Saturday, July 31, 2010

July. It's a Wrap

The dog days of summer are with us. But at least they're half over. Here's the best of July in case you missed anything during a nasty bout of heat stroke. We know the feeling.

SHE Who Must Be Obeyed a look back at Randoph Scott's fantastical romantic options. Not the Cary Grant option.
Modern Maestros: Ang Lee His cautious lust and brilliant films.
Julianne Moore Nathaniel meets a personal deity in this dreamy interview.

Gloria Stuart Centennial "Old Rose" is still with us, prompting a list of the most enduring (literally speaking) Oscar nominees.
Emmy Nominations one of the most satisfying Emmy days in quite some time, yes?
Hit Me With Your Best Shot I think this is going to be an interesting series. Next up on August 4th is Showgirls
Woody Allen's Best Work? I found this discussion fascinating. Didn't you? No one can agree!

Dakota Fanning is My Niece* I love having celeb-filled dreams
"Save Me, Elmer Gantry, Save Me" a 50th anniversary look back at a hot potato Oscar nominee.
She's Ferocious! She's got Bette Davis Eyes

Coming in August: Angels in America, Antonio Banderas, nuns!, Black Narcissus, Madonna & Sean, Animal Kingdom, EMMY live blogging, Bring It On, and The Devil Wears Prada. Plus whatever else occurs to us.

7 Word Reviews: Animal Kingdom, Cairo Time, Get Low

The adults are coming. Warning: all three of these new movies do not contain super powers. Unless you count acting as a super power. In which case, SHAZAM!

Animal Kingdom

Dir: David Michôd | With: Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver
Gripping, weirdly frightening performances. Fine script, too. A- [interview]

Cairo Time
Dir: Ruba Nadda | With: Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddiq
Delicately observed but limited. Gorgeous finale / Patty. B

Get Low
Dir: Aaron Schneider | With: Robert Duvall and Bill Murray
Grumpy hermit is legendary... but why? Unconvincing. C [more than 7 words]

More on Animal Kingdom and Cairo Time coming after they open. Stay tuned.

TV @ the Movies: Thelma & Louise Hates Texas. Drag U & Marie Antoinette.

I get many emails asking me to write more frequently about the small screen so I figured I should cave if a tv series really excites me (like Mad Men) but on one condition: it has to reference the movies (or feature a beloved movie actress) or involve awardage. I've highlighted movie-adjacent TV before like pre-fame TV roles or unexpected actress moments. So henceforth, I'll package it in series form. You know how we do here at TFE. If something I happen to catch on television references the movies, I'll feature it on Saturday mornings to thank it for doing so.

Last week on Friday Night Lights Becky fell asleep watching Thelma & Louise and that is... well, I can only suspend so much disbelief and you just don't fall asleep watching that movie. It's awesome -- top ten of the 90s level awesome. But Becky is my least favorite character so whatever. She's a mess and there's no accounting for taste. There's a reason Louise won't drive thru Texas, y'all! She'd rather drive right off a cliff. I can't even discuss falling asleep watching Thelma & Louise without turning red with fury. Inappropriate! Those women deserved better.

So for this edition of "TV @ The Movies" a brief discussion of Drag U instead.

RuPaul's Drag U episode 1.2 "Dateless Divas"
I'm fairly certain this show is not half as good as it could be.
  • Qualm #1: a makeover show. Like we needed another one.
  • Qualm #2: I'm assuming Raven won't be in every episode and when the first Raven-less episode appears, I will feel cheated.
  • Qualm #3: why isn't the entire panel of judges famous queens like Lady Bunny? I mean to have a "Dean of Dance" and it's not Candis Cayne? That's just wrong!) -- but I love that the underlying message is so subversive: everyone would be better off if they became a drag queen.
Raven: These girls are lucky that they have the advanced technology of the dragulator!
RuPaul: The Dragulator is a highly sophisticated piece of tech-no-lo-gy
Raven was the hottest miss thang on last year's Drag Race (and anyone who coins the phrase "giving Michelle Pfeiffer Bitch" has won me for life.) so I'm happy that she's practically the star of Drag U already. And, of course, Ru's always had a way with hilarious line readings. The Dragulator is awesome. Ru understands the camp value of a low budget (not to mention the power of a catchphrase and cheap gimmick). Anyway, the [sassy head bob] tek•noluh•jee suggests that contestant Lenae becomes "Honey Boom" and she likes it.

"I was like, 'That's Marilyn Monroe. And she really is inside of me!'"
It's really more like Chicago's Queen Latifah when Velma's like "Not you too, Mama!?!" in despair of platinum blonde Roxie Mania but never mind. Later Lenae dances to "I'm Every Woman" in this new gold lamé platinum blonde version of herself which confuses the girlie iconography even further Whitney + Queen ≠ Marilyn??? Whaaaa... But I shouldn't doubt the Dragulator because it is to RuPaul what "Magic Screen" was to Pee Wee, yes?

So... eventually Lenae as Honeyboom blows a kiss to the judges with a "Happy Birthday Mr. President" proving once again that Marilyn did it best. More celebrities ought to understand their own image with pinpoint precision and sell it accordingly at public events. If they hope to be remembered 48 years after their death, that is.

Meanwhile Lenae's competitor Debbie is transformed into "Moxie Mayhem" saying
"It's like Memoirs of a Geisha meets Marie Antoinette"
And you know that mash-up sent me reeling... cuz I hate and love in equal measure! [To recap: Memoirs = hate / Marie = love]

'Honeyboom' won the competition but I was the true winner because it got me to thinking about Marie-Antoinette, aka the 'misunderestimated' movie of the Aughts.

Leaping far from the RuPaul's Drag U topic, out of curiousity, I thought I'd check that statement. Nope! Oops. It's almost the most critically hated of my top 50 favorite movies of the Aughts but not quite. These are the least acclaimed of those, according to the TomatoMeter, the only films in my top 50 to not score in the 80% and above of critical approval. These are the places I refused consensus. Not out of contrarianism, mind you, but from pure love of the movies in question.
What'cha think about that?
I Heart Huckabees

Ann-Margret's Knockers

Actors on Actors

"When i was a little girl i used to go to Ann-Margret movies and pray for tits."
-Marilu Henner as "Sally" in Perfect (1985)
The pair in question. Worth praying for.

And gawking at.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hit Me With Your Best Shot. X-Men (2000)

Last week I told you about a new series "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and as a preamble I suggested X-Men (2000) for today. I'd already paid visual homage here. I am happy to report that someone took me up on the challenge. Two someones. Against the Hype has an interesting post and I must say I'm surprised by the visual choices -- I didn't see Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison) coming -- though the Angels in America reference kinda spooked me because of Bruce's Oscar nomination and deathbed scene from Longtime Companion (1990). Anyway, I adore the final shot Colin chooses which he calls
Singer’s most auteurist shot in the whole movie, and it’s so weirdass and INLAND EMPIRE-like
Being INLAND EMPIRE-like is a good thing, yes. But you'll have to click over to see it. I'm not giving the game away.

Terence at Much Ado About Nothing also responded with a shot of everyone's favorite blue shape shifter. That's gonna hurt! Finally, Bad MoFo offers up this shot which I also think is cool. Love that that's basically the opening strike for an action sequence, sometimes simple is best.

If anyone else is playing the game, comment or e-mail me and I'll revise the post and link up. "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" will air on Wednesdays at 9:00 PM going forward. Up next: August 4th SHOWGIRLS (1995) August 11th ANGELS IN AMERICA (2003), August 18th BLACK NARCISSUS (1947). Get watching and join us for the visual sharing.

A Story of Run-On Linkings

Sometimes when I fall out of the loop as I just did, taking a few days away from normal internettings to finish a freelance gig I have trouble getting back on the horse because I subscribe to a lot of websites and blogs and I almost never have time to read them and if I stop reading for even one day I end up lost inside multiple levels of nightmares while trying to find my footing again because there's an awful a lot of "news" on the internet that feels totally urgent even when it's not and it's less news than rumors and then retractions of rumors to be replaced by other rumors and which, well, we'd really all be better off it it was all opinion pieces

like "which will be a better 2012 film The Avengers or Batman 3?" because at least that's honest rather than the rumor mill which can take HOURS to sift through and only exists to generate page views and, really now, who cares if The Wasp is going to be in the Avengers when The Scarlet Witch (my favorite) isn't and why would anyone care that Joss Whedon is directing it when it's so sorely lacking in awesome girlpower (see the monotonous photo above for too much penis) and that's like his trademark thang and if people step outside their comfort zone it's sometimes really painful and that's what American Idol is always teaching us and don't even get me started on what a horrible lesson that is to drill into people week after week "STAY IN YOUR BOX!!!" because sometimes the world would really benefit from everyone stepping out of their boxes and doing something a little different, you know, instead of just relentlessly copying previous cool things whether it was their cool thing to begin with or not but...

okay okay okay some people like Gwyneth Paltrow probably shoulda stayed in the acting box instead of wasting her youth on GOOP and what is all this sudden buzz about her Oscar chances for a reboot of Crazy Heart because I had no idea she was acting again and everytime someone asks me about her and the Best Original Song category I actually have no earthly idea what they're talking about -- stop e-mailing me but yes, yes, I thought it was interesting what Tom Hardy said -- because I haven't really been reading the internet in three days because I haven't had much time but even when I don't have much time I totally notice things like how cute Nicole Kidman is looking or that Cheyenne Jackson is going to be on Glee even though he's not playing one of the mysteriously absent gay Rachel dads who make NO narrative sense because gay dads would be alloverthatshit if their daughter was that talented ...not that Glee has ever excelled in making narrative sense but my point is this: sometimes you just have to stop trying to catch up and you have to scream "Begone Old Movie News From Tuesday That I Never Read About!" and simply state "I'll just have to start again from Friday July 30th, 2010 at 5:01 PM," you know?

So that's what I'm saying and doing. How are you?

Posterized Sissies

Let's talk Sissy Spacek. My friend Matt has been highlighting her something fierce over at Pop Matters, but why should he have the Sissy all to himself?

The great actress, everyone's favorite telekinetic murderess, is finally in a buzzy film again (Get Low opens today). And though I don't much care for the new movie, it's always nice when a frequently absent major actress wins Oscar buzz and praise again.

She's a big name but what does that name mean to today's moviegoers? For people born in the late 80s or 1990s, maybe her stint on TV's Big Love comes immediately to mind (Emmy nominated this year). But I'm guessing if it's not the cross-generational popular Carrie, it's mainly In the Bedroom that takes over the imagination: Sissy breaking plates, Sissy slapping Marisa Tomei, Sissy taking weird drags on her cigarette that manage to be both furious and catatonic simultaneously. How can they be both at once? She's a mysterious but vivid actress in her best work.

For those who lived through the 70s or 80s, the name will probably conjure multiple associations. Her filmography has a smattering of daring side dish classics but the main course is an oversize portion of middlebrow Oscar bait. To extend the food metaphor, that stuff can often taste healthy but afterwards... where is the nutritional value? In the long run aren't so many "prestige films" filled with empty calories? Her filmography also has intermittent weird gaps. And, unless I've got my dates wrong those gaps don't really even coincide with the births of her daughters (which is when many actresses take their long breaks). What happens in these gaps? It's almost as if Sissy gets an enigmatic closeup and then bolts from the cinema as enigmatically as teenage "Holly" abandons home in Badlands.

Oscar nominations are in bold.

Prime Cut (72) | Badlands (73) | Ginger in the Morning (74)

Note: Sissy worked with the brilliant art director / production designer Jack Fisk on Badlands and they married the following year when they were both still in their 20s. She's one of those rare actresses, like Meryl Streep, who has been married for almost the entirety of her fame to the same man.
Another association. The two actresses are but six months apart in age and both became essential screen icons in the 1970s and won their first Oscars just one year apart.

Carrie (76) | Welcome to LA (76) | Three Women (77)

The underseen Three Women is one of Robert Altman's very best films. It's completely mandatory viewing for fans of Ingmar Bergman's Persona (an influential before) and Mulholland Dr (an influenced after). It's the middle link in that brilliant women-fused-together dream chain. Sissy disappears for a few years right after. And then...

Coal Miner's Daughter (80) | Heartbeat (80) | Raggedy Man (81)

Missing (82) | The River (84) | Marie (85)

Note: Such a star in the 80s she gets top billing over... Mel Gibson.

Violets Are Blue (86) | 'night Mother (86) | Crimes of the Heart (86)

The pinkish tone of the last two posters. They're screaming "GIRL MOVIES!" Not that we don't love girl movies, mind you.

It's too depressing to continue from there. Sissy's last two characters in 1986 were suicidal. Maybe the actress saw the 90s coming? After Crimes of the Heart, for which she was Oscar nominated, she disappears for four years until a series of movies crop up in the early 90s like The Long Walk Home (1990) that are well intentioned but don't go anywhere or did go places (JFK, '91) but didn't need her to get there. By the late 90s she'd been shoved into the supporting classes, from which she never really returns as headliner, but for her last classic, In the Bedroom. She collected a few trophies that year until the late surging Halle Berry (Monster's Ball) trumped her on Oscar night.

Here's three must-sees from the last twenty years of her filmography (though not always for her presence).

JFK (91) | The Straight Story (99) | In the Bedroom (01)

That's the first 15 films of her career (excluding extra work in a Warhol picture) and 3 more still. How many of those 18 have you seen?

And what would you like to see Sissy do next? Some of you have suggested in comment threads that she'd make a great Violent in August: Osage County whenever that becomes a film. She wouldn't be a bad choice for it at all, though one assumes Hollywood will want Meryl Streep to do it since they want her to do everything. As should be painfully obvious The Film Experience loves Meryl Streep, but some of her contemporaries sure could use her the big break of Streep passing on a choice role.

Exit music: Remember when we mentioned Streep's son being a fine musician? That's another thing the two actresses have in common. Here's Sissy & Jack's singer songwriter daughter Schuyler Fisk doing "From Where I'm Standing". Pretty voice, right? You can totally see Sissy in her. It's that lank sunkissed hair and those awesome cheekbones.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Modern Maestros: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Robert here, back with another entry in my series on great contemporary directors.

Maestro: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Known For: Difficult, often dreamlike films about the changing times.
Influences: Edward Yang, Maya Deren, Abbas Kiarostami, according to the man himself.
Masterpieces: Syndromes and a Century
Disasters: none
Better than you remember: I'm not sure how this could possibly apply to AW
Box Office: Almost $47 thousand in the U.S. for Tropical Malady

I come into this as a great admirer of, though by no means an expert on Apichatpong Weerasethakul. When I started this series almost a year ago I knew I'd get to Weerasethakul (who goes by the nickname "Joe" henceforth) eventually. Back then awareness of him in the cinephile community felt spotty at best. Now as the most recent winner of the Palme d'Or he's poised to take the next step toward notability (though I wouldn't expect his films to take any further steps toward accessibility). Still, I encourage anyone well versed in the man's films to please join in the conversation. What I'm trying to say is if anyone knows how to pronounce his name, that information would be super. Like all of the Asian directors we've discussed here, Joe is primarily interested in the intersection of the past and present. How love manifests itself in this space is his primary concern, almost all of his films touch on it even if a bit. Not that Joe has limited himself to just one topic. The changing landscape of Asian culture, technology, society and spirituality have all found their way into his films.

