Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year's from the S.S. Poseidon

Western Union telegram dated December 31, 1972:

"Having a wonderful time on the cruise [stop] Tonight there is supposed to be a big party in the grand ballroom [stop] Looking forward to it, but seas are a bit choppy [stop] Did meet a nice lady who promised to teach me how to swim tomorrow [stop] Says she won a medal or something [stop] Boy, the final voyage of the Poseidon has been a real adventure [stop]"

For more dolls inspired by the classic disaster movie, click here.

Memo from Movie Dearest: Resolutions

Well, Movie Dearest is all dolled-up for New Year's Eve (you better back up though, I feel a belch coming on -- this Pepsi has a kick to it, if you know what I mean), so it's time for some New Year's resolutions.

To wit, MD hereby resolves to:
- Not succumb to the recent blogging trend of obsessively recapping reality shows or soap operas. (Hello, we do not need to know all the minute details of the latest bisexual shenanigans on Big Brother or how long down to the second Nuke kissed on As the World Turns, thank you very much.)
- Not ever mention the words "Britney Spears" and "shaved head" in the same sentence. Or even the words "Britney Spears", for that matter. (And don't get me started on her sister.)
- Not declare the latest starlet who has been around for ten minutes a "gay icon" or to say that the current hunk du jour has a "huge gay following", both terms that have been tossed about way too cavalierly of late.
- Not take the Writers Guild name in vain just because their little strike is ruining everything we hold dear, from the current TV season to the awards shows to the delay of the movie version of Nine. (Really, I support the writers, but let's get this mess over with quick, OK guys?)
- Not post anything copied verbatim from Towleroad. com. (Now who does that?)
- Not go anywhere near American Idol if I can help it at all costs so help me god I swear.
- Not carp on and on (and on) about the dearth of gay-themed films in theaters these days like some people do. (Sure, there should be more, but really -- what else is new?)
- Not ever think "How bad could it be?" again before watching an internet video. (Two Girls, One Cup, I'm talking to you.)
- Not post any more pictures of hot, bare-chested men. (Yeah right, like that would happen.)

And finally, to continue to respect my MD readers by giving them well-written, informative and entertaining articles about the past, present and future of film, television and the theater. (Come on, I had to throw in one serious one.)

Potent Quotables: New Year's Eve Edition

Harry (Billy Crystal) to Sally (Meg Ryan): "I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

When Harry Met Sally ... will be re-released on DVD as a new Collector's Edition January 15. Click here to pre-orderit from Amazon.com.

Cinematic Crush: Bobby Cannavale

Crush object: Bobby Cannavale, actor/paisano.
- Why we like him: For his affable adorableness and his goofily endearing persona, not to mention his willingness to play gay so often.
- When did we first notice him: As the "funky spunk" guy on Sex and the City.
- Awards on his mantel: Emmy Award for his role as Vince D'Angelo, Will's first real boyfriend, on Will and Grace (click here for a video tribute).
- More gay for pay: Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart and Paul Rudnick’s The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told onstage; a drug dealer on Oz; closeted characters in both The Guru and Shall We Dance?; Robin Williams' estranged boyfriend in The Night Listener.
- Other choice roles: Paramedic Bobby Caffey on Third Watch; Joe the snack truck guy in The Station Agent; his acclaimed Broadway debut in the recent play Mauritius.
- Bet you didn't know: Has had no formal acting training, although he knew he wanted to be an actor at age 8; has appeared on all three Law & Order series -- as different characters;
- Yes, it's true: He was in Snakes on a Plane.
- Can we quote you on that: (Regarding his Sex and the City stint) "I probably get razzed more for that till this day than for anything I’ve ever done -- especially by women."
- You go boy: "If you’re raising kids today and you don’t explain to them from the very beginning that there’s nothing unnatural about being gay and that we’re all God’s children, then there’s something wrong with you."
- Where we can see him next: In the horror film 100 Feet, the comedy Diminished Capacity and Brief Interviews With Hideous Men (we assume he's not one of the title characters), all due next year.
- Family ties: His ex-wife is Sidney Lumet's daughter and Lena Horne's granddaughter.
- Where you can see more of him right now: Shaking his moneymaker in this outtake from Romance & Cigarettes.

Links via Imdb.com and YouTube.com.

The Latest on TV: Jerry's Girls

Although not as prolific as some of his contemporaries, Jerry Herman is widely regarded as one of the best composers of American musical theater. Winner of ten Tony Awards, his Hello, Dolly! is easily one of the greatest musicals ever written, and his Mame and La Cage aux Folles are pretty darn good too.

Herman is the subject of a new documentary, fittingly titled Words and Music by Jerry Herman, that will air on PBS tomorrow night. Chronicling his rise to Broadway fame, the program also features interviews with original Dolly stars Carol Channing and Charles Nelson Reilly, original Mame Angela Lansbury and original Albin/Zaza George Hearn, among others.

And don't worry if the PBS station in your area isn't showing it or you miss it tomorrow, because it will be released on DVD ... the same day. And with such bonus features as Channing and the original Broadway cast performing "Hello, Dolly!" and Ethel Merman singing "Before the Parade Passes By", that may be your best bet after all.

Click here to buy Words and Music by Jerry Hermanon DVD from Amazon.com.
Links via BroadwayWorld.com and Playbill.com.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Introducing: The MD Awards

Here we are at the end of 2007, and Movie Dearest celebrates its first calendar year with the first of what will be an annual tradition here: the Movie Dearest Awards!

Honoring the best in film, television and the stage as covered here on MD, the awards are like the Oscars, the Emmys and the Tonys all rolled into one. Now all the MD Awards need is a nifty nickname like them; how about ... the "Emdies"? The "Dearies"? Or (dare I suggest it) the "Kirbys"???

Cast your vote on this all-important decision in the special MD Poll below, and enjoy this year's winners in six categories in the posts that follow.

MD Awards: Stage Show of the Year

When even a character in it describes Xanadu as "children's theater for 40 year-old gay men", what other choice do we have then to name it the Movie Dearest Stage Show of the Year?

Based on the notoriously-awful-but-we-love-it-anyway movie musical starring Olivia Newton John, the unexpected hit has been packing in the "Fanadus" since it opened on Broadway this past summer. Directed by Christopher Ashley from a book by Douglas Carter Beane, an Aussie-fied Kerry Butler channels ONJ, while the hunkalicious Cheyenne Jackson skates his way to stardom. Tony Roberts takes over for Gene Kelly, and the fab scene-stealers Jackie Hoffman and Mary Testa appear as the evil muses.

Yup, turning one of the biggest bombs in movie history into a critically acclaimed stage musical sure takes a lot of balls ... disco balls, that is.

For all the Movie Dearest coverage of Xanadu, including pictures and videos, click here.

Click here to pre-order the Xanaducast album from Amazon.com.
Link via XanaduOnBroadway.com.

MD Awards: Television Show of the Year

With a cast of characters that include an über diva, her flamboyant assistant, his fabulously bitchy "hag", a transgender hottie and a precocious QIT ("Queen in Training"), it is no wonder that Ugly Betty is often called the gayest show in primetime. Sure, it is; but it also one of the best hours of network programming to come along in a long time, which made it easy to name it the Movie Dearest Television Show of the Year.

With its rich scripts that deftly combine satire with the art of the telenovela, an insanely talented cast and consistently clever direction, Ugly Betty would be nothing without its leading lady, a perky underdog we all (male or female, gay or straight, young or old) can relate to; it is no wonder America Ferrera, in the guise of the spectacled, brace-faced Betty Suarez, has won every award on the map.

Alas, it seems the dreaded writers strike has derailed most if not all of the remaining second season, which has avoided the sophomore slump so many other popular shows have suffered from. Here's to a quick resolution to the ongoing conflict so we can all get back in Mode as soon as possible.

For all the Movie Dearest coverage of Ugly Betty, including more pictures and videos, click here.

Click here to buy the first season of Ugly Bettyon DVD from Amazon.com.
Link via ABC.go.com.

MD Awards: Man of the Year

In year's past, he played Elvis onstage and 9/11 hero Mark Bingham on film, but 2007 was the breakout year for Cheyenne Jackson. So naturally, he has to be the Movie Dearest Man of the Year.

Stepping into the roller skates of his injured predecessor, Cheyenne took over the central role of Sonny Malone during previews of our Stage Show of the Year, Xanadu, and rolled away with the hearts of everyone who has had the pleasure of seeing him. He'll next be heard on the show's eagerly awaited cast album and, fingers crossed, could net his first Tony Award nomination. He will also star in the horror film Hysteria and the Lifetime TV drama Family Practice next year.

By all accounts, the man who has been dubbed "Broadway's sexiest man" (amen to that) is as refreshingly approachable and swoon inducing in person as one could hope. Now, if only Hollywood would come a callin' with a big screen movie musical for him to star in; after all, I think we can all agree that we can never get to much Cheyenne.

See more pictures of Cheyenne Jackson in The Back Room (NSFW).

MD Awards: New Star of the Year

It has been awhile since we have seen a debut performance as winning, charming and confident as that of the 19 year-old Nikki Blonsky, the Movie Dearest New Star of the Year.

As the plucky and determined Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, Nikki had big dancing shoes to fill, following in the beloved footsteps of Ricki Lake (the original movie Tracy) and Marissa Jaret Winokur (the Tony Award-winning Broadway Tracy). But she took the challenge head on, making the character all her own and, in the process, ensuring her stardom for years to come, not to mention a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress.

Next year she'll star in the Lifetime original movie Queen Sized and co-star in the big screen comedy Harold, and may even make her Broadway debut in (what else) Hairspray. And we'll be with her every step of the way, cheering her on.

For all the Movie Dearest coverage of Hairspray, including more pictures and videos of Nikki, click here.

Links via Imbd.com.

MD Awards: Woman of the Year

One would never expect to hear Oscar talk concerning a Disney Princess, but then, one has never been as effortlessly and joyfully portrayed as Enchanted's Giselle. Credit goes to our Movie Dearest Woman of the Year, Amy Adams, for bringing a fairy tale ideal into the real world (literally), and making us believe every minute of it.

Mixing wide-eyed wonderment with subtle degrees of melancholy, Amy creates a character that progresses from a pen and ink girl to a flesh and blood woman, with real emotions and desires. Of course, the latter isn't too hard when you have both James Marsden and Patrick Dempsey to play off of (talk about your Sophie's choice). And, let's not forget, she sings and dances ... and makes her own dresses to boot.

In addition to the recent Charlie Wilson's War, Amy has a slew of high-profile projects on the horizon, including the black comedy Sunshine Cleaning and not one, but two projects with Meryl Streep: the film adaptations of the Tony Award-winning play Doubt and the best-selling memoir Julie & Julia. No doubt, we'll be enchanted with her all over again.

For all the Movie Dearest coverage of Enchanted, including Amy's Women We Love profile, click here.

Click here to buy the Enchanted soundtrackfrom Amazon.com.
Links via Imdb.com.

MD Awards: Movie of the Year

Debuting right after Movie Dearest did was a film that perfectly encapsulated the spirit and fun of the movies that inspired this blog in the first place. It was a movie firmly entrenched in the history of its genre, and one that is also connected to the related art forms of television and the theater ... it is, after all, a movie based on a stage musical about a TV show. When it came time to select the Movie Dearest Movie of the Year, there was no question as to what it would be: Hairspray.

With nearly 70 posts related to it, you could say that we were a bit obsessed with the 'Spray this year, but we weren't the only ones. Following a record-breaking opening weekend and rave reviews, the endearingly embraceable Hairspray has gone on to become one of the most successful movie musicals in history, and has gone on to win awards and nominations from the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild and the Grammy Awards, among many others (next up: the Oscars). Not too shabby for a third generation version of a little John Waters movie.

With direction and choreography from Adam Shankman, words and music from Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and starring a now all-star cast lead by our New Star of the Year Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray gave us all a heaping helping of joy this year, and I am sure we all look forward to catching "the beat" for years to come.

For all the Movie Dearest coverage of Hairspray, including more pictures and videos, click here.

Click here to buy the Hairspray DVDand soundtrackfrom Amazon.com.
Link via HairsprayMovie.com.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tune in to TCM: That Dirty Rat

Classic tough guy James Cagney is the Star of the Month on Turner Classic Movies for January, with 37 films airing each Wednesday. In addition to such classic crime dramas as The Public Enemy (with Jean Harlow), White Heat (both on the 2nd) and Angels With Dirty Faces (9), the salute will also include his forays into musicals (Footlight Parade, Yankee Doodle Dandy; 16) and comedies (One, Two, Three; A Midsummer Night's Dream; 30), plus his first color picture (Captains of the Clouds; 23) and the film wherein he came closest to uttering his famous catchphrase "You dirty rat" (he actually says "Come out and take it, you dirty yellow-bellied rat" in Taxi!; 16).

In addition to James Cagney: Top of the World (2), several other movie-themed documentaries will air next month, including Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion Davies (3), Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque (6), Impressions of Garland (29) and the premiere of Martin Scorsese Presents: Val Lewton - The Man in the Shadows, which heads off a fright-filled night of his films on the 14th in preparation for the January 29 DVD release of The Val Lewton Horror Collection (click hereto pre-order from Amazon.com).

The channel will celebrate Martin Luther King Day (21) with a marathon of films by such renowned African-American filmmakers as Sidney Poitier and legendary director Charles Burnett, including the TCM premieres of his classic Killer of Sheep and four others of his works. And on the 26th, Michael Redgrave will be spotlighted with five films, including the TCM premieres of Thunder Rock and The Way of the Stars.

And finally, for fans of obscure cult fare, TCM Underground will present Skidoo on the 4th. This is the infamous Otto Preminger oddity featuring Jackie Gleason tripping out on acid (seriously, check it out) and Carol Channing (!) seducing Frankie Avalon (!!!). Never released on home video or DVD, the comedy also stars Groucho Marx, Mickey Rooney, John Phillip Law, Peter Lawford, Burgess Meredith, George Raft, Slim Pickens, Richard "Jaws" Kiel and two Bat-villains, Cesar Romero and Frank Gorshin. For more notable films not yet on DVD on TCM in January, see the comments section below.

Numbers in parenthesis are the airdates; for more information and showtimes in your area, see TCM's online schedule.

Links via TCM.com and YouTube.com.

Film Art: Academy Award-Winning Edition

This year's Honorary Academy Award will be given to Robert Boyle, the first time the honor has been bestowed upon a production designer. He will be presented the award during the Oscar telecast on February 24.

Boyle, who was previously honored with the lifetime achievement award from the Art Directors Guild, is best known for his many collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock, including Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, The Birds and his most renowned work, North by Northwest. That film not only netted him his first of four Oscar nominations (he was also nominated for Gaily, Gaily; Fiddler on the Roof and The Shootist), it also inspired the title of the Oscar nominated documentary short about him, The Man on Lincoln’s Nose.

The above concept art for the film Foreign Correspondent is from Boyle's early days as a sketch artist.

Click here to buy Foreign Correspondenton DVD from Amazon.com.
Links via Oscars.org and Imdb.com.

Monthly Wallpaper - January 2008: 2007: The Year in Film

As 2007 comes to a close, it is time to look back on the year in film, and what better way then with the Movie Dearest calendar wallpaper for next month!

29 of 2007's most popular movies make up the collage, so you can spend all of January gazing at the likes of Anton, Bob, Edith, Giselle, Harry, Jason, Jesse, Juno, Lars, Leonidas, Marji, Michael, Nikolai, Remy, Sweeney, Tracy and all the rest. What a way to start off a new year -- which reminds me, don't forget to vote in this week's poll of the most eagerly awaited films of 2008!

Just click on the picture above to enlarge it to its 1024 x 768 size, then right click your mouse and select "Set as Background", and you're all set. If you want, you can also save it to your computer and set it up from there, or modify the size in your own photo-editing program if needed.

