Why Tom Brady’s Career Would Make The Perfect NFL Dynasty Movie

Tom Brady” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Keith Allison

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots just get better and better. On February 5th 2017, the 39-year-old produced one of the greatest Super Bowl comebacks to lead New England to a shock victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Nobody ever doubted Brady’s ability to put pressure on Atlanta’s defence in the second half but overturning a 25-point margin took him to a league of his own.

Being completely honest, you could definitely make an entertaining and dramatic film based purely on Super Bowl 51. But when you look back over Brady’s illustrious career, you see the entire story from college to draft day, from his Patriots debut to his first Super Bowl and to the present day; a five-time NFL champion. And it’s the stuff of cinema for sure.

When he was drafted by New England with the 199th overall pick in 2000, nobody expected Brady to achieve much at all, let alone win nine AFC Championship titles and five Super Bowl rings – we’ve all seen Draft Day after all… Time and time again, Brady has overcome diversity to prove everybody wrong, and that certainly makes for a great Hollywood story. In true underdog fashion, 31 other franchises passed on Brady in the NFL Draft. Even the Patriots opted to look elsewhere in the first five rounds.

In a way, Brady has been the Adam Sandler of New England; controlling proceedings from quarterback just as Sandler does in The Longest Yard. And while some may claim that Bill Belichick, Brady’s long-time head coach at New England, holds many similarities to the warden in that particular movie, his influence at the top has been a key reason for Brady’s success at the position.

An interesting point to consider is the timing of a potential Brady movie. Do you start filming now whilst he is still playing or focus on developing an idea and then produce the movie when he’s retired? For now, Brady will remain focused on helping New England in their bid to win a sixth Super Bowl crown. According to some reports, the Patriots have already filed to trademark “Blitz for Six” and fans may be set for more “Belichickian” terms and phrases in the coming months.

The Patriots have dominated American football in the USA in recent years and a film focused on main man Brady may be well received should New England succeed in their “Blitz for Six”. One documentary, Year of the Quarterback: The Brady 6″ has emphasised on the respective careers of those quarterbacks selected before the New England man in the NFL Draft that year but it is time for a film-maker to turn attention to the greatest quarterback of all-time.

You won’t see another story quite like this in sport and if New England, +550 to win next year’s Super Bowl in bet365’s American football betting markets, can secure another title, every media platform in the United States would be looking to film and broadcast the documentary. Tom Brady is now bigger than a football player. He is a global icon and his sporting successes could very well plateau him onto the big screen in the coming years.

Whether you like him or not, Tom Brady’s achievements deserve plenty of respect and you have to admire his hunger to succeed on the big stage. The “Brady or Joe Montana” debate is subjective of course, but the New England man is certainly a bigger star than Montana ever was, and a movie based around his entire football career could potentially go down as one of the greatest sports films to hit the cinema.

Steven Awalt talks about his book “Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Film Career”

Here’s a trick question for you? Where did film director Steven Spielberg go when he wanted some information about…Steven Spielberg? The answer was an amazing web site known to fans all over the word as SpielbergFilms.com. Created and maintained by Steven Awalt, the site lasted for seven years, only closing down because of Awalt’s various projects. One of those projects, the well reviewed book “Steven Spielberg and DUEL: The Making of a Film Career,” will be released on March 26.

With a Master’s degree in Cinema Studies from DePaul University, Awalt is more than qualified to discuss the most successful filmmaker of his generation. While awaiting the release of his book, Awalt took the time to speak with me about everything Spielberg.

Mike Smith: What is it about Steven Spielberg that made you follow his career so carefully that you created a web site dedicated to his work?
Steven Awalt: He and George Lucas were really the first two “filmmakers” I knew when I was growing up. Of course, when I was younger I was a big fan of the Disney films but when “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” came out it really knocked me on my young butt. The scope of it was just amazing for a little boy. And then as I got older and looked at his films, I think it was his sense of humanity that really appealed to me. I don’t think he gets enough credit for his work with characters. Going back to “Close Encounters,” people focus on the spaceships and the aliens but, at the center of that film, you have a very emotional story about a family falling apart. Even in “Jaws,” you had the Brody family and, of course, the dynamic between the three men. “Duel” is really a great portrait of a man losing his mind. It’s all about paranoia.

