Archive for the ‘Movies, Videos, DVDs’ Category

Willie Nelson, Barbarosa

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

Thank you, Phil Weisman, for this still from my favorite Willie Nelson movie.

Willie Nelson featured in Ken Burns’, “Country Music” on PBS (Sept. 15th)

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

Tune in or Stream Sunday, September 15 at 8/7c

Explore the history of a uniquely American art form: country music. From its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues and hymns performed in small settings, to its worldwide popularity, learn how country music evolved over the course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music.

Country Music features never-before-seen footage and photographs, plus interviews with more than 80 country music artists. The eight-part 16-hour series is directed and produced by Ken Burns; written and produced by Dayton Duncan; and produced by Julie Dunfey.

Country Music explores questions –– such as “What is country music?” and “Where did it come from?“–– while focusing on the biographies of the fascinating characters who created and shaped it — from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more — as well as the times in which they lived. Much like the music itself, the film tells unforgettable stories of hardships and joys shared by everyday people.

No one has told the story this way before.

Soundtrack:

Ken Burns’ ‘Country Music’ is right on key (review)

www.madison.com
by: Bruce R. Miller

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE, SEE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS HERE

It’s the songs, stupid.

That’s what makes country music so popular. Able to tap into emotions many feel, the songs boast “three chords and the truth” and lifetimes of experience.

In Ken Burns’ stellar documentary, “Country Music,” we learn how the genre started, how it blossomed and how it’s faring, even now when overnight sensations are expected. Spread over 16 hours, the series gets dozens of artists, managers, writers and executives to distill the music and track its growth from southern Appalachia to the world.

Interestingly, those songs incorporate all kinds of instrumentation (and rhythms), but still have strong stories at their core and, usually, a singer who’s able to emote from experience. One by one, Burns and company tick off the big names – Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton – and show how they’re connected.

Country music, Burns and company contend, has a through line, one that binds its artists and fans as family. It’s easy to see how the Carters and Cash are connected (he married into the clan). But where does that leave someone like Parton or Garth Brooks? Writer Dayton Duncan does a masterful job connecting the dots and showing how an 11-year-old Marty Stuart was able to go from a local fair to the Grand Ole Opry. (Stuart vowed he was going to marry singer Connie Smith one day and, sure enough, he did.) Stuart, in fact, is the documentary’s best “witness,” able to demonstrate how sounds differed and tell stories about the folks who created them.

Parton, Brooks, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson get to chime in on their own piece of the puzzle (they’re great storytellers, obviously), but it’s someone like Brenda Lee who has even better observational skills. In the mix with the biggest names, she was able to see what was brewing. And she’s not afraid to say Lynn led the life Tammy Wynette sang about, while Wynette lived the life Lynn chronicled.

Drugs and booze are common denominators in many stories. Relationship problems are practically a given.

Country music reflects the times (it became a salve for money-tight folks following the Depression) and becomes a pawn for big business. It also serves as a lure for The Beatles, Bob Dylan and others. And, yes, “Country Music” details all of the back and side roads.

Read rest of article here.

Rest in Peace, Bill Wittliff, and thanks

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

www.CowboysIndians.com
by: Joe Leydon

We tip our hats to the talented screenwriter, author, and photographer.

WILLIAM D. WITTLIFF?—?often billed in TV and movie credits, and addressed by friends and collaborators, simply as Bill Wittliff?—?ensured for himself a prominent position in the pantheon of great western storytellers as the award-winning screenwriter of Lonesome Dove, the classic 1989 miniseries based on Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a cattle drive led by retired Texas Rangers Woodrow F. Call and Captain Augustus “Gus” McCrae.

Tommy Lee Jones, who befriended Wittliff while playing Call in the epic drama, spoke for millions of admirers when he described Wittliff’s handiwork thusly to Texas Monthly writer John Spong: “It wasn’t an adaptation. It was a derivation, a condensation. You’ve got to let the book be your guide, and that’s not easy. It requires a confidence in your own creativity, along with a selflessness that not a lot of people have. Bill had it in abundance.”

