Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Jeannie Berlin

One of my many claims to fame is holding the purse of this Oscar nominee while she went to use the rest room, but as I type this, that seems less than credible. I mean, what woman, Oscar nominee or not, leaves her purse with a relative stranger to use the rest room? Sure, I was part of the entourage (hey, I got a non-vitation* to a celebrity party, I played naive and swooped in, "I'd love to go with you" I said, and voila, I know that Tom Hanks likes dark meat, but that's not code for anything, just chicken legs [also not code]) but still... your purse?

Okay, I could see if you were camping way out in the woods, you might not want to take your purse with you, but then in that scenario, why am I there?

[UPDATE: I think it might have been her coat, which makes a lot more sense, unless you're camping, cause then you totally do want your coat. But you still don't want me there--I'm not a good "roughing it" kind of guy.]

Jeannie's biggest film is The Heartbreak Kid, a pretty good movie before it was remade by Ben Stiller. Berlin was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Eddie Albert for Best Supporting Actor. Berlin lost to Eileen Heckart for Butterflies Are Free and Albert lost to Joel Gray for Cabaret.

Did I mention that it was written by Sir Neil Simon**? And directed by Elaine May (yes, and Ishtar is a great movie). The American Film Institute includes it in their 100 Years... 100 Laughs list of the funniest movies ever made.

And, AND, Charles Grodin. You know he's teh awesum. And Audra Lindley looks strangely like Ellen Burstyn. And Cybill Sheperd is in this movie***.

Happy birthday Jeannie! Rock on!

* An LA-ism, where you offer what sounds like an invitation but is actually a way to brag about going somewhere. "I have a box at the Hollywood Bowl, you should come one night!" (Translation: I have a box at the Hollywood Bowl and you don't.) People savvy to the LA scene know that the non-vitation has no substance, but that didn't prevent me from acting like I thought that non-vitation was genuine. Which is how I got to go to Penny Marshall's house... how did you get there?

** I've started to knight Americans, because, why the hell not? Oh right, I mean, God ordained me the same way he did the British royals. He totally did, like a few weeks ago, I was just, you know, too modest to mention it.

*** "[name] is in this movie" was a recurring phrase from when I wrote more traditional movie reviews, and is derived from the early Oscar campaign for A Few Good Men. Early Oscar campaigns cast a wide net (the studios will mount such campaigns for Hot Tub Time Machine and Life as We Know It in a matter of weeks). This particular ad included "for your consideration" mentions for Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollack and Demi Moore (in addition to Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson). While I don't remember the exact quote the ad used in pushing Demi Moore as Best Supporting Actress, it amounted to "...and Demi Moore is in this movie." [Note to Demi, I actually think you're a fairly talented movie star, cause I know you're probably reading this and would get your feelings hurt if I didn't add that disclaimer, and if you picked up on the fact that I said "movie star" instead of "actor" then you are smart too!]

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