Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

What Your Gap Fragrance Said About You

At some point in the mid-1990s, The Gap decided two things were very important: 1) convincing the world that swing dancing in dad khakis was fun; and 2) providing middle-school girls with the illusion of individuality.

Twenty years from now, our grandchildren will spend their Marxist phases critiquing the false consciousness that led us to believe that a “signature scent” could somehow stand in for character. But what is cheaply made, mass-marketed, and ostensibly classy perfume for if not providing insecure teenage girls with eight dollars worth of identity security.

Five fragrances; five personalities. For girls too old for American Girl dolls and their various [...]


You, Me And "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

An obsession in five acts.

I. You're about nine, and you always watch tv with your dad. It's your thing—he's usually nursing a Coors Light, you're doing your best to hang upside down on the couch until your head starts pounding. Sometimes you watch golf and fall in love with Payne Stewart; sometimes you watch "MacGyver" and wish your dad had his hair. But then you start watching "Star Trek: The Next Generation" at 5 p.m. on a Saturday, because obviously that is when the best show on television should be scheduled, and your routine becomes: 1.) watch "TNG" together 2.) Mom and Dad go out to some dinner [...]


The Monsters Of Classic Hollywood

Part of a series about monsters and other scary things happening here through Halloween.

An incomplete survey of actual and arguable monsters, broadly defined, from Classic Hollywood. Here are a dozen that haunt my dreams—feel free to add your own.


Film: Rebecca (1940) Monstrous Deed(s): Obsessed with Maxim’s (Laurence Olivier’s) now-deceased first wife, refuses to allow second wife (vulnerable, doe-eyed Joan Fontaine) to be happy/have peace/realize that Maxim loves her. Ever. Encourages suicide; tricks Joan Fontaine into making a fool of herself; lots of piercing, vacant stares. Monstrous Quote: "I watched you go down just as I watched her a year [...]


Bad News Brenda

The first in a two-week series on the pull of bad influences in our lives and in the culture.

Brenda looked great in a bikini. She looked great in everyone’s bikini. She looked like an adult in a bikini, which is to say that she looked like one of those models we call beautiful because they have the face of an adult and the body of a 15 year old.

Brenda was equally great on four-wheelers and horses, and when she got her license, just months after turning 15 (Idaho doesn’t care about your national traffic safety), she’d already mastered the stubborn clutch on one of her [...]


Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Robert Mitchum, Smokin' the Dope

Hey, do you recognize this guy?

Smoking hot, amiright? But also kinda looks like he wants to take you to the boiler room and make out Jordan Catalano-style?

This guy is Robert Mitchum, and that sense of impending doom stems from the fact that:

1) When he was a kid during the Depression, he ran away from home, was arrested for “vagrancy,” and was put on an honest-to-god chain-gang. He escaped and, according to lore, nearly lost his leg, eventually making his way to California and scrapping his way into B-pictures.

2) He’s probably best known for his role in Night of the Hunter, in which he pretty much plays [...]