Kennedy Center: EWF; Sally; Linda; Sesame St; MTT

Field, Ronstadt, Tilson Thomas

The 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors will air Sunday, December 15 – earlier than usual – at 8 p.m. EST. CBS has broadcast the special each year since its debut. The event will take place on December 8. Earth, Wind & Fire; Sally Field; Linda Ronstadt; Sesame Street; and Michael Tilson Thomas will be celebrated.

Michael Tilson Thomas

Michael Tilson ThomasAmerican conductor, pianist and composer Michael Tilson Thomas is a familiar name. He is currently music director of the San Francisco Symphony, though he announced in 2017 that he would step down in 2020. He’s also “artistic director of the New World Symphony, an American orchestral academy based in Miami Beach, Florida.”

He has his own YouTube channel. NPR mentions him frequently. A 2019 article in Vulture describes him a “disrupter who’s become the comfortable center.”

Michael Tilson Thomas is the only one in this group that had not appeared in this blog before now.

Sally Field

I wrote an extensive post about Sally Field in November 2016 when she turned 70. I’d seen her in everything from Gidget to Sybil to Brothers and Sisters. And she’s still working.

Earth, Wind & Fire

Their introduction on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame page says it well. Earth, Wind & Fire “took jazz, soul, gospel, pop and more and wrapped them in one psychedelic, mystical package.” The band was founded in Chicago by the late Maurice White in 1969.

Rolling Stone offered up 12 essential songs. My personal favorite is Fantasy, as I explained. I own the box set of their music.

You might recognize the name Philip Bailey, the falsetto vocalist, who sang a duet with Phil Collins on Easy Lover.

Linda Ronstadt

My admiration for Linda is huge. For her sixtieth birthday, I explained why I bought her box set when I already owned so much of her music. I advocated that she be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was rightly inducted in 2014.

When she turned 70, I listed about three dozen of my favorite songs by her. I touted the documentary about her, which played at a local theater for months.

Sesame Street

I’ll admit it; I watched Sesame Street when I was in college, as I noted in 2011. The beloved children’s television show was shaped by the African-American communities in Harlem and beyond. Of course, I bought the 10th anniversary music album.

Farmers Insurance has been running a series of ads featuring the Muppets. Take a look at the website and the music of Sesame Street. The USPS to release stamps in honor of show’s 50th anniversary.

Since he won’t be at the event, I suppose I can share, from Business Insider back in 2017: “‘Sesame Street’ has been mocking Trump since 1988 — here are some of the best moments.”

Actress Sally Field turns 70

She played the matriarch on the TV series Brothers & Sisters.

normaraeI’ve watched Sally Field in more projects than almost anyone. I could quote her famous line – no, just imagine that I did.

Gidget, (TV, 1965-66) – I’m sure I watched her as a surfing teen in at least some episodes. Yikes, 50 years ago.

Hey, Landlord (1967) – in the latter stages, she played the visiting sister of a guy who inherits his uncle’s apartment building.

The Flying Nun (TV, 1967-1970) – I watched, fairly religiously, the antics of the nun wearing an improbably aerodynamic habit. Sister Bertrille was an innocent but always wanted to do the right thing. She had to keep her special abilities hidden from her Mother Superior. The ability to fly, which I dreamed about even before watching this, may be a core fantasy.

The Girl with Something Extra (1973-1974)- you know you’ve made it on when the character has your real first name. I only vaguely recall watching this one about newlyweds (the groom was John Davidson), but she had ESP. Shades, sort of, of Bewitched.

Sybil (1976) – no one, certainly not I was ready for her in this two-part miniseries playing a woman with multiple personalities. Our Gidget? I haven’t seen it since it first aired, and I’d be curious how it holds up. She won her first Emmy for this.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977), The End (1978), Hooper (1978), Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) – I had a girlfriend at the time, Susan, who was smart and sophisticated, and LOVED Burt Reynolds. Sally Field was dating Burt and showed up in his films. I recall particularly enjoying The End, which was a comedy about someone trying to commit suicide after a bad diagnosis.

Norma Rae (1979) – she won her first Oscar for playing “a textile worker who agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved”

Absence of Malice (1981) – she was nominated for a Golden Globe for this movie starring Paul Newman.

Places in the Heart (1984) – Sally wins her second Oscar, for playing a woman trying to hold on to a cotton field in the 1930s South, and gives her immortal quote at the ceremonies.

Murphy’s Romance (1985) – a May/October romance, with James Garner; pleasant, as I recall

Punchline (1988) – Sally and Tom Hanks are allies, then rivals, in the cutthroat world of stand-up comedy. I remember this as a bitter film with an uneven tone.

Steel Magnolias (1989) – the bond of women working in a hair salon. Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, Julia Roberts, and the colorful Shirley MacLaine.

Soapdish (1991) – the cutthroat world of TV soap operas. I recall liking it.

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) – I bought the contrivance that the ex-wife (Sally) doesn’t recognize her ex-husband (Robin Williams), and really liked this film

Forrest Gump (1994) – this movie made me cranky for a number of reasons, only one of which is Sally playing Tom Hanks’ mother when she’s only 10 years older than he is

The Court (TV, 2002) – it lasted a handful of episodes

ER (TV)- she won an Emmy in 2001 and was nominated in 2003 for guest appearances on the medical show. I didn’t always watch the series but I did when she was on.

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003) – The first one was OK, but this is NOT a good movie. Sally plays a Congresswoman

Brothers & Sisters (TV, 2006–2011) – she played the matriarch. Her adult children (Dave Annable, Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths, Matthew Rhys, Balthazar Getty) all have complicated lives. I was a sucker for this show and watched almost every episode.

I wrote in this blog that it was the family-owned business, and the dysfunction that it brings, that intrigued me. It’s about a guy who owns a produce business; he dies in the first episode, and the succession plan doesn’t always go as he planned, with his elder daughter in charge, much to the resentment of at least one of his sons. And it’s the sibling dynamic that fueled the show.

Sally Field won an Emmy in 2007 and was nominated in 2008 and 2009. By the last season, she was executive director of the show.

Lincoln (2012) – she was rightly nominated for an Oscar for playing Mary Todd Lincoln, Abe’s wife

Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015) – I enjoyed this

And she’s made countless guest appearances, many I’ve seen.

In February 2017, she will be appearing in The Glass Menagerie on Broadway.

One of those bits in her IMBD page– Quote: My agent said, “You aren’t good enough for movies”. I said, “You’re fired.”

Evidently, I’m very fond of Sally Field.

Movie Review: Hello, My Name Is Doris

Hello, My Name Is Doris has a hint of recognition of people I know in real life.

dorisSince I really like Sally Field, the Wife and I decided to see her new starring vehicle, Hello, My Name Is Doris, at the Spectrum Theatre, on a Monday matinee. The IMDB description is refreshingly succinct: “A self-help seminar inspires a sixty-something woman to romantically pursue her younger co-worker.”

Doris had put her life on hold before that seminar by Willy Williams (Peter Gallagher), which she attended with her best friend Roz (the ever solid Tyne Daly). Her boss Sally (Natasha Lyonne) had recently introduced the staff to the new art director, John (Max Greenfield), who is half her age. He also has a nice girlfriend named Brooklyn (Beth Behrs).

With the assistance of Roz’s granddaughter (Isabella Acres), Doris becomes tech savvy enough to discover John’s hangouts.

Meanwhile, Doris is being pressured by her brother and sister-in-law (Stephen Root, Wendi McLendon-Covey) to sell the house she shared with her late mother. They encourage/nag her to see a therapist (Elizabeth Reaser) to deal with her problem with clutter.

I really need to try harder to avoid the reviews for movies I might be interested in seeing, even the 85% positive ones from Rotten Tomatoes. One review suggested that Doris Miller was just a stereotype of a wacky older woman. I thought she was far more nuanced that that, though she DID have ONE cat.

Another critic said that John should have figured out that Doris was romantically interested in him. I don’t believe that AT ALL. Doris had been, in many ways, all but invisible.

Doris was working in a dead end job, staying in town to take care of her mother, whose funeral pretty much starts the film. She was cast in the caretaker role for years, delaying her own dreams.

I recommend Hello, My Name Is Doris. There were some laughs, and a couple groans, but more than that, a hint of recognition of people I know in real life in the title character.

Drug Ad Interdiction

My favorite celebrity ad featured former US Senator (R-Kansas), and 1996 Presidential candidate BobDole for something called ED.

 

One of my colleagues REALLY hates those commercials featuring non-medical celebrities who hawk prescription medicines. For instance, if she develops osteoporosis, she’s not going to use Boniva just because actress Sally Field has recommended it in a series of advertisements; I assume she actually has the condition. Among other things, some Boniva ads are misleading, according to Consumer Reports. Google Sally Field Boniva and you’ll see Sally Field – The Boniva Drug Pimp, and other less than flattering characterizations.

Now, actress Blythe Danner is plugging a similar product, Prolia, for a condition she has. The elaborate staging of Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom is unconvincing from a viewer’s POV. Actress Janine Turner, who has chronic dry eye, used to promote Restasis.

Of course, my favorite celebrity ad featured former US Senator (R-Kansas), and 1996 Presidential candidate BobDole for something called ED. The initials are made up by the pharmaceutical companies, in part to avoid addressing embarrassing topics, in this case, erectile dysfunction, a/k/a impotence, for which he was taking Viagra after prostate cancer surgery. But initials are more memorable in pharmaceutical advertising. Indeed the direct-to-consumer drug ads prompt patients ask their doctor for various prescriptions, generally more than what is medically necessary.

I so wish the flood of pharmaceutical ads would end in the US. But we’re quite unlikely to see that genie put back into the bottle.