Thursday, December 4, 2014

Happy Birthday Marisa Tomei!

"Imagine you’re a deer. You’re prancing along. You get thirsty. You spot a little brook. You put your little deer lips down to the cool, clear water. BAM! A f—in’ bullet rips off part of your head! Your brains are laying on the ground in little bloody pieces! Now I ask you: Would you give a f— what kind of pants the son of a b—- who shot you was wearing?!" –Mona Lisa Vito,  in “My Cousin Vinny”

Picture Legend:

1. Ms Marisa
2. 1982, in High School
3. 1988, A Different World
4. Wanna buy a bridge?
5. With Christian LeBlanc on “As the World Turns”   
6. In her first movie, 1984s “The Flamingo Kid”
7. “A Different World” 1987/1988
8. “My Cousin Vinny” 1992
9. Fred Gwynne in his final performance
10. Grits. “You go first.”
11. Oscar winner
12. In “Chaplin,” with Robert Downey Jr.
13. With Robert again in “Only You”
14. “Untamed Heart” with Christian Slater
15. With Alfred Molina and Anjelica Huston in “The Perez Family”
16. As  Margaret in “Four Rooms”
17. With Natasha Lyonne in “Slums of Beverly Hills”
18. Looking good at Slums premier
19. Marisa and Logan
20. With Nick Stahl “In the Bedroom”
21. In “The Guru”
22. Marisa getting a nice massage in “The Guru”
23. Posing with Heather Graham for “The Guru”
24. As Sara Sloane on “The Simpsons” (that doesn’t even look like Marisa)
25. With Adam Sandler in “Anger Management”
26. In “Salome” 2003
27. With her twin sisters, Juliana and Esperanza
28. With Jane Fonda in "The Vagina Monologues"
29. In “Alfie” 2004
30. “Sleuth” 1972
31. “Rescue Me” 2006
32. With Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2007‘s “Before the Devil Knows Your Dead”
33. In “War, Inc.” 2008
34. “The Wrestler”
35.  With  John C. Reilly in 2010s “Cyrus”
36.  “Marisa Tomei's Core & Curves”
37.  With Jennifer Connelly in “Salvation Boulevard” who seems rather upset
38. With Matthew McConaughey in “The Lincoln Lawyer”
39. “Crazy, Stupid, Love”
40. Lovely Lady
41. Bonus Extra, Marisa in her very first film, “The Toxic Avenger”     

   It is my great pleasure and honor to give a great big Joyce’s Take Happy Birthday Shout out to one of my very favorite actresses, the beautiful and talented Marisa Tomei!
   Like some of us Marisa ("Tomei" in Japanese means "invisible." In Ancient Sumerian it means "Happy Sandals") was born at a very early age as a teeny tiny female infant in the Flatbush (meaning "flat woodland" or "wooded plain") section Brooklyn, New York, which is part of New York City, and famous for it’s very own bridge. It was also the site of the Battle of Brooklyn (also known as the  the Battle of Long Island) which  was the first major engagement fought in the American Revolutionary War after independence was declared, and the largest battle of the whole war. 
   We lost the battle but won the war.
   The multinational pharmaceutical corporationy Pfizer was founded in Brooklyn in 1869, and had a manufacturing plant in the borough for many years that once employed thousands of workers, but was shut down in 2008, a victim of President’s Bush’s reckless deregulation of Wall Street and the financial collapse that ensued. However, in a very real sense we can thank Marisa for the invention of the erectile dysfunction medication Sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, for her strong connection to the city of her birth.
   Thank you Marisa, thank you.
   Her mom, Patricia Adelaide "Addie" Bianchi, is an English teacher, and her dad, Gary A. Tomei, a trial lawyer. She also has a younger brother, Adam, who is also an actor. 
   Everyone In Marisa’s family comes from various parts of Italy if they wern’t born here in the U.S. As far as is known they have no connections with organized crime or spaghetti... with the possible exception of Uncle Giuseppe. We’re not too sure about him.
   Accordingly Marisa has a dual citizenship between the United States and Italy, and sometimes travels under the Italian passport, which is highly suspicious in and of itself.
   When Marisa was a child Addie used to corrected her speech so as to eliminate her heavy Brooklyn accent, because let’s face it. No one wants to admit their from Brooklyn. 
   Tomei grew up in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn.  The Vitagraph Company occupied a studio at Avenue M and East 14th Street in Midwood, and Fatty Arbuckle, the silent screen star, at one time filmed part of his movies on the streets of the city. 
   When Adam was born the Tomeis' left Brooklyn and headed across that bridge to Manhattan.
   At first Marisa wanted to be an archaeologist. However, her parents were fans of the theater and took their daughter with them when they attended performances.  She saw the play “A Chorus Line” when she was twelve and was awestruck, and wanted to be a professional actor from that point on.  
   She also loved seeing old movies and was a huge fan of Gene Kelly, the dancer, and who played E. K. Hornbeck in 1960's “Inherit the Wind,” a character based on the American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, critic of American life and culture, and scholar of American English, H. L. Mencken. 
   Young Marisa played J.B. Biggley’s attractive and dim-witted mistress, Hedy LaRue  in a school production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” while attending Andries Hudde Junior High School, what would these days be called a Middle School. During the summers she performed in plays at the Golden Bridge Colony in upstate New York. She went to high school next, Edward R. Murrow High School specifically, a school of the arts where students are either music, dance, communication arts, theater, or art majors. Marisa was a theater major. She graduated in the class of 1982. That’s her year book picture above, the second from the top. So beautiful.
   She would remain beautiful throughout the remainder of her life.
   Other notable alumni from Murrow High are the film director Darren Aronofsky, who recently made “Noah,” staring  Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe as Noah, along with Emma Watson and Hannibal Lecter.
   Although they didn’t know it at the time Darren would work with Marisa in the future, in 2008‘s “The Wrestler,” in which Marisa played an aging stripper and romantic interest for Mickey Rourke, who was playing an aging wrestler. She appeared in a few nude dance numbers in the movie. Aronofsky said, "This role shows how courageous and brave Marisa is. And ultimately she's really sexy. We knew nudity was a big part of the picture, and she wanted to be that exposed and vulnerable."
   “I definitely feel like I didn't want to do that kind of thing when I was younger,” Marisa said about nudity in films, “because I didn't think that it was something a serious actress would do, in a way there is validity to that. It's harder to be taken seriously when you're younger, doing that but I've also come to a point of being able to handle the reaction to it - that probably would have been more difficult when I was younger.”
   This is an unusual position for actresses, who often succumb to the pressures of taking on parts that require various stages and degrees of nudity in order to secure work and display their willingness or commitment to that role they’re being offered, sometimes when they shouldn’t because the role is exploitive in nature. So Marisa’s is an interesting view point that up and coming actresses should take into account.
    For her performance she was nominated for her first British Academy Film Award, BAFTA, second Golden Globe and third Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Here’s a clip of Micky and Maris talking about the film.
   “It's really physically hard! [on pole dancing] That pole work is crazy hard; to be really good on that pole and you have to be really strong.”
   Good to know.
   After graduating from High School in 1982, she attended Boston University for a year. Why only a year? Well like most young actresses just starting out and in college she was offered a part on a daytime soap, in her case CBS’s “As the World Turns,” playing the role of Marcy Thompson from 1983 to 1985. Marcy married a prince on the show and was apparently addicted to Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) as she suffered from weird fairy godmother hallucinations... probably Windowpane, Blotter, or Orange Sunshine. Here’s a clip.
   Looking into this matter I’ve discovered that lots of now prominent actors and actresses started out on “As the World Turns,” notably Julianne Moore, pie abuser Jason Biggs, Meg Ryan, Darth James Earl Jones Vader, “The Haunting’s" Claire Bloom, William Fichtner, Swoosie Kurtz, Amanda Seyfried, Parker Posey, and the lovely and talented Dana Delany (I’m not implying that the other ladies on this list, including Marisa herself, are not lovely and talented. Indeed, they are... extremely so), among others. 
   “When I was first starting, I went to an agent who told me, 'Listen, you'll be lucky if you do summer stock. Pack it up.' Once in a while I think about him, but I'm happy with myself. So, what does he matter?”
