Friday, April 3, 2009

The Cake Eaters

Welcome back, suckers. Before we start, I must express my absolute joy at the fact that Next to Normal seems to be getting off to a good start. Sometime soon I plan on paying a visit to the Booth to watch Alice Ripley roll around in bread and lettuce once again. If she does not win the Tony, it will be the biggest upset since The Lion King robbed Ragtime back in '98.
Anyway. Back to the reason I'm here. A few days ago, on some kind of reckless whim, I decided to download a movie called The Cake Eaters from iTunes. I don't know why I bought it. I suppose I had some kind of destructive Sally Bowles moment. I must say, however, that I was pleasantly surprised. Okay, friends. I'm gonna take a pratfall and eat my words here. Notice the girl on the poster. Yes, it's Kristen Stewart, the same girl whose incriminating picture adorns my sidebar, the same girl who autopiloted her way through Twilight. But here's the thing, folks. She didn't suck in this one. When the HELL did this girl learn to act?! I actually saw some genuine emotion here, and I only counted one weird facial expression. She plays a girl with Friedrich's Ataxia, a fatal muscle disease, and her performance was described as "dynamite." Can I just take a moment to point something out, friends? Why is it that playing a disabled person automatically garners you rave reviews? Case in point: Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, Dustin Hoffman in Rain Main, Donna Murphy in Passion, Kelli O'Hara in The Light in the Piazza, and, fine, I'll admit it: Alice Ripley in Next to Normal. Anyway, the main reason I even downloaded this film was to see Elizabeth Ashley, who's currently over at The Music Box alienating her son and revealing devastating secrets as Mattie Fae in August: Osage County. Note the smashed plates on the floor. I cannot think of anyone better suited to the part of Mattie Fae, and I'm just pleased as punch because now the line, "Mattie Fae, we're gonna get in the car and go home and if you say one more mean thing to that boy I'll throw you out on your fat Irish ass," can be put back in. Sorry, but substituting "scrawny" for "fat" just didn't do it for me. (Oh, and while we're on the subject, I must say that I think it is an absolute travesty that Elizabeth Ashley has never played Joanne. Her Ladies Who Lunch would be MARVELOUS.) Well, if the rumors of an August movie are true, I think we have our Mattie Fae. Also, I stick to my theory that Debbie Reynolds would make an awesome Violet, and Laura Linney an even better Barbara.
So long live August: Osage County, may Alice Ripley get her Tony, and, God in heaven, don't let John Stamos screw up Bye Bye, Birdie.

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