John Goodman

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Posted by motoman 03/02/2009 @ 12:11

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At Large in Ballard: Shilshole bungalow - Ballard News Tribune
The property owner is John A. Goodman, president of Goodman Real Estate, founder of Pinnacle Management Services and chairman of numerous other business affiliates, such as Triad Development is site owner through Golden Tides LLC....
"Bunyan" toon inks deal with MGM - Reuters
By Jay A. Fernandez and Steven Zeitchik LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - MGM has picked up North American distribution rights to "Bunyan & Babe," an animated feature whose voice cast is led by John Goodman and Kelsey Grammer....
New movies - SuburbanJournals
The message about surrogate families is muddled, but the film is full of vivid characters (who also include Ed Asner and John Goodman as their respective fathers) and loopy dialogue. (Joe Williams) “The Girlfriend Experience” ***½ (R;...
Post-Spring Projection: John Goodman - Blue and Gold Illustrated (subscription)
by TODD D. BURLAGE For a guy that didn't play a single snap last season, John Goodman certainly got plenty of attention this spring. When the sophomore wasn't getting praised by Charlie Weis for his work at wide receiver, he was getting high marks from...
Goodman Joins Bloom and Cassel in 'The Cross' -
This time around it is a small bit of casting news from Variety telling us John Goodman is in advanced talks to join the cast of the sci-fi film which will begin shooting in mid-September in Australia and is scheduled for a May 2010 theatrical release....
Gigantic (First Independent Pictures, R) - Play by Play
One day Brian sells a very expensive mattress to a big guy named Al Lolly (John Goodman), who sends his daughter, Happy, to finalize the purchase. For reasons unknown to the audience (aside from that it is a typical male fantasy, and fun to see played...
Roseanne Star John Goodman Kicks Booze - National Ledger
By Gavin Wilson A shaven-headed John Goodman has told how he has never been happier since quitting drinking. The Roseanne star, showing off his bald look for a new theater role, said he had been an alcoholic for more than 30 years....
Reducing retirees' health care costs may be up to you - Dallas Morning News
The question brings a chuckle even from John Goodman, guru of supply-side health care economics and head of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. "We've seen those promises before, under Nixon and Carter," Goodman said....
GODOT'S Lane & Goodman Guest On Live With Regis & Kelly & Late ... - Broadway World
Tomorrow, Friday May 15, Waiting for Godot stars Nathan Lane and John Goodman will appear on ABC's "Live with Regis and Kelly" and CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman." Tune in to watch Nathan Lane on "Regis and Kelly" between 9:00AM-10:00AM on...
AN UNFUNDED LIABILITY EXPLOSION - National Center for Policy Analysis
Unfortunately, the Trustees and the financial press ignored the massive unfunded liability that is being created for future generations, says John C. Goodman, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis....

John Goodman (Jesuit)

John Goodman was a Jesuit priest in England. He was jailed and sentenced to death under an Elizabethan penal law which made it illegal for Jesuits to be in England. He was granted a reprieve by Charles I but was questioned by the Long Parliament. Charles I did not interfere and Parliament was content to let Goodman die in prison in 1645.

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Barton Fink

Restaurant scenes set in New York at the start of Barton Fink were filmed inside the RMS Queen Mary ocean liner.[8]

Barton Fink is a 1991 American film written and directed by the Coen brothers. Set in 1941, it stars John Turturro in the title role as a young New York City playwright who is hired to write scripts for a movie studio in Hollywood, and John Goodman as Charlie, the insurance salesman who lives next door at the run-down Hotel Earle. The Coens wrote the screenplay in three weeks while experiencing difficulty during the writing of another movie, Miller's Crossing. Soon after Miller's Crossing was finished, the Coens began filming Barton Fink, and it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1991. In a rare sweep, it won the Palme d'Or prize, as well as awards for Best Director and Best Actor (Turturro). Although it was celebrated almost universally by critics, the movie only grossed $6,000,000 at the box office – two-thirds of its estimated budget.

Because of its diverse elements, Barton Fink has defied efforts at genre classification. It has been variously referred to as a film noir, a horror film, a Künstlerroman, and a buddy film. The surreal abandoned mood of the Hotel Earle was central to the development of the story, and careful deliberation went into its design. Barton's living quarters contrast the polished and pristine environs of Hollywood, especially the home of his boss Jack Lipnick. A single picture on the wall of a woman at the beach captures Barton's attention, and the image reappears in the final scene of the movie. Although the picture and other elements of the film (including a mysterious box given to Barton by Charlie) appear laden with symbolism, critics disagree over their possible meanings. The Coens have acknowledged some intentional symbolic elements while denying an attempt to communicate any holistic message.

The movie contains allusions to many real-life people and events, most notably the writers Clifford Odets and William Faulkner. The characters of Barton Fink and W.P. Mayhew are widely seen as fictional representations of these men, but the Coens stress important differences. They have also admitted to parodying film magnates like Louis B. Mayer, but also note that Barton's agonizing tribulations in Hollywood are not meant to reflect their own experiences. Barton Fink was influenced by several earlier works, including the films of Roman Polanski, particularly Repulsion (1965) and The Tenant (1976). Other movies which influenced Barton Fink are Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film The Shining and Sullivan's Travels (1941) by filmmaker Preston Sturges. The Coens' movie also contains a number of literary allusions, to works by William Shakespeare, John Keats and Flannery O'Connor.

The process of writing and the culture of entertainment production are two prominent themes of Barton Fink. The world of Hollywood is contrasted with that of Broadway, and the film analyzes superficial distinctions between high culture and low culture. Other themes in the film include fascism and World War II; slavery and conditions of labor in creative industries; and how intellectuals relate to "the common man". Several religious overtones appear, including references to the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, King Nebuchadnezzar and Bathsheba.

In 1989 filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen began writing the script for a movie eventually released as Miller's Crossing. The many threads of the story became complicated, and after four months they found themselves lost in the process. Although biographers and critics later referred to it as writer's block, the Coen brothers rejected this description. "It's not really the case that we were suffering from writer's block," Joel said in a 1991 interview, "but our working speed had slowed, and we were eager to get a certain distance from Miller's Crossing." They went from Los Angeles to New York and began work on a different project.

The writing process for Barton Fink was smooth, they said, suggesting that the relief of being away from Miller's Crossing may have been a catalyst. They also felt satisfied with the overall shape of the story, which helped them move quickly through the composition. "Certain films come entirely in one's head; we just sort of burped out Barton Fink." While writing, the Coens created a second leading role with another actor in mind: John Goodman, who had appeared in their 1987 comedy Raising Arizona. His new character, Charlie, was Barton's next-door neighbor in the cavernous hotel. Even before writing, the Coens knew how the story would end, and wrote Charlie's final speech at the start of the writing process.

As they designed detailed storyboards for Barton Fink, the Coens began looking for a new cinematographer, since their associate Barry Sonnenfeld – who had filmed their first three movies – was occupied with his own directorial debut, The Addams Family. The Coens had been impressed with the work of English cinematographer Roger Deakins, particularly the interior scenes of the 1988 movie Stormy Monday. After screening other films he had worked on (including Sid and Nancy and Pascali's Island), they sent a script to Deakins and invited him to join the project. His agent advised against working with the Coens, but Deakins met with them at a cafe in Notting Hill and they soon began working together on Barton Fink.

Three weeks of filming were spent in the Hotel Earle, a set created by art director Dennis Gassner. The film's climax required a huge spreading fire in the hotel's hallway, which the Coens originally planned to add digitally in post-production. When they decided to use real flames, however, the crew built a large alternate set in an abandoned aircraft hangar at Long Beach. A series of gas jets was installed behind the hallway, and the wallpaper was perforated for easy penetration. As Goodman ran through the hallway, a man on an overhead catwalk opened each jet, giving the impression of a fire racing ahead of Charlie. Each take required a rebuild of the apparatus, and a second hallway (sans fire) stood ready nearby for filming pick-up shots between takes. The final scene was shot near Zuma Beach, as was the image of a wave crashing against a rock.

The Coens edited the movie themselves, as is their custom. "We prefer a hands-on approach," Joel explained in 1996, "rather than sitting next to someone and telling them what to cut." Because of rules for membership in film production guilds, they are required to use a pseudonym; "Roderick Jaynes" is credited with editing Barton Fink. Only a few filmed scenes were removed from the final cut, including a transition scene to show Barton's movement from New York to Hollywood. (In the movie, this is shown enigmatically with a wave crashing against a rock.) Several scenes representing work in Hollywood studios were also filmed, but edited out because they were "too conventional".

At the start of the movie, Barton Fink is enjoying the success of his first play, Bare Ruined Choirs. His agent informs him that Capitol Pictures in Hollywood has offered a thousand dollars per week to write movie scripts. Barton hesitates, worried that moving to California would separate him from "the common man", his focus as a writer. He accepts the offer, however, and checks into the Hotel Earle, a large and unusually deserted building. His room is sparse and draped in subdued colors; its only decoration is a small painting of a woman on the beach, arm raised to block the sun.

In his first meeting with Capitol Pictures boss Jack Lipnick (Michael Lerner), Barton explains that he chose the Earle because he wants lodging that is (as Lipnick says) "less Hollywood". Lipnick promises that his only concern is Barton's writing ability, and assigns his new employee to a wrestling movie. Back in his room, however, Barton is unable to write. He is distracted by sounds coming from the room next door, and he phones the front desk to complain. His neighbor, Charlie Meadows (the source of the noise) visits Barton to apologize, and insists on sharing some alcohol from a hip flask to make amends. As they talk, Barton proclaims his affection for "the common man", and Charlie describes his life as an insurance salesman.

Still unable to proceed beyond the first lines of his script, Barton consults producer Ben Geisler (Tony Shalhoub) for advice. Irritated, the frenetic Geisler takes him to lunch and orders him to speak with another writer for assistance. While in the bathroom, Barton meets the novelist W.P. Mayhew (John Mahoney), who is vomiting in the next stall. They briefly discuss movie writing, and arrange a second meeting later in the day. When Barton arrives, Mayhew is drunk and yelling wildly. His secretary, Audrey Taylor (Judy Davis), reschedules the meeting and informs Barton that she and Mayhew are in love. When they finally meet for lunch, Mayhew, Audrey, and Barton discuss writing and drinking. Before long Mayhew argues with Audrey, slaps her, and wanders off, drunk. Rejecting Barton's offer of consolation, she explains that she feels sorry for Mayhew, since he is married to another woman who is "disturbed".

With one day left before his meeting with Lipnick to discuss the movie, Barton phones Audrey and begs her for assistance. She visits him at the Earle, and after she admits that she wrote most of Mayhew's scripts, they are assumed to be making love; Barton later confesses to Charlie they did so. When he wakes up the next morning, he finds Audrey's mutilated corpse beside him but has no memory of the night's events. Horrified, he summons Charlie and asks for help. Charlie is repulsed, but disposes of the body and orders Barton to avoid contacting the police. After a surreal meeting with an unusually supportive Lipnick, Barton tries writing again and is interrupted by Charlie, who announces he is going to New York for several days. Charlie leaves a package with Barton and asks him to watch it.

Soon afterwards, Barton is visited by two police detectives, who inform him that Charlie's last name is in fact Mundt – "Madman Mundt". He is wanted for several murders; after shooting his victims, they explain, he decapitates them and keeps the heads. Stunned, Barton returns to his room and examines the box. Placing it on his desk, he begins writing and produces the entire script in one sitting. After a night of celebratory dancing, Barton returns to find the detectives in his room. Charlie appears, and the hotel is engulfed in flames. Running through the hallway, screaming, Charlie shoots the policemen with a shotgun. As the hallway burns, Charlie speaks with Barton about their lives and the hotel, then retires to his own room. Barton leaves the hotel, carrying the box and his script. In a final meeting, Lipnick chastises Barton for writing "a fruity movie about suffering", then informs him that he is to remain in Los Angeles, and that – although he will remain under contract – Capitol Pictures will not produce anything he writes. Dazed, Barton wanders onto a beach, still carrying the package. He meets a woman who looks just like the one in the picture on his wall at the Earle, and she asks about the box. He tells her that he knows neither what it contains nor to whom it belongs. She assumes the pose from the picture, and the film ends.

The spooky, inexplicably empty feel of the Hotel Earle was central to the Coens' conception of the movie. "We wanted an art deco stylization," Joel explained in a 1991 interview, "and a place that was falling into ruin after having seen better days." Barton's room is sparsely furnished with two large windows facing another building. The Coens later described the hotel as a "ghost ship floating adrift, where you notice signs of the presence of other passengers, without ever laying eyes on any". In the movie, residents' shoes are an indication of this unseen presence; another rare sign of other inhabitants is the sound from adjacent rooms. Joel said: "You can imagine it peopled by failed commercial travelers, with pathetic sex lives, who cry alone in their rooms." Heat and moisture are other important elements of the setting. The wallpaper in Barton's room peels and droops; Charlie experiences the same problem, and guesses heat is the cause. The Coens used green and yellow colors liberally in designing the hotel "to suggest an aura of putrefaction".

The atmosphere of the hotel was meant to connect with the character of Charlie. As Joel explained: "Our intention, moreover, was that the hotel function as an exteriorization of the character played by John Goodman. The sweat drips off his forehead like the paper peels off the walls. At the end, when Goodman says that he is a prisoner of his own mental state, that this is like some kind of hell, it was necessary for the hotel to have already suggested something infernal." The peeling wallpaper and the paste which seeps through it also mirror Charlie's chronic ear infection and the resultant pus.

When Barton first arrives at the Hotel Earle, he is asked by the friendly bellhop Chet (Steve Buscemi) if he is "a trans or a res" – transient or resident. Barton explains that he isn't sure, but will be staying "indefinitely". The dichotomy between permanent inhabitants and guests reappears several times, notably in the hotel's motto, "A day or a lifetime", which Barton notices on the room's stationery. This idea returns at the end of the movie, when Charlie describes Barton as "a tourist with a typewriter". His ability to leave the Earle (while Charlie remains) is presented by critic Erica Rowell as evidence that Barton's story represents the process of writing itself. Barton, she says, represents an author who is able to leave a story, while characters like Charlie cannot.

In contrast, the offices of Capitol Pictures and Lipnick's house are pristine, lavishly decorated, and extremely comfortable. The company's rooms are bathed in sunlight, and Ben Geisler's office faces a lush array of flora. Barton meets Lipnick in one scene beside an enormous, spotless swimming pool. This echoes his position as studio head, as he explains: " can't always be honest, not with the sharks swimming around this town ... if I'd been totally honest, I wouldn't be within a mile of this pool—unless I was cleaning it." In his office, Lipnick showcases another trophy of his power: statues of Atlas, the Titan of Greek mythology who declared war on the gods of Mount Olympus and was severely punished.

Originally, the historical moment just after the United States entered World War II was to be a significant impact on the place. As the Coens explained: "e were thinking of a hotel where the lodgers were old people, the insane, the physically handicapped, because all the others had left for the war. The further the script was developed, the more this theme got left behind, but it had led us, in the beginning, to settle on that period." The connection to World War II is not made explicit until the end of the movie, when Lipnick appears in a colonel's uniform. Although he is wearing a costume and has not actually entered the military, he declares himself ready to fight the "little yellow bastards". In an earlier scene, Barton watches dailies from another wrestling movie being made by Capitol Pictures; the date on the clapperboard is 9 December, two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. When he celebrates the completed script later by dancing at a USO show, he is surrounded by soldiers who are presumably heading toward the battlefield.

The picture's significance has been the subject of broad speculation. Washington Post reviewer Desson Howe said that despite its emotional impact, the final scene "feels more like a punchline for punchline's sake, a trumped-up coda". In her book-length analysis of the Coen brothers' films, Rowell suggests that Barton's fixation on the picture is ironic, considering its low culture status and his own pretensions toward high culture (speeches to the contrary notwithstanding). She further notes that the camera focuses on Barton himself as much as the picture while he gazes at it. At one point, the camera moves past Barton to fill the frame with the woman on the beach. This tension between objective and subjective points of view appears again at the end of the film, when Barton finds himself – in a sense – inside the picture.

Critic M. Keith Booker calls the final scene an "enigmatic comment on representation and the relationship between art and reality". He suggests that the identical images point to the absurdity of art which reflects life directly. The film transposes the woman directly from art to reality, prompting confusion in the viewer; Booker asserts that such a literal depiction therefore leads inevitably to uncertainty.

The Coens are known for making films that defy simple classification. Although they refer to their first movie, Blood Simple, as a relatively straightforward example of detective fiction, the Coens wrote their next script, Raising Arizona, without trying to fit a particular genre. They decided to write a comedy, but intentionally added dark elements to produce what Ethan calls "a pretty savage film". Their third film, Miller's Crossing, reversed this order, mixing bits of comedy into a crime film. Yet it also subverts single-genre identity by using conventions from melodrama, love stories, and political satire.

This trend of mixing movie types continued and intensified with Barton Fink; the Coens insist the film "does not belong to any genre". Ethan has described it as "a buddy movie for the '90s". It contains elements of comedy, film noir, and horror, but other film categories are present. Actor Turturro referred to it as a coming of age story, while literature professor and film analyst R. Barton Palmer calls it a Künstlerroman, highlighting the importance of the main character's evolution as a writer. Critic Donald Lyons describes the movie as "a retro-surrealist vision".

Because it crosses genres, fragments the characters' experiences, and resists straightforward narrative resolution, Barton Fink is often considered an example of postmodernist film. In his book Postmodern Hollywood, Booker says the movie renders the past with an impressionist technique, not a precise accuracy. This technique, he notes, is "typical of postmodern film, which views the past not as the prehistory of the present but as a warehouse of images to be raided for material". In his analysis of the Coens' films, Palmer calls Barton Fink a "postmodern pastiche" which closely examines how past eras have represented themselves. He compares it to The Hours, a 2002 movie about Virginia Woolf and two women who read her work. He asserts that both films, far from rejecting the importance of the past, add to our understanding of it. He quotes literary theorist Linda Hutcheon: The kind of postmodernism exhibited in these films "does not deny the existence of the past; it does question whether we can ever know that past other than through its textualizing remains".

Certain elements in Barton Fink highlight the veneer of postmodernism: the writer is unable to resolve his modernist focus on high culture with the studio's desire to create formulaic high-profit movies; the resulting collision produces a fractured story arc emblematic of postmodernism. The Coens' cinematic style is another example; when Barton and Audrey begin making love, the camera pans away to the bathroom, then moves toward the sink and down its drain. Rowell calls this a "postmodern update" of the notorious sexually suggestive image of a train entering a tunnel, used by director Alfred Hitchcock in his 1959 movie North by Northwest.

Barton Fink uses several stylistic conventions to accentuate the story's mood and give visual emphasis to particular themes. For example, the opening credits roll over the Hotel Earle's wallpaper, as the camera moves downward. This motion is repeated many times in the film, especially pursuant to Barton's claim that his job is to "plumb the depths" while writing. His first experiences in the Hotel Earle continue this trope; the bellhop Chet emerges from beneath the floor, suggesting the real activity is underground. Although Barton's floor is presumably six floors above the lobby, the interior of the elevator is shown only while it is descending. These elements – combined with many dramatic pauses, surreal dialogue, and implied threats of violence – create an atmosphere of extreme tension. The Coens explained that "the whole movie was supposed to feel like impending doom or catastrophe. And we definitely wanted it to end with an apocalyptic feeling".

The style of Barton Fink is also evocative – and representative of – films of the 1930s and '40s. As critic Michael Dunne points out: "Fink's heavy overcoat, his hat, his dark, drab suits come realistically out of the Thirties, but they come even more out of the films of the Thirties." The style of the Hotel Earle and atmosphere of various scenes also reflect the influence of pre-WWII filmmaking. Even Charlie's underwear matches that worn by his filmic hero Jack Oakie. At the same time, camera techniques used by the Coens in Barton Fink represent a combination of the classic with the original. Careful tracking shots and extreme close-ups distinguish the film as a product of the late 20th century.

From the start, the film moves continuously between Barton's subjective view of the world and one which is objective. After the opening credits roll, the camera pans down to Barton, watching the end of his play. Soon we see the audience from his point of view, cheering wildly for him. As he walks forward, he enters the shot and the viewer is returned to an objective point of view. This blurring of the subjective and objective returns in the final scene.