   There is some controversy as to which film is actually the first that Marisa appeared in. Her first movie in other words. It’s either “The Toxic Avenger,” which is actually one of my favorite films of all time, and in which she played Health Club Girl, or as Mandy in “The Flamingo Kid,” which made little impression upon me other than that Marisa was in it, and even though it was Garry Marshall film, who I enjoy immensely, and the first movie ever to garner a PG-13 rating, so it has historical significance. Many insist that it is the former, yet “The Toxic Avenger” premiered in April of 1984, and “The Flamingo Kid,” in December, so how could that be? I ask you dear readers, how?
   It is true that Marisa’s part in “The Toxic Avenger,” was uncredited, so it would be true that “The Flamingo Kid,” was the very first film Marisa is credited in. 
   I hope this clarifies this very important matter.
   Here's a clip from "The Toxic Avenger." Marisa appears around the 4:50 point.
   She took 1985 off and in 1986 appeared in a supporting role in the comedy “Playing For Keeps,” which was an early Miramax film, and actually directed by the Weinstein brothers, Bob and Harvey, their first directorial effort. 
   The next year she secured the lead role in an ABC Afterschool Special, “Supermom's Daughter,” in which she played Superman’s sister, Noelle, and appeared in the pilot of a television series “Leg Work,” along with “Fargo” star, Frances McDormand. She played Donna Ricci, Christina Ricci’s sister.  
   That same year she got out of the sister business and got a gig on the “The Cosby Show,” spinoff, “A Different World,” along with her roommate Lisa Bonet. She appeared in 23 episodes during the first season. The show played for 6 seasons, and no one knows why Marisa’s character, Maggie Lauten, left the show other than a vague reference to Maggie being attacked by a rare and ravenous herd of octopodes  in the Bermuda Triangle during a period of high solar flare activity.
   She starred with Jeff Fahey in the T.V. movie “Parker Kane,” in 1990, and with fellow Italian, Sylvester Stallone and Don Ameche in 1991‘s feature film, “Oscar.” 
   That year she also starred with the busiest man in entertainment, Nicolas Cage, in “Zandalee,” which oddly did not bother with a normal theatrical run in the United States, but went straight to home video.
   That is odd.
   “Zandalee," was mentioned in an episode of “Clerks: The Animated Series,” a Kevin Smith joint.
   Between film and television work she was on the stage in New York with the elite acting group, Naked Angels, where she met playwright Frank Pugliese (Aven'U Boys (Obie Award), The King of Connecticut, The Talk, The Alarm; Matty's Place, The Summer Winds; "Hope" is the Thing with Feathers, and The Talk), and they lived together in Greenwhich Village, where the hippies live,  for three years. After they broke up, Marisa lived in hotels before buying a one-room apartment in Manhattan.
   On March 13th 1992 a feature length comedy film premiered staring Marisa Tomei, gangster Joe Pesci, karate aficionado Ralph Macchio, and featuring former Herman Munster and Pet Cementarian, Fred Gwynne in what would be his final performance before he succumbed to pancreatic cancer the next year, entitled, “My Cousin Vinny.”
   It’s a funny movie. I watch it every time it comes on T.V. Lawyers like the movie as well, praising it’s realistic depiction of courtroom procedure and trial strategy. Wardens like it praising it’s realistic depiction of prison life and sodomania. United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, another one of my favorites,  has cited “My Cousin Vinny” as an example of the principle that a client can choose his own lawyer. What higher praise can there be! 
   There are two reasons that I watch “My Cousin Vinny,” whenever it comes my way on the television machine. First, to see the veteran actor Fred Gwynne in his last performance, and not only that, in great final performance as a Beechum County, Alabama, judge, who is both authoritative, and brilliantly funny. And second, I watch it because of Marisa, in an Oscar winning performance, she manages to transform herself into the character of Mona Lisa Vito, who, as is pointed in the film, is very “cute.” And who has conversations like this in a very adorable New Yorkish accent that her mother had worked so hard to rid her of:
Vinny Gambini: [Vinny hears a drip in the motel bathroom] Weren't you the last one to use the bathroom? 
Lisa: So? 
Vinny Gambini: Well, did you use the faucet? 
Lisa: Yeah. 
Vinny Gambini: Then why did'tcha turn it off? 
Lisa: I DID turn it off! 
Vinny Gambini: Well, if you turned it off, why am I listening to it? 
