"Cock Clock" (Homo Heritage Fridays)

The International Magazine of Entertainment and Eros.
January 1982 ~ page 76
For details, click the image; then click again to magnify

It's about time, indeed.


To Dos Day

___ Item 1: ENJOY DINNER.
Some of StinkyLulu's tags for the "Dinner With" meme have made their invitations, so prepare to enjoy an evening with Brad Pitt, Harvey Fierstein and Diana of Themyscira. Yum.

___ Item 2: DON'T BITE.
I'm sorta stunned that "We won't bite you until we know you better" remains the single quote -- among all those selected for StinkyLulu's version of that movie quote meme -- to remain unattributed. Here's a hint. Here's another. Any guesses?

___ Item 3: WAX POETIC.
With W.H. Auden, a mechanic named Bud, and "The Platonic Bow"
(via The Sword - nsfw)

Inspired by Nathaniel's 2nd annual Actress Psychic Contest, I'm still contemplating a mini-version for Supporting Actresses. If you would like to play Supporting Actress prognosticator, please do consider joining up. I'll run a real contest if I get 25+ folks (I've got about 5 or so folks now) interested in playing. To indicate your interest, shoot me a quick email and tell me your top 6 picks for Best Supporting Actress 2008, with a bonus/tie-breaker of your most likely Razzie nominee.

___ Item 5: VOTE FOR "BORN IN 1953".
The poll for April's "Born In..." featurette is open at right. 'Twas -- in contrast to 1967 -- a somewhat limited field. As it turns out, the relatively concentrated field permitted me to refine the choices in a fairly productive way. Mot of the films/performances listed are from films I have not seen (or wasn't paying much attention when I did). Also, while there are a few top shelf options, most of the films are pretty sketchy. Which, given the curious thrills that have been provided by both Julia Ormond and Macy Gray, seems like a good thing. I mean, one can't live on quality film alone.

Last week, I had a bit of a break in my daily routine, allowing me to see three movies in four days -- ahh I love semester breaks -- each of which contained genuine and compelling Supporting Actress performances. (See my Film Log for more details.) Which makes me wonder? Have y'all seen anything especially good Supporting Actressness lately? Offer your tips in comments.

Have at it, lovelies!


Macy Gray in Shadowboxer (2005) - Supporting Actress Sundays

This week's Supporting Actress Sunday profile marks the first in what I anticipate to be a new series, "Born In...," in which I take on a performance by a Supporting Actress "born in" the year of that month's Smackdown. The hope is that this series might both broaden my screening spectrum while also allowing a bit more attention to more performances in contemporary, overlooked or just bad movies. Attentive readers among you might recall that, in my inaugural experiment for this series, I opened the voting among a list of ten actresses "Born in 1967," the year of the last Smackdown of 2007. The actresses o 1967 included such notable actresses at the edges as Laura Dern, Maria Bello, Carrie-Ann Moss, Lily Taylor and Brooke Smith, among others, but somehow the voting seemed always to tip the scales toward this week's featured performance...

...Macy Gray in Shadowboxer (2005).
approximately 6 minutes and 46 seconds
4 scenes

roughly 7% of film's total running time
Macy Gray plays Neisha, the best friend of Vicki (Vanessa Ferlito, entirely adequate here) who happens to be wife/girlfriend/babymama of an evil crime boss, Clayton (Stephen Dorff, doing his now-patented sleazy-sexy-crazy schtick with clarity and verve).
Ostensibly, Gray's Neisha marks the only connection Ferlita's Vicki has to the world outside Clayton's criminally decadent bubble. (The first shot we see of Clayton's mansion foregrounds a zebra grazing, it seems, on the grounds. Hmmm. A zebra. Perhaps a symbol of Clayton's awry opulence? Possibly a synecdoche of the film's ambivalent fascination with the psychological dimensions of interracial romance? Either way -- that's a zebra. On the lawn). Yet, while Neisha seems to be in the film to provide some emotional mooring for Ferlita's Vicki, neither the screenplay nor Gray do much with the character. She's brash; she's bold; she's sweet; she's trashy. Indeed, while her pregnant best friend's locked in a crimelord's giant house, Neisha's always a little bit drunk/high, mushmouthedly chattering about finding herself a man at Ladies' Night.
When Vicki disappears -- see, Dorff's Clayton took out a contract on his pregnant wife, which hired killer Rose (Helen Mirren in an utterly befuddled performance) is unable to execute because her late stage cancer has instigated a spiritual crisis of sorts -- Gray's Neisha arrives to the estate, demanding to see her friend.
After pounding, kicking and shrieking at the security system, Gray's Neisha confronts Dorff's Clayton directly about how badly he treats her friend. Meanwhile, Clayton's pretends to be the grieving husband, plying Neisha with promises of Pina Coladas if only she will come inside.
In a rare moment of clarity -- albeit filmed in closeup as a slapsticky sequence of double-takes -- Neisha realizes that Clayton only wants her inside so he can kill her, and with comic clumsiness (intentional, I think), Neisha hightails it away from Clayton's exotic estate.
Unfortunately, Neisha's lucidity doesn't last long and she's soon caught in Clayton's murderous web again. This time, however, another of Clayton's hired killers (Cuba Gooding Jr, as Mirren's stepson, lover, and partner in contract killing) seduces Gray's Neisha easily at the strangest nightclub I have seen onscreen in some time.
Gray's Neisha -- apparently perennially intoxicated -- thrills at the prospect of this handsome, glamorous, hunky black man plying her and her tranny friends (!) with booze. She sloppily agrees to take this "superstar" back to her place (another astonishing moment in art direction).
There, Gray's Neisha dies a simple, mildly ignominious death as Gooding's Mikey coaxes her gently through her convulsive passing.
Gray's performance is vivid and memorable, while also being only nominally coherent and virtually unintelligible. The singer's signature vocal slur reveals just how unhelpful the generally ponderous dialogue actually is. (Gray's slushy mumbling also inadvertently demonstrates how the performances by Dorff, Ferlita, Gooding and Mirren, as well as Joseph Gordon-Leavitt and Mo'nique, might actually be fairly accomplished, as the words very nearly make sense when they say them.) But Gray's performance depends almost entirely on her formidable presence -- and utter believability -- as a clownish trainwreck. If Gray's Neisha is the only person looking out for Vicki, then Ferlita's character might just be lucky to have been adopted by these codependent, neo-incestuous contract killers after all. But perhaps the worst part about Gray's Neisha is that no one seems to care. About either the character -- Ferlita's Vicki never inquires about her best friend, nor does she ever discover Neisha's death or Mikey's role in it -- or about the novice actress's performance -- director Lee Daniels seems to have merely trained his camera on Gray to watch her flail in the role. As best as I can tell, the film seems content to busy itself concocting a lurid amalgamation of post-Freudian incest tropes and interracial depredations and, in so doing, utilizes Macy Gray's Neisha mostly as a memorable red herring (much like the zebra on the lawn). Indeed, the casual disregard for both the character and the actress evocatively demonstrates (though only in retrospect) that this film only looks like a noirish puzzler when it's actually a high-concept explication of strange domestic fantasies.
At least that's my best guess. I still have no real idea. Any help from y'all -- either in making sense of Gray's performance or the film as a whole -- will be gratefully appreciated...


"Can Be Hung On The Wall" (Homo Heritage Fridays)

The end of Celebrity Rehab heralds the return of StinkyLulu's longtime Friday morning feature, Homo Heritage Fridays!

The International Magazine of Entertainment and Eros
November 1977 ~ page 76
For details, click the image; then click again to magnify

Watch it wiggle...
See it jiggle...


My Dinner with...RITA MORENO

Two Thursdays ago, ModFab tagged me to follow a fabulous meme, one which insisted that I fully imagine My Dinner With...

1. Pick a single person, past or present, in the film industry who you'd like to have dinner with, and tell us why you chose this person.
I think I'd like to have dinner with Rita Moreno. And if you have to ask why, lovely reader, you've really just not been paying attention. West Side Story? Tennessee Williams? Gay bathhouses? The Muppets? I've adored Ms. Moreno since I first heard her shout, "Hey You Guyyys," and would love to celebrate the marvelousness of her over a meal.

2. Set the table for your dinner. What would you eat? Would it be in a home or at a restaurant? And what would you wear? Feel free to elaborate on the details.
Hmm. I love boricuan food. A lot. So, I might just go there, perhaps inviting Daisy Martinez to cater a full feast of her choosing while encouraging just a little bit of pan-Latin fusion (you know how much I love a good pupusa). I'm thinking that Rita & I would invite a whole bunch of folks -- only those of whom we were especially fond -- over for a casual gathering, perhaps at a resort of some kind. Dress would be casual, though we'd presume everyone to look fairly gorgeous in that summer afternoon sort of way. After greeting the first few dozen guests, Rita and I would retreat for a time to an opulent private suite. There, we'd dig into a specially arrayed repast, while also dishing the dirt. After about an hour or so, we'd join the rest of the guests downstairs for more fabulousness, reconnecting at opportune, entertaining intervals throughout the evening.

3. List five thoughtful questions you would ask this person during dinner.
- "Where there any interesting conversations about you playing Burmese in The King and I?"
- "What's been the most interesting consequence of your winning the Oscar for
West Side Story?"
- "Tell me all about your scene in
Carnal Knowledge."
- "Which was wackiest: The Electric Company, The Muppets, or The Ritz?"
- "During the 1970s and 1980s, you played non-Latina roles as often as you portrayed Latina roles, while in the 1990s and the 2000s you've played almost exclusively Latin parts. Why do you think that is? And how has being Latina in the entertainment industry changed, or not changed, in the time since you started?"

4. When all is said and done, select six bloggers to pass this Meme along to. Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre, so that people know the mastermind behind this Meme.
I appoint the following as fellow memers: Brad of Oh, Well, Just This Once...; Jakey of Adrift in New York; Rural Juror; Kimberly of Cinebeats; GayProf of Center of Gravitas; and Your Mom.


5 Stinky Thoughts on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew - Episode 10: "Reunion"

Each week, for the last ten weeks, I have offered a quick recaplet of the latest episode of the VH1 experiment in candid celebreality, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. It's been quite an adventure, and the fun concludes this week with episode 10, "Reunion."

Thought #1: How 'Bout That Reunion?
In the week that's passed since this reunion show first aired, I've been at a near total loss in terms of how to approach this recaplet. Of course, it's a reunion show, so it's necessarily a different kind of episode with different threads and a different set of concerns. I waffled about whether to go off the "5 Stinky Thoughts" template. I considered doing a "rehabitant roll call" in which I went through each member of the cast and offered my final thoughts. I thought about just writing a little essay about the whole series. I contemplated just doing a collection of quotes and screencaps (where else would I be able to fit my joke about Bob looking a Peanuts character). But, ultimately, I determined to finish out the series as I had engaged it the whole time, 5 Stinky Thoughts at a time. If there's a massive outpouring of interest to do the roll call or the essay or whatever, I might try that, but for now: how 'bout that Reunion? I have to say I'm so glad they did the show, as the accumulation of divergent experiences presented what is, I think, the most realistic portrait of the whole sobriety process as depicted by the series. Sobriety is hard. People make choices. People take risks. People relapse. Sometimes the authorities are involved. None of which is evidence that these are bad people; rather, it's all evidence of how cunning, baffling and powerful addictive and compulsive habits are.

Thought #2: The Exact Opposite of Severe Chronic Assholism.
I just have to give it up for Dr.Drew's formidable hostessing abilities. I'm especially impressed by his stealthy redeployment of the crazy "reunion" subgenre of VH1's "celebreality" toward a vibe of clarity and generosity. Talk about setting the tone, sir. Yes, the whole fandango might have tended toward a "shiny happy people" version of the story. Sure, the "we love you Dr.Drew" montage was a little weird. True, the whole reunion pitched a little bit toward the careful fortification of the "Dr.Drew" brand, with a clear eye toward future seasons of Celebrity Rehab or something similar. All that being said, I remain consistently impressed with Dr.Drew's ability to remain human and humane in the crazy glare of D-List celebrity. And, yes, if he headlines another show, I'll probably be watching.

Thought #3: Moments of Clarity with NurseShelly.
I'm only sorry they didn't craft a special "Moments of Clarity with NurseShelly" Montage for my giddy delight. But 'twas nice to see Ricco and Jaimee acknowledge their "assholic" lapses to NurseShelly. Yet, for much of the 90-minutes, I was concerned that NurseShelly would coast a little below the radar, holding her tongue out of either respect or shyness. But then, about halfway through, our Moment of Clarity with NurseShelly arrived in the form of a gorgeous outburst of tough love for Seth - a beautiful, heartfelt, intense expression of serious, realistic concern. Behold the power of NurseShelly. I love NurseShelly.

Thought #4: What I Didn't Need To See.
In a word: Jeff. With this reunion special, it's official: I am so "over" Jeff. Yeah, he's sick. Yeah, he's smart. Yeah, he's charismatic. Yeah, he's got surgeries. Yeah yeah yeah. But until he actually gets clean, I really just don't want to hear it. (Nor do I need to witness DrDrew's weird little mancrush on that shrieking, loony old coot in the wheelchair.) Obviously, Jeff's got something truly marvelous in the way of empathy and charisma of which I'd love to get to see more. When. He's. Sober. But cripes. I really don't need to spend anymore time with Junkie Jeff or Ikki Vikki (though, together, they're certainly a much more entertaining trainwreck as a team than they are as singular disasters). I maintain a faint glimmer of hope that Jeff will find his way to being clean (and actually crave the opportunity to see him join Celebrity Rehab 2 as a success story or somesuch) but, until that happens, I'm done.

Thought #5: Celebrity Rehab's Lessons in Sobriety.
I have my fingers crossed for all the rehabitants. I want them all to be ok. I do. But I do have my favorites, the ones I'm really pulling for. Like Mary, who I adore. Like Jessica, who I've battled with (in my own imagination) but who I've come to really care about. Like Ricco even, who stands out as the person whose transformation seems most fundamental. But of them all, the person I think about in weird in-between moments of my day? Seth. I am so rooting for Seth "Shifty" Binzer. His revelation of his relapse? The single most genuinely moving moment of the series for me, even more than "Mary does Ballet." And that made me realize how invested I've become in these bozos. I will surely be genuinely sad if/when I hear about their inevitable relapses. But with Seth, I'll likely be pretty devastated. How does that happen? How do we come to care so about people we barely know? I don't know but it's part of how sobriety works and I remain astonished about how effectively this lame reality show has captured some of the core emotional truths of the process. So, Seth, StinkyLulu's pulling for your crazy ass. And same goes for you, Mary Ellen. And Jessica, Ricco and Brigitte. You, too, Jaimee. Same for you, Joanie. And Jeff. And even DaBaldwin. My prayers are there for you all. Sobriety can be a giant pain in the ass, but it's always better than the alternative. Blessings, rehabitants - and, as they say, thanks for sharing and keep coming back.

But please share on your final thoughts in comments, beloveds.
SEE ALSO previous "Stinky Thoughts" on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew:
Episode 1 ("Intake")
Episode 2 ("Detox")
Episode 3 ("New Arrival")
Episode 4 ("Sex & Trauma")
Episode 5 ("Bye Bye Baldwin")
Episode 6 ("Friends and Family")
Episode 7 ("Retreat")
Episode 8 ("Graduation")
Episode 9 ("Finale")

What was your favorite moment from the Reunion? From the series? And would you watch Celebrity Rehab 2?


Nearly Naked Boys Singing 1970s-Style - Stop Being Such Cynical Effing Douchebags Blogathon

Final Girl has instigated something called the "Hey, Internet! Stop Being Such Cynical Effing Douchebags!" Blogathon, in which she challenges internet movie writers to "write about something in the world of film that fills you with complete and total unbridled fucking retarded JOY." It's a brilliant call, really -- to demand that web cinephiliacs shirk their carefully constructed attitudes and let something delightfully embarassing hang right out there... And it took me a moment to settle on something, but thanks to a fleeting encounter with Grease2 on television this weekend, I was reminded of an obscure genre of cinematic pleasure which just stirs my very soul: unexpected musical numbers in films of the later 1970s and early 1980s in which men get nearly naked. I'm not sure why I thrill so. I suspect it's a combination of the innocent irreverence of male nudity in the 1970s, coupled with my giddy delight at the well-positioned (and well-proportioned) musical number, as well as my personal concupiscence when I first encountered these scenes. And they're all prior to that time when Tom Cruise lip-synched in his underpants, an admittedly excellent scene which nonetheless transformed the nearly naked musical number into something peculiarly innocent. No, there's something about the at once overt and oblique sexuality of these numbers that I do fill me with the requisite "complete and unbridled fucking retarded JOY." Truly, I could just watch these clips on loop for hours on end. Oh, I love each of them so... So, lovely reader, with my giddy blessing, please enjoy:

nearly naked boys singing 1970s-style
click images to be routed to video

Exhibit A
A silly song transformed by the genius of Bob Fosse in All That Jazz (1979),
a sequence that instigated my peculiar fascination with the "dancebelt."