Much has been written about the symbolic meanings of Barton Fink. Rowell proposes that it is "a figurative head swelling of ideas that all lead back to the artist". The proximity of the sex scene to Audrey's murder prompts Lyons to insist: "Sex in Barton Fink is death." Others have suggested that the second half of the movie is an extended dream sequence. Some elements of the film are clearly meant to arrive at such conclusions; for example, when Barton enters the elevator for the first time he says to Pete the doorman: "Six, please." Pete responds: "Next stop, six." An instant later, the bell sounds and as Barton exits: "This stop, six." Together, this dialogue announces the Biblical Number of the Beast.

It is correct to say that we wanted the spectator to share in the interior life of Barton Fink as well as his point of view. But there was no need to go too far. For example, it would have been incongruous for Barton Fink to wake up at the end of the film and for us to suggest thereby that he actually inhabited a reality greater than what is depicted in the film. In any case, it is always artificial to talk about "reality" in regard to a fictional character.

The homoerotic overtones of Barton's relationship with Charlie are not unintentional. Although one detective demands to know if they had "some sick sex thing", their intimacy is presented as anything but deviant, and cloaked in conventions of mainstream sexuality. Charlie's first friendly overture toward his neighbor, for example, comes in the form of a standard pick-up line: "I'd feel better about the damned inconvenience if you'd let me buy you a drink." The wrestling scene between Barton and Charlie is also cited as an example of homoerotic affection. "We consider that a sex scene," Joel Coen said in 2001.

Many of the sound effects in Barton Fink are laden with meaning. For example, Barton is summoned by a bell while dining in New York; its sound is light and pleasant. By contrast, the eerie sustained bell of the Hotel Earle rings endlessly through the lobby, until Chet silences it. The nearby rooms of the hotel emit a constant chorus of guttural cries, moans, and assorted unidentifiable noises. These sounds coincide with Barton's confused mental state, and punctuate Charlie's claim that "I hear everything that goes on in this dump". The applause in the first scene foreshadows the tension of Barton's move west, mixed as it is with the sound of an ocean wave crashing – an image which is shown onscreen soon thereafter.

Another symbolic sound is the hum of a mosquito. Although his producer insists that these parasites don't live in Los Angeles (since "mosquitos breed in swamps; this is a desert"), its distinctive sound is heard clearly as Barton watches a bug circle overhead in his hotel room. Later, he arrives at meetings with mosquito bites on his face. The insect also figures prominently into the revelation of Audrey's death; Barton slaps a mosquito feeding on her corpse, and suddenly realizes she's been murdered. The high pitch of the mosquito's hum is echoed in the high strings used for the movie's score. During filming, the Coens were contacted by an animal rights group who expressed concern about how mosquitoes would be treated.

The score was composed by Carter Burwell, who has worked with the Coens since their first movie. Unlike earlier projects, however – the Irish folk tune used for Miller's Crossing and an American folk song as the basis for Raising Arizona – Burwell wrote the music for Barton Fink without a specific inspiration. The score was released in 1996 on a compact disc, combined with the score for the Coens' film Fargo.

Several songs used in the movie are laden with meaning. At one point Mayhew stumbles away from Barton and Audrey, drunk. As he wanders, he hollers the folk song "Old Black Joe". Composed by Stephen Foster, it tells the tale of an elderly slave preparing to join his friends in "a better land". Mayhew's rendition of the song coincides with his condition as an oppressed employee of Capitol Pictures; it foreshadows Barton's own situation at the movie's end.

When he finishes writing his script, Barton celebrates by dancing at a USO show. The song used in this scene is a rendition of "Down South Camp Meeting", a swing tune. Its lyrics (unheard in the movie) state: "Git ready (Sing) / Here they come! The choir's all set." These lines echo the title of Barton's play, Bare Ruined Choirs. As the celebration erupts into a melee, the intensity of the music increases, and the camera zooms into the cavernous hollow of a trombone. This sequence mirrors the camera's zoom into a sink drain just before Audrey is murdered earlier in the film.

Inspiration for the film came from several sources, and it contains allusions to many different people and events. At one point in the picnic scene, as Mayhew wanders drunkenly away from Barton and Audrey, he calls out: "Silent upon a peak in Darien!" This is a line from John Keats's 1816 sonnet "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer". The literary reference not only demonstrates the character's encyclopedic knowledge of classic texts, but the poem's reference to the Pacific Ocean matches Mayhew's announcement that he will "jus' walk on down to the Pacific, and from there I'll ... improvise".

The title of Barton's play, Bare Ruined Choirs, comes from line four of Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare. The poem's focus on aging and death connects to the movie's exploration of artistic difficulty. Other academic allusions are presented elsewhere, often with extreme subtlety. For example, a brief shot of the title page in a Mayhew novel indicates the publishing house of "Swain and Pappas". This is likely a reference to Marshall Swain and George Pappas, philosophers whose work focuses on themes explored in the movie, including the limitations of knowledge and nature of being. One critic notes that Barton's fixation on the stain across the ceiling of his hotel room matches the protagonist's behavior in the short story "The Enduring Chill" by author Flannery O'Connor.

The character of Barton Fink is based loosely on Clifford Odets, a playwright from New York who in the 1930s joined the Group Theatre, a gathering of dramatists which included Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford, and Lee Strasberg. Their work emphasized social issues, and employed Stanislavski's system of acting to recreate human experience as truthfully as possible. Several of Odets' plays were successfully performed on Broadway, including Awake and Sing! and Waiting for Lefty (both in 1935). When public tastes turned away from politically engaged theatre and toward the familial realism of Eugene O'Neill, Odets had difficulty producing successful work, so he moved to Hollywood and spent twenty years writing film scripts.

However, many important differences exist between the two men. Joel Coen said: "Both writers wrote the same kind of plays with proletarian heroes, but their personalities were quite different. Odets was much more of an extrovert; in fact he was quite sociable even in Hollywood, and this is not the case with Barton Fink!" Although he was frustrated by his declining popularity in New York, Odets was successful during his time in Hollywood. Several of his later plays were adapted – by him and others – into movies. One of these, The Big Knife, matches Barton's life much more than Odets'. In it, a writer becomes overwhelmed by the greed of a movie studio which hires him, and eventually commits suicide. Another similarity to Odets' work is Audrey's death, which mirrors a scene in Deadline at Dawn, a 1946 film noir written by Odets. In that film, a character wakes to find that the woman he bedded the night before has been inexplicably murdered.

Odets chronicled his difficult transition from Broadway to Hollywood in his diary, published in 1988 as The Time Is Ripe: The 1940 Journal of Clifford Odets. The diary explored Odets' philosophical deliberations about writing and romance. He often invited women into his apartment, and describes many of his affairs in the diary. These experiences, like the extended speeches about writing, are echoed in Barton Fink when Audrey visits and seduces Barton at the Hotel Earle. Turturro was the only member of the production who read Odets' Journal, however, and the Coen brothers urge audiences to "take account of the difference between the character and the man".

Some similarities exist between the character of W.P. Mayhew and novelist William Faulkner. Like Mayhew, Faulkner became known as a preeminent writer of Southern literature, and later worked in the movie business. Like Faulkner, Mayhew is a heavy drinker and speaks contemptuously about Hollywood. Faulkner's name appeared in the Hollywood 1940s history book City of Nets, which the Coens read while creating Barton Fink. Ethan explained in 1998: "I read this story in passing that Faulkner was assigned to write a wrestling picture.... That was part of what got us going on the whole Barton Fink thing." Faulkner worked on a 1932 wrestling film called Flesh, which starred Wallace Beery, the actor for whom Barton is writing. The focus on wrestling was fortuitous for the Coens, as they participated in the sport in high school.

However, the Coens disavow a significant connection between Faulkner and Mayhew, calling the similarities "superficial". "As far as the details of the character are concerned," Ethan said in 1991, "Mayhew is very different from Faulkner, whose experiences in Hollywood were not the same at all." Unlike Mayhew's inability to write due to drink and personal problems, Faulkner continued to pen novels after working in the movie business, winning several awards for fiction completed during and after his time in Hollywood.

The character of studio mogul Jack Lipnick is a composite of several Hollywood producers, including Harry Cohn, Louis B. Mayer, and Jack Warner – three of the most powerful men in the film industry at the time in which Barton Fink is set. Like Mayer, Lipnick is originally from the Belarusian capital city Minsk. When World War II broke out, Warner pressed for a position in the military and ordered his wardrobe department to create a military uniform for him; Lipnick does the same in his final scene. Warner once referred to writers as "schmucks with Underwoods", leading to Barton's use in the film of an Underwood typewriter.

Other works cited as influences for Barton Fink include Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film The Shining and the 1941 comedy Sullivan's Travels, written and directed by Preston Sturges. Set in an empty hotel, Kubrick's movie concerns a writer unable to proceed with his latest work. Although the Coens approve of comparisons to The Shining, Joel suggests that Kubrick's film "belongs in a more global sense to the horror film genre". Sullivan's Travels, released the year in which Barton Fink is set, follows successful director John Sullivan, who decides to create a movie of deep social import – not unlike Barton's desire to create entertainment for "the common man". Sullivan eventually decides that comedic entertainment is a key role for filmmakers, similar to Jack Lipnick's assertion at the end of Barton Fink that "the audience wants to see action, adventure".

Additional allusions to films and film history abound in Barton Fink. At one point a character discusses "Victor Soderberg"; the name is a reference to Victor Sjöström, a Swedish director who worked in Hollywood under the name Victor Seastrom. Charlie's line about how his troubles "don't amount to a hill of beans" is a probable homage to the 1942 film Casablanca. Another similarity is that of Barton Fink's beach scene to the final moment in 1960's La Dolce Vita, wherein a young woman's final line of dialogue is obliterated by the noise of the ocean. The unsettling emptiness of the Hotel Earle has also been compared to the living spaces in Key Largo (1948) and Sunset Boulevard (1950).

Two of the film's central themes – the culture of entertainment production and the writing process – are intertwined and relate specifically to the self-referential nature of the work (as well as the work within the work). It is a movie about a man who writes a movie based on a play, and at the center of Barton's entire opus is Barton himself. The dialogue in his play Bare Ruined Choirs (also the first lines of the film, some of which are repeated at the end of the film as lines in Barton's screenplay The Burlyman) give us a glimpse into Barton's self-descriptive art. The mother in the play is named "Lil", which is later revealed to be the name of Barton's own mother. In the play, "The Kid" (a representation of Barton himself) refers to his home "six flights up" – the same floor where Barton resides at the Hotel Earle. Moreover, the characters' writing processes in Barton Fink reflect important differences between the culture of entertainment production in New York's Broadway district and Hollywood.

The world of Broadway theatre in Barton Fink is a place of high culture, where the creator believes most fully that his work embodies his own values. Although he pretends to disdain his own success, Barton believes he has achieved a great victory with Bare Ruined Choirs. He seeks praise; when his agent Garland asks if he's seen the glowing review in the Herald, Barton says "no", even though his producer had just read it to him. Barton feels close to the theatre, confident that it can help him create work that honors "the common man". The men and women who funded the production – "those people", as Barton calls them – demonstrate that Broadway is just as concerned with profit as Hollywood; but its intimacy and smaller scale allow the author to feel that his work has real value.

Deception in Barton Fink is emblematic of Hollywood's focus on low culture, its relentless desire to efficiently produce formulaic entertainment for the sole purpose of economic gain. Capitol Pictures assigns Barton to write a wrestling picture with superstar Wallace Beery in a leading role. Although Lipnick declares otherwise, Geisler assures Barton that "it's just a B picture". Audrey tries to help the struggling writer by telling him: "Look, it's really just a formula. You don't have to type your soul into it." This formula is made clear by Lipnick, who asks Barton in their first meeting whether the main character should have a love interest or take care of an orphaned child. Barton shows his iconoclasm by answering: "Both, maybe?" In the end, his inability to conform to the studio's norms destroys not only Barton himself, but also producer Geisler.

A similar depiction of Hollywood appears in Nathanael West's 1939 novel The Day of the Locust, which many critics see as an important precursor to Barton Fink. Set in a run-down apartment complex, the book describes a painter reduced to work decorating movie sets. It portrays Hollywood as crass and exploitative, devouring talented individuals in its neverending quest for profit. In both West's novel and Barton Fink, protagonists suffer under the oppressive industrial machine of the movie studio.

The movie contains further self-referential material, as a film about a writer having difficulty writing (written by the Coen brothers while they were having difficulty writing another project). Barton is trapped between his own desire to create meaningful art and the need of Capitol Pictures to use its standard conventions to earn profits. Audrey's advice about following the formula would save Barton if he heeded it. He does not, but when he puts the mysterious package on his writing desk, she may be helping him posthumously, in other ways. The movie itself toys with standard screenplay formulas. As with Mayhew's scripts, Barton Fink contains a "good wrestler" (Barton, it seems) and a "bad wrestler" (Charlie) who "confront" each other at the end. But in typical Coen fashion, the lines of good and evil are blurred, and the supposed hero in fact reveals himself to be deaf to the pleadings of his "common man" neighbor. By blurring the lines between reality and surreal experience, the film subverts the "simple morality tales" and "road maps" offered to Barton as easy paths for the writer to follow.

However, the filmmakers point out that Barton Fink is not meant to represent the Coens themselves. "Our life in Hollywood has been particularly easy", they once said. "The film isn't a personal comment." Still, universal themes of the creative process are explored throughout the movie. During the picnic scene, for example, Mayhew asks Barton: "Ain't writin' peace?" Barton pauses, then says: "No, I've always found that writing comes from a great inner pain." Such exchanges led critic William Rodney Allen to call Barton Fink "an autobiography of the life of the Coens' minds, not of literal fact".

Several of the film's elements, including the setting at the start of World War II, have led some critics to highlight parallels to the rise of fascism at the time. For example, the detectives who visit Barton at the Hotel Earle are named "Mastrionatti" and "Deutsch" – Italian and German names, evocative of the regimes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Their contempt for Barton is clear: "Fink. That's a Jewish name, isn't it? ... I didn't think this dump was restricted." Later, just before killing his last victim, Charlie says "Heil Hitler". Jack Lipnick (whose name may be a nod to Leipzig, Germany) hails originally from the Belarusian capital city Minsk, which was a center of worker solidarity at the time and was occupied in the 1940s by the Nazis under Operation Barbarossa.

Fink's failure to "listen" seems intended to tell us that many leftist intellectuals like him were too busy pursuing their own selfish interests to effectively oppose the rise of fascism, a point that is historically entirely inaccurate ... That the Coens would choose to level a charge of irresponsibility against the only group in America that actively sought to oppose the rise of fascism is itself highly irresponsible and shows a complete ignorance of (or perhaps lack of interest in) historical reality. Such ignorance and apathy, of course, are typical of postmodern film....

Although subdued in dialogue and imagery, the theme of slavery appears several times in the movie. Mayhew's crooning of the spiritual tune "Old Black Joe" depicts him as enslaved to the movie studio, not unlike the song's narrator who pines for "my friends from the cotton fields away". One brief shot of the door to Mayhew's workspace shows the title of the movie he is supposedly writing: Slave Ship. This is a reference to a 1937 movie written by Mayhew's inspiration William Faulkner and starring Wallace Beery, for whom Barton is composing a script in the movie.

During the first third of the film, Barton speaks constantly of his desire to lionize "the common man" in his work. In one speech he declares: "The hopes and dreams of the common man are as noble as those of any king. It's the stuff of life—why shouldn't it be the stuff of theater? Goddamnit, why should that be a hard pill to swallow? Don't call it new theater, Charlie; call it real theater. Call it our theater." Yet, despite his rhetoric, Barton is totally unable (or unwilling) to appreciate the humanity of the "common man" living next door to him. He makes the above speech, for example, after rudely interrupting Charlie, as he says: "I could tell you some stories." Later in the film, Charlie explains that he has brought various horrors upon him because "you DON'T LISTEN!" In another scene, Barton symbolically demonstrates his deafness to the world by stuffing his ears with cotton to block the sound of his ringing telephone.

Barton's position as screenwriter is of particular consequence to his relationship with "the common man". By refusing to listen to his neighbor, Barton cannot validate Charlie's existence in his writing – with disastrous results. Not only is Charlie stuck in a job which demeans him, but he cannot (at least in Barton's case) have his story told. More centrally, the film traces the evolution of Barton's understanding of "the common man": At first he is an abstraction to be lauded from a vague distance. Then he becomes a complex individual with fears and desires. Finally he shows himself to be a powerful individual in his own right, capable of extreme forms of destruction and therefore feared and/or respected.

The complexity of "the common man" is also explored through the oft-mentioned "life of the mind". While expounding on his duty as a writer, Barton drones: "I gotta tell you, the life of the mind ... There's no road map for that territory ... and exploring it can be painful. The kind of pain most people don't know anything about." Barton assumes that he is privy to thoughtful creative considerations while Charlie is not. This delusion shares the film's climax, as Charlie runs through the hallway of the Earle, shooting the detectives with a shotgun and screaming: "LOOK UPON ME! I'LL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND!!" Charlie's "life of the mind" is no less complex than Barton's; in fact, some critics consider it more so.

Themes of religious salvation and allusions to Biblical texts appear only briefly in Barton Fink, but their presence pervades the story. While Barton is experiencing his most desperate moment of confusion and despair, he opens the drawer of his desk and finds a Gideon's Holy Bible. He opens it "randomly" to Chapter 2 in the Book of Daniel, and reads from it: "And the king, Nebuchadnezzar, answered and said to the Chaldeans, I recall not my dream; if ye will not make known unto me my dream, and its interpretation, ye shall be cut in pieces, and of your tents shall be made a dunghill." This passage reflects Barton's inability to make sense of his own experiences (wherein Audrey has been "cut in pieces"), as well as the "hopes and dreams" of "the common man". Nebuchadnezzar is also the title of a novel that Mayhew gives to Barton as a "little entertainment" to "divert you in your sojourn among the Philistines".

Mayhew alludes to "the story of Solomon's mammy", a reference to Bathsheba, who gave birth to Solomon after her lover David had her husband Uriah killed. Although Audrey cuts Mayhew off by praising his book (which Audrey herself may have written), the reference foreshadows the love triangle which evolves among the three characters of Barton Fink. Rowell points out that Mayhew is murdered (presumably by Charlie) soon after Barton and Audrey have sex. Another Biblical reference comes when Barton flips to the front of the Bible in his desk drawer, and sees his own words transposed into the Book of Genesis. This is seen as a representation of his hubris as self-conceived omnipotent master of creation, or alternatively as a playful juxtaposition demonstrating Barton's hallucinatory state of mind.

Barton Fink premiered in May 1991 at the Cannes Film Festival. Beating competition which included Jacques Rivette's La Belle Noiseuse, Spike Lee's Jungle Fever and David Mamet's Homicide, the Coen brothers' film won three awards: Best Director, Best Actor, and the top prize of Palme d'Or. This sweep of awards in major categories at Cannes was extremely rare, and some critics felt that the jury was too generous to the exclusion of other worthy entries. Worried that the triple victory could set a precedent which would undervalue other films, Cannes decided after the 1991 festival to limit each movie to a maximum of two awards.

Barton Fink was an overwhelming critical success. The movie-review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes lists a 91% favorable rating on its "Tomatometer" (based on 46 reviews), with all but one of its "Top Critics" giving it a positive review. The aggregator Metacritic lists a 69% favorable rating, based on 19 published reviews. The Washington Post critic Rita Kempley described Barton Fink as "certainly one of the year's best and most intriguing films". The New York Times critic Vincent Canby called it "an unqualified winner" and "a fine dark comedy of flamboyant style and immense though seemingly effortless technique". Critic Jim Emerson called Barton Fink "the Coen brothers' most deliciously, provocatively indescribable picture yet".

The movie opened in the United States on eleven screens on August 23, 1991, and earned $268,561 during its opening weekend. During its theatrical release, Barton Fink grossed $6,153,939 in the United States. That the movie failed to recoup the expenses of production amused unaffiliated film producer Joel Silver: "I don't think it made $5 million, and it cost $9 million to make. a reputation for being weird, off-center, inaccessible." The film was released in VHS home video format on 18 August 1993, and a DVD edition was made available on 20 May 2003. The DVD contains a gallery of still photos, theatrical trailers, and eight deleted scenes.

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The Big Lebowski

Left to right:The Dude (Jeff Bridges), Donny (Steve Buscemi) and Walter (John Goodman).

The Big Lebowski is a 1998 American comedy film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Jeff Bridges stars as Jeffrey Lebowski, an unemployed Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler, who refers to himself as "the Dude".

After being mistaken for a multimillionaire who has the same name, Lebowski is commissioned to deliver a million-dollar ransom in order to secure the release of the millionaire's kidnapped trophy wife. The plan goes awry, and the Dude's friend Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) further complicates the ordeal. The film is narrated by a cowboy known only as "Stranger", played by Sam Elliott. Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Huddleston, Julianne Moore, Tara Reid and John Turturro also star in the film. The film's structure has been compared to Raymond Chandler's novel The Big Sleep. The original score was composed by Carter Burwell, a longtime collaborator of the Coen Brothers.

The movie was not a commercial success (its budget was about $15 million, and the film grossed $17 million domestically), but it received generally positive reviews from critics. The film, noted for its idiosyncratic characters, surreal dream sequences, unconventional dialogue, and eclectic soundtrack, has become a cult favorite and has been called "the first cult film of the Internet era." The film's devoted fans have spawned Lebowski Fest, an annual festival that started in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002 and has since expanded to several other cities.

The film begins with a short voiceover introduction by an unnamed narrator (by Sam Elliott) introducing the character of Jeffrey Lebowski as he is buying half and half from a grocery store in 1991. The voiceover explains that Lebowski calls himself "the Dude".

After returning to his apartment in Venice, California, two thugs break in and rough up The Dude. They are attempting to collect a debt Lebowski's supposed wife owes to a man named Jackie Treehorn. After realizing they were looking for a different person with the same name, they leave, but only after one of the thugs urinates on the Dude's rug. At the instigation of his friend and bowling teammate Walter Sobchak (Goodman), the Dude decides to seek compensation for his urine-soaked rug from the other Jeffrey Lebowski. The next day, the titular "Big" Lebowski, a wheelchair-bound millionaire, gruffly refuses the Dude's request. After craftily stealing one of the Big Lebowski's rugs, the Dude meets Bunny Lebowski, the Big Lebowski's nymphomaniacal trophy wife on his way off the property.

Days later, the Big Lebowski contacts the Dude, revealing that Bunny has been kidnapped. He asks him to act as a courier for the million-dollar ransom because the Dude will be able to confirm or deny their suspicion that the kidnappers are the rug-soiling thugs. Back at his apartment, the Dude naps on his new, stolen rug, only to have a new set of criminals burgle his apartment. The criminals knock him unconscious. Following a musical dream sequence, the Dude wakes up on his bare wooden floor, his new rug missing. Soon after, when Bunny's kidnappers call to arrange the ransom exchange, Walter tries to convince the Dude to keep the money and give the kidnappers a "ringer" suitcase filled with dirty underwear. The Dude rejects this plan, but cannot stop Walter. The kidnappers escape with the ringer, and the Dude and Walter are left with the million-dollar ransom. Walter seems unperturbed by this turn of events, and takes the Dude bowling. Later that night, the Dude's car is stolen, along with the briefcase filled with money. The Dude receives a message from the Big Lebowski's daughter, Maude. She admits to stealing back the Dude's new, stolen rug, as it had sentimental value to her. At her art studio, she explains that Bunny is a porn starlet working under producer Jackie Treehorn and confirms the Dude's suspicion that Bunny probably kidnapped herself. She asks the Dude to recover the ransom, as it was illegally withdrawn by her father from a family-run charitable foundation for orphans. She offers him a finder's fee in exchange for his services.

The Big Lebowski angrily confronts the Dude over his failure to hand over the money. The Dude claims that he made the pay-off as agreed, but the Big Lebowski responds by handing the Dude an envelope sent to him by the kidnappers which contains a severed toe, presumably Bunny's. The Dude is enjoying a relaxing bath when he receives a message that his car has been found. Mid-message, three German nihilists invade the Dude's apartment, identifying themselves as the kidnappers. They interrogate and threaten him for the ransom money. The Dude returns to Maude's studio, where she identifies the German nihilists as Bunny's friends (including her pornographic co-star Uli Kunkel AKA "Karl Hungus"). The Dude picks up his car from the police, and based on evidence he finds in the front seat, he and Walter track down the supposed thief, a teenager named Larry Sellers. Their confrontation with Larry is unsuccessful, and the Dude and Walter leave without getting any money or information.

Jackie Treehorn's thugs return to the Dude's apartment to bring him to Treehorn's beach house in Malibu. Treehorn inquires about the whereabouts of Bunny, and the money, offering him a cut of any funds recovered. After the Dude tells him about Larry Sellers, Treehorn drugs the Dude's drink (a White Russian) and he passes out. This leads to a second, more elaborate dream sequence in which "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" By Kenny Rogers and The First Edition is playing. Upon awakening once again, the Dude finds himself in a police car and then in front of the sheriff of Malibu, who berates and strikes him with a coffee mug for ruining the peace. After an abbreviated cab ride home (in which he is thrown out of the cab by an Eagles-loving driver), the Dude arrives home and is greeted by Maude Lebowski, who hopes to conceive a child with him. During post-coital conversation with Maude, the Dude finds out that, despite appearances, her father has no money of his own. Maude's late mother was the rich one and she left her money exclusively to the family charity. In a flash, the Dude unravels the whole scheme: When the Big Lebowski heard that Bunny was kidnapped, he used it as a pretense for an embezzlement scheme, in which he withdrew the ransom money from the family charity. He kept it for himself, gave an empty briefcase to the Dude (who would be the fall guy on whom he pinned the theft), and was content to let the kidnappers kill Bunny.

Meanwhile, it is now clear that the kidnapping was itself a ruse: While Bunny took an unannounced trip, the nihilists (her friends) alleged a kidnapping in order to get money from her husband. The Dude and Walter arrive at the Big Lebowski residence, finding Bunny back at home, having returned from her trip. They confront the Big Lebowski with their version of the events, which he counters but does not deny. The affair apparently over, the Dude and his bowling teammates are once again confronted by the nihilists, who have set the Dude's car on fire. They are still demanding the million dollars, despite the fact that the Dude does not have the money and Bunny has not even been kidnapped. Walter viciously fights them off, going so far as to bite off one nihilist's ear. However, their third teammate, Donny, suffers a fatal heart attack.

After a disagreement with the funeral home director over the cost of an urn for Donny, Walter and the Dude go to a cliff overlooking a beach to scatter Donny's ashes from a large Folgers coffee can. Before opening the can's lid and haphazardly shaking out Donny's remains into the wind, Walter remembers what little he knew about Donnie, including that he loved to surf and bowl, then quotes a line from Hamlet: "Goodnight, sweet prince." After an emotional exchange, Walter suggests, "Fuck it, man. Let's go bowling." The movie ends with the Dude in the bowling alley and meeting the narrator at the bar. The narrator tells the Dude to take it easy and the Dude responds by stating, "the Dude abides". The narrator briefly comments on the film to the audience, saying that although he "didn't like to see Donny go", he hints that there's a "little Lebowski on the way." The film transitions to the closing credits as Townes Van Zandt's version of "Dead Flowers" plays.

The Dude is mostly inspired by Jeff Dowd, a man the Coen brothers met while they were trying to find distribution for the feature film Blood Simple. Dowd had been a member of the Seattle Seven, liked to drink White Russians, and was known as "The Dude." The Dude was also partly based on a friend of the Coen brothers, Pete Exline, a Vietnam War veteran who reportedly lived in a dump of an apartment and was proud of a little rug that "tied the room together." Exline knew Barry Sonnenfeld from New York University and Sonnenfeld introduced Exline to the Coen brothers while they were trying to raise money for Blood Simple. Exline became friends with the Coens and, in 1989, told them all kinds of stories from his own life, including ones about his friend Lew Abernathy (one of the inspirations for Walter), a fellow Vietnam vet who later became a private investigator and helped him track down and confront a high school kid who stole his car. As in the film, Exline's car was impounded by the Los Angeles Police Department and Abernathy found an 8th grader's homework under the passenger seat. Exline also belonged to an amateur softball league but the Coens changed it to bowling in the movie because "it's a very social sport where you can sit around and drink and smoke while engaging in inane conversation," Ethan said in an interview. The Coens met filmmaker John Milius when they were in Los Angeles making Barton Fink and incorporated his love of guns and the military into the character of Walter.

According to Julianne Moore, the character of Maude was based on artist Carolee Schneemann, "who worked naked from a swing," and Yoko Ono. The character of Jesus Quintana was inspired, in part, by a performance the Coens had seen John Turturro give in 1988 at the Public Theater in a play called Mi Puta Vida in which he played a pederast-type character, "so we thought, let's make Turturro a pederast. It'll be something he can really run with", Joel said in an interview.

The Big Lebowski was written around the same time as Barton Fink. When the Coen brothers wanted to make it, John Goodman was taping episodes for the Roseanne television program and Jeff Bridges was making the Walter Hill film, Wild Bill. The Coens decided to make Fargo in the meantime. According to Ethan, "the movie was conceived as pivoting around that relationship between the Dude and Walter", which sprang from the scenes between Barton Fink and Charlie Meadows in Barton Fink. They also came up with the idea of setting the film in contemporary L.A. because the people who inspired the story lived in the area. When Pete Exline told them about the homework in a baggie incident, the Coens thought that that was very Raymond Chandler-esque and decided to integrate elements of the author's fiction into their script. Joel Coen cites Robert Altman's contemporary take on Chandler with The Long Goodbye as a primary influence on their film in the sense that The Big Lebowski "is just kind of informed by Chandler around the edges". When they started writing the script, the Coens wrote only 40 pages and then let it sit for a while before finishing it. This is the normal writing process for them, because they often "encounter a problem at a certain stage, we pass to another project, then we come back to the first script. That way we've already accumulated pieces for several future movies". In order to liven up a scene that they thought was too heavy on exposition, they added an "effete art-world hanger-on", known as Knox Harrington, late in the screenwriting process. In the original script, the Dude's car was the one Dowd used to have – a Chrysler LeBaron but it was not big enough to fit John Goodman so the Coens changed it to a Ford Torino.

