“Hail, Hail Freedonia” – Try the Duck Soup!

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Duck Soup (1933)

I was first introduced to the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo) in one of my favorite classes at The University of Michigan – Cinema. It was more like an afternoon of fun at the movies since in our lecture all we did was analyze and critique classic films.

(top to bottom) Chico, Harpo, Groucho, and Zeppo 1931

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The Marx Brothers laugh riot film, “Duck Soup”, has to go down as one of the best and most hilarious political films of the century! Pure anarchy reigned as the idiocy of war was laid bare and Rufus T. Firefly’s (Groucho Marx) rapid-fire one-liners were pure genius.

Enter Rufus T.

On days we screened The Marx Brothers films, the lecture hall seemed a little bit fuller. I was also guilty of padding the room since I would tell my boyfriend what movie we were reviewing and the Marx Brothers quickly became his and my favorites. “Whatever it is, I’m against it.” Groucho in (“Horse Feathers”1932)

Directed by Leo McCarey and written by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, the film was first released theatrically by Paramount Pictures on November 17, 1933. The storyline of “Duck Soup” involves the wealthy Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) insisting that Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) be appointed the leader of the small, bankrupt country of Freedonia before she will continue to provide their much-needed financial aid. (Wikipedia)

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Groucho, Margaret Dumont, Louis Calhern, and Raquel Torres

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Meanwhile, neighboring country Sylvania is attempting to annex Freedonia. Sylvanian ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern) tries to instigate a revolution while attempting to woo Mrs. Teasdale. To further tip the scale in his favor, he also tries to dig up dirt on Firefly by sending in bumbling spies Chicolini (Chico) and Pinky (Harpo).

I adore Harpo (Arthur Duer Marx born Adolph Marx; November 23, 1888 – September 28, 1964), he is totally off the wall with his facial expressions and his manic pantomime sight gags! Harpo actually played the harp (hence his nickname) and there was usually a scene in the Marx Brothers movies that featured Harpo playing a beautiful piece on the harp.

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Harpo playing the harp.

Margaret Dumont is often described as not getting the Brothers humor. In fact, she did. In a 1940 interview, Dumont said, “Scriptwriters build up to a laugh, but they don’t allow any pause for it. That’s where I come in. I ad lib—it doesn’t matter what I say—just to kill a few seconds so you can enjoy the gag”.

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Personally, I don’t know how she could keep a straight face working with Groucho.

Margaret Dumont would typically portray the rich widow that Groucho was always trying to dupe. He could simultaneously insult and make advances towards her. It was fabulous to watch since his wit and timing were impeccable.

Julius Henry Marx (October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977)

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Premiering during The Depression, “Duck Soup” was not initially received as well as their previous films. However, critical opinion has evolved and the film has since achieved the status of a classic. “Duck Soup is now widely considered by critics to be a masterpiece of comedy and the Marx Brothers’ finest film. (Wikipedia)

In 1990 the United States Library of Congress deemed Duck Soup “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Chico and Zeppo round out the troupe. Chico was known for being the crafty con artist (who was usually teamed with Harpo) and for his broken Italian accent (although the Brothers were Jewish) and Zeppo, who always played the straight man. (This was also Zeppo’s last film with his brothers)

In the famous “mirror scene,” Pinky, dressed as Firefly, pretends to be Firefly’s reflection in a missing mirror, matching his every move—including absurd ones that begin out of sight—to near perfection. In one particularly surreal moment, the two men swap positions, and thus the idea of which is a reflection of the other. Eventually, and to their misfortune, Chicolini, also disguised as Firefly, enters the frame and collides with both of them.

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Mirror Scene

Although its appearance in Duck Soup is the best-known instance, the concept of the mirror scene did not originate in this film. Max Linder included it in Seven Years Bad Luck (1921), where a man’s servants have accidentally broken a mirror and attempt to hide the fact by imitating his actions in the mirror’s frame. Charlie Chaplin used a similar joke in The Floorwalker (1916), though it did not involve a mirror. (Wikipedia)

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“Just Wait ‘Til I Get Through With It” parodies the ridiculous state of politics and sounds all too familiar.

