ITEM! Tony Laplume - Franco American without a home
In his writer's blog, Tony continues his studies of his French heritage, explaining his struggle to understand what that means.
Read more here.
ITEM! Tony Laplume - Sangreal
Concluding (?) his look at his French heritage, Tony discusses the effect of watching Ron Howard's adaptation of The Da Vinci Code and how it may help him make peace with his conflicted past and future. Also, these are the only ITEMs where Tony talks in the third person.
Read more here.
ITEM! Hub City - Thoughts on Alexander the Great
Actually, if you don't know that Hub City is my reading blog, you could easily misinterpret that title and still be write, because I'm reacting as much to Robin Lane Fox's book as to the man, and even Oliver Stone's Alexander.
Read more here.
ITEM! Hub City - Reading List: London the Biography
The next book I've started reading is by Peter Ackroyd, an author I discovered in the college bookstore my sophomore year and who has since been affirmed to be one of my favorites.
Read more here.
ITEM! Comics Reader - Marvel Now! Point One
Marvel is relaunching its line in the next few months. This is a look at some of the smaller books with lesser known characters, including Nova, Ant-Man, and Forge, though some familiar faces appear, especially for those movie fans who enjoyed The Avengers. The dude on the cover happens to be Nick Fury, in fact.
Read more here.
1996 is an odd little year that in some ways almost remains in a bubble to this day, which is unfortunate because there were a lot of good movies release that year...
1. Independence Day ($306 mil)
For years (and counting) there were rumors of a sequel, but the fact that this inspired the careers of disaster filmmakers probably means this now serves more as one of Will Smith's first blockbusters rather than the sensation it still is, filled with memorable performances and yes, a computer virus that stops an alien invasion. Still one of my favorites.
2. Twister ($241 mil)
Now that Helen Hunt is in the movies again (The Sessions), people are remembering that she was an unlikely movie star.
3. Mission: Impossible ($180 mil)
It may be easy to forget that the movie that started the franchise (and provided us the memorable image of Tom Cruise dangling himself from the ceiling to avoid floor sensors) is ridiculously awesome, possibly because at the time a lot of people were just wondering if it weren't just ridiculously convoluted. But no, it's ridiculously awesome.
4. Jerry Maguire ($153 mil)
Perhaps Cruise's best movie was released the same year (though most people remember it for Cuba Gooding Jr.'s moment in the spotlight). It's no wonder that in later years the stress of trying to remain the most successful actor in Hollywood seemed to take its toll on him.
5. Ransom ($136 mil)
Mel Gibson in another big hit, though I'm not sure a lot of people remember it today, even though it left a pattern felt in some of his subsequent projects.
6. 101 Dalmatians ($136 mil)
I'll always kind of resent this one, a live action version of Disney's famed animation classic starring Glenn Close, since it opened at the same time as Star Trek: First Contact and possibly stole some of its box office success. Though not in the way Nemesis was weakened by Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings six years later.
7. The Rock ($134 mil)
Perhaps Sean Connery's last great old man mentor role and also Nicolas Cage's first big action role.
8. The Nutty Professor ($128 mil)
Eddie Murphy's big comeback in which he plays completely against type, and then uses an old Jerry Lewis role to gloriously play exactly type.
9. The Birdcage ($124 mil)
Robin Williams took a huge risk with this one, and it was a huge success at the time, but I think it's been forgotten since.
10. A Time to Kill ($108 mil)
Was this the last John Grisham success? Anyway, known better for starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, and Samuel L. Jackson in one of his first post-Pulp Fiction successes.
