FOR THOSE WHO ARE GONE, BUT CERTAINLY NOT FORGOTTEN
By T.T. Stern-Enzi
Take the time to truly stop and remember those who have gone too soon, as the saying goes. Social media allows for rapid remembrance—140-character shout outs, distillations of factoids with little of the soulfulness embodied in the subject. The Academy Awards offer a bit more, a few flickering clips strung together more fluidly than a GIF, yet still far too brief, at least for my taste. Maybe this year I am a bit more sentimental about such considerations. I lost a childhood friend, my BFF, the kind of pal I would call on the humble to talk about movies, focused on shared connections we might have had with those moving frames, our new memories. He – and these folks – deserve more than a few characters, images or even these inadequate words, but this is all I have. I hope nobody minds.
The Internet Movie Database is a helluva resource, supplying the kind of details that easily slip the mind, like the fact that Loggia earned an Oscar nomination back in 1985 for his supporting role in “Jagged Edge,” (he also snagged a Primetime Emmy nom for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series—Malcolm in the Middle), but none of that matters, really. And do you know why? The unbridled joy in that piano dance sequence with Tom Hanks in “Big.” I wouldn’t mind that being one of my last memories in this life. That’s why.
Craven knew early on how to scare us, picking up the bloody tendons strewn along by George Romero and Tobe Hooper (a later collaborator) and stitching together his own nightmares—“The Last House on the Left” and “The Hills Have Eyes”—that would become fodder for contemporary remakes. Craven’s real imprint on the horror genre and our psyches, however, can best be seen in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Scream” franchises, where he twisted our expectations up in tight knots.
Rarely does the regular movie-watching audience take the time to consider (and celebrate) a producer. The actors are the faces on the screen and there’s a select group of directors, along with an even smaller collection of writers, who crack our consciousness. Weintraub is one of those precious few, working behind the scenes worthy of something more than respect. Look at some of the films he’s given us: “Nashville,” “Oh, God!,” “Diner,” “The Karate Kid” series, the George Clooney “Ocean’s Eleven” trilogy, and in the last couple of years, he was executive producing for television (The Brink and Westworld). Merely saying thank you isn’t nearly enough.
The Oscar-winning composer (Original Score and Song for “Titanic”) was nominated seemingly countless other times (only eight, in fact). Fascinatingly though, in 1996, he ended up competing against himself—“Braveheart” versus “Apollo 13”—which the average moviegoer wouldn’t know. But then again, composers (not named John Williams) tend to end up afterthoughts at best. I would dare everyone to re-watch “Field of Dreams,” “Glory,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “The New World” and “Avatar” and not feel the guiding influence of Horner in those works.
The root of longevity is about hanging around—it is a game of attrition. Then along comes someone like Lee to provide a definitive exception to all the known rules. Generations ago, Lee enjoyed a run as the onscreen face of Count Dracula, while balancing that off with appearances in noted productions like “A Tale of Two Cities,” “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Three Musketeers.” The dawn of the new millennium saw a resurgence in lustrous voice and suave villainy of Lee, thanks to his owning of the role of Saruman in the “Lord of the Rings” saga and that of Count Dooku in the “Star Wars” prequels. Kids today and their grandparents (possibly even great-grandparents) can share their favorite highlights from Lee.
Okay, this last entry jumps the shark a bit, but The New York Times columnist wrote about media, leaving a legacy that, to my mind, ranks up there with Roger Ebert. He wasn’t a film guy, but his memoir “The Night of the Gun” unspooled like a masterwork for the screen (and not merely as documentary reportage on himself).