MS: Do you remember the first Spielberg film you ever saw in a theatre?
SA: It was “Close Encounters.” I had just turned five, so he caught me at a very young age. Between that and “Star Wars” from earlier in the summer, it was the perfect age to be.

MS: I was sixteen. Trust me, it was a great summer to be sixteen as well!
SA: (laughs) I wish to God I had been older. You got to experience “Jaws.” I first saw it when it aired on television (November 1979). The funny thing was that it didn’t at first stick with me…not like “Close Encounters” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark” because it scared the hell out of me! Now it’s one of my favorite films but back when I was younger…I wish I had born in the same generation as yours because it must have been really great to be there.

MS: Of all the films that Steven Spielberg is known for, why did you choose to highlight “Duel?”
SA: Originally I had wanted to write about “Close Encounters” because it’s such an important film to me. I had been deeply researching it for years while I ran the old SpielbergFilms web site. At the time someone else had just come out with a very strong book about the film, independently written, and I was so upset because someone else had gone after it. I still plan to get to that “Close Encounters” book but when I thought about it, I realized that Steven’s work before “Jaws,” namely “Duel” and “Sugarland Express,” hadn’t really gotten their due. I thought it was fertile ground and I hope I’ve been able to start what I hope will be a series of books about his work. “Duel” and “Sugarland” are great films but they really kind of got buried by the success of “Jaws,” “Raiders,” E.T.” ….everything.

MS: Do you have a favorite Spielberg film?
SA: I definitely have a favorite. And, like most people, my favorite film is different then what I consider his best film. His best film is actually too hard a question, but my favorite film of his, from a personal perspective, is “E.T.” That film came along in my life…when I needed it most. It probably sounds funny to say that about a movie but I’m sure, at the same time, many fans can relate to that. I had a pretty rough childhood. My father was an alcoholic…he just wasn’t there for me. He died when I was a kid. So the film really spoke to me. A lonely young boy who misses his father…again, it’s the heart of the film that makes it so beautiful. Even to this day it’s a very important film in my life. And it comes from a very personal space in Steven because of the divorce of his parents. The scene in the garage where Elliot and Michael are looking for things for E.T. to build his communicator with…finding their dad’s old shirt and smelling the cologne on it…that’s the one thing I love about his work so much, that it’s so relatable.

MS: I’m paraphrasing this comment from the late director Sydney Pollack, who in 1984 told TIME magazine that he felt Spielberg would never win an Oscar until his films “grow up.” I actually met Pollack at a retro screening of “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” and asked him about his comments. He maintained to me that Spielberg needed to focus more on adult material. Do you think that he intentionally changed the kind of films he was doing because of that thinking? (NOTE: Spielberg’s next film after “E.T.” was the critically acclaimed, very grown up “The Color Purple.” The film received a total of eleven Academy Award nominations though, surprisingly, not one for Spielberg’s direction. This film, and 1977’s “The Turning Point,” share the record for most Academy Award nominations without a single win. Ironically, the winner of the Best Director Oscar that year was Sydney Pollack).
SA: Only Steven himself could answer that question accurately. But I think that, having started out making films in his early 20’s, Steven grew up with his films. I would imagine he was looking for different kinds of entertainment…not entertainment, per se’, but different kinds of stories about human beings. “The Color Purple” is an interesting film. I’m not a huge fan of it, but it’s definitely a turning point. To me the film that signals a new Spielberg on the screen isn’t “The Color Purple,” it’s “Empire of the Sun.” A certain weight comes with the film that I don’t think “The Color Purple” has. To me “Empire of the Sun” is a signpost for people who were so surprised by “Schindler’s List” and the films that followed. I really think you can start to see that in “Empire of the Sun,” which he made when he was in his late 30’s. So I imagine it was just a normal maturing. I guess the only person who can really answer that question is Steven.

MS: You’ve hinted that you’re working on a book going behind the scenes of “Sugarland Express.” Is it going to be in the same vein as this one?
SA: Absolutely. I like to think of it as a continuation of the “Duel” book. To me I’m writing one big book, but this one will have a different approach. It’s obviously a different story but it will show the expansion of Steven’s talent and his growth as a filmmaker.

