Directed by Brian DePalma (Dressed to Kill, Blow Out) and based on the novel by Stephen King, Carrie celebrates its 40th anniversary with a 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory, which includes a brand new 4K scan of the film and nearly three hours of bonus material.
The first motion picture adaptation of a Stephen King book, Carrie stars Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner’s Daughter) as Carrie White, a high school girl with no friends, no self-esteem, and no idea about the power she possesses. In the film’s opening scene, Carrie experiences her first period in the showers after gym class. Unsure of what the blood means, she panics and pleads for help, leading her classmates to pelt her with tampons and chant “plug it up!”
Pulp Fiction, one of the most audacious, intense, electrifying, and unpredictable films ever made just celebrated its 20th Anniversary.
For sure, the film remains one of the wildest rides ever committed to celluloid, an absolute passion project and one that looks as if it was done with great ease by latter-day maverick director Quentin Tarantino (who also scripted the film with Roger Avary, both winning an Oscar for their work), and it’s a film of unconscious narrative, which has a road as slick and wet as driving in a hurricane down a slippery slope, and brimming with spontaneous abandon.
Elmore Leonard, whose gift for penning memorable crime novels and pulpy Westerns, stories which became a sort of endless reservoir for Hollywood to make many adaptations of on the silver screen, has died at the age of 87 from complications of a stroke he recently suffered.
Leonard penned Get Shorty, which was made into a feature film starring John Travolta. The same with 3:10 to Yuma, the dark, noirish Western. He also wrote Rum Punch, which was adapted by Quentin Tarantino into his homage to blaxploitation films Jackie Brown. A most recent tie in to Leonard’s work is the FX program Justified, based on the American author’s short story, entitled Fire in the Hole.
Grease, one of the great, most loved, and successful musical film adaptations of all time, celebrates its 35 anniversary today.
Brimming with memorable set pieces, song numbers, consummate dancing, a smart script, and of course, the lead performance by John Travolta, fresh off his superstar status in Saturday Night Fever and arguably elevating that star status even to a higher plane with the success of this film, Grease still remains a benchmark in cinema, a rare striking an iron red hot of a meshing of casting, production, and creation. It’s pretty much ingrained in the American fabric in this current age we live in, and even if there is a slight polarization regarding the film, there’s no denying its power. Like Saturday Night Fever, Grease remains almost like two films which are recognized by the viewing public: the pushing the envelope original PG version which has some mild but albeit adult themes in it, and the watered down, readily accessible for the ABC Family, Disney Channel, VH1 Classic mindset and demographic and thus, the real intention of many of its characters are slightly askew and the original story remains in a slight flux. But regardless of that, it’s still the feel good charm and energy that Grease radiates which made it a success in the cinema and beyond, on the lighted stages of live productions, which now transcend to being performed around the world.
Happy 59th birthday today to John Travolta, the consummate, versatile actor, who rose from rather humble beginnings in the 1970s to become first a teen heartthrob, then a superstar dancer, singer, and handsome man-about-town soaking up every ounce of the Hollywood limelight. The man has weathered many ups and downs career-wise, going to almost unabashed obscurity in the mid 1980s, and then finally rising to the A-list once again when he co-starred in Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to low life, Pulp Fiction. Travolta remains a viable, bankable actor to this very day, and a symbol of contemporary movie musicals and a measuring stick for pop cultural figures of the 1970s.
The career of Travolta spans eras and generations, the earliest of which were ones who discovered him on the ABC-TV sitcom Welcome Back Kotter. On that show, he played Vinnie Barbarino, who was one of the “Sweathogs,” a juvenile group of underachievers in a Brooklyn High School who parlayed their styles and attitudes more like the Marx Brothers than the rough and tumble dangerous teenagers that kids of that stripe in reality really would be. Harmless and gregarious at every turn on the show, the Sweathogs were really just a comprised second banana ensemble to the show’s main star, Gabe Kaplan, who played their teacher Gabe Kotter and who, since he himself had been a Sweathog at one time, acted as a mentor and lighthearted and always trusting and caring foil to their comic absurdities. Travolta quickly stood out from the ensemble cast, with his perfectly blow-dried hairstyle, easy on the eyes good looks, an irresistible silly charm, and especially his oft-repeated use of the catchphrase which became synonymous with the program, “Up Your Nose With A Rubber Hose.” The show was relatively popular during the mid 1970s and some key marketing of the program (games, lunchboxes, and T-shirts) kept Travolta’s visage and image on teenager’s minds across the United States.