Archive for March, 2011
PETER BOGDANOViC is an American film historian, director, writer, actor, producer and critic, and was part of the wave of ‘New Hollywood’ directors in the 1970’s, which also included WiLLiAM FRiEDKiN, BRiAN DE PALMA, GEORGE LUCAS, MARTiN SCORSESE, STEVEN SPiELBERG, MiCHAEL CiMiNO, and FRANCiS FORD COPPOLA. While BOGDANOViC’S most critically acclaimed film is THE LAST PiCTURE SHOW (1971), today I choose to shine the spotlight on another gem of his; 1973’s PAPER MOON.
After the phenomenal success of THE LAST PiCTURE SHOW (which earned 8 Academy Award Nominations, 2 wins), BOGDANOViC went on to produce PAPER MOON, a funny little Depression-era film that follows con man Moses Pray (RYAN O’NEAL) and his moppet sidekick Addie Loggins (TATUM O’NEAL) as they make their way across Kansas. PAPER MOON begins by introducing us to these two unlikely characters. The rest of the movie follows them on their journey together as they make their way across Kansas selling Bibles door-to-door. Despite several bumps in the road along the way they prove to be quite the formidable team.
There is so much charm to this film, particularly whenever a very young TATUM O’NEAL takes up the screen as a cigarette-smoking orphan who manages to show the master con man a tick or two herself. TATUM was 9 years old at the time and had never stared in a Hollywood film before, much less in a major supporting role that would have her in almost every scene. But both TATUM/Addie prove to be quite the plucky little whipper-snappers; and she’s just the right match for RYAN O’NEAL’S down-on-his-luck Moses. Despite any current drama TATUM and RYAN have today – at the very least they have this 1973 film to their credit; they have a beautiful chemistry together and Addie ends up winning both Moses and the audience over, hands down.
On their travels they also meet some other very colorful characters, including a stripper named Miss Trixie Delight (MADELiNE KAHN) and her downtrodden African American maid Imogene (P.J. JOHNSON) after finding them at a local carnival. This second act of the film is a particular highlight to me, because Moses and Addie as a team are charming – but Moses and Addie with tag-alongs Trixie and Imogene is even more hilarious. MADELINE KAHN was a brilliant character actress and although her time on PAPER MOON is relatively short, it’s a lot of fun to watch especially in a scene where a neurotic Trixie tries desperately to befriend the little tyke by saying “You already got bone structure. When I was your age I didn’t have no bone structure. Took me years to get bone structure. And don’t think bone structure’s not important. People didn’t decide to call me “Mademoiselle” until I was seventeen and getting a little bone structure.” But Addie just won’t hear of it – for Trixie’s not much more than someone who threatens to come between Addie and Moses, which obviously cannot happen.
Every character in PAPER MOON is lovable and the dialogue is quick, sharp and funny. Shot in black and white the cinematography is also incredible; with each frame of the film making for one beautiful image after the next. TATUM won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Addie, making her the youngest winner in the history of the Academy Awards. MADELiNE KAHN was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress but lost to TATUM that year.
For more PAPER MOON, check out this trailer:
iKE & TiNA TURNER were an American rock & roll and soul duo, made of the husband-and-wife team of iKE TURNER and TiNA TURNER in the 1960′s and 1970′s. They were and remain known for their wild and entertaining dance shows as well as their infamously volatile relationship that ended with TiNA divorcing iKE in 1978. They were also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, for their significant contribution to rock & roll and soul music.
I’m going to say something that might not be the most popular point of view, but I’ve stood by the point for years. I’ve been a fan of both iKE & TiNA’S music as a duo and much of TiNA’s solo work after their divorce. It’s undeniable that TiNA went on to find stardom of her own with 1984′s PRiVATE DANCER. This album would sell 11 million copies worldwide, and included the biggest hit of TiNA’S career (WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WiTH iT). WHAT’S LOVE was TiNA’S first US #1 hit, a position iKE & TiNA TURNER never reached while recording together.
