Susan Sarandon’s first film was in 1970. She has a career spanning nearly 50 years in TV and film, and I’m not even going to pretend like I have seen most of her films, but I wanted to profile her this week because she’s the living embodiment of the argument that, while the rise of quality of TV has hurt the quality of films with budget between “arthouse” and “blockbuster, it has among other things provided quality roles to actresses who otherwise would have disappeared. Sarandon, Laura Dern, Kathy Bates, Catherine Zeta Jones, Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Lange, Nicole Kidman and Robin Wright are all actresses who either won or were nominated for Best Actress in the 1990’s to early 2000’s and have already starred in huge TV events or series in 2017. Hollywood has a rancid history of putting women out to pasture when they near 40 (or earlier), and deprive us of their talent until they reach “grandma age”. Sarandon’s just concluded Feud with Lange looks at that very phenomenon as it examines the real life feud between legendary stars Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Aside from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (which you’re either religiously fanatic about or do not get; I am the latter), most of my exposure to Sarandon’s work is from Bull Durham on, and she easily fills a top 10 with just that bit of her career. Now a septuagenarian (yes, I had to triple check that to make sure it’s accurately used but apparently Sarandon has some arrangement with Time), Sarandon is still one of the best actresses working Continue reading Susan Sarandon’s 10 Best Movies→
This is a tough one, like the Top 5 Actors before it. Let me define the criteria and that might help anyone who will immediately tear apart my choices. I’m putting myself in the shoes of a director with the ability to cast whomever I want. I’d want someone with proven chops. I’d want someone who is at the top of their game. I’d want someone who can carry a film and/or can work seamlessly with an ensemble. I’d want these five ladies (in no order but alphabetical).
Honorable Mention: Emily Blunt, Helena Bonham Carter, Scarlet Johansson, Susan Sarandon, and Emma Thompson (only because she hasn’t done as much in the last decade)
With Kevin Costner a part of the Jack Ryan reboot that opens on Friday, I thought we’d look back to one of his first break-out movies, Bull Durham. I love baseball. I grew up on a steady diet of “baseball matters and little else does”, but I have to admit I’d rather watch college or high school ball than the pros these days. All the cheating smeared the history of the game and that was, to me, a major part of its charm and appeal. I have actually gone to more minor league games over the last ten years than major. Minor league baseball is kind of hilarious. The players are anxiety-ridden messes, the quality of the game varies wildly from pitch-to-pitch and literally anything can happen. That’s what makes this scene so good. Dumber things than this have happened in minor league ball, but it’s a hysterical example of how to build the comedy in a scene slowly. I think of it every time I see a catcher trot out to talk to a pitcher.
Hollywood is going through a science fiction renaissance. I’m not quite sure if these are all projects greenlit post-Avatar and Star Trek, but we seem to be getting science fiction of all sorts back in the theaters as a presence. A wonderful byproduct of that resurgence is this quiet little film that is science fiction at its best: it uses a unique lens to show us ourselves.
Frank Langhella is fantastic as an elderly cat burglar whose children (played by James Marsden and Liv Tyler) get him a robot caretaker (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard). The presence of the robot gets Frank back into his old tricks and leads to a finale that’s surprisingly touching and powerful.
I honestly don’t want to say a lot about the film because it’s wonderful to discover its charms for yourself and I don’t want to ruin it. This is one of 2012’s hidden gems and if you’re stopping by a Redbox this weekend, do yourself a favor and check it out.