Tag Archives: Michael Murphy

The Set of 400: #217 – My Favorite Adult Braces

Today! Because it’s not going to stop/’Til you wise up –

Magnolia (1999)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (x4)

Starring Tom Cruise (x3), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x4), Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly (x4), William H. Macy, Jason Robards (x2), Melora Walters, Ricky Jay, Alfred Molina (x3), Felicity Huffman, Melinda Dillon (x2), Luis Guzman (x3), Philip Baker Hall (x3), Thomas Jane (x2), Michael Murphy (x3), Henry Gibson (x3), Neil Flynn (x2), Patton Oswalt, Jim Meskimen (x2), Jeremy Blackman, Michael Bowen, Cleo King, Clark Gregg (x3)

Like many people, my initial reaction to Magnolia was that I had a problem with the ending. For everything else going on in this movie – and there is a ton going on here – the natural takeaway, as it is the climax of the movie, is “What the hell is all this with the frogs now?” But, come on, how else was it going to end? Isn’t it obvious that the solution to all the crazy pent up drama is for the sky to open up and drench the city in biblically apocalyptic frogs? No?

I mean, this kid seemed to dig it

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The Set of 400: #270 – My Favorite Ghost Writers

Today! Because I don’t recognize the right of this committee to ask me these kind of questions. And furthermore, you can all go fuck yourselves –

The Front (1976)

Directed by Martin Ritt

Starring Woody Allen (x3), Zero Mostel (x2), Herschel Bernardi, Michael Murphy (x2), David Margulies, Charles Kimbrough, Andrea Marcovicci, Lloyd Gough, Danny Aiello, Remak Ramsay, Marvin Lichterman, Joshua Shelley

A markedly serious film despite the starring comedians, The Front features Woody Allen in a non-Woody Allen movie, and a drama at that (an extreme rarity), playing a cashier roped in by blacklisted writer friends to submit television scripts on their behalf, to enable them to keep earning, in the McCarthy Communist witch hunt of the early 1950s. And while there are funny bits here and there, the film attempts to explore the subject more or less straight, to devastating effect.

But people have had some tonal problems with the movie over the years – the television programs are largely comedies, and Zero’s Hecky Brown, in attempts to keep making money, does continue to perform live comedy acts. Because of this, some take issue with The Front for not taking the whole matter more seriously, but without this – I propose – you’d end up with Guilty by Suspicion, which is a fine movie in its own way, but a touch too unbearable and infuriating (and equivocating in its message and source facts). The Front works all the better because of the lighter moments – the sad clown is almost always going to be a more impactful character.

Zero!

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The Set of 400: #396 – My Favorite Southeast Asian Driving Range

Today! Because if I nail Hot Lips and punch Hawkeye, can I go home too?

MASH (1970)

Directed by Robert Altman

Starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall, Tom Skerritt, Rene Auberjonois, David Arkin, John Schuck, Gary Burghoff, Jo Ann Pflug, Roger Bowen, Fred Williamson, Bud Cort, Michael Murphy, Timothy Brown, Carl Gottlieb, Bobby Troup

For the longest time, the beginning and end of my interest in the entire MASH franchise was the play. Like the movie, it is based on the book by Richard Hooker, but except for the same basic plot and characters – football game and all – it shares few real similarities. The TV show is even further afield, again with the same characters, but even less like the play, movie, or book. All have different tones, different dialogue, and different interactions among the primaries. I was in the play my junior year of high school, having never really watched the show, and was pretty dismissive of the film at the time. I was Hawkeye, by the way, and I think it was a pretty decent show, as far as a high school production of a very adult war satire could be.

Not sure why the play pictures I have are in black and white, but here’s young me to the right, with pals young Phil and young Munchak

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