And The Winner Is… My Brilliant Career (1979)

December 1, 2008

David Ashton is watching all the AFI Best Film winners – so you don’t have to.

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1979 was the International Year of The Child so for twelve months children were allowed to vote, join the army and drink in pubs. To celebrate this, the Music for UNICEF concert was held, which featured the Bee Gees, ABBA, Donna Summer, Earth Wind and Fire and Rod Stewart. And people think Live Aid was a big deal! 1979 was also the year that Skylab fell out of space and onto West Australia.

Meanwhile in the world of movies the success of Star Wars was being followed by a slew of futuristic hopefuls, the best of which was probably Ridley Scott’s Alien. Others included Disney’s The Black Hole and Robert Wise’s Star Trek The Motion Picture. Another TV series spin-off was the timeless Muppet Movie. Also released this year were Volker Schlöndorff’s film of Gunter Grass’s The Tin Drum, Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz, HairThe Jerk, Moonraker, The China Syndrome, Escape From Alcatraz, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Quadrophenia and Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam war epic Apocalypse Now. But the Best Picture Oscar that year went to divorce drama Kramer Vs Kramer, which – amazingly enough – was also that year’s highest-grossing film. Cannes were perhaps a bit more on the ball, with The Tin Drum and Apocalypse Now sharing their top prize.

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The Vietnam War was also on the mind of Australians – the controversial war drama The Odd Angry Shot (dir: Tom Jeffrey) was released that year. Max Gillies and Bruce Spence starred in John Duigan’s adaptation of the Jack Hibberd play Dimboola, while a young up-and-comer named Mel Gibson starred in two feature films – the unconventional romance Tim (Directed by Michael Pate, adapted from a Colleen McCullough novel) and the seminal Mad Max. George Miller pulled off quite a coup with Mad Max, making a taut, action-packed (and extremely violent) film with very little money, which went on to be a huge financial success world-wide. Mad Max and its sequels were arguably the peak of the ‘Ozploitation’ cycle. But while Mad Max won the Australian Film Institute awards for editing, sound and music, and Mel Gibson was given a nod for his performance in Tim , the Best Film award (also cinematography, design, costume, director and adapted script) went to…

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Great TV Moustaches – Part 2

November 29, 2008

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Moustaches – they’re not just for sexual predators anymore. It’s Movember, so now they’re for charity.

To celebrate the cultural phenomenon that is Movember, we continue our look at TV’s greatest moustaches. You can find part one here.

(And remember, Movember benefits the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and Beyond Blue – you can find more about donating at the Movember website).

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Interview: Terry The Squirrel

October 1, 2008

The hottest show at this year’s Fringe is Sammy J In The Forest Of Dreams. It won the hearts and minds of Melbourne audiences at the 2008 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, before going on to huge success at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. After the run at Melbourne Fringe (and the cultural mecca of Frankston), the company is planning to head back to the UK for a season in London.

While Sammy J In The Forest Of Dreams is ostensibly about a man named Sammy J and his new friend Farlo, there’s no doubt the show’s true star is Terry the Squirrel – there is no scene that Terry does not steal. The Outland Institute recently caught up with Terry for this surprisingly honest interview. (Warning: contains puppet swearing).

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Words and Don Music

July 26, 2008

I wrote about RRR the other day and mentioned Sesame Street’s Don Music.

Here’s a clip of him in action. Look out for Ken Russell‘s upcoming feature based on Don’s life.


Feelin’ Feisty

July 23, 2008

Last night, I couldn’t get to sleep at all. No. No. No. I lay awake, unable to get a single moment of peace. One question kept running through my head, over and over again… And that question was, “What would it look like if Canadian alterno-pop sensation Feist appeared on Sesame Street?”

Then today I saw this:

Now I like Feist, I like this song, and I like muppets. So all this is good. But I’m particularly pleased to think every time something like this happens, a truck pulls up to the house of New Buffalo’s Sally Seltmann and dumps more money all over her lawn. Good for her.

While we’re on indie-muppet stylings, let’s also have a look at R.E.M. performing their big hit, “Furry Happy Monsters”.

Come on, monsters! You don’t have to cry! We can be happy!