Quick Hits: August 14-15

*** SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilery info about Netflix’s The Gray Man and Showtime’s Yellowjackets ***

*** CONTENT WARNING: This post contains references to death, murder, and suicide ***

  • Anne Heche has died from injuries she sustained on August 5 when she crashed her vehicle into a house, resulting in a fire that left Heche severely burned (thankfully, the house’s occupants are all okay). She was declared brain dead on August 11 but was kept on life support while organ donation recipients were located. Despite an award-winning career that spans more than fifty films and numerous television series (including Men in Trees and Hung), Heche was probably best known for her three-year relationship with Ellen DeGeneres (and her very public mental health crises). She was 53 years old; she leaves behind two children.
Heche came to prominence in 1987, when she began a four-year stint as twins Vicky and Marley on Another World (she was offered the role just before her high school graduation). She won a Daytime Emmy Award and two Soap Opera Digest Awards for her performance.
  • Thirty-four years after the publication of The Satanic Verses led to calls for his assassination (if you’re not familiar with the context: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Satanic_Verses_controversy), Salman Rushdie was stabbed multiple times on Friday. His injuries were severe but he made it through surgery and is said to be on the “road to recovery”. The attack occurred at the Chautauqua Institution, where Rushdie was scheduled to give a lecture. Police apprehended the suspect at the scene.
  • I couldn’t imagine better casting news: Lauren Ambrose, best known for her Emmy-nominated turn as Claire Fisher on Six Feet Under, will join the cast of Yellowjackets for season two. She’ll play the adult version of – SPOILER ALERT – Van; Liv Hewson, who plays teenage Van, will be promoted to series regular as well. One of my favorite things about Yellowjackets is the expert casting of the older and younger versions of each character, a trend I’m confident will continue with Hewson and Ambrose.
  • Speaking of casting, Stranger Things‘ casting director Carmen Cuba shared some amazing stories about the casting process as well as adorable clips from the actors’ auditions.
  • Netflix has released the first look at the absolutely terrifying-looking Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities. The anthology series will debut on October 25, just in time for Halloween.
  • I found out the other day that my husband had never seen Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, so I obviously immediately remedied that (it’s on HBO Max, by the way). Fun fact: the film’s original ending had Average Joe’s losing to Globo Gym in the finale. Test audiences balked and a new ending – including the infamous “Milkshake” post-credits sequence – was added.
“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” (Seriously, how awesome was Rip Torn?)
  • Hubby and I also recently watched the Russo brothers’ The Gray Man on Netflix. Based on the novel by Mark Greaney, The Gray Man stars Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, and Chris Evans. Also appearing is the exquisite Julia Butters, who was so wonderful in Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. Butters is just thirteen years old; I predict a bright, award-filled future for this youngster. So is The Gray Man worth the $200 million Netflix spent on it? Probably not, but it’s entertaining enough. The action zips along at a breakneck speed and the cast – which also includes legends Alfre Woodard and Billy Bob Thornton – is game. But The Gray Man really comes alive when Evans is onscreen. As psychopathic assassin Lloyd Hansen, Evans is having way more fun than anyone doing their job has a right to. It’s too bad – SPOILER ALERT – Hansen dies at the movie’s end; perhaps the already-announced sequel will be a prequel so we can get more Evans? Or I could just watch this six-minute video of Hansen’s highlights.
“Don’t say ‘preternatural’ to me. It’s an asshole word.” will always be funny to me
  • After a premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, A Place in the Sun opened on August 14, 1951. Fun fact: A Place in the Sun won the first Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama. That’s the only “fun” thing about this classic, which is based on Theodore Dreiser’s 1925 novel An American Tragedy (it lives up to its name). A Place in the Sun was a commercial and critical success; it received nine Oscar nominations including Best Picture and won six awards including Best Director (George Stevens), Best Screenplay (Michael Wilson and Harry Brown), Best Costume Design (Edith Head), and Best Original Score (Frank Waxman). I’ll admit I’ve never seen it, and I want to fix that but this movie sounds bleak as fuck (it is available to stream on Hoopla if you’re in the mood for bleakness).
Among A Place in the Sun‘s Oscar nominees were lead actors Montgomery Clift and Shelley Winters (they lost to Humphrey Bogart for The African Queen and Vivien Leigh for A Streetcar Named Desire, respectively). The film itself lost Best Picture to An American in Paris, with which it shared Golden Globe honors. George Stevens won the Best Director prize, an achievement he repeated five years later for Giant.
  • Dorothy Stratten was murdered on August 14, 1980, by her estranged husband Paul Snider (who then turned the gun on himself). She was just twenty years old. Stratten, 1980’s Playboy Playmate of the Year, was making a go of an acting career and had recently finished work on her most significant film role to date, in Peter Bogdanovich’s They All Laughed. She’d also begun a romance with Bogdanovich while attempting to arrive at a divorce settlement with her abusive ex. Stratten’s murder was dramatized in two films: 1981’s made-for-television movie Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story, which starred Jamie Lee Curtis as Stratten and Bruce Weitz as Snider, and the 1983 feature film Star 80. The latter was directed by Bob Fosse (it was his final movie, actually), and Stratten and Snider were played by Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts, who won the Best Actor prize from the Boston Society of Film Critics.
  • On August 15, 1965, The Beatles performed for 55,000 – their largest audience ever – at Shea Stadium. The show is considered the first major stadium rock concert, just another way the band was ahead of their time. Their set list included “Twist and Shout”, “Ticket to Ride”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, and “Help!” Among the 55,000 people in attendance were future Beatle wives Linda Eastman and Barbara Bach.
  • Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now opened on August 15, 1979, after winning the Palme d’Or at the 32nd Cannes Film Festival. Loosely based on the Joseph Conrad novella Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now was a critical and commercial success and received eight Oscar nominations (inexplicably, Martin Sheen – who literally almost died for this role- was not nominated for Best Actor). At the 52nd Academy Awards, the film took home just two statues, for Best Cinematography and Best Sound (the night’s big winner was Kramer vs. Kramer). Regardless, Apocalypse Now is one of the greatest films ever made.
Among the cast members, the only Oscar nominee was Robert Duvall (Best Supporting Actor), who also gets the film’s most iconic line of dialogue
  • Chef, author, television personality, and all-around badass Julia Child was born on August 15, 1912. Child’s unbridled enthusiasm for food earned her generations of fans. Her groundbreaking, Peabody Award-winning PBS series The French Chef was one of the first programs to bring cooking into people’s living rooms (fun fact: it was also, in 1972, the first show to use captions for the hard of hearing).
Child inspired my all-time favorite SNL skit

3 thoughts on “Quick Hits: August 14-15

  1. I used to watch Another World, and remember Vicky and Marley very well. I didn’t know it was her, but she was so fun to watch in those roles! So sad about her death, and really about her life-a sad reminder of how poorly we treat mental health in this country.
    The Gray Man looks great-I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Chris Evans in anything, but everything I’ve seen/read/heard about him makes me think I should (also, THAT DOG!) plus there’s this guy.
    I remember seeing the Mariel Hemingway/Eric Roberts version of the Stratton story. It was so easy to believe Mr Roberts as that terrible character and I still can see images of the final murder scene in my mind if I think about it. Horrifying scene. (At least in my memory, I’m not sure when I saw it)
    And yes, once again, I have a movie I need to watch! Dodgeball. Yes please.


    1. When I started watching Another World, I think Heche had just left the show and Jensen Buchanan had taken over the role. She was the Vicky/Marley I was familiar with. And Chris Evans is just amazing. His Twitter feed is a thing of beauty. I absolutely adore him. You saw Knives Out, right? He was in that, so you’ve seen at least one movie he’s in!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had to look her up, I think I remember her but the Vicky I remember is Anne, so maybe from one of the spurts where I watched something else? And yes, I’ve seen that!! 🙂


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