By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
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 had tried 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, "Stigmata was 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 Night make 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 gym magazine 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! ("gym never 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 does seem like a nongenital version of Playgirl, featuring provocative shots of fey seminudes, along with all that fitness material. But not to worry gym already comes 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.
Miss America contestants might soon be able to take the brown wrapper off their sex lives, and I think it's absolutely appalling! Not only shouldn't abortions be allowed to tarnish this hallowed institution, but officials should check to see that the girls still have their hymens, and also probe their rectums and other orifices for any signs of wrongdoing. If the pageant insists on being so permissive, they should at least ID the girls on the show: "Mary Smith. Three divorces, five abortions, two yeast infections." My favorite contestant on this year's pageant was the finalist who smiled her way through "Stormy Weather," clearly thinking it's an upbeat wowser. And that wasn't her only contradiction; the girl's platform was "drug prevention," but in her final q&a, she said people should leave George W. Bush alone about his rumored drug use because, basically, who cares! She lost (though I'm sure a Golden Trailer Trash award is headed her way)!
I don't know if they're in the trailer, but lavender themes do crop up fascinatingly in that bitter satire American Beauty. Kevin Spacey's character is thought to be gay by someone "You have the wrong idea," Spacey insists and a guy who is queer apparently goes psycho from the self-loathing. Also, Spacey's character admits that his marriage "is just for show a commercial for how normal we are, when we're anything but." In his next movie, The Big Kahuna, Spacey plays "a traveling industrial lubricant salesman."
A commercial for diva denial, Diana Ross got busted last week for that reciprocal breast-grabbing, and I hear she behaved très amusingly at the recent MTV awards too accidentally sitting in Madonna's seat, repeatedly telling her son to stop picking his nose, and then gleefully grabbing Li'l Kim's, well, breast. But Diana is a goddess and can act however she likes in my book (you know, Call Me Miss Ross). Then again, this column was underwritten by Motown.