Monday, May 30, 2011

Think Your Life Sucks? Then Watch...

Greetings and salutations, movie lovers! Today we are going to have another edition of our on-going series "Think Your Life Sucks? Then Watch..." where I recommend a film that is sure to make you feel better about least temporarily.

It goes like this:

Is your life in the toilet?

Are you having a spot of bad luck?

Are you still stewing because that semi-bald English chap chose that Middleton gal over you?

Relax, dears. No matter how bad your life is right now, someone, somewhere has it even worse.

Don't believe me?

Want proof?

Consider this: you could be Maria Shriver.

Think about it. You could have been married for 25 years to a thick-accented chap who started out as a body builder, then became a movie star and then served two terms as the Governor of LA La Land. In the meantime, you have birthed four children, cut short your own TV journalism career to support his political ambitions and stoutly defended him when stories emerged that hubby treated women with a Conan-like grubbiness.

And how did Arnold reward Maria's love and devotion? By announcing 13 years after the fact that he had fathered a son out of wedlock with a trusted family retainer. In fact, Maria and the trusted family retainer delivered their babies just days apart.

Still think you life sucks in comparison?


OK, Chew on this: you could be Jane Seymour.

The former Bond Girl (she was Solitaire in "Live and Let Die"), Kay Jewelry designer, "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" and star of countless made-for-TV movies, was attending a movie premiere in Hollywood where she chose to enlighten the public with her inside knowledge surrounding the Arnie/Maria mess.

To wit: Jane claimed that Arnie had fathered two more out of wedlock tykes, a bombshell news nugget that promptly went around the world and then some.

However, no sooner had Jane made these declarations than she was on "The View" begging forgiveness and furiously back peddling.

Turns out Jane was merely repeating gossip she over heard on the telly and she "doesn't know anything about anything". Furthermore, she knows nothing about any other Arnie "love children" and wishes devoutly that she had kept her mouth shut. In conclusion, she's just so, so sorry for Maria and the children and she hopes they will all accept her apologies.

In other words: please don't sue me.

If facing the wrath of Arnie or Maria or both isn't enough to convince you that your life isn't that awful, try this on for size.

Vogue magazine, the most famous, influential and pricey fashion magazine in the world hires you to write a feature on a young, glamourus First Lady. Let's see, who could that be? Mrs. Obama? Carla Bruni, First Lady of France and a former high fashion model? The Queen of Sweden?

Nope, nope and nope.

In a piece titled "A Rose in the Desert", Vogue chose to profile Asma al Assad the wife of the dictator of Syria. Yes, Syria, a repressive police state where government forces regularly shoot its own citizens for demonstrating peacefully for, oh, the right to vote and the lifting of a five year "State of Emergency" ruling.

The author of the article, Joan Juliet Buck, meanwhile, portrayed Syria as a safe, multicultural Middle Eastern haven. Asma was described as "the most magnetic of First Ladies", a super thin and super stylish humanitarian who wants to turn Syria into a "cultural" mecca that encourages "active citizenship".

Well, not too active.

Anyway, Vogue caught a huge amount of flack for running this puff piece, which ignored the country's human rights record and other unpleasant realities. Vogue editor Anna Winter defended the article, saying it was about Syria's First Lady and not its politics. But the real loser here is Ms. Buck, whose "profile" of Asma amounted to nothing more than happy face propaganda. Simply put, it's the type of thing that could wreck even the most promising career.

My advice to Joan: keep this off your resume.

So, do the travails of Maria, Jane and Joan have you feeling better about yourself? No? OK. If you still think your life sucks, then please watch..."Claudelle Inglish"(1961).This hard to find B-movie gem stars Diane McBain as Claudelle, the daughter of dirt poor sharecroppers Arthur Kennedy and Constance Ford. Pa is a bib-overalls wearing philosopher resigned to his lot, but Ma is bitter over her dreary life. Naturally, she wants better for her daughter Claudelle. Unfortunately, Ma's idea of "better" is to insist her teenage daughter marry Claude Akins, the richest man in town.

Claudelle, however, has fallen in love with a boy named Linn (Chad "Medical Center" Everett) and wants no part of Akins. Just before Linn is shipped off to the army, he asks Claudelle to marry him. She says yes. Then they have sex. Then he promptly dumps her. Then Claudelle does what any girl in her situation would do: she becomes the town tramp. No fella, young or old, is refused, as long as he brings Claudelle a nice present and promises to tell her stuff like "she's pretty all over." Soon Claudelle's shabby bedroom looks like a Macy's store room loaded down with "tributes" from all her admirers.

Ma, meanwhile, still pushes for Claudelle to marry Akins. When her wayward daughter still refuses to give in to the future "B J and the Bear" star's advances, a fed-up Ford decides to take matters into her own hands. She puts on her kid's best dress and offers herself up to Akins as a replacement. Desperate for the touch of a woman, Akins agrees and the two drive off together.

Claudelle continues sleeping with every boy in town until tragedy hits. See if you can follow:

Claudelle goes into town to pick out a dress. The store owner, hearing about how easy Claudelle is, decides to try his hand. He and Claudelle are having sex in the dressing room when his wife finds them. Then the store owner's son announces that he wants to marry Claudelle and goes over to her house for a "date". Little does he know that some un-named bruiser from out of town had gotten there first. The two boys fight over Claudelle and the store owner's son is eventually run over by the thug's car. The dust has barely settled over this mess when Claudelle announces that Mama Ford has left home for good. Father and daughter decide that the best thing for them is to leave town, too. So while Pa is packing up the farm equipment, the crazed father of Claudelle's ill-fated suitor sneaks into her room and declares, "You're still alive with your painted lips and your wickedness!"--and shoots her.


The morale of this southern fried tale? While it is smart to refuse the advances of an old codger like Claude Akins, giving into to every boy that comes bearing gifts in hopes of mending your broken heart isn't a good idea, either.

In conclusion: if your husband hasn't sprung a "love child" on you and you haven't shot your mouth off publicly about stuff you don't know anything about and you haven't permanently tarnished your career writing a puff piece about a dictator's glamorous wife and your mom isn't pressuring you to marry Claude Akins, your life is actually in pretty good shape.

Until next time, dear readers, Save The Movies!

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