Saturday, August 01, 2020

Alan Menken Wins Again!

Congratulations to composer Alan Menken on his recent Daytime Emmy Award for “Waiting in the Wings” from Disney Channel’s Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. Menken shares this honor with lyricist Glenn Slater. But for Menken, the award made him the 16th person receiving an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony – or, in showbiz lingo, to be an EGOT along with  talented entertainers like Rita Moreno, Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg and John Legend.

Menken has eight Oscars to his credit for songs from Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Pocahontas and Aladdin. In addition to these wins, he earned eleven Grammys for those same movies, and his Tony Award is for the musical Newsies original score.

Because Menken is one of our favorite guests on Movie Addict Headquarters, we are pleased to present his vintage interview ON DEMAND all during the month of August. Menken dropped by a few years ago to discuss the wonderful music he wrote for the movie Enchanted as well as his general experience as a movie composer. That interview is still timely and fun to hear.

Just click on the link below at any time during August. You will be enlightened and entertained by the great Alan Menken! 

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Remembering Olivia de Havilland

I am saddened by the passing of Olivia de Havilland, one of the great ladies of the silver screen. This legendary actress, who was born in Tokyo to British parents in 1916, appeared in over 50 films during her illustrious career, earning five Oscar nominations and two gold statuettes for Best Actress -- one for To Each His Own (1946) and the other for The Heiress (1949).

To many moviegoers, de Havilland gave her most memorable performance as Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind (1939)“As Melanie, de Havilland is the perfect picture of purity, especially shining when introducing Scarlett O’Hara to the tongue waggers at husband Ashley’s birthday party,” writes Richard Teague in his book, Reel Spirit: A Guide to Movies that Inspire, Explore and Empower. But this talented actress also galvanized attention in roles leaning more to the darker side in films like Dark Mirror (1946) where she portrayed twin sisters -- one a disturbed murderer.

The list of directors de Havilland worked with reads like a Filmmaking Who’s Who; it includes such famous names as John Huston, Victor Fleming, Anatole Litvak, Mitchell Leisen, Stanley Kramer and William Wyler. She co-starred with luminaries like Charles Boyer, Richard Burton, Montgomery Clift, Joseph Cotton, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Ralph Richardson and Errol Flynn.

Flynn appeared with de Havilland in one of my favorite adventure films, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). I own the video of that terrific movie and still watch it frequently. The chemistry between Flynn as Robin Hood and de Havilland as Maid Marian simply can’t be matched in terms of good-natured bantering and mutual attraction. That’s probably why these two actors were paired in seven more films.          

Olivia de Havilland will be greatly missed by fans throughout the world. But we are fortunate that she left us such a marvelous film legacy.  


Monday, July 06, 2020

Eurovision Song Contest

Will Ferrell's latest movie, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, motivated me to write the film poem below.

Lars lives to win a song contest.
Not just any, only the best.
It’s Eurovision he’s after.
Why does this dream evoke laughter?

ABBA music helped Lars to cope
when as a child he needed hope.
His best friend Sigrit joined with him
to prove their band was not a whim.   

When picked as Iceland’s song entry.
It’s a surprise of the century.
  But they persist despite the jokes
and prove themselves courageous folks!

Will Ferrell wins our heart as Lars.
His comic turn deserves five stars.
Rachel McAdams don’t forget.
She’s adorable as Sigrit.

Across the screen fun music bursts.
Enough to quench many fans thirsts.
  Hooray for comedies like this!
It put me in a state of bliss.

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Monday, June 15, 2020

This Book Should Be a Movie

Over the weekend I devoured a fascinating book called Pay the Piper, Dancer by Pamela Jaye Smith. It’s uncanny how much I could SEE and FEEL both of the main characters, Billy and Felice, two strangers who share an evening of extraordinary connection despite the difference in their ages. I even have actors picked out to play these walking-wounded souls on screen.

Chris Hemsworth is too old for Billy, so Timothée Chalamet will just have to dye his hair. You might think Chalamet doesn’t look right for the part of a young mixed-up stud from Texas, but he can be quite strong as well as soft, as he demonstrates in The King. Plus, he can make his fantastic voice do anything! And versatile Annette Bening would be great as Felice, a middle-aged woman in crisis. Playing this challenging role could finally win her an Oscar.  

I’m not surprised at enjoying Pay the Piper, Dancer so much because I also admire the author’s terrific Romantic Comedies: These Films Can Save Your Love Life. But I digress. Back to Pay the Piper, Dancer – which motivated me to write the rave review poem below.   

“Pay the Piper, Dancer” describes

two strangers who bare their sad lives.

One is young, and the other not.

They meet one night in quite a spot.

Deep secrets revealed by each one

keep us entranced until it’s done.