And a virtual Academy Award to the first MD reader who can correctly name in the comments section below all 29 movies pictured in the collage.

Hello, Hollywood

Well, I always said I wouldn't believe it until I saw it, and now here it is: Disney's Hollywood Studios.

By this time next week, the Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida will be no more -- in name only, of course; in fact, the "MGMs" have been slowly disappearing from around the park for the past couple of weeks now.

And would you believe the rumors of name changes for the park still haven't stopped? Internet scuttlebutt has it that it will eventually drop the "Studios" (since it hasn't really been one for years now) sometime in the future to be simply "Disney's Hollywood". Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it.

Links via LaughingPlace.com and JimHillMedia.com.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Out in Film: Candis Cayne

Idol worship: Candis Cayne, actress/cabaret cutie.
- What she's known for: In her groundbreaking role as William Baldwin's sultry mistress Carmelita on the ABC hit Dirty Sexy Money, she is the first transgender actress to play a regular transgender role on a primetime network series.
- Film debut: In the documentary Wigstock: The Movie.
- Other choice roles: Appeared in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Stonewall and Starrbooty.
- What else has she done: Made her name in the New York gay club scene as a popular cabaret performer.
- Awards on her mantel: The 2001 winner of the Miss Gay Continental USA Pageant.
- Bet you didn't know: Is a twin and a classically trained dancer.
- Yes, it's true: Her fiancé, Marco McDermott, is also the DJ for her club acts.
- Can we quote you on that: "When I told my parents that I was starting my transition, my Dad said, "Well that makes so much more sense, 'cause I never saw you any other way and now it totally works". It was unbelievable. The second I told them, they flew to New York and wanted to make sure I was OK. And they found out I was happier."
- Where we can see her next: More Dirty Sexy scenes like this with a total Baldwin (literally).
- Where you can learn more: At her official website.

Links via Imdb.com, ABC.go.com, YouTube.com and CandisCayne.com.

MD Poll: What Will Be Great in '08?

2008 is shaping up to be a great year for movie fans, with many new movies already garnering loads of buzz even before 2007 is over. But the question is, which one are you looking forward to the most?

Can't wait for the next adventures of Batman, James Bond or Indiana Jones? Excited to return to Hogwarts or Narnia or to "where no man has gone before"? Does Speed Racer get your motor racing, or does WALL·E turn your crank? Or can you just not wait another minute to see Carrie Bradshaw on the big screen or to watch Meryl Streep belt an ABBA tune?

Well, you can let your voices be heard in this week's special "super-sized" MD Poll (located in the sidebar to your right, underneath my profile): not only will the poll run for a whole two weeks, but, considering all the exciting movies coming out next year, you can vote for up to three different movies. So get a clickin', and be sure to come back on January 11 to see the results.

UPDATE: This poll is now closed. Click here for the results, and click here to vote in the latest MD Poll.

Links via SlashFilm.com and Imdb.com.

MD Poll: Atone the Tale ...

"Gee, and I thought Jack Sparrow looked weird ... "

Ouch ... I think I sprained my "punny" bone with that post title ...

In the double feature polls last week that asked you to predict what Golden Globe nominated Best Pictures will triumph come January 13, Movie Dearest readers selected Sweeney Todd as the clear victor of the Comedy or Musical category, with over 40% of the total 140 votes. Things were a bit closer for the Dramatic contenders though, with Atonement narrowly edging past No Country for Old Men; even with seven nominees, these two films combined netted 80% of the total 155 votes.

And I agree. With the most nominations, Atonement will likely end up with the top prize, while the Coen brothers will get the Best Director trophy. And being the only nominee with a corresponding director nod, Sweeney should slay the competition in his category.

For the full rundown of this week's results, see the comments section below. And be sure to vote in this week's MD Poll, a look ahead at 2008.

Click here to vote in the latest MD Poll.
Link via GoldenGlobes.org.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Calendar Boy

If you didn't get a 2008 calendar for the holidays, here's a great deal for you fans of cool caricature art and pop culture icons.

