Paul Scheer sheds some light on The Room, lets us in on a secret in The Disaster Artist, and answers your questions. Plus, we explore the origins of midnight movies and take a look at IMDb's Top 10 Stars of 2017.
A charming, gentle sitcom from the mid-1990s, My Good Friend starred
George Cole as Peter, a lonely old man living with his daughter and her
husband, and all too aware that his presence in their house was an
unwelcome irritation for them. Feeling very lonely and at a permanent
loose end, he meets the similarly melancholy Harry (Richard Pearson),
with whom he strikes up a tentative friendship. Then the two of them
encounter young single mother Ellie (Minnie Driver), and her son, with
whom the two old gents start to spend their days; as time goes on, the
three main characters find themselves fulfilling the various gaps in
each others' lives
My Good Friend is a very little known, low budget ITV programme that
has totally slipped into obscurity over the last few years, and
undeservedly so; a thoughtful, realistic sitcom (albeit one rightly
devoid of a laughter track) that showed wit in its writing but was more
remarkable for its touchingly realistic look at a couple of very lonely
old pensioners. Cole and the lesser-known character actor Pearson were
both splendidly natural in the lead parts, but the show's first season
was especially notable in that it featured Minnie Driver in one of her
earliest starring roles, only a year before she decamped to the US and
started to hit it big in Hollywood with films like Grosse Pointe Blank
and Good Will Hunting. Driver was wonderful in My Good Friend, and, as
a dreamy teenager, I fell in love with her warm, kind-hearted single
mother character, a young woman (Driver was only in her early twenties
when the show was made) with the weight of the world on her shoulders,
but one who also manages to find the time to provide care and
friendship for two very lonely old men.
Unfortunately, with Driver unavailable for the second series, she was
replaced as Ellie by the considerably older Lesley Vickerage, whose
more conventional mid-thirties take on the single mother character made
the show much less interesting, and an already slow-paced and mercurial
sitcom started to seem quite pointless. Unsurprisingly, the second
series was also the last. Like Ben Chaplin's performance as agoraphobic
sociopath Matt Malone in the first series of the foul-mouthed
flat-share sitcom Game On (produced in Britain at around at the same
time), Driver's performance was the main reason My Good Friend was
interesting enough to watch, and without her, the show lost its
sparkle, in the same way that Game On lost its edge when Chaplin went
to the US to star in a The Truth About Cats And Dogs with Uma Thurman,
and was replaced in his part by the horrid, charmless Neil Stuke.
My Good Friend sadly isn't available on DVD, but if you should ever get
the chance to see series one of the sitcom, try and catch it, if only
for Driver's star-making turn.
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