by Anthony King
When I think back on the 12 previous months of my life, I see some really special moments. We took an amazing family vacation to the Outer Banks; my two boys grew another year; I developed some really special relationships. Most importantly, though, and tangentially related to this film, I got sober and joined Alcoholics Anonymous. And on the movie front, this column, and these films have been a major highlight. Since the idea was birthed back in April of 2021, Richard Benjamin's My Favorite Year was always going to the final film of 52/82. I'd seen it before and knew this column needed to end with a film I loved. And so here we are.
Upon this rewatch of My Favorite Year, I especially loved seeing two very different theatre actors work in tandem. O'Toole is a classically trained Shakespearean actor from England who attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the early '50s. Mark Linn-Baker is a comedic stage actor (he developed a two-man show with Lewis Black in 1980) who studied at the Yale School of Drama in the late '70s. These two men could not be more different, yet they are one of my all-time favorite on-screen duos. As moving as O'Toole can be (see Lawrence of Arabia) and as charming as he can be (see The Last Emperor), he is undoubtedly one of the funniest actors to ever grace the stage and screen. With his piercing blue eyes and soul-melting smile, Peter O'Toole as Alan Swann – no doubt a version of his self (read Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, and Oliver Reed) – is an unforgettable presence sure to top anyone's list of favorite movie characters. Linn-Baker as Benjy Stone doesn't equal O'Toole's charm (how could you?) but is no less funny. Probably best known as Cousin Larry on the TGIF staple Perfect Strangers, Linn-Baker is playing a similar character but with a lot more Brooklyn Jew mixed in. Looking at O'Toole's and Linn-Baker's resumes at the time, this pairing shouldn't work, but it's absolutely perfect in my opinion.last week's essay on Tootsie), so when we do find them we hold them close and share them with anyone who cares to listen. This column deserves to go out on a movie like My Favorite Year. While I couldn't tell you exactly what 12 months strung together make for my favorite year, these past 12 have been pretty darn great, and by far the most important of my life. I will remember them fondly, as I do this film.