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Revisit Port Charles' Deep Freeze of '81

10 Groovy Things to Do in October
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Web Series Worth Watching: It's Almost Time to Get 'Pretty' Again


Web Series of the Week: Pretty
The second season of this hilarious spoof about children’s beauty pageants begins Monday (November 1) with special guest appearances by Kirsten Vangsness (Criminal Minds), Denise Alexander (General Hospital) and Joan Van Ark (Knots Landing). Below you can check out its new promo trailer. To watch Pretty's first season, go to the show's website at www.prettytheseries.com or subscribe to its YouTube channel. You can also become a fan on Facebook.

31 Days of Halloween #31: Halloween



Happy Halloween! In the spirit of the season, I've been featuring a favorite horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

Since today is October 31, I think it's the perfect time for Halloween, which was co-written, directed, produced and scored by John Carpenter (who also wrote 1978's Eyes of Laura Mars and directed 1980's The Fog and 1983's Christine). Released on October 25, 1978, the movie tells the tale of psychotic killer Michael Myers who escapes from a psychiatric hospital and returns to his hometown to stalk teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut) and her friends. Produced on a budget of $320,000, it grossed $60 million at the box office and spawned seven sequels, a 2007 remake and a 2009 sequel to the remake.

Carpenter originally wanted to cast Anne Lockhart, the daughter of actress June Lockhart (Lassie, Lost in Space, Petticoat Junction), as Laurie, but when she had other film commitments, his second choice was Curtis. Co-writer and producer Debra Hill knew that casting Curtis would be great publicity because her mother, Janet Leigh, was in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. And that's how a new "scream queen" was born.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

31 Days of Halloween #30: Frogs


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

Frogs might not be the scariest flick ever made - or even a very good one (writer Fran Lebowitz once described it as "the best bad movie I have ever seen in my life") - but I firmly believe that one should always jump at the chance to feature a shirtless Sam Elliott, whose hairy beefcake scenes in the film would later help the actor land the lead role in Lifeguard, one of my favorite guilty pleasures of 1976. So today, folks, we've got Frogs.

Released on March 10, 1972, and directed by George McCowan (who would later direct many episodes of Charlie's Angels and Fantasy Island), Frogs also stars Ray Milland and a lovely pre-Knots Landing Joan Van Ark. And although its poster art makes one think they're about to see a flick about giant man-eating frogs, the film is actually an "eco-horror" tale, in which several different animal species - including snakes, birds and tarantulas - seek revenge for the constant pollution in their habitat.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Groovy Books: Armistead Maupin's 'Mary Ann in Autumn'


As I was getting closer to its final pages earlier this week, I stopped myself from reading more than a chapter or two in order to extend the pleasure. But, alas, all fabulous things must come to an end, and now I'm sure I will be suffering from withdrawal symptoms for the next few days. It's always difficult to finish a great novel - but when it comes to a new installment of the beloved Tales of the City series by one of my favorite authors, Armistead Maupin, well, mere words cannot describe the feelings of joy and excitement that are now sadly over. But I am happy to report that Mary Ann in Autumn is a groovalicious page-turner that should please every Tales fan.

It's been 32 years since Mary Ann Singleton moved to San Francisco from Cleveland and began a brand new life at 28 Barbary Lane. It's been more than 20 years since she left San Francisco to begin another new life in New York City, abandoning her husband, Brian, and their five-year-old daughter, Shawna. And it's been two years since Mary Ann last visited San Francisco when her former landlady, Anna Madrigal, was seriously ill. In the latest Tales, she returns to the city in December of 2008, seeking the comfort of old friends as her own life falls apart.

31 Days of Halloween #29: Black Christmas



It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

Directed by Bob Clark (who also made another heartwarming film, A Christmas Story), Black Christmas tells the creepy and disturbing story of a psychotic killer who decides to hang out in the attic of a sorority house during the holiday season. The wonderful cast includes Margot Kidder (before she became Superman's Lois Lane), Andrea Martin (who would later gain fame on SCTV), Keir Dullea, John Saxon, Art Hindle, the lovely Olivia Hussey as the film's heroine, and a hilarious Marian Waldman as the sorority's boozy house mother, Mrs. Mac, who steals every scene she's in.  I would recommend the movie just for her terrific comic performance.

Here is some interesting trivia: apparently the role of Mrs. Mac was offered to Bette Davis, who turned it down, and Gilda Radner was originally cast in Martin's part until she got her Saturday Night Live gig.

Released on December 20, 1974, Black Christmas grossed over $4 million on a budget of $620,000, and it is widely acknowledged as the first modern slasher film - four years before the original Halloween came out. Of course, a much more gory remake was released in 2006 with Martin now playing the sorority house mother.

Dish of the Day #520: Vote for your Favorite


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day will be featured, and beginning today you can vote for your favorite Dish this week in the sidebar poll. Today's Dish is Ashtyn Long.



Last week's winning Dishes were the couple in #515 with an impressive 36.3% of the 182 votes cast. They were followed by #513 (20.9%), #512 (17.6%), #514 (15.4%) and #511 (9.9%).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

DVD Dish: 'BearCity' and Other Groovy Gay Movies



Most of the movies I'll be reviewing in the next few weeks will be shown during Chicago's upcoming LGBT film festival. However, today I'm dishing about four gay films that I recently watched on DVD.

BearCity

This funny flick has been described as Queer As Folk meets Sex and the City — only with hairy chests. Directed and co-written by Douglas Langway, BearCity offers up a furry smorgasbord of storylines involving a group of New York City friends. The cast is excellent - especially Brian Keane and Stephen Guarino as a couple experimenting with an open relationship (their shower threesome with "Uncle Mel" is hilarious), Alex Di Dio as a flamboyant scene-stealing cutie, and Gerald McCullouch as a hot daddy who catches the lustful eye of a young twink. My only disappointment with the movie is that there isn't another episode to watch as I enjoyed spending time with these groovy guys. Let's hope for a sequel.

31 Days of Halloween #28: Dressed to Kill


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

Written and directed by Brian de Palma, this terrific thriller has many memorable scenes, but I especially like the silent flirtation in NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art (which was actually shot in the Philadelphia Museum of Art) between Angie Dickinson and a handsome stranger. And then there's that hide-your-eyes elevator ride and, of course, the ending, which still gives me chills just thinking about it.

Dressed to Kill tells the tale of a sexually frustrated housewife (played by Dickinson and - in the opening shower scene - Penthouse model Victoria Lynn) who is seeing a psychiatrist (the always interesting Michael Caine). After she is brutally murdered, her teenaged son (Keith Gordon) teams up with a young prostitute (Nancy Allen) to catch her killer. The film does have a few similarities to Hitchcock's Psycho - which initially caused some critics to complain - but today I consider it a classic that can stand on its own merits.

Released on July 25, 1980, the movie grossed over $31 million on a budget of $6.5 million. And, finally, an amusing bit of trivia: while filming on location the scene where Dickinson's character gets seduced in the back of a New York City cab, several onlookers shouted, "Right on, Police Woman!" (referring to the actress's previous TV role).

Dish of the Day #519: Trick or Treat Week


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll. Today's Dish is Alan Valdez.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Groovy LGBT Film Festival #2: The Four-Faced Liar



The tagline for The Four-Faced Liar is "a comedy about drama", which is certainly an accurate description of this first feature film by director Jacob Chase and writer Marja Lewis Ryan. And knowing that these two talented artists are only 24 and 25, respectively, makes me admire them even more for what they've accomplished.

The story is a simple one: roommates Trip and Bridget - he's straight, she's gay - meet a young couple, Greg and Molly, at The Four-Faced Liar, an actual Irish pub in New York City's Greenwich Village. They all become close friends - but then Molly confides to Bridget that her sex life with Greg is kind of boring. She wants to be thrown up against a wall and kissed hard - and soon Bridget is helping her live her fantasy. Of course, this secret affair leads to the "drama" of the tale.

Of 'Glee' I Sing: The Rocky Horror Disney Show


Well, where to begin? After watching "The Rocky Horror Glee Show" last night, I went online to discover that fans of the show either enjoyed the episode - or absolutely HATED it with a fervent passion. The last time I saw so many people upset about a silly television series was when almost everyone survived the Moldavian massacre on Dynasty. I guess the lesson learned is that you should not mess around with a cult musical whose characters and song lyrics are so beloved. Unfortunately, it appears that the censors at the FOX network got their panties in a bunch over this episode, which does seem a bit strange since only a few weeks ago Santana and Brittany were making out  and mentioning "scissoring". John Stamos was initially set to play Dr. Frank-N-Furter - which I'm sure would have been great - but FOX said "No way". As for all the lyrics being changed - with "Transsexual, Transylvania" becoming "Sensational, Transylvania" - it does seem ridiculous and confusing. So you can say "transvestite" on TV but not "transsexual"? This doesn't make any sense - unless Sue Sylvester was cleaning up the script with her rewrites, which she did mention. If only the episode had addressed these lyric changes, I think more folks would have accepted them.

I've only seen the 1975 film version of Rocky Horror twice. I like the movie - but it doesn't rank high on a list of my favorite musicals or cult films. And I don't have any of its song lyrics committed to memory. So I pretty much enjoyed Glee's Rocky Horror tribute. It was a fun episode - and certainly not the worst as some people have loudly proclaimed. Didn't they see the excruciating Britney Spears show? Now that was BAD - but I guess the old saying "different strokes for different folks" applies here. Also, I must mention the recent hullabaloo over the provocative GQ photos of a few Glee cast members. I found them mildly amusing but not worthy of any uproar. However, if the show/network allows their actors to pose for such "racy" pics, what is the big deal over having them sing about transsexuals or heavy petting? Oh well, let's move on to my review of Glee's 27th episode:

31 Days of Halloween #27: Prom Night


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

Here's another Jamie Lee Curtis horror movie, in which she is going to be crowned queen of the prom - if only there wasn't a killer on the loose. Directed by Paul Lynch and written by William Gray and Robert Guza, Jr. (who is now the Head Writer of the daytime soap, General Hospital), Prom Night was released on July 18, 1980, grossing over $14 million and spawning three sequels and a 2008 remake. Fans of the film also love its disco-inspired soundtrack by composers Carl Zittrer and Paul Zaza (whose other credits include the music for 1983's A Christmas Story), but it was released only in Japan on LP and cassette and has never been issued on CD.

Dish of the Day #518: Trick or Treat Week


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Groovy Comics: 'Doonesbury' Turns 40



Since Doonesbury is one of my favorite comic strips, I'm celebrating its 40th birthday today by featuring a few of its most memorable storylines. Created by Garry Trudeau, it debuted as a daily strip in 28 newspapers on October 26, 1970, and followed the lives of some students attending the fictional Walden College.

DWTS #6: Rock Week (without any Roll)


Yes, I'm still pissed that Florence was kicked to the curb last week instead of Bristol. But we obviously cannot underestimate the power of the Tea Partiers/Republicans who would love nothing better than to see their favorite gal's daughter win this competition. It also doesn't hurt that the girl has a very cute dance partner, who can make a big difference when it comes to voting (Maks is certainly making Brandy look very good this season). Oh well, at least one of my lovely ladies is still alive and kicking - Ms. Grey - but even she seems to be out of sorts these days (I've heard rumors that she and Derek can't stand each other, but if this is true, they're putting up a pretty good front). And, finally, I must say that Rock Week desperately needed some Roll as the evening nearly put me to sleep (and the tango and the paso doble really don't mesh that well with rock music). Now here are more of my dislikes - and a few likes - from last night's Dancing With the Stars:

Most Entertaining: The Top 10 Favorite Dances ever segment was much more fun to watch than any of this week's dances - and it made me wish that there was someone like Shawn Johnson or Apolo Anton Ohno competing this season. Below you can watch Shawn and Mark's fabulous freestyle from Season 8.

31 Days of Halloween #26: The Omen


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

I'll watch anything starring the lovely Lee Remick, who plays the mother of the Antichrist in this horror flick. She and husband Gregory Peck do their best as parents, but their son, Damien, is just a nasty little bugger. Directed by Richard Donner (who later made 1978's Superman and 1987's Lethal Weapon), the film was a big hit upon its US release on June 25, 1976, grossing over $60 million on a budget of $2.8 million. It was the fourth highest grossing movie of 1976 (Rocky, A Star Is Born and All the President's Men were the top three). Composer Jerry Goldsmith won an Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Omen, which received a pointless remake in 2006 with Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles as Damien's parents.

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Laurie Strode


Every Tuesday I post five trivia questions relating to television, film or theater, and the first person who sends me the correct answers wins the highly coveted Auntie Mame Award.

Please send your answers for this week's questions to deepdishdrama@aol.com or via a private Facebook message at www.facebook.com/marcharshbarger (DO NOT post your answers on here where everyone can see them or they will be deleted).

In honor of Halloween, I'm featuring horror flicks this month - and today's selection is the 1978 film, Halloween, and its 1981 sequel, Halloween II:

1) In what state are the movies set?

2) Who does Michael Myers murder when he is six years old?

3) What is Laurie's friend Lynda strangled with?

4) Besides a knife, what two other things does Laurie use as weapons against Michael in the original film?

5) As revealed in Halloween II, what is Laurie's connection to Michael?

