Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stone Cold.

Right now, LA is experiencing two temperatures:
  1. Freezing cold 
  2. The ending of Terminator 2

Monday, January 30, 2017

Winner.

Ted Melfi is such a good director, I fully believe he could pull off getting Johnny Depp to play a regular guy.

I was a fan from the moment we went into pre-production on the featurette I wrote and starred in, because it was incredible to watch Ted work. There’s a common belief that you can do anything in life if you want it bad enough, but it’s a misnomer – you have to work your ass off, too. If we needed to find one shooting location, Ted would scout twelve. Everything was above and beyond.

So it comes as no surprise that he wrote a script, somehow got it to the impossible-to-reach Bill Murray, Bill loved it, and they made St. Vincent.

Now, Ted’s latest film, Hidden Figures, is nominated for an Oscar, and last night, it won for best cast at the SAG Awards. As the actors gathered on stage, Taraji P. Henson insisted Ted Melfi join them, saying he was the man made this happen.

I texted the above screen-grab to him while he was on stage, to which he replied “I need a toupĂ©e.”

Eh – don’t worry about it. Everybody’s eyes will be on your awards. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

My Favorite Mary Tyler Moore Memory.

My friend Rob said, “It’s hard to overstate how beautiful Mary Tyler Moore was, especially during the ‘Dick Van Dyke Show’ days.”

He admits it’s a bit of a caveman take, knowing she was super talented and a trailblazer. My lasting memory will be the stunning range she displayed in the movie Flirting with Disaster, in which the Catholic-raised Mary transformed herself into the most realistic Jewish mom ever. Check this out:

 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I Voted.

I’m glad I’m not an actress, because I would never be able to say “but my favorite role is being a mom” at award shows.

But I’ll vote for moms no problem, and step-moms, and baby mamas, for that matter, and I did yesterday. The SAG Awards air this Sunday, and the deadline for us to cast our votes is tomorrow. I like the SAGs a lot, because they honor only actors, and in interesting ways – not just lead and supporting, but entire casts of TV shows and movies. One category that will go down to the wire this year is lead actor in a motion picture:

For me, it came down to Ryan Gosling, who was not only phenomenal as the principled musician/romantic, but really played every note on the piano after only three months of training, and Casey Affleck, who just owns the screen in one of the most tragic roles I’ve ever seen.

How do you choose? I’m reminded of my favorite Oscar speech ever, in which George Clooney said, “I don’t quite know how you compare art. You look at these performances this year, of these actors, and unless we all did the same role, everybody put on a bat suit, and we’ll all try that. Unless we all did the same role, I don’t know how you compare it.”

Agree. But I chose Casey.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Agents Had A Party And Everyone Came.

My favorite thing about parties at an unknown house is definitely having to dry my hands in the bathroom with a stranger’s wet bath towel.

I didn’t quite get the chance Thursday night, as the kickass party my agents threw wasn’t at a house – it was at Doheny Room.

It was still a really great time. My agents are the best, and it was so good to meet my fellow clients and feel an instant connection. We’re all in the same fraternity, enjoying the same game. I love it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In Which I Meet A Living Legend. (And A Dead One.)

A millennial is any young person you don’t like.

I prefer the wise, charming, older types. So when my ski weekend was cancelled, I took my friend Brian up on his offer to see Hal Holbrook’s one-man play, Mark Twain Tonight!

Hal created it in 1954, and has been performing it ever since, first in smaller theaters, then on Broadway, and then, in 1967, it was broadcast on CBS, and had 30 million viewers. (For perspective, the huge finale of “Breaking Bad” had 10.3 million viewers.)

Hal developed 15 hours of Twain selections to choose from, so the play is never the same performance twice. I saw it Friday, Inauguration Day, so most of Hal’s material was political. What quickly became evident: politics haven’t changed in 150 years. Mark Twain complained about congress and politicians as much as anyone today.

After the play, we were able to go backstage and meet Hal. He was still in costume, and smart and gracious. At 91, he’s the oldest person I’ve ever met, and I couldn’t help but tell him how much he inspired me. (He’s won five Emmys, a Tony and been nominated for an Oscar) Brian caught the tale end of my conversation, in which Hal tells me about his grandson, who is also an actor:

I can never say it enough: have heroes.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Or Not.

