There are few things as exciting in Hollywood as a hot, young talent on the rise. Because of that, few things feel as tragic as the news that another cinematic star has left us far too soon. Here are ten stars who took their final bows while they were still way too young.
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It’s not like high school isn’t strange enough as it is. Add a little supernatural seasoning and you get TV shows and movies where high school gets downright spooky-weird, which makes for great angst-filled horror stories.
1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter (2001-2011)
“Oh well, what’s life without a few dragons?”
It should come as no surprise that a school dedicated to the education of young witches and wizards would be filled with magical goings-on, including a whomping willow tree on the grounds (never mind an entire forbidden forest). But things got extra-strange when the Boy Who Lived enrolled. Basilisk in the basement? Check. Boggarts in the classroom? Oh yes. Centaurs, Dementors and ghosts? Of course. Even the climactic standoff, where numerous witches and wizards on both sides perished, is dubbed the Battle of Hogwarts.
Ditching school. Cutting class. Playing hooky. If you’re gonna do it, make sure you have a darned good reason and a damned good excuse. In honor of the announcement for season 2 of DREAM SCHOOL, here are some favorites.
1. We were forced to do drugs – 21 Jump Street
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as Schmidt and Jenko
The key to being a good narc—which these two bozos are not—is actually attending class. But when duty calls, the fellas skip out to meet their drug connection in the yearbook office, sample the goods and hustle to the bathroom to “help” each other try to puke. Maybe cutting class isn’t such a good idea.
If love were easy, romantic films wouldn’t exist. In the movies, the quest for love is like trying to swim across a wide, piranha-filled river while arrows are shot at you from all sides. And in the end, whether we win love or lose love, we learn from it. These ten films preach the gospel of perseverance, no matter what the treasure chest of romance ultimately holds.
1.Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen, 1986)
Thanksgiving parties bookend two years of romance, adultery, betrayal, alcoholism, religious mania and hypochondria among a group of erratic New Yorkers. Lesson learned: Love is better when you accept that it is very unpredictable. Also, New Yorkers can be quite neurotic.
Looking back on that decade of excess and contradictions, it’s clear that our art was just as twisted as we were, tapping into the darkest kind of humor behind all that neon. Don’t believe us? Be sure to catch these darkly comedic ’80s films on SundanceTV.
1. Brazil (1985)
Terry Gilliam’s fanciful futuristic comedy takes a wild dive into a land of bureaucracy, terrorism and, in an indelible image, extreme plastic surgery. It’s a fever-dream kind of dystopia that is simultaneously hilarious and horrifying, making Brazil a true dark comedy classic.
Daniel Day-Lewis as President, Ed Harris as an Astronaut… American History as Envisioned by Hollywood
AMC’s TURN has re-sparked an interest in the American Revolutionary War. Who knew George Washington had a team of spies?
But if you’re a history buff who needs more than a single TV show or historic period to stay happy, you’d do well to consult this list of great historical movies.
1. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Yes, the storyline revolves around the rescue of the last surviving son of a grieving mother. Even so, Steven Spielberg’s real accomplishment is in the first half-hour of the film: perhaps the most powerful and accurate reenactment of the D-Day invasion and subsequent battle ever. It’s a crucial chapter in America’s twentieth-century identity, and Spielberg (who won a Best Director Oscar) does little to glorify the tragedies.
Corruption and politics go hand in hand. But in the movies, matters get even more extreme with senators who mind-control and presidents who unleash diseases on the populace. Clearly, House of Cards‘ Frank Underwood would fit right in with the top ten deviant politicians ever to hit the big screen. Find out more about Underwood on THE WRITERS’ ROOM: “House of Cards,” Fri., May 2 at 9PM/8c. Until then, consider his back-stabbing cohorts.
1. Adam Sutler (John Hurt), V for Vendetta
By releasing a plague intended to wipe out “social deviants,” Sutler secures power for his oppressive political party and establishes a fascist regime.
2. Bob Alexander (Frank Langella), Dave
It’s not enough that Chief of Staff Alexander replaces the comatose prez with a lookalike. He also frames the dupe for an S&L scandal he orchestrated.
Wes Anderson has been making feature films since the ’90s (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore) so needless to say his influences date further back than that. It’s a testament to this auteur’s considerable talent that although he’s supremely nostalgic, he’s by no means derivative. He doesn’t rob his predecessors. He nods to them. So to begin… (Cue the Futura title card bearing the words Chapter 1:)
In honor of this Friday’s episode of THE WRITERS’ ROOM: “The Walking Dead, Smallville & other comics,” here’s a list of the best English-speaking supernatural shows of the last 25 years. (Otherwise, THE RETURNED would be in the top slot, naturally.) From zombies to monster hunters, it’s all here. Check out the list below, if you dare.
