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5.31.2017

Winger and Hawn: Back from the Dead

The Sequel to Debra Winger's and Goldie Hawn's Movie Star Careers began this spring, as they both star The Lovers and Snatched, respectively.  And though I have yet to see either of these movies (and given my propensity for sitting on the couch and binging on Netflix, along with my repulsion towards Amy Schumer, I probably won't), it certainly hasn't escaped my notice that these once-A-list actresses ghosted Hollywood and have emerged again onto the big screen.

Goldie's emerged from a fifteen year hiatus in film making, and although Winger hasn't completely gone off the grid, it's been decades since her Academy Award Nominee days in the 80s and 90s.

What causes a star who's been HUGE to decline so dramatically?  Comedy Film Nerds had a good discussion speculating as to why Hawn might have taken a leave--she doesn't need the money, and studios won't hire her given her reputation for being "difficult".  Additionally, she turned down a role in an attempted First Wives Club sequel as the pay didn't seem fair.

Lebeleau's Le blog speculates in the article  "What the Hell Happened to Debra Winger" that she, too, was difficult to work with and so had a hard time finding work.


5.30.2017

Bridget Jones's Baby

About a year ago, when this movie was still in the theaters, Movie Reviewer Zach Murphy (@Fade_to_Zach) tweeted that this movie is so much better than it has any business being.  After seeing the movie I saw that this assessment was well put.

As the third movie in this series, it seems almost doomed to be walk-out-of-the-theater-after-thirty- minutes bad.  How could Bridget interestingly deal with the same issues of being Little Miss Spinster fourteen years later?  And why hadn't she married her Mr. Darcy?

And yet it just wasn't horribly bad!  It really captured the essence and spirit of the first movie, and I tried to identify exactly what made it so good.

First of all, Emma Thompson decided to show up in this movie, as the man-hating/feminazi doctor who consults Bridget after she gets pregnant.  You can't go wrong with her.

And the original cast also showed up

5.22.2017

Letting Yourself Go in Hollywood

I just watched the 2006 movie The Break Up.  It's definitely a stretch to call this a B- movie.  It has some alluring thread that made me want to watch it to the end.  Maybe that thread was boredom.

Anyway, what really struck me about this movie is how much Vince Vaughn had let himself go since Swingers just ten years before.  And how much Aniston, in the same amount of time, well, really hadn't.

Look at that strapping young man on the left (Vaughn in Swingers, '96)---and can you talk about about BLOAT? (The Break -Up, '06)

Looking, well, pretty damn good in 1996
as well as 2006.
In the movie The Break-Up we have 'hot couple with issues'.  Except that the male half of this hot couple is debatably not-so very-hot in that he's about 20 pounds overweight.  He spends his time laying on the couch playing video games and eating and watching sports and his hot, skinny girlfriend (thigh gap, zero loose tricep skin) works her ass off putting together dinner parties and doting on him, which includes laying out his outfits at night before he goes to bed.  (Are you sure this is a couple and not a mother-son situation?).  Granted they do break up, but the movie causes one to wonder what even brought them together in the first place--given that she had such a hard time leaving him it seems to be some sort of a "she settled in order to receive the security and respect a relationship gives a woman and he wanted a hot woman to fuck" situation.

In addition to the unbelievable message that the movie sends about relationships, the juxtaposition of the bodies of Aniston and Vaughn makes me examine their Hollywood careers.

They both have been hugely successful in both the 90s and the first decade of the 2000s.  Also in this time Vaughn put on tons of weight and Aniston did not.  Aniston must have had to work her ass off, in fact, to keep her body over their period of time, as you can see from the arm muscle in the picture to the left.

Hollywood, according to this example anyway, is a world in which men get to lay on the couch binging on flank steak and then STAR IN BLOCKBUSTER FILMS, while the women need to hit the gym, perpetually diet and essentially reverse the aging process in order to perform at the same level.

The only rationale for such a double standard is that, of course, in the movies, it's all about what men want to be seeing (while they're sitting on the couch like beached whales).  Ugh.

5.18.2017

Living in a Man's World

Today I watched The Wenners on Charlie Rose--founder of Rolling Stone Magazine Jann and his son Gus--and it left me speculating to what extent we're living in man's world; that is to say evaluating and critiquing culture through a man's spectrum.

Here are all of the Rolling Stone images Charlie Rose called out on his show, as some of the most celebratory and laudable covers.  




(Tupac)

5.17.2017

Christian Caricatures

Today I watched some of the movies Christian Mingle and Inlawfully Yours, and found it disconcerting that way Christians are depicted in each of them.

In Christian Mingle the mother of the main character's love interest is a heavily make-uped, regularly dressed to the 7s (not quite the nines but with heels, etc.) woman with free flowing sandy blonde hair.  She's a devout Christian who pushes her weight around in the family, including telling her son that there's something off or insincere about the woman he's dating, and takes trips to Mexico to condescend to the impoverished Mexicans, reading to them from 1 Corinthians about God's love.

Inlawfully Yours depicts the same staid, pillar-of-the-community married women.  In this movie she perhaps isn't so attractive, but continues to push her weight around; in this instance she's on a board at the Church and advises the preacher on how to conduct services.  She also monitors him while he's out on a date, making sure that there isn't any physical interaction between the couple.

5.15.2017

Ode to Groundhog Day

"It's inspiring to see a man of advancing years
 throwing caution to the wind" LOVE this scene!
Flashback to this oh-so-wonderful movie from 1993.

In addition to a clever story, a hilarious screenplay and a cast that includes the beloved BILL MURRAY!!! Andie MacDowell and Stephen Tobolowsky, this movie is also under two hours long!

One characteristic of Groundhog Day that I find especially unusual is it's appeal to a broad
Stephen Tobolowsky's unforgettable role as Ned Ryerson
audience.  And I mean BROAD.  As a twelve year old girl, I was so thrilled with this movie when it came out that I watched it twice in the theaters in the same weekend.  Comedian Mike Schmidt has mentioned on his podcast The 40 Year Old Boy that this movie is perfect!

How often to you find a movie that a nearly fifty year old man and a twelve year old girl LOVE?

Hilarious.

And I'm just gonna end with the cliche that they don't make 'em like they used to.  


5.10.2017

Brigitte Macron & French Electibility

I was just amazed to learn a few days ago that the wife of France's new President is in fact 24 years old than he, and that they met and fell in love when he was only 15.

In addition to being very unusual, the marriage seems to be a factor that could easily preclude electability.  Generally, I mean to say, a political figure needs to exude an aura of normalcy; and a traditional marriage (where the spouses are much closer in age) would be part and parcel to his/her public image.

I wondered if this attitude I have towards traditional marriage and family and electability is a US-centric idea, and prompted me to do a little research.

Only one bachelor has ever been elected US President (James Buchanan), and every other president has been married--four of them were widowers when elected (Andrew Jackson was a widower when inaugurated, but not when elected).  Additionally, only two US presidents have been divorced (Trump twice, and Reagan once).  So yes, generally speaking, US presidents present a VERY traditional family front.

5.09.2017

Punching the Clown

I recently discovered Punching the Clown on Amazon, a semi-autobiographical story about the movie's writer,  Henry Phillips, and his move to Los Angeles to further his music/comedy career.  I watched it five times in the 7-day streaming window, as it really is that good.

The movie is the decades-long dream project between himself and his buddy/director Gregori Viens, Phillips explains in this 2010 interview on the Comedy Film Nerds Podcast.  Viens, a college movie professor, finally decided to invest his own savings in the movie after frustration with not finding a studio willing to make it.

5.08.2017

Podcast Reviews

I go in and out with a lot of podcasts.  Here's a few meandering thoughts on them.

It's real catch-22 with regards to the extremely well produced podcasts--great sound quality, highly edited to the point that 'ums' are omitted and the interviews are almost scripted.  Many of these are NPR based or derivatives, which means that at the same time that they're entertaining and listenable, the content is predictably left leaning, trendy, and pretty banal.  That being said, NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour has been a staple for me since its inception quite some time ago now (in fact, one of the first movies they reviewed was Inception, lol).  More recently (recently because they haven't been around long) I've been listening to Gimlet's Start-Up, which looks in depth at various business start-ups.

Vocal Fry (also rampant amongst these NPR-ey podcasts) can be a real deterrent in an otherwise good podcast.

5.04.2017

Sheila Nevins on Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose recently interviewed Sheila Nevins, President of HBO Films and the "patron saint" of documentary film making.

In the interview, she said that her anger over an incident from college, in which the mother of a man with whom she was quite smitten recommended to her that she find herself a Jewish husband (and thereby ix-nayed her relationship with the man), spurred her onwards towards her glitzy, successful career in the film industry.

In other words, she's saying, "I realized that as a consequence of being Jewish, I was a nobody, wah wah wah, and so I had to prove myself to all of the naysayers and become a member of the uber-elite"
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