Does THE ACADEMY know something we don’t?
Smash the door down, barge into any film buff conference, mention Robert De Niro, and you will see a room full of grown ups swoon – some with start crying because they’re too happy, others will immediately begin kissing. Throw Al Pacino’s name into the mix, and you’ll have to leave. Just back out of the door the way you came in. You don’t need to see what happens next. No man does. And yet, at the height of their acting prowess – known to those who follow history by years as “the 1970s” – they were virtually ignored on Oscar night.
De Niro got the Best Supporting Actor nod in 1974 for playing a young Marlon Brando in The Godfather Part 2. But their classic turns in Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter – all totally overlooked. Read more…
The Bronx Warriors, 1982
Ken Kesey, for those of you who prefer not to read books, was the man who wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which went on to become a fine film starring Jack Nicholson. He did some others too, but we haven’t read them, so really have no comment. What we do know, however, is that had Ken not died in 2001, he’s be turning a very impressive 73 today. Hence we decided to get him a gift, so we all wolfed down our medication and began discussing ideas, before it boiled down to a toss up between some wine gums, or a clip of acting so fine that Nicholson would be quaking in his boots. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Ken!
That’s right, this woman is at it again
For most of the human race, the beach is an intimidating landscape, where hundreds of judgmental eyes hidden beneath sunglasses study you top to foot, surveying your body for hiccups. Those Winter beers might have left a wobbling gut spilling over your swimming knickers, or perhaps your thighs have the consistency of three-day-old custard? You are, after all, a normal person. The good news is that around 93 per cent of people on the beach look much better covered up. But unfortunately, the remaining 7 per cent will leave a permanent smudge on the brain, with their taut, muscular, sensual bodies. Even their tan comes out even. 84 per cent of the 7 per cent work in the entertainment industry – be it as a stripper, an actress, a bodybuilder, a pop star, a stylist. And just this week, a host of pretty actresses have left showbusiness desks agog with their bikini bodies – particularly Jennifer Lopez. She’s 40 years old, declared one journalist in particular, and yet she still looks wonderful in her dinky red bikini. It’s her bum that made her famous, they continue, blissfully unaware that it was actually her singing, dancing and acting. Her bum was just a plump, happy coincidence.
Elsewhere in the celebrity world, Jessica Alba caused a stunned head-shaking silence when she took to a beach looking attractive and thin – even though she’s had a baby! Like, a few months ago! And Jack Nicholson made everyone barf by having a big blubbery stomach.
Some gems missed out…
Hey man, the 1960s. How about those! Everyone was naked in a field, smoking grass cigarettes using little tweezers. Then, in the evenings, they’d all pile into a camper van to drive up to a lake to guzzle loads of acid and have group sex on some rocks – all the while quoting Revelations to a screaming guitar backing track. It was far out. Everyone had long hair, man. Everyone. Pretty cool times. Can you tell that we weren’t there? We have, however, seen most of the films, and coming up with a top four was a very unhip and, at times, emotional experience. Just missing the cut were Easy Rider (pictured), Bonnie and Clyde, The Ipcress File, Planet of The Apes, Midnight Cowboy, and The Guns of Navarone…
1. Rosemary’s Baby
A completely terrifying film, even the trailer is chilling. Rosemary – played by Mia Farrow – and Guy move into an apartment building in New York, and it isn’t long before she’s been date raped by Satan, and his career is on the up and up thanks to a spot of soul selling. Farrow is career peaking throughout, as she grows more and more gaunt and spooky, craving raw meat through a very unusual pregnancy. A Polanski classic, and one of the scariest films ever. Interestingly, Jack Nicholson was almost cast as Guy, but just missed out.
2. Jason and The Argonauts
If you’re a Ray Harryhausen fan, and stop-motion animation is your thing, then this is quite possibly the greatest film you will ever see. Jason and his squad of Argonauts are on a mission to find a really expensive golden jacket (or fleece), but the Gods are angry, so their paths are littered with great big monsters, flying things, and skeletons with swords. A brilliant, brilliant movie, adventure films are rarely better. It keeps The Guns of Navarone and One Million Years BC out of the top four.
3. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The 1960s heterosexual version of Brokeback Mountain – in that the two stars were lusted after Hollywood hunks, playing cowboys. There was no mutual man activity, however. No fishing trips. Instead, Redford and Newman play bank robbers, who mess up and have to go on the run from a posse. Cue lots of action, sexy brothels, famous bike rides, and Burt Bacharach doing a fine job on the soundtrack.
Of course, this being the 1960s, there were plenty of freaky psychedelic movies to chose from – Barbarella, Pych-Out, Easy Rider. But this one takes the biscuit for being totally weird, occasionally excellent, and for proving that The Monkees were actually a pretty fantastic pop group. It was written and produced by Jack Nicholson, and features cameo appearances from Dennis Hopper, Frank Zappa and Sonny Liston. It was so-called with view to making a sequel “from the film makers who gave you Head”. Or so they say.
Dr Steve Brule, Last Resort Fighting
Women, understandably, adore Jack Nicholson – even though he’s turning 72 today, which makes him old enough to be your cousin’s mum’s father-in-law. It’s all down to that zany haircut he’s been sporting for years, and that smile he used in The Shining to express his demise into insanity. For some reason, those things combined make even the most demure ladies go all wobbly in the knees. Hence, he’s our hero, so we simply had to buy him a gift. We headed to a local burger joint to eat their two-for-one fish burgers, and discussed things long and hard, before it boiled down to a toss up between a packet of cards with pornographic pictures on them, or a clip about fighting. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Jack!
Bit of a no brainer… or is it?
It’s a good statuette to win, Best Supporting Actor. For the most part, it’s essentially telling you that you were better than the main guy – the one who strode about the set wearing just pants and cowboy boots, demanding the most disgusting things from runners. Yeah, that guy. What an idiot he was. But now look at him, smiling pathetically through your standing ovation, wondering if the impressionable young extras were really thinking of you when they were half-heartedly sleeping with him. Did he mean nothing to them? Were they faking it?
This year, the race is all but over, as Heath Ledger looks set to eclipse Christian Bale’s husky performance in The Dark Knight. Anyone who doesn’t live in a shed will probably have noticed that the young Australian actor died a few months back, but the increasingly loud word on the street is that his accidental death won’t deny him this last chance of Oscar glory. Many believe his turn as the Joker to be better than Jack Nicholson’s from 1989 – and Nicholson, of course, is an Oscar legend.
Looking to spoil Heath Ledger’s Academy Award graveside pool party are Robert Downey Jr, Michael Shannon, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Josh Brolin.
Shannon can be discounted right away, mainly because no one has ever heard of him Read more…