Friday, August 7, 2009

Not even for Christopher Eccleston

The Top 5 Things I would rather do than see G.I. Joe the movie this weekend:

  1. Host a Wiggles themed birthday party for 23 sugared up 4-year olds. By myself. With a bounce house.
  2. Eat beet salad and pickled okra washed down with Orange Crush, sitting in the middle of a medical waste dump, while listening to a super group album by Michael Bolton, Yanni, John Tesh and Kenny G. Whoa – I just hit my own gag reflex there. Gimme a second.
  3. Read the Twilight series in its entirety.
  4. Make a porn movie featuring a three-way between me, Rush Limbaugh and Angelina Jolie that would be reviewed real time by Perez Hilton and Manohla Dargis. (I'd have to see Limbaugh naked, look like a man compared to Angelina Jolie and have to hear about it – welcome to the Inferno).
  5. Go see Julie & Julia. Don't mind if I do.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Try A Little Tenderness

With the passing of John Hughes, it's a sad day for GenXers. I think some of the best times I had in high school were at the movies. Any way that I could buy or beg my way into a theater, I was there. And if you were a teenager in the 80s, John Hughes movies were definitive. The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, 16 Candles. Molly Ringwald could show up at any class reunion for any class of 80-something anywhere in this country and be treated like an old classmate.

I've always wondered how John Hughes felt about Pretty in Pink. I've heard that originally Andie was supposed to end up with Ducky. But the studios made him change the movie so that she ends up with Blane. That was the big win for her. Her happily ever after. Like that didn't mess up a whole generation of women. Walking off into the sunset with the preppy douche bag who doesn't have the balls to stand up for you. Instead of the new wave guy with the awesome shoes and a penchant for Otis Redding who, not incidentally, loves you. Bad move, Andie. Bad move.

But how much did that have to screw with John Hughes's head? He wrote Pretty in Pink as well as directed. And I would bet a box of Krispy Kremes that he was Ducky. Then some studio guy comes in and says that you aren't good enough to be the big screen happily ever after for the heroine, and you're going to have to hand her over to the weak little pretty boy who broke her heart. That is damn cold blooded. And heartbreaking. I'd have wanted to say "Fuck you" and walk out. He didn't. What he did was write the story again, flip the gender roles, and Ducky wins in the end. Of course, he had to get a sex change to do it, but he could do worse than end up as Mary Stuart Masterson in Some Kind of Wonderful. (Yeah, like it's a coincidence that Eric Stoltz is a redhead.) He was ballsy enough to stick it out, and make it right. Good for him.

Putin on the Ritz - it's cheesetastic!

I'm too sexy for my horse

Too sexy for my horse

So sexy, of course.

Hmmm. This is good. Fishing is very sexy. It worked for Brad Pittski in A River Runs Through It. Chicks dig a guy with a big rod. But it's missing something. I don't know. Heft?

Swords. Perfect. No wait. Still too subtle? Get the Rough Guide. Maybe there's a missile silo I could visit around here.


I’m really watching the story of the mom in New York who crashed her van and killed herself and 7 other people, including her daughter and 3 nieces, with a sick feeling in my stomach. All of her family and friends swear that she never drank, and would never put her kids in danger. And some are even saying the cops made a mistake, she couldn’t possibly have done something so irresponsible. Cops do make mistakes. But her blood alcohol was twice the legal limit (with alcohol still left in her stomach), she had marijuana in her system and there was a broken vodka bottle in the car. That’s a lot of evidence.

And two of those things really lead me to believe this wasn’t her first time. First, the vodka bottle was 1.75 liters. That’s the big bottle. Usually the one with the milk jug handle. Non-drinkers don’t go for the big bottle. Second, the marijuana. For a non-smoker, marijuana isn’t an impulse buy. It’s not sitting on the rack at the check-out counter. Sure, it’s not impossible to get. It’s not even hard. But you do need to know who to call.

I think her family and friends will find that there was a lot they didn’t know about her. And they’ll be combing over every memory they have looking their life with her from a completely different angle. They may find that she ended up so sick because she was so good at hiding her problems. The functioning alcoholic can be incredibly devious and secretive. Or they may find that the signs were there and they couldn’t, or worse wouldn’t, see them. First, you have to admit that there’s a problem. And it’s not always only the alcoholic that denies the obvious. But I have a feeling that family will find themselves at five graves, deeply mourning the loss of 4 children, and one complete stranger.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Diamond may not be a girl's best friend

Oh, my, god. I can’t get Coming to America out of my head. I was reading the Time report on the Stasi file on Michael Jackson (how could I not?), and for only the most tenuous of reasons, I started singing along in my head. Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Walls, Ronald Regan, Gorbi, Germans love David Hasselhoff, and suddenly, I’m Coming to America.

Which is fine. I love the Diamond. Even the sparkly shirt era. I don’t object on musical grounds.

I just find it nearly impossible to mentally sing C2A without the big arm gestures. There are songs that you can do a full production number in your head. Just put that peeing in the ocean look on your face and sing out, Louise. Nobody’s the wiser. But with C2A, I get to the To-DAY! Part and I find myself having to hold my arms down, in case somebody’s looking and thinks, “what is wrong with that insane woman?”


And they put it in a family newspaper. Tsk, tsk.

I don't think of myself as a foodie. I've never described a meal as an erotic experience. I don't get twittery about obscure ingredients - fleur de sel from the Skeleton Coast, Hungarian sea bass. I don't covet kitchen knives made by Inigo Montoya's father. I get nervous around linen table cloths, and feel comforted by red and white check plastic covered picnic tables. Beer over wine. And I don't even buy fancy beer that often any more. I drink Budweiser for chrissakes. But I do like food. A lot. And I have to admit, I've perused the food porn. For the articles. Not the real kinky stuff, mind you. No blast chillers or immersion boilers. And I don't do tantric recipes. Anything that takes more than an our of hands-0n is not gonna happen. I don't care how good it is.

I was looking at today's Washington Post food section (a Wednesday morning ritual), and I see this recipe. It had one of the forbidden items, so I nearly passed it over - white chocolate. I object to it on the grounds that it has no cocoa powder so it therefore is not chocolate. Call it something else, like cocoa butter blob. I still won't eat it. But at least you won't be lying to me.

But the white chocolate (patooie) was paired with one of my trigger words - carmelized. aaaggh. Got me. Say bacon, brown butter or carmelized and I'm almost certain to at least take a look. I'm kind of a tramp that way.

Dare I say, this recipe might be an erotic experience? And they suggest smoked sea salt as garnish. Freeeeaky. That is one naughty little recipe. Throw in some brown butter sauce and one of those Vosge bacon chocolate bars and you might have to peel me off the damn ceiling.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Are you one with the Body?

I'm so creeped out by the redheaded girl in the new Palm Pre commercials. I don't know if it's the soft focus Garden of Eden background, the vaguely nude seeming headshot, the Village of the Damned eyes, the semi-stoned voice, or the fact that she wasn't ever truly alive until she got this phone. [BTW - If all your life problems are solved by a phone, you ain't living, toots.] Ah, AH, ah! You cannot resist the power of the cell phone . . .

This is one of those instances where the commercial is so truly offputting, that I'll never buy the product because of it. More than that, I wouldn't by a Palm Pre because I'm now afraid of it. Going by this chick, you buy one and your brain gets sucked out of your head through your ear, or super sonic waves coming out of the screen send you into the corn field. Maybe it's how the Pod People are going to get us. Don't touch the cell phone - it's evil!!!

Actually, I do know some people who've been turned into techno-zombies by their cell phones. Hmmmm. Pod People.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Oh, for pete's sake, she's ranting again

The above blog contains the following description of the theme of a new movie that’s been announced for Russell Crowe and Paul Haggis:

"Would you save the woman you loved if you knew that by doing so, you would turn into a man that a woman could no longer love?"

And in one sentence they sum up my entire problem with Hollywood and it’s depiction of women. I’m going to excuse myself for going off on a feminist rant, because I think this is a blind spot that the big movie studios have that hamstrings them in a fatal way. They say women don’t go to movies. And I can tell you why. Until they fix this problems, most dramatic movies are going to suck. And it all comes down to one little word – “a”.

In that story, the man becomes a person “a” woman couldn’t. Not “this” woman. Not “some” women. Not “most” women. A woman. Because all women react the same way, and from the beginning, we know what her choice will be. She can’t choose love over morality. She can’t choose morality over love. She can’t let love change her view of morality. She is static. Binary. Yes or no. She becomes a lamp. Turn her off. Turn her on. Russell Crowe gets to spend half the movie agonizing over what to do (and really, who agonizes better than the Crowe? I’d be entertained.) And Rachel Weisz or whoever gets to stand there. And this isn’t some crap movie. It’s headed by 2 Oscar winners. And even they don’t notice that they’ve already effed it up.

And this isn't just a "women" thing. You know what happens when you have one main character who is poorly drawn in a story? The whole plot goes off kilter as everyone else tries to maneuver around the dead lump in the middle of the scene. So, here’s Hollywood’s choice if they want to have scripts that aren’t bad from jump street: either you improve the female characters, or you just make movies that have only men. And since you think sex is the only thing that sells, that leaves you with a whole lotta Brokeback action going on. Who’s Hugh Jackman going to be left to kiss on? Daniel Craig? I might be willing to give that a look, but I don’t know about the rest of America.

Okay, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m extrapolating too much off of one word. But given that 75% of all the movies I’ve seen (and probably 99.9% of the big budget movies) have suffered from a fatal case of cookie cutter female characters, I’m betting I’m dead right. And really, there’s not much excuse for the movie industry. Books have wonderful female characters, written by both men and women. When I read Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone, I kept looking at the jacket picture to make sure it was really written by a guy. TV has come a long way in the last few years. Is it any surprise that movie actresses like Glenn Close, Mary McCormack, Kyra Sedgwick, Holly Hunter, Jada Pinkett, Toni Collette and Sally Field are now on television? They don’t get to play characters that well rounded on the big screen.

And why would a female consumer leave her nice comfortable home to see a one-note portrayal of women in a movie theater, when she can stay home and see women who are flawed, and therefore human, in their own living room? Where the popcorn is better. It’s all dollars and cents. Your revenues are in the toilet. You've done a really good job of turning off women. The boys are all at home playing Warcraft. And movie-goers of either gender who are just interested in a good story with well drawn charaters are about to give up entirely. Perhaps it’s time to try something different.

Pass, thanks.

I just read a review of a book called How Not to Act Old, by Pamela Redmond Satran. Which, in and of itself, I don't find a bad idea. Times move fast these days. Lots of things happen. You can miss something that the kids are doing, that might be fun, and you may want in on it. Can't let them have all the fun. And I hear all sorts of things all the time, and I hate having to chase down my niece to make her explain them to me.

But, I make snap judgments about the self-help genre based on quick tips that a reviewer drops as samples. I'm not going to drop a tenner on a book if you don't know any more than I do.

The review in the WSJ quoted these: Don't count out exact change; don't yell into the cellphone; and don't dance to "Sexual Healing." By my count that's 3 pieces of advice; 2 stinkers.

First off, counting out exact change. I try never to hand a teenager a twenty. Some of those twinks can't add two and two without a graphing calculator. And if you hand them a full bill, you have to watch them stare at the cash drawer while they figure out how many of the big silver ones and how many of the brown ones they need to give you back. And don't even get me started on the fact that none of them know how to count back change the right way. If it's $15.49, and I have exactly $15.49, I will hand them $15.49. It just saves time.

Second, don't yell into the cellphone. This I grant. It does make you look like your trying to get Sarah to put a call through to Thelma Lou up in Raleigh. But I'd think that not hollering at technological devices would go without saying. [A better piece of advice in not looking old is to not use the Andy Griffith Show as a pop culture reference.]

And lastly, don't dance to "Sexual Healing." Sorry, Ms. Satran. Marvin sings. I dance. That's the contract.

So, as far as the handy tips, I'm coming up with a rottentomatoes rating of 66% fresh. Not good enough to get me to part with my hard earned cash. Of course, one of the benefits of acting old is that you don't have to listen to people who want to tell you how to act. And you get to keep your ten dollars.

TIME: Quotes of the Day