Joseph Bologna passed away last week. Funny name, huh? Never heard of him?

Maybe he wasn’t a huge movie star, but his achievements were quality, if not quantity.

People behind the scenes aren’t as celebrated as those who appear on the screen. Joe did both. Besides acting in many movies he wrote and directed some pretty popular works. In many of these, his wife (Renee Taylor) was his creative partner.

Joe Bologna with Renee Taylor

Husband-and-wife team of Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor.

I stopped to think of all the pleasure Joe had given me, mainly from a sentimental favorite of mine, “My Favorite Year.”

This 1982 movie isn’t remembered by many — not like Casablanca or The Wizard of Oz. But it is a gem and meant a lot to me. It’s a great piece of writing and acting, as well as a nostalgia piece and a tribute to one of the greatest shows ever to air on TV in the golden age, and a tribute to several great talents that made that show great and went on to do other great things.

Premiere Magazine (a big glossy magazine I call “The Rolling Stone Of Movies”) voted this movie as one of “The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time” back in 2006. Of course, I agreed with them.

The movie is a behind-the-scenes story of a comedy variety show based on “Your Show of

Read more on “My Favorite Year” Actor Joe Bologna — RIP…

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The Academy Awards show will be the talk of the world tomorrow. Unlike most programs on television (even awards programs) the Oscar ceremony is not presented for the people watching it on TV but the live audience in the room — the movie business insiders.

And as in all awards shows (and many other facets of life) I am against competition. We have turned everything in our lives into a contest with winners and losers, and a decision on who is the best.

But — does the Oscar itself matter?

Do you think the Oscar award goes to the best movie or actress or director? Well then you probably believe in the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. The Academy awards are presented

Walt Disney presents Shirley Temple's Honorary Oscar

Read more on Oscars: Who Will Win? Who Is Best? Bah! Humbug!…

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I carried a daily newspaper delivery route from about 2nd grade through 6th and had to quit when I started going out for after-school sports in 7th grade.  I walked — didn’t ride a bike or have a car (of course).

The trip from the newspaper office where I picked up my papers to the first house for delivery took me through the business district, and almost every day I stopped and bought a comic book to read while I walked the route.  It was 10cents for the comics until those $#%& raised it to 12cents!

Vintage Marvel Comics Dr. Strange comic book cover

Vintage Marvel Comics Dr. Strange

My main fodder was DC comics (Superman and Batman, League of Superheroes and various spin-offs). I really wasn’t into Marvel, except I like Spiderman.  But the art was not as good as DC.  I thought Steve Ditko art was “blocky.”

I eventually lost contact with those comics — although I never outgrew my love for comic art (I never really had the talent to draw, although loved to doodle and cartoon).

I left Superman behind while Clark Kent was still a newspaper reporter, before he married Lois and back when Batman still had Robin … and all the other crazy alternate Earth stories with various lives and deaths and resurrections.  I don’t know what the heck is going on in the DC universe and Marvel universe today.

However, comic books are a minor form of entertainment now.  It’s all about the movies.  Especially when they make a billion dollars apiece!

They go through all the super heroes trying to find the ones the public will embrace so they can make a franchise with ever-more popular and lucrative sequels and spin-offs.

Or they just make the same darn movie over and over again.  (How many times can Peter Parker get bitten? How many times must young Bruce Wayne see his parents murdered?)

Now they are reaching down into the well to draw up a fresh bucket of superhero to quench the fires of rabid fan demand.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that the newest is Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

Benedict Cumberbatch (with an American accent) in the title role leading a British cast, as a neurosurgeon whose hands are destroyed in an accident, so he trains with a Far Eastern mystic guru (Tilda Swinton) to learn secrets of bending time and space and whatever else he wants to bend.

Marvel's Newest Superhero Movie Features Dr. Strange

Marvel’s Newest Superhero Movie Features Dr. Strange

As movies go, audiences generally want an action movie, rather than a thinking movie.  They generally want flying and bullets-bouncing off the chest and X-ray vision and a colorful costume. Instead, Marvel is offering Eastern mysticism and an opera tuxedo.

Will it work?

The HR review complimented the casting, but the intended audience might not know Cumberbatch or Swinton — much less Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The review also compliments the witty script — but these types of movies are more noted for lines like — “Over there!  Look!” and “Hulk Smash!”

But as the review says, “they unquestionably class up the joint.”

Of note — the villain is Mads Mikkelsen who was also a James Bond villain and TV’s Hannibal Lecter.  Typecast?  I imagine Mikkelsen is cackling all the way to the bank.

Supporting cast members Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg and Benjamin Bratt are all well-known (at least their faces are) and sturdy actors that should put in a reliable performance.

I’m looking forward to the movies.  I’m not a snob about intellectual content, but I enjoy a good mental treat as well as some good ole “Hulk Smash!”

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Dory Previn died on Valentine’s day.  She was 86.

Known mostly for her work on songs for the movies, she also had some success in the pop field with records released in the 70s.  She and her first husband, André Previn, were nominated several times for an Academy Award but never won.

Her six records were recorded after her divorce from Previn, her most successful being a live album.

Dory Previn

Dory Previn

Her songs were intelligent and insightful and most dealt with her personal life, which was a fertile field.  Her abusive father was gassed in WWI and suffered severe mood swings which resulted in violent behavior.  He deteriorated to the point where he boarded his family up in their home and held them at gunpoint for several months.

She broke into show business as Read more on Dory Previn — 1925 to 2012…

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We Create Music

ASCAP features British composer Paul Leonard-Morgan — fresh off of his score for the hit movie Limitless, and he tells about the experience of scoring a major Hollywood movie.

He has scored various movies and TV series in the U.K. and worked with popular music bands, but nothing will blow your mind like a major motion picture.

Click here for unlimited access to Paul Leonard-Morgan’s website.


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