Friday, October 28, 2005

Darling Dakota doomed to be a Bonaduce

I would like to start out by dedicating this post to my dear friend James who has declared Miss Fanning as his favorite actress. Granted, he also thinks Love Hewitt is hot.

This is quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever read. I couldn't help but repost the whole article by Daniel Fienberg which you can also find at the normal source,

Happy Friday...

LOS ANGELES ( As a fan of the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots and USC Trojans, I'm uniquely aware that the only thing more important than when you jump on a bandwagon is when you make your graceless exit. Thus, while the pedomorphically obsessed press are spending the week declaring Dakota Fanning to be America's Sweetheart, the next Julia Roberts, or at the very least, the second coming of Anna Chlumsky, it's clear that it's time to make a stand.

Dakota Fanning is so 2005, folks. Do you want to live in the past and the present or do you want to look to the future?

Of course, there are still objectives that Team Fanning has yet to achieve before the campaign for world domination can cease. Sure, her box office returns are impressive, but where's the hardware? And her spiffy new braces don't count. Anna Paquin had bad teeth too, but she also got an Oscar at 11. That Osment tyke was the same age when he got a nomination. Dakota probably pulls the heads off her Carebears at night in frustration that back in 2002, even though she got a SAG nomination for "I Am Sam," the Academy passed her over in favor of a bunch of wrinkly British Dames from "Gosford Park." Which is more challenging, playing a grungy maid with an accent or coping with a wildly hammy Sean Penn?

The way I see it, Fanning has several options, none of them necessarily good. She can continue to play robots, aliens and children of preternatural wisdom and morbidity until the shine wears off and critics stop comparing her to a younger, blonder, tinier, more articulate Marlon Brando and start yawning at her every precocious word. She can make a baseball movie, vanish for a few years, marry John McEnroe and then have a series of unfortunate emotional problems. She could disturb everybody by continuing to make movies as she goes through puberty, skeeving out viewers who wonder why that nice girl from "The Cat in the Hat" is making out with the flavor-of-the-month WB star in a Miramax romantic comedy about a jock who falls in love with an awkward-looking girl (Fanning), who's really beautiful inside, except for the parts of her that are riddle with cancer. Or, she could step aside gracefully for the next decade -- suffer through acne in privacy, get a little bit rebellious, attend Princeton, Yale, Penn or NYU and get a degree in something serious like economics and return to acting on 2015 refreshed and ready for a FOX sitcom about a former child star who inherits her grandfather's bar in rural Arkansas.

The moment has come for Dakota Fanning to step back and let the world see that the new Dakota Fanning, just waiting in the wings, is Elle Fanning. In an industry that puts a premium on youth, why are buzzmongers so obsessed with 11-year-old Dakota, when Wee Elle is only seven and every bit as freakishly mature. She was great in "The Door in the Floor," showing that Fanning-esque ability to seem ready to discuss Sartre when most of her peers are stuck on Seuss. There's no way of knowing for sure if Elle is really qualified to pass Dakota as our nation's Official Fanning of Record, but you never get the big score if you only back favorites.
If recent Hollywood history has taught us anything, it's that prematurely endorsing the first talented sibling at the expense of their kin is a mistake. Beau Bridges or Jeff Bridges? Eric Roberts or Julia Roberts? Randy Quaid or Dennis Quaid? Haylie Duff or Hilary Duff? Alec Baldwin or the combined superpowers of Billy, Stephen, Daniel and the entirely unrelated Adam Baldwin? Yes, everybody loved Meg Tilly back in the mid-80s when she was a helium-voiced Oscar nominee, but how much emotional attachment could have been skipped if audiences had just known back then that helium-voiced sis Jennifer (more advanced in age, but several years behind in the biz) would see that Oscar nod and raise it one "Seed of Chucky" and become a championship poker player to boot?

Maybe it's the advantages of learning from experience and maybe it's just our collective obsession with upgrading to the next flavor-of-the-month, but we live in a Johnny-come-lately world. As we speak, my own younger brother is getting ready to usurp me, preparing to become the Elle to my Dakota, the Jacob to my Esau.

I'm just trying to warn Dakota that whether you're younger or older, it's the way of the world. One minute you're Jeb Bush and you think you're the family's Golden Boy choice to become president and the next minute your screw-up of a brother sneaks in and suddenly you're stuck down in Florida playing shuffleboard and visiting Epcot while the other guy is in the White House. Garden variety fate is fickle, but she's got nothing on Hollywood fate.
Don't look back, Dakota. Elle might be gaining on you

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

"It's not about right. Not about wrong. It’s about power."

