In what film did Gloria Swanson utter this immortal line: “All right Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” Hint: it was among the first group of twenty-five films deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
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“Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” Take a ride with the inimitable Bette Davis as Broadway star Margo Channing in 1950’s Best Picture, All About Eve. This smart, cynical and entertaining film deserves its place on the American Film Institute‘s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.
Created by The Shield’s Kurt Sutter and starring a charismatic cast including Katey Sagal and Ron Perlman, the television series Sons of Anarchy keeps the action moving at full speed while delivering a new twist on a classic – Hamlet played out in an outlaw biker gang.
The brilliant HBO miniseries Generation Kill is based on journalist Evan Wright‘s book about his time with Recon Marines during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Created by The Wire‘s David Simon and starring True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard, this series is a fairly judgment-free look at modern warfare and its cost.
If you’re looking for a linear storyline (or a story that actually makes sense!), this probably isn’t the film you want. If you’re interested in lavishly designed martial arts fantasy, try the wuxia film which eventually inspired Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tsui Hark’s legendary Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain.
Before the Motion Picture Production Code was enforced in mid-1934, depression era “pre-Code” Hollywood (1929 – 1934) created daring, sophisticated, honest, funny and morally questioning films that are still relevant today. Try out the Forbidden Hollywood Collection and Pre-Code Hollywood Collection and then read more about pre-Code films here.
Canadian cult favorite Twitch City was created by, written by, and stars Don McKellar as Curtis, a shut-in television addict and manipulator extraordinaire. The show ran thirteen episodes and has a quirky cast of characters, including the infamous Cat Food Killer. Show your couch potato solidarity by tuning into Twitch City!
You can hear the rhythm of the Old West in these sparsely written audiobooks, narrated by Titus Welliver. In Robert B. Parker’s Appaloosa and Resolution, hired guns Everett Hitch and Virgil Cole must create law and order where none exists, guided by their sense of duty, honor, and friendship.
Diane of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik:
Naomi Novik’s exciting series about intelligent dragons and their human riders has won multiple awards for best new writer. The series so far consists of His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, and Victory of Eagles. The Times of London called the Temeraire series, “Patrick O’Brian crossed with Anne McCaffrey: historic, seafaring adventure, with dragons.”
Most days Ms. Novik can be found with her laptop in a cafe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the few places where she can concentrate enough to churn out the 6,000 words that she considers adds up to a productive day.
David Simon‘s exhilarating and heartbreaking crime drama, the critically acclaimed The Wire, transcends the scope of most crime dramas. Brilliantly written, acted, and directed, it is as addictive as the drugs the Baltimore dealers are pushing. Get hooked on The Wire!