Dustin Hoffman - Up Close & Personal

Dustin Hoffman's 42-year stage and screen career is legendary. From his edgy breakthrough performance in The Graduate, which paved the way for ethnic-looking actors in male leading roles, to his comic portrayal of both Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels in Tootsie, Hoffman's impact on American cinema is almost unequaled. These thoughts are from an informal interview/talk Hoffman gave that I was fortunate to have attended.

On becoming an actor

I never thought about being an actor when I was growing up. My parents put a piano in front of me and decided I was going to be a concert pianist. In those days, if you were black, you wanted to own a Cadillac and if you were Jewish, you wanted your son to be a concert pianist. So acting wasn't even a thought in my head. I only took an acting course in college because I was a terrible student and was told that no one fails acting—it was like gym class.

On landing his first starring role

In those days, you had to be tall, Aryan, blonde with blue eyes to get a leading part. These were values that the Jewish studio heads wanted. They created a kind of Christian, gentile reality. So for The Graduate, originally they wanted Robert Redford for the part of Benjamin Braddock, the WASP from New England as it's written in the Charles Webb novel. When they asked me, I didn't think I could play a role like that. Guys who were short and ethnic-looking, like me, didn't play roles like that. But then [director Mike] Nichols said to me, "Did you read the book?" and I said, "Yes." And he said, "Did you think it was funny?" And I said, "Yes." And he said, "Well, maybe [Benjamin Braddock] is Jewish on the inside." And that's how he talked me into doing a test for it.

On his movie Ishtar

What the movie says is: Isn't it more important to spend your life doing what you're passionate about, albeit second-rate, than to be first-rate and successful at something that you don't care about. Even though it's a flawed movie, I still love it.

On culture in Los Angeles

There is a lot of culture here in Los Angeles; you just have to kind of look for it. The one thing that Los Angeles lacks is the ability and spontaneity to walk out the door and not know where you're going and not care. Here, you have to know where you're going because if you walk, you'll get stopped by a cop.

On gratuitous violence in Hollywood

I will not pick up a gun on camera unless the scene absolutely calls for it. I remember hearing President Clinton speak at CAA (Creative Artists Agency), and he said the kids who are affected by violence in films don't have families. It's very romantic for them, he said, because the gangs are their families. So violence gives them a sense of identity, whereas for us it's just entertainment. And everyone at CAA applauded and I said to my wife that I'd like to tell the President: "Mr. President, I want you to know when you're finished speaking and all these people go back to their offices, they're not going to change their behavior one iota because it's money to them." So I do feel very strongly about this.

On volunteering and philanthropy

I don't think I'm a good example because I made a choice to spend all my time being an artist and raising my family. When I hear how other people are so active with causes, my first thought always is: I hope their kids are getting it first. I mean, I have six kids and that's a lot of work. Maybe now is the time I'll start to get involved because the kids are out of the house. But it's hard for me because I'd like to know where the money is going. You hear that money raised for Tsunami relief never reached the people. I've given to individuals at times, but I'm very quiet about whatever I do. And when people ask of my time, I do it if I can because it is gratifying. I should probably do it more often.

photo courtesy PLATON/CPI

9 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 3

[Warning: There are lots of Stranger Things season two spoilers ahead.]

Stranger Things season two is in the books, and like we all hoped, it turned out to be a worthy follow-up to an addictive debut season. Now, though, we’re left with plenty of questions, mysteries, and theories to chew on as the wait for a third season begins. But for everything we don’t know about what the next season of Stranger Things will bring us (such as an actual release date), there are more than enough things we do know to keep those fan theories coming well into 2018. Since it was officially greenlit for a third season by Netflix in December 2017, new details have been trickling out. Here’s everything we know about Stranger Things season three so far.


The third season of Stranger Things won’t pick up right where the second one left off. Like the show experienced between the first two seasons, there will be a time jump between seasons two and three as well. The reason is simple: the child actors are all growing up, and instead of having the kids look noticeably older without explanation for year three, the Duffer Brothers told The Hollywood Reporter:

“Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They're going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can't start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. But what I like is that it makes you evolve the show. It forces the show to evolve and change, because the kids are changing.”


If the series’s second season was about expanding the Stranger Things mythology, the third season won't go bigger just for the sake of it, with the brothers even going so far as to say that it will be a more intimate story.

“It’s not necessarily going to be bigger in scale,” Matt Duffer said in an interview with IndieWire. “What I am really excited about is giving these characters an interesting journey to go on.”

Ross Duffer did stress, though, that as of early November, season three is basically “… Matt and me working with some writers and figuring out where it’s going to go.”


The second season ended on a bit of a foreboding note when it was revealed that the Mind Flayer was still in the Upside Down and was seen looming over the Hawkins school as the winter dance was going on. Though we know there will be a time jump at the start of next season, it’s clear that the monster will still have a big presence on the show.

Executive producer Dan Cohen told TV Guide: "There were other ways we could have ended beyond that, but I think that was a very strong, lyrical ending, and it really lets us decide to focus where we ultimately are going to want to go as we dive into Season 3."

What does the Mind Flayer’s presence mean for the new crop of episodes? Well, there will be plenty of fan theories to ponder between now and the season three premiere (whenever that may be).


The Duffer Brothers had a lot of material for the latest season of the show—probably a bit too much. Speaking with Vulture, Matt Duffer detailed a few details and plot points that had to be pushed to season three:

"Billy was supposed to have a bigger role. We ended up having so many characters it ended up, in a way, more teed up for season three than anything. There was a whole teen supernatural story line that just got booted because it was just too cluttered, you know? A lot of that’s just getting kicked into season three."

The good news is that he also told the site that this wealth of cut material could make the writing process for the third season much quicker.


Stranger Things already had a roster of fan-favorite characters heading into season two, but newcomer Erica, Lucas’s little sister, may have overshadowed them all. Played by 11-year-old Priah Ferguson, Erica is equal parts expressive, snarky, and charismatic. And the Duffer Brothers couldn’t agree more, saying that there will be much more Erica next season.

“There will definitely be more Erica in Season 3,” Ross Duffer told Yahoo!. “That is the fun thing about the show—you discover stuff as you’re filming. We were able to integrate more of her in, but not as much you want because the story [was] already going. ‘We got to use more Erica’—that was one of the first things we said in the writers’ room.”

“I thought she’s very GIF-able, if that’s a word,” Matt Duffer added. “She was great.”


The season two episode “The Lost Sister” was a bit of an outlier for the series. It’s a standalone episode that focuses solely on the character Eleven, leaving the central plot and main cast of Hawkins behind. As well-received as Stranger Things season two was, this episode was a near-unanimous miss among fans and critics.

The episode did, however, introduce us to the character of Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), who has the ability to manipulate people’s minds with illusions she creates. Despite the reaction, the Duffers felt the episode was vital to Eleven’s development, and that Kali won’t be forgotten moving forward.

“It feels weird to me that we wouldn’t solve [Kali’s] storyline. I would say chances are very high she comes back,” Matt Duffer said at the Vulture Festival.


We're already well acquainted with Eleven, and season two introduced us to Eight (a.k.a. Kali), and executive producer Shawn Levy heavily hinted to E! that there are probably more Hawkins Laboratory experiments on the horizon.

"I think we've clearly implied there are other numbers, and I can't imagine that the world will only ever know Eleven and Eight," Levy said.


Don’t be in too much of a rush to find out everything about the next season of Stranger Things; there might not be many more left. The Duffer Brothers have said in the past that the plan is to do four seasons and end it. However, Levy gave fans a glimmer of hope that things may go on a little while longer—just by a bit, though.

“Hearts were heard breaking in Netflix headquarters when the Brothers made four seasons sound like an official end, and I was suddenly getting phone calls from our actors’ agents,” Levy told Entertainment Weekly. “The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth. Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely.”


The cast of Stranger Things is growing for season three, and two of the most high-profile additions announced so far are Cary Elwes and Jake Busey. Elwes—of The Princess Bride and Robin Hood: Men in Tights fame—will be playing Mayor Kline, who is described as "Your classic ’80s politician—more concerned with his own image than with the people of the small town he governs." All we know about Busey’s character is that he’ll be named Bruce and is described as "a journalist for the The Hawkins Post, with questionable morals and a sick sense of humor."

In March, it was also announced that Maya Hawke, daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, landed a role in the upcoming season. According to Variety, she’ll play an "'alternative girl' bored with her mundane day job. She seeks excitement in her life and gets more than she bargained for when she uncovers a dark secret in Hawkins, Ind."

There's a Simple Trick to Sort Movies and TV Shows by Year on Netflix

Netflix is stocked with so many movies and TV shows that it’s not always easy to actually find what you’re looking for. And while sorting by genre can help a little, even that’s a bit too broad for some. There’s one helpful hack, though, that you probably didn’t know about—and it could make the endless browsing much less painful.

As POPSUGAR reports: By simply opening Netflix up to one of its specific category pages—Horror, Drama, Comedy, Originals, etc.—you can then sort by release year with just a few clicks. All you need to do is look at the top of the page, where you’ll see an icon that looks like a box with four dots in it.

Screenshot of the Netflix Menu

Once you click on it, it will expand to a tab labeled “Suggestions for You.” Just hit that again and a dropdown menu will appear that allows you to sort by year released or alphabetical and reverse-alphabetical orders. When sorted by release year, the more recent movies or shows will be up top and they'll get older as you scroll to the bottom of the page.


This tip further filters your Netflix options, so if you’re in the mood for a classic drama, old-school comedy, or a retro bit of sci-fi, you don’t have to endlessly scroll through every page to find the right one.

If you want to dig deeper into Netflix’s categories, here’s a way to find all sorts of hidden ones the streaming giant doesn’t tell you about. And also check out these 12 additional Netflix tricks that should make your binge-watching that much easier.



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