I admit to being a political junkie and the Marx Brothers humor and point of view ring true in how ludicrous and corrupt the political system is. We know it’s a racket, the Brothers know it’s a racket and they have no compunction with sticking that fact right in your face.

Bravo!

If you’re interested in binge watching The Marx Brothers, Universal Home Video has released Duck Soup on DVD, unrestored but uncut, as part of a six-disc box set The Marx Brothers: Silver Screen Collection, which includes the Brothers’ other Paramount films, The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, and Horse Feathers. Definitely worthy of the buy.

 

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Happy Viewing!

 

Puttin’ on the Ritz with Young Frankenstein!

Twentieth Century Fox Presents

A special event in cinemas nationwide

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

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Young Frankenstein (1974)

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Special Fathom Feature:

Seeing this black-and-white masterpiece on the big screen with an audience is a rarity in itself, but to make this screening a truly one-of-a-kind experience, writer, and director Mel Brooks will introduce the film live from the 20th Century Fox Lot in Hollywood, CA.

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Mel Brooks “Young Frankenstein”

As I’ve written about before, “Young Frankenstein” is one of my all-time favorite films! Mel Brooks’ genius is on full display as he accurately fuses every Frankenstein film into one of the most hilarious ever produced.

In 2003, it was deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the United States National Film Preservation Board, and selected for preservation in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. On its 40th anniversary, Brooks considered it by far his finest (though not his funniest) film as a writer-director. (Wikipedia)

The original “Frankenstein” is no longer a horror film to me since watching Mel’s take on this Universal Classic. There are so many scenes and moments from Brook’s movie that I couldn’t possibly pinpoint one. This is a reel of some of the best moments.

Young Frankenstein brings together Brooks’s inimitable style with a cast of comedy legends, including Gene Wilder as Federick Fronkensteen, Marty Feldman as shifty humpback Igor, Teri Garr as the hay-rolling lab assistant Inga, the brilliant Madeleine Kahn as Dr. Frankenstein’s high-strung fiancée Elizabeth, Peter Boyle as the kind-hearted monster, an uncredited Gene Hackman as the blind man who befriends him, and Cloris Leachman as Frau Blücher!

“Frau Blücher”

“Young Frankenstein” is a 1974 American black comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth MarsRichard Haydn and Gene Hackman. The screenplay was written by Wilder and Brooks. (Wikipedia)

Check out the doctor and Frankie, Jr. “Puttin’ on the Ritz!”

Join in the fun as the young neurosurgeon (Wilder), inherits the castle of his grandfather, the famous Dr. Victor von Frankenstein. Young Frankenstein believes that the work of his grandfather is to put it in his words, “do do”, but when he discovers the book where the mad doctor describes his reanimation experiment, the light bulb comes on as he exclaims – “It could work!”.

“Dr. Frederick Frankenstein”

The film is an affectionate parody of the classic horror film genre, in particular, the various film adaptations of Mary Shelley‘s novel Frankenstein produced by Universal in the 1930s.

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Most of the lab equipment used as props was created by Kenneth Strickfaden for the 1931 film Frankenstein. To help evoke the atmosphere of the earlier films, Brooks shot the picture entirely in black-and-white, a rarity in the 1970s, and employed 1930s’ style opening credits and scene transitions such as iris outs, wipes, and fades to black. The film also features a period score by Brooks’ longtime composer John Morris. (Wikipedia)

If you’ve never experienced this Mel Brooks’ gem, make sure to check out this one-night special event! And, if you’re a fan like I am, this is a great opportunity to quote your favorite lines and re-enjoy this classic on the big screen!

Extras: Behind the scenes of the Making of “Young Frankenstein”.

Tickets available online here.  You can also, check with your local theater for showtimes and tickets.

