Tag Archives: actors

An apology

john heard

By now you’ve no doubt heard that John Heard died.

Yesterday my social media feed was full of articles about the actor, all attributing his success to Home Alone.

I know he’s not here to read this — and let’s face it, he wouldn’t if he could  — but I feel the need to apologize.

While the family comedy may have made the most money in his filmography, it certainly did not make the most of Heard.

If you’re interested and willing to do a bit more research than his obit writers, I encourage you to watch Heard in the gripping thriller Deceived, co-starring Goldie Hawn. He also played opposite Tom Hanks in the comedy Big (a great excuse to watch that again). And he was an excellent Arthur Dimmesdale in a TV miniseries version of The Scarlet Letter in 1979.

Let’s hear it for one of the great character actors. He will be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

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All over but the crying

I have just finished binge-watching the new season of House of Cards. But don’t worry — there are no spoilers here.

You have to put in all those hours to learn about their latest foibles.

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I’m just anxious to interact with real people again after my total immersion the past couple of days (other than brief breaks for UK basketball [29-0] and dog walks).

You know what I missed most?

Blinking.

Not me — I blink quite a bit, whether in conversation or while watching hours of TV.  I wear contacts; it’s required.

But the cast of House of Cards never appears to blink. Not even when the camera takes a long, dramatic look…pushing in for a revealing closeup.

They simply don’t give into the urge.

I would love to be on set when the director yells ‘cut.’ I envision the actors blinking furiously. Eye drops being administered post haste. A furious rubbing of eyelids, followed by frantic makeup touch ups.

Or, I hope that happens.

 

A true story

The movie Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, is based on a true story. That’s about all I knew — well, that and Carrell wears a prosthetic nose.

And we all know a fake schnoz can land you an Oscar. Just ask Nicole Kidman.

foxcatcher

After seeing the film, I’m glad I was so uninformed.  This telling of Olympic wrestler Mike Schultz’s relationship with his sponsor, millionaire John du Pont, is so slow and deliberate that I might have lost patience if I had known how it was going to end.

But the performances — not the plot — are the reason to see this film.  All three actors disappear into these characters who, with the exception of Ruffalo, struggle with varying shades of mental illness and mommy issues.

And when actors who usually take pratfalls raise their game to this level, you simply have to see it.

Fair warning — you may never look at Michael Scott the same way again.

 

That’s life

Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood has received enormous attention and near perfect reviews.

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It should.

The fact that it was 12 years in the making is epic enough. That the same actors gathered together to recreate this family each year…so the passage of time Is made all the more authentic by every bad haircut, each pop culture reference.

But Boyhood’s true appeal lies in Linklater’s choice of subject matter: the simple, day-to-day ups and downs of a family doing their best to juggle school and jobs and divorce and remarriage and financial worries and love and loss.

Chances are, at certain points in this movie, you will recognize yourself or your family.

And it will make you smile.

Do what you love

Casting directors and agents in New York City often advise wannabe actors to create their own projects.

That way, they can do the kind of work that they want to be doing.

fading gigoloJust ask John Turturro.

He wrote, directed and stars in Fading Gigolo, the story of a guy with money problems who, with the encouragement and salesmanship of a good friend — portrayed by Woody Allen — finds himself the hired lover of a group of lonely middle-aged women.

It’s a great cast:  Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Liev Schreiber, and in a star-making turn, Vanessa Paradis (better known as Johnny Depp’s long-time-but-not-so-much-anymore girlfriend).

The movie was very funny at times, and at other times, very serious and soulful.  The changes in pacing and tone were unexpected and unexplained.  I felt like I was watching two movies that didn’t quite gel, and there were jokes that flew over my goyish head that cracked up the rest of the art house crowd.

That being said, I enjoyed the individual performances and getting glimpses of my Upper West Side businesses and doorways in this very New York City film.

No surprise

I watched the entire Oscars telecast last night, so I am sleepy today, but not because I was up late —

Because it was so BORING.

Where were the surprise winners? The endearing, incomprehensible speeches from dumbfounded winners? And no, I don’t count the garbled speech of presenters — like John Travolta and Harrison Ford — who can’t read a teleprompter.

I don’t watch awards shows to see actors deliver their lines. (That’s why I go to the movies.) I want some spontaneity. Some mistakes. Some signs of life and humanity.

Thank goodness Benedict Cumberbatch and I had some fun on the red carpet before the big snoozefest began.

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For the boys

Today’s blog is dedicated to guys — actors all — who deserve a little extra love today.

Tom HanksOscar Isaacrobert redford2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tom Hanks. Oscar Isaac. Robert Redford — all denied Best Actor Oscar nods by the Academy.

Now, I could be talked down on Isaac if the Academy didn’t pretty much ignore Inside Llewyn Davis, save a couple of technical awards.  I mean, it didn’t even get nominated for its musical score.

And while Captain Phillips did get six other nods, how can you justify not nominating Hanks?

Did they watch the final scene??

And Redford?  He was the entire movie All Is Lost. Period. What more do you want?

Apparently anything by Martin Scorsese…and I do mean, anything.

On a more somber note, I want to pay tribute to Russell Johnson — the original and best nerd crush of my generation, who left the world today…

The Professor
We’ll miss you, Professor.