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Guest Programmer: Bill Paxton
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Bill Paxton Profile

Bill Paxton, this month's Guest Programmer, gained his love and appreciation of film from his movie-buff father, the late actor John Lane Paxton, while growing up in Fort Worth, Texas. Bill, a recent Emmy Award nominee for the TV mini-series Hatfields & McCoys, made his movie debut in Crazy Mama (1975). He wrote, directed and produced short films including Fish Heads (1980) before gaining recognition for his work as an actor in such films as Weird Science (1985), Aliens (1986) and Near Dark (1987).

Paxton's strong performance in the leading role of the film noir One False Move (1992) led to other acting showcases in such films as Tombstone (1993), True Lies (1994), Apollo 13 (1995) and Twister (1996). His many diverse roles include those of the "other man" in Titanic (1997) and a Mormon with multiple wives in HBO's Big Love (2006-2011). The latter role brought him Golden Globe nominations for three different seasons as Best Actor in a Television Series.

Paxton's picks as Guest Programmer reveal a broad taste in his movie viewing, although all of his chosen films were made during the period when he was coming of age in Texas. He considers Federico Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits (1965) one of those films that offer "a transcendental experience" with "a phantasmagoria of images - quite overwhelming." The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), Victor Erices' moving story of two young girls in a Castilian village who become preoccupied by the legend of the Frankenstein monster, is perhaps "the greatest film to come out of Spain in the 1960s."

Robert Altman's California Split (1974) is "almost like a short story - a slice of life," with "one of the great American directors" guiding Elliott Gould and George Segal through roles that rank among their best. And Hal Ashby's The Last Detail (1973), "one of the great unsung films of the '70s," offers Jack Nicholson, a Paxton favorite, in "maybe his greatest performance."

by Roger Fristoe
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