June 27, 2012

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February 27, 2012

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Holy crap.

To revive any Oscar-weary spirits, I offer ……….

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Actually, I don’t think this is helping. I think I’m having a heart attack.

December 13, 2011

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God bless Christopher Shea, the child actor behind the voice of Linus.

In my opinion, one of the most beautifully executed monologues of all time. Its genius is the (deceptive) simplicity of the delivery combined with the quirky perfection of that endearing little voice.

That, and the immediate resumption of the thumb-sucking at the end.

How I love it. How I will never tire of it.

December 8, 2011

-image-“i gave you mah snack pack!

One of my favorite moments ever from “Friends.” (Sorry. YouTube won’t let me embed.)

Joey is working as a tour guide at the museum where Ross is a paleontologist. Because he’s a tour guide, he wears a blue blazer. Doctors/scientists wear lab coats. Rhonda, played by The View’s Sherri Shepherd, is explaining the museum segregation to Joey, telling him why she is certain that Ross will not sit next to him for lunch.

After all these years, her lines still get quoted around this house. We’re constantly perfecting our Rhonda imitations.

So funny.

September 23, 2010

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I cannot remember how old I was when Chitty Chitty Bang Bang first came into my life, but I seem to remember seeing it on TV. At Thanksgiving time maybe? I don’t know why that sticks out for me. Seems like it was the holidays. I do remember having a huge and instant crush on Dick Van Dyke, though. I still do, to this day. He’s just adorable to me. Look at that face. Look at how agile he is. If you can find a man enchanting, if that’s okay to say, then I find Dick Van Dyke enchanting. Always have.

I just loved this song when I was a kid. The delirious dancing, the dangly scrap vests, the tinka tinka tinka of it all. I was mad for the tinka tinka tinka. And, oh, how I wanted a dangly scrap vest! Who cares about a Truly Scrumptious dress when you could have a dangly scrap vest!

Isn’t this just one of the happiest songs ever? Thank you Dick Van Dyke, for being …. yes, enchanting.

You can have me hat or me bumbershoo’, but you better never bother with me ol’ bamboo!

I love this:

“A flyer in an air-eo-plane”

Chorus: “HE STEERS IT WITH A STICK!”

“He does?”

I remember cracking up at that little moment when I was a kid. I mean, Caractacus is faking it during this number — he’s hiding from someone, as I recall, so he randomly joins a dance troupe — and I just went nuts for the crack of his voice, the turn of his head, the way his whole body slackens for the tiniest tick, the way he mimes a wheel but they say stick. (Caractacus may be faking it, but Dick Van Dyke here is a performer in complete control of evvverything. There is such intricacy here, such split-second timing. To be in control of appearing out of control takes true genius. I think people underestimate Dick Van Dyke.)

Anyhow, I loved that whole bit. A heartbeat’s deflation of a totally madcap, ramped-UP song. I noticed that as a kid and just howled. Weird child. I still rewind this just to watch that tiny sinking moment. I love it.

Love the whole happy tinka tinka thing.

August 5, 2010

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House and Wilson from House.

How I love this photo. One frame, completely summing up the relationship between House (Hugh Laurie) and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard). The thousand-mile stare on RSL’s face kills me. And while I adore — ADORE — Hugh Laurie in all things and his greatness as House virtually goes without saying, I think I have an Ode to Wilson in me that needs to be written. Or rather, an Ode to Robert Sean Leonard.

Because House? He’d be squat without Wilson.

Squat, I tell you.

Robert Sean Leonard is brilliant on the show — equally as brilliant as Hugh Laurie — but more subtle, which is why he probably doesn’t get the attention he deserves for his work in this role.

Ack, I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. I gotta write that ode.

June 22, 2009

-image-meryl streep, steve martin, and alec baldwin

So I happened to watch 5 minutes of “Entertainment Tonight” the other night — a show I never watch, NEVER, because I have Mary Hart issues and because, eh, I just don’t tend to watch these kinds of shows. But I happened to click on at precisely the right moment. Apparently, Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, and Alec Baldwin are filming some as-yet-unnamed romantic comedy by the writer of “Something’s Gotta Give,” a movie I loved so that bodes well. Besides, it’s Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, and Alec Baldwin, for Petesakes.

