Wednesday, February 29

Ewan McGregor

It all started with Dirk Bogarde.  I have had a thing for British actors for as long as I can remember.  I was not bowled over by everyone.  Some Anthonys and Peters slipped under my radar, but Scotsman Sean Connery was one whose movies I usually did not miss and I think Englishman Daniel Day-Lewis is about the finest actor who ever drew breath.  I like a couple of Ruperts... Everett and Graves... and Jeremy Irons, Ralph Fiennes and Irishmen Liam Neeson and Kenneth Branagh soon followed.

Monday, February 27

Child Actors

Child actors first got my attention when I was a child myself.  A little 6-year old kid looking up at that big screen is going to focus on a kid just as he would in real life when another child is present.  It may be, however, that as we grow into maturity, we pay less attention to children in a movie and focus on the adults and their adult actions and problems.  I guess I cut that class.  To this day I am so impressed with child actors, particularly ones in starring or featured roles.  As I said in my posting on favorite films, I am gripped by films that put children in peril.  I always find myself wondering what the kid really understands about the process he is going through.

Friday, February 24

Jubilee Trail: Favorite Movie #50

1954 Western
From Republic Pictures
Directed by Joseph Kane

Vera Ralston
Joan Leslie
Forrest Tucker
John Russell
Ray Middleton
Pat O'Brien
Buddy Baer
Jim Davis
Barton MacLane
Jack Elam

Wednesday, February 22

All-time Favorite Films

It can be difficult to come up with a list of favorite films... at least for me.  It is hard to limit myself to a decided few.  What is a favorite film?  One that is more appealing above all others; a front-runner; something preferred; regarded with favored liking; in some cases, beloved. 

I have come up with 50 of them.  It was going to be just 25 but so help me, I had a helluva time limiting myself to that number.  There are some films, especially the top 10, that I have no doubt whatsoever that they belong in that positioning.  I don't even have to think about it.  Once in a while the order changes because some new film enters the picture and captures my heart.  It's for that middle bunch I forced myself to come up with a ranking.  In some cases, frankly, I don't know that my 38th favorite film isn't really my 42nd favorite or my 18th is really my 19th.  Since I have seen thousands of films, I think they're all pretty special to be included in a group of a mere fifty.

Monday, February 20

REVIEW: This Means War

Directed by McG
1 hour 38 minutes
From 20th Century Fox

Reese Witherspoon
Chris Pine
Tom Hardy
Til Schweiger
Chelsea Handler
Angela Bassett

Friday, February 17

Quiz 1

We'll have periodic quizzes... when my brain is up to thinking of some questions.  I'll advise at the end of each quiz when the answers will be posted.  Here's your first one.  Get that brain stimulated.  We'll call this open book... use your resource materials.  Have fun.

The great Rodgers and Hammerstein had their work turned into seven (or eight if you count a remake) glorious films.  I was raised on them and loved most.  They are (alphabetically):

  • Carousel
  • Flower Drum Song
  • The King and I
  • Oklahoma
  • The Sound of Music
  • South Pacific
  • State Fair

Come up with the answers to the following 25 questions.  Scoring at the bottom.

Wednesday, February 15

Susan Hayward

Ah, redheads...! Flame-haired women have always held a special fascination for me. Hollywood has long been populated with them. For some reason, most of them have been pretty accomplished actresses and whether by design or not, there is often a fiery temperament under that pretty mop.   My favorite of them all was unquestionably Susan Hayward.

Monday, February 13


Directed by Michael Sucsy
1 hour, 44 minutes
From Screen Gems and Spyglass

Rachel McAdams
Channing Tatum
Jessica Lange
Sam Neill
Wendy Crewson
Scott Speedman

Friday, February 10

Four That Scared Me

I was on a tall barstool some months back enjoying drinks and chatting with a good buddy of mine when a former coworker came up from behind me and put his hand on my back without saying anything.  I practically flew up to the ceiling. I made a noise that one might hear deep in the jungle when animals alert others that an enemy is nearby.  I knocked over a bowl of shelled peanuts.  After we helloed and how-are-youed, the friend I had come with said, "You were really scared.  I don't think I've ever seen you scared before.  Does that happen often?"  I guess it doesn't.  Of course I was often scared as a child, but very rarely as an adult.  My friend continued, "Just at the movies?"

Wednesday, February 8

Betty at the Bookstore

I am not given to going gaga over meeting movie stars.  It is their work on the screen or stage and books written about them or by them that floats my boat.  Living for years on the other side of Sunset in L.A. while a teen, I frequently saw them and often in the oddest places.  I stood behind Joan Crawford once at a liquor store.  Julie Andrews passed me on the stairs exiting a Beverly Hills department store.  I stood next to Clint Walker in several lines at Disneyland.  On various jobs I have run into Debbie Reynolds, Glenn Ford, Burt Lancaster, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, Sally Field, Jacqueline Bisset, Clint Eastwood, Patrick Swayze, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Douglas and scores more.

Monday, February 6

Jessica Lange

My other half and I have always joked that he and Jessica Lange have a lot in common:  (1) they each made their film debuts in King Kong (1976), (2) they each had significant others with the same birthday and (3) they were both entrenched in their Midwest roots.  Well, he was just an extra in a crowd scene in King Kong and she went on to one of the most celebrated and awarded film careers of our times.  And she and Sam Shepard have recently parted ways, which made me sad because from my perspective they were Hollywood royalty and I decreed them perfect for one another.  So we're left with those Midwest roots.  When folks maintain a value system from family and stay grounded to their roots despite forays into the concrete jungles of the world, I am impressed.  Sam's and my partners have done just that.

Friday, February 3

Gregory Peck

Talk about tall, dark and handsome.  This most American of American film actors captured my attention the first time I saw him on television in The Yearling (1946).  I thought his Penny Baxter was about the kindest father I had ever seen.  I had longed for that kind of father, completely captivated that he held such high regard for his son, played by the perfectly cast Claude Jarman Jr.

Wednesday, February 1

REVIEW: Albert Nobbs

(Out of 4 stars)

Directed by Rodrigo Garcia
1 hour 53 minutes
From Roadside Attractions

Glenn Close
Mia Wasikowska
Aaron Johnson
Janet McTeer
Pauline Collins
Brendan Gleeson
Brenda Fricker
Phyllida Law
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers