And more from our Liz: How Debbie Reynolds saved Hollywood (literally!) … “Falling Skies” lands with a thud … and which great actress asked, “Who the hell is Kim Kardashian?”
“HE IS one of the most talented filmmakers on earth. As a human being — I’m not here to judge. He’s had a rough period in his life.”
That is producer Richard Rionda Del Castro on Mel Gibson, whom Richard hopes to lure into a movie titled “Sleight of Hand” with Gerard Depardieu.
Despite the (almost inevitable) failure of “The Beaver” — in which Mel delivers a wonderful performance —Hollywood “is still eager to do business with Mel Gibson.” This according to The Hollywood Reporter. Mel is even being wooed to star in the film version of Randall Wallace’s historical novel, “Love and Honor,” which would place Mr. Gibson smack in the middle of a lot of intrigue about the court of Russia’s Catherine the Great.
Mel, the man, needs work. Mel, the actor, needs to work. Not for money, but for the pleasure he has given audiences. As offended and outraged as so many of his former fans are — or claim to be — Mel Gibson is too talented to be shelved. Period.
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SEVERAL YEARS back, the beaded Jean Louis evening gown Marilyn Monroe wore to serenade President John F. Kennedy on his birthday, sold for a whopping $1.3 million dollars. That was impressive. But the late star’s iconic “subway grate” summer frock from “The Seven Year Itch,” designed by William Travilla, just sold for $4.6 million! Obviously, interest in Miss Monroe never slackens.
But I’m writing here not about MM, but a salute to the great movie star Debbie Reynolds. Marilyn’s dress, and lots of other fabulous Hollywood memorabilia were part of Debbie’s private collection.
Debbie made it a mission and labor of love to preserve costumes and props and furniture from the great eras of show biz — including gowns worn by Grace Kelly, and the gingham dress that idealized Judy Garland as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.”
Debbie loved her collection, often put it on display, and kept it through financial hardships. But she says now that maintaining the treasures is too much for her and money is tight. She just hopes those who buy the various items respect them, as she always has.
Debbie Reynolds never won an Oscar. She was nominated for her vigorous performance in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” which was not even the best of her work. She was a triple-threat who could sing, dance and act her heart out. She is a real survivor — almost every one of her husbands ripped her off in one way or another. But she kept on keeping on.
For the body of her work, and the time and care she has put into preserving Hollywood history, I say Miss Reynolds deserves an honorary Oscar. Maybe I’ll have more luck with this suggestion than my yearly bid for Doris Day. (The movie industry itself should have bought and cared for Debbie’s collection. It’s Hollywood itself that failed history!)
P.S. The entire auction, which happened at the Paley Center for Media in L.A., took almost $23 million dollars. Debbie unloads more memories in December, including Marilyn’s “chanteuse” outfit from “Bus Stop.”
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BAD TV: Steven Spielberg’s new TV series, “Falling Skies” is rather aptly titled, I think.
The long and short? It is the old, old, old bad aliens attacking Earth plot. With plucky humans battling back. Alas, it appears there is no new way to tell this story. “Falling Skies” is not nearly as compelling as the various incarnations of “V” or “War of the Worlds,” or anything else in the genre.
The aliens are huge, they build even bigger killer robots, they have death ray guns, they construct huge towers. They’ve traveled millions of miles to conquer Earth, but they still can’t figure out when humans are right around the corner, with their little guns. These particular aliens attach “harnesses” to captured humans, to use them for slave labor. Only instead of harnessing big strapping men, these aliens capture children to do all this heavy work. I guess Spielberg thought it was more heart-hugging that way.
There’s flag-waving, a very religious girl, a godless, soulless convict recruited as one of the resistance fighters. The stock characters.
All the actors, including handsome Noah Wylie, do as well as they can with what they are given.
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AND STILL MORE: Fran Drescher’s “The Nanny” was a very amusing little sitcom, especially in its last few seasons where the star was obviously winking at her audience and having a hell of a good time.
Fran’s latest, “Happily Divorced,” which is based on her own real-life experience with a husband coming out of the closet as gay, is lame-brained even on the generally witless level of most sitcoms. It is an insult to gays, straights and all plant and mineral life. This makes “Hot In Cleveland” look like Noel Coward. And, at least, there is a terrific chemistry between the ladies in “Cleveland” (including the fabulous Betty White.) Better luck next time, Fran.
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THE ALWAYS star-studded and packed-to-the-rafters Primola restaurant in Manhattan celebrates its 25th anniversary on Sunday. I have a feeling there will be even more than the usual luminaries and power people to gape at over the I Chicci Della Nonna (spinach with dumplings.)
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ENDQUOTE: “Who the hell is Kim Kardashian? Like, who are these people, and why are they famous and why are they advertising things and being asked their opinions?”
That is “The Sopranos” and “Nurse Jackie” Emmy-winner and recent Tony nominee Edie Falco, asking the question that all intelligent humans ask. But we shout into the wind in vain. The reality TV tsunami, with its vulgarity and stupidity continues unabated.