Posts filed under ‘Alcoholism/Substance Abuse’
I am the Queen of Coincidence-incidence-incidence. Or, as I like to imagine it, to the tune of Cult of Personality:
Look in my eyes
What do you see?
The Queen of Co-coincidence
The Queen of Co-coincidence
The Queen of Co-coincidence
I’m probably, like, a cousin of Kate Middleton’s or something, fourteenth cousin, five times removed, whatever the crap that means. I can’t even keep track of that in my own family. I just say, she’s my cousin, but she’s not my first cousin.
Oh! As a side note, to get fully off track, have I ever mentioned that I have a double cousin? No joke. And the best part is that there’s absolutely no incest involved. My dad’s sister’s daughter married the son of a first cousin of my mother’s father. Seriously. So, I have this really snotty cousin who acts like she thinks she’s better than me but isn’t too good to ask to be my friend on Facebook that I probably share more genes with than, well, anyone outside of my immediate family. And actually, if you think about it, I mean, that is somewhat related to this post. What are the odds?
Now to get a real feel for this blog post, we have to go way back into the annals of Gooseberry Bush, to a little blog post that I like to call, The Accidental Stalker: An Ironic Tale of My Date with Destiny. Go ahead and read over that post and acquaint yourself with the awesomeness of my unrequited love for one Mark Foster. Mark Foster was an acquaintance of mine that I had the hots for who probably knew that I had the hots for him and didn’t see the point in chasing after a girl who fell into his lap.
Or, perhaps, despite my magnetic personality, he just plain old wasn’t interested. And this is actually a good thing because if he had been interested I’d probably now be married to a Republican, Presbyterian MBA who would force me to name our first-born son after a certain Scientologist alternative rock god. I’d also be married to a man who once described a former fiancée as a talented pianist who just didn’t have what it takes to be a professional musician.
With my healthy self-esteem, by now we’d have three children all named after professional writers, and I’d be a stay-at-home mom, hitting the bottle by 3:00 in the afternoon and bitching about how I coulda been a contender, like Jonathan Franzen. We would go to dinner parties with other business executives where my husband would describe me as a talented scribe who wasn’t talented enough to be published.
Can’t you just see the slurry scene of afternoon domestic melancholy?
Thank God he didn’t find me the teensiest bit attractive. Instead, he married a horse faced, bug eyed woman. There’s no accounting for taste. But just maybe he prefers horse faced and bug eyed to fat, loud mouthed, opinionated and neurotic. I don’t get it. Really, I don’t. Clearly, he coulda had all this. And the bag of chips. I mean, look at me. I’m not going to begrudge him the bag of chips. What could I say about it that wouldn’t sound like hypocrisy?
So, to get on with it, I’m at the Central Market on North Lamar this evening, going to get something to eat at the café before I meet with my Writers Group. Yes, I meet with a Writers Group. Okay. It’s one other writer, but she’s awesome, and she’s written a rape satire that I’m going to publish as a guest post in another week or two, so keep your eyes peeled.
I go to Central Market early because I get off work at 5, and the Writers Group meets at 7, and I figure that I can eat dinner and goof off on the internet while I’m waiting for my new friend to show up. Also, I have no life. But that’s really not important right now.
I get in line and pick up a menu, and then I move my head just slightly to the right. And I’ll be damned. There he is. I have not seen this guy in…how old am I? I’m thinking I haven’t seen this guy in about 13 years. And I lock eyes on his for about 2 seconds, long enough to see the adorable baby girl in his arms wearing a pink floral sundress. And I figure Horseface must be right behind me.
So, I turn my head very quickly and then turn my back and then, after spending some time pretending to be interested in a magazine rack full of periodicals for breeders, I head for the second floor where I get out my laptop and hide until my friend shows up. By then I figure it might be safe to go downstairs and get something to eat, even though my stomach has been growling for the whole hour and twenty minutes that I wait for the Mark Foster family to finish their dinners. At the same time, I’m on the iChat with one of the Mr. Brewsters.
oh. my. god.
you really are the accidental stalker. who got there first?
i don’t know. i was checking out the prepackaged sushi when i decided I wanted something from the café instead, and there he was.
i think you should aim your sights higher and try for the soup peddler next time. can’t you run into jesse james?
i didn’t aim for anything. i just turned my head, and he was there.
I have a feeling that he’s moved back to Austin with his family and is now really active in the same Presbyterian church that Mr. & Mrs. Landlord faithfully attend.
I swear, this guy is like a boomerang. Thirty years from now when I hit the nursing home, there he’ll be, in the dining room, dentures in a glass by his plate, eating cherry Jell-O. And I will still instantly recognize his ass…and then run and hide.
So, that review was kind of snide and snarky. And I did like the book in one way, and that is that I thought that it was entertaining, even if it was only half-way original. I think Jonathan Franzen is definitely talented. So, I have some second thoughts.
Even if the date rape was clichéd, I still recognize that the reason that it may feel clichéd is that is so true to life. After all, I wrote my own post that was somewhat similar to a Lifetime movie, only it wasn’t fiction, it was from my very own damn life.
It’s not just a cliché, it’s also my life.
In addition to that cliché there was also the love triangle between the “nice” guy and the “sexy” guy, as if nice can’t also be sexy. It struck me, after reading the book and then also reading interviews and biographies of Jonathan Franzen, that perhaps this book was somewhat personal. Richard and Walter are stand-ins for someone else, and that someone else is Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace.
Even though Franzen is the bigger environmentalist and the bird watcher and probably the less flashy of the two, and even though Wallace superficially resembles Richard, with his greater charisma and physical beauty and tobacco chew, I think that Walter and Richard are actually just dual aspects of Franzen’s personality. It’s Franzen against Franzen.
Also, if anyone is Walter, the more spiritual one, the kinder one, the more worthy one, it’s Wallace, who couldn’t possibly hurt a fly other than himself, if it weren’t for the one fact of his suicide. Wallace was the “churchgoer,” the one with the reputation as the “nice” guy, and yet it was Wallace, and not Franzen, who hanged himself on his own porch for his wife to find his body. Maybe not so selfless a death as David Foster Wallace would have wished for himself, if he had been in his right mind at the time.
It strikes me that Walter’s eventual forgiveness of Patty, and, by implication, Richard, is Franzen’s final tribute to his friend David Foster Wallace. And with this act, his overvalued novel is somewhat redeemed and maybe even worthy of half of the superfluous over-the-top “critical” literary views, if the idea was to transcend the selfish and self involved characters of his Seinfeldian universe, with this one final act of grace.
It occurs to me that the repitition of the word and the ideology of “freedom” in David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech and the fact that Jonathan Franzen’s novel is titled, Freedom are no coincidence.
Morning Glory is a movie about a news producer with echoes of Broadcast News and Mary Richards. It’s all perky comedy, and the debate about substance and content versus infotainment and sound bites is over. The idiots won the ratings war. This movie basically presents a world in which real news is something that might occasionally interrupt a cooking segment. That’s a given here, and actually something that our heroine argues for the merits of.
The heroine of the movie, played by Rachel McAdams from The Notebook, practically makes Maria von Trapp look like she’s suffering from chronic depression. People constantly ask her if she is about to burst into song. But no, she does not sing. Instead, she whips a fourth rate network morning news show into shape and wins over a cantankerous Harrison Ford in the process.
What’s up with that? Lately every time I see Harrison Ford in a movie I feel like they wrote a script for a character that’s code named Curmudgeon and thought of him first. If they are going to do a biopic of Andy Rooney’s life, they should call Harrison Ford. If only Calista would let him grow the ear and nose hair necessary! I would go to see that.
Patrick Wilson does a nice turn as Rachel McAdams’ love interest, and Diane Keaton is pleasing but under utilized here. I would have liked to see her be supportive of Rachel’s character instead of a middle aged version of Mean Girls, but you can’t have everything. The supportive co-worker is played by John Pankow from Mad About You. He deserves credit for his subtle and excellent performance.
Jeff Goldblum, as Rachel’s boss, is just a genius as usual. Jeff Goldblum could read me the phone book. Seriously. Someone should record that as a podcast for iTunes. I would buy it. My criteria for how badly I want to see a movie kind of works like this: are either of the Jeffs in it? Goldblum or Bridges? I am there.
It’s a cotton candy movie, but it doesn’t pretend to be anything different. It works for what it is.
Now, Country Strong, on the other hand…Where do I start? This was supposed to be serious cinema, an Oscar contender. It was supposed to be THE PART for Gwyneth. There was tons of publicity, about Gwyneth gaining weight eating fried food and getting trashed all over Memphis. OMG! I think she actually gained 15 pounds! Gwyneth, what commitment! Does this remind you of Jeff Bridges’ interviews about gaining weight eating tons of Haagen Daas for Crazy Heart, anyone?
