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Showing posts from July, 2018

Catwomen: Adrienne Barbeau

Ranking my top five Catwoman performances in film and television.

Click here for the previous entry in the Catwomen rankings.

4. Adrienne Barbeau, Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995), The New Batman Adventures (1997–98)

It's almost impossible to understand the insanity that was Batmania in the US (and elsewhere, too), circa 1989 through the early 1990s. Tim Burton's Batman (1989) sparked a Bat-renaissance, the likes of which had never been seen before, or at least not since the 1960s television series. From that moment on, Batman became the most popular DC Comics character, and maybe the most popular character in all of comics—two distinctions he still holds today.

Still riding the wave of Bat-hysteria, Warner Bros. released Batman Returns (1992), Burton's ambitious, batshit (heh heh) crazy follow-up. It's easily one of the weirdest mainstream superhero movies ever made, and even today remains deliciously subversive. Warner capitalized on the film's success, prem…

Catwomen: Anne Hathaway

Ranking my top five Catwoman performances in film and television.

For nearly eight years now, Catwoman has been of the coolest, most interesting comic book characters in mainstream comic books. She's a wonderfully, endlessly fascinating character, deep and complex, fun and fierce. She recently left Batman at the alter in DC Comics and is now starring a new solo series. Few characters in comics are as well beloved as Selina Kyle, that's for sure.

She's made the transition to media besides comics often over the years. Seven actresses have played her on film and/or television, and many others voiced her in animation, making for a dozen or more multimedia versions of the character.

Five stand out above the crowd, though. I'll be posting one entry a week (fingers crossed!), counting down my top five actresses* who have best brought Catwoman to life on the big or little screen.

First, a brief note on the current iteration of Catwoman, as played by Camren Bicondova in the tel…

Barely Making a Dent: July 2018 Books

In which our narrator tries to read his way through the endless stacks of books that are slowly overtaking both his bookshelves and his life.

Recently, I had the great fortunate to spend some time hanging out in an actual, honest-to-goodness bookstore. Now, I used to do that all the time, but not so much in recent years. Again, I blame my kids—are you sensing a theme around here?

It was delightful, lazily browsing, from aisle to aisle. Letting the wanderlust of a book lover's soul guide me from one end of the store and back, over and over again. And, of course, I walked out with a new book. I had to!

A quick note on the header image: When Harry Met Sally opened twenty-nine years ago this month. In the summer of 1989, right before my freshman year of high school, a friend scored preview tickets, and invited me along. I've seen it countless times since, and it's as lovely and funny and touching now as it was then. And Billy Crystal creeping in the self-help section will alwa…

It Came From the '90s: My Secret Crush on The Nanny

This series looks back at the 1990s and its influence on the generation of people who came of age during the decade.
For six seasons in the 1990s, The Nanny made many of us laugh. At times, it could be downright hilarious. At others, well, not so much. This isn't a review of a '90s sitcom staple, though. No. This is simply an excuse to come clean about something I've kept buried deep inside for over two decades now: I had a secret crush on The Nanny herself, Fran Drescher.

While The Nanny was sometimes quite funny, thanks largely to Drescher's spunky charisma and wholehearted commitment, the show was never considered hip. People my parents age seemed to love it, but my friends preferred, well, Friends.

I watched Friends with my friends, but I also thoroughly enjoyed The Nanny, too. Obviously, I'm aware that much of that was owed to my little crush on Drescher.

She was an effervescent presence at a time when most of my crushes were of the alternagirl, angst-ridden varie…

Michelle Pfeiffer: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Revisiting and celebrating the work of Michelle Pfeiffer, the best actress of my lifetime.

Spoiler alert: I'll be discussing plot points for the new film Ant-Man and the Wasp.

If you've spent any time at all on the internet this week, chances are you've noticed the gushing adulation and hyperbolic lovefest surrounding Michelle Pfeiffer's performance in the newly released, and extremely fun, Ant-Man and the Wasp.
It's fascinating to behold this lovefest—and also to be an active participant in it! Obviously, I spent some time on Twitter praising Pfeiffer's work as Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp, after seeing the movie. And of course I'll be heaping more praise on her work here. Yet, what's so intriguing about it all is that she only appears in the film briefly! It's a glorified cameo. She has, max, fifteen minutes of screen time (an awfully generous estimate on my part), but she is the highlight of the film, no question.

The main plot revolves…

"That girl looks just like Pat Benatar"

Linda, that girl looks just like Pat Benatar.
I know. Wait, there are three girls here at Ridgemont who have cultivated the Pat Benatar look.

I was just a kid when Fast Times at Ridgemont High opened in 1982. Still though, even at the tender young age of seven, I knew who Pat Benatar was, because a.) her music was all over the radio and even then I recognized the utter awesomeness of her vocal talent in songs like "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", and b.) some of the older girls around town were obviously cribbing their looks—clothes, hair, makeup, strut—from Benatar's own style. Benatar was ubiquitous.

So, when I see or hear vintage-era Benatar now, I think of Fast Times, but mostly I remember that ubiquity—of both the performer and her legion of young imitators. I know it's not true, but when I recollect those years I swear every older girl looked like either Benatar, Juice Newton, or Joan Jett.

It's easy to forget, years later, that Benatar was both a powerhouse …