Monday, September 26, 2011
If you don't own 'Fletch' already, please purchase it immediately. Chevy Chase may not recall the filming process (and he may now have a gortex prosthetic septum), but he sho' was fun while he lasted!
Tomorrow morning's Starbucks could perhaps be on the house with proof of purchase, Mr. Poon.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
One of the things I love most about Autumn are football weekends. (No, folks, it isn't 'all Bravo all the time' on the weekends for me.)
If I am attending games at my alma mater, I get to see everybody and cheer on my team. If it is not my school playing or even one I give two shits about, it is a fantastic excuse for day drinking at the bar. However, this Fall I have been bitten by a bit of the depression bug. At times, it has even caused me to have my own #whitegirlproblems version of Anne Frank hiding in the attic peering through that little window to see some light. Lilly Pharmaceuticals be damned for your extremely suicidal Cymbalta ads. They could convince even Pee-Wee Herman to take the final plunge...or get hooked on your poison.
At the end of the work week, I knew Saturday was not going to be 'game day' for me. My personal life had been in the crapper, I didn't get to the beach nearly enough this summer, and Lifetime Movie Network was airing its special "September Secrets" weekend Friday, Saturday AND Sunday. HOLD THE PHONE!
This weekend was going to be all about fried food on my Tempur-Pedic while commiserating with battered wives, kidnapped chir'rens, women "forced" into prostitution, Tori Spelling, Alyssa Milano, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (yes, I am aware she dropped the Amber...but Tiffani-Amber just has that flawless 'made-for-tv' ring to it), Linda Gray, whoever the fuck that is who played Celeste Lundy on the original 90210, Judith Light, Tracey Gold, Candace Cameron-Bure, Kellie Martin, and even Barbara Mandrell. 'Heaven in Hell' is what I suppose you could title my weekend.
Given that all Lifetime/LMN movies (of which my favorites originally aired as NBC's 'Monday Night Movie' back when I was way too little to know how fun they'd be when I grew up a bit) are based on betrayal and secrets, I guess the only requirement for "films" aired this particular weekend is that the word "secret" had to be in the title. "My Daughter's Secret." "My Neighbor's Secret." "My Nanny's Secret." (All actual titles that were lifted from the lineup.) You get the idea.
The best, however, was definitely "Poison Ivy: The Secret Society"-- starring Michael Douglas' innocent dork of a daughter from The American President as a fully-grown whore.
Have you ever noticed that completely immersing yourself in misery makes you feel better about your own? I guess misery really does love company--even if that company's only other IMDB credit is a 3-episode arc as Connie Sellecca's long-lost hooker friend during the '87-'88 season of Hotel.
All things being said, occasional patheticism is perfectly nutritious. (..as long as I go for a run or two this week, get to a game ASAP, and do not continue allowing my only dietary fiber intake to be limited to pizza crust and obsessive cigarette breaks on a rainy porch.)
[image courtesy of sportsbettingsystem.net]
Some people love Jesus. I love Aaron Spelling. It really is that simple.
I came fully prepared to begin my first weekly Aaron Spelling salute with a long-lost cast member I missed in my dreams. However, I find it important to first salute the man behind it all.
Elder readers may think his Dynasty heyday to be a bit before my time, and some of my younger readers may think that Beverly Hills 90210 is a reference to that bullshit that currently runs on the CW. My answer to both folks is, "Subscribe to SoapNet and spice-up your DVD collections.. pronto!"
However tacky it all may seem, he still constructed the 123-room Holmby Hyatt, sperminated Candy to create the incomparable Victoria "Tori" Davey Spelling...and made us all want to slap someone angrily just before we threw them in the sack for an impassioned romp.
For many, Spelling Productions provided an escape from reality. For me, personally, it continues to enhance my own reality.. and gives me a few ideas.
May Aaron Spelling rest in peace; and may Heather Locklear always be our lucky penny, too!
~~$$$$$~~ RIP, AARON. (April 22, 1923 – June 23, 2006) ~~$$$$$~~
(Editor's note: "TORI & VH1: Bring back SoNoTORIous immediately! Help her stop auditioning as 'Dori Snelling' and own it.")
[images courtesy of: (1) nndb.com; (2) bittenandbound.com; (3) Rex Features]
Friday, September 23, 2011
The week Kathryn Stockett's mega-bestselling novel, The Help, hit bookstore shelves back in 2009, my mother could not stop talking. This was before the hype; before a lick of controversy. I believe she polished it off in one sitting.
