This is my last column for the Inquirer. I've been writing the Sunday "Movies" page (or "On Movies," as it has also been known - catchy!) for something like 24 years. And for 10 years before officially being named a movie critic, my byline appeared in these pages as a staff writer. It's a span of time that seems to have rocketed by in a Star Wars-ian hyperspace flash.
Some of the folks I've talked to over the years, in person, on the phone, on the set, via Skype, FaceTime, at festivals, hotels, over lunches and coffees, and every now and then on their home turf: Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Woody Allen, Pedro Almodóvar, Robert Altman, Wes Anderson, Darren Aronofsky,
Kevin Bacon (Parkway Program High alum!), Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, John Boorman, Danny Boyle, Gael Garcia Bernal, Juliette Binoche, Jeff Bridges, Albert Brooks, James L. Brooks, Jessica Chastain, Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Joel and Ethan Coen, Bradley Cooper, Francis Ford Coppola, David Cronenberg, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Alfonso Cuaron,
Matt Damon, Lee Daniels, Daniel Day-Lewis, Guillermo del Toro, Jonathan Demme, Catherine Deneuve, Claire Denis, Brian De Palma, Johnny Depp, Bruce Dern, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Downey Sr., Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood,
Colin Farrell, Will Ferrell, Ralph Fiennes, David Fincher, Colin Firth, Laurence Fishburne, Jodie Foster, Richard Gere, Paul Giamatti, Alex Gibney, Mel Gibson, Terry Gilliam, Jeff Goldblum, Al Gore (An Inconvenient Truth star and total movie geek),
Tom Hanks, Ethan Hawke, Werner Herzog, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins, John Hughes, Alejandro Iñárritu, Oscar Isaac, Peter Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jim Jarmusch, Angelina Jolie, Spike Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael B. Jordan, Neil Jordan, Chen Kaige, Charlie Kaufman, Michael Keaton, Catherine Keener, Ben Kingsley (Sir Ben to you), Heath Ledger, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Mike Leigh, Richard Linklater, Sidney Lumet, David Lynch (Eraserhead, Philly art-school student),
Penny Marshall, Steve Martin, Matthew McConaughey, Frances McDormand, Russ Meyer, Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen, Carey Mulligan, Bill Murray, Alexander Payne, Sean Penn, River Phoenix (picking on a guitar), Brad Pitt, Joan Plowright (Baroness Olivier!), Natalie Portman, Charlotte Rampling, Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, Chris Rock, Saoirse Ronan,
Eva Marie Saint (on Hitchcock! on Brando!), Susan Sarandon, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ridley Scott, M. Night Shyamalan, Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep (not overrated!), Hilary Swank, Tilda Swinton, Charlize Theron, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Naomi Watts, Peter Weir, Forest Whitaker, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis, Kate Winslet (rolling her own cigarettes), Zhang Yimou.
I hope the questions I asked, and the answers I received, and the way those conversations were put together in these pages (and online, of course) have proved enlightening, engaging, unexpected, a fun read.