 

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to see the classic film on the big screen!

Fathom Events

 

 

Whose Your Alter Ego in Fiction Land?🎬❓

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 3 Fictional Characters That Describe You

When I first saw this challenge on Facebook I thought, Wow! That’s an interesting and tough question. Owning thousands of videos with thousands of characters to choose from, it was difficult to come up with characters to describe me. But, being the type to rarely turn down a challenge, here goes.

Agnes (Despicable Me)

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I love her innocence and open heart and strive to be like her every day. She always finds the best in any situation and despite his being a “super-villain”, she even loves Gru. I describe her as my alter ego on my About page.

And we can’t forget her affection for Gru’s “dog?“, Kyle. Whatever Kyle is, when he first sees Agnes he’s terrified by HER!  Maybe because she treats him like any other pet and Kyle likes to go for bad. However, by the end of the film, Agnes has won Kyle over with her infectious spirit and even has him enjoying playing dress up with her. (sort of)

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KYLE

 

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Agnes, Kyle, Mona

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Gru and the Crew

And the best reason of all we’re simpatico is because Agnes loves to hang out with my favorite “little people”, The Minions!

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Sparkle (Sparkle) 1976

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Irene Cara as Sparkle

Ever since I first saw Irene Cara as “Sparkle” on the big screen I made an instant connection. She was young, impressional, and fought fiercely for the people she loved.

The relationship between Sparkle and her big Sister, “Sister” is also a comparison point. I have big sisters that as a child idolized and thought were the most beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate women I knew. And those feelings are still true to this day. However, my big sisters are NOTHING like “Sister”. Lonette McKee’s character had a lot of issues, including the drugs.

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Sister, Sparkle, and Delores

The other meaningful connection is Sparkle could sing! I was in college when the film came out and had done a little warbling with my sorority sisters. As a kid, I often wished my sisters and I could form a singing group and be even bigger than the Supremes!

However, neither of my sisters had much of a voice so, that idea went out the window. Seeing the movie inspired me to pursue my love of singing. I started auditioning and was able to realize my passion as a featured vocalist in Community Theater productions.

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And now to address the “bad girl” in me.

Natasha Romanoff (Avengers) 2012

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“Black Widow”

Even though I bet friends and family might find “The Black Widow” (Scarlet Johanson) an odd choice, she is a piece of my psyche. Inside my head, I can totally see me kickin’ the butts of 29 guys simultaneously. I guess she’s my Freudian id, a force to be reckoned with yes, but watching her on the screen is a great way of working out some frustrations. Fortunately, unlike the Hulk, I can keep my girl at bay ’cause, “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”😎

 

Come on, she’s a well-rounded (no pun intended) figure. Even as an Avenger “Black Widow” takes the time to be a loving aunt to her bestie and fellow Avenger Hawkeye’s (Jeremy Renner) children. They have an enduring friendship they both treasure and despite the fact of sometimes fighting, they remain steadfast friends.

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Hawkeye – Jeremy Renner

I love her nurturing relationship with Hawkeye’s children which is even more significant since the option of childbirth was taken away from her in training to be an assassin. Unlike “Black Widow” I was blessed with 2 beautiful children, so I really respect the fact she decided on this positive solution to her childless reality and not use her assassin training as a way to suppress these maternal feelings.

Did I mention she can take a dude down? And, she is the only one who can calm down an angry “Hulk”.

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She’s fine just chillin’ at a friends place or if the need arises, she’s down for the fight.

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Dr. Bruce Banner, Black Widow, Tony Stark, Thor, Captain America

 

I’m not an assassin and don’t feel the need to act out my Avengers fantasy but I do consider myself to be tough, determined, and self-sufficient.

Another reason I get into relating to her is because as an Avenger, “Black Widow” has no superpowers, she IS the superpower! A serious badass! And who knows, like the “Widow” when push comes to shove, I just might have to bust out some of my kick-ass moves.😎

 

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The Avengers

 

I’ve shared my 3 characters, how about sharing yours?

