Monday, February 28, 2011

UGH: Isn't She Great?

A film based on the life of Jacqueline Susann is a great idea. Bette Midler playing the bestselling authoress is a great idea. The end result is NOT a great idea. Isn't She Great? No.

Alternate titles for Isn't She Great? could be Isn't She Late? Isn't She A Plate? You get it. Make up your own! You know you are in trouble when the DVD menu has the option of full screen or wide screen. I almost chose full screen, just to torture myself a little more. This movie has quite possibly the worst opening credits of a film to have Dionne Warwick singing over them. She has done a lot. She sings the shit out of some shitty song. Dionne always is on her A game.

The tone is set within the first scene. From hair to costumes to set design, it screams tacky. And not like your granny's house tacky, but like the filmmaker (the genius behind STRIPTEASE!) was thinking, "Oh J. Susann is soooo tacky. Let's make the movie "crazy" and really kitschy, because everything in the 60's was soooo tacky." J. Susann was many things, but tacky seems kinda harsh. Don't play me cheap.

The run time of the Isn't She Great? is basically a made for TV movie run time sans commericals. The first 20 minutes blows past you in what seems to be prolonged montage. Showbiz ups and downs, married, diagnosed with breast cancer and an idea to hatch a plan to write a sexy/steamy book about the dirty side of Hollywood. That's is quite a bit to process. Bette plays J. Susann only one level. LOUD! She screams everything when she is not too busy getting in a zinger here and there.

Stockard Channing is on hand as J. Susann's best gal pal. It's like drunk Rizzo. Lots of tweed and cocktails. Smart hats and frowns. Bea Arthur did it better in Lucy Mame. Nathan Lane is horribly miscast as Susann's husband/agent. All he does is stand around looking like a bored gay puppy. He is in stone statue mode the whole movie. I don't know if he and Bette hated each or what, but the chemistry between them could start the next ice age. They fall in love while walking into a pond. Seriously. He goes around saying, "Isn't She Great?" to anyone who will listen.

J. Susann battles breast cancer which means Bette gets many Oscar clip moments. She will be on a real rager, screaming at God, then the next scene she will be making anal jokes. Isn't She Great? Tacky. Also, there is a lot of television watching in this movie. Like Bette sitting down and watching TV and we have to watch her do it. It's weird. And boring too!

An hour into the film, JS is on a grassroots book tour for VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. People are cornfused because they think it is a kids book. A really cool kids book as one editor calls it. The film roustabouts from bio pic drama to madcap high jinx at random. JS will say cocksucker at someone then immediately in the next scene will be having another talk with God. Finally, she bust out in her leopardess pantsuit and the movie races to it's finish. We have to watch her watch scenes from the movie version of VOTD, which she hates. The Love Machine years are boiled down to the fact that she has to go to parties alone. Have you always been curious about her book Once Is Not Enough? Me too! You get nothing here. It was a book and they made a movie about it. The end. Bette gets death cough outside the premiere and just as it is almost lights out for her we are treated to a flashback montage of all your favorite scenes of the FUCKING MOVIE we just watched! Then it's over.

It is everyone's fault. Honestly, I really, really wanted to like this movie. I super HATE the tag line on the poster that reads TALENT ISN'T EVERYTHING. Fuck off. The big screen just wasn't the right for it . A mini-series on HBO would be great! Some PLEASE get Sylvia O' Stayformore to play JS. She could nail it to the wall.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


The fall of 1992 I was a senior in high school and the single "Free Your Mind" by En Vogue came out and I did just that! Growing up in a small southern town does not lend it's self to the freeing of one's mind easily, but you can make it happen if you try. I realized that there was something wrong and it was not with me. . It all seemed to weigh me down. Cruelty as normalcy. Hell to the no. I wasn't having it anymore.

This wasn't a sudden thing for me. The groundwork had been laid earlier. Back when Janet Jackson's epic album "Rhythm Nation 1814" had slapped me in the face with world issues and made me realize that life is hard. Why make it harder for people by being a jerk. The the slab of my rebirth was a film from 1988. A film that got me through the worst part of my life. the worst up to that point and to this day, the worst. The survival of the fittest is the name of the game. Hell truly is for children. I dare even speak it's name. But I must. Jr. High School. And my savior from all that was unholy about lonely lunches and unsent party invitations was HAIRSPRAY. What I learned from HAIRSPRAY was so much greater than anything the teachers at my school had taught me.