MS: Are you hoping to maybe one day be able to document all of his films?
SA: I’m hoping to at least get through Steven’s films from the 1970s at least, because that’s my favorite period. I’d like to write about a lot of filmmakers from that era. I’m a big fan of George Romero. I’d love to write about Martin Scorsese. Brian DePalma would be fun to write on as well. But yes, I hope to at least cover the 1970s and his four masterpieces from that era.

Book Review “Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Career” by Steven Awalt

Author: Steven Awalt
Hardcover/354 Pages
Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers
Publishing date: March 26, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

On November 22, 1963, while playing golf with a friend, author Richard Matheson learned of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Upset by the news, the duo quit playing and headed home. As they began driving through a narrow pass they heard the sound of a large truck coming up behind them at great speed. The truck continued to bear down on them as they accelerated. No matter how fast they went, the truck seemed to be coming faster. After several terrifying minutes the road finally widened and they pulled over as the truck hurtled down the road past them. Sounds like the makings of a great story, doesn’t it?

“Steven Spielberg and ‘Duel’: The Making of a Career” IS that great story. It’s an in-depth look into the workings of a young 24 year old director who went on to become, arguably, the most successful filmmaker of all time. The book details Spielberg’s early days, from his Super 8 home movies (at age 17 he created a two hour and twenty minute science fiction film entitled “Firelight” that he “premiered” at a local theatre) through his college days at CSU Long Beach and his initial work as a contract director for Universal, where he began hi s professional career directing such television programs as “Night Gallery” and “Columbo.” Impressed with his work the studio gives Spielberg a chance to direct a film to be featured as a “Movie of the Weekend,” based on a short story by Richard Matheson that recently appeared in “Playboy” magazine. The name of the story: “Duel.”

Author Steven Awalt is no stranger to the career of Steven Spielberg, having created and run the extremely popular web site SpielbergFilms.com . It is through this web site that Awalt shared his admiration for all things Spielberg. Here he takes that admiration and shares it with the reader. In an incredibly precise step by step process he guides the reader through the process of making a major motion picture (buoyed by its success and critical acclaim, Universal later released “Duel” in theatres both in the states and internationally). Thanks to recent, in depth interviews with many people involved in the production, including Matheson, Universal executive Sid Sheinberg, composer Billy Goldenberg and, most importantly, Spielberg himself, the book puts you on the set and involves you in almost every aspect of the production. It is because of this attention to detail that Awalt has created one of the best “making of” books in recent years.

Shirley Jones reflects on her career, musicials and plans for upcoming memoirs

Depending on your age you’ll have different memories of Shirley Jones. For my parents era they will be of her roles in some of the most popular movie musicals of all time, including “Oklahoma,” “Carousel” and “The Music Man.” If you’re my age you remember her best as Shirley Partridge, working mom and vocalist on the popular television series “The Partridge Family.” Young people today remember her as the randy Grace in the comedy “Grandma’s Boy.” No matter your memory, it’s safe to say that Shirley Jones has had one of the most incredible careers in the history of entertainment.

Born outside Pittsburgh, a lucky bus ride put Ms. Jones on the path to stardom. Intending to become a veterinarian, she instead walked into an audition for the musical team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. So impressed was the casting director that he called both gentlemen at their homes and had them come listen to her sing. Two weeks later she was on Broadway and the rest is history. Twice married (to the late Jack Cassidy, father of her sons Shaun, Patrick and Ryan) and currently celebrating almost 36 years with comedian Marty Ingels, Shirley Jones has certainly lived an incredible life.

Media Mikes spoke to Ms. Jones recently in conjunction with two upcoming events. The first is a benefit screening of the film “Carousel” in Omaha on May 24th. The second is the upcoming release of her autobiography to be published next month by Gallery Books.

Mike Smith: How does a young girl from Pennsylvania end up becoming an Academy Award winning actress?
Shirley Jones: (laughs) It’s a stroke of luck. I was very fortunate at my first audition in New York. I was actually on my way to college to become a veterinarian. I wasn’t going to be in show business I was going to be a vet. I had graduated from a small town high school. I went to an audition for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s casting director and he called both Rodgers and Hammerstein to hear me. I sang for them and two weeks later I was in my first Broadway show. That’s how fast it happened. I spent three months in the Broadway production of “South Pacific.” Then they flew me to California to screen test for the role of Laurey in “Oklahoma,” and that’s how that happened. And it all happened in less than a year.

MS: And they say show business isn’t easy!
SJ: (laughs) I know. But you know something, I’m not sure that could happen today. It was just the time…where I was…it was one of those things that happen rarely. I was the only person put under personal contract to Rodgers and Hammerstein. I was never under contract to a studio.

MS: What was that experience like…to have your career guided by two genuine legends?
SJ: incredible. It truly was incredible. It was so great for me. I did three shows while under contract with them. By the time I got into movies the studio system was over so in a way it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because then I went on to do everything, from television to films and everything else. And Rodgers and Hammerstein were so wonderful to be with and work with. They produced the movie version of “Oklahoma,” not the studio. We did some shooting at MGM but the majority of it was shot at Nogales, Arizona. They were on the set every day for seven months.

MS: You’ve appeared in some classic movie musicals. “Oklahoma.” “The Music Man.” “Carousel.” Do you have a favorite among them?
SJ: My favorite score is “Carousel.” Without a doubt, of all the things I’ve done, that’s my favorite. I think it’s some of the most beautiful music ever written. In fact, Richard Rodgers always claimed it was his finest work. When I perform in concert I always open with “If I Loved You” and I close with “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” To me it’s the most beautiful music. The movie is wonderful, though I thought it could have been a little bit better. We had a very old director (Henry King, director of films like “Twelve O’Clock High” and “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing”) but a great cast. Frank Sinatra was scheduled to play Billy Bigelow. We had done all of the rehearsals…even all of the pre-recordings, which is what we did back then. We had spent three months in pre-production. We were going to shoot the film in two separate processes – regular Cinemascope and Cinemascope 55 – and when Frank got to the set in Maine he asked why there were two cameras. Henry told him we would be shooting each scene twice. Frank told him, “I signed to do one movie, not two,” got in his car and drove back to the airport. So I got Gordon MacRae on the phone, who was in Lake Tahoe doing a nightclub act with his wife, and I said, “how would you like to play Billy Bigelow in “Carousel,” and he said “give me three days I have to lose ten pounds!”

MS: What a great call. I’m a big Sinatra fan but I can’t see anyone but Gordon MacRae in that part.
SJ: Me too. And that voice. Nobody sang like Gordon. He had the best voice of all time.

MS: You won an Oscar for your role in the film “Elmer Gantry,” a role many of your musical fans may not have expected to see you in. How did that part come along?
SJ: It was an incredible role. Burt Lancaster fought for me to play that part. By the time I’d finished doing musical motion pictures – “Music Man” hadn’t come out yet – Hollywood had stopped making musicals pretty much because the European market wasn’t very receptive to them. My career was pretty much over. When you were a singer at that time they didn’t consider you an “actress” so to speak. I went and did some television, which was looked at as a big step down for movie actors. They were doing some wonderful dramatic shows like “Playhouse 90” and “The Philco Playhouse.” But I had some wonderful roles. I had a great part opposite Red Skelton in a “Playhouse 90” show called “The Big Slide” and Burt Lancaster happened to have seen me in that part, playing an alcoholic “Sunshine” girl in the Mack Sennet era. And he loved my performance. And after he saw me he fought for me to play the role of Lulu Bains in “Gantry.” He called me while I was in San Francisco doing a nightclub act with my husband Jack Cassidy. I pick up the phone and I hear, “Hello, Shirley, this is Burt Lancaster.” I said, “sure it is” and I hung up! (laughs) Thank heaven he called back and said, “No, this IS Burt Lancaster.” He told me to go get the Sinclair Lewis novel “Elmer Gantry” and look at the role of Lulu Bains. On your day off he asked me to fly to Los Angeles and meet with the films writer/director, Richard Brooks. Of course I did as he asked. I flew in and met with Richard Brooks, who originally did not want me for the part. He had somebody else in mind. He was the writer/director but Burt was the co-producer and he was very definite about having me play Lulu, which was so great. I got the part. Richard Brooks would always shoot his films in sequence so I wasn’t due on set until the middle of the film. But Burt would have me come on set every day to watch the other actors and to watch how Richard Brooks directed. On my first day of shooting I had to do the hardest scene in the film – standing in the house of prostitution and telling the other girls how I had met Elmer Gantry – and I didn’t have one bit of direction from Brooks. He sat in his chair smoking his pipe like I wasn’t even there. I went home that night in tears thinking he was going to fire me. I didn’t have to work the next day and they screened the rushes of what had been shot the day before. Brooks called me afterwards and said, “Shirley, I owe you an apology. Not only are you going to be great in the film but I predict you’re going to win an Academy Award.” And that’s how that happened. Burt was the one that got me the part and it changed the course of my whole career. My career would have been literally over had that not happened. But I went on to do 20 more feature films after that.

