Blog Posts by Mark Deming

  • Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland: 5 Onscreen Power Couple Moments

    Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney on 'The Judy Garland Show' in 1963 (Everett)
    Long before there was Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and even Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland were Hollywood's biggest onscreen power couple. As child stars, they grew up together in the movie studio system and shared top billing on nearly 10 films.

    The two actors were so close, according to Rooney, it transcended any love affair. "She was my sister from the beginning — the sister I never had," Rooney, who died on Sunday at the age of 93, said in a decades old TV interview. "She was the love I'd searched for."

    Take a look back at Rooney and Garland's most memorable onscreen moments:

    1. "Babes in Arms" (1939)

    While Rooney was not exactly a musical genius, he could carry a tune, knew how to dance, and had the enthusiasm to sell a song to an audience. Of course, no one would ever question Garland's way with a melody — so when MGM put their young stars in the hands of master director and choreographer Busby Berkeley, magic was waiting to happen. "Babes in Arms" had

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  • Mickey Rooney, Hollywood's First Teen Star, Dies at 93

    Few actors had as diverse a career as Mickey Rooney, a film star who literally did a bit of everything during a showbiz run that spanned 10 decades. But the actor, who died Sunday at the age of 93, found his greatest fame as Hollywood's first A-list teenage star.

    A gifted comic and dramatic actor who could also sing, dance, and play several instruments, Rooney first won over audiences as irrepressible youngster Andy Hardy, and later struck gold with a handful of musicals in which he co-starred with Judy Garland. Between the Rooney/Garland musicals and the Hardy pictures, Rooney was Hollywood's top box office draw between 1939 and 1941.

    [Related: Mickey Rooney's 10 Most Memorable Roles]

    Mickey Rooney in a promo shot for 1949's 'The Big Wheel.' (Everett Collection)But Rooney was also the first teen star who had to transition into adulthood in the public eye. In time, he matured into a gifted character actor, but he also suffered more than his share of growing pains in a stormy private life that saw him marry eight times and fight addiction to alcohol and gambling

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  • Meet TALOS, the U.S. Military’s Real Life ‘Iron Man’

    Marvel Studios's 'Iron Man 3'.

    Heads up, Tony Stark: the United States military may be swiping some of your ideas.

    No one is saying if U.S. Special Operations Command Chief Adm. William McRaven is a fan of the "Iron Man" franchise, but he does want to create a special armored exoskeleton that military personnel can wear in the field to make themselves invincible against enemy fire. Sounds somewhat Iron Man-esque, wouldn't you say?

    During a meeting last month at Special Operations Command (SOCOM) headquarters in Tampa, Florida, McRaven talked with defense industry representatives about his ideas for what's being called the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS, a system of highly advanced body armor that can do everything from warding off explosions to sealing up wounds and allowing soldiers to see in the dark. Check out the combat simulation below and tell us it doesn't remind you of a certain billionaire playboy's work outfit.

    The real difference here, of course, is that McRaven's not talking about

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  • ‘Mandela’: Learn The Facts Before You See The Movie

    Idris Elba and Naomie Harris in "Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom"Idris Elba and Naomie Harris in "Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom" (Photo: The Weinstein Company)
    Nelson Mandela was one of the most important and influential figures of the 20th Century. But how much do you really know about him?

    Audiences will get the chance to learn more about the public and private lives of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist who became the first black president of South Africa, in the upcoming film biography "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom," with Idris Elba ("Pacific Rim") playing the title role.

    As The Weinstein Company gears up for the film's theatrical release in November, they've released a pair of graphic timelines that summarize the high points in the lives of Nelson Mandela and his wife and fellow activist Winnie Mandela, played in the movie by "Skyfall" star Naomi Harris.

    The timelines offer a thumbnail sketch of the lives of the Mandelas, and feature pictures of the real Nelson and Winnie, rather than the actors who play them. The information provides an overview of the high and low points of their lives — marriages, children, academic success,

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  • He’s 70 (and You’re Not): 70 Fun Facts About Chevy Chase

    Chevy Chase today (Getty Images)

    Smart and a little snarky, a smug guy who knows how to put other smug guys in their places, Chevy Chase had been knocking around the edges of American comedy for years when, in 1975, "Saturday Night Live" made him an overnight star and one of the biggest names on television.

    The 1978 comedic thriller "Foul Play" proved Chase had the makings of a movie star, and after racking up hits like "Caddyshack," "Fletch" and "National Lampoon's Vacation," he became was one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. Less known: Chase has passed up on just as many, if not more, iconic roles, including "Ghostbusters," "Forrest Gump," and "American Beauty."

    As Chase celebrates his 70th birthday today, we’re commemorating it with 70 things you probably don’t know about the legendary comedian. Try not to trip along the way.