Take the challenge and let me know your results.

 

 

 

 

Jammin’- Music that Makes the Movies🎶🎬😎

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Movie Soundtracks

What would the film experience be without a memorable soundtrack that sets the mood, pumps up the action and evokes nostalgic memories?

 

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The idea of musical accompaniment has been around since silent films but with the advent of sound in the 1920’s, filmmakers were able to have direct control over the soundtrack as a device to manipulate the audience’s emotions.

The first film to use a completely original score was written by composer Max Steiner for the classic ‘King Kong’ (1933).

 

Imagine Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” without those driving Bernard Herrmann violins and strings during the shower scene and the ominous “dun-dun-dun” that alerted the audience to the arrival of “Jaws” thus evoking all kinds of fear. With the Soundtrack Album, audiences have the freedom to listen to and relive the memories of their favorite films at anytime.

In developing his film projects Director, Quentin Tarantino approaches the movie process in this way:

Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino

“One of the things I do when I am starting a movie, when I’m writing a movie or when I have an idea for a film is, I go through my record collection and just start playing songs, trying to find the personality of the movie, find the spirit of the movie. Then, ‘boom,’ eventually I’ll hit one, two or three songs, or one song in particular, ‘Oh, this will be a great opening credit song.” (Tracks and Fields)

 

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“Purple Rain” (1984), “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014), and “Almost Famous” (2000) are 3 of my favorite films that demonstrate the impactful relationship between the storyline and the music.

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Purple Rain (1984)

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The music from “Purple Rain” has kept me groovin’ since it premiered. While rockin’ the theater, “I Would Die 4 You” also connected the events necessary to resolve the plot and “The Kid’s” conflicts, utilizing the flashback technique leading to the climactic ending scene. The album rocketed Prince to superstardom!

The soundtrack for the film was released on June 25, 1984, by Warner Bros. Records and to date, it has sold over 22 million copies worldwide, becoming the sixth best-selling soundtrack album of all time.

“I Would Die 4 U”, “Baby I’m a Star” and “Purple Rain” were recorded live from a show on August 3, 1983, at the First Avenue club in Minneapolis, with overdubs and edits added later. This marked the first time Prince included live recordings on any release. The show was a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater and featured the first appearance of guitarist Wendy Melvoin in Prince’s band, The Revolution.

 

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Prince won two Grammy Awards in 1985 for Purple Rain, for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special, and the album was nominated for Album of the Year. Prince won a third Grammy that year for Best R&B Song (songwriter) for Chaka Khan’s cover of “I Feel for You”. Purple Rain also won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score in 1985.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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“Guardians of the Galaxy” is the 2014 film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Directed by James Gunn, the movie features the songs present on character Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) mixtape in the film.

The album was released by Hollywood Records on July 29, 2014, and reached number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, becoming the first soundtrack album in history consisting entirely of previously released songs to top the chart.

“Come and Get Your Love” by (Redbone) set the tone and mood of the film for me and is also a classic rock song from the 70’s. The film incorporated songs from the 1960s and 1970s, such as “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, which, according to the film’s director, James Gunn, acts as a way for Quill to stay connected to the Earth, home, and family he lost.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)

In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill forms an uneasy alliance with a group of extraterrestrial misfits who are fleeing after stealing a powerful artifact.

 

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Drax, Gamora, Quill, Groot, and Rocket

 

I couldn’t help but fall in love with the sweetness of “I am Groot” and subsequently, jammin’ “Baby Groot”.

“Baby Groot”

Other hits from the soundtrack and my childhood include: “I Want You Back”, Jackson 5, “Oooh Child”, The 5 Stairsteps, and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell which make for one kickin’ playlist!

