Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Mickey Rooney R.I.P.

I feel sad about the recent passing of Mickey Rooney. He should have made it to 100! An entertainer with boundless energy, Mickey may have been short of stature, but he was a giant where talent is concerned. He leaves behind a legacy of versatile performances on film, stage and TV. His terrific work played an important role in my addiction to movies. During my teens, while watching MGM musicals, I always knew something special was in store whenever Mickey Rooney said to Judy Garland, “Let’s put on a show!”

Never mind about strikingly similar plots and characters in such films as Babes in Arms, Babes on Broadway, Girl Crazy and so on. That didn’t faze me. I could hardly wait to see Mickey and Judy perform their great musical numbers.

As an adult, meeting Mickey Rooney at the Palm Springs International Film Festival turned out to be the highlight of that 1995 event for me. Mickey expressed enthusiasm over portraying Father Flanagan in The Road Home (shown on television as The Brothers’ Destiny), a movie premiering there. At a question and answer session for the San Diego Cinema Society, Mickey recalled playing a delinquent orphan as co-star with Spencer Tracy, who originated the role of Father Flanagan in the much earlier movie, Boys Town. “I’ve come full circle,” he said. 

Mickey also reminisced about working with Judy Garland. “I loved her; she was the greatest performer who ever lived,” he announced.   

Dancer, singer, actor, comic – Mickey did it all with his own special flair. May he rest in peace. 

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Funny Ladies of Film

On April 1, Movie Addict Headquarters salutes the following funny ladies of film: Tina Fey, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Debbie Reynolds and Gilda Radner. Comedian Nancy Lombardo, host of Comedy Concepts on BlogTalkRadio, plans to join in the festivities. This fun episode includes: testimonials for Tina Fey; Cloris Leachman’s comedy ambush; Debbie Reynold’s humorous comments about men; Madeline Kahn’s terrific interview by George Bettinger; Gilda Radner’s famous tap audition; and some amusing surprises!

Nancy Lombardo appears frequently on “Saturday Night Live” and has released a very funny CD titled “Color Me Crazy.” She also performs her hilarious standup comedy act at numerous venues and is the host and creator of MOMEDY™, part of the International Mamapalooza Festival held every May in New York City.  She’s been featured as a writer and performer on radio, network and cable television, including Comedy Tonight, Nickelodeon and the Comedy Channel. As the leading member of the award-winning comedy troupe The First Amendment, Nancy performed with such stars as Robin Williams and Bruce Willis. She also served as a comedy consultant to John Leguizamo's Off-Broadway hit Mambo Mouth and wrote additional material for his HBO Special, The Talent Pool.  It’s no surprise that Nancy was named a winner of the Toyota Comedy Festival’s "Laughter in Motion” Award and received a Cable Arts Insight Comedy Award.

“Funny Ladies of Film” airs on BlogTalkRadio at 4 p.m. Eastern Time (1 p.m. Pacific Time) on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. 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

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Irish Grandmother

Each year as St. Patrick’s Day draws near, memories of my courageous Irish grandmother come flooding back to me. When she was only 14 years old, she stowed away on a boat (all by herself) to come to America from Ireland. Later, as a young mother, she was left with four children to raise when her husband died after being run over by a crane at the CF&I steelworks. 

Grandma used the company’s settlement to establish a number of businesses on Bay State Avenue, a street adjacent to the mill where her husband suffered that fatal accident. Surviving Prohibition and the Great Depression, Josephine Bridget Donahue became known as the “Duchess of Bay State.” No one messed with her. Maybe it was that charming brogue – but, more likely, her brave approach to dealing with the problems at hand that kept enemies at bay and friends so close.      

I’m very happy Grandma never lost that Irish brogue. It was always such a treat listening to her interactions with employees, customers and family members. I have to add that she made the best scones in the history of the world! Wish I had one of those delicious scones right now.

Although Grandma Donahue passed away many, many years ago, I still miss her every day.     

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Monday, March 03, 2014

Frozen Wins Two Oscars!

One of my Oscar wishes came true last night when Frozen won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film of 2013. I also cheered when this delightful musical also took home a golden statuette for the Best Original Song, “Let It Go,” which Idina Menzel belted out so brilliantly during the Academy Awards show.

Although my wish that Gravity would win all 10 of its nominated categories didn’t pan out, that groundbreaking movie earned 7 Oscars – more than any other nominee -- and ended up with a very important Best Director nod for Alfonso Cuarόn. That made me very happy.

12 Years a Slave won Best Picture, which indicates that Academy members still prefer honoring a good story over technical achievements -- and that’s not a bad thing. Right?

As host, Ellen DeGeneres kept things moving along in her own amusing and nonchalant way. However, her pizza delivery gag seemed inappropriate for this event.

For me, the highlight of last night’s festivities involved the gorgeous tribute to The Wizard of Oz featuring Pink’s wonderful rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” delivered in front of a huge screen showing scenes from that classic 1939 movie. Whoopi Goldberg gave a touching intro and introduced Judy Garland’s three children. I absolutely loved it!

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Four Oscar Wishes

As a confirmed movie addict, I can hardly wait to watch the 86th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony, which will be televised by ABC on Sunday, March 2. However, instead of making any predictions this year, I decided to focus my cyberspace energy on the four Oscar-nominated films that also ended up on my Top Ten List of 2013. Below are my wishes for these wonderful movies.   

