Thursday, March 11, 2010

Just Savoring Martin and Baldwin a Little Longer

We loved Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin so much this year in their dual-hosting of the Academy Awards. They were adorable from start to finish, and though we've read some criticism -- citing stiffness (we didn't see it) and lack of chemistry (no way!) -- we have nothing but praise for their performances. In contrast to so many past Oscar ceremonies, the jokes written for them were smart and managed to combine both verbal and visual humor, something not usually in evidence.

We're going to post their opening here, then their hilarious Paranormal Activity parody. (There are a couple versions still on YouTube; this one has their lead-in dialogue, too.) Either you love this kind of stuff, or you hate it. We love it! And of course we led off with the photo of the intrepid duo backstage in their twin Snuggie. Completely adorable and so, so funny! A great sight gag in the classic tradition. Hope and Crosby would have worn one in a Road movie if they had been around then.

Are Martin and Baldwin now our national comedy icons? Not difficult to imagine for Steve Martin, who of course has been an unbelievable performing sensation since his stand-up days in the 1970s, and lately settled into a more comfortable and less raucous career as a comedic actor. (Let's not forget, however, his brilliant turn in director Herbert Ross' under-appreciated masterpiece Pennies from Heaven, from 1981. What a terrific performance in an amazing movie.)

Baldwin has now settled perfectly into his new comedic persona, thanks to the wonderfully talented Tina Fey -- our Lucy, and more -- and his role on NBC's 30 Rock. This is no time to forget that he is a terrific dramatic actor, too, in a career which has been going strong for over twenty-five years. (Remember him in the outrageous Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Great Balls of Fire! from 1988, playing Jimmy Swaggart? He was amazing. I just caught him in Lymelife, and he's charming, brutal and utterly charismatic. Or how about his Emmy-nominated Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire from 1995, opposite Jessica Lange? Shockingly, this doesn't seem to be on U.S. DVD -- not good!) Baldwin is obviously a talented, complicated and mesmerizing individual, and we wouldn't want it any other way.


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