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Posts Tagged ‘robert redford

Quiz Show (1994)

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It’s the late ’50s and geeky Herb Stempel (John Turturro) is on a winning streak with popular quiz show Twenty One.  Quick rundown of the show:  There are two contestants, one returning champ and one unlucky opponent.  They meet briefly with host Jack Barry (Christopher McDonald) at the start of the show before being separated and sent to their own hot ‘n’ sweaty isolation booths.  During play neither contestant can hear the opposition nor see their total points.  Barry presents the category for the round and each player takes turns answering questions from that category.  They may choose any point value from 1-11 and the first to twenty-one wins.  It should also be noted that the questions, when not in play, are kept in a secure bank vault.

But when ol’ Herbie stops bringing in the ratings, producers Dan Enright (David Paymer) and Albert Freedman (Hank Azaria) search for a new champ.  New contestant: earnest lookin’ college professor Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes) son of Mark Van Doren (Paul Scofield) a renowned poet.  To ensure the smooth departure of Herbert and the big arrival of Charles, they ask Herbert to take a dive.  Not just take a dive, but fail miserably and embarrassingly.  Q: Academy Award winner for Best Picture 1955? A: On the Waterfront, Herb must reply – even though Marty is one of his favorite movies.  Why would asking Herbert to lose of his own accord even be applicable?  Oh wait, turns out those questions aren’t quite so sacred as the public thought and turns out that Stempel has been fed the answers all along.  He reluctantly agrees to bow out, but only if Enright will extend further television opportunities outside of the quiz show.

They try to offer the same gig to Charles… but this too-good-to-be-true hero has a conscience, darn it.  However, regardless to Charles’ initial aversion to cheating, they plant a question that Charles already knew the answer to.  And he knew that they knew that he knew the answer.  It’s a lot harder to exercise integrity on National TV, eh?  He answers correctly.  The new champ has been named and Charlie reaches stardom in the blink of an eye.  The public adore this squeaky clean, ideal, all-American man.  Herb disappears into the void of obscurity.  Somewhere between wishing for a new car, wanting to getting his teeth capped (he probably should have taken care of that one), and hoping that Enright would hold tight on his end of the deal he should have realized it wasn’t the greatest idea to bet his money away.  Complaining to your former boss will only get you so far.  No one cares about Herb Stempel anyway, he’s old news.

Then Dick Goodwin (Rob Morrow), a young but talented lawyer, comes along.  After hearing rumors of rigged game shows, he opens an investigation of Twenty One.  He meets with Stempel, he meets with NBC producers, he develops a friendship with Van Doren.  Turns out he’s stumbled on dynamite.

I totally dig this kind of stuff.  I feel about this the same way that I feel about Shattered Glass. It doesn’t just document an interesting scandal, it captures a time in history.  “It’s television.”  The controversy was certainly enough to keep our attention but director Robert Redford took it a step further and showed us a life.  It delves into Van Doren’s relationship with his father (ahh, Paul Scofield!) as well as interesting points on Jew/Gentile winners and losers.

Quiz Show was nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director.  Here are what make it the bee’s knees: The acting is spectacular.  Hank Azaria and David Paymer are my two particular favorite performances but the selling ticket is Paul Scofield, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.  Ralph Fiennes should also be credited who managed to embody this character with style, likeability, and emotional depth.  Also, have you ever seen so many cameos?  Martin Scorcese?  Barry Levinson?  Douglas McGrath?  Even if the acting wasn’t solid, this sharp script could make Megan Fox seem almost credible.  Lastly, you can almost feel Robert Redford walking through the set.  He leaves his mark in the most positive light.  It’s a film that wouldn’t be the same without his magical touch.  The only negative thing I have to say is perhaps geared towards its long running time.

It’s thought provoking and intelligent – a must see. 9/10

Written by laurenthejukebox17

August 5, 2010 at 10:49 pm

please, don’t shoot me

with 11 comments

Should you happen to read this post and the thought crosses your mind that someone who has not seen these movies is obviously under-qualified to write a movie blog… keep in mind that I’m only 18-years-old.  I’ve still got time.  This whole list thing is all very embarrassing, so give me kudos for admitting my shortcomings to the world.  It goes something like this:

Movies I haven’t seen (but should have)

30. Alien (1979)

This would be higher on the list, but I have seen a LOT of this movie.  The problem being, I can’t remember if it was Alien or Aliens… all I remember is Sigourney Weaver, violence, and aliens.  Which is basically common knowledge.  So I just need to sit down and watch the whole thing.

29. Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

A bank robbing couple?  I’m there!  Why haven’t I seen this movie again?



28. The Usual Suspects (1995)

Despite my interest in Kevin Spacey, no dice.  I haven’t seen this one either.  Though, I must add, my interest in this film grew after I moved to Tahiti, so I haven’t really had a chance to see it.  See, now I’m making you feel pity, rather than disgust.

27. Harvey (1950)

I’ve seen….. roughly 80% of James Stewart’s movies.  Just not this one.  Ironically enough, I became more interested in seeing this after watching Donnie Darko.  You know, giant rabbits?


26. His Girl Friday (1940)

Basically the same thing as above.  I’m a hard core Cary Grant fan since birth, but I’ve never seen this one.