Other notable releases: The First Wives Club ($105 mil), Phenomenon ($104 mil; speaking of Pulp Fiction, John Travolta was pretty huge for a few years, though I wonder how many people remember these hits), Scream ($103 mil; the '90s finally gets its horror franchise), Eraser ($101 mil; seen as generic at the time, but that was not a generic total for Arnold Schwarzenegger, which probably means this is a film still waiting to be rediscovered), The Hunchback of Notre Dame ($100 mil; Disney's most unlikely animated flick ever), Michael ($95 mil; Travolta!), Star Trek: First Contact ($92 mil; my favorite movie of the year!), Space Jam ($90 mil; otherwise known as Michael Jordan meets Bugs Bunny), The English Patient ($78 mil; one of those controversial Best Picture winners at the Oscars, perhaps a little too artsy for the wide appeal it drew because of the honor), Broken Arrow ($70 mil; Travolta again!), Beavis and Butt-Head Do America ($63 mil; yes, this movie really happened; huh-huh), Jingle All the Way ($60 mil; Arnold doing comedy again), The Cable Guy ($60 mil; Jim Carrey in his famous "flop," playing the joke on the audience rather than with it), Courage Under Fire ($59 mil), Jack ($58 mil; Robin Williams in a movie from 1996 that is perhaps better off forgotten), Primal Fear ($56 mil; witness the brilliant debut of Edward Norton), Tin Cup ($53 mil; Kevin Costner tries to be likable again), Evita ($50 mil; Madonna at the time she begins to believe she's British, though not playing a Brit), The Preacher's Wife ($48 mil; Denzel Washington surprisingly is resistant to making a lot of movies where he's supposed to be liked), Romeo + Juliet ($46 mil; Leonardo DiCaprio slowly growing up), One Fine Day ($46 mil; George Clooney attempting to become a movie star), Happy Gilmore ($38 mil; Adam Sandler is brilliant in this one), Mars Attacks! ($37 mil; an overlooked Tim Burton masterpiece), Shine ($35 mil; the secret origin of Geoffrey Rush), Muppet Treasure Island ($34 mil; seriously, Muppets, why did you ever believe adapting known stories was the way to extend your franchise, and why did you continue after being relegated to TV movies?), Striptease ($33 mil; in which Demi Moore reveals she learned nothing from Showgirls), Rumble in the Bronx ($32 mil; in which Jackie Chan, International Sensation, begins), James and the Giant Peach ($28 mil; overlooked stop-motion movie magic), The Island of Dr. Moreau ($27 mil; in which critics finally decide to make a joke of Marlon Brando), That Thing You Do! ($25 mil; three years later I was attending the college where Tom Hanks filmed some of the scenes from this one), From Dusk Till Dawn ($25 mil; Clooney has his first notable film role in this Robert Rodriquez flick that also gives memorable roles to Quentin Tarantino and Salma Hayek), Escape from L.A. ($25 mil; Kurt Russell discovers that he can't force himself into being a huge movie star; see also Executive Decision), Fly Away Home ($25 mil; a well-respected live action family film), Kingpin ($25 mil; say hello to the Farrelly brothers), Fargo ($24 mil; in which the Coen brothers discover the deep south of the deep north), Sling Blade ($24 mil; in which Billy Bob Thornton becomes an unlikely movie star), D3: The Mighty Ducks ($22 mil), Emma ($22 mil; say hello to Gwyneth Paltrow!), The Quest ($21 mil; the full title also includes the unlikely phrase "of Jean-Claude Van Damme to be taken seriously as a filmmaker"), A Very Brady Sequel ($21 mil), High School High ($21 mil; still the most prominent movie to star the beloved Jon Lovitz), Multiplicity ($21 mil; Michael Keaton stars alongside Michael Keaton and Michael Keaton and...), Fear ($20 mil; the secret origin of Mark Wahlberg's acting career), The People vs. Larry Flynt ($20 mil; in which Woody Harrelson completes his transformation into a movie star), Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood ($20 mil; a parody title that is not as cool as it thinks it is), The Fan ($18 mil; Tony Scott and Robert De Niro in a movie everyone seems to assume must suck), The Crow: City of Angels ($17 mil; similarly, everyone seemed to assume this franchise had to suck without its star dying on the set, even though nobody cared about Brandon Lee before that), The Frighteners ($16 mil; it's a sign of Michael J. Fox's diminished appeal that he couldn't make a hit of a Peter Jackson film, but Elijah Wood can just five years later), Trainspotting ($16 mil; British cinema is suddenly very relevant and very cool), The Evening Star ($12 mil; this follow-up to Terms of Endearment was pretty much completely ignored even at the time), 2 Days in the Valley ($11 mil; the secret origin of Charlize Theron), Michael Collins ($11 mil; Liam Neeson plays an Irish hero and somehow doesn't make a big success of it), She's the One ($9 mil; though this is not the one to make Jennifer Aniston a movie star), Hellraiser 4: Bloodline ($9 mil), Celtic Pride ($9 mil; I think if Larry Bird had starred opposite Mickey Mouse in this movie, instead of Daniel Stern and Dan Ackroyd, it could have been a hit), The Crucible ($7 mil; Daniel Day-Lewis starred in this and nobody cared), Get on the Bus ($5 mil), Mary Reilly ($5 mil; Julia Roberts stars in a movie that actually made everyone wonder if she would ever be a star again; the funny thing is that this Jekyll/Hyde movie is pretty awesome), The Pallbearer ($5 mil; another NBC star, David Schwimmer, definitely never becomes a movie star), Stealing Beauty ($4 mil; Liv Tyler begins to be noticed), Hamlet ($4 mil; Kenneth Branagh makes a really long but really good adaptation of this frequently filmed Shakespeare screenplay), Swingers ($4 mil), Ed ($4 mil; Matt LeBlanc definitely does not become a movie star), Barb Wire ($3 mil; Pamela Anderson effectively removes herself from the running to become the next Marilyn Monroe), Crash ($2 mil; not to be mistaken for the later Oscar winner, unless you find strange car fetishes to be a worthy alternative to social commentary), Looking for Richard ($1 mil; Al Pacino's brilliant portrait of another Shakespeare project; it was a good year for the Bard), Bottle Rocket ($500 thou; secret origins for Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson)
Source: Box Office Mojo