Last night, falling asleep, thinking about that recent post sparked by GROSSE POINT BLANK with John Cusack and Minnie Driver, I remembered once being stopped at a red light in Beverly Hills when she walked right in front of my car with a little smile on her face and a presence that was so comfortably real and casual I wanted to beep the horn and yell “Hey Minnie, how ya doin’?”
But I resisted, and as she reached the sidewalk she turned right and walked alongside my car. Now I was used to seeing movie stars every day out there, it was part of my business and life, some were close friends, many I worked with, etc. so it was usually no big deal since in the end it’s the quality of a friendship and a person’s character and personality and how it fits with yours that makes for connections, not necessarily what job you share, etc.
Nonetheless, I watched her walk down the street, craning my neck to follow her, until the car behind me beeped because the light had turned green.
I thought about that and how much I love to watch her on the screen, how in any movie I’ve seen her in she added this quality that just makes me feel like smiling (remember her with Matt Damon in GOOD WILL HUNTING?).
That made me think of other movie actresses, and actors too, who make me smile when I see them on screen (even in serious roles there’s something so compellingly likable about them you, or at least I, can’t resist enjoying watching them, and I’m not talking about great beauties or great acting, I’m talking about a kind of unselfconscious openness and charm (the latter conscious or not), or the appearance of it, that opens my heart and makes me just love these folks and want to grin about it).
Here’s who I thought of, which happened to come out as triplets that make sense to me:
Joe E. Brown
And in a class
All by himself:
[These don't exactly go with Jackie Chan, but just remembered two of my favorite movie stars who gave me that same irrepressible feeling of joy to watch them, Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae, which is why OKLAHOMA and CAROUSEL are still two of my favorite flicks (and I know those who are younger and know Jones more from TV don't often share my enthusiasm, but she was a wonder to watch in films when she was young).]