Exhibit B
The Aggie Boys
Silly, yes, but hicks doing high kicks while wearing jock straps? Good times.
Among the several stirring pleasures of 1982's Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Exhibit Q
Black Boys/White Boys
The polymorphously perverse recasting of this lusty song
to involve both the military men of the draft board
as well as the hot mamas in the park
is among the gestures of true genius in
Milos Forman's 1979 adaptation of the legendary tribal love rock musical.

Exhibit X
The Floor Show
Don't dream it. Be it. With everyone in the pool.
At The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).

and perhaps my most favorite of all
Exhibit Z
The Hockey Striptease
Michael Ontkean gives all to win his team the championship
in the sports comedy Slap Shot (1977).

Did I miss any of your favorites?
Add to "the unbridled fucking retarded joy" in comments.

To Dos Day

Final Girl's called for a cinephiliac lovefest entitled "HEY, INTERNET, STOP BEING SUCH CYNICAL EFFING DOUCHEBAGS BLOG-A-THON!" in which y'all are charged with "writ[ing] about something in the world of film that fills you with complete and total unbridled fucking retarded JOY." StinkyLulu's got lots of retarded joy for film, so 'twill be innersting to see what emerges...

___ Item 2: SCROLL DOWN.
In the post just below this one, I've got StinkyLulu's version of that movie quote meme that's been washing over the film blogosphere. I'm really amused by this collection of quotes, which share something specific in common. Jakey, Joe and Matt swooped through and named a whole bunch (with Matt positing a theory of the shared feature) but there's still some of the funniest quotes that have yet to be claimed.

Apparently it's become a pro-life parable, contrary to the wishes and views of both Theodor and Audrey Geisel. But Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez gives a happy smackdown to the hijackers.

Inspired by Nathaniel's 2nd annual Actress Psychic Contest, I'm still contemplating a mini-version for Supporting Actresses. If you would like to play Supporting Actress prognosticator, please do consider joining up. I'll run a real contest if I get 25+ folks (I've got about 3 or so folks now) interested in playing. To indicate your interest, shoot me a quick email and tell me your top 6 picks for Best Supporting Actress 2008, with a bonus/tie-breaker of your most likely Razzie nominee.

But I's hustling to get things back on track, I promise. The final Celebrity Rehab post is planned for Wednesday, the "dinner with" meme for Thursday, the return of Homo Heritage on Friday and the "Born in 1967" post on Sunday. Whew...

The 3rd Season of Supporting Actress Sundays is just around the corner and that means I'm starting to think about filling the roster of Smackdowners for the first half of the Smackdown season (April-August). If you'd like to join the Smackdowning fun, it's pretty simple. You must have a personal blog/website, the ability to access a wide range of older movies and the time to re-screen all five selections during the month you're a smackdowner. That's it. (FYI - if a selection is especially obscure, I'll try to help out but generally you're on your own). Keep in mind that we usually don't know the year for consideration until about 6 weeks before the Smackdown, which always happens on the last Sunday of the month. (And please note that April, May and July are the "short" months of Sundays this year, and June and August are the only two "long" months.) Also, since we will be experimenting with a variety of new ways of determining the choice for each Smackdown year, please do let me know if you're especially game for certain eras and I'll try to keep that in mind as the Smackdowns unfold. So, if you're interested, please send me an email that includes the following: your preferred name/handle; the username under which your comments currently appear; a link to your personal blog/website; and which months you're available for the project. I'm really looking forward to this year so consider joining up with the Smackdowner adventure. (Also, if you have contributed to a previous Smackdown and a link to you does not yet appear on my Smackdowner blogroll, or if corrections to the blogroll are needed, please do let me know as well.)

Have at it, lovelies!


Go To Your Closet And Pray - QUOTE MEME

I know I'm late to this meme-ishness...

by speaker/film in comments.
Or, if you prefer, enact them in sequence as a dramatic recitation.
But please - no googling, no imdb-ing, no cheating.