Structurally, most of Joe's films are split into two distinct sections. As the viewer, we're meant to focus not as much on the narrative within each half, but their comparative properties. Consider Syndromes and a Century, where a series of seemingly unrelated dreamlike happenings inhabit two hospitals in two different time frames. The manifestation of human nature, mystery, longing seems to remain a constant through the years, but as time progresses, the presence of monks dissipates, the threat of eerily personified technology grows and the love story tilts ever slightly toward lust. What definitive statements these all add up to are for us to decide. Similarly, the double story in Tropical Malady (the first of which follows a gay romance, the second of which a man lost in the woods, who seems to manifest himself as a spirit). And so we're meant to ponder, what do these stories mean not separately but as a whole, thrust together in one film. Perhaps Joe is juxtaposing the animalistic qualities of love with those of spirituality. Does the modern world that's shunned spirituality still maintain its essence through an embrace of love?

If I feel more concrete on Syndromes and a Century than other Weerasethakul films it's only because I've seen that one three or four times. The others once, not nearly enough to unravel. But Joe's films have this amazing quality that invites the viewer to keep coming back to his films, impenitrable that they may be. If you've not experienced them, I invite you to drop your ideas of what constraints the medium may have and be lost in his world. After all, in the end, the purpose of a film isn't to be a brain teaser (well some perhaps), it's meant to invite us into a new reality for a time. Whether we understand or decipher (or even want to) all the elements of that reality is up to us. I don't expect Apichatpong Weerasethakul to become a popular director even after winning the Palme with his latest, Unclee Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, but his mark on the modern movie landscape is both indescribable and inescapable.

"Is this how we dress for the office?"

"You look like a blood clot."
[Great Moments in Screen Bitchery #404, Bette Midler in Big Business]

JA from MNPP here. I just gave a ton of love to Lily Tomlin's performance in this movie over at MNPP. I probably have too high an opinion of this film but what can I say, I was eleven when it came out and deeply infatuated with everything Midler at the time.

And the way Bette's naive-country-twin studies the Grand Dame bitch of them all, Alexis Carrington (Joan Collins) in Dynasty, for clues on how to be a ruthless business woman!

As if Bette ever needed lessons on bitchiness from anybody!

A Postcard from the Edge of Shutter Island.

Thought I'd share a fun little trivia nugget from a recent interview with the actress Robin Bartlett. You may remember Bartlett from her recurring role on TV's Mad About You or as the unusually named "Aretha" from Postcards from the Edge.

"Are you black?"
Robin: I loved playing Aretha. That was another good piece of writing. Carrie Fisher is no slouch in that area.

Bartlett has appeared in two Streep movies (she's also in Sophie's Choice) and now she's taking over a role many viewers will automatically associate with the great one herself. She's currently in rehearsals for the mammoth "Mother Pitt" role in Angels in America (it's actually six roles on stage). The classic play is getting a New York revival this fall. Tickets go on sale on August 3rd. (I've just finished a magazine piece on the revival -- yes print still exists.)

During our chat we talked briefly about her big scene in Shutter Island earlier this year. Leo is questioning all the asylum crazies and we see Robin madly scribble something dramatic into his notebook before sliding it his way, all sneaky like.

Is that your actual handwriting?
Robin: If that was my handwriting, you wouldn't be able to read it.
Nathaniel: [Laughter] The magic of the movies!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What movie...

were you thinking about just now?

"This is the girl..."

If looks could seduce.

If looks could kill.

[Great Moments in (reciprocal) Screen Bitchery #772]

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Could Have Beens: Josh Hutcherson Parker / Toni Roxie Collette

Josh Hutcherson's Spider-Man screen test went up at Latino Review. Though I'm sure they'll be pulled soon it's fun to watch. It's actually interesting to see how much effort went into these screen tests. Wouldn't it be great to see all of them back to back? We're talking wire stunts, editing, scene recreations from the original Spider-Man. Everything. Plus, it's not one of those audition tapes that makes the actor look bad. Hutcherson looks like he'd be an excellent Peter Parker. All the press he got for even being in the running will surely do him good. Well, that and holding his own in the stellar The Kids Are All Right cast this summer. I see a SAG nomination come January 2011 (ensemble).

Here's the video and a few screen caps in case it disappears.

The online wailing about Andrew Garfield is a clear case of fear of the unknown. He's as solid a choice as any and probably moreso given that they went with him without any bankability whatsoever and him being older than they'd planned on going. In other words: they know something we don't, having seen his screen test.

But "could have beens" are fun, too. Every once in a blue moon I try to imagine Basic Instinct with any of the women who were considered or rejected it before Sharon Stone got it... and there were so many. I always wonder if Holly Hunter would have won a second Oscar for As Good As It Gets had she not priced herself out of the movie. Or I try to picture Rachel McAdams as Invisible Girl in Fantastic Four. Easy! Or Brad Pitt attempting an English accent for About a Boy. How weird would that have been? (That's why Not Starring is such a fun site to visit randomly.)

This topic also makes me think of Evita (1996) and how it might have been Streep or Pfeiffer (who recorded a demo) instead of Madonna in another iteration.

My saddest could-have-beens will probably remain Michelle Pfeiffer as Clarice Starling (Fact: turned it down) -- not because Jodie wasn't superb but because, well, Oscar! -- or Toni Collette as Roxie Hart in Chicago (Rumor: deemed not bankable enough despite being first choice). Both would surely have been excellent.

But maybe the Toni Collette as Roxie thing haunts me only because I l-o-v-e-d her in The Wild Party on Broadway so much. And because I wanted her to play Liza Minnelli for so long in a biopic. I'm dying to see Toni in another musical. Will it ever happen again?

The Greatest FYC Ad of All Time


Or at least the greatest FYC ad since the one for Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge! "She Sings! She Dances! She Dies!"

MM@M: Live From Times Square

TV's greatest show has a love affair with the movies. So we have a love affair with TV's greatest show. We call it Mad Men @ The Movies.

The world premiere party for Mad Men Season 4 kicked off in Times Square a few hours before the show on Sunday night. I was honored to be invited so I must give thanks to the wonderful Lipp sisters of Basket of Kisses who always keep me in the swing of things when it comes to Sterling Cooper, excuse me, SCDP (Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce). It's always good to hang with the vivacious Lipps and I also got to chat with other MM fans including the adorable talented Carol Hannah of Project Runway fame.

The VIP crowd got Barbies. I managed to procure a Don & Betty set. (More on these dolls here. They retail for $75)

Left: Me (the hat was with the gift bag); Right: Girl from costume contest. I didn't catch her name but that's totally a Betty dress (the Barbie is wearing that same dress, albeit in miniature). She bought it on eBay which the judges called cheating.

This is the whole crowd shortly before the actresses arrived (hence the empty front row). I've circled the Lipp Sisters up front, true VIPs, and then that's me, further back to the side. It was a good crowd. Lots of rubbernecking on the street.

The evening came with two trivia contests (Pt 1 too easy / Pt 2 just right), two celebrity cameos from "Peggy" (Elisabeth Moss) and "Betty" January Jones who is sexy and statuesque in person and looks nothing like Elizabeth Hofstadt Draper Francis without the 60s costumes and hairstyling. My only gripe about the evening was that the panel of judges for the costume contest was quippy/bitchy to the contestants and, this being a fan event, more softball American Idol style criticisms were the way to go. If you have to criticize, tell them you love them first. They're fans. They aren't professional costumers.

January Jones and Elisabeth Moss. They joked that they were nothing like their characters but they were maybe like each other's characters. haha. The crowd sang Moss happy birthday and they wheeled out a cake.

The view from my seat. A crowded stage for the costume contest.

The strangest thing that happened at the event (for me... few noticed) was just outside of it. Before the actual screening, two teenage girls to the left of me on the street just outside the VIP area starting screaming. I turned to see what the commotion was about. There was a young guy, perfectly coiffed and teen idol fresh (he couldn't have been over 17, if that) who agreed to sign autographs for them. He was not with the Mad Men event, just walking through Times Square and had stopped momentarily to look at the party. The two teen girls were crying and hysterical and one even tried to touch his hair, her fingers visibly shaking like he was a hot stove and she just wanted to know what it would feel like... just this one time! Her friend slapped her hand away before the burn, both of them crying. Since he had bent over to sign something, he didn't even notice. I have no idea who this person was, but he handled it like a pro, smiling, asking where they were from ("O h h h i i i o" warbled through tears).

