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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

October 16, 2003

Cunning Plan

At first I thought perhaps Blockbuster were struggling when they introduced the New Releases For Two Nights thing. Leaving aside the fact that their concentration on the top 10 or 20 films leaves you remarkably little to choose from, they obviously buy so many of the top few films that they can afford to let you have it for two nights.

But this week the penny dropped. Got a film on Saturday (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), and of course watched it on Saturday night. So instead of taking it back to the shop on Sunday, as we used to do, and when I had the time to do it, I kept it till Monday.

And then forgot.

After a few glasses of wine on Tuesday night, I realised, and determined to take it back next day.

And then forgot.

So I eventually took it round at 11 p.m. last night, but I now owe them for additional nights.

The film itself? 40% on RottenTomatoes is all about the lack of obvious chemistry, the seen-it-all-beforeness of it, and I've got no argument. But that's why you get out a romantic comedy, for a bit of escapism. It was all right. Kate Hudson is watchable, but his Texas accent seemed a bit incongruous in the setting (romantic comedy set in NYC). She's also a little bit not sexy, Meg Ryanish, which is what you come to expect. She's totally flat chested, which means I can't get worked up about her too much. I liked her in Almost Famous, but I liked everything about that film.

But everyone's a critic these days, so I'll leave it at being worth £3.75, but perhaps not the additional nights' rental I'll end up paying.

Last night, while I was forgetting to take the DVD back to Blockbuster, I watched Coyote Ugly, which is the kind of bad film I really like. My criteria are simple: pretty girls, sexy girls, nice looking women, a bit of music, nothing too arty, nothing directed by Gus Van Sant or Chris Columbus. So while it was a plodding, cliché-ridden, meaningless, half-remake of The Thing Called Love, I enjoyed every minute of it.

I tend not to watch films on TV, but there was nothing else on I was keen on. I'll rent a film, but I tend not to want to watch the kind of film that has too many blokes and not enough women in it. It's the cinema equivalent of playing rugby. If wanted that much testosterone, I'd go and stick my head between some bloke's thighs. But I don't, so I won't. I always ask, has it got women in it? Otherwise, I'm keeping my money.

I particularly have a fondness for Maria Bello, who was excellent in ER, but who seems to make a career of being in bad movies.

It's funny, but since I believe that television is better than the movies, I also think that television stars are bigger stars than movie stars. Film actors are a Big Wash to me, just a parade of pretty boys and girls who ricochet from blockbuster to blockbuster, the odd arty film to maintain integrity, but in the end all blend into one another. Sure, I know a few names, many of which probably date me. The Cruiser has assembled a body of work, but someone like Matt Damon (to pluck a name from the air), I just can't see the point of. He could be replaced, in my mind, by any number of similar-looking actors.

All the fuss about Kate Hudson comes down to a species of Hollywood sucking up and nepotism, simply because her parents were once considered big stars. Whereas, Maria Bello and others, like Gillian Anderson, Dennis Franz, and Marg Helgenberger, are in your mind a lot more, and develop their characters over years, sometimes, in fantastic tv series.

So it was funny that Maria Bello, as a supporting player in Coyote Ugly was not just the only face I recognised, but also the only quality player. People who do television learn to under-act, in that Steve McQueen kind of way, and are much more impressive because of it.


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