Monthly Archives: April 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

BWW Exclusive Contest:
Win A Trip To See Bette Midler In Las Vegas

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Knight At The Movies: Bette’s Best Role In Years!

Knight At The Movies Then She Found Me Richard Knight, Jr. April 30, 2008 Helen Hunt’s directing debut gives Bette Midler (and herself) their best roles in years, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in a familiar but funny gal pal flick Check Out “Knight At The Movies” Fantastic Site: Click Here With Then She Found Me Helen Hunt steps into rare company – she’s one of the few women to star and direct themselves in a movie. It’s a pleasure to report that Hunt’s directing debut is as assured and oddly compelling as the material upon which it’s based, the chick lit novel by Elinor Lipman. Like Hunt’s favorite acting tic this is a movie that squints every once in awhile, allowing you to contemplate the characters and leaving you with a wry smile once you’ve had a chance to mull it over. It also offers Hunt and her co-star Bette Midler their most satisfying parts in years. Hunt plays April Epner a grade school teacher who as the movie gets going is sandbagged left and right by an avalanche of bad luck. Just as she’s decided she wants a baby her husband Ben (Matthew Broderick) announces that he’s unhappy and is leaving their marriage, then April’s adopted mother dies. In the midst of dealing with the fallout of the end of her marriage she gets hit on by Frank (Colin Firth), the father of one of her young charges. But April is so upset about Ben walking out she barely takes notice. Then April is confronted at school by Alan (out actor John Benjamin Hickey), who is the gay assistant for local talk show hostess Bernice Graves (Midler). Alan informs April that Bernice is her birth mother and would like to get to know her. Without much warning, Bernice, a woman used to having the way smoothed for her does her best to integrate herself into April’s life. Only April’s not quite sure what that life looks like or feels like anymore. Slowly, she begins to sort out the wheat from the chaff. April begins a tentative relationship with Frank that quickly heads toward the deep end while at the same time going up and down with Bernice. But when April discovers she’s pregnant, with either Frank or Ben the father, a whole new set of questions enters the equation. It takes awhile to adjust to the almost somnambulant rhythm of the movie Hunt establishes at the outset, though it picks up along with April’s viewpoint. Hunt, whose mouth has pulled down like a basset hound, seems to be sleepwalking through the first half of the film and doesn’t do anything to draw the audience toward her. She is so thin and haggard in appearance that it’s like a badge of honor. All these things are that much more endearing when April finally begins to reawaken to her new life. When Hunt finally smiles it’s as if the sun has broken through the clouds – the risky intention of both the actress and director pays off with patience. Midler’s character is one of those compassionate, insufferable narcissists, always spouting stuff about “the lessons” to be learned from each and every experience but she’s essentially a control freak and it’s really all about her wants and needs. Bernice, who’s a sort of mini version of Oprah, only hears April when April absolutely insists on it. We see that as Bernice learns to follow April’s cues and the relationship grows, Hickey the gay assistant is getting increasingly jealous (a potential subplot quickly dispensed with to no harm to the story). The movie, instead points Bernice’s character in a direction that wasn’t expected and Midler gets to bring a great deal of warmth and complexity to a role that could easily have denigrated into a caricature. She dials down her innate wattage just enough to let us see there’s a not quite secure woman behind the celebrity. Firth and Broderick do their usual expert work, each playing stock variations on themselves (Broderick is the grown up, irresistible school boy and Firth is funny and sexy at once – the personification of the middle aged dreamboat). Cameos by Janeane Garofolo, Tim Robbins, and Edie Falco as Bette’s talk show guests are a nice bonus. The only casting misfire is Salmon Rushdie as Hunt’s pediatrician – if only because his appearance in the movie is so unexpected and his identity as a “serious” author is so fixed in the mind that to see him in the minor role throws one temporarily out of the picture. As Then She Found Me moves along it takes on some of the same sweet, loopy tone of Waitress and the story has a similar arc. It doesn’t have the lush, dreamy look of Waitress (or its sounds) but it felt just as satisfying and like that film I found it just about irresistible (but why didn’t they write a song for Midler to sing over the end credits? That would have put me over the edge). A recent New York Times story reported that the term “chick flick” has become in the mind of filmmakers a pejorative one; to apply it to a movie that focuses on female characters is a “no no” and that future films in the genre by Nora Ephron and others will be described and marketed in ways that will make them more palatable to wider audiences. Well I don’t care what you call them as long as we get more movies like them – with Waitress and Then She Found Me for starters. Can I get a witness ladies and my fellow gay chick flick fanatics?
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Will You See THEN SHE FOUND ME This Weekend…

Mister D: Those people who saw the movie last opening weekend in NY and LA can vote “Yes” or the last option if you’re going to see it again. I should have had an option for those that had already seen the film….. more at twiigs.com…
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Post Review: Then She Found Me

NewYork Post HUNT FOR A WOMBMATE By LOU LUMENICK April 25, 2008 — FEW Oscar winners have disappeared from the spotlight as quickly as Helen Hunt, who followed her Best Actress win for “As Good as It Gets” with a quartet of high-profile leads including “What Women Want” in the fall of 2000. After sporadic appearances in the likes of the little-seen “A Good Woman” (2004, as Scarlett Johansson’s mother), Hunt has taken control of her career, not only starring but also making an auspicious debut as a writer-director on a smart little bittersweet comedy “Then She Found Me.” She plays April Epner, a 39-year-old teacher whose yearning for motherhood is dealt a blow with the collapse of her marriage to an immature co-worker (Matthew Broderick, real-life ex-boyfriend and co-star in the 1987 film “Project X”). April has barely recovered from the shock when her adopted mother dies and her birth mother, an overbearing TV interviewer named Bernice (Bette Midler), comes out of the woodwork wanting to be her best friend. The reserved April is skeptical of Bernice’s motives – especially after her newfound mom claims April is the product of a one-night stand with Steve McQueen. She’s also leery of Frank, the newly divorced father of one of her students, played by Colin Firth, once again in Mark Darcy mode. Even as she’s being wooed by both of them and she begins bonding with Frank’s kids, April is hit with another surprise – she’s pregnant by her ex, who tries to seduce her into giving their marriage another try. While there are plenty of laughs, Hunt doesn’t play this for farce. Even Midler gives perhaps the most restrained, and arguably the most winning, performance of her screen career. There are also nice supporting performances by John Benjamin Hickey as Bernice’s possessive assistant, and Salman Rushdie as a gynecologist. As a director, Hunt allows herself to repeatedly be photographed in a less-than-flattering manner in “Then She Found Me.” While it’s great to see an actress in her age group who isn’t Botoxed to death, frankly it would be a lot less distracting if she weren’t so skeletally thin. THEN SHE FOUND ME One for the grown-ups.
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Monday, April 28, 2008

BLB Box Office Numbers: 04-28-08

The weekend gross for Then She Found Me was $74,000. However, it only played in New York and Los Angeles in a total of 9 theaters averaging $8200.00. This made it the highest per average grossing film of the weekend. This bodes well for the movie when it goes into wide release next weekend. Thanks to Richie for the figures from Box Office Mojo….. Love, Mister D
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Updates – 04-27-2008: New Music, New Videos, New Polls

There’s new music up in the BLB Jukebox and Same Songs, Other Voices. Click the links below: New Videos added to Boot Tube Betty: Click Here New polls up in the Bootleg Betty Voting Booth: Click Here
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Charity Auction:
2 VIP Bette Midler Tix plus RARE Autographed Print!

Mister D: I just received this beautiful letter from Derek and hopefully we can help his charity out. The prize is 2 VIP Bette Midler Tix plus a RARE Autographed Print! Here’s a little more from Derek:

Hi there, Mr. D! Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know about a charity auction for two VIP tickets (plus signed print) to see Bette in Vegas. I saw your website, and yours appears to be most comprehensive authority on the Divine Miss M. In case you have a slow news day, I figured you could post a mention about this in your blog — the link to the auction is below. The auction proceeds go to AIDS/Lifecycle (www.aidslifecycle.org) — It is a 7-day, 545-mile bike ride fundraiser for AIDS services and prevention. You probably get many requests like this, so I appreciate any consideration you could give it — we’re trying to be the biggest fundraisers this year, and we know that your blog could give us tons of exposure to the true fans out there that would want to bid on this. Thanks! Best regards, Derek ...  Read More

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Arbor Day Pics And Videos (Thanks Stephen!)

Mister D: Stephen was just able to get these in now for us to enjoy, so enjoy we shall do: (photo: Stephen – Marcia Gay Harden and Bette Midler) For more photos: Click Here and Click Here Click the links below to see the videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBI1gtpSOYY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjRtmjg1qZk Love, Mister D
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lost In Bonkers: Mister D Goes To New York

I. Thank You Oprah
    (Me before leaving Nashville)
Fly! Fly! Fly Away! So high I almost touch the sky! Well, this is where I am; almost touching the sky. As I’m writing, I sit in an airplane continually interrupted by my mother who sits behind me. Why, dear lord, did I invite her? (Well besides financing the trip.) “Don, do you need a Dramamine?” “Don, did you eat something before you took your medicine?” “Don are you still nauseous?” Finally, the man sitting next to me on the aisle asked my mother if she’d like to trade seats. Lucky me! He said the prospect of me throwing up on him was not appealing. Whatever. Although most of the trip was like the above, thanks to Oprah’s Eckhart Tolle online class, I learned to channel my mother’s negative energy and use it to my advantage. (Which means I learned to tune out that which I did not want to hear.) For our New York residence, my mother selected an old private club where a friend of hers was a member. The members can share their abodes- like room and board. At first when I heard the words “private club” I thought, omg, it’s a sex club! That would have been cool, but not with my mother in tow. Puh-leeze! The club turned out to be quite fabulous…we were right across the street from Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center and on the corner was Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Unfortunately, my room could not be seen by the priests, I always like to parade around naked for them, but now I’m too old and fat. Besides, everybody was waiting for the Pope to arrive, so I’m sure there was quite a bit of attention deficit disorder going on. No time to ogle a Larry Bud Melman look-a-like.!
    (Larry Bud Melman)
Now, more on the club/hotel! Turns out it originally was the “Republican Women’s Club” (which would explain the Laura Bush portrait in the lobby.) It would also explain my continuous bouts of gagging during my stay. On my mother’s floor, the portrait was Ronald Reagan. And mine? George W. Bush! The power of the portrait was overwhelming so I held up photos of Obama AND Hillary to protect me, but when I began projectile vomiting, it was time to pull out the wild card—–Oprah! All of a sudden peace reigned on Floor 9. II. Then She Found Me The next day my mom and I went our separate ways. We were to meet back at Hell around 4:00 PM to get all gussied up for the press screening of “Then She Found Me.” We knew there would be no stars or glamour at a press screening, well, unless we ran into Leonard Maltin, but we did want to look our best. Anyway, my mother mostly visited the best clothes places. I checked out music stores, both CD’s and sheet music types, colorful boutique shops, and meth labs. I was just so over coffee! Eight blisters and 4 tokes later I was back at the hote-hell. Later my mom and I met in Satan’s Bar…the portrait there was of Betty Ford. Boy howdy has she raked in the dough! We both looked fab. Now it was time to head to the famous Brill Building where the screening was to take place. We arrived and the place was beautiful….gold elevators, mirrored walls….ahhhhhhhh just like my bedroom! We took the elevator to the 5th floor and found The Broadway Screening Room.
    (The fabulous Brill Building)
Inside were all the critics. Very dour. Very haughty. Very quiet. I was all like “Where’d ya”ll get those notes?” and my mom was all like “Well, you sure look pretty in black!” Now, really, it wasn’t quite like that, but it was very tense and uncomfortable. Eventually we were escorted into the screening room. By the way, the only press names I recognized were Wall Street Journal and Backstage. Now I know many of you might be saying, “Well how come you got to go and I didn’t????” And I’d say ” Just BECAUSE!” But the truth….I started a pen pal relationship with Ms. Elinor Lipman almost as soon as I found out Bette was to be in the movie. We hit it off…therefore ThinkFilms and I hit it off….this led to me being invited to a press screening. Okay, I begged! But see where it got me???? Needless to say, I loved the movie. I will tell you flat out that I’m not a critic, but I’m a devout BetteHead….which only means that I will buy all of her music, go to all of her concerts and movies, and just about anything else short of illegal “illegal.” But this does not mean I can’t be objective about her work. For most of her movie career it’s been hit and miss with me. But in this movie, she scores a bullseye for me. It’s a part deserving of her talent and she shines. Yes, she has made us all all laugh and cry before, but many of her past characters for the most part were played as caricatures. The director could have honed her in. But it took Helen Hunt to reign in Bette’s tornado-like force on screen. Bette seems more human and yet she can still make you laugh out loud or tear your heart apart with just a simple look or gesture. It doesn’t hurt that the character fits her like Cinderella’s slipper and that the dialogue is snappy and real. I’m not going into the description of the plot for we’ve read it over and over in each critic’s piece, plus, I’m lazy that way. The movie does tackle some heavy issues with a light hand….religion, love, rejection, betrayal, anger, forgiveness….to me it’s a movie about the human condition…we’re all flawed, there are no easy answers, and we all struggle with our own demons. We, on the other hand, get to watch how it plays out with four very flawed characters who handle their situations with as much grace, aplomb, and wit as they can only muster up. The same as we do. “Then She Found Me” is funny, sad, real….yes, sometimes contrived, but, hey…this is a movie. I enjoyed all the performances, although I wish Matthew Broderick would quit playing such a loser, louse, whatever…..BUT, he’s good at it. The scenes between Bette and Helen are always first rate. Hunt and Firth definitely have chemistry. All this made “Then She Found Me” a pleasant and almost overwhelming surprise for me. Both my mom and I clapped at the end of the movie. Looks like that might be a no no for New York critics. Faw Faw Faw!!!! III. Meeting With Ms. Lipman
    (Ms. Elinor Lipman and Mr. D)
On the way home my mother and I just talked about the movie and how we enjoyed it. But then I started worrying about the next day. We were to meet the author of “Then She Found Me,” Ms. Elinor Lipman for lunch at Basso56 (great Italian Cuisine) per her request. Frankly, if she had not requested our company, I would have done so for her. We emailed so much over the last year or so, I just wanted to meet her. And so I did. With my mother…the original Chatty Cathy! Elinor was a pure delight…a tiny, cute little thing with tons of energy. She and my mother talked more than we did, but that was okay. My mom talks a lot, but it’s usually interesting and personal. You know, family secrets and closet doors are just disclosed, opened, and aired out to strangers…in this case an author. Maybe I’ll recognize myself in a future novel. I didn’t get permission to write about the lunch, but it was pleasant, easy-going, and interesting. And might I say the food was delicious, as was the waiter! IV. The KKK, Larry Bud, And Anna Nicole
    (The KKK)
After lunch, we walked around a while and shopped. I bought a hat…my mother bought everything else. Matter of fact…I was tired and wanted to go back to the hotel and take a nap before we went to see Patti Lupone’s “Gypsy.” So we headed back to the hote-hell. I was so delirious when we got there the hand towels hanging from the bathroom began to look somewhat like idiotic KKK puppets. Maybe I really am crazy! A fat, crazy, naked Larry Bud Melman….where’s an open window when you need one???? I needed to go on that Anna Nicole diet….you know, alcohol and pills. She looked fabulous til the end. V. Gypsy “Gypsy” times infinity….that’s all I heard about. Patti this, Patti that…she’s the bomb…the best “Gypsy”…..you can’t get tickets….blah, blah, blah!!!! Well I got good tickets the day before the show…why Carson Kressley was sitting just 2 rows in front of me. How dang classy is that. And his guy friends looked like they stepped out of Vanity Fair or Playgirl….their facial structure was so flawless one could prick a finger on their cheekbones. Disgusting! As for the musical, I thought it was fabulous. Patti Lupone was great and so were much of the supporting roles. Patti was a sexy, even a vivacious Mama Rose with a huge voice. Oddly enough, she seemed to hold back on the very songs she should have let loose on. I came away loving the show for many reasons, but I still give Bette the thumbs up for the best Mama Rose. When someone can give me chills up my spine like Bette does during the number “Rose’s Turn” then I shall crown them winner. Patti, Bernadette, Tyne, and the others lost this round. Next! And all you little theatre chatters stay on your own site and diss me. You’re not even man enough to let me join “All That Chat.” Boo and hiss your own selves!
    (Little Pats as Mama Rose)
VI. The Pope The Pope was in town! Tried to see him. Missed him. Too bad. VII. Three’s Company For all the jabs I’ve thrown at certain groups or people, well, my plane ride back was my bad karma and I can take no more. I sat in a row of 6 seats filled with 4 kids, a mother, and a father who was so big he had to pull up the armrest between us. I was in hell for 2 1/2 hours. And not only that…my mother spent 4 extra days just to be with me. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(The woman who spawned me! Love you Mom!) ...  Read More

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Then She Found Me: Movie Poster Number 4

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