At the Movies: Foster, Granik, and Rudd
Opening on June 29 is the film “Leave No Trace”. BEN FOSTER, 37, stars as the father of a teenage daughter. For years, they live happily “off the grid” in a huge Oregon park. A mistake results in them being discovered and being placed in urban shelters by social services. They hate their new surroundings and attempt to return, together, to the wilderness. The director is DEBRA GRANIK, 55, who also directed “Winter’s Bone” (2010), a critically acclaimed film about the struggle of a poor Appalachian teen (Jennifer Lawrence) to hold her family together. Propelled by a good script, great direction, and a break though performance by Lawrence—this film hit most viewers “in the kishkas” even though the characters came from a milieu that is utterly unfamiliar to most Americans. I suspect Granik may work this same “magic” in “No Trace.”
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” features Marvel heroes with the incredible ability to shrink. PAUL RUDD, 49, who starred in the 2015 film, “Ant-Man,” reprises that title role in this film. Evangeline Lily, who had a co-starring role as the Wasp in the 2015 film, returns for the sequel. The plot has Ant-Man (AKA Scott Lang) torn between his new role as a husband and father and the call of duty when the Wasp says she really, really needs his help. The “Ant Man” films are lighter and more family friendly than most Marvel pics. (Opens Friday, July 6)
Over on Netflix
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, hands down, was the best host of a travel and cooking show. (Bourdain was the always-secular son of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father). However, PHIL ROSENTHAL’s Netflix series, “Somebody Feed Phil,” is at least in the same league as Bourdain’s shows. It is a witty and interesting look at the cultures and food of the worldwide places Rosenthal visits. The show’s complete second season starts streaming on July 6th. Rosenthal, 58, was the co-creator of the mega-hit, “Everybody Loves Raymond.” He has been married since 1990 to MONICA HORAN, 55, who played Amy, the wife of Raymond’s policeman brother in “Raymond.”
The second season of “Glow,” the hit comedy/drama about pro women’s wrestling begins on June 29. ALISON BRIE, 35, performance in the lead role earned her a Golden Globe nomination this year. Co-stars include MARC MARON, 54, and JACKIE TOHN, 36.
The hit Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” released its second season in May. This series has attracted controversy because of its focus on teen suicide. I haven’t wrote about it because I didn’t know, until quite recently, that the author of the book its based on, JAY ASHER, 42, has a Jewish father, and that a series star, BRANDON FLYNN, 24 (who plays Justin), has a Jewish mother.
On June 14, at a ceremony in New York, ALLEE WILLIS, 70, was inducted into the prestigious Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. Eight songwriters were inducted this year, with Willis being the only woman. A multi-media artist, Willis is best known for writing such mega-hits as “I’ll Be There for You” (the theme from “Friends”), “Neutron Dance” (a Pointer Sisters hit); “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” (hit for the Pet Shop Boys); and “September” (Earth, Wind & Fire hit).
The “Boston Herald” reports that Willis won over the crowd by first telling a few real-life stories, including an amusing tale about how the sex life of a frisky female friend was an inspiration for many of her songs. Then Willis responded to the “elephant-in-the room”—that she was the only female inductee. She said: “I really started thinking about how, at the time, mentally painful it was that the girls were not getting the chances the boys were. So I just want to say, 'We're here. We've always been here. And we're no longer the little wilting flowers that we were when it comes to equality.' So wipe off the seats because here we come."
Country songwriter STEVEN DORFF, 69, was in tears as he listened to an induction speech delivered by his son, actor STEPHEN DORFF, 44. The elder Dorff’s hits include “Every Which Way but Loose” (Eddie Rabbitt hit) and “Through the Years” (Kenny Rogers hit).
NEIL DIAMOND, 77, received the Hall’s Johnny Mercer Award. It is given to a songwriter who already has been inducted into the Hall (Diamond was inducted in 1984), for “a history of outstanding creative work.” Diamond closed out the ceremony by performing a rousing version of his mega-hit “Sweet Caroline.”
As this column was going to "press", it was announced that "The Roseanne Show", minus ROSEANNE BARR, would return for a second season. Its likely that SARAH GILBERT, who plays Roseanne's daughter, Darlene, will be a primary focus of second season episodes.