Marilyn Monroe

Some Like It Hot

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they think subversively about Billy Wilder‘s men-in-dresses comedy Some Like It Hot since everything seems to have a “secret gay agenda” these days. And because you can’t bend genders without making romance a little interesting. In the #43 (tied) movie on the list, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play musicians who foolishly witness the Valentine’s Day Massacre. Trying to hide out, they get into drag to join an all-female band traveling to sunny Miami where they both court love with Marilyn Monroe and Joe Brown. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Culture Warrior

Tomorrow, the Sacha Baron Cohen-starring, Larry Charles-directed The Dictator opens. Unlike the previous two docu-prank collaborations between Charles and Cohen, the humor of the fully staged Dictator doesn’t so much rely on the reactions of ‘real people’ to an idiosyncratic foreigner as it uses its fish-out-of-water arc to chronicle the pseudo-enlightened changes that its eponymous character experiences (this is all based on the film’s advertising – I have yet to see it). With its riches-to-rags narrative, The Dictator seems to be the newest iteration of a long tradition in Hollywood comedy: the story of the redeemable asshole. It’s rather appropriate that the teaser trailer for Anchorman 2 will be premiering in front of The Dictator.  Will Ferrell has made the redeemable asshole into something of an art form in his collaborations with Adam McKay. Ferrell’s often narcissistic, privileged, ignorant, and empathy-challenged creations should, by any measure of any other genre (audiences are far less tolerant of asshole protags in, say, dramedys) be reviled by audiences. But we ultimately find something redeemable, even lovable, in Ferrell’s jerks, even if this surface-level redemption overshadows the fact that they never quite achieve the level of self-awareness that would actually redeem one from assholedom. These are characters we would likely avoid in nearly any real-life circumstance, but yet we go see movies about them learning life lessons which add up to little more than common knowledge for the rest of us. The redeemable asshole is often a white male who is conniving, manipulative, entitled, […]

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With this year’s Cannes Film Festival quickly coming round the bend, now’s as good a time as any to officially start the FSR pre-festival coverage, and as if by magic, perhaps sensing that I was about to do so, the good folks on the south coast of France have announced that Tim Roth will lead the jury of the festival’s secondary competition. The Un Certain Regard competition seeks to offer films with some intriguing hook or selling point, setting a different tone to the main competition and occasionally unearthing some genuine gems thanks to its agenda of championing new talents. It is that competition that the British actor, famed for such roles as Reservoir Dogs and lately Lie To Me, will preside over, perhaps bringing his own stamp to affairs. So, we can probably expect violence and facial intensity to play a big part – and if Roth’s own The War Zone is anything to go by, we can also expect another trip down the abuse avenue that featured so heavily in the films screened last year.

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Criterion Files

The 1980s proved to be an interesting and difficult time for auteurs of the 1960s and 1970s. Directors like Copolla, Scorsese, De Palma, Altman, etc. offered works that were far from their classics of the previous decade, but many of these films have aged well and proven to be compelling entries within the respective ouvres of these directors precisely because they aren’t part of their canon. While British director Nicolas Roeg did not play a central part in New Hollywood in the same way as the directors I listed, his 1970s work was certainly part and parcel of this brief countercultural revolution in narrative storytelling. I see Roeg as something of a British equivalent to Hal Ashby: someone who made brilliant entry after brilliant entry throughout a single decade, only to fade out of the spotlight once the 1980s began. But unlike the late Ashby, Roeg has continued making films during these years, and The Criterion Collection has taken one of his most perplexing entries from the era of Reagan and Alf out of obscurity. Insignificance (1985) is a strange film about a strange time. Based on the play by Terry Johnson, Insignificance stages an impossible meeting between iconoclastic minds as the likenesses of Marilyn Monroe (Roeg’s then-wife Teresa Russell), Albert Einstein (Michael Emil), Joe DiMaggio (Gary Busey), and Sen. Joe McCarthy (Tony Curtis) move in an out of a hotel room as they share a variety of 50s-topical dramatic scenarios.

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Simon Curtis’ My Week with Marilyn isn’t really a bio pic. Underneath the core love story of a naive dope, it’s about a clashing of two actors. In one corner, there’s Miss Marilyn Monroe, wanting to be taken seriously. In the other (and more respectful) corner, there’s Sir Laurence Olivier, possibly wanting the fame Marilyn has, at least according to a few characters. Marilyn needs to “find” the character, while Olivier believes it’s all on the page. The veteran actor sticks to his classical roots, while the blonde bombshell attempts more unusual methods. Kenneth Branagh, who portrays an artistically frustrated Olivier, sympathizes with both sides. Underneath their differences, the two portrayals of Monroe and Olivier are similar at heart: they’re both simply trying to create something, but they use the opposite methods. My Week with Marilyn is a deconstruction of what it means to be an actor, and those types of discussions seem to be the kind Branagh revels in. Here’s what Kenneth Branagh had to say about faking the truth, the fright of acting, and how you don’t have to be a murderer to play one.

