By: G.H. Harding

George Clooney

THE WAY WAY BACK --- Last week we caught The Way, Way Back, which we loved, as much for the slightly-askew casting of Steve Carrel against type, as for the delightful script written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash; who adapted the Kaui Hart Hemming’s The Descendants (starring George Clooney), which won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2011.

Though the plot reminded us more than once of Greg Mottolla’s awesome youth-epic Adventureland back in 2001 (Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart), the entire production flows with a electrifying performance from, of all people, Sam Rockwell, as Owen, the manager of the local water park (the Water Wizz), where young Duncan (Liam James) is reeling from his mother’s new relationship with Trent (Carell), who may or may not be cheating on her; and, treats young Duncan like an afterthought; the very first scene of the movie is Carell telling young Duncan he’s a 3 on a scale of 10. 

 Sam Rockwell

AnnaSophia Robb
Owen however, treats Duncan like a new found friend; gives him a job and some much needed life direction. Rockwell’s been around for years, but with this role totally captivates the movie. To me, it’s one of the best performances of this year. Alison Janney, as a local neighborhood, with a snooty daughter to boot, is hilarious, if a bit over the top. Toni Collete, as Duncan’s mom, borders on the serious and brings a dour momentum to the proceedings. You like her; feel sorry for her … but, can’t quite get over the fact that she may be her own worst enemy. The period music is outrageously enjoyable and young Duncan’s burgeoning relationship with Janney’s daughter Susanna, essayed by a terrific AnnaSophia Robb, is plain exquisite. When you first see Duncan on screen, he is the target of Trent’s insensitivity; by the end of the movie, he’s victorious; winning the girl, and maybe even some way-due respect from Carell. And, well on his way to a meaningful life. It’s quite a movie; I loved it.

Al Pacino

PACINO & CHICAGO --- An Al Pacino movie broke out in the middle of a concert by the band Chicago, with thousands of fans serving as extras.

Cameras were wheeled onstage during intermission of the group's show at L. A.’s Greek Theatre on Friday night to film a scene from Pacino's upcoming movie Imagine, in which he plays aging rock star Danny Collins.

With coaching from writer/director (Dan Fogelman), the crowd chanted the name of Pacino's character as the 73-year-old actor walked on stage to sing "Hey Baby Doll" in a black suit. The movie co-stars Michael Caine, Annette Bening and Jennifer Garner.

"This is an improvisation," Pacino told the crowd. "You just came in and got it. That's not easy."

Chicago's band members remained on stage to watch and clap along during the 25-minute filming.

Earlier in the group’s set, Joe Mantegna of CBS' Criminal Minds TV-show joined his hometown band to sing "If You Leave Me Now."

Pacino returned to the stage during Chicago's encore and sang and danced to their hit "25 or 6 to 4."

"For a shy guy from the South Bronx, this has been great," Pacino said.

Watch it on YouTube

CBS VS. TIME WARNER --- 5 P.M. ET this past Friday; Time Warner pulled the plug on all-CBS stations (cable too) in 8 markets. After weeks of threats from both sides, including a crawl on the bottom of your home screen on most CBS shows (which proved a lot more irritatingly than usual) … it happened. 

TWC has said CBS wants to raise the fee as much as 600%, though it says that figure is based on an average fee it pays for all CBS stations in service areas. 

Without revealing specific numbers, CBS said fees from cable companies should be in line with the popularity of its shows - including NCIS, Under the Dome, The Big Bang Theory, David Letterman, 60 Minutes - and denied that it's looking for a 600% increase. "What CBS seeks, and what we always have sought from the beginning, is fair compensation for the most-watched television network with the most popular content in the world. We will not accept less," the network said.

What is true is that both parties are probably guilty in this; CBS wants a lot and TW wants a lot less.

Insiders say that it will probably be settled as the fall season rolls around in the coming weeks. I predict that the government will ultimately intervene. For me, tonight was a crucial episode of Under The Dome (based on the Stephen King book) which has dragged on for weeks, becoming the #1 show. As always … the viewer’s get shafted.

LAMPIASI’S CURTAIN CALL --- After an amazing year, 10-year old Nicholas Lampiasi’s final performance playing "Les" in Disney’s Newsies is Sunday Sept 8th. His last week performances are: Monday Sept 2 @ 7:30 PM; Wednesday Sept 4 @ 7:30 PM; Saturday Sept 7 @ 8 PM; and, Sunday Sept 8 @ 3:00 PM. According to his PR-rep David Salidor, they'll be a fete-after that final show. Hollywood is calling …. Look for Nick next, on the big screen. Good luck!