Lisa: Did it ever occur to you it could be turned off AND drip at the same time? 
Vinny Gambini: No. Because if you'd turned it off, it wouldn't drip! 
Lisa: Maybe it's broken. 
Vinny Gambini: Is that what you're saying? It's broken? 
Lisa: Yeah. That's it, it's broken. 
Vinny Gambini: You sure? 
Lisa: I'm positive. 
Vinny Gambini: Maybe you didn't twist it hard enough. 
Lisa: I twisted it just right. 
Vinny Gambini: How could you be so sure? 
Lisa: [sighs] If you will look in the manual, you will see that this particular model faucet requires a range of 10 to 16 foot-pounds of torque. I routinely twist the maximum allowable torquage. 
Vinny Gambini: Well, how could you be sure you used 16 foot-pounds of torque? 
Lisa: Because I used a Craftsman model 1019 Laboratory Edition Signature Series torque wrench. The kind used by Caltech high energy physicists. And NASA engineers. 
Vinny Gambini: Well, in that case, how can you be sure THAT's accurate? 
Lisa: Because a split second before the torque wrench was applied to the faucet handle, it had been calibrated by top members of the state AND federal Department of Weights and Measures... to be dead on balls accurate! 
[She rips a page out of a magazine and hands it to him] 
Lisa: Here's the certificate of validation. 
Vinny Gambini: Dead on balls accurate? 
Lisa: It's an industry term. 
Vinny Gambini: [tosses paper away] I guess the fucking thing is broken. 
Mona Lisa Vito: [Vinny looks at her funny] What? 
Vinny Gambini: Nothing. You stick out like a sore thumb around here. 
Mona Lisa Vito: Me? What about you? 
Vinny Gambini: I fit in better than you. At least I'm wearing cowboy boots. 
Mona Lisa Vito: Oh yeah, you blend. 
   That Pesci guys not bad either.
   Here’s a clip
   Marisa won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 65th Academy Awards in 1993. This was her first Oscar nomination and her first win. She was competing against three accomplished British actresses, and one Aussie, Joan Plowright, Vanessa Redgrave, Miranda Richardson, and Judy Davis, and she won. That showed those damn foreigners what’s up!
   She’d return to the Academy Awards a few more times, and probably will again. 
   The producers of “My Cousin Vinny,” and the studio, 20th Century Fox, wanted to make a sequel since the first film was so successful and all ($64.1 million on a production budget of $11 million). Pesci wanted to do it, but Marisa was not interested, and since Marisa was such an integral part of the first film the project was abandoned. To this day Marisa has never starred in a sequel or a prequel to a film, claiming to be allergic to them.
   1992 was a busy year for Marisa. “My Cousin Vinny,” was released in March (please keep in mind these films were actually made the year before their release). “Equinox,” a crime/drama/mystery she appeared in with Matthew Modine, Lara Flynn Boyle, and Fred Ward, was released in June, and “Chaplin,” is listed as a 1992 film, but was released in January of 1993. I don’t know why. No one does. 
   Chaplin was and is an interesting movie. A bio-pic about the famous British comedian Charlie Chaplin, directed by “Jurassic Park’s” Richard Attenborough, and written, in part,  by one of my favorite screenwriters, William Goldman, of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “All the President's Men,” and “The Princess Bride,” fame. It boasts a hell of a cast which includes Charlie Chaplin’s daughter, Geraldine Chaplin, who played her own grandmother, Hannah Chaplin. Our friend Moira Kelly played two parts in the film (Hetty Kelly, Charlie's first love, and  Oona O'Neill, Charlie's final wife), Penelope Ann Miller, Milla Jovovich, Diane Lane, Nancy Travis, little Jimmy Woods, the “X-Files” David Duchovny, Kevin Kline, “Ghostbusters” Dan Aykroyd, Hannibal Lecter again, and that “Ironman,” guy, Robert Downey, Jr., who now appears to be the king of the Hollywood A Listers.  
   Marisa played the lovely and talented pioneering actress Mabel Normand, who worked in short films with Charlie and Roscoe “Fatty" Arbuckle, who, of course, used to film in  Midwood.
   I really enjoyed this film, and I don’t usually care for biographical movies. I thought Mr. Downey was brilliant, and that he would go far when I first saw it.   