MS: And now, of course, it’s time for the obligatory “Partridge Family” question.
SJ: (laughing) Of course.
MS: What do you think it is about the show, and the music, that it is still popular some four decades after it first premiered?
SJ: Well, it was really a new definition of a television series. I was the first working mother on television. I was actually offered “The Brady Bunch” first and I said “no” because I didn’t want to go into a television series and play a regular mom taking the roast out of the oven. But when I was offered “The Partridge Family” I thought it was very unique. The fact that the whole family was working together musically but you still had stories about the kids and the mama…I loved the idea. And the fact that David, my stepson, was going to play my son was just great. It also gave me an opportunity to stay at home and raise my kids, which was something I couldn’t do making films because I was constantly away on locations everywhere. When they were younger I could take them with me but now they were school age, which was another reason I wanted to do a series. And the agents and managers at that time were all telling me, “Don’t do a television series, Shirley, because if it is successful you’ll BE that character for the rest of your life.” They were pretty right about that but it was still great for me to do.

MS: They don’t make as many film musicals today as in the past, but some of the them are pretty well done. “Les Miz” comes to mind as a recent achievement. What is your opinion on the movie musicals of today?
SJ: I thought “Les Miz” was wonderful, but I’d also seen the Broadway show and thought it was divine. Everybody in the film was wonderful. Hugh Jackman is one of my favorite performers. When I was visiting Australia he and I did bits from “Oklahoma” together on stage. (NOTE: Jackman starred as Curley in an Australian production of “Oklahoma” in the late 90’s) He was just great. But they don’t do that many musicals anymore, as you know. But the ones they do do I think have been successful.

MS: You’re publishing your memoirs next month. What was it like to sit down and review your career?
SJ: It wasn’t easy (laughs). In fact I thought “do I really want to do this?” But it came out very quickly and easy. All of the things that have happened I was fortunately able to recall for the most part. And all of the people that I worked with…I worked with some of the greatest movie stars of all time. I’ve had two incredible husbands. Both crazy, but wonderful. I’ve got three incredible sons and an incredible stepson. I’ve got twelve grandchildren now. And I was an only child which makes it even more interesting.

Betty White reflects on career and new season of "Betty White’s Off Their Rockers"

Betty White is a legendary TV icon, a seven time Emmy award winner and currently starring in NBC’s show “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”. Betty and her posse of senior pranksters returned for season two of this series on NBC on Tuesday January 8th with special guests PSY and Kim Kardashian appearing in bits with Betty in two back-to-back episodes. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Betty about her career and the new season

Mike Smith: You are a cultural icon. What keeps you going in the business?
Betty White: Because why quit something you’re enjoying so much? It’s such fun, and who would ever expect at 91 to still get invited to do shows. I mean, that’s unheard of, so if they don’t want me to do it, don’t ask me, because if they ask me I’ll take it.

MS: When you were first approached about doing this show, it’s “Off Their Rockers” with seniors doing pranks, did you immediately know you wanted to do it?
BW: No, I was not enthused about doing this. First of all, well not so much for the show but because my schedule just didn’t tolerate it, so I thanked them very much and said, no thank you. But they kept coming back, and it was a show that started in Belgium, and it was the most popular comedy show in Europe for a while. So when they invited me to do it, I said that’s very nice, but I just can’t work it in. And they kept coming back, and of course I had the backbone of a jellyfish, so here I am doing it, but I’m having a good time.

MS: What’s the best prank you’ve ever pulled, the funniest one?
BW: I’m not a real prankster. I love doing “Off Their Rockers”, because the other people are pranking, but I willmaybe kid my friends and say one thing or tell them something happened that didn’t really happen, but I straighten it out pretty fast. The trouble is you can paint yourself into a corner if you try too many pranks, you know?