Polygram and Working Title Films, who had funded Fargo, backed The Big Lebowski with a budget of $15 million. In casting the film, Joel remarked, "we tend to write both for people we know and have worked with, and some parts without knowing who's going to play the role. In The Big Lebowski we did write for John and Steve , but we didn't know who was getting the Jeff Bridges role". In preparation for his role, Bridges met Dowd but actually "drew on myself a lot from back in the Sixties and Seventies. I lived in a little place like that and did drugs, although I think I was a little more creative than the Dude". The actor went into his own closet with the film's wardrobe person and picked out clothes that he had that the Dude might wear. He wore his character's clothes home because most of them were his own. The actor also adopted the same physicality as Dowd, including the slouching and his ample belly. Originally, Goodman wanted a different kind of beard for Walter but the Coen brothers insisted on the "Gladiator" or what they called the "Chin Strap" and he thought it would go well with his flat-top haircut.

For the look of the film, the Coens wanted to avoid the usual retro 1960s clichés like lava lamps, Day-Glo posters, and Grateful Dead music and for it to be "consistent with the whole bowling thing, we wanted to keep the movie pretty bright and poppy", Joel said in an interview. For example, the star motif featured predominantly throughout the movie started with the film's production designer Richard Heinrichs' design for the bowling alley. According to Joel, he "came up with the idea of just laying free-form neon stars on top of it and doing a similar free-form star thing on the interior". This carried over to the film's dream sequences. "Both dream sequences involve star patterns and are about lines radiating to a point. In the first dream sequence, the Dude gets knocked out and you see stars and they all coalesce into the overhead nightscape of L.A. The second dream sequence is an astral environment with a backdrop of stars", remembers Heinrichs. For Jackie Treehorn's Malibu beach house, he was inspired by late 1950s and early 1960s bachelor pad-style furniture. The Coen brothers told Heinrichs that they wanted Treehorn's beach party to be Inca-themed with a "very Hollywood-looking party in which young, oiled-down, fairly aggressive men walk around with appetizers and drinks. So there's a very sacrificial quality to it".

Cinematographer Roger Deakins discussed the look of the film with the Coens during pre-production. They told him that they wanted some parts of the film to have a real and contemporary feeling and other parts, like the dream sequences, to have a very stylized look. Bill and Jacqui Landrum did all of the choreography for the film. For his dance sequence, Jack Kehler went through three three-hour rehearsals. The Coen brothers offered him three to four choices of classical music for him to pick from and he settled on "Pictures at an Exhibition". At each rehearsal, he went through each phase of the piece.

Actual filming took place over an eleven-week period with location shooting in and around L.A., including all of the bowling sequences at the Hollywood Star Lanes (for three weeks) and the Dude's Busby Berkeley-esque dream sequences in a converted airplane hangar. According to Joel, the only time they ever directed Bridges "was when he would come over at the beginning of each scene and ask, 'Do you think the Dude burned one on the way over?' I'd reply 'Yes' usually, so Jeff would go over in the corner and start rubbing his eyes to get them bloodshot". Julianne Moore was sent the script while working on The Lost World: Jurassic Park. She worked only two weeks on the film, early and late during the production that went from January to April 1997 while Sam Elliott was only on set for two days and did many takes of his final speech.

Deakins described the look of the fantasy scenes as being very crisp, monochromatic, and highly lit in order to afford greater depth of focus. However, with the Dude's apartment, Deakins said, "it's kind of seedy and the light's pretty nasty" with a grittier look. The visual bridge between these two different looks was how he photographed the night scenes. Instead of adopting the usual blue moonlight or blue street lamp look, he used a very orange sodium-light effect. The Coen brothers shot a lot of the film with wide-angle lens because, according to Joel, it made it easier to hold focus for a greater depth and it made camera movements more dynamic.

To achieve the point-of-view of a rolling bowling ball the Coen brothers mounted a camera, "on something like a barbecue spit", according to Ethan, and then dolly it along the lane. The challenge for them was figuring out the relative speeds of the forward motion and the rotating motion. CGI was used to create the vantage point of the thumb hole in the bowling ball.

The original score was composed by Carter Burwell, a veteran of all the Coen Brothers' films. While the Coens were writing the screenplay they had Kenny Rogers' "Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition Was in)", the Gipsy Kings' cover of "Hotel California", and several Creedence Clearwater Revival songs in mind. They asked T-Bone Burnett to pick songs for the soundtrack of the film. They knew that they wanted different genres of music from different times but, as Joel remembers, "T-Bone even came up with some far-out Henry Mancini and Yma Sumac". Burnett was able to secure the rights to the songs by Kenny Rogers and the Gipsy Kings and also added tracks by Captain Beefheart, Moondog and the rights to a relatively obscure Bob Dylan song called "The Man in Me". However, he had a tough time securing the rights to Townes Van Zandt's cover of the Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers", which plays over the film's closing credits. Former Stones manager Allen Klein owned the rights to the song and wanted $150,000 for it. Burnett convinced Klein to watch an early cut of the film and remembers, "It got to the part where the Dude says, 'I hate the fuckin' Eagles, man!' Klein stands up and says, 'That's it, you can have the song!' That was beautiful". Burnett was going to be credited on the film as "Music Supervisor" but asked his credit to be "Music Archivist" because he "hated the notion of being a supervisor; I wouldn't want anyone to think of me as management".

For Joel, "the original music, as with other elements of the movie, had to echo the retro sounds of the Sixties and early Seventies". Music defines each character. For example, "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" by Bob Nolan was chosen for the Stranger at the time the Coens wrote the screenplay, as was "Lujon" by Henri Mancini for Jackie Treehorn. "The German nihilists are accompanied by techno-pop and Jeff Bridges by Creedence. So there's a musical signature for each of them", remarked Ethan in an interview.

The Big Lebowski received its world premiere at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 1998 at the 1,300 capacity Eccles Theater. Reportedly, there were a few walkouts and Peter Howell, in his review for the Toronto Star, wrote, "It's hard to believe that this is the work of a team that won an Oscar last year for the original screenplay of Fargo. There's a large amount of profanity in the movie, which seems a weak attempt to paper over dialogue gaps." The film was also screened at the 1998 Berlin Film Festival before opening in North America on March 6, 1998 in 1,207 theaters. It grossed USD $5.5 million on its opening weekend, grossing $17 million domestically, just above its $15 million budget.

The Big Lebowski has become a cult classic over the years and has been called "the first cult film of the Internet era". Steve Palopoli wrote about the film's emerging cult status in July 2002. He first realized that the film had a cult following when he attended a midnight screening in 2000 at the New Beverly Cinema in L.A. Palopoli witnessed people quoting dialogue from the film to each other. Soon after the article appeared, the programmer for local midnight film series in Santa Cruz decided to screen The Big Lebowski and on the first weekend they had to turn away several hundred people. The theater held the film over for six weeks which had never happened before.

An annual festival, the Lebowski Fest, began in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002 with 150 fans showing up, and has since expanded to several other cities. The Festival's main event each year is a night of unlimited bowling with various contests including costume, trivia, hardest- and farthest-traveled contests. Held over a weekend, events typically include a pre-fest party with bands the night before the bowling event as well as a day-long outdoor party with bands, vendor booths and games. Various celebrities from the film have even attended some of the events, including Jeff Bridges who attended the Los Angeles event. The British equivalent, inspired by Lebowski Fest, is known as The Dude Abides and is held in London.

Entertainment Weekly ranked it 8th on their Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years list. The film was also ranked #34 on their list of "The Top 50 Cult Films" and ranked #15 on the magazine's "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list. The Big Lebowski was voted as the 10th best film set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years by a group of Los Angeles Times writers and editors with two criteria: "The movie had to communicate some inherent truth about the L.A. experience, and only one film per director was allowed on the list". Empire magazine ranked Walter Sobchak #49 and the Dude #7 in their "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters" poll.

Universal Studios released a "Collector's Edition" DVD on October 18, 2005 with extra features that included an "Introduction by Mortimer Young", "Jeff Bridges' Photography", "Making of The Big Lebowski", and "Production Notes". In addition, a limited edition "Achiever's Edition Gift Set" also included The Big Lebowski Bowling Shammy Towel, four Collectible Coasters that included photographs and quotable lines from the movie, and eight Exclusive Photo Cards from Jeff Bridges’ personal collection. Also, the Polygram Filmed Entertainment 'Icarus' Logo originally seen at the beginning of the film was plastered with the current Universal Studios Logo. A "10th Anniversary Edition" was released on September 9, 2008 and features all of the extras from the "Collector's Edition" and "The Dude's Life: Strikes and Gutters ... Ups and Downs ... The Dude Abides", Theatrical Trailer (from the first DVD release), "The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever's Story", "Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of the Dude", "Interactive Map", "Jeff Bridges Photo Book",and a "Photo Gallery". There are both a standard release and a Limited Edition which features "Bowling Ball Packaging" and is individually numbered.

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Velocette motorcycle badge.jpg

Velocette is the name given to motorcycles that were made by Veloce Ltd, in Hall Green, Birmingham, England. One of several motorcycle manufacturers in Birmingham, Velocette was a small, family-owned firm, selling far fewer hand-built motorcycles than the giant BSA, Norton or Triumph concerns. Renowned for the quality of its products, the company was 'always in the picture' in international motorcycle racing, from the mid-1920s through the 1950s, culminating in two world championship titles (1949–1950 350 cc) and its legendary and still-unbeaten 24 hours at 100 mph (161 km/h) record. Veloce, while small, was a great technical innovator and many of its patented designs are commonplace on motorcycles today, including the positive-stop foot shift and swinging arm rear suspension with hydraulic dampers.

The company was founded by John Goodman (born Johannes Gütgemann and later known as John Taylor before formally changing his name to Goodman) and William Gue, as "Taylor, Gue Ltd." in 1905. Its first motorcycle was the Veloce. Later that year, John Taylor set up Veloce Limited, to produce cycles and related products and services. Veloce Ltd initially produced four-stroke motorcycles. The first two-stroke, built in 1913, was called a Velocette. This name was used for all subsequent models. He was joined in 1916 by his sons Percy and Eugene Goodman.

Between 1913 and 1925, Veloce only produced expensive, high-quality two-stroke motorcycles of (nominally) 250 cc, which gained an excellent reputation, and which were entered in competitions, such as the Isle of Man TT, with some success. The single-cylinder machines had many advanced features, such as a throttle-controlled oil pump, which set them apart from other manufacturers' products. The factory gradually developed this machine from the 'A' series and variants (A, AC2 - coil ignition, two-speed gearbox, AC3 - three speed gearbox, etc.), then the 'H' series, the model U and variants, culminating in the model GTP in 1930, which was produced until 1946. The GTP was a reliable lightweight motorcycle with good steering and power delivery.

