Vanities, Raising Cain, Carlito's Way, Mission: Impossible... Brian De Palma didn't just make all those movies, he made all those movies... in a row. Nobody balances suspense, action, and character better than he does. Each film is a master class in building tension, with tracking shots, disconcerting angles, and split screens. And then he releases that tension with the blunt shock of violence. In any De Palma film, the camera is ultimately the star. De Palma is the son of a surgeon, and he went to Columbia for physics. But he quickly discovered where his true passion lay. You know him as a virtuosic movie director, but before that, he was a fixture of the experimental Greenwich Village movie scene of the 1960s. That's where he cast a then-unknown actor named Bobby De Niro. Fitting, since De Palma later became known for working with all the greatest actors. His very first Hollywood movie starred Orson Welles. Last summer, the Hamptons International Film Festival gave Brian De Palma the Lifetime Achievement Award. I was honored to speak with him in front of a live audience when he came to accept it.
De Palma responds: "This is a long funny story. I was head of the Columbia players. And the Varsity Show is a very big thing at Columbia. So there were two shows up to be voted for. And I was just an apprentice that was going to take over the Columbia Players the following year. So, in these situations, everybody's, you know, got their own sort of corrupt intent, because, if you do my play, I get to play the lead, and you get to direct, da da da. I knew nothing about this. There were two really good scripts. One by Steve Rossen, who was one of my school mates at Columbia, and the other one by Terry McNally, a very funny comedy." [A Columbia College obit of McNally, who passed away earlier this year, notes that "McNally wrote the 66th Annual Varsity Show, The Streets of New York, in 1958."] "And they fought for hours, and they were deadlocked, you know, like six-to-six, and it was getting late, and it was about midnight, and they said, they looked over to me, because I had read both scripts, and they said, well, let the kid decide. So I said, well, I think that Terry McNally's script is funny, let's do that one. 'Great!' Everybody leaves.
"That night, I was shooting my first short, which consisted of Pan coming out of the tunnel at 116th Street. I was not the director, I was just author and cinematographer. I get to the location and my director arrives, Gene Marner, I'll never forget his name. And he comes with his very Sicilian girlfriend named Charley. And she comes over to me, and she says, 'You fucking idiot! You didn't vote for the Rossen play? Didn't you know that Gene was going to direct it?' And I go, 'Huh?' [Baldwin laughs] And then they walked off. And they took the lead actor with them. So here I am, at 116th Street, at three in the morning, staring into an empty tunnel, saying, 'I'm gonna direct this now.'
Baldwin: "And that's it."
De Palma: "That's it."
Baldwin: "And you found some waitress at an all-night diner and said, 'Come with me, you're my lead!' You didn't need any actress for the shot?"
De Palma: "No, I had to go out and find my own actors and start all over again."
""It's a five-week programming event with epic films, iconic stars, and brilliant stories that viewers love—and love to watch together," CBS programming exec Noriko Kelley states in the CBS press release. CBS also put together a retro-fashioned promo commercial that can be watched on its Facebook page.
"All hail the return of CBS ‘Sunday Night at the Movies’ in May," reads a San Francisco Chronicle headline from this past week. Forbes' Scott Mendelson expects that a new commercial for Paramount's upcoming Tom Cruise-starring Top Gun: Maverick will air during the Mission: Impossible slot May 17th. At The Stranger, Bobby Roberts writes:
It's so bizarre to see the CBS Sunday Night Movie come back to brodcast TV after being made more-or-less obsolete by cable back in the '90s. And then cable was made obsolete in the '00s by the internet, and now because the movie industry doesn't know what it's going to be in the near future, media companies like Viacom/CBS are looking at all these watch parties, looking at their network programming, noticing their large back catalogs, and boom: The Sunday Night Movie returns with a slightly different name at 8pm tonight, presenting a perfect excuse for everyone to get together at the same time, in the same place, and watch 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, maybe the most perfectly constructed film in cinema history. Maybe. I’m sure someone out there has an argument on deck, but I’m betting their champion of choice doesn’t include a giant pit of snakes; a fight inside, on top of, and hanging off the front of a truck at 50 mph; a holy box that melts Nazi faces like Totino’s Party Pizza; and—most importantly—the presence of peak Harrison Ford in all his sweaty, smirky, silly-yet-sexy glory.
Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man gets the top spot on this list.
"Shot on high quality digital and downgraded through analogue processes to give the appearance of VHS," writes The Movie Waffler's Eric Hillis, "She’s Allergic to Cats is a movie that seems determined to alienate as many viewers as possible from the off. Its eventual audience will likely be small enough to fit in its protagonist’s cramped apartment, but give yourself over to its grimy aesthetic and absurdist humour and you’ll find it a charming piece of punk filmmaking. You might even find some of its lo-fi images quite beautiful, and if nothing else, its recreation of the Carrie prom scene with a bewildered tiara-clad tabby is worth the rental price alone."
Update: I watched the free screening tonight, enjoyed it very much. In the chat alongside the movie, Reich mentions that the version screened tonight at Twitch was the original cut ("slightly different" than the version streaming on iTunes and Amazon Prime). He said part of the reason the movie is being released in 2020 instead of in 2017 is because he had to change some of the songs he had used in the original cut due to issues in getting the rights. He also mentioned that the dog who plays Karma in the film was Sonja Kinksi's real dog, Audrey, who has since passed away. Reich is now working on a Christmas-themed horror movie.
Here are two of the four split-diopter frames from The War Of The Roses that were posted by Crítico Cítrico: