Star Power

Broadway superstar Tom Hanks giving some wattage to the Tony Awards, as per CBS' agreement with Broadway

The Tony Awards, who announced their 2013 nominees this week. I don't know why I'm as interested in the Tonys as much as I am since I live in Los Angeles and see almost none of the shows being honored. But I'm a theatre fan and an entertainment awards junkie so I read the reviews of all the shows on Broadway to try and stay up on who's going to get those cute little medallions. The thing that irritates me every year about the Tonys is when the nominees are announced and are populated by distinguished stage actors whose names aren't well-known outside of New York, the media covering the event inevitably bitch that a handful of famous names from movies or television who appeared on the Great White Way that season (often making their stage debuts) were "snubbed"by the awards as if a Tony nomination was guaranteed in their contracts. Such was the case this year as columnists from TMZ and Entertainment Weekly beat their breasts that household names Scarlett Johansson, Al Pacino and Alec Baldwin were overlooked for Broadway appearances, just because their performances received mixed and even hostile reviews. In the mean time, the press fails to understand why nobodys like Tracy Letts, Kristine Nielsen and Tom Sturridge will be getting camera time when their nominations are announced on primetime TV just because they did work that the 3.6% of the country who actually attended Broadway theatre in 2013 thought stood out above their colleagues.

That doesn't mean anything to the 96.4% who never heard of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and who are itching for a glimpse of the insulted movie favorite Jessica Chastain (who inexplicably failed to receive a Tony nomination for her Broadway performance in The Heiress, which the New York Times called "as shadowless as a high noon"). Fortunately, the American Theatre Wing had the good sense to nominate mega-star Tom Hanks for his Broadway debut in Lucky Guy. True, said Mr. Hanks was "not as convincing as the hard-nosed, tough-guy journalist" and The Times decried the lack of depth that his role was written with, but at least the TV audience will have someone they've actually heard of to root for at the telecast of the awards. And even if Mr. Hanks doesn't take home the Tony (I'm predicting it will go to the fore-mentioned Tracy Letts for his acclaimed performance in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which has been staged on Broadway four times and has resulted in four nominations for the actors playing George and – if Mr. Letts wins – three Tonys), his beloved mug on the screen when the nominations are read will probably inflate the show's TV ratings to the degree that was guaranteed in his contract. After all, a deal's a deal.

Myself, Misty LaRue and BroJoe at a gala screening of “La Dolce Vita”
My back-stabbing Facebook friends. Last Saturday I attended a gala screening of the Federico Fellini masterpiece La Dolce Vita at an old movie palace here in Los Angeles, joined by my entourage of BroJoe, Misty LaRue, the evil genius Lars Fargo and his main squeeze Tawdry Baubles (it's amazing how colorful my friends' names get once I process them for publication online). Part of the festivities were a photo booth, for which BroJoe, Ms. LaRue and myself posed for one portrait while Mr. Fargo and Ms. Baubles posed for another. We were all dressed to the nines (with Mr. Fargo going so far as to throw a black sportscoat over his signature Hawaiian shirt), yet when I posted the photos side by side on my Facebook wall, the portrait of Mr. Fargo and Ms. Baubles got 78 "likes"while the picture of Joe, Ms. LaRue and I got a pitiful 4 "likes"(one of which came from Ms Baubles, which was clearly a "mercy"like). I am therefore establishing a rule that if I post a photo that includes me on my Facebook wall in tandem with another that I am not pictured in, you are required to "like"my picture before you go on to "like" the other one. They say love can't be quantified but it can and when it is, it is in the form of Facebook "likes." And if you find my picture too disturbing to like, just tell yourself that it's so weird that it must be Felliniesque. That's what I kept telling myself during the long stretches of La Dolce Vita where I didn't understand what the hell was going on. I may not know art, but I know what I like.

