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The Tennant

The Tennant

Tuesday in L.A., director Andy Tennant will be honored as one of “Hollywood’s Masters Storytellers,” including a screening of his most recent film, Hitch, at the Arclight. (Nevermind the fact that Hitch happens to be released on DVD a week later.)

Tennant’s credits, as a director, include the films Sweet Home Alabama, Ever After, Fools Rush In, and The Amy Fisher Story TV movie (the one of those three with Drew Barrymore). But, he began his career in front of the camera. Now, why the hell do I bring this to your attention? Because, the only Andy Tennant credit I really enjoy (besides his role as a dancer in the Grease movies, of course) is his performance as Melio in Midnight Madness. As part of the “blue team,” he helps his teammates in their battle to cheat their way through “The Great All-Nighter.” Despite their best efforts, they are defeated by the “yellow team,” featuring Michael J. Fox in his first feature film role.

This piece of trivia from IMDB illustrates just how dedicated Tennant was on the set of Midnight Madness: “In the scene in which Harold’s team interrogates Scott in the van, Andy Tennant, who played ‘Melio,’ was sick with the flu and had a fever of over 103 degrees.” The pressure was obviously on, as Midnight Madness a risk for Disney, making one of its earliest PG-rated live-action films (paving the way for releases like Tron and The Journey of Natty Gann).

So, anyway, when Andy Tennant is presented as one of “Hollywood’s Masters Storytellers,” I hope the folks marketing the Hitch DVD don’t neglect this little ounce of movie history, because their Will Smith blockbuster may not exist without it.

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