Saturday, 30 June 2012

Actors Who Won Oscars For Playing Famous People

Lots of actors over the years have won Oscars for playing famous people (The Great Ziegfeld, Lawrence Of Arabia, Gandhi...), here are some of the more recent winners:

Julia Roberts - Erin Brockovich: Julia won her only Oscar for playing activist Erin Brockovich in 2000. Ed Harris as Jackson Pollock in Pollock and Willem Dafoe as Max Schreck in Shadow Of The Vampire were also nominated that year.

Nicole Kidman - Virginia Woolf: Nicole won best actress in 2002 playing the famous author in The Hours. She beat out Salma Hayek who was playing famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in Frida.

Charlize Theron - Aileen Wuornos: Charlize won in 2003 for playing a real life serial killer in the movie Monster.

Jamie Foxx - Ray Charles: 2004 was a big year for Academy Award nominated bio pics. Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray won for best actor. Other nominations included Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in The Aviator, Johnny Depp As Peter Pan author J. M. Barrie in Finding Neverland, Laura Linney as Alfred Kinsey's wife in Kinsey

Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Truman Capote: Hoffman won best actor in 2005 for his performance in Capote. Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in Walk The Line and David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow in Good Night And Good Luck were nominated the same year.

Reese Witherspoon - June Carter Cash: Joaquin didn't take home an Oscar as Johnny Cash in Walk The Line (2005), but Reese did as Johnny's wife June.

Forest Whittaker -  Idi Amin: Forest as an African dictator in The Last King Of Scotland was the big winner in 2006

Helen Mirren - Queen Elizabeth II: Also in 2006, Helen Mirren won best actress for playing the British monarch in The Queen.

Sean Penn - Harvey Milk: Sean won his second best actor Oscar in five years for playing the first openly gay politician in Milk.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Great Songs About Summer

Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran (1958): Co written and produced by Eddie Cochran himself, this single went to #8 on the Billboard singles chart in July of 1958. The Who released a version on their Live At Leeds album (1970).

Wipe Out - The Surfaris (1962): A number two hit for the Safaris, later remade by the Fat Boys & the Beach Boys.

Surfer Girl - The Beach Boys (1963): This single, written and produced by Brian Wilson, along with B-side Little Deuce Coupe went to #7 during the summer of 1963. The song was inspired by the Disney tune When You Wish Upon A Star.

Summer In The City - The Lovin' Spoonful (1966): Written by John Sebastian's brother Mark, this was The Lovin' Spoonful's only number one hit. John Sebastian would later write the theme to the TV sitcom Welcome Back Carter.

Good Day Sunshine - The Beatles (1966): Written and sung primarily by Paul McCartney, this song was released on the album Revolver.

Summertime - Big Brother And The Holding Co. (1968): This song was written in 1935 by George Gershwin for the musical Porgy And Bess. The Big Brother version, featuring Janis Joplin on vocals, can be found on the album Cheap Thrills.

School's Out - Alice Copper (1972): Alice's ode to the end of school went to #7 on the Billboard singles chart. This song is also a big hit in pop culture and has been featured many times in movies, TV shows and video games.

Saturday In The Park - Chicago (1972): One of the biggest hits Chicago had during the 70's and was inspired by a walk through New York's Central Park.

Summer Breeze - Seals & Croft (1972): Breakthrough hit for the duo Seals & Croft.

Boys Of Summer - Don Henley (1984): The biggest hit off Don Henley's Building The Perfect Beast album. This song was co written by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell.

Summer Of 69 - Bryan Adams (1984): Written by Bryan Adams and his song writing partner Jim Vallance (Aerosmith, Heart). The title was inspired by the movie Summer of 42.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Clint Eastwood's Ten Best Westerns

In Chronological Order

A Fistful Of Dollars (1964): Two Feuding families battle for control of a small town and gun for hire Clint Eastwood gets caught in the middle. This film is the beginning of Clint establishing himself as king of the revisionist westerns.

For A Few Dollars More (1965): Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef play competing bounty hunters. The second film in director Sergio Leone's "spaghetti" western trilogy.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966): Final film in the "spaghetti" western trilogy. Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef co-star along with Clint as three men racing to find a lost gold shipment. Made by Italians these films were actually filmed in Spain.

Hang 'Em High (1968): A lawman tracks down the men who tried to hang him. Clint's first film back in the States.Also the first film produced by Clint's own film company Malpaso.

Two Mules For Sister Sara (1970): A gunfighter and a nun help the Mexicans battle the French. Shirley Maclaine plays Sara. Based on a story by Budd Boetticher.

