9:26 AM PDT, October 25, 2012
Countdown to Halloween: five days.
I don't like wearing costumes, I'm not into haunted houses, candy corn is too sweet, and I prefer pumpkin pie to pumpkin carvings.
But I do like horror movies — just not the kind with umpteen sequels. I saw "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th," "Scream" and "Child's Play" but just a few of their sequels. To me, the best scary movie of them all is 1973's "The Exorcist."
When it played the old Plaza Rocking Chair cinema on Bumby back in the day, "The Exorcist" was the first movie I remember lining up for in advance. I saw some of it again not long ago, and it still scared me.
It's one of the good frights that you can see Wednesday on TV. The movie, starring Ellen Burstyn and directed by William Friedkin, will air at 8 p.m. on IFC.
Other scary films on Halloween night: Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" at 9 p.m. on BBC America; "Zombieland," with the best movie cameo of all time, at 8 p.m. on FX; "Frankenstein" and "Son of Frankenstein" at 8 p.m. on TCM.
Speaking of unspeakable (and unwatchable) horrors: "666 Park Avenue" and "American Horror Story: Asylum."
The finger food was predictably tasty at a book signing last week for "Field to Feast" (subtitled "Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs and Artisans"). The cookbook was written by the Orlando Sentinel's own Heather McPherson; food-and-travel writer and famous party hostess Pam Brandon; and Katie Farmand, Pam's daughter and the editor of Edible Orlando magazine. Bonus: I got the chance to visit with Heather's lovely mom, Jean, and with Key & Susan Howard, a couple I hadn't seen in maybe 10 years.
Speaking of Heather, she reviewed a spot called Jazz Tastings a few months back, and I went there the same night I went to the book signing — but I have to confess it was mostly for the jazz, not the food. The duo smoothly blending saxophone and trumpet were Tony Wynn and Camaron Brown, and it made me realize how much I love live jazz. The smallish restaurant-club on Lake Avenue in Maitland is a welcome addition to the music scene. Plus, owners Rory and Cathy Frazier are attentive to detail, not only for the music and the food but for the decor and the staff. Check out the menu and the entertainment calendar at jazztastings.com.
Another night last week, the Winter Park Playhouse gang was mighty entertaining at the theater's annual gala. Highlight: the special lyrics to "Tradition" from "Fiddler on the Roof." Celebrating its 10th anniversary season, WPP's next show is "Steppin' Out With Irving Berlin," opening Nov. 8.
•I usually stay until the very end of a movie's credits so I can see how many assistants to stars and directors are listed. I just saw "Seven Psychopaths," and Colin Farrell had two assistants, one of whom, I betcha, was eyebrow wrangler. In reality, one is listed as an executive assistant and the other as a cast assistant. I wonder what is "executive" about an assistant? Also in the "Psychopaths" credits is a mention that a Blossom Dearie tune is on the soundtrack although I can't remember it being used. If Miss Dearie's distinctive voice had popped up, I'm sure I would have noticed. I went to see "Seven Psychopaths" because its director, Martin McDonagh, also did "In Bruges," a 2008 movie I really liked. It's obvious that McDonagh, who is also a playwright ("The Beauty Queen of Leenane"), wants to be Quentin Tarantino; if "Psychopaths" isn't quite as good as "In Bruges," it is darkly funny, violent, profane and entertaining. Besides Farrell, who was also in "In Bruges," the cast includes Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson, all oddballs playing oddballs.
•Sent in from Mount Dora by my buddy Jim Carlton: "I know a couple in their 80s who are going to marry. They're registered at Bed, Sponge Bath and Beyond." (Rim shot.)
•Not much new in the HBO documentary about Ethel Kennedy, but it's fun seeing the family films. The doc was made by her youngest child, Rory, who was born six months after Robert Kennedy was murdered. Ethel Kennedy is 84.
•I was listening to the "2001" movie soundtrack in my car, and later that day I finished watching three of the 2011 "Damages" episodes, and who should show up in a brief part but the rarely seen "2001" star Keir Dullea. He's now 76 so he looks like his made-up-to-look-old self at the end of the Kubrick movie, one of the best films of all time.
•There isn't a whole lot on the menu of the new Winter Park tapas restaurant, Galopin, but the shrimp dish I had was good and the decor is lovely. In French, "galopin" means scamp or urchin.
•Poor Toby Jones. First, he gets aced by Phil Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote and now he'll surely be overshadowed by Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock. Jones starred in "Infamous," a 2006 film about Capote; the Hoffman "Capote" came out in '05. Jones just starred as Hitchcock in HBO's "The Girl," which is about the Hitchcock-Tippi Hedren relationship. Coming later this year is the big-screen "Hitchcock" starring Hopkins as the director during the time he was making "Psycho." (Helen Mirren plays Alma Reville, Hitchcock's wife and collaborator, and Scarlett Johansson is Janet Leigh.)
•Obits: Jackie Gutrhie, Arlo's wife, 68; actor Sylvia Kristel ("Emmanuelle"), 60; former U.S. senators George McGovern, 90, and Arlen Specter, 82; actor-Native American activist Russell Means, 72.
Who played Harper Lee in "Infamous" and in "Capote," two movies about Truman Capote?
Catherine Kenner was Harper Lee in "Capote," and Sandra Bullock played the author in "Infamous."
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