I grew up in a John Waters free household. I had no clue that he was this master filmmaker with a huge cult following. But once I saw the trailer to HAIRPSRAY, I knew what life would have in store for me. Naturally it didn't make it to the big screen at Picayune Cinema Four so I had to wait until it came out in VHS. Tuesday I was there and it was the day everything changed. On the first viewing of HAIRSPRAY, it truly is shocking to the senses. Everything that is wonderful about life can be found in this film. The joy level is so high that once it is reached to its fullest capacity you can actually feel your feet dangling in mid-air. When the credits roll there is nothing that can stop you from immediately rewinding it and watching it all over again. Well, besides a bedtime.

Everyday heroes are called that because they are in our everyday lives. Ricki Lake, as Tracy Turnblad, is an everyday hero. I might not see her walking down the streets of Seattle or talk to her on the phone, but she is in my soul. Tracy has got to be one of the best realized characters in cinema history. Plump and hot, she sets out to prove that she can do whatever the fuck she wants too and do it better than you! She wants to be on the Corny Connell's Show and she does easily wipes the floor with the competition. But she also immediately steals the spotlight and snatches herself a hunk.

As it always is in life. Chasing your dreams will always have roadblocks. The boss who steals your ideas, but ends up skiing off the side of a mountain and you get to take over her job, but then she comes back and bust you in front of the entire board of directors. Or you accidentally murder the guy who was trying to get you at a trashy bar and end up on the run with your best gal pal and almost make it safely across the Mexican border, but you end up just flying off the side of a cliff. Struggles. We all have them. Tracy Turnblad only has one major roadblock and it comes in the form of one of the coldest and most calculating villains in modern cinema. Amber Von Hussle.

Colleen Fritzpatrick, who would later go on to be pop sensation Vitamin C, steps into the Amber role with such gusto, it is hard to imagine her not to be a horrible person in real life. It's an Oscar worthy performance that goes beyond anything that I think John Waters could have imagined. Every bit of dialogue that comes from her crackles with mean girl intensity. She is hateful, gossipy, a cock tease and a racist. The unlikable is so exaggerated that you can't help but LOVE Colleen for tackling the role and John Waters for creating her. She thinks that she can toss fat jokes at Tracy, but Miss Turnblad's warrior armour is so thick that she not only reads her to filth on the dance floor, but steals her commercial spots on the show. Tracy, one by one, is taking everything that Amber holds near and dear to her and redefining AND making the bitch watch her to it! Amber is going to blow her top by the end of this movie!

Set during the height of the civil rights movement, Tracy was a modern kind of gal. All she wanted was for everyone to have fun, no matter what skin you are in. Either you could do the Madison or you couldn't. And if you couldn't she would show you, since she is the best dancer in the movie. I'm sure there is a professional dancer tossed in here and there. I'm pretty sure a choregropaher worked with the cast, but you could never tell. The kids in the the movie pull of real life dancing like no other film. Well, maybe They Shoot Horses Don't They?, but that is about it. All the movements are awkward and kinda not precise, but that is the beauty of the film. It is like watching your friends dance.

The soundtrack is to curl up and dye for. Seriously, I thought all the songs were made up until my Mother informed me that she had done "The Roach (Dance)". GASP! I almost died. I made her do it for me right there in the kitchen. And you know what? She did it. My sister's and I learned to do the "Madison" along with the movie. I forever feel in love with The Ikettes, Gene Pitney and The Five Du-Tunes. But the song "Nothing Takes The Place of You" by Toussaint McCall is the show stopper. The kids have just been to their first juke joint dance and are making out in the streets. A rat crawls over Tracy foot and she shakes it off, while a hobo walks down the road singing along with the music pouring out of the gymnasium. It will stop you cold. It still can make me cry. Hairspray was my first introduction to true soul music.

Hairspray opened my eyes to the great miss Pia Zadora. "Let's get high and iron the girls hair!" has got to be one of the greatest lines uttered in a movie about the 60's. All she wants to do is listen to Odetta (who I thought was made up at the time) and quote lines from HOWL. Okay, to see Pia read from anything is amazing, but to she her read from that book is wonderful. John Waters gets the joke. The kids don't care and Pia, in true Zadora fashion, shrugs and says, "Why not?" Little did I know at the time how much Pia would become a fabric of my life. The Lonely Lady, Fake-Out, Butterfly and the Great American Song Book VHS are staples of my media diet. How is it that she has always been in my life? That John Waters....I tell ya....

Of course there is diva ole the day, Divine. All I knew about Divine was that she was a he and he died. All I knew was that when I watched it, I never ever questioned Mrs. Turnblad's gender. Whether it was talking politics with Penny's mom or dealing with Mrs. Von Hussle, she was a true woman through and through. It's a pitch perfect performance. Later, I would discover the legacy that was the Waters/Divine combo, but nothing has been able to top the work in Hairspray. It's like some lunatic woman unfortunately became a mother and decided to clean up her act and try to give her daughter the best life possible. Some of us can relate. Thank Deena Jones that we got to see Divine get a role of a lifetime and work it!

