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Showing posts from April, 2018

Michelle Pfeiffer at 60: Still White Gold, Still the Best

Hard to believe it, but Michelle Pfeiffer will turn sixty on April 29th.

Not as hard to believe, I'm an enormous Michelle Pfeiffer fan, or pfan, if you will. I've written extensively about her work, and I will likely continue to do so until someone pries the keyboard out of my cold, dead hands.

Pfeiffer turning sixty feels momentous. Obviously, we could go on for days about how she doesn't look sixty, about how she's managed to retain her stunning, otherworldly, jaw-dropping good looks all these years. Certainly, when I first discovered her in the mid- to late-1980s as an adolescent, it was her captivating eyes and pouty lips that first made me sit up and say, "Whoa!" After all this time, she's still solid White Gold. Always has been, always will be.

Reducing Michelle Pfeiffer to her looks, however, is never a wise decision. She's so much more than just quite possibly the world's most pretty face. She's a true artist, an extremely talented, o…

Michelle Pfeiffer: White Oleander

Revisiting and celebrating the work of Michelle Pfeiffer, the best actress of my lifetime.

Ingrid Magnussen resides in a unique corner of Michelle Pfeiffer's filmography. Rarely has Pfeiffer been asked to play a character this unlikable, this sociopathic, or this narcissistic. Which is, frankly, a shame, because she's an absolulte revelation in White Oleander (2002).
Pfeiffer's performance is so starkly rendered, so devastatingly powerful, that it’s almost uncomfortable to watch. Ingrid is an artist, a free spirit, yet also resembles a coiled snake, ready to strike at any moment. It's that ability to ignite Ingrid's inner fury with such sudden force that makes Pfeiffer's work here so astonishing.

Early scenes establish Ingrid's free spirit, yet also expose her bluntly caustic worldview ("Love humiliates you."), and much of why these moments work are due to Pfeiffer's excellent acting. Over the course of the film—much of which Ingrid spends in …

Michelle Pfeiffer: White Gold at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

On April 19, Michelle Pfeiffer joined Al Pacino, director Brian De Palma, and a few others at the Tribeca Film Festival for the thirty-fifth anniversary screening of Scarface, followed by an incredibly awkward question and answer session.

The Q&A's moderator, Jesse Kornbluth, asked Pfeiffer a stunningly stupid and disturbingly sexist question. There, on stage, sat the world's most fabulous actress, a true artist who's crafted an extraordinary career, ostensibly ready to discuss her breakout role as Elvira Hancock in the seminal 1983 film. I mean, this is Elvira Hancock we're talking about! White Gold! Did he ask her about her method, her preparation, or her ideas then and know about the role? No. Instead, he asked how much she weighed during filming.

Alright, I've already rambled more than I wanted to about that and I can feel my blood boiling. Thankfully, this is Michelle Pfeiffer we're talking about. In true, White Gold Queen style, she gracefully deflec…

The Future Is Now: Logan's Run

It's interesting just how many future-set science fiction films of the 1970s didn't look anything like the future would look. Instead, they looked like the 1970s.

Logan's Run (1976) is a fabulous example of this. Set in the twenty-third century—where society's remaining humans live under geodisic domes that resemble shopping malls, before having their lives terminated in the "Carrousel" when they turn thirty—the fashion and hairstyles, not to mention the dated special effects, of the 1970s still shine through.

This is not a criticism. I genuinely love that about the film. One of the great pleasures in watching comes from this tension between the film's futurism and its undeniably groovy seventies clothes and feathered hair styles.

The film is a science fiction cult classic, and much of the appeal for fans lies in the nostalgia it engenders. I was born in the seventies. I'm obsessed with the decade's culture, fashion, and media, largely because it&…

Diminishing Returns: Legion

Watching Legion is a lot like the image above: I sit with the same perplexed look on my face as Sid (Rachel Keller) and that goat.

Last season's series premiere was, hands down, one of the most unique and game-changing series openers in television history. I raved to everyone who would listen about the show early in season one. Yet, once it entered the back stretch, I noticed I'd been losing interest, slowly, episode after episode.
Now, I love weird. I don't need to understand every layer of a series or film to appreciate it. I'm okay with being confused watching Legion—hell, I (mostly) happily sat through eighteen hours of Twin Peaks: The Return. It's just that, at this point, early in season two, I'm beginning to wonder if all the exceptional aesthetic and tonal aspects of the show are just masking a series that has very little to actually say. About anything.

I'm not giving up on the series. First of all, my wife enjoys it, so I'm going to be sittin…

It Came From the '90s: Ads That Make You Go Hmmm...

This series looks back at the 1990s and its influence on the generation of people who came of age during the decade.

There was no other choice than to start this post with a vintage Teen Spirit ad.

This post came to be because I needed a break from the usual bloviating about the 1990s that goes on in this series. So this will be light frothy, a quick read, with lots of amazingly dated pictures to look at. So sit back, relax, and bask in the warm glow of a few of the decade's cheesiest advertisements. After all, Generation X was the first generation of children that advertisers targeted specifically with ads designed to send kids running to mom and dad to buy, buy, buy them stuff, all the stuff. This started in the 1970s and 1980s, meaning most of us didn't know a world where companies weren't relentlessly vying for our parents to spend more of their income on crap for us.

I remember a few of these ads. I bet you do too. The brief commentary under each is intended to make y…