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Frankie Forever

Everybody knows I love Frankie and Johnny. Everybody knows that, hard as it is to choose a favorite, Frankie will always have my heart when it comes to Michelle Pfeiffer characters. So, pardon me if you've heard or read all of this from me before, but here are just a few reasons why I love everything about this beautiful film.

Sometimes you form such a personal connection with a film that you can't even imagine who you would be without it in your life. Frankie and Johnny (1991) is that film for me. It hooked me first time I saw it, thanks to extraordinary performances from the two leads, Michelle Pfeiffer as Frankie and Al Pacino as Johnny; a sensational supporting cast, including Nathan Lane, Kate Nelligan, and Hector Elizondo; that sublime Marvin Hamlisch score; and Terrence McNally's exquisite adaptation of his own off-Broadway play, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. Together, these elements combine to create something truly magical. I've been living under thi…
Recent posts

On Elizabeth Wurtzel and Writing Authentically

Author, essayist, journalist, and Gen X icon Elizabeth Wurtzel died earlier this week, after several years of living with cancer and its recurrence. She was only 52. For an intimate look at her life, I would encourage you to seek out any number of heartfelt and honest remembrances to this iconoclastic writer, this fierce and uncompromising woman, which are being written this week by friends and colleagues who knew her better than most.

Even for those of us who never knew her, Wurtzel's influence was everywhere, especially during my college years in the epic decade of the nineties, thanks to her first memoir, Prozac Nation, from 1994. I can remember standing against the shelves in some Borders or other, lost in the rawness of her confessional tale of depression. It was raw at a time when raw was not socially acceptable. When it came out, establishment critics at places like the New York Times were ripping her and the book to shreds with reviews that couldn't have been anymore di…

Favorite Films of the 2010s

Top ten lists for movies of the decade were everywhere in December. I even saw one top 200 list! Instead of taking that route, I've chosen to just list a few films from the 2010s that stood out as my favorites of the last decade. Each of these movies blew my mind, touched my soul, and otherwise made it impossible for me to forget them. I don't know if these were the best, but they're some of the movies I remember most from the decade past. These are not reviews, just a brief sentence or two about why I dig each movie, with links to more for those I've written about before. Here they are, presented in no order whatsoever, except of course leading off with a Michelle Pfeiffer film because that's how we roll around here.

mother! (Darren Aronofsky, 2017)
Aronofsky’s absorbing, anxiety-provoking assault on the senses. One of Michelle Pfeiffer’s most scorched earth performances—she deserved ALL the awards. Poor Jennifer Lawrence. “The sink’s not braced!!” Truly stunning.


Misspent Youth: Carol Lynley

Looking back at the pop culture mainstays of this Gen Xer's gloriously misspent youth.

The American actress Carol Lynley passed away earlier this year at 77, leaving behind a strong legacy on stage and in film. Born Carol Ann Jones in Manhattan in 1942, she began her career as a child model before seguing into acting. Lynley went on to star in several noteworthy film and television roles over the years, ranging from the controversial teen pregnancy drama Blue Denim (in which she starred on Broadway in 1958 and in the film version the following year) to the sex comedy Under the Yum Yum Tree (in 1963 alongside Jack Lemmon) to one of the most successful disaster movies of the 1970s, The Poseidon Adventure (1972). Lynley appeared in episodic television from Police Woman to Charlie's Angels, and the occasional TV movie, like 1972's The Night Stalker.

Wherever she appeared, Lynley made an impression. Blonde, blue-eyed, and stunningly beautiful, she brought a subtle grace and a c…

Misspent Youth: Linda Lovelace

Looking back at the pop culture mainstays of this Gen-Xer's gloriously misspent youth.

I was born smack in the middle of the "Me decade," the 1970s, so I missed 1972's sociocultural atom bomb, Deep Throat. Still, the most famous porn film in history sent shockwaves through the culture, the reverberations of which were felt long after the film left theaters. In the early 1980s, kids were still whispering its name, and the name of its legendary—and legendarily talented—star, Linda Lovelace. So, while it was several more years before some of us actually witnessed Lovelace's, um, talents, she was certainly a known commodity to kids my age.

Born Linda Susan Boreman in the Bronx in 1949, Lovelace first starred in a series of hardcore "loops" at the behest of her husband/manager/pimp Chuck Traynor. She went on to do a small clutch of films, both porn and otherwise, none more famous than Deep Throat. Traynor had discovered Boreman's astonishing talent for &…

All I Want for Christmas: Hurry Down the Chimney Tonight

Deck the halls and spike the eggnog, because it's time for another seasonal installment of All I Want for Christmas. I had high hopes to crank out a couple of them this year but we're nearing the finish line of the December holiday spring, so this might be it. My desire to do entries on Christmas movie favorites like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) and Black Christmas (1974) will have to wait 'til next year. This annual tradition began in 2017, when I asked Santa to deliver me the ridiculously awesome Joan Collins for Christmas. Then in 2018 came the eternal request for less elf on the shelf and more Elvira under the tree.

Now those legendary ghosts of All I Want for Christmas blog posts past are joined by the equally legendary Elizabeth Montgomery, filling in for Santa while wearing far less clothing than the big guy. I don't even care about the gifts; she can leave them on the roof, as long as she wears Mrs. Claus's younger sister's saucy yuletide getup. She gets…

Five Films: Scorsese

Martin Scorsese's nearly four-hour long crime epic The Irishman dropped on Netflix a few weeks back. It's already garnering awards talk, and while I can see certain aspects of the film being worthy of that praise—in terms of performances, Al Pacino steals the show—for the most part it was an utter slog to get through for this avowed Scorsese acolyte.

Let me clarify. I haven't truly loved a Scorsese movie in a very long time. However, his earliest 1970s films, all the way up to his 1990s work, have always been absolutely crucial to my love of movies. These were some of the first films that helped teach me the language of auteur cinema, shaping forever after how I would see, feel, process, absorb, and analyze film. So, go ahead and watch The Irishman if you have half a work day to kill. But please, follow up with some of Scorsese's best films as either a reminder or, if you've never seen them before, a mind-blowing introduction to the man's cinematic genius. Wit…