Years later, the video store which I worked at through my high school years had TV monitors surrounding the rather large store. The TV would blare cartoons mostly. Safe for everyone. But when the boss left we got to play whatever we wanted. It was always HAIRSPRAY. A few other titles tossed in randomly, but always HAIRSPRAY. We had two copies and I only would rent out one, because the other HAD to stay in the store so I could play it whenever I wanted too. Over and over. I could hear all the voices of all my favorite people talking even if I couldn't see the screen. I memorized the whole movie and at times would start conversations with customers using the lines from the movie to see if they would notice. CRAZY!! I know it now, but at the moment it seemed reasonable. The staff constantly hid it from me, because it was in such heavy rotation. But it somehow always would find it's way back to me.

To this day, I firmly believe that HAIRSPRAY is one of the greatest films ever made. It's a bold claim, but a true one. John Waters was able to get into mainstream culture and do what he does best. Drive everyone insane, but do it with intelligence , a lot of heart and just a touch of dog shit.

****OF NOTE********
Hairspray also has one of the greatest kid sister characters in a movie EVER. Crykle Milbourne AKA L'il Inez is breathtaking. In her only role, Crykle captures the annoyance and grace that comes with having a kid sister. She is always around and usually getting on her nerves, but you can't help but want to teach her everything you know. And L'il Inez can get down with the rest of them. Don't count her out when it comes to dancing! I love you L'il Inez.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Don't Go Breaking My Heart.

First, let's chit chat about the remake of MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Right on the cusp of 3-D, the re imagining delivered. Expanding rather subtle plot points, like having one of the big death sequences happen in the grocery store where the girls work was a master stroke. I love a good chunk of time in a grocery store during a horror movie, e.g., The Mist and The Intruder. If you have ever worked in a grocery store you will understand how fun it is to see people being hunted down by a killer as they run past boxes of cereal and canned goods. We have a clean up in HBA (health,beauty and accessories)! Also, the new My Bloody V had naked chick. She OWNED that role. I heard a distinct sigh of sadness when her character was gone. And she was in 3-D. Everything else about it was fine, just fine. Nothing terribly exciting, but a fun time at the theater. But let's get serious....

In the boom of slasher films that were birthed by Halloween and Friday the 13th, one truly stands out above the rest. MY BLOODY VALENTINE has something that the others don't have. Heart. excuse the pun, but it's true. For years, fans of the film have had to sit through the head scratching version that was available on VHS and then on DVD. The great thing about it, was as the years passed, we learned that that choppy editing wasn't just shitty film making, but it was stuff that was actually cut from the movie. TONS OF scenes. And all the death scenes. All the gore. Gone. There are times when you couldn't even tell who was being murdered or how they were being done in. It is enough to make you cut your own heart out. But one of the great things about these assholes that THINK they can remake classic horror films and not have a fresh take on it, is that movie studios are FINALLY listening to fans. Director's cuts and extended editions of films are being released. With the brand new re- release of the original MY BLOODY VALENTINE, we get to see a piece of BadMovieArt that will blow your fucking mind!!

Luck is on our side, because the not only does MY BLOODY VALENTINE have all the "lost" footage, but almost 90 percent of it has been worked back into the movie using a method called Seamless Branching. All the gore, all the guts and all the yucky hearts ripped out of people. For Jesus' sake! The movie is called MY BLOODY VALENTINE! You can't cut out the gross out scenes involving hearts.

As the movie opens we see two horny miners getting all sexed up. What I love about the opening credits, is that they have a made for TV look to them. They are just kinda there as a woman in her late 30's is stripping to her bra and panties. She has three different colors of green eyeshadow on and a little heart tattoo above her right boob. It is more like an X marks the spot. Then it happens. The screen gets a little grainier and a little deteriorated. It is slightly jarring at first, but then you realize what is going to happen. They have edited all the cut scenes back in! The gore is shocking and hardcore. What happened to my innocent little bloodless version of MY BLOODY VALENTINE? Honey, it is GONE! And what is the best part is the special effects range from outstanding to well....they needed to work on it just a touch more...but that just makes the movie even better.

