Saturday, May 25, 2024

From Hollywood: Rita Wilson Plays NBC’s Brian Williams’s Daughter’s Mother on Girls


Leah Sydney‘s L.A. roundup is here:

Rita Wilson pinch hits for pal Brian Williams

At the Gracie Awards, put on by The Alliance for Women in Media, at the Beverly Hilton this past Tuesday Night, NBC Anchor Brian Williams was supposed to present his wife Jane Williams with the Outstanding Interview Award for her Educational series on Bloomberg radio.  Brian was called off to tornado-ridden Oklahoma, so Rita Wilson came in from New York, where she is with her husband Tom Hanks, to give her good pal the award.  They are showbiz related as well: On Girls, Rita plays the mother of  Brian’s daughter’s Allison.

Rita read some words from Brian, who called his wife of 27 years, “my only source of unvarnished truth.”  Brian went on to say via Rita: “Jane originated the ‘Making A Difference,’ segment at the end of the Nightly News, no one knows that.”  Rocker Melissa Etheridge got an award for Outstanding Talk Show for her radio show.  She said, “My friends thought I was crazy when I wanted to do radio.  I said why?  Radio is a timeless medium.”  She went on to sing her hit “Come To My Window,” for the VIP crowd of award winners, which included Amy Poehler, Shaun Robinson, Rory Kennedy, Hannah Storm, Martha Raddatz, Giuliana Rancic, Meg Tilly, Giuliana Rancic and more.

Review: Kings of Summer

The wonderfully quirky coming of age comedy, Kings of Summer is a wildly entertaining and clever mix of Stand By Me and Silver Linings Playbook’.  Receiving raves in Sundance, this indie film is artfully directed in a graceful way by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and garners terrific turns by the ensemble, especially the trio of young men who turn in nuanced performances.  Their wise beyond their years teen portrayals reflect the daily push and pull angst of their lives, with their intense desire for independence while at the same time not wanting to emotionally or physically venture far from the protectiveness of their dysfunctional homes.  Their frustrations lead them to build a cabin in the woods, and what ensues is both at times hilarious and sweetly heartbreaking.

Screenwriter Chris Galleta has written appealing, disarming teen characters with their warts and all, played pitch perfectly by Nick Robinson (Joe), Gabriel Basso (Patrick),  and Moises Arias (Biaggio).  Even the high school crush girl, Erin Moriarty (Kelly) plays her part with an equal sincerity rarely seen in teen flicks. Nick Offerman, who plays Joe’s father, radiates bemused befuddlement combined with his own torturous self-reckoning.

Besides some obvious holes to further the story, like you never quite believe that the teens would be ‘missing’ for the month that they are, the acting and the authenticity of the performances more than make up for it.  A snazzy soundtrack adds to the hipness of this worthy film.  ‘Kings Of Summer’ opens on May 31st.

Stones Keep Rolling:

Celebs Chelsea Handler, Kate Beckinsale, Hayden Panettiere were among the celebs that rocked out to the Rolling Stones spectacular show, ’50 & Counting,’ last week at the Staples Center.  The Stones have had a special guest at each stop of the tour, but this time alas there were none.  Mick told the crowd that wouldn’t happen.  “The special guest tonight is you,” Mick explained before singing ‘Miss You.’  Former guitarist Mick Taylor had a big role; he played his blues guitar throughout with ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,’ garnering special love from the frenetic crowd.  Mick showed no signs of slowing down, his seemingly ageless body dancing like he was 21,  his signature moves the same as ever, the Stones are stuck in a time warp.  Keith Richards was the stalwart he always is, especially showing off his skills with ‘Tumbling Dice,’ and  ‘Start Me Up.’  The crowd was predictably not as into the new stuff, but the crowd knows what we all do, that the Stones have no peers; they are in a class by themselves. ENCORE: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  (with the USC-Thornton Chamber Singers), Jumpin’ Jack Flash and I Can’t Get No Satisfaction (with Mick Taylor.)

Helping Make The Last Pilgrimage

Author Linda Daly recently paid tribute to her mother, the late Nancy Daly, with her book, “The Last Pilgrimage,” chronicling Nancy’s ultimately losing battle with pancreatic cancer.  Linda’s dad, former Warner Brother’s head Robert Daly and her stepmother, songwriter Carole Bayer Sager, are known as one of the most generous couples in Hollywood. At the Spago fest, Bob bought the books for the guests.  Carole, who introduced her stepdaughter to the VIP crowd which included Alana Stewart, Jose Eber, Barbara Davis, Marianne Williamson, Jaclyn Smith and more, saying, “I’m so proud of her, I urge you to read this book, it will bring up a lot of feelings for you.”  Lovely Linda then went to tell the crowd, “I did this book for my kids, so they can know about my Mom.”  A beautiful tribute indeed Linda to a lady who was beloved in Hollywood.

David Mamet Done Western Style

Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet’s scathing Pulitzer prize winning play, recently had a brilliant and bristling reading at the prestigious L.A. Theatre Works on the UCLA campus.  Joe Mantegna returned to his original Tony Award winning role as the slick Ricky Roma.  Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss, who was just in Cannes for the remastering of Jaws and The Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz,’ Richard Schiff, Gordon Clapp, Josh Stamberg and John Getz rounded out the seasoned cast.  L.A. Theatre Works has for over 25 years been tirelessly working to preserve and present theatre.  They broadcast on public radio stations nationwide and stream their shows and demand, and this noted company consistently attracts the top tier of Hollywood talent. Best place to go in LA for your theatre fix!

Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney writes from Los Angeles for A seasoned journalist with a long history during the halcyon days of the NY Daily News, Leah is a member of the Critics Choice and Rotten Tomatoes.

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