Reel/Real Women: AWFJ Pays Tribute to Movies About Real-Life Female Characters

Posted on March 6, 2019 at 6:59 pm

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists has published a new list in honor of Women’s History Month — our favorite portrayals of real-life women in feature films. AWFJ founder Jennifer Merin writes:

Throughout cinema history, films by and about women have enthralled audiences, accrued awards and honors worldwide and scored at the box office while influencing out social social mores and enriching our cultural conversation. Although some Hollywood honchos and haters assert that female-centric movies are less likely to be commercial successes, our list proves them wrong. Movies that tell women’s stories have legs.

Released to celebrate Women’s History Month, AWFJ’s REAL REEL WOMEN List is an annotated roster of 50 fascinating real women whose remarkable true stories have been told in narrative features since the earliest days of moviemaking. The REAL REEL WOMEN List is a companion to AWFJ’s WONDER WOMEN List of iconic fictional females, published as a five-part countdown series in 2016.

AWFJ members selected our 50 iconic REAL REEL WOMEN from more than 150 nominees, all of whom have had their stories told in watch-worthy films. Short essays about our REAL REEL WOMEN’s lives, accomplishments and the films made about them have been written by AWFJ members Betsy Bozdech, Liz Braun, Sandie Angulo Chen, Carol Cling, Leslie Combemale, Linda Cook, Laura Emerick, Marilyn Ferdinand, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Kimberley Jones, Loren King, Sarah Knight Adamson, Cate Marquis, Brandy McDonnell, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Lynn Venhaus, and Susan Wloszczyna.

We hope that reading about these REAL REEL princesses and pilots, artists and actors, poets, political activists and other women from all walks of life will prompt you to add all the films about them to your watch list, and that you’ll then be motivated to seek out and enjoy additional current and classic movies about other real women whose stories are memorialized in cinema.

One of my contributions to the list was Fanny Brice, unforgettably portrayed by Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl.”

Fanny Brice, born Fania Borach, was the daughter of Jewish immigrants who dropped out of school as a teenager to work in burlesque and began her association with vaudeville impresario Flo Ziegfeld two years later. She headlined the Ziegfeld Follies from 1910 through part of the 1930s. Best known in sketch comedy as bratty little girl “Baby Snooks” and performing songs like the comically self-deprecatory “Second Hand Rose,” her signature was the heartbreaking torch song, “My Man,” which inspired her first film, My Man (1928). She played herself in the Oscar-winning The Great Ziegfeld (1936), acted in several other films, and had a hit on radio with the “The Baby Snooks Show,” but there is no question that her own fame has been eclipsed by the performer who starred as Brice on Broadway and in her first film—Oscar-winner Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl (1968). It was a perfect match—one brash, prodigiously talented, unconventionally pretty, New York Jewish singer equally adept at comedy and drama portraying another. Streisand sings “Second Hand Rose,” “My Man,” and original songs created for the Broadway show, including the now-standard “People.” The story of Brice’s determination and resilience despite the heartbreak of her marriage to a handsome scoundrel is now a classic and prompted a sequel, also starring Streisand, that told more of Brice’s story, 1975’s Funny Lady. Brice helped pave the way for unconventional-looking lead performers, and her few films are well worth watching.

Related Tags:

 

Critics Film History For Your Netflix Queue Great Characters Movie History Movies for Grown-Ups

My Favorite Thanksgiving Movie: What’s Cooking?

Posted on November 23, 2017 at 7:33 am

I love this film, about four families celebrating Thanksgiving with all of the secrets, drama, longing for approval, and, yes, gratitude and love. The cast includes Julianna Margulies, Dennis Haysbert, Kyra Sedgwick, Alfre Woodard, Mercedes Ruehl, and Joyce Chen.

Related Tags:

 

Family Issues Holidays Movies for Grown-Ups Neglected gem

BBC’s Top 25 Funniest Movies

Posted on September 2, 2017 at 8:00 am

The BBC surveyed critics to come up with the top 25 funniest movies of all time. Of course there’s a lot of overlap with the AFI list. And some of the movies are just what you might guess: “Some Like it Hot,” “Airplane,” “Blazing Saddles.” If by any chance you’ve overlooked any of these, please try to find them. If you’ve seen them, watch them again!