I've decided he was from the Disney Channel since that's where all the "stars" that I've never heard of or don't recognize come from. The girl he was with was visibly annoyed by the hysterics but stayed off to the side, dutifully, before grabbing his arm to pull him from a potential mob scene. No one else mobbed and suddenly they were gone. I'm surprised anyone is ever recognized in Times Square. It's always so crowded that you can barely spot your loved ones if you get separated, let alone a celebrity in their off duty hours.

Where were we?

This post is going to be so long. Oh yes, Mad Men. Here's what you missed in the first three seasons if you're planning to start now...

On to Season 4 and its movie-loving ways... however those turn out.

Episode 4.1 "Public Relations"
My preferred title How Draper Got His Groove Back. In this episode, we try to get acclimated to the new offices (there's too many doors. I miss the open space), new characters (who is Peggy's co-worker? Love Henry Francis's mom played by Pamela Dunlap) while trying to stay patient (What is going on with Joanie's marriage? Where the hell is Ken Cosgrove?). Don reminds us of his movie-loving ways early in the episode through his pride in a commercial that plays like a movie. Plotwise Don and Peggy both make separate PR blunders. By episode's end Peggy gets an angry earful and Don gets his mojo back, professionally speaking.

On the personal life side, he's still a trainwreck. He's even blind dating ...and letting Roger, whose lovelife he doesn't exactly approve of, set him up.
Roger: Forget that she knows Jane. This girl's terrific. She looks like Virginia Mayo. She's 25. See her this weekend. You hit it off, come Turkey day you can stuff her.
Hmmm. Does Anna Camp (from True Blood) playing "Bethany" look like Virginia Mayo? You be the judge.

In a strange coincidence I was just watching Virginia Mayo in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). She's terrific as the trashy restless wife of Dana Andrews. (That movie is so great.) People don't really speak much of Mayo these days but referencing her apple cheeked pinup looks is most definitely a compliment. She was a frequent movie presence from the early 40s through the late 50s. In addition to the aforementioned Best Picture winner, she's probably best remembered for noirs like White Heat and frequent Danny Kaye comedies including The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. She died just five years ago at the age of 84.

Mayo with Danny Kaye and with Dana Andrews

other references in this episode: (Music) novelty single "John & Marsha" (Magazines/Papers) Wall Street Journal, Ad Age, The Daily News (Celebrities) Luci & Dezi

Did you see this episode? If so, your comments please. If not, speak up anyway. How cool are those Barbie dolls? Or are you sick of the hype? (If you are, please note that there will be only one Mad Men post a week, Mondays, starting now.)

Further reading?
Gold Derby thinks Mad Men is well timed for an Emmy 3peat.
The Loop publishes a satirical letter from "Carla," the Draper maid.
The Loop also has a rebuttal of sort. Claiming that the show isn't diverse enough is entirely missing the point.
Cinematic Passions interviews costume designer Janie Bryant
Inside Scoop bring back chicken kiev.
Mad Men Unbuttoned the tune that's playing when Don gets his groove back.
Put This On imagines how Draper would look in the WSJ. Love.
Cinema Blend Sugarberry Hams for everyone. A ratings uptick.
Best Week Ever gives funny recap...and awards.

Toronto Cometh

No time to digest this quite yet but the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF hereafter) has begun announcing their lineup which you can read at IndieWire. They'll be adding to that since they usually have hundreds of titles.

Though I doubt I'll be able to afford the trip up north this year, here's the ones I'm immediately excited about (for reasons either Oscar-watching or Other): Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (pictured left), Robert Redford’s The Conspirator, Im Sang-Soo’s The Housemaid, Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech, Francois Ozon’s Potiche, Rowan Joffe’s Brighton Rock, Susanne Bier’s In A Better World and John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole.