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Honorees missing from this list include General Robert Wood Johnson (Class of 2008). Harriet Tubman (Class of 2008). Lieutenant Brian Brennan (Class of 2009). Michael Graves (Class of 2010). James D'Heron (Class of 2010). Detective Marc DiNardo (Class of 2010). Former New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne (Class of 2011). Leon Hess (Class of 2011). Victims of the September 11, 2001 (Class of 2011). Samuel Newhouse (Class of 2012). Raymond G. Chambers (Class of 2013). Joetta Clark Diggs (Class of 2013). J. Seward Johnson (Class of 2013) Thomas Paine (Class of 2013). Kathleen DiChiara (Class of 2013). Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Class of 2014). Maud Dahme (Class of 2014). Bernard Marcus (Class of 2015)
Has My Son Polished Your Trophy Wife?
Orson Bean guest stars as Norman whose wife is friendly with Charlie. He makes quite an impression in this one episode role. Norman visits the Harper home one weekend. The episode starts with Jake reading about the events of the last weekend. Norman visits looking for his cheating wife. He encounters everybody in the household especially Evelyn. She gives the classic line and there are other classic lines in this episode. When Jake needs to pee, his father suggests a bush than the house. Alan replies "I can't afford to send you to therapy for the rest of your life." Jake's biggest concern is finding his Gameboy. Jake asks Norman him about it and he replies "Have you seen my wife?" It's just enjoyable and memorable episode.
I Am Cait (2015)
Goodbye Bruce! Hello Caitlyn!
Well I had my doubts about this reality focusing on Bruce Jenner's transformation to Caitlyn Jenner. It was actually enjoyable and enlightening. For about forty years, Bruce Jenner was a part of our culture. He is a household name and now he is becoming a she. As a society, we are coming to terms with the transformation from male Bruce to female Caitlyn. She does seem more comfortable than as Bruce. The first episode features Caitlyn meeting his mother and two youngest daughters. I would encourage to auction off Bruce's clothes to benefit charity. It would raise lots of money. Caitlyn is quite brutally honest and candid even more so here. We get the real person behind Caitlyn. If Bruce had done this transformation thirty years ago, we would have been shocked. We have changed in society. Maybe that's a good thing, let and let live.
Sir Daniel Day-Lewis' Well Deserved Third Academy Award!
Sir Daniel Day Lewis was well awarded for playing sixteenth American President Abraham Lincoln. The film is based on Presidential Scholar Doris Kearns Goodwin's award winning novel, "Team of Rivals." Spielberg does a brilliant job in recreating history which is not always an easy task. Sally Field was a wise choice to play Mary Todd Lincoln. Sure they could have casted a younger actress but I'm glad that Sally got another chance at a third Oscar. The cast is a dream come true with great performances by everybody all around. The film is about recreating history particularly with the Emancipation Proclamation in abolishing slavery and ending a dark time in American history. The film can be slow at times while there is plenty of dialogue too.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham (2013)
Why Did This Film Get Buried?
This movie is based on the book by Christopher Paul Curtis, a well respected children's author. The movie is about an African American family living in Detroit, Michigan who spend the summer in Birmingham, Alabama. The Watson children don't know about Jim Crow laws and segregation in the South. The children soon learn about the civil rights movement and discrimination. A scene like in the diner where the waitress tells them to go in the back or the cinema where whites and blacks are separated from each other. The film has a harrowing climax with the reality of the church bombing. The Watsons have made a life in the North but their Southern relatives face discrimination and segregation on a daily basis. This film is appropriate viewing for children. In fact, the movie and book could be used in the classroom.
