Tag Archives: Maggie Smith

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.








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!

Jolly good show

I managed pretty well…until today.

Hadn’t thought about it much. Hadn’t talked about it at all, unless a friend brought it up, and I figured then I had permission. But now?

The gloves are off.

The Emmy nominations were announced. And even though Downton Abbey has been moved into the Drama category — and has to compete with some pretty heavy hitters —

The Brits got ‘er dun.

Outstanding Drama. Outstanding Actress in a Drama, Michelle Dockery. Outstanding Actor in a Drama, Hugh Bonneville. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama, Brendan Coyle. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, Maggie Smith AND Joanne Froggatt.

Now we just have to wait and see how they do in the head-to-head competition. Actually, I’m not sure I can wait. I may need to watch the first two seasons.


Public promote

My weekend has not gone as planned.

The plan?  Movies, movies, and then perhaps, if time…another movie.

There are so many I haven’t seen — “Young Victoria” and “Nine” are on my short list.  And I have only seen nine of Entertainment Weekly’s ’25 Movies to See before the Oscars.’


The long weekend stretched in front of me in opportunity.  The only other things on my to-do list were taking down the Christmas decorations and doing laundry, which I did simultaneously Saturday morning.

The rest of my free time was going to be spent in a darkened theater, eating trash food, being transported.


And then my DVR and my local PBS station ruined everything.

I mentioned yesterday that my DVR recorded the rebroadcast of Masterpiece Theatre’s wonderful ‘Little Dorrit’ — which I watched in its entirety on New Year’s Day.  I noticed this morning that it had recorded ‘David Copperfield’ as well — the version starring Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe in his first starring role.

So, once again, I found myself mesmerized for two hours this morning, watching another excellent Masterpiece Theatre production.  How fun to see Daniel Radcliffe and Maggie Smith together long before they played student and instructor at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter series of movies.

Many advertising campaigns in 2009 emphasized staying home and rediscovering the entertainment found there.   Apparently it took the new year to remind me of the wonderful programming available on PBS.

Next up — “Oliver Twist” and “Cranford.”

As soon as I get back from the movies.