Premieres have descended on me like I'm the Kremlin, not that I'm complaining about it. At the one for Amos Poe's comic noir Frogs for Snakes, insider gossip was hopping about like frogs for Mikey. Poe told me he'd offered Barbara Hershey a supporting role in the film, but she insisted on the lead, which Annabella Sciorra was supposed to play, "but then Annabella took that Robin Williams movie instead because they
paid her a half a million." He understood. That left the part open for Hershey, but Poe thought she was way too old for it, until realizing, "That's why we do these stupid moviesto give a chance to people who don't get them in Hollywood." And he loved her, even appreciatively biting her after a really good take in lieu of a big, wet Hershey kiss.
"She's such an L.A. hippie girl," said Poe. "Barbara hadn't made a movie that didn't have a trailer in years. We had a folding chair on 7th Street." She adapted. But Frogs almost folded when the NPAA frowned on Hershey's doggie-style scene with John Leguizamo. "I told them, 'But U Turn had Nick Nolte fucking Jennifer Lopez up the assand she was his daughter!"' exclaimed Poe. After some negotiations and concessions, he got an R.
An R for repellent goes to Notting HillI went to the Ziegfeld premierewhich at first seems like a clever Four Weddings and a Funeraltype romp, but then completely bogs down in pace and logic and fucks you up the ass. Julia Roberts plays a huge star who doesn't carry a cell phone? Hugh Grant is a bookstore owner who's never heard of Leonardo or Gilda, but effortlessly drops the name Meat Loaf? Everyone's making out at the wedding, except the gayish guy, who's fidgeting, all alone? What's to like is that Grant spoofs his own sex scandal by comforting Roberts when past porno pictures turn up, even telling her at one point, "I'm confident we can have you spic and span and back on the streetin the non-prostitute sense." But, with its contrived separations and endless shots of the supposedly kooky roommate acting up, the flick becomes a notting-stomach torture.
The MIX Festivalhosted premiere of Bruce LaBruce's Skin Flick at Anthology Film Archives had enough raunch appeal to bring out a fringe hall of fame of accessible peoplein the non-prostitute sense. The if-a-bomb-dropped glitterati included John Waters, Gus Van Sant, Nicky Silver, Robin Byrd, and a naked woman who kept squealing "I'm naked!" for those who hadn't noticed. The fully clothed LaBruce told us, "I'm sick of porno purists saying, 'When are you gonna do a real porno?' As if my movies are really lame." So he made Skin Flick, a grainy sexathon involving uncut skinheads acting out their (our?) darkest fantasies. Alas, we only got to see the softcore version. (Reportedly, the hardcore one might be called Gang of Foreskin or Even Skinheads Get the Blues.) "There's no penetration," the auteur told us, "but you can jerk off over the Nazi imagery."
All spent, I got mein comps for the opening of Girls Town, a hetero study in American History R based on the old Mamie Van Doren B movie about a glorified reform joint "where bad girls go...to get better!" The Actors' Playhouse production has some of the fun, but also a lot of the tedium, of the endearingly ragtag flick. On the plus side, the lounge singer (Jack Crosley) is a riot and the big dance number really rocks, daddy-o, but at least one real drag queen would have helped, along with much better pacing and production values. Afterward, an official announced, "If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, you just saw Wit."
We'll undoubtedly see wit in two collaborative scripts I've just heard about: Stalkarazzi (about cold callers on Wall Street) by Bret Easton Ellis and Brad Gooch, and Realwhich deals with race, charity, and identity issues, reallyby Bob Morris and Hilton Als. As for twits, they'll be getting less airtime because I hear the Sally Jesse Raphael show will be deemphasizing white-trash anger and becoming more of a Roseanne-type celebrity interview program. So now she can only book celebrities who are unwittingly married to hermaphrodites. (Actually, I know three.)
Anger with an accent was spewed by Christopher Hitchens at his book party at Pravda, where I heard the shy one talking about "that fatuous, mediocre actor Charlton Heston," "that fool Arthur Miller," and of course creepy Clinton. Party! Bring on the Labor Party, which is angry at HMOs and just had a Just Healthcare campaign benefit, where Michael Moore told the crowd, "All Clinton's done for health care is fire Joycelyn Elders because she said masturbation is OK. If only he'd taken her advice, we could be focusing on some real issues today!"
Before I go blind from that advice: Why did TV Guide put Star Wars on the coverbecause the movie will eventually be on TV? Isn't that a bit of a stretch (though they're certainly to be commended for helping to publicize that little-known art film)? And speaking of that annoying epic, how surprised was I to see icky creatures crawling on the floor of the movie's big bash at Mars 2112yep, another premiereonly to realize that was the media?
Some yucky gossip I picked up off the floor: Someone recently remarked to Brandy's father that he bet Brandy was really excited to work with Diana Ross on that TV movie Double Platinum. "Yeahwas," replied the dad, dryly. Another diva, Shania Twain, was anxious to pose with Madonna backstage at a glittery event recently, but my sources swear the material geisha wisely said to the photogs, "No! No!" (I'm sure if she weren't practicing spirituality these days, she would have said, "Fuck, no!")
I said yes, yes, to interviewing the fabulous Missy Misdemeanor Elliott for Interview recently, but halfway through our chat, she bizarrely interjected, "I don't talk about my sexuality or who I sleep with." Funny, I hadn't thought about her sexuality at all until then.
I've talked about the Backdoor, I mean Backstreet, Boys' sexuality, and haven't come up with any conclusionsit's not as clear-cut as with la niña locaexcept that they're hot in the following order: Kevin, Nick, Brian, A.J., Howie. Too bad I had to leave their party at the Globe before they even got there because I draw the line at six-ways. At Belgo, I went one-on-one with Tom Nuyens, a lanky charmer from Antwerp who's so not twerpy he was named Mr. World in 1996. I asked Tom what the qualifications are for such a title. "TLC," he said. "Talent, looks, and charisma." I was already quite aware of the l and c, but what the hell is his t? "I speak different languages," he replied in perfect English. Hey, I could be Mr. World toon'est-ce pas?
Of course, after A&E's Baby Beauty Queensstay with meI'd probably refuse the crown. The show even surpassed that classic Brit shockumentary Painted Babies in its exposé of the utter sickness of beauty pageants for the Gerber set. The monstrous mothersall insecure, faded beauties who obviously need the competitive circus way more than the kids doare shown bribing, cajoling, torturing, and ignoring their little JonBenets, while claiming they're dragging them through the grueling pageant process for their own good. Talk about fucking your daughters!
One final news flash: Tea With Mussolini has not been seen by a single straight personincluding at the premiere
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in New York, delivered to your inbox.