Well, here we are at the end of my Spring Break journey to Walt Disney World. While each of my previous videos has been just a portion of one of my vacation days, today’s final video will cover pretty much all of my park activities from my last day in the parks. Since my flight back home was set for late afternoon that day, I would have only from rope drop until around lunchtime to squeeze just a little more enjoyment out of my visit. That manifested itself in one more chance at favorite attractions like the Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and the PeopleMover, last-minute opportunities at experiencing things I hadn’t yet on this trip, and trying a long-delayed food item that I’ve seen plenty of love for elsewhere. Unfortunately, it also meant dealing with a potentially inconvenient event that struck very early on. Come along and experience my eventful last day at the Magic Kingdom!
Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening turns 59 today. She spent much of the first decade of her career on the stage, making a number of appearances with theater groups in California and Colorado. She made her Broadway debut in 1987, in the original production of Tina Howe’s Coastal Disturbances, and received a Tony nomination. Her film debut in 1998 was in The Great Outdoors. Two years later she made her film breakthrough as Myra Langtry in The Grifters, receiving her first Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actress.
If David Lynch was going to return to Twin Peaks, one thing was clear, it was going to be on his terms. Lynch nearly walked away from the project early on when Showtime didn’t approve his budget. But ultimately the eccentric auteur got his way and for better or worse, the new season of Twin Peaks reflects Lynch’s singular vision. Showtime gave David Lynch a pile of money and complete creative control. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see what he did with it.
I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday weekend. I suspect Johnny Depp and the folks at Disney are smiling. The fifth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise topped the box office over the Memorial Day weekend. It appears Johnny Depp isn’t box office poison after all. At least not when he’s playing Jack Sparrow. Pirates is just the latest good news for Disney. While the weekend’s other big release, Baywatch, is falling short of expectation, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues to perform well and the studio’s live action Beauty and the Beast became one of the few movies to gross over half a billion dollars domestically. Without adjustments for inflation, it’s the eighth highest grossing movie in US history!
Let’s get out our treasure maps and see if we can dig up this week’s recap of activity here at Le Blog.
Singer and actress Kylie Minogue turns 49 today. She was cast as tomboy Charlene Mitchell (later Robinson) on the Australian soap opera Neighbours in her late teens; during her two years on the show she won four Logie Awards (Australian Emmys), while the episode featuring her character’s marriage was one of the most-watched in Australian TV history. During her time on the show she signed her first recording contract. Her first studio album, Kylie, came out in the summer of 1988 and included a cover of a Gerry Goffin-Carole King song that became her first big hit.
Paul Bettany celebrates his 46th today. He made his acting in a London revival of J. B. Priestley’s play An Inspector Calls (directed by Stephen Daldry), and began working in British cinema in the late 1990s. In 2000 he received his first starring role, in Gangster No. 1, and then made his first Hollywood features, playing Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight’s Tale and Charles Herman in A Beautiful Mind. During the filming of the latter, he met his wife-to-be, Jennifer Connelly. Two years later he starred as Dr. Stephen Maturin in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, receiving a BAFTA Award nomination.
We have a pair of legends as headliners today, each pictured with his “instrument” of choice.
Miles Davis (1926-1991), one of the most influential figures in the history of jazz, began taking trumpet lessons at the age of 12. He started at Juilliard in 1944 but soon dropped out to perform full time, playing with Charlie Parker among others. By the late forties he was leading his own bands and issuing regular recordings on the Prestige label. In 1955 a young saxophonist by the name of John Coltrane began playing with Davis; they collaborated for several years before Coltrane emerged as a leader himself.
In 1957, two of Davis’s most innovative and influential albums came out. Capitol released Birth of the Cool, a set of sessions that had been recorded several years before, which contains exactly what the title promises—some of the tracks which define the sound called “cool” jazz. The same year brought Davis’s first of many great albums with Columbia, ‘Round about Midnight, which exemplifies the “hard bop” style of jazz.
Fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean rides at Disney theme parks have always known that dead men tell no tales. Amazingly Disney managed to release four Pirates movies without using the memorable catch-phrase as a subtitle. Today sees the release of the fifth and supposedly final entry in the Pirates franchise. So it seems like as good of a time as any to rank the Pirates of the Caribbean movies from Worst to First.
Irish actor Cillian Murphy, who celebrates his 41st today, made his debut with the Corcadorca Theatre Company in Cork, Ireland, his hometown. He began appearing in independent Irish and English films in the late nineties and first became well known for his role in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. In 2005 he had his first major Hollywood roles, in Wes Craven’s Red Eye, and as the Scarecrow in Batman Begins. But he continued to work in English and Irish cinema as well, starring a year later in Ken Loach’s drama of the Irish troubles, The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
For a new section, I’m going to do the opposite of Why’d it Bomb? and look at movies that did much better at the box office than most people expected. I don’t think I’ll crank out as much of these as I do with Why’d it Bomb‘s, because I think most movies that were hits were movies people expected to do well, but I’ll definitely write a few of these.
A few years ago, Dreamworks was in a rut. Their movies, for the most part, were getting good reviews but most of them were flopping at the box office. Lately, though, their fortunes have been reversed and their movies have been doing better as of late. Two of these movies were Trolls and Boss Baby, both of which also looked awful and I have no interest in seeing either.
Don’t let my initial peevishness this time around make you think I’m not having a great time. In fact, few things in life fill me with greater satisfaction than being a critical know-it-all. So sit back and watch me indulge in one of my very favorite activities…and then watch me hang out at Walt Disney World!
We have had a number of Nobel Prize winners mentioned in the birthday articles (as recently as yesterday), but this is the first time we have had a Nobel Laureate as the headliner.
Bob Dylan is 76 today. The legendary singer-songwriter dropped out of the University of Minnesota at 19, moving to New York, where he visited the institutionalized Woody Guthrie and began to make a name for himself in the Greenwich Village folk music scene, eventually signing a recording contract with Columbia. Although his debut album sold poorly, Johnny Cash, then one of Columbia’s biggest stars, helped persuade the label to stick with Dylan. By the time Dylan’s third album came out in 1964, he was one of the stars of the folk movement, who had composed more than one of the anthems beloved of activists both then and now.