Just watched this MARTiN RiTT directed film again last night and as always – love me some STREiSAND. Go figure, I find myself using this exact quote in my own personal life! Here’s to you Babs, a stellar actress and one of the last remaining true HOLLYWOOD iCONS.
Check out this scene from 1987′s ‘NUTS’, also staring RiCHARD DREYFUSS, KARL MALDEN, MAUREEN STAPLETON and LESLiE NiELSON.
Ok so I’m a major film nerd. Poured over movies from the earliest age – particularly enjoyed classic cinema of the Golden Age of HOLLYWOOD. This list of 10 ACTRESSES/ROLES is hardly exhaustive as there is no shortage of amazing performances made by actresses across the decades however it does represent the ones that come to my mind first. For whatever reason, these women embodied their roles and must have gripped me enough to make these impressions. I can’t say that I’ve seen all of these films recently, but the impression has lasted, and such I would like to recommend you go out and watch them straight way if you are looking for movie suggestions. If I’m not mistaking, most of these performance went on to either win Awards, or at the very least were nominated by their peers.
ANJELiCA HUSTON’S rare beauty lies deeper than her jet black hair or her regal nose; she is a far more complex beauty than most of the young lovelies who now grace our screens. In the ’70s, HUSTON was the ultimate it-girl, dashing from party to party with her famous lover, JACK NiCHOLSON and posing on the cover of VOGUE in HALSTON; today, she is one of the most respected actresses in Hollywood (PRiZZi’S HONOR,THE GRiFTERS, WiTCHES, BUFFALO 66, etc), a subtle, wise, and yes, breathtaking actress. Here are of the most beautiful pictures of ANJELiCA HUSTON, style icon.
TROOP BEVERLY HiLLS came out in 1989, and SHELLY LONG was already a household name due in part to her success as neurotic bar maid DiANE CHAMBERS on ‘CHEERS’. But in the tradition of television actors and actresses who try their luck at the movie world, LONG wanted to sink her teeth into other roles, parts that would perhaps challenge her and give her more credibility – after all she was a superstar! She needed to expand!
So she chose TROOP BEVERLY HiLLS as the right vehicle. I know, right? Of course the film was a flop and considered the beginning of LONG’S short movie career. I loved it though. Still do. I never expected LONG to morph into MERYL STREEP; she was a funny lady with good comic timing. LONG also appears to know how to laugh at herself – and she would have to with her character in TROOP.
PHYLLiS NEFLER (LONG), a Beverly Hills wife going through a divorce with her lawyer-entrepreneur husband Fred (CRAiG T. NELSON), decides to deal with it by becoming the leader of the unruly local troop of the Wilderness Girls (an allusion to the real GiRL SCOUTS of the USA) of which her daughter, Hannah (JENNY LEWiS) is a member. At the beginning Phyllis seems more preoccupied with shopping than taking her role as wilderness leader too seriously. Her Beverly Hills sensibilities result in a change in the program for the girls in her troop, who are all the children of socialites, to get them more interested in the program. This aspect of TROOP alone is hilarious as the movie sets us up and introduces us to all of the plastic inhabitants of Beverly Hills, as well as the troop of young girls. I have NO iDEA where any of these actresses are today – but it only takes a second for me while watching TROOP, to remember having seen those nasty 80’s clothes before, and those giant side pony-tails held up by one enormous hair elastic.
Yet Phyllis demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the girls’ well-being by showing an interest in the girls while many of their wealthy parents neglect them. This is where TROOP begins fleshing out our silly and beloved Phyllis – and we as an audience can at least see that behind the ditzy attitude and hilarious shenanigans, she is also a warm mother and nurturing troop leader to these girls – and why? Because contrary to how Phyllis appears at the beginning (unfocussed, shallow, flighty) there is a woman of great fortitude and ability – and her experience with the wilderness girls is just the catalyst to help her remember her strength, just as much as it is about her proving herself to be a worthy role-model to these misguided girlies.
In the process she also shows that she is not as vapid as one would at first think: she is unfailingly nice to everyone and shows that despite her extravagant lifestyle that she knows money isn’t everything — friendship is more important. Awwwwwwwww! (cut to the scene where she’s teaching the girls how to do the ‘Freddy’).
Of course a comedy wouldn’t be a comedy without a nemesis to pair our heroine with. Phyllis’s unorthodox ways run afoul of another leader, Velda Plendor (BETTY THOMAS), a traditionalist who runs her troop, the Culver City “Red Feathers” like a military unit, and has considerable pull at the regional council level. Velda is a nasty woman out to get our clueless Phyllis, but worry not as she gets her come-up-ins.
Velda sends her assistant troop leader, Annie Herman (MARY GROSS), to Troop Beverly Hills to infiltrate it and try to get them disbanded, but she eventually defects when she realizes that despite the fact that the “Red Feathers” are traditional Wilderness Girls, they are also mean-spirited cheaters who will do whatever it takes to get an edge on their competition. And nobody likes a meanie – so Annie does eventually come to her senses – and then of course Phyllis gives her a make-over, consisting of a nasty 1989 dress overloaded with pink bows made of shiny satin.
But I digress – back to the wilderness girls and their struggle: from customized achievement patch classes, to a star-studded cookie sales drive, to dealing with the turmoil of the rich life and trying to maintain it, it all leads to a campout-competition, The Wilderness Girl Jamboree, where the girls and their leader have to prove themselves as Wilderness Girls in order to survive as a troop. Of course no one expects Phyllis and her troop to succeed – most of all Velda – yet true to her spirit Phyllis never gives up, or in, and she and her girls rally together to surprise even themselves! They too want to prove people wrong – that they are just as capable of surviving the wilderness as anyone.
