Quick Hits: May 27

  • Ray Liotta was found dead yesterday morning at the age of sixty-seven.I know many of the tributes will be about either Goodfellas or Field of Dreams – and rightfully so, he’s sensational in both – so I’d like to go in a different direction. In his second film appearance, after the 1983 Pia Zadora vehicle The Lonely Lady (no, I am not making that up), Liotta got his big break, co-starring as Ray Sinclair in Jonathan Demme’s delightful Something Wild. For his performance, Liotta was nominated for several awards, including the Golden Globe (co-stars Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffith were also nominated), and won (tied with Dennis Hopper for Blue Velvet, to be precise) the Best Supporting Actor prize from the Boston Society of Film Critics. Three years later, Liotta appeared in Field of Dreams as Shoeless Joe Jackson. The year after that, he headlined Goodfellas as mobster turned FBI informant Henry Hill. Liotta worked consistently after that, mostly playing baddies (although by all accounts, he was an absolute teddy bear in real life). Among the accolades he received: two Screen Actors Guild nominations, for 1998’s The Rat Pack (he played Frank Sinatra) and 2015’s Texas Rising, a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for a 2004 appearance on ER, and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for 2002’s Narc.
Content warning: this clip contains a fairly graphic sexual reference
  • Andrew “Fletch” Fletcher, keyboardist and founding member of Depeche Mode, has died of natural causes at the age of sixty. I honestly can’t even put into words right now how I’m feeling about this. Depeche Mode was part of the musical bedrock of my teen years. I’m just heartsick.
Depeche Mode was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020; they accepted the honor remotely due to the pandemic
  • After three interminably long years, Stranger Things 4 is FINALLY here! Volume 1 encompasses the first seven episodes: “The Hellfire Club”, “Vecna’s Curse”, “The Monster and the Superhero”, “Dear Billy”, “The Nina Project”, “The Dive”, and “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab”. Volume 2, set for release on July 1, will be comprised of the final two episodes, “Papa” and “The Piggyback”.
  • Also arriving today is Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+. YouTube helpfully suggested this clip a few days ago, and it seems like the perfect way to celebrate the occasion.
  • The winner of Survivor 42 has been crowned. After a commanding final tribal council performance, Maryanne Oketch won the jury vote AND the hearts of the audience, including yours truly, to become just the second black woman to win Survivor (Vecepia Towery won the fourth season way back in 2002 – when Oketch was just four years old). Back in March, after only two episodes, I selected Oketch for my “Badass Women of Survivor” list (https://peanut-butter-and-julie.com/2022/03/19/badass-women-of-survivor/), stating “Only time will tell how Oketch will fare in the game, but no matter the outcome, this young woman has a place in my heart forever.” ❤️❤️❤️
  • After two years of COVID-related delays, Top Gun: Maverick lands in theaters today. An icky detail that I’ll have a hard time overlooking: Maverick reunites with Penny Benjamin, the admiral’s daughter referenced in the first film. Penny is played here by Jennifer Connelly, who was fifteen years old when the first movie came out. I’m just spitballing here – and no disrespect to Connelly, who is talented and lovely – but perhaps this makes a case for Cruise’s characters to start romancing age-appropriate women.
  • The Old Man premieres on FX/Hulu on June 16. Based on Thomas Perry’s 2017 novel of the same name, The Old Man stars the marvelous Jeff Bridges as former CIA operative Dan Chase, who has spent years off the grid until an assassination attempt brings him out of hiding. The outstanding supporting cast includes John Lithgow, Amy Brenneman, and Alia Shawkat.
  • The Gray Man, starring Ryan Gosling and directed by the Russo Brothers, will be released in theaters on July 15, followed by a July 22 debut on Netflix. Based on the book series by Mark Greaney, The Gray Man follows a CIA assassin (Gosling) hunted by a psychopathic ex-colleague (Chris Evans, clearly having an absolute blast). The cast includes Ana de Armas, Julia Butters (so good as Leonardi DiCaprio’s young co-star in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Alfre Woodard, and Billy Bob Thornton. At a cost of $200 million, The Gray Man is Netflix’s most expensive film to date, but with the Russos at the helm and Gosling in the driver’s seat, it feels like a sure thing.
  • The first teaser for the penultimate episode in the Mission: Impossible series – subtitled Dead Reckoning – Part One – was released this week. Due to be released in 2023, the film features series regulars Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson. It will also introduce newcomers Hayley Atwell, Shea Whigham, Esai Morales, Rob Delaney, and one of my personal faves, Cary Elwes. Dead Reckoning – Part Two is slated for a 2024 release.

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