Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lucky 13

The next cycle of ANTM is debuting on Setpember 9. My life will be officially over for the next thirteen to fourteen weeks after that date.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I heard a "Rumor"...

On Saturday I watched "Rumor Has It" on Oxygen. The back story here is, someone thought: "let's see what happened to the people in 'The Graduate' about 30 years later." The problem with that is no one cares. Or no one should care. Charles Webb's original story was turned into the acclaimed film of the same name and it turned Dustin Hoffman into a star. So, that's all good. But because someone couldn't think of a good idea on their own and decided to just leech from someone else's artistic baby, this trite "comedy" was thrust upon the public.
Don't get me wrong - it's a cute movie. And Jennifer Aniston does a pretty good job with what she's been given. The problem that I had with it was that it just was not well written. The dialogue was pretty stiff and the story was silly. One of the major plot elements was that crazy WASPy shit happens all the time in Pasadena, CA. Didn't you know?!? I didn't know.
I think the reason for all the crazy WASPy shit has more to do with the bored rich white people than the location of where they live. And Pasadena was not a major focal point of "The Graduate", so it seems strange to lay so much pressure on one little city.

The plot is as follows: Sarah Huttinger comes home (to Pasadena!) for her younger sister's wedding. She brings with her her fiance, Jeff Daly (played by a long-suffering Mark Ruffalo - someone get this guy out of RomComs!) and this is his first time meeting the family. Sarah is nervous about getting married; she is in her early thirties and writes wedding announcement and obituaries for a living-an early on-set mid-life crisis fits nicely. Exacerbating this is her younger sister's over-flowing excitement at her upcoming nuptials.
At the pre-wedding dinner Sarah is reunited with her grandmother, Katherine Richelieu. Played by Shirley McClaine, Katherine comes off a bit more acidic than you might like. Her character was the basis for the now infamous "Mrs. Robinson" and it seems that the resulting years have taken their toll on her. Sarah learns from Katherine that her mother (Jocelyn) ran away a few days before her wedding. She made her way down to Cabo San Lucas and spent three days with a Beau Burroughs. Turns out Jocelyn and Beau had gone to school together and dated casually but that all ended when Beau and Katherine had an affair.
Sound familiar? It didn't to Sarah. Took her until the next day to figure out that the story Charles Webb put to paper in 1963 was (supposedly) based on her own family. Her only concern, and rightly so, was whether or not this mysterious Beau Burroughs is her biological father. Sarah's epiphany comes after meeting with one of her mother's old school mates (an oddly cast and uncredited Kathy Bates), who also mentions Beau's connection to Charles Webb; they went to college together.
After the wedding Sarah flies up to San Francisco to meet Beau and ask him about his relationship with her mother. Turns out that Beau has made quite a living for himself as a Silicon Valley Internet Wizard and, as portrayed by Kevin Costner, lives his life as a slightly weary man. Costner's casting in this situation was odd for me. His rakish charm didn't really come through and the weariness that seemly replaced it hardly beckoned me to his bed. But Sarah found him interesting enough to get drunk with and tumble into bed with.
Beau admits to the affairs (though no juicy details on Katherine's now infamous seduction) and explains that Jocelyn just showed up at his door-step and they spent their time together very much in love. But Jocelyn returned to her husband-to-be, leaving Beau by himself. This is where Beau has been ever since then it seems - all by himself. He explains that even though they slept together, Sarah couldn't possibly be his daughter as he had suffered from Blunt Testicular Trauma when he was a boy. This has left him incapable of concieving. This has also left me incapable of taking this movie seriously.
One of the things that I enjoyed from Ted Griffin's script and Rob Reiner's direction is that none of the performances were copied from the original film. While I may not have enjoyed Shirley McClaine's acid-tongue and broad-comedy antics or Kevin Costner's "world-weary" down-trodden slump, I was happy to see that no aping was going on. Besides, doesn't it make sense for the characters to have grown after all this time?
The story gets really really sloppy after this. Sarah, though guilt-stricken at her betrayal, decides to stay and join Beau at a charity ball. There she meets Beau's son Blake. GASP! Not really. Turns out he and his ex-wife had used artificial inseminated to become pregnant. Sarah kisses him and is caught by Jeff. Poor, poor Jeff. The poor bastard was back home in New York calling Sarah on the cell phone he accidentally left with her with no response, calling Beau's office with little result until finally explaining his predicament. That's when he miraculously shows up at the ball, is let in by security and finds his betrothed in a lip-lock with some dude in a tux. He's understandably mad and leaves Sarah.
Sarah goes back to Pasadena to talk to her grandmother. The exterior of Katherine's house is the same from "The Graduate" - a nice touch. Katherine is angered to hear what happened, but I was never quite sure if she was mad at Beau for possibly seducing Sarah or for Sarah's stupid behavior. After a scene so shrill and mind-numbing that I'd just rather not talk about it, Sarah and Katherine rush over to her father's house to attend to little sister Annie. Turns out that Annie and her new husband had to come back from their honeymoon because Annie had a full-scale panic attack.
The girls talk frankly, or that's what we are lead to believe since the scene cuts away to outside the house where Beau has inexplicably shown up. Did he know where Jocelyn had lived all this time? Did he go to Katherine's first and then was told where to go? I don't know. What I do know is that the screaming not-match Beau and Katherine compete in is the most interesting part of the film. Katherine tries to shame Beau for taking advantage of Sarah when she was in a weak position, but Beau fires back that he never took advantage of anyone in the Richelieu family. Turns out, Mrs. Richelieu WAS the one who seduced Beau. And Jocelyn came to Beau, both times. Now, it was Sarah's turn to look for comfort in Beau's arms.
It's an interesting look at an incomplete character. Consider that at the end of "The Graduate" Ben gets the girl but doesn't know what to do with her. As they leave the wedding in the public bus, both Ben and Elaine stare off into the unknown, not smiling. All Ben has is the fact that he was seduced by a bored housewife during a difficult time in his life; after that affair ended he fell quickly in love with a girl that was unattainable though searching for a way out of her guilded cage. He is a boy that became a man through the machinations of women looking to find themselves. No wonder he looks like shit now.
Sarah has explained the whole "The Graduate" situation to Annie, which somehow reinforces Annie's love for her husband and Sarah's love for Jeff. I give up. Anyway, they see grandma and Beau battling it out on the front yard and Sarah goes to talk to Beau. She tells him a bunch of stuff that I can't remember. I do recall there being a moment where Beau seriously tries to talk her into staying with him; it made me very sad to see an interesting man such as Beau left floundering. But Sarah basically tells him that there could never be anything more between them and firmly decided to go back to Jeff.
Sarah's father, Earl, comes out of the house and talks briefly with Beau. Earl seemingly has no idea that he's making friendly chit-chat with his dead wife's lover; we also learn that it was Earl who caused the testicular trauma during a soccer game the two played in their youth. How darling. I'd like to say right here and now that Richard Jenkins (who plays Earl) is a delightful and vastly under used actor.
Later that evening Sarah and her father have a heart-to-heart. He admits that he always knew about the affair. Turns out that Jocelyn may have liked the adventure of Beau but she loved Earl and the life that they could build together. They made love the night that she came back from Mexico, which explained why Sarah's birthday was so dangerously close to the wedding day. It also explained a few things for Sarah; she had always labored under the guilt of having been a burden on her mother and felt estranged from her family because she wasn't "blond enough" or "didn't play tennis well enough." This is poor writing no matter how you look at it. But I guess it doesn't matter since it can all be forgotten now that she knows the truth.
Sarah goes back to New York and talks to Jeff. I'll be honest: by this point I was totally over the film and spent the last 10 minutes of the movie talking with my boyfriend about my day. I'll tell you that they reconciled and got married. According to Wikipedia, Jeff agrees to come back to Sarah on the condition that if they have a daughter she never goes near Beau. HAHHAHAHAeehhhhh....
The movie ends with their wedding. Beau is there, sitting by himself. Now I wish I had paid attention because I feel that the story was just cheap and silly enough to possibly have Katherine pounce on the poor slob again.

This was my first foray into film review, so I'd like it if you let me know how I did. Obviously this isn't the most current film ever but it was one that grabbed my interest. I intend to review more films and eventually books. Any feedback is welcomed!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

ANTM #12 - I Fucking Hate This Show

OK, so the finale aired a looooong time ago and I've been promising this forever but now it doesn't even seem relevant. But I figured that I would throw it out there because as much as I hate this show, I love it with all my heart.
Some interesting developments have popped up since the crown was placed on Teyona's poorly done weave. Paulina was fired from the show; supposedly her ego was too big. That does make sense since there's really only room for Tyra's ego. Over at FourFour.com Rich interviewed my love Celia and discovered that there was a whole lot of bullshit going on behind the scenes. He also had his cat Winston interview my love #2 Allison - check it out because it's sooooo cute!
We all know that next cycle is for the shorties, which I'm hoping will make it a lot more interesting.

Oh yeah: Thalia is pregnant. FUCKING HELL.

