Monday, March 20, 2006

Request: Cher

Each Monday I take a request. This week's topic comes from David G in New York. The topic is...

CHER
In the split second it took me to type the name just now, I was tempted to hit "publish post" and leave a single word as my commentary. For what is more descriptive of Cher than...Cher?

I am too young --god, I love typing that. so rare-- to have any meaningful association with the first incarnation: The one from The Sonny & Cher Show. But I do recall that she was on TV when I was a child (the exact context escapes me. Maybe it had something to do with The Donny & Marie Show ?) The first memory is one of immediate disapproval. Cher appears on the TV in all her 70s glory and there is my mother, suddenly agitated and fuming:

[translated from Mormonese]
Natty's mom: You can't watch this cheap slutty whore!
Natty: Wait --who designed that fabulous gown?

I kid. I didn't really ask about the gown, though I'm 100% certain that I was hypnotized by the sparkly bits and wanted to see much more of the this [translation] "cheap slutty whore" [/translation]. Of course I did see much more of her. Everyone did. Before Madonna ever hit the ground running, Cher had already reinvented herself thrice. First as a television comic and wife. Then a single woman and #1 solo act. And, in the 80s, a respected and Oscar-winning actress. You may have correctly named that as my favored incarnation. I never wanted to 'snap out of it.'

Unfortunately in the 90s I had to. She stopped working as much. Maybe I was projecting but I felt a tiny hint of resignation in that Mermaids star turn. Like "oh, shit. This is no Moonstruck. I've peaked" I watched with confusion as she let Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci steal the movie right out from under her shoop shoop.

Let us not speak of the infomercials, the incessant plastic surgery, and the neverending "farewell" tour. Let us merely acknowledge with some degree of awe the improbably long reign of that half breed dark lady. She's a true national treasure.

Last Week's Request: The Sound of Music
P.S.: Any requests for next week? Comment. Maybe I'll choose your pet topic.

tags: Cher, entertainment, mormon, celebrity

36 comments:

OhMyTrill said...

I guess really random suggestions go to the front of the line...thanks for entertaining my request!

Edmundo said...

Joan Cusack, or Madeline Kahn, or Cloris Leachman, or Sandy Dennis, or underrated comic/supporting/character actresses.

Anonymous said...

In the wake of Rob Marshall degrading the filmographies of some of Asia's biggest stars, what are your 10 favorite performances by Asian or Asian American actors/actresses?

- Adam

Brandon said...

I'd love to fuck her plastic pussy.

OhMyTrill said...

excuse me?

Anonymous said...

Dear Nathan you have to dedicate a topic to James Purefoy and I don't say more...

Nick

NATHANIEL R said...

no one has anything to share about Cher?
how can this be... spill your fav Cher memories here.

Anonymous said...

she's a good actress.

StinkyLulu said...

Well Oh My Heck -- Can't you please share your mother's Cher commentary in the original (untranslated) Mormonese?

Anonymous said...

I remember the S&C show very well. It was all about seeing what heavenly design Cher would come out wearing. She'd always start off with some version of a cape/poncho, sing a few bars, and then "whoosh", rip off the cape and reveal the stunning gown underneath. (wait. brain freeze. maybe that was her television show. whatever)Anyway, no one was more glamorous, and she always looked like she was having a good time. She always looked like she had a blast doing the comedy bits. I'm sure we'll hear from her again, and it will be good.

OhMyTrill said...

Well...the reason I requested Cher...since I am still a youngling, I missed out on everything Cher and have only just discovered her...through Will and Grace and Moonstruck and now I am exploring her music...its kind of embarrassing to be a Cher fan now...since she is kind of dead...but maybe now that Nathaniel has celebrated her, there will be a Cher rebirth?

Nick Davis said...

The Cher album from 1987 got heavy, heavy rotation on my boom-box (then known around my neighborhood, in a strikingly blithe way, as a "ghetto blaster"). I wore the tape out and had to replace it. I loved every song, and I'm pretty sure I still know all of them. Kill Bill fans should take note of Cher's 2.0 version of "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)."

I'm also a fan of the Heart of Stone album, during that is-she-going-to-hang-on-to-this-rejuvenated-stardom-or-isn't-she period that Nat refers to. "Just Like Jesse James": yes. Totally.