Last week Richard Roland answered the following questions correctly about the movie, The Omen:

1) Who plays Robert Thorn? Gregory Peck

2) In what city does Katherine Thorn give birth? Rome

3) Who hangs herself at Damien's fifth birthday party? His nanny

4) Who does Damien knock off a balcony? His pregnant mother

5) What is Damien's birthmark in the shape of? The number 666

Dish of the Day #517: Trick or Treat Week


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Celebrity Birthday Dinner Party #14: Who are you inviting?


Last week's Celebrity Birthday Dinner Party received 212 votes, and I would love to attend a party with the top three - Ryan Reynolds, Divine and Carrie Fisher. Here are the final results:

Ryan Reynolds 37
Divine 26
Carrie Fisher 26
Catherine Deneuve 18
Kevin Kline 16
Johnny Carson 15
Zac Efron 15
Raúl Esparza 12
Robert Reed 10
Arlene Francis 9
Jeff Goldblum 8
Moss Hart 8
John Lithgow 5
Laura Nyro 4
F. Murray Abraham 3
Tony Roberts 0

And now here are this week's contenders. So which three of these past/present celebrities (whose birthdays are this week) would you invite to your dinner party? You can vote for your favorites below.


Barbara Bel Geddes
TV's Miss Ellie would have been 88 on October 31.

31 Days of Halloween #25: Carrie


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

What's not to love about Carrie? Based on Stephen King's first published novel and directed by Brian De Palma, this groovy movie tells the story of Carrie White, a shy teenage girl whose telekinetic powers wreak havoc after she is humiliated at the senior prom. It has a great cast, including Sissy Spacek as Carrie, Piper Laurie as her religious nutjob of a mother, Betty Buckley as a gym teacher, and Amy Irving, Nancy Allen, William Katt and John Travolta as Carrie's classmates. And it was turned into a notorious Broadway flop musical in 1988 starring Buckley as Carrie's mother.

Released on November 3, 1976, the film was a box office hit, grossing over $33 million on a budget of $1.8 million. And both Spacek and Laurie received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.

Dish of the Day #516: Trick or Treat Week


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll. The photographer of today's Dish is Carl Timson.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Web Series Worth Watching: Thank You...Next


Web Series of the Week: Thank You...Next
Here's an amusing new fictional web series that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the casting process for an upcoming Broadway musical. Written, directed and produced by Ben Gettinger and Raymond J. Lee, it stars Bryan Scott Johnson, Lori Hammel, Daniel Reichard, and a scene-stealing Isaac Calpito as Antony the bitchy choreographer. For more information on the series, go to www.thankyounextseries.com. You can also become a fan on Facebook and Twitter.

31 Days of Halloween #24: Invasion of the Body Snatchers


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

I'm not a big fan of any kind of remake - especially when it comes to horror films. They usually make me want to scream "NOOOOO!" because they're just bad ideas. However, there is one that I've always enjoyed, which I think is better than the 1956 original film - the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Directed by Philip Kaufman (who later made The Right Stuff and The Unbearable Lightness of Being), it stars Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright and Leonard Nimoy as San Francisco residents who discover that people are being replaced by replicas grown from plantlike pods. Released on December 20, 1978, this Invasion - which was made for $3.5 million - was a box office hit, earning nearly $25 million.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Saturday Night Fever: Cosmo's 2010 Bachelor Blowout


It's Saturday - and I have a fever caused by the sexy men featured in the November issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, which went on a major manhunt for the most datable guys from every state. Below are a few of my favorites - including the Bachelor of the Year, who won a $10,000 grand prize and a $5,000 Express wardrobe - but you can check out all the guys by clicking here (they also list their email addresses so you can connect with your future boyfriend).


Luke Howarth
Age: 23
Location: Eagle, Idaho
Job: Law student
Touch that turns him on: "Scratch the back of my head; it's the most amazing feeling."

31 Days of Halloween #23: Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho'


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

No list of Halloween horror flicks would be complete without Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, which was originally released on June 16, 1960. From John L. Russell's black-and-white cinematography and George Tomasini's editing to Bernard Herrmann's music and the excellent cast, the film is pretty much perfect.

