Eileen June Atkins. That superior British dame (and Woolf interpreter, and breast cancer survivor, and theatre goddess) with the cunning diction and startling capacity for compassion. Let her break your heart with a pair of brief scenes in Wit. See her turn a throwaway cameo in Cold Mountain into a master class. Being the only apt artist who could succeed Cherry Jones, Atkins is currently at the wheel of the great ship Sister Aloysius at the Walter Kerr.
"The Ballad of Bobby & June." The beautiful, elegiac Civil War love song written and performed by immortal country act Mitch & Mickey. It is a churning melody, a latter-day riff on love's wartime sacrifices. "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" may be the duo's signature, but "Bobby & June" is their anthemic triumph. This is the story of Bobby and June/ A boy and a girl who kidnapped the moon/ But they fell in love/ To the sound of guns/ The year was 1861.
Benny & Joon. Remember Mary Stuart Masterson? It may be time for her return. Sure, Johnny Depp was the eyecatching presence in this 1993 movie. "A latter-day Buster Keaton!" screeched the critics. MSM was left to hold steady the ship with nary a nod in her direction. I saw her on Broadway in Nine a couple years back and while I couldn't get past all those Italian accents, MSM was, yet again, a grounding-yet-gossamer presence.
June Foray. The Cartoon Queen, with roots in Looney Tunes, Disney and Warner Bros. Known best for voicing Rocky and Natasha Fatale on Rocky & Bullwinkle, and most recently for her work as Grandma Fa in Mulan. As Chuck Jones said, "June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc was the male June Foray." Eighty-eight years old and, up until recently, an active member of the Academy's Board of Governors. I saw her presenting at the student Academy Awards in June 2000, and she was as spritely as ever.
Junebug. Last year's best picture and one of the great film experiences of the past five years. Has a movie gotten closer to the truth of our condition? This is pure, exciting, pioneering filmmaking on the same level as David Gordon Greene's. The cast is a who's who of the screen's underappreciated go-to cast fillers: Embeth Davidtz, Alessandro Nivola, Celia Weston, Scott Wilson and Amy Adams (the next great movie actress, a la Streep). Why have you waited so long to see it?
What are your favorite Junes?