Random Critical Commentary.....
I didn't want to let too much time pass before talking just a bit more on "Beautiful, The Carole King Musical" that we saw last week on our one day visit to New York City.
The play has been running on Broadway for over four years and has also begun touring nationally. It tells the story of singer-songwriter Carole King, her life and romance with husband and collaborator Gerry Goffin, and, to a lesser degree, fellow songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The music that they wrote was the music of a generation that has spanned from the late 1950's and into the 1970's. If you are my age, there is a good chance that you owned King's seminal album "Tapestry" in your youth, and you no doubt still have it stashed away on one of your digital play lists.
The show was fun, lively, wonderfully performed and acted by the entire cast. This is a show that will undoubtedly be performed on the High School Musical circuit in the years ahead, even though today's high school students probably have no idea who Carole King is. It has everything that would make it perfect for high schools - great songs, lots of dancing opportunities, and a large cast.
A week before we saw the show, actress Chilina Kennedy returned to the title role. This is Ms Kennedy's second run as King in the show on Broadway, and while she did not originate the role, she has played the part longer than any other actress on B'way, and she has toured with the show as well. She bore an uncanny resemblance to the young Carole King, and she was simply terrific in the part. Her Playbill bio lists a lengthy summary of her acting credits. Like many actor and performers from the New York theatrical scene, she is no doubt unknown throughout most of the country, but she is amazingly talented, as was the entire cast of "Beautiful".
Shortly after we returned home, I purchased the Original Cast Recording of "Beautiful", so I can return to this wonderful show again and again, and I hope that I will have the opportunity to see it on stage again someday.
Last week we took in Steven Spielberg's 1982 classic, "E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial" as a part of the TCM Big Screen Classic series. The movie was as delightful now as it was 35 years ago, and I was glad to have the chance to watch it once again. While it was an amazing technical achievement when released, you could see how it might be different and perhaps a bit jazzier if made today, given the advances in CGI and other movie making technology. I hope, however, that no one ever attempts to remake this one. It is just about perfect as it is. Similarly, I am glad that Spielberg never chose to make a sequel to it. It was a huge money-making hit, so there were no doubt offers for him to do so.
My buddy, Dan Bonk, asked me if anyone in that movie went on to become a big star. The obvious answer to that question was Drew Barrymore. She was six years old when she played little sister, Gertie, and could not have been cuter. She has gone on to star in, produce, and even direct feature films in the thirty-five years since "E.T."
The real child star of "E.T.", though was eleven year old Henry Thomas, who played Elliott, the boy who found and befriended E.T. Thomas never became a big star, but he has steadily worked in movies and television ever since. IMDB show 62 acting credits for him. Perhaps the most well known films in which he has appeared were "Legends of the Fall" (1994) and "Gangs of New York" (2002). In 1990, he played a young Norman Bates in a TV movie called "Psycho IV: The Beginning", and in 1982, the year before "E.T." was released, he and Joe Greene played the title roles in "The Steeler and The Pittsburgh Kid", a TV movie based on Greene's famous Coca-Cola commercial.
Barrymore and Thomas (with Spielberg)
Then and Now
Last night we once again watched "The Big Sick", this time on DVD. When we saw this movie this past summer, I said at the time that it was the best movie that we had seen thus far in 2017, and seeing it again last night only reinforced that opinion. If you have not seen it, please do so soon. It is a terrific movie.
It is also worth seeing for the truly wonderful performance of Holly Hunter, who plays the mother of Emily. Hunter's performance is one of the best acting performances that I have seen all year, and she surely deserves an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in this one.