Tag Archives: Academy Award

Elizabeth Taylor: A Kid Remembers Her Movies

Screenshot of Elizabeth Taylor from the traile...

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It was the easy-going world of the late 1950’s. I was a kid, TV was free, our household got two Chicago newspapers a day (my parents didn’t want to miss a thing) and movies were about 75 cents for adults (much less in smaller towns). I wasn’t even close to an adult yet but I wanted to go see the Elizabeth Taylor movie Cat On A Hot Tin Roof because I guess I thought it had something to do with cats. My folks filled me in on the movie in cryptic fashion like adults tended to do in the 50’s stating it was an adult film with Elizabeth Taylor, end of discussion.  I thought it would be cool to see an adult film, my parents thought differently.

You see in the “old” days, parents actually decided what movies their kids could see, instead of the movie police. In many instances back then,  parents were a lot tougher on movie viewing for their kids than any R, G, PG system that would eventually be adopted. I was allowed of course, to see National Velvet on TV.  Elizabeth Taylor was so beautiful in that movie and I begged my parents for a horse. Promising to groom it daily, exercise it in our miniscule city backyard and board it in our garage. No dice.

The only reason all these memories came flooding back to me today was of course, the news that Elizabeth Taylor has died today. From the perspective of a young female child, I thought she was talented, glamorous and lucky to be in movies with horses and dogs (Lassie). It wasn’t until I was much older that I witnessed the rather complicated life she had lived. Here was a child star who grew up in front of the public who adored her for her professional life and at the same time condemned her for her private life.

Taylor said in an interview a few years back that the gossip bothered her a great deal and she would often go and cry by herself.  But she admitted she made mistakes in her life and was not happy with some of the things she had done. Not making excuses she said simply “I am me.” Taylor took up the AIDS cause long before it became fashionable. Even when her own health was failing she still raised millions for AIDS and other gay and lesbian causes.

It’s not only sad that Elizabeth Taylor the film legend has died but she really is the last icon of that era. The Hollywood movie star era is over and all the glitz and glamour that goes with it. One only has to look to the recent Academy Awards last month to see that unfunny and weirdness are in and sophistication, class and glamour are gone.

I did finally get to see Cat On A Hot Tin Roof when I was much older and my parents were right, it wasn’t about cats at all.  Rest In Peace to a movie star–in the truest meaning of the word.

(While the movie is still great you can probably see it on a number of movie channels with our 24 hr. viewing opportunities now-a-days. I however, always thought the book was better than the movie adaption but I always loved the writing of Tennessee Williams. You can get the book here; http://amzn.to/1nbLZOB and my dog eared copy has been read a few times. I am an Amazon affiliate so I do get a tiny percentage if you purchase through my link. I’m sure you can find a used one too.)

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The 83rd Academy Awards with the ‘hip’ unfunny people

Cropped screenshot of Bob Hope from the traile...

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The 83rd Academy Awards Program was supposed to appeal to a younger demographics. The hosting duo of Anne Hathaway and James Franco even joked about the ‘hip’ quotient ( Note to producers; if you have to tell us something is going to be hip-it’s not) The word joked was actually quite a stretch. I don’t know if the humor was lacking because of the writing, the delivery, the timing or the fact that these two hosts just didn’t get it. The Academy awards is not supposed to be a vaudeville act or open mike night at the comedy club.

The Academy Awards is supposed to be a big deal. So, I think big deal people should be at the helm. A host or hostess than can command the attention and respect of this crowd is what was needed and sorely lacking. These are, for the most part,  A list movie stars and they need to be entertained by an A list star.  In between the boredom and inappropriateness of some of the acceptance speeches and the awkward on stage moments (like Kirk Douglas), there needs to be a giant in the industry to sort of even-the-keel and smooth over the rough patches, preferably with humor.

I would call it stage presence and more. The host or hostess has to have been through it all in Hollywood. Paid his or her dues to be able to relate to this audience with authority. Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Jack Lemon, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Ellen DeGeneres. They all had “it”.  It wasn’t just the humor, which was great when they all hosted but their peers, as well as much of the viewing public looked up to them because of their accomplishments. Were they hip?  I really don’t think most people would utter hip and Oscars in the same breath. 

I’m not saying Anne Hathaway isn’t a beautiful girl and she seemed pleasant and all smiles and appeared to try really hard. But it seemed forced and overly scripted and not her fault that producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer picked her and Franco to “Give the Oscars a facelift.” Franco didn’t seem to be trying too hard and it was obvious he was totally out of  his element. They both might be in the movies but are far from Hollywood Stars and even farther from being comedians. I guess this year, I felt the whole show lacked class.  And no matter how much money you pour into a televised awards show, you can’t buy class. You can evidently,  buy “hip” but just like a facelift, it doesn’t always work.

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