In a recap of the final three contestants, here is what Tyra says about them:
  • Aminat:"outspoken" (aka Bitch)
  • Allison: the judges love her photos week-to-week...but what dimension does she have?
  • Teyona: "beautiful and gifted." Consistently delivered the best photos, Paulina? Really?
How bummed does Allison look now that Celia is gone? I feel really bad for her since all she's stuck with are the human personifications of the Siamese cats from "Lady and the Tramp." Actually it would be pretty awesome to watch them try to kill a baby.
At least Aminat is still retarded. She thinks that she is the "underdog."

CoverGirl Commercial/Photo Shoot
YEAY! McKey is here! Who gives a shit!

  • Aminat - Take 1: vacant face. Take 2: vacant face but Mr. J gives up and says "good job."
  • Allison - looks beautiful! Take 1: does OK but forgets some of the script. Take 2: much better.
  • Teyona - looks like a drag queen but not in a good way. Take 1: too rushed. Take 2: sings some retarded song, fucks up completely and starts crying on camera - America, meet your next Top Model! Take 3: OK, considering she just had a mental breakdown.
Aminat is still under the illusion that not only did she do well, she will also win.
Teyona cries again because she couldn't perform or speak during the commercial. Maybe if she tried yelling or talking shit to the CoverGirl representative it would have helped her a little more. Just putting it out there.

Panel #1
As usual they played the whole commercial; this edit showed mostly Allison.
Then Tyra called them up one-by-one for an evaluation.

  • Teyona: you could tell she was freaked out. And she cries again....Her photo was OK but the judges seemed to be more concerned with making her feel better than giving her any form of criticism, constructive or not.
  • Allison: she was clearly better than Teyona but the judges could only muster an "eh." Her photo was beautiful but odd, much like Allison. Tyra liked it though.
  • Aminat: meh..."easy, brevvy, beauful" but the judges ate it up. Her photo was the best one for me and they hated it. I GIVE UP!
What I found to be absolutely fascinating was that the judges seemed to only have negative things to say about all the girls. Teyona is a one-dimensional model. Allison is odd looking and may be too short (even though this is the first time her height has been mentioned). Aminat can't use her face properly.
Why did you even keep them around then?

Final 2: Allison and Teyona
Fuck along now Aminat; maybe Teyona will hire you to hold her water when she's "famous." It's fun because she cries but it stops being fun because she talks about continuing to pursue a career in modeling.

Seventeen Shoot
The girls are sent to the Seventeen Magazine photo shoot. Whoever wins will have their picture on the cover of the next issue. How fabulous, it's like being on the cover of Vogue except totally not anything as prestigious as that.
Allison looked super relaxed and like she was having fun.
Teyona, however, did not. She was so tense you could grow a diamond in her ass.

Fashion Show
First of all, what the fuck is a Brazilian Stomp?
Also, McKey is sooooo boring. I think she's on Quaaludes or something because life seems to move in slow fucking motion when she is around...
Teyona starts out great, very strong.
Allison surprises everyone with a cute little walk and a fierce face.
Eventually Teyona just starts to look mad all the time.
Allison continues on to Cutesville!

Now, if you watched you probably had the same question as I did: what was the last "scene" all about? Were the models wrestling in mud? Chocolate syrup? Shit? And why were they doing that? As a designer I'd rather not have my clothing saturated with what could be some form of feces.
Allison made the most out of her situation. She really seemed to be trying to take this as seriously as possible and ended up looking like a "live art installation." Which is still laughable since that's barely a step up from mime.
Teyona, however, seemed to just give up on the whole concept of behaving "like a model" and started humping the floor and grinding against the male models. Honey, they are scared of your vagina enough already - don't make it worse for them. Her weave fell out of course and she started swinging it around because she was having another mental breakdown. That's the only reason for what was happening. Really.

Panel #2
Lighting Shoot: good job
Color Shoot: weird photo
Ciara Shoot: sexy and passionate
Carmen Miranda Shoot: cute pin-up
Bird Shoot: Tyra liked more

Good walk during the show
Much better and more playful than Teyona
All the judges agree that Allison will get more work
And she has improved the most since the beginning of the show

Lighting Shoot: Eh...
Color Shoot: looked beautiful
Ciara Shoot: hot and powerful
Carmen Miranda Shoot: very editorial
Bird Shoot: beautiful but not the best

Did well during show but became robotic
All the judges agree that she does not have a good personality
They also question if Teyona wants it more
Teyona has been consistent

Tyra seems to think that every one's critique is "neck and neck."

America's Next Top Model: Teyona, whatever...
They keep talking about passion and drive - I didn't see any...

So there you have it! I get to go back to my life now and forget this ever happened until next cycle starts and the madness begins again. I hope next time around is a little less frustrating because this was too much for me to take...

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