AS WE SIT here pondering this particular installment of the Annual American Film Institute Tribute Show, we can hardly believe that such a period of time has passed. It seems that it was only yesterday that Steve Martin was the hottest thing in the entertainment business. So then it is a very sobering thought when one realizes that his career now spans 40 years or so and he's been a bone fide Movie Star for most of that period.
OVER THE YEARS, his has been a career that was evolving, improving and, to use an oft used cliché. "re-inventing" itself. Whatever his experiences, hey served him well in moving up the Hollywood food chain from stand-up, to television then movie roles, writing and directing.
ALL OF THIS was well and goof, totally enjoyable. Whatever we can learn about the background of a performer is empowering to our understanding, appreciation and expansion of our knowledge of film history. No area of endeavor began with our interest in it and this is a good axiom to apply to movies.
THE CERY BEST portions of any special event like this is the extensive introspective interviews done directly with the honoree, himself. Mr. Steve Martin related how he literally worked hi way up from the most menial entertainment related jobs. From small amusement park theatricals such as at Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm, he learned and perfected his comic style and sense of timing. The banjo, juggling and the offbeat stage presence developed naturally.
NOW AS FOR what we consider to be the downside of shows like this.
IN ALL TOO many cases, the "special guests" doing all of the introductions and imparting such amusing anecdotes to the viewers seem to have an inclination to make it all about themselves. The whole show becomes a huge, overlong and super-sappy version of THIS IS YOUR LIFE. It's almost like one of those "On the Red Carpet: shows that precede the Oscars, the Emmys & even the Ridgeys.
YES, WE DID like all of the info imparted by this AFI show. IOt's just that it could be distilled down to about a half hour or so.
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