Despite Velda’s attempts to sabotage the girls during the challenge, and although the Red Feathers crossed the finish line first, they are disqualified because they did so without their leader. Troop Beverly Hills is declared the winners of the Jamboree, validating them as true Wilderness Girls – also teaching us the lesson that one should never give up! Yay! Rejoice!
Oh and to wrap it up with a nice shimmery bow: Francis Temple fires Velda from the Wilderness Girls Organization so she finally gets what she deserves (and apparently this is a job working at K-MART) and the girls’ families show up moments later very proud of them – also hinting at the good things to come for all the formerly misguided girls.
Phyllis’s commitment to the troop impresses her husband Fred (who had been frustrated by her inability to finish anything) and they reconnect at the end of the film, thus signifying that PHYLLiS has turned her life around – and found happiness and meaning again!
TROOP BEVERLY HiLLS is not the comedy of the century, but it is a worthy one of popping into the DVD player for a night of lighthearted fun. I salute SHELLY LONG, who I still think is hilarious – and if I’m not mistaking she has popped up a few re-occurring times on TV’s ‘MODERN FAMiLY’ to play ED O’NEiLL’S ex-wife, DeDe Pritchett. They were smart to have her and would only be smarter to feature her more as I see her as an underrated actress of our times.
Check out some images from TROOP BEVERLY HiLLS as well as some youtube clips!
To this day I’m saddened by the loss of FARRAH FAWCETT – and its not difficult to recall June 25th, 2009, as it was a double hit with the loss of legendary MiCHAEL JACKSON as well. There are many of us who will remember that day with a great sense of loss. I’ve loved FARRAH since as early as I can remember and she will always remain my FAVORiTE of ‘CHARLiE’S ANGELS’ – despite the beauty and graces of KATE JACKSON, JACLYN SMiTH, CHERYL LADD, SHELLEY HACK, and TANYA ROBERTS. FARRAH’S legacy will always burn stronger than any of those woman combined, and there is good reason for it. FARRAH was a beautiful paradox.
There really aren’t enough words for me to describe FARRAH’S legacy – but when I think of her overall impact on pop culture I see a puzzle of sorts – and I like it. She was undoubtedly a vision of beauty far superior to any other television star of her time; hair cascading down, that mega-watt smile, that body – & that poster that sold over 12 million dollars. She was every man’s desire and every young girls friend, thanks in part to her role as athletic private detective JiLL MUNROE on AARON SPELLiNG’S ‘CHARLiE’S ANGELS’; a serendipitous mix of action, fashion and camp. As JiLL she represented a ‘golden girl’, someone you could picture as your best friend and confident – someone strong and capable of fighting crime and kicking ass with the best of them. The thing that I could never get past, even as a youth soaking in the glory that was CHARLiE’S ANGELS, was that there was also something very fragile, vulnerable and strangely tragic about her as well. Even in her prime. I get a similar feeling when I think of MARiLYN MONROE - that rare mixture of ‘little girl lost’ meets goddess. And like MONROE, FAWCETT represents those actresses whom you could sense had so much more to offer than they ever really got the chance. There was a potential there that over the years became muddled; yet on the outside looking in I never doubted that she felt desitined for bigger things. As a gay boy I even felt compelled to protect her – in a similar way I would feel compelled to protect my beautiful sisters or girlfriends from the lecherous hands of the world. I felt this way instinctively – although I never could understand how a television actress could evoke such sentiments. Today I understand it as a touching aspect of her character in real life – despite the countless struggles she faced as an actress, wife, mother and WOMAN – she was also a fierce fighter in a painful world.
THE BURNiNG BED (1984) was indeed the closest thing I think FARRAH ever got to proving herself as much more than a beautiful angel. Her role as a battered wife in the fact-based television movie earned her the first of her four EMMY AWARD NOMiNATiONS and the project is noted as being the first television movie to provide a nationwide 800 number that offered help for others in the situation, in this case victims of domestic abuse. It was the highest-rated television movie of that season. FAWCETT quoted what network execs once had to say about THE BURNiNG BED as they initially rejected the idea: “Nobody wants to see any woman – especially FARRAH FAWCETT being beaten for two hours”, yet her determination to break free of JiLL MONROE proved to be successful. It was a difficult film to watch and it serves as part of the puzzle that was FARRAH FAWCETT: the fragile fighter. If you watch the youtube clip of THE BURNiNG BED below, one can’t deny that she emerged as an actress.
FARRAH never really did become the full mega movie star I’m sure she aspired to be. Despite all of the tabloid fodder, the loopy interviews on late night television, and the seemingly desperate nudie-art spreads in PLAYBOY, I can’t help but want to embrace and protect my favorite angel even to this day, in spite of the fact that she was a capable fighter of her own battles until the day she passed. A person can still want to protect the fiercest of fighters – and so for today I share with you these selected FARRAH images and videos in tribute to one of my all-time favorites.
Iconic model of the late ’60s and ’70s, granddaughter of the brilliant fashion genius ELSA SCHiAPPARELLi, once coined “the girl of the Seventies” by YVES SAiNT LAURENT, MARiSA BERENSON has to be one of the most exquisite beauties of all time.
Sometimes a woman comes along who embodies the spirit of her time with effortless quality that that defies all words. BERENSON was one of the most captivating woman of her era. Every now and then I go back and visit her there in the land of inspiration from that time -
_________________________________________________________________________________________ Back in the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s, I poured over Rolling Stone Magazine. Didn't a lot of…