Another Good Movie: WONDER

WONDER, in theaters now.

Here’s another good movie of this holiday season.  WONDER stars Jacob Tremblay as Auggie, a smart-as-a-whip little boy with a condition involving a facial deformity.  Auggie gets around the stares and derision of people by usually keeping a space helmet over his head when he leaves the house.  Just knowing that a child would do such a thing as a coping strategy is enough to break your heart.

Auggie has been home-schooled, but now he’s about to enter the fifth grade.  His parents, beautifully played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, decide to send him to a Middle School.

It’s a bit of an ordeal to watch this gutsy little boy as he walks into the school and has to face so many inter-personal problems during his first year, but it’s well worth it.  Naturally it’s a great movie for kids to see, and could especially give pause to the ones who may think they’re being “funny” when mocking other children.

Jacob Tremblay deserves an Oscar nomination for this one!




Lucille Ball Would Have Been Perfect in a Non-Musical Remake of “AUNTIE MAME”

Lucille Ball as the lovable character “MAME.”

Lucille Ball, they say, was terribly miscast in the title role of the movie MAME.  It’s been uttered so many times you’d think it was a universal truth.  “Lucy was too old.”  “Lucy couldn’t sing.”  “Angela Lansbury played it better on Broadway.”  I could  recite the list of reasons why they say she shouldn’t have done it the way she did it in my sleep.

And yet…

If you take away the distracting, and ridiculous, soft-focus shots they used to film her close-ups, which the movie could well have done without,  and if the singing numbers had been dubbed, what would you have?  The lady’s acting in the role of irrepressible, unconventional “Mame Dennis” can hardly be faulted.  She nails every scene, and not as a “Lucy Ricardo” type, either.  If I hadn’t grown up on “I Love Lucy” reruns, I never even would have guessed this part was played by the same actress.

Take the scene where she’s fired from the department store.  She’s tried on the roller skates to demonstrate them for her handsome customer, “Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside.”  She gets fired from the job.  She can’t get out of the skates because she’s knotted the laces.

What does Mame do?  Well, first let’s look at what she ought to do, what anyone else in her position back then would have done.  After all, it’s a scene set in 1929, she’s broke, the world is a different, stuffier place, and to be a lady accidentally on skates out in public in a store is supposed to be mightily embarrassing.  Yet watch the scene.  The character holds herself up high, as if being stuck in those skates is an honor, not a disaster.  She makes it look deliberate, a matter of pride, yet it’s all subtly done.

I imitated her stance for years, after seeing this movie as a child, whenever I got myself into a bit of a jam.  If life gives you lemons, stand tall, even if you’re five foot one, like me, and make some lemonade, folks.  Wherever you are, Lucy, thank you so much for that scene!

I only wish that Lucy had tried to make a remake of AUNTIE MAME, the non-musical movie version of the same basic story that was made in the 1950’s and starred Rosalind Russell.  Yes, Lucy in the musical was a mistake, but if she had starred in AUNTIE MAME, sans the unnecessary gauzy close-ups and songs, I think she’d have been remembered well for it, and rather than going down in motion picture history as something of a bad joke, it would be remembered as a good movie.

And let me add this: I hate it that Lucy took abuse for this movie!  Her version was the very first one I saw of this story, so Lucy was “my Mame.”  The joy and love and fun of this movie gave me a whole new perspective – and even got me through several godawful years at a terrible, abusive school.  Wherever you are, I say, BRAVA, Lucy!  Just wish I could have told you in person.


Stunning in every outfit: Lucy as MAME.

Splendiferous Movie Recommendation: HIDDEN FIGURES

Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer star in HIDDEN FIGURES.

Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer star in HIDDEN FIGURES.

Would you like to see a movie that will make you stand up and cheer, and not just once, but several times?  Then I can’t recommend a better one than HIDDEN FIGURES!

It’s 1961, and the United States is in a mad competition with the Soviet Union to win the “space race.”  Far behind the scenes, three gutsy and incredibly gifted African American women are working as human “computers” at NASA in Virginia.  Their talents are being well utilized by the powers that be…but the unenlightened time period is such that the ladies, and the rest of their friends in the Computing division, are being subjected to one segregated indignity after another…

I never like to include “spoilers” in blog posts about shows and movies so I don’t want to say too much more about the plot of this wonderful and layered film, except that the three lead actresses are terrific.  Katherine, played by Taraji P. Henson, is a mathematical genius and also a widow raising three lovely little girls; that Janelle Monae, as Mary Jackson, dreams of becoming an engineer; and Dorothy Vaughan, played by Octavia Spencer, is already working as her unit’s unofficial supervisor but has yet to get officially promoted.  Oh, and in addition, they’re all part of the team at NASA that’s frantically trying to get a man on the moon…

I’m already planning  to see this movie again, I liked it so much.  HIDDEN FIGURES won the SAG Award for Best Ensemble Cast.  It’s also rightfully been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and so is Octavia Spencer, for Best Supporting Actress.  My only wish is that Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae  could have been nominated as well, because they were equally superb.  Kevin Costner is also fascinating to watch as Katherine’s initially-remote boss.