 

Almost Famous (2000)

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Almost Famous was written and directed by Cameron Crowe, and starred Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson and Patrick Fugit. It tells the fictional story of a teenage journalist William Miller (Patrick Fugit) writing for Rolling Stone magazine in the early 1970s while covering the fictitious rock band Stillwater, and his efforts to get his first cover story published. The film is semi-autobiographical, as Crowe himself was a teenage writer for Rolling Stone. (Wikipedia)

 

The film received four Oscar nominations, one of which led to an award to Crowe for his screenplay. It was also awarded the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Roger Ebert hailed it the best film of the year, and also the 9th best film of the 2000s. It also won two Golden Globes, for Best Picture and Kate Hudson won Best Supporting Actress.

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Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup

This scene between William and his sister Anita takes me back to the days of vinyl and a time and way of appreciating music you cannot get from a cd. Music can change your life and for child prodigy William Miller (Patrick Fugit) it does.

Frances McDormand, as the mother, strictly controls and protects him and his older sister Anita by forbidding rock music and in her opinion, other unwelcome influences which drive Anita to leave home and become a flight attendant.

 

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I’ve always loved the song “America”. It’s just as poignant today as it was when it was first performed in 1968 by Simon and Garfunkel. The song was written by Paul Simon and concerns young lovers hitchhiking their way across the United States, in search of “America”, in both a literal and figurative sense. It was inspired by a 1964 road trip that Simon took with his girlfriend Kathy Chitty.

 

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Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

Director Cameron Crowe took a copy of the film to London for a special screening with Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. After the screening, Led Zeppelin granted Crowe the right to use one of their songs on the soundtrack — the first time they had ever consented to this since allowing Crowe to use “Kashmir” in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. (Wikipedia)

 

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Zeppelin also gave Crowe rights to four of their other songs in the movie itself, although they did not grant him the rights to “Stairway to Heaven” for an intended scene (on the special “Bootleg” edition DVD, the scene is included as an extra, sans the song, where the viewer is instructed by a watermark to begin playing it). (Wikipedia)

 

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Robert Plant (Led Zepplin) and Cameron Crowe

This classic soundtrack takes me back to some of the best memories of my high school days. Every time I watch this film I’m inundated with emotions and remember where I was when these songs were playing on the radio.

 

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Music has the power to cross time and space. I believe it’s our common bond. Even if you don’t speak the same language you can speak the same music.

 

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Galaxy Quest – Star Trek’s Favorite Child⚜🖖🏼

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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the ultimate love letter and hilariously entertaining sci-fi movie hit, “Galaxy Quest” (1999).

This wonderful homage to Star Trek stars the brilliant Alan Rickman (the inimitable Professor Snape), (I kicked the “Alien’s” butt) Sigourney Weaver, Tim (“ar ar”) Allen, and the irrepressible Tony Shaloub. It’s the story of a ragtag group of actors who spend the bulk of their post-television celebrity days at supermarket openings and Comic-con festivals. Primarily because in the 18 years since the series ended, they couldn’t buy a job.

We first meet this merry band backstage at a Comic-con event for their now defunct television series, “Galaxy Quest, waiting for their hated (I mean illustrious leader), Commander Peter Quincy Taggert (Tim Allen) of the intergalactic spaceship NSEA Protector, who’s always, always late for these events, and looks down on and ignores his co-stars by accepting solo engagements for personal appearances.

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Commander Peter Quincy Taggert (Tim Allen)

Alan Rickman absolutely hates only being known for his Spock-type character Dr. Lazarus on the show since he is a Shakespearean-trained actor. And, if he hears his tagline “By Grabthar’s Hammer” regurgitated back to him at one more of these appearances, someone just might die. (I’m totally serious)

Tony Shaloub’s character Sgt. Chen is cool and zen with whatever is going down. Swinging to his own rhythm. (Love him!!)

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Tony Shaloub – Sgt. Chen

And, Enrico Colantoni as Commander Mathesar is one of the sweetest, most endearing aliens you’ll ever meet.