Author keeps readers in suspense

concerning why this all makes sense.

Both characters we feel and see

as they discuss their history.

Beating with life and soul and heart,

this book grabs you right from the start.

Pay the Piper, Dancer, published by Pallas Press, is available in paperback and e-book on

For more information about Pamela Jaye Smith, go to

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Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Crossroads Poem

The recent tragedy of George Floyd’s murder cannot be forgotten. My poem poem below expresses my feelings about this latest atrocity and its aftermath.     

We’re at crossroads again, my friend.
No one knows how all this will end.
A knee on neck to horrify
with no one left to unify.

This outrage spreads from town to town
in nation led by sinful clown.
A Bible to project power
fails to make the masses cower.

Two paths emerge for us to take.
Choosing low? A giant mistake.
Think well and pick the higher one.
Don’t let a change remain undone.

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Fred Willard: Master of Comedy

I am feeling sad about the passing of Fred Willard. He was one of our favorite guests on Movie Addict Headquarters. But prior to that, I had the pleasure to interview Fred on the phone – and he kept me in stitches. Below is my article about that interview.

"The world needs comedy," funnyman Fred Willard declared in our spirited telephone interview. That’s why this acclaimed comedian plans to keep playing such roles as the hilarious real estate agent in Waiting for Guffman and the ignorant commentator in Best in Show, two outrageous mockumentaries by filmmaker Christopher Guest. "I’d like to try action-adventure, but that’s too much work," he quipped.

Well-known for his improvisational talent, Willard explained how he approached his Best in Show character. "I was told Buck Laughlin was a former athlete who had done some sports casting but didn’t know anything about dogs and was too lazy to find out. Then I just came up with things I thought a man like that would say."

Willard’s interpretation of Laughlin certainly hit pay dirt. His amusing comments about how someone should do a calendar of "women bathing their dogs" and the need for a bloodhound owner "to wear a Sherlock Holmes cap" had critics attending a Denver press screening howling with delight. The veteran Second City sketch artist seemed pleased about how much of his work remained in the final cut of Best in Show. "I was surprised, especially since many of my Guffman scenes didn’t make it to the finished movie," he admitted.

Born in Cleveland, Willard confessed to causing minor disturbances with his comic antics while in school there. "When the kids laughed at me, I always asked the teacher why I was in trouble when the others were the ones making the noise."

Like many comics, Willard found laughter the best way to cope with pain as a child. "When I was 11 years old, my father died just four days before Christmas," he stated. "That had quite an impact on me and my attitude toward life. I’m a lot like Dick Cavet who says, ‘Whenever I go to a restaurant, I expect it to be closed.’"

Turning back to his childhood days, Willard recalled wanting a B.B. gun as a youngster. His mother wouldn’t allow it. "You’ll never be completely happy until you put someone’s eye out," she warned him. "Well, she was right," he said. "I’ve never put someone’s eye out, and I’ve never been completely happy."

Commenting on his own child-rearing techniques, Willard explained, "We gave our daughter everything she wanted. We nurtured her and never made her suffer. Now she’s all grown up and a mom herself. But she doesn’t want to work at being an actress or do comedy. Where did we go wrong?"

Although Willard really wanted to be a baseball player, choosing acting as a career has brought him success in films, live theatre, and television. Highlights of his work include being a founding member of a classic improv group (Ace Trucking Company) and performing recurring television roles on Mad About You, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Roseanne (for which he received an Emmy nomination). He has appeared in such diverse movies as Idle Hands, This Is Spinal Tap, and Roxanne.

If the report of this interview seems a bit jumbled, it’s because Willard kept me laughing too much to take good notes. But he’s absolutely right. The world does need comedy. And comedy needs talented comedians like Fred Willard.

R.I.P. Fred Willard. Thanks for all the happy memories you’ve left us. We will miss you!

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Wednesday, May 06, 2020

A Book for Corona Virus Blues

I am always happy to learn that Confessions of a Movie Addict, my amusing life-at-the-movies memoir, is still attracting attention. Although published way back in 2001, film fans of today seem to enjoy this award-winning book.

Thanks to Carolyn Howard-Johnson for her timely comments about the book and to Denise Fitzgerald Cassino for presenting them with her wizardly flair in the image below.   

On Facebook, Carolyn also posted a picture of herself pointing to the book’s "stylish index" and accompanied with the following quote:

“This book by my favorite movie addict is amazing for #CoronaReading. We love the stylish index for movies from another era, suggestion for sheltering and from a time when I didn’t watch movies much. Busy with our kids and our stores. Remember Chocolat and Erin Brokovich?

For more information about the great Carolyn Howard-Johnson and her help for authors, please go to Http://   

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