POPCORN: Welcome to North Country 8/10

The airwaves have been inundated with thesps, critics, and anchors talking about North Country. I couldn’t resist seeing my darling Charlize on screen and made the trek on Sunday.

North Country follows a fictionalized account of the first class action sexual harassment lawsuit set to coincide with the Clarence Thomas – Anita Hill senate hearings.

While the film is being marketed at this generation’s Norma Rae… I found that misleading and generic as the film turned out to be more about empowering men than women.

Yes, Charlize was fabulous and easily deserves another Oscar nomination, but not necessarily the win. Yes, Frances McDormond deserves another nomination, and maybe another win.

SIDENOTE – How wonderful it was to hear Mrs. Coen don that iconic Minnesota accent once more.

It’s true that EVERYONE involved in this film gave powerful performances, but the key is in the male characters.

This film is about masculine power, the character of man, and the psychological effects of physical weakness in our society. According to the film’s “message,” sexual harassment stems from the same socio-psychological place as racism: Insecure working class white man. Granted the lesson of sexism is filtered down in company policy from the very top, but it’s tolerated and exploited by the working class miners of northern Minnesota who could easily reject the ideals if they felt empowered against the wealth and the proverbial man.

Speaking of empowerment, it’s not the bravery of the women that struck me about this film, but the men. Josie Aimes’ (Theron) father is by far the most complex character of the film. The performance delivered by character actor Richard Jenkins is the most outstanding and poignant part of the film.

Coming from a working class family, I know these men. I’ve seen them everyday of my life, at least for first 18 years. I’ve seen Sean Bean’s character in my husband, and Jenkin’s in my own father and grandfather. And yes, I went to high school with many a Bobby Sharp. Josie Aimes is so similar to my mother that at points I felt sick.

(FYI - I just went through a legal battle with my mother and the corporate people at her former place of employment.)

While there are moments of the film sprinkled in cliché, make no mistake… this is no chick flick.
Make a trek through North Country and come back a man.

SIDENOTE: As a woman, there are certain scene which made my skin crawl with emotional filth, showers are probably required after viewing.

POPCORN: A Lesson on A History of Violence 9/10

First let me say, that my first (male) child will be named David. Why? Because of my father, David Lynch, David Fincher, and this man… David Cronenberg.

Since we’re on the topic of violent white men today, let’s waste no time in getting into A History of Violence.

The film follows a small town family man, Tom Stall, as he is plagued by the recent appearance of a Philadelphia mobster, which may or may not be from his past. What would you do to protect your family, to protect your way of life?

Viggo Mortensen disappears in the part he was born to play, Tom Stall. After watching every single second of every extra feature on every extended edition of Lord of the Rings, I became a bit crept out by Mortensen’s soft spoken nature and esoteric love of his craft. This is by far his best work and hard to beat in future projects.

Maria Bello - who proved last year she’s more than a sassy bartender (Coyote Ugly), she can be a sassy cocktail waitress too (The Cooler) – tackles the role of Tom’s wife with provocative force. Supporting actress nomination please!

Ashton Holmes, who portrayed their teenage son, also delivered a stellar debut as teenager caught between words and action.

SIDENOTE: I’m not getting into how creepily Amish William Hurt looked with that beard.

Outside these key performance the direction is the power of the film. The script was good with brilliant structure, but adequate dialogue. This isn’t a film about words though; it’s about action. So, in a way only he can, Cronenberg takes us back inside our own Ids as he graphically put forth an essay on sex and violence set against Middle America. The film does not make any attempt to gloss, slick, or use animation to dull the impact of violence as in Kill Bill or Sin City. Instead, the director makes every effort to show the ramification of violent actions… be they a shotgun to the back, a bullet to the face, the face of man whose nose was just shoved back into his skull, etc. Cronenberg also uses sex juxtaposed against the violence to which you can draw your own opinions.

This not a classic Cronenberg film (Videodrome, Naked Lunch, Dead Ringers, eXistenZ, Crash, The Fly, etc.) in that he did not direct from his own script. If you looking for the bio-tech themes often explored in his auteur work, you’ll be disappointed by the lack of “twist” Violence has to offer. Thematic issues aside, it its Mr. Cronenberg in the raw and one of his best efforts. 98 minutes of your life is worth this film.

P.S. Do you recognize this post's title quote? What's it from?

Friday, October 21, 2005

planning on a lost weekend

So after having a week from hell - not necesarily tragic, just phenomenally annoying - I've decided this cold and rainy weekend calls for some quality time dedicated to me.

On the plate are showings of A History of Violence and North Country down the street at the mall. At home under cuddling blankets the cats and I have not only DVD's to watch, The Gift and The Lost Weekend, but I have a month of Veronica Mars to with which to catch up. Thank you DVR.

So look forward to numerous thoughts on these, and Meet the Feebles, coming next week. Have a great weekend bloggees.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

stop looking for it

So while in Las Vegas last week I missed my first ever episode of Lost… Seeing that the show has been moving at the pace of a hermit crab, I figured a lost aficionado like me would have no problem.

I have been thoroughly disappointed with this show since the finale. Maybe I’m bitter and not giving the new season a chance but from my perspective it’s all over the place with now driving mystery and drama and most episodes reference one’s we’ve already seen. This makes sense, but it’s nothing new. The musically overdone endings are becoming monotonous as I try to remind myself how great this show once was.

It must be horrible to be declared the best drama on television, because you have no where to go but down. Something better happen soon to sustain the “hype.”

THE BOX: Lost 2:05 “…and Found”

Sun and Jin paths cross in Seoul Korea as Michael searches for Walt.

The Good – Subtle powerhouse performances by Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim saved the show. The new character Mr. Echo, delivered much needed energy and perspective to the castaways. Definitely a new favorite.

Others thoughts: Last night’s episode has been on par with every one so far this season (which have all been frankly, subpar). Okay, that’s not fair. “Orientation” (2:03) was a phenomenal episode, but it should not have been episode 2:03 it should have been Part II of a two hour premier with the second episode that was aired scrapped entirely. The premier was saved by Matt Fox’s outstanding performance. So I guess the season hasn’t been a total wash, but something’s just not clicking. The flashbacks last night had little to add when juxtaposed with the current time frame. The tension is gone from the show as it has quickly slid from Doug Liman style slickness into the pits of Michael Bay. It’s all in the writing, and the writing isn’t what it used to be. It’s no surprise to me that Damon Lindelof, co-creator of the series was involved in the process. His episodes have been the weakest of the series. David Fury, where are you?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

long live the new flesh

Okay… so I’m married and back from Las Vegas. I had just enough time to recover before Darren convinced me a night out was in order. Now, I’m in need another vacation :0) Anyway, if you’re interested, LV pics are up on myspace. Onward…

I was going to attempt to go back and recap or comment on the past month of television and movies, but when I realized the daunting task in front of me I came up with a new idea. How about I don’t and we can pretend I did. (If it makes you feel better, blame it on a technical glitch that erased my brilliance before you had a chance to read it.)

DVD: Videodrome (Criterion Collection)

I first saw this film back in 1999 – whenever it was York got a copy of eXistenZ. The parallels between the two films are undeniable. My date for X, who was 32 at the time, told me about Videodrome which he saw when he was younger and of which I had never heard. I was a fan of Mr. Cronenberg, especially Dead Ringers, so I decided to check it out and the film branded my psyche.

Last Christmas, I was thoroughly surprised when I opened a package from Ben containing the CC edition which I didn’t even know existed. Sadly, it took ‘til last Sunday for me to watch. The film is only 89 minutes long, so it wasn’t that I didn’t have enough time before. It was about having the right time. See your brain must be on a certain wavelength to receive the Videodrome signal (in more ways than one.)

A young and attractive James Woods and a brunette Blondie (Deborah Harry) take you on a sensory stimulation ride through the Id that most likely offends a majority of people. Granted, weak minds – don’t watch.

I could write a hundred pages concerning this film and never really come close to the film's poignant commentary about violence, media, technology, pain, pleasure, and social and physiological evolution. Hell, the gun-to-gut visuals alone would be enough to keep Freud writing commentaries and interpretations for years.

The film is (imo) the most experimental of David Cronenberg’s work – not in theme but more so in structure. While now the importance it sets on the videotape and a CRT seems a bit dated, the social implications are still applicable. It also sets the tone for the techno-physical thread that DC’s would explore and develop in his subsequent work. In a way Videodrome is a dream that wakes up to eXistenZ.

I haven’t had time to sort through the oodles of extras yet, but the DVD is still worth the price.

As a sidenote, I was so looking forward to and then disappointed by Spider, I tried not to put too much faith into A History of Violence. It seems though, from what I’ve heard, to be a phenomenal film which surprisingly is playing here in York. Multiplex here I come.


THE BOX: Desperate Housewives - "My Heart Belongs to Daddy"

DH delivered its best episode of the season this week showcasing why exactly Miss Huffman (aka Mrs. Macy) took home that shiny gold statue. While I’ve preached for over a year that Marcia (Bree) and Felicity (Lynette) are the powerhouses of the show, I’m glad the writers and storylines are becoming less Susan-centric. Mostly, because I can’t stand Hatcher’s character. Eva Longoria’s Gabrielle is really having a coming out party so far this season. Her scenes are some of the most memorable along with her wit making her more than the bendy bitch with a shoe fetish. If the trend continues, it will be a crime if Hatcher doesn’t take odd man out role this time around.

The men aren’t too shabby themselves shaping up to be more than soap opera mancandy. I was very sad to see Rex actually dead and buried as I loved his character. Andrew has more depth and this week was actually likable as Bree’s selfish delusional murdering son paired off against Bree’s selfish delusional murdering boyfriend/stalker. And what is with those Applewhites!

As the Wisteria grows, it becomes more entangled in a superior way.


With the Fox House hiatus, take time tonight to check out Supernatural (WB 9 p.m.) with the delicious Jensen Ackles, a bizarre cross between Grant Show and Jason Priestly. Watch out Kelly Taylor!

The newest offering in the ghost rhelm crosses the X-Files with Easy Rider as the Winchester Boys (back by some serious fire power) investigate paranormal activities while on a quest to solve a bigger mystery. This is the network that brought us Buffy, Angel, and Pacey Witter. The classic WB is back.


Speaking of Angel (see how I do that oh so casually) the Angel-Alias entanglement goes on air as Amy Acker joins the cast for about 9 episodes. Acker, who played the graceful geek Fred for 3 seasons of Angel, also guest stared on the third episode of Supernatural. The A-A overlap is much more complex and most people aren’t dorky enough to care like me. Basically, Joss and JJ must share rolodexes.

Since we’re catching up with the old gang…

Check out that charismatic Cassablanca on Veronica Mars and the cute pesky pastry chef on Kitchen Confidential.

And lastly, for a show that’s all about retired actors, is this bit of news from zap2it…

“Fox [Michael J.] has signed to guest in three episodes of ABC's "Boston Legal," playing a "charismatic and dynamic" CEO who's also battling stage four lung cancer. Airdates for Fox's episodes haven't been scheduled yet.”

For you lost castaways, don’t worry, Thursday’s thoughts aren’t that far off.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mitchell Crumrine's Greatest Hits

Monday, October 03, 2005

spinning dizzy circles

Yes, I’m quite aware that I have severely neglected this blog over the past month – so much so that the gold fish floating in my pond have more life and spirit. I know you’ve missed my opinions on the Emmy’s, Lost, Arrested Development, Veronica Mars, House, Desperate Housewives, and newbies like Kitchen Confidential, Invasion, Prisonbreak, and Supernatural. I’ve also been watching movies and thanks to Darren’s generous gifts of movies passes and free netflix – I’m sure there will be much more. Why has all this happened you ask?

Anyway, I, silly girl that I am, had to go and get MARRIED!

first look...

That’s right, I did it.

Ben and I were blessed with a beautiful day, friends and family, food and drink, a multitude of gifts and most importantly, each other. Not even a snooty organist and a horde of military and police could keep us down.

It was great to see people whom I haven’t seen forever like NYUer’s Zoe and Kathy. It was wonderful to see my sisters interacting with my friends, to see my mother interacting with my father, and to see others find something new in those that were right in front of them all along.

Though all was not perfect as I forced myself to break a promise... To never give up. It’s takes certain events in life to shake the truth out of the tree of denial. Maybe it took a day of such happiness to see the selfishness, the despair, the hopelessness I’ve been fighting to avoid for so long. On Sunday I said good-bye to one of the dearest people I have ever known. I pushed him out of my home, out of my life. Then cried in the back of a closet for 30 minutes petrified of what I've done. There is no room for demons in paradise. I hope one day he has the strength to come back to me, back as the whole person that he once was, that maybe one day he could be again. So where there is an end, there is also a beginning…

... like waking up to this for the rest of my life.

The planning is over and life can move on along the chaotically planned track laid out ahead. Fours days to Las Vegas my friends.

Look for an all new and updated Brain Drain come October 17th.

Oh, and for any of you that care, I did cut off all my hair.