And before we associate her renaissance as an actress too closely with Moonstruck, can I just say... Mask. I know you have ambivalent memories, N, but try and try again. Seriously. Fa- boo.

NATHANIEL R said...

ohmytrill --i had no idea you were david g! ha ha

brandon -whatever would annette say?

stinky --the untranslated would be quite long since Mormon's can't, without the use of "vulgar words", say anything quickly. There was a probably a reference to a 'wanton woman' or a 'harlot' in there. i dunno some descriptive from Revelations? And definitely a reference to the immodest clothing --completely missing the absurd costumey glamour and zeroing in/obsessing on the flesh.

sample mom dialogue when discussing all women in revealing clothing including Cher: "that 'lady' --and she isn't behaving like one, is she? she doesn't even deserve to be called that-- well, she needs to put some clothes on. My goodness!"

nick --you may recall that I too had a 'ghetto blaster' as referenced in an earlier post. Also i love both the 'heart of stone' and the 1987 comeback albums. But this post has only so many words... and I actually trace her renaissance to Silkwood myself.

adam k. said...

I'd like Cher to have another #1 hit this decade. I think she still has it in her. That would make 5 straight decades, right? Cher rules.

Anonymous said...

Like death and taxes, Cher will always be an inevitable fixture. Bitch has had so many incarnations (the ups-and-downs, the highs-and-lows -- and that's just her face!) that she might as well be considered (along with Dolly) the walking dead at this point.

But if you really stop and think about just how far Cherilyn Sarkisian of El Centro, Calif., has come, being a fan of hers is not nearly as embarassing as one might assume. I'm glad that her farewell tour is finally (?) over, you best believe though that Cher is most certainly not. There's no shame in your game, OhMyTrill -- trust!

Marco

P.S. Do yourself a favor and check out 'Mask' and 'Silkwood' to see why Cher's Oscar was no fluke. "Like there's one man in town you ain't already fucked!" Priceless...

Anonymous said...

Nat,

Having grown up in a Mormon household myself (although thankfully outside of Utah), I too understand (but do not speak) that unique and obnoxious dialect known as Mormonese.

I always thought it was hilarious how my grandma would rattle on about pop-culture divas or st-'harlot'-s of the day, always referring to them as "that Madonna" or "that Cher" (as if there was more than one).

I remember being surprised to hear that "G" went to see (and very much enjoyed) "Evita" -- before finding out that it was "that Madonna" who played the title role. Her facial expression alone was delish.

Marco

Ali said...

One favorite, recent Cher "memory" is her appearance on Will & Grace a couple of years ago:

"I know all about rejection, Jack. Remember, I lost the Oscar for Moonstruck."

"But... you won the Oscar for Moonstruck..."

"And don't you forget it!"

Bah. I guess you had to be there.

Anonymous said...

I hate Cher and still want to know which are your favourite animals in movies.

cal roth

NATHANIEL R said...

ali -i was there. laughed my f'in ass off. one of the rare moments that W&G worked for me.

cal -all in good time. i can only do one a week.

Sam aka. Nice Jewish Boy said...

My earliest memory of Cher (bearing in mind Moonstruck came out the year I was born) was when I played Sonny Bono in a play when I was seven. I had never acted before. What I (and my mother) most remember was that Cher was played by thirteen year old nymphette in a black spandex one-piece who had to kneel down for our duet of "I got you, Babe."

Next week post about either Nancy Sinatra or Law and Order (and/or the spawn of Law and Order)

Anonymous said...

Darling, I'll take your Sonny Bono-in-a-play and raise you my Cher-costumer-for-Halloween memory (lol). It all happened when my 6th grade buddies and I decided to go drag (har-har) for Halloween that year. Most of them chose rather demure cheerleader outfits, but no sir, not me. I was going to reign supreme that night as the 10-year-old diva of the central coast.

This is so tragic, but I even duped my naive LDS mom into buying me a pair of fishnets, a black leotard-ish thing, some clunky, stiletto boots, and a curly, black wig (a la Cher in her "If I Could Turn Back Time" video -- you know, all scantilly clad among those sailors on that ship). Well, you best believe I tried to look fierce, but there was no "snap, crackle, pop...and it don't stop" with that ensemble. I loooked less like Cher and unfortunately more like Frank-N-Furter from "Rocky Horror Picture Show (which I hadn't even seen at that point.)

So there you have it, my repressed, ill-fated, Cher-channeling/worshiping memory. I was hopelessly gay even back then, but bounced back the next year when I managed to snag one of those full-body, hot dog costumes that were much coveted and all the rage among the SoCal tween set in the late '80s. Those were good times.

M

P.S. Nat, how 'bout an homage to Dolly next week?

Marcelo said...

The first time I was really impressed by Cher, I was also impressed by Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon in "The Witches of Eastwick".
Ah, and Jack Nicholson and Veronica Cartwright were great as well.
What a film!!!

Marcelo said...

Oh, Richard Jenkins is also great. And John Williams made excellent score - it deserved its Oscar nomination that time.

daveylow said...

Alan Bates and/or Julie Christie. They starred together in a few movies and
I never get tired of watching either of them. I was fortunate to see Bates's last play in New York.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't that sincere when I said I hate Cher. She was good in Moonstruck and some other movies, but a best actress winner? Come on. It is funny how Oscar often makes us hate good actors.

cal roth

Vertigo's Psycho said...

I think Cher's one of the best "naturals" onscreen- she makes it all look easy while staying true to her characters, hard to do for most actors, and definitely Oscar-worthy. She proved herself a very fine actress from her first good role, as "Sissy" in Robert Altman's Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, wherein her earthy, funny, and touching work matched the excellent performances of her more experienced costars, Sandy Dennis and Karen Black. This intriguing, memorable drama holds up well in its stage-to-screen transition, and is worth a look as Cher, Dennis, and Black comprise a diverse, amazing trio onscreen, and Atlman's substantial gifts are in evidence throughout the film.

Anonymous said...

Random Requests: A) With Penelope Cruz getting some great notices for Volver from overseas, write about your favorite foreign language performances

B) or remind us of actors who were said to be on the brink of superstardom but never actually (or haven't yet) gotten there

C) or talk about relatively recent films that were panned or mostly overlooked upon initial release, but will be hailed in the future as masterpieces


-Jason D.

melvel said...

For next week...hmmm..how about doing a piece on films that didn't receive great critical (or even audience) reception when they were released, but later became semi-cult classics. Films like Romy and Michelle, Zoolander, Showgirls etc.

Kamikaze Camel said...

How did I miss this post? OMG?! I love Cher (I put that in italics because isn't Cher's whole like a big old fashioned movie with the ups, the downs, the big musical numbers and flashy costumes, loves, losses, etc).

Cher is actually one of my favourite actresses. Silkwood and Moonstruck are obviously the greatest, but I also love Mask. I even liked her turn in Mermaids and Tea With Mussulini. And then there was the generic Suspect which I really enjoyed when I was younger and hadn't seen all the incarnations of that story.

I think her Silkwood turn is one of the most understated turns I've ever seen. You'd expect someone like Cher to wanna go all out of theatrics but she doesn't and I love that.

Plus, her music is great as well. I'm a huge fan of her 80s stretch of Geffin album. Cher (with it's fabo blue cover art) is great. As is Heart of Stone. I must admit that "Just Like Jesse James" is a guilty pleasure of mine. I love that song. My fave Cher songs though is "We All Sleep Alone" - an all time fave song by ANYONE. Plus "I Found Someone", "If I Could Turn Back Time", "Just Like Jesse James", "Save Up All Your Tears" and her version of "Walkin' In Memphis"...

Shame about what's happened to her.

I really wanna see Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean but it's not available even in the USA let alone Australia. :(

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Anonymous said...

I just came across this cool video … Cher related. It was cute. I thought I’d mention it. A friend of mine did it as part of this whole romantic thing for his other half’s birthday, with the final piece being two tickets to her concert. But the romance went sour and he turned the videos into something fun on youtube. Anyway, I’m a huge fan of this site and thought it might be appropriate to mention it. That’s all. If you wanna check it out it’s at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZBAFQGWOI0

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Cher said...

Cher is the best everytime..and She's Rock our world...

i have all cher albums but i dont have only Cher album(1987)

i'm biggest fan her (: