Tag Archives: Martin Scorsese

Movies For Grownups Awards Achieving Higher Prominence

Sharon Stone plants one on Kathy Griffin

This week’s 2012 AARP Movies for Grownups Awards brought out many of Hollywood’s brightest luminaries — including Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Martin Scorsese, Kenneth Branagh, Janet McTeer, Alexander Payne and still hot Sharon Stone — adding to the elegant event’s distinction as an Awards Season Must.  As the New York Times put it, it seems that “the Movies for Grownups had finally, well, grown up.”

We applaud AARP’s persistent efforts toward breaking through the wall of ageism.  Making those efforts in the ageism capital of the world — Hollywood — is particularly noteworthy.  Here, ageism is not only accepted, it’s not only embraced, it is clung to with a ferocity that speaks of barely-hidden terror.  (Think Demi Moore.)  However, with the graying of the Baby Boom generation and other factors making moviegoers of age 50 and up increasingly important to box office revenue, more filmmakers and stars will be reaching out to the mature crowd.  Next, we’d like to see Movies for Grownups on television.

Speaking of the TV side, the standard ratings classifications are archaic statistically — like using a mortar and pestle when you have a Cuisinart, with today’s technology offering far more sophisticated and meaningful data crunching capabilities.  (David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer of CBS Corp. has long been trying to educate people about this.)  And yet, we continue to see the phrase “the coveted 18-49 demographic” over and over and over again.  (Lazy TV writers really should come up with at least one or two different adjectives besides “coveted.”)  Networks and media continue to quote only the ratings for viewers under age 50.  Yet the 55-plus audience reportedly reached 33 per cent of the adult population last year.  In 2015, it’s expected to reach 36 per cent.  That’s a heck of a lot of ignoring.

Emmys 2011 Backstage Chat From A Year of Satisfying, Tolerance-Celebrating Wins

Melissa McCarthy

The Emmys celebrated tolerance at their 63rd annual awards fest last night — a feeling that carried on through the Winners Walk press rooms backstage.  Yes, Melissa McCarthy and Margo Martindale, two women whose appearances would automatically put them out of the running for becoming Fox News babes, were awarded television’s highest accolade for their brilliant work on “Mike & Molly” and “Justified,” respectively.   Thirteen years years after Camryn Manheim’s notorious “This is for all the fat girls!” proclamation when she won an Emmy for “The Practice,” maybe this is a sign of progress.

Oh, yes, and there was a lot of talk about gay people, too.

 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy winner McCarthy told press that “Mike & Molly” was never about the main characters’ weight problems for her — or for producers Chuck Lorre or Don Foster.  She said Foster “looked at me and said, ‘I’m writing a romantic comedy.'”  If viewers were still talking about the couple’s girth 10 episodes in, she said, she knew they’d have a problem.

McCarthy’s category certainly marked the most fun presentation of the evening, with nominees Amy Poehler, Laura Linney, Edie Falco, Martha Plimpton, Tina Fey and McCarthy hurrying excitedly to the stage as their names were called — and McCarthy being crowned and handed a bouquet, beauty pageant-style when she won.  She told the press that she first heard about the idea  from fellow nominee Martha Plimpton, “She said, ‘Amy’s got an idea.’  I said, ‘I’m in.’  If Amy Poehler thinks something’s funny, I’ll do it.'”

Asked how she felt about being identified with her infamous vomiting scene in “Bridesmaids,” McCarthy said she was just glad people went to see the movie, that she thought Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumalo did a brilliant job writing it, and that to her, the scene “was less about being gross and more about the sheer horror of that happening publicly.”

McCarthy codesigned her long purple dress, drawing sketches and providing input.  It has already wound up on Worst Dress lists, but at least it had some things going for it.  As she said, “It’s wildly comfortable, and it has pockets, which I enjoy in a gown.” 

The Plainfield, Illinois-born McCarthy was asked what she would say to young people who have dreams of becoming actors.  “If anybody tells you that the odds arer slim, just keep walking …If you love something and work really really hard at it, I think the odds are pretty good.”

Margo Martindale, who won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting  Actress in a drama at age 60, told press she appreciates the honor more now than she ever could have at 30.  She was initially hired to play moonshiner Mags Bennett for just four episodes of FX’s “Justified,” she said, but one or two episodes in, she was informed they were writing her into 10.  Then she dmitted with a smile that, considering how happy producers were with the character, “I thought they’d let me live!”  She added that she thought Mags’ demise was poetic and appropriate.  Next, we’ll see the esteemed, long-time character actress playing assistant to Patrick Wilson’s top tier surgeon on CBS’s new “A Gifted Man.”

 Martindale was among the winners that brought fans special satisfaction — inside as well as outside the auditorium, as the applause level showed.  Certainly Lead Actor in a Drama winner Kyle Chandler was foremost among those, as he closed out his “Friday Night Lights” history with an Emmy — finally.

Such was not the case for Steve Carell, who lost out in the Lead Actor in a Comedy category to Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” — even though it was his last year on “The Office.”

Parsons admitted backstage that his own mother told him he shouldn’t expect to win, that Carell would:  “That’s what my mother had said along with other prognosticators.  He’s just done such a wonderful job on that show for such a long time.” 

Parsons was asked whether he’d seen Charlie Sheen backstage, and what the wayward former “Two and a Half Men” star might have said to him.  “He just congratualted me.  He said, ‘That’s awesome.’  It was that sweet and that banal. I’m sorry.  I wish there was something lurid for me to say.”

And, asked an odd question, he gave a whimsical answer.  Jim, do you find people expecting you to do pratfalls in the real world?  “I pray to God they’re not because I could be a big disappointment.  I can be a little klutz-prone at times, but overall I have an odd grace, like a giraffe, and manage not to fall down.”

Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce traded accolades backstage after their respective “Mildred Pierce” wins — and after Pearce talked, during his acceptance speech, about the joy of doing lovemaking scenes with the Oscar-winning actress. 

Her response to that?  “I’m thrilled.  I had a crush on Guy Pearce since I was 11 years old.  So to even stand in the same room with him was thrilling to me.  And to hear him say that onstage tonight was even more of a thrill.”

Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who won for directing “Boardwalk Empire,” said that he approached that HBO drama as if it was a long movie.  He talked about the freedom of long-form TV storytelling, comparing it to Victorian novels by Dickens and others that were actually written in serial form.   He also compared “Boardwalk Empire” to old Hollywood gangster movies, saying that eople are fascinated with watching these kinds of criminals rise to power, “but you want to see them fall.”  

It was a big night of celebration, of course, for repeat winners “Mad Men” and “Modern Family,” and the show teams came backstage feeling festive. 

“Modern Family” producer Steve Levitan — who talked in his acceptance speech about a real-life gay couple thanking him for the show making people more tolerant — said he’d been thinking about what he’d like to say for a couple of days before the show.

Individual winners Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen were asked about conservative America’s reaction to the show’s gay couple, played by Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.   Burrell said, “I don’t know about it in opposition to conservative America, but it feels very good to be on a show that seems to be slowly changing a lot of minds.”  And Bowen said, “It’s absurd that it’s even an issue, but since it is, I’m glad the show is changing people’s minds.”

 

Beck/Smith Hollywood Tacky Taste Awards 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all and a big thank you to readers of this column who submitted candidates for this year’s Tacky Taste Awards.  From lofty heights to lowlifes, cheesy reality TV stars to the Nobel Prize Committee – 2009 marks possibly the most wide-ranging menu of celebrity bad taste we’ve seen in the history of this contest!   So let’s get to it:

Jon Gosselin

Jon Gosselin

1.  Jon & Kate Gosselin.  The couple who rose to fame as the parents of cute twins and sextuplets – and gained infamy with their bitter split, their affairs, their ugly accusations, oversized egos, etc. were deemed tackiest by a clear majority.  As longtime reader B.B. Richmond of Naples, Florida Fla. put it:  “There could not be a Tacky Taste Award without mentioning Jon and Kate, the All-American loonies. Where did Jon and Kate get the ‘great’ idea to pimp out their kids?  ACORN?  I can envision ACORN advising them. ‘Don’t call it “child abuse,” call it a “Reality TV Show.”’ Hopefully the kids will earn enough money to pay for the best mental help money can buy.” 

Kate Gosselin

Kate Gosselin

Other readers echoed her sentiments:  “The Gosselins should win in tandem,” said Carma, adding, “It’s like they had a tacky-thon to see who could embarrass themselves more.  At least Jon shows some regret for his behavior, she never apologizes for being a ‘B’ from hell!”  Diana wrote: “Kate Gosselin, for so very many things, but mostly for going on national TV and crying about how she can’t afford to feed her children in one breath, then in the next bragging about the diamond and ‘mother of pearl’ she’s going to buy (she clearly does not know what mother of pearl is).

joe-jackson2.  Joe Jackson.  “Joe Jackson is your walking definition of tackiness.  What could be tackier than trying to hype his new record label on the red carpet of an awards show right after Michael’s death?” asked Greg B. of Canoga Park, CA.  Savannah wrote that Jackson’s attitude seems to be: “Just because everyone knows I abused Michael doesn’t mean I’m not gonna contest the will!” 

Kanye West

Kanye West

3.  “Mr. Bad Attitude Kanye West, for spoiling Taylor Swift’s award moment,” as reader Margo P. put it, speaking of West jumping onstage and interrupting Swift’s acceptance speech to say that Beyonce deserved the award.  And from Jed:  “Kanye West deserves a big a** kicking for his VMA stunt.”

 

Carrie Prejean

Carrie Prejean

4.  Dethroned Miss California Carrie Prejean.  From Jeff:  “Carrie Prejean takes the cake!  Skanky hypocrite with her holier than thou attitude, her fake boobs and her sex tape of her masturbating. Now the religious right is cutting ties with her. No one else comes close to this tackiness.”  Morgan P. of Cleveland found the humor:  “What a hoot!  She’s ready to walk off Larry King’s show over ‘inappropriate’ questions?  Larry King, the scary hard-hitting inquisitor.”

David Lettermn

David Lettermn

5.  David Letterman.  “Ughhhh,” wrote Judy O.  “I can’t watch him anymore, thinking of him doing the dirty old man number with his female staff.” “What a nauseating man.  Never liked his mean humor, so I’m glad he’s now getting some turn-about from other comics,” said M.M.

 

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus

 

6.  Miley Cyrus and her daddy, Billy Ray:  “Look at her tacky clothes.  She’s turning up the skank quotient!” wrote D. Lewis of New York.  “Last year it was the bedroom magazine pic, this year pole dancing on the Teen Choice Awards” – Carol.  “…And then come the comments from her father that it’s really okay, people are reading things into that aren’t there.  Riiiiight” – J. Horwitz, Newark, N.J. 

Levi Johnston

Levi Johnston

7.  Levi Johnston, the spotlight-loving father of Sarah Palin’s grandson, and ex-boyfriend of Bristol Palin:  From Patty W.: “Levi Johnston deserves to be named Tackiest. Also Vanity Fair and Playgirl and all the media rushing to help him embarrass Sarah Palin for fun and profit.”

 

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese

 

8.  The Roman Polanski Defenders.  Contributor B.B. Richmond again summed up the feelings of others who expressed disgust toward those advocating in favor of director Roman Polanski’s release, more than three decades after being charged with rape and pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.  “It was treated like a ‘minor infraction’ by Hollywood beacons of morality Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, David Lynch, Jonathan Demme and Pedro Almodovar who signed a petition to demand Polanski’s release from jail on a morals crime.  Earth to those lights, so lofty that they are out of touch:  I will tell you the same thing that Sister Mary Ann taught in fifth grade, ‘Show me your friends and I will tell you what you are.’” 

Perez Hilton

Perez Hilton

9.  Perez Hilton.  The self-proclaimed most hated Hollywood blogger on the internet drew some hate from our readers, too, for several of his exploits this year, including his feud with the Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am.  “I am voting for Perez Hilton (who’s famous for what again?) for saying he’d been attacked by Will.i.am when it was clearly his manager,” wrote Isaac. 

Michael Lohan

Michael Lohan

10.   Michael Lohan:  Lindsay’s father got Tacky Awards attention for releasing  embarrassing and damning tapes about his troubled daughter.  “This man has no conscience.” – L. Ramirez, Albuquerque, N.M.

 DISHONORABLE MENTIONS go to Sammy Sosa for “looking whiter and brighter” – M.P; Sarah Palin for reasons including “her endless whining” – Tracey W; Glenn Beck, for “fear-mongering that goes beyond tacky” – D.L.; and the Nobel Prize Committee, for giving President Obama the Nobel Peace Price “for doing nothing.  It sort of cheapens the prize they gave Yasser Arafat, don‘t you think?” – B.R.

That’s it for this year.  From now on, may all your turkeys be tasty ones

Angie Dickinson Talks Scorsese Sinatra Picture

Angie Dickinson

Angie Dickinson

Angie Dickinson has been following with interest developments on Martin Scorsese’s planned big screen biography of Frank Sinatra.  She was, after all, an honorary member of the fabled Rat Pack as well as Sinatra’s leading lady in “Ocean’s Eleven” and beyond.

“Wouldn’t that be great if he could really pull that off?” she asks.  She’s hoping for a biopic the quality of the Joaquin Phoenix “Walk the Line.”

“I thought that was one of the great movies made in recent years and a great depiction of the character.  They even improved Johnny Cash’s image,” notes the septuagenarian Hollywood icon.

Robin Wright Penn

Robin Wright Penn

With Leonardo DiCaprio being talked for Ol’ Blue Eyes, who should play Angie Dickinson?  “Robin Wright Penn or Jessica Biel could play me, and a couple of others.

Angie Dickinson

Angie Dickinson

I’m not that hard to figure out,” she answers with a laugh.  “There have been times when I’ve seen Drew Barrymore in something and thought, ‘If I were young, I could be in that part.'”

Angie has no problem with latter day emulators of the Rat Pack – originally comprised, you’ll recall, of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.  “I absolutely love it.  Listen, I’ve been dining out on that for 59 years.  I get a great kick out of it.”

MEANWHILE: The one-time “Police Woman” returns to the tube July 18 in the Hallmark Channel movie, “Mending Fences,” a title that tells of her relationship with onscreen daughter Laura Leighton – as well as the movie’s tale of small town citizens banding together to save their water supply from developers.

Of the former “Melrose Place” star, Dickinson says, “She’s terrific.  The script was too long and she was working on it every day, making it more succinct and understandable to the audience.”  She adds, “She’s absolutely beautiful — skinny as a rail.  I’d look at her every day and say, ‘Oh, my God!’ … I’ve gained 20 pounds since my prime.”

As far as future acting desires, “I’d like to play Meryl Streep’s mother when they do ‘Prada’ 2,” Angie tells us.  However, she’s aware good parts for older people are few.  “It is a young people’s medium.  It always will be and should be,” Angie says.  “We don’t go to movies about old people, except once in a while.  Basically, and rightly so, we want to watch young people.  They’re fun to watch.”

A NEW KIND OF PARTNER:  Robert Gossett has been knee deep in police work on the popular TNT series “The Closer,” but the veteran actor reveals he may be temporarily turning in his police badge for some dance shoes.  According to Gossett, he has been approached by “Dancing With the Stars” to possibly compete when the show returns in September, but no decisions have been made.

“They’re in the process of talking to my agent about it.  Yeah, I would very much like to do it,” Gossett tells us.  “I went to a performing arts high school in New York.  I was a music major there, but I was involved with dancing a little bit.  Later on I did musicals so it involved a lot more dance,” he recalls.  “I think it would be fun.  My kids would get a kick out of it.  They don’t think I can dance anyway.  I always embarrass them, especially the 13-year-old.”

For now, Gossett is busy at work on “The Closer,” which is currently in its fifth season.  “We’ve got an endless supply of great ideas and the writing hasn’t diminished.  It’s been my experience that after a few years the writers run out of gas, but that hasn’t happened here,” he claims.  “A lot of us are veterans.  That’s a nice way of saying older, but what’s great is that we all bring it. The caliber of acting is definitely very high on this show.”  Luckily they’re a tight knit group too with Kyra Sedgwick, who was just awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as their ringleader.  “We were all so happy for her.  She certainly deserves it.  We all came and supported her, which is very indicative of how we are as a cast.”

John Cleese

John Cleese

THE HIGH SEAS:  John Cleese already knows where he’ll be enjoying special time next year.  The cut up of Monty Python fame will be aboard The Silver Spirit, the  newest ship of Silver Sea‘s ultra-luxury cruise line.   He’ll combine leisure with work, sharing insights and anecdotes from his long career with guests as the Spirit glides from Buenos Aires to Santiago as part of a 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage.

GETTING ON BOARD: “Southland” star Michael Cudlitz gives NBC props for striving to stay on top of the new media tsunami, by “pushing things in a large way on the internet — on Hulu and iTunes.  They’ve done a really good job as far as pushing people in that direction.  They’re trying out a whole new business model as opposed to fighting it.  Thirty million people are not watching on Thursday night any more – they have so many more choices — but they’re still out there,” he points out.  Cudlitz is, of course, particularly interested in seeing how the network’s restructured programming works out this Fall, when “Jay Leno takes over the 10 o’clock hour and they go down from the typical 15 hours of prime time programming to 10 plus Leno.  It’s more like the European markets and England, a shorter season, and rotating stuff around.”  And edgy, action-filled fare like “Southland” will be tried on the 9 o’clock, rather than 10 o’clock audience.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Expect gloves-off treatment of Sinatra in Scorsese pic

Frank Sinatra and daughter Nancy.

Frank Sinatra and daughter Nancy.

Just because Nancy Sinatra is producing Martin Scorsese‘s planned movie biography of her father, Frank, don’t expect the picture to shy away from the controversial, less flattering aspects of the show business legend’s life.

