“She was, in short, too bloody much”: RIP Liz Taylor

Cropped screenshot of Richard Burton and Eliza...
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It was those eyes. Those ridiculous, unfeasible violet eyes. That’s what made me, and millions of other movie-goers, sit up and take notice of Elizabeth Taylor over a film career that lasted more than six decades. A much, much better actress than her voluptuous, glamorous sexiness might, at first glance, suggest, she had an incredible screen presence, a huge acting talent, and the knack of making even the daftest films oddly watchable (Cleopatra, anyone?). Nominated for the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar five times, she won it twice – alongside many other acting awards – and performed with countless members of the Hollywood aristocracy over her long and eventful career.

There is no doubt her life was an intense one by most people’s standards and that she was one tough cookie – anyone who can survive child stardom in the Hollywood studio system of the 1940s, a grand total of eight marriages (two of which were to that notorious Welsh actor and professional hellraiser Richard Burton), well-publicised drug and alcohol addictions, and some very serious ill health would have to be, quite frankly. It was Burton who, half awestruck and half exasperated, described her as “too bloody much”; their tempestuous and profoundly passionate relationship (which began on the set of Cleopatra – see photo, above) made headlines around the world.

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It Ain’t No Sin: Mae West’s Guide to Life

Most people, when they hear the name Mae West, think of old Hollywood movies and a brassy bottle blonde delivering comic double entendres in a studied drawl. In fact, there was a lot more to Mae than innocently smutty remarks (although she made those into a cinematic art form – most famously replying to the comment “Goodness, what beautiful diamonds!” with a knowing “Goodness had nothing to do with it” in the 1932 movie Night After Night).

A woman way ahead of her time, she was a multi-talented performer and a very successful and highly controversial playwright – her first play (entitled, with admirable brevity and decades before Madonna, simply Sex) led to her arrest and brief imprisonment during the highly moralistic 1920s. Beginning her career in vaudeville, she became a smash hit on Broadway for both her acting and her plays before moving to Hollywood in the early 1930s, where she became a huge success, again for her acting and writing.

Her distinctive and naughty style attracted the attention of the censors, and her early Hollywood performances were apparently partly responsible for the creation of the so-called Hays Code, which tied the American film industry into a narrowly defined moral outlook for more than thirty years. It was in order to circumvent this new code that Mae developed her now-famous facility with double entendres, a facility that turned her into an icon and one of Hollywood’s highest paid stars.

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Horrible Hollywood: The Bad Movie Debate (Finally) Returns, Part 2

(Part 2 of 2)

Note: this was originally intended to be just one post, but it got so ridiculously long that I decided to split it into two for ease of reading (and for the sake of my own sanity!). You can find Part 1 here.

Do you have a ‘guilty pleasure’ – a bad movie that you secretly (or not so secretly!) love?

I was amazed at how many of you admitted to having a guilty thing for cheesy rom-coms and/or bad action movies! I guess, for a lot of people, these kinds of movie represent an opportunity to turn your brain off for a while and just be entertained without having to think about it.

Naturally, it is a good thing when a movie makes you think or provokes debate (I remember coming out of the cinema having an argument with a friend about the ending of Se7en which lasted all the way home), but sometimes you just can’t face stretching your brain, and that’s when your guilty pleasure comes into play…

Continue reading “Horrible Hollywood: The Bad Movie Debate (Finally) Returns, Part 2”

Horrible Hollywood: The Bad Movie Debate (Finally) Returns, Part 1

(Part 1 of 2)


Cue Voice-over Man…

“It was a time for movies. It was a time for bad movies. It was a time for really, really bad movies….”

Back in July I asked for your opinions on said really, really bad movies, and you didn’t disappoint me. I seem to have touched a nerve with this one, as your responses started flooding in within minutes of the post going up – and brilliantly vitriolic they all were too!

So here’s a rundown of some of your best answers to my questions, and a few of my own thoughts on the many (and often furious) issues you raised…

How would you define a bad film?

There were some interesting responses to this. I see a bad film as one that doesn’t even try: the type of movie that quite blatantly and unashamedly aims for the money rather than for the joy of creative expression (although there are plenty of movies that do try – and still fail miserably).

Continue reading “Horrible Hollywood: The Bad Movie Debate (Finally) Returns, Part 1”

Your help needed!

Back in March, I asked you, my lovely readers, about your least favourite songs ever. I always knew you were an opinionated bunch, and your input on this subject really was such fun to read and respond to – which meant that I enjoyed writing the resulting post so much that I have decided to try the experiment again.

Inspired by a conversation on Twitter about my personal favourite bad film (Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves – yes, I know…) and a suggestion made by one of my readers, I decided that the next topic for you lot to get your teeth into would indeed be bad films.

More specifically, I want to hear your views on bad films, bad performances and bad actors. Here’s a few pertinent questions for you to contemplate:

How would you define a bad film?

Is there a difference between a bad film and one you actively dislike? Why?

What is your most hated film? Why?

Have you ever walked out of a movie at the cinema because it was so bad?

What film was it?

What made you walk out?

Are there some ‘bad films’ that are actually good?

Do you have a ‘guilty pleasure’ – a bad movie that you secretly (or not so secretly!) love?

And are there some films that are so bloody awful that they don’t even fall into the ‘so bad it’s good’ category?

What’s the worst, most ‘phoned in’ and/or overplayed performance you’ve ever seen in a movie?

Are there any actors or actresses who are particularly guilty of the above?

Worst accents?

Worst scripts, direction, costumes etc?

Feel free to answer as many or as few questions as you want! Getting involved is simple – leave your answers in a comment here, or join in the debate on the Another Kind Of Mind Facebook page.

Oh, and if you’re looking for inspiration, I recommend you check out FUMB Films, where you’ll find one man’s reviews of some really, really, really bad movies…

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