Best Sports Movies on DVD

Just in time to help you find that perfect gift for the sports fan on your list (and to support Cinderella Man, #22, as a contender when Oscar time rolls around), Entertainment Weekly has published its list of the 30 best sports movies on DVD. Numbers 1-5 are: Raging Bull, Caddyshack, Hoosiers, Rocky, and Bull Durham. See the complete list.

Never have your dog stuffed : and other things I've learned

Alan Alda was inteviewed on the Diane Rehm show on 11-29-05 about his new book "Never have your dog stuffed... Alda, star of stage and screen, looks back on his life in show business and how a life threatening illness atop a Chilean mountain changed his life.

Alan Alda played Hawkeye Pierce for 11 years on the TV series M*A*S*H. Last year he was nominated for: an Oscar for his role in "The Aviator;" an Emmy for his role on "The West Wing"; and, a Tony for his performance in "Glengarry Glen Ross."

The Play Ground

Tis the Season....for the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Bah humbug, it has never been one of The Play Ground's favorites. Well, the Performance Network is featuring Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol by Tom Mula. It is well done, inventive and an interesting new take on this old standard. Through December 24. Fans of the original Christmas Carol may wish to check out the 1951 classic starring Alastair Sim and Kathleen Harrison.

Based on the book...

Most of the hotly anticipated movies due to be released next month are based on a book: Memoirs of a Geisha, Brokeback Mountain (from Annie Proulx's Close Range and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Even The New World, Terrence Malick's drama about the 17th century English settlement at Jamestown--a tale that promises a good deal of bloodshed, greed, conquest, starvation, and love--is based on Love and Hate in Jamestown: James Smith, Pocahontas and the Start of a New Nation, left, by James Price, a "sparkling book [that] retells a beloved tale in modern terms...." (Publisher's Weekly)

King Kong: A First Look

King Kong 2005

Although it's not scheduled for release until December 13 in New Zealand (December 14 in the United Sates), the first review of Peter Jackson's $207 million epic King Kong is in. In the upcoming December 5 issue, Newsweek's senior writer, Devin Gordon, who was flown to New Zealand for an exclusive screening, gushes over the "surprisingly tender, even heartbreaking, film" and claims Jackson has "proved once again that he might be the only guy whose films are worth getting on a plane and flying halfway around the planet to see." Click here for the full review and a trailer.

That Love Bug is Back

If you're looking for family entertainment, you could do a lot worse than Herbie Fully Loaded, the latest remake of the '60s movie The Love Bug. The new film is a lot like the old ones, as a fiesty VW comes alive and wins races against all odds. Ridiculous and fun.

Pat Morita 1932-2005

Actor Pat Morita, best known for his role as Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid series of movies, and as Arnold in the television series "Happy Days" died of natural causes yesterday in his home. He was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award in 1984 for his role in the first Karate Kid movie, and then went on to star in three sequels.

Morita originally wanted to become a comedian, but in the 1950's in California, he did not feel there was very much hope for a Japanese-American stand-up comedian. At the age of 30 he finally was able to enter show-business full time.

Michigan Reads! One State, One Preschool Book - Vote now!

The Library of Michigan has announced the five finalists for the 2006 Michigan Reads program. This program picks one picture book title to feature for a year. It is part of the Library's push to promote early childhood literacy.

The five finalists are:
Bed Hogs by Kelly DiPucchio
In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
Stranger in the Woods by Carl Sams
Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
Imogene's Antlers by David Small

The public is welcome to vote. Votes can be cast here. The winner will be announced on December 12, 2005. That title will be featured in programs statewide during March.

The 2004 Michigan Reads book was Barnyard Song by Rhonda Gowler Greene. There was no 2005 award.

Beowulf: Coming to a theater near you in 2007!

Boy, just what we've been waiting for.

If memories of struggling through Old English epic poetry during your pimply adolescence aren't exactly causing paroxysms of anticipatory glee, consider this: A full-blown animated film about the struggle between Beowulf and the monster Grendel from a script written by Roger "Pulp Fiction" Avary and cult comic writer Neil Gaiman (Sandman), directed by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away), and starring--well at least the voices of--Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Crispin Glover, and John Malkovich. Does that help? Meanwhile, you might consider Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, left, by Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, which includes both Old English and an English translation on facing pages. It's actually a ripping good yarn.

Between You and Me: A Memoir

On NPR Nov. 8, 2005 Terry Gross interviewed TV news veteran Mike Wallace who has just published a book about his favorite interviews, titled Between You and Me written with Gary Paul Gates. He shares behind-the-scenes details from encounters with politicians, celebrities and criminals.
Mike Wallace has been with 60 Minutes since the show began airing in 1968. Wallace became known for hard-hitting interviews in which he refused to be led away from topics his interview subjects found uncomfortable. Now 87, he is beginning to take a more limited role on the show.

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