I would hope that everyone is familiar with the story of Psycho, which follows embezzling secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) to a motel run by a taxidermy-loving Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). There she makes a life-changing decision to take a shower, leading to one of the most memorable moments in motion picture history (you can watch this scene below). Psycho initially received mixed reviews with some critics seeing it as a "gimmick" movie, but it was a hit at the box office and was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress (Leigh), Direction, Black and White Cinematography, and Black and White Art Direction-Set Decoration. Forever typecast as a psychotic after the film, Perkins later embraced his breakthrough role by appearing in three sequels, Psycho II (1983), Psycho III (1986) and Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990), but none of them come close to achieving the brilliance of the original. Director Gus Van Sant made a pointless remake in 1998 with Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche and Julianne Moore. And, finally, Psycho was the first American film to show a toilet flushing on screen, which must have been truly horrifying for audiences back then.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chicago Theater: 'Carpenters Halloween' will put you on "Top of the World"


Carpenters Halloween is absolutely fabulous. Returning for its fourth year, this fun and unique show is a twisted tribute to the 1978 horror classic, Halloween, set to the groovy music of Karen and Richard Carpenter. What more could one ask for? If you love pop culture of the 1970s as much as I do, then this campy theatrical experience will make you laugh out loud from beginning to end.

In case you're not familiar with the movie, Halloween tells the story of teenager Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends who are stalked by a psychotic killer named Michael Myers after he escapes from a mental hospital. And if you don't know any songs by the Carpenters, well, shame on you - and I order you to go buy a copy of their greatest hits LP, The Singles: 1969-1973 (the very first album I bought when I was nine).

Produced by The Scooty & JoJo Show (aka the creative team of Scott Bradley and Jonny Stax), Carpenters Halloween has a terrific cast that includes Amanda Kayla Kahn, Marcus Kenyadi, Anne Litchfield, Christopher Paul Mueller, Eric Pogrelis and Jenny Rachel Weiner. However, I must single out two actors who steal the show - Michael Miller as Dr. Loomis and Scott Bradley as Laurie. What makes Miller's performance so wonderful is that he's playing a hand puppet version of Loomis - didn't I say the production is "unique"? I wasn't kidding as the cast is made up of both live actors and puppets - and it all works brilliantly. Bradley, who plays Laurie in drag, perfectly captures the hair-flipping angst of the character - and he also deserves kudos for his excellent direction of this hilarious parody.

Deeper Dish with Alexandra Billings


Any regular reader of this blog knows that I consider Alexandra Billings to be a groovy gal. I've known this ever since she starred in the play, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, at Chicago's Royal George Theatre in 1990. Since then, the talented actress has appeared on television (Grey's Anatomy, Eli Stone) and in movies (Socket, Stealth), recorded two solo CDs, and performed a one-woman autobiographical show as well as a cabaret act (for which she received the New York MAC Hanson Award for Cabaret Artist of the Year in 2004).

Having featured her in an interview last year (click here to read it), I am thrilled to have her back here on the Dish to discuss her most recent success - her cabaret debut at New York’s prestigious Feinstein’s nightclub. She is also preparing for a stage show of her fabulous YouTube web series, Katie’s Corner, on November 7 in Los Angeles. And this weekend Alex is returning to Chicago for two special events - tomorrow night she will be the keynote speaker at a benefit for Gerber/Hart Library, and on Sunday evening she will be playing Googie Gomez in Pride Films & Plays' staged reading of Terrence McNally's play, The Ritz.

31 Days of Halloween #22: The Stepford Wives


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

No, I'm not speaking of the horrendous 2004 remake that wasted the talents of Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close and Bette Midler. The only good thing to come out of that disappointing mess is that it made me love the original film even more. Released on February 12, 1975, The Stepford Wives is about Joanna (played by the lovely Katharine Ross), who moves with her family to Stepford, Connecticut, where she soon discovers that the suburban town has a deep dark secret involving the married men and their hyper-domestic wives. The film has a great supporting cast that includes the delightful Paula Prentiss, Tina "Ginger Grant" Louise, and Mary Stuart Masterson (making her film debut at age eight as one of Joanna's daughters). Besides the remake, three TV sequels have been made over the years: Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980) with Sharon Gless and Don Johnson, The Stepford Children (1987) with Barbara Eden, and The Stepford Husbands (1996) with Donna Mills, Michael Ontkean and Cindy Williams.

Dish of the Day #515: Vote for your Favorite


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day will be featured, and beginning today you can vote for your favorite Dish this week in the sidebar poll.



