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That's Hollywood (1976–1982)
Thanks That's Hollywood
3 August 2006
I agree that this was a wonderful, engaging series. Along with the PBS version of Siskel and Ebert (Sneak Previews), Arthur Knight's Art of Film book and the Dialing for Dollars Movie, this was the series that most drew me to the art and entertainment of film. It seems like almost every episode ended with the destruction of Vader's Death Star (this was a Fox produced show after all) but that's a small detriment.

I imagine the price of rights for the film clips may be holding up this show from returning to the air, but if the clips were all Fox films, I'm surprised this hasn't reappeared on the Fox Movie Channel.

I loved how the series chronicled the history of a genre or star, from birth to the present. Tom Bosley acquitted himself well and gave a folksy bent to the subject's history.

I'd love to see this series again.

By the way, I now work in the film business and the love of film this series inspired was certainly instrumental in my getting here.
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Mature look at the sexual revolution, with some exploitation thrown in.
30 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers

I just attended a fabulous double bill at the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles, featuring Wild in the Streets (one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures) and Three in the Attic. Actor Larry Bishop was there to discuss both films and to talk about Christopher Jones, who he hinted was actually in the theater somewhere watching the films.

I haven't seen Attic since the mid-80's and have kept an eye out for it ever since, to no avail. I had often wondered why, with Streets cult status and Christopher Jones a Tarantino icon, this film hadn't been released on DVD.

Oddly, I had remembered it as something much more exploitative, owing probably to the plot line that stood out - 3 women lock a guy in an attic and almost pleasure him to death. What surprised me most about the film was the maturity and quality of the dialogue. Whereas many of AIP's films of the period stressed exploitation over multidimensional character depth and dialogue, Attic was actually handled with a surprising degree of investigation into the aftermath of the sexual revolution.

I also found the romance between Jones and ethereal beauty Yvette Mimeux to be entirely believable and sweet, and ultimately emotionally painful for the characters. Scenes that take place in Provinceown, when they first live together, rival similar scenes in Love Story and carry the naturalness of the escaped lobster scene in Annie Hall. There was actually time spent getting to know the couple.

Yvette says "couples are supposed to fight. How come we never fight." So he throws a dish on the floor, then hands one to her to do the same. Very cute.

Surprises abound. Yvette's father's reaction upon discovering that his daughter is living in sin is classic. He understands Jones' side of things. The female dean of the college smoking a pipe - and understanding Yvette's side of things. Jones has trouble bedding the hippie chick so he tells her he is gay - but he turns to the camera so we can see the expression of hope and fabrication on his face.

No, the film is not perfect but it's certainly well acted, well written and well shot - and it's no more dated than The Graduate or Easy Rider. The New England locations are utilized well and Attic has one of the best end title sequences I've ever seen. I won't give it away in case you are ever surprised by this film, but it's hilarious and completely original. Eulice was a bit of a stereotype but she was a strong woman which made her appealing.

And of course there's Christopher Jones. For my money, one of the greatest losses in cinema was his departure from the screen. As I watched the naturalness of his performance, and his Johnny Depp/James Dean good looks, I spent much of the film seeing him in other roles of the 70's. He could have easily pulled off Cuckoo's Nest or Deerhunter or Serpico.

Bishop told us that he was about to begin directing a Quentin Tarantino produced biker film and that he hoped to bring Christopher Jones back to the big screen, as he did when directing Mad Dog Time. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

The American Cinematheque traditionally finds the best copies of a film available for their screenings and in some cases, the only surviving prints. The film they screened was in pristine condition until the last two or three reels, when much of the color had faded so that everything had a pink tone. Perhaps this is why a DVD release of the film hasn't happened yet. Such a shame if this film is lost to time.

If you ever get a chance to see Three in the Attic, check it out. Very enjoyable
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Atkins gets a Warren piece.
7 August 2005
Heavenly, this film is not, but I must admit that it is one of my guilty pleasures.

The story centers on a community college speech teacher (Warren) with a recently laid-off husband. Her wild sister drags her to a male strip club one night where she discovers that her lazy student (Atkins) is the star attraction. Wouldn't you know it, eventually the teacher is getting private lessons from the student. It's really about temptation and devotion and the fight between the two.

While the plot and styles are incredibly dated, thee are some things to recommend about this film. Warren gives a strong performance, doing as much with the material as she can. Her transition from constricted and conflicted wife to released vixen is convincing. Her frustrated husband, Logan, also does a fine job. Atkins is Atkins and does nothing more than offer lingering stares and lots of skin.

What makes this film a guilty pleasure is the good use of Bryan Adams' music and one of the more erotic love scenes ever filmed with someone of Warren's stature (this was around the time she blew audiences away with her Oscar-nominated performance in Victor/Victoria). If you never thought of Warren as a sexual dynamo, stick around. Some cuts of the love scene contain a shot of Atkin's manhood, which shocked me even back then.

