Favorite stars in television and movies

Who is your favorite friend that you met in 1977 at a Halloween party in New Paltz?

Cate BlanchettThe evil Tom the Mayor, who I know from FantaCo wants to know: Who is your all-time favorite Movie Star, Male and Female, one only apiece? Also Favorite TV Stars, same rule, one apiece.

First off, the line between television and film has blurred tremendously. You find performers easily bouncing between the two media. But OK.

Movie star (male): after considering Mark Ruffalo and George Clooney, I ended up with Denzel Washington. He’s the actor who I’ve seen both early on and relatively recently: Cry Freedom (1987), Glory (1989); Mississippi Masala (1991); Malcolm X (1992); Philadelphia (1993); The Pelican Brief (1993); Crimson Tide (1995).

Also, Devil in a Blue Dress (1995); The Preacher’s Wife (1995); The Hurricane (1999); Remember the Titans (2000); The Manchurian Candidate (2004); Unstoppable (2010); and Fences (2016). There were two or three others I might have caught if I had had the time.

Movie star (female): ignoring Streep, for cause: Cate Blanchett, who often disappears into her roles. I’ve seen her in Oscar and Lucinda (1997); Elizabeth (1998); The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999); The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001); The Shipping News (2001); Notes on a Scandal (2006); Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007); Blue Jasmine (2013); Cinderella (2015); Carol (2015); and Ocean’s Eight (2018).

TV star (male): the late James Garner, who played two iconic roles, Bret Maverick in the western Maverick, and private detective Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files. He also became the father figure in 8 Simple Rules after John Ritter died and lasted longer – a couple seasons – than any show losing its protagonist normally would.

TV star (female): excluding Betty White, I’ll go with the late Mary Tyler Moore, who was Laura Petrie in the Dick Van Dyke Show, a series I have on DVD. Then she was Mary Richards on her eponymously-named show.

Huh, I answered a similar question almost nine years ago.

Another question, this from Judy: Who is your favorite friend that you met in 1977 at a Halloween party in New Paltz?

That was a REALLY long time ago. You don’t expect me to remember that far back, do you?

Movie review: Fences, based on August Wilson’s play

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were Tony winners in the 2010 Broadway version of Fences.

The movie Fences is quite extraordinary. Some critic said it may be the best self-directed film ever, with Denzel Washington as not only star and director, but producer as well.

Troy Maxson (Washington), a garbage collector in 1950s Pittsburgh, who had dreams, and arguably the talent, to have been a major league baseball player, had integration in the sport come sooner. His wife Rose (the magnificent Viola Davis) tries to keep him and their the working-class family ship afloat.

Fences is an adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer-and-Tony-award-winning play. Continue reading “Movie review: Fences, based on August Wilson’s play”

MOVIE REVIEWS: Unstoppable, and Tangled

In the very beginning of the story, Flynn talks about the day of his death; interesting, that, in the dark tradition of Disney stories.


The 2010 movie Unstoppable, which I saw with my wife on Black Friday in Oneonta in lieu of actual shopping, is a very competently-made thriller about a runaway train with toxic chemicals, and the heroic efforts of a couple railroad hands, a veteran (played by Denzel Washington) and a guy just out of training (Chris Pine, who played young James T. Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek movie) in stopping said train. It reviewed surpringly well, especially with the top critics. My wife’s stomach was in knots most of the way through, and mine wasn’t, but I enjoyed it as a pleasant diversion. “Pleasant?” my wife wondered aloud. Jaquandor’s take on the movie pretty much nailed it.

The movie was a production of Tony Scott, who last year created the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, which I did not see, also starring Denzel Washington; from what I read, Unstoppable is the better movie, though it has no real villain, only a particularly incompetent worker.

I’m quite interested in the fact that the movie was based on an actual incident that took place on May 15, 2001. Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEWS: Unstoppable, and Tangled”

30-Day Challenge: Day 1 – Favorite Actor

Who would I pay to go to see in most anything they were in?


I took on this 30-day challenge because I thought it would be interesting. And, just as important, quick and easy. But I got stuck on the first question.

I assume “actor” is gender neutral in this case.

Starting to parse the category, I began with theater actors. But I don’t really see stage actors that often, though in fact this year’s Tony nominations feature a lot of familiar names from TV and movies.

Favorite television performer: I could pick actors I watched in more than one series: Bob Newhart (Bob Newhart Show, Newhart); James Garner (Maverick, The Rockford Files); Mary Tyler Moore (Dick van Dyke Show, MTM Show); Jimmy Smits (L.A. Law, NYPD Blue). There are others who qualify because of other functions Continue reading “30-Day Challenge: Day 1 – Favorite Actor”