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Sunset Gun
Los Angeles
Recent Activity
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There's a moment in Heath Ledger's far too short, sometimes brilliant film career that makes me so filled with wistful emotion, that no matter how many times I watch it, I'm still taken aback by its deceptively simple power. It's his final scene in Catherine Hardwicke's great Lords of Dogtown, the under-discussed skater picture featuring one of Ledger's most poignant performances. As Skip Engblom, the... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Sunset Gun
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A brief look at Phil Karlson's Gunman's Walk... “Look, times don’t change in this country where you breed a man soft… without any spirit in him. A man’s like a horse. If you don’t buck the first time you put a saddle on him, he ain’t worth having, you know that!”— Lee Hackett (Van Heflin) In Phil Karlson’s Gunman ‘s Walk – you wonder how... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2021 at Sunset Gun
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“Life is on the wire; the rest is just waiting.” – Karl Walenda “On the snap Vincent!” This is uttered to pool player and obnoxious kid, Vincent Lauria, via his manager girlfriend, Carmen -- almost like a boxing trainer -- in a smoky bar on a regular night of nothing particularly special in the 1980s. Phil Collins' “One More Night” plays on the soundtrack (and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2020 at Sunset Gun
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Mikey: You call me “The Echo,” and you tell everybody that I have to say everything twice because I got a tunnel in my head. The second time is the echo. Nicky: Listen, Mikey, everybody says everything. I mean, what’s the difference? I was kidding. Don’t you ever kid? Mikey: You make me out a joke to Resnick. Just like you made me out a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2020 at Sunset Gun
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Blood Simple is a lonely movie. The movie sweats, cries and bleeds loneliness. The road the two lovers, Ray (John Getz) and Abby (Frances McDormand) drive down at night, opening the film, is lonely. Never mind that they are together and about to consummate their union in a hotel room – it’s a lonely road – as remote as Hank Williams’ “Lost Highway,” as friendless... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2020 at Sunset Gun
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“What a week. I met you on Monday, fell in love with you on Tuesday, Wednesday I was unfaithful, Thursday we killed a guy together. How about that for a crazy week, Sue Ann?” There’s a scene in Noel Black’s 1968 Pretty Poison that’s so unnerving and memorable, it still makes a viewer feel off balance today. Tuesday Weld’s beautiful 17-year-old high school majorette named... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2020 at Sunset Gun
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A somewhat short riff on Too Late for Tears... “I let you in because, well, housewives can get awfully bored sometimes…” “What is it, Jane? I just don’t understand you.” So asks Arthur Kennedy’s upright husband to Lizabeth Scott’s kinked, cryptic wife in Byron Haskin’s Too Late for Tears, a movie as much about one woman suffering her own private hell (infernal boredom with the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2020 at Sunset Gun
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Happy Birthday, Marilyn Monroe. Here's a letter Thomas Pynchon wrote to his former Cornell friend and roommate, writer Jules Siegel, in the early 1960s. MM is brought up -- she "got out of the game" as Pynchon wrote. Siegel published a portion of the letter in a 1965 issue of Cavalier magazine. He wrote that, "Pynchon, hiding out from the world in Mexico City, wrote... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2020 at Sunset Gun
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Originally published at The New Beverly “He rushed out and rented a white convertible, and he’d drive around L.A. He’d call and say, ‘It’s a dream here!’” – Agnès Varda on her husband Jacques Demy in Los Angeles In Jacques Demy’s Model Shop, George Matthews (Gary Lockwood), a 26-year-old unemployed architect, drives. It’s 1968 in Los Angeles (1969 when the movie was released), and he... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2020 at Sunset Gun
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"She was a nonconformist too . . . a believer in her own intuition. Intuition, that’s what Joan’s voices were. She never killed anybody. She just wanted everybody to go home and mind their own business.” -- Jean Arthur on Joan of Arc Up now! My Criterion essay on one of my favorite actresses -- the complex, charming, beautiful, funny, serious and seriously smart iconoclastic,... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2020 at Sunset Gun
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Originally published at The New Beverly Suddenly is a sleepy little 1950s town that’s a stand-in for any kind of sleepy little 1950s town in the U.S.A. Not much happens in Suddenly, to the point where residents seem a little bored with life, enough to feel either half-awake or, combustible. Like any town populated with humans, there’s an underlying threat – often from within themselves:... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2020 at Sunset Gun
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“I did not want an actress the audience loved. They would hate me for making her Mrs. Craig. Rosalind Russell was a bit player at M-G-M, brilliant, clipped, and unknown to movie audiences. She was what I wanted.” – Dorothy Arzner (in a 1974 interview with Karyn Kay and Gerald Peary) Harriet Craig’s vase. It’s such an obvious object, both literally and symbolically in Dorothy... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2020 at Sunset Gun
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“So enough of films. This was prompted by my excitement about ‘XYZ’ [that it] will be a ‘big one’ for E [Elizabeth Taylor]. By talk of distinction and by talk of Oscars. I know she is brilliant in the film and I know the film is good but I thought almost as highly of ‘Boom!’ and that went BOOM.” – Richard Burton, ‘The Richard Burton... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2020 at Sunset Gun