My Favorite Year [1982]

This love letter to the golden days of live television in the 1950s is a thinly veiled depiction of Your Show of Shows, the groundbreaking comedy show that starred Sid Caesar. The story, set in 1954, focuses on one of the writers for the show (Mark Linn-Baker), who is given the task of chaperoning that week's guest star, a famously ill-behaved movie star named Alan Swann. He's based on Errol Flynn and played with Oscar-nominated glee by Peter O'Toole. He also happens to be the writer's movie hero, but proves to be a hilariously drunken party animal, one who opens the naive young writer's eyes in a variety of ways. The highlight of the film is Swann's visit to the writer's outer-borough home and his encounter with the writer's star-struck mother (a delightful turn by Lainie Kazan). One of the better films directed by former actor Richard Benjamin. -Marshall Fine

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