Heating up August with Erotic Thrillers

With August the dog days of summer are upon us (even though July brought that massive heatwave). Cinema Shame is planning to perpetuate the sizzle by focusing on the classy, uber-sophisticated world of the erotic thriller. A sub-genre of films that could really make family movie nights awkward.  Yeah, I’m looking at you, Xenia Onatopp. Your orgasmic coup de grace techniques always had me scrambling for the remote.

Xenia

Death by sexual healing.

When I think of the erotic thriller sub-genre, the first thing that comes to mind is direct to video refuse or heavily-edited features on USA Network. My turning point was watching “The Last Seduction” last November. Linda Fiorentino (a @007hertzrumble obsession, by the way) and dark neo-noir compelled me to investigate the genre further.

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Obligatory Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction picture.

In Robert Barton Palmer’s book Hollywood’s Dark Cinema: The American Film Noir, he refers to the “erotic thriller as a direct descendent of the film noir.” Here I was judging these films for having a plot to tie sex scenes together. It also felt like a good time to cleanse the mind of the mindless summer blockbuster. So for this month, I plan to tackle the following erotic thrillers: Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo and Cat People and Lawrence Kasdan’s Body Heat.

catpeople

Reach out to us on twitter (@cinemashame) or by email (cinemashame@gmail.com) with your essential erotic thrillers. 

@campbelldropout

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June Prompt – 1989

This June marks the 30th anniversary of Tim Burton’s Batman. A film with huge cultural significance, positive and negative — as it forever it changed the summer blockbuster landscape. The entire summer slate of 1989 has to be one of the greatest in film history for sequels, blockbusters and surprise hits.

Consider that during just a few months, the summer of 1989 begat Ghostbusters II, Lethal Weapon 2, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Licence to Kill, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Abyss, and Do the Right Thing.

And so far I’ve just mentioned the summer releases. The entire year boasted en entire roster of films worthy of discovery (or rediscovery). I would have been around three so there are no solid memories of this year for me, except vague memories about Hardee’s promotion of Ghostbusters II. I guess Licence to Kill would have been too much for a child’s happy meal toy, kids probably couldn’t handle a shark-mangled Felix Leiter toy.

For more discussion of non-summer related releases from 1989, we have our in-house resident expert, James Patrick (@007hertzrumble), whose personal website has posted some great discussion on films from that year. It is a great resource if you want to scroll back through a few of these releases you might have missed.

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I’m limiting my choices to three, but I have a feeling I will be doing more rewatches of 1989 films. My biggest shame release from 1989, which has had a lot of talk in the film twitter vacuum, is Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. (See James’ conversation here.) I’ve seen bits and pieces over the years but never took the time to watch the entire film. I’ve owned The Dream Team (another entry that James has lauded) for at least a year now without watching it and it would be interesting to compare Keaton’s performance to his role in Batman. The last movie I will pick from 1989 will be Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies and Videotape. I will always take this opportunity to toss a Criterion release into the mix.

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Reach out to us on twitter (@cinemashame) or by email (cinemashame@gmail.com) with your Cinema Shames from 1989 or 1989 recommendations.

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Future Prompts — Coming Soon to Shame Near You!

July – Cult Films

August – Racy Films (SCANDALOUS!)

@campbelldropout

April Prompt: TCM Film Festival

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On April 11th, the 10th annual Turner Classic Movie Film Festival will begin in Hollywood. TCMFF celebrates classic films with a jam-packed four-day schedule (April 11th-April 14th) filled with classic film and notable celebrity appearances. In order to share this celebration with the lucky attendees, Cinema Shame will once again be focusing on the films being played at the festival for the month of April. The lists of films scheduled to play are listed below. You can view the official TCMFF schedule here. Maybe you can schedule your watch on the same day as the festival, to join the conversation with those at the festival!

I highly recommend following James Patrick (@007hertzrumble) on twitter, as he will be attending the festival and twittering constantly. Follow the hashtag #tcmff for all discussions and plenty of photos with your favorite Twitter cinephiles. If you follow Cinema Shame and are attending the festival, let us know on twitter and share your experiences. James also previewed the festival with a lengthy post on his blog. 

I’ve picked three movies to knock off the ole Cinema Shame list based on the schedule. After watching Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky last month, which starred John Cassavetes, I will attempt to watch A Woman Under the Influence. There are at least two movies listed in the festival’s schedule that have been on my Cinema Shame lists in the past, so I will finally knock those off this month: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (a @007hertzrumble favorite) and longtime Cinema Shame contender, Robert Altman’s Nashville.

As always reach out to us on twitter (@Cinemashame) or via email cinemashame@gmail.com.

2019 Turner Classic Movie Film Festival Website: http://filmfestival.tcm.com/

James will also recording another episode of the Cinema Shame podcast, on location from the Roosevelt Hotel on Thursday with Jessica Pickens (@hollywoodcomet) to talk about the festival and answer your classic-film related questions. 

 

April 11

  • When Harry Met Sally (1989)
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1955)
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
  • Dark Passage (1947)
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
  • Night World (1932)
  • Mogambo (1953)
  • Sergeant York (1941)
  • Ocean’s 11 (1960)

 

April 12

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  • Steel Magnolias (1989)
  • Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
  • Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • My Favorite Wife (1940)
  • Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
  • Road House (1948)
  • Merrily We Go to Hell (1932)
  • Out of Africa (1985)
  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
  • Day for Night (1973)
  • Winchester ‘73 (1950)
  • Santo vs. the Evil Brain (1961)
  • The Clock (1945)
  • Love in the Afternoon (1957)
  • A Patch of Blue (1965)
  • Vanity Street (1932)
  • Open Secret (1948)
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
  • High Society (1956)
  • The Sound of Music (1965)
  • Desert Hearts (1985)
  • The Opposite Sex (1956)

April 13

  • From Here to Eternity (1953)
  • Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
  • Working Girl (1988)
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
  • Star Wars (1977)
  • Double Wedding (1937)
  • A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
  • A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
  • It Happened Here (1964)
  • Samson and Deliah (1949)
  • When Worlds Collide (1951)
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
  • Father Goose (1964)
  • Nashville (1975)
  • Escape from New York (1981)
  • All Through the Night (1942)
  • Tarzan and His Mate (1934)
  • Love Affair (1939)
  • Blood Money (1933)
  • Life Begins at 40 (1935)
  • Waterloo Bridge (1931)
  • The Student Nurses (1970)
  • The Little Colonel (1935)
  • The Great K&A Train Robbery (1926)
  • Outlaws of Red River (1927)
  • Wuthering Heights (1939)
  • Indiscreet (1958)
  • The Bad Seed (1956)

 

April 14

  • Hello, Dolly! (1969)
  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  • Gone with the Wind (1939)
  • Mad Love (1935)
  • The Robe (1953)
  • A Woman of Affairs (1928)
  • The Dolly Sisters (1945)
  • Holiday (1938)
  • Magnificent Obsession (1954)
  • The Killers (1964)
  • The Godfather: Part II (1974)
  • The Defiant Ones (1958)
  • Marty (1955)
  • Yours, Mine and Ours (1968)
  • Cold Turkey (1971)
  • Buck Privates (1941)

 

March Prompt: Female-Directed Films

I’m writing in the field today to discuss our March prompt — reporting from lively Salt Lake City, Utah.

This month we are going to focus on a personal blind spot of mine, films by female directors. Along with this month and going forward I’m going to make a strong effort to focus on films directed by women. I recently purchased Alicia Malone’s “The Female Gaze,” which I plan to use as reference material for upcoming watches. It is ridiculous how few female-directed films I’ve seen.

