Tag Archives: Ned Beatty

The Set of 400: #20 – My Favorite George Washington Bridge Joke

Today! Because the dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust –

Network (1976)

Directed by Sidney Lumet (x4)

Starring William Holden (x2), Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall (x4), Ned Beatty (x5), Beatrice Straight (x2), Darryl Hickman, Wesley Addy, Arthur Burghardt, Marlene Warfield, Jordan Charney (x2), Conchata Ferrell, Ken Kercheval, William Prince

The most prescient movie of all time, Network manages to reflect modern television far better than the handful of channels existing in its day. Sure, the writing may have been on the wall that news could someday be weaponized and rolled into general entertainment, but the likes of CNN and FOX News was still years away when Paddy Chayefsky penned his masterpiece and Lumet so brilliantly brought it to life. You may come into Network for the acting – because those are some powerful, towering performances – but it stays with you for the depiction of the rabbit hole nightmare decades before its full impact was evident.

Now, despite winning three of the four acting Oscars in ’76 (the second and most recent movie to accomplish this feat, after A Streetcar Named Desire), this is not a group of particularly well-rounded characters. They more represent ideals than actual human beings, and so no one is very relatable, and the script goes bonkers with the monologuing. Beatrice Straight won Best Supporting Actress for basically one long scene where she yells at her philandering husband. Ned Beatty was similarly nominated for his apocalyptic speech breaking down corporate America in near biblical terms. The most famous sequence of the movie is an almost uninterrupted missive to the viewing audience as Finch’s cracked newsman Howard Beale gets mad as hell. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #152 – My Favorite Vending Machine Card Game

Today! Because if you want to get out of here, get rid of that monkey!

Toy Story 3 (2010)

Directed by Lee Unkrich (x2)

Starring Tom Hanks (x4), Tim Allen (x3), Joan Cusack (x3), John Ratzenberger (x4), Wallace Shawn (x3), Ned Beatty (x4), Michael Keaton (x6), Estelle Harris (x2), Don Rickles (x2), Laurie Metcalf (x3), John Morris (x2), Jodi Benson (x2), Blake Clark, Timothy Dalton, Kristen Schaal, Jeff Garlin, Bonnie Hunt, Whoopi Goldberg (x5), R. Lee Ermey (x2), Richard Kind (x3)

One of the most disconcertingly emotional movies ever made, Toy Story 3 manages to be alternatingly hilarious and heart-breaking, and forces you examine issues of loss and abandonment in ways that aren’t typical in mainstream entertainment. Hell, I would say it’s not something even esoteric filmmaking would attempt to inflict on an audience too often. If it weren’t for Buzz’s Spanish mode and hard-bitten, crime noir-ish gags from the telephone, I would say this might be the most insidiously horrifying children’s film ever created.

Oh Jesus Christ, that porch

Seriously, how do you navigate little ones through this movie? Is it possible to just separate the nightmare of Lotso’s life from all the Woody and Buzz adventures? I get that the ending is geared toward making adults cry – none of that can be anything kids will really understand – but what about the psychologically torturous aspects of this story? I would only imagine there are a million unanswerable questions raised through the middle section of this movie, straight through to Lotso’s end – which is no walk in the park either. And maybe that’s truly the genius of this film, and this whole series. We can examine the people and things we’ve lost – the parts of our lives that were left behind somewhere, by choice or just forgotten – without it killing us. Toy Story 3 sure as hell tries to rip you apart along the way, but in the end it’s okay. Like our heroes, we made it. Even if we narrowly escaped the landfill incinerator in the process.

Oh my God, that incinerator

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #199 – My Favorite Niagara Falls Excursion

Today! Because these humans are beginning to bore me –

Superman II (1980)

Directed by Richard Lester (and Richard Donner (x3), somewhat)

Starring Christopher Reeve (x2), Margot Kidder (x2), Gene Hackman (x2), Terence Stamp (x4), Sarah Douglas (x2), Jack O’Halloran (x2), Jackie Cooper (x2), Ned Beatty (x3), Valerie Perrine (x3), Susannah York (x3), Clifton James (x2), E.G. Marshall (x2), Marc McClure (x3), John Ratzenberger (x3), Shane Rimmer, Pepper Martin

A good case for being the only solid movie starring Big Blue ever made, Superman II‘s production history is as entertaining as the movie itself – what with the crazy plan to film it concurrently with the original film in 1977 and ’78, the scrapping of this plan partway through, the firing of original film director Donner, a bunch of the actors quitting – including Hackman, requiring massive rewrites and doubling, the death of some key crew members, the lawsuits by Marlon Brando and against Christopher Reeve, and the fact that despite all this turbulence – and replacement director Lester’s decidedly different spin on the sequel – virtually everyone you talk to agrees that this movie is far superior to the original.

You know what? I’m good.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #294 – My Favorite Rolling Ferris Wheel

Today! Because I fought your kind in the Great War, and we kicked the living shit out of you –

1941 (1979)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd (x3), Ned Beatty (x2), Christopher Lee (x4), Tim Matheson, Toshiro Mifune (x2), John Candy (x4), Nancy Allen, Lorraine Gary (x2), Warren Oates, Slim Pickens, Robert Stack, Treat Williams, Murray Hamilton (x3), Elisha Cook Jr., Patti LuPone, Eddie Deezen, Perry Lang, Wendie Jo Sperber, Joe Flaherty, David L. Lander, Michael McKean (x3), Don Calfa, Susan Backlinie, Jerry Hardin, Audrey Landers, Dick Miller (x3), Mickey Rourke

For those of you unfamiliar with this movie – can you believe the above cast got together in ’79 and put on an epic war comedy? And under the direction of the king, Steven Spielberg, following his massive success with Jaws and Close Encounters? Doesn’t it make you want to run out and see what this movie could possibly be?? How have you avoided it all these years? Do it!

And for those of you already familiar with this movie, SHUT UP.

I’m not Titanic-level defensive about 1941, but that’s because most people either didn’t see it or don’t remember it enough to argue about it. And look, I know there is a lot wrong with this movie. It only sort of functions as a comedy – it’s like a less funny It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with explosions and extended choreographed fistfights – and sort of functions as a war movie. But the premise is solid enough and the cast is terrific that, even though it doesn’t totally deliver, it’s still a pretty entertaining movie. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #305 – My Favorite Reversequake

Today! Because you’ll believe a man can fly –

Superman (1978)

Directed by Richard Donner

Starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Valerie Perrine, Phyllis Thaxter, Marlon Brando, Susannah York, Trevor Howard, Terence Stamp (x2), Marc McClure (x2), Jack O’Halloran, Sarah Douglas, Maria Schell, Jeff East, Larry Hagman, John Ratzenberger, Harry Andrews

For my entire childhood, this was the only superhero franchise we had. And like a number of other franchises I’ve mentioned, I get the Superman movies waaay mixed up. It doesn’t help that they filmed parts one and two back-to-back, so everyone looks the same, and all the villains from II cameo in I. These two movies are more a single movie than most films with their sequels. Sure, they cut Godfather I and II together effectively as the Godfather Epic eventually, but watching them one after the other in their original form doesn’t bind them together better. But hell, I really have a hard time distinguishing individual scenes from the first two Superman movies to this day. And parts of III, for that matter.

III is bizarre, but I watched it a ton as a kid

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Movies