actors

Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler and the Modern Feminist Discourse

Melinda Parks

And so it seems appropriate that Lena Dunham and Amy Poehler, influential female actors and writers in their respected realms of comedy, would choose this year to publish memoirs detailing their experiences as women in entertainment. Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned, released in September, and Poehler’s Yes Please, published a month later, build on the now well-established trend of intimate autobiographies penned by female entertainers. In fact, in her preface, Poehler cites the memoirs of comedians like Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Silverman, and Rachel Dratch as inspiration for her own writing. 

Remembering Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius of Silent Comedy

Benjamin Wright

Harold Lloyd lacked the vaudeville training and natural comedy of Chaplin and Keaton, yet he could make us laugh as hard as we did when watching Chaplin, and could elicit as much sympathy and suspense as Keaton, but he had to work harder at being funny. And work he did, churning out more pictures over the course of his very prolific film career than Chaplin and Keaton combined.

Remembering the Genius of Robin Williams

Andrew Lam

Robin Williams once joked that death is “nature’s way to let you know that your table is ready.” It’s not funny now that the comedian overrode nature by grabbing the table without waiting for the maître d’. But if his suicide has any silver lining, it’s that depression and mental illness are now being talked about more openly. In far-flung India, China and Vietnam, where mental illness, especially depression, is a taboo subject, it is now on the front pages of newspapers and TV programs reporting on Williams’ suicide. 

Soul and Wit are the Essence of John Turturro’s ‘Fading Gigolo’

Gabriella Tutino

Written, directed by and starring John Turturro, Fading Gigolo is a subtle, charming comedy making an observation about the entanglements of sex and love. It could be due to the age of the cast in the film, but there is a tender treatment of the relationships portrayed, bringing out raw honesty. The premise is rather simple:  Murray (Woody Allen), a rare bookseller, literally “pimps out” his close friend Fioravante ( Turturro), a florist, for a threesome since his business is going under. After a successful venture, the two friends partner up.

Manufacturing Identity: The Art Behind the Cult of Celebrity

Benjamin Wright

With the revolution in new technologies that was part of the larger revolution in industry more than just strong character and virtue was needed to be famous. In the age of television commercials, public relations and televised debates (as the Kennedy-Nixon debate amply demonstrated) it is questionable whether a man like George Washington could be elected president if he were to run for office today, when image has in so many ways supplanted substance. 

It Takes a Village (to Make a Hollywood Hit)

Kat Kambes

Often the glitz and glamour of Hollywood supersedes the real “work” of the movie, and certainly the awards season does nothing to bring recognition to the many people who contribute to the success of a movie.  Many of the fields that are recognized: technological, sound design, set design, etc., are done so in hotel luncheons and dinners far away from the camera, or by taking out a page-sized ad of congratulations in Variety.  In this respect, Hollywood itself contributes to the limited vision that people outside of Los Angeles have of the industry. 

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