Dead Poet’s Society

Touchstone Pictures

Have you seen the video of Benedict Cumberbatch doing impressions of 11 celebrities in under 60 seconds? Of course you have. As our pal Alexander Huls pointed out on Twitter, “What do we love more than celebrities? Celebrities imitating OTHER celebrities!” It is a strange phenomenon, and maybe we have Jimmy Fallon and his talk show to blame. Ellen DeGeneres is guilty, too. And much of it has to do with Saturday Night Live lately, I bet. But really it’s just always been a thing for comedians to do, and then some of those comedians become celebrities themselves (many of them are the butt of other people’s impressions). What’s not quite as common as the talk show appearances, and therefore more interesting, are the celebrity impressions that wind up in movies. They too are performed by celebrities, but in the context of the movies it’s the characters they’re playing that are technically doing the impressions. That means they’re not always very good. Some of the following favorite scenes involve great impersonations and some are downright terrible, yet even the latter are awesome in their hilariously intentional awfulness. For Cumberbatch, his next step is to do something like this. Preferably doing his Alan Rickman as Dr. Strange. 


One Hour Photo

After playing the sweetly fearsome film tech in One Hour Photo, Robin Williams talked about his character in both humane and expansive terms, explaining that “the things [Sy] says are painfully true–like, my favorite line is… ‘photographs are your own personal stand against time. That someone cared enough about me to take my picture means that I existed.’ I was at an old flea market the other day and looked at this box of old photographs, and you realize that most of these people are dead. There’s a moment in time that you really get to see someone.” Sy the Photo Guy is also rummaging through old pictures when he says those words, and shortly afterward he daydreams about being a welcomed fixture in the home of the family whose blissful images he’s become attached to. It’s a deeply intimate yet one-sided relationship that exposes a simple, desperate need for connection. For someone to think he’s worth enough to make temporarily immortal. Sy is a paparazzo who doesn’t need to take his own pictures; the neighborhood celebrities he worships freely give their personal moments over to him to manipulate. Williams’ portrayal and the understanding he displayed in that quote are what gave breath to a character who could have otherwise been labeled a flat villain, a shifty-eyed presence meant solely to unsettle. Instead, he played an insecure stalker with a touch of childlike frailty. This is the same man who squeezed into tights as a middle aged Peter Pan doing his best rooster impression, the […]


This Week in Blu-ray

This week provides another interesting round of Blu-ray releases. Just before George Lucas delivers Red Tails, HBO is ready to release the original — and great, if you ask me — Tuskegee Airmen film they produced years ago. But that’s not getting a review this week, as a review copy was not available. Notable as it may be, that original Tuskegee film doesn’t hold a candle to Ryan Gosling’s political career, or Criterion’s take on Steven Soderbergh’s drug trade epic, or even Ed O’Neill duking out with a pretentious kid on the way home for the holidays. It’s an exciting week, despite the fact that we’re clearly caught in the  doldrums of the winter movie season. The Ides of March In its own sneaky way, George Clooney’s high tension political drama stayed under the radar and snuck in late as one of 2011’s best dramas. The Golden Globes took notice, awarding the film four nominations — though it did not take home any awards. The key to the whole thing is Ryan Gosling, in his best performance of a year filled with best performances, as an idealistic campaign staffer who gets caught in some seriously dirty politics. In a world that is most often all talk, it’s his ability to weave a web of words that ultimately leads him through a forest of deception. Clooney delivers as director, assembling one hell of a cast — Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman and himself, to name a few — and keeps the pace with a […]


The teenage years are a time in everyone’s life when their minds are fertile for the seeds of change. A new experience can completely change a teenager’s personality, reading a new book or watching a new movie can radically alter the way that they self-identify. Peter Weir’s 1989 boarding school drama Dead Poets Society is one of those new movie experiences that I’ve often seen held up as a life changing experience. Multiple times in my high school career the movie was shown to my class by teachers trying to inspire a love of learning in the students. I’ve met more than one person bold enough to show me their “Carpe Diem” tattoo, which is the movie’s big rallying cry. In general it just seems that there is something about this film that resonates strongly and sticks with a large portion of the people who see it. Daniel Petrie Jr.’s Toy Soldiers isn’t a movie that’s changed many lives. That’s okay though, I don’t think it was trying to. It’s mostly just an action movie. This one tells the story of a prestigious prep school being overtaken by a group of well-trained, well-armed terrorists, who then hold the student body hostage until the government meets their demands. It’s strange how little this movie is ever mentioned by anyone. It had a cast of young actors including Sean Astin, Wil Wheaton, and Keith Coogan, that were all up-and-coming names back in 1991. It was an explosion packed story about terrorists and […]


Rejoice in another fantastic Reject Interview! As you can imagine, when discussing a movie of this emotional weight and dramatic consequence, we end up discussing Robin Williams’s penis for most of the piece.

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published: 12.19.2014
published: 12.18.2014
published: 12.17.2014

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