As a nod to authenticity, Gwyneth sang a song from the movie with Vince Gill at the CMA Awards. She even played guitar. Did this win anyone over? I wanted to like it. I swear I did.
Here’s what I have to say about Country Strong. It’s like someone saw Crazy Heart and decided that the new way to win critical acclaim and sell DVDs along with soundtracks is to convince some actor to play an alkie country singer. Want an Oscar? Play an alkie country singer. Want to jump start a recording career? Hire T Bone Burnett to supervise your soundtrack and record music of you singing while you play an alkie country singer.
What the producers of Country Strong, along with Gwyneth, apparently, forgot is that Crazy Heart actually had a good script. Who wrote the crap I saw on my screen? They should be shot. I could Google it, but I’m afraid that someone might take me seriously, and I would be sued.
The script makes our heroine so unlikeable that you’re actually relieved at what is supposed to be a tragic ending. You just basically think, well, thank God her husband is free of that selfish bitch. And her husband isn’t even a sympathetic character, either! Tim McGraw comes across as a greedy bastard.
The beginning of the movie sees two totally green kids recruited to be the opening act for what we’re told is a big current country star playing to sold out stadiums in Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Yeah, right! And the kid who’s been fucking Gwyneth while she’s in rehab just so happens to be one of these green kids. What an amazing coincidence!
The kid, who’s talented but undiscovered, is recruited as her “sponsor” to keep her sober while on tour. Tim McGraw wants him there to overcome the beauty queen’s stage fright, but the kid’s supposedly convinced to go based on his concern for Gwyneth.
Are we really asked to believe that Tim McGraw’s character really thinks this kid is his wife’s AA sponsor? Not implausible at all. Sarcasm: a service I offer for free.
The scenario that’s supposed to make our heroine sympathetic and likeable is that she lost a baby when she was 5 months pregnant by tripping over a microphone wire on stage in Dallas with a .19 blood alcohol level. Just before her first comeback concert someone sends her a package with a “dead” baby doll. I was just waiting for the reveal when the supposed beauty queen who’s been recruited as an opening act was the malevolent “fan” who sent the dead baby doll.
How disappointing that that didn’t happen! At least then it would have been a decent melodrama, especially if the beauty queen was actually sleeping with Gwyneth’s husband. Nothing doing. This script doesn’t have the balls to do that.
Of course, the young kid eventually tells Gwyneth that he won’t sleep with her anymore because she’s married. Well, she didn’t suddenly get married while she was on tour. The kid is screwing a celebrity; he’s known she was married all along. He didn’t suddenly grow a conscience. We all know the real reason he won’t sleep with her anymore has more to do with the beauty queen who’s on tour with him. But he’s still a loyal friend, following her all over town, prying bottles out of her hand, kicking her out of a possible gang rape scene in a bar and throwing her into the back of a taxi cab with the beauty queen.
The whole movie is just so tiresome and formulaic. It gives us a lead character who presents us with the rainbow spectrum of clichés and not a hint of anything remotely resembling likeability or even genuine humanity.
Country Strong is a waste of time. Some of the musical performances are good, but the best ones come from the two young kids. Gwyneth is passable at best. She can sing. That’s not the problem. She just doesn’t sing well enough or generate enough heat or charisma to make me believe that she’s the equivalent of a Wynonna or Reba or Shania.
The sound mixer fails to elevate her voice over the requisite applause. I just can’t buy, since I’ve actually been to many concerts, that any country powerhouse would allow her voice to be drowned out entirely by the applause. In short, Gwyneth doesn’t have “it.” But I give her an A for effort. The movie fails, but it’s not ultimately her fault.
“I don’t entirely approve of some of the things I have done, or am, or have been. But I’m me. God knows, I’m me” – Elizabeth Taylor
I’m loathe to write about Elizabeth Taylor because there’s nothing I could write about her that’s not already been written. However, it seems a shame to allow her death to pass without commenting on it. She was, after all, the first woman to be paid $1,000,000 salary for a movie, an exorbitant amount of money for the time. Taylor was widely reported, for many years, to be the world’s most beautiful woman. She was famous for her violet eyes, her many marriages, her soap opera-tabloid lifestyle, her entrepreneurial successes, her philanthropy, and her jewelry collection.