Last week's contest was quite popular with 204 votes cast. The winning Dish was #510 with 27.7%, followed by #508 (25.2%) a third place tie between #507 and #509 both with 16.0%, and #506 (15.0%).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

31 Days of Halloween #21: The Shining



It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

Based on the 1977 Stephen King novel and directed by Stanley Kubrick (who also made Lolita, 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange), this psychological horror film stars Jack Nicholson as a writer who becomes influenced by an evil presence in a haunted hotel. In one of the most memorable scenes in motion picture history, he shouts "Here's Johnny!" while chopping down a bathroom door with an axe in order to kill his wife (played by Shelley Duvall). The Shining was released on May 23, 1980, and was the only one of Kubrick's last nine films to receive no nominations from either the Oscars or Golden Globes. It was nominated for two 1981 Razzie Awards for Worst Director and Worst Actress (Xanadu's Robert Greenwald and The Blue Lagoon's Brooke Shields won). And, finally, the axe used in the movie is now at Planet Hollywood in Beverly Hills.

Below is the film's disturbingly effective trailer.

Dish of the Day #514: National Chemistry Week


This week's Dishes are in honor of National Chemistry Week (October 17-23) since they obviously have good chemistry.

Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Groovy LGBT Film Festival #1: Is It Just Me?


Over the next few weeks I will be reviewing films that will be shown during Reeling 2010: The 29th Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, which runs November 4 - 13. The festival will feature many groovy gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender comedies, dramas, documentaries and short films.

My first Reeling review is of the cute romantic comedy, Is It Just Me?, written, directed and co-produced by J.C. Calciano. The film tells the story of Blaine (played by Nicholas Downs), a hopeful romantic looking for Mr. Right through an online dating website. He meets a young Texas songwriter named Xander (David Loren) and - after a few stimulating phone conversations - finally agrees to a face-to-face encounter at a local coffee shop. Blaine is then shocked to discover that he has been chatting with the man of his dreams through the online profile of his roommate Cameron (Adam Huss), who is a hunky go-go dancer. So now the question is - who will Xander choose? The muscular stud with the amazing abs or the average guy with the fabulous wit?

Yes, we've all seen variations of this mistaken identity plot twist before - and I bet you can predict the ending without even watching the film. However, this doesn't prevent the movie from being an enjoyable lighthearted trip worth taking - and its attractive and talented cast certainly helps to make the 93-minute journey a lot of fun. Downs perfectly captures Blaine's nervous insecurity and frustrated desire, while Huss succeeds in giving his character a bit of depth beyond just shaking his fine booty. But Loren pretty much steals the film whenever he appears.  His Xander is funny and adorable with a body that deserves to remain shirtless forever - and his Texas twang will melt your heart. I also must mention the amusing performance of Bruce Gray, who plays Xander's much older and flamboyant roommate, Ernie. Whether he's speaking to his dog Donatella, making cupcakes or offering wise advice, Ernie is a delight.

Groovy TV Preview: The Rocky Horror Glee Show


Since there isn't a new Glee this week, here's the next best thing - a sneak peek at the October 26th episode, "The Rocky Horror Glee Show", in which the glee club pays tribute to the cult musical with Kurt as Riff Raff, Finn as Brad, and Sam as Rocky. Apparently it will be an "ab-tastic" show with Finn, Sam and Will all baring their six-packs for the sake of good television. Below are videos featuring interviews with Chris Colfer, Jayma Mays, Chord Overstreet and Matthew Morrison and the entire performance of "The Time Warp" number.


31 Days of Halloween #20: The Exorcist


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

This film still scares the bejesus out of me. Maybe it's the eerie music - Mike Oldfield's 1973 debut album, Tubular Bells. Or the amazing performance of Linda Blair as 12-year-old Regan, who is possessed by a demonic spirit (and the creepy voice of actress Mercedes McCambridge). Or perhaps it's the realistic and frightening special effects that make me want to hide my eyes - and avoid pea soup. It's probably a combination of all of the above that puts The Exorcist in my Top Five of horror flicks.

Directed by William Friedkin (who previously made 1970's The Boys in the Band and 1971's The French Connection), the movie had a production budget of $12 million and earned over $66 million during its original theatrical release, becoming the second most popular film of 1974 after The Sting (it debuted in theaters on December 26, 1973, as a holiday flick for the whole family). The Exorcist earned ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Director, Best Actress (Ellen Burstyn, who plays Regan's mother), Best Supporting Actress (Blair) and Best Picture (The Sting won). The movie received two Oscars for Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay (author William Peter Blatty adapted his own 1971 novel).

Below is the film's trailer, a 1984 reunion on Good Morning America, and a fascinating 1998 BBC documentary, The Fear of God: The Making of The Exorcist, which was produced for the movie's 25th anniversary.