I don’t have any excuse. With all this information at our fingertips, it’s inexplicable that I haven’t made an effort to tap into these resources until now. The only female director’s career I’ve actually followed has been Sofia Coppola. Penny Marshall, Nora Ephron and Kathryn Bigelow have also made a mark. Besides the Shame, what really pushed me to find female-directed films were some statistics Brian Saur (@bobfreelander) mentioned on Pure Cinema Podcast discussing Film Debuts with director Sean Baker. Brian discussed Elaine May’s A New Leaf. Between 1966 and 1971 no studio produced a female-directed film. In 1979, the Directors Guild of America created the Women’s Steering Committee, which released a study that showed between 1949 to 1979, 7,332 films were distributed through the major studios, of those only 14 films were directed by women and three of them were directed by Elaine May. Those are some shocking statistics, I don’t know the current stats but I assume the improvement has been negligible.

For the month of March, I’m planning to watch these films for the first time:

Selma

Ava DuVernay’s Selma

Elaine May’s A New Leaf

Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky (a pick-up from Criterion’s recent flash sale)

Penny Marshall’s Awakenings

CertainWoman

Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women (second pick-up from Criterion’s flash sale)

So for the month of March, let us know the female–directed films you plan to watch. You can reach us on twitter (@CinemaShame) or by email cinemashame@gmail.com. I am looking forward to the discussion and all the discovery.

@007hertzrumble has created a Cinema Shame Shop on Amazon with treasure trove of suggestions for female-directed films you need to watch.

female-directors

Remember to share your Shame!

@campbelldropout

2019 Oscar Host will be Cinema Shame

With the Oscars right around the corner and airing on February 24th, it’s time to put forth the annual focus on award winners.

Usually, I enjoy the Oscar season, playing catch up with all the nominees and striving to sneak in a viewing of all the Best Picture nominees, but this year, I haven’t even taken time to watch the one that is accessible on Netflix.

oscars-olly-moss

Even though I may not be as hyped about the Oscars this year, I still enjoy the ceremony. I viewed something with an Oscar stamp as a seal of approval. I learned over time, of course, an Oscar nomination or win doesn’t guarantee quality. (If it did then my old James Bond VHS tapes would have been covered in little Oscar statutes.) They were an entryway, a guide for helping me access cinema. Thanks to TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar, I was able to watch dozens upon dozens of Oscar nominated greats… and, well, not-so-greats.

During the month of February, Cinema Shame turns its focus on not just Oscar movies, but Oscar-Winning Performances, specifically Best Actor and Best Actress. Major Oscar performances you have overlooked in the past? Did you not catch Al Pacino’s career-defining (for better and worse) performance in A Scent of a Woman? Maybe you ant to get a grasp on how someone else beat Michael Keaton for his role in Birdman? Ahem. Bruce Dern over McConaughey, as well. 

My major resource, besides recommendations from Cinema Shame contributors and the Cinema Shame podcast, will be Danny Peary’s Alternate Oscars. The book goes from 1927 to 1991 and picks alternates for Best Picture, Actor and Actress. I will choose the performances that Peary did not change, which aren’t many. if you got the royal seal of approval from the Academy and Peary, you must be the cream of the crop. I’m picking four of these performances as my Cinema Shames for the month of February.

And the Oscar for my February Cinema Shame… Best Unwatched Best Performances goes to….

Vivien Leigh’s performance in “A Streetcar Named Desire”

Joanne Woodward’s performance in “The Three Faces of Eve”

Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot”

Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull”

Raging Bull

While the prompt focuses on performances, feel free to share other Oscar-related Cinema Shames. Let us know about your choices on twitter (@CinemaShame) or by email cinemashame@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing about your Oscar picks. 

Calling All 2019 Cinema Shame Statements

A new year is upon us, which means another year of knocking off those unwatched films that might bring out a little bit of shame. It doesn’t matter where they come from, it could be a movie gathering dust on an unsteady ‘to-watch’ pile, or a film you’ve heard mentioned on multiple podcasts, or a film you just haven’t found the time to watch it.