Wittliff, who passed away June 9 at age 79 in Austin, lived an enviably full life as a prolific author and screenwriter, an accomplished photographer, and a tireless champion of the arts. A native of Taft, Texas, he and his wife, Sally, founded Encino Press, a Dallas-based publishing house devoted to fiction and nonfiction about life in Texas and the Southwest, in 1964. He kicked off his show business career in 1978 by writing Thaddeus Rose and Eddie, a TV movie starring Johnny Cash and Bo Hopkins as reckless Texas buddies that was praised by People Magazine for having “a Last Picture Show authenticity.”

Wittliff went on to write or co-write several feature film screenplays, including Honeysuckle Rose (1980), Raggedy Man (1981), Barbarosa (1982), Legends of the Fall (1994), The Perfect Storm (2000), and A Night in Old Mexico (2013). In 1986, he wrote and directed Red Headed Stranger, a western based on Willie Nelson’s 1975 album, starring Nelson, Morgan Fairchild, and Katharine Ross.

Also in 1986, Bill and Sally Wittliff established at Texas State University what would become known as the Wittliff Collections, a wide-ranging archive and research center devoted to collecting, preserving, and celebrating the creative legacy of the Southwest. Among the items included in the Albert B. Alkek Library on the university’s San Marcos campus: More than 19,000 photographs of the Southwest and Mexico, including historical images, 20th-century masters, and emerging 21st-century artists; a Texas music collection that runs the gamut from country and Western swing to blues, polka, rock ’n’ roll, conjunto, and Tejano; and the  private papers and original manuscripts of authors, playwrights, screenwriters, and songwriters such as Sam Shepard, Cormac McCarthy, Bud Shrake, Larry McMurtry, Willie Nelson, and J. Frank Dobie.

And, yes, rest assured: There’s also an entire room devoted to memorabilia from the Lonesome Dove miniseries.


Photography: Ted Albracht/Courtesy Texas State University

From the October 2019 issue.


Willie Nelson and Gary Busey, “Barbarosa”

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Willie Nelson and Dyan Cannon, “Loving You Was Easier Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again”

Sunday, July 21st, 2019

This day in Willie Nelson history, “Country Bears Movie” released (July 21, 2002)

Sunday, July 21st, 2019
bear

On July 21, 2002, the movie, “The Country Bears” was released. Like other celebrated rock-and-roll groups, the members of the legendary group the Country Bears were torn apart by the perils of their own success: ego, jealousy, and a little too much honey. The story of how eager young fan Beary Barrington can convince the bitter ex-members of the rock band to put aside their differences and perform a benefit concert to save Country Bear Hall, the legendary venue where the band got its start. Initial release: July 21, 2002 Director: Peter Hastings

bears

Willie Nelson and Rip Torn in, “The Songwriter”

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Rest in Peace, Rip Torn

www.RollingStone.com
by: Stephen L. Betts

With the hundreds of film and television roles actor Rip Torn played throughout his career, some are so memorable and well-known (The Larry Sanders Show’s Arthur, for instance) that many others are relegated to “I forgot he was in that one” territory. Born Elmore Rual Torn Jr. in Temple, Texas, in 1931, Rip Torn died Tuesday in Lakeville, Connecticut, at age 88.

Among Torn’s many roles, and indeed, in his personal life, are numerous connections to country music. Coal Miner’s Daughter Oscar winner Sissy Spacek was his first cousin, and Torn’s first wife, actress Ann Wedgeworth, would go on to play Patsy Cline’s mother, Hilda Hensley, in the 1985 biopic Sweet Dreams. Torn would inhabit the roles of both country-music artist and manager with two films a decade apart, one in which he was the lead and another as supporting character to two country icons: Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.

