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Harry Dean Stanton Was LUCKY & Best Three Obits

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Harry Dean Stanton, who died Friday, Sept. 15  at age 91, was in the first movie I ever covered as a film reviewer. On Monday, Feb. 2, 1985, the New Mexico Daily Lobo in Albuquerque published a halting, lukewarm review of Wim Wenders’ PARIS, TEXAS.  It was a college try at doing this sort of thing, but years later, what strikes me about Harry Dean Stanton is that a lot of us  lived the quirky way he did on screen.

Cult of Harry

New Mexico Daily Lobo first film review by Quendrith Johnson, Feb. 25, 1985

New Mexico Daily Lobo, Feb. 25, 1985

We were all Paris, Texans, in the Wenders sense. Believing in that crazy desert lost-horizon magic of America, but also  in the art-for-non-commercial-art sense. Outsider art, the Stanton way.

Harry was our withered icon of indifference to big paychecks and brand names. We were just being our creative selves in whatever rendition of freelance “cool” he represented, to hell with healthcare.

Harry Dean Stanton went from regular Joe in TV series “Gunsmoke” to sobbing hitchhiker in the rain in seminal film TWO-LANE BLACKTOP.

Who makes that leap?

Then to ALIEN’s hesitating Everyman, or for many that guy in REPO MAN. To each audience member, he laid down private memories in whatever movies defined him for them.

No matter how long his resume, Stanton was still that off-beat, unbroken, mysterious wise guy, in the wisdom sense, smirking under there somewhere, but also sincere. He invited you to break free with him, maybe.

"Gunsmoke" Harry Dean Stanton

“Gunsmoke” Harry Dean Stanton

Tough to define Harry,  he was almost a celluloid mood swing.

Harry Dean Stanton’s last movie is called LUCKY, to be released by Magnolia Pictures two weeks after his death, on Sept. 29.

He didn’t plan it this way, but what a great title, and way to go out, in the opening light and starring credits of a new film.
My own personal way to say goodbye to him, in some kind of circular celebration from first review to last review of his work, is to quote Giacomo Puccini’s entire “Vissi d’arte” translated from the Italian aria in “Tosca.”

Harry Dean Stanton would have dug that.

Hold that operatic thought though, as it’s a style in almost all his film work.

The MISSOURI BREAKS actor wasn’t just a dramatic actor or a comedic actor, he was his own American cinematic opera icon for the ages.

He was in movies as diverse as COOL HAND LUKE, PRETTY IN PINK, GODFATHER II, ALPHA DOG, LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, GREEN MILE, just look at all his credits.

Even in new movie, LUCKY, he plays a nonagenarian Atheist full of aphorisms worthy of a Buddhist or a retired Rodeo clown.

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Listen to the official description: “LUCKY follows the spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off the map desert town. Having out lived and out smoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self exploration, leading towards that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment. Acclaimed character actor John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut, “Lucky”, is at once a love letter to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton as well as a meditation on mortality, loneliness, spirituality, and human connection.”

He was an Alien among us.

He was an “Alien” among us.

Kind of over-the-top, but not topping this 91-year-old’s brilliant career and deft hand at leading us into self-reflection as we stared into the world of Harry Dean Stanton for years on screen.

So, it’s only fitting to give him the last round-up, picking the Top Three Obits so far… Why not?

Top Three Obits

Best to start with Vanity Fair, mosey on over to The Hollywood Reporter and jump over the pond to the Guardian UK.

Not one writer is enough to really sum up the wild, wide-ranging hot-foot career through film of this actor, who, although born in 1926, gave a Harry Dean Stanton stamp to my generation of  writers and film critics, not just what we wrote, but how we lived. So say an aria for Stanton…

In Two-Lane Blacktop with GTO.

In “Two-Lane Blacktop” with GTO.

 

Ad Astra, Harry Dean Stanton, But First Look at His New Movie…

Magnolia Pictures will release LUCKY on Sept. 29, just two weeks after star Harry Dean Stanton went to The Big Adios, signing off the silver screen at ninety-one.

