The television program I always watch between Christmas and New Years is the Kennedy Center Honors; it is generally quite entertaining. “The Honors recipients [are] recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts-whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television…” The event took place on Sunday, December 2. The Gala will be broadcast on CBS on December 26, 2012, at 9:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT.
The awardees this year are Buddy Guy, Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Natalia Makarova, and Led Zeppelin.
I admit not knowing much about ballerina/choreographer Natalia Makarova.
The selection of talk show host David Letterman really surprised me. I like him well enough, but his gift just didn’t seem to be at the level of many of the past selections. Maybe it’s that it seems premature; in another decade. Maybe.
Historically, the choices tend to be people such as Buddy Guy, who is a blues pioneer. He has “been a tremendous influence on virtually everyone who’s picked up an electric guitar in the last half-century, including [Eric] Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Slash, ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Mayer.” Here he is playing Sweet Home Chicago. I have only two or three of his albums.
Speaking of Jimmy Page, I have a LOT of albums from Led Zeppelin: the first four albums, and some others, on vinyl; a box set on CD. Additionally, I have four or five solo albums by Robert Plant, his duos with Page and with Alison Krauss, and even a cassette of Plant’s group The Honeydrippers.
It’s Dustin Hoffman, though, who, like Buddy Guy, is the archetypical selection. A LONG career with a lot of success. Hoffman movies I’ve seen:
The Graduate, 1967 – the only one I saw on video, and only in the last four years; I’ve owned the soundtrack for decades.
Midnight Cowboy, 1969 – I saw this four times in the first year or so after its release. Has one of my favorite quotes: “I’m WALKING here!”
Lenny, 1974 – much of what I first knew of Lenny Bruce, i learned from this
All the President’s Men, 1976 – the Watergate film which gave me hope about a free press since dissipated
Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979 – the first “divorce movie” I recall
Tootsie, 1982 – apparently, Hoffman was a PITA making this film, which he poured into the Michael (pre-Tootsie)character
Death of a Salesman (TV movie), 1985 – first version of this I ever saw
Rain Man, 1988 – possibly Tom cruise’s best role, plus a great soundtrack
Wag the Dog, 1997 – a faux war made plausible
Finding Neverland, 2004
I Heart Huckabees, 2004 – did not love this
Meet the Fockers, 2004
Stranger Than Fiction, 2006 – definitely the best film I’ve seen that Will Farrell made