Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jodie Foster's Birthday Bash 10.25.99

The great thing about our Birthday Bash is that it takes little effort on the part of the reader to properly celebrate. Unlike traditional methods such as scanning the mall for that elusive perfect gift, our Birthday Bashes work the other way around. Here it’s the honoree who has done the hard work. You just sit back and enjoy all the presents.

Jodie Foster began her career at the age of two. Soon, she was recognized as the greatest child actor of the ‘70s (and perhaps of all eras). She voiced Pugsly in The Addams Family cartoon, played Becky Thatcher in Tom Sawyer, and guest starred in the absolute finest episode of Kung Fu. In 1974, she was cast in Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, a role that would prove to be pivotal in her career. Scorsese would again cast her a couple of years later in the role that forced moviegoers to take notice of young Jodie Foster. And we’ve noticed ever since. Let the celebration begin!

Taxi Driver (1976)
In Martin Scorsese’s brilliant film about post-Vietnam alienation, Foster plays Iris, a 12-year-old hooker, who becomes the obsession of Travis Bickle, a sociopathic cab driver. After a failed assassination attempt on a presidential candidate, Travis turns his attentions to “rescuing” Iris from her lifestyle. Foster held her own with heavyweights Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, in some rather creepy scenes. Her performance was amazingly honest.

The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane (1976)
This odd suspense thriller featured Foster again as a child living a life beyond her years. When her poet father dies, 12-year-old Rynn attempts to pull off a grand charade to keep her father’s money and to avoid being sent to an orphanage. A nosy neighbor’s snooping threatens to spoil her plans, and the little girl who lives down the lane turns murderous. A creepy seduction by a neighbor man ignites Rynn’s killer instincts, yet again. Foster is simultaneously chilling and hilarious.

Freaky Friday (1977)
Slightly lighter fare for Foster, be careful what you wish for is the theme of this kid’s classic. Annabel and her mother are at odds with one another, each thinking the other’s life is a cakewalk. On a particularly freaky Friday, over breakfast, they wish they could switch lives and, magically, that happens. The confusion that follows is good for a lot of laughs.

The Accused (1988)
In the mid-‘80s, Foster took time off from acting to attend Yale. She returned with a vengeance in this tense drama about a young rape victim who, after the rapists get a ridiculously light sentence, convinces the prosecutor (Kelly McGillis) to charge the men who cheered on the attack. Foster won the Best Actress Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her performance.

The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
If you are unfamiliar with this movie, you were cryogenically frozen in 1990 and only recently thawed. Clarice Starling is an FBI agent who enlists the aid of Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter to track down a serial killer. Foster won another Best Actress Oscar and another Golden Globe, among a handful of other well-deserved awards and nominations.

Happy Birthday, Jodie Foster! Have the freakiest of Fridays with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

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