Five Inspiring Lines from Tina Fey’s Bossypants

Posted on May 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I so enjoyed Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants.  It is rushed and uneven in places, understandable given her many full-time roles as producer, star, writer, mother, wife, and America’s sweetheart.  Still, the book is very funny and very, very smart.   Here are five of my favorite lines:

1.  Start with a YES and see where that takes you….The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND.  You are supposed to agree and add something of your own….It’s your responsibility to contribute.

2.  There are no mistakes, only opportunities.

3.  A wise friend once told me, “Don’t wear what fashion designers tell you to wear.  Wear what they wear.”

4.  : “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30.”  Fey adds, “You have to try your hardest to be at the top of your game and improve every joke until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go.”

5. I suggest you model your strategy after the old Sesame Street film piece “Over! Under! Around! Through!”

 

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Not Easily Broken

Posted on May 2, 2011 at 8:00 am

B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual references and thematic elements
Profanity: Some mild language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Social drinking
Violence/ Scariness: Car accident, character injured, tense confrontations
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: January 9, 2009
Date Released to DVD: May 7, 2011
Amazon.com ASIN: B001QUF7DS

This week’s release of T.D. Jakes’ “Jumping the Broom” is a good time to take another look at his earlier film about marriage and in-laws, “Not Easily Broken.”

If we believe the movies, the tough part of relationships is getting to the “I dos.” Everything after that is some vaguely imagined “happily ever after.” But “Not Easily Broken,” based on the popular novel by preacher T.D. Jakes, is frank from its very first moments that “happily ever after” requires a lot of work and a lot of prayer. It starts where most movies end – with the wedding. Before pronouncing them husband and wife, the minister tells Clarice (Taraji P. Henson) and Dave (Morris Chestnut) that life will try to knock them down and they will need to hold on to each other and their faith in God to stay together. He says there are three strands in a marriage – the bride, the groom, and God and that they must honor all three to keep the bond strong. But the newlyweds will not fully understand what that means until they learn some very hard lessons. Or, as one character says, “You’ve got to let life turn you upside down so you can learn how to live right side up.” Dave struggles with disappointment. He once hoped to play professional baseball but was injured and ended up working in construction. Now his greatest satisfaction comes from coaching a team of young boys and from his hopes for having children. Clarice struggles with pride and selfishness. Her ambition at work puts a lot of pressure on their relationship. Both of them feel neglected and dissatisfied. And then things really get bad. Clarice is badly injured in an automobile accident when Dave is driving. Her physical and emotional recovery is painful and it puts even more stress on the marriage, especially when her mother (the great Jennifer Lewis) moves in with them to help out. Unlike this season’s other movie about marital struggles, “Revolutionary Road,” this film makes no pretence of sophistication and has no literary aspirations. But its lack of subtlety turns out to be one of its strengths. Its narrative force is grounded in an emotional sincerity and open spirituality that creates an instant connection to the audience and deepens as the story unfolds. And it is good to see a film that is completely at ease in portraying the church as a sustaining force in the life of is characters and community. The movie also benefits from two exceptionally talented and appealing performers in the lead roles. Henson is an actress of such extraordinary range that audiences might not realize she is the same person who played the warm-hearted adoptive mother who ages over decades in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” half of an all-female team of hired killers in “Smokin’ Aces,” and the tough-talking woman with the enormous Afro and microscopic miniskirts in “Talk to Me.” Here Henson plays what is in some ways her most challenging role to date because her character is not an extreme one. She has to make Clarice careless and inconsiderate without losing our interest in making sure she is happy. Henson makes it work and makes us see why Dave loves Clarice even when he is not sure he still does.Chestnut (who also executive produced) has been too often relegated to “best friend” roles in big films (“The Game Plan”) and leading roles in smaller films (“The Perfect Holiday”). He is the essence of a leading man, a superbly gifted actor with effortless star power. Chestnut brings a depth and complexity to Dave that goes far beyond the script. Indeed, he makes Dave so sympathetic that he comes close to throwing the story off-balance by making it seem that Clarice is responsible for most of the couple’s problems. But Chestnut’s ability to make Dave’s integrity and devotion palpable shows us why the couple’s bond is important and, though often stretched, not easily broken. (more…)

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Ralph Lauren Pretends His Catalog is a Book For Kids

Posted on May 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Renée Loth writes in the Boston Globe this weekend about Ralph Lauren’s new “book” for children — really a thinly disguised catalog.  They’re calling it “The first ever shoppable children’s storybook.’’

“The RL Gang: A Magically Magnificent School Adventure’’ is a 32-page volume, aimed at preschool-age children. Its slim plot involves a group of eight impossibly cute classmates, all dressed in Polo Ralph Lauren finery, with names like Willow, Oliver, Hudson, and River. The junior fashion icons use magical paintbrushes to draw themselves a garden party that comes alive, complete with ice cream and kittens.

Woozy yet? Reading along in the online video version — narrated by Uma Thurman — parents and kids can take a break to “look inside Oliver’s closet,’’ for example, and buy the twee outfits. “The RL Gang’’ is touted unblushingly as “an innovative way for parents and children to explore style, literature, and digital technology together.’”

It’s bad enough when product placement makes movies and television shows into infomercials and cross-promotions turn all kinds of products and almost-always unhealthy food into promotions for movies and television shows.  But this is essentially a catalog designed to sell very expensive clothes to children, who are not old enough to understand the fast-disappearing line between writing and pictures that are intended to tell a story based on imagination, experience, and heart and writing and pictures designed to make you think you want things you would otherwise never have thought about. 

 

 

 

To complain: CustomerAssistance@RalphLauren.com

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