Remembering Tom Bosley 1927 - 2010


Tom Bosley will forever be Howard Cunningham, devoted husband to Marion and father to Richie, Joanie and Chuck. The actor, who died Tuesday at age 83, played this role on TV's Happy Days for 11 seasons (1974-84), and although the series went through many changes over the years, Bosley's wonderful performance was always a constant - as was his great chemistry with his on-screen wife, Marion Ross. His other television credits included The Debbie Reynolds Show (1969-70), The Sandy Duncan Show (1972), the animated sitcom, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (which ran in syndication from 1972-74), Murder, She Wrote (as Sheriff Amos Tupper), Father Dowling Mysteries (1987-91), and the 1969 pilot episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Joan Crawford. He also appeared in such films as Love with the Proper Stranger (1963), The World of Henry Orient (1964), Divorce American Style (1967), and Yours, Mine and Ours (1968).

Born in Chicago, Bosley attended DePaul University and made his stage debut in Our Town at the Fine Arts Theatre in 1947. He later won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as New York City mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia in the 1959 musical, Fiorello! The actor also starred in two short-lived Broadway musicals - Nowhere to Go But Up with Dorothy Loudon (it ran for 9 performances in 1962) and The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N (which ran for 29 performances in 1968) - and in Disney's long-running Beauty and the Beast (in which he was perfectly cast as Belle's father).

Dish of the Day #513: National Chemistry Week


This week's Dishes are in honor of National Chemistry Week (October 17-23) since they obviously have good chemistry.

Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

DWTS #5: Here's the Story, of a Lovely Lady


Well, so far I'm batting three out of four with my elimination selections as last week The Situation was sent home. However, this week I don't think our Miss Bristol will be so lucky since her performance last night SUCKED. It was definitely the worst of the evening as the girl forgot a lot of her jive steps. So here's hoping even the Tea Partiers finally decided to put us out of our misery of having to watch the teen activist dance every week. Now here are my likes and dislikes from last night's Dancing with the Stars:

Most Entertaining Runners-Up: A tie between Kurt and Anna's cute Bewitched quick step (loved her nose twitch!) and Brandy and Maks' joyful quick step to the Friends theme song, "I'll Be There for You".

Most Entertaining: I have to go with Kyle and Lacey's groovy disco-inspired foxtrot to the Charlie's Angels theme song. Have I mentioned yet how much I enjoyed this week's theme of TV tunes?

Worst Costumes: Bristol and Mark's gorilla outfits. Bad idea.

Best Costumes Runner-Up: Rick and Cheryl's cop costumes.

Deeper Dish with Chico's Angels



Chico's Angels have been fighting crime and solving mysteries in cha-cha heels since 2003 when the sexy Latina detectives went undercover to find a killer in their first stage show, Pretty Chicas All in a Row. Since then, Kay Sedia, Chita Parol and Frieda Laye have become one of Los Angeles' favorite comedy acts while performing in such hits as Love Boat Chicas (with Charo hiring them to find her wannabe-assassin) and Chicas Are Forever. The groovy gals have recently found even more new fans online with their fabulous web series, and now they are back on stage with Chicas in Chains at the Cavern Club Theater through November 7. I am so delighted to have the Angels here on the Dish to discuss their careers and answer some pop culture questions.

31 Days of Halloween #19: Friday the 13th


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

The original Friday the 13th is the best with Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees and Kevin Bacon in one of his earliest roles. Released on May 9, 1980, the film is about a group of teenagers who re-open Camp Crystal Lake years after the drowning of a young boy. Then - one by one - the teens fall victim to a mysterious killer. With an estimated budget of $550,000, the movie grossed more than $59 million, despite most critics hating it (the Chicago Tribune's Gene Siskel even published Palmer's home address to encourage people to write to her and express their contempt for the film). Of course, such success led to ten sequels and a 2009 remake.

Below is the movie's trailer and the DVD documentary, Return to Crystal Lake: Making Friday the 13th.

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Damien


Every Tuesday I post five trivia questions relating to television, film or theater, and the first person who sends me the correct answers wins the highly coveted Auntie Mame Award.

Please send your answers for this week's questions to deepdishdrama@aol.com or via a private Facebook message at www.facebook.com/marcharshbarger (DO NOT post your answers on here where everyone can see them or they will be deleted).

In honor of Halloween, I'm featuring horror flicks this month - and today's selection is the 1976 film, The Omen:

1) Who plays Robert Thorn?

2) In what city does Katherine Thorn give birth?

3) Who hangs herself at Damien's fifth birthday party?

4) Who does Damien knock off a balcony?

5) What is Damien's birthmark in the shape of?

Last week Michael Walters answered the following questions correctly about the movie, Psycho:

1) Who plays Marion Crane's boyfriend Sam? John Gavin

2) What is Norman's hobby? Taxidermy

3) What is the name of Marion's sister? Lila

4) What future Mary Tyler Moore Show star plays the cop guarding Norman Bates at the end of the movie? Ted Knight

5) What two actors reprised their roles in the 1983 sequel, Psycho II? Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles

Dish of the Day #512: National Chemistry Week


This week's Dishes are in honor of National Chemistry Week (October 17-23) since they obviously have good chemistry.

Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mad about the Men: I Got You Babe


Any episode that begins with Don Draper lying in bed makes me happy - and the rest of last night's fabulous season finale continued to put a smile on my face. My only disappointment is that we now have to wait until next summer for more Mad Men. So here's my review of "Tomorrowland", the 52nd episode of the series:

Favorite character: Megan Calvais played by 27-year-old Canadian actress Jessica Paré. I had my suspicions that Don's pretty new secretary might steal him away from Faye - and last night they came true as Don popped the question. I like Megan - but I have a feeling that Betty might not once she realizes that her children prefer their new stepmother over her.

Best future wife for Don: Well, Megan might have got Anna's engagement ring instead of Faye, but I doubt that she and Don will live happily ever after.

Celebrity Birthday Dinner Party #13: Who are you inviting?


Last week's Celebrity Birthday Dinner Party received 278 votes - and I'm not surprised that the handsome Hugh Jackman was Mr. Popularity. However, I am surprised that more people would rather have dinner with Suzanne Somers than Margot Kidder, whom I think has had a far more interesting career. Here are the final results:

Hugh Jackman 42
Oscar Wilde 37
Montgomery Clift 33
Angela Lansbury 33
Matthew Bomer 25
Joan Cusack 24
Dawn French 16
Rita Hayworth 14
Penny Marshall 13
Suzanne Somers 8
Isaac Mizrahi 6
Marie Osmond 6
Lillian Gish 5
Jane Krakowski 5
Richard Carpenter 3
Paul Simon 3
Tim Robbins 3
Margot Kidder 2

And now here are this week's contenders. So which three of these past/present celebrities (whose birthdays are this week) would you invite to your dinner party? You can vote for your favorites below.


F. Murray Abraham
The actor turns 71 on October 24.

31 Days of Halloween #18: Sisters


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

Before he directed Carrie (1976) and Dressed to Kill (1980), Brian De Palma made Sisters, a psychological thriller starring Margot Kidder as a model who is shadowed by her psychotic former Siamese twin, and Jennifer Salt (Eunice on TV's Soap) as a reporter who investigates the two sisters after witnessing a murder. Released on March 27, 1973, the film has a score by composer Bernard Herrmann, who was known for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock on such films as Psycho, North by Northwest and The Birds. I didn't discover until today that Sisters was remade in 2006 with Chloë Sevigny as the reporter. Apparently the troubled film never had a theatrical release, but it is available on DVD - as is the original.

Below is the movie's trailer and a clip that shows the interesting split screen effect that De Palma uses.

Dish of the Day #511: National Chemistry Week


This week's Dishes are in honor of National Chemistry Week (October 17-23) since they obviously have good chemistry.

Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

31 Days of Halloween #17: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

Originally telecast on ABC on October 10, 1973, this classic made-for-television horror film is about a young couple (Kim Darby, Jim Hutton) who inherit an old mansion with a bricked-up fireplace in the basement. Of course, the wife wants to unseal the fireplace, which is a big mistake. The Warner Brothers Archive Collection released the movie on DVD last year, and next year a remake will be released starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce.

Below are trailers for the original and the upcoming remake.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Saturday Night Fever: Cheyenne Jackson


It's Saturday - and I have a fever caused by the gorgeous Cheyenne Jackson, the 35-year-old Glee and 30 Rock star who is the cover story of Out magazine's November issue. He is also now a happily married man, having secretly wed his partner of more than 10 years, physicist Monte Lapka, over the summer. Below are a few pics (by Doug Inglish) and two videos from the Fire Island photo shoot. Enjoy!

31 Days of Halloween #16: Phantasm


It's the most scariest time of the year once again, so in the spirit of the season, I will be featuring a favorite Halloween horror flick every day this month (click here to see my other selected films).

A very tall mortician turns the dead into dwarf zombies to do his bidding and take over the world. Oh, and there's also this deadly silver sphere that flies around. And that, folks, is Phantasm, a cult classic that was originally released on March 28, 1979. With an estimated budget of $300,000, the movie made almost $12 million at the box office and spawned three sequels - Phantasm II (1988), Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994), and Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998).