  1. Do you eat ice cream? (Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine - Matt)
  2. I don't know. Maybe we are, and maybe we're not. (Katharine Ross, The Graduate - Matt)
  3. We won't bite you until we know you better.
  4. You only live once, and once is enough if you play your cards right. (Maureen Stapleton, Interiors - Matt)
  5. Things is gonna be changin' around here. Pass me them peas, boy. (Oprah Winfrey, The Color Purple - MrWeaver)
  6. A woman can change better'n a man. A man lives sorta - well, in jerks. (Jane Darwell, Grapes of Wrath - Brad)
  7. He's been there seventeen years and he's not a partner? This is the guy they send? (Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton - Joe)
  8. Let's you and me get acquainted honey. You may be a number to others but not to me. Sit down in this chair, it's kinda roomy. (Hope Emerson, Caged - Brad)
  9. No, we are not friends. I don't take this shit from friends. Only lovers. (Teri Garr, Tootsie - Matt)
  10. Never burn bridges. Today's junior prick, tomorrow's senior partner. (Sigourney Weaver, Working Girl - Jakey)
  11. My granny'd go around clickin' her teeth to the radio all day. Boy, was she a lot of fun, and cooked my favorite, roast beef. She was a sweetheart. She raised chickens too. (Ronee Blakley, Nashville - Brad)
  12. I miss Dorothy. (Jessica Lange, Tootsie - Matt)
  13. She went to shit and the hogs ate her! (Diane Ladd, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore - Catherine)
  14. I'm sorry, hon'. Would it really make it easier for you if we settled on just one number? (Angela Lansbury, The Manchurian Candidate - Matt)
All but one of the above share
something very specific in common.

Any guesses?


Carolyn Jones in The Bachelor Party (1957) - Supporting Actress Sundays (By Request)

This week's Supporting Actress Sunday profile (the first ever done "By Request") arrives as part of StinkyLulu's contribution to the recent fundraiser over at The Film Experience. Steve & Stephen's donation to the actressexual cause coincided with my offer of a "Supporting Actress Profile By Request" to the first three contributors to drop a certain amount of change into the collection plate. So, imagine my delight, when Steve & Stephen determined their choice -- a perennially undervalued actress's exhilarating if brief nominated performance in a fascinating, frank film of the later 1950s. After all, I'm always giddy to spend some time with...
approximately 6 minutes and 4 seconds
3 scenes

roughly 6% of film's total running time

Caroline Jones plays The Existentialist, a startlingly attractive young woman whose path crosses that of Don Murray's Charlie, a young married man out on the town as part of a "bachelor party" for one of his work friends.
Charlie and the guys have been out carousing and are staggering from street corner to street corner in search of a better time. They're careening toward downtown (in search of "one of those Greenwich Village parties") when they encounter Jones' character waiting for the light to change. The guys -- all bookkeepers at some midtown office -- pretend to be out-of-towners as they follow Jones, their aggressive banter and jokes a clumsily flirtatious barrage. Jones bats away their whistles and insinuations, alternately bemused and amused and annoyed. Only when Murray's Charlie breaks character, revealing the truth with a sweet smile, does Jones' character deign to return his flirt (though she still refuses to allow him to escort her to the party).
After this chance encounter, the fellas continue their desperate pursuit of a real good time through the streets and the joints of New York City. Yet, Jones' ambiguous dismissal ("dump your friends and come back to the party") becomes their beacon, the only glimpse of true excitement all evening. And, finally, the guys do return to that "Greenwich Village party," with Charlie ready to see where his adventure with Jones may take him.
When Charlie and Jones's character reconnect at the party, we get our first real glimpse into this astonishingly pretty young woman. When on the street, Jones' maintained an enigmatic, absent-minded aloofness for the character; when on the stair at the party, however, we -- along with Murray's Charlie -- quickly discover that this young woman is, on the one hand, perhaps as intelligent as she is pretty and, on the other, capable of chattering your ear off.
At first glance -- to both Charlie and us -- Jones' character might seems like a marvelous Manhattan mystery woman. But as she continues to chatter, in a monologue delivered at breakneck speed and with exhilarating precision, Jones' character details both the events of her day and (thanks to Paddy Chayefsky's dexterity with character detail) her entire backstory. In swift character strokes, Jones' character transmogrifies from exotic urban temptress to a middle class girl from the suburbs who graduated some years ago from Vassar and who now finds herself battling off both the predations of masculine paramours and basic loneliness as she lives life as a single girl in the big city. With a barrage of non-stop chatter, and with uncommon wit and dazzling vocal dexterity, Jones crafts a precise character of incredible depth and detail. In so doing, and in the space of barely a minute, Jones also transforms the character from being an idealized fantasy to a being a complicated human being. This transformation also complicates Jones' character's relationship to Murray's Charlie. Moreover, as she reveals more about herself, we note Charlie becoming agitated. He doesn't want her to be a person; he wants her to remain a fantasy for his desperate use and so begins to bully her to join him upstairs where they might find some privacy. Jones' character first resists, accusing him of being primitive and unappealing, before assenting and leading Charlie upstairs where they fall into an embrace.
As Murray's Charlie begins pawing her, his mouth greedily seeking a kiss, Jones's character stops him with a single command: "Tell me you love me."
She goes on, "You don't have to mean it, just tell me you love me." With her sweet uncomplicated delivery of this line, Jones nails the character to our hearts. In it, Jones conveys the long history of experimented affections that have brought her to this moment.
Of course, Charlie follows her order and they begin to kiss with a brief passion, before stopping again, just as abruptly, and making plans to meet at a bar around the corner. Jones' character, half beseechingly, commands him to not disappoint her, once again sharing the profundity of her loneliness and hunger for genuine affection.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Murray's Charlie does disappoint her, leaving the bar to care for his friend before she arrives. Notably, however, Carolyn Jones' character continues to haunt the action, even though we neither see nor hear her again. Whereas the fantasy of Jones' character had previously nagged Charlie and his friends with the promise of all they might be missing, now the idea of her proves a haunting reminder of what might be in store for them if they squander the truth of the love already in their lives. Indeed, Carolyn Jones is charged with portraying less a character than an icon of masculine fantasy: alternately, the erotically thrilling woman through whom all masculine potential might be realized and the sexually threatening woman through whom all masculine power might be drained or dissipated.
Yet, as an actress tuned into her character's many compromises of self, Carolyn Jones inhabits this misogynist archetype with stunning empathy, mining the character details and vocal rhythms to craft "The Existentialist" as a formidably -- and, for Lulu, poignantly, unforgettably -- human figure.
Carolyn Jones' nomination for her performance as "The Existentialist" stands out as one of the most surprising and satisfying nominations in the category's history. You don't see a character, or characterization, like this very often. (And thanks to Steve & Stephen for allowing us the opportunity to once again savor the delights of Carolyn Jones.)


Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Finale - Moment of Serenity

The duties of my day job have once again intervened
to delay my recaplet of this extraordinary televisual event:
My recaplet will be posted in the coming days.
For now, I offer my favorite moment of serenity from the show:
"Under the Blanket with Dr. Drew."

But in the meantime...

SEE ALSO previous "Stinky Thoughts" on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew:
Episode 1 ("Intake")
Episode 2 ("Detox")
Episode 3 ("New Arrival")
Episode 4 ("Sex & Trauma")
Episode 5 ("Bye Bye Baldwin")
Episode 6 ("Friends and Family")
Episode 7 ("Retreat")
Episode 8 ("Graduation")
Episode 9 ("Finale")


Wishful Thinking Thursdays: Posteriors

What I wish I was watching tonight...

Two of StinkyLulu's all-time fantasy boyfriends (Rakoff & Frechette) on the same stage making fun of Woody Allen and Maureen Stapleton? I swoon at the mere thought. Luckily, I have the Celebrity Rehabitants to keep me warmly amused (not to mention some survivors and supermodels)...

Previously in Interiors: 1 & 2.


5 Stinky Thoughts on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew - Episode 9: "Finale"

Each week I offer a quick recaplet on the latest episode of the new VH1 experiment in candid celebreality, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. The fun continues this week with episode 9, "Finale."

Thought #1: How 'Bout That Red Carpet?
In a series loaded with bad/lame ideas from the producers (Catalina? Pool Party? You name it...), the red carpet staging of the "Coining Out Ceremony" proved a mostly interesting drama container. I especially appreciated how the "sober-living-is-the-only-way" mantra was complicated, productively, by the rehearsal of alternative post-rehab sobriety plans (ie. outpatient treatment, "90-Meetings-in-90-Days", intense 1-on-1 therapy). There are all kinds of ways to get sober, some of which you don't have to pay for, and it was nice that this episode -- after months of being basically a commercial for residential rehab -- did acknowledge some of the other paths of recovery. I also thought the graduation was cute, with the rehab techs all dressed up along one side. (Side note: why didn't we get to know the black woman rehab tech? I only really remember her as Jeff's designated handler/animal trainer. I got the impression that William did nights and NurseShelly did days, so what about this other lady?) Anyway, I first thought the whole GrandPapaDrew-delivers-sobriety-diplomas was going to be lame but, here, I was surprised that it proved as dynamic and fruitful staging device.

