Film Pick of the Weekend: The Women of Sex and the City: A (Semi-) Appreciation

So they finally coaxed me out of the ivory tower that is the Calendar Dept. and convinced me to blog. Okay, first thing's first. A moment of silence for Harvey Korman. Blazing Saddles is playing this Wednesday at the Regency South Coast Village. Go see it and be reminded of the man's brilliance.

My film pick of the weekend is definitely not Sex and the City. Haven't seen it, and, merciful God willing, I won't ever have to. Lest you assume my opinion is based on some kind of willful ignorance, I will tell you that having spent two years with a roommate for whom the show was a guilty pleasure, I have watched my fair share of episodes. I'll let the highly paid critics tell you why the movie is bad, but let me just point out how annoying it is that Carrie Bradshaw, ostensibly a "sex" columnist, is constantly having her mind blown by the most basic of kinks. "A foot fetish? Well, I mean, I've read about that in books, but I thought it was just a legend!" Compare this to the borderline unflappable Dan Savage, who I am reasonably sure is familiar with nearly every facet of human sexuality and has even added a few descriptive words to our sexual lexicon.

So, it was a silly show, and it's allegedly a silly movie (though if you want to hear some real hating, ask me about Entourage) but I won't deny that, at times, it had its charms—mainly thanks to the show's stars: Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis. But wouldn't it be nice to be able to see these appealing stars in far more interesting vehicles? Well, thanks to the magic of DVD rental, you can!

For prime Sarah Jessica Parker, check out Mick Jackson's L.A. Story, written by and starring Steve Martin (who is one of the best people in the world . . . it's true, look it up). Parker appears here in a memorable role as the uniquely named SanDeE, a Venice Beach dwelling, free-spirited hottie with whom Steve Martin has a dalliance in order to distract himself from the seemingly unavailable woman he really loves. Parker cartwheeled, hopped and twirled her way through the role and into my ten-year-old heart*. Coming in a close second is her performance in Tim Burton's incredible Ed Wood. Playing Dolores Fuller, Wood's live-in girlfriend and muse, Parker gives one of the funniest "bad actress" performances in cinema as she blandly emotes her way through Wood's films.

Cynthia Nixon's big screen highlight came in 1984 with Milos Forman's Amadeus in which she plays Lorl, a young housekeeper hired by Salieri to spy on Mozart. It's a small role, but a memorable one, mainly because the recognition factor is so startling. "Wait, is that . . . is that Miranda!?! Wearing a peasant dress?" It's an incredible movie and one that can be particularly powerful if the viewer turns it up really loud and gets really trashed . . . so I've heard.

Kim Cattrall acted her way through a number of one-offs on TV shows in the late '70s/early '80s (they made a TV series out of Logan's Run?) before her role in Porky's seared her onto the minds of every pubescent male dirtbag who saw that film. But certainly her oddest role came in 1993 in Oliver Stone's nutty paranoid mini-series Wild Palms. This was the kind of project that could only have gotten a greenlight in the wake of the success of Twin Peaks, which proved that there was a certain segment of the American viewing public that was batshit crazy. Palms tells the story of . . . well, it's really complicated, but it involves holograms, cults, mind control, rhinos, drugs, television and Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane. Cattrall gives a memorable soap-operatic performance as Paige Katz, a grieving mother who may have something to hide (SPOILER ALERT: She does). Dig Stone's vision of a near-future LA in which all men sport fashionable collarless shirts. Don't be too put off by the presence of Jim Belushi in the starring role. Though nowhere near as brilliant as Twin Peaks, Wild Palms achieved flashes of genius here and there and remains a relatively unseen TV sci-fi touchstone.

And finally, Kristin Davis. Well, um, Kristin Davis hasn't really done a whole lot else . . . except Melrose Place, which means that for her, Sex and the City was a huge leap forward in artistic credibility. But a quick peek over at IMDB shows that she appeared in an episode of The Larry Sanders Show and that's just fine by me. So, this weekend, if you want a taste of Sex and the City's stars without actually having to endure Sex and the City, you have plenty from which to pick.

SPECIAL BONUS OC WEEKLY SYNERGY TRIVIA SECTION: John Corbett, the man who played Aidan in "Sex and the City" recently appeared on stage at the Coach House and was featured in the pages of our publication. You already missed the show but thanks to the Internet, the article can be enjoyed forever.

*And can I just add, as an aside, how disgusted I am not only by Maxim's selection of Sarah Jessica Parker as the un-sexiest woman in the world (a clearly painful dig that I only bring up now to make a point), but also by a) the concept behind that particular article and b) the magazine in general. It represents almost everything I hate about the commonly perceived notion of American masculinity (See also Entourage). Guys, we can do better, right? Oh, for the record, to be fair, I totally hate Cosmo too.


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