Tag Archives: new york

Beauty in the Movies: Party Girl

The past few films I’ve featured have been naturalistic, English, and decidedly rural, so this week I thought it would be fun to swing in the opposite direction and highlight an indie classic set in ’90s Manhattan—Party Girl.

Mary (Parker Posey) makes a living throwing wild parties (or what in the ’90s we called “raves”), unfortunately she always forgets to obtain a liquor license. When her unorthodox profession finally lands her in jail, she looks to her godmother Judy (Sasha von Scherler) to bail her out. Judy is a librarian who makes a habit of reminding Mary she’s just like her mother who was “a woman with no common sense”. In order to prove Judy wrong, and avoid eviction, Mary takes a position as a library clerk and finds she might have a surprise talent for the job.

While Mary is in the midst of starting a new career she finds herself infatuated with Mustafa, (Omar Townsend) the hunky, Lebanese, proprietor of a street falafel cart. Unfortunately Mary’s self-centeredness is a big obstacle in the way of her happiness in every aspect of her life, especially where romance is concerned. Mustafa introduces Mary to the myth of Sisyphus which parallels Mary’s own struggle and is made reference to in many different ways throughout the film—like a guy who always seems to be carrying a box up the stairs.

There are a bunch of great secondary characters like Mary’s flamboyant friend Derrick (Anthony DeSando), who has one of the most lovely Jersey accents ever, Liev Schreiber as her cockney jerk of an ex-boyfriend, and her roommate aspiring DJ, Leo (Guillermo Díaz). Really though, this is Parker Posey’s movie. She is so charmingly obnoxious and straight-up weird that you can’t take your eyes off her, not to mention her outfits. Colored tights and shorts are all over the place at the moment and I like to think it all started right here.

Party Girl is from the era where an “indie” film actually meant it was independently funded rather than just a label to acknowledge it was somewhat outside the mainstream or quirky. According to IMDB.com this film was made for $150,000 dollars which seems totally insane by today’s standards. I mean, I know, inflation and all that but still, wow, that’s really cheap for a movie. Consider that “independent”  films of the last few years like 500 days of Summer or Little Miss Sunshine were both made for around $8 million—which is still super cheap by Hollywood standards.

The editing and music in Party Girl are sort of strange (the music really sounds like a made-for-ABC-family movie at times). You get the feeling a lot of the costumes and set decorations were thrown together from what people had on hand or could acquire with a meager budget. These things make the film so much more interesting though. It feels unique, it feels like New York, and it captures the feeling of a specific moment in the 1990s.

Figuring out what you want to do with your life is a huge decision, and so often in movies everyone already seems to have that worked out, especially in films for women. “Chick-flicks” or romantic comedies always seem to feature ladies with perfect careers who are just trying to find the right guy. As most of us know, finding the perfect career can be much more of a struggle. While I’m pretty confident most women could get along just fine without a guy, the same can’t be said for a job—we all need one of those (unless you have a trust fund or a wealthy spouse or something).

This movie is a cult classic because it gets funnier the more you watch it and the clothes and style are still appealing over 15 years later. In a way Party Girl is a coming-of-age story, at 24 Mary doesn’t know how to be a grown-up mostly because she has no idea what she wants to do. She keeps screwing everything up, and the boulder rolls back down the hill on top of her over and over again. It isn’t until she embraces what she actually likes doing, despite its lack of glamour, that she finds fulfillment. Party Girl also teaches us the important lesson that librarians can be hot and fashionable—you really can’t judge a book by its cover.

Miu Miu leopard print coat
2,170 GBP – net-a-porter.com

Fur jacket
79 GBP – aubinandwills.com

Clemens en August slim fit blazer
177 GBP – theoutnet.com

TopShop opaque tight
$12 – topshop.com

MondayMarch red short
60 EUR – welikefashion.com

Jane Norman short short
18 GBP – janenorman.co.uk

Padded bra
$7.99 – tillys.com

High heels
67 EUR – modekungen.se

Pierre Hardy stiletto high heels
$1,020 – net-a-porter.com

Diana Warner cocktail ring
$95 – maxandchloe.com

Cross jewelry
625 EUR – stylebop.com

D G heart chain necklace
$93 – zappos.com

Red glove
$12 – unique-vintage.com

LESCA Round framed glasses
$249 – farfetch.com

Miss Grant Junior Girls Navy Blue Sequin Shorts
73 GBP – childsplayclothing.co.uk

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Beauty in the Movies: Moonstruck

This week we spend Beauty in the Movies under a full moon in Brooklyn surrounded by lovable characters in the film Moonstruck, which will keep you laughing as you contemplate the deepest parts of life and love.

Loretta Castorini (Cher) is a 37-year-old Italian-American widow living in her family’s brownstone in Brooklyn Heights. When her boyfriend Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello) proposes marriage before he leaves for Italy to visit his dying mother, she accepts. Johnny then tasks her with inviting his estranged brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage with his original teeth) to their wedding. When Loretta visits Ronny at his bakery she finds a tortured man with a wooden hand, who blames his brother for his troubles. After cooking him a steak and analyzing his problems, Loretta finds herself aggressively in love with her future brother-in-law.