So “ET” is on set — minus Mary Hart, thank God — interviewing the three of them together and it is just impossible. Total mayhem. They simply cannot behave themselves and it’s killing me. They will not answer questions seriously. I mean, Steve Martin is notorious on that score and that’s part of why I love him, but somehow, pair him with Alec Baldwin and it’s hopeless. They are lost to civilized society, basically, and refuse to bow down to the niceties of an interview. Meryl Streep is dying, having to sit between them, red-faced with weepy laughter. So so funny. They have some bit between them on the set involving “memory” songs — songs like “Unforgettable” and “Try to Remember” which they proceed to sing as if they cannot for the life of them remember anything whatsoever. Streep squinches her face; Martin goes blank; Baldwin rubs his chin; they are all spontaneously looking off in different directions. “Trrrry to rememmmber ……” Hahahaha. It is insane. A five-second moment and I am undone. I’m easy, I guess. The visual of their sudden collective Alzheimer’s is just too much for me. I am gone. Brilliant and stupid, which is one of the very best kinds of brilliant.

But my favorite question and answer:

So, you three, any guilty pleasures as far as food?

There is a pause. They are all considering it with great care and THIS question they do answer, oh so very seriously. Of course.

Martin: Celery …

Baldwin: Melba Toast ….

Streep: …. Anchovy Paste.

Perfect timing. Perfect inflection. Completely unrehearsed. Genius. I keep reliving it and it makes me laugh all over again.

The movie is so far called, well, “Untitled Nancy Meyers Project.” Frankly, I don’t care what it is. I am there.

Oh, and happy birthday to Meryl Streep! Sixty years old today and still gorgeous, still a cinematic goddess. LOVE her.

March 18, 2009

-image-r.i.p. natasha richardson

I’m stunned. Stunned. Natasha Richardson, Tony Award winning actress, daughter of Vanessa Redgrave, and wife of Liam Neeson, has died from a freak fall on a beginner’s ski slope in Quebec, Canada. I don’t even know what to say; it just seems so implausible. How could this happen?? It’s so terribly sad.

My condolences to Liam Neeson and the entire family.

Perhaps better known and appreciated for her theatrical work, still, she was a luminous actress. I will miss her.

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February 7, 2009

-image-in defense of christian bale

You’ve all heard about this, right? Christian Bale going off on the DP on the set of the new Terminator movie? I heard about this a couple of days ago and, frankly, thought it could not be real. But here’s a link to the audio.

(Major profanity alert. Like, uh, David Mamet wrote this thing or something. You’ve been warned.)

Here’s an article in the LA Times which gives a little more context and closure to the whole episode. Apparently, this happened last July, but all these months later this gets released to the public?? Of course, Bale’s behavior is inexcusable — he says so himself in the LA Times article — but I also think it’s inexcusable to put this out in the public ear so long after the fact. From what I’ve read, Bale had already apologized months ago, privately, for his horrible tirade and now he’s been forced to apologize publicly for this, a private incident. I get that everyone’s up in arms over what he said, fine; it was terrible, yes. But Christian Bale is not beholden to me. He does not owe ME an explanation or an apology. Apologize to any and all affected parties, as he apparently already did, and then be done with it.

But nope. Someone had to put this out there. Nearly seven months later.

At this point, I actually find myself more disturbed about that, the disclosure after the fact, the low blow, than the actual abusive tantrum — for which he already apologized.

We all are weak. Every one of us. We are alcoholics and drug addicts, kleptos and ragers, liars and sex addicts. Weaknesses and weak moments come in all shapes and sizes and sounds. Maybe this was an isolated incident for Mr. Bale or maybe he has an issue with anger. (There was some kind of incident with his mom and sister, also several months ago.) Either way, it’s a weakness — whether in moment or character — and it is his as ours are ours. Perhaps the only good thing to come of this being made public is that Christian Bale may really commit to making whatever those “adjustments” are that the article talks about. Most of us, I might add, are blessed to be able to do our adjustments privately, however.

You know, I remember once during a rehearsal in college becoming completely frustrated with a scene I was working on. I just wasn’t getting it; I was mad at myself; ready to burst into tears, whatever. I became so unhinged at one point that I grabbed a plastic coffee mug from a set table and flung it wildly into the darkness of the theater. I couldn’t see much out there, but I was aware that my beloved director suddenly rose from his seat in the middle of the house, stared at me for a moment — I could make out his eyes and I will never forget their disappointed expression — then turned on his heel and walked out without a word. Everyone on stage just froze. Rehearsal was over and it was all my fault. My director was gone. It was beneath him to even comment. It was beneath me to do it. What he did — walking out in silence — said both of those things loudly without ever saying them. Later, full of shame and remorse, I apologized to everyone, but I’ve never gotten over the fact that I did that. In a weak moment, I DID do that. How much more horrible would the situation have been if someone had been there taping or filming my childish hissy fit for posterity and, oh, say, airing or publishing that moment to everyone on campus? I shudder to think: “Campus Actress and Horrible Person Throws Hissy, Cup.” It’s possible that many people on campus who didn’t even know me could have formed a very low opinion of me based on one weak moment. At least get to know me and then form a low opinion of me. That I understand. Now, sure, I didn’t verbally abuse anyone in this incident, but it was self-indulgent and disrespectful of every person in that theater. (And who knows how close that cup came to hitting my director? I couldn’t tell. I don’t know. I don’t want to know.) No one wants or deserves to be pronounced an irredeemable ass based on the weakness of one moment. And especially a past moment. Oh, and a private moment. Is that the measure of the man? Is that the measure of any one of us? I hope not. It’s ludicrous to me that Christian Bale is being reduced to doing public penance to people he didn’t directly offend.

I understand, of course, feeling shocked and, yes, even offended, by Mr. Bale’s language, his words. They’re awful. No one would want to be spoken to like that and you know what? None of us, save one, were. Again, the offense is not against any of us voyeurs personally and I’ve been bothered, as I’ve clicked around the Internet reading about this story, to see how many random Janes and Joes are taking this so personally. “Oh, I will never see another Christian Bale movie again!” Or “I used to like him, but now I think he’s just an ass.” I don’t understand this thinking. The extreme of it; it’s so scorched earth to me. Why be personally offended? What did he do to you? “Well, he let me down, man.” Okay. How? How did he personally let you down? “Well, I would expect more of him.” And there it is: Why? Why do you expect more of him? Because he’s famous? That’s nonsensical. These are reactions, to me, that tell me these people don’t have a realistic view of Christian Bale — or any celebrity — in the first place.

He is a human being.

People “expect more” of people they’ve unfairly put on a pedestal– or people to whom they’ve unfairly ascribed nothing but virtuous traits based on a movie role or raging personal hotness. It’s insane.

Sure, he’s famous. Whatevs. What of it? I happen to think he’s a great actor; I love his work, but I don’t look to Christian Bale or Sean Penn or Meryl Streep or Nicole Kidman for examples of, uhm, how to live my life. I separate my opinion of their work from who they are as people. This allows me the freedom to enjoy their work, or not, and allows them the freedom to be whatever kind of human beings they choose to be. Maybe I don’t agree with this one’s politics. So what? Maybe I think that one has a potty mouth. So what? Maybe I think this one is a total hoooor. So WHAT? Again, they are not my role models. I do not look to any celebrity and model my behavior, my character, after him or her. The only way an actor or actress has ever been a role model for me is in the area of their work — how they work, how they create a character, how they prepare, etc. Look to these creative souls for how to be a creative soul yourself, not necessarily how to live your life. I take my role-modeling in pieces, frankly, whoever the person is, celebrity or, uh, civilian: “I like this one’s work ethic” or “I like that one’s honesty” or “I like how she handled this one situation.” Why look to one flawed human being to be your everything role model?

The “everything” role model will let you down eventually and, in my opinion, when he or she does, it will be your fault for unfairly elevating, deifying, this one human being. There are people who will now completely write off Christian Bale. Personally blacklist his movies. And, you know, I think it’s their loss, in terms of his work. These are people so out of touch with their own basic humanity, in all its glory and all its shame, that they are intolerant when someone else’s is on such … vivid display.

He’s human. He’s famous. He screwed up. Deal with it.

I’m human. I screw up all the time. Thank God, I don’t have the burden of being famous to magnify all my human screw-ups.

And, personally, I can’t wait for the new Terminator movie.

I’ll be there, Christian Bale. Count on it.

December 11, 2008

-image-20 favorite actresses

I’m borrowing this from Sheila and adding my own caveat, just to keep my choices down. It’s really, uhm, “20 Favorite Actresses Born After 1930.”

Here are just some loves of mine ….. some with comments, some without:

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Win the Oscar, already. I can’t take the suspense.

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I worship her.

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She is charming, from another era almost.

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Goddess.

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From The Man in the Moon until now. Love her.

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There is something about this girl. (Forget that she’s dating Marilyn Mason.) I loved her most recently in Across the Universe. Truth be told, I’m a little obsessed with that movie.

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I always root for her. Loved her in Frida. And, please, look at her.

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She was in Bring It On, the best movie ever. Anyone got a problem with that?

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Okay. So it’s a little racy, but, damn, Helen Mirren. Plus … damn.

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She is so soft and luminous. Sometimes I think she’s not real.

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I wish this picture were bigger. I love everything about her. Her goofy face, her big- boned figure, how she makes every moment of every role count.

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Anna Maxwell Martin. Oh, my. Fell in LOVE with her in the BBC Masterpiece Theatre version of Bleak House.

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Well. This ones goes back a long way.

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