Fug File: Fug the Fromage

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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Fug the Fromage: Liz & Dick


First of all, if you are actually interested in Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton — or even if you are just interested in Old Hollywood, rich boozehounds who make impulsive decisions, or epic romances — I strongly suggest you read Furious Love, the book about their relationship that came out a couple of years ago. It’s a great read, it clearly was part of the required reading for whomever wrote this movie, and it’s about 700% better than Liz & Dick, especially since Lifetime seems to be implying that Richard Burton was a vampire:

IF ONLY. That would make this version of their love story way more interesting — and honestly far less confusing than Lifetime’s take, which rarely tells the audience what year it is and gives you literally no backstory on Liz, Dick, Cleopatra, or, in fact, anything factual that happens during the vaguely specified years during which this movie is set. It’s like they decided against exposition as a concept entirely.

Anyway, we start at some point in the early 80s, with this gun that will NEVER GO OFF:

A) I love the idea that you could just address a letter to Elizabeth Taylor like this and it would get to her. Honestly, it probably would have. I’m sure all the postal carriers in Bel Air knew which house belonged to Ms Taylor.

B):

SPOILER! He dies! Actual spoiler: the letter we just saw, which we’ll never see again, actually arrived at Liz’s house when she returned from Burton’s London memorial service. Burton had written that home was where Elizabeth was, and he wanted to come home again (never mind that he was married to someone else at the moment, as that never stopped the two of them before). Can you imagine getting that letter from the love of your life, THE DAY YOU RETURN FROM HIS MEMORIAL SERVICE? Can you imagine writing a movie about said love affair and NOT INCLUDING THE SCENE WHERE ELIZABETH — who kept Burton’s letters by her bed until the day she herself died — READS SAID LETTER?

You can if the actress who would have to play that scene is Lindsay Lohan.

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Fug the Fromage: The Last Song


You may recall The Last Song as being the movie that mush novelist Nicholas Sparks wrote specifically for Miley Cyrus and her burgeoning, sparkling talent (read: screaming tween fan base that likes to see films over and over in the theater). As such, there is a lot of Attitude and Illness and Metaphorical Salvation and whatnot. This movie has been kicking around on my DVR for MONTHS now. I meant to do it when Liam Hemsworth was announced as Gale in The Hunger Games, then when pictures of him in that role were released, and then just… in general. But I couldn’t bring myself to watch it again and confront this:

Or this:

Or this:

There is so much of all three of these facial expressions in this movie. Remember Joey Tribbiani’s patented Smell The Fart acting — aka, anything you’ve ever seen John Black do on Days of our Lives? There is a lot of that here. Well, that, or the part of Georgia where they shot this is a melange of curious smells. But I’m disinclined to blame Georgia. I don’t think it’s Georgia’s fault that Miley copes with [insert Sparksian plot twists here] by imagining that she stuck her face in a carton of old milk.

Okay, gird your loins. We’re diving into this thing. Hold me.

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Fug the Fromage: Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story


The first thing that Lifetime wants you to know is that MAGIC BEYOND WORDS is an unauthorized biography, which might make you think that it’s going to be full of salacious, semi-true details and tales of saucy romantic entanglements with inappropriate people. This is basically a total lie. I mean, no one reveres JK Rowling more than I — I love the Harry Potter books madly, and I think they are a miracle of plot structure — and I don’t necessarily think that there NEEDS to be a movie made of her life, and I certainly am not advocating going out there to rustle up some dirt on her, because that would be gross, but if someone makes the decision to Unauthorized Biography it up, then they should UNAUTHORIZE IT UP, you guys.

ANYWAY. We open with B-roll of people losing their shiz at a Harry Potter premiere. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but apparently it’s a very successful franchise.  A newswoman breathlessly narrates, “JK Rowling will be here this afternoon,” and we cut to Poppy Montgomery hesitating before getting out of a limo. A) How weird it must be for Rowling to know that Lifetime made a movie about her life without her authorization, and b) It’s probably kind of flattering to be played by Poppy Montgomery.

“What do I talk about with the Duchess of York? Honestly?”  JK says to this perky person:

I can think of several things: weight loss, Prince Andrew and whether or not they’ll ever really get back together, if the Queen is actually really mean or not, crumpets. Perky Dude tells her, super perkily, that they’ll talk about “whatever it is Famous People talk about” – so, weight loss is a go — and that she’ll be great. They then clunkily establish that he is her fiancé, which is interesting because I totally assumed he was her Sassy Gay Friend, who would implore her to look at her life/choices when she got drunk at the premiere party and sloppily confessed that she was a little bit in love with Voldemort.

After a deep breath, JK looks thoughtfully out the car window at a woman carrying a child. They’re both wearing witches’ hats and holding copies of Harry Potter: Not Without My Owl: The Hedwig Q. Potter Story (it’s Lifetime, after all), the sight of which flashes us all back to 1973, where some childish uniform-wearing prat teases Wee Jo and her sister Diana about…something that I didn’t really follow, mostly because I was bored, and she comes back with some very serviceable scary story to shame him, and — listen, basically all you need to know is that Rowling has always had a very good imagination, likes witches, is very invested in The Power of Friendship, and was basically Hermione Granger in a blue coat:

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Fug the Fromage: Country Strong


As soon as the ads for this movie started running, I was like, “Gwynnie as a boozing country star desperate for a comeback? FROMAGE.” And Country Strong, though not nearly as fun-bad as I wanted it to be, totally should have been on Lifetime. I can’t believe they hooked a big-screen release and actual name actors, because you’d be as likely to see it on cable starring one of those hot Stults twins from 7th Heaven and, like, Jennifer Love Hewitt.  But you know who you have to thank for it being a theater release?

Just in case you wondered what Spider Man was up to now that his franchise is being rebooted with someone else: He is Gwyneth’s enabler.

So: Country Strong. It stars Garrett Hedlund, of Tron Legacy, and Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl, and Tim McGraw of Tim McGraw, and Gwyneth Paltrow of everything. Let’s pick it up with Garrett, who plays Beau, a down-home country boy whose whiskers are mangier than a Dumpster cat.

By night he plays his songs in honky-tonk bars just for the pure love of his craft, by day he works at a rehab facility, by which I mean, “flirts with and has sex with Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, who is a patient.” They don’t state this explicitly, but there are subtle clues: No. 1, his boss tells him to stay away from Gwynnie’s room; no. 2, they are jokingly co-writing a song about the first time they met; and No. 3, Gwynnie is doing this:

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Royal Wedding Run-up: Fug the Fromage: William and Kate


You will be relieved to hear that, per Lifetime, this movie was “INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS.” And isn’t this a sensible, terribly truth-y title card?

Truthy, like someone woke up at the production office one morning very close to air-date and screamed, “OH MY GOD WE FORGOT TO BUDGET FOR THE TITLE SEQUENCE SOMEONE CALL A PA WITH ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR.”

Anyway, we open at “St Andrews,” which is apparently literally identical to UCLA, my own alma mater. WHO KNEW?

That’s Kerckoff Hall! In my days, it contained both a coffee house and also the best study room on campus (due to this aforementioned study room’s large assortment of very cushy leather chairs in which to nap rather than study). Anyway, somewhere at “St Andrews,” a lovely brunette is unsweatily running with a large group:

Including, as delineated by the arrow, Fug Nation’s own Andrew!  I love that we’ve got an inside man in this movie. Andrew also told us that the actress playing Kate was super awesome and friendly, which is always nice to hear. Thanks for the report, Andrew! Intern George told us to tell you he loves you.

Anyway, while Kate is running, across campus her future betrothed is….

WHAT? WHAT IS HE DOING?

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