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Enrico Colantoni as Commander Mathesar

Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Tawny Madison is the ship’s computer voice and annoys the hell out of everyone since that’s her only function on the ship. “I’ve got one job and that’s what I’m going to do.”galaxy-quest-gwen2

Sam Rockwell deserves a righteous shout out as my man Guy (Crewman #6) who just knows this adventure is a bad idea and destined to lead to his untimely death. “Did you guys ever watch the show?” Fabulous!

 

The film received critical praise and reached cult status through the years, becoming popular with Star Trek fans, staff, and cast members for its affectionate parody.

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At the 2013 Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, Galaxy Quest received enough support in a Star Trek Film Ranking and was included with the twelve Star Trek films that had been released at the time on the voting ballot. The fans at the convention ranked it the seventh best Star Trek film.

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Galaxy Quest won the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, the Nebula Award for Best Script, 26th Hochi Film Award for Best International Picture and was also nominated for ten Saturn Awards including Best Science Fiction Film.

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The movie garnered the Saturn Award for Best Director for Dean Parisot, Best Actress for Weaver and Best Supporting Actor for Rickman with Allen winning Best Actor. The film was included in Reader’s Digests list of The Top 100+ Funniest Movies of All Time. (Wikipedia)

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Theremins meeting Lt. Madison, Dr. Lazarus, and Guy

The incredible extraterrestrial alliance between the “Thermians” and the crew of the NSEA Protector, results in one fantastic, galaxy ride!

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If you’re a fan and love Star Trek (tv and movies) you have to check out this awesome film. Trust me, space has never been the same.😄

 

 

 

My Top 3 Picks for Brilliant Movie Endings!

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The Usual Suspects

Psycho

Seven

Spoiler Alert! 

*As a matter of principal, I never reveal movie endings. So, please don’t divulge these.

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Number 3

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Seven (1995)

Okay, I’m a firm believer that not being shown everything can sometimes be more powerful than exposing it. We didn’t need to see the contents of the box at the end of the movie because the tension and reaction from both Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt were palpable. Wow!

This outstanding, psychological thriller was directed by David Fincher and stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey. It was nominated for Best Film Editing at the 68th Academy Awards but lost out to Apollo 13.

The entire movie was one of those peek through your fingers experiences. Just when you thought you’d seen it all, the next shot was more horrific than the first. What a roller coaster ride!

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Number 2

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Psycho (1960)

Believe it or not, I saw this Hitchcock classic in the theater when it first came out. I was 5-years-old and I’m still a little paranoid going into the bathroom!

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Starring Anthony Perkins, and Janet Leigh, this classic horror-thriller is pure genius and a prime example why Alfred Hitchcock is the “Master of Suspense.” You believe he’s telling one story and suddenly everything is flipped on its ear. Who kills off the lead 1/3 way through the film and gets you to feel sympathetic toward the killer? I still can only watch Psycho during the daytime.

Initially, Hitch was not supported in the making of this little gem to the chagrin of “The Master.” Theater-goer lines were wrapped around the block hyped by a “No Admittance” policy after the start of the movie.

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The ending shot still haunts me and remains an amazing ending to one disturbing flick!

 

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My number 1 choice for brilliant movie endings is without a doubt!

 

The Usual Suspects (1995)

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The name Keyser Söze will forever be synonymous with one of the greatest cons ever perpetrated in cinema history.

This crime thriller masterpiece was directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie. It stars Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro, Kevin Pollak, Chazz Palminteri, and Stephen Baldwin.

Kevin Spacey’s portrayal of Roger “Verbal” Kint is compelling and flawless! He’s placed in numerous “best villain” lists over the years, including AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes & Villains. Spacey won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, turning him from a character actor into a star.

I have so many favorite scenes, it’s hard to pick just one. However, besides the ending, this rates. I crack up just thinking about it, so posting this was a hilarious endeavor!

One of the best parts of watching this film has got to be re-watching it to look back at all the elements of this fantastic set-up!

Love it, Love it, Love it!!

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These are just a few of the myriad of essential movies to ponder.

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Let me know some of your favorites in the comments.

 

 

“Beam Me Up Scotty” – 50th Anniversary of Star Trek!

 

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Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

I am an original Trekkie and very proud of it! I treasure my memories of sitting in anticipation on the floor in front of the tv on Friday nights, watching Kirk (William Shatner), Bones (DeForest Kelley), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), “Scotty”(James Doohan), Sulu (George Takei), Chekov (Walter Koenig ), Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and the crew of the Starfleet starship USS Enterprise begin their adventure and “boldly going where no man has gone before.”(I was very pleased when they acknowledged the sexist nature of the tagline and changed it from no man to no one.)

Wow, what a statement! In 1966, an authentic representation of an international crew. Radical stuff which showed the brilliance and social awareness of creator, the late Gene Roddenberry.

(Introduction to pilot “The Cage”)

Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike was actually the first captain of the USS Enterprise in the original Star Trek pilot episode, “The Cage“. The original pilot was broadcast on September 8, 1966. Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock was on board by his captain’s side as well as Majel Barrett (Number One), who went on to portray Nurse Chapel, the recognizable voice of most onboard computer interfaces throughout the series and later become Roddenberry’s 2nd wife.

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Star Trek Pilot “The Cage” – USS Enterprise Crew featuring Jeffrey Hunter

Set in the 23rd century, the series would evolve to follow the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew who were charged with solving intergalactic conflicts without interfering in the planet’s culture. This vehicle was Roddenberry’s method of initiating dialogue around controversial human and sometimes not so human, issues such as racism, technology, war.

(Front to back – William Shatner (center) DeForrest Kelly (L) Leonard Nimoy (R) James Doohan (back L), Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei)

I’ve always been of the mind that art is revolutionary. The great Renaissance masters like DaVinci, and Michelangelo, were considered subversives in their time. They had to hide their political messages inside their remarkable works to keep from being prosecuted. In his way, Gene Roddenberry could be considered a “Renaissance Man”.

star trek roddenberry

(August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991)

Roddenberry had a vision that we can co-exist in a multicultural, multinational world and, as an eleven-year-old black girl from the east side of Detroit, I was right there with him. I had the same dreams and beliefs for my future.

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My favorite Star Trek episode would have to be “Space Seed” (Season 1, Episode 22) with Ricardo Montalbán as Khan Noonien Singh.

It was first broadcast on February 16, 1967. The storyline was written by Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilber, and directed by Marc Daniels. The plot explored the concept of Eugenics,”super-intelligence and the result of creating a group of “superpeople” (from Earth’s past) bred to conquer the world. 

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The subsequent 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was a brilliant sequel to “Space Seed” as we find out what subsequently happened to Khan and his people on the planet to which Kirk banished them.

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The film ratcheted up the intensity of the television episode proving to be a full-out sci-fi thriller which I give 2, very enthusiast, thumbs up!

The series was produced from September 1966–December 1967 by Norway Productions and Desilu Productions, and by Paramount Television from January 1968–June 1969. Star Trek aired on NBC from September 8, 1966, to June 3, 1969, and was actually seen first on September 6, 1966, on Canada’s CTVnetwork.

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“Trouble with Tribbles”

Star Treks Nielsen ratings while on NBC were low, and the network canceled the show after three seasons and 79 episodes. Several years later, the series became a bona fide hit in broadcast syndication, remaining so throughout the 1970s, achieving cult classic status and a developing influence on popular culture.

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Starship Captains over the years – Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew)

Star Trek eventually spawned a franchise, consisting of five additional television series, thirteen feature films, numerous books, games, toys, and is now widely considered one of the most popular and influential television series of all time. (Wikipedia)

 

In Memoriam

Although we’ve lost some light over the years with the passing of those who loved, crafted and inspired us with Star Trek’s spirit, the sentiment lives on.

May they all rest in peace.

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Leonard Nimoy

(March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015)