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Over Under: A New Perspective on Films New and Old

Billy Wilder’s career is a lengthy one, full of highly acclaimed features. But out of all the great films that he made over the course of forty some years, Some Like It Hot may be the most famous. And when you talk about what his masterpiece was creatively, it’s often mentioned right up there with movies like Sunset Boulevard and The Apartment. But I guess that’s no surprise, it’s got Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis acting like ladies and Marilyn Monroe slinking around in cocktail dresses. That’s memorable stuff. Ted Kotcheff’s career was a lengthy but unspectacular one. He mostly did TV work and is probably best known for being the guy who directed the original Rambo film First Blood. But what I best remember him for is a movie about two guys and a dead dude called Weekend at Bernie’s. I must have watched it about a million times on HBO when I was growing up. These days, when you mention it, people talk about it like it’s a joke; but I guess that’s because Jonathan Silverman and Andrew McCarthy didn’t quite become Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, and Terry Kiser is no Marilyn Monroe.

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While some lucky individuals have already had the chance to see Simon Curtis’ peek into the life of a sex icon My Week with Marilyn at the New York Film Festival, the rest of us plebeians have to wait until November for our own chance. Now, early buzz for the Michelle Williams (Marilyn Monroe) vehicle has been favorable, however that is not what’s piquing my interest in the project. Rather I’m curious to see the maudlin-looking Williams’ embodiment of the sexpot. Williams is of course a stunning actress when she’s dressed for award season, but we rarely see that beauty on screen as she tends to embrace homely, makeup free characters. Clearly she will add an intriguing element of wistful sadness to the woman many of us wish to be.

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Simon Curtis’s upcoming film starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe doesn’t look like the typical film about historical figures. This isn’t a look at Monroe’s entire life, the tale of her rise and fall. This film is, just like the title says, about one week only, the week when Marilyn Monroe went to England to film The Prince and the Showgirl and ended up getting escorted around by a regular guy named Colin Clark. It doesn’t look like it’s really a story about Monroe or her costar in that film Sir Laurence Olivier, so much as it is a character drama that happens to have real life famous figures in it. That’s an interesting approach and it keeps me from dismissing this as just being yet another movie about Marilyn Monroe. The other thing that keeps me from dismissing My Week With Marilyn is the outstanding cast. It’s got veteran performers that are reliable rocks like Kenneth Branagh, Julia Ormond, and Judi Dench. It’s got promising young actors like Emma Watson, and Eddie Redmayne (who was the only thing worth watching in Derick Martini’s new film Hick). And it has an actress enjoying the prime of her career, one of the most talented ladies on the planet, Michelle Williams, in the title role.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. If there’s one thing that movies have taught us, it’s that when you witness a mob killing you have to dress like a woman and join an all-girl jazz band that’s touring the sunnier areas of the country. Also, you just might find love with Marilyn Monroe. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. It’s truly fantastic that in this world of course, Clark Gable once made a movie with Marilyn Monroe. It’s even better that it’s an existential love story that plays like Street Car Named Desire in the middle of Nevada. The bonus is that Monroe is insanely good at paddle ball, even if it does lead to bar fights. It’s the 1960s answer to the Western genre, modernizing it and placing a gorgeous blonde bombshell right in the middle of Gable and Montgomery Clift to see who can make it out alive. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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I’m declaring today officially Michelle Williams Day here on Film School Rejects. I doubt anyone will object, as Ms. Williams has been an object of our affection for quite some time. Above you see the first look at Williams as Marilyn Monroe in Simon Curtis’ My Week with Marilyn. She’s one of two top-level actresses who will play the iconic dame, the other being Naomi Watts. The film is currently shooting at Pinewood Studios and in and around London. It follows the story of Colin Clark, a 23-year old assistant who spent an uninhibited week with Monroe during her time working on The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956. As you can see, the first image of Williams accurately captures both the beauty and the distance that defined the look of Monroe. The wait for a first look at Naomi Watts’ Marilyn begins now. [via Coming Soon]

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oam-somelikeithot

Joe and Jerry are two musicians who see a mob murder and decide to go into hiding in an all-female band. The gorgeous Sugar Kane Kowalcyk is part of the troupe, which might just be two good reasons to stay in hiding.

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lohan-nude01.jpg

La Lohan attempts to revive her public image by doing what we’ve been recommending all along. Showing some skin.

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