Sunday, October 09, 2011

Another accolade for Shirley MacLaine

Congratulations to Shirley MacLaine for being selected to receive the 40th annual Life Achievement Award of the American Film Institute. But just remember, AFI: Houston's Cinema Arts Festival had her first. So there: Nyah, nyah, nyah!

(And while she was here, she had me. So to speak.)

Yes, I know: That's an unforgivably childish response. And, honestly, I mean no disrespect to Ms. MacLaine, who is a grand and gracious lady, an excellent actress, and an all-around icon worthy of every accolade doled out by the entertainment industry. But, what the hell, I learned a long time ago that you better root for the home team as loud as you can, every chance you get. Otherwise...

Well, let me put it this way: Decades ago, while I was covering the New York Film Festival for the Dallas Morning News, I tried to set up an interview with French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, whose most recent movie was in the NYFF lineup. But when I placed a call to the Manhattan press rep for the French New Wave icon, she seemed less than impressed by my outlet. Indeed, after a pause pregnant enough to produce quintuplets, she asked -- and, I swear, this is a verbatim quote -- "Do they show Monsieur Godard's movies in Texas?"

Now here's the ironic part: This particular Godard film (Every Man for Himself) not only got shown in Texas -- it wound up being shown in Dallas at a suburban art-house managed by Bob Berney. (Maybe you've heard of him: He's gone on to bigger and better things.) And I already knew that was a possibility. So I wanted to be polite to the condescending functionary, in the hope of landing an interview. (Which, you probably won't be surprised to learn, I didn't manage to do.)

But I must confess that what I really wanted to say in response was: "Yeah, lady. They show his movies at the goddamn drive-in in Eagle Pass. On double bills with movies by that Frankie Truffaut guy."

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