We venture to the town of Valentine's Bluff. It is just west of Centerville which is just west of Eastville. I know that doesn't seem important, but it is a major plot point. We are introduced to the cast of characters, mainly big, dumb (but hot!) miner types, out to have a good time. The girls of the MY BLOODY VALENTINE are God sent. Townies on the make for a husband and beer. My kinda ladies. The entire film is shot on location in a mining town in Nova Scotia and that aspect lends the film a true sense of grit and realism that is refreshing. Everyone seems slightly or not so slightly broke down. Everyone seems to feel like they are stuck in a dying mining town and they don't seem to really care anymore. Paul Kelman plays T.G. who left town to do the reach and try to make his dreams come true, but alas, he found himself back in Valentine's Bluff. Kelman is a DREAMBOAT! I love a hot and sexy miner!

Actually, all the men are pretty hot. And there is a hot shower scene with all the miners getting all gussied up for a night out on the town. Everyone is in great spirits, because for the first time in 20 years, they are going to have a Valentine's Day dance! Everyone is talking about it! Catch the Buzz! T.G. arch rival, Axel, yells, "It's gonna be a HOT TIME this Saturday!" as he shampoos that mine out of his hair. We follow the guys as they head out to the local watering hole to get smashed and smash each other up. The crusty old bartender warns them to not have that Valentine's Day dance and calls them a bunch of assholes for no reason. There will be trouble for sure. They ignore him and continue to get drunk. Of note, it seems that the cast is really drinking during the scenes and in between takes. They is so much beer in this movie. MOOSEHEAD BEER is everywhere! And either MBV had an amazing set designer who strategically placed half empty (or half full depends on how you look at it) all over the bar or the cast getting CRUNK. I like to think the set designer was a visionary. The cast seems to belong to that school of acting where you look directly at the camera and say your lines. It makes you feel like you are part of their gang of friends.

The next day, everyone is decorating the town hall for the big dance. Old Maple is head of the decorating committee and it seems she got all the youth of Valentine's Bluff to help her. Since they are all drinking beer while tooting up the hall, it seems she paid them in beer. Never a bad thing. They are just excited to be doing something besides mining. They might have done it for free, but beer always helps in Nova Scotia, USA. Then it happens. The sheriff gets a bloody heart in a candy box. OOPS! "It CAN'T be happening AGAIN!", he exclaims! We need a flashback ASAP! Later that night, the kids are back in the bar drinking and rebel rousing. T.G. is wearing one of the hottest outfits known to man. Painted on jeans, big belt buckle and a white ringer t shirt, that is so thin, you can see his hairy nipples. When he leans against a pinball machine, I swoon. So, the kids are STILL yakking about the Valentine's Day dance and the bartender has had it with them and we get the town curse FLASHBACK!!! I won't spoil it for you, because it is a great moment in the film, but naturally all the kids don't believe him. But Miner 49'er doesn't like people to have VD dances, that is for sure!

Once of the most amazing and most notorious parts of MBV comes early. Death by My Beautiful Laundrette. Quite possibly one of the most disgusting uses of the spin cycle I have ever seen. AND This was CUT FROM THE ORIGINAL RELEASE!! WTF!!! Okay, I'm just glad we can enjoy it now. The next day ,Friday the 13th, the sheriff informs the kids that they are cancelling the VD dance and there are to be NO parties what so ever. There is a good chance Miner 49'er is back and he HATES parties on Valentine's Day, so no parties, 'kay? Trying to sort out the details of what is going on, the sheriff calls the mental institution that housed Miner 49'er and we are introduced to my favorite character in the movie, Mrs. Raleigh. She picks up the phone at the institution and proceeds to read the sheriff to filth. He screams at her, but she ain't having it. Then she says it! "I will have to go and look through the micro-film and that could take days!" The sheriff screams, "DO IT!" Ah....I love a good hunting through micro film scene. I have a feeling she isn't going to do it though.

Once again, going for realness, we get a scene with T.J. and the object of his affection and Axel's discussing life, liberty and all that other stuff. And Sarah, played by Lori Hallier, produces real tears! Real tears! A tender moment! You git it girl! I love when people give it their all. I don't care if you are cast in a supposedly shitty slasher film, you better bring it! People will remember.
Poor Sarah. She is a trainwreck. She is torn between two hotties, her best friend is a total nightmare and she wants a raise at the grocery store where she works. She is stuck in this dying town, wandering aimlessly through life, not really connecting with anyone or herself. See what those tears told us?! I'll say it again, Git it girl! And all this while seemingly high on coke. TALENT!

So now the party is officially cancelled, but the kids have a great idea. There is a rec room down in the mine with tables and chairs and a ping pong table. PARTY TIME! The cast hauling the most beer I have ever seen hauled are ready to celebrate their bloody valentine FINALLY! This got me thinking. Why are these kids so excited about a party when they have a party every night at the bar? I guess anything to move along your life in this stifling town would get your excited. Why not.

