Awesome in the News

So, in case there is anyone left in North America that I haven’t already mentioned this to – I think EVERYONE should go see Where the Wild Things Are immediately!! It is, in my opinion, a stunning and powerful piece of art.

There was a beautiful review by Manohla Dargis in the Times that is totally worth reading. And (in the interest of pretending to be fair and balanced) a healthy dose of skepticism care of  the WSJ Blog’s Review Roundup.

But what I think is particularly interesting (from my educationally-enforced-media-analysis perspective) is this bit from the Entertainment Weekly review (my emphasis added):

From Maurice Sendak’s beloved picture book about a rambunctious little boy named Max and the kingdom of untamed creatures who adopt him as their like-minded king, filmmaker Spike Jonze has made a movie that is true to Sendak’s unique sensibilities and simultaneously true to Jonze’s own colorful instincts for anarchy. This is, to quote the 1963 children’s classic, ”the most wild thing of all.” It’s also personal movie-
making, with corporate backing, at its best.

Photo by furryscalyman via flickr

Photo by furryscalyman via flickr

The first day back from a holiday weekend is hard, harder still if you are the kind of bum who calls in sick on the Friday before a long weekend (I am). So rather than answer the ridiculous number of emails in your inbox (I’m not) or continuing trying to drink your iced coffee by scotch taping the straw rather than getting up to get a new one (I am, and it isn’t working very well), why not consider some interesting ladies in the world and around the web and leave the “working” until after your second post mid-morning coffee break?

1) In a move that the Huffington Post called “stunning”  and Hot Air calls a lot of things that don’t add up to the the nomination of a “thoughtful jurist”  President Obama announced Sonia Sotomayor as his pick to replace Justice Souter

2) Love her or hate her, Hilary Clinton made news this weekend not only by receiving an honorary doctorate from her Ivy League alma mater but also by extending benefits and protections to the same-sex partners of American diplomats.

3) It is not a secret that I am obsessed with Manohla Darghis. In a strange move that can only be explained by gross understaffing in the newsroom, the Times has accidentally assigned Manohla a story about something she doesn’t totally loathe. While the result lacks a certain amount of the acerbic wit and anti-romcom venom I love her for, you can check out her, still excellent, coverage of Cannes here and here.

4) And from the blogosphere I can’t resist giving love to Sweet Machine over at Shapely Prose who I adore not only for taking her name from a Doty poem but also for posting a genius piece yesterday on queering her mirror. Or if “a physical fight between the mother of a cripple and a woman wearing a pair of bedazzled sunglasses” is more your thing, I encourage you to checkout ANYTHING by the hilarious bird (or her hilarious partner in crime) at 2 Birds 1 Blog (

5) If loud mouthed opinionated and hilarious women aren’t your thing (you probably stopped reading like…335 words ago) check out a lady who doesn’t talk back…because she is made of plastic! Rebecca Rubin is the newest American Girl and a New Yorker to boot – so come to think of it, plastic or not, she probably can’t be counted on to keep her mouth shut.

6) And speaking of noisey in New York, check out Janet McTeer, Harriet Walter, Jane Alexander, Allison Janney, Alice Ripley, Tovah Feldshuh, Angela Lansbury and Liza Minnelli not to mention Kristin Scott Thomas, Stockard Channing, Olympia Dukakis and a whole host of other awesome Broadway ladies this season.

7) Last but not least, I give you a lovely lady of days gone by. The Times ran a sweet piece over the weekend on some wartime mementos of the late (great) Donna Reed.

It felt like it was a whole lifetime of blissful paid holiday leave, short weeks, and empty-office workdays (did I, as threatened, get all risky business during the two weeks that less than 10 of us were in the office? the world will just have to keep on wondering). And now? Now, it’s over!  In an effort to combat the back-to-work blues, I am going to try to focus on some recent news that makes the work day a little bit more bearable.   

 First up (care of the lovely and talented Claire) – Manohla Dargis’ review of Bride Wars in the Times. Coming off a season of critical acclaim and some commercial success, Anne Hathaway puts her career right back in the pot with an epically stupid chick flick, or at least that’s what Manohla Dargis has to say. While critics have had a lot of things to say about Anne Hathaway’s career and the movie itself, Dargis manages to pretty successfully avoid talking about both. Even if the review had been nothing more than its cheap cracks at the expense of the film (for example: “Liv replaces Emma’s spray-on-tan formula with an angry orange that brings to mind deep-fried Donatella Versace.” Or ““Bride Wars” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). Dangerous acts of consumerism.”), it still would’ve been a totally awesome in the news. But aside from her considerable wit and her admirable ability to get through the whole review with a single use of the word “frenemy”, Dargis also manages to engage in one of my personal favorite pastimes: finding the gay in a movie (in my case also a book, a tv show, a piece of art, a friendship between Olympic swimmers) that no one else thinks is gay at all.

Right from the beginning, she bemoans the fact that this isn’t a lezzie tale of bridal bliss, “since childhood, the two have dreamed of getting married at the Plaza (alas, not to each other)”. So to clarify, Step 1: Damn, I wish this was gay! Then, fully engaging in my personal pastime, she finds gay where others might not – “the opener — a gauzy scene from childhood that finds Liv and Emma, dressed as a bride and groom, tenderly dancing with each other — and an adult catfight, which looks like a prelude to a kiss”. Step 2: See, it sort of IS gay! She also goes on, as I would, to suggest that the gay is not all in her head saying, “there may be more to this friendship (and the fury underlying its rupture) than either the women or the movie can admit.” Step 3: Not only is it gay but they meant it to be gay, damnit! Finally, she ends the review by bringing it around to the best gay this season, the awesomely spectacular Milk. Essentially, her final analysis suggests that if the movie was actually about something significant, rather than an excuse to watch two hours of consumerism and Stepford creepy cityscapes, it might be worth watching. So Step 4: Gaying it up would’ve at least stopped it from sucking so much! Epic heterofail!