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Author Mike McCrann

  • Mike McCrann

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Faye Dunaway is ‘Mad as Hell’: New Book Chronicles the Making of ‘Network’

1977 was a great year for Faye Dunaway. She finally won her Academy Award for her blistering performance in the now-classic Network. Previously nominated for Bonnie and Clyde in 1967 and Chinatown in 1974, Dunaway was at the pinnacle of her career. Little did she know that the long slide to oblivion had already stared.
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Jane Fonda—Actress, Sex Kitten, Activist, Fitness Guru—Takes Home AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

Jane Fonda is probably the most polarizing celebrity in movie history. Praised as an actress, denounced as a traitor, Fonda has had more career changes than any actress to date, but she has come full circle. She was recently given the prestigious AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, and the ceremony was televised on TNT this past Saturday evening.
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Alice Will Always Live Here: Examining a Breakthrough in Early Feminism

1974 was a great year for American films, possibly the finest year of the entire decade. Chinatown, Godfather II, Woman Under the Influence—classic after classic that 40 years later still retain all their original luster. Of all the films released that year, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore probably has the most meaning and topicality. Ellen Burstyn won the Academy Award for her groundbreaking portrayal of Alice under the direction of Martin Scorsese in his first studio “A” list film.
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Marion Cotillard, Star of ‘The Immigrant’: An Actress at Her Peak

A goddess walks among us. She is 38, and she is not American. She is the French superstar Marion Cotillard—star of The Immigrant, in theatres now—and I have been bewitched by her since her amazing performance as Edith Piaf, which brought her the Academy Award back in 2008. I truly think that Marion Cotillard is the premiere actress of her generation. Every film she makes is unique and she is splendid in the varied characters she has played recently.
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Bad Movies: Make Them Stop!

American movies have reached their nadir. This past Monday I decided to go see the No. 1 movie from the past two weeks – Neighbors and The Other Woman. I can only say that Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges must be rolling in their graves. These two great comedy masters would have been appalled at what is passing for comedy in films today.

Neighbors: OK, I wanted to see Zac Efron in his shirtless scenes. Check. He looked great. But this raunchy comedy with Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as a married couple with a fraternity next door was beyond the pale. Both the NY Times and the L.A. Times gave this disaster positive reviews. Critics have compared it to Animal House as one of the best. Please. Read more…


Dearest Faye—Dunaway and Crawford

It’s difficult to say who received worse publicity—Joan Crawford for being a bad mother or Faye Dunaway for playing her in Mommie Dearest. As the ‘day of the mom’ is here, we thought it fitting to rerun the Mommie Dearest story in which Faye Dunaway’s great performance as the legendary Joan Crawford is finally given its due.

“Joan, thanks to Dunaway’s performance, manages to steal Christina’s story from beyond the grave.” —Eric Henderson, Slant magazine
 
“Why can’t you give me the respect that I’m entitled to?”  —Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford
  
For over 30 years, Mommie Dearest has been the high-camp champ of motion pictures. There have been a number of worthy contenders, like Valley of the Dolls and Showgirls, but gay movie fans have a special reverence for both Joan Crawford and Faye Dunaway, who took on the movie idol and lived to regret it. The film’s famous lines (almost any line in the film!) “No more wire hangers,” “Tina, bring me the axe,” etc., have entered camp nirvana. So why at this late date do we still need to talk about Mommie Dearest, and what more can be said? For starters, Faye Dunaway should be given the respect that she’s entitled to.
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Is It Possible to Choose the Best Bette Davis Performance?


Bette Davis has been a gay icon for decades. Next to Judy Garland, La Bette has probably inspired, entertained and thrilled more gays for years with her over the top performances and outlandish behavior.
 
Choosing the greatest Bette Davis performance will also probably inspire, entertain and outrage her many gay fans. So many choices. The most obvious are of course, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and All About Eve. These are the most famous Davis performances and each of them is a treasure. Beyond their camp value, Davis is remarkable in both films. Eve saved her career in 1950 and Jane prolonged it in 1962. Davis was nominated for Best Actress for both films. (She did not win either – see Oscar blogs on both the 1950 and 1962 Oscar races.)
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The Children’s Hour: A Cultural Dinosaur with Brilliant Hepburn, MacLaine Performances

“I feel so damn sick and dirty I can’t stand it anymore.” 
 —Shirley MacLaine, The Children’s Hour

There are so many gay characters on television and in the movies that most younger gays probably assume this has always been the case. With gay marriage marching proudly toward an eventual Supreme Court victory, it seems like a good time to go back in time and check out some of the first films that featured gay characters and themes.
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June Allyson: Hollywood’s June Bug

June Allyson is the TCM Star of the Month for May. Allyson was one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood during the ’40s and’50s. She was ‘The Girl Next Door’ in the ’40s at MGM and then the perfect wife in the ’50s where she freelanced successfully for most of the decade. June was also married to movie star Dick Powell from 1945 until his death in 1963.

But, as Robert Osborne writes in the TCM Guide, June carried a “two-prong secret that many Hollywood people knew, but never spoke about. June epitomized the kind of homespun girl that the boys in the military were fighting for, but the truth is this undeniable cutie was more accurately a femme fatale, much more in the Lana-Ava mode in real life. Many of her off-screen adventures kept the MGM studio publicists busy doing damage control. The other secret was that June was 26 when signed by MGM, but as she looked so young the studio shaved 10 years off her age.

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Cheyenne, Mon Amour!

We ran this love letter to Cheyenne Jackson a while back (last August), and it seems fitting to rerun it as things are definitely looking up for the gorgeous Mr. Jackson. He is currently Frontiers‘ cover boy, and his concert at Disney Hall is tomorrow night. Plus he seems much happier on a personal front, too, as he has moved to Los Angeles and there are rumors of a new boyfriend.

In his interview with Frontiers, Jackson summed up the past few months: “I always live by the adage ‘Your opinion of me is none of my business.’ That’s how I have looked at the whole situation the last couple of years.”
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