When one transcends from ordinary human to legend, we forget that this person is still a human being.
Fosse/Verdon premiered last year on F/X. Stepping in the gigantic shoes of the late Broadway legends that are Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon are Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams. Told over the course of multiple decades, the series follows the professional and personal ups and downs of the main characters.
Though they separated (but never legally divorced) in 1971, Gwen and Bob were joined at the hip. She stayed by his side as he cheated on her with multiple women, dealt with addiction issues, and never truly faced his demons. On his end, he relied on her as a respected professional collaborator who understood his unique way of working.
This is one of the best miniseries that I’ve seen in a long time. Both Rockwell and Williams are flawless in their roles, humanizing these giants of the entertainment industry.
Secrets, especially family secrets, have a way of coming out.
In the new movie, After the Wedding (based on the 2006 Dutch film of the same name which I have never seen), Isabel (Michelle Williams) runs an orphanage in India. In need of additional funds, she travels to New York City. Theresa (Julianne Moore) is the owner of a very successful media company and is interested in making a large donation to the orphanage.
But before Theresa can discuss the details of the donation, she and her husband Oscar (Billy Crudup) must walk their daughter Grace (Abby Quinn) down the aisle. Theresa invites Isabel to the wedding. Instead of it just being an enjoyable evening, it opens the door to a couple of difficult and emotional revelations.
Written and directed by Bart Freundlich (who is married to Julianne Moore IRL), this film is a story of family, secrets and choices. To be honest, I was a little underwhelmed by the narrative. The film tries to be dramatic, but does not reach the dramatic heights that the trailer promises. The narrative and what should be the big dramatic reveal was also a little predictable. Though I appreciated the gender swap of the main characters from the original film, it does not make up for what is essentially an underwhelming movie going experience.
We all have those television shows from our teenage years. No matter how old we get, we are always reminded of that juncture in our lives when those television shows come on.
20 years ago tomorrow, the pilot of Dawson’s Creek premiered. Set in a fictional coastal New England town, the show is about four friends who are dealing with everything that comes with being a teenager.
Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) is the movie buff/Steven Spielberg wannabe. His best friend, tomboy/girl next door Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) has been climbing up into Dawson’s bedroom and slipping into his bed since they were little. Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson) comes from the wrong side of the tracks. Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) is the new girl in town, shipped off from New York City to live with her grandmother.
This show was must see television when I was younger. I remember pilling into a friend’s dorm room in college every Wednesday at 8PM like clockwork. Created by Kevin Williamson, Dawson’s Creek was one of the hallmark shows of what was then known as the WB network. Created for the then teenage audience, the character arcs and narratives spoke to and spoke of what it is to be a teenager. The show also paved the way for other teenage dramas that would dot the television schedule in later years.
I can’t believe it’s been twenty years. Perhaps it’s time for another viewing.
There is an old saying: all that glitters is not gold. The same could be said about Hollywood and the movie stars that fill up our screens. Behind the performer is the real human being who is dealing with the same sh*t that we all deal with.
In the 2011 movie, My Week With Marilyn, Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) is in London in the mid 1950’s to film The Prince And The Showgirl. Being directed by and starring opposite Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), Marilyn is not the easiest performer to work with. Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) is a young film student who gets a job as a part of the film crew. As time goes on, Marilyn reveals that there is much more to her that the on-screen sex goddess and Colin begins understand some truths about people and life that only time, experience and maturity bring.
What I really appreciated about this movie was that it revealed some truths that many of us, regardless of whether we are a Hollywood star or a John or Jane Doe, deal with on a day-to-day basis. I also appreciated that the film humanized one of Hollywood’s best known icons and brought her down to a level that makes us appreciate and respect her as a person, not as a performer.