Meanwhile, get out of the house and go to see HIDDEN FIGURES.  These ladies will remind you that it’s always a good idea to reach for the stars!

Here’s the trailer: HIDDEN FIGURES



The Everything's Coming Up Roses Calendar!

The Everything’s Coming Up Roses Calendar!

Here it is, boys!

Here it is, WORLD!


All those who know me know how much I love to photograph anything that catches my eyes, where the light and shapes and colors are intriguing, or better yet, downright near-perfect.  But of all the things I love to photograph, my favorites are roses!  It’s by complete coincidence that I wrote a book, Mama Rose’s Turn, about a theatrical personality whose first name just happens to be Rose, too.

Here’s a link to my “calendar of roses” for 2017.  Almost all of them were taken in New York City.  It’s my first calendar of several, available now on  A full preview is there on the link.  Please take a look, have a prosperous 2017, and enjoy!

Want to Help Children Like the Ones in QUEEN OF KATWE?

Mary's Meals provides nutrition at school for impoverished children.

Mary’s Meals provides nutrition at school for impoverished children.

Mary’s Meals is one of my two favorite non-profit organizations.  When I make donations, they’re a recipient.

I couldn’t help but think of them when I was watching the terrific movie, QUEEN OF KATWE.  I was pretty sure Mary’s Meals already operated in the country of Uganda.  When I got home from the movie I double-checked, and found out that was right.  Thank goodness, because it’s impossible to watch such a movie and not wish for children who are living in such dire straits to obtain some basic relief, starting, first and foremost, with simply being fed on a regular basis.

Mary’s Meals is a great organization because they serve meals at school to children that are made from local produce.  The children benefit.  The parents want to send them to school so they’ll get fed.  Many of the mothers come to the school to help prepare the meals, so they get the joy of feeding their kids and seeing them with full bellies.  The farmers in the area served also benefit because it’s their crops that are bought for the ingredients.  Everybody wins!

Mary’s Meals serves children in 12 countries all over the world.  Believe it or not, it’s all run by a gentleman named Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow from his backyard sheds in Scotland!  He wrote a book on his grassroots charity called THE SHED THAT FED A MILLION CHILDREN.

Inspired to want to give children in Uganda a break?  Want to raise that number to One Million and One?  Did you know it only costs less than twenty bucks American for Mary’s Meals to feed a child for an entire year?

Aren’t they awesome?  Here’s a link:  Mary’s Meals Uganda

Magnus MacFarlane Barrow's book about Mary's Meals: THE SHED THAT FED A MILLION CHILDREN.

Magnus MacFarlane Barrow’s book about Mary’s Meals: THE SHED THAT FED A MILLION CHILDREN.


Poster for the new Disney hit, QUEEN OF KATWE.

Poster for the new Disney hit, QUEEN OF KATWE.


Some Shirley Temple Classics

Shirley Temple, the biggest child star of them all, and one that turned out fine!

Shirley Temple, the biggest child star of them all.

It’s amazing what you can find online these days!

Here are some full-length movies, available on YouTube, starring the phenomenal child star, Shirley Temple.  Her mother would tell her to “sparkle” whenever she was filmed, and she certainly did!

Here are the movies.  Enjoy!


Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm:

My personal favorite, Susannah of the Mounties:

The one with that old hit song about the “Good Ship Lollipop,” Bright Eyes:

Twinsters: the Movie


Anais and Samantha reunited in London by the London Eye.  What a great shot!

A little while back I had written a blog post about the book TWINSTERS.  It’s about two Korean twins, who had been adopted into separate families and were reunited thanks to social media.  Their names are Samantha Futerman and Anais Bordier.

I am delighted to report that the movie about this story is just as terrific as the book, if not more so.  It’s possible to see every piece of their well-filmed story as ti happened.  I can’t recommend it enough, and wish the very best for both of these creative, amazing young women.


TWINSTERS the movie.