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Be sure to tune in tonight to hear Letterman’s Top 10 list — read by Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy! spock.jpg
Thanks to Bob Elisberg for the tip!

It was a failed television series 40 years ago, but it has become something between an industry and a cult. The original “Star Trek” show lasted for four seasons but only became a hit after it was canceled and went into syndication. The first convention for fans was in 1972. Many movies and series later, it is a part of our culture and this week’s new “origins” movie is featured on the covers of Newsweek and Entertainment Weekly.

It’s a good time to watch two affectionate tributes to “Star Trek.” Trekkies and its sequel, Trekkies 2 are documentaries about the passionate fans, from the woman who was excused from jury duty because she insisted on wearing her “Star Trek” uniform to the woman who has thousands of photos of Brent Spiner to the young man who has very firm ideas about the epaulets on his uniform to the dentist whose office and staff attire are based on the show. And many, many Klingons.

And Galaxy Quest is a hilarious tribute and spoof starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Alan Rickman as actors who once appeared on a “Star Trek”-like series and now spend their days living off their former fame and their loyal fans. They discover that those fans include some aliens who believe the shows they saw were historical documents and who have created a real-life spaceship that replicates the one on the show. It is one of the funniest movies of the last ten years.

supreme-court.jpgAs President Obama thinks about his selection to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter, it is a good time to take a look at some memorable movie judges.
1. Anatomy of a Murder Real-life lawyer — and real-life American hero — Joseph Welch plays the judge in this spell-binding story of a murder trial, based on a real-life case in a novel written by Robert Traver (pen name of John Donaldson Voelker, a Michigan Supreme Court justice). You can see Welch’s stand against Joseph McCarthy in Point of Order!
2. The Supreme Court A superb documentary about our government’s smallest and least transparent branch.
3. The Talk of the Town Ronald Coleman plays a law professor whose appointment to the Supreme Court is jeopardized when his landlady hides an anarchist (Cary Grant) from the authorities in the farmhouse where he is staying. The two men engage in a spirited debate about the law and a competition for the heart of the lovely landlady.
4. Separate But Equal Sidney Poitier plays Thurgood Marshall in the story of Brown v. the Board of Education, the Supreme Court decision that may have had the most significant impact on the lives of all Americans. It is as gripping as any thriller, especially for those who find it hard to imagine a time when segregation in schools was legal. The way this case was assembled and presented is at time shocking, all the more reason that it is a must-see. Marshall, who argued the case, later became the first black Supreme Court justice. Thurgood Marshall: Justice for All is his story.
5. Stranger in Town Frank Morgan, who played the title character in The Wizard of Oz plays a Supreme Court justice on a hunting trip who gets caught up in a small town’s political dispute.

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists has an excellent website that this week includes a very thoughtful essay by MaryAnn Johanson about the week in media.

It’s mostly a testosterone fest at the multiplex this weekend, with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” slashing its way into theaters and sure to be a huge hit. Girls who like boys will appreciate all the Hugh Jackman beefcake on display, of course, but girls who want to see stories about girls will be disappointed…though the film does feature Lynn Collins in a smallish role as the woman Logan (aka Wolverine) loved and lost. I was astonished by her Portia in 2004’s big-screen “Merchant of Venice,” and continue to hope that she will one day headline her own film, instead of playing second fiddle to the boys.

You might think that “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” would feature some kick-ass women — perhaps one or two who’d actually kick Matthew McConaughey’s ass for being such a meatheaded manwhore — but no: they’re all simpering crybabies to a one, overemotional dunderheads simply incapable of not falling in love with him after 10 seconds of the blatant propositioning that he thinks is seductive and flirtatious. If McConaughey’s playboy had gone through as many women as we’re supposed to accept he has, he should have run into one or
two who were as rapacious and as uninterested in any kind of relationship beyond a sexual one as he is. But doncha know, all women feel exactly the same way about love and sex!

The only female of any prominence this weekend is the teenaged alien Mala of the animated “Battle for Terra.” Voiced by Evan Rachel Wood, she is spunky and adventurous and actually gets to save her world. Of course, she’s a cartoon, but I guess we can’t have everything.

I loved the quote Johanson found from one of my favorite actresses, Juliet Stevenson (Kiera Knightly’s mother in Bend It Like Beckham and the grief-struck widow in Truly Madly Deeply), from an interview in The Telegraph. She speaks about the difficulties of finding a role as a mature actress in a world looking for babes.

“It is intensely frustrating.” There is a jagged edge to the famously honeyed larynx. “The longer you live, the more interesting life gets, and yet many of the parts involve carrying trays and putting lamb chops down in front of the leading man.”