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Entries in TV at the Movies (25)

Thursday
Mar102011

TV at the Movies: "They're All Going to Laugh at You!"

Shall we have a small screen comment diversion? There are two things in particular that are urging this post on. One: Gwyneth Paltrow as "Holly Holiday" wisecracking sexed up substitute teacher on Glee and Raja's increasingly commendable and now movie-spoofing creativity on RuPaul's Drag Race.

Let's take Raja first. Rita Rudner, who was the guest judge and comedy coach for this week's challenge (developing a comedy routine), was worried that people wouldn't have seen Carrie (1976) "I haven't seen it in 40 years" and therefore wouldn't get Raja's references. Oh Rita; the gays have seen Carrie! It's maybe not as obsessively worshipped as Baby Jane but it's up there. Raja came out wearing this.

Raja as Carrie, Raja as Herself

They're all going to laugh at you! (On purpose.)

I don't want to stress how much I love Raja and did long before he started referencing great movies like Heathers and Carrie verbally or with inspired visual gags. Basically when I love a contestant on any show they are doomed to come in second (or less) to someone hugely inferior. (I knew this was coming last season when Raven, who I was already crushing hard on, referenced Michelle Pfeiffer of all people. I was done!) I have the same weird mutant power to curse great actresses with my fandom, my love being the anti-Oscar. Do you have this power? Maybe it's our combined love that curses them? I'd prefer to share blame -- please, take some of it. Tell me someone you've cursed by loving them.  Only a lucky few escape this particular curse  -- Kidman, Winslet -- and then usually only by denying someone else that I'd rather call an Oscar winner! I'm sorry I/we did this to you Bening, Pfeiffer, Close, Turner, Moore, etcetera!

Speaking of Oscar winners, Gwyneth Paltrow revived some fan love when she absolutely killed in her guest spot on Glee months ago as the Lindsay Lohan mocking, Cee Lo singing, substitute Spanish teacher. Last night she was back to reprise the role, this time offering up some sex ed. Her first scene involving a cucumber and a condom was quite hilarious but she peaked early. The rest of the episode was an uncomfortable preachy weirdly discombobulated mess. Just like every other episode.

Let us fantasize about having so many musical-fix options available on TV and at the movies that we need have no great love for it. Yet we do. Gwyneth's voice is emotionally expressive and can flip from exuberant to sad and is really quite beautiful so the internet nastiness about her possible new record deal is just the typical hatesnark that ever plagues the great Web. If you can listen to her cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide", or rather her cover of the Dixie Chicks cover of that song,  and think that she doesn't have musical chops, you should probably see an Otologist. Salon thinks Gwynnie's character, or at least what she's emblematic of, is ruining Glee. I get the argument but it's really hard to single out one troublesome element since Glee is quite obviously, emphatically and even proudly the Worst "Best" show on television.

To borrow from RuPaul herself, "Can I get an 'amen'"?

Or a second opinion?

Wednesday
Mar022011

TCM's 31 Days of Oscar *CONTEST*

March is Reader Appreciation Month!

Have any of you been catching up on past Oscar nominees during Turner Classic Movie's annual marathon of Oscar nominated films? They've been doing it for years. The thing we love most about it now that Oscar has left March for February is that it just bleeds over into March to make up for February's abbreviated obstinance. The festival ends Friday in the early AM but TCM is always showing movies and they pack so many in that we still have 15 Oscar nominated movies to look forward to in this particular program. It's kind of a godsend if you have the flu like me. I might just lay on the couch and watch all of them. I'm watching East of Eden (which JA just wrote about) as I type this.

31 days, oscar, tcm31 days, oscar, tcm31 days, oscar, tcm

CHECK OUT THE SCHEDULE AT TCM.COM/31DAYS

For you actressexuals out there, the schedule tomorrow features three major screen divas: Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were (1973) one of the greatest romantic dramas Hollywood ever made; Bette Davis in the Hollywood drama The Star (1952); and Maggie Smith in the Neil Simon comedy California Suite (1978). Three films that Nick, Mike and I have discussed in the Best Picture From the Outside In series are also featured tomorrow: Grand Hotel, The Broadway Melody and Mutiny on the Bounty.