Here’s a survival tip: if you get lost in a snowstorm, a compass can help you get lost more north.

I didn’t have a chance to put this to use, because my ski trip this past weekend was cancelled. It snowed in biblical proportions in Mammoth, making it impossible to get in or out of the area, and forcing the resort to close its lifts. The shot above was taken at the base of the mountain yesterday. Whiteout.

I was bummed, but then I suddenly realized: I had a bonus weekend. I wasn’t supposed to be in LA, and now I was interested to see what would happen. First: I had the yummiest Japanese lunch with friends at the Mitsuwa marketplace:

I was able to see an amazing play and meet a living legend. (More on that tomorrow):

And, with my Saturday free, I could donate blood:

Here’s a bonus weekend tip: hoard it. Be super productive. Or not. Get into ten-ayem-beer mode. Eat, see, give. I slept on the couch with Ricky while it poured outside. I did two loads of laundry, then met friends out for dinner. I caught up on shows that had been accumulating on my DVR. And I’ll still get to ski more weekends soon. Good weekend, in what’s already a good year.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Gone Skiing.

There’s a low of 7° forecast up north this weekend. In the event that I freeze to death, please wield me around the slopes Weekend at Bernie’s style.

It’s time to put my fancy new ski boots to use. I’m going skiing in Mammoth, and leaving today. While it’s been raining in LA the past two weeks, Mammoth has been getting pounded with snow – 170 inches in the last two weeks, and 50 more inches coming this weekend.

Stories and photos when/if I get back. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Six Favorite Movies Of 2016.

Forget the Oscars – the Teen Choice Awards has to be the most legit award show, because teens always make the best choices.

But we’ll have to make due on Tuesday, when the Oscar nominations are announced. Up to ten films can make the cut. Here are my six favorite from last year, in order (and remember – I saw a lot of movies, but I didn’t see everything) :

Don’t Think Twice. It won’t be getting nominated because it’s a comedy, but for me it was the best film of the year. And not just because it was about an improv team, but because it was such a real portrayal of friendships and relationships and pursuing your dream and inevitable end of your favorite time in life.

Edge of Seventeen. Also a comedy, and it’s damn time all movies were considered. This is a great portrayal of teen angst, and Woody Harrelson steals every scene he’s in as the very cool, acerbic yet compassionate teacher.

La La Land. It’s my third choice, but these three movies are classics, so think of them really as 1A, 1B and 1C. La La Land is the greatest love letter to LA – a positive look at aspiring actors and musicians. I think about it every day since I saw it.

Deadpool. I saw this at the AMC Dine-In, which features the big, leather, reclinable seats. Not knowing what to expect from the movie, I figured at the very least, I could put my seat back and take a snooze. But from the moment Deadpool began, I was sucked right in. It’s hilarious and cool and doesn’t take itself seriously. It was last year’s The Kingsman.

Manchester By the Sea. I saw this with my friend John Kapelos. You might think that after appearing in over 200 films and TV shows, John’s suspension of disbelief would be on the fritz, but not with this film. It’s so incredibly tragic, it physically affected John. He cursed me for making him see it. In a good way.

Hell or High Water. This and La La Land will get real consideration, especially because the acting in this is so good. Definitely look for Jeff Bridges to be nominated for best supporting actor for playing the crotchety sheriff trying to extend his last case because he can’t bear to retire. Lot of good testosterone in this movie. I like that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Now Read This.

If I ever need expensive surgery, I’ll just tell a surgeon I’m auditioning a few guys before picking one. I’ll have him do the surgery, and then say, “Okay, I’ll let you know.”

Yeah, auditions are an occupational hazard for us actors, and we need every advantage we can get. I personally do casting workshops, and find them to be a great way to perform for and get to know casting directors so that they’ll call me in for auditions.

But now I’ve decided to up my game, and occasionally be the reader in these workshops. Instead of one scene, I get to perform 24, and hang out and bond with big casting directors for three hours, and see what’s happening on the other side of the room as they critique actors.

I read for my first workshop Monday night, and it was amazing. I’ll be doing it several more times in February, and will it be that much more satisfying? I’ll let you know.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fanciness, By The Foot.

Do you like freezing to death and knocking down trees with your face? Well, why not book a ski trip?

I just might, especially after I had new ski boots fitted to my feet over the weekend.Were they expensive? Yes. Am I worth it? Probably not – but I was in sheer agony in my old boots, and you can’t put a price on eliminating that.

Except you can, and it’s 1200 bucks. Worth it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Favorite New Restaurant.

The only problem with The Wolf of Wall Street? There were no wolves in the movie.

The same goes for Wolf the restaurant. The place is excellent, proven by how packed it was on a Sunday night.

Pictured above, lodge bread with pan drippings. Below, king salmon, along with crispy potatoes, which were tender and yummy.

Check it out when you can. It’s on Melrose by Fairfax, and damn good.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Christmas Leftover.

Whenever I see a deer on the side a road watching traffic go by, I assume he’s trying to figure out who’s day he’s going to ruin.

A couple weeks ago in New York, while taking mom’s dog for one of our super long walks, we passed a herd of deer. There was a bit of standoff before they trotted away.

Staring contest final score: Matt and Ollie Shevin 1, deer 0.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

At Long Last, In My Tummy.

My parties got a hundred times better when I realized if I didn’t invite anybody I could eat all the snacks.

I can really put away food, so imagine how thrilled I was to finally go to Little Dom’s in Los Feliz, and try their famous rice balls – a mixture of mushroom risotto with fresh mozzarella, parmesan, and provolone rolled in bread crumbs and fried. They were amazing.

The whole meal was great, and ended with this interesting challenge. Wanna deny the staff insurance? Tell it to their face:

Monday, January 9, 2017

It’s An Honor Just To Win.

Not to brag, but I was name-checked in my kindergarten teacher’s suicide note.

Then was a drought regarding accolades that lasted until last year, when Peer Hustle named my blog one of the Top 25 Blogs for Actors. And now, I’ve received another: Feedspot has named Inside the Actor’s Studio Apartment one of the top 20 acting blogs on the web.

When it’s 2 a.m., and I’m not sure what I’m going to write about for the next day, this kind of recognition is like washing down an Adderall with a Red Bull. Thank you.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Now Recurring On Google Maps.

You know you had a rough night when you have to use Google Maps to locate yourself in the morning.

But we’ll always know where Ricky is. My friend Ben was surfing the Internet the other night, checked out my place and found Ricky laying out. This isn’t the first time. Here’s Rick in 2013:
Best eyes in the business, Ben. Thanks.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.

Movies are kinda bullshit. Not once have I walked into a restaurant bathroom and found a gun taped to the back of a toilet.

I love them nonetheless.

And I love that I get to vote for the SAG Awards. The screeners are now arriving – some on DVD, many more that be viewed online.

I’ve already seen several of them in theaters, but it’s so great to have access to rest of the best films of the year, and then help honor the actors who really excelled. And that’s no bullshit.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

31 Seconds Of December.

January is the sad month in which you have to take the Christmas tree behind the garage and shoot it.

I love December. Everyone’s in a better mood. Work is forbidden. Overeating is legal. I miss it already.

Here’s my month, one second per day:
 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Prohibition New Year’s Eve At Union Station.

I don’t understand why New Year’s Eve is such a big deal. I get drunk and tell myself lies all the time. Who needs a special day for that?

And yet I thoroughly enjoyed myself Saturday night at Union Station. It was a really nice event. Couple of thoughts:

In all my time in LA, I’d never been to Union Station, the downtown train station, and it was not what I expected. It’s a gorgeously-designed, mission-revival style California landmark, whose floors withstood a fair amount of champagne and vomit for one night.

Newly-discovered phobia: dudes on stilts.

No good deed goes unpunished: a day and half later, my ears were still ringing from standing next to this speaker while I waited for the people I was with to use the bathroom.

Monday, January 2, 2017

It Begins.

Last year, my New Year’s resolution was to not lose any weight. Apparently.

On the bright side, I made 16 very challenging resolutions, and was able to follow through on eight of them. I made a dozen new ones yesterday.

I highly recommend making a bunch for yourself, and write them down – it’ll increase the possibility of achieving them ten-fold.

Go with your gut. Sorta. You get my drift. Happy New Year.