The tangled love triangle is such a cinematic trope that we could probably put together a list for each year (or a list of top ten love triangles with bad ‘80s haircuts… or top ten love triangles starring Reese Witherspoon…). We decided to limit this list to love-triangle films we actually enjoyed (and not in a guilty-pleasure kind of way) — which is why you won’t find the Bella-Edwards-Jacob affair here, despite the ubiquity of “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” merchandise. Same goes for Pearl Harbor (2001), which attempted to make the love triangle a heroic response to war; or Wild Things (1995), which accessorized the love triangle with hot tubs and champagne (and was really more of a lust triangle, anyway); or Indecent Proposal (1993), which theorized the love triangle as a financial and real estate decision; or My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), which was a terrible movie despite championing off-key karaoke. Let’s proceed.
Comic book geeks are the toughest audience to please. Sure, they’ll flock to any superhero movie (and often in costume) but change one detail of the beloved source material, and that’s basically their kryptonite. Still, a select few comic book flicks qualify as nearly 100% nerd-approved. Take a look below to find out which made the cut. (Then tune in to THE WRITERS’ ROOM for a celebration of small screen adaptations: “The Walking Dead, Smallville & other comics” on Fri., Apr. 25 at 9PM/8c.)
1. The Avengers – 97% Nerd-Approved
With Marvel’s mega-blockbuster, writer-director Joss Whedon tapped into every superhero fan’s inner 10-year-old. For those whose inner child is perpetually clutching an action figure wherever they go, a Hulk who didn’t look like Shrek only sweetened the deal.
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – 99.98% Nerd-Approved
A near perfect adaptation of Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting’s “Winter Soldier” comics storyline, this movie is so chock full of Marvel-ous Easter eggs – references to Doctor Strange and Crossbones among others — that it isn’t just the latest comic book movie. It may also be the best.
Dictators have always made great movie fodder. But whether they’re a source of ridicule or revulsion is another story. Take a look at some of the greatest portrayals of dictators in Hollywood history and you’ll see the interpretations are all over the map! Even Hitler (represented four times in the list below) can span from a buffoon to a holy terror. Don’t believe it? Read on.
1. The Great Dictator (1940)
Charlie Chaplin’s first true talking film stirred the nation, and can be considered a significant cultural reference point that served as inspiration to everything from Mel Brooks’ The Producers to Ivan Reitman’s Dave and even Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. If for nothing else, re-watch this seminal comedy for the climactic speech at the film’s conclusion, a moment when a legendary silent film star steps out of character and truly finds his voice, and a chillingly apt (but sadly ignored) call to action at a pivotal time in history—1940.
Eye-candy sidekicks? Please. Whether they’re cops, CIA agents or amateur sleuths, these plucky ladies are absolutely killing it at work — which just so happens to be investigating homicides. Tune in to any of the following shows and you will find women who bend rules, break balls and take names. Smart, brave, tough and uncompromising, these heroines are amazing at what they do, and shatter stereotypes along the way.
Where would the cinema world be without gangsters? The gun-blazing standoffs, ballsy bank stickups, mobster massacres … They’ve all contributed to some of the biggest moments in movie history. But there’s a special subset of the genre that blurs fantasy and reality, those flicks that portray the bigger-than-life gangsters who were real. Here are ten great…
Sometimes, they set up a sequel. Sometimes, they’re intentionally ambiguous. And sometimes, they’re maddeningly unclear. But what the best cliffhanger movie endings always do is leave audiences talking up a storm. And this doesn’t only happen in movies—it happens on TV as well. Consider Scandal, arguably the greatest cliffhanger show since Lost. Find out how series creator Shonda Rhimes and company create these high-stakes endings in THE WRITERS’ ROOM, Fri., Apr. 18 at 9PM/8c then vote on your favorite big screen example of a cliffhanger in the list below, ranked from serious palpitations to cardiac arrest.
Ever since Jerry Orbach joined the cast, LAW & ORDER fans have waited every episode for the next great one-liner from Detective Lennie Briscoe. Here was a world-weary, acid-tongued cop who knew how to zing it. Ready to laugh, groan and roll your eyes at Briscoe’s street-smart-assery? You’ve got two choices. Tune in to LAW & ORDER on SundanceTV or read the below.
