It’s time for the eagerly unawaited year-end awards column, which, like everything from Million Dollar Baby to War of the Worlds to The March of the Penguins, will be narrated by the mellifluous tones of MORGAN FREEMAN. Or it would have been had he not been busy narrating the upcoming feature War of the Million Dollar Baby Penguins. So let’s forgo narration and simply dive into 2005’s best and skankiest in fabulous awfulness and rotten-assed bliss. The voiceover-free (and glory-exempt) FELIX AWARDS go to . . .
Worst feel-good euphemism of the modern age: “He transitioned.” Please—he croaked! Dropped dead! Kicked the giant KFC bucket! Went 6,000 feet under! Is pushing up rotted daisies! Turned off the night-light! And he won’t be a-comin’ back! Learn it, face it, and move on, oh differently mentally abled person.
Biggest disappointments: JUDE LAW cheated with the nanny, then burnt SIENNA welcomed the bastard back; JACKO jurors declared the star not guilty then suddenly started wondering otherwise; the pope transitioned, then they appointed a new one. Kidding! I love the new one—he’s great copy.
Clichés ready for retirement: Stick a fork in it—it’s done; I didn’t get the memo; he drank the Kool-Aid; I can’t wrap my mind around that; he’s straight—it’s his dick that’s gay; if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space; she should have her own zip code.
Movies that by all rights should have been better:The Interpreter, Bewitched, and even some things without
NICOLE KIDMAN. Stick a fork in her—nah, she’s doin’ fine.
You know you’ve seen way too many movies when you realize: The Wedding Crashers was better than The Wedding Planner and The Wedding Date, if not quite up to par with The Wedding Singer. God, Hollywood has range.
Interesting movieland insight: Airplane terror and anxiety about the well-being of children remained the two biggest cinema topics (both subliminally fueled by lingering terrorist fears). Cannily enough, JODIE FOSTER cashed in on both with Flightplan. Alas, critics said it reeked.
Lessons learned from the tidily moralistic An Unfinished Life : J.LO’S character once had a mishap at the wheel and killed her hubby; Camryn Manheim once looked away at the moment she could have saved her daughter from drowning; ROBERT REDFORD was once so drunk he failed to protect Morgan Freeman from a grizzly bear’s paws (not to mention narration jobs); and you once wasted 10 bucks, 50 cents, and two hours—or, more likely, 40 minutes.
The year’s gayest movie: No, it wasn’t Brokeback Mountain. It was Chicken Little. No, really. Trust girlfriend. But that wasn’t the year’s gayest s/m romp. That would be Jarhead. Again, don’t doubt Mama or she’ll slap you.
How to ruin a date: Start shrieking, “I can’t wait to see Cheaper by the Dozen 2! I’ve waited so long for that movie! I’m gonna see it right after I catch up with Yours, Mine & Ours!”
How to lose a friend: Screech, “I just decided the war in Iraq is morally wrong! It’s totally based on lies and should be stopped! What a travesty!” Please—even Republicans agree with that now. Only HILLARY CLINTON doesn’t.
Enough: Wildlife documentaries (The March of the Penguins, Deep Blue) that employ sweeping orchestral music and grandiose narration (sorry, Mr. Freeman) as they show scads of wet critters to be magnificent and profound in absolutely every little thing they do. You don’t see any bowel movements or bleeding gums—that wouldn’t be all that majestic, would it? No, you’re just presented with pure grace and adorableness every step of the way, and I have to say I can see why—those animals are so fucking cute! I completely change my mind. Keep the movies coming!
But back to human biology: Actor TOM SIZEMORE was caught using a Whizzinator—a fake wee-wee complete with someone else’s urine—when he went for a drug test. Sizemore indeed.
Another unwanted lesson in body science: On the big day of testimony against him, master showman Michael Jackson claimed to have back pains and went to the emergency room, showing up late to court in pajama bottoms and slippers. As a result, I was promptly hospitalized with severe stomach cramps and life-threatening projectile vomiting. I almost transitioned. (And that’s the last time for the transitioned joke. Promise. It’s transitioned. It’s croaked! It’s dropped dead!)
Something I’ll surely never order again: Chicken fingers at Wendy’s!
Orange alert: To this day I wake up screaming, thinking I’m still surrounded by those freaking CHRISTO/JEANNE-CLAUDE gates, hung with what looked like giant shower curtains, filling every inch of my beloved Central Park. That much bright orange should never be allowed outside Osceola County.
An exchange I would have loved to see on TV: Martha Stewart: “You’re fired!” Firee: “Oh, yeah? Well, you’re under house arrest!”
Most shameless whores: The mass media, who’d previously walked on eggshells in addressing TOM CRUISE‘s offscreen life. They were suddenly joined in snark, as they gleefully deconstructed TomKat with cynicism aplenty. Why so bold, pray tell? Because Tom wasn’t hooked up to a powerful, big-time publicist anymore—he had signed his own sister to represent him—so they weren’t afraid to rock the boat the way they had been during all those oozily polite years of bowing and scraping. And these people have a right to cry, “No integrity!”?