We were at our family beach house on North Carolina's Outer Banks, and she immediately handed the book to me upon completing it with a confusing look of laughter and sadness in her eyes. "Read it," she said. When she saw me looking in indecision back and forth between a week-old Us Weekly and the novel, she said, "NOW, PHIL WOOD!" You don't mess with my mother (from here on out referred to as Mz. Elaine).
It was cold and rainy, the house had no television (per rules set by grandmother who owned the house before us), dad was snoring in a chair in the corner, and Mz. Elaine pulled out her needlepoint to work on the that belt she started back in '08. (For goodness sakes, please don't tell her I said so...but I believe she is still working on that very belt.)
Knowing that Mz. Elaine can read virtually any book in one or two sittings--and that she is one of the most well-read folks I have ever encountered--I thought, "Fuck! What have I gotten myself into? This will take a month, and I will never finish it..but say I did and risk my mom discovering I lied when I fail her impending chapter-by-chapter quiz."
With a huff, I started. Minutes later, I was laughing hysterically. At the hour-or-so mark, I began sobbing. Each time I looked up for some sort of approval or quiz from Mz. Elaine, she just nodded in acknowledgment as she stared through her reading glasses at that poor belt.
It began to get really late, and I could not put the book down. Now, everyone knows I always stay up very late...but it is usually watching DVR'ed Bravo, the Proactiv infomercial in full for the 98th time, or YouTube'ing back and forth between Britney's 2000 "Oops...I Did It Again!" stripper-rock VMA performance complete with 6-pack abdominals and glittery nude bodysuit... and Britney's 2007 #hottrannymess VMA stumble complete with heavy Klonopin haze and muffin top. (Naturally, I scream, "Whyyyyy?! What happened to my little Louisiana Trailer Park Queen?" as I pull my hair out at the root and throw plates.)
Dad relegated his snoring to his bedroom, and mom put down her needlepoint and headed upstairs, as well. I think she instinctively knew I would not be going to bed that night. She just gets me, and we do have similar tastes....though my taste is often quite a bit more "common," as Mz. Elaine would put it.
The birds were chirping, the sun began to come up, and I finished the book. One sitting! I went to bed very content, and arose to pass Mz. Elaine's quiz with flying colors. (She was not disappointed in me--but she will be when she hears I have started a blog where I use the word "fuck.") We couldn't stop talking about the book. Over the coming weeks and months, the nation followed. The book was fabulous!
Now we get to September of 2011. The book has sold over 5 million copies, spent over 100 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and the film version released August 10th is steadily racing towards the $200 million mark at the box office . Clearly, The Help is cherished by an adoring public.
Initially, the film debuted to strong reviews. However, over the weeks, I have noticed some negative reviews increasingly creeping out. Almost all of these negative reviews cite thinly-veiled racism as the downside. These reviews seem to almost unanimously lament The Help's heralding of the "white savior" portrayed by Emma Stone. Some reviews are even angry that Tony Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated actress Viola Davis portrays a maid in the film.
How on Earth can some of these critics not see the beauty of the intricate relationships between these strong women? Why would anyone want to cheapen such a beautiful film over which folks of all races seem to bond? It's not a chick flick, either. It is a story of humanity. To me, the title is double-enténdré. The Blacks help the Whites in one way, and some of the Whites help the Blacks in another way.
The Help shows us how far we have come, and it also shows us that we should continue to help enlighten one another. I sit here ONE generation from segregation and only a few generations from slavery. The fact of the matter is, most maids in 1960s America were Black. Another fact is that not all White people are bad. How is this improperly portrayed in the film? It is not.
I put The Help at the top of my list of films even more enjoyable than their literary counterparts--right next to Fried Green Tomatoes and Gone With The Wind. Kathryn Stockett was savvy to sell the film rights to her lifelong friend and fellow Mississippian, producer/director/screenplay writer Tate Taylor. Everyone wins...including us!
I didn't have to sit through a movie of over-the-top saccharin Southern accents. I am convinced that Mr. Taylor was paramount in this achievement. You know how grating it is when an actor campily portrays your native region's dialect. Bad Hollywood versions of stereotypical Southern accents slaughter a film or television show for me. (Hello, Anna Paquin aka "Sookie Stackhouse" in True Blood... I am talking to YOU!)
If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, just go ahead and run straight to the theatre! I saw it opening weekend, I will see it at the theatre again, and I will be purchasing it on DVD. Pay no mind to those few negative reviews. Who gives a shit who "helped" the help? It's the fact that someone did that counts.
PS: I better see Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer on the 2012 Oscar ballot, or I will cry racism right back at'cha!
[images courtesy of: (1) Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam/Penguin; (2) Dreamworks/Touchstone Pictures]