Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review-Furious Love

Months ago I read an excerpt in London's The Daily Mail from the new book Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century. It intrigued me and I put a hold on the book at my library. A few weeks ago the book arrived and I have been lost in it ever since. Written by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger the story of Elizabeth and Richard is thrilling, sexy and in the end a tragedy of excess.

There are not many original Hollywood icons still alive these days but the grandest one of all is still with us, Elizabeth Taylor. I still read occasional gossip clips about her usually involving an appearance at an AIDS related event or another tale of her imminent and tragic demise. Dame Elizabeth is even on Twitter and although she doesn't tweet often, I am indeed a loyal follower. I can only think of a handful of legendary people that I would like to meet, Elizabeth Taylor is on the top of my list.

Elizabeth and Richard first met briefly in the 1950's at a party. Years later they met again in January 1962 while starring in the epic movie Cleopatra. It was hate, lust and love almost immediately. Richard called her fat, she thought he was conceited and so their love story began. Elizabeth and Richard could simply not be kept apart. They began an affair during filming although each was already married (Elizabeth to her 4th husband Eddie Fisher and Richard to his wife Sybil), they would divorce in the 70's, marry again, divorce again and then finally be separated by Richard's early death in 1984. What they left behind is an unbelievable story that includes passion, heartbreaking love letters, jewels, art, children and legendary work on film.

I've read many celebrity biographies, some good, some bad. Furious Love is one of the best. The authors don't waste a lot of time on the lives of Elizabeth or Richard BEFORE they meet, but instead jump right into their life together. The scandal that was Elizabeth and Richard in the early 60's was bigger than any celebrity news in modern history. At one point they were so infamous the Vatican itself issued a statement on their immoral behavior. Their love affair single handedly created the modern day paparazzi and began the public's unending love affair for movie star scandals of epic proportions. Together Elizabeth and Richard created a dynasty of award winning films, collections of priceless art and legendary jewelry. They lived all over the world, financially supported hundreds of friends and family and burned through money like it grew on trees. It's estimated they spent hundreds of million of dollars during their life together. The lifestyle and love affair has no equal. Today's stars like Brad and Angelina aren't even in the same league.

This book is a great escape, a true account of a life and love most people only see in the movies. To know that 2 people actually lived, loved, fought, laughed and experienced what they did is hard to believe but delicious to read about.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flash Back Friday #41

Because yesterdays post was a look back at my life in 1989, 1999 and 2009 and a recent Flash Back Friday was music from the 80's, here is a montage of the top hits of 1999. Ya gotta love naughty Lolita schoolgirl Britney Spears singing Hit Me Baby One More Time and a scary embalmed Cher singing Believe.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Break

Yes I am still here. I'm taking a break from life. I spent a few days with friends at their beach cottage on the Michigan shore and now I'm in Colorado with my family, hiding in the mountains for a little while.
I will be back next week.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Movie version of Robin Hood

On Monday evening I saw Ridley Scott's adaption of Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe. When the film was announced a few years ago, I was delighted one of my favorite directors was taking on one of my favorite legends. After all this is the man who brought us Blade Runner, Legend, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and A Good Year. As production news leaked into the press the story and the cast changed. For awhile the film was going to have the Sheriff of Nottingham as the hero. Then for the blink of an eye Sienna Miller was cast as Maid Marion. From the beginning, one casting decision never changed, Russell Crowe was going to star.

A few years ago I introduced my Kid to the cult classic British television series Robin of Sherwood. I was obsessed with the show when it aired in the US from 1984-1986 and thrilled when it was finally released on DVD decades later. My son and I have watched every episode and he loves them as much as I do. We often have Robin of Sherwood TV marathons. The show remains beloved to this day and it's easy to find Yahoo groups and fan sites on the web.

Because of our fondness for Robin Hood including some of the other films (who can forget the hilarity that was Kevin Costner's campy 1991 version) we were both excited to see the latest big screen adaption. Bottom line: the hype was better than the film. Ridley Scott's Robin Hood is terrible. How such an esteemed director could create such complete crap is a mystery. Maybe it's the story...we are after all talking about a legend. Scott shows us his version of Robin Hood before he became Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest. Here Crowe is a soldier fighting the French and then through a deliberate impersonation of Robert Loxley he ends up fighting for the British poor and romancing the dead Robert's widow (Marion played by the frozen face of Cate Blanchett). Toss in a few Merry Men such as Friar Tuck, Will Scarlett and Little John and Scott must have thought he had the makings of a new version of the legend. Ummm no. I'm not even sure where to start. Crowe and Blanchett are WAY too old to portray these characters, the movie is one battle after another and usually not on English soil, the real characters of Richard the Lionheart and his brother King John are tossed in with such inaccurate histories as to make it laugh out loud funny. As long as Scott was trying to throw in some English history maybe he could have tried to get something right like Richard the Lionheart's death or the real age of King John's wife who in reality was a 12 year old little girl but in the film was substituted with a lusty adult french actress. Maybe even remaining true to a large part of the legend would have been a start, that Robin was an archer, but as my friend Diana pointed out he only picked up his bow maybe 2 times in the film (and once was probably to get the promotional shot in the movie poster above). Sigh...

So if you are a fan of Robin Hood, skip this movie, it's really bad, not even Ridley Scott's lush settings, war scenes and imagery can save it. Watch Robin of Sherwood on DVD and enjoy the fun, the legend, the 80's bad but charming special effects and the amazing music by Clannad.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Flash Back Friday #40

Right now my life is changing and to all those who read my blog, whether you are friends or strangers, I'm glad you are here.

This isn't really a flash back but to me this song perfectly describes a life you leave behind.

Enjoy, Peter Bradley Adam singing The Longer I Run.

Here are the lyrics:
When my blood runs warm with the warm red wine, I missed the life that I left behind.
And when I hear the sound of the black bird's cry, I know I left in the nick of time.
Well this road I'm on is gonna turn to sand, and leave me lost in a far off land.
So let me ride the wind till I don't look back, and forget the life that I almost had.

If I wander till I die may I know whose hand I'm in.
If my home I'll never find and let me live again.
The longer I run then the less that I find, selling my soul for a nickel and dime, breaking my heart to keep singing these rhymes, losing again.

Tell my brother please not to look for me. I ain't the man that I used to be.
Cause if my savior comes could you let him know. I've gone away forward to save my soul.