Epic Film Quest: ‘All About Eve’

Posted in Epic Film Quest! on December 26th, 2012 by Nick

all_about_eve_61383dfd_269Until a tiny sail named Titanic came into view, All About Eve was the mothership of the Academy Awards. The 1950 film grabbed 14 nominations and won six of them, truly making it one of the first powerhouses to ever take down the awards ceremony (Titanic tied it in noms, and beat it in wins, 11, which is a number also claimed by Ben-Hur). But hey, not too shabby for 1950, yeah? Oh, and Eve still stands as the only film to garner four female acting nominations. Well done, ladies!

All About Eve stands as another one of these classics that really wasn’t on my radar and that is cray! It’s an excellent behind-the-scenes glance at the Entertainment/Theater industries, which most casual viewers had probably never thought of at the time. It’s a tale of actors vying for the spotlight and competing with each other, and even back in the 50′s, that shit could get cutthroat.

Bette Davis plays Margo Channing, a slightly aging, yet still crazy famous Broadway star of a popular play called Aged in Wood. Channing is beautiful; bitchy, yet revered. Basically, she’s the 1950′s version of “the shit.” After the show one evening, Channing’s friend Karen (Celeste Holm) introduces her to diehard fan Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), who quickly and quietly makes her way up the ranks of Channing’s entourage thanks to her calm demeanor and heart-tugging sob story. Yada, yada, yada….Eve becomes a force to be reckoned with, manipulating Channing’s relationships, contesting for roles, lying to those around her, and generally taking the face of your every day Regina George.

There’s really nothing in this movie that isn’t absolutely stellar. The plot works, the story is well-paced and the acting is simply phenomenal. The performances given by Davis and Baxter are seriously some of the best I’ve ever seen. They’re both shrewd and cunning in their own distinct ways, electrifying the screen and dominating the film.  Research any “Greatest Films of All Time” list and you’ll surely see Davis’s face or an Eve movie poster of some sort, because dammit, this one is simply worth it. For anyone appreciative of Broadway or fine performances, this is one that can’t be missed. Bonus points for the Celeste Holm casting, too (Gentleman’s Agreement).

Fun-fact: A young and then-unknown Marilyn Monroe can be found playing Miss Casswell in the party scene at Channing’s apartment. (How do you make an already great film that much better? Add Marilyn. Always add Marilyn.)

My quest is still rolling along smoothly. I’d call my pace moderate, but I’d label my dedication as extreme. I’ve been delaying an actual countdown because quite frankly, I’m terrified to find out how many films I have left. I’m just going to continue this smooth and steady pace until I baby-step my way closer and closer to my end goal: Watching every single Best Picture winner in the history of the Academy Awards. It’ll happen. Some day. Eventually.

To sum: if you’re riding high on a movie quest of your own, or if you’re simply looking to consume some old school cinema, add All About Eve to your Netflix queue ASAP and bump it to the top. It’s classy, classic and one hell of a 50′s film that is truly near perfection.

Grade: A

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‘Epic Film’ Alert: ‘Gentleman’s Agreement,’ Starring Gregory Peck and Fake Cheese!

Posted in Epic Film Quest!, Food on August 9th, 2012 by Nick

What do Gregory Peck, the gays and vegan “play” cheese have in common? Absolutely nothing at all!

Welcome to another installment of The Littlest Winslow’s Epic Film Quest extraordinaire! This time, Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) was on the docket, we giggled about how silly the 40′s were, and I ate some surprisingly awesome pseudo-cheese made by Zoe from SexyTofu. I know I can hardly contain myself, so let’s get started!

This Winslow-approved film was one of the better paced and acted out of the movies from that era that I’ve hit so far. It’s about a journalist (Peck) who goes undercover as a Jew to conduct research for an exposé on antisemitism in New York City and Darien, Conn. He is steadfast and true in his social experiment and gets treated unfairly throughout, experiencing the ubiquitous and unjust bigotry that was sadly common during that era. He meets a pretty lady friend (Kathy), who isn’t really a Jew-hater, but turns a blind eye upon this societal issue, which leads to problems in their personal relationship. Then his co-worker Anne is super awesome and makes funny quips and you want him to bang her.

Noteworthy Noteables:

1) The late Celeste Holm played fashion editor Anne Dettrey and she was a real delight, delivering a witty and natural performance that was quite ahead of her time. She even won a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress! Kudos, Ms. Holm, and RIP.

2) This movie tackled a huge social issue for 1947 and must have been very powerful and controversial upon its release. Though it’s a little preachy at times, the message is there and I respect the film’s forwardness in delivering that message.

3) As previously mentioned, Gregory Peck was in The Omen and The Omen is awesome. Therefore, Gregory Peck is awesome. That’s some hardcore journalism right there.

4) I’m sure I could rant about how this movie’s message about antisemitism mirrors our current social struggles for equalities for the LGBT community, but I kind of don’t want to. Although I’m very pro-equal rights and gay marriage, the media is doing a fine job of belaboring this point, so I feel my wee little entertainment blog can spare you this lecture. But there are definitely a plethora of social parallels here that would be great for any film class to explore.

5) Although I’m not a food blogger, I’m a huge food fan and never balk at the chance to try something new…especially if it’s healthy! This vegan “play” cheese that accompanied our screening was fucking delicious. The consistency is almost exactly like ricotta, and it has an explosive cashew flavor. We smothered it in sriracha (duh) and put it over whole wheat pasta with fresh, sautéed veggies. Here’s the skinny on how to make your own:

Cashew Tofu Ricotta
-1 lb extra firm tofu
-Juice of 1 lemon
-2 cloves garlic
-1 tbsp EVOO
-¾ cup raw unsalted cashews
-1 tsp salt
-½ tsp black pepper
-¼ tsp oregano
-Big handful of fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
-Few shakes of red pepper flakes

To make:
Throw ingredients into your food processor and pulse til thick, creamy and ricotta-esque.

Thanks to SexyTofu for the recipe – pairing quality foods with excellent movies makes the Quest that much more enjoyable! (Virtual High Five!) Be sure to check her blog out, and I’ll catch you next time…whenever my lazy, sunburned, summer-loving ass pulls another post together! ADIOS, MUCHACHOS and thanks for stopping by!

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