Tag Archives: Tom Hulce

The Set of 400: #9 – My Favorite Excessive Display of Notes

Today, because I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint –

 

Amadeus (1984)

Directed by Milos Forman (x2)

Starring F. Murray Abraham (x5), Tom Hulce (x3), Elizabeth Berridge, Jeffrey Jones (x6), Simon Callow, Roy Dotrice, Christine Ebersole (x2), Kenny Baker (x6), Cynthia Nixon, Vincent Schiavelli (x6), Charles Kay

We didn’t sit around the television watching a lot of 18th century Viennese epics as children, but perhaps because of when it was made and how often WPIX was willing to air this four hour (with commercials) biopic, a lifelong love affair sprung up with Amadeus. I mean, it’s basically a perfect movie – the leanest 160 minute film you’ll ever see – full of marvelous performances and dazzling set decoration, and even if you aren’t a particularly big fan of classical music, the combination of filmmaking expertise on display and riveting soundtrack make for an always engrossing audience experience. But for a kid? How and why did this movie catch?

I think having such a basic conflict is easy to understand at any age. Mozart – loads of raw talent, kind of an immature asshole. Salieri – marginally achieved skills through hard work, bitter at the very existence of Mozart, in a position to screw him up. Even years before you get into serious schooling and/or the workplace and you encounter people who basically fit either of these categories, the concept resonates – jealousy, yearning for acceptance/friendship, speaking backwards as a way of impressing potential romantic partners. A lot of basic human desire is evident out there! Plus, vibrant settings and fun costumery and terrific location shoots and the make-up! Again, it’s a perfect movie. I’ve used this description periodically on this list, but there’s always like one weird thing even in the best of movies to kind of rankle you, right?

Ahem

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The Set of 400: #62 – My Favorite Dead-End Alley Parade

Today! Because as of this moment, they’re on double secret probation –

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

Directed by John Landis (x4)

Starring Tim Matheson (x2), Peter Riegert, John Belushi (x3), Tom Hulce (x2), Stephen Furst (x2), Mark Metcalf, John Vernon, Martha Smith, Karen Allen (x4), Bruce McGill, Donald Sutherland (x6), Verna Bloom, Mary Louise Weller, James Daughton, Doug Kenney, James Widdoes, Sarah Holcomb, Otis Day, Kevin Bacon (x5)

I think I liked the idea of Animal House more than the movie for a long time. Figure, I first saw this as a fairly young kid, and – as has been the case with many comedies of that time and before – I saw the severely edited television version almost exclusively for years. So while I loved the early Saturday Night Live from a pretty young age, I didn’t really get the appeal of Animal House. Come on, even edited to death it doesn’t have much resonance with a very young crowd, let’s face it. I was still watching lots of Police Academy and Look Who’s Talking – kid’s comedies masquerading as adult comedies. Animal House can’t possibly connect until you’re at least approaching high school, right?

Nonetheless, one of the first cassette tapes I remember owning was the Animal House soundtrack, which is a bunch of ’50s and ’60s songs plus that wacky “Animal House” theme, and I listened to it constantly. Sam Cooke’s “What a Wonderful World,” Paul and Paula, “Shama Lama Ding Dong” – I don’t know, even as a kid I was into old music, I guess. Why I would’ve gotten it in the first place, though, I can’t say, because again, it’s not like I watched the movie all that much. The same goes for The Blues Brothers – for the longest time, I considered myself a fan, and would’ve said so to my dumb grade school pals, but I didn’t actually see the film that often.

Hell yeah, cassette-heads!

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The Set of 400: #88 – My Favorite Animated Pillory

Today! Because I had a little trouble with the fireplace –

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Directed by Gary Trousdale (x2) and Kirk Wise (x2)

Starring Tom Hulce, Demi Moore (x3), Kevin Kline (x4), Tony Jay (x2), Jason Alexander, Charles Kimbrough (x2), Mary Wickes (x2), Paul Kandel, David Ogden Stiers (x3), Bill Fagerbakke, Jane Withers, Frank Welker (x3)

There are certainly cooler, rarer, and better posters for this movie than the one I used above, but I wanted to emphasize how the movie was marketed. This, an animated Hunchback of Notre Dame – with all the molten lead battles, deformity shaming, uncontrollable lust, eternal damnation, and murder – had McDonald’s Happy Meal toys. I mean, they understood the subject matter, but they were still Disney, so they forged ahead the only way they knew how!

Not pictured: guards burning to death, implements of public torture

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