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Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Smash” Season 1

Dear Frank,

Smash Season 1Here is a list of things I really enjoy:

  • Broadway musicals.
  • Jack Davenport.
  • Shows where people throw martinis in other people’s faces.
  • Marilyn Monroe, in all her complexity.
  • Jack Davenport being super-snarky-smug-sexy.
  • Young women being assertive and going after their dreams.
  • Older women being total badasses.
  • Dance numbers.

Frank, there are few shows on Earth I have wanted to like more than NBC’s Smash, which technically includes all those things. And yet by the end of the first season, it had evolved into one of today’s best hate-watching experiences.

However, hate-watching is fun when the show starts bad and doesn’t get any better. (Sorry, Millionaire Matchmaker wait I don’t really mean that.) Hate-watching something you had high hopes for? Always a bit heart-breaking. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “She’s All That”

Dear Frank,

I don’t think my prom had a prom queen. Or, if it did, no one gave a shit. Personally, I went stag — well, technically, I went with another girl, because they didn’t sell tickets to prom, they sold two-person “bids” or something, and both me and my friend Evelyn didn’t have dates, but did want to go, so we split a bid and shared a San Antonio limousine service with a big group of friends and it was a pretty fun time.

[And by the way, points to my NorCal high school for never even raising an eyebrow over the fact that me and Evelyn split a bid, several years before that sort of thing mighta been a major news story. Though, to be fair, we never pressed the point by slow-dancing (and/or being in a committed relationship).]

So I enjoyed my prom, to a certain extent, but the lead-up to it didn’t consume my existence or that of my peers. (By “peers,” I mean the honors students, school paper editors and drama nerds who made up my core group of friends in high school — perhaps there were girls/boys who were deeply committed on that score, but for reasons that should be very obvious, they were not a part of my social circle.)

What this means is that the film She’s All That, the plot of which is entirely focused on which lucky 18+-to-play-younger lady will win the oh-so-important crown, is as alien to me as, well, aliens. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Magic Mike”

Dear Frank,

Magic Mike poster. Classy, right? Yesterday morning at work, I was in line to buy some orange juice at the office’s little shop when I overheard the following conversation:

Girl 1: “I saw Magic Mike this weekend.”
Girl 2: “Ohmigod, me too!”
Girl 1: “Yeah, it was good, but by the end I was like, ohmigod, TOO MUCH naked men!”

Giggling ensued. I can only imagine that this conversation was had in a thousand office buildings, in a thousand cities, this morning. Giggling included.

Magic Mike, Frank, is about as simple as movies can be: Young guy without a job (known forever as The Kid) gets a job working as a male stripper, thanks to the titular Magic Mike, who doesn’t hate the work but does hope to transition to a more sustainable long-term career.

Parties, money, and drugs ensue, until eventually The Kid gets in over his head thanks to some bad decisions regarding parties, money and drugs; Magic Mike has to bail him out (sacrificing a big chunk of his savings in the process) and decides to give up the life, focusing instead on trying to win the heart of The Kid’s sister, a nice lady with a grown-up job. The sister and Magic Mike kiss. THE END.

That’s what happened in the movie, Frank, with one minor exception: Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”

Dear Frank,

It’s been a really long time since I saw Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which is to the best of my recollection the best-known musical of the classic cinema era to not star anyone the 21st century gives a crap about. (Yeah, that might be a little harsh towards Jane Powell and Howard Keel except — who?)

So prior to rewatching it for you, Frank, here are the two things I remembered about Seven Brides:

1) Cinema nerds passionate about aspect ratios would often cite the pan-and-scan cropping of this film as one of the greatest travesties of all time.

2) The first Catwoman is in it!

Also, in the back of my head, there’s a sneaky little voice, murmuring “this one might not be so swell for the ladies.” Oh, sneaky little voice. You’re right about so many things. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “The Apple”

Dear Frank,

I was talking with my dad on the phone last night, and here is an excerpt from the conversation we had:

Dad: What are you up to tonight?
Me: Watching The Apple, I guess. Have you heard of it?
Dad: Maybe? Let’s see… [sound of typing, then laughing] Oh, yes. I remember it.
Me: Should I start drinking now?
Dad: I’m looking at IMDB and one actress plays the following roles — “Vampire / Star Rock / Mr. Boogalow’s Receptionist / Keyboard Player in ‘BIM’ Band / One of Ashley’s ‘Lap-mates’ at Mr. Boogalow’s Penthouse Party.”
Me: Oh good.

So The Apple! I have no idea why it’s called that. The movie opens with screaming teens rushing to see a music competition called Worldvision (NO RESEMBLANCE WHATSOEVER TO EUROVISION), and boy you can see why they’re so excited to be there! Read the rest of this entry

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