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BYO Penny Marshall

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12 Responses to “BYO Penny Marshall”

  1. BO Sock Puppet says:

    PAINFUL loss. From the ages of 11 and a half to 13 (ie, first & second season of L&S), I had a huge thing for her. Everyone else all into Farrah, but I was thinking about Penny Marshall and Karen Black. Don’t ask.

  2. Hcat says:

    Great Director, to go from Big to Awakenings in one leap is remarkable. And League of Their Own is a household fave. Such a winning combination of a giant heart and enormous sense of humor. Her films are the exact kind of crowd pleasing comedies I miss most at the multiplex. Strong argument for directors from an acting background being able to get great performances from their stars.

  3. leahnz says:

    this used to be my playground
    this used to be my childhood dream
    this used to be the place i ran to whenever i was in need
    of a friend
    why did it have to end?
    and why do they always say
    don’t look back, keep your head held high
    don’t ask them why
    because life is short
    and before you know, you’re feeling old
    and your heart is breaking
    don’t hold on to the past
    well that’s too much to ask

    RIP PM

  4. movieman says:

    I’ve always wondered why Marshall wasn’t allowed to direct a feature after 2001’s “Riding in Girls With Boys” (a much better movie than its rep).
    Granted, “Renaissance Man” (also better than reviews at the time would have indicated) and “Boys” did relatively ho-hum biz compared to earlier Marshall films like “Big” and “A League of Their Own.”
    Yet Marshall’s brother, Garry, made a lot of b.o. dogs after his early run of hits, and kept getting hired to make even worse (and less successful) films.
    Surely a disastrous run of “Exit to Eden,” “Dear God” and “The Other Sister” would have effectively killed the career of any female director, right?
    Hate to make it a sexist thing, but does anyone have a better explanation for Penny’s paucity of (feature film) directing credits?

  5. Hcat says:

    A contributing factor might have been that the type of movies she made became too expensive, not just hers but industry wide. Her last two movies cost almost 50 million each, add on marketing and there is almost no path to profitability. Her brother should have been out but was developing Runaway Bride during the time of all those bombs which put him back in the limelight, and even then starting making smaller films like Princess Diaries.

    Not discounting sexism in Hollywood in any way, but the economics that affected Penny Marshall’s career also hit Rob Reiner, Frank Oz, Mike Nichols, Lawrence Kasden, James L Brooks etc. She made mid range budgeted movies about people and the industry just lost interest. It might not be a small coincidence that her last feature credit was the same year that Potter and Rings broke. IP became the star and performers became an expensive luxury.

  6. WilliamHoabs says:

    From WilliamHoabs withlove))

  7. movieman says:

    Good points, Hcat.
    But I still look back wistfully at Nancy Savoca.
    She made three all-time keepers (“True Love,” “Dogfight” and “Household Saints”) back-to-back-to-back between 1989 and ’93.
    Only one of them was a (low budget) studio (WB) production (which WB did a spectacularly inept job of marketing/distributing), the other two were indies.
    None was a blockbuster, but all received good-to-great reviews and were made on tight budgets.
    Yet she couldn’t get arrested (by Hollywood), or seemingly even find independent financing post-’93. Savoca’s body of work since “Saints” has been virtually nonexistent.
    Maybe if cable had been a bigger deal back then (or if streaming had existed), she might have continued working.
    No denying that the penalties for box-office failure in H’wood are a lot different for female and male directors.

  8. Hcat says:

    No certainly not denying that. Its unfortunate that Savoca’s career faded out, I really liked Dogfight and have heard nothing but praise for the others. If you look at how Gus Van Sant was coming up at the same time both with River Phoenix pictures, worked for the same studio. Yet he was able to jump to studio features after absolutely cratering with Cowgirls, its criminal no one gave Savoca a similar shot.

    I would place Heckerling on whatever list that is as well, she made A LOT of money for A LOT of people. Everything on budget and well received by audiences, three of her films were popular enough to inspire attempts at sitcoms. Fast Times and Clueless are probably still bringing in money today and yet as soon as the new century hit a complete drought.

  9. movieman says:

    Heckerling and Marshall make an apt pairing, Hcat. Solid commercial directors who made a few big hits but were never treated with the proper respect (yet were harshly punished for their b.o. misfires: “Johnny Dangerously,” Heckerling; “Renaissance Man”/”Riding in Cars,” Marshall).
    I loved Martha (“Valley Girl,” “Real Genius”) back then, too. She did that blah Neil Simon movie (1993’s “Lost in Yonkers”) and essentially fell off the face of the earth.
    One female director I could never bring myself to defend e.g., Hollywood gatekeepers denying her more directing opportunities was…Barbra Streisand.
    Didn’t like any of the Babs-directed films, and one (“The Prince of Tides”) is spectacularly awful. I still remember the tsk-tsking that commenced when Streisand was “cheated” out of a Best Director nomination.
    That same year Savoca directed “Dogfight” which was about 2,000,000 times better than “Tides.” And–not surprisingly–it didn’t receive a single Oscar nomination.

  10. leahnz says:

    a bit off topic but savoca has some cracker stories about river while making dogfight: one of the funniest and possibly instructive in terms of a glimpse into the machinations of the industry is the tale of how she and river buzz cut his hair before princ. photography began and the bean counters shit a brick when they saw it, lamenting the loss of river’s long teen-idol locks (his hair at the time he was hired, having just previously completed kasdan’s ‘i love you to death’, was super long), for which savoca was severely reprimanded. she said she was gobsmacked and reminded them that his character eddie birdlace was a marine going off to vietnam in 1963 and the short hair was required, in keeping with the character who was not meant to be a dreamy stud muffin but rather kind of an awkward, hard-edged dick with a redeeming conscience and suppressed empathy.

  11. palmtree says:

    Big and Awakenings and A League of Their Own were each huge movies for me back in the day. It’s a rare filmmaker who makes three movies like this back to back to back. I really miss this type of movie, relatively commercial and yet with real awards-level quality. Those types of movies show up again from time to time with Hidden Figures and such, but Penny led the way.

  12. YancySkancy says:

    Parts of A League of Their Own were shot in my little Kentucky hometown and the surrounding area. I really wanted to get involved as an extra or p.a. but was attending film school a couple of hours away at the time. My mom even got me a contact name and number when someone from the production came into the glass shop where she worked. I did drive home one weekend and look at a couple of the locations, but not when shooting was going on.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin