Saturday, August 30, 2014
This is one of my favorite movies. At one time I noticed I had it recorded twice on my DVR.
Made in 1951, it stars Thelma Ritter as Ellen, a hamburger stand owner from New Jersey who decides she has had enough and heads to the midwest to live with her son Val, a very handsome John Lund. What she doesn't know is that she arrives on his wedding day (he could not reach her on the road). But she feels she would be out of place at a society wedding so she does not attend. She wants a new suit and new hat to impress her new daughter-in-law, beautiful Gene Tierney. When she finally goes to the apartment to meet Maggie, Ellen is mistaken for the cook they hired for a party. Thinking that Maggie would be be embarassed, Ellen goes along with the charade. It's only at the end of the evening that Val sees his mom and she promises not to leave town until all is cleared up. But the next day, Ellen decides to continue as the cook so she can live with them but not be the "mother-in-law" because they are in their mating season, their honeymoon period. Maggie comes to love Ellen When she finds out the truth, she thinks Val is ashamed of his mom and although he loves Ellen very much, he does seem to think she would make a better impression if she was a little more polished. Maggie leaves Val, thinking he is responsible for Ellen playing cook. The end is happy (it's 1951) so Val introduces his mom to his boss (good) and his snooty potential new employer (bad) and tells them that he and mom are a package deal. Maggie overhears and takes Val back.
Thelma Ritter is wonderful, one of my favorite actresses. Gene Tierney is gorgeous. And who would not want a man looking at her the way way John Lund looks at Gene? I love their relationship and the relationship between Val and his mom. Miriam Hopkins plays Gene's flitty, overbearing mother. Larry Keating is adorable as Val's boss.
It's a fun, charming movie. And obviously I record it every time it comes on!
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Yesterday while watching the news they broke the story that Robin Williams had committed suicide. So very sad. He was what I pictured when I heard the words manic-depressive, although I know nothing of what was actually wrong with him. He seemed to have great highs, performances where he was brilliantly out of control. And apparently, we learn, great lows, depression & sadness. He has millions of fans everywhere, was reputed to be a really nice, generous and genuine guy but apparently he had demons that overtook him. He has a wife and children who I assume loved him. Fans everywhere mourn his death. Co-stars praise him. And sadly, it was not enough. It was not enough. So he checked out.
I remember seeing RW on Johnny Carson one night with his idol Jonathon Winters and things were so fast & furious that JC just sat back and watched the show. There was another guest, so insignificant in the picture, that came out and her line “I don’t know about you but these two are wearing me out!”
I loved his dramatic turns too…Good Will Hunting, Insomnia, his heartbreaking performance in Fisher King. And I admit I watch Birdcage every time it comes on.
His family will never see this but I wish them peace. I hope they understand that maybe a comet that bright could not help but burn out too soon. And I wish I could tell him thanks for all he has given us over the years.
Friday, June 20, 2014
On Saturday June 7th, Steve married Lizabeth. It was a really nice wedding at a rustic barn on her grandfather''s farm. It was, frankly, beautiful. The rain had made everything green, It was quiet and peaceful. And just family. I am very happy for him.
|Steve & Lizabeth|
|Steve & me|
|Kamri, Grayson & Kaden|
We were out of town for a meeting and ate at the Hoffbrau Steakhouse in Amarillo. We had an appetizer of friend pickles and I'd never tasted them before. I really liked them. Way better than I liked the chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes or rolls which were particularly disgusting. I don't recommend and will not be eating there again.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Monday, June 16, 2014
I just finished a book called ‘Sal Mineo: A Biography’ by Michael Gregg Michaud. It tells the life of the actor from his birth in 1939 to his death in 1976. It details his life as a child star, working on Broadway to keep him out of trouble on the streets, his teenage years leading to an Academy Award nomination for ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ to end up as a has been, broke and practically unhireable. For many years he supported his entire family—his father, a casket maker, his mother who mismanaged his career and money from the beginning and 2 brothers and 1 sister. By the time he found professional management, his money was all gone and it seems everyone knew he was a deadbeat but everyone let it go by. He’d move from house to house until he got evicted and found another person to use. He found many acting jobs beneath him and certainly manual labor never crossed his mind. He felt that as a 2 time Academy Award nominee (2nd was for ‘Exodus’) he was entitled to live anyway he wanted, and trust me he did.
He starts off chasing the girls, notably a 14 year old actress who lost her virginity to him when he was 21. In fairness, she was a woman who was around for the rest of his life, although the relationship changed when she caught him in her bed with another man. Sal “didn’t like labels” but felt he could basically have anything and anyone he wanted and trust me, this books names names! He was bi-sexual but made no secret that he liked the boys more. He was quoted early as saying he like the little, flat chested girls and then it was the young boys. He was basically portrayed as a predator who would go after whoever and whatever he wanted. Famous names jump off the page…Don Johnson, Jay North (Dennis the Menace), Jon Provost (Lassie), David Cassidy (all claim no sex here) and Bobby Sherman, the first boy I loved at 12, who Sal helped get on TV and then when BS got what he wanted it appeared he distanced himself from his friend. It was allegedly Bobby that Sal’s girl found him in bed with. Sal Mineo’s obsession with sex and the gay lifestyle made him practically an outcast in Hollywood in the 60’s. He turned down minor money paying roles in tv and movies to chase dreams of making gay, erotic, mainstream movies in an era when Hollywood was having none of it.
Sadly, he was murdered in what appears to be a random robbery attempt in 1976. He had something less than $10,000 in assets while having $50,000 in debts. He had been in show business for more than 25 years and had nothing to show for it. He had also met the man of his dreams. Although “committed” it did not stop either partner from going after whoever they wanted whenever they wanted. He was narcissism personified. He felt he deserved whatever he wanted, the minute he wanted it.
I’m not sure he would be a man I liked or respected. His lifestyle was reckless and hurtful. He took advantage of people younger and more naïve than he who were probably just thrilled to be in his presence. And I can only imagine that he left them hurt and confused when he was done with them.
I do recommend the book. If you can get past the smarmy, it does give a glimpse of the Hollywood machine that is pretty interesting and gives some tales of old Hollywood which fascinated me. In the old days, the system seemed to protect their own. Now the paparazzi is everywhere and their kids can’t go to kindergarten without a camera in their faces. I kind of like the old way better. But it is kind of fun learning a few secrets!!