The Ten Percent: Just Whistle

“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

Hello, and welcome to another installment of “The Ten Percent,” a regular column where every other week we’ll take a look at the inverse of Sturgeon’s Law; in other words, the small portion of everything which is not crud. Remember, for each film or television show that gets people talking years or even decades after its premiere, there are hundreds of others that peeked out just once and then (thankfully) disappeared. These are the works which stand the test of time. Genre doesn’t matter to the Ten Percent – slapstick comedy has a place, along with high-toned drama. Quality animation rubs shoulders with science fiction and over there you can find show-stopping musicals chatting with bloody horror. The Ten Percent last because they are high quality productions which demand more of their viewer than simple passive reception. These rare birds are the “Ten Percent.”

Nowadays, aspiring filmmakers have multiple avenues to reach the golden ticket of wide distribution. It’s still not easy, but between contests, film schools, the lowered cost of equipment, and the proliferation of film festivals, it’s possible for a new filmmaker to break through the static. Further, we have all heard fairy-tale-like stories of films made on a shoestring which, through imaginative marketing, have catapulted their stars and creators into the stratosphere. It was not always so. For decades, Hollywood had a stranglehold on what films were made, who became a star in those films, and how those films were seen. It was possible, albeit highly unlikely, for an unknown to skyrocket to fame. Staying there was another story entirely.

Betty Joan Perske was a striking girl who was modeling in New York while also taking acting lessons. Nancy Hawks, the wife of Hollywood director Howard Hawks, saw Betty’s picture on the cover of the March 1943 issue of Harper’s Bazaar and brought her to the attention of her husband, who was in the early stages of a film version of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not. Hawks agreed with his wife that Betty was worth investing in. She came to Hollywood and the Hawks molded her into the elegant, husky-voiced Lauren Bacall. To Have and Have Not would be her first screen role. She was 19 and cast opposite the accomplished Humphrey Bogart. Supremely nervous, she pressed her chin downward to keep her head from quivering and tilted her eyes up to face the camera. The effect (simply called “The Look”) became her trademark and caused the teenage Bacall to simultaneously appear confident and vulnerable. Both Bacall and To Have and Have Not are part of the Ten Percent.

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Multiple Artists, Issues & Earths For The Multiversity #1 On The Wednesday Run

Look, the DC Universe is a complex thing.

Despite the attempts of creative and quite brilliant writers, artists and editors to simplify a readers’ understanding of the various realities, superheroes and super villains that make up the history (and our enjoyment) of the DC Comics company, it’ll just have to remain convoluted. And mysterious. And fun. Blame the Flash of Two Worlds.

Understand: no amount of reboots or re-numberings can change that.

Still, today sees the seemingly incomprehensible DC Multiverse look more beautiful, more organized and more appealing than ever before.

Join me after the jump for Multiversity #1!

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The Man in the Meme: To Be Takei

Admired and admiring, George Takei reveals a few of his many sides in the fun doc To Be Takei

Oh my. There’s so much to George Takei. Part of the original, legendary Star Trek crew, beloved as helmsman Lieutenant Sulu of the starship Enterprise. Countless TV appearances, on everything from Perry Mason to Heroes. Outspoken activist, speaking out on Japanese internment and also gay marriage. Septuagenarian internet phenomenon, plying memes with the very best. And that unending feud with Bill Shatner. He’s an original who’s come even more into his own at such a late stage in his career, as the new documentary from director Jennifer M. Kroot To Be Takei (2014) attests. Beam over to the other side, and we’ll see all Takei’s been up to.

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The Strain S01 E06: Occultation

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We learned two things in episode 5 of “The Strain”: making house calls can be dangerous; a Strigoi and a Nazi are both evil creatures, and New York City is in deep guano. Yes, my little blood banks, the Master with Palmer’s help has started a plague that cannot be stopped. What does this have to do with the upcoming eclipse? Plenty! So grab your protective bag of garlic and follow me. Read the rest of this entry

True Blood S07 E09: Love Is to Die

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After this, there’s only one episode left, and it’s all coming to a bloody end. Will Sam leave Bon Temps? Will Hoyt and Jason live happily ever after with dozens of unspoken secrets between them? Can Eric ever keep a promise? Will Bill and Sookie be together or apart as “True Blood” begins to close the coffin for the last time? And will someone die tonight? Maybe we’ll find out, maybe not just yet. Check out my review of “Love Is to Die” after the jump.

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TMNT Take Down The Expendables – Biff Bam Pop’s Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up Report

If anyone had any expendable cash this weekend, they weren’t spending it on the latest instalment of The Expendables. Here’s what went down:

Teenage_Mutant_Ninja_Turtles_film_July_2014_posterFor the second weekend in a row, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles held firm at the top of the box office, bringing in an excellent $28.4 million to raise the film’s total to $117 million in two weeks. Following in second place was Guardians of the Galaxy with $24 million, bringing its three week total to $222 million. There’s a strong possibility, should GotG continue its strong hold, the film could become the most successful of the year before long. Who would have thought it?

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Saturday At The Movies: Road To Paloma

While the world waits for some official confirmation that Game of Thrones and Conan star Jason Momoa will be cast as Aquaman for the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, I can tell you without any hesitation that the man recently released his first directorial effort, a solid film titled Road To Paloma. I didn’t have any expectations going into this one, and I was more than pleasantly surprised by the final results.

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The GAR! Podcast: Robin Williams, Led Zeppelin, and Howard the Duck

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Biff Bam Pop! presents The GAR! Podcast, the Glenn Walker and Ray Cornwall weekly podcast where they talk unrehearsed about whatever happens to come to mind. It’s an audio-zine for your mind, a nerd exploration of a nerd world. This week, it’s all about the sad loss earlier this week of Robin Williams, some music we like and don’t like, and the troubled history of Steve Gerber and Howard the Duck. See and hear more after the jump.

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