Fug File: Fug the Fromage

Fug the Fromage: The Sound of Music Live recap


There’s not much point in recapping the plot of The Sound of Music, but we can DEFINITELY take a gander at the NBC costumes, which ended in some divinely cracked-out headgear that had Jessica and I dropping more unsavory language over Instant Messenger than we have in a long, long time.

They look like background players for an as-yet-nonexistent Katy Perry tour called Oktoberfest. We live-tweeted it, and I’m embedding a couple of those tweets, especially where I think we pretty much said it better the first time.

As for the show: It’s clear that Carrie Underwood took it extremely seriously. She did not shirk anything, she sang her heart out, and she tried really hard to carry the show even though in the end it was beyond her capabilities at this point in her career. NBC probably chose its Sunday Night Football cover girl for ratings reasons, rather than, say, trying to work it out so that in-house Broadway vet Megan Hilty could do it on a break from Sean Saves The World (which is probably not as good a use of her time and talents). But again, Carrie Underwood obviously worked crazy-hard on this, and when you’re not used to a live show that demands singing AND so much choreography AND acting between it all, choosing to put yourself on a live network broadcast — in the company of performers like Audra McDonald and Laura Benanti — is a brave, bold move, and just because I didn’t applaud the overall end result doesn’t mean I don’t applaud her for doing it. I absolutely do.

My overriding issue is that Fraulein Maria is all spirit. She’s charm and sass and a little insanity, all rolled into one. Either nobody bothered to help Carrie Underwood find that in the material, or it was too big a job for her in her first major role. Carrie’s Maria does not climb a tree and scrape her knee; her dress does not have a tear. She does not waltz on her way to Mass, nor whistle on the stair. (And underneath her wimple, she doesn’t have curlers in her hair, because she’s got a big ol’ braid jammed up in there.) These qualities are essential to believing in her frenzied charisma, and it wasn’t there. Julie Andrews did it immaculately, and beyond her vocals, that made her a tough act to follow. (Also, somebody went INSANE making Carrie enunciate. A little is fine, but we don’t need to hear EVERY SINGLE “T” in EVERY SINGLE WORD.)

Watching this version of the stage show, I was struck with how much livelier the movie dialogue is, and it lent Maria some of the spunk she lacked here, which would’ve helped. The comparisons have all been to Julie Andrews anyway, because her Maria is more iconic than any that appeared on stage; ergo, might as well just accept that and then do the better version of the material, or a hybrid.

Basically, it was not a very enjoyable telecast. However, I loved the ambition of what it was trying to do, and I hope NBC keeps trying to do it. It’s also why, as much as I do not enjoy Glee and haven’t for a long time (and on some levels, possibly ever), I am so glad it’s out there because, much like JK Rowling reminded kids that it’s cool to read and Tina Fey that it’s cool to be smart, this stuff emphasizes the benefits of actual god-given talent.

Okay, let’s get silly:

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Fug the Fromage: Sharknado


A note before I begin: It’s a shark movie, so yeah, some of these shots do have blood in them, but I chose mild ones — nothing I think is overtly disgusting or that isn’t also being painfully, comically fake; also, the budget was so low that they couldn’t linger on any of the chompy stuff anyway, or else the cheapness would be further exposed. So. You’re pretty safe here, is what I’m saying.

Listen, there is a chance people missed Sharknado. Maybe they don’t like sharks. Maybe they hate tornados. Maybe they don’t have Twitter, or cable, or were themselves caught in a sharknado. For those who meant to watch but forgot and can’t decide if they want to DVR a re-run, I am here for you. For those who did watch but want to relive the experience through the magic of screen grabs, I am here for you. For those who didn’t know about it or didn’t feel like watching or rampantly don’t care, I am here for you, because now you can digest a quickie version without having to miss out on seminal, pivotal moments like this:

That’s so flat, it’s practically graffiti on the building. Like a Banksy painting but without the wit.

And now, inspired by the physical sacrifice of the erstwhile (yet forever) Steve Sanders, let’s plunge into this thing, motorized prongs at the ready for optimal slicing and dicing. You’ll enjoy — I hope — that this wasn’t watchable on my iPad, so I had to go old-school and take photographs of my TV. Ergo, this recap will look as low-budget as the movie itself — a fitting, if accidental, tribute.

Have you ever seen a sharknado? Behold.

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Fug the Fromage: Mannequin


The other night, working late, I flipped on HBO and stumbled into this:

Yes, it’s Mannequin, a movie whose main titles flagrantly rip off the animated opuses of Savage Steve Holland, and which I watched so much on VHS as a kid that I think I broke the tape. Between Andrew McCarthy having to get handsy with a giant doll, Kim Cattrall, a young Lt. Provenza, Meschach “Designing Women” Taylor, James “Everything” Spader, Estelle “Sophia Petrillo” Getty, and That Actor I Always Mix Up With The One Who Played Ferris Bueller’s Dad, it seemed ripe for a trip to the Fug Nation Fromagerie. When you see TV’s Samantha Jones in her youth playing a half-human sex doll, you wonder if Sex and the City is the way Emmy’s life might have gone if she’d ditched the semi-pervy sculptor and learned that she doesn’t need to be dependent on a man for her freedom. Alas. And if I’ve just spoiled the movie for you… well, I haven’t, because you know how it ends even if you don’t know how it ends; Hollywood Montrose and the aforementioned Mr. Spader will make sticking around worth your time; and it includes the single worst piece of prop-making I have seen.

