For today, I had a choice among a number of well-known but not superstar faces from the present, and a pair of big names from the past, so I decided to go with one of each.
Keri Russell is celebrating her 41st birthday today. She made her performing debut on the All-New Mickey Mouse Club in 1991. A role in the film Honey, I Blew Up the Kid followed, along with a number of TV movies and guest roles. In 1998, she was cast in the lead role of the WB network’s new drama Felicity. Russell won a Golden Globe as Felicity Porter for the first of the show’s four seasons.
In the mid-2000s, there were times when it seemed that Russell might emerge as a major film star. A fairly important supporting role in Mission: Impossible III offered her a chance to be a part of a big hit; however, the film would up with the weakest box office numbers in the series. She received very good critical notice for starring in Waitress, but was not able to follow it up with further successes. However, she is once again finding success on the small screen. She stars on The Americans as Elizabeth Jennings, one half of a Cold War era couple who are Soviet moles. Currently in its fifth season, the show has brought Russell nominations for an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
The March 2002 issue of Movieline was their 10th annual “Sex”-themed issue. Tying into that theme, Michael Atkinson declared that Hollywood had given up on sexy movies. But European filmmakers were more than making up for it.
Our two headliners today are probably the two most influential figures in musical theater in the post-Rodgers and Hammerstein era.
Andrew Lloyd Webber (or Baron Lloyd-Webber, as he is known today) is turning 69 today. He is from a musical family—his parents were both musicians, and his younger brother Julian Lloyd Webber is a prominent cellist. He began writing music at a very young age, and was in his teens when he first began setting T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats to music. A couple of years later, he worked for the first time with lyricist Tim Rice; their first musical was not produced until 2005, but their second became the first hit of a successful partnership that lasted over a decade.
Lloyd Webber’s career is fairly well known and contains a lot of high points. You have not one but two super-sized monster hit musicals (Cats and The Phantom of the Opera). You have a good old fashioned big hit (Evita). You have the huge success in London/modest hit in the US (Starlight Express). You have the earlier hits with Rice (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar). You have the long-runner that never quite covered its big budget (Sunset Boulevard), and still other less renowned musicals. And you have a major parade of songs that are known all over the world.
At one point, Julianne Moore was one of the most prolific actresses in Hollywood. Every time you turned around, she was in a new movie. Moore could pop up in anything from a goofy comedy to a thriller to a piece of Oscar bait. In the March 2002 issue of Movieline, Moore announced that she was taking a break from work to give birth to her second child. Michael Fleming asked Moore about her eclectic career and what it was like to be a New Yorker in the days following 9/11.
Back in October, I wrote a couple of articles about how the Frozen phenomenon kind of left the other modern animated Disney movies in the dust. For the first article, I focused on the merchandising aspect of Disney and didn’t really talk about what I thought was really interesting, which was not only that the other movies lacked merchandise but it felt like Frozen was the only one that really had any staying power while the other movies were pretty much forgotten after a while. In the second article, I talked more about my feelings towards this (as well as the lack of merch for the other films) but I feel like I might have underestimated the popularity of some of the movies I mentioned in that article as I later realized that some of the movies that “used to be popular but have been forgotten” I mentioned in the article (like Up or Inside Out) aren’t really forgotten and are still pretty popular. However, today were going to talk about a Disney movie whose merchandise sold pretty well yet Disney still found to be a disappointment because hardly anyone went to see the movie itself.
Matthew Broderick, who is a WTHH subject, turns 55 today. He began acting in the theater, appearing in an off-Broadway production of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy, and then won a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play in his Broadway debut in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs (he is the youngest actor ever to win in that category). He has continued to put together an impressive stage resume, including a second Tony, for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for a 1995 revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
But it’s his film career that Broderick is best known for. He made his film debut in Max Dugan Returns in 1983, and later that year starred in WarGames. In 1985 he appeared in Ladyhawke, and a year later he was a Golden Globe nominee for playing a certain teenager from the Chicago suburbs.
They don’t make ’em like they used to. In the Golden Age of Hollywood, the Dream Factory took in hopeful actresses and turned them into big screen bombshells. In the March 2002 issue of Movieline, the magazine deconstructed the building of five cinematic sirens.
As my Walt Disney World vacation approaches I continue hitting guideposts along the way. Today was a major one as my MagicBand arrived in the mail! Join me as I open it up and give it a look over!
The big movie release of this past weekend, if I can believe the hype I’ve seen and the strong crowds I experienced, was the live action adaptation of the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast. The 1991 animated musical production is one of the most beloved in the Disney canon, winning Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, and becoming the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture. The affection and nostalgia still attached to the animated film have made this year’s adaptation perhaps the most hotly anticipated live action Disney film of the past decade.
Join Lebeau and me as we discuss our own histories with the story and our reactions to the new film. There are mild spoilers here, but if you’ve seen the previous Disney film, the general story shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
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Well, at least we got that out of the way. Ever since The Walking Dead arbitrarily created the Sasha-Abraham-Rosita love triangle, the show set itself on a path towards an episode in which the two women work through their feelings. It all feels less urgent since the meat in the Abraham sandwich got his brains splattered all over Negan’s bat in the season premiere (which feels like a lifetime ago) and the truth is this story arc was never that interesting to begin with. But at least the show’s writers have played it out and we can theoretically all move on to not caring about Enid.
William Hurt is turning 67 today. After studying at Tufts and Juilliard, he spent several years with the Circle Repertory Company. He was a Tony nominee for his Broadway debut in David Rabe’s Hurlyburly. He made his film debut in Altered States in 1980 and received a Golden Globe nomination. His next film roles were in the romantic thriller Eyewitness with Sigourney Weaver, as a classic film noir sap in Body Heat, with yesterday’s headliner Glenn Close, among others, in The Big Chill, and in the lead role in Gorky Park. And then he starred in an adaptation of a novel by Manuel Puig:
Did you miss last the recap last Sunday? Unfortunately, I got caught up in some less-than-risky business that prevented me from posting last weekend. But I’m back this week and to make it up to you I’m going to recap the last two weeks of articles here at Le Blog. So get comfortable in your seat, stop watching whatever Tom and Rebecca are up to and let’s get to recapping.
Glenn Close celebrates her 70th birthday today. After graduating from William & Mary, she pursued an acting career, and made her Broadway debut in 1974 in a revival of William Congreve’s Love for Love. She worked steadily both on and off Broadway for the next decade, and won a Tony for Best Actress in a Play for the original Broadway production of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing. By this time, she had also begun a film and television career; her first three film appearances, in The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, and The Natural, all brought her Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress. She then received her first nomination for Best Actress for a 1987 thriller: