Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dearest Nora

By: Alex "The Savant" Heisman

Dearest Nora,

Nearly every single tribute composed towards your magnificently giving life has emulated your comedic gift and been some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever read. Forgive me then, in articulating a slightly more heartfelt, less witty piece. Certainly nothing against those who base their obituaries in humor, I’m sure you would be immensely proud, I just find it very hard to try to mimic your style when you were so far above the rest of us that anything less may just appear inadequate.

The pain and shock of losing you and the disappearance of your presence in the entertainment industry has still not yet settled in my being. I’ve come to realize that I took you for granted- I always expected another incredibly hilarious, yet deep, musing on the position of life from you every few years. You were, after all, the one who ultimately brought the very important question of “can a man and a woman truly be friends without sex getting in the way?” to the forefront.

You pushed through the pain of your own personal life to reflect and create some of the most delectably apt coverage on infidelity and divorce ever published in Heartburn. You made countless swoon as Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks were unconventionally brought closer together in Sleepless in Seattle. You created an unflinching and daring expose on whistle blowing in Silkwood. You afforded us a reason to not feel guilty about over-gorging ourselves after Julie & Julia.

Hell, you gave us one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard in my entire life: “Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on… Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”

The question then remains- how do we ever begin to push through the pain of losing you?

I thank you for your wit. I thank you for your grace. I thank you for the three projects you and Meryl were involved with- Silkwood, Heartburn, and Julie & Julia. Although the Academy never awarded you a trophy through your three unsuccessful bids, they never truly needed to- you still more than proved your place in the hallowed pantheon of inspirational and genuine filmmakers. Your passing resembles a Peter Sellers, a Madeline Kahn, a Belushi or a Radner- humorous geniuses gone before their time that left a void that can never be filled.

To slightly alter Carrie Fisher’s immortal, repeated line from When Harry Met Sally… “You’re right, you’re right, you were always right”.

Say hi to the big guy for me.

From- one of your infinite and admiring fans

(Nora Ephron- 1941-2012)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Meryl!

By: Alex "The Savant" Heisman

As I have certainly let more time elapse than I should between parts 1 and 2 of my Meryl opus, please allow this short piece to be submitted as evidence in the interim instead. Today, June 22nd. 2012, marks the 63rd year of Mary Louise Streep’s glorious existence on this Earth. No words I have in my vocabulary can even begin to pay tribute to both the immense impact Meryl has had in my life over the past decade or so and her achievements in the entertainment industry.

I merely want to note this occasion and say- thank you Meryl, from the bottom of my heart, for being exactly who you are. For over thirty-five years you have led a completely flawless, scandal-free career that has forged massive ground and shown to what heights and depths actors are capable of achieving in the medium of film. Thank you for being the reason I have the strength to get up every morning. When life becomes overwhelming, I retreat into your masterful Clarissa Vaughan, your sublime Joanna Kramer, your shattering Sophie Zawistowska. I very humbly put forward that if you could even begin to grasp the depth to which you have influenced just this one fan’s life, I’d hope your own self-acceptance as an actor might be validated. No one in my life so far, including those closest to me, has really been able to understand my utter devotion to your legacy, but, in choosing to live my life strictly by your set of ethics, I have found some semblance of the inner peace we search for all our lives. God Bless You, Harry and Mary Streep for fusing your genes into the being that arrived in this world on June 22nd, 1949 in Summit, New Jersey.

“God bless you, as you have blessed us, and as he has blessed us through you.” – Jim Carrey to Meryl Streep at her 2004 American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award

See you front-row, center on August 10th for Hope Springs!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Moonrise Kindgom Rises to Kingship!

By Alex "The Savant" Heisman and Paul "The Good-Looking One" Goldberg

The Good-Looking One's Rating- 4/5 stars
The Savant's Rating- 5/5 stars

Believe it or not, this is the one movie where Bruce Willis has hair and it doesn't destroy the whole film! -The Savant

Sure. -The Good-Looking One

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Prometheus and the Alien Legacy

By: Alex "The Savant" Heisman

In eager anticipation for the release of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, the prequel to his seminal 1979 masterpiece Alien, and the video recording about the movie from The Good-Looking One and I, it’s worth taking a quick look back at the Alien quadrilogy and the subsequent defining legacy.

When Alien quietly premiered at the end of May in 1979, it was intended to be just another B-grade science-fiction monster movie. As extremely positive word of mouth began to ripple outwards from the few who initially saw it, more and more patrons flocked to the theater to see what all the fuss was about. Although actor John Hurt was a previously minted Oscar nominee from the year before, the cast of seven was led by largely unknowns in the industry- most importantly, Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Ellen Ripley in a performance that launched her massive career. Alien shifted the function of the genre in a whole new direction as it proved that anyone, no matter his or her station in the film, was expendable and that danger lurked down every darkened hallway of the starship Nostromo.

Seven years later, James Cameron took the reigns of the franchise and created a sequel, Aliens, that is just as good, if not better, than the original. Once again, Ripley finds herself battling the alien creatures with the help of some new, fan-favorite characters in the quadrilogy such as the friendly android Bishop and the unassuming Corporal Hicks. Ripley also finds herself taking care of a young, orphaned girl whose parents were slaughtered by the alien race. In one of her most fully realized performances, Sigourney Weaver became one of the very few actresses in a horror film ever nominated for an acting Academy Award. In analyzing the relatively weak competition that year, it’s a wonder she didn’t win.

Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection are really only worth mentioning because I’m obligated to as they’re part of the saga. Neither movie is very good and both actually diminish the importance and impact of the franchise. Aside from driving the chronicles of Ellen Ripley further towards the critical final battle between human and alien, Alien 3 is most notable for being the directorial debut of respected filmmaker David Fincher while Alien: Resurrection quite blandly features Winona Ryder (Remember her? She used to act!). There is also an infamous and severely divisive moment towards the end of Alien 3 that alters the course of the character of Ellen Ripley and her journey that still remains a hot point of contention 20 years later.

As the days inch closer towards the dawning of the future of the Alien franchise with the release of Prometheus many questions are raised. Two MASSIVE questions left unanswered since the release of Alien 33 years ago are “What’s the deal with the crashed ship the crew explores?” and “What, indeed, is the purpose of the legendary Space Jockey?” The trailer for the film teases very brief shots of what promises to be answers to these questions, as well as many others. Notably, Prometheus will be heavily featured in the annals of film history as having one of the best marketing campaigns ever employed. Aside from Ridley Scott, the director of the original Alien film, returning to direct this prequel, literally nothing about the plot is known outside of its basic connection to the Alien franchise. Maybe Guy Pearce, appearing as Peter Weyland- co-founder of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation that ordered the Nostromo to investigate the mysterious signal emitted from the downed ship in the first place, can answer our questions in just a few days…

This is Alex “The Savant” Heisman, last survivor of the starship Nostromo, signing off.