Tag Archives: Dustin Hoffman

Music aged to perfection

I heart Dustin Hoffman.

The Graduate, Kramer vs Kramer, Tootsie, Rain Man, Moonlight Mile, Runaway Jury — winners all.

Then came the last 10 years. Two painful Fockers movies.  I Heart Huckabees (which I did not). Much cartoon voiceover work.  I began to despair.

But now Dustin Hoffman the director has stepped forward with his first feature, Quartet.

quartet

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see by the photo that Hoffman wrangled some major names — Scottish actor/comedian Billy Connolly, and the Dowager Countess herself, Maggie Smith.  Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins complete the ‘quartet’ of retired opera singers living at Beecham House, a retirement home in rural England for retired musicians.

(And can I just say — swanky.  We should all be so lucky.)

The movie begins as pretty much everyone at the home is in rehearsals for their annual fundraising concert. Connolly, Courtenay and Collins all want Smith — a recent addition to Beecham — to recreate their famed quartet at the concert.

She says no…to pretty much everything.  And the movie goes ‘behind the music’ to the pasts and passions of the players.

I loved the performances, especially Tom Courtenay as Smith’s jilted former husband.  And Hoffman filled the ‘home’ with retired world-class singers and musicians.

Just wait till you hear how much music they’ve still got!

Ah ha

Remember this year’s Golden Globe Awards?

Hard to believe they were less than a month ago.  Modern Family, Boardwalk Empire and The Social Network were the big winners, and Ricky Gervais — with his mean-spirited, low blow jokes — was the biggest loser.

Memories.

My ‘ah ha’ moment — or maybe it was more of a ‘say wha?’ — was Paul Giamatti’s win for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for a little-known movie called Barney’s Version (He beat out Kevin Spacey, Jake Gyllenhaal and two Johnny Depp nods in the process.)

So I decided to give it a look.

Here’s one thing the Hollywood Foreign Press got right.  Giamatti is brilliant as Barney in a movie that spans four decades of his life, three marriages, and literally dozens of bad decisions.  Whoever cast Dustin Hoffman as Barney’s father must be feeling pretty smug, too, because it was nothing short of inspired.

You can make fun of the Globes all day long and be perfectly justified.  But that award alone, and the light it shone on this funny, sad, twisted, lovely film, atones for a multitude of sins.

If Barney’s Version hadn’t won a Globe, it would have no doubt languished on a couple of screens in New York and Los Angeles before calling it a day. Thanks to the Globes, you may get a chance to see it at a ‘theater near you.’

Everybody wins.

Stop sign

I have never sat in a movie theater and literally boo’ed a trailer.

Until now.

It happens every time I see  the promo for “Little Fockers.”  (Yes, they went there.)

The very funny “Meet the Parents” movie beget the extremely mediocre sequel “Meet the Fockers.”  (It’s like they thought a funny title would make up for everything the script was lacking.)

But instead of quitting while they were ahead, the producers churned out a third and what we can only hope is the concluding — please, please let it be the final — chapter in this tale of a highly dysfunctional blended family.

Based on the trailer for “Little Fockers,” mediocre may even be a stretch for this one.

How many times can we sit and watch Ben Stiller hurt and humiliate himself?  DeNiro walk the line between cranky and cuckoo?  Hoffman peacock?

And is this really Teri Polo’s only acting job?

The most frustrating thing for me is listening to all the people in the theater laugh at the promo.   Judge for yourself.

Does it really take so little to tickle our funny bones?

I mean…fock.