People often ask me where my love for movies came from and when what turned into a 30-plus year career of celebrating movie magic all began.
The where is the 600 block of S.E. 11th St. in Grand Prairie, Texas. The when is the mid-1950s. To this day I fondly recall my mother and I sharing great, memorable and not-so-astonishing movies on the TV late-late show.
I think it's about time to celebrate that special memory and, in fact, expand on it. The first expansion is to include all our movie memories with our mothers in a new Movie Memories presentation titled "Hollywood's Classic Movie Moms."
For about an hour, we'll focus on the best cinematic moms in Hollywood history. Case in point is Joan Crawford in her Academy Award-winning performance as the title character in Mildred Pierce, a flawed, financially strapped mom who will do anything -- and I do mean anything -- to make a better life for her children.
Of course Crawford makes the not-so-great mommie list as well as the subject of Mommie Dearest (1981). The focus will be mostly positive, however. After all, this presentation, including film clips and behind-the-scenes info, is a celebration of moms everywhere.
Secondly, the best news. Since Mother's Day is coming up on May 11, we're offering a "Hollywood's Classic Movie Moms" special for new Movie Memories customers and repeat customers to boot.
First-time Movie Memories customers will get $50 off the "Hollywood's Classic Moms" presentation. Existing customers will receive $25 off. Hurry, though, the deadline for this special offer is April 10,
Call 214-364-7364 today to book your "Hollywood's Classic Moms" presentation. This is a limited offer because, well, there are only so many presentation slots available in the weeks around Mother's Day.
Remember, the booking deadline is midnight April 10. Get your group together so we can celebrate Mom!
'Gravity' is pulling Bullock down to the bank
Sandra Bullock, perhaps pondering, "Space, the final giant acting payday frontier," while making "Gravity." (mid-day.com)
Go ahead, guess. How big do you think Sandra Bullock's payday is likely to be for grunting and screaming in Gravity while sporting what appears to be fairly skimpy space skivvies much of the time?
Five million bucks? Ten, 15 ... $35 million? You are not even close, space cadets.
According to an article by Alice Feigel posted on CNN.com under the headline Movie moola: 8 shocking celebrity paychecks (and quoting figures from the Hollywood Reporter), the Texas-based Bullock should rake in 70 million bucks for her exceptional tumbling and space-flight simulation, even if it isn't what we call a dialogue-driven performance.
Click on Feigel's article and you might need to hang onto your hat when you discover the financial year had by Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp and, shall we say, an aging Batman nemesis. (Does the hint, "Here's J-o-h-n-n-y!" help?)
Now we know what Robert Downey Jr. was avenging in "The Avengers." (aceshowbiz.com)
My personal favorite, though, among overpaid -- OK, extremely highly paid -- actors has to be Robert Downey Jr.
Downey, a once-deeply troubled gifted actor, in fact a Best Actor Oscar nominee for his superb title performance in Chaplin (1992), probably already has more money than he knows what to do with because of his adventures in the Iron Man franchise.
When it came to including Iron Man in The Avengers ensemble on the big screen, however, the franchise suits had to pony up an iron fist full of dollars that boggles the mind, especially when compared to what the other superhero studs walked away with.
Some of those poor square-jawed "actors" had to settle for a lousy two or three million dollars.
I say that's a real tragedy. Somebody needs to grab a little network TV time to raise money for down and out movie stars forced to get by on so little. That can't be enough for an entourage of "yes" folks, a personal trainer, a manager, two or three publicists, a dietitian and Bruno guarding the door.
So, I have an idea. If you'd like to help support a deprived movie idol only knocking down two or three million per picture, send your generous donation in large denomination, unmarked bills to this address.
I'll see that the deprived actors get ... uh, what they deserve.
Expanding the Movie Memories landscape
Because of some very exciting personal news (a beautiful new grandbaby in the family), Movie Memories is widening its central target area to include San Antonio and Central Texas as well as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
For all our loyal Metroplex clients, supporters and fans, nothing will change. I will be in Dallas at least two or three days every week and more often when my Movie Memories speaking schedule requires.
The addition is that we'll now be including San Antonio, otherwise known as the original land of The Jalapeno Guy film critic 1-4 jalapeno rating system and my exciting times as movie critic at the San Antonio Express-News, the San Antonio Light, KMOL-TV, KABB-TV and Magic 105-FM radio (as well as other radio stations) into the mix.
For those of you in San Antonio who may not be familiar with Movie Memories, it's a speech/presentation series dedicated to celebrating the magic of the movies, both classic and contemporary. It goes way beyond merely showing movie clips and talking about my 30-plus years reviewing movies and traveling the world interviewing A-list movies stars.
We'll go behind the scenes of movies you think you know everything about, such as Casablanca, It's a Wonderful Life and more, and I'll share some personal -- sometimes painful -- memories; such as the time I made the late, great Paul Newman cry.
So if you haven't already done so, click around on the Movie Memories website, especially on the Presentations link.
Movie Memories presentations, lasting about an hour, are available for groups large and small, clubs, business meetings, conventions and senior living facilities and centers.
Please make note of the new telephone number to book Movie Memories.
Hello again, San Antonio. I'm looking forward to seeing you at your Movie Memories presentation.