The Partridge Family (1970)
Come on Get Happy
Oscar winner Shirley Jones and her actual son, David Cassidy, play mother and son Partridge in this sitcom. Mother Shirley Partridge is a California widow with five children: Keith, Laurie, Danny, Chris and Tracy.There were two actors to play Chris in the series. Danny who was my favorite decides to get his family into the music business. Danny is the most entertaining and knows how to get to Reuben Kincaid (Dave Madden). This sitcom is really family entertainment with guest stars like Ray Bolger, Harry Morgan, Meredith Baxter, Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett, and more. The sitcom was light-hearted and well meaning for its audiences. I remember watching the show on my summer breaks in syndication. I always wanted to be Tracy. I hands crush on Danny though.
Easy Virtue (2008)
A Great Cast But Weak Script!
I have to say that my only exposure to Sir Noel Coward's work was seeing the London production of "Hay Fever" with Dame Judi Dench and an all star cast in it's final performance. This film is based on a play by Coward. He enjoys mocking the hypocrisies of the upper class and aristocracy. In this film version, a wild American widow Larita marries into an uptight old British family. Colin Firth and Dame Kristen Scott Thomas plays the in-laws. Jessica Biel plays Larita. The film has some comedic and dramatic moments. Her in-laws are bewildered and amused by her. The film is done on location. The cast are first rate. The storyline especially Coward's plays are dated by today's standards.
Nine is Alive!
Daniel Day-Lewis plays Guido, an Italian film director in the sixties. Lewis is surrounded by a first rate cast. Dame Judi Dench plays Lili, his costume designer and confidante. She is quite good at singing Moulin Rouge. His mother is played by legendary and ageless Sophia Loren. Fergy plays and sings a song. Kate Hudson is adequate as the American journalist and sings "Cinema Italiano." Marion Cotillard plays his long suffering wife while Penelope Cruz plays his mistress. The film is Rob Marshall's follow up from his "Chicago." While the cast and crew are first rate, the film seems to be lacking a storyline ad to Guido. The cast and crew appear to have a good time though.
Long Live The Diva!
Wilhelmina Fernandez plays an American opera singer who has never recorded her performances. Jules is a Parisian postal carrier and an opera enthusiast who secretly tapes her but for himself. Then there is a second tape by a woman who gets murdered. She has a secret worth killing for. There is entry of suspense and melodrama here especially between the soprano and Jules, an unlikely romance. This film has plenty of memorable moments whether it is the chase in the Metro or the opera scenes. Paris still looks the same as when I last visited it in 2007. Paris is timeless in this early eighties film. I enjoy seeing the opera house and other locations in Paris.
Son of the Pink Panther (1993)
Entertaining Not Much Else!
Roberto Benigni would have gone on to win an Oscar for "Life is Beautiful" few years later. The film takes place in French Rivera. Roberto plays a local police inspector who lives with his mother. When Princesd Yasmin gets kidnapped, Benigni stumbled on by accident. The storyline is problematic at times but still enjoyable. Veteran Panther actors like Herbert Lom, Claudia Cardinale, and Burt Kwouk back. Roberto is the son of the original pink panther and he carries on Peter Sellers' legacy of physical comedy. Benigni does his job well as the son of the pink panther with his goofy expressions and physical sense of humor.
August: Osage County (2013)
Life is very long!
I saw the Broadway production with Estelle Parsons (Violet); John Cullum (Beverly); and Elizabeth Ashley (Mattie Fae) in 2008. I had read the play prior so I knew the surprises but it didn't take away from the play. The film does justice to the story even with forty minutes edited out of time. The film casting here is perfect but I wonder what the original cast would have added to the film adaptation. While Meryl and Julia earned their nominations, I felt that Deanna Dunagan and Amy Morton deserved their chance on the big screen as Violet and Barbara. Margo Martindale did a fine job as Mattie Fae but Rondi Reed would have been the original. While the film stays true to the story, Meryl is believable as the toxic Violet Weston. Julia Roberts has matured as an actress and can stand in a scene with Streep or anybody else. The film and stage version is not for immature audiences as the writer touches on sensitive subjects. The stage production featured a three story set where it can be difficult for a community theater. The film doesn't need to worry about that issue. The film moves through at a good pace but you wonder about what happened to the family after.