Thursday, February 04, 2016

A Gift of Appreciation

In appreciation of my Movie Addict Headquarters friends and fans, IT HAD TO BE US, the award-winning romantic memoir my husband and I wrote under the pen names of Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence, is FREE at the Amazon Kindle store today and through February 7th. We hope you enjoy this early Valentine gift! 

Below is the link with more information.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Carol Burnett, Take a Bow

There is good news today for Carol Burnett and her many, many fans. On January 30, this talented entertainer will be honored with a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild. Carol has been making us laugh for over half a century, and she’s one of my all-time favorite funny ladies. 

I became a fan back in the 1950s. That’s when she appeared on the Garry Moore Show. She soon had her own TV show, which had me rolling in the aisles each week. My favorite sketch? The Gone with the Wind parody. Watching Carol as Scarlet O’Hara in a dress with the curtain rods as giant shoulder pads made me laugh so hard my husband almost called for an ambulance. Her line, “I saw it in the window and couldn’t resist,” is a classic.

Several years later, I attended one of Carol’s Q&A shows in San Diego. Imagine my delight at being called on to ask a question! “Who do you think is the funniest person working in showbiz today?” I asked.

Carol replied, “Tom Hanks.”

Although Tom Hanks can be very funny indeed (remember the movie Big?), I think the correct answer to my question is “Carol Burnett.”

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Friday, January 01, 2016

My Top Ten Favorite Films of 2015

While watching a film, I usually look for cinematic artistry, a compelling story and inspiring performances. But my favorite movies of the year are simply the entertaining ones I want to watch over and over again! Below are my top ten favorites of 2015 (not in any particular order, except for the first on the list).    

BROOKLYN. A film of quiet beauty, Brooklyn reminds me of those classic movie gems from the past, the ones emphasizing character development and good storytelling. This one imparts a sense of place and loving hearts while telling a compelling story about the immigration experience of one young woman who came to Brooklyn from Ireland in the 1950s. Saoirse Ronan delivers a spellbinding performance in the lead role by making us feel we’re experiencing everything right along with the engaging character she plays here.  

MINIONS. I’ve been under a Minions spell ever since watching Despicable Me. This prequel did not disappoint me. Backing up all the funny antics by these adorable little creatures is one of the best soundtracks ever – and the musical numbers are as cute as can be! Some critics believe the soundtrack is even better than the movie, but I disagree. The movie and soundtrack go together like macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes and gravy. And what a satisfying dish it is!

A LITTLE CHAOS. This special period movie treat boasts many lovely scenes and an outstanding performance by Kate Winslet as a landscape artist who faces almost insurmountable obstacles after being selected  to create a special garden for King Louis XIV, played by the always watchable Alan Rickman (who also directs).     

CINDERELLA. Kenneth Branagh directed this wonderful version of the popular fairy tale. Great special effects enhance the film’s quality, and a magnificent royal ball scene took my breath away!     

WHITE GOD. One of the best revenge movies ever made, this Swedish offering tells the story of what terrible things can happen when anyone interferes with the relationship between a girl and her dog.   

THE DANISH GIRL. Projecting so much love and pain, Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander take us on a worthwhile journey toward better understanding of transgender transformation in this classy gender-bender filled with impressive performances and splendid production values.

SPY. Watch out, 007! Women take over the spy game in this hilarious spoof of James Bond movies. Very funny things happen in practically every scene, thanks to Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Jude Law and writer/director Paul Feig.

STRANGE MAGIC. This is one of the most delightful animated musicals I’ve ever seen! Great songs, a fun story (inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and fascinating animation fill the screen while reminding us that everyone needs love no matter the size, shape or color of their skin.   

DANNY COLLINS. Al Pacino and Annette Bening create a fun chemistry together in this superb film about a man’s fearless search for redemption. I still smile whenever I think of how well Pacino pulled off playing a famous singer.  

THE MARTIAN. This wonderful survival adventure is definitely a film that matters. It deals with so many universal themes like compassion, the importance of intelligence, scientific/technological know-how, cooperation and hope. Plus the story, cast, and visual effects just couldn’t be better.



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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mark Clark and Star Wars FAQ

Get ready for Star Wars: The Force Awakens by listening to Movie Addict Headquarters on December 15. That’s when  Mark Clark drops by to talk about his fascinating book, Star Wars FAQ: Everything Left To Know about the Trilogy That Changed the Movies. Mark is an author and film historian who writes about classic movies and TV shows. His latest book tells a story as thrilling and action-packed as the movies themselves, with bold characters facing apparently insurmountable odds. It’s full of frantic chases, narrow escapes, daring victories and tragic setbacks culminating in an unlikely triumph that changed the course of the galaxy -- or at least Hollywood.  
Mark’s previous works include Sixties Shockers: A Critical Filmography of Horror Cinema as well as books about Star Trek and essays for Science Fiction America: Essays on Sci-Fi Cinema. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville and a former film critic for the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“Star Wars FAQ with Author Mark Clark” airs on BlogTalkRadio at 4 p.m. Eastern Time (1 p.m. Pacific Time) on Tuesday, December 15, 2015. An archived segment will also be available. During the live show, listeners are invited to call in and to participate in a chat. 

