It's About Knowing All The Lines

With me, it's The Godfather trilogy and the Firesign Theatre comedy routines. With the rest of the family, it's Monty Python, and the 1980 edition of Flash Gordon. Whenever we watch or listen, we can deliver the lines before the actors do. And everyday events get captioned with quotes from one or another of them. I hope that everyone has something like that in their lives. I know Mark Wahlberg and Ted do.


No Good Deed Goes Unpunished - Disney Edition

Tiana, the newest Disney Princess, is running into some stormy weather, well before her launch in a new animated feature film:

“THE Princess and the Frog” does not open nationwide until December, but the buzz is already breathless: For the first time in Walt Disney animation history, the fairest of them all is black.

"Princess Tiana, a hand-drawn throwback to classic Disney characters like Cinderella and Snow White, has a dazzling green gown, a classy upsweep hairdo and a diamond tiara. Like her predecessors, she is a strong-willed songbird (courtesy of the Tony-winning actress Anika Noni Rose) who finds her muscle-bound boyfriend against all odds.

“Finally, here is something that all little girls, especially young black girls, can embrace,” Cori Murray, an entertainment director at Essence magazine, recently told CNN.

"To the dismay of Disney executives — along with the African-American bloggers and others who side with the company — the film is also attracting chatter of an uglier nature. Is “The Princess and the Frog,” set in New Orleans in the 1920s, about to vaporize stereotypes or promote them?"

Read the rest of the New York Times article.

"Every Little Step" - For Fans Of "A Chorus Line"

As I've written here before, "A Chorus Line" is my favorite Broadway Musical and, in my opinion, the perfect synthesis of dramatic and performing arts.

"Every Little Step," in limited release right now, is a documentary look at how the 2005 revival of "A Chorus Line" came together.

The filmmakers had the complete cooperation of the creators of the original production, and of Michael Bennet's estate, and there is a lot of first-person insight into the way the original show was created.

As opposed to "American Idol," where every one wants to be a "Star," this move (and the play) is all about wanting to get a job.

And that should certainly resonate at this point in time.

Amy Adams Ever Ever After

It's really wonderful to read that with her Academy Award nomination, Amy Adams has joined the top tier of American actresses, "after a decade of odd jobs, Midwestern dinner theater and dead-end roles...a period of my life where I had to work several jobs to pay my bills. Something would go wrong and you'd have to take another job to get your car running. That was very real for me."

We first became aware of her in in "Enchanted," and loved her presence and charm as she channeled the magic of Disney Princesses, in the context of present-day Manhattan.

Have a look:

Get a Grip, You’re British!

Timely commentary about tonight's Academy Awards:

"Britons are a chauvinistic bunch, proprietary about their place in the world and eager to see their talents recognized abroad. 

"So they were gratified in January when Kate Winslet, one of their favorite home-team actors, snagged a Golden Globe Award, her second of the night, for her performance as a frustrated prisoner of suburbia in “Revolutionary Road.”

"That is until, failing her own actorly advice to “gather,” she began hyperventilating and burst into convulsive sobs, right there on stage. 

"Ms. Winslet then went on to pay tribute to people no one had ever heard of, like her agents and make-up artists; announced that she loved her co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio “with all my heart”; forgot Angelina Jolie’s name; and generally behaved as if she had just learned that a donor heart had finally been found, enabling her transplant operation to go ahead after all.

"Oh my God, was the general reaction in Britain."

Chris Rock Should Host The Oscars Again!!

Chris Rock is a worthy heir to George Carlin. He is a cultural subversive at a time when we really need one.

He speaks truth to power, as at The Academy Awards broadcast in 2005:

"He lamented Hollywood’s offerings for black audiences, and the camera cut more than once during the night to a stoic looking Spike Lee. And in what was (for me at least) the highlight of this year’s Oscar presentation, Rock revealed the serious disconnect the Oscars have with audiences. He took the home viewers, as well as those in the Kodak Theatre, across town to the Magic Johnson Theatre where he interviewed movie-goers at the cineplex. None of them had seen The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, or Sideways but they’d all seen White Chicks."

And he can make politics understandable to fans of the NFL:

"It was such a bad pick, I thought Al Davis made it.''
-- Chris on The Howard Stern Show on Sirius Radio, on John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate.

Check out "Kill the Messenger," Chris Rock’s latest HBO special if you can, to witness an artist at the peak of his comedic powers.