erik lundegaard

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Thursday July 04, 2013

What's the Great All-American Movie?

I asked that question yesterday on Facebook and got more than 50 responses. These were the movies with more than three votes.

Movie  Votes
Citizen Kane 7
The Godfather 6
The Grapes of Wrath 5
Idiocracy (!) 5
The Best Years of Our Lives 4
The Right Stuff 4

I kept categorizing all the different suggestions in my mind:

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses:

  • The Godfather
  • Scarface (1982)

We're better than our PR:

  • The Right Stuff
  • Singin' in the Rain

Truth, justice and the American way

Something is disappearing (Tony Soprano's lament):

  • American Graffiti
  • Breaking Away
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • High Noon

Something's wrong here, not sure what it is:

  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • Being There
  • Five Easy Pieces
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Parallax View
  • Poltergeist (“It's all in the subtext”)
  • Rebel without a Cause

We venture out to go home:

  • Apocalypse Now
  • Apollo 13
  • Citizen Kane
  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  • Sullivan's Travels
  • The Wizard of Oz

We're fucked:

  • Idiocracy

I also got many complaints that it was an impossible question. “You have to be more specific,” one said. “There's no such thing as an All-American movie,” another said.

But that's the point, isn't it? Since America isn't more specific.

But this was my favorite response, via Twitter:

Happy 4th.

The Godfather Part II: Statue of Liberty scene

We came.

The Right Stuff, Sam Shephard

We soared.

Being There: Watching TV

We watched TV.

Posted at 08:29 AM on Jul 04, 2013 in category Movies
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Friday May 17, 2013

If Ever a Character Could Put You Off Women for Life...

Interesting back-and-forth (at least as interesting as Twitter allows) between James Marsh and Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells on Monica Vitti's character in “L'Avventura.” Marsh began it this way:

Wells still finds her alluring, which is partly why he's watched the movie six or seven times. I'm with Wells here, despite having watched it only once.

But Marsh raises an interesting question. If ever a character in a movie could put you off women for life, which would it be?

For a long time, my answer was Norma Desmond in “Sunset Blvd.” I got major creeps after watching that movie. I don't think I wanted to be with a woman for a week after that. Or a night anyway. (I was young.)

Then about 10 years ago I saw “The Blue Angel,” with Lola Lola ruining the distinguished life of Prof. Immanuel Rath (Emil Jannings); reducing him to a clown, an ass, a rooster. I know it's Dietrich, and Dietrich is so sexy, but that makes it worse. You understand why the good professor winds up on the path he winds up on. The road to losing all dignity and self-worth. The road to cock-a-doodle-doo.

Yours? Feel free to shift the question as to gender and gender preference.

Marlene Dietrich and Emil Jannings in "The Blue Angel" (1930)

The good professor, before the cock-a-doodle-doo.

Posted at 06:53 AM on May 17, 2013 in category Movies
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Monday May 06, 2013

Fargo: The Word Cloud

The Film Stage posted the following “Fargo in a Word Cloud” on Twitter the other day:

Fargo in a word cloud

Glad I made the cut. (Center, about sixth row from top.)

And don't forget where the Jerry Lundegaard name came from.

Posted at 02:31 PM on May 06, 2013 in category Movies
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Wednesday April 24, 2013

Gregory Peck in Second Grade

Once you see something it's easy to see it, and it's tough to forget how hard it was to see it in the first place.

I thought my “Find the Future Movie Star” post was easy, for example, because, once I knew, my eyes always went right to this kid, and he looked a lot like his future movie-star self.

But I linked to the post via Facebook and immediately got the following guesses:

  • Jack Nicholson, bottom row
  • Jimmy Stewart, middle?
  • James Cagney, first row, third from left
  • Marilyn Monroe, somewhere
  • Clint Eastwood, front row, third from left
  • Jack Nicholson, second row, far right
  • Clark Gable, back row, first on left
  • Spencer Tracy, third row middle
  • John Wayne? Up towards the top? Blondie?
  • Got it. Paul Newman.
  • Gary Cooper, top left for the block

Eventually Sasha Stone of Awards Daily got it. It's Gregory Peck. (Click on pic for bigger version.)

Gregory Peck in second grade, La Jolla, Calif.

Sasha guessed wrong several times, too, but once she saw it she really saw it. “He looks the same!!” she wrote. My friend Colleen added, “Lots of little boys scowling, but not Peck!” Peck's good boy, I guess.

It is startling. Everyone around him looks like one of the dead-end kids, and there he is in the back row, about the handsomest second-grader ever.

Posted at 10:07 AM on Apr 24, 2013 in category Movies
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Find the Future Movie Star

This is a second-grade class photo of a family friend. One of his classmates became one of the biggest movie stars of the 20th century. Can you find him? Click on the photo for a bigger version.

Class photo

Click here for the answer.

Posted at 06:43 AM on Apr 24, 2013 in category Movies
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