Winners, Losers, The Gift and Donald Trump

by Nathan Rabin

(Spoilers for The Gift ahead)

Like a lot of Americans, I have had Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump (goodness, that phrase still feels as surreal to write as “Governor Schwarzenegger”) on the brain as of late. The demented jester of American politics used the Republican Presidential debate as a bully pulpit in the truest sense, antagonizing Megyn Kelly for having the audacity to ask him to defend all of the awful, misogynistic things he’s said in the past (and present) and generally being the biggest, most obnoxious and self-absorbed baby onstage.

When Trump’s comments about Kelly got him uninvited from a gathering held by Republican bigwig Erick Erickson, Trump responded predictably, by accusing Erickson of being a “loser.” For veteran Trump watchers, it was a common refrain. Hell, The Washington Post recently ran a lengthy list of all the people Donald Trump has called a loser, a list that includes such luminaries as George Will, Bill Maher, Rosie O’Donnell, Graydon Carter, TV writer and producer Danny Zuker, Seth Myers, Russell Brand, John McCain and pretty much everyone in the world who isn’t enthusiastically onboard the Trump express.

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Chaos and Destruction in Female Friendship Films

by Emalie Soderback

There are certain elements in film, plot and otherwise, that I’m inherently drawn to. Someone could start describing a movie to me and specific key words will make me immediately add it to my watch list. Did you say blood that looks like pink paint? Awful one-liners? Troublemaking teens? Anything at all about 1970s interior design? Girls who get supernatural powers around puberty? A young Drew Barrymore? Count me in.

One especially satisfying subgenre for me is the female friendship film. The type of movie that revels in the world that two female protagonists create with their own imaginations, strange obsessions, and impenetrable bonds with each other. I’m not talking about Mean Girls here (although I also will never renounce it), or even our beloved The Craft (long live Nancy Downs), because those cliques and companionships exist within the confines of social structure and depend on a certain hierarchy, cattiness and rivalry to form the core of these girls’ supposed “friendships”.

The type of films I want to highlight here are the ones that portray the bizarre connections, unspoken loyalties, imagined worlds, and the utter decadence and destruction that surrounds the best friendship of girls. If you’re sensitive to spoilers I’ve bolded some alerts, but I think comparing the endings of these four films is pretty beneficial.

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Cinema Collectibles #2: Actress LPs


by Greg Carlson

(In this column, I go through the high volume of movie-related collectables that I’ve acquired over the decades, and revisit (or view for the first time) the film(s) associated with the used VHS tape, promotional T-shirt, scratchy vinyl soundtrack album, etc., that have filled my shelves and storage boxes.)

Mae West, “Way Out West” and “The Best of Marlene Dietrich” vinyl LPs.

It’s a sad fact: actors and actresses who venture into the world of music generally don’t get the acclaim, respect, or additional fans they were looking for, and the results wind up looking like one big self-indulgent vanity project. It’s an entertainment-based scenario that’s been around for decades, from Anthony Quinn to Zooey Deschanel.

As a vinyl enthusiast who prefers searching via yard sales and the dusty racks of thrift stores to online bargaining and boutique record labels, I encounter the recorded output of several stars of yesteryear, and weigh the pros and cons of adding their works to my collection. So far, I have resisted the recorded works of Ed Ames and John Travolta, and have come to the conclusion that you only need one Jim Nabors and Jackie Gleason and His Orchestra LP in your collection. Read More

Ghosts of Ireland: A Film Travelogue



by Megan McNelis

I’m motivated to travel by the images I see in movies. I have to admit, I’m not great at remembering plots. I’ll be discussing a movie with someone and they’ll say, “How about that ending?!” I’ll find my mind blank, eyes wide while I nod and search my memory.

But images often run through my mind before I fall asleep or while I have a spare few moments during the day. This is when my wanderlust kicks in, goading me to see these images for myself and enhance what is only currently a two-dimensional dream.

On a recent trip to Ireland, my sister and I drove in a semicircle south to north, from Cobh to Belfast. At every stop, I found myself sharing my enthusiasm with locals about movies that had been filmed there. Films are always a great way to unite with people and show that I’ve done a little more in-depth research into their hometowns than just the cost of a tour-bus ticket.

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From Tarzana to Miracle Mile: the under-the-radar films of Steve De Jarnatt


by Vern

In advance of our in-store signing, screening and Q&A with Steve De Jarnatt this Thursday at 7 pm, local writer Vern takes a look at the Miracle Mile director’s remarkable career

The terror starts with a pay phone ringing. Up until that point, Miracle Mile seems like a cute romantic comedy. Primed for rediscovery in an extras-packed new Blu-Ray and DVD from Kino Lorber, writer/director Steve De Jarnatt’s unique 1988 thriller follows Harry (Anthony Edwards), an affable geek and self-proclaimed “king of the Glenn Miller impersonators” who falls in love-at-first-sight with Julie (Mare Winningham). They meet at the La Brea Tar Pits museum, hit it off and spend the afternoon together, having such a good time that they plan to meet up again at midnight after her waitressing shift at Johnie’s Coffee Shop. But a power outage causes Harry to show up late (long story), after Julie’s already given up and gone home. And that’s when he answers the pay phone and the guy calling the wrong number from the missile silo tells him about the nuclear war that’s underway.

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