In the early 1920s, Veloce realized that in order to grow as a company, it needed a new machine of advanced specification and developed an overhead camshaft (OHC) 350 cc engine, which became known as the 'K' series, introduced in 1925. After a year of teething troubles with this new design, Veloce entered the model KTT into racing events such as the Isle of Man TT and Brooklands races, and the reliability and sweet running qualities of their new engine led to a long string of racing successes. The roadster models developed from this initial model K were the Velocette KSS (super sports), KTS (touring sports), KTP (twin exhaust ports), KN (normal), and a few variations. The OHC engine series continued for roadsters until 1948, when the final KSS versions were produced, with rigid frames and Dowty air-sprung telescopic forks. Accurate valve timing was accomplished with the aid of pioneering use of stroboscopic lamps. The 'K' series showed an excellent turn of speed and reliability and soon the factory developed racing models to compete in the Isle of Man TT.

In 1933, the company decided to introduce a new line of overhead valve (OHV) machines, in order to cut production costs and make a more affordable motorcycle. The K series was expensive to produce, requiring selective hand assembly of the shaft-and-bevel camshaft drive; it was determined that a simpler OHV design would be quicker to build and require less skilled labour to assemble. The first of these new machines was the MOV, using a 250 cc engine of 'square' dimensions (68 mm bore x 68 mm stroke). It was an immediate sales success, having lively performance for the time (78 mph), and proved a reliable machine with excellent road manners. From this machine, by lengthening the stroke of the crankshaft, the Velocette MAC 350 cc was introduced in 1934. It proved even more popular than the MOV, and became a real money spinner for the company, bringing much needed capital into the firm. In 1935 an entirely new machine was introduced, based on the two previous OHV models, the Velocette MSS of 500 cc. A new, heavier frame was utilized with the intention that the machine could serve as a sidecar hauler. This new frame was developed from the mkV KTT racing machine, and was shared with the KSS MKII of 1936-48. The MSS also proved very popular and profitable for Veloce.

After the Second World War, the company sought to capture what it saw as a developing need for personal transport and created (with the help of Phil Irving of Vincent fame) the model LE. This was a 192 cc watercooled flat twin with side-valves, a pressed steel frame and telescopic forks and swingarm. It was sophisticated and expensive. Unfortunately it proved less successful than the firm had anticipated and although it became Veloce's best selling model ever, the massive tooling costs for this all-new machine were barely recouped. It did see widespread adoption by British police forces for urban patrol. At the time Metropolitan Police Officers on foot patrol were required to salute Sergeants and Inspectors. With the introduction of the Velocette LE, this became dangerous, requiring the officer to take his hand off the handle bars, and so the rider was to allowed to show his respect with a smart inclination of his head, or to put it another way, to give a smart nod and the bikes became known as 'Noddy Bikes'.

In 1960 Velocette introduced the Viceroy, a very unusual 250 cc opposed twin two-stroke scooter. Unique to the Viceroy was the front mounted twin-cylinder engine, and the fuel tank mounted under the front legshield. The engine itself was extremely compact, and connected to the rear-mounted clutch and transmission by a drive shaft from the engine-mounted flywheel. With electric start, 12 volt electrics, a very low centre of gravity, power over 15  hp and a reported comfortable cruising speed of 65 MPH (105 km/h), performance, handling and features of the Viceroy were first class. Unfortunately the scooter came as market forces and rider preferences were changing, and the Viceroy was not a sales success. The late 1960s were the last years of production for Velocette motorcycles, production for Viper and Vogue ending in 1968, "Special", Scrambler and Endurance in 1969, and MSS Venom and Velocette Thruxton in 1970. Veloce Ltd. closed in February 1971.

In 1961 a Velocette Venon 500 cc machine was the first motorcycle to cover over 2,400 miles (3,900 km) in a 24 hour period, averaging 100.05 mph (161.01 km/h).

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True Stories (film)

True Stories is an American musical film directed by and starring musician David Byrne. It also stars John Goodman and Swoosie Kurtz, and was released in the US, Canada and Sweden in 1986 (with limited release elsewhere the following year).

The majority of the film's music is supplied by Talking Heads. The soundtrack yielded one of the group's last hit singles, "Wild Wild Life". An early working title for the project (endorsed by bassist Tina Weymouth) was Wild Infancy.

The film features Byrne as an unnamed, cowboy-hat-wearing stranger who visits the fictional Texas town of Virgil, where he observes the citizens as they prepare for the Celebration of Special-ness, sponsored by the Varicorp Corporation. Byrne breaks the fourth wall many times in the movie while he is narrating in his car.

Among the unique individuals the stranger meets is Louis Fyne, played by John Goodman (in one of his first major film roles) - a Country-Western-singing clean room technician at a local computer manufacturing plant who is unlucky in love. He also encounters: town leader Earl Culver (played by performance artist Spalding Gray), who never speaks directly to his wife; Miss Rollings (Swoosie Kurtz), who never leaves her bed; Mr. Tucker (Pops Staples of The Staple Singers), a voodoo practitioner whom Louis hires to help him find love; a conspiracy theorist preacher (John Ingle) whose shtick owes a great deal to the Church of the SubGenius (in real life, Byrne is a SubGenius himself); Ramon (played by musician Tito Larriva), who claims telepathic powers; and a character billed only as "The Lying Woman" (Jo Harvey Allen), who recounts fantastic episodes from her history to anyone present. Renowned Latin music legend Esteban "Steve" Jordan and his conjunto perform the song, Radio Head in the film as well.

The movie was not a commercial success at the time of its release, and it received a mixed reaction from critics (though some, such as Roger Ebert, delivered glowing reviews). The film has achieved its greatest success in home video release, as a cult classic among fans of Byrne's work.

True Stories features a number of songs written by Byrne and performed by various members of the cast, as well as by Byrne's band, Talking Heads (the members of which make cameo appearances).

Talking Heads released a popular album entitled True Stories in which they perform most of the songs from the film, including songs that were performed by the actors in the movie itself. As such, the album is not generally considered a true soundtrack album. Later, Byrne released an album containing instrumental music from the soundtrack entitled Sounds from True Stories, though it was never released on CD. While several of the cast performances were released as bonus tracks on 12-inch single releases, no full album of cast performances has yet been released. As such, few of the original versions of songs from the film have found release. The Pops Staples version of "Papa Legba" and Tito Larriva's version of "Radio Head" appear as extra tracks on the 2006 Rhino reissue of True Stories; and the John Goodman's version of "People Like Us" was released on the 2006 Rhino release of a Talking Heads Bonus Rarities and Outtakes album, but the rest of the songs whose versions differ between the movie and album (John Ingle's "Puzzling Evidence," Annie McEnroe's "Dream Operator," and St. Thomas Aquinas School Choir's "Hey Now") are absent.

The music video version of "Wild Wild Life" that debuted on MTV is simply a scene taken from the film, in which many of the film's characters (including John Goodman) lip-synch to the music in a night club; the video version is more risque and features more pop music references/parodies than seen in the film; the Prince and Billy Idol parodies remain in the film version. Similarly, the video for "Love for Sale" is the same as that seen in the film (in which Kurtz's character is shown watching it on TV), except the video version has additional footage of Talking Heads, more references to recognizable TV commercials of the day, and no intercuts to any of the film characters.

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Arachnophobia (film)


Arachnophobia is a 1990 American horror-comedy film directed by Frank Marshall and starring Jeff Daniels and John Goodman. It is about deadly spiders infesting a small California town, with the title referring to the fear of spiders.

A group of scientists, led by entomologist Dr. James Atherton (Julian Sands), head to the Amazon with the hope of discovering new species of insects. The scientists identify a new species of spider, which is pretending to be dead. The spider is captured and chloroformed for research. They learn that that the spider is a soldier. Jerry Manley (Mark L. Taylor), a nature photographer, takes a rest and a 'general' spider sneaks into his sleeping bag and kills him by biting his hand. The remainder of the scientists take his body back to the US, with the general spider inside, thinking Jerry had passed away due to a fever.

Jerry's body arrives at the morgue in his home town, Canaima, and the mortician doesn't notice the general spider inside the coffin when he opens it. As the mortician is speaking on the phone with Jerry's family about funeral arrangements, the general heads outside. It eventually makes its way to the barn of the Jennings family. Ross Jennings (Jeff Daniels) is a physician who moves to the small town from San Francisco and faces a lack of patients due to elderly rival, Sam Metcalf ( Henry Jones), who was supposed to retire and give his patients to Ross.

The general spider mates with a domestic house spider and makes a nest in Ross' barn. Hundreds of soldier spiders are born in the barn. Ross has a fear of spiders (hence the title of the film), and one of his patients dies after being bitten. After a football player is also killed by a spider, Ross is known to the town as Dr. Death, because each of his patients dies after having seen him. Soon, Metcalf himself is killed by a spider, giving Ross the idea that the town could be infested by deadly arachnids. As more and more residents of the town are killed, Ross, Dr. Atherton and exterminator Delbert McClintock (John Goodman) investigate, but Dr. Atherton is killed by the general after disturbing its web. After tracing the nest to their own basement, the Jennings decide to escape from their own house. Ross' wife and kids make it out, but Ross finds himself trapped until he falls through the basement into the general's nest. After killing the queen, Ross has a battle with the general, setting the whole cellar on fire in the process. Ross starts the general on fire, but it continues to pursue him. Ross shoots it with a nail gun and destroys the remaining eggs, ending the plague.

Jamie Hyneman, of MythBusters fame, stated in Popular Mechanics that Arachnaphobia was one of the first movies he worked on and that he often relied on simple magnets for several of the effects.

The film made use of 374 Avondale spiders, which were picked for their large size, lack of actual venom, and unusually social lifestyle. They were guided around the set by the use of heat and cold, but the large "queen" was an articulated model.

To create the sound effects of spiders being stepped on or squashed, people stepped on mustard packs or crunched potato chips.

The film was a financial success, grossing $53,208,180 domestically and going on to gross an additional $30,000,000 in video rentals.

