Tag Archives: Dustin Hoffman

The Set of 400: #236 – My Favorite Public Indecency

Today! Because sometimes things don’t work out and you never understand why –

Lenny (1974)

Directed by Bob Fosse

Starring Dustin Hoffman (x2), Valerie Perrine (x2), Guy Rennie, Gary Morton, Jan Miner, Stanley Beck, Michele Yonge, Rashel Novikoff, Bob Fosse

Bob Fosse’s towering, time-jumping, narratively-broken biography of comic Lenny Bruce is an absolutely gorgeous black-and-white, free-form exploration of the legendary stand-up’s rise to prominence amidst serious drug and legal problems, alongside his fascinating, destructive marriage. The jumps from documentary style interviews between Fosse and the characters of Bruce’s wife, agent, mother, etc., recreated club footage, and often contentious home life/backstage drama weave a hypnotic path through his life, resembling great jazz music, or really, an improv heavy Lenny Bruce routine (Huh! Probably the plan all along!). Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #311 – My Favorite Hotel Check-In

Today! Because I just want to say one word to you. Just one word –

The Graduate (1967)

Directed by Mike Nichols

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft (x2), Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Elizabeth Wilson, Murray Hamilton (x2), Buck Henry, Norman Fell, Alice Ghostley, Brian Avery, Walter Brooke, Richard Dreyfuss, Mike Farrell

One of the undeniable classics of the New Hollywood 1960s, and easily the most popular cougar seduction comedy of all-time, The Graduate didn’t come on my radar for some time. It was probably college before I really watched it – that being the obvious right time to see this film – but it is such a universally known and referenced film that I’m pretty sure all the major elements were already familiar to me. Mrs. Robinson. Ben sitting on the bottom of the pool. Plastics. Banging on the window in the church. It’s an across-the-board iconic movie.

But my first real exposure to it was almost certainly through its writer, frequent Saturday Night Live host of the 1970s Buck Henry. Even though he had a pretty decent writing/acting career, Henry’s big claim to fame in the late ’70s was still his Oscar nominated screenplay (and bit role as the hotel clerk) for The Graduate. Also, can you believe this didn’t win for Screenplay? This is the exact kind of movie that wins Screenplay and gets snubbed for everything else – funny, but with depth, that ten years later is hailed as a classic. And while In the Heat of the Night is a perfectly fine movie, did it win because Stirling Silliphant is the greatest name in the history of names? All he did after this was write action and disaster movies, including The Towering Inferno and Shaft in Africa. That’s right, the screenwriter of the third best Shaft movie once won an Oscar!

Silliphant, left, with In the Heat of the Night award winners Ashby, Steiger, and Mirisch

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