The second week of President Barack Obama's (yeaaaaah, it feels good, doesn't it?) tenure in Washington left a few less casualties than usual in Hollywoodland. Unless you count Steven Adler, but his exploits on Sober House were technically filmed a few months back.
It was mostly a week for celebration, as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie unveiled their finest work yet, two nauseatingly adorable children, to the entire graduating class of a Japanese photography school.
But it was also five days of serious social commentary, courtesy of Ashlee Simpson and Kim Kardashian.
So without further drawn-out teasing of content that will ultimately be more succinctly stated than its lead-in, here are the top five things we learned this week:
5. Whether Tyler Perry's films offer something unique for an underserved demographic or actually pandering nonsense is debatable. But what's not up for argument is that someone should raise Jim Varney from the dead and give him some of Medea's royalties.
4. Jennifer Aniston likes to pretend getting naked on the cover of a magazine that sophisticated men jerk off to is somehow more noble than displaying airbrushed areolas for a publication less discreetly aimed at teenage boys and male divorcees. Then, again, what do you expect from a woman who's first major film role was in Leprechaun?
Guy Ritchie may have made out like a cockney-accented pulp-movie bandit during he and Madonna's divorce settlement. But she's heading back to the States with their two little tots, Rocco and David.
Or at least that's the word on the street. But it's been raining all morning and the sidewalk-chalk isn't really legible anymore, so who knows.
But presuming this information is accurate, one hopes Ritchie will be making occasional custody visits to ensure the safety of their tiny innocents. Because although it's a little known fact, Madge maintains her tightly wired figure and muscularity by draining the life's blood out of cute young boys in a scared Kabbalah ritual.
What do you think explains her relationship with Justin Timberlake?
Looks like the only one hopping into the sack with House Bunny Anna Faris will be "actor" Chris Pratt, best known as the not-incredibly revolutionary Che on The O.C. Or, to a devoted legion of fans, as part of the "Miscellaneous Crew" on the 1995 Alfred Molina/Helen Slater box-office breaker The Steal.
And as it turns out, the Scary Movie starlet, considered by many to possess the slapstick potential of Lucille Ball (and by some, we mean the NCDSUV interns), has been engaged to the lucky schmuck since late last year. Which means it wasn't really that long-harbored a secret, given that it's not even February.
But regardless, good luck young lovers. And Mr. Pratt, please do tell your wife-to-be that those choppy blond bangs she was sporting on SNL are a major no-no, no matter how much her adorableness compensates for occasional faux paus.
Here we go with another ridiculous Films From The Cable Afterlife. As usual, we scour the cable movie listings and turn up some diamonds, and lots of the rough. For best results, watch both. Your life may improve! 8. Mystery Of Monster Island (1981) Fox Movie Channel, Wednesday, February 3, 4am Unbelievable pile of crap by Juan Piquer Simon, one of the worst directors of the 20th century (he's also responsible for X-rated chainsaw slasher Pieces, MST3K fodder Pod People and K-Tel Films release The Supersonic Man). How a major studio found their way around distributing this one is anybody's guess (a series of blowjobs, perhaps), but you will never see Terence Stamp look more embarrassed. Watch if you dare.
7. DOUBLE FEATURE ALERT Pumpkin Karver (2006) The Movie Channel, Saturday, January 31, 12am Pumpkinhead (1988) IFC, Saturday, January 31, 1:35am The stars have aligned: two pumpkin-related horror movies back-to-back on the same night. Different networks, but still, work with me here. Friday Night Lights' Minka Kelly stars in the serial killer/Juggalo-style horror dumper Pumpkin Karver, while Lance Henriksen conjures up a demon to kill bikers in Stan Winston's minor classic Pumpkinhead. It's "Pumpkininny!"
6. Booty Call (1997) Cinemax (@MAX), Sunday, February 1, 8:05pm; Cinemax (WMAX), Monday, February 2, 6:50pm; Cinemax, Tuesday, February 3, 8:30pm Boisterous, offensive and couthless, Booty Call is actually one of the funnier comedies of the late '90s, and deserves another look. Jamie Foxx and Vivica A. Fox (playing characters named Bunz and Lysterine, respectively), join Tommy Davidson, a fake Indian guy, a dog that barks "Nigga Please!" in subtitles (and one Gedde Watanabe, willing to take any role no matter the stereotype, saying "Nigga Preese" in a Chinese restaurant), some hilarious orange pants, an incident with Saran Wrap as dental dam and some dude named Ug Lee. There's no one who won't be upset in its 79 minute runtime, but I don't think it'd work any other way. Watch it and pick your jaw up off the floor.
5. Ladies And Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains (1981) Turner Classic Movies, Saturday, January 31, 2am I hope that now this one has finally made it onto DVD, and not from some bootleg version that's been duped a thousand times from a Betamax that caught it on Showtime in the '80s, that we can see this legendary unreleased film for what it is: kind of a stinker. Still, there's never been anything like it before or since, and it's a fun time with a message. Teenagers Diane Lane and Laura Dern start a makeshift punk band that lands an opening spot for the fake real punk band The Looters, featuring Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook, The Clash's Paul Simonon and fronted by actor Ray Winstone. They create a media circus and have it all collapse on them within days, but it's a good enough time, also starring Fee Waybill from The Tubes and a special (awesome) appearance from Black Randy and the Metrosquad. Join the professionals!
The rumor runnin' round the old cherry-blossom tree today is that Jennifer Aniston turned down $4 million dollars, with built-in sales incentives to pose for Playboy. Because the Viagranator himself, Hugh Hefner, dug her semi-nude airbrush fest in GQ late last year.
Of course, the news that Hughey missed is that the former Mrs. Brad Pitt will apparently only undress under the naughty guise of faux-sophisticition. Hence the subtly positioned tie around her abusively spray-tanned frame.
And am I the only one who occasionally stares at tabloid covers of America's reigning sweetheart and wonders how we come to romanticize one-time desperate Hollywood scream queens so quickly?
(And as an aside, notice how blatantly that hyper-linked trailer for Leprechaun rips off the promotional campaign for cult classic Evil Dead.)
Even though Jessica Simpson is looking more like Selma Bouvier these days, siblings and other celebrities are coming out in droves to embrace all 52 inches of her suddenly expanded waistline. First, we had new-mom Ashlee delivering a less-than-groundbreaking state-of-tabloid-culture address on behalf of her big (no pun intended) sis.
Now, Kim Kardashian is stepping up to the plate, telling People that she thinks Jess looks fab-o-rama and "being super skinny just isn't attractive to me." And surely, not at all taking her publicist's advice that this story is ideal for her to comment on as a fellow full-figured lady, thus keeping her name in the papers as well.
Only difference, Kimbo slice, is you're Armenian, and blessed with a naturally curvacious anatomy that makes sense for your size and proportions. Jess is just a little itty bitto Anglo whose clearly been spending too much time at country cookouts during her current stint as a Nashville wannabe.
Welcome to NCDSUV's splenetic, embittered new weekly feature, Overdressed & Underclassed, which with each installment will dissect a different aspect of celebrity fashion with the enthusiasm and exactitude of a taxidermist suffering from the second clinical phase of rabies (caution: We have reached the contagious stage).
Perhaps it's the prospect of facing the rest of a remarkably long, brutally cold winter and yet another tacktastic awards season; alternatively, a totally unexpected wave of good vibes is washing over me from the political changes in the air. Either way, instead of the nip of bitter grog I generally crave to counteract the effects celebrity fashion has on my parietal lobe, I'm in the mood for something more nourishing, gratifying and sustaining to get me through the inevitable nip slips, butt cleavage and exhausting razzle dazzle the Oscars and the Grammys will inevitably lay at my feet.
So in celebration of celebrities who could (and can) dress themselves, here's a round-up of the vampiest, sassiest, stylishist femme icons who have ever scaled the screen.
8. Mary Tyler Moore The style she brought to the role of working girl Mary Richards in the '70s, both on and offstage, helped make every career gal feel a little bit freer to balance her limitless ambition with her still-potent urge to primp. She made it okay, even sexy, to want to beat down the door to the boy's club at work with a polite smile without breaking a sweat in her sassy separates, vintage hats and quirky peacoats. No other female worker bee, no matter how beloved (not even Carrie Bradshaw or Peggy Olson) will ever give me the same kind of post-feminist, unconflicted case of warm fuzzies. That's right folks. She can turn the world on with her smile... take a nothin' day and make it all worthwhile! Sorry.
7. Katherine Hepburn Like most trailblazers, Kate The Great's singular road created quite a diversion for outraged onlookers from the roaring '20s onward. In a time when most women did a two-step simper, Katherine stridently strolled. When most women squeezed into oxygen-depriving undergarments under too-tight tailored dresses, she luxuriated in baggy, but impeccably tailored men's style pants, flowing shirts and combat-style boots. Even in her dotage, she tooled around on a bike, sat with her feet up and her legs splayed, wore little make-up and unpressed, drably colored clothes that lack any sort of definite shape... and still looked every inch the elegant, sexy, exquisite feminine beauty. She was the original Urbane Tomboy.
6. Brigitte Bardot Brigitte is that rare creature who can balance oooozing Hustler sex appeal with a degree of pre-Raphaelite restraint that renders it sensual, not slutty, even if she is crawling around on the floor in her undies or dancing on top of a bar in a dress that would make Paris Hilton blush. She single-handedly popularized the bikini, the beehive 'do, the bee-stung pout and general '60s-era sexy naif gear of all stripes. Unfortunately, her joie de vivre and stylishness is now less notable than her right-of-Rush Limbaugh political views.
5. Joan Crawford Unlike Katherine, Joan represented the pinnacle of idealized feminine fashion in the '20s and '30's, with wasp-waisted tailoring, exaggerated shoulder pads and breakneck-speed martini-fueled diamond-studded satin, vampy, gauzy glamour. A perpetual engine of reinvention, she sailed through 45 years onscreen portraying whatever America wanted to see in her: rebellious but innocent flapper; working girl/society girl with a heart of gold; psycho bitch; camp queen. Joan's innate ability to seamlessly morph personas paved the way for the tough, ever-changing broads we all have a soft spot who came after. But Joan never appeared to be as calculating or cynical about her image changaroos as, say, Madonna or Britney Spears do.
No one's suggesting Paris Hilton is as point-of-view-less as Ashlee Simpson, but honey-child, we've all seen you in your most intimate moments of public exposure, and it there's yet to be any indication that you play the part of a private valedictorian.
Anyway, much like Ashlee's suddenly paleolithic-sized sister, Jessica Simpson, the multimillionaire heiress swears she only plays dumb to enhance her public persona, telling website GMTV that, "I just say jokes but they think I'm serious which I think is funny and
I think I kind of play up the image sometimes because, whatever, it's
Actually, sweetie-pants (and yes, I shall continue to refer to her under the assumed persona of a kindly middle-aged black woman), it's the perceived-to-be-realistic construction of your identity. And while your horde of lecherous managers and publicists may have kept that small detail from you in order to expand your brand and support their three snot-nosed little kids, it's truer than any one-liner you've uttered about confusing celebrity chefs with the British Prime Minister.
Proving that she's not as literally ill-equipped for public discourse as her sister, Pete Wentz' baby mama, Ashlee Simpson, has nonetheless displayed an impressively substance-less intellect regarding the ills of cultural prejudice and tabloid shaming.
After the blogosphere understandably recoiled with horrified curiosity at pics of Jessica Simpson resembling a middle-age metastasized version of her normal figure, lil' sis shot back with the groundbreaking rhetorical inquiry, "Since when did a woman's weight become newsworthy?"
Despite presumed muffled-cough interruptions from Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ann Wilson, Kirstie Alley and the late corpose of Luther Vandross, the recent mother (apparently having missed months of boilerplate commentary on weight-obsession in Hollywood while training a swat team of stay-at-home nannies) went on to add that it's "embarrassing and belittling to all women to read about a woman's weight
or figure as a headline on FOX News." And even expressed concern that the scorn surrounding her sister's fried-chicken chic would undermine the post-Obama "feeling of hope in
the air for our country."
Spoken like a truly out-of-touch celebrity with no conception of that fact that a vast majority of Americans are actually, contrary to herself and Jessica, struggling with issues much greater than cholestorol counting. Such as, oh, I don't know being unemployed and about 27 million dollars less comfortable than the Simpson brood.
I haven't seen this much fervor over the glimpse of a newborn baby since Jesus emerged from a pile of divine afterbirth. But alas, the regally christened Knox and Vivienne, kin of ones Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, have surpassed the fascination with Suri Cruise and become a point of obsession for paparazzi and pop-culture obsessives.
And finally, the little tots were unleashed before the salivating lenses of crafty cameramen.
You can view the pics here. Some folks are saying they're adorable. I personally don't get suckered into the ideology of infant adorableness by default. You gotta work for my kiddie kudos. Or at least develop into a toddler without regressing into something akin to, well, the father himself toward the conclusion of Benjamin Button.