Related Tags:

 

Comedy Film History For Your Netflix Queue Lists Movies for Grown-Ups Neglected gem

Politics and Popcorn at Landmark Theater in Washington DC

Posted on May 2, 2017 at 11:36 pm

LANDMARK THEATRES’ E STREET CINEMA PRESENTS
“POPCORN AND POLITICS”

Two-Part Political Film Series features DC Premiere of Laura Poitras’ Julian Assange documentary, “RISK”

Washington, DC – April 26, 2017 – Landmark Theatres’ E Street Cinema is proud to present the spring 2017 “Popcorn and Politics” film series. For two consecutive nights starting on Wednesday, May 3rd, patrons are invited to experience classic and current political films on the big screen and engage in discussions with special guests including film subjects and filmmakers.

The “Popcorn and Politics” Film Series Schedule Includes:

“ARGO”
Wednesday, May 3rd at 7:00 p.m.
Based on true events, this dramatic 2012 thriller and Academy Award “Best Picture” winner chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis—the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. The film’s subject and retired CIA officer Tony Mendez along with his wife, retired CIA intelligence officer Jonna Mendez, will be joined by The Washington Post’s Michael Rosenwald for a post-screening Q&A. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.

DC Premiere Screening: “RISK”
Thursday, May 4th at 7:00 p.m.
Laura Poitras, the critically acclaimed director of Academy Award-winning “CITIZENFOUR”, presents her long-awaited documentary “RISK” about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This DC Premiere will feature a Q&A with the filmmaker immediately following the film. “RISK” will open on Friday, May 5th in Washington, D.C. exclusively at Landmark Theatres’ Atlantic Plumbing and West End Cinemas.

ARGO” – for tickets and more information

“RISK” – for tickets and more information

ABOUT LANDMARK THEATRES

Landmark Theatres is a recognized leader in the industry for providing its customers consistently diverse and entertaining film products in a sophisticated adult-oriented atmosphere.

Since its founding in 1974, Landmark has grown to 55 theatres, 255 screens in 27 markets. Landmark is known for both its award-winning historic theatres, such as the Tivoli in St. Louis, the Inwood in Dallas and the Oriental in Milwaukee, and its more contemporary theatres, including our flagship theatre, The Landmark in Los Angeles, the Sunshine Cinema in New York City, E Street Cinema in Washington, DC, and The Landmark Theatre Greenwood Village in Denver’s flourishing Tech Center.

 

Related Tags:

 

Movie History Movies for Grown-Ups Politics

New Documentary: BANG! The Bert Berns Story

Posted on April 19, 2017 at 3:23 pm

If you like behind-the-scenes-of-the-hits films like “20 Feet from Stardom,” “Muscle Shoals,” and “The Wrecking Crew,” you will enjoy “BANG! The Bert Berns Story.” Like “Wrecking Crew,” this is a love letter from a son to his father. You have not heard the name Bert Berns, but you have heard — and I am sure, you have sung — the songs he wrote or produced include “Twist and Shout,” “Brown Eyed Girl,” Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” “Hang on Sloopy,” “I Want Candy,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Under the Boardwalk,” and many, many more.

Berns had a weak heart, the result of rheumatic fever. He knew his time was limited. And so he lived hard and fast, to get everything he could in the time he had. As a young man, he fell in love with mambo and the Latin rhythms that were popular at his local dance clubs. He brought some of that sound to the early days of rock music, creating hit after hit as songwriter and producer, working with some of the biggest stars in the business, helping many of them get there.

The film has some great interviews and details, especially some unexpected anecdotes from Berns’ best pal from the mob, who stepped in “Godfather”-style to help out now and then, dragging one singer from his sister’s funeral to make sure he didn’t miss a recording date. There are stories of rising and falling, business partnerships and betrayals, and Bert’s romance with a tough cookie of a blonde go-go dancer who became his wife. Great characters, great music — and a lot of fun to watch.

Related Tags:

 

Documentary Movies for Grown-Ups Music
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2019, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik