Monday, May 2, 2016

LIZ SMITH: Just Another Manic Monday

"You miserable bitch!" — Krystle and Alexis' infamous brawl in the lily pond.
by Liz Smith

Just Another Manic Monday — Will Ferrell (Blech!) ... The "Absolutely Fabulous" Movie (Yay!) ... and What Will Happen to Poor Martha on "The Americans" This Week?  Stay Tuned.

"IF HILLARY Clinton were a man and she was the way she is, she would get virtually no votes," said Donald Trump last week.

In The New York Times, columnist Gail Collins mused: "Do not ask yourself how many votes Donald Trump would get if he were a woman and he was the way he is. Truly, you don't want to go there."

Thank you, Gail Collins!
MY ONLY suggestion to Hillary in the coming general election would be to adopt the old British bromide: "Keep Calm and Carry On." Treat your opponent like an unruly, troubled child, and things might work out.

And my one and very strong suggestion for the idiots who are violently opposing Mr. Trump — as happened last week in California — knock it off. Such things play directly into his hands.

Trump is most assuredly the "presumptive nominee" of the Republican Party, which means he has at least a 50/50 chance to become president. Deal with that, grow up, galvanize for this election — that means get out and vote, even if you worship at the shrine of Bernie Sanders — and if Trump happens, work toward changing the landscape in 2020. If the majority of the people running for office behave like infants with colic, we have to rise above it.
IT TAKES a lot to offend me. I've lived long enough and seen enough and been around enough to deal with most aspects of human nature, and how they are represented on stage or screen or on TV. However, by the time this column appears, I sure hope Will Ferrell, the so-called comic actor has re-thought his plan to star in a movie, a comedy, about Ronald Regan's descent into Alzheimer's.

I thought I was pretty offended when it was announced that there would be a "satire" film based on the totally fictional tale of Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando attempting to flee Manhattan after the attacks of 9/11. I knew the story was false, but given human nature, some people will want to believe it, and there's nothing to be done about that aspect of human nature. (As Ava Gardner once remarked, shrugging off gossip, "Honey, people believe what they want to believe. Let's have a drink.")
Don't believe it!
However, Ronald Reagan's battle with Alzheimer's was very real and devastating. That Ferrell or any studio execs think this is a fit subject, speaks so poorly of them as members of the human race. And, by the way, this is not some sort of holy reverence for Ronald Reagan. I liked him, and I adored his wife, Nancy, but the subject of Alzheimer's is not amusing, under any circumstances. I don't know Mr. Ferrell's politics, but if he thinks that mocking a Republican icon in this election year scores points for Democrats he is devastatingly off-track. He is just as deluded as those protesters outside Trump's rally.
I hope Mr. Ferrell changes his mind. But even if he does, with the proper "I didn't mean to offend anyone" phony apology I'll never go out of my way to pay to see him again, in anything. That won't be much of a loss, as he is one of the least appealing, minimally talented men I have even seen achieve stardom.

Ah, but there's a cover for every garbage pail. And that goes for the minimally accredited "writer" of this project, Mike Rosolio, too.

P.S. Over the weekend Will Ferrell backed out of this film. Good. But he's still not funny.
A BIG shout-out, and a possible farewell to actress Alison Wright who has played the hapless Martha on my favorite spy-thriller TV show, "The Americans." (Soviet spies in 1980's Washington, D.C.) Portraying a character who is somewhat clueless, a lonely woman taken in by a Russian agent, Miss Wright has built and built this character, which in other hands could be grating. She has performed brilliantly.
Matthew Rhys as Clark and Alison Wright as Martha in "The Americans."
Now, this week, it looks as if we might witness the end of Martha, who has finally seen the light about her husband (Matthew Rhys). He is a Russian agent with an endless supply of wigs and different eyeglasses and a nasty habit of killing people. And, of course, there's his other wife Elizabeth — the "real" one — who is an even more cold-blooded Russian operative (Keri Russell).
Clark and his other wife Elizabeth (Keri Russell).
Will Martha be knocked off, sent to Siberia, become a half-mad fugitive? I'm hoping for the latter. I'd miss this actress, whose performance last week, as she emotionally collapsed under the ruin of her life, was simply splendid.

Wednesday night can't come quickly enough.
AT LONG last, the big screen version of Britain's delicious "Absolutely Fabulous" TV series is upon us, opening in July. It will continue the adventures of best buds Patsy and Edina (Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders respectively.) All I know about the plot is that the ladies accidentally push Kate Moss into a pool, nearly drowning her, while in the process of trying to sign her up to their PR firm. Not the best move, but Patsy and Edina are the Lucy and Ethel of the UK.
Patsy (Joanna Lumley) and Edina (Jennifer Saunders) in "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie."
Patsy and Edina in the original "Absolutely Fabulous" series in 1992. Credit: Alamy
The movie is jammed with cameo appearances, including bits by Jerry Hall (Mrs. Rupert Murdoch, to you) ... Jon Hamm ... Jean Paul Gaultier ... Baby Spice (aka Emma Bunton) ... Rebel Wilson ... Lulu ... Chris Colfer ... Suki Waterhouse and — drum roll! — Dame Joan Collins.
Too bad it's only a cameo. Not only was Joan born "absolutely fabulous" but she is a wickedly adept comedienne. I mean, let's face it, her Alexis on "Dynasty" was enlivened not by Joan's dramatic talents — though they are considerable — but by her turning the over-dressed Denver villain into a delicious figure of fun, spoofing every line and situation. ("Take this junk, and your blonde tramp, and get out!")

Anyway, the "Ab Fab" trailer looks pretty fab. We all need a good laugh, don't you agree?

With Denis Ferrara

Contact Liz here.