LUCKY is…

Directed by John Carroll Lynch. Written by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja, and stars Harry Dean Stanton, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr, Tom Skerritt, Barry Shabaka Henley, James Darren, Beth Grant, Yvonne Huff Lee, Hugo Armstrong and David Lynch.

Harry Dean Stanton (1926-2017) Lives on in Film.

Harry Dean Stanton (1926-2017) Lives on in Film.

Get LUCKY here:
Official Site I Facebook I Twitter

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Joe Bang Gives Up James Bond for Channing Tatum in Tenn., LOL, for LOGAN LUCKY

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Some good news Down South as Channing Tatum, who stars in LOGAN LUCKY directed by Steven Soderbergh, has gotten James Bond to dye his hair blonde — “Dye Another Day” would be a great 007 title — wait, that’s not real news.

JoeBangLLDC17Even though Daniel Craig’s surprise Hillbilly-meets-Okie mega-cameo as Joe Bang in this movie is quite a towhead, the real news?

Well, over a ways yonder in Tennessee the cast of LOGAN, which will be released by Bleeker Street on Aug. 18,  did some great charity work in “The Volunteer State”, also known as home of the Grand Ole Opry, Tennessee.

Tatum? Be There in Tenn... For Charity.

Tatum? Be There in Tenn… For Charity.

Btw, Tennessee got the moniker volunteer state from the 1812 War, when TN Troops under Stonewall Jackson lent a hand in the Battle of New Orleans to much fanfare in the medal category. But we digress, as last night Channing Tatum and his cast had a blast with films fans.

Always on Deck for Him Selfie & Fans.

Always on Deck for Him Selfie & Fans.

It was for a great cause, “Tennessee Benefit Screening for Variety — The Children’s Charity.” All the fun took place at the Regal Pinnacle Stadium 18 in Knoxville. What’s the movie about?

Casting Call, Lol.

Casting Call, Lol.

Good question. It’s a madcap, multi-layer, moolah-related mash-up by marauding marvelously mysterious (cast-against-type) morons. How’s that for alliteration?

Katie Holmes rips up her scenes in a movie that officially brings her back into the pack of Hollywood actors of their own merit. And it stars these cool kids: Seth MacFarlane, Riley Keough, Meg Ryan’s son Jack Quaid,  and Katherine Waterson. And kids at heart Dwight Yoakam, Sebastian Stan, Brian Gleeson, with Hilary Swank as one itch-on-wheels FBI agent but later as a lovely barfly. Riley Keough, daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and Elvis’ grandkid proves she has a big future on screen by her own lights. SNC_7184

And James Bond gives a stunning, freakish American accent attempt somewhere in the clinical lab range of a genetically engineered Hillybilly-Okie mix with enough menace to make you wonder how he’d really be in a prison riot. Plus, Soderbergh, genius director, teases us in the critic world with an “Introducing” credit for Daniel Craig, which is usually only used to debut an actor. Bond does comedy, whoa, that is new, so maybe Soderbergh isn’t completely joking on that intro.

Meanwhile Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are stellar, so weird how well both act, even with the IQ dialed down to O (for “Ozark,” hey it kind of fits in the Netflix series Americana zeitgeist).

Channing is The Man from LUCKY LOGAN in Tenn.

Channing is The Man from LOGAN LUCKY in Tenn.

Kinda wonder about the writer Rebecca Blunt on this one… Hmm. Emily Blunt’s older sister is Felicity Blunt, married to Stanley Tucci, so it can’t be her. Even IMDB suspects someone big behind this pseudonym.
Another aside, this movie makes you ask yourself what? ‘Is this the first product of Hollywood in the Trump Administration?’ And, so Soderbergh must be psychic, since this movie hits a trend of ‘Real America’ leanings. From Bleeker Street on Aug. 18, and watch for more movies to hit this rustic-icana note in the 45 Era.

Enjoy  Trailer for Team Soderbergh’s Newest Film

Official Yada on Plot

“Trying to reverse a family curse, brothers Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) set out to execute an elaborate robbery during the legendary Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”
Not Paul Newman’s “Cool Hand Luke” Eggs, But Channing Tatum, Adam Driver & Daniel Craig Do Cool Stuff – WATCH

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Written by: Rebecca Blunt (as if?)