Joe Kidd (1972): Bounty hunters chase a Mexican outlaw. Robert Duvall and John Saxon co-star. This film was written by Elmore Leonard and directed by John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven).

High Plains Drifter (1973): A gunfighter takes over a small town. The first western directed by Clint.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976): After the Civil War ends,  a Confederate soldier refuses to surrender to Union forces and becomes an outlaw. Co-star Chief Dan George won an Oscar nomination for an earlier western Little Big Man.

Pale Rider (1985): A preacher becomes a small town's gun toting protector. This is a remake of  the movie Shane.

Unforgiven (1992): Another gunfighter for hire film, this one co-starring Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman. Clint won Oscars for best director and best picture.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Ten Mel Gibson Films You Should See

Once upon a time ago Mel Gibson was a great movie star. Here is a list of films that helped make him what he was.

1. Mad Max (1979): This cult hit started it all. Society is on the brink of collapse and Gibson plays one of the few good cops left. This film began a trend of Gibson playing a character who have lost his wife (Lethal weapon, Forever Young, Braveheart, Signs).

2. Gallipoli (1981): Mel Gibson plays an Australian soldier in Turkey during World War I. Peter Weir directs this film and makes a powerful statement about the senselessness of war.

3. The Road Warrior (1982): This film, a sequel to Mad Max, introduced Mel Gibson to America. Society has crumbled, lawlessness rules, and gasoline has become the most valuable commodity. This film includes the greatest vehicle chase sequences in cinematic history.

4. The Year Of Living Dangerously (1983): Gibson plays an Australian reporter in Indonesia during the sixties. Co-star Linda Hunt won an Academy Award for best supporting actress (she played a male character).

5. Lethal Weapon (1987): Gibson plays a suicidal cop who teams ups with a soon to be retired detective played by Danny Glover. This was Gibson's biggest box office hit to date.

6. Hamlet (1990): Mel Gibson is convincing as Hamlet in this Franco Zeffirelli directed adaptation. Glenn Close and Helena Bonham Carter Co-Star.

7. The Man Without A Face (1993): Making his big screen directing debut, Gibson plays a teacher whose face has been horribly scarred.

8. Braveheart (1994): One of his biggest hits and the film that won him Oscars for best director and best picture. This is a bio pic of Scottish hero William Wallace.

9. What Women Want (2000): A comedy about an advertising executive who develops the power to read women's minds. One of his biggest hits.

10. Signs (2002): M. Night Shyamalan directs this film about crop circles and an alien invasion. Mel Gibson's last big hit as an actor.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Famous Actor / Director Teams

Barbara Stanwyck / Frank Capra: One of director Frank Capra's favourite Actresses. Their biggest film together was Meet John Doe (1941), this film was preceded by Ladies Of Leisure (1930), Miracle Woman (1931), Forbidden (1932) and the Bitter Tea Of General Yen (1933).

John Wayne / John Ford: Ford directed Stagecoach (1939) and made John Wayne a star. It was followed by an impressive list of film collaborations between the two; The Long Voyage Home (1940), They Were Expendable (1945), Fort Apache (1948), The Three Godfathers (1948), She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949), Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), The Searchers (1956), The Wings Of Eagles (1957), The Horse Soldiers (1959), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), How The west Was Won (1962) and Donovan's Reef (1963).

Cary Grant / Alfred Hitchcock: Alfred Hitchcock had several actor / director film collaborators (James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck...), but possibly the greatest was with Cary Grant. Together they made Suspicion (1941), Notorious (1946), To Catch A Thief (1955) and North By Northwest (1959).

Robert Redford / Sydney Pollack: Years before Robert Redford became the biggest star of the 1970's, he and Sydney Pollack worked together on the film This Property Is Condemned (1966). Later they would have greater success with such joint efforts as Jeremiah Johnson (1972), The Way We Were (1973), Three Days Of The Condor (1975) and Out Of Africa (1985).

Robert De Niro / Martin Scorsese: De Niro and Scorsese hit the big time together with the film Mean Streets (1973). This was followed by Taxi Driver (1976), New York, New York (1977), Raging Bull (1980), The King Of Comedy (1983), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991) and Casino (1995). Scorsese also produced the De Niro movie Mad Dog And Glory (1993).

Leonardo DiCaprio / Martin Scorsese: Over the last ten years Scorsese has developed a screen relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio with such films as Gangs Of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006) and Shutter Island (2010). They are working on a new film together called The Wolf Of Wall Street (to be released in 2013).