The Fast & Furious saga. I snidely wrote as my Facebook status "Fast & Furious 6 is being released on May 24th but I see that Fast & Furious 7 is already in pre-production. Thank God for that; there's no way that a single film can resolve the unanswered questions left by Fast & Furious 5." This resulted in an expected roar of outrage from my contingency of acquaintances on the social network who are fans of the franchise, led by my friend Karen Sheeler. Ms. Sheeler responded that she loved the films (qualifying the statement with "I admit I like the cheese sometimes!!”) and included a link to the Wikipedia entry on the series to provide me with a rundown on the subtle nuances of the different films. In fairness, I have never seen a Fast & Furious movie so I was grateful for the staff at Wikipedia providing me knowledge on the subject. The films star action hero Vin Diesel (who always strikes me as Humpty Dumpty on steroids with a voice reminiscent of a guy thanking his life partner when accepting the Tony Award for Best Costume Design for a Musical) as the angst-ridden elite street racer and ex-convict Dominic Toretto, who we root for as he attempts to overcome the trauma of seeing his Daddy being turned into a grease spot at a stock car race by committing a series of felonies that each film starts with him on the verge of being pardoned for if he'll cooperate with the Feds despite the fact that sum combined total of his rap sheet makes him seem like a combination of Al Capone, Charles Manson and Lex Luthor. But his saving grace is his loving devotion to his gang, including his beloved sister Mia (played by Jordana Brewster, an actress whose stunning beauty almost distracts the audience from the fact that she has the personal charisma of a fringed-toed lizard crawling deep into the desert sands to slowly die) and his propensity for taking part in death-defying street races, so the audiences are willing to forgive him his criminal past. But since I am a man who wilI break into hives if I exaggerate a deduction on my income tax, all my siblings look like deformed wombats and I drive 35 MPH on the freeway, I don't exactly associate with the characters in the narrative. I may enjoy it more when they hit Fast & Furious 38 when Mr. Diesel's steroids wear off and he looks like Humpty Dumpty after falling off the wall and he'll be so old that the most dangerous his driving gets is when he becomes disoriented and takes his car through a farmer's market. At least it will be relatable.

Speaking of movies and Sheelers, Karen's husband Wade Sheeler who discovered an online compilation of movie lists that he had devised for the film website If there's anything I love, it's a good movie list. In fact, the only thing I love more is a list of movie lists. And I love this one so much that I'm adding it to my list of Best Lists of Movie Lists. But my favorite movie lists are unquestionably lists of the worst movies, which means that the best lists are the worst lists, and vice-versa. By this time, the robot that Captain Kirk is talking to should have smoke billowing out of its ears, so the universe is safe once more. Let's celebrate by watching a bad movie. Now that's what I call a good time.

Enemies List favorite Mara Marini, who reprised her signature role of porn star Brandi Maxxxx on NBS's Parks and Recreation last night. At one point in the story, Ms. Maxxxx disclosed that she had played a small role in Argo in addition to her many adult film appearances, prompting Ms. Marini to tweet "I looked it up. The girl who plays Brandi Maxxxx was NOT in Argo. :( << Hahaha. Sad, but true. :)."Based on Ms. Marini's online activity, I feel compelled to tell her how the Internet actually works. If people think she appeared in Argo, the last thing she should do is deny it. No one pays attention to who is in the cast of a movie. After they've finished gorging on Red Vines and engaging in vile sexual activity while the projector is running, the lights will come up and they'll burp "that was pretty good"and go on with their lives. If someone like Harvey Weinstein gets it in his head that an actress like Mr. Marini was in the cast of a certain movie, he's not going to log on to IMDb to check it out. He'll just squint his eyes vaguely and say "oh, yeahhhh...I remember the scene she was in" and then scream at his harried assistant with high blood pressure and a cutting complex to set up a meeting. So if Ms. Marini happens to use her appearance in Argo to seal the deal on another big screen gig, who's the victim? But if she's nervous that someone will have doubts about her actually acting in the thing and require some evidence, she needn't worry. That's what Wikipedia is for.