An enjoyable romp through the early days of television, My Favorite Year [from a story by Dennis Palumbo] provides a field day for a wonderful bunch of actors headed by Peter O’Toole in another rambunctious, stylish starring turn.
Looking exquisitely ravaged, O’Toole portrays a legendary Hollywood star in the Errol Flynn mold who, in 1954, the year of the title, agrees to make his TV debut on The Comed y Cavalcade. O’Toole is put in the hands of young comedy writer Mark Linn-Baker for safekeeping, latter’s sole responsibility being to keep his idol sober enough to make it through the performance a few days later.
Fully cognizant of the kid’s mission, flamboyant star behaves himself for awhile, but finally falls way off the wagon after enduring a dinner party at the Brooklyn home of Linn-Baker’s mother. It’s madcap farce from then on.
Linn-Baker is quite appealing and engagingly energetic in an excellent screen debut. Jessica Harper is fine as a spunky staffer, Joseph Bologna is wonderfully tyrannical as the show’s star, Bill Macy is particularly funny as an agonized writer and Lainie Kazan hilariously overdoes the Jewish mother bit.
1982: Nomination: Best Actor (Peter O’Toole)