Monday, March 20, 2006

Birthdays, at the Top of the Hour

Personal idol Holly Hunter turns 48 today, while mid-80s heartthrob and recent Oscar nominee William Hurt turns 56. No one who reads this site even casually has any doubt about how best to celebrate Holly's genius, but Hurt, as oddball as his stardom and persona might seem in retrospect, was no slouch, either, in his heyday. Obviously, the perfect way to fête both actors is to savor their above-the-title collaboration in Broadcast News, one of the best romantic comedies of the 1980s and unquestionably the biggest plume in James L. Brooks' directorial hat. If you already know the plot and the terrific dialogue by heart, cast an eye toward the photography: easy to overlook in such character-driven movies, but subtly inspired work for famous d.p. Michael Ballhaus (Goodfellas, Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant).

Otherwise, William Hurt's best unheralded performance is in Carl Franklin's affecting One True Thing. Hunter, however well-known, is still under-recognized as one of our greatest and most surprisingly versatile actresses. She's a jewel in Home for the Holidays, in Jesus' Son, in Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, in Thirteen, in the newly released Nine Lives, and even in films that even she can't fully rescue, like the moribund and perversely misnamed Levity. All hail, sincerest thanks, happy birthday, and call me soon, Holly!

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14 Comments:

Blogger Dr. S said...

Broadcast News was *absolutely* hands down my favorite movie when I was in junior high and high school. I wanted to be Jane, the high-power career woman with the great friend and the job she loves. I didn't think I'd be Jane, the high(ish)-power career woman with the great friends and the job she loves *and* a a perpetually non-starting love life. Somehow I didn't see that coming. Funny, no?

Also, interestingly enough, BN shipped out from Netflix for me today.

9:52 PM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

And I'll be damned if she wasn't 29/30 when that movie came out, too.

9:53 PM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Nick Davis said...

Don't think I didn't have you in mind when I posted this, love.

9:53 PM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

Holly. *swoon*

7:34 AM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger tim r said...

Don't see The Big White, Holly fans, or you'll have your head in your hands.

That's so nearly a haiku!

9:04 AM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger Mark Dellelo said...

Hurt is also wonderful in Second Best, a film by the great British cinematographer-turned-director Chris Menges that I feel like hardly anyone has seen--although everyone I've ever recommended it to has loved it. It's an especially graceful coming-of-age movie--it belongs to the same subgenre as stuff like High Tide and Wonder Boys, in which both the child and the adult come of age. Hurt's performance in it is actually my favorite thing he's ever done--his rapport with the kid who plays his adopted son, Chris Cleary Miles, is just beautiful.

9:31 AM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger David Shultz said...

I love Broadcast News. On top of that, I love Holly Hunter. It's a crime Premier Magazine didn't recognize her performance in The Piano as one of the 100 greatest in cinematic history while both Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote and Jamie Foxx in Ray were both high on the list.

7:13 PM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger Cal said...

I love Holly, and Broadcast News is great.

Did anybody know it's REESE's 30th birthday today? :) Happy Birthday Reese :P

Also Nick... an F for Ask the Dust? How was Salma?

11:39 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Nick Davis said...

@Mark: Thanks for the recommendation! I'll stay on the lookout.

@Cal: Way to sneak in a shout-out to Reese, since you knew I wasn't ever going to. ;) As for Ask the Dust, Salma is more interesting to watch than the other lead actors, but it's such a terminally stolid and ridiculously affected film—making the storyline and tone seem even more outmoded than I suspect they are anyway—that there's really no saving it. Pretty much D.O.A. More soon, though.

2:00 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Cal said...

Well, I can't have my Reese ignored now, can I? =)

Rather a shame about Ask the Dust. Whichever way you look at it (and I really liked The New World), Mr. Farrell certainly isn't having the best of times. Hopefully Michael Mann should put paid to that.

6:53 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Well, I bet no one noticed that today is Keri Russell's 30th birthday.

8:05 AM, March 23, 2006  
Blogger Cal said...

You're right. I wonder why :P

12:56 PM, March 23, 2006  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

you know what's really sick? keri russell gets the IMDB first billing on birthdays above JOAN fucking CRAWFORD today.

argh.

yeah that Keri...what a movie star [/sarcasm]

1:31 PM, March 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one has mentioned LIVING OUT LOUD. No one ever seems to, and I'm not sure why. It is a fascinating carve-up of a scenarist's love-child project, based (remotely) on three Chekhov stories. Hunter's fearless as always. A mess with lines I have been quoting for 8 years now.

5:17 AM, March 26, 2006  

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