25. L.A. Confidential (1997)

Kevin Spacey.  Russell Crowe.  Guy Pearce.   David Straithairn.  Why haven’t I seen this yet?



24. The Big Lebowski (1998)

I really haven’t seen that many Jeff Bridges movies, to be honest (and embarrass myself further) so I’m not sure why I’m choosing this one as the “one to see” but I’ve always had this off-hand interest in “The Dude.”

23. Shadowlands (1993)

Despite my love for C.S. Lewis and Anthony Hopkins…



22. Waiting for Guffman (1996)

Oh have I heard so much about this movie.  It’s Christopher Guest, after all, that can mean nothing but good.  It’s my kind of movie, and seems like my kind of humor.  I can’t wait to see it one of these days.

21. Capote (2005)

I’ve been dying to see this movie ever since it was released.  We even rented it, but for some reason I wasn’t able to watch, so my mom saw it by herself.  She raves about it, and I’m still dying to see it.


20. Twelve O’Clock High (1949)

Gregory Peck, how I love you.  I can’t believe I haven’t seen this movie of yours.

19. Spirited Away (2001)

I remember watching  the Oscars when Spirited Away won Best Animated feature.  I thought, (being  eleven) what the heck IS that?   Since then, I’ve heard nothing but critical acclaim and  I am now very anxious to cross this off my list.



18. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Best Actor win (classic film fans will hate me for saying that, ha) plus Director, Picture, and Screenplay wins… I should probably see this movie one of these days.  It’s a favorite of my parents.

17. The Hustler (1961)

Ever since I saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for the first time I’ve been in love with Paul Newman.  I’m pretty far behind on his filmography and this is the first on my list to see.  Plus I dig the poster.



16. The Great Dictator (1940)

I grew up with Charlie Chaplin, and Modern Times is one of my all-time favs.  I’ve yet to see this classic, though.

15. The Deer Hunter (1948)

These are getting kind of repetetive aren’t they?  Christopher Walken’s Oscar winning performance, Meryl Streep’s first nomination and Best Picture winner deserves (more likely than not) SEVERAL viewings, and I haven’t even seen it once? WTF?



14. The African Queen (1951)

My mom has raved about this movie, and I love me some Bogart.  Since its recent DVD release, hopefully I can check it off soon.

13. Schindler’s List (1993)

Yeah… like I said.  Don’t shoot me.  I know this is an excellent movie, I’ve seen several scenes in fact.  I know I should see this movie pronto.



12. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Honestly, I may have heard of this movie ages ago but I didn’t REALLY know about it until just a few years ago.  My interest piqued when I went through my Stanley Kubrick obsession phase and read absolutely anything I could get my hands on about him.

11. Out of Africa (1985)

Meryl Streep.  Robert Redford.  In the same movie.  I promise, I’ve seen SOME movies.


10. Annie Hall (1977)

The ultimate Woody Allen.  Ranked #4 in AFI’s 100 Laughs series.  Won the Oscar for Best Picture, Director, Actress, and Screenplay. This is a bad caption.

9. Sophie’s Choice (1982)

In case I haven’t made this clear, Meryl Streep is my favorite modern actress.  Someday I’ll do a post especially for her because I just love her so (and I’m still pulling for another Oscar!)  Sophie’s Choice won Meryl her Best Actress Academy Award and is, perhaps, her best film to date.  Or so I’m told.



8. Die Hard (1988)

Seriously?  I haven’t seen DIE HARD? Yeah, I know.  I suck.  I lurve Alan Rickman too, so it’s really a shame I haven’t seen it.

7. The Graduate (1967)

“Mrs. Robinson you’re trying to seduce me… aren’t you?”  Basically I already love this movie.  And I knoow I love Dustin Hoffman.  But, all I really know of it is Anne  Bancroft’s sexy legs.


6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Jack Nicholson in a mental institution?  1 of 3 movies to take home the big five Oscars?  Man, I gotta get me some of this action.

5. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

One of Johnny Depp’s billions with Tim Burton.  Yeah, I can’t believe I haven’t seen this one either.  It’s totally my kind of movie.


4. The French Connection (1971)

The most famous chase scene of all-time.  One of my favorite actors, Gene Hackman.  Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Actor winner.  I cannot describe the anticipation I have to one day see this movie.

3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Another Hopkins.  And (like Cuckoo) 1 of 3 to win the big five Oscars.  (In case you’re wondering, the other is It Happened One Night. I’ve seen that one!)


2. Citizen Kane (1941)

Wow, this is really getting embarrassing now.  I’m pretty sure I’ve previously lied to people about this one.  See, my family and I were going through the AFI 100 movies list and we just… didn’t make it that high!   I’ve sort of had this two year hiatus of serious movie-watching through this whole Tahiti excursion, and seeing as I don’t have as much access to what I want, this one has had to wait.

1. The Godfather (1971)

It’s a sin, I know, not to have seen this movie.  Forgive me.  I want nothing more than to repent, and quickly.

Yeah.  I know I suck.  There are many more great movies I haven’t seen (I won’t name them, however, or NO ONE will read this blog!)  but these are just the ones that I, personally, can’t believe I haven’t seen.  Now go ahead.  You may mock me all you want.