Johnny Depp / Tim Burton: Johnny Depp rose to stardom being directed by Tim Burton in the movie Edward Scissorhands (1990). Their later films together include Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Corpse Bride (2005), Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007), Alice In Wonderland (2010) and Dark Shadows (2012)

Bill Murray / Wes Anderson: If you enjoy the films of director Wes Anderson, you're used to seeing Bill Murray pop up in many of them. Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Life Aquatic (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and Moonrise Kingdom are among their work together.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Famous John Lennon Quotes

The wit and wisdom of John Lennon. Here are some of his best quotes.

On The Beatles: " we were a band who made it very, very big. That's all."

On Paul McCartney: " In 'We Can Work It Out', Paul did the first half, I did the middle-eight. But you've got Paul writing; 'we can work it out, we can work it out', real optimistic, you know, and me impatient; 'life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting my friend'."

On George Harrison: "George's relationship with me was one of young follower and older guy. He's three or four years younger than me. It's a love hate relationship and I think George still bears resentment toward me for being a daddy who left home."

On Ringo Starr: "He was always a good drummer. He's not technically good, but I think Ringo's drumming is underrated the same way Paul's bass playing is underrated."

On George Martin: "George made us what we were in the studio. He helped us develop a language to talk to other musicians."

On Elvis Presley: "Before Elvis, there was nothing."

On New York City: "If I'd lived in Roman times, I'd have lived in Rome. Where else? Today America is the Roman empire and New York is Rome itself."

On Yoko Ono: "It wasn't that she inspired the songs. She inspired me."

On The Sixties: "The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility."

On Fame: "The postman wants an autograph. The cab driver wants a picture. The waitress wants a handshake. Everyone wants a piece of you."

On Himself: "I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I'm one of those people."

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Biggest British Invasion Bands

The biggest bands that helped make the British invasion of mid-sixties the musical event of the decade.

1. The Beatles: The biggest music act of all time and the first major pop artist to come out of England. The Beatles were responsible for not only changing the musical landscape but pop culture and therefore world culture.

2. The Rolling Stones: Easily the second most successful band to emerge from England during the sixties. After the Beatles broke up in 1970 the Stones continued, earning themselves the nick name "The World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band".

3. The Who: Famous for playing their music loud and smashing their instruments, the Who peaked creatively and commercially with the albums Tommy (1969) and The Who's Next (1971).

4. The Moody Blue: This band became big combining classical music and rock especially on the album Days Of Future Past (1967).

5. The Animals: Second group, after the Beatles, to have a number one single in the U.S. (The House Of The Rising Sun).

6. The Kinks: With songs like You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks were the forefathers of both punk and metal music.

7. The Yardbirds: This group spawned such guitarists as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, giving birth to future mega groups Cream, Derek And The Dominos, Jeff Beck Group and Led Zepplin.

8. The Hollies: The Hollies had hits all through the sixties and into the seventies. One time member Graham Nash quit in the l968 to form the super group Crosby, Stills And Nash (Later Young).

9. The Spencer Davis Group: The Spencer Davis Group had big hits with I'm A Man and Gimme Some Lovin'. Future superstar Steve Winwood was the band's keyboardist, lead singer and main songwriter.

10. Manfred Mann: This group's biggest hit during the sixties was Do Wah Diddy Diddy (Bill Murray sings this song in the movie Stripes). More than a decade later, as Manfred Mann's Earth Band, they had a number one hit with Bruce Springsteen's Blinded By The Light.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Tribute To Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr has one of the most iconic name and face in rock & roll history. Here are a few facts about the most underrated member of the Beatles.

Born in Liverpool, England

Real name is Richard Starkey.

Ringo is left handed but plays a right handed drum set.

Joined the Beatles as their drummer in 1962.

Oldest member of the Beatles by birth but youngest by duration.

The song Octopus's Garden was written by Ringo.

The songs Hard Day's Night and Tomorrow Never Knows were titled after phrases that Ringo had coined.

Appeared on an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Starred in several films including Candy (1968 with Marlon Brando), The Magic Christian (1969 with Peter Sellers), 200 Motels (1971 with Frank Zappa) and Caveman (1981 with Dennis Quaid and Barbara Bach).

As a solo artist Ringo had two U.S. number one hits; Photograph and You're Sixteen (both 1973). He also had five other top ten songs.

Ringo's son Zak is also a drummer and has played for both the Who and Oasis.

Married former Bond girl Barbara Bach (The Spy Who Loved Me).

