I love Laverne Cox. I really do. And previously, I had mentioned that when FOX announced they were “remaking” Rocky Horror, that we shouldn’t panic.
…. Start panicking.
Today we got to see the first image of Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-N-Furter via Entertainment Weekly. Immediately, we all want to compare to Tim Curry. How can you not? He is the essential, definitive Frank-N-Furter. But let’s put the defensive, protective anger aside for a minute, and look into why he worked that corset so well.
The beauty of Tim Curry playing the transvestite from transsexual Transylvania is simple: It’s not based on visuals. When you look at Curry, you’re supposed to be confused. He’s very clearly a man wearing makeup and fishnets. He’s feminine without hiding his masculinity. It’s intentionally designed to make your brain go WTF?
But the real truth behind that visual decision is that the characters (and probably the viewers) are still sexually attracted to Frank-N-Furter. Because it’s not about his appearance, it’s about his sexual essence. That sexuality comes from an energy, a personality of confidence and playfulness, not a visually-identifiable gender.
Laverne Cox? She’s stunning. But in making her gorgeous, the bizarre, gritty, titillating confusion that is the core of RHPS is lost.
I don’t want to give up all hope just yet. But these images are a big, red flag. So… we’ll see.
Cool your jets there, Columbia. Let’s not freak out.
Rocky Horror is a beloved cult classic, and it’s HUGE amongst my own friends and groups. (Theatre folk, haunted house workers, cult movie afficionados…)
The film has a special place in my heart, for certain. But I’m seeing a lot of my friends from all facets freak the fuck out every time a casting decision is announced. While I, of all people, understand the fiercely defensive position many are taking, I think it’s a little much for these two reasons:
#1. It has a new cast ALL THE TIME. Because it’s a play.
Rocky Horror’s tumultuous life began on stage as The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O’Brien. It was a funny take on genre B-movies. On the London stage, it was a success, but on Broadway, it only lasted for a handful of performances. By some miracle, it was greenlit as a film and thus, the cinematic beauty that is RHPS was born. And thanks to the bizarre success of the film over time, the stage version is just as popular among community and professional theatres. It’s brilliantly interactive, strangely captivating, and allows the individual theatre to play to their strengths. So while you can whine about how no one will ever replace Tim Curry (and let’s face it, they won’t), the truth is, he’s replaced every day. So don’t think of it as an attempt to replace or replicate. Think of it as a pyramid, with Curry sitting on top as Queen, and all the Frank-n-Furters beneath him, just trying to do their best.
#2. It’s a TV Special.
This isn’t a cinematic remake, where a big studio is sinking tens of millions of dollars on A list stars, shiny sets and costumes, and 2 new Oscar-eligible songs shoehorned into the score. It’s a Fox one-night only event. Laverne Cox and Adam Lambert are the biggest names attached right now, with Kenny Ortega directing. They’re all fine and on par with a TV event. Look, the worst case scenario? It’s somehow blandly mediocre and disappears into the bowels of TV history, referenced only in obscure trivia. It’ll be like it never happened. Best case? It’s actually a blast, and pulls in a new, previously virginal audience who will most likely check out all they can about RHPS and fall upon the film. And if it is good, there will always be fans who insist that it’s better than the original, and you know what? That’s okay. Sometimes these things need to happen in order to bring in fresh blood.
No one will ever replace Tim Curry. And I don’t think anyone wants to try. But he makes the role look so damn fun, any actor with a little flair would want to try their hand at it.
So, chill. It’ll be fine.
Update 1/15: Tim Curry will officially be joining the event as Narrator. So, see? If he’s in, we surely can sit back and see what happens before losing our minds.
One of my recurring blog topics will be “The Importance of…” These posts will cover things that have significance in the grand scheme of things, not just personally. And since it’s the Christmas season, though since moving to San Diego, I have no freaking clue what season it is, I think it’s time to look at a holiday classic: Home Alone 2.
That’s right. Lost in New York.
Home Alone, the original 1990 John Hughes film, is officially a classic. There’s no argument. It’s funny, charming, heart-warming, and a great time. I really do love it.
Here’s the thing – among Millennials (a term I’ve grown to despise, so when I come up with a new one, you’ll know), Home Alone 2 is not only as loved as the original, but often preferred. Older or snobby film critics might not get it. And, speaking on behalf of my generation, I’d like to point out that yes, Home Alone is the better film, critically-speaking. BUT — Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is damn hilarious. Tim Curry’s quivering lip, Marv turning into a skeleton when he’s electrocuted. Come on.
Home Alone 2 follows every basic joke structure in the book. Triples (paint can expectations), slow burns (Katherine O’Hara’s realization that Kevin wasn’t on the plane), and call-backs galore:
Marv’s remark: “Kids are a-scared of the park.”
Kevin’s mom & dad missing their alarm: “We did it again. AAAAAHHHHH!”
Angels with Even Filthier Souls, and the repeated usage.
Just to name a few.
This works in its favor. It uses these set-ups brilliantly, defying not only Harry and Marv’s expectations from their last encounter with Kevin, but ours. We simultaneously feel like we’re in on the joke and completely fooled. It’s a perfect equation to keep the movie fun without getting off track or trying too hard.
And of course, I have my own personal bias. Home Alone 2 is a family favorite. When my cousin, Kimmie, was maybe 4, she would watch Home Alone 2 over and over. Her dad, to this day, uses the term “Crowbars up,” before getting started on work. The best thing was Kimmie actually mimicked Marv after he gets hit by the bricks: “Harry? Haaaarrrrrryyyy?” in her high, little voice; it was the cutest thing I’d ever seen.
She also referred to them as Harry and Marf, which is what we still call them today.
But it’s more than just family. This is a connection point with Cory and most friends who are my age. We get it.
My only real issue with the second one is the pigeon lady. She’s most definitely a carbon copy (call-back?) of the scary neighbor in 1, and though I do like the Turtle Doves story, that whole arch kind of slows down the rest of the movie. Because, let’s face it, we wanna see more of Kevin screwing with Tim Curry and Rob Schneider and Harry and Marv getting destroyed.
Ultimately, Home Alone 2 never tries to be something it’s not, and that’s why it wins as a sequel. I’m a firm believer in taking things as they are — kind of like the Jules Dessert theory. You can’t expect Jell-O to be creme brulee and there’s nothing wrong with liking Jell-O as long as you know what it is: Jell-O.
And it works.
Lost in NY is not a critical darling. But if you don’t laugh as Marv and Harry lean against the door, wondering what the sound is…. then maybe you’re a little less Mr. Duncan and a little more Buzz.
Honestly, which one do you HAVE to stop and watch?