    1. Birthday Boy. Chevy Chase was born on October 8, 1943. He might want to go out for a free ice cream cone today with Sigourney Weaver, Matt Damon, Paul Hogan, and/or half-man of

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  • Rob Schneider Recounts How He Mended Fences With Roger Ebert

    Rob Schneider/Roger EbertRob Schneider in 'Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo,' Roger Ebert in 2005 (Photo: (Everett/FilmMagic)

    Hollywood loves a good feud. But sometimes it's nice to see one that has a happy ending.

    On Friday, Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert, the widow of the late film critic Roger Ebert, posted a letter on her blog from funnyman Rob Schneider. It was a surprisingly thoughtful and moving essay in which the actor opened up about how the 2005 movie "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" caused bad blood between Roger Ebert and Schneider, how one of Ebert's insults lived on as the title of a book, and how the two men gratefully buried the hatchet.

    The story goes back to February 2005, when Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times wrote a story about films nominated for major Academy Awards that had been turned down by one or more studios before they found a home. Goldstein mention in the piece that those same studios "bankroll hundreds of sequels, including a follow-up to 'Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,' a film that was sadly overlooked at Oscar time because apparently nobody had the foresight to invent a

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  • Jennifer Lawrence Shows Mad Range in Dueling Movie Posters

    Jennifer Lawrence in (Annapurna Productions's 'American Hustle' & Lionsgate's 'Catching Fire.'

    Jennifer Lawrence is a complicated woman.

    As you can see in two separate film posters released this week, there's more than one side to the multi-faceted Oscar winner. From brave young hunter turned deadly Hunger Games survivor to seventies sexpot, Lawrence shows she can bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan.

    On Monday, Lionsgate released the new poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," the second installment in the uber-popular franchise based on Suzanne Collins' best-selling novels. The image captures everything fans love about Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen.

    [Related: Jennifer Lawrence Loved Filming in the Water for ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’]

    Once again, Lawrence/Katniss is showing off her skills as an archer, drawing her bow and aiming at some target off the page. But while she looks as steely and determined as ever, there's just the slightest hint of fear in her eyes. Given that "Catching Fire" finds Katniss living in an uncomfortable middle ground between the

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  • Très Embarrassant: ‘Diana’ Movie Poster Placed Near Site of Her Death

    'Diana' movie poster in Paris, near where the late princess died'Diana' movie poster in Paris, near where the late princess died (Image from Wochit) The producers of "Diana," the new biopic starring Naomi Watts, have been dealing with more than a little bad PR recently. The film's first reviews were punishingly negative, and Dr. Hasnat Khan, Diana's lover who is played by Naveen Andrews (of "Lost"), has been strongly and openly critical of the movie.

    But even the film's most adamant defenders must be cringing over this: A four-foot by six-foot poster adorns a placard by the Pont de l'Alma overpass, right next to the entrance to the tunnel where Diana lost her life in an auto accident in 1997.

    Even worse, the poster was just a few yards from the "Flame of Liberty" sculpture that has become a meeting place for admirers of the late Princess who've come to pay their respects.

    [Related: Naomi Watts Looks (If Not Sounds) Like a Princess in 'Diana']

    JCDecaux, the French ad agency responsible for the posting, says they received no complaints about the ad, but media members have had plenty to say.

    A story in the London Daily Mail described

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  • Goodbye Albuquerque, Hello Hollywood: ‘Breaking Bad’ Stars Head to the Big Screen

    Breaking BadThe cast of 'Breaking Bad' (Photo: AMC)

    On Sunday night, after five years, the story of Walter White — chemistry teacher turned meth cook turned criminal mastermind — finally came to an end as AMC aired the final episode of "Breaking Bad." Now that the show, a multiple Emmy winner widely acclaimed as one of the best dramatic series in the history of television, is history, a number of the show's leading cast members are taking their talents to the big screen, their drawing power boosted by the show's grand finale.

    Heisenberg himself, Bryan Cranston, has already gotten a major push from the success of "Breaking Bad," landing a showy supporting role in last year's Best Picture winner "Argo." He did, though, also pop up in box office duds "John Carter," "Total Recall" and "Rock of Ages." Now that the show has run its course, Cranston will take a leading role in the biggest movie (literally) of his career, the upcoming "Godzilla" reboot. Due for release May 2014, Cranston will headline a cast that includes Aaron Taylor-Johnson,

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  • The Inspiring Trailer for ‘Philomena’ and the True Tragedy Behind the Film

    The first trailer for the new movie "Philomena" makes it look like a comedy-drama full of laughs, heart, and surprises. However, the film is based on a true story that is darker and more tragic than the trailer would lead you to expect.

    Starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, "Philomena" tells the story of an out-of-work political reporter from London, Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) who is wondering what to do with his life when he's approached with an unusual project. Philomena Lee (Dench) is an elderly Irish woman who, while she was in her teens, gave birth to a baby boy out of wedlock. When the child was three, the Catholic convent that took Philomena in turned him over to an adoptive family, and she signed an agreement never to reveal the secrets of the adoption or seek out her child.

    Fifty years later, Philomena deeply regrets her decision, and her daughter has approached Sixsmith with a proposal: help Philomena find her long-lost son, and use their story as the basis for his next

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