In his book, critic Leonard Maltin calls the film a "slick comic thriller" and approves of the acting, warning, "Not recommended for anyone who's ever covered their eyes during a movie." Newsweek associated the film with B movies "about the small town threatened by alien invaders," and said it was well made but "oddly unresonant." Roger Ebert said it made audiences "squirm out of enjoyment, not terror," and listed details in the film that he felt were typical of such films, including "the bright young doctor, whose warnings are ignored" and "the loyal wife and kids," as well as "the usual cats and dogs, necessary for the obligatory scene in which they can sense something even when the humans can't." He gave the film three stars. The film won a Saturn Award from The American Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror films for Best Horror Film and Best Actor (Daniels). Young actress Marlene Katz was nominated for a best actress award from the Young Artist Awards.

The film drew protests from some people interested in spiders, as they believed the film tarnished the public image of spiders.

A soundtrack album for the film, also called Arachnophobia, was released in 1990. It included instrumental music from the film as well as songs such as "Blue Eyes Are Sensitive To The Light" by Sara Hickman and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" by Tony Bennett.

A video game version of Arachnophobia was also released in 1991, for Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and DOS.

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Always (1989 film)


Always is a 1989 romantic drama directed by Steven Spielberg, and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman and Brad Johnson. This is also Audrey Hepburn's final film appearance. The film was distributed by Universal Studios and United Artists.

The premise is based on the 1943 movie A Guy Named Joe and follows the same basic plot line. with basic plot similarities in that one of the pilots dies and returns as an angel to mentor a new pilot, only to find the new pilot falling in love with his former girlfriend. Spielberg did not treat the film as a direct homage to the earlier World War II melodrama but it is significant that A Guy Named Joe is aired in a scene in Poltergeist (which like A Guy Named Joe was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, currently sister studio to United Artists, which co-produced Always).

During production, Spielberg confided that while making Jaws in 1974, he and Dreyfuss had traded quips from A Guy Named Joe. Dreyfuss had seen the 1943 melodrama "at least 35 times." For Spielberg, who recalled seeing it as a child late at night, "it was one of the films that inspired him to become a movie director,"creating an emotional connection to the times that his father, a wartime air force veteran had lived through. The two friends quoted individual shots from the movie to each other and when the opportunity arose, years later, were resolved to recreate the wartime fantasy.

Pete Sandich (Dreyfuss) is one of a group of aerial firefighters, who fly war-surplus aircraft dropping fire retardant slurry to put out forest wildfires. He and Dorinda Durston (Hunter), a pilot who doubles as a dispatcher, have an unusual relationship. After another of Pete's unnecessarily risky flying stunts, the pilots, mechanics and firemen are hanging out at the saloon. Pete surprises Dorinda with a stunning white dress for her birthday, although it turns out to be the wrong day. She puts on the dress anyway and all the guys rush to wash their hands so they get a turn dancing with her, to the lovely melody of the couple's song, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes".

Pete, there ain't no war here. And this is why you're not exactly a hero for taking these chances you take. You're more of what I would call a dickhead.

Al recommends Pete take a safer job which has just opened up, training firefighting pilots in Flat Rock, Colorado.

I could at least understand how you fly if you were risking yourself for civilization. If you were putting your life on the line for another life, anybody's life. I love you, Pete, but I'm not enjoying it.

After deciding to take Al's advice, Pete risks his life one last time. While on a bombing run, one of the engines on Al's Catalina water bomber catches fire. In desperation, Pete makes a dangerously steep dive to extinguish it with slurry. He saves Al, but his own A-26 bomber flies so low it hits one of the burning trees, catches fire and explodes.

Pete is promoted to guardian angel (“We don't send back the other kind”) and is assigned to guide a true-hearted, but awkward new pilot, Ted Baker (Johnson), who falls in love with Dorinda. This becomes Pete's biggest challenge: to say goodbye to Dorinda, instead of selfishly hanging on to a love which can no longer be.

Ted volunteers for an extremely dangerous mission, one that is vital to save a crew of firefighters surrounded by flames. Unable to bear the thought of losing another loved one, Dorinda steals Ted's aircraft and completes the job, with Pete's inspiration. On the way back, she sees his image one last time, and he tells her all the things he wanted to say, but never got around to while he was alive. When they land, he releases her heart, so that Ted can take his place, saying “That's my girl… and that's my boy ” and Pete finally enters heaven.

A full cast and production crew list is too lengthy to include, see: IMDb profile.

The movie is set in Kootenai National Forest, Montana, with some scenes filmed in and around Libby, Montana. Some 500 people from nearby Libby, Montana were recruited for the movie as extras to act as wildland firefighters. Those scenes set in "Flat Rock, Colorado" were filmed at and around the Ephrata airport in eastern Washington.

In the opening scenes the forest fires were created by Pathfinder Helicopter Inc.. They were hired by the Forest Service to burn some clearcuts near Libby Montana that were filmed for the movie. Helicopter Pilot was Steve Tolle and Ground Crew Manager was Jim Leighty.

The Libby airport was used to double as the Forest Service Headquarters in the movie.

Two A-26 fire bombers (No. 57 and No. 59 ) were prominently featured in the film, Always. The flying for the movie was performed by well-known movie pilot Steve Hinton and Dennis Lynch, the owner of the A-26s.

The movie opened at #5 at that week's box office, grossing $3,713,480, competing with Christmas Vacation, Tango & Cash (opening the same weekend), The War of the Roses and Back To The Future Part II. Although now considered a "box office flop" when compared to other Spielberg properties, the movie brought back modest returns, grossing $43,858,790 in the U.S. and $30,276,000 on foreign territories, for a $74,134,790 worldwide total. More importantly, Always was considered a departure from the usual Spielberg blockbuster magic and was not critically acclaimed. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times considered it "dated" and more of a "curiosity,", calling it Spielberg's "weakest film since his comedy 1941". while Variety gave it a more generous accolade: "Always is a relatively small scale, engagingly casual, somewhat silly, but always entertaining fantasy." Today's modern viewers have been slightly more charitable and rank the movie as pleasant fare.

Although unsuccessful, Always was nominated in 1991 for the Saturn Award as Best Fantasy Film, while Jerry Belson was nominated for the Best Writing category of the award at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films (USA). A number of critics have now considered the film as the progenitor of a new crop of "ghost" genre films including Ghost (1990).

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The Jungle Book 2

Junglebook2 movieposter.jpg

The Jungle Book 2 is a 2003 animated feature film produced by the DisneyToons studio in Sydney, Australia and released by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution. The theatrical version of the film was released in France on February 5, 2003, and released in the United States on February 14, 2003. The film is a sequel to Walt Disney's 1967 film The Jungle Book, and stars Haley Joel Osment as the voice of Mowgli and John Goodman as the voice of Baloo. The film was originally produced as a direct-to-video film, but was released theatrically first, similar to the Peter Pan sequel, Return to Never Land. It is the third Disney sequel to have a theatrical release rather than going direct-to-video after The Rescuers Down Under in 1990 and Return to Neverland in 2002. The film is not based on The Second Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, first published in 1895. However, they do have several characters in common. When released, it was criticised mainly for its cut-rate animation and a lazy, samey plotline to the original film. Disney released the VHS and DVD versions on June 10, 2003. On June 17, 2008 a Special Edition DVD was released.

Mowgli is in the Man Village, living with his adoptive parents and new little brother, Ranjan. He makes friends with Shanti, the girl who lured Mowgli into the Man Village. After Mowgli gets in trouble, he blames Shanti and won't talk to her, then Mowgli starts to miss the jungle. After an escape from a stampede of elephants, Baloo sneaks into the Man Village - unnoticed by the villagers - to visit Mowgli. Also, Mowgli's old arch enemy, Shere Khan, returns for his revenge. Meanwhile, Shanti tries to apologize to Mowgli, but she sees Baloo with Mowgli, and shrieks for help. Shere Khan sneaks into the village and everyone thinks he's the wild animal. After Baloo and Mowgli escape into the jungle. Shanti, believing her friend was kidnapped, follows them. Kaa spots Mowgli and Baloo talking, and attempts to eat him. But, fortunately, he fails.

Later, Kaa spots Shanti alone, and tries to eat her. He manages to subdue her with his hypnotic stare, until Ranjan comes forward and pulls Shanti away in time, releasing her from Kaa's trance. Ranjan starts beating Kaa with a stick, and Kaa ends up accidentally swallowing a large rock. The weight of the rock makes his coils fall on top of him. While Ranjan keeps hitting Kaa, Shanti grabs him to get away from the snake. Ranjan soon scares Kaa from behind, and causes Kaa to fall off a nearby cliff and into a coconut tree, and Shanti and Ranjan soon leave. Mowgli seems to enjoy the jungle as he used to and tells Baloo about his life in the Man Village and Shanti. Soon, Mowgli's old panther guardian, Bagheera, figures out that Mowgli had escaped the Man Village with Baloo, and he tries to find him. Shanti and Ranjan are still looking for Mowgli, then get lost in the jungle. They soon find Mowgli hanging from the vines, because Mowgli was hiding from them and accidentally tripped. Baloo finds them and scares Shanti. Shanti figures out that Mowgli got Baloo to scare her, and she gets angry at him, and then Mowgli gets angry at Baloo for scaring Shanti. Mowgli runs away. He finds an ancient temple and enters it. Shere Khan finds Mowgli at the temple and chases him. Mowgli soon runs into a crater and he and Shanti jump across and land on a tiger head statue. Shere Khan jumps onto the tiger head which starts to crack. Shere Khan falls and lands on a rock and the tiger head lands down trapping him inside. Mowgli and Shanti fall too but are saved by Baloo. Meanwhile, Lucky, a new member of the vultures, comes down and begins to tease Shere Khan. They soon return to the Man Village and are greeted by their families but Mowgli, Shanti and Ranjan return to the jungle the next day to spend some time with their new jungle family.

The band Smash Mouth recorded a cover of the Sherman Brothers song, "I Wanna Be Like You" (originally from the 1967 musical film), which is featured on this film's soundtrack.

Many people thought that The Jungle Book 2 was a rehash of the original 1967 classic and should have gone direct-to-video as it was originally intended. On Rotten Tomatoes, the general consensus is "This inferior rehash of The Jungle Book should have gone straight to video." Based on 86 reviews, the film a "rotten" approval rating of 19%, with an average score of 4.4.. In the "cream of the crop" division, the film has a 17% approval rating with an average score of 4.1. In the RT Community, it has a 30% approval rating, with an average score of 3.7.

The film has made a total domestic gross of $47,901,582.

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Source : Wikipedia