Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Be Italian

Last night, I got to attend the New York premiere of the movie "Nine," starring DanielDayLewisMarionCotillardPenelopeCruzKateHudsonJudidon'tcallmeDameDenchSophiaLorenandFergie. Whew. Lot of star power in that picture. Everyone except Sophia Loren attended the screening, and for those curious about how much celebrititis I was exposed to, I did get within touching distance of Judi Dench and Marion Cotillard, and within spitting distance of Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman. According to my good friend and fellow blogger RiskingHemlock, I was also seen passing by Daniel Day-Lewis on the red carpet, but I must have been too distracted by how pretty my shoes were, because I didn't notice. Seriously, look at my shoes! Plus, I got to walk down the red carpet twice; there was an issue with our tickets, so we had to go back outside to confer with the publicists and then walk the whole gauntlet again. Nobody paid attention to us, but I felt a little sorry for all the big stars who couldn't walk three steps without having to stop and pose and be blinded to the point of seizures by the flash bulbs. Let me say, sometimes it's nice to be nobody.

Of course, those who remember my trip to The Daily Show already know my views on celebrities: they look just like they do in their movies, only more real lifey. Not that I'm one of those I-don't-care-about-meeting-celebrities-because-I'm-too-cool-and-secretly-jealous-of-them people. I might have squealed and hopped about like an idiot if I'd actually gotten to meet any of these people, but since I just SAW them, I managed to keep my composure and not embarrass myself or the BF's family.
I was more excited about getting to sit next to Uncle G--- in the theater, one of the BF's hanai relatives, because he knew all the good gossip about the non-movie star celebs in the room and kept up a running commentary in my ear about who produced what Disney movie, who directed which Broadway hit, who gave money to which hospital and why, and of course, who was sleeping with whom. We also talked about arms dealing, and then he showed me a picture of his dog. Good times.

As for the movie "Nine," it was excellent. As good as "Chicago" and way, way better than "Memoirs of a Geisha," (which, much like the "Matrix" sequels, I just pretend never happened). The songs were great and eminently hummable--I've been crooning "Be Italian" to myself all day--and get this, it was honest and emotional, a thoughtful, intelligent musical that's also a big budget star-packed extraveganza. When they sang, I cared. It seems to come from some Bizarro version of Hollywood, where movies are sumptuous, sensory delights that have something sad and important to say about love and the human condition, and DON'T use 'splosions to say it.

Needless to say, "Nine" will do much better in Europe than here in the U.S. Not to trash the motherland, but the masses tend to have piss-poor taste when it comes to entertainment. The last time I was in Amsterdam, I went every day to the movie theater because it was colder than a witch's tit outside and there's only so much Dutch television I can watch in a hotel room smaller than a Manhattan studio. And all of the movies I saw were studio-funded Hollywood movies with mainstream actors--no foreign or arthouse or even indie flicks--but they were just so GOOD compared to the studio-funded Hollywood movies shown here at home. They were intelligent, character-driven, witty, and thought-provoking, like nothing I'd heard of in the States! Admittedly, at the time I was still living in Honolulu, and we don't get much besides Asian cinema and 'splosion-fests from the mainland, but still yet--it felt like all the movies I would have wanted to see were made for export.
That's why I'm way happy and feel very fortunate to have gone to the premiere of "Nine." I'm glad to know that people are funding this sort of project, and that other people are watching it, and that movies can still be magic with nothing but great actors, great costumes, great music, and great scenery (CGI, I'm glaring at you across the room).

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