Appeared in the children's TV series Shining Time Station.

First formed Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band back in 1989, a group of rotating guest stars that still tour to this day. Past tours have included Dr. John, Levon Helm, Billy Preston, Billy Squier, Randy Bachman, Peter Frampton, Sheila E. and Roger Hodgson.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Films From The Seventies You Should See

The seventies was one of Hollywood's best decades. Passing over some of the more obvious blockbusters (The Godfather, Star Wars, Grease) here is a list of some of the titles that helped make it a great period in film history.

Summer Of '42 (1971): Based on a coming-of-age bestselling novel about a teen having a romance with an older woman. Won The Academy Award for best musical score.

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971): Based on the novel Charlie & The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. This film made a star out of Gene Wilder. A version of this story was made in 2005 by director Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp.

Sounder (1972): This film depicts the struggles of a poor black family during the depression and was nominated for an Academy Award for best picture. Stars Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield.

The Paper Chase (1973): A film about a young Harvard law student and his experiences with a hard nose professor. Things become more interesting when the student starts dating the professor's daughter. Early film appearance by future Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner.

The Bad News Bears (1976):  Cranky former baseball player Walter Matthau coaches a little league team with a girl pitcher (Tatum O'Neal). Spawned two sequels and a TV series. An unnecessary remake was made in 2005 starring Billy Bob Thornton.

Logan's Run (1976): One of the last big sci-fi films to be released before Star Wars changed everything. Michael York stars in this futuristic tale about a society where nobody is allowed to live past 30. Logan's Run received mixed reviews when it came out but has since become a cult classic. Early film appearance by Farrah Fawcett.

Heaven Can Wait (1978): Warren Beatty is a football player who is killed before his time and is sent back to earth to live out his life in another man's body. A remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941).

Breaking Away (1979): Four listless high school grads from a small quarry town compete in a cycling race. One of the greatest sports movies ever made. Early film appearances by Dennis Quaid and Daniel Stern. Nominated for best picture at the Oscars, won for best original screenplay.

The Warriors (1979):  A gang from Coney Island, New York are framed for murder and become the target of rival gangs and cops. This film has a sort of sci-fi theme and is about as realistic a portrayal of gangs as West Side Story was. Another movie that originally received mixed reviews but went on to become a cult classic.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Who's Who Of Baywatch Babes

Pamela Anderson - C. J. Parker (1992 - 1997): The most famous of all the Baywatch actresses. Starred in her own series V.I.P. (1998 - 2002) as well as an animated show (Striperella) and a sit-com (Stacked). Earlier in her career she appeared as the original Tool Time girl on the TV series Home Improvement. Ex-wife of Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee.

Erika Eleniak - Shauni McClain (1989 - 1992): Erika made her film debut at age 12 in "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestial" (1982). Later she co-starred with Steven Seagal in the hit film Under Siege (1992).

Alexandra Paul - Stephanie Holden (1992 - 1997): Before Baywatch she appeared in such movies as American Flyers (1985), 8 Million Ways To Die (1986) and Dragnet (1987). Alexandra has been involved in many humanitarian and environmental causes. She has a twin sister who is a firefighter.

Yasmine Bleeth - Caroline Holden (1993 - 1997): Yasmine appeared in the TV series Nash Bridges (1998 - 2000) and Titans (2000 - 2001). She has been inactive in films and TV since the early 2000's.

Nicole Eggert - Summer Quinn (1992 - 1994): Nicole also co-starred in the TV series Charles In Charge (1987 - 1990). She acts now mostly in TV movies.

Gena Lee Nolin - Neely Capshaw (1995 - 1998): Starred in the TV series Sheena (2000 - 2002).

Carmen Electra - Lani McKenzie (1997 - 1998): Born Tera Patrick, she was discovered by Prince, who gave her the name Carmen Electra. She has gone on the make appearances in such films as Scary Movie (2000), Uptown Girls (2003), My Boss's Daughter (2003), Starsky & Hutch (2004) and Meet The Spartans (2008). Carmen is the ex-wife to both Dave Navarro and Dennis Rodman.

Brooke Burns - Jessica Owens (1998 - 2001): Brooke has also appeared in the TV series North Shore and Melrose Place.

Traci Bingham - Jordan Tate (1996 - 1998): She is more famous for appearing as herself in the reality TV shows The Surreal Life and Celebrity Big Brother.

Krista Allen - Jenna Avid (2000 - 2001): Recognisable from such movies as Liar Liar (1997) and Anger Management (2003) or guest starring spots on anything from The X-Files to Smallville.