In Her Own Words: Remembering Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler MooreIt may have just been a line in a TV theme song, but it was true: Mary Tyler Moore could turn the world on with her smile.

Hollywood lost another legend today, as Moore passed away at the age of 80.  While her career included turns on Broadway and in films — she earned an Oscar nomination for 1980’s Ordinary People — she’s best remembered for the two legendary TV comedies she starred in: The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

The two roles couldn’t have been any more different.  Laura Petrie was a loving wife and mother who was rarely seen outside the family’s home.  Mary Richards, on the other hand, was a single career woman who famously struggled to find a good man (or throw a good party, for that matter).  But Moore brought the same charm and charisma to both of the iconic characters.

While The Dick Van Dyke Show was, in every way, a conventional ’60s sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show was groundbreaking.  When it premiered in 1970, a strong, independent working woman was a TV rarity.  And while Mary Richards excelled as the associate news producer at WJM-TV and developed a strong camaraderie with her co-workers, her personal life was just as noteworthy.  At a time when most women on TV were defined by their relationships with men, Mary Richards’ most noteworthy relationships were with other women — her best friends and neighbors Rhoda (Valerie Harper) and Phyllis (Cloris Leachman), and boyfriends rarely lasted more than an episode or two.

All of those elements put together resulted in a show that was as revolutionary as it was funny, and when we spoke to Mary Tyler Moore a few years ago, she told us people were drawn to the show for all those reasons.  (Click on the media bar below to hear Mary Tyler Moore)

At a time when the Women’s Lib movement was gaining strength, many young women looked up to Moore’s character as a role model — though she never intended for it to be viewed that way.  (Click on the media bar below to hear Mary Tyler Moore)

The Mary Tyler Moore Show aired as part of CBS’s Saturday night lineup for seven seasons, and a total of 168 episodes were produced.  With so many classic half-hours to choose from, which were her favorites?  (Click on the media bar below to hear Mary Tyler Moore)

The show’s 1977 finale is generally regarded as one of the best swan songs in TV history, and the cast’s tears were real.  Many of them, including Moore herself, were hoping the show would go on.  However, the show’s creators — James L. Brooks and Allan Burns — had other ideas.  (Click on the media bar below to hear Mary Tyler Moore)

After her namesake show went off the air, Moore briefly returned to TV in 1978 with a variety series (Michael Keaton and David Letterman were part of the show’s supporting cast), then again in 1985 with the short-lived sitcom Mary (from the creators of Cheers) and in her final series, New York News, in 1995.  But she stayed busy with other pursuits.

She went from filming Ordinary People (which won her a Golden Globe Award) back to Broadway, and she won a Tony Award for her work in Whose Life Is It Anyway?  And after winning three Emmy Awards (out of seven nominations) for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, she picked up one final Emmy in 1993 for her supporting role in the TV movie Stolen Babies.

She may have made her mark as a comedienne, but Mary Tyler Moore was a woman of class, elegance, and substance.  Though she didn’t set out to become a role model, she handled it with grace and dignity.  She was a warm-hearted soul, and we looked forward to speaking with her every chance we got.  While today’s younger TV audiences may not understand the cultural significance of The Mary Tyler Moore Show when it aired, they can see echoes of the show in almost every workplace ensemble comedy that followed, and in sitcoms featuring strong female leads.

While we say goodbye to Mary Tyler Moore today, we’ll be celebrating her contributions to both TV and American culture for generations to come.  It’s a long way to Tipperary, Mary… may you rest in peace.

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Posted by: AC

Brett Dalton Anchors Beguilingly Ambitious ‘Lost In Florence’

lostinflorence2One look at the Lost In Florence poster and you might have a preconceived notion of the film being a by the book romantic tale featuring a few recognizable names (Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Brett Dalton, Castle’s Stana Katic).

But with anything worth a measure of import, a closer look is necessary. Thankfully, writer/director Evan Oppenheimer gives us a romantic first impression behind Lost In Florence, but there is much more to life than romance.

Eric Lombard (Dalton) is struggling NFL player who is focused on trying to make a team once his injury heals. A seemingly brief getaway with his girlfriend Colleen (Emily Atack) to visit his cousin (Katic) and her Italian husband (Marco Bonini) starts off on the right foot. When his girlfriend refuses his proposal, Eric’s life is put into a tailspin, and now he must figure out what truly matters in his life.

Deciding to stay a bit longer in Florence, he becomes involved with Calcio Storico, a brutal and ancient form of football that is played each summer (mainly to attract tourists) in Florence. Though he immediately becomes fixated on the sport, his troubles mount after he falls in love with Stefania (Alessandra Mastronardi), the girlfriend of the leader (Alessandro Preziosi) of his team.

Oppenheimer takes the love triangle construct behind Lost In Florence and infuses it with a refreshing amount of depth. Many supporting players are employed to service the protagonist’s journey, but with Lost in Florence we get a peek into the inner lives of Eric’s inner circle. The movie’s moniker, which suggests the wistful and seductive charms of the city, is also a reference to the hopes and dreams of the tale’s inhabitants. Though its culture and architecture are a sight to behold, the residents of Florence are “lost” in their own right, attempting to find some form of solace in their own right.

It’s this subtle message, nestled between the testosterone driven sequences of Calcio Storico and Eric’s flourishing romance with Stefania, that lifts Lost in Florence to an entirely different level. Dalton, who has the believable physique to pull off the role of an athlete, also has the emotional gravitas during his scenes with Mastronardi. The pair’s chemistry, as well as Florence, sparkles, but in a much different light.

Oppenheimer temporarily lived in Florence during his youth, and though his love for the city is highly evident, it’s the even eye he brings to the environment that truly resonates.

Lost In Florence opens in theaters and on VOD Friday, January 27.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Ali Larter Gets Empowered With ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’

Screen Gems' "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" Photo Call

Ali Larter (Heroes, Obsessed) is back with Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. The movie, shot in South Africa, was a physically grueling yet gratifying experience for the actress. During the production, which included seven weeks of night shoots, Larter chipped her tooth, but that was a worthy trade-off considering the overall quality of the experience.

“When I first signed on to this, it was 10 years ago,” says Larter. “As Claire Redfield, one of the things I was excited about was I was coming into this female led franchise. Over the years, they’ve continued that. They didn’t bring in another guy. They kept me in this role and not only that, they didn’t pit us against each other. Where so often you’d see women try to break each other down. (With the Resident Evil franchise), we lift each other up . . . this is definitely a female empowerment franchise.”

Click on the media bar to hear Larter explain why Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the best installment of the series.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter opens nationwide Friday, January 27.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Justin Hartley’s New Celebrity Status Almost Had Him Punch-Drunk

NUP_176822_0006.JPGIt’s not as if Justin Hartley was a complete unknown — after all, he played Oliver Quinn on Smallville and had been on daytime soaps Passions and The Young and the Restless. But now that he’s starring on NBC’s hit series This Is Us, he’s joined Hollywood’s “familiar faces” club.  He’s being recognized more and more by fans, and one of those fans just happens to be an actor he idolized as a child: Carl Weathers, who starred as Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies.  Because Weathers will be starring in NBC’s Chicago Justice, the two of them wound up at a Golden Globes function together, and Hartley was shocked when Weathers walked right up to him.

This Is Us airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on NBC.

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Posted by: AC

Clive Owen Goes Noir With Campari’s ‘Killer in Red’ Short

As recently displayed in the HBO miniseries The Young Pope and the underrated drama Youth, director Paolo Sorrentino is one of today’s most arresting visual filmmakers. Sorrentino teams with Clive Owen in the film noir drenched Killer In Red, a short film they made to spotlight Italy’s iconic red apertif Campari. This project is an interesting departure from Campari’s annual calendar, as it serves as the launch of the Campari Red Diaries.

“I am proud to have been involved in this Campari project for two reasons,” said Sorrentino. “First, because of all, the other incredible artists that had the privilege to work with the brand in the past. My name is now mentioned in the same breath as (Fortunato) Depero, (Federico) Fellini, and others, even if it probably shouldn’t. I am also proud because this project, at least to compared to Campari’s work in the past, is unusual – I like being involved in pioneering projects.”

Along with the chance to work with Sorrentino, Owen was glad that this project spotlighted innovation as well as the Campari brand. “Campari Red Diaries was a very easy project to say yes to,” says Owen. “I loved the fact that it was a short movie with a proper story, as opposed to a commercial; the fact that it was being directed by Paolo Sorrentino was a great attraction. I think Sorrentino is one of the best directors out there – an imaginative visionary.”

Check out the short below and tell us what you think!

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi