Napoleon

Baz

Back in 1961, Stanley Kubrick dreamed of making a sprawling epic about Napoleon Bonaparte’s life, a film that has now been dubbed “the greatest movie never made.” Despite this glowing promise of greatness, none of the major studios took him up on his idea, and without funding, the project remained on the shelf. Now, Kubrick’s pet project is becoming reality as a high-profile miniseries at HBO with Steven Spielberg adopting the endeavor as producer — and they’ve tapped Baz Luhrmann to direct. Kubrick’s vision for the story of the French dictator was left behind in the form of extensive research files, including location photos, notes, boxes upon boxes of details — enough for a book to be written about everything he compiled while writing the screenplay; he really wanted to make this film. But at the time, the biopic was deemed too expensive by studios and he went on to make Barry Lyndon (set 15 years prior to the Napoleonic Wars) instead — not such a shabby alternative. But it’s not certain if the new team will have access to Kubrick’s files to use for the series, or if they’ll even be mimicking his same vision when it comes to translating the film to television. If Luhrmann does direct, it’s no secret that his take on Kubrick’s screenplay would differ greatly from the late director’s original vision.

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Culture Warrior

Way back in the summer of 2004, on the heels of the great success of I Love the 80s and (later) I Love the 70s, VH1 tested the bounds and justifications of the nostalgia market by releasing the initial ten-part I Love the 90s. Instead of simply reflecting upon the most memorable and oft-canonized popular culture products and national news events of the 1970s and 1980s (two decades whose iconography had become ever more apparent, stylized, and parodied during its reappropriation in late 90s/early 00s pop culture), VH1 instead attempted (perhaps unsuccessfully) to create a trend rather than merely follow the typical, perhaps “natural” cycle of nostalgia. Because I Love the 90s aired only a few years after the actual 90s ended, VH1 situated the early 21st century – a time that ostensibly marked a major temporal shift but (save for 9/11) had yet to be self-defined – as a time that uniquely necessitated an immediate reflection on how to understand the 20th century, even the years of that century that were not so long ago. The experiment was both engaging and bizarre. By 2004, the early 90s had come into stark, VH1-friendly self-definition. Yes, we could all collectively make fun of Joey Lawrence, Pogs, oversize flannel, and Kevin Costner’s accent in Robin Hood, and share in the memories and irony-light criticisms therein with Michael Ian Black and Wendy the Snapple Lady. However, by the time the show reached 1997-99, I Love the 90s seemed less like a program banking […]

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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