Sunday, March 12, 2006

Judy's Little Girl is a Sexagenarian (!)

Liza Minelli has outlived her legendary mother, Judy Garland who died at 47 of an overdose by 13 years now. That's right. Liza with a Z, our immortal "Sally Bowles", turned 60 today.


For young readers who may think of Liza as just this crazy old woman with a bazillion celeb friends who marries strange Michael Jackson-like men and inexplicably commands much tabloid/media attention, you'll have to travel back to the 1970s to find out why she's one of those titanic stars who pop culture will never be able to completely expurgate. The drama, the bad choices in men, the neediness, the crushing weight of her mother's legend, and her own blazing talent have been gifts that have kept on giving (for better or worse) for decades now.

There will never be another Liza. No seriously. There won't. The list of ingredients involves: gay icon mother, closeted gay Hollywood powerhouse father, "the trolley song", huge heaps of talents everywhere in all directions, growing up on movie sets, Peter Allen, addictions, infant fame, Broadway stardom, and coming into full bloom during a Hollywood cycle wherein atypical looks were all the rage (Hoffman, Streisand, etc...) See?! Unrepeatable. Since there won't be another, it's best to appreciate the one we have now while she's still kicking.

If you haven't told Junie Moon that you love her lately, get yourself to the couch (for the ladies: your gay boyfriend's couch) for a mini-festival to include these essentials: The Sterile Cuckoo (69, Oscar nomination), "Liza with a Z" (72, legendary TV special --finally arriving on DVD next month), Cabaret (72, Oscar for Best Actress and one of my 10 fav films of all time), and New York, New York (77, underappreciated Scorsese gem)


previous Liza-related moments @ The Film Experience
Johnny Weir * Toni Collette * Favorite Actresses (All Time) *

21 comments:

John M said...

I guess I'm one of those who falls under the younger demographic and my only frame of reference for her are the guest stints on "Arrested Development."

Now you've peaked my interest. Perhaps a rental of Cabaret is in my future.

adam k. said...

Yes, DEFINITELY see Cabaret. It's actually the only Liza film I've seen, which is sad.

And yeah, Toni Collette REALLY needs to play her right now. Toni won't be young forever...

btw, what's the Peter Allen connection? Did Liza date him?

J.J. said...

Arrested Development is a wonderful frame of reference for Liza. Her work on the show is comic brilliance. It's really quite exquisite. Going back to her older work will be even more rewarding if you're coming from that point.

Nick Davis said...

N, I'm so glad you mentioned New York, New York, which I just love, and it never gets annnnnnnnny respect. It should have been one of those movies that got, like, 12 nominations, and yet it even missed for the songs. Ain't no justice. But you're making it up to her with this post, which I'm sure she's reading, just like Mommy used to do. ;)

Anonymous said...

Yes, life is indeed a Cabaret, and it simply must be seen by everyone in the world ever. Now.

Rob

Anonymous said...

Liza hit her peak with Cabaret and never recovered in the movie world... she has become a caricature of the movie star .. it is sad because her mother was one of the most talented stars ever!!!!

NATHANIEL R said...

John -yes. you won't be sorry. Cabaret is brilliant. underline. bold. exclamation point brilliant.

Adam -Peter and Liza were married.

JJ -guess i gotta rent these AD seasons.

N -you know that was for you. Well, actually. a little of both. I do really think that Liza is superb in it. And the poster is a perfect way to show the baby readers that Liza really was a huge star. look at that. Billing ABOVE DeNiro.

Rob -introduce this bill to the UN.

anonymous -cabaret is indeed the peak. but it's not the only fine thing she ever did. investigate her. you'll love.

JavierAG said...

She would have been more deserving in context if Liv Ullmann hadn't been in the competition, though. (Both Ullmann and Minnelli won Globes that year, i think).

Anonymous said...

If Cabaret is one of TOP TEN favourites, that means you have a TOP TEN. When you're gonna post it?

cal roth

adam k. said...

Married? Ah. Yeah, I think I knew that at one point, come to think of it...

adam k. said...

Nathaniel posted his favorite (or "most formative" whatever) movies in a list of 100. It's somewhere on the site.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Yes, he indeed have a Top 100 but he only commented on half of it. It look some smart URL tampering to eventually get to the #1 (which I believe was West Side Story?)

ANYWAY. I really want to see Cabaret again because I saw it once and liked it but didn't LOVE it. I blame Michael York for being one of the worst leading men in history and making me want to sleep. I did however love Liza and Joel Grey. "Mein Herr", "Money Money" and "Life is a Cabaret" are constantly on high rotation on iTunes and iPod.

Kamikaze Camel said...

btw Nat, I sent you an e-mail about next week!

adam k. said...

Michael York was SUPPOSED to be awkward.

But yeah, Nathaniel, finish up those comments on your favorite 100 films. Always starting new projects before you finish the old ones... tsk tsk.

Nick Davis said...

I'm with Glenn on this one — Michael York is a big, dull, milky bore in Cabaret, but the film is brilliant nonetheless.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I'm sure if I watched it again at a better time that I did last time I'd love it. It's just that I think I was a bit tired and whilst watching it I was in no mood to put up with Michael York's bland whatever it is he thinks he does (it ain't acting that's for sure)

btw, Liza is fabo on Arrested Developement. LUCILLE!

Nick Davis said...

Another reason to love Liza: Meryl Streep has more than once cited the enormous rush she got just watching Liza Minnelli perform onstage as the topmost reason she herself decided to become an entertainer. Given how regularly the community at this site gushes over Meryl, we all owe Liza big-time.

the boyfriend said...

If you ever had the good fortune to see Liza live on stage you'd realize it's silly to even question her status as a legend. The woman is unbelievable. Nick's right - an entertaining force that set Meryl in motion is a force to be reckoned with.

WhiteE206 said...

My Cabaret Story.

In 1972 my father had just taken a new job as the Manager of a Jerry Lewis Cinemas theater in Safford AZ.

He was very pumped to bring in lots of new business into his theater.

When he got the press releases about Cabaret he became very excited. At that time my father was 52 and not always good about reading the fine print.

In his mind he imagined Cabaret to a rollicking Big Band movie. He was expecting a big old fashion Glen Miller styled musical.

My father was very conservative and most of his freinds where as well. I still remember his excitement as we passed out 2 for 1 coupons at church the Sunday before Cabaret was to open. He called all his old friends and encouraged everyone to come on down and see this great new old fashion movie.

Opening night was a Friday, It seemed that most of the audience went with the film up until the infamous lines...
Brian "Oh Fuck Maximilian!"
Sally "I ALREADY DID!"
Brian "So did I!"

It started with one couple, then another and another, within a few minutes more than half of the good God fearing church goers and friends of my father got up and Walked out of the theater.

A few more trickled out when Sally's abortion was disclosed.

My father was devistated. He did not go back to church for two months.

Cabaret has remained one of my favorite movies for more than thirty years.

It is a stunning movie to watch even today. Liza is a true star captured a her Zenith. When you watch her in the this film there is
Something of greatness. The role she was born to play.

Thanks for the memories LIZA!

TWE

NATHANIEL R said...

whitee what a great story. poor guy. my parents hated that i loved this movie. it was a generational divide musical certainly.

Georgiapeach said...

I am one of the young readers who is a big fan of Liza and her mother. Great post.