   And after having a little trouble with drugs and alcohol that I can certainly relate with... I was right.
   Marisa would succumb to Robert’s charms and the two were involved in a relationship until she dumped him a few years later, after starring together in another film, 1994's “Only You.” 
    The next year she starred with Christian Slater in the romantic/drama, “Untamed Heart,” a film I really enjoyed, and watched repeatedly, even though it is what I would consider a “chick flick.” Please don’t tell anybody. 
    Marisa and Christian won the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss.
   What a way to make a living.
   Here’s a clip.
   Christian had his own troubles with drugs and alcohol which manifested themselves prominently shortly after “Untamed Heart,” premiered. Like Tom Sizemore, both are fine, and talented actors whose careers have been adversely affected by their personal demons. But at least they’re still alive. Some overcome by success don’t make it.
   I probably wouldn’t make it, so I shun success at all costs, in order to avoid having to commit Seppuku, the Japanese ritualized form of suicide by disembowelment. 
   In 1994 Marisa worked with Opi.., ah, Ron Howard, who directed “The Paper,” a comedy/drama about 24 hours at a newspaper, and the people who worked for it during that period of time. She played Michael Keaton’s pregnant wife, Martha, in a role which demonstrated her commitment to acting in general, and to this part in particular, as most actresses won’t get pregnant for a role. 
   The film also starred Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Glenn Close, Jason Alexander, Spalding Gray, Catherine O'Hara, and no movie about a newspaper would be complete without Jason Robards. 
   I loved “The Paper,” as I do most of Marisa’s films. She is just one of those actors, or actresses who make any film they appear in better just by being in it. Two of her co-stars are in that category as well, Mr. Duvall and Robards.
   Marisa would work with Jason Alexander once again  two years later on the successful comedic sitcom, “Seinfeld.” Apparently the producers of that show really liked her as can be evidenced here. And she appeared as herself in an hour-long, two-part episode entitled “The Cadillac.” Here she is. 
      Another of my favorite Marisa movies, “The Perez Family,” appeared in 1995. It also starred the future Doc Oc, Alfred Molina, John’s daughter, Anjelica Huston, Chazz Palminteri, and Melissa Anne Acosta.
   A forerunner to our present immigration debate, “The Perez Family,” is the story of a group of Cuban refugees trying to move into the United States. 
   Marisa plays Dorita Evita Perez, a former prostitute, who wants to come to America because, “I love Elvis Presley, I dig the rock and roll, I want to FUCK... John Wayne.”
   Good enough for me.
   I like this film so much I actually paid for a VCR copy of it. 
   High praise indeed.
   It is said that Marisa gained 18 pounds for the part. I don’t know why, as the weight gain was unnoticeable and she was as beautiful and sexy as ever. Actually, more sexy than ever.
   Here’s a scene with Marisa putting on some stockings.
   In October of that year she also hosted “Saturday Night Live” for the first time, seven years to the day after her first “Different World” appearance, before the unfortunate incident with the  octopodes. Her musical guest was the American blues singer-songwriter and slide guitar player, Bonnie Raitt.
   Next was 1995‘s anthology comedy, “Four Rooms,” directed by Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino. The film had as many parts as it had directors, and featured Madonna, Alicia Witt, Lili Taylor, and our friend Ione Skye in the first part entitled “The Missing Ingredient.” Jennifer Beals in "The Wrong Man," Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek in "The Misbehavers,” and Quentin Tarantino, Jennifer Beals again, and an uncredited Bruce Willis in "The Man from Hollywood." British actor Tim Roth plays Ted the Bellhop, who ties all of the stories together... sort of. Marisa appears in a scene with Kathy Griffin entitled “Betty's house.” She plays Margaret, a somewhat... preoccupied young lady who is friends with Betty (Kathy), Ted’s boss. 
   Here’s a scene.
   Wasn’t she wonderful!
   In 1996 Marisa worked in the character study “Unhook the Stars,” with Gena Rowlands, with Woody Harrelson in 1997's “Welcome to Sarajevo,” with “Northern Exposure,” and “Numb3rs,” star Rob Morrow, and naked space vampire Mathilda May in the television movie “Only Love.”
