The Famous Families of the Longest Ride Cast

Posted on April 10, 2015 at 3:55 pm

The cast of this week’s big release, the Nicholas Sparks movie “The Longest Ride,” includes three actors with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars in their family trees. It’s a good reminder to check out some of their best films.

Scott Eastwood plays Luke, the rodeo rider. It is obvious from his face as well as his name that his father is Oscar-winning actor/producer/director Clint Eastwood. Here are three samples from Eastwood’s long and varied career.

Jack Huston plays Ira as a young man in the 1940’s. Houston comes from Hollywood royalty. His grandfather, great-grandfather, and aunt have all won Oscars. What’s really nice is that his grandfather, John Huston, was the director of both the Oscar-winning performances of his father, Walter Huston (in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”) and his daughter, Anjelica Huston (in “Prizzi’s Honor”).

Walter Huston won his Oscar for “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.”

But my favorite Walter Huston performance is in “Dodsworth.” The look on his face in the last scene is unforgettable.

John Huston directed some of the greatest films of all time, including “The Maltese Falcon,” “Key Largo,” and “The African Queen.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wjIAM0ixzY

He had some memorable acting roles, too, especially in “Chinatown.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPfrCIKhEoA

Jack’s aunt Anjelica starred in many films including “The Witches,” “The Addams Family” and its sequel, “The Grifters,” “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” and “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

And his uncle Danny starred in television’s “Magic City” and “American Horror Story” and played a key role in Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes.”

Ira’s wife is played by Oona Chaplin, whose grandfather and great-grandfather were two of the greatest talents of the 20th century. Her grandfather was Charlie Chaplin.

She is named for her grandmother, Oona O’Neill, the daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill.

And her mother is Geraldine Chaplin, who appeared in several films, including “Doctor Zhivago.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2EVab2FgLg

Ira as an old man is played by Alan Alda, who is also the son of a well-known performer, Robert Alda, who originated the role of Skye Masterson in the Broadway musical “Guys and Dolls.” Here he is doing a duet on an old television show.

You can see the progeny of these stars in “The Longest Ride” trailer.

And watch out for more next-generation performers coming soon!

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Actors Film History For Your Netflix Queue

Charlie Chaplin’s 100th Year of Movies

Posted on February 2, 2014 at 8:00 am

One hundred years ago this week, British music hall star Charlie Chaplin made his first Hollywood film, the silent “It’s a Living.”

It would be a little while before his classic character of the little tramp really came together.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu-rLA4POkI

He became an international superstar without saying a word.  He had unparalleled physical wit and timing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTt2f-DReYY

He could make you laugh and break your heart at the same moment.

Here the blind girl who thought he was a millionaire when she could not see, and knew him only by the touch of his hand, discovers that he is a poor man who gave up everything to pay for the operation to restore her sight.

His movies are still timely for their commentary on society.

Robert Downey, Jr. played him brilliantly in the biopic “Chaplin.”

I also recommend Stephen Weissman’s superb biography, Chaplin: A Life.

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Classic Comedy Shorts

Roller Skating on Film

Posted on October 3, 2009 at 8:00 am

Rotten Tomatoes salutes “Whip It” with a list of the best roller skating scenes in movies. My favorite is this one, with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers skating to “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”

And I also love Gene Kelly’s athletic tap dance on roller skates in “It’s Always Fair Weather.”

And also wonderful is Charlie Chaplin’s roller skating in “The Rink,” as graceful as dancing.

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For Your Netflix Queue Great Movie Moments

Michael Jackson: How Will He Be Remembered?

Posted on July 7, 2009 at 10:00 am

Michael Jackson was a complex and tragic figure. It seems that his memory is being splintered into a thousand shards. Always a showman and a shrewd manager of his brand, Jackson reputedly insisted that he be referred to on MTV as “The King of Pop,” and in today’s memorial, it is that part of his persona that will be saluted. But it is certain that we are in for an avalanche of sordid, inflammatory, and self-serving revelations from those around him.
I’ve seen two especially thoughtful commentaries that seem to me to be a counterweight to all of the fraught and overwrought media hysteria. The always-insightful Mark Jenkins wrote about the way the media has overplayed Jackson’s impact.

It’s been a long time since Michael Jackson penned a hit song, but he did write one last nationwide sensation: the script the mainstream media has followed since his death. Jackson, we’re told, was the “king of pop,” who had “the biggest selling album of all time,” and “broke MTV’s color line.” Every one of these dubious factoids was devised by Jackson or his agents.

And Stephen M. Weissman, the author of Chaplin: A Life, commented on Jackson’s fascination with Charlie Chaplin. The photo of Jackson dressed up as Chaplin is haunting.

Like Chaplin, Jackson also went on to literally become a world historical figure and iconically beloved to his worshipful fans and admirers. And, like Chaplin, Jackson eventually became enmeshed in scandals that nearly destroyed his career. And also like Chaplin, the nature of those scandals stemmed from their separate cases of arrested emotional development.

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