Melissa McCarthy is the Coolest Mom in Life of the Party

Melissa McCarthy is the Coolest Mom in Life of the Party

When I tell you I haven't laughed this hard in a minute...I do not exaggerate!!!!  This is Melissa McCarthy's funniest film to date.  Written alongside her husband Ben Falcone (who has a cameo as a Uber driver), Life Of The Party is witty realism at it best.

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THE BOUNCE BACK

THE BOUNCE BACK

I have been engaged more than my share in this lifetime.  Needless to say, if ANY of those relationships had worked out I wouldn't be writing this.  At the end of the day, we either "bounce back" from the hurt, pain and despair left from a failed relationship or we bounce with a pep in our step toward the future.

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RIP Gene Wilder

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As a kid, I couldn't wait to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. What's not to like about a factory full of chocolate??!!  What about those Oompa Loompas? What about those iconic roles in the Mel Brooks films, The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, which earned him numerous Oscar nominations.

Wilder_Young Frankenstien
Wilder_Young Frankenstien
YoungFrankensteing_Wilder
YoungFrankensteing_Wilder

For me, it was his performances opposite comic genius Richard Pryor in Stir Crazy, Silver Streak and See No Evil - Hear No Evil and the many films he Co-Starred in with his wife and SNL Superstar - Gilda Radner that solidified my love of his humility driven comic genius.

Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in Silver Streak, 1976.
Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in Silver Streak, 1976.
Pryor and Wilder in Silver Streak
Pryor and Wilder in Silver Streak

Born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wilder began studying acting at the age of 12. After graduating  U. of Iowa in 1955, he enrolled in the Old Vic Theater school in Bristol, where he honed his  acting technique and fencing.

Wilder caught his first big break playing a small role in the off-Broadway production of Arnold Wesker's "Roots" and followed quickly with his Broadway debut as the comic valet in "The Complaisant Lover" (both 1961), for which he won the Clement Derwent Award. His other Broadway credits included "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1963, with Kirk Douglas), "The White House" (1964, with Helen Hayes) and "Luv" (1966), but it was a 1963 Broadway production of "Mother Courage and Her Children" that altered the course of his life forever. In its cast was Anne Bancroft, who was dating Mel Brooks at the time, and the relationship established between the two men eventually led to Wilder's becoming part of Brooks' most celebrated actors.

With nominations for The Producers with Zero Mostel and Young Frankenstein, it seems Wilder's film career was unstoppable.. However, it was his collaboration with Richard Pryor that makes him unforgettable in my book.

 

His first association with Pryor had come on Blazing Saddles, when Richard Pryor (co-screenwriter) lost his bid for the Cleavon Little role. Pryor and Wilder first acted together in the commercially successful Silver Streakand  Stir Crazy , but their later efforts were mediocre.

 

Ironically, Hanky Panky, Wilder's first of three films with his late wife Gilda Radner, originally was written to pair him with Pryor again, but Richard Pryor's unavailability necessitated rewriting the part for Gilda.

Gilda and Wilder
Gilda and Wilder

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ziyp1hW-Eg

Two years after Gilda's death, Wilder married Karen Boyer.

Mel Brooks spoke on the death of his longtime friend and movie collaborator, who famously worked with Wilder on a long list of films and  took to Twitter to remember the movie legend, who died today from Alzheimer’s disease at age 83.

“Gene Wilder-One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship,”

-Mel Brooks

Wilder and Brooks
Wilder and Brooks

For me, Gene Wilder will always be that unusually handsome, comic genius with the piercing blue eyes and a heart that seemed to be as golden as a ticket from the Willy Wonka Factory.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVi3-PrQ0pY

Hope you, Gilda and Richard are having the best reunion ever!

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

DON'T THINK TWICE

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One late night while channel surfing, I came across a rerun of an old Barbara Walters special with special guest Whoopi Goldberg  being interviewed about her newfound fame after Oscar nomination for The Color Purple.

When asked if her friends were "happy" for her, I remember vividly Whoopi recalling how before the fame she and her friends made all sorts of plans for when they ALL "made it".  However, with a melancholy face and a lump in her throat, she told Barbara that when that time came and she reached out to her friends...no one called back.

Fame is a funny thing.  It makes ordinary people place you on a pedestal. Assumptions come along with the pedestal and the fame - none of which one asks for or wants. As an actor, you really just want to do great work and be compensated well.  Hardly anyone thinks about the fame factor until it is standing at your front door.