Meanwhile, Loretta’s parents are engaged in dramas of their own. Her mother, Rose (Olympia Dukakis), is sure her husband, Cosmo (Vincent Gardenia), is cheating. Rose’s suspicions send her on a quest for answers from any man she can find, including an NYU professor (John Mahoney) who chases his female students.

Cher won an academy award for her acting in this film, but she is just one of many wonderful performances given in Moonstruck. There are amazing supporting characters including Loretta’s aunt (Julie Bovasso), uncle (Louis Guss), and grandfather (Italian actor Feodor Chaliapin Jr.) all of whom convey an incredible amount of personality in the short time they’re on screen.

Opera plays a large part in the film, Puccini’s La bohème specifically. The story doesn’t mirror the opera, but the lives of these characters weave themselves into their own larger-than-life opera as the story progresses towards the climactic finale. The writing is fantastic, the dialogue has a rhythm found primarily in New York Italian families, but it works so easily that it doesn’t feel strained or stereotypical, which is quite a feat.

Moonstruck is about three things—love, family, and death, maybe food too, but mostly it’s about those three essential parts of life. This film gives us the, sometimes much-needed, affirmation that we will all die someday—which is why it’s so important to live. Loretta is about to marry a man she doesn’t love because it’s practical, but life intervenes in her plans and she is powerless to stop it. Often in life what is the most logical choice isn’t what feels right to us, and that’s what makes humans such interesting creatures.

This film handles topics that could easily fall into cliché (marriage, cheating, romance) but it does so in a way that feels real and even surprising. While it might be a romantic comedy, it’s also about knowing who you are and what you want, not just finding your perfect someone. Often, films about love are lacking in anything but romance, but love comes in many forms and is only one part of the larger story of a person’s life. Moonstruck gives us the bigger view, love and death exist everywhere and they’re constantly interacting to give life new meaning—what really matters is that you can accept both when they come into your life, and of course, don’t forget to look up at that beautiful moon every once in a while.

Moonstruck

 

 

 

Moonstruck by justinez featuring soft leather gloves

Ribbon taffetta short dress Red
77 GBP – houseoffraser.co.uk
Knee length dresses »

Cardigan
$54 – yesstyle.com
Cardigans »

Wiley Silk Button Down Top
$40 – metroparkusa.com
Silk tops »

Double-breasted tweed coat
$818 – theoutnet.com
Tweed coats »

Lucida® Wedding band ring
655 EUR – tiffany.com
Gold jewelry »

Gold Hammered Double Drop Earrings
35 EUR – pret-a-beaute.com
Leaf earrings »

Viviane Earrings
$220 – charmandchain.com
Dannijo jewelry »

Cross pendant
705 EUR – tiffany.com
Chain pendants »

Black Opera Gloves
$123 – unitedbamboo.com
Soft leather gloves »

NARS Nail Polish
$16 – barneys.com


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Beauty in the Movies: 200 Cigarettes

Tonight is New Year’s Eve! So in celebration of another year ending, it seems appropriate to feature one of the best (and only) New Year’s Eve movies out there, 200 cigarettes.

200 Cigarettes takes place in New York City on New Years Eve in 1981. It’s the story of how a group of people, who are invariably connected in different ways, all make their way to the same New Year’s Eve party. Among the many characters there is a hostess anxiously awaiting the arrival of her guests, two teenage girls from Ronkonkoma Long Island, a smooth cab driver, punks, yuppies, artists, art-world snobs and many more. It’s a movie that I’ve loved since it came out in 1999, it has a great soundtrack, and a fun plot line with the costumes to match. Sure, it’s silly, but that’s what I think makes it so great.

It’s nice that this is a movie about New York on New Year’s Eve but without all the ball dropping hoopla. The whole movie takes place in and around The Village far from the times square madness. It’s a great little movie about people and characters doing their own thing and living life and it features many prominent Village landmarks, some that no longer exist. It’s fun to see how these people’s lives entwine and cross in strange ways, all culminating in a party we never really get to see—because you know, the interesting part is how they get there right?

This movie features some actors who were already big names—Courtney Love, Christina Ricci, and some newcomers who would soon shoot to stardom, Kate Hudson, Casey Affleck, even Dave Chapelle. Sure, Christina Ricci’s accent is almost an insult to Long Islanders, but she’s cute and tries hard so I’ll forgive her. It’s also nice to see Courtney love at her most pulled together and displaying her own sense of goofy charm. Most of the film consists of great indie actors like Martha Plimpton and Janeane Garofalo who are always amazing, plus there are cameos by 80s music icons like Elvis Costello and David Johansen of The New York Dolls.

