Paul Newman

coolhandluke-truth1

The 1967 film Cool Hand Luke helped galvanize Paul Newman’s career as a box office draw. The film tells the story of a man in prison for vandalism who refuses to be a cog in the wheel of the system. At first, he’s at odds with his fellow prisoners, but soon he earns their respect by demonstrating abilities of leadership and albumen-based endurance. One of these feats of endurance comes when he claims to be able to eat 50 hard-boiled eggs within an hour. This leads to massive betting among the prisoners and guards, making him the focus of the workhouse. Swallowing the final egg with a second to spare, he wins the respect of his peers and becomes a legend not just in the jail but in movie history. This got us to thinking: we like eggs, and we like eating. Would it be possible for a man to really eat 50 eggs in less than an hour?

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Slap Shot

Ever since I became a full-fledged movie geek (which happened sometime between Kevin Smith filming a bunch of unknowns playing hockey on the roof of a convenience store and Doug Liman filming Vince Vaughn making Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed), it’s seemed to me that there’s been some strange connection between being a film buff and being a hockey fan. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that hockey is always our least popular major sport and most people only pay attention to it when their home team is doing well in the playoffs, much in the same way that they only pay attention to art films when it’s Oscar time. There’s something scruffy and outside the norm about movie geeks, and there’s something scruffy and outside the norm about hockey, so the two see a lot of overlap. That general scruffiness explains why the go-to hockey movie for people who really like hockey and really like movies has always been Slap Shot, the 1977 comedy from director George Roy Hill that stars Paul Newman as the aging player/coach of a down on their luck minor league hockey team. It’s not about the players with the most potential or the biggest hearts, it’s about the scruffy rejects who earn their notoriety by becoming the detestable goons and enforcers of the league. These guys don’t beat your team by out-skating your best players, they beat your team by pounding your best players so hard that they can’t play. Fans of […]

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So I was watching the film The Descendants, and I couldn’t help but to laugh my ass off when the grandfather points to Nick Krause’s dumb-ass character and says “I’m going to hit you.” – Then, without any room for discussion he proves to be a man of his word. It got me thinking about some of the other great comedic punches out there, and soon enough I was assigning my wonder into list form. Violence and comedy together at last!

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Over Under: A New Perspective on Films New and Old

Over the course of the second half of the 20th century ,an entire cottage industry sprung up around sticking James Dean’s face on things and selling them. Shirts, posters, coffee mugs, license plates, postage stamps, what have you, they’ve all been sold to James Dean fans. And a lot of the imagery stuck on them comes from Dean’s penultimate film Rebel Without a Cause, which was released just a month after the star’s infamous death. Dean’s portrayal of the angry young man in this film has become iconic, prototypical, and is just about as much of a part of pop culture as the actor himself. After he died, his performance in Rebel got elevated up to a mythic standard, it became something that symbolized not just one of Hollywood’s preeminent figures, but an entire generation of disenfranchised youth. Eight years after Rebel Without a Cause exploded onto the screen in full color and became a cultural phenomenon, another movie about a rebellious young man was released. This one was shot in black and white and looked more like a classic Western than it did a modern, youth-centric tale of teenage rebellion. The film was called Hud, and instead of James Dean it starred Paul Newman as a guy who would rather get drunk and throw a punch than put in a day’s work. Who would rather sleep with a man’s wife than support a family of his own. Who would rather sell a contract for the oil on his family’s […]

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So what do you do when the law gets close to arresting you for bank robbery? You grab your bicycle and head to Bolivia. The pairing of Paul Newman and Robert Redford here in George Roy Hill’s classic is a potent one, and Katharine Ross rounds out the ensemble with a way about her that won over both men (and audiences). Like most films, it went through its share of casting changes. Jack Lemmon almost played Sundance. So did Marlon Brando. In fact, the film was going to be called The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy when Steve McQueen was set to star, but he dropped out, and Paul Newman’s character took over top billing. There’s something sweet about a movie that features Burt Bacharach singing about raindrops falling on his head and a body count of 30. Plus, you can see a great tribute to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre involving a brand and an ass near the end of the film.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. This trailer is as sweaty as the movie is, which is exactly as sweaty as an adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play needs to be. Elizabeth Taylor stars as a love-hungry woman and Paul Newman plays a man embarrassed by her. And then there’s Big Daddy who wants to physically injure any woman he loves by giving her fur coats and diamonds. The South in the mid 20th century was a crazy, crazy place. 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. There was absolutely a failure to communicate going on here because one of the best prison movies of all time gets one of the worst, most convoluted, most disjointed trailers of the 60s. Fortunately, Paul Newman is either drunk or stuffed with eggs for most of it. 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. Paul Newman plays an alcoholic, washed-up lawyer taking his first meaningful case (maybe in his entire career). He’s got a chance to make his work mean something and a chance to find justice for two people who dearly need it. That’s why the other side is offering him two hundred grand to drop the case. Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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movieswelove-thesting

Who doesn’t love a good con movie? Robert Redford and Paul Newman partner to make one of the best ever made – all while creating a movie that won Best Picture, can be re-watched infinitely and has popcorn appeal.

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tcm_remembers

Normally I would save this for tomorrow’s Daily Diversion, but it just feels like something I should be posting in a more timely matter. I will find something silly for the morning.

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Paul Newman in Road to Perdition

Not many people know that Road to Perdition was based off the graphic novel by Max Allan Collins & Richard Piers Rayner. Now a pair of sequels are in the works entitled Road to Purgatory and Road to Paradise.

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Early this morning, publicist Jeff Sanderson confirmed that actor Paul Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport. He was surrounded by his family and close friends. To honor him, our own Maggie Van Ostrand has written a few anecdotes in his memory.

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His crime: nonconformity. His sentence: the chain gang. Paul Newman plays one of his best-loved roles as Cool Hand Luke, the loner who won’t –- or can’t -– bend to the arbitrary rules of his captivity.

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If someone is going to go and remake one of my all-time favorites, one of the films that I treasure, they’d better do it right. And as of right now, it doesn’t look like this Slap Shot remake is off to a good start…

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