FIRST WISH: I wish Gravity would win Oscars in all of the ten categories it's nominated for! That includes BEST PICTURE, BEST DIRECTOR (Alfonso Cuarόn), BEST ACTRESS (Sandra Bullock), BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY, BEST VISUAL EFFECTS, BEST EDITING, BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN, BEST ORIGINAL SCORE, BEST SOUND MIXING, BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING. Why? Because this thrilling space adventure bowled me over with its stunning combination of technical magic and strong emotional pull. In fact, while viewing the film, I felt like I was actually floating in space and suffering through the terrible mishaps faced by the two astronauts played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. And I wasn’t even watching it in 3-D! Gravity is truly a groundbreaking movie, one that deserves Academy Award acclaim.
SECOND WISH: I wish The Broken Circle Breakdown would take home the Oscar for BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM. Bluegrass music never sounded as good to me as it does in this heartbreaking romantic melodrama from Belgium. Performances by Johan Heldenbergh and Veerle Baetens as the lovers who share a passion for each other as well as for American music are first rate, and it’s one of the few films I’ve seen where switching back and forth in time seems to make perfect sense.      

THIRD WISH: I wish Frozen would receive the Oscar for BEST ANIMATED FILM. As the world’s most avid movie musical fan, I always like to include a current musical on my “Best Films” of the year list and feel very excited when one receives an Oscar nomination. Although the pickins’ were lean during 2013, Frozen came along during December and made me a happy camper indeed. Disney released this delightful adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Snow Queen,” and it’s a gem. The screen absolutely comes alive because of the film’s splendid animation, great music and outstanding voice talent, especially by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel.     

FOURTH WISH: I wish The Lone Ranger would win the golden statuette for BEST MAKE-UP AND HAIR STYLING. Yes, I know this hilarious Western flopped at the box office, but it’s the most fun I had at the movies in years!  Although the horse Silver captivated me every time he came on camera, Johnny Depp bizarrely decked out and made up as a new version of Tonto (whose facial expressions when watching his sidekick do stupid things) -- was nothing short of priceless here. Plus, just thinking about Armie Hammer’s amusing portrayal of the Lone Ranger as Tonto’s sidekick instead of vice-versa still starts me laughing.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed! But no matter who wins in all 24 categories, it’s always fun to watch the glamour and glitz of Hollywood’s Big Night. With Ellen DeGeneres as host, I think we’re in for an entertaining show. Check your local TV schedule on Sunday, March 2, for the correct time. Then, on Tuesday, March 4, come over to Movie Addict Headquarters for our OSCAR RESULTS ROUNDTABLE where film critics Diana Saenger, Mack Bates and A.J. Hakari will be ranting and raving about this year’s Academy Awards show. The live episode airs on BlogTalkRadio at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, and an archived segment will also be available. Click on the link below for more information.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Shirley Temple Remembered

She sang and danced
her way to fame.
Oh how we loved
her curly mane!

She smiled and cried
so true and cute.
Her films gave hope
and made a loot.

May Shirley Temple rest in peace.

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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Jamee Natella Interview

Thanks to Francine Silverman for the following interview with Jamee Natella. Francine is the editor of Book Promotion Newsletter, an on-line publicist, a compiler of 16 ebooks about talk radio shows, and host of a weekly radio show titled "Fraternizing with Fran" – where interesting people come to chat. Find out more about Francine at and

Jamee Natella is founder and executive producer of Blueyed Pictures, an award-winning commercial and corporate media production company, founded in Tokyo in 1998 with offices in London and Los Angeles. Blueyed offers commercial content production of TV commercials, corporate videos, production of live events and feature films to advertising agencies and corporations worldwide. Clients include Toyota, Sony, Under Armour, HP, Dove and P&G.
FRANCINE: How did you get the idea for Blueyed?
JAMEE: I was living in Japan and I felt there was a need to help cater to foreign crews who wanted to pursue commercial production In Japan. In the 90’s the Japanese market didn’t have many bilingual crews in Tokyo to help foreigners in Japan.  So the timing was right to create a Bilingual service production company in Japan.  Blueyed pictures was founded in 1988 and since its inception has produced commercials for Virgin Enterprises, NTT DoCoMo, Mitsubishi, Pioneer and Toyota to name a few.
FRANCINE: For 9 years, you partnered with BBDO- west to produce commercials for national brands, both domestically and abroad. You once said that this partnership put Blueyed on the map. Could you expand on ways this advertising agency benefited your company?
JAMEE:  I was fortunate enough to form a partnership with BBDO when I was just moving back to the United States after living abroad for 11 years. So by Blueyed aligning itself with an Omnicom company I was able to develop strong connections with their clients. It was a hugely beneficial relationship that would not only give us work but also save BBDO- west money by acting as an in house production company for the ad agency. Although we didn’t produce all their commercials in the pacific region we were involved with a great deal of them. So yes, that helped build the Blueyed brand and ultimately put us on the map.
FRANCINE: As to feature films, your biggest success thus far was for “Beyond” with Jon Voight, Terri Polo and Dermot Mulroney. When I first wrote you about an interview, you responded that you were at the Sundance Film Festival.  I know that you plan to produce one or two independent films per year, which ideally would premiere at Sundance, Toronto or another international festival. Were you premiering a feature film? Are you at liberty to discuss it?  
JAMEE: Our long form projects are still in development. But, who is to say next year we won’t surprise you. Blueyed is launching a feature film division this year so we as a team are always looking to further develop our acquisition and development relationships
FRANCINE: I know that your immediate goal is to expand your roster to include upcoming film directors. What is your long-term goal?
JAMEE: Ideally, we want to expand upon our existing success as a soup-to-nuts integrated content production company.  Both Co-Executive Producer Lorraine Schreyer and myself are ramping up to accommodate the growth we see in the marketplace for diversified directorial talent. By incorporating talented feature film directors into our portfolio we will expand our presence and scope of work in that arena.  Blueyed currently is in talks of signing a first look deal with a major film studio and we’re excited about a slew of  projects  that have great potential. Keep your eye on Blueyed pictures and visit our website at OR follow Blueyed  on Instagram and Twitter.

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