"G-Man" artist Glen Hanson has collected twelve (duh) of his best pieces together in a new calendar, not to mention cover boy Cheyenne Jackson in his Xanadu duds. Inside, you'll find faves from stage (Altar Boyz) and screen, both little (Golden Girls, Designing Women) and big (Mommie Dearest, thank you very much). Plus, Lucy, Roseanne, the Sex and the City gals and more.

And best of all, it's free. Click here to find out how you can get your own autographed copy of the G-Man 2008 Caricature Calendar.

See more pictures of Cheyenne Jackson in The Back Room (NSFW).

Awards Watch: National Film Registry 2007

Annually since 1989, the National Film Preservation Board and the Librarian of Congress name 25 classic American films to be inducted into the National Film Registry. Prints of each movie, chosen for their cultural and historical significance, will now be "preserved for all time". With this year's selections, announced today, the number of films in the registry now totals 475.

The 2007 inductees run the gamut of film history, from the 1921 silent drama Tol'able David to 1990's Dances With Wolves, and range from blockbusters like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Back to the Future to little-known avant-garde, experimental, and even student films, such as Randal Kleiser's Peege.

Also included among this year's honorees are Steve McQueen's Bullitt; Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven; the all-star Grand Hotel; Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place; John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance; the seminal crime drama The Naked City; Bette Davis' Now, Voyager; Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!; Robert Benchley’s The Sex Life of the Polyp; Harry Langdon's The Strong Man; Walt Disney's Three Little Pigs; Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men; George Cukor's The Women and William Wyler's Wuthering Heights.

For a quick look at this year's NFR selections, see the comments section below.

Links via Loc.gov/film.

Put On Your Ritzy Best

Fans of GLBT films should be looking forward to January 8, when two very different classic movies finally make their debuts on DVD.

The Ritz is a retro throwback to the swinging gay New York of the 70's. Based on Terrence McNally's stage farce (which recently enjoyed a hit Broadway revival), the Golden Globe nominated comedy reunited most of the original production's cast, including Jack Weston, Jerry Stiller, F. Murray Abraham and Rita Moreno (reprising her Tony Award-winning role of bathhouse chanteuse Googie Gomez), plus hunky Treat Williams in his film debut.

On the other end of the spectrum, Personal Best was one of the first mainstream films to deal openly with lesbianism. Written and directed by Robert Towne, the sports drama stars Mariel Hemingway as a runner playing both sides of the track, bedding both her male coach (Scott Glenn!) and a female competitor (Patrice Donnelly).

Click here to pre-order The Ritzand Personal Beston DVD from Amazon.com.

Links via Imdb.com.

The Latest on TV: AFI 10th Anniversary

Bravo will be re-airing the three-hour television special AFI's 100 Years, 100 Movies - 10th Anniversary Edition twice on Friday.

Since the American Film Institute no longer releases these programs on DVD, this will likely be your last chance to see it; they tend not to repeat them after the year they originally air.

And as a special treat, here is a video slideshow of this year's list.

Links via BravoTV.com, AFI.com and YouTube.com.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Golly, Wall-E

Pixar once again seems to have a winner on its hands, as seen in this latest trailer for WALL·E, next year's animated offering from the toon giant.

There has been lots of chatter about how the little bot resembles a certain cinematic extra-terrestrial, and this trailer appears to reinforce that idea a bit. However, considering their track record, it is safe to assume that Pixar will yet again deliver an original story that stands on its own merits. Although I do have a feeling the exploits of WALL·E will have us reaching for the tissues just as much as the adventures of E.T. did 25 years ago.

For another look at the film, there is also this commercial-like teaser that describes what the WALL·E robots were built for, and you can also take a look at the "official website" for the Buy N Large corporation, the fictional company that mass-produces them.

Links via YouTube.com and BuyNLarge.com.

Women We Love: Doris Day

Object of our affection: Doris Day, actress/song bird.
- Why we love her: For her vivacious, bubbly personality and wholesome, all-American woman image as seen in a highly popular string of musicals and romantic comedies.
- A star is born: Her debut in Romance on the High Seas, wherein she performed the hit song "It's Magic", was so popular, that it was released in the UK under the title It's Magic.
- Awards on her mantel: Oscar nomination for Pillow Talk; various lifetime achievement awards, most recently from the Grammy Awards; oh yeah, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- She was robbed: Snubbed by the Academy for her dramatic turn as Ruth Etting in Love Me or Leave Me.
- Other choice roles: The sharp-shootin' title character in Calamity Jane (her personal favorite among her films); the frantic mother of a kidnapped boy in The Man Who Knew Too Much; a sassy pro-union factory worker in The Pajama Game.
- What else has she done: Five seasons of the beloved The Doris Day Show on television.
- Golden voice: Six songs that she sung onscreen were nominated for Oscars, including two winners -- "Secret Love" (which she recorded in one take) and her signature tune, "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Será, Será)".
- Musical legacy: She has been name-dropped in several songs over the years, including "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" from Grease, Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" and Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go".
- Bet you didn't know: Was in a car accident at age 14 that derailed a career as a ballerina; she was born on the same day as Marlon Brando.
- Yes, it's true: Is a vegetarian and a Republican; turned down the role of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate.
- Nickname: Do-do; frequent co-star and longtime friend Rock Hudson always called her "Eunice", because he said that whenever he thought of her as a "Eunice", it made him laugh. On the other hand, she called him "Ernie", because "he's certainly no Rock".
- Can we quote you on that: "I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that's all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy."
- What is she up to now: Founder of the Doris Day Animal League, which advocates homes and proper care of household pets; co-owner (with her son) of the Cypress Inn in Carmel-By-The-Sea.
- Video tribute: A salute to Rock and Doris' biggest hit, Pillow Talk.

Links via Imdb.com, LATimes.com, DDAL.org, DorisDay.com and YouTube.com.

The Latest on DVD: Holiday Left-Overs

It's the post-holiday doldrums as far as most entertainment goes, but there are a few new DVD releases hitting stores this week:
  • Eastern Promises- Viggo Mortensen and his already legendary nude fight scene are featured in the Golden Globe nominated crime drama from director David Cronenberg.
  • Men in the Nude- A middle-aged writer finds an unlikely muse in the form of a young male prostitute in this Hungarian import.
  • Galactica 1980: The Complete Series- Lorne Greene, Kent McCord and Barry Van Dyke star in this ill-advised sequel series to the original Battlestar Galactica.
  • The Kingdom- Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Chris Cooper make up an elite FBI team seeking answers in the Middle East in this war torn action flick directed by Peter Berg.
  • Ballroom- A reclusive gay artist is haunted by "two spooky clowns" in this French drama.
  • Pan's Labyrinth- Guillermo del Toro's modern masterpiece, now on Blu-ray and HD-DVD.

Click on the above links for more information or to purchase from Amazon.com.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Latest on TV: Kennedy Center Honors

The 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors ceremony will be broadcast on CBS tomorrow night as a two-hour primetime special.

As previously reported, this year's honorees include pianist Leon Fleisher, actor Steve Martin, singer Diana Ross, director Martin Scorsese and musician Brian Wilson.

Something tells me though that none of them will look quite as good in the rainbow-colored sash as the recipient from last year seen here.

Links via Kennedy-Center.org and CBS.com.

Michael Kidd: 1915-2007

Michael Kidd, the Tony and Academy Award-winning choreographer known for his athletic and acrobatic dances on both stage and screen, has died at the age of 92.

Kidd began as a ballet dancer, but quickly gained fame and accolades once he started choreographing with the original Broadway production of Finian's Rainbow, which won him his first of five Tony Awards. He would go on to win for Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Li'l Abner and Destry Rides Again.

Onscreen, Kidd was seen in It's Always Fair Weather and Smile, but it was his show stopping production numbers in The Band Wagon and, most especially, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, that brought him the most notice. His other film credits include the film version of Guys and Dolls, plus Hello, Dolly! and Star! In 1997, he received an Honorary Oscar for "his services in the art of the dance in the art of the screen".

Links via Imdb.com and LATimes.com.

Christmas Greetings from Movie Dearest!

Isn't it nice to see gay and lesbian couples getting together to celebrate the holidays?

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

-- from Movie Dearest


Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Life Day, or: May the Farce Be With You

Here's a special Christmas Eve treat for all you Movie Dearest readers out there, something only slightly better then a lump of coal in your stocking: yup, it's the infamous, the legendary, The Star Wars Holiday Special.

And thanks to the KinderTrauma blog, you too can recall fond childhood memories of this black sheep chapter of the Star Wars saga, such as the inexplicable Solid Gold-esque dance numbers and the unlikely presence of Bea Arthur in the Mos Eisley Cantina.

What, you say you've never seen this shameless attempt to cash in on the blockbuster's success (gee, never would have thought ol' George had that in him)? Well, thanks to the miracle of YouTube, you too can catch the entire thing at your leisure.

What, you say you'd rather not waste 97 minutes of your life on this galactic embarrassment? No problem; here's a convenient five minute version, where you can catch all the highlights, such as Bea's groovy finger dance with Greedo, Diahann Carroll as the "Mermeia Holographic Wow" and, thankfully, none of Harvey Korman's scenes. There's even a Wilhelm Scream thrown in for good measure. Marvel at Mark Hamill's make-up job, wince at Harrison Ford's obvious discomfort as he is forced to say "have a nice Life Day", wonder how this thing ever got on the air.

Oh yeah, here's how: it was the 70's.

Links via Imdb.com, KinderTrauma.com and YouTube.com.

The Latest in Theaters: Christmas Gifts

Moviegoers must have been awful nice this year -- Santa will be delivering several new releases throughout this holiday week:

Opening Christmas Day:
- Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman are two terminally ill oldsters who break out of a cancer ward to span the globe in search of last hurrahs in Rob Reiner's The Bucket List, co-starring Sean Hayes and Rob Morrow.
- Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem promises another big showdown between the space nasties from the two popular sci fi franchises.
- The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (starring Ben Chaplin, Emily Watson and Brian Cox) should satisfy the family friendly crowd with the hijinks of a baby Loch Ness Monster.

Opening Tuesday:
-Paul Thomas Anderson's eagerly awaited There Will Be Blood, adapted from Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!, has been raking in the critical praises and should net Daniel Day Lewis another Oscar nod, if not the actual award.

Opening Friday:
- Another award magnate, the starkly animated French film Persepolis, takes a look at the Islamic Revolution through the eyes of a precocious young Iranian girl; Catherine Deneuve headlines the original voice cast, while Sean Penn, Gena Rowlands and Iggy Pop are among the English dubbers (no thanks, I'll take the original).
- Denzel Washington directs and stars in The Great Debaters, the true story of an underdog debate team, the first African-American one to take on Harvard's; co-stars Forest Whitaker and Kimberly Elise.
- And finally, the creepy kid fright fest The Orphanage (produced by Guillermo del Toro) hopes to scare up as much dinero stateside as it has in Spain, where it has ruled the box office and was nominated for five Goya Awards, including Best Film.

Visit Fandango - Search movie showtimes and buy tickets.
Links via Imdb.com, NYTimes.com and Academiadecine.com.

Hop on the Band Wagon

The classic MGM tuner The Band Wagon is one of the few big screen musicals from the golden age yet to make its way to the stage (even though, technically, it is based on a stage musical -- only the title and a handful of songs were carried over to the screen), but that is about to change.

Now one of the most-beloved movie musicals of all time will be brought to life onstage by Douglas Carter Beane, the librettist of the current Broadway hit Xanadu (one of the most-reviled movie musicals of all time) under the title of one of its most memorable dance numbers, Dancing in the Dark. With a blessing from the original film's legendary screenwriter, Betty Comden, the new stage version will also add more songs from the catalog of songwriters Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz.

Dancing in the Dark will premiere next year in San Diego, with an eye for a Broadway bow in the future.

Click here to buy The Band Wagonon DVD from Amazon.com.
Links via Imdb.com, Ibdb.com and Playbill.com.
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