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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