This month we request contributors to proclaim the films they plan to take on in 2019. Create your list, post it and we will share it (shame it but in a loving manner). Feel free to add some background details for your picks, such as why you are picking it or the reason you haven’t had to chance to view this film.

I will be stating my shame this weekend, building my list from books (Danny Peary’s multiple books), podcasts (Cinema Shame’s episode on Hammer Horror and Pure Cinema Podcast’s recent episode on Martin Scorcese’s filmography), and some statistical data (letterboxd).

If you need ideas, you can check out the Shame Statements from previous years.

As the months roll around we will provide a specific prompt which may focus on an unwatched film from a specific genre, a favorite director or a favorite actor or actress. We still want you to discuss the films from your shame statements these prompts are meant to increase discussion of films and hopefully help everybody uncover some hidden gems.

Contact us by email cinemashame@gmail.com or tweet at us @Cinemashame.

November – Criterion Collection and Film Struck

For the month of November, the focus for Cinema Shame will be films released through the Criterion Collection and ones available on Filmstruck. With the recent disappointing news of the beloved streaming service discontinuing on November 29, 2018, it would be a great opportunity to support this platform during its final month. If we crash the service from overuse maybe it’ll at least make a statement about the importance of classic film. There have been a lot of recommendations floating around the web on what to watch before the service ends and those suggestions are listed below.

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With the holiday season rolling around, you can always count on Barnes and Noble’s 50%-off Criterion Sale, which starts November 2nd and runs through the entire month. ‘Tis a joyous time when my twitter feed becomes flooded with people stressing about the small things in life… such as which Criterions to purchase, multiple failed attempts to get the clerk to accept a coupon, or the lack of selection at your particular B&N. After those small quibbles, photos appear of recent hauls, creating envy, and influencing wish lists. Should I purchase the Ingmar Bergman box set? My wife says no, but the Internet says YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES (but only after you’ve sold your already owned Bergman’s to cover the cost). The Criterion sale is a beautiful celebration, but also a double-edged sword of film consumerism.

You may be asking yourself, “So wait… I have to spend money to participate in this Cinema Shame prompt?” Of course not. If you’re like me, someone who owns a large quantity of unwatched Criterions beautifully gathering dust on a shelf, there is no need to purchase more than you already own. (But I probably will.) I know the following discs are upstairs waiting for me: Gilda, Nashville (a long time Cinema Shame), Cat People, His Girl Friday, The Last Temptation of Christ, just off the top of my head.

Gilda

As you prepare to pick your Cinema Shames, don’t forget to share watch recommendations and maybe even a few potential blind buys. There is always room on your Criterion shopping list.

A petition has been going around to “Save Filmstruck.” If you enjoy classic cinema I highly recommend signing it. It can’t hurt to let these soulless media conglomerates know that classic film matters. Here’s a link to the “Save FilmStruck” Petition – https://www.change.org/p/warnermedia-keep-filmstruck-alive

FilmStruck Recommendations:

A Classic Film Blog’s Recommendations – @classicmovieblg – https://www.change.org/p/warnermedia-keep-filmstruck-alive

Alicia Malone’s Watchlist on Letterboxd – @aliciamalone – https://letterboxd.com/aliciamalone/list/my-filmstruck-watchlist/

New York Times Recommendations – https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/29/movies/filmstruck-closing-best-movies.html

If you have a Filmstruck To-Watch-Before-Service-Ends List, tell us on twitter @CinemaShame and we’ll send it out through the loudspeakers.

Don’t forget to check out Episode 16 of the Cinema Shame Podcast where James Patrick and Dan Day, Jr. discuss Hammer Horror:

Subscribe on iTunes / Stitcher Radio

Direct Download (right click, save as): http://traffic.libsyn.com/cinemashame/CinemaShame_HammerHorror.mp3

-campbelldropout