Archive for the ‘film’ Category

Storming The Stage With Sylvia Fowler

November 5, 2013
The two sides of Sylvia Fowler

Sylvia Fowler: motormouth and rubberneck.

“Take a good grip on yourself; you are going to DIE! Stephen Haines is stepping out on Mary!”  With this juicy salvo, Rosalind Russell spits out the verbal spark that ignited “The Women.”  It was one of the highest grossing films of 1939, a whip-smart comedy lampooning the intrigues of the privileged class, featuring a veritable army of female talent.  Much has been said about Rosalind Russell’s performance in “The Women”, and rightfully so: its brilliance is undeniable.  Russell’s portrayal of ruthless gossip Sylvia Fowler is a mad gallop across the gamut of what’s funny:   lethal one liners executed with rat-a-tat-tat rapidity, coupled with ferocious physical comedy, all in service of an unforgettably daffy character who easily carries away the entire film.  Sylvia Fowler, with her eager ears and unstoppable mouth, would be the last person anyone would want to see sitting across from them at a gathering of friends.  Yet the crazed charisma of Russell’s performance transforms this ruthless scandalmonger into a lovable lunatic.  She simply cannot help herself.  Her condition, as summed up by her best friend Edith Potter (Phylis Povah) is congenital and chronic: “It’s just her tough luck that she wasn’t born deaf and dumb.”  We love her best of all the women in the film, even those whose lives she destroys. (more…)

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The Lost Genius Of Robin Gibb

May 28, 2012

This is a story about alienation and beauty.  It is a story of thoughtless cruelty and heartbreak.  It’s the story of tempestuous youth in 1979.  It’s set on a school bus, mostly, and it has actual villains.  It is at its heart a story that is laughably sad, and sadly laughable.  (We are talking about puberty, after all.)  But it’s mostly about the voice of Bee Gee Robin Gibb: its haunting desolation, its exquisite ache, the hope despite hopelessness it conveyed.  It’s about how I came to find solace within the voice of Robin Gibb when I was young and the inspiring legacy he left behind.   I hope to do it justice. (more…)

The Misery of Dark Shadows

May 13, 2012

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Last week, I watched Tim Burton take one of my favorite TV shows, “Dark Shadows”, crack it open, gut it of nearly all of its original charms, stuff it with seventies jokes and sex until it was as bloated and corrupt as Last Gasp Elvis, and then he sent it roaring across the silver screen like the leisure-suited horror show monster it was—killing beloved characters, and leaving the original narrative landscape a charred wasteland.  I was horrified.  I was angry.  I was in misery: misery with a capital “M”.  That’s right: I was in Misery, specifically the part where Annie Wilkes, outraged by the shabby script of a cliffhanger, totally flips out right there in the theatre.  As Burton puppeteered the mouth of  Barnabus Collins to recite “I’m a picker/I’m a grinner/I’m a lover/And I’m a sinner”, I was right there with Annie, yelling “Barnabus Collins never quoted a cockadoodie Steve Miller song!!!” (more…)

Nobody’s Perfect, Superman

October 27, 2009
Attack of the Misplaced Genitalia!

Attack of the Misplaced Genitalia!

The gays have long enjoyed a playful relationship with gender.  And why not?  Since many of us have already disregarded rules like “That’s an exit, not an entrance”, “No spitting tobacco juice on the sidewalk”, “The booty dance is not for white people”, and “Go to church!”, it’s not hard to understand how the social mores that rigidify and categorize human experience wouldn’t be much to our liking, either.  Gender rebels abound in the gay world, in fact.  Witness drag maven RuPaul and her Drag Race dynasty, a reality show that takes boys and turns them into men who will kick your ass if you have a problem with them looking like fabulous flamingo women.  Witness the mullet, a manishly short in the front, lady-long in the back hairstyle popular amongst rural lesbians that says “I fix trucks real good, hoss.” (more…)

Stop Your Sobbing

August 16, 2009

Ladies, the time has come for a change.  As Chrissie Hynde says, and so say I: “It is time for you to stop all of your sobbing.” (more…)