Best gift bag item: A brochure for the Betty Ford Center, which was included in the bag for Radar magazine’s relaunch party. This was so much more useful than the usual body scrubs and aromatherapy. Alas, Tom Sizemore wasn’t there to get one (though he could probably use body scrubs and aromatherapy too, ba-dum-pum).
Juiciest comment I over- heard at a holiday party: The director of one of the big December flicks was gleefully telling a friend, “I don’t think anyone’s gonna see Spielberg‘s movie. No one’s interested!”
You know my star has fallen big-time when most of the calls I get from TV producers are about: PETER BRAUNSTEIN, the psycho who went the lam after his alleged Halloween rampage. Yes, he did write for the Voice several years ago, but alas, I mean thank God I didn’t know him well enough to get booked to talk about him!
Nocturnal omission: A New York daily ran a nightlife-related story that dealt with the sex-laden gay bar the Cock, but they wouldn’t say the club’s name, I guess because it didn’t refer to a barnyard animal. Call me kooky-crazy, but I generally think publications shouldn’t write about something if they can’t actually divulge what it is. The newspaper I’m referring to, of course, is . . . um, sorry, can’t say it.
My latest bunch of unbearably cute drag names to try on like dime-store jewelry: Ariel Photography, Ann Arbor, Sue Donymous, Cindy Cation, Mary Widow, Jennifer Convertibles, Anna Mation, Rosetta Stoned, Rose Tattoo, Pearl Onion, Carrie Okee, Brooke Trout, Sarah Tonin, Ginger Ale, Laurel Canyon, Sybil Union, Tami Flu, and— big finish—Felice Navidad.
Worst restaurant: Parkhill’s Waterfront Grill in New Jersey—the place which, as a New York Post story revealed, identified patrons by putting descriptions like “Jew couple” or “Dirty Joanne” on their checks. I was sort of tempted to drop by just to see how they’d label me (“Tired queen”? “Greasy wop”? “Unspeakably rude, fat cow”?), but I lost my nerve and just ordered takeout.
Best feel-good musical about Tourette’s syndrome:In My Life—unless there was another one around, in which case this was the second best. When the lead character was also revealed to have a brain tumor and the audience tittered, you knew this was a uniquely memorable experience. I also loved how the producer strived to stay anonymous for fear people would hit him up to finance their own shows. I guess he was afraid of that old “If he’ll put money in this pile of stink, he’ll back anything!” line of thinking. And how right he was; I’ve been dying to reach him about my seizure-disorder jukebox musical, Shake, Rattle, and RollOver.
Most outrageous showing of pure gall: In a New York Post interview with MICHAEL RIEDEL, SUZANNE SOMERS compared her disgrace at the hands of Broadway critics to the tortures at Abu Ghraib. Funny, I heard some audience members make the same comparison. Kidding once again! I love her!
Least shocking gossip magazine headline: “Marcia Cross engaged at 43!”
Most annoying e-mail: “Kindly update your contact info.” If I received the e-mail, then the contact info must be correct, right, douche bag?
Sickest truth: When you call the appropriate number on your cell phone to find out how many minutes you have left, it counts as a minute. It’s even more immoral than Iraq.
The most common use of drag queens this week is in Christmasy cabaret shows where they vamp around as Gay-101-style divas while skewering holiday sanctimony. At Don’t Tell Mama, A Very Bette Christmas romps through all the expected jokes as a BETTE DAVIS TV runthrough goes awry, but TOMMY FEMIA makes a zesty Davis, especially when asked if being famous has its drawbacks. “Being a NOBODY has its drawbacks,” he screeches.
Over at the D-Lounge, there’s another faded diva acting the bitch in one more screwed-up-TV-special premise with DAREN FLEMING‘s Merry Christmas! Love the Cherries (costarring ShaBoomBoom). It’s a DIANA ROSS and the Supremes spoof with sparkles, backstabbing, and a two-drink minumum.
And though I haven’t seen A Broadway Diva Christmas—which shockingly features biological women—I hear CHRISTINE PEDI impersonates virtually everyone when she sings “The 12 Divas of Christmas”; the audience picks names out of a hat for her to do on command. I’d love to see “SHIRLEY PARTRIDGE in a pear tree”!
Pop diva CYNDI LAUPER‘s Broadway possibilities have long been talked about, with murmurs that she may have been up for the most recent go-round of Little Shop of Horrors, then reports that she was passed over for the current Sweeney Todd revival. Well, now a talkinbroadway.com poster claims that Lauper’s in talks to replace EDIE FALCO (who stepped down) as Jenny in the Roundabout’s upcoming Threepenny Opera production. If so, the Weimar republic will have never been such fun.
Martin Luther King told of his growing nightmares and his enduring dreams in the rolling, hypnotic cadences of the rural preacher. But it was the humane, incorruptible mystique of the man that won the crowd, his crescendo phrases winning affirmations of “amen” and “Say it, brother” again and again.