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Plan B

It’s one o’ those grey and rainy summer days. The kind that make you want to crawl right back into bed and lay there all day long. The kind that you daren’t admit you like – simply because it takes the pressure off of having to do something outddorsy and summery and fun. The kind affectionately known at summercamp as a Bunk Day. The kind that, as an unemployed mother of two, I have come to dread beyond belief.

Yep. It’s one of THOSE days. And not only because of the kidlets…Museums (shouldn’t it be ‘musia’?), indoor playspaces and basements – even damp and possibly moldy-god-forbid ones – are good on days like today. Remember? No pressure to be outdoorsy and summery and fun? But on days like these when the kids are napping and your house is somewhat in order and you can’t deal with crawling into your bed because of guilt issues, on days like these the mind wanders to that special place affectionately known as Plan B .

Aaaah Plan B, we barely knew ye. In fact, you never really know your Plan B because if and when Plan B becomes Plan A, it’s not Plan B anymore. Geddit?

Remember back in the day when you were young and foolish? There was always the Plan B-er. The boy –or girl – who was besotted with you. The insurance policy. So what if (in the land of teen flicks) you didn’t have a prom date? You had the back-up. And then (in the land of teen flicks) you end up falling for the back up, realizing the homecoming queen and the quarter back were really meant for one another – and chances are they’d peak in high school anyway. In real life, you probably never thought twice about the loser who was into you. Until you got dumped and turned to them, only to find they’d moved on. And then you pined. In part because your Plan B back-up had split, but also because you felt like a bit of a…shall we say…loser. But that was then. Back in high school. This is now. And it’s still the same.

Only now, for me, it’s jobs. A the beginning of the summer there were some potentials, just shy of a handful. One I wanted. Three I didn’t. I was quite cocky about the one I did want. I’d met the gang, fit right in. For sure I’d get it. For sure. And so right off the bat I ditched Potential Job #2. Didn’t pursue it and didn’t think twice. Then came PJ #3. An editrix (love that word) friend of mine was looking for someone to write a book about Karaoke. Yes, Karaoke. And she so kindly thought of me. The money was crap, the gig was harder than I thought and writing a sample was incredibly frustrating (tho’ somewhat illuminating – did you know that the guy who invented Karaoke never made a dime? Or, rather, a yen?) I prayed I wouldn’t get it. And when they went with a Karaoke expert (huh?!) instead of an enthusiastic faker like me I was relieved. After all, I was a shoo-in for the dream job and, besides, I had a Plan B.

Plan B was writing for a TV show I was beyond qualified to work on. It wasn’t my first choice, hence the moniker Plan B (duh.). But I was pretty sure I was pretty perfect for it. Before you think I’m way too cocky for you to stomach, please understand, you know when you’re “in” and you also know when you’re right for something. Mutually exclusive, sure, but instincts count for something, right? WRONG. I was way off-base. Like out-of-the-ballpark-in-the-worst-possible-way kind of off-base.

I didn’t get either job. And I was devastated.

I was beyond pissed that I lost out on the Dream Job. But even worse was the sad and sorry fact that my Plan B didn’t want me. They didn’t want me. First I was irate. Then I was depressed. And then I got desperate. I wanted to call, write, grovel. Beg them to change their mind. Thank goodness my agent kept me in check. Gave me a telephone slap-in-the-face and told me to get over it. I had less than a 1-in-10 chance of getting any of these gigs. Move on. And I did. Or at least I pretended to. Sure I was sad about the A-list job, but it was losing the Plan B-er that really put me over the edge. I know, I know, neither one was meant to be. When (if?!) the right thing comes along I’ll know. Blah blah blah. How does that help me cope now??!!

I’ll tell you how. The weeks have passed. It’s been a glorious summer and I have actually enjoyed being unemployed and spending time with my babes. But on rainy days like today, I still try and picture myself doing something else. And when nothing comes to mind, I scramble to think up a Plan B. And, of course, on days like today, I draw a big, fat, blank.

I guess I could always crawl back into bed and wait for the sun to come out. It always does….


Anonymous said…

Plan B is a movie! It’s obvious – go finally see the undervalued comedic talents of Ms. Streep.

12:22 PM

Mother of all Mavens said…

Don’t scoop me anonymous! Going to see DWP ce soir!

12:30 PM

July 10, 2006   No Comments


Aniston Wears Prada

Tonight I went to see the movie everyone’s been talking about – The Devil Wears Prada. I even got there with 30 minutes to spare (unheard of for this chicita) And guess what? SRO. On a Wednesday. What the funk?! Not being one to let a movie night go to waste, I ended up seeing the flick no one’s talking about – The Breakup.

And now Jenny and I are definitely back together. Rachel Green is dead. Long live Rachel Green. Or any romantic comic heroine our Jenny chooses to play. Is it any wonder her career was flagging? This is her genre. She’s the Meg Ryan for the noughties – even if they are half over. Was it a perfect movie? Mais non. But did I laugh and, dare I say, even choke up a teeny tiny bit? You betcha.