   And another of my favorite films, 1998‘s “Slums of Beverly Hills,” Marisa and “Orange is the New Black’s”  Natasha Lyonne, “American Beauty’s” Mena Suvari, “Ocean’s Eleven’s” Carl Reiner (Rob’s dad), and Alan Arkin, who’s been in every other movie ever made.
   The movie tells the tale of a teenage girl struggling to grow up in the late 1970‘s in a lower-middle-class nomadic Jewish family that moves every few months. 
   It was at about this time that Marisa had several one night stands with a variety of Portuguese fishermen, and in 1999 a longer relationship with actor Dana Ashbrook, of “Twin Peaks,” fame. 
   She dumped him like a hot brick soon enough and since 2008 has been dating, in an on-and-off manner, the actor Logan Marshall Green, who starred in the Ridley Scott prequel, Prometheus. Fortunately she is not shown allergic symptoms to him. They met while working on a New York theater project together, and although previously insisting she saw no real good reason to get married, became engaged to Logan just last year. 
   A year ago last January to be precise.
   Engaged to be married. 
   They’re not married yet, mind you, but they’re engaged. 
   Marisa is 12 years older than Logan, and so is technically a cradle robber. 
   You go girl!
   In 2000 she starred with “Law and Order’s” Vincent D'Onofrio in the romantic/comedy “Happy Accidents.” With Keanu Reeves as a serial killer in “The Watcher.” With Rosie Perez again (they first worked together in “Untamed Heart”) in “King of the Jungle.” And with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt in the comedy/fantasy “What Women Want.” 
   This film is listed as being partly a fantasy because no one knows what women want.   
   No one. 
   Except Cyndi Lauper, and she only knows what girls want.
   2001 saw Marisa starring along with the wonderful British actor Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Terminator 3's Nick Stahl, and Karen Allen, of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” fame, in the crime/drama, “In the Bedroom.” The film tells the story of Tom’s and Sissy’s son, Nick, who falls in love with an older woman, Marisa (watch out Logan), whose ex-husband winds up killing Nick, and what ensues. An intense film, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Actor, Tom, Best Actress, Sissy, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress, giving Marisa her second Oscar nomination in that category.  Unfortunately none of them won. Marisa did win a Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association for Best Supporting Actress, and a Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for the same category, which is a lot more than most can say.
   Here’s a clip.
   Marisa worked with Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear, and Hugh Jackman, in the 2001 romantic comedy “Someone Like You...” Another romantic comedy in 2002 with Marley Shelton and Kyra Sedgwick, “Just a Kiss.” And “The Guru,” with Heather Graham and Christine Baranski, the story of Gurus and porn I think. I haven’t seen the film yet, but it sounds intriguing so I will soon no doubt. 
   Here’s a clip of Marisa stripping.
   In 2003 Marisa was a guest on “The Simpsons,” in an episode entitled “A Star Is Born Again,” wherein she dates Ned Flanders. 
   And that year she appeared as the love interest to both Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson in “Anger Management,” along with the lovely Heather Graham again. 
   Here’s a clip of her and Adam making out.
   And a short interview about the movie.
   That year she played the title role in a revival of Oscar Wilde's "Salome" in an Actors Studio production, directed by Estelle Parsons, on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre; co-staring   Al Pacino, Dianne Wiest, and David Strathairn.
   She also went on stage to appear in the "The Vagina Monologues," with Jane Fonda and Indian and Pakistani actresses in Mumbai, to celebrate International Women's Day.
   She appeared with Jude Law in a remake of the 1966 film, “Alfie,” which starred a very young Michael Caine. As a matter of fact he was nominated for an Academy Award for that role.
   It is interesting for me to note that Jude and Michael would appear together in another remake of a film Michael starred in, 1972‘s “Sleuth,” in 2007. Here’s a clip.
   Michael’s partner in the 72 version was my favorite actor of all time, Sir Laurence Olivier.
   In 2006, she worked on four episodes of the fireman drama “Rescue Me,” playing "Angie", the ex-wife of Tommy Calvin (Denis Leary)'s brother, Johnny (Dean Winters). 
   She played another woman whose name ended with “ie” as Maggie, the sexy bar owner in the 2007 motorcycle comedy “Wild Hogs,.” along with John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy, Ray Liotta, and the brilliant character actor John C. McGinley, who you may remember as Dr. Perry Cox on “Scrubs.”
   Here’s a clip of an interview she did on Regis and Kelly to promote “Wild Hogs.”
   That year she also was the female lead (with some more explicit scenes) in the non-linear crime/family/drama, “Before the Devil Knows You're Dead,” along with an outstanding performance by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Ethan Hawke, and the great Albert Finney.  In 2008 she starred with John Cusack and Hillary Duff in the political satire set in Turaqistan, a country occupied by an American private corporation run by a former US Vice-President (Huuummmm, parts of that sound vaguely familiar somehow...), “War, Inc.” Here’s a clip of her and Hillary smoking, and one of her talking about the film.
   That year she also appeared in “The Wrestler,” which we’ve previously discussed. 
   Here’s a clip of various actresses pole dancing, including Marisa in “The Wrestler.”
   In 2010 Marisa worked with John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill in the film, “Cyrus,” an interesting story about a boy and his mom. Here’s an interview with Marisa about the film.
   I saw it last night and now it’s one of my new favorite films. I think it’s opened a whole new genre, the under stated/passive aggressive, romantic, comedy/drama. The three main actors were extraordinary.   
   In 2010 Marisa also released her own fitness video, “Marisa Tomei's Core & Curves,” which utilizes a toning band, which is like a big fat rubber band, and a Chinese Vin Diesel. Here’s a clip, and another.  And here’s a link to a Satanic site where you can purchase it. And another link to that same site to purchase her hula hoop video.
   The next year she worked with another favorite actress of mine, the beautiful and talented Jennifer Connelly, in “Salvation Boulevard,” the story of an ethically challenged mega preacher and his possible shenanigans. The movie also features Greg Kinnear, Pierce Brosnan, and the lovely and talented Ed Harris, whose been in at least 4 other films with Ms Connelly... possibly more.
   She’s been in more films with Ed than she has here husband, Paul Bettany.
   Isn’t that interesting.
   Better watch out Paul.
   She worked with this year’s Best Actor, Matthew McConaughey, in 2011s  courtroom drama, “The Lincoln Lawyer.” Here’s a clip.
   2010 was a busy year for our lovely friend as she appeared in four films that premiered in 2011. We’ve just examined two of them. Another was a great comedy called “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” You see that picture above of the film’s poster? Well that feminine leg is Marisa’s, who is about to sexually molest newly separated husband Steve Carell. Here’s the clip of that molestation. The movie also stars the lovely and talented Julianne Moore (who’s already been nominated for a slew of awards for a slew of movies this year), the Real Girl’s boyfriend Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and my new girlfriend Analeigh Tipton (I’m a very sick person). 
   One scene of her’s has always stood out for me, when she confronts Carell as he and his wife, Julianne, come to see their son’s teacher for a parent teacher conference, and unbeknownst to them, Marisa is their son’s teacher.
   Marisa is shocked to find out that Steve is married, and goes on a tirade about how hard she had to try to satisfy him sexually because he was so nervous and all. One shot of her with her lovely tongue sticking out amazes me as it kind of punctuates the scene.
   Anyway, and finally, she worked with Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Evan Rachel Wood again (Evan and Marisa worked together in “The Wrestler”), along with George Clooney, in the political drama “The Ides of March.”    
   Our lovely friend worked with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler in 2012s “Parental Guidance.” With John Lithgow and Alfred Molina in this year’s “Love Is Strange.” And the obligatory Hugh Grant movie (it seems that all beautiful and talented actresses who have at least a modicum of comedic flare work with him at least once. His female counterpart seems to be the lovely and talented Jennifer Aniston), October’s “The Rewrite.” 
   And she’s still working and has projects that will premier at a future date.
   Let’s see, what else?
    Wikipedia states, “Tomei is regarded as one of the greatest actresses of her generation.” I can’t argue against that.
   She has a tattoo of the Egyptian Eye of Ra (protection, good luck, abundance) on her right foot.
   As do I.
   And her Elvish name is Ireth Oronar.
   Oh yes, and best of all, all of us here at Joyce’s Take wish Marisa, her family, friends, and anybody else she happens to meet, continued good health and fortune, and a very happy birthday!
   Happy birthday Ms Tomei!

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