In 1984’s Songwriter, Torn plays Dino McLeish, the slick and sleazy manager of Kristofferson’s character, country star Blackie Buck, who is best friend to songwriter Doc Jenkins, played by Nelson. In the above scene from the film, Nelson and Torn are joined by Lesley Ann Warren as Gilda, an aspiring, neurotic singer also being managed by Dino. The hilarious exchange between Doc and Dino is, quite literally, a bit of fast-talking wheeling-and-dealing as the two negotiate Gilda’s musical future. It’s a stellar bit of acting from Torn and Nelson, especially, with their tough-as-leather Texas roots informing both characters. (There’s a mostly unrelated scene in the clip, in which Doc, wearing a borrowed suit and brandishing a vacuum cleaner, visits his ex-wife, singer Honey Carder, who is mentioned briefly by the self-doubting Gilda in the previous scene.)

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

photo: Jana Birchum

The Red Headed Stranger at Luck (7/6/2019)

Monday, July 8th, 2019

Thanks so much to Janis Tillerson, from Texas, for her great photos from the screening of Willie Nelson’s movie, The Red Headed Stranger, in Luck. Willie fielded questions at the screening.

Willie Nelson talks about the Red Headed Stranger

Monday, July 8th, 2019
Photo: Janis tillerson

Andy Langer acted as master of ceremony and talked with Willie Nelson and others involved in the making of the Red Headed Stranger in Luck, Texas, at the screening of movie which was filmed there on the movie set western town of Luck, on Willie’s ranch last Saturday.

Thanks, Janis from Texas, for photos and sharing stories from the event

David Anderson – associate producer – talked about what it took to keep the movie going and running out of money.

Lana Nelson – wardrobe – talked about how people on the set pulled together sometimes taking their clothing home at night and washing it because of their love for Willie.

Sonny Carl Davis – played Odie Claver talked about being hung and the bond the cast and crew had which was important part of getting the movie made.

Bryan Fowler – Nathan the kid on the farm – talked about how exciting it was to work on the movie with his grandfather

Cary White – art director -talked about the buildings and how the town developed

At the Movies, under the stars, in Luck

Monday, July 8th, 2019

Thanks Janis, for screen shots of the screen, from the showing of the Red Headed Stranger outside in Luck, Texas.

The Redheaded Stranger, actors and crew

Monday, July 8th, 2019

Thanks, Janis from Texas, for sharing photos of Lana Nelson, Odie Claver (Sonny in the movie) and David Anderson.

Lana and David were part of the hard working crew for The Red Headed Stranger, and spoke at the screening of the movie on Saturday in Luck. Here’s Lana on the set, as pictured in Life Magazine’s spread about the movie when it came out.

David Anderson

Sonny (Odie Claver)

Watching the red Headed Stranger with Willie Nelson

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

www.austin360.com
by: Peter Blackstock

On paper, it sounded like a pretty special event: Just outside of Austin, the Willie Nelson film “Red Headed Stranger” would be screened on the grounds of the fictional Old West town that was built for the 1985 production of the movie. And Willie would be there too, answering questions about how it all went down 30-odd years ago.

In person, it was even better. Around 400 folks paid $100 (or more for VIP passes that included a dinner reception) to be there. We talked with two fans who flew in from upstate New York solely for the occasion.

By the time general-admission gates opened at 7:30 p.m., a hot summer afternoon had begun to cool as the sun set over the serene hill-country environs of Luck, Texas, which includes a chapel, a saloon, a headquarters building and other small outposts. More than 70 horses, mostly animal rescues that Willie and his crew have brought to his ranch near Spicewood, roam the grounds along the fringes of the town.

Early arrivers checked out a mini-exhibit of artifacts from the film courtesy of the Wittliff Collections, an archival facility on the campus of Texas State University in San Marcos. Scripts and call sheets, photos of Willie with fellow cast members Morgan Fairchild and Katharine Ross, and other documents offered a preview glimpse into how “Red Headed Stranger” got made.

The only thing missing was the Collections’ namesake founder, Bill Wittliff, who wrote and directed the movie. He’d planned to be here, but his sudden death from a heart attack a month ago turned this evening into a memorial event for him, with Nelson and others involved in the film sharing their memories of his influence on their lives.

