Gwenyth Paltrow and mother, Blythe Danner star together in 2003’s “Sylvia,” as mother and daughter.

Joining the family business. For most people, it means working for your father in his small business in town or tagging along during board meetings in an office building. For children of actors, they have another option: act with their parents (and/or relatives in the business.) Did you know that Blythe Danner and Gwenyth Paltrow have appeared together when Gwenyth was still in the womb? Blythe appeared on an episode of Columbo when she was five months pregnant with her daughter. Yep. Some people really do start off young. Subsequently, Blythe Danner and Gwenyth Paltrow have appeared together on stage and screen as mother and daughter numerous times. Most recently in the 2003 biopic of poet, Sylvia Plath, with Gwenyth in the title role. Martin Sheen has appeared on screen with all of his children: Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Renee Estevez and Ramone Estevez. Before Sofia Coppola was a writer/director in her own right, she appeared in dad, Francis’ movies: The Godfather Trilogy, Peggy Sue Got Married, Rumble Fish, The Cotton Club.) Francis Ford Coppola is rather famous for using family members in nearly all of his films. Actor Campbell Scott, the son of actors George C. Scott and Collen Dewhurst, acted alongside his mother in what was one of her last performances in Dying Young.

Having a famous parent as an actor can even help when casting the “younger” version of a character. Most recently, Tina Fey gave daughter Alice a cameo on 30 Rock where the little one played a pint-sized Liz Lemon. Meryl Streep actually got work due to daughter Mamie Gummer’s involvement in the 2007 film, Evening. They played the same character at different ages. Also in the movie, the late Natasha Richardson playing the daughter of real-life mother, Vanessa Redgrave. How cool is that?

In recent years, a certain film has caught my eye. The movie is called Home, one of several films of the same name that came out in 2008. It stars Oscar-winner, Marcia Gay Harden, and her daughter, Eulala Scheel. I stumbled upon this little gem of a movie because it was streaming on Netflix. I love Marcia Gay Harden’s work, so I decided to check it out and it was fantastic. In fact, it’s not the first time Harden and her daughter have appeared together on screen. The first was in Harden’s Oscar-winning film, Pollack in 2000 when Eulala was two. Then came the made-for-television movie Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, Home, and Whip It (Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut.) In nearly all of her work, she has played her mother’s daughter. This year, she has managed to break the cycle and appear on a few episodes of Workaholics sans mama, Marcia.

From IMDB:

Home (I) (2008): Inga (Academy award winner Marcia Gay Harden) is a poet. She wants to buy and restore a house she is drawn to that reminds her of her childhood home, but her distant husband Hermann sees little value in it or many of the things Inga loves. Inga realizes that many things in her life are coming full circle. Her crumbling marriage is a stark contrast to her relationship with her 8-year-old daughter, with whom she shares her hopes, fears and inner-most thoughts following her recovery from breast cancer.

I’ve been trying to find a specific clip from the film to put with the article, but it doesn’t seem to be found online on its own. It truly shows the power that real-life relationships can bring to a film. As with any real-life on-screen pairing, truth is achieved with ease and not manufactured (most of the time.) That’s because there is a history, a relationship that the actors have with each other that they can bring to the screen. Eulala is confronting her mother Marcia as her character, but it’s so real and raw from the two actors, I wonder how they felt at the end of that shooting day. The film as a whole is emotional, true to life and extremely under the radar. It’s worth seeing.

On another note, not everyone related to someone in the industry goes into the family business. There’s a certain celebrity chef who has made a name for herself all on her own: Giada De Laurentis, granddaughter of legendary film producer, Dino De Lauurentis (La Strada, Hannibal.) But, for those who have acted with their relatives, more power to you. I don’t know what I would do if I were Mamie Gummer. Living up to Meryl Streep’s acting ability is quite a challenge. I wonder if Daniel Day-Lewis’ kids will follow in his footsteps too. Who knows.

I could have gone the typical route in comparing time travel movies and done this with Back to the Future and something else; however, I think the comparison between these two movies is an interesting one.  Somewhere in Time deals with a man who deliberately tries to go back in time and use time travel to his advantage, whereas Peggy Sue Got Married follows the outline of someone who ends up back in time within their own lifetime.

See each trailer:

Peggy Sue Got Married deals with something that everyone has probably had a dream about at one point in their lives or another. What if we mistakenly ended up back in time within our own lifetimes and could have a “do-over?” Quantum Leap took this concept and ran with it for five seasons of successful television.

In 1986, Francis Ford Coppola employed his daughter Sofia, his nephew Nicholas Cage, a young Helen Hunt, and relative newcomer Jim Carrey, in this film carried by Kathleen Turner in the title role as Peggy Sue. Like Somewhere in Time Peggy Sue Got Married has a main character has a protagonist who reveals information about future events  much to the confusion of those around them. Peggy’s life hasn’t exactly gone the way she’d thought, so this second chance, at first, seems perfect. Then, like all time travelers before her, she wants to go home again.

Just look at Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Much like Oz, Peggy Sue Got Married borrows some plot elements from the cinema classic. Although there is no wicked witch tracking her down, there is a ceremony performed by her grandfather that is reminiscent of the Wizard character himself. And probably due to the success of the 80s classic, Back to the Future, Doc Brown could be a prototype for Peggy Sue‘s resident genius, Richard Norvik. And in the end,Peggy Sue’s time travel was due to a heart attack, a slightly harsher injury than Dorothy’s fainting spell in Oz, yet each end up home again safe and sound.

The goal to end up back where you came from is not the main element in Somewhere in Time though. Even with Christopher Reeve’s handsome leading man being thrust back into the future, it has much more tragic end. SPOILER ALERT: He dies. Yet, Somewhere in Time has probably influenced countless movies that came after it (Titanic for starters,) and like Oz, has a protagonist thrust into circumstances of uncertainty with people who are unfamiliar. The resident wicked witch of it all, Christopher Plummer, doing his best domineering manager/love interest (?) of the early 1900s. Jane Seymour, in a pre-Dr. Quinn role, stars alongside Reeve as prominent stage actress Elise McKenna, who dies after seeing a play that writer Richard Collier (Reeves) produced. The older version of Elise McKenna melodramatically begs Reeve’s character to “Come back [to me.]”As fate would have it, Collier deliberately uses self-hypnosis to travel back in time to find the young Elise McKenna, fall in love with her and live happily ever after. That is until a brand new shiny penny screws up the whole “Happily Ever After” thing.

What I find most interesting about a movie like Somewhere in Time, is not necessarily the love element, but the amount of preparation and deliberate efforts on part of the main character to actually GO back in time with a specific purpose. Unlike something like Back to the Future where the characters wanted to see if time travel was possible, Somewhere in Time goes back in time with a very very specific purpose of staying there. The character of Richard takes the necessary steps needed to take care of his affairs in the present even before venturing into the past. He buys a suit that is of the time period he wants to be a part of. He even consults a former professor from college to make sure that something like time travel IS possible. Both Peggy Sue Got Married and Somewhere in Time make an effort with their scripts and pose the question of whether or not time travel is even possible in this day and age.

The main goal of Somewhere in Time is to find a specific person, make the lead characters fall in love despite enormous circumstances and throw a wrench in the whole big picture at the end. Mission accomplished. The “wrench” however, is a little disappointing though. I mean, Richard takes every precaution to assure that what he has on his person when he goes back is of the era…and leave it to a penny from the future to screw things up. However, just like Peggy Sue Got Married, this movie also has their resident Wizard in the form of an elderly man who grew up at the Inn where the story takes place. The only difference is that instead of helping the main character get back to where they came from, he’s helping the main character go back in time and stay there for good. Despite the fact that this movie is very very melodramatic, it is well done. The score (which I ended up studying in a college music class) is one of the romantic ones of all time.

The sad part about this movie comes about when time literally gets in the way of the love that the main characters have for each other and the only way they’ll be together again is in heaven. I swear, James Cameron borrowed from Somewhere in Time, especially at the end. Titanic and Somewhere in Time are so similar, that Christopher Plummer and Billy Zane each play characters who are nearly identical to one another. Both are controlling, manipulative,  threatened by the outsider, and have their lovely ladies whisked away by the charming leading man.

All in all, see these movies. Time travel movies can be fun and make us realize how lucky we are to be living in the present moment with the people in our lives. They add a bit of fantasy and tragedy to our viewing experience. Let’s be honest while we’re at it…we’d all love to fall in love with Christopher Reeve or play dress up like Kathleen Turner for the day. With these movies, you can. They’re enjoyable and available on Netflix. Rent them and go back in time for yourself.

Back in the day, the motto of every video store yes, VIDEO store, was “Be Kind. Rewind.” Embracing the current movement to be “retro” I’m going to talk about a little movie called Brighton Beach Memoirs. Adapted from the play by Neil Simon of the same name, Memoirs chronicles the life of Eugene Jerome as he reaches puberty. It’s heart-warming, hilarious, and semi-autobiographical.

“Eugene, a young teenage Jewish boy, recalls memories from his time as an adolescent youth. He lives with his parents, his aunt, two cousins, and his brother, Stanley, whom he looks up to and admires. He goes through the hardships of puberty, sexual fantasy, and living the life of a poor boy in a crowded house.”–via IMDB.

The popular play is still being produced to this day by community theaters and pubescent high school drama departments all over the country. If you don’t believe me, do a YouTube search of the title and watch what comes up. I got it on VHS when my college was selling “old movies.” Jonathan Silverman does justice to the role and his voice-overs as Eugene are seared into my brain’s  association of the role for all time. However, I would have loved to see Matthew Broderick reprise his Tony-winning role on film.  Blythe Danner, the outstanding actress that she is, plays a Russian- Jewish mother more convincingly than anyone given the fact that most associate her with the WASP-y mother type. The fact that Danner didn’t get an Oscar nomination for this role escapes me. Equally as impressive is well-known stage actress Judith Ivey. Other than Designing Women,  growing up, my associations with Ivey and her work included Memoirs. It wasn’t until I got into the business myself and started seeing more New York theater that I truly gained an appreciation for Judith Ivey and her work as an actor and director. She’s slated to direct the revival of The Miss Firecracker Contest and I saw her perform the role of Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie which was amazing. A young Jason Alexander plays a bit part in the film as well, long before his days on Seinfeld. I do wonder what happened to the actor who  plays Stanley. But alas, a “Where Are They Now” post is one for another day.

The movie is humorous, heart-felt and still relevant today. Put it in your Netflix queue and if you can find a video store that doesn’t just sell porn, rent it. Pin-ups and puberty are the main themes of the movie and Eugene’s “wet dream” monologue will forever be considered one of the funniest speeches in theater and film history.