MS: Can you reflect about the direction of TV today?
BW: Well, I think TV has changed, but I think the audience has changed more than anything else. The audience has seen every plot. They’ve heard every joke. They keep being a challenge, so the producers and the show people try to top themselves or get unusual and I think every once in a while, just a good old-fashioned straightforward television show, or a situation comedy suddenly hits the spot. It’s almost like something they haven’t seen for a while.

MS: How did you develop the sense of humor that you have and the love of laughter, and your amazing sense of comic timing?
BW: Oh, that was my mother and father. I was an only child, and the – we had the best time together. My dad was a salesman, so he would bring jokes home, but also he’d ask me how things went at school, and I would start telling him, and pretty soon we’d begin to make jokes about it, and it was a love of laughter at home that just was a precious commodity to have with your folks, and Sunday morning breakfast would last two hours sometimes when we all giggled and scratched and talked.

MS: Could you elaborate a little bit on how you think you have achieved the notoriety that you have, and what advice you can give for other women that are starting in the business?
BW: Well, bless your heart, I hope it’s fame, not notoriety, but I’ve been so lucky. I just can’t tell you how lucky to get to this age. Who would ever dream that you’d get to be 91 years old and you’re still working as much as I am? But I think it’s because I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I love this business, and I’ll quit when they ask me to, but as long as they keep asking me to work, I’ll keep saying yes, and it is such a privilege. I think women have come a long way over the years in being you know, coming into their own and roles that they get and in – well, in the whole business, and women executives and all that, but it’s a very lovely position to be in to be taken seriously as well as laughed at.

MS: Can you talk about what it was like to have Ed Asner on the show, and what you did together?
BW: Oh, it was such fun, and Ed and I stay very close. We’ve always adored each other. I don’t think we’ve ever said a nice word to each other, but we adore each other. You know that kind of a friendship. He always yells at me and I yell at him and lovingly. He did the show and when you work that closely together, somehow you fall into a pattern, and it’s as though you saw each other yesterday, even if a little time has gone by.

MS: What are some of the biggest challenges in making the show?
BW: Yes, well, let me answer the question. The challenges are to try to keep it fresh, to try to keep any semblance of freshness going. Well, after this number of years of all the shows and all the jokes and all the scripts, that’s the – a major challenge, so what you do is keep reworking the same old material and try to put a little new slant on it, and then with fresh people in the role, it’s amazing how long you can milk stuff.

MS: What type of attitude do you recommend for longevity?
BW: Oh, honesty. You can fool everybody else maybe that you know, but you can’t fool that camera. That camera will know when you’re faking it every time.

Ed Asner talks about new film “Let Go” and reflects on career

Even though Mike G. spoke with him last year (click here), I jumped at the chance to speak with one of my favorite actors, Ed Asner. Well known for his work on such series as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Lou Grant,” my favorite Asner performance showed a side of him that few people familiar with his comic chops would ever expect to see, that of the cruel father Axel Jordache in television’s first mini-series, “Rich Man, Poor Man.” His work earned him one of his seven Emmy Awards (out of a total of seventeen nominations to date). Two more personal reasons excited me about speaking with him: he was born here in Kansas City and one of my colleagues in the critic’s circle, Marie Asner, is married to Mr. Asner’s cousin, Harold. While promoting his new film, “Let Go,” Mr. Asner talked with Media Mikes about his love for acting, sequel talk regarding “UP” and his favorite characters.

Mike Smith: Fill us in on your character in “Let Go.”
Ed Asner: He’s an old con but very incompetent. If you remember “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” he’s the whole gang rolled up in one. But he’s a loveable old turkey – he has character, he has affection and love. He has a beautiful woman that he loves in the film that he stupidly does not pursue because his brother is pursuing her at the same time. He is constantly ignoring the gift horse that is being offered him in life and chooses the harder means of making a living and failing at it, which is choosing to be a stick up man. He’s pretty tragic but funny at the same time.

MS: You’ve won seven Emmys by portraying some of television’s most memorable characters. Obviously there’s Lou Grant, but you’ve also played Axel Jordache in “Rich Man, Poor Man,” Captain Davies in “Roots” among others. Do you have a favorite among them?
EA: I could not never deny the seven years of playing Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” It was a joy to share the power of that writing and to delight people with that writing and to be able to carve out a character to execute that writing. Those seven years are a precious package. In terms of one shot characters, the epiphany I had doing Axel Jordache…the feelings and respect I had for that character…that creature… in what I think is one of the most memorable mini-series in history…it gives me great joy to be identified with that man.

MS: Ernest Borgnine worked well into his 80’s because he still loved the process of acting. Is that what keeps you so busy? By my count you have no less than five projects in the works right now.
EA: Ten years ago I would have been happy to be doing just one of those. To have four or five in the can is certainly a pleasure. Acting is the air of my life. It’s my oxygen. Put me in the box if I can’t act.

MS: Any word on a sequel to “UP?”
EA: No. With each passing year “UP” continues to grow in people’s memories. I love the singularity and the fact that it remains a solitary gem all by itself.

MS: When are you coming home? We miss you here.
EA: I was home in June. I did my one man show as FDR for a fund raiser. Apparently you didn’t haul your ass out there, did you? (laughs)

MS: I did not. My son got married in June and to be honest I didn’t know you were in town. I’m going to have to scold Marie next time I see her for not telling me you were here!
EA: Give Marie a big fat kiss for me!

Book Review “Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture- A Career Retrospective”

Author: Jack Davis
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Release Date: December 12, 2011

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I recently had the privileged to interview Jack Davis himself and discuss his work with him. I have to tell you that it would honestly take hours of questions to barely scratch the surface on his work. This book is packed with really great high quality coverage of all of Jack’s work. It starts from the beginning  in the early days and gives a pretty thorough look at his career portfolio. I feel that the book work as a tribute to his work and would be enjoyed by his lifetime fans and newly founding fans alike.

Some of the work that “Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture” covers is his comic work in EC, “MAD”, “Humbug”, “Trump”, and horror work like “The Vault of Terror” and Tales from the Crypt”. It focuses on his work with movie posters and albums covers including “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”, “The Bad News Bears”, “Bananas” and record jacket art for musicians and bands like Hans Conreid and the Creature Orchestra’s Monster Rally and Spike Jones. Jack’s work has also been featured in magazine like Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Time and TV Guide. Lastly a main draw for the book has to be unpublished illustrations and and newly found drawings from Davis.

I did not think that one book would be able to encompass all of it all of Jack’s worth but this one does a decent job. The images though are very clear and crisp whether in black and white or color. You can even see the pencil marks on some of the pictures, which adds to the beauty of the images. After you finished enjoying all of his work, there is a great biography written about Jack to round up all of his work and delivers some great information about his career.  Fans of Jack’s and of art in general should definitely check this out if you are able to pick up a copy from Fantagraphics.

Rodney Atkins Achieves Sixth Career No. 1 Single

RODNEY ATKINS ACHIEVES SIXTH CAREER NO. 1 SINGLE
MUSIC VIDEO DIRECTED BY ANDY TENNANT, “TAKE A BACK ROAD,” OFFICIALLY IMPACTS TODAY
Nashville, Tenn. (Monday, September 19, 2011) – Weeks away from releasing his third studio album on Curb Records on October 4, Rodney Atkins is celebrating his sixth career No. 1 with “Take A Back Road,” and coincidentally, the video for the tune debuts across all country music video outlets today, September 19.
With Atkins’ solid history in the music business, he attracted the attention of Hollywood director Andy Tennant (Fool’s GoldHitchSweet Home AlabamaFools Rush In), who has now brought his vision to Atkins’ “Take A Back Road” for his first ever music video.   Watch the video.
“Rodney Atkins is everything I never knew I always wanted in a country music star; ridiculously talented, soft-spoken and decent, and wonderfully humble,” shares Tennant.
The video was shot in Tennessee with locations in Nashville, Carthage, and White Bluff. Tennant describes the treatment: “Think of Rodney as the angel from Wender’s ‘Wings of Desire,’ but instead of Brandenberg gate, he’s perched high on an old water tower.  [He’s] beckoning people, like the call to prayer, back to the country Mecca of small town America…White Bluff.”
Atkins wanted to bring a new feel to this video and bringing in the creativity of Tennant seemed like just the move to make.  “Andy was so great to work with,” says Atkins.  “And the stunt man was incredible!” he says jokingly in reference to his shots from the water tower and top of the Cordell Hull Bridge.
New album, Take A Back Road, will be available worldwide October 4, 2011.  For more information, please visit www.rodneyatkins.com.