Produced by: Gregory Jacobs, Mark Johnson, Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin

Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterson, Dwight Yoakam, Sebastian Stan, Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid, with Hilary Swank and introducing Daniel Craig as Joe Bang

Official Site I Facebook I Instagram I Twitter
#LoganLucky

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Darren Aronofsky’s Grand Guignol, Or Look Now at His MOTHER!

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THOR Ragnarok: Hulk Gets Some Feelings Trailer 7/22

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Before Kevin Spacey Locks the Gore Vidal Script for Netflix, A True Story

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DARKEST HOUR Has Gary Oldman as Churchill Looking Like an Awards Contender

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Nothing like a rousing World War II “never surrender” movie to lift the spirits from current political events; thus comes DARKEST HOUR, set for release from Focus Features on Nov. 22, the day US President John F. Kennedy was shot, not a coincidence one guesses. “You can’t reason with […]

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Men Running in Movies & Who Tops A-List of Screen Sprinters?

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Best Spider-Man Ever, Wow, Tom Holland Looks Like It, Seriously

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

We could run down the Marvel list of past Spider-Men: impish Tobey Maguire, troubled Andrew Garfield, and they were great. But why bother, Spidey fans, because Tom Holland owns the new web-slinger entry SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, which opens July 7.

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Hey, is that Jon Favreau in the background? Yes.

Owns it along with his co-stars, that is. Those being Robert Downey, Jr.,  back as his Iron Man/Tony Stark mentor; Michael Keaton as not super-normal, real-world villain Vulture; and Marisa Tomei as a surprisingly bitchin’ Aunt May.  There’s what Robert Downey Jr. calls “the kids,” all the subplot superheros. Plus this has old and new Hollywood folks, such as Tyne Daly, Danny Glover, even Zendaya. For insiders, Amy Pascal, who got burned in the SONY email hack, comes roaring back as her Pascal Pictures pushed this one through to the finish line. Even Pascal gets her superhero cape back.

Producer Kevin Feige sets the scene here on how they thought about the new Spider-Man.

“We introduced Spider-Man in Civil War and you got to see the banter and the fun and contrast between he and the other heroes there,” says Feige. “And now, after the greatest vacation of all time, in which he got to spend this time with these rock stars, he’s got to go back to high school. So, it exacerbates his problem – a problem that I certainly had and I think most people who go to high school have – ‘Is there something more for me out there?’ But Peter knows there is because he just did it. He thinks he’s ready, and of course when you’re fifteen years old you often think you’re ready for something before you really are. That’s the fun of this movie, that’s the relatability of Peter Parker, and that’s why we wanted to do this and reintroduce Spider-Man to audiences through the lens of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Yeah, okay, but Tom Holland says it in a much more fun way.

Wired for maximum energy, Tom Holland is so kick-ass even in talking about  this movie, like how he heard that he was cast as The One. “Well I didn’t actually hear I was going to be Spider-Man, I read about it on Instragram,” the newly minted web-spinner admits. “I didn’t get ‘the call.’ But no, it was an amazing experience.”

“I’d worked my ass off getting this job. And when all that hard work paid off and I could finally say I was Spider-Man, it was a pretty crazy experience.” SpideySPH17Plus he loves it when people bitch on the internet about the new onscreen reboot of Marvel’s “crown jewel” and “most successful comic book in the world,” according to Marvel Studio’s internal production notes, the hallowed “Spider-Man” created Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Holland scoffs a little at the doubters, in a good way.

“I love reading on the internet people complaining that there is so much in the trailers because you haven’t seen anything yet, there is so much more to come, the big twists and turns. My whole family watched it the other day, and my family are not ‘superhero fans,’ and they loved it. They loved it. They are my toughest critics and it was amazing to see them enjoy it, which is fun.”

Not to mention working with Robert Downey, Jr, again after almost flying off a building when they met up in the last big bang box office movie, Civil War. Let’s just say, Tom really digs working with the Suave Marvel Franchise Statesman.

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Incredible illustrations as Concept Art.

“When Robert showed up on set, he was so excited to be there,” Downey’s film protege shares. “He saw the concept art, some of the footage and he thought it looked great. To me it was the perfect indicator that we’ve got something special here.”

