Every year brings us films that fizzle. I'm not just talking about the stinkers that should have never been made, but the misfires that had genuine potential. 2018 certainly had its share of the latter. I don't mean to sound arrogant by saying I could do better than the actual filmmakers, but for creative people, I think it's healthy to… read more!
One year ago today, I posted a List of 9 detailing my predictions for 2018. As I mentioned back then, the fun part of annual predictions is checking in later to see how wrong these arrogant prognosticators turned out to be. And oh, how wrong I was! I honestly tried to be realistic, dear reader. I didn't try to game… read more!
Middle names are mutable things. Without going too deeply into my own biography – because we'd be here all day – my middle name Tapio is actually my father's surname, and it was mine too at birth. Technically, I've had three different middle names in my life. And my wife changed hers after we got married; now she's a Tapio… read more!
Yesterday I launched an Indiegogo campaign for my next film, Words to Live by. It's as good a time as any to post this list, which I wrote some time ago, back when I thought I was hot stuff because I was history's first crowdfunded filmmaker (which I now equate with being history's first panhandler). Things change, but these tips… read more!
This list is as personal as it gets: two weeks ago, my wife and I had to put our beloved cat Cricket to sleep, after her brief battle with cancer. She was thirteen years old. Needless to say, we've been devastated by the loss. I know some people think a cat is just a cat, and many more don't even… read more!
Yes, this is another of my "only one movie" lists. I suppose it's an obsession. Anyway, years ago I wrote a list about rock stars who turned their talents towards film composing. Those musicians all forged solid film careers. These nine, in comparison, were strictly one-and-done. Note that I'm only including those who composed proper instrumental scores, and didn't just… read more!
Ever since Goodfellas set the tone in 1990, countless films and TV shows have been set in the 1970s, all with soundtracks of cool '70s songs that are possibly more popular now than they were back then. These soundtracks might lead you to assume that everyone in the '70s listened to David Bowie and Steve Wonder, Led Zeppelin and Blondie.… read more!
Recently I saw a production of Shakespeare's Henry IV with none other than Tom Hanks playing Falstaff. He was very funny, and it was moving to see this huge star, whom I'd admired since Bosom Buddies in 1980, perform before my very eyes. 38 years in, Hanks's career is still going strong. Yet 38 years isn't 50 years, which made me wonder:… read more!
It's breathtaking to think that there was once serious talk of making a film out of Catcher in the Rye – with none less than J.D. Salinger starring as Holden Caulfield. Can you imagine? Of course, this never came to pass. But these nine other writers did succeed at getting in front of a camera and playing a character other than themselves.… read more!
When a celebrity dies young, you can't help but wonder: What would have happened had they lived? This "alternate reality" list, half research and half speculation, attempts to answer that question for nine dead movie stars. My only criteria: they had to be under 50, they had to be at the peak of their careers, and they had to die… read more!
I turn 48 today. I am frequently told that I do not look my age. That's nice, but truthfully, the late 40s look wildly different on men. (Compare 47-year-old Wilford Brimley in 1982's The Thing to 47-year-old Ewan McGregor today.) Lots of guys look, talk, and/or carry themselves more maturely than I do, and yet they are my juniors. Here are nine… read more!
I'm one of the last people I know who regularly go out to the movies. Because of my flexible schedule, I attend matinees, for the lower prices and the smaller, quieter audiences. I usually have a swell time. But there's always some annoying weirdo in the theater, isn't there? Now, according to my snobbish criteria, anyone who does not sit… read more!
Some time ago, I published a list about nine non-actor entertainers who were each given exactly one Hollywood starring vehicle. This list expands the idea a little, as I've found a number of additional films – many made outside the studio system – that attempted to give big-screen breaks to various celebrities. So here are nine more famous names with… read more!
The number of recent films adapted into stage musicals boggles the mind: Big Fish, The Wedding Singer, Catch Me if You Can, Groundhog Day, School of Rock – all have seen new life on Broadway. And there are more on the way: Back to the Future, The Devil Wears Prada, Pretty Woman, Magic Mike, and A League of Their Own are currently in development. What… read more!
The content of this list speaks for itself. Some of these movies you've heard of, some you've forgotten, some you may never have known about. I did adhere to somewhat notable films that received theatrical releases; I didn't want to cheat by raiding IMDb for shorts, never-seen indies, etc. And much as I'd like to, I can't include What's Eating Gilbert… read more!
As a member of the entertainment industry and as a fan of entertainment, I read a lot of press, interviews, and analyses pertaining to same. I have found that too many journalists – and interviewees, and pundits, and human beings in general – fall back on the same lazy clichés. This is a roster of the tropes that bug me… read more!
I love reading annual predictions. I love the arrogance of it, the fruitlessness. Mostly, I love revisiting such predictions a year later, to see how inaccurate they were. It reminds us of the uncertainty of life, and how deluded we are to think we can see the future. (A favorite is Michael Ventura's doomsday article "$4 a gallon" from 2005.)… read more!
A list like this is a fool's errand. How can anyone choose one song to represent an entire year, much less an entire decade, with all its trends and transformations? It was hard enough to do it with movies. But I'm making an attempt anyway, because it's been fun to think about. Here goes. The 1930s: "BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE… read more!
You have no idea how many famous people use stage names, pseudonyms, noms de plume, etc. until you start researching a list like this, which is about the exact opposite: noteworthy performers with improbable birth names. As there are so many to choose from, I'm being a stickler and not including anyone who changed their name in marriage (e.g., Loretta… read more!
What do we mean when we discuss an actor's "screen time" in a film? The length of time where his face is on screen, or the cumulative length of all his scenes, whether or not the camera is on him? No matter – short is short, and this list celebrates the characters who, despite our aggrandizing memories, had shockingly brief… read more!