OK. The Vaughn may have had a little something to do with it. I love him. I feel like I know him. And I love him. Actually, I kinda feel like I’m married to him – making me love him more. And no, I am not completely delusional, nor am I a stalking freakazoid. He just reminds me of the man I happen to be married to (in real life). You get the picture. Point is, Vinnie wrote it, produced it, and, duh, starred in it – how bad can it be?

Yes they had reshoots. But what movie doesn’t? And yes, those reshoots were a wee bit too obvo. They were in Chicago. In winter. And sure, it left me wondering what the real ending could’ve – and should’ve – been. But Vinnie winks for the camera and it’s worth the price of admission. And parking.

WAIT! Before you rush out to buy your tix, be warned – it’s no award winner. It’s just better than I thought it would be. Oddly enough, it’s the casting that was make or break… up (hee hee). You see, for every great performance, there was an equal and opposite sucky one. Jason Bateman? Barely there. Jon Favreau? Scenery muncher (last scene aside, that is: he’s hi-hi-hi-larious in his own – and only – subtle way). Joey Lauren Adams? Snip. Judy Davis? Keep. Sure she’s hokey and shticky and can’t pronounce the simplest of yiddisher terminology. But so what? That beats the earnest, raspy (but-not-in-a-good-way) squirrelyness of Ms. J.L.A. Ye olde Ann Margrock has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. Maybe blink a bit. But in the other corner is the man who steals the show: John Michael Higgins. You’ll know him – and love him – when you see him. The man’s a comic genius. GENIUS.

So it wasn’t the buzzy movie of the week. Or last week’s buzzy movie. Or even the week before’s. Yep, I’m a little behind the times. But it was good clean fun nonetheless. And with no great expectations, it was bound not to disappoint. So I say thanks Vinnie! Way to charm. And thanks Jenny! Way to dress. Gather round children, it’s time for a group hug. VV – you’ve still got it. J’aniston and me? We’re back together.

Meryl? I’ll see you next week.


Anonymous said…

John Michael Higgins is a master of everything he touches. Joey Laurel Adams has obviously blown everyone in Hollywood because she can’t act and that VOICE!!! Bring back the silent era!


July 5, 2006   No Comments


My Favourite Waste of Time

Y’know when you have a million-and-one things to do in the morning? For the domestic gods and goddesses among us it’s the whole feed-and-dress-kids, feed-and-dress-self routine. For those of us who still have their own lives it could be a mere feed-dress-get out the door, or hit-the-gym or just S, S and S (shit, shave, shower?!). Whatever the combo, we all know that mornings are precious. And yet, in my case, I somehow find time I really do not have to sit down and read the paper. But wait, it gets worse. I even make time to do the crossword. And sudoku. Gasp! Forsooth! Oh dear!

I know!!!

Truth be told, I don’t really read the whole paper and do all the puzzles every morning. Sometimes I’ll wait ’til it’s afternoon. Or nighttime. Or sometimes I’ll even skip all the newsy bits in favour of the puzzles. Which are often found a little too close to the obits, which I then feel compelled to read. Reminders of our own mortality. But then I assuage any puzzler’s-guilt I may have by considering it mental calisthenics. Doing crosswords and other puzzles can help delay the onslaught of Alhzeimer’s and/or dementia. Or so they say. Whatev. I just like doing them. Or trying to.

So this week I was really wacky. Not only did I waste a good chunk of morning time doing the crossword. I snuck away and spent an afternoon watching Wordplay. It’s the latest must-see, non-political/non-national geographic/non-Michael Moore documentary. It’s good, clean, feel-good fun. And why the hell not?!

I loved Wordplay. Loved it! Granted, as you know I also love crosswords, but I think even if you don’t, you’d like the flick. Spellers and dummies alike loved Spellbound. And tone-deaf grownups with two left feet appreciated Mad Hot B-room. So there you go. The friend I went with confessed the only crosswords she even tried were the ones in People Magazine. She doesn’t like to start something she can’t finish. So a fairweather crossword fan. But she loved Wordplay too.
The movie follows a slew of crossword makers and their fans. Some famous (it’s Jon Stewart!), some infamous (it’s Bill Clinton!) and some not-so-regular joes (it’s Trip from Ft. Lauderdale!) take us on a journey culminating at the National Crossword competition, officiated by the one, the only (drumroll puh-lease) Will Shortz!
I can hear you already: Will Shortz? Who’s Will Shortz??

Well, duh, he’s only the Superman of the crossword set. A real Clark Kent, he works at the NY Times as its crossword (and sudoku) editor. Mild mannered and seemingly meek, give the guy a pencil – no, make it a pen – and look out. In fact, you don’t have to give him any writing utensil – he’s the guy who writes/solves/finds/does the puzzles. He’s Geek Chic personafied. And I think I may have developed a bit of a crush on him. What? He’s so damn clever, it’s hard not to.
Here’s the thing with this flick – they’re all so smart it’s crazy. Crazy good. Crazy entertaining. Crazy, scary, smart. Smarter than the smartest guy you know kind of smart. But don’t let that turn you off, ‘cuz these smarty pants (unlike the ones you actually do know) are not the least bit pretentious. Sure you’ve got the familiar names (it’s the Indigo Girls!) and faces (it’s that famous baseball player, whose name escapes me because I am soooo not a sports fan! But he’s a big star athlete. And he’s smart too!). And yet, it’s the behind the scenes at the Big Competition that rock the house down. In a very civilized, very nerdy way of course.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll want to rush out and do the crossword. And you won’t be able to. But you won’t care because in failing to complete an end-of-week NY Times crossword, you’ll love the movie even more. ‘Cuz it’s Revenge of the Nerds. But for real. And revenge was never so sweet. And so watchable.
Next stop on the feel-good doc parade: Sudoku…..yeah….


Anonymous said…

Sounds like this movie is closer to fine.


June 23, 2006   No Comments


Friends with Money

Yesterday I skipped off on life and went to see an afternooner: Friends with Money. Apparently, everyone’s talking about it. I only know a couple of friends who’ve even mentioned it – one loved it, one did not – but I’m a fan of writer/director Nicole Holofwhatever so I went to check it out. I also have tendencies to over-identify with her characters, so I couldn’t really miss it.

Maybe I should have. Not missed it entirely, but maybe waited for dvd. You see, it was all rather… ish. Performances? Mostly good. Dialogue? Lovely and amazing (yep, that’s me throwing a bone to one of her other flicks. Cheesy, I know. But too bad. It’s my blog.) Each individual scene worked. But the movie as a whole? Not really. Not for me anyway. In fact, it kinda left me cold.

Open-ended structure and wispy storylines aside, there’s the Aniston problem. Let’s face it, this isn’t just another indie chick flick, it’s Janiston’s new movie. The One where she looks like a tranny, has no self-esteem, the worst taste in men, – oh and is broke. Sounds like art imitating life, doesn’t it? Sure, she could do much worse than shack up with Vinnie Vaughan. Personally, I’d take VV over Pitt any day of the week. No comparison. But for the Gen Pop it’s all about Brad.) Here’s what I find most interesting: in the movie she leaves her well paid, highly respectable teaching job to clean houses. And in real life she leaves her highly respectable TV job to make bad movies. Geddit? Same same!

I’m not wholly convinced by our Rachel…I mean, Jennifer. It’s not that she’s that bad. She’s just, not that good. Remember The Good Girl? I liked that movie despite her performance – everybody else was terrific. Yet she’s the marquee name, the one who’s meant to be carrying the film. And she’s just not strong enough In that one and this she relied on a bad dye job, vacant staring, and being thin-lipped. NOT ENOUGH.

Personally, I’m a huge Kitty Keener fan – and I think La Aniston is too. They’re pal-o-rinis of the highest order. It seems to me she (Jenny) has even borrowed a page or two (or three) from Kate’s book of acting. Here’s a tip: it works on Ms Keener, not so much on Ms. Aniston. Overall, however, the (other) performances were pretty damn good. And I loved all scenes with or about the gay-straight guy. Or straight-gay guy. Or whoever the hell he was. Whatever. He was the best girlfriend any of them could’ve wished for. For therein lies my real problem with this movie: I didn’t believe these chicitas were friends in the first place.

Friends don’t let friends go without washing their hair. They just don’t. And friends don’t let friends obsess over a fling – without them, that is. Friends whose friends have smashed their noses into glass plate windows might be a little more concerned about those friends. And above all, friends tell their friends that Lancome Resolution D anti-wrinkle skin care, practically a character in the movie, sucks. Honestly, friends, it’s a really mediocre cream. Talk about product placement!

One of my friends thinks this movie is about money making you happy. I pointed out that all these characters seemed pretty miserable. But she disagreed. See? Friends tell friends when they’re wrong. ‘Cuz guess what? She was right: the only happy people weren’t the ones “with money”. They were the ones with more money than they knew what to do with. The one who we saw the least of. The ridiculously loaded ones. Who wouldn’t share. And with friends like those…


Anonymous said…

Friends don’t let friends pay to see “friends” in movies– unless they’re Lisa Kudrow. Why buy the cow when you can get the (syndicated) milk for free?

9:17 AM

Anonymous said…

…I don’t get the Jennifer thing. What’s that all about??? I also don’t get the Jennifer Lopez thing. The Jennifers seem to be batting 0. But they are like a bad meal in a greasy spoon. They keep on comming back.


May 5, 2006   No Comments