It's a strange profession, this being a Real Housewife of Perfect Town, USA. Strange indeed. Nominally, you're not supposed to have a job at all (sorry, Ann Romney, Housewivery of the traditional sort is an occupation, but it is not a job). Still each of these ladies work, even if it is as a shrieking ghost specter on a reality television show. But then once they're on the show and working they need to use that platform, they all think, to make even more money. They need jobs and endorsements and careers, yes, careers, because they all know being a bottled scream jester for Andy Cohen's amusement won't last forever. They need dance singles and clothing lines and purses and spin-offs and cook books. Then it is those things that feed the action of the show, living off each other into syndicated perpetuity, like a troll feeding off of it's own s**t.
Yes, that is what it is like when Housewives work. Last night's episode of the Real Mole People of Mountain Hill was all about working. No, not working like a drag queen shouts, "WERQ!" at something fierce, it was more like working like a hooker on the corner. Work, girls. Work until your little hearts explode in a glitter bomb of pennies.
First we have Alexis worried about work. Well, she was worried about how her hosting segment on Fox 5 went. She had a panel of experts whose names she couldn't pronounce get together to talk about pre-school orgies or Pamper Parties or some made up Fox News stories about how fetuses are knocking boots. Sexuality begins at conception. Remember that, people. Alexis sits Gretchen down to watch the segment and get her reaction. The basis of Gretchen's expertise, according to Alexis, is that Gretchen was on the San Antonio morning show to talk about her purse line. Yes, that makes her a master of the genre. The San Antonio morning show has a weekly segment about barbecue. You can probably get as much good advice from a big pile of brisket as you could from Gretchen Brisket-for-Brains Rossi. Gretchen says, "Oh, I"m so glad you're getting to do this. They asked me to do it and my schedule was just so busy what with my full-time job as a Slade sitter and whatnot, that I just couldn't do it. I'm glad you can get my cast-offs." As a yeast infection says to a vagina: Burn!
As much as Alexis insisted that she had her own segment, Gretchen was like, "Yeah, that's what they told me too. And they keep calling me about it." Maybe that's because, as Gretchen pointed out, Alexis shows up with her left nipple showing to do a segment about how babies have too much sex together and Fox 5 really wants to fire her if they can find a replacement Housewife. Oh, Alexis is awful. Yes, Alexis is an awful television host. Period. She's just bad. So Gretchen tries to tell her nicely, "Um, maybe you should get a hosting coach, like I did. I can give you her number. Look at how helpful she was. I'm hosting all the time now. I'm actually hostessing at the Olive Garden in the mini-mall this weekend. She got me that gig!" Alexis gets all huffy, "I invited her over to get her support and she wouldn't give it to me." What, Alexis? You want her to watch you screw up on nation local television and then tell you that you did a good job? That's crazy. She did the right thing and told you that you needed to work on your television appearances. That is a true friend, right there.
Knowing that she needs some help in the hosting department, Alexis goes to her host (you know as in the lumpy piece of bread that you eat during communion at mass), her husband Jim. Alright, everyone, Jim is the living worst. He just is. The prizes have been handed out for the worst living thing in the whole world, and Jim won. Actually it was a tie between Jim and bedbugs, but Jim took home the trophy, because he is the worst. Anyway, Jim (who Tamra accuses of having a chin implant, which, HA! forever) tells Alexis that she can not take a class on how to be a television hostess. Why? Because it might lead to her having a career then she wouldn't be at him to care for him and raise his children. She might have to (gasps!) get a nanny. Remember when we first met Alexis and she bragged about having two nannies? Well, apparently Jim has rewritten the Bible and it is now a sin to have a nanny. Settled.
What is Jim spending all his time doing? He's working on a "trampoline park." What the himminey-heck is a trampoline park? How is that going to make them money? How is that going to get them out of the rented house? Is the problem with Alexis' hosting class that it's going to cost money that they just don't have? Then why do they have 17 cars? It's clear that this is something Alexis really wants and, as she says, something that won't take up too much time. More and more Alexis wants some validation outside of her house and Jim keeps denying her. Doesn't he see where this is going to lead? It's going to lead to two rented houses and him never seeing his children because, god forbid, he actually has to spend a minute caring for them. Ugh, Jim is the living worst. He has a Grinch for a heart and an Ebenezer Scrooge for a penis.
Next: Alexis' downfall brought to you by juxtaposition.The meanest thing this show does to Alexis — who we all know is a stupid, craven airhead — is destroying her by juxtaposition. Earlier in the season they interspersed scenes of Alexis ailing after her nose job and making it sound like she was being stretched out on the rack during the Inquisition, and Brianna, Vicki's daughter, who had surgery for what possibly could have been cancer and not complaining one bit. That is how this show just grinds Alexis into a pulp with its red-bottomed stiletto, by showing, comparatively, how awful she really is. This time they did it with Heather.
Heather is a woman who has no job and an assistant. I know a lot of unemployed people and Heather, our lady of the granite cave, is the only one I have ever know that needs an assistant. Anyway, Heather, is better known as Heather Paige Kent, who is (or was) an actress. She even has an IMDb page. That means she is a real actress. She started on a show called That's Life and a Jenny McCarthy vehicle called Jenny. (That wasn't a show, she and Jenny wore bikinis and just sat on the hood of a car that had "Jenny" airbrushed across it.) She was also on the very popular television movie Untitled Camryn Manheim Pilot about a US Air Force ace who couldn't remember the name of an Emmy-winning actress. Anyway, Heather wants to start acting again and goes to audition for a show.
When she gets home, her very lovely husband Terry (who I would also marry, because he is nice and handsome and makes a lot of money) asks her how it went. She says it went well, but she's not sure if she's ready for another series, because this one films in Canada. You can tell he's not pleased about the prospect of her taking off to a foreign country (which, come on, Canada barely counts) to film some TV show. He plays devil's advocate, but they talk about the possibility like grown ups and both make their side of the argument. However, at the end of the conversation he says that he wants to support her and will help her make any decision she thinks is best for her life. This is what a real actual husband who is a nice person and has a real job and is not working on a trampoline park and isn't the World's #1,000,000th Dad says. This is how Alexis is doomed, because her discussion with Jim is put right after Heather's rather constructive discussion with her husband.
Now we must discuss Gretchen Rossi, a bag of extension hair you bought at Wigs 'N' Stuff that has a pair of eyes. Gretchen has been training for a guest spot on Little Kitty Cat's Dance Hour, a children's show where she is going to strut around in a cat costume and sing a song about fevers, so that kids will know what is wrong with them when they get ill. She's worried about having to sing and dance and make kids feel okay all at the same time, especially because her voice is still all messed up from the Bunga Party (which we learned was three weeks before her singing engagement). Sorry, but nothing that happened three weeks ago is going to have that much impact on your voice. Gretchen needs to face the reality that she just can't sing.
So, Gretchen gets to Vegas and she meets Mikey, a duck that was turned into a human homosexual. You can tell this is true because he still has a bill. He has giant lips and all he says is, "Quack! You suck. Quack! You can't sing. Quack! You look fat. Quack, Mary, Quack!" Mikey is a monster. Since there is a Duck Man (a Merduck?) Gretchen still thinks she is going to be on Captain Kangaroo and the Kitty Cat Brigade and Mikey says, "Quack! No way, lady. Quack! This is a burlesque show. Quack!"
Great, now Gretchen has to worry about not being able to sing (which she can't) and trying to be sexy at the same time. Mikey says, "Quack! This will suck if you can't quack, I mean sing. Quack! So, just stand there and try to sing and don't think about anything else. The more you think, the more you suck. Quack!" That is the truest thing that anyone has ever told Gretchen Rossi in her whole damn life. "The more you think, the more you suck." He didn't really say that, but Gretchen needs to put that on the ass of a pair of velour sweatpants because that needs to be her new mantra. "The more you think, the more you suck." Get into it!
Next: Clearly, it's time for a group trip to Vegas!
So, all of the ladies are coming to Vegas with their significant others to watch Gretchen attempt to sing. Even Vicki, who is being nice to Gretchen, but on the inside she's thinking, "I can't wait to see what this bitch does." (Long parenthetical: Oh my god, guys. We have to talk about that crazy hooker that Alexis hired to do her makeup in Vegas. Did she go to the Al Jolson School of Makeup or something? I mean, she made Alexis look like a whore. Usually Alexis is the only person who makes her look like a whore. But really, this crazy strung out bitch just troweled on her makeup and made her look like a bug-eyed mud person. Then Alexis had to take it all off and put on her own makeup. Um, how about you just did that in the first place and save having some stripper who you found roaming the strip with a makeup bag looking for a meth fix come upstairs and mess up your face. You can't go out one time without a makeup artist? Oh, Alexis. You will never get it right.) Everyone is at dinner and Tamra is there with Eddie and Alexis brought Jim, the human embodiment of a Dutch Oven, and Vicki brought the grifter known as Brooks who told some story about how much he loves Vicki and no one understood it and then he went around the table and stole everyone's wallets. Heather and Terry were there too, smiling and nodding like they were having dinner at a poor cousin's house. I love them.
Finally, they go to the Big Kitty Cat Pussy Scratch Club to watch Gretchen. Alexis, in all her wisdom, says that the burlesque club looks like a strip club. Oh, Alexis. That's like saying, "This pizza parlor looks like a restaurant." It's because they're the same [bleeping] thing! Don't you know what the hell a burlesque club is? Oh, just go sit down next to your husband Jim, the second coming of the pile of turd from Weird Science, and shut up.
But she doesn't. She goes backstage to hold Gretchen's hand. "Break a leg," Alexis says. "Well, not literally. Let's pray instead." Gretchen looks at her like she would look at someone who just had their makeup done by a drunk hooker and says, "Are you sure?" "Yes." They hold hands and Alexis starts, "Oh heavenly father..." and that's all Gretchen hears. She closes her eyes and she thinks of the crowd out there, the stage and the back up dancers. She thinks of the lyrics of her song and the marks she has to hit. She thinks of Slade, sitting there in the front row smiling like a cat that just found the bag of cat food and spilled it all over the kitchen and ate so much he's about to puke. She thinks of everything and she sees God guiding her through every beat, every step, every note. She finally has it. She got it. She can do this. She is going to kill it.
"Amen," she hears Alexis say as she lets go of the glitterly gloves that are built into her crazy unitard costume. Gretchen takes a deep breath and she feels the Holy Spirit inside of her. She feels it fill her lungs like when she breathes under the mist machines that are constantly flowing outside of the door of Cosmopolitian Hotel, battling back the desert night. She feels empowered, filled with the glow of the strip and ready to let it's light shine through her.
"What are you doing?" Mikey bursts in to say. "We're praying," Alexis answers, swaying back and forth with pride like a four-year-old that just used the big girl potty. "Praying?" Mikey asks. "We don't need to pray, honey. That is what rehearsal is for." He pauses for a moment before turning and walking toward the stage in an elaborately exaggerated gesture and then lets it out, so soft the girls can barely hear it. "Quack!"
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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American Pie 2 enjoyed the weekend's sweetest slice of box office pie.
Universal launched its R rated youth appeal comedy sequel Pie 2 in first place to a record setting ESTIMATED $45.1 million at 3,063 theaters ($14,724 per theater).
Pie 2's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
Directed by J.B. Rogers, it stars Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Eugene Levy.
"The first one opened to $18.7 million," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning, referring to the original American Pie, which after its July 9, 1999 launch went on to gross $102.7 million in domestic theaters.
Now with the sequel's blockbuster opening, Rocco said, "With Friday's business, Universal became the number one (distributor in terms of domestic) market share for the year. We've been number one for the summer. We became number one for the year. We're well over $600 million in domestic box office grosses as of now."
Rocco also pointed to a number of records set by Pie 2: "This picture is the biggest R rated comedy. It's the second highest opening for an R rated film ever, just behind our own Hannibal (in which Universal was partnered with MGM). It's the third biggest comedy ever (of any type), not just R rated. It's the fourth movie that Universal has opened consecutively to over $40 million. Our records show that no other studio has done that twice in a row. And it's the fourth number one movie in a row for Universal."
Universal's outstanding success this year includes its first place openings of The Mummy Returns the weekend of May 4-6 to $68.1 million, The Fast and the Furious the weekend of June 22-24 to $40.1 million, Jurassic Park III the weekend of July 20-22 to $50.8 million (and a five day cume of $81.4 million) and now Pie 2 with an ESTIMATED $45.1 million.
Focusing on the sequel's profitability, Rocco observed, "It made back more than its production cost, which was $30 million."
All told, she added, "I'm delighted with the results of this picture. This is our own home grown franchise and it's so exciting that audiences were anxious to revisit characters that they fell in love with for the first time."
Rocco said that the studio's exit polls for Pie 2 were outstanding, showing that its audience was 53 percent female and 47 percent male. "67 percent of the audience was under the age of 25, as expected," she said. "For that core audience, the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good) scored 94 percent. Overall, it scored 90 percent in the Top Two Boxes. For the core audience, the definite recommend was 73 percent against a norm of 50 percent. Overall, the definite recommend was 69 percent, which is fabulous."
New Line Cinema's PG-13 rated action comedy blockbuster sequel Rush Hour 2 dropped one rung to second place in its second week with a still impressive ESTIMATED $31.48 million (-53%) at 3,118 theaters ($10,095 per theater). Its cume is approximately $131.9 million, heading for $175-200 million.
Directed by Brett Ratner, it stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
Buena Vista/Disney's G rated family comedy The Princess Diaries held on to third place in its second week with a still royal ESTIMATED $14.1 million (-38%) at 2,706 theaters (+169 theaters; $5,211 per theater). Its cume is approximately $51.9 million, heading for $85-100 million.
Directed by Garry Marshall, it stars Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway.
Dimension Films' opened its PG-13 thriller The Others in fourth place to a promising ESTIMATED $13.67 million at 1,678 theaters ($8,147 per theater).
Directed by Alejandro Amenabar, it stars Nicole Kidman.
"We'll be in profit by the end of the week on this one. It was made for $17 million all-in," Miramax L.A. president Mark Gill said Sunday morning. "Cruise/Wagner did a brilliant job creatively and economically. I think Nicole Kidman becomes a serious Oscar contender after the great reviews she got. So we're excited about that."
Asked about Kidman's prospects as an awards contender, Gill added, "She's just gotten astonishingly great reviews, so I think there's almost no doubt she'll be a serious Oscar contender."
Given the film's strong opening, Gill said, "We're on about a thousand screens less than everybody else, so we'll about 500 more this coming week. At $8,147 a screen, (exhibitors) will be ringing our phones (asking for prints of The Others)."
Did all the media attention Kidman's been getting as the result of her divorce from Tom Cruise hurt or help the film's opening? "There's no doubt that publicity gets attention," Gill replied. "But the key to this, of course, is you can all the attention in the world, but if people don't like what they're seeing they don't go. So the movie had to deliver and the advertising had to look like it was presenting a good movie. Mercifully, all that was true.
"The movie is fantastic. It reminds me a lot of Hitchcock movies. But, you know, pick your favorite influence. It's more psychological than it is anything else. As a consequence, it's, I think, better and scarier not to rely on blood and gore. It gets you there in other ways. The Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar brought a ton of style to it. It's a really great movie."
20th Century Fox's PG-13 sci-fi action adventure Planet of the Apes fell three pegs to fifth place in its third week with a quieter ESTIMATED $13.32 million (-52%) at 3,405 theaters (-125 theaters; $3,910 per theater). Its cume is approximately $148.7 million, heading for $175-180 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Tim Burton and produced by Richard D. Zanuck, it stars Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter and Michael Clarke Duncan.
Universal and Amblin Entertainment's PG-13 rated action adventure fantasy sequel Jurassic Park III slipped two notches to sixth place in its fourth week with a still impressive ESTIMATED $7.3 million (-41%) at 3,175 theaters (-287 theaters; $2,299 per theater). Its cume is approximately $160.2 million, heading for $175 million or more in domestic theaters.
Directed by Joe Johnston, JP III stars Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter, John Diehl and Bruce A. Young.
Warner Bros.' PG rated comedy Osmosis Jones kicked off in seventh place to a calm ESTIMATED $5.58 million at 2,305 theaters ($2,419 per theater).
Directed by Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly, it stars Chris Rock, Laurence Fishburne, David Hyde Pierce, Brandy Norwood, William Shatner, Molly Shannon, Chris Elliott and Bill