Thursday, March 27, 2008

Screening Log - Rumor Has It...

Despite being packed with heavyweight stars - Jennifer Aniston, Mark Ruffalo, Kevin Costner, even Shirley Maclaine - this one totally bombed in theaters. And ever since, it's been that movie that every Blockbuster has a zillion copies of in the sale bin. It's also been my "if I can't find that one I actually want to see tonight" back-up plan for almost two years, but I never quite took the plunge. I finally found it on TV the other night in a Pensacola motel room.

I think I can see why it didn't get a great reception. For one thing, it relies pretty heavily on "The Graduate" to explain its own storyline - and for the younger generation, "Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson?" doesn't mean a whole lot. For another, it's hard to sympathize with Jennifer Aniston's Jeff vs. Beau dilemma; I was too busy having an "ick" moment over the whole grandmother/mother/daughter sharesies situation.

Still, I had rock-bottom expectations, but it was really pretty inoffensive. Not especially hilarious, not quite a tear-jerker, but - aside from the "ick" moments - really nothing wrong with it either. I wouldn't go out of my way to rent it unless you're a huge fan of one of the stars (Mark Ruffalo, anyone?) but if you catch it on TV, it's worth a couple hours of your time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chick Flick Tourism: Coon Dog Cemetery

I made my first-ever pilgrimage to a chick flicks landmark this week - since I guess a failed hunt for the bench Woody Allen and Diane Keaton sit on in "Manhattan" doesn't count. About a half-hour outside Muscle Shoals, in north western Alabama's Freedom Hills, lie the remains of maybe a couple hundred faithful "coon dogs" - the Coon Dog Cemetery is the only site of its kind in the world, and a crucial scene in Reese Witherspoon's "Sweet Home Alabama" (covered recently in Dames from Dixie) was filmed there.

It was a slightly rugged drive through the middle of nowhere: plenty of blind corners, hairpin turns, tumbledown shacks and big empty blue skies with the occasional hawk (or similar bird of prey) circling in the sun. I amused myself as I crawled along over the pitted road picturing a whole film crew trying to haul themselves up into the hills...

Here are some pics:

Monday, March 3, 2008

Awards Season Pt. 4: Belated Post-Oscar Fall-out

Joke of the night goes to Jon Stewart for the line about the Vanity Fair Oscar party being canceled in solidarity with the writers. (It goes something like this: If you really want to help the writers out, you might want to try inviting some of them to the Vanity Fair Oscar party... Zing!)

Katrina Onstad has witty and vitriolic play-by-play here. Slate's post-op is here. (The line about Diablo Cody looking like a grown-up Pebbles Flintstone nearly made me spit out my iced mocha latte...) The chick flicks generally got stomped (though Diablo stepped it up in the original screenplay category) but hey, awards aren't really our thing, are they. Unless we're talking Teen Choice Awards, and then we own that shit.

It's going to be chick flicks lite this month around here, since I'm on the road and I'm not sure how many bad two-year-old rom-coms I'll be able to find on my motel pay-per-view. I'm hoping to find a theater to see Step Up 2: The Streets (it's a pun, get it?), but we'll see how it goes...