Greg Giraldo – RIP, you funny bastard

If you followed the news, Greg Giraldo overdosed last weekend, and has been in a New Jersey hospital since then. Earlier today, a tweet from Jim Norton informed us that Greg has died. Not a joke, not another black humour stab, this one was sadly for real. It immediately got confirmed, and the condolences have been pouring in. Who is Greg Giraldo? He’s a comedian you wish you saw live, on stage. Continue reading “Greg Giraldo – RIP, you funny bastard”

Dennis Hopper RIP; thanks for Easy Rider, man

“For a brief moment there, there really seemed to be an independent film movement. Then it was over.” That’s how Dennis Hopper has described the unexpected and massive popularity of his 1969 movie Easy Rider. The little fill really did come out of nowhere and established Hopper, Peter Fonda, and a very young Jack Nicholson as the ‘fresh new faces to watch’ in the movie industry. It cost less than $500k, and left behind so many changed lives, a couple of generations who have been on the brink of a new way of thinking. The kids needed a little nudge, and Easy Rider was that tiny last straw.

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At the Movies is canceled

Disney/ABC is pulling the plug on the popular ‘movie-critics-going-at-each-other’ show in August. It lasted 24 years. As far as I know, At the Movies died when Roger Ebert lost his voice in 2006. Yes, Gene Siskel’s death in 1999 was a big blow to the show, but the two of them have been doing it so long between ’75 and ’99 and knew each other so well that Ebert was able to continue the legacy of intelligent, informed, entertaining arguments about the state of cinema. He had a tough season with rotating guests in ’99-’00 (Kevin Smith and Richard Roeper were my personal favourites). Roeper stuck around for a few seasons as a second chair to Ebert, but the last few years were a big mess. ABC/Disney tried to put in Ben Mankiewicz and Jeffrey Lyons , but  got horrible reception, bad ratings, and people just didn’t like them. Besides, what the hell happened to Roeper? Pushed out?

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George Carlin RIP – catch TV specials

We knew it was coming, and his last few appearances on TV have been pretty telling. The guy’s been on stage, entertaining us, our parents, our grandparents for decades. That heart can only take so much, you know. How appropriate – heart failure. My guess is George just got tired. And can you blame him – fighting idiocy, and observing the morons who surround him every day. There are no others like you, George. I’m sorry you got tired of all of us. We should have tried harder to be decent beings.
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Sydney Pollack RIP

Sydney Pollack has died or cancer. What a terrible loss – the director of Tootsie, The Way We Were, The Firm, Out of Africa, and so many other films – the kind of movies you never watch just once – he’s no longer with us. He was also a gifted actor, appearing in many memorable scenes from the last couple of decades – Changing Lanes, Michael Clayton, Eyes Wide Shut, The Player, Husbands and Wives.
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Robert Altman RIP

Robert Altman is no more. The famous director of Nashville, Gosford Park, MASH, Dr. T and the Women (and so many more movies) has died. He never got his Oscar – sure there was that lifetime achievement handout earlier this year, but for all the outstanding work he’s done, none has earned him that ultimate honor. Of course, Altman was the kind of guy who cared little for awards and ceremonies. He frequently said that hie biggest achievement was being able to work on movies (and with people) he picked. No assigned contractual obligations, no back-room deals. He saw a story, he asked for it, and he worked on it. In today’s climate, that’s not an easy task. For a guy who’s been in business since the 50s – that’s true honor.
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RIP John Spencer (1946-2005)

It’s a little late, I know, but honestly, when I first heard about this on Saturday morning, I thought it was an elaborate joke. Perhaps The West Wing writers are trying to get some publicity for the show, or maybe some joker announced it on the radio somewhere, and the story spread out of control. No, unfortunately, it was not a joke – John Spencer has died last Friday from heart attack. You know him as Leo McGarry from the West Wing. Others may know him from Presumed Innocent, Ravenous, Cop Land, The Rock, Green Card, Black Rain, Sea of Love and many many other films. He’s the leutenant, the cop, the investigator – serene and quiet, but all coiled up inside. With John, it was all in the eyes.
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James Doohan (Star Trek’s Scotty) has passed away

Rest in peace, Scotty. We have grown up with you at the control panel as Ster Trek’s most memorable engineer. You may have been typecast after the three-year long run with the original series, but boy, what a character you created. When the ST universe came back in late 70s in a series of movies, and throughout the 80s and 90s (including the guest-star appearance in “Relics”, an episode of The Next Generation) you have been the highlight of any plot, and stole every scene with your burly tone and Scottish accent. Thanks for every line of dialogue, and may your journeys continue beyond this world.

Superman is Dead (1952-2004)

Christopher Reeve is dead at the age of 52. Most of you know him as Superman, and recently, the “guy who fell of the horse, got paralyzed, and is getting all the media attention”. However, he was also in Noises Off, Speechless, Somewhere in Time, The Bostonians, Remains of the Day, and many made-for-TV movies. Sure, playing Superman made Reeve popular and easy-to-recognize, but it was the smaller films, and his campaigning for embryonic stem cell research that made him a good person, and a fascinating actor. It was a shame you were popular for your less demanding roles, and it was a shame you ended up in that wheelchair. We are forever grateful for your involvement in stem cell research, and we will miss you. Check out the movie clip of “Noises Off”
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