Some people remain the same and others become an enhanced version of who they are at the core - which isn't always pleasant.  They become arrogant, self-centered and get selective amnesia about those who were their cheerleaders along the way.

What do you think happens in an 11 year-old improv group watches one of their own get the break of a lifetime?  Will they be next or should they think about venturing down another lane in life?  Will their friend change due to new circumstances?  Will they bring their friends along for the ride?

Enter The Communes...an improv troupe that performing basically for free in a small underground New York City theater.  Every set starts with the question, "Ok, who out there is having a particularly hard day?"  The great thing about improv is that there is no wrong or right way to perform.  Staying in the moment and keeping the sketch going with a series of yes...and's gives it unlimited possibilities of where to go and how to get there.  I can tell you from experience,  as someone who studied at The Groundlings in Los Angeles, that it is truly harder than it looks or sounds.

Improv is what made some of our brightest comedians the greatest to hit the biz...Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Phyliss Diller and Joan Rivers being at the top of that list for me.

Don't Think Twice focuses on the drama and the comedy surrounding The Communes when one of their own gets cast on a very popular late night sketch comedy show.  It changes their relationship to each other and makes Jack (Keegan Michael-Key) take a long hard look at the person he has become.

The great thing about this film is that we get a glimpse into the lives of each member, how they got in the troupe, what makes them stay, what makes them leave and what make their bond as friends stronger than any fame or fortune.

Keegan Michael-Key (Jack) is one of the most gifted improv artists I have seen in quite some time and has that same boundless energy of Robin Williams.  As Jack, he exhibits some dramatic chops that you don't see coming, but are really glad you got to witness it.

Gillan Jacobs (Samantha) has been enjoying a lot of silver screen success since her Community days and her performance here is layered with alot of subtext and content.  She's simply an A+.

Director/Writer Mike Birbiglia (Miles) is really a writing force to reckoned with, to the point that much of this film seems like it is made up on the spot.  When, in fact, every single word is scripted.  Needless to say, that's really a difficult thing to achieve unless you are Mike Birbiglia.  His acting as the troupe member that is always talking about how he was "inches away" from getting his big break is so reminiscent of some folks I personally know that it made me chuckle with glee on the inside.  When he's really just the person who honed their skills as their improv teacher.  Watching Mike have that revelation that he is too old to be living the "dorm" life at age 38 I'm sure with strike a chord for many actors out there.

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Kate Micucci (Allison), Tami Sagher (Lindsay) and Chris Gethard (Bill) round out the cast with each one of them being more brilliant than the one before.  Chris Gethard breaks your heart as the guy who just wants to make his Dad proud.

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https://youtu.be/rzbJXNiEdEg

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

The Secret Life of Pets

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Have you often wondered what your pet does to occupy his/her time while you are away?  I have often envisioned my Maltese having a card party complete with cocktails and snacks while I'm away.  Why?  He just seems way to chill when I walk through the door and it always leaves me with the feeling that he has definitely been up to something.

Nothing makes me happier than films with talking pets and babies.  As silly as it is, it just brings a big, fat smile to my face and let's me escape the reality of this troubled world we find ourselves having to navigate through on a daily basis.

The Secret Life of Pets takes us on the journey of how Max (Louis C.K.) was adopted, which is quite sweet.  however, when Max's owner feels that he might be a little lonely and buys Duke, things go awry.  Not only is Max NOT lonely, but is on a personal mission to make sure that Duke (Eric Stonestreet) get put out  is out - pronto!

However, Max's plans are thwarted when he accidentally hooks up with some street dogs led by tough top dog Snowball (Kevin Hart).  Snowball is proud of being a street thug and despises "domestics".  Of course, Max's secret lady-love Gidget (JennySlate) is on a mission to find her man and that's when things become even more hilarious.

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My favorite scenes are the dog's rocking out while the owners are gone, spending the entire film running from the dog-catcher and  finding out that Snowball is just a softie at the end of the day.

For those of you who have a child's heart, you will adore this film.  It tugs at every heart string you might have and then some.  My Mom and I had a great time, as we likened a lot of what we witnessed to why my little Spanky behaves the way he does sometime.  I swear, if he could talk he might be speaking a little foul French (if you know what I mean).

The Secret Life of Pets has already grossed 261 million dollars in the US and is in theaters now!

 

 

 

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!