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Thompson on Hollywood

Michael Arndt Digs Into Toy Story 3 and the Genius of the Pixar System

Michael Arndt Digs Into Toy Story 3 and the Genius of the Pixar System
After studying writing as an assistant to Matthew Broderick, among other gigs, Michael Arndt finally wrote Little Miss Sunshine, which impressed quite a few people, screenwriter Robert Towne among them. (He gave Arndt an adaptation to do, which never got made.) Arndt won the original screenplay Oscar for that first produced screenplay. From there he went on to earn a rare solo credit on what many consider to be one of the year's best films, Pixar's Toy Story 3. We sat down for a long dig into the details of how to write a sequel to a beloved franchise at Pixar, which consistently turns out smart blockbusters, year after year: no mean feat.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 7, 2010 8:29 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Oscar Watch: 33 Animated Shorts Qualify for Oscar Consideration

Oscar Watch: 33 Animated Shorts Qualify for Oscar Consideration
Cartoon Brew has the full list of 33 qualifying animated shorts from around the world, as well as photos and website links to such films as Pixar's gloriously witty Day & Night, which will undoubtedly wind up in the final five:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 26, 2010 6:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Clip Alert: Tangled, Disney's Last Animated Fairy Tale?

As Pixar's John Lasseter and Ed Catmull pull Disney Animation into the future, they've made one bold decision: no more fairy tales, at least for the time being.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 22, 2010 6:06 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Starry Night at Governors Awards Fete: Coppola, Wallach, Brownlow and Controversial Godard

Starry Night at Governors Awards Fete: Coppola, Wallach, Brownlow and Controversial Godard
Walking into the second annual Academy Governors Awards reception, I was gobsmacked by who was milling in front of the photographers at the entrance. 12-year-old Elle Fanning posed with her Somewhere co-star Stephen Dorff and The Ghost Writer's Olivia Williams; George Lucas was chatting up Godfather stars Robert Duvall and James Caan, as Sofia, Francis Ford Coppola and his wife of 48 years, Eleanor, greeted Peter Fonda.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 14, 2010 11:18 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Academy Selects Scientific Achievement Short List

Academy Selects Scientific Achievement Short List
The Motion Picture Academy's scientific and technical awards committee has selected 15 achievements for further awards consideration. Now anyone else with similar devices or prior claims can offer their achievements to the committee, by August 31.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 20, 2010 5:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Ranking Stanley Kubrick: Top Ten Directors, Top Twenty Flickchart Movies

My most recent online time-waster (along with Flickchart) is Formspring, which asks you questions and posts your answers on various social media. For example, when asked to name my top ten directors of all time, I came up with this list:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 12, 2010 4:02 AM
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  • 3 Comments

3-D Stats are Trending Down

Hollywood would like to think that 3-D cures all ills. But the stats don't lie, as a discerning public picks and chooses the 3-D movies that are clearly worth paying a premium for. Check out The Wrap's analylsis of 3-D performance. The studios may want to reconsider throwing good money after bad when they try to buttress their returns on a bad B-movie with retrofitted 3-D. I quickly started to tune out Step Up 3-D, which actually had some good dancing, which I would much rather have seen in good old-fashioned 2-D. The intrusive 3-D wore out its welcome real fast. (Variety's Justin Chang disagrees.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 4, 2010 7:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Pixar is Hiring

Are you a John Lasseter or Brad Bird wannabe? Check this out. The place I have always fantasized about working--assuming that I had the necessary skill-set, which I don't--is Pixar, in Emeryville, in the Bay Area. I actually applied for a long-shot marketing job there once. Not only do they make the best movies on the planet, year in year out--ten for ten blockbusters to date, and I'll lay odds that Toy Story 3 beats How to Train Your Dragon and takes this year's number one summer spot--but I've visited the campus, and it's fabulous. It's the kind of place where bicycles line the hallways and folks like Lasseter use their offices to display their toy collections. These people are not only seriously talented, but seriously cool.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 1, 2010 7:23 AM
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  • 0 Comments

3-D Divide: Upfront vs. Retrofit

3-D Divide: Upfront vs. Retrofit
No one in Hollywood will listen now that Avatar and Alice in Wonderland have scored the mother-lode of grosses as 3-D movies. Could Alice have done as well in 2-D as a perfect match between name director, beloved children's book, and family-friendly studio? No, confirms Disney, because 70% of its grosses came from 3-D screens.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 31, 2010 1:29 AM
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  • 10 Comments

Things I Learned at the Oscar Nominee Mixer

Things I Learned at the Oscar Nominee Mixer
I pulled into the Beverly Hilton for the annual Academy Nominees lunch alongside Quentin Tarantino (pictured with Academy president Tom Sherak). At the press table, an Academy staffer asked me turn the handle to spit out a ball telling me where I'd be sitting.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 16, 2010 3:13 AM
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  • 5 Comments

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