There are some dramatic elements involving the husband and his frustrations, as well as Warren's inner conflicts, but the film is far too short to go into these too deeply.

It's not a good film by any means but I do think it tried to be something more than the trash it was. Perhaps some of the plot ended up on the dance-room floor.
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Impossible to turn away
28 June 2005
Not a review...just an anecdote.

My wife and I were preparing to attend a party and I turned the TV on as I was getting dressed. The Browning Version had just begun. I had never seen it but after a few minutes, found myself sitting on the bed, still watching. My wife came in to ask why I wasn't getting ready and I pointed to the TV saying, "This is a great movie and I have no idea what it is." She sat down and watched a few minutes to see what I was talking about.

we never made it to the party.

Emotionally engrossing with sterling performances. Very glad to see this finally coming out as a Criterion Collection DVD.
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There's good trash and there's bad trash. This is bad trash.
3 January 2005
While I had enjoyed, in a campy, retro, self-referential way, the behind the scenes looks at Three's Company, Charlie's Angels and Betty Thomas' superior film of this mini-genre, The Late Shift, this ill-conceived piece of mirthless mayhem was just a waste of time. While in those other films the actors had a passing resemblance and sounded similar to those being portrayed, and incidentally seemed to be having a good time with their roles, here everyone just seems lost and miscast.

Alice Krige as Joan Collins comes close. Well, the occasional haircut and shoulder pad hit it on the head as well. Everything about this was wrong. The Rock Hudson AIDS revelation even elicits a viewer chuckle, as "Linda Evans" is told of his illness. "Oh that's silly," she laughs, "he looked fine when he was here. We even had a kissing scene-" Her mouth comically drops open with the realization of what that implies. Poor Linda...she quits the show because an article calls her The Loneliest Woman in Hollywood. soon thereafter there's a knock on her door by her neighbor who asks her to turn down the music. of course, it's musical cheese king Yanni. More chuckles.

Nothing was handled in depth, there were no juicy revelations, there were no moments of "oh, that's how that came to be", and worst of all, almost no mention of TV mainstay Heather Locklear. For a trashy nighttime soap to be presented as garbage is oddly appropriate but the show must have had at least some interesting backstage antics beyond "we need to beat Dallas in the ratings" and "we should sell Dynasty evening wear!"
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Rocco couldn't bring home the Bacon.
23 November 2004
A prime case of a brilliant performance (Bacon) usurped by incoherently kinetic direction. Rocco's incessantly moving camera, with almost no motivation in it's moves, does nothing to support one of the finest performances of 1995. This should have been a great film. Bacon, (akin to Jeff Bridges and Steve Buscemi, two other journeymen actors who never get their appropriate praises), is so good here that even Rocco can't completely obscure it.

Take for example Bacon's tour de force scene in a prison cage, describing his years of torment. Rocco, so pleased with his dolly-mounted camera, spins endlessly around the cage, totally disregarding Bacon's bravura shoulda-been Oscar moment.

Bacon keeps plugging away and one day he'll have his statue. Such a shame Rocco robbed him of one for this fault-ridden film.
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J.T. (1969 TV Movie)
J.T., at last I found you!!! Watch this!!
13 April 2003
For years, I thought this was called P.J. (not oddly, my own first two initials) and I couldn't find out anything about it. Then tonight I just happened upon a few links that led me to the title. I LOVED this movie as a kid. I read the book and when I saw that it was going to be on TV I had to watch. i was fascinated by this honest slice of life so different from my own suburban existence, yet so relevant because of its universal emotion. I watched it with my father and older brother. When the end came, I was in tears. My brother made fun of me for crying. Then my father, never an emotional guy, told him to stop. He said it just meant that I had feelings. He smiled at me, wiping his own tears from his eyes. It is one of my favorite memories of my late father. In a way, I don't think I want to see this again, fearing that the golden memory will always exceed the reality.

If you have the opportunity, and can emotionally stomach films like Old Yeller, E.T. and It's a Wonderful Life, SEE THIS!!!!
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Half of a very good film
22 October 2002
The period storyline is engrossing and wonderfully rendered in details and performances that ring true. truly transcendant was a scene in which Sarah Polley is finally shown some human tenderness and it all plays on a close-up of her face. The modern day allegorical tale, however, sinks the film, appropriately enough given what the film is called. No French Lieutenant's Woman, this. The overt sexual tension between the characters caused the audience to laugh in the theater in which I saw this. Saxophone, ice cubes and Hurley's breasts, though elementally splendid, add nothing to this weak storyline. They should have jetisoned the modern day story but then they would have had a period piece and people wouldn't pay to see that, right? Such a waste.
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