A veteran of Hollywood and real life, being a franchise frontier is kind of second nature to Downey now. He talks about Peter Parker in such a cool way. “He is not part of the Military Industrial Complex” like Tony Stark is, Downey points out, adding Tom Holland plays it really new, for a re-sprung franchise. “Lest we forget,” Tony Stark’s counterpart says, “[Iron Man] pulled Peter Parker into life and death situations shortly after meeting him just a year or so ago.” But “he develops this belief in Mr. Parker.”

About the other teen superheroes, Downey is equally impressed. “You know what, speaking of homecoming, these kids are pretty damn good,” and then he switches gears to the reconfigured Aunt May character, played by Marisa Tomei.

“I’ve known Marisa for a long time, she’s just perfect,” he adds. “What a fresh start this franchise is getting.”

When thinking about New Spider-Man, Marisa starts laughing, “I feel like a newcomer next to him, because [Tom Holland] was born a pro. He is so capable. [Tom] is adept at everything he does.”SpiderTube17

Then she really takes a moment to say “it’s a gift to act in a ‘franchise’ film, to know you have a job coming. And to be part of something that is so beloved. That the fans really cherish and are really excited about. There’s a fever to it, to be part of something that is so anticipated.”

But is it too big, or too anticipated, you may wonder?

“It’s big, big movie —  with independent spirit at heart. The movie is as much about ‘finding your place in the world,’ as much as it is a giant superhero movie.”

As far as Aunt May Upgraded, “I wanted to try to keep some of the — not just the function, to look after [Peter], to be curious and deduced things and make a strong home for him — I wanted to make her [mine].”

This Aunt May “works, she has a publishing company. She has a past… [But], she’s trying to make these pies. I wanted her to make these apple pies like the original Aunt May, and the original granny glasses, and the apron and the bun in her hair. It helps transition into this new iteration.”

Plus if it’s Marisa (CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE), you get that this will be the first sexy Aunt May, just saying.

“I felt like I was in summer camp when I was working with them [Tom and the younger superhero cast members]. It was like ‘okay, not only are you not your age, but i’m not my age, we’re all 13 right now’ — I loved being with them.”

So you’re getting the idea how off-the-hook special this movie is, even with a kind of human villain, Michael Keaton. He’s a Hollywood insider who’s been around forever, but Keaton as “Vulture” plays a new flavor of heavy here.

Birdman’s Oscar nominee tries to break it down to the essence of his Spider-Man bad guy with “there is, you know, an underlying intelligence to it. It isn’t that simple. He has resentment.”

Vulture “may have been vulnerable.” He started out ethically okay, maybe but “my character [failed] doing things on the up-and-up, maybe — but he is put in a position to say, ‘I’m going to look after my family.’ I also like that he had a crew. I like these guys. These are all working class people. They all have legitimate gripes.”

When asked about the scope of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Keaton nails it for most of us. “These movies are always just so huge, how they put it together it beyond me. You can tell, the director, he really saw it.” Then he stops short, summing up the little details that apparently make this movie The One for diehard Marvel franchise fans.

Michael Keaton wants to talk The Suit.

“The suit was so intricate and artfully made — I don’t think those people (Costumers) get enough credit. You know, special wrenches to put the boots in a certain (position), I was knocked out by that.” Which leads into a whole discussion about Cosplay, but never mind.SpideyNow1

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING  is right around the corner as this summer’s huge blockbuster entry and swings into the box office July 7, so get ready for it. See the official site here, with all the relevant hashtags and hoo-hah for such a massive fan movie.

JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT THE SMALL PRINT

Columbia Pictures presents a Marvel Studios / Pascal Pictures production, Spider-Man™: Homecoming.  Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. Directed by Jon Watts.  Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers. Screen Story by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley.  Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal.  Executive Producers are Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach. Mitch Bell, Eric Hauserman Carroll, and Rachel O’Connor serve as Co-Producers. Director of Photography is Salvatore Totino ASC, AIC. Production Designer is Oliver Scholl. Editors are Dan Lebental ACE and Debbie Berman.  Visual Effects Supervisor is Janek Sirrs.  Costume Designer is Louise Frogley. Music by Michael Giacchino. Music Supervision by Dave Jordan.

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