The Sting

Discoveries of 2013

It’s late December, and that means two things: your sudden panicked realization that you haven’t completed your holiday shopping, and movie lists. And like every December, FSR is devoting numerous posts to the very best and worst (but mostly best) that 2013 had to offer at the movies. But as movie fans, we don’t only see movies that were released in the year we see them – we might dig into classics and curiosities via online streaming, repertory showings, or simple chance encounters. Year-end lists may summarize the breadth of movies released in theaters throughout the calendar year, but they don’t necessarily reflect the yearly consumption of a dedicated movie fan. To many movie lovers, going to a movie theater can be surprisingly rare, and watching movies follows less of a calendar schedule and works a bit more like time travel: one day you’re in 2013, and the next you’re in 1950s Hollywood, followed by a brief stint in 1980s central Florida, and then back to 2013 again. Furthermore, several distributors (Drafthouse, Milestone, Janus) are increasingly devoting their energy not to releasing new movies, but to reviving under-seen gems. For some of you, 2013 may have had little to do with your movie experience in 2013. So I’ve concocted an alternative year-end list: the 13 (er, 14) most memorable movies I saw in 2013 that weren’t actually released this year. Not necessarily the best, but the movies that most surprised me – the movies that reminded me that no matter […]

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The Sting

The best part about faking your death has to be getting to decide how it will all go down. Instead of a bathroom heart attack, you can have fun with it and get mauled by a bear or spontaneously combust. The following characters know exactly what I’m talking about, as when it came time for someone to “die” they all had a bit of fun with it. Without a doubt, spoilers ensue, but even mentioning what movies they’re for would spoil them for you, so if you’re concerned at all, just don’t read.

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Universal Pictures will turn a century old on April 30, and in advance of their 100th birthday, the studio has trotted out a new (shiny!) logo that touts their triple-digit age. Why they didn’t get Willard Scott to do one of those Smuckers Jam birthday label shout-out things on The Today Show, I simply don’t know, but there’s still time! Of course, that new logo is neat and all (and, again, shiny!), but what’s most exciting about this news is the studio’s announcement that they will also celebrate their centennial with the restoration of thirteen of its most famous films. THR reports that the studio has restored All Quiet on the Western Front, The Birds, Abbott and Costello’s Buck Privates, Dracula (1931), the Spanish-language Dracula (which was filmed on the same set at night), Frankenstein, Jaws, Schindler’s List, Out of Africa, Pillow Talk, Bride of Frankenstein, The Sting, and To Kill a Mockingbird. The studio plans to release the restorations throughout 2012. Many of the restorations will be sold in “collectible book style packaging with memorabilia.” Moreover, Universal is reportedly quite happy with the work on previously damaged films, particularly when it comes to crisper sound in Frankenstein and “appalling graininess” in To Kill a Mockingbird. Also, fans of Out of Africa can breathe a sigh of relief – as “Meryl Streep loses a weird wobble in her walk possibly caused by projectors that enlarged the sprocket holes.” I wish it was Universal’s 100th birthday every day!

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Hollywood is good at recycling things. After all, you build a giant house or an elaborate prop and you wouldn’t just use it once and toss it, right? This is why they have backlots at studios; they can hoard all their favorite stuff for later use (like the iconic building in the image above) or, failing that, at least use it for the studio tours. Same kind of goes for on-location sets – some places are just too dynamic to use only once, especially when the owner is more than willing to pimp out their place for cash. This circle of life is great when you are working with a generic looking high school or cookie-cutter set but there are the occasional moments when they use a location just a little too iconic for its own good – and like a type-cast actor, you can’t help but to see the location as anything besides what made it famous in the first place.

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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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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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