New Year's good wishes and congratulations to:
* Barbra Streisand, who has racked up another great big hit with "Little Fockers." Her role isn't very big, and the movie is just a tired continuation of the Robert De Niro/Ben Stiller feuding that began with "Meet the Parents." But Barbra, paired with Dustin Hoffman, is mighty amusing. If these more-or-less minor movies are indeed the way Barbra wishes to end her film career, so be it. At least she can take pride in the box office, if not the "art" of the matter.
* Angelina Jolie. Despite withering reviews, her misguided caper movie "The Tourist" has grossed an impressive $120 million. But -- just as I predicted -- most of these millions have come from the European and Asian markets, where Jolie can do no wrong. The movie cost about $100 million to make. (Don't ask me where the money went; Jolie's outfits weren't that fabulous!) The studio is confident it will recoup the cost, with at least a $75 million profit.
* Valerie Bertinelli, who married her boyfriend of six years, Tom Vitale, over the holiday. I interviewed Valerie about a year ago, when she was promoting her autobiography. She asked -- very sweetly -- if Tom could sit in on the interview? Of course I said yes, and was glad I did, because the chemistry between them was so delightful. She is a darling girl. (I know she's about 50 now, but she will have that air of girlishness if she lives to be 100!) I was not surprised to hear that co-stars from her current series, "Hot in Cleveland" and some from "One Day at a Time" -- the sitcom that made her famous -- were in attendance. Along with her first hubby, rocker Eddie Van Halen. Valerie was still married to Eddie the first time I interviewed her, but trouble was brewing; I could tell that beneath her lively manner, all was not delightful in her life. But that was then. She's totally delighted now.
* Music man David Foster, engaged to Yolanda Hadid, a former Ford model. David, a multi-Grammy winner and Oscar nominee, who writes, produces and performs, insisted he was no longer the marrying kind when I sat down with him two years ago. He has been married three times, has five daughters and laughed at the thought of tying the knot again. David was charming and sexy, but seemed utterly disillusioned with marriage -- though there was no trashing of wives or women. And because he didn't criticize his past wives, and because he seemed quite sensitive, I had a feeling he'd do it again, despite his hearty chuckling that he'd tried enough.
* Reese Witherspoon, also newly engaged, to Jim Toth, a Hollywood agent. Miss Witherspoon struck me as one of the most composed, intelligent and self-contained actresses I ever met, when we spoke just before her movie "Vanity Fair" opened. She exhibited all the better qualities of William Thackeray's anti-heroine, Becky Sharp.
I saw Reese once again, on the night her marriage to Ryan Phillippe ended. It was a party, after the premiere of Ryan's movie, "Flags of Our Fathers." We did not speak. She seemed tense. Ryan did not, but as the party wound down they argued on the balcony, and days later, split, after seven years and two children. They married young. Her career rose, his hit a plateau. It was an old story, in every way.
Given her serious nature, Reese must be damn sure about Mr. Toth. Best to you, Reese. You are one of Hollywood's few true female role models for young women.
Happy New Year to all the above-mentioned, and to all of you, too!
Tribune Media Services