Snowbound? Here, near the Illinois and Wisconsin border, or in Chicagoland, there are some 18 inches of snow. Freezing drizzle, ice, subzero actual temps and a lot of wind chill.
Are you planning on staying indoors? Get out your DVD collection, or surf Netflix. Here are my favorite Warren Beatty films. Do you agree or disagree? What are yours?
This is an epic three-hour drama, plus intermissions, with music by Stephen Sondheim. The movie shows why communism never caught on in the U.S.A. As someone who studied political science and drama in college, it's not only the politics of the film, but the drama, that intrigue. Plus, there is the most romantic screen close-up ever of a kiss and embrace between Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, who were a real-life couple at the time of filming.
That embrace graces the movie poster, but it is even better on screen. Beatty won the Academy Award for Best Director. A surprise Henry Miller cameo appearance, the author most known for his once-banned book, Tropic of Cancer , discusses artistic freedom.
Splendor in the Grass (1961), directed by Elia Kazan.
This is a film for all parents, grandparents and teens. Beatty makes his film debut opposite Natalie Wood, who in turn received her first Best Actress nomination. The moral issues are still relevant today, if not more so in this age of AIDS. Ohio native, and comedienne trailblazer, Phyllis Diller does a standup bit, and Sandy Dennis of Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf (1966) and Up the Down Staircase (1967) makes her film debut alongside Beatty.
Dick Tracy (1990)
This movie got three Academy Award wins, including Best Original Song, composed by Stephen Sondheim and sung by Madonna. Producer/Director Beatty, who plays Dick Tracy, brought out the best in Madonna, her finest acting in a film. The ending, unmasked, is quite startling. Rounding out the all-star cast are Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, James Caan and Paul Sorvino, Mira's father.
The look of the sets, and the vibrant primary colors, make it seem as if the actors are just stepping off the pages of the comic strip. Beatty is said to have learned to read at age four from his dad reading the strip aloud to him as he looked on.
Love Affair (1994)
Released two years after Beatty married Annette Bening, this movie stars both. Art imitates life in this one. It is a charming remake of a remake of a remake. First up, in black and white, were Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer in 1939.
This was followed byAn Affair to Remember (1957) with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, and then Nora Ephron's homage, Sleepless in Seattle (1993).
Love Affair featured Katharine Hepburn at age 86 in her final movie role, after which she held the record with four Oscar wins.
Town and Country (2001)
The opening scene has Natassja Kinski in the forefront, sans serpent, her back to the camera, showing off her musical tattoos while playing the cello for the in-bed Beatty.
Two of my nephews signed up for cello lessons shortly thereafter. Andie MacDowell of Hallmark's Cedar Cove, comic Gary Shandling, Academy Award winning Diane Keaton, Dharma and Greg's Jenna Elfman, Laugh-In's Goldie Hawn, former NRA president Charlton Heston, true-to-form toting a rifle, all turn in first-rate performances as Warren Beatty gets his comeuppance, up on the rooftop!
Those are my favorite Warren Beatty flick picks. What are yours?
Lonna Saunders may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.