Saturday, June 25, 2011

CONFESSIONS Available on Kindle Soon

The paperback version of CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT, my amusing life-at-the-movies memoir, was released in 2001 -– and I’m happy to celebrate this tenth anniversary by making it available soon on Amazon’s Kindle. Because it was so much fun to write this book, I’m pleased when reviewers and fans have fun reading it. For example, Warren Epstein, who was a film critic for The Gazette in Colorado Springs back then, shocked me -– but made me laugh -- with his reaction below.

I hate Betty Jo Tucker. As a fellow Colorado film critic, I’ve loathed her for years. Sure, you can call it professional jealousy. But see it from my perspective. We all go to a film festival. Most of us get an article or two out of it. Betty Jo gets an adventure. She ends up being served dinner by the filmmakers, for heaven’s sake! Well, now I have to put up with her new book, CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT, and, believe me, it’s about as Betty Jo as it can be. She takes us behind the scenes of the entertainment industry, sharing her favorite celebrity interviews and revealing her personal connections and passions for the movies. As if we care. (OK, the mishap at her first porn film had me laughing. But just a little.) You’ll probably read this book and fall in love with Betty Jo. See if I care.

And film historian James Colt Harrison boosted my spirits when he wrote, “If Oscars were given out for the funniest book of the year, CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT would win hands down.”

Comedian Nancy Lombardo also perked me up considerably by declaring, “I love this book. Someone should buy the rights and make a movie out of it. It’s that good!”

More details about the 10th Anniversary release of CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT on Kindle are coming soon.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Judge Debbie

What a treat to see the great Debbie Reynolds as one of the judges on “So You Think You Can Dance” last night! I loved the encouraging remarks she gave each contestant. And, in her late seventies, she still looks fabulous. Host Cat Deeley called Debbie “a legendary icon of dance,” and I agree wholeheartedly. After being taught by one of the best -- Gene Kelly – Debbie danced her little heart out in Singin’ in the Rain. The “Good Mornin’” number she performed with Gene and Donald O’Connor ended up as one of the most energetic routines ever seen on film – and Debbie has been going strong ever since. She appears in over 40 live shows each year! Congrats to the powers that be on SYTYCD for recognizing Debbie’s wonderful contributions to the world of dance.

For more information about Debbie and her shows, please go to

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Thinking about Judy Garland

My pick for the most remarkable personality in the history of motion pictures is Judy Garland. She could do it all -- sing, dance, act in comedies or in dramas -- better than anyone else before or since. Each time I watch one of Garland's many films. I'm amazed at her raw talent.

Nobody haunts my movie memories quite like Judy singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow" in The Wizard of Oz. No one makes me laugh more joyously than Judy dressed like a tramp and cavorting with fellow bum Fred Astaire to the tune of “We’re a Couple of Swells” in Easter Parade. And nothing gets my dander up more than remembering Judy’s loss of the Oscar she should have received for her heart-wrenching performance in A Song Is Born.

Today is Judy Garland's birthday, which explains why I'm thinking about her and all the pleasure she gave her many fans. Thanks to Turner Classic Movies for running some of Judy's wonderful movies today. I can hardly wait to see Summer Stock and The Pirate again!

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Dads on Film

In honor of Father’s Day, I’ve been thinking of films worth seeing that feature dads as important characters. Heading my list are movies about a teller of tall tales, a British lord, an efficiency expert, a transformed business executive, and two uncles who serve as surrogate fathers to their young nephew.

Albert Finney and Billy Crudup play father and son in BIG FISH, a whimsical film about a man who tells the same fantastic stories over and over again. – so much so that he alienates his son. After finding out that his father (Finney) is dying, the estranged son (Crudup) visits him and finally realizes he can learn who his father really is through the tales he relates. Even with a dark theme like this, BIG FISH manages to be light-hearted and amusing – a film infused with humor and heart.

WHAT A GIRL WANTS contains a splendid performance by Colin Firth as a British Lord who must deal with a rambunctious daughter he never knew he had. She’s an American teenager (Amanda Bynes) who teaches her new-found stuffy father not only how to have a bit of fun but also the importance of being true to yourself. Watching these two very different individuals interact with each other is great fun.

In CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, Steve Martin shines as the father of 12 children. He portrays a busy efficiency expert who’s not particularly efficient when it comes to taking care of his raucous kids, especially during his wife’s (Bonnie Hunt) absence. It’s a treat to see Martin’s comic antics such as growling like a monster at the youngest or delivering a funny eulogy at a pet’s funeral. Despite an emphasis on comedy, this movie delivers a serious message: listen to your children – no matter how busy you are.

Nicolas Cage’s character in THE FAMILY MAN changes from a high-powered executive with no personal attachments to a happily married tire salesman with two young children. Imagine his surprise when he wakes up one morning next to a wife (Téa Leoni) and hears a 6 year-old girl crying “Daddy!” in the next room. Maybe it’s a bit over-sentimental, but this film is still worth seeing for the wonderfully playful interactions between Cage and MacKenzie Vega, who plays his darling little daughter in the fantasy sequences.

Although Michael Caine and Robert Duvall are uncles, not fathers, in SECONDHAND LIONS, their characters serve as father figures for the abandoned nephew placed in their charge. These two eccentric recluses help change the sad boy placed in their charge (Haley Joel Osment) into a young man with lots to smile about. Duvall’s famous "what it takes to be a man" speech is a classic film moment. "Whether certain things are true or not, it's important to believe in them," Duvall says. His "certain things" list includes the value of honor, virtue, courage, and a belief that true love never dies. I think that’s wise advice any father should consider passing on to his son.

Happy Father’s Day!

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