So that's it. Once again please visit TCM, it's a great station for movie lovers like us.

THE CONTEST
Last year when we held this contest Sam in Texas won a 5 DVD pack from TCM of my choosing which were: Double Indemnity (1944), A Star is Born (1954), The Umbrellas of Cherbourgh (1964), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) and They Shoot Horses Don't They (1969). I got a note from Sam when he received them so I know he enjoyed.  This year, we'll have TWO winners of 5 DVD packs. TCM handles this contest so it's only open to readers in the U.S. and Canada (sorry international readers. You know I usually include you.)

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED FOR ENTRIES

  1. Send an email to Nathaniel with "TCM CONTEST" in the subject line by [CLOSED]
  2. Include your name and shipping address.
  3. List the 5 DVDs from the following 31 you'd like if you win: Citizen Kane, Easy Rider, A Streetcar Named Desire, Funny Girl, Gandhi, Birdman of Alcatraz, South Pacific, Glory, The Battle of Algiers, Annie Get Your Gun, The Graduate, Gone With The Wind, Miracle on 34th Street, Casablanca, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Lawrence of Arabia, American Beauty, Network, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Teh Best Years of Our Lives, Amadeus, Sahara, Doctor Zhivago, On the Waterfront, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Annie Hall, Arthur, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Around the World in 80 Days and North By Northwest.
  4. Finally click around on TCM's schedule for March 5th-7th and tell me... which of those movie(s) you'd most like to see written about here on The Film Experience and why -- you don't even have to have seen it. Maybe it's a type of film or a time frame or an actor. It doesn't matter. I'll DVR either the most convincing argument made or the movie that shows up on the most entries and I'll write it up next week.

You must have all 4 of those bullet points to win. The two winners will be chosen at random and announced on Sunday March 6th.

Tuesday
Feb152011

Dark Shadows Slowly Moving Our Way

A big screen adaptation of television's cult oddity supernatural soap opera  "Dark Shadows" has been in development for ages now but it looks like it's finally happening. Tim Burton is finalizing his cast. In previous years this news would have thrilled me to no end. But it's been a long time since I could love a Burton film without reservation and adapting long form serials to the two hour demands of the big screen is wrought with... ahem... issues, no matter how talented the team. But maybe it's worth hoping that Burton could regain some early 90s glory? The last "vampires" (of sorts) that Tim Burton trained his camera on were actors playing them in his superb biopic Ed Wood (1994) so let's take that as a good omen.

And this:

"Elizabeth Collins Stoddard" and Michelle PfeifferDeadline reports that both Michelle Pfeiffer (wheeeeeeeee) and Helena Bonham Carter (duh! It's a Burton film) are both lined up for the major roles of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Dr. Julia Hoffman respectively.

The best part of this news might be this sentence at The Hollywood Reporter.

Pfeiffer is finding herself very much in demand this new year.

Music to a pfan's ears.

Since I've never seen an episode of Dark Shadows (have you?) I had to look these roles up. Elizabeth sounds like a beauty of a part. She's the regal shut in matriarch of the mansion where the story takes place and Wikipedia says "Despite her imperious and reserved exterior, Elizabeth is a deeply passionate woman who harbors several dark secrets." Ice queen with deep wells of inner fire? That's what you call Pfeifferian. It's not exactly a stretch but let's pray that Burton gets performances as good as he got for Ed Wood (which won Martin Landau the Oscar as the drug-haunted, faded star Bela Lugosi).

Dr Julia Meet Dr HelenaAs for Helena's role, she's a doctor who specializes in blood disorders who discovers the vampiric lead character Barnabas Collins. Over the course of the series her relationship to the vampire changes apparently but since this is a feature film with only two hours to tell the story who knows if she's friend or foe.

Some of you may recall that my friend Susan wrote a piece on this movie a couple years back at the old Film Experience blog and wherein she saw HBC coming in this exact role, writing.

Dr. Julia Hoffman's questionable methods and attitude make her my favorite character (so far) from the original series. The epitome of Barnabas’s foolishness is that he can’t see how fabulous the not-so-good doctor is since he’s blinded by the boring (but youthful) babes. If Burton ends up directing this, I’ll expect Helena Bonham Carter to take on this role, and since she doesn’t have to sing, I think she’d be a pretty good choice.

I presume I don't have to tell you which movie star has the lead role of Barnabas Collins. Who else would it be? Yes, him. Eva Green as the witch Angelique and Jackie Earle Haley as the con artist Willie Loomis have also joined the ballooning cast.

Have you ever seen Dark Shadows? Do you like the casting?

 

 

Wednesday
Feb022011

TV @ The Movies: "Meryl Streep Realness"

TV @ The Movies is a series that came to life because we always perk up when movies or movie actors are name-checked on the small screen. Who and what fillters into pop culture? And in what form?

Are any of you watching RuPaul's Drag Race Season 3? In the latest episode The Supermodel of The World gave her competing "gurls" scripts to film a movie trailer "Drag Queens in Outer Space: Return to Uranus". The acting in the final trailers was so hideous I didn't even remotely wish the fake movie was real and given that it was called "Drag Queens in Outer Space: Return to Uranus,"  that's a fail.

Shangela & Mimi discuss their upcoming performances

Shangela and Mimi Imfurst already hate each other and have become immediate rivals. This is because they're both crafty disingenuous camera hogs and nothing drives people crazier than seeing their unflattering traits reflected in other people. They're both continually making trouble (Shangela) or breaking down (Mimi) so as to log more camera time. Essentially, this is a fail safe ploy in the reality TV format: I already know their names and faces and the other queens are still bleeding together after two regular episodes. Mimi brags about her acting experience and on the read-through of the script, they have this exchange:

Shangela: You better get that Oscar, bitch.
Mimi Imfurst: I'm bringing Meryl Streep Realness. You gotta get ugly to win the gold.

As quotes go it's no "I was giving Michelle Pfeiffer bitch" uttered magnificently in season 2 by Raven (It's all downhill from Raven. Sigh). Meryl Streep Realness and the tried and trued De-Glam Oscar trick both make sense on their own but putting them together is like talking in gibberish. Streep has never had to downplay her beauty for Oscar's attention. In fact, her Best Actress Oscar went to arguably one of her most glamorous performances in Sophie's Choice. Yes, yes, she also deglams within the same film in flashbacks. But that's Meryl; she does it all. Except for maybe camp.

Okay, okay. That's not exactly true.

 

Mimi ended up going for full Leigh Bowery Artifice, Meryl Streep Realness never entering the picture.

But the queens weren't done paying homage/defaming the prestige screen divas. Later Stacy Lane Matthew's performance as "Lady Tata" in the sci-fi trailers prompted comparisons to none other than Dame Judi Dench.

Stacy: Honey, I don't know who in the hell I was.
Shangela: Girl, you were some British bitch.
Mimi: You were Judi Dench giving us Shakespeare.
Shangela: Where in the hell did you get that accent Miss Back Swamp North Carolina? Next thing you turn around you're a British bitch.
Stacy: Bitch, I was thinking Julia Child.

[Ahem]. Speaking of Streep Realness/Camp.

For reasons that are still unclear Lily Tomlin was a guest judge. (Sci-fi plus Lily? Why?) Strangely, she didn't say much and only made one funny.

If you were starring in "Drag Queens From Outer Space," which legendary actress would you be using for inspiration? Would you be okay with Lily Tomlin judging you?

RuPaul's Drag Race is available to watch online. If you dare.

 

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