Thought #2: Severe Chronic Assholism?
An aspect of "Severe Chronic Assholism"
which commenter Beth has called me on is how I use "Severe Chronic Assholism" as way to express my annoyance with people. Which I have done, and will likely continue to do. But this week, I had a lot of empathy for everyone as they "acted out." Everyone's clearly very frightened and (with the exception of Seth who's totally clear on what he's doing and thus able to be calm about it) everyone's fairly frightened , either of disappointing DrDrew and/or being challenged by him for making their own choice. All of which reminded me of a crucial part of what I call "Severe Chronic Assholism." For me, "Severe Chronic Assholism" most essentially describes the drug-seeking behaviors that survive abstinence and pop up in vulnerable moments of sobriety, often as cues that the person is getting ready to "use" again (if not their drug of choice, then some other way to "check out" of the moment). In my use of the phrase, I am also usually talking about when someone uses the same behaviors they used to get people out of their way so they could do their drug of choice -- bullying, rationalization, aggrievement, righteousness, victimhood, etc -- using those same behaviors to get people out of their way so they can get their way. And this week, I think we saw this aspect of "Severe Chronic Assholism" in Jaimee's agitated willfulness (especially about that horrible "no TV after midnight" rule), which DrDrew seemed right to be concerned about, as well as Mary's anxious, people-pleasing equivocations. Addiction rehearses people in being assholes, and those habits are sometimes nearly as hard to break as the drinking/drugging.

Thought #3: Moments of Clarity with NurseShelly.
Of course, the perfect NurseShelly moment came when all the Rehabitants had left the building and, surveying their residual wreakage, NurseShelly wistfully observes: "This place is still a mess. Unbelievable." But the truly best NurseShelly moment came, unsurprisingly, from Ricco (whose love-hate relationship with NurseShelly really warrants its own video mashup). During his goodbye testimonial, Ricco offered his thanks to everyone in the facility, "Even Shelly the Shark." He went on to address the group ("She's always got the answers and that's why I don't like her") before turning again to NurseShelly to say, "I owe you an apology but, at the same time, I want to thank you for being so tough on me." And then Ricco started to cry. For reals. Behold the power of NurseShelly. I love NurseShelly.

Thought #4: What I Didn't Need To See.
While I thought the "Coining Out Ceremony" was full of genuinely interesting stuff, the fact that the producers clearly seem to have rehearsed the Rehabitants in framing their outgoing testimonies. All simply to amplify the suspense of the reveal. In particular, I found the heavily teased MaryEllen/DrDrew smackdown to be especially tedious. But whatever. I suppose I should cut the producers some slack. They clearly thought they were doing a rehab edition of Celebrity Fit Club or something like Surreal Life Goes to Rehab when this thing warranted a whole 'nother genre. But between the tricksy chronologies, bad idea scenarios, and conspicuous drama-stirring, the inelegant, inexpert and ill-advised producerly shenanigans remain the only truly sub-par features of this strangely compelling show.

Thought #5: Celebrity Rehab's Lessons in Sobriety.
I caught a snippet of a Tyra episode last Friday in which she featured DrDrew and some of the Rehabitants reporting on some of their experiences post rehab. All I can say is, "wowza" (especially to Jessica, who seemed completely, beautifully transformed and who has one heckuva post-Celebrity Rehab tale to tell). So, I confess to watching this episode with some additional information, all of which makes me more obsessed with the 90-minute (!) reunion special set to air tomorrow night. And that awareness really does underscore what seems to be this episode's lesson in sobriety: no matter how many tools a rehab -- or a therapist, or a 12-step program, or a therapist, or a spiritual path, or whatever -- no matter how many tools an addict is given to accomplish the day-to-day work of sobriety, it's up to the recovering addict to use those tools. It takes what it takes for each individual to discover their route to true personal recovery and this episode underscores just how complex and challenging that journey is. But all I can say is: bring on the drama of the reunion! I can't wait!!!

But please bring on your drama in comments, beloveds.
SEE ALSO previous "Stinky Thoughts" on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew:
Episode 1 ("Intake")
Episode 2 ("Detox")
Episode 3 ("New Arrival")
Episode 4 ("Sex & Trauma")
Episode 5 ("Bye Bye Baldwin")
Episode 6 ("Friends and Family")
Episode 7 ("Retreat")
Episode 8 ("Graduation")
And be sure to tune in on Friday for every addict's favorite thing: MORE!!!