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THE RETURN OF TANYA TUCKER: FEATURING BRANDI CARLILE

Everyone loves a good comeback story, as witness the current buzz surrounding actor Brendan Fraser, who’s been out of the limelight for a while. Embracing an underdog can seem like a cliché but rekindling a show-business career is no easy task. Allowing a filmmaker to document that process takes more nerve than some people could muster.

Tanya Tucker has plenty of nerve. She’s seen it all, from hit records to tabloid headlines, in a career that began at the age of 11. What makes her story compelling is that her talent remains intact, a simple fact that inspired her number-one fan, Grammy-winning vocalist Brandi Carlile, to engineer a second act for Tanya’s dormant career. She lured Tucker back into a recording studio for the first time in seventeen years and chose an empathetic filmmaker, Kathlyn Horan, to chronicle their journey together.

You don’t have to be familiar with Tucker (or Carlile, for that matter) to be pulled into this story and develop rooting interest. Horan serves as a fly on the wall as Tucker takes her first tentative steps toward recapturing what came so naturally to her as a youngster.

The setup may seem simple and straightforward but the emotions feel genuine as Tucker follows Carlile’s lead and gradually begins to enjoy the warm reception she receives from fans old and new.

This is the living definition of a feel-good movie, but there is nothing rote or contrived here. The Return of Tanya Tucker–featuring Brandi Carlile  will leave you smiling with satisfaction.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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