The thing for me is that if I’m on a road trip and I need some music to grab my attention – I will always opt for NUTBUSH CiTY LiMiTS or PROUD MARY before SiMPLY THE BEST. It’ll always be i WANT TO TAKE YOU HiGHER over WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER HERO. Why? What TiNA lacked in the 80′s (besides a good wig-maker) is the ability to pick the best songs. She also lost the grit that helps make a lot of her earlier recordings much more impressive to my ears. So call the terribly abusive relationship between iKE & TiNA what you will – she still made better music back when she was enduring it all with iKE TURNER. And for that iKE certainly deserves his props for having the creative vision to come up with some of souls most funky music. So for today I salute iKE & TiNA for their history in rock & roll music TOGETHER.
OLiViA NEWTON-JOHN rules. Let’s just make that abundantly clear. A critic once quipped that ‘If white bread could sing, it would sound like Olivia Newton-John” and perhaps this is the case. I never really knew this was an insult, for I grew up only eating white bread. It was only years later I understood the negative connotation much more. But we’ve all been fed white bread for years and just because brown bread has more substance and nutritional value – DOES NOT mean that we all couldn’t stand to eat a little bit of white bread every now and then, to vary up our diets. Right?
I have a love for OLiViA that runs deep and perhaps this is because from the time I was a little kid I can remember OLiViA being present in my life in one way or another. Dad had one of those big old record players in the basement – you know, the kind that stood more like a giant wooden cabinet than just a simple turn-table. Dad clearly had a hankering for OLiViA too, for he was the first one to introduce me to her music. Within his selection of records for which I used to love filing through I could always stop on any LP of OLiViA‘s and find thorough enjoyment. From the ethereal photos of her that usually graced her records, to the soft, sweet tone of her voice on HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN MELLOW (1975), CLEARLY LOVE (1975), DON’T STOP BELiEViN‘ (1976), and 1974′s iF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW). The later is one of my all-time favorites of what I refer to as PHASE ONE OLiViA.
PHASE ONE OLiViA was the OLiViA of early 1970′s; the earthy wholesome OLiViA that you could almost picture running through the fields in slow-motion, singing in that trade-mark breathy voice. This was the Olivia the world was initially introduced to long before her Hollywood success with movie’s like GREASE (1978) and more poppy albums like PHYSiCAL (1981). Those achievements fall under other phases of OLiViA but for today I choose to salute the introductory phase of her career, which often gets overlooked in the face of such other big stamps on pop culture history. In fact I’m often surprised that people forget that she really started out in the folksy genre of music (in England and Australia) , and only later crossed over into the faux-barnyard country music band-wagon of the mid-seventies United States. Of course this caused a lot of fuss from country music puritans, for they didn’t really know how to feel about a girl born in England, raised in Australia – singing country music. All fuss aside, when iF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW) exploded on the music scene (landing the #1 spot on Billboards top 100) , there was no denying that the public found something worth enjoying in OLiViA’S unique style of music, white bread or not. And no one could sing into the camera with sad eyes like OLiViA.
The title song and I HONESTLY LOVE YOU (written by PETER ALLEN), became the first of OLiViA’s songs to reach #1 in the U.S. due in part to listener requests as well as OLiViA’S growing star power. Both songs reached the top 10 of the U.S. Pop, Adult Contemporary and Country charts, affirming NEWTON-JOHN’S status as the top female country-crossover star of the day and continuing the chart hot streak begun with the Grammy-winning LET ME BE THERE the previous year.
The title track ranks as Newton-John’s highest charting single on the country charts, reaching #2, although she would have many more top 10 hits to come.
A good friend of mine who also has an affection for the early work of OLiViA used to get into conversations about where OLiViA strayed, in terms of her music career. It is true that her starlight eventually faded somewhat over the years, not counting the lasting success of GREASE and guest stints on GLEE and AMERiCAN iDOL. But my friend and I used to talk about how if we were OLiViA’s representatives we would have long ago urged her to go back to her folksy roots and come out with an album much ore organic and pure – as opposed to the over-produced brand of easy-listening music she would begin to put out regularly. Perhaps she could have toured Folk Festivals and really changed up the music she started with by going the more acoustic route. Yes? No? I can’t fault her completely but I do think she would have been wiser to return to her roots. Some may disagree and others may not give a rats ass~!
Stay tuned for OLiViA PHASE TWO but in the meantime, enjoy these PHASE ONE OLiViA gems:
I must take a moment to really thank everyone involved in helping me be a part of GUERiLLA’s SPECiAL EROTiCA iSSUE, available to the public as of now. I am deeply honored to be a part of this production and in the same company of various talented Ottawa-based artists, including OLEXANDRA PRUCHNiCKY, DARREN HOLMES, SARA DOLL, ERiN MOLLY FiTZPATRiCK, DAN ZiEMKiEWiCZ, ANDRE PAQUETTE, SARAH SCHORLEMER and LEA DUNNiNG, among others.
In particular I’d like to thank TONY MARTiNS for inviting me, and ASHLEY MCCONNELL for the interview and their hard work in putting together such a great publication.
To check it out online please visit : http://www.getguerilla.ca/
She’s been called one of the single most influential female songwriters in history and its clear the artistry and music of JONi MiTCHELL has influenced people across the globe ever since beginning her career in early 1960’s. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard artists spout off about how they remember the first time they knew they wanted to make music – how it often had something to do with picking up JONi’s 1971 album BLUE. From PRiNCE and MADONNA to LED ZEPPLiN and STEViE NiCKS, JONi is clearly an artist who had an enormous power on people, from a lyrical point of view.
Myself included. I remember picking up BLUE at a garage sale one summer and playing it repeatedly on a turn-table alone in my room. Both my bedroom and BLUE were my sanctuary. I’m certain this was a common occurrence for many teens who listened to JONi. There was so much to love out of that one album. The famous, murky portrait the folk singer on the cover of her fourth album was captured by TiM CONSiDiNE, a photographer who took pictures of many other performers of the era, including MAMA CASS and JOAN BAEZ. I believe I stared at that cover for hours on end. Why? It intrigued me. I was mesmerized that a musician, songwriter and painter such as JONi, could have started in a Prairie province of Canada yet achieved such success. Hair blowing in the wind and wearing her caftan dresses, JONi defined that late-sixties Laurel Canyon ‘look’ that for a stifled and ugly small-town kid meant the world. It meant that I too could picture leaving it all behind and instead get up on the stages of some dark coffee house, and pour my own heart out in song. It meant that I could possibly escape the cold bitter Prairie winters someday – and possibly see the world with my own flowing hair and caftan dresses. Those were the kind of escapism s I needed and JONi’S BLUE set the perfect stage for my teenage dreams.
The confessional-style of songwriting JONi exhibited on BLUE allowed listeners to focus on MiTCHELL’s voice and emotions. BLUE offers a balance of simplistic melodies set to rhythmic acoustics; others to her rolling piano accompaniment. Either way she beautifully offers her depressed assessments of the world around her as counterpoint to exuberant expressions of romantic love. Take ALL i WANT, BLUE’s introduction to JONi’s world:
I want to be strong I want to laugh along
I want to belong to the living
Alive, alive, I want to get up and jive
I want to wreck my stockings in some juke box dive
Do you want – do you want – do you want to dance with me baby
Do you want to take a chance
On maybe finding some sweet romance with me baby
Well, come on
Being only 15 or so at the time, I had NO idea what it was like to be strong, or to laugh along, let alone belong to the living. I felt very much alone, which is again many a teenager’s dilemma. I had no idea but I did know that I DiD want to FEEL alive and experience the chance of sweet romance. This is how a kid can listen to a record over and over; when you find yourself alone like many do, you often search for a Paradise and fortunately for me I had PARADiSE ROAD with BLUE.
The album itself was both a critical and commercial success, peaking in the top 20 in the Billboard Album Charts in September and also hitting the British Top 3 in 1971.
For more on JONi MiTCHELL check out : http://jonimitchell.com/