The best part about the main titles is that a) they show up after the movie itself has begun, grinding it to a halt just so we can have an animated romp involving a time-traveling elevator and animals who think they’re people; and b) they’re so freaking weird that they make you wonder what might’ve been if the movie HAD been an animated romp involving a time-traveling elevator and animals who think they’re people.

Also:

I just wanted to show you James Spader’s title card. He is a pig emperor of Rome while it’s burning around him. I hope someone dear to him has framed this and hung it in his study, or better, that he will one day again be nominated for an Emmy and skip the ceremony, so that they can put this up as a headshot when his name is read.

Okay, let’s dip into this movie and see what a 1987 rom-com has to teach us about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

its teachings will change your life

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Fug or Fab the Cover: Princess Charlene


I love looking at covers of magazines which are published in languages I am unable to read, because it means I can invent the headlines. I’m sure this issue of Japanese Vogue is touting the usual Vogue articles, which I imagine to be universal — something about a weird new plastic surgery meant to alleviate a cosmetic problem we weren’t even aware was a problem, something about a rich and expensively dressed woman who also runs an art gallery/investment brokerage/dermatology practice and everything she wears therein, something about a new starlet whose parents are obscurely famous and the charming dinner parties she gives for hipsters, the end — but I like to think it’s sporting things like, “Princess Charlene: She Wore Color Once. Can It Happen Again?” and “Women Who Might Hate Their Husbands: How To Talk To Them” and “So You Tried To Flee The Country: Three Women Speak Out.”

All of that aside, this cover shot of her is:

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Fab the Plumage (and Fromage): Behind the Candelabra


Let’s not kid ourselves: Matt Damon is great and Michael Douglas is a marvel, but the breakout star of this movie is Rob Lowe’s FACE OF INSANITY. It is everything it’s been advertised to be, and more.

It’s kind of hard to properly fug-the-fromage of an actual good movie, so this is more a buffet of costumes, with some light plot sprinkled in where I couldn’t resist. It won’t ruin the movie for you because so much of it comes alive with sound and motion in ways that it just won’t in stills (like Matt Damon’s Disco Balls — you’ll know what I mean when you see them — and everything about Douglas’s characterization, down to the tiniest hand gestures). 

Apologies for the number of slides; to get this done in a timely fashion, I had to do a slideshow instead of inserting each individual photo into one long post, because of Boring WordPress Reasons. If you can’t digest it in one sitting, you can use the photo-scroller at the bottom of each slide to jump to where you were — or bookmark where you left it. Think of it as prolonging the life of your scrolling finger.

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Fug the Fromage: The Beyonce Movie, a.k.a. 40 Things Beyonce Wants You To Know About Beyonce


As we’ve seen with her photo-heavy Tumblr, Beyonce is really gifted at making you think she’s peeling back the curtain to offer raw, real peeks, to the point where you ignore or forget the fact that you’re STILL actually only seeing what she wants you to see. And her HBO movie, which she co-directed and produced (the latter credit is something she has in common with Katy Perry and Justin Bieber and their ilk, on their concert/documentary films), is a lot like that. Now, I have nothing against Beyonce. I’ve never heard bad gossip about her, ever, and that’s got to be hard to achieve without being a legitimately good person. I also think she is a legitimately interesting person, one who’d have been better served by a documentary with some distance that featured outside voices, created and directed by an impartial (however possible that is) third party. It reminds me of working on Top Model — the girls who walked around conscious of the cameras, refusing to say or do anything in front of them, also never showed you any of themselves; it wasn’t until they forgot the cameras that things felt true and honest. When you give up control is when the good stuff happens.

With Beyonce being so intimately involved — sharing personal video diaries and whatnot — I figured bothering to make this movie meant she had a really good story to tell. Justin Bieber’s was at least about believing in your dreams, or something, I’m told. Katy Perry’s movie turned out to be about her marriage falling apart. But Beyonce’s… there’s a snippet of her fallout with her father after she fired him, and bits about her pregnancy that are mostly noteworthy for not being particularly thorough or high-quality. Indeed, the glimpses Beyonce gives you into anything real are so few and far between, it’s easy to mistake them for larger and more substantial bites than the crumbs they really are, and in the end, it feels like Beyonce simply wanted you to know some stuff that all revolves around this central conceit: Her life really is freaking great, and she’s really good at everything. It’s not much of a plot. It doesn’t come off as vain as that sounds, but watching this movie only made me want to see one about her that really nails the depth and breadth of her life and her persona — one put together by someone who is not the subject. 

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