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BYO Penny Marshall


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12 Responses to “BYO Penny Marshall”

  1. BO Sock Puppet says:

    PAINFUL loss. From the ages of 11 and a half to 13 (ie, first & second season of L&S), I had a huge thing for her. Everyone else all into Farrah, but I was thinking about Penny Marshall and Karen Black. Don’t ask.

  2. Hcat says:

    Great Director, to go from Big to Awakenings in one leap is remarkable. And League of Their Own is a household fave. Such a winning combination of a giant heart and enormous sense of humor. Her films are the exact kind of crowd pleasing comedies I miss most at the multiplex. Strong argument for directors from an acting background being able to get great performances from their stars.

  3. leahnz says:

    this used to be my playground
    this used to be my childhood dream
    this used to be the place i ran to whenever i was in need
    of a friend
    why did it have to end?
    and why do they always say
    don’t look back, keep your head held high
    don’t ask them why
    because life is short
    and before you know, you’re feeling old
    and your heart is breaking
    don’t hold on to the past
    well that’s too much to ask

    RIP PM

  4. movieman says:

    I’ve always wondered why Marshall wasn’t allowed to direct a feature after 2001’s “Riding in Girls With Boys” (a much better movie than its rep).
    Granted, “Renaissance Man” (also better than reviews at the time would have indicated) and “Boys” did relatively ho-hum biz compared to earlier Marshall films like “Big” and “A League of Their Own.”
    Yet Marshall’s brother, Garry, made a lot of b.o. dogs after his early run of hits, and kept getting hired to make even worse (and less successful) films.
    Surely a disastrous run of “Exit to Eden,” “Dear God” and “The Other Sister” would have effectively killed the career of any female director, right?
    Hate to make it a sexist thing, but does anyone have a better explanation for Penny’s paucity of (feature film) directing credits?

  5. Hcat says:

    A contributing factor might have been that the type of movies she made became too expensive, not just hers but industry wide. Her last two movies cost almost 50 million each, add on marketing and there is almost no path to profitability. Her brother should have been out but was developing Runaway Bride during the time of all those bombs which put him back in the limelight, and even then starting making smaller films like Princess Diaries.

    Not discounting sexism in Hollywood in any way, but the economics that affected Penny Marshall’s career also hit Rob Reiner, Frank Oz, Mike Nichols, Lawrence Kasden, James L Brooks etc. She made mid range budgeted movies about people and the industry just lost interest. It might not be a small coincidence that her last feature credit was the same year that Potter and Rings broke. IP became the star and performers became an expensive luxury.

  6. WilliamHoabs says:

    From WilliamHoabs withlove))

  7. movieman says:

    Good points, Hcat.
    But I still look back wistfully at Nancy Savoca.
    She made three all-time keepers (“True Love,” “Dogfight” and “Household Saints”) back-to-back-to-back between 1989 and ’93.
    Only one of them was a (low budget) studio (WB) production (which WB did a spectacularly inept job of marketing/distributing), the other two were indies.
    None was a blockbuster, but all received good-to-great reviews and were made on tight budgets.
    Yet she couldn’t get arrested (by Hollywood), or seemingly even find independent financing post-’93. Savoca’s body of work since “Saints” has been virtually nonexistent.
    Maybe if cable had been a bigger deal back then (or if streaming had existed), she might have continued working.
    No denying that the penalties for box-office failure in H’wood are a lot different for female and male directors.

  8. Hcat says:

    No certainly not denying that. Its unfortunate that Savoca’s career faded out, I really liked Dogfight and have heard nothing but praise for the others. If you look at how Gus Van Sant was coming up at the same time both with River Phoenix pictures, worked for the same studio. Yet he was able to jump to studio features after absolutely cratering with Cowgirls, its criminal no one gave Savoca a similar shot.

    I would place Heckerling on whatever list that is as well, she made A LOT of money for A LOT of people. Everything on budget and well received by audiences, three of her films were popular enough to inspire attempts at sitcoms. Fast Times and Clueless are probably still bringing in money today and yet as soon as the new century hit a complete drought.

  9. movieman says:

    Heckerling and Marshall make an apt pairing, Hcat. Solid commercial directors who made a few big hits but were never treated with the proper respect (yet were harshly punished for their b.o. misfires: “Johnny Dangerously,” Heckerling; “Renaissance Man”/”Riding in Cars,” Marshall).
    I loved Martha (“Valley Girl,” “Real Genius”) back then, too. She did that blah Neil Simon movie (1993’s “Lost in Yonkers”) and essentially fell off the face of the earth.
    One female director I could never bring myself to defend e.g., Hollywood gatekeepers denying her more directing opportunities was…Barbra Streisand.
    Didn’t like any of the Babs-directed films, and one (“The Prince of Tides”) is spectacularly awful. I still remember the tsk-tsking that commenced when Streisand was “cheated” out of a Best Director nomination.
    That same year Savoca directed “Dogfight” which was about 2,000,000 times better than “Tides.” And–not surprisingly–it didn’t receive a single Oscar nomination.

  10. leahnz says:

    a bit off topic but savoca has some cracker stories about river while making dogfight: one of the funniest and possibly instructive in terms of a glimpse into the machinations of the industry is the tale of how she and river buzz cut his hair before princ. photography began and the bean counters shit a brick when they saw it, lamenting the loss of river’s long teen-idol locks (his hair at the time he was hired, having just previously completed kasdan’s ‘i love you to death’, was super long), for which savoca was severely reprimanded. she said she was gobsmacked and reminded them that his character eddie birdlace was a marine going off to vietnam in 1963 and the short hair was required, in keeping with the character who was not meant to be a dreamy stud muffin but rather kind of an awkward, hard-edged dick with a redeeming conscience and suppressed empathy.

  11. palmtree says:

    Big and Awakenings and A League of Their Own were each huge movies for me back in the day. It’s a rare filmmaker who makes three movies like this back to back to back. I really miss this type of movie, relatively commercial and yet with real awards-level quality. Those types of movies show up again from time to time with Hidden Figures and such, but Penny led the way.

  12. YancySkancy says:

    Parts of A League of Their Own were shot in my little Kentucky hometown and the surrounding area. I really wanted to get involved as an extra or p.a. but was attending film school a couple of hours away at the time. My mom even got me a contact name and number when someone from the production came into the glass shop where she worked. I did drive home one weekend and look at a couple of the locations, but not when shooting was going on.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
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“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon