Tag Archives: comedy

Beauty in the Movies: 9 to 5

The transition from freelancing at home to commuting and working full-time has been a major contributing factor to my recent lack of blog posts. So it’s only appropriate that the return of ‘Beauty in the Movies’ features the charmingly adorable 1980s work place comedy 9 to 5.

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9 to 5 is a female buddy comedy in which three female co-workers accidentally kidnap their sexist, terrible boss and then, with him safely under house arrest, work together to make the office a much better place for everyone.

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There are an abundance of great scenes between the leading ladies (Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda) but one of the best moments comes after the three women have each had a hellish day at the office and decide to get high on a joint given to Lily Tomlin’s character by her son.

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“Is that one of those marijuana cigarettes?”

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While stoned, they each indulge in a workplace fantasy and live out a take-down of their evil superior. Lily Tomlin’s fantasy of herself as a Disney-like princess is by far the best, cartoon animals and all. Adorable.

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One of the sillier parts of the movie is the S+M like contraption the women rig up to keep their boss (Dabney Coleman) from escaping while they make changes back at the office.

Dabney Coleman 9 to 5

This film deals with some workplace issues that are still very relevant more than 30 years later. Workplace sexism is the most obvious obstacle the women face, but girl-on-girl crimes and workplace dissatisfaction lie beneath the sometimes slapstick plot of the film. Dolly Parton’s character, Doralee, is sexually harassed by her boss on a daily basis, but it is equally upsetting when the other women in the office assume she’s sleeping with him and then ostracize her for it.

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(Doesn’t sad Dolly just break your little heart?)

It seems the other women’s assumptions are due in part to Dolly’s clothing, makeup, and overall Parton-ish style (epic bosom included). Sadly, women judging other women based on their appearance and forming false opinions about their sex-lives, intellect, morality, etc., is something I’ve seen happen in every office I’ve ever worked in. It’s pretty sad to think those two ladies almost missed out on being friends with Doralee because of their own misconceptions.

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There are other aspects of office life that haven’t changed since 1980, example #1:

Copiers are devil-monsters sent from Hades to make your life miserable. I’m pretty sure the one at my office has an angry spirit living inside, it chews paper instead of printing it, always has a jam in a mystery tray, and has also burned me twice. I’m right there with Jane Fonda in this scene.

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As Dolly says, working 9 to 5 can sure drive you crazy if you let it, but there is really nothing better than some sassy, smart, supportive friends to help make your office a fun place to be.

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…and happy hour never hurts either — cheers!

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Beauty in the Movies: Desperately Seeking Susan

This week for Beauty in the Movies we’re heading back to the New York of 1985 for the cult classic Desperately Seeking Susan, where the streets are full of characters and you just can’t wear enough jewelry or sequins.

Desperately Seeking Susan brings us into the life of Roberta (Rosanna Arquette), a young housewives living in Fort Lee New Jersey with her neglectful, hot-tub selling husband Gary (Mark Blum). Suffering from the boredom of everyday life, Roberta finds herself obsessing over a string of personal ads in which a man, Jim (Robert Joy), is “desperately seeking” his girlfriend Susan (Madonna) in cities all over the country. When an ad pops up requesting a meeting in Battery Park, Roberta just can’t resist driving over to Manhattan to see the couple in the flesh. After witnessing the musician and his lady reunite, Roberta follows the enigmatic woman to a thrift store where she watches her trade her trademark pyramid jacket for a pair of bedazzled boots. Wanting to understand and be more like Susan, Roberta buys the jacket and rushes home to New Jersey to make dinner for her clueless husband.

That night she finds a port authority locker key in the pocket of Susan’s jacket and decides to pen her own personal ad seeking Susan in order to return the key and unlock the mystery of the woman. Unfortunately for Roberta, Susan is also being sought by a creepy guy who knows only that she unwittingly stole a pair of priceless Egyptian earrings and that she wears a gold jacket with a pyramid on the back. Uh-oh, because now Roberta is wearing that same jacket and the creepy guy is following her instead. Meanwhile Susan’s guy Jim has sent his buddy Dez (Aidan Quinn) to Battery Park to see who put the ad in the paper for Susan and check to make sure she’s alright. While Susan gets hauled away by the cops for skipping out on cab fare, Roberta is pursued by the creepy guy and subsequently falls and hits her head only to be rescued by Dez who also believes her to be Susan. She awakes to find she has lost her memory, and now Roberta believes she is Susan as well. Phew, that’s only the first half hour, from there the film weaves a path of mistaken identity and fabulous 1980′s fashion, if that’s not enough for you, there’s also this moment:

Pensive Aidan Quinn + hammock + cat = magic

When this film first went into production Madonna wasn’t Madonna yet, but by the time it wrapped they needed security to keep her growing fan base at bay during filming. Desperately Seeking Susan doesn’t show that Madonna is a great actress, in fact it probably proves the contrary, but she works well because she has a magnetism and style that invite attention. Roberta is drawn to Susan in the same way Madonna’s teenaged fans were drawn to her at the time. It’s as if the film foreshadowed the Madonna explosion, you would think it was written to emphasize the allure of the budding pop star, but it was nothing more than a happy accident. Goldie Hawn, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Ellen Barkin were all considered for the role of Susan. While I’m sure they each would have brought more depth to the role, it wouldn’t matter, because the only thing Susan needs to be is interesting, she doesn’t need to be likable or sympathetic—but she damn well needs to have style.

Desperately Seeking Susan was written by a woman, directed by a woman, and produced by women as well, so while it can be silly at times, it sidesteps the typical romantic comedy formula and delivers something decidedly different. In truth this film is really a love story between Roberta and Susan, not physically, but emotionally. Roberta is completely enthralled by Susan’s freedom and sense of self, and in her search for her own identity she falls in love with Susan’s, and even gets to live out the fantasy of being that identity before finally embracing her own.

There is something Alice and Wonderland-like about this film, Roberta being Alice and Susan the white rabbit she follows into a new world. Her life in New Jersey is seemingly perfect, but she’s miserable. When Roberta enters the somewhat mad world of Susan on the exciting but frightening streets of New York she finds an entirely new self. At first she needs to believe she is Susan in order to allow herself to change, but even when she regains her memory, she is no longer the suburban housewife she was, but someone new. This film is very much about duality and identity, who we are and who we want to be and why we should allow ourselves to explore both those ideas, because often they don’t line-up as perfectly as one would expect.

Sure, this film has its share of silly moments, but the great clothes and music, the strange background characters, and the somewhat goofy plot all add to the charm. Behind all the style, there is actually a very poignant message that was pretty rare for films about women at the time; be yourself, whoever that is. No matter what everyone else is telling you to be, you’re the one who decides who you are. In the ’80s women were taught they could have it all, but if you’re trying to be everything, you’ll probably lose yourself in the process. What’s really important to remember is that being who you are shouldn’t take any effort, and if it does, maybe it’s time to see what it would feel like to be someone else, you might even discover you’re not who you thought you were at all.

Bustier top
$110 - loefflerrandall.com

Lace top
$35 - modcloth.com

Pink top
18 GBP - arkclothing.com

Ribbed tank
$14 - kohls.com

Cropped tank
$13 - tillys.com

3 1 Phillip Lim sequin blazer
578 GBP - net-a-porter.com

DKNY sequin blazer
310 GBP - fashionbeans.com

Hayden Harnett black skirt
$198 - haydenharnett.com

LnA lace legging
90 GBP - brownsfashion.com

Demi bra
$46 - journelle.com

Pink ruffle skirt
$40 - amazon.com

Alexander McQueen open toe booty
312 GBP - net-a-porter.com

Sparkly high heels
35 GBP - office.co.uk

Oxford shoes
$40 - modcloth.com

Knotted pearl necklace
$248 - maxandchloe.com

Amrita Singh cross pendant necklace
$150 - amritasingh.com

Drop earring
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1928 Jewelry black necklace
$48 - 1928.com

Tarina Tarantino cord bracelet
$30 - tarinatarantino.com

Pewter earring
$14 - amazon.com

Glitter bracelet
$6.99 - tillys.com

Eugenia Kim fedora hat
$295 - net-a-porter.com

Silver aviator sunglass
$150 - kirnazabete.com

Glove
$40 - modcloth.com

Fingerless glove
69 GBP - black.co.uk

Hobbs black belt
59 GBP - johnlewis.com

Cheap Monday sunglass
50 AUD - generalpants.com.au

Flower hair accessory
$28 - nordstrom.com

Dorothy Perkins hair bow accessory
6.50 GBP - dorothyperkins.com

Hair bow accessory
$5.98 - sears.com

Striped Boxer
$74 - barneys.com

Pima Dress Sock in Apple
$19 - blackbirdballard.com

Wet Seal skinny jeans
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Beauty on Television: 30 Rock

I wasn’t going to do a Beauty in the Movies this week, what with Thanksgiving and my turkey hangover and all, but I decided I would just keep it light and simple instead. A friend recently told me he watches 30 Rock each night before bed because it makes him happy, so I gave it a try myself and I have to say, laughing before sleeping is a great idea.

If you haven’t had the chance to fall in love with 30 Rock yet, do yourself a favor and watch it streaming on Netflix or borrow the DVDs from someone, because this show is best watched in bulk, 21 minutes is never enough. 30 Rock follows Liz Lemon, head writer of sketch comedy show TGS (The Girlie Show) and her life behind the scenes as she tries to keep things together on and off set. 30 Rock is a character driven comedy, and the more you know about these people the funnier they are, which also means you can watch each episode several times and keep finding new things to laugh at.

In her day-to-day life, lonely lady Liz Lemon must balance her controlling (but needy) boss, Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), her self-centered (also needy) friend and star of TGS Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) and the other (bigger) star of TGS Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), who also happens to be incredibly needy and mostly insane too. Liz often turns to Kenneth, the morally perfect, endearingly dense NBC page, (Jack McBrayer) to help quell the madness in the studio.

As she tries to please everyone, and stay in the good graces of her lazy apathetic staff of writers, Liz also attempts to have a love life and often finds herself eating dozens of doughnuts alone in her apartment as her biological clock ticks away. Liz has been known to steal baby shoes, hallucinate Oprah, and eat a $54 dollar steak in under three minutes. In many ways Liz Lemon is a modern incarnation of Mary Tyler Moore, a single career-gal in the big city surrounded by crazy characters that constantly keep her on her toes.

30 Rock is pretty darn perfect, the one part that can get a bit trying is the way Tina Fey’s attractiveness is downplayed. It’s kind of like Rachel Leigh Cook in She’s All That, put some glasses on her and viola, she looks like a troll—oh no wait, she just looks like a pretty girl in glasses. Obviously nothing about the show is meant to be taken all that seriously, and Tina Fey has become something of a sex symbol, so I certainly hope there isn’t anyone at home who believes Liz is as unattractive as the show pretends. It does make you wonder what would happen if the character had been played by an actress who wasn’t conventionally attractive, suddenly those jokes would be less funny and more cruel. Calling beautiful women ugly and making jokes about their bodily functions are both SNL trademarks so it’s no surprise that as a former head writer for that show some of those jokes have found their way on to 30 Rock, but unlike SNL this show has a lot more going for it than toilet humor.

Tina Fey recently received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and all you have to do is watch a few episodes of 30 Rock to understand why. The woman has the talent and smarts to write comedy that appeals to everyone, it’s too bad there aren’t more comedians like her. Luckily for us 30 Rock has been renewed for a sixth season, and since the show seems to get better with each episode, that’s definitely something to look forward to.

Alright, now you can go eat your leftovers, and have a great weekend!

30 Rock: Liz Lemon

30 Rock: Liz Lemon by justinez featuring striped scarves

Cashmere V Neck Sweater
70 GBP - uniqlo.co.uk
V neck sweater »

Purple pretty camisole
15 GBP - debenhams.com
Purple jacket »

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