Wittliff wrote “Red Headed Stranger” with Nelson’s 1975 concept album of the same name as a guide. The album was a turning point in Willie’s career, and it’s probably also the most important record in the history of Austin music. Already an accomplished songwriter, Nelson became a household name when “Red Headed Stranger” topped the country charts.

A quarter-moon gazed upon the ten-cent town of Luck as the opening credits rolled. It’s a bit like peering through the looking glass to watch a movie on the very site where most of it was made. There’s Willie riding in on his horse past the chapel, a landmark that guests explored as they arrived on the grounds. There’s the sheriff’s office, in an outpost that on this night featured Nelson’s new “Willie’s Remedy” CBD-infused coffee on the porch. And hey, we’re sitting almost exactly where they hung Odie Claver, a son of the film’s villain. The post-screening Q&A included Sonny Carl Davis, who played Odie.

Most everything takes place in the tiny Montana town of Driscoll, but Luck and other nearby hill country locations worked well as the backdrop for a story set in the covered-wagon days of the mid-late 1800s. Nelson is riveting as Julian Shay, a preacher who arrives from Philadelphia to reform the town but soon faces his own comeuppance with the Lord.

Andy Langer of Austin City Limits Radio interviewed Willie and other principals for about 20 minutes afterward. Most of Nelson’s comments were brief, but he was a fountain of colorful one-liners.

Asked what it was like watching himself onscreen a few minutes earlier, he replied: “I was thinking, who was that old bastard?” On the Luck chapel: “It’s a real church. We hold service out there, and weddings. I don’t think we’ve had any divorces there yet.” On other activities at his ranch: “There’s a golf course if I feel like swingin’ hard and missing it. There’s plenty of horses to ride, or steal, whatever you want.” On acting: “I never thought of myself as an actor. I react a lot.”

The Q&A also touched upon how “Red Headed Stranger” initially was going to be a much bigger production, with Robert Redford in the lead role — until “he chickened out of it,” Nelson cracked.

With Redford, “Red Headed Stranger” might have gotten a lot more attention than it did in its limited 1986 theatrical run. Much like it was transcendent when Alison Krauss sang Nelson’s ballad “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” at Willie’s Fourth of July Picnic two days earlier, Redford’s consummate skill could have made for onscreen magic.

But just as Nelson’s own version of “Angel” at the Picnic a few hours later offered the definitive rendition from the songwriter himself, his performance as the Preacher became the movie’s indelible signature. Mulling it over, Nelson remembered that a colleague on a subsequent film, “Honeysuckle Rose,” once put it this way: “Willie plays himself better than anybody.”

Saturday’s screening was announced as the inaugural event of a new Luck Cinema series. No other movies are currently scheduled, but if this first go-round is any indication, this could become one of the most popular movie outings in Central Texas whenever follow-up films are booked.

MORE FROM WILLIE’S PICNIC: Austin360 A-List photo gallery

Getting ready for the Red Headed Stranger in Luck

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Here’s the big screen for the out-door showing of “Red Headed Stranger” in Luck, Texas, and the chairs where fans will sit after dinner.

Thanks, Janis from Texas for sharing photos from the setup for tonight’s dinner and a movie night with Willie Nelson, sponsored by Luck Productions and Rolling Roadshow.

Enter to win — Once In A Lifetime Chance to hang at Willie Nelson’s Luck, Texas and watch Red Headed Stranger

Saturday, June 29th, 2019

Enter contest here.

Rolling Roadshow and Luck Productions are joining forces to present Luck Cinema, a film screening series in Luck, TX. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Willie Nelson’s Hill Country ranch in Luck, TX for a starlit screening of Willie’s classic 1985 Western RED HEADED STRANGER.

You’ll get the Willieville VIP experience – airfare and accommodations for two in Austin, an intimate 50-person dinner hosted by the Austin Food & Wine Alliance prepared by award-winning chef Jesse Griffiths, and a special “front porch” Q&A with Willie and the film’s key players held on the film’s set.

Here’s the full prize package:

  • VIP tickets to Luck Cinema’s screening and dinner at Willie Nelson’s Luck, TX ranch
  • Hotel accommodations for one night
  • Airfare to Austin, TX