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Billy Bob Thornton Talks Directing 'Jayne Mansfield's Car' & Looks Back On 'Sling Blade,' 'Armageddon,' 'Bad Santa' & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 13, 2013 2:06 PM
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These days, most people think of Billy Bob Thornton as an actor, thanks to his unforgettable performances in pictures like the Coens’ “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” Sam Raimi’s “A Simple Plan” and Terry Zwigoff’s “Bad Santa,” so much so that it’s easy to forget that Thornton wrote, directed and starred in the Academy-Award winning “Sling Blade” (Best Adapted) and co-wrote genre classics like Carl Franklin’s “One False Move” and Raimi’s “The Gift.” His latest effort as a co-writer, director, and star is “Jayne Mansfield's Car,” which opens today in theaters and on demand, a charming comedic drama about a southern family whose matriarch leaves, marries a man in England, and then dies (you can read our review from Berlin earlier this year here). The movie takes place on the eve of her funeral, with the two families (one stiff-upper-lip, one deep-fried-south) collide.

Blow Up Your July 4th With 5 Clips And More From 'Armageddon'

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • July 4, 2013 3:23 PM
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Released 4th of July weekend 15 years ago, "Armageddon" was a little known indie picture examining an existentialist crisis triggered by meteors pummeling the earth. Joking aside, the Michael Bay disaster flick was balls to the wall epic. With a real late '90s gem premise -- a massive asteroid is on its way to faceplant earth and a ragtag team of oil-drillers is the world's only hope -- and a cast led by a not-yet-bald Bruce Willis and a fresh-faced Ben Affleck, even the Grinch-iest of critics must appreciate the sheer ridiculous "we’re saving the world, dammit" bravura of it (Gene Siskel said, "its audacity is almost amusing" and we concur). The movie also holds a special place as a veritable "Who’s Who" of "Oh, That Guy"-type actors (including Will Patton, Michael Clarke Duncan, Peter Stormare, William Fichtner, Keith David, and Jason Isaacs). "Armageddon" went on to be the highest grossing film of 1998 (beating out Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan"), inspire a EuroDisney attraction, and catapult Aerosmith's first number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (no really, "I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing" is also the only number one debut on that chart from a rock group) into the hearts and karaoke machines of all real Americans.

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