Lately it seems like we have more period pictures than ever. It's not unreasonable to conclude that filmmakers are setting their stories in pre-digital times because mobile phones and the Internet screw up traditional dramatic tropes. (More ominously, it's possible that some current films take place far in the past in order to justify non-diverse casts.) But what 2010s films best represent life in the 2010s? Will it be the upcoming The Circle, based on Dave… read more!
Lists of Nine with Keyword "history" (most recent at top)
In the 1980s, it was easy to define the previous decade by ticking off singular '70s fads: bellbottoms! disco! Leif Garrett! Likewise, when the '90s rolled around, one had no problem summing up the '80s: New Wave! Pac-Man! Moonlighting! Yet here I am in 2015, finding the current decade indistinguishable from the last. Part of this is me getting older and thus less attuned… read more!
Surprisingly, not many people know much about milestones in the evolution of cinema. Sure, you could probably name 1927's The Jazz Singer as the world's first "talkie" (meaning the first feature film with synchronized sound taken from live recorded audio). And if you're a real movie trivia buff, you might remember that 1952's Bwana Devil was the first color 3-D… read more!
All things considered, 2012 was a relatively slow news year. Sure, plenty of important things happened, but when you compare it to other recent years, with their tsunamis and their earthquakes and their revolutions, this year mostly offered just "more of the usual". Still, there were some major stories, and many of them can be summarized by single words -… read more!
Election Day is tomorrow! Let's celebrate by looking back at the nine most recent American presidents who have been portrayed on screen by famous actors. I'm not including all the various Saturday Night Live performers and sketch artists who have lampooned our Commanders in Chief. These are just the bona fide film and TV stars. George W. Bush. No Obama… read more!
This year I keep hearing about various institutions turning fifty, which has led me to one conclusion: 1962 was a pretty big year, especially for pop culture. Here are some of the many things hitting the half-century point in 2012. Sixties music. Technically, sixties music started in, well, 1960. But look at this: in 1962, Bob Dylan released his first… read more!
There are over 19,000 incorporated municipalities in the United States. I have no idea how many of them have English-based names. It may not even be a majority. But since English is still the primary language of this country, it's easy to assume that it's the default source for most of our city names, e.g., all the Springfields, Fairviews, Greenvilles… read more!
At first this seemed like an easy list to write; anybody can look up what happened on this day in history without doing a lot of legwork. But as February 29 only comes around every four years, that means it's four times less likely to have had anything interesting happening on it. Thus, finding the good stuff took a bit… read more!
As the saying goes, "comedy is tragedy plus time." One may also say, "a tourist trap or Halloween costume is tragedy plus time." Because there are some disturbing things that, decades or centuries later, have entered the realm of popular culture and are now accepted as entertainment. Here in Hollywood, for instance, there are tour bus companies that will take… read more!
The concept of the "group show" - where the general public is invited to view new work by a collection of artists - is a relatively recent one in art history: it all began with the Paris Salon, first held in 1737. And so it continued, rather stiffly, for the next 130 years or so, until the art world rebelled.… read more!
This has been the newsiest year that I can remember. So many major events were going on all over the world, it was often exhausting just to keep track of them. Horrible tragedies, heart-warming triumphs, political roller coasters, shocking secrets - 2010 had it all. "May you live in interesting times," goes the curse. Part of me hopes that 2011… read more!
I'm going to dispense with a lengthy opening paragraph, as the title and entries speak for themselves. George Lucas divorces, 1983. For many entries in this list, the "moment" when things went south was preceded by a number of unfortunate events. Lucas' troubles began in 1980, when he split with his Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz. (As Kurtz… read more!
You know the story of Vincent Van Gogh, and how he only sold one painting during his lifetime. So too will you recognize most of the names on this list, authors and poets whose fame arrived only after they shuffled off this mortal coil. (Note: while it may be argued that any writer can sell more books during the century… read more!
What a year, eh folks? I can't wait for it to be over. Myself, I did all right. Didn't make much money, but made more than I could have. Didn't get sick. Shot a couple of short films, got some interesting jobs. But the economy tanked, lots of people everywhere lost a lot of money, and there's nowhere to go… read more!
Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast of the United States today, and while the storm was thankfully not as destructive as once feared, it did make me think about the name Gustav, and the notable men named Gustav (or variations thereof). This is a quickie list; I have more in-depth lists on the way. Gustav Holst. British composer, 1874-1934. Best… read more!
While any given 12-month period will have its share of good and bad movies, songs, and other cultural touchstones, I grimly recall one particular year in which almost everything was really, really bad. Worthless, unmemorable, cynically made... just bad. And that year was 1987. Behold: Movies: Apart from cult favorites like RoboCop, Full Metal Jacket, The Princess Bride, and The… read more!
First of all, I'm sorry that I've been slacking off on the lists. It's been a combination of not having enough time, due to a plethora of freelance work, and not having enough complete lists to include (though I have many works-in-progress). This list, in fact, could probably stand a bit more research, and if any of you have some… read more!
By and large, "filmmaker" is a pretty safe career choice. Most live long, healthy lives, remaining both creative and well-respected into old age. But cinema history is still peppered with the occasional violent death of a prominent director. Most of these people you've probably never heard of, but as they say, behind every murder is a great story. Theo van… read more!
Many say that the origins of modern-day rap music lie in the inner city practice known as "signifying," wherein two young friends or rivals spar by hurling hilarious, often vulgar insults at each other - usually involving crude remarks about somebody's mother. These quickly became known as "Yo Mama" jokes. Now, there is probably only a very slim overlap between… read more!
I had hoped to post this list on some relevant date like Bastille Day, but I missed that. And France didn't win the World Cup this year either. So this is a truly random list that I'm putting up for no good reason, other than that I was recently thinking of eponyms – words named after individuals (e.g., mesmerize, shrapnel) – and… read more!