By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
The Oscars now have their own Mini-Me: the Golden Trailer Awards, celebrating all those ingenious, button-pushing commercials that so flashily con us into begging for $9.50 tickets, plus two Super Combos. The ceremony at the Directors Guild Theatre was refreshingly short, as it were, on sentiment, if also endearingly lacking in glamour. ('I was gonna wear a suit, but it rained,' explained one winner, who looked like he'd just crawled out after two years in the editing room.) I hate to give away the plot twists the way so many of these pesky trailers do, but the evening's shocker had Trashiest trailer nominee Detroit Rock City you know, that masterpiece about Kissfans unrepresented by a clip because New Line didn't want it placed in such a mocking context. Well, the even trashier Cruel Intentionswon the trophy so now the Detroit Rock Cityfolks can relax and wait for their inevitable Oscar blitz. Anyway, some other awards were given out and even appreciated, and then we all crawled back into our . . . trailers.
We slithered out again for the IFP Gotham Awards, which celebrated iconoclastic movies whose entire budgets equal that of the trailer for The Matrix. But commercialism had a place at the table anyway, since the awards started with an exec thanking hundreds of sponsors, after which they doled out honors like the "Perry Ellis Breakthrough Award Underwritten by Perry Ellis International." To someone who gives the best performance in Perry Ellis? I enjoyed the dinner underwritten by the publicists as host Sandra Bernhard performed engagingly sour material about how "Stanley Kubrick died of shame" and "I adore Angelina Jolie because she's so committed to being bisexual. Come on don't pretend you all haven't swung!" It was true; most of the crowd hadtried heterosexuality at least once.
After we tried the fish, the Lifetime Achievement Award swung over to Meryl Streep, who said, "I'm thrilled and sort of appalled to get this midcareer." Making her an even less likely candidate for the statue, Streep's not exactly the indie queen, but as she cracked, "Parker Posey was up, but I got it because I'm older." And also because, with the gratitude, wry humor, and sincere tears she put forth at the podium, Meryl who's dropped accents and diseases in favor of musical instruments deserves another award just for her acceptance speech! At my table, I told Ted Demme who directed the award-worthy premiere of Action that I liked the show's shmucky writer character, Adam Rafkin. He laughed and said, "We tried to think of a name that rhymed with Brian Grazer, but we couldn't."
The award for chutzpah (rhymes with balls) goes to 85-year-old fitness legend Jack LaLanne who, amid all the slick stars trotting out prepackaged sound bites you know, "Stigmatawas a labor of love. . . . " is a refreshing throwback to pure media innocence. When I called the guy for a prearranged interview regarding his appearance in Beefcake a well-made flick about a '50s physique photographer he shockingly said he'd never even heard of the movie, much less the trailer. "Be Fit?" he asked. "No, Beefcake," I repeated. "When was that done?" LaLanne wondered. "Not that long ago," I told him. Silence. "It's a half-reenactment, half-documentary," I went on, "and you appear as yourself. It's coming out very soon. Don't you remember it?" Nope, it didn't ring a bell at all, and I knew I was in love.
Generally, of course, LaLanne's no dumbbell, though he still lifts them. "If I felt any better, I'd be flying," he crowed. "I don't need Viagra. I need the opposite, man. I'm hornier than a toad." And suddenly we had gone from cute cluelessness to way too much info. Adding even more detail, he volunteered that classic flicks like It Happened One Nightmake him really hot. "Those old movies were so sexy, you'd get an erection just watching them," he gushed. (I'll stick to Tijuana Toilet Tramps, thank you.) I was getting a little hot for Jack until he started weirdly ranting about how people on welfare are parasites who feed off society. I tried to sputter an argument, but by now he was busy telling me I should make sure my arteries supply blood to my muscles. Bye, Jack. Check out your movie you know, Beefcake.
While we're on the abs-normal, the current issue of gymmagazine has a letter from the editor saying he's perturbed that someone wrote in wondering why the publication doesn't come in a plain brown wrapper. This editor isn't enraged because people should be out and proud, mind you he's livid because it's not that kind of magazine! ("gymnever shows anything that can be construed as vulgar displays of the human form.") Well, no, the mag isn't vulgar, but a lot of times it doesseem like a nongenital version of Playgirl, featuring provocative shots of fey seminudes, along with all that fitness material. But not to worry gym alreadycomes in a plain brown wrapper, editorially speaking. A cover story on exVH1 VJ A.J. Hammer delves at length into the "persons" he has sex with, no pronouns ever alluded to.