May the Force Be with You!

CALL-IN NUMBER: 646-478-5668
HOST: Betty Jo Tucker
CO-HOST: A.J. Hakari
PRODUCER: Nikki Starr


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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Two Romantic Christmases

Showbiz stars George and Lizette Bettinger made two Christmases from the past come to life again on Movie Addict Headquarters yesterday. These talented actors read the first chapter of IT HAD TO BE US, a romantic memoir now in the early stages of film development. They play co-authors Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence in this special audio version of Chapter One, which deals with how two holiday seasons help the estranged Lawrences begin a journey back to each other after being divorced for almost twenty years.

IT HAD TO BE US won first place in the Ebook category at the Hollywood Book Festival for its potential to be transferred to other mediums such as film, radio and TV. With the help of BlogTalkRadio listeners during the launch of the Kinle version three years ago, the memoir hit Number One in the “Divorce” category for Kindle Ebooks,  and filmmaker Misha Zubarev has completed the screenplay.  

The Bettingers display their passion for bringing back the Golden Era of radio on their popular “Mom & Pop Shop Show” which airs on Dreamstream Radio each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. George is an actor, comedian, producer, writer and director. He’s won acclaim for his uncanny impressions including Groucho Marx, George Burns and the Three Stooges but may be best known as the voice of the red M&M. Lizette is a versatile actress and soprano singer with experience at the Metropolitan Opera. George and Lizette are truly Mr. & Mrs. Showbiz!

Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence donate their author royalties from IT HAD TO BE US (published by the Long Story Short Publishing Company) to the IMAGINATION LIBRARY, a children’s literacy program sponsored by the Dollywood Foundation.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Harry & Elizabeth Lawrences are the pen names my husband and I used in writing IT HAD TO BE US.


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Sunday, November 22, 2015

A New Film Classic

A film of quiet beauty, Brooklyn takes us back to Ireland and Brooklyn in the 1950s. It’s a sentimental journey about romance, homesickness, friends, family and decisions. This remarkable movie, masterfully directed by John Crowley from Nick Hornby’s sensitive adaptation of a novel by Colm Toibin, touched me deeply. But I’m not the only one. Who hasn’t felt the despair of moving away from loved ones or from a town you grew up in? Or the frustration of trying to decide which place is your real home? Brooklyn highlights these universal situations in a way that almost makes us feel we’re experiencing everything right along with Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), the movie’s main character. But guess what I enjoyed the most about this wonderful film? It reminds me of classic movie gems from the past -- you know, the ones that emphasized character development and good storytelling. Don't miss this one, folks!

Read my entire review by clicking the link below: 

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Sunday, November 01, 2015

Dishing Hollywood with Laurie Jacobson

Celebrated Hollywood author and film historian Laurie Jacobson returns to Movie Addict Headquarters on November 3rd to discuss Dishing Hollywood, her scintillating book about the most notorious scandals that have rocked Tinseltown from the early part of the 20th century up to the present. Tales of lives cut short, unsolved mysteries, dramatic suicides and steamy affairs fill the pages of Jacobson’s revealing romp through some of Hollywood’s biggest scandals involving stars like Gary Cooper, Lana Turner, Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Wood, River Phoenix and many more.        
Jacobson loves to talk about everything Hollywood, and in this special episode she’s agreed to cover such topics as:

Lana Turner’s involvement in a hoodlum homicide.
The impact of an arrest on Robert Mitchum’s career.
John Wayne’s “ironic” death.
The Gary Cooper mystery.
Natalie Wood’s mysterious drowning.
River Phoenix’s surprising personality change right before his death.
How Debbie Reynolds survived a major scandal.
The Frank Sinatra/Joe Di Maggio/Marilyn Monroe connection.      

“Wherever they’re discussing a scandal, a ghost or a dead movie star, I’m there,” Jacobson says. She has written and produced documentaries, television series and specials, and appears regularly on TV and radio. Her other books include Hollywood Heartbreaks,  Hollywood Haunted and Timmy’s in the Well: The Jon Provost Story, which she co-authored with her husband, the former child actor who played Timmy in TV’s Lassie.  

Laurie's interview airs on BlogTalkRadio at 4 p.m. Eastern Time (1 p.m. Pacific Time) on Tuesday, November 3,  2015. During the live show, listeners are invited to call in and to participate in a chat. An archived segment will also be available.

CALL-IN NUMBER: 646-478-5668
HOST: Betty Jo Tucker
PRODUCER: Nikki Starr

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