Friday, November 10, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "If I Wanted"



Can't sleep, clowns will eat me. Jet lag combined with the switch off of daylight savings then got immersed in a reduction of, I don't know, too tired to make this work. But 20 minutes ago I thought of one of the darker "musicals" we might feature here and BAM, I'm driven to write about it. It's Georgia, an indie drama with music starring the woefully underappreciated Jennifer Jason Leigh and the very talented Mare Winningham. No, for real, she is super talented.

No, shut up and listen, she is.

Yes, she was the St. Elmo's Fire and gave the "best peanut butter sandwich" monologue, but I think if you look at Rob Lowe today you'll forgive that in like 2 seconds (fun fact: on a tour of the Warner Brothers Studios lot with Broadway Genius John, possibly the first weekend we met, we passed Rob Lowe, Bradley Whitford and Richard Greico [pretty sure that was the third guy] dressed for a shoot in their suits and sunglasses and OMFG Rob Lowe is handsome... well also saw Kathy Najimy eating a nectarine or plum or possibly a peach that wasn't ripe while driving a convertible because, Hollywood).

Mare has 2 Emmys, which is 2 Emmys more than Rob Lowe. She was nominated for a Tony for Casa Valentina , and was nominated for an Oscar for her work in the movie Georgia (OMG what a coincidence, we were just talking about that movie). but lost to Mra Sorvino for Mighty Aphrodite which was wrong for 2 reasons: 1, Sorvino's a lead in that movie, and B) she's also not very good in that movie. You know who else isn't very good in Mighty Aphrodite? <"All the other people in it" I can hear you saying...> Michael Rapaport, which normally I wouldn't bring up except that I was planning to dub Max Perlich's performance in Georgia (the movie's weakest aspect) as eligible for the Michael Rapaport How the Fuck Am I Getting Cast in Things award. You know what they call black guys who act ten times better than Rapaport or Perlich? "Tim or Kevin, the night shift security guard working the gate" (because they can't remember which one is Tim and which one is Kevin and also because those dudes don't get cast while Rapaport and Perlich do... failing upward, the mediocre white guy way).

The story behind Georgia is so sweet that it almost undermines the gritty nature of the story in the movie (a young Jennifer Jason Leigh came home from summer camp telling her screenwriter mother, Barbara Turner [the writer of Georgia] all about her camp counselor who sang with the voice of an angel [Mare fucking Winningham bitches, pay attention]). Oh, yeah, Winningham is also a great singer.

Fun fact: in high school she performed as Maria in West Side Sound of Music (now you're not sure which show I mean) opposite Kevin (you're not a pedophile if you're gay and drunk) Spacey as Capt. Von Trapp. Kevin has 2 Oscars, no Emmys, and a growing list of people accusing him of attempted rape.

Fun fact: Mare Winningham is the second Supporting Actress nominee whose character name is also the movie title. The other was Joan Allen for playing Pat Nixon in Nixon (not really, but can you name the other? she won her year... hint, it's not Lynn Redgrave).

Today's song is "If I Wanted" a song written by Mare Winningham (OMG TALENTED) and recorded for her What Might Be album (oh yeah, she also does music). Listen to the original version (which is down at the bottom) to get a sense of what her first album was like). JJL embraces her, um, unpolished vocals for the movie (which is all about a someone growing up in the shadow of a sibling and also about the FAA's stringent footwear policy [seeing Georgia is all you needed to know James Frey's A Million Little Pieces was complete bullshit--look it up, he made Oprah mad]).

Today's lesson? Shit, grab any 2 you like (the mediocrity of Perlich and Rapaport, Spacey's history of sexual harassment, or even the surprise revelation that Richard Greico was in the West Wing) so long as one of them is that Mare Winningham is legit talented (and not merely because the rest of the St Elmo's Fire cast was just Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez, and the rest--OMG let's remake Gilligan's Island using the cast of St Elmo's Fire!!!).

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