It doesn't go well. As you would have assumed. Wiener Juice death. Scary as fuck shower murder. Both scenes had been slashed to bits by the censor board. And what is great about watching this version is you know as soon as you see the beautiful transfer to to grainy, the shit is going to go down! It is an eye ball popping, water spouting good time. The main cast decides that it would be "fun" to go down into the lower depths of the mine. What a great idea! Actually it is only Patty's idea. Patty is the lovable goof of the friends with a set of killer legs, that she used to her advantage in her follow up film HEAVENLY BODIES. Patty goes on and on about how fun it will be and since she has such a larger "personality" they do it just to shut her up.

One of my favorite moments is when T.J. catches wind that the cast is going down in the mines and he chases after them screaming, "Don't forget the rule! No women in the mine!" What the hell kinda of shit is this? What about shouting, "Don't forget the rule! Wear hardhats! Don't go into the mine at night!" But no, women can't go in. Luckily, the girls shrug him off and climb in the the mine cart, it's like a roller coaster! So while they are down in the mine, mass hysteria breaks out when Gretchen, the bitch of the friends, discovers a heart in the boiling wiener pot! Miner 49'er is BACK and you are on his shit list for throwing a party. He hates parties!! Everyone scatters and arch enemies, T.J. and Axel, must band together to rescue the woman they both love, oh and Patty.

In a nutshell, if you watched the original cut of the movie, it basically adds up to a bunch of people running around in a mine and every once in awhile there will be one person missing. The cast gives good face when they get killed, but we have no idea what is going on. BUT!! in the extended version, you get all the joy and merriment, the filmmakers want to give you. I would say a good 15 minutes of solid scares and yucky stuff. Once again, the picture turns to grain and you get super excited because you know it is coming. It is like suspense on TOP of suspense. When Tommy does the body drop, you will shriek with joy! Those poor saps in 1981 who didn't get to wonder of seeing that happen the in the theater. Too bad....

The ending is legendary. Cream of the crop. It totally goes for heart and squeezes. And then you get laughed at for watching it by Miner 49'er while the credits roll. This movie has hung around three decades now for a reason. It is charming, gory and Canadian. They tend to do things a little rougher than we do, but they always have fun.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gay Cinema: TOP GUN

I don't know anything about the Air Force. I take that back. I know two things about the Air Force. 1. My father thought it would be a good idea if I joined up when I graduated high school. 2. I thought this was NOT an option.

TOP GUN was a huge ass hit in the summer of 1986. I couldn't be bothered with it at the time. I was too wrapped up in Poltergeist 2: The Other Side and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I finally watched it back in the day when it came out on VHS, but the only thing i remember about it loving the soundtrack, thinking Meg Ryan was "funny" and there was lots of flying around in it.

As the opening credits rolled, I was pleased to discover that two of my favorite actors, Micheal Ironside and Tom Skerritt, were in it. We are immediately thrust into overdrive and sent to the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is instantly boring, but Kenny Loggins adult contempo/rockin' "Danger Zone" makes just about anything tolerable. At this point we are introduced to a bunch of flying heads with names like Goose, Merlin and Maverick written on their helmets. The helmets are cute. I can't keep up with who is who or what they are exactly doing. It seems that some bad guys, maybe Russians, are in our air space and we have to shoot them out of the sky. After some "Maverick" flying, we finally get out of the air and onto a ship that is home to hotbed of sweaty Sgt. Dad types. They are all chomping on cigars, wearing aviator sunglasses and wearing tight pants. Maybe i underestimated the Air Force, because so far I like it.

We are then catapulted to Mirmar, California AKA Fightertown. Tom Cruise is strapped onto a motorcycle and succeeds in his main mission of the film. To look constantly gorgeous. At the elite Air Force school called Top Gun he is sized up and cruised by Val Kilmer, otherwise known as Ice Man. They explain his name, but I wasn't listening. I was too busy staring at Tom Cruise's old teeth, which were hella crooked, but super dreamy. I understand why he got braces in his 40's. At some point you gotta fix them or you will have tooth problems in the future. But, damn, I love some crooked teeth. Some fellow student remarks that the planes actually give him a hard on. HUH?

Time passes and Tom Cruise and company head over to the townie bar and Cruise hatches a plan that will make any drunk woman swoon. HE puts another dime in the jukebox and sings along to "You've Lost That Loving Feeling". Kelly Mcgillis has caught his eye and he is gonna woo her to death. I really can't tell if it works since the chemistry between them is like a lesbian and a gay dude trying to make it with each other. I do know that drunk douche types tried this all over the world for years after the movie was released. I have unfortunately witnessed it. It is not cute and usually leads to stalking. The next day he discovers that his target at the bar is his TEACHER!!! Oh goodness! Highway to the Danger Zone is right!

