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Private Lessons (1981)
7/10 for Classic 80's camp!
I just finished watching this on TMC. I haven't seen it in its entirely since I was about "Philly's" age...20+ years ago (ugh). Anyway, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Yes, the acting isn't first-rate (except for Begley, Jr's); the production is B-movie; the subject is taboo; the plot's full of holes; but, it has great moments of humor, sensitivity, eroticism without being 'dirty'; and one of the best 80's soundtracks ever. This movie is about having fun. Philly's best friend was hilarious. For me, it was reminiscing about the fantasies it provided when I was a teen. I had forgotten how sweet and sexy Sylvia Kristel was in this movie. Some of her acting was still a bit amateur, but her sweet seduction was first-rate. She put a smile on my face when I needed it most...and that's all that matters.
VH1 Divas 2004 (2004)
Some great moments, but still lacking true Divas
I gave this show a 6/10. All of the VH1 Divas shows have disappointment me. This one, however, was one of the better shows in my opinion. When Cyndi Lauper appeared as Cher's guest in 2002, I thought it was a nice and overdue inclusion; however, I felt she should've been a headliner. It finally happened in this show and I think she did a great job. Patti LaBelle also put on a great show. And the pairing of the two on Cyndi's "Time After Time" was a moving highlight. Additionally, I think the opener of "Lady Marmelade" was explosive. Jessica Simpson was unnecessary and out of place next to the powerful vocals of Patti and Cyndi on that performance, but it was still one of my favorites. Patti did the original and I found an MP3 of Cyndi performing it with Angelique Kidjo in France. That, too, was a powerful performance and when I heard Patti and Cyndi would be on this show, I had hoped they would perform this song together. Cyndi also did her Salsa version of "Stay" from her acclaimed "At Last" CD and opened an 80's tribute with an abbreviated "Girls Just Want...". It was good to see Blondie performing, although some of her performance was weak. She doesn't have the vocal power she had in the 70s and 80s. I also enjoyed seeing Glady Knight performing and seeming ageless. Nothing against Joss Stone, Jessica Simpson, Eve or Ashanti, but these ladies are NOT Divas. I did find Ashanti's performances weak. She sounded like an American Idol audition. Newcomers and one-hit wonders do not belong on this show! A Diva should be one who's stood the test of time with powerful vocals incomparable to anyone else. And Tom Jones?? Come on, VH1! And who was this group of bimbos--I forget their name? Just filler, I guess, that did not work. Cyndi, Cher, Tina, Patti, Gladys, Carly, Carole King, Gloria Estefan, Chaka, Madonna, Pat Benatar, Ann Wilson of Heart, Taylor Dayne, Blondie, Mariah, Whitney, Paula Abdul...those are Divas!! I hope VH1 gets it right one of these days.
Shallow Hal (2001)
Beauty's only skin deep--no matter how much skin gets in the way
I thought this movie was great. It wasn't Oscar-worthy, but it's a light-hearted romance/comedy played out by some great acting and costumes. This is the first time Jack Black made a positive impression on me (although he was fun in High Fidelity--just not a large role). Aside from his cuckoo clock impression, I thought his comedic and dramatic lines were equally enjoyable and convincing. Gwyneth is always sweet and funny and her comedic timing is right on. There are plenty of funny lines. There are also plenty of beautiful, charming actresses here. No nudity, no sex--just plain fun and warmth. And there are some touching moments with unfortunate children. I didn't find this movie offensive to overweight or less-than-appealing people. The people represented in this film are very exaggerated. These characters are also very comfortable with themselves. The message under the laughs is simple and obvious, but that's not what makes it a good film. And the ending is so touching and not entirely predictable. I watch it every time I catch it on the air. I rate it a 7 out of 10.
Awesome Concert DVD
Cyndi is one of the best live performers ever and this DVD proves it!
The quality of this DVD captures her grace and vocal talents beautifully. This little lady can really SING! She has a great band of musicians backing her up as well. Even if you're just a casual fan of her 80's classics, pick up this concert. You will be amazed, moved and delighted. She covers most of her 80's hits and throws in some of her latest covers from her critically acclaimed CD "At Last". Her between songs banter is adorable as she connects with her audience. Most importantly, her voice is flawless and she makes it seem effortless. Finally, she looks great for 50 and has the energy of a woman half her age!
Off and Running (1991)
Evidence that Cyndi can act
I purchased this movie because I'm a die-hard Cyndi Lauper fan. Trying not to be biased, I won't say this is a great or very good film. However, it isn't half-bad. It's TV-caliber. I've seen plenty of TV movies less appealing. The problem with the movie is the script. The storyline isn't ridiculous and there are some thrilling 'chase scenes' where you're hoping Cyndi's character can get away, but it does move along rather slowly and without unpredictability. It's reminiscent of "Gloria" with Gena Rowlands, and later, Sharon Stone. She kinda 'steals' a child runaway to get a guy (Keith David) to help her out after a recent man-encounter is off-ed, and they're all "off and running" from some gangsters. I think Cyndi is a very good actress. She's got the acting ability Madonna can only dream of having. Too bad she hasn't been in the spotlight enough to get more movie offers. She also proved to be quite a comedienne in her Emmy-winning role on NBC's "Mad About You" and, while a small role, she definitely had a strong presence in her dramatic role in "The Opportunists" with Chris Walken. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of her in TV and movies before she's ready to retire. Overall, I give the movie a 6/10. I give Cyndi an 8/10; so, if you're a fan like I am, check it out. I have to say she's got some pretty sexy outfits, too.
PS If you can, check out a rerun of her appearance on Chris Isaak's Showtime sitcom.