If you’re watching ABC’s hit show Scandal (which you obviously are) and you’ve ever experienced Grey’s Anatomy -- another big show from the great mind of Shonda Rhimes -- you’ve probably recognized a handful of familiar faces. Many characters who played minor roles on Grey’s (like, Meredith Grey’s father, actor Jeff Perry) have gone on to have major roles on Scandal (Perry is now better known as the somewhat insane and beloved White House Chief of Staff, Cyrus Beene). Scandal’s First Lady of the United States Mellie Grant (played by Bellamy Young) also had a small but memorable role in a couple of episode of Grey’s. We love that Rhimes is putting all these great actors to work on her latest show, and we think the Scandal cast is pretty much flawless. Still, there are a few old faces from Grey’s Anatomy that we’d love to see make a special guest appearance (or two) on the upcoming season of Scandal.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan AKA Danny Duquette
Ohhh, Denny! The hot patient who totally looked just like Javier Bardem, who we lost when a somewhat illegal heart transplant went wrong (poor Izzie) – we need to see his face on telelvision again. Morgan was such a great actor, and we’d love it if he popped up as a new client of Olivia Pope’s.
T.R. Knight AKA Dr. George O'Malley
O’Malley! Can’t you just see him now working his way onto Scandal as a sort of Gladiator-in-training, or Gladiator for a day? Fumbling and falling all over himself (and probably falling for Quinn in the process)? It would be adorable.
Patrick Dempsey AKA Dr. Derek Shepherd AKA McDreamy
We have no real plans for his cameo appearance, other than that he shows up and looks really, really hot... errr dreamy. We’ll let Shonda Rhimes figure out what to do with him, we just mainly want more McDreamy everywhere in life.
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The story of the late great Johnny Cash depicted in Walk the Line is not quite all encompassing. The film dramatizes just one moment in Cash's life: his tumultuous 20s and rise to fame. The young Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) married and straight out of the army struggles with his music finally finding his patented blend of country blues and rock music. Haunted by a troubled childhood Cash sings songs about death love treachery and sin--and shoots straight to the top of the charts. On tour he also meets and falls for his future wife June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) whose refusal to meddle with a married man only further fuels the fire and contributes to his eventual drug addiction. Their cat-and-mouse love story provides the film’s core but unfortunately can’t quite overcome Walk the Line’s formulaic nature. Biopics are generally good to actors. Phoenix and Witherspoon could easily each walk away with Oscar statuettes for turning in two of the most jaw-dropping spellbinding performances since well Jamie Foxx in Ray. Neither actor had any musical background whatsoever but they both underwent painstaking transformations for the sake of authenticity doing all of their own singing as well as guitar-playing for Phoenix. The actor's performance is purely raw and visceral; his vulnerability is aptly palpable at first but then he becomes the Cash with the unflinching swagger. Witherspoon's Carter is Cash's temptress and she'll be yours too by movie's end. She eerily reincarnates Carter as if she was born to play the part. If Walk the Line is the ultimate actor's canvas then Phoenix and Witherspoon make priceless art-and music-together. While good for the actors biopics can prove to be difficult for the director. It’s hard to highlight a person’s life without it coming off like a TV movie of the week. Unfortunately director James Mangold (Copland) plays it safe with Walk the Line. The duets between Johnny and June on stage are about the only electrifying moments of the film. The rest is pretty stereotypical. And it isn’t because the film only focuses on certain years of Cash's life. It's simply not possible to fit a lifetime into the short duration of a film. The problem instead is that Mangold's presentation of Cash's life would lead one to believe that Cash actually exorcised his demons. But in reality his lifelong demons are what endeared him to the layperson. There was nothing cut and dry about the Cash story--and adding a little grit would have given Walk the Line the edge it needed.
Dreamer is another one of those family films--based on a true story no less--that makes you feel guilty for not liking it because it means so well. The film revolves around the Cranes who have worked on their Kentucky horse farm for generations. But gifted horseman Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) loses his love for the job when the farm hits hard times. His estranged father Pop (Kris Kristofferson) feels like his son has given up unnecessarily. Even Ben’s young daughter Cale (Dakota Fanning) can’t get through to her dad. The only way this family can heal is by helping an injured horse named Sonya get ready for a seemingly impossible goal: to win the Breeders' Cup Classic. Say it together: “Awww!” At least the film gets it half right in its casting. Russell is perfect as the beleaguered Ben a man who needs a little inspiration to get back on track and he thankfully never takes it over the top. Same goes for Kristofferson who is aptly crusty and unwilling to give his son an inch--that is until his granddaughter and that darned horse melt his heart. And the family resemblance is uncanny; apparently the two actors have been told quite often how much they look like each other. The one misstep here is Fanning. Yes she is an extraordinarily gifted actress for her age but Cale should have been played by a happy sunny child. The oh-so-serious Fanning doesn’t really qualify. Also Elisabeth Shue as the mom is all wrong. A horse farmer’s wife? Please. Writer-director John Gatins takes a big gamble making his directorial debut with a movie about an underdog horse. First there’s the underdog part. This year seems a bit saturated with the plot device what with films like Cinderella Man and most recently Greatest Game Ever Played. Second there’s the whole horse thing. It’s just going to be hard to top the Oscar-nominated Seabiscuit--the quintessential true horse-racing movie to beat them all. True Dreamer is based on a true story and is nicely--albeit conventionally--framed. But the film isn’t unique in any way. It’s the same feel-good family stuff we’ve been swallowing all year. See? I told you I’d feel guilty for knocking it.