Tuesday, September 27, 2016

LIZ SMITH: The Day After

by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

The Day After The Debate. Let's Just Be Silly Today!

“THE MAJORITY of Australians think Trump is scary, so may the best woman win.”

So relays one Robert Rechter, who reads us everyday Down Under. We span the globe! (Well, so does everybody else, but after all these years, it’s nice to know the column still travels.)

Mr. Rechter wasn’t just expressing his political opinion. He also sent info and photos of new Hillary and Donald Bobble Heads. Eight inches tall, made of hand-painted resin. One assumes they do bobble amusingly.

Depending on how things went last night, admirers (or haters) of either candidate might wish to have one or both of these. They are suitable for dashboards, next to your computer or by the bedside table. (For those who wake up in the middle of the night worried — or overly confident — about the election outcome.)

The candidates are respectfully presented. Donald is shown giving two thumbs up, wearing his “Make America Great Again” cap. Hillary looks serene and tasteful in a dark pantsuit and pearls. (The artist resisted having Bobble Hillary clutching her pearls!)

Here it is on ebay (we aim to please!)
SPEAKING OF Australia, in an attempt to not think about the debates over the weekend, I searched through Netflix and found a 2013 movie titled “Adore” which I’d never seen. (I don’t think it had a wide release.)

The film, set and filmed in a gorgeous Aussie beach town, stars two of my favorite actresses, Robin Wright and Naomi Watts. In this they are intimate lifelong friends who fall in love — or lust — with each other’s hunky teenage sons. Much suspension of disbelief follows. As events unfolded amongst the foursome, a cartoon bubble kept appearing over my head — “Really?” “Really?” “Really?"
The film is based on a Doris Lessing short story titled “The Grandmothers” and, according to Ms. Lessing, it was a more or less true story. Maybe it was something the author just wanted to think was true. I’m certain in a world full of unusual happenings such a scenario is possible. But as presented onscreen I kept expecting everybody to start speaking French, the color to fade to artsy black-and-white and subtitles to appear. Australians seem too level-headed for such louche behavior. (Think “Bonjour Tristesse,” “Caligula” Bette Davis vs. Miriam Hopkins, anything vaguely Oedipal, and with inevitable melanomas. Nobody in “Adore” applied sunscreen!)
"My, haven't the boys grown."
Wright and Watts are excellent, almost making sense of their characters. They are certainly attractive enough to be objects of desire for younger men. The “boys” (Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville) were cast for their ability to look good in bathing suits, and less. They were brilliant.

I stuck it out till the end because I was certain that either the sons would eventually run off with one another, or there would be a tragic murder, or three.
Happy Mother's Day!
I won’t spoil it. Not that I think hundreds of you are going to seek this curiosity out. Maybe it appeared more “significant” on paper. Or perhaps the lovely leading ladies just wanted a few sun-kissed weeks in Australia. What’s the harm of an offbeat indie now and then?

I did forget about politics for a while, that’s for sure!
"Has it gone too far? Have we been indiscreet? Because I'm concerned that this damn bird is eavesdropping."
I ALWAYS learn a lot reading The Hollywood Reporter.

In the September 30th issue (designer Christian Louboutin and actress Kerry Washington on the cover) I found out that Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were not the stars originally “attached” to their hugely anticipated musical/romance “La La Land.” The first picks were Emma Watson and Miles Teller. THR writers Chris Gardner and Tatiana Siegel say that Teller was either told that the director “no longer thinks you are creatively right for the project” or, the actor lost out because he wanted more money. (I guess he didn’t pay attention to the box-office returns on “Fantastic Four.”) Either way, Ouch!

Miss Watson preferred to accept Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” (Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey” fame will be Emma’s beast.) In the “Power Dining” section of THR I liked this: “Meg Ryan said hello to Laura Dern who was dining with Alex Gibney at Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel Air.” Oh, now surely, she said more than “hello?”
This issue of The Hollywood Reporter also devotes many pages to fashion and designers and the “new red carpet.” (Which as far as I can tell is the same as the “old” red carpet, only it is now crowded with people I don’t particularly care about.)

The best article to come out of the fashion coverage is Jean Francois Roberts' piece on Christine Chiu, who is one of only 2,000 haute couture customers on the earth. She is the wife of a well-known L.A. plastic surgeon, who goes by one name, Gabriel. The habits of somebody who spends $100,000 on a dress don’t interest me that much. But one observation, from Ms. Chui’s particular perspective, was a new twist on the inevitable grotesqueries of fashion, money to burn, and vanity writ large.
A makeup artist touches up a leg (yes, a leg) on Chiu.
Christine and her face-and-body-altering hubby claim they can forecast plastic surgery trends from what’s in fashion: “Backless gowns mean liposuction of the back bra-line and contouring of the back waist, plunging necklines call for removal of implants; high-low hemlines result in knee liposuction and a demand for thigh-gap ... this season’s focus on shoulders, neck and d├ęcolletage means requests for procedures to eliminate lines, wrinkles and sun damage to those areas.” I did imagine plunging necklines would call for the insertion of implants, rather than removal. But maybe more modest bust lines are returning? (Sorry, Kardashians!) And I honestly don’t want to think about what is required to create “thigh gap.” (Impossible, Kardashians!)
Front row at Giambattista Valli couture with Gabriel (right).
There is also stress-inducing haute couture “etiquette” according to Christine. Never request a discount ... don’t ask other attendees what they like ... do make a “courtesy purchase” even if nothing knocked your Spanx off on the runway. You’ll have a better chance at a front row spot next season.

Chiu says: “No one will help you. It took me a couple of years of offending people” before she got it right.

Don’t relax, honey. Your story has offended a whole new set of people.
Chiu in Louis Vuitton headband; Christian Dior Haute Couture dress; Dior earrings, mink coat and clutch; Yerprem diamond and pearl arm jewelry.
WE HOPE today’s column was as mindlessly frivolous as intended. Remember, the rest of the week is going to batter you with grinding, partisan, and often downright ignorant “analysis” of Clinton and Trump. (Ours will be effortless, even-handed and brilliant, of course.)

Mindless frivolity is not to be despised.

Contact Liz here.