I love this movie because the characters are actually relate-able despite how over the top they may act. Every time I have a party I think about Martha Plimpton’s character in this film, and I feel exactly like her. Nobody shows up at the designated time, you’ve worked your butt off making way too much food that people might never eat, and by the time everyone does arrive (if they ever do) you’ve worked yourself into such a state of worrying, drinking and rationalizing that you question why you ever decided to have a party in the first place. The desperation of New Year’s Eve, the excitement of the city, and the anticipation of a party all come through in this film.

I actually hate New Year’s Eve, it’s depressing, I have post-christmas let down and since my birthday is the 30th I have post-birthday let down too. New Years is the last celebration before we descend into January and the epic cold darkness of that long winter stretch until Spring. New Year’s Eve makes you look back on the last 364 days and think about everything you’ve done and haven’t done and reflect on what you want the next year to be. It can be a time of regret, but also a time of hope, but before we make our lists of resolutions and promises for the coming year, we can agree to put it all aside, and just for December 31st, indulge one last time and celebrate another year lived.

200 Cigarettes is one of my favorite movies because it shows the timelessness of the New Years tradition, the need to be with people, loved ones or anyone, and enjoy the fact that we made it through the year and are given another chance to start again. Come January real life picks back up—it’s back to work, back to school, and it all starts over. So, just for tonight, indulge a little, pat yourself on the back for making it through the year and let those you love know you’re glad they made it through too—drink some champagne, tell someone you love them, and let all the old year’s troubles be forgotten, tomorrow is a new year and a new beginning.

Happy New Year Everyone! May 2011 bring you all happiness, love, joy and success!!

200 Cigarettes

Cashmere turtleneck dress
$237 – theoutnet.com
Cashmere dresses »

Tiered Strapless Dress
$148 – jessicasimpsoncollection.com
Vintage dresses »

Black feather fur coat
65 GBP – dorothyperkins.com
Fur coats »

Metal Studded Motorcycle Jacket
$30 – canada.forever21.com
Motorcycles jackets »

Peacock
$85 – reissonline.com


Hot pink 70 denier tights
5 GBP – dorothyperkins.com
Leggings tights »

clockwork ring
20 EUR – shopfriiscompany.com
Rings »

Button Clip On Earrings 2cm – Black Faceted
$7.31 – make-me-beautiful.co.uk
Black earring »

Fingerless Lace Gloves w/ Bow
$4.80 – canada.forever21.com
Fingerless gloves »

Plum Glitter Nail Polish
$2.80 – forever21.com


badge The Cure
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Ugh, Snow.

Snow can be so beautiful, so pure, fluffy, and magical. It casts a pristine blanket of white on top of an often ugly world. There are dozens of songs about it—Let It Snow, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, White Christmas, if you grew up with cold winters you associate snow with days off from school, snow men, snow angels, and fun. Snow is a delight when you’re a kid, and when the first snow falls each year, many of us hearken back to those shining days of our youth and forget what a complete and total pain in the butt snow can be.


Alright I’m just bitter, but seriously, snow can put a major damper on your plans, even if all you want is to go to the supermarket. I’ve had major beef with snow for most of my life. Sure, there have been times when I’ve adored it, playing and sledding and throwing snowballs, but there have also been times when I wished I lived in Florida. Having a winter birthday, childhood parties were often canceled as the snow piled up outside. I turned 17 and my Jr. license finally became a full-blown drivers license, just in time for the roads to be hidden in a foot of snow. And I can’t even count the number of times I’ve slid on sidewalks and fallen down subway steps. It’s in these times that the magical wonder of glittering snow seems like a forgotten memory.

This morning I woke up early, made some coffee, started day two of a weeklong freelance job, and then suddenly—zip. With a pathetic “whoomp” the power was gone along with my work, my hopes of getting paid, and my temper. As I cursed the power company, the snow, and my own dependence on technology, my husband dialed the local Starbucks only to find they were also without power. Plan C involved calling my husband’s godmother who lives nearby, “yes” she told us she still has power—and internet. HALLELUJAH! My car at this point was barely visible under the snow, so it was on with the boots and out into the cold. Of course, since the fates think it’s funny to screw with our lives, after the mile walk through snow drifts and over ice, we received word that the power had come back on.

In retrospect it wasn’t all that bad, which is why I need to remind myself to stay calm and know that the world can be a jerk sometimes. I just remember that people are dealing with far worse snow-related situations, like being stuck in airports and train stations, or outside, or without heat.

There was a silver lining too, my husband, James, got some pretty pictures—maybe you’ve wondered what the beach looks like when it snows? Well in case you ever did, here’s your answer:

It pretty much looks the same as it does without snow, except the snow appears much higher because the sand and snow have sort of blown into each other and become indistinguishable in some places.

Behold—sand-snow!

I’m sure many of you have snow horror stories of your own, so feel free to share them, they probably put mine to shame. You may even be stuck somewhere right now due to that deceptively beautiful precipitation, if so, I’m sorry and I hope you get home soon. Maybe some of you are someplace warm where you never have to worry about digging your car out  of snow drifts or slipping on ice, if so—well good for you.

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