At least, it won’t if the film — for which Leonardo DiCaprio is already being mentioned — follows the tell-all pattern set out by Nancy’s sister, Tina Sinatra, back in 2000. Tina’s “My Father’s Daughter” disclosures about her dad getting the Mafia to help deliver the union vote to elect John F. Kennedy as president and his doing secret work for the CIA got her play on “60 Minutes.” Her exposure of family strife and discord — in particular with Sinatra’s fourth wife, Barbara Marx — got her in hot water with some Sinatra friends who felt those stories should never have been made public. Though the tome clearly showed how much Tina adored her father, she did, as she put it, “cover the good and the bad.”

Which is, of course, by far more interesting than a mere love letter about the entertainment great’s vocal prowess, enormous charm, loyalty and generosity to friends and charities. The dichotomy between the Sinatra loved by pals and fans and the Sinatra loathed by his many enemies were both real. His infidelities, grudges, temper and other negative behavior was depicted in CBS’ five-hour miniseries of the ’90s — which was produced by the family as well.

With more than 10 years having passed since his death and all the perspective that time brings, and with the talent of Martin Scorsese going into it, the Sinatra big-screen biopic just might capture lightning in a bottle.

STEP BY STEP: “Psych” star Dule Hill, who is a longtime tap dancer, tells us he’s trying to find a way to bring the dance back to the forefront. “I would love for the opportunity to bring dance to television in terms of dramatic scripted television. I’d also love to do tap on film and tap back on stage,” says Hill, whom many know from his days on “The West Wing.”

Gregory Hines was the one carrying that banner, so with his passing you lose some of that. Hopefully we can get back to it,” adds Hill. “We’ll see what comes next after ‘Psych,’ but first I’d like to do an episode on the show where we can do some tapping.” The cast and the crew of the USA network series certainly get to see Hill in action in between takes. “I do it on the set all the time. I have a piece of wood that I’m always dancing on in my trailer. I dance in my garage back home. I dance with friends and young students. I love tap dancing. I’m a tap dancer at heart.”

BY ANY OTHER NAME: Nine-year-old cutie Jadagrace Berry of “Terminator Salvation” tells us she loved doing scenes with Christian Bale in the flick, opening tomorrow (5/21). “He was so nice. He was always helping me, but he’d only answer to John,” she notes, referring to Bale’s character, savior of humanity John Connor. So did John — er, Christian — have any words of wisdom for this young co-star? “He told me to just stay in the moment and try to react,” she says. The pint-sized actress was among the young-uns at the premiere of Disney-Pixar’s “Up,” where she told us her burning desire for her next job: “I really want to be on the Disney Channel.”

AND: The audience was charmed by “Up,” another gem of a film from Pixar, a fanciful adventure about an old guy (Ed Asner) who travels to South America via a multitude of balloons from which his house hangs suspended. The poignant and funny modern fable is due on screens May 29. Producer Jonas Rivera told us, “For this one, we went back a little bit; we wanted to make an old-fashioned Disney movie. Computer animation tends to make things look very photo real, like in ‘Wall-E.’ For this, we went back and looked at ‘Peter Pan, “Sleeping Beauty,” ‘Snow White’ — we wanted it to have a little bit more of a painterly feel. That’s harder, technically,” he says. “A character drawing is a distillation. How does a Hirschfeld drawing of Lucille Ball look more like her than a photograph? There’s no computer that does that. This was a case of computer science and art colliding.”

JUDGING THE JUDGES: Season 8 of “American Idol” goes down as The Season of Judges’ Conflicts — in the view of “Access Hollywood’s” self-described “reality chick,” Laura Saltman, and who wouldn’t agree? Saltman spends January-to-May giving “Idol” her full attention, chatting with contestants, hanging out on set, etc. She points out, “Paula (Abdul) and Simon (Cowell) have grown closer this season because of their mutual feelings about Kara (DioGuardi). They mimic her … ” she notes. “They, of course, downplayed it, but things were pretty tense at first. It’s gotten better. They’ve kind of found a groove,” she says.

“I like Kara,” she adds. “I really do. She really says something, where Randy (Jackson) is just pretty much saying, ‘Dog. Dog, you’re great, Dog.’ And Paula you can’t always understand.” Still, “I don’t think the four-judge format works because it takes too long to get through the comments. I think they should go back to three.” So, who would she vote off? “Kara. You know, it’s a last one in, first one out kind of a thing.”

Laura says she’s not losing any enthusiasm for her “Idol” gig, though she’s covered all eight seasons. She’ll not only be at tonight’s (5/20) finale for the naming of either Adam Lambert or Kris Allen as the new American Idol, she’ll be up at 3 a.m. to be back on the job at 4 a.m., “spending the day with the winner and showing what he does. Who wouldn’t want to do that?” she asks.

With reports by Emily Feimster.