She hastened the end of the marriage of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (let’s face it; those two would have eventually divorced anyway), and she was denounced by both the Catholic Church and the United States Senate for her affair with Richard Burton. The affair with Burton hastened the end of her marriage to Fisher, and ended Burton’s marriage to his first wife, Sybil.
But it began a new and tempestuous marriage that spanned a decade, two weddings and two divorces. It also gave us the great performances we see in, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Would a movie version of Edward Albee’s play have been nearly as fascinating with anyone else playing George and Martha? I hope we never have to find out.
For all her addiction issues and flights of excess, sexual promiscuity and sense of entitlement (she was famously demanding, spoiled, and difficult to work with), she will also be remembered for her courage to speak out against AIDS at a time when no one was doing so. She was, by all accounts, an excellent mother, and this will be one of the many parallels that cause people to compare her with Angelina Jolie. She had a sense of humor about herself and would famously poke fun of herself on talk shows and with her friends. For instance, she stipulated that her coffin would arrive fifteen minutes late for her own funeral.
She had a great love for the gay man, and what gay man wouldn’t love Elizabeth Taylor? She was an icon and a diva. She had a longstanding and close friendship with Roddy McDowell, with whom she starred in one of the Lassie movies. As a young woman she fell helplessly in love with Montgomery Clift, and even though he preferred men, they remained close throughout his lifetime. She was Rock Hudson’s friend and his champion. When AIDS was denounced as a punishment from God for being gay, Elizabeth Taylor stood up and called that viewpoint nonsense. She was, above all, a spectacularly loyal friend, and her steadfast devotion to Michael Jackson proves that beyond a doubt.
Elizabeth battled lots of continuous health issues and went to rehab more than once. In her middle age and beyond, her metabolism caught up with her, and she battled the bulge many times. Sometimes she won, and sometimes the bulge won. But even as a woman in her 70s, suffering from pain, poor health, and mobility issues, she was still famously beautiful. If you could find anyone in the world who didn’t know who she was, they would have inevitably been struck by the thought of what a striking woman she must have been when she was young. She was the kind of woman that you literally couldn’t help staring at, at any age.
What I most remember Elizabeth Taylor for is that she shared my father’s birthday. My dad was born on the same day as Elizabeth Taylor. He’s five years older than her. He liked to say that the gap between their ages increased over the years but given her childhood stardom, I find this unlikely. It’s probably just my dad’s sense of humor. Elizabeth Taylor’s death reminds me that true beauty, like life, is fleeting. Appreciate it while you can.
I’m still reading this Charlie Sheen crap, and I hate myself for doing it, but it’s like trying not to watch a train wreck going on in front of your eyes. I notice that there have been new interviews where Charlie calls himself a genius, asks for a 50% pay raise, says he’s Adonis, and that other people aren’t like him because they don’t have “tiger blood.”
He’s tired of people not recognizing how special he is. No doubt, this is a reaction to the AA term, “terminal uniqueness.” He knocks AA, and this is because they supposedly have only a 5% success rate. He says he cured himself with the power of his mind, because, apparently, that’s how Charlie rolls. I don’t know AA’s success rate, but…high or low, it’s the only treatment that’s successful. And it works if you work it. But you can’t quit going to meetings and quit working the steps and start drinking and using and expect for it to work by osmosis.
Charlie’s publicist has left him now, and it was really the only smart choice the man could possibly make. Otherwise, he looks like the twit who advised Charlie to spout off at the mouth in his current state.
Charlie won’t get help until he hits bottom, and maybe not even then. The problem is that if he’s talking like this and he is indeed sober, as he says he is, then he’s got bigger problems than just addiction. I read comments all over the internet where people have no compassion for this guy, and he is a selfish ass. But does it never occur to anyone but me that maybe, just maybe Charlie Sheen has some real mental illness beyond just drug addiction here. I mean, we’re talking about the kind of guy who thought the government conspired to cause 9/11…when he was sober.
I think Sheen needs a full psychiatric evaluation, not just a stay in some pampered resort for addicted celebrities. I think Sheen needs to be fired, permanently. Let’s not pussy foot around it. Fire his ass. Make him get help. And even though I think Charlie Sheen is acting like a tool, it’s just plain wrong to fail to have compassion for one of our fellow human beings, especially if he’s actually mentally ill. It’s not a choice. Why do we act like it is?