Photo Credit: Listal
John Cusack’s entire career is something of a life lesson: you don’t need to be conventionally macho to become a leading man. Even in the golden age of muscled-up testosterone, the eighties, Cusack found success in offbeat roles while seeding a career with far fewer rough patches than, say, Sylvester Stallone’s. This month, Sundance Channel is showing two of Cusack’s very best, SAY ANYTHING and HIGH FIDELITY; in those movies and others, Cusack has much to teach us.
Photo Credit: The Guardian
There are the kinds of superheroes you see in summer popcorn movies, and then there are real-life superheroes. Some of the biggest rock stars in the world have proved that they also have some of the biggest hearts, by giving generously of their time and money to causes they care about. Some you’ve probably heard of–their charitable works are nearly as famous as they are–but some will likely surprise you. Here are our Top 10 musical superstar superheroes.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the real world, are we? Sundance Channel has the perfect escape on offer: Some really unreal worlds, alternative universes where hauntings, vampires, time travel, spontaneous combustion and the like are commonplace. However bad things may look right now, they can’t possibly compete with discovering that your kid is the spawn of Satan, can it? Here are 10 of our favorite alternate universes on film, of course, airing on Sundance Channel this month.
While the topic of women’s rights doesn’t have the box office draw of a bunch of dudes getting wasted at a bachelor party, say, or a bride-to-be getting diarrhea in the middle of the street, there are many excellent movies that cover various aspects of the War on Women (either directly or metaphorically)—workplace discrimination, violence against women, restricted access to abortion, sexual harassment, and all that fun stuff. So when you make a bag of popcorn and tune into the Sundance Channel this month for movies like ROSEMARY’S BABY, I’M NOT THERE and BLUE VELVET, not only will you be entertained, you’ll also be spending some quality time thinking about women’s rights. In other words, you can feel virtuous about that time on the couch. You’re welcome!
Just in time for Halloween, the ten most terrifying movies on the Sundance Channel run a gauntlet of horrific styles. For traditional slasher-movie thrills, we’ve got the original FRIDAY THE 13TH (and, inevitably, a slasher sequel with FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II). Others are horror classics too distinctive to be called traditional; David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski rarely seem more at home than when they channel their own personal obsessions into the horror genre with movies like ROSEMARY’S BABY, THE FLY, and SPIDER. Lars Von Trier’s ANTICHRIST fits into this pattern, too; it bears little resemblance to its genre brethren and is unmistakably the work of Von Trier, yet it is a horror picture, of sorts, filtered through the director’s bracing, often lyrical misery. Of course, there are other ways to get scared without even going into horror; Danny Boyle’s THE BEACH offers a scary vision of paradise corrupted, and, come to think of it, so does David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET, in its own way. If you want to freak out, there’s no shortage of options.
Tig Notaro’s genius has always rested in her innate sense of humor and impeccable comedic timing. She calls out the absurdity of any situation with a Southerner’s warmth and courtesy. None of that uptight, anxious, Northern-neurotic yelling here. She keeps her cool so well, Tig may have changed the way people in our culture deal with the Big C. Check out these ten reasons why you should be diggin her scene.
Photo Credit: Cinema Squid
What if gene splicing and genetic manipulation were allowed to be explored in this country, bar none? David Cronenberg’s now classic remake of THE FLY paves way for some big questions regarding human intervention with nature. Whatever position you side with in the great Genetic Manipulation debate, here are ten reasons why you should consider the issues our political system and culture would face if humans and insects shared the same body.
Don’t miss THE FLY airing Tuesday, October 30 at 9p on Sundance Channel.
Actor-writer-director-all-around-indie-MVP Mark Duplass recently completed yet another project: recommending a streaming movie on Netflix every day for the past year. Here, then, are Duplass’ top ten selections from his hundreds of suggestions, nabbed from his Twitter handle @MarkDuplass. Long live #Netflix365!
It certainly helped Gillian Jacobs to be born with beautiful, round eyes; perfect cheekbones; full lips; and a head of blonde hair that would make any young woman in Hollywood a bombshell. But it’s her work ethic, brave choices in acting roles, and charm that’s turnedm her into one of the most talked about starlets around. So even if the future of celebrated television series Community is still unclear, get familiar with some of Gillian’s other roles. Here are ten reasons to go mad for Gillian, and to get into her cheering section.