There's some hot for teacher action and the soundtrack cock teases us with a few instrumental bars of the Oscar nominated song by Berlin, "Take My Breath Away". Let's discuss this song for a second. It is one of my favorite songs and do you remember when Berlin performed it at the Oscars? She sang it while on a big ass plane! Elizabeth Taylor was in the audience!

Lots of uninteresting things happen to uninteresting people. Meg Ryan's old face shows up to screech and be "funny", but it is short lived. But then Tom Skerritt shows up and the movie gets better for a moment. But it too is short lived. it seems that the only real guideline to enlist into Top Gun School is that you have to hot at all times. Even fucking Anthony Edwards is hot and he is a total nerd. Seriously, like Revenge of the Nerds and E.R. nerd. Jesus, the Volleyball game? Come on! Watching Tom Cruise in just a pair of blue jeans and sunglasses crash over and over into the sand is wet dream material.

Finally, Tom and Kelly do it and we get to hear Berlin's song. Then we have the infamous shower/towel scene with most of the cast naked and posing. You can see dick outlines in the towels. The boys have to go up the air again and battle out some bad guys and then it is over.

This movie is sooo weird. The Nomi/Cristal Connors chemistry between Kilmer and Cruise is seriously unreal. They totally get off on making each other suffer, but have an underlying respect for each other. Well, as much respect as douches can have for each other.

The entire film acts like a recruiting film for the Air Force and the branch did see enlistment skyrocket. It's message is simple. Join the Air Force and you will be sexy. You will get to do arts and farts and crafts to your helmet and get to wear bomber jackets and girls will fall in love with you. Hats off to all the men and women in the Air Force. You go! I am always amazed and proud of people who can do things that i can't and flying a plane while trying to shoot Russians out of the sky is something I can't do. I found myself enjoying the film whenever it was grounded, but the real problem with Top Gun is still the same problem I had with it when it first came out. Too much flying around. AND NOT ENOUGH TOM SKERRITT!!!

It is hard to watch any Tom Cruise film now. We live in a post Top Gun world where Cruise marries people for reasons that seem to not have anything to do with love. He hides his late teenaged kids from the world and infamously made the world fear him after jumping on a couch in front of Oprah. Remember when Oprah and Rosie use to GUSH over Tom almost on a daily basis? They have since stopped. But boy, it sure is nice to see Cruise when he was just a cocky prick with a smoking bod and a killer smile and could rock a pair of tighty whities like nobodies business. DIVA.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


The only real significance RUNAWAY BRIDE every had in my life was the mere fact that after 17 years, My granny went to the movies to see a film. The last time she had ventured into a darkened theater was in 1982 when she took me to see E.T. Garry Marshall had found himself in a good spot with the success of Overboard, Beaches and Pretty Woman, but as the millennium came to a close, his spotty feel good films were starting to wear on the patience of most movie goers. Bomb after bomb brought him to the 1999 romantic comedy RUNAWAY BRIDE or RUNAWAY HORSE FACE or RUNAWAY SHITBOX.

Trying to recapture magic in a film is not an easy task. Just ask John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Twist of Fate was suppose to rekindle their Grease magic, but it just seemed to come off a greasy blot. But things like that never deter Garry Marshall. Hoping to spark up the fire between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts once again, it seemed like a sure fire bet. I mean, everyone love Pretty Woman, right? At the very least, the part when she runs and falls on the bed and goes shopping is entertaining. Julia Roberts was right in the middle of her big My Best Friend's Wedding (AKA MONSTER) comeback and was just one year away from snatching herself an Oscar. And she owed Garry Marshall BIG TIME!

We first see Roberts donned in a wedding dress, while trotting away on a horse. See! RUNAWAY BRIDE! The best part of Runaway Bride is getting to shout, "RUN BITCH RUN!" for most of the movie. They don't call her Runaway bride for nothing. She earned that title. So the jest of the film is that shitty people deserve love too.

Maggie Carpenter has a problem. A HUGE problem. She just can't seem to make it down the aisle after forcing everyone who loves her to take time out of their busy day to attend her wedding. She also can't be bothered with all the money spent on said wedding, funded her own alcoholic father and various father-in-laws to be. She just books it. Not once. Not twice, but three fucking times. She can go to hell. But luckily, the townsfolk LOVE her and put up with her quirky personality because she is just so darn lovable. And that smile? How could you say no.

Richard Gere plays this douche bag reporter, who after getting read to filth by Sela Ward, a staple of Dad hotties, he runs a story about this so called Runaway Bride. Well, Runaway Bride will have none of this and writes herself a letter to the editor, played by Rita Wilson, and gets Gere promptly fired. He deserves though. He said that she was man eater and had be a runaway bride 7 or 8 times! Well, you better check your facts or Rita Wilson will can your ass. So, now he is pissed and finds out that Runaway Bride is up to her old tricks in the the finale stages of prepping a wedding. He immediately starts stalking and intimating her, but she seems to kinda like it. This is a romantic comedy after all. Problem is she is engaged to massive HUNK Christopher Meloni. Sorry, after four attempts at getting married and this HUNK wants to still marry you, honey, you don't fuck it up.

Maggie takes out her sexual furstations out while kickboxing to the Dixie Chicks and decides to get even with Richard Gere. She enlist the help of her BFF, Joan Cusack, in a thankless role. What happens next is so shocking, that I was not able to fully recover from the film. They go to the beauty shop, which is named Curl Up and Dye. Cute, huh? Well, fuck you stupid RUNAWAY BRIDE MOVIE. You can go straight to hell. Not only did they sell this joke from Earth Girls Are Easy, they rub it in our faces. I wonder what Julie Brown or Geena Davis thought of this when they watched RB? It's a very, "HEY! Wait a goddamn minute" moment. I am pretty sure my Granny busted a gut and didn't even now it was a stolen sight gag. Maybe a homage to EGAE, but I doubt it. I was in shock for the awhile, so whatever revenge they had planned in the beauty shop by passed me. I think they dyed Gere's hair a WACKY color or some shit.

Julia Roberts continues to be a nightmare as she openly flirts with her best friend's husband at a ballgame and gets told that USS MAGGIE leaves quite a wake. HAR! One of my favorite things about RUNAWAY BRIDE is the the OVER use of one of its sponsor. Popsicle is EVER WHERE! No one actually eats one, but the signs are all over the place. She then breaks into Gere's hotel room and digs through all his papers, then escapes out the window and skirts around the building ledge and is gone! Runaway Fiance! But it seems Gere is starting to fall for Runaway Bride's charm!

So the entire town is a buzz. Is she going to run again. The groom is convinced she won't. Gere is convinced she will. The townsfolk voice their opinions during the rocka-hula luau wedding party dinner. Everyone basically reads Runaway Bride like she is an overdue library book. She kinda deserves it, but it makes everyone feel awkward. He dad even says, "She might be the town's longest running joke, but at least she is the fastest!" OH GURL!

So then, Runaway Bride yells at Richard Gere, because she thinks he is TRYING to make her run, but then they start making out in front of everyone at the rehearsal and the wedding is called off. So she didn't run, she just cancelled it the day before. BITCH, that is the same thing. We get treated to a "falling in love" montage with team Roberts/Gere that includes riding horses on the beach and acting like assholes. We are almost two hours into the movie and so far you want to runaway yourself. It seems Gere has tamed this runaway horse, but it is hard to teach a runaway bride new tricks. Can she make it down the aisle one last time or will she always be a bride, never a bridesmaid?

RUNAWAY BRIDE is none of the things that it thinks it is. It is not romantic, unless you like to watch jerk offs fall in love with each other. It isn't funny, even though Julia does her token prat fall twice and has a couple of "funny" stunts. Don't rewind the bell ringing part, because you will be sad that you actually watched it again. As I watched it, I just could not get the fact that my granny went to see this in the theater. What was she thinking? Was she on Runaway Bride's side? I do know that she didn't like Erin Brockovich though. Too much cussing for my Granny.

The two best parts of watching RUNAWAY BRIDE on VHS (which is the only way you can seem to find it in a pinch) is that they tossed that Dixie Chicks "Ready To Run" video at the end. So you get to scream, "RUN YOU DIXIE BITCHES!" as they book it from their grooms and the trailer at the beginning of the movie. If you love RUNAWAY BRIDE, you'll love....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Classics: And God Created Woman (1988)

In 1956 Roger Vadim created a masterpiece of gritty beauty and subtle elegance. His film ...And God Created Woman was a landmark film and one of the best roles for the incomparable Bridgette Bardot.Vadim went on to fuck and fuck over Jane Fonda. Add Blood and Roses, Barbarella and the impressive Fairie Tale Theater: Beauty and The Beast to his resume. But it would be his last film that he would ponder that universal question that never has easy answers. Can lightening strike twice? Could he helm a remake of his classic '56 film? Luckily for his he pursued this dream and brought us And God Created Woman (1988).

This time he would entrust this revision with the ample talents of Babs De Mornay. She is a constant favorite in the house of BadMovieArt. To compare the two films is like comparing a slow, dizzying night of red hot sex to dolphin rape. Both can be polarizing and just as worthy of an examination.

It all starts with a daring prison escape. Babs De Mornay has devised a fool prove plan. She jumps from the roof of the women's prison and lands on the top of a delivery truck. In a move that would have shattered every bone of an average gal on the go, Babs proves just how strong her armour is as she skirts away unnoticed and unharmed. Ah, Freedom! Miles away, she jumps from the moving truck and finds herself in the middle of the desert. Where, we have no idea? Nevada? Southern California? No clue. Yet. She then rips her shirt off and tosses it in the wind. Standing bare chested she turns to the camera and stares off toward the sky. The strange thing is that her face has been painted white. It seems that she somehow took a detour to the set of A Man Called Horse or some shit, but the scene got edited out. Anyway, she manages to flag down a limo, but finds herself heading back to the prison where the owner of the limo had left his briefcase. RATS! He sneaks her back in and states, "Wrong man, right car." Whatever that means.

Babs is determined to return to her cell, but she first stops off for a quick pony ride (see SWEET JUSTICE) with Vincent Spano, who is doing some construction at the prison. As they fuck, the prison warden wanders in, calling his name. She then shakes her head and says, "He isn't suppose to roaming around here alone!" With his red bandanna tied around his forehead and his skoal can outline on the left rear pocket of his Levi's, Spano is dreamboat material! I am officially on board with this film.

So, FIFTEEN MINUTES into the film, a lot has gone down. De Mornay then bust out her guitar and sings her hit new single "Break Down The Walls". Think "The Reach (Do The Reach)" from Valet Girls, but if sung by Lita Ford. She is accompanied by none other than one of my favorite divas, Thelma Houston as The Prison Singer. That is what the credits call her at least. They rock it out with a touch of funk, before the prison warden, "Sounds Like Shit!" . Disgruntled, but not dismayed, Babs hatches a plan to pay Spano five thousand WHOLE dollars to marry her so she can get patrolled. It seems that if someone wants to marry you, the state is a little more forgiving when it comes to patrol. I did not know this tidbits. See, And God Created Woman (1988) taught me something. I wasn't expecting that!

So with her banana clip firmly in place, she kisses her Jill Scott looking cellmate goodbye and the film morphs into Overboard. Spano and his clan are waiting outside the prison for his new bride. Family members include beret wearing Donovan Lietch who we learn can play a mean synthesizer (A CLUE!) and Spano's kid! The child immediately hates the former jailbird and voices his opinion. Babs, never one to be put off by a brat, lashes back and spits, "I finally got rid of my family, why would I want yours!"

So it is family living for Babs and just when you don't think Vincent Spano can get any hotter he does. he promptly chews his new wife out for not wanting to spend the night with him in his bed when she chooses the couch over him. He yells and hollers all while in just a tee shirt and underwear. SUPER HOT! This instantly caused a new fashion trend in my house, because it is a fact that yelling at people is more fun with no pants on.

Babs decides to pursue a music career, but ends up being told that she has a nice ass, but can't sing. Which is true. She tosses a grapefruit at the sleazy music producer and stomps out. Not one to give up so easily, she forms her own band with guess who? CLUES!

It is finally revealed that the film takes place in Santa Fe and completely shot on location. Nothing good comes out of Santa Fe (see the movie Santa Fe) and Spano eats a ton of Kettle Chips and has a family fight over hamburger meat. Babs solves all the problems though with a boom box, a picnic and SALSA! De Mornay practices A LOT with her band and says things like, "Shadow me on the bass" so we know she really is jamming. Having come to a cross roads in her life, she eats a bunch of Almost Home cookies (so symbolic) and smokes a bunch of cigarettes to help her make her decision. It comes to her though. She knows she must do it. Enter her no name band in a trashy country bar's talent show! It does not go well.

When the guy in the limo shows back up and offers her and her music one last chance at freedom, she goes into GIT IT GIRL mode, which means she sticks her butt in the air and acts super annoying to the rest of the cast. But in her last ditch effort for independence, she learns that freedom isn't always free.

What makes GOD CREATED WOMAN (1988) so special is that the pacing will make you crazy. it goes from prison drama to wack-a-doodle rom-com so fast you won't even know what happened until it does. You sit there stunned after jokes don't land and ask yourself, "Was that suppose to be funny?" Then right back into heavy handed drama to a musical.

It is refreshing to see a movie not really care if the audience can follow the plot. It allows you to make up your own storyline. Chances are yours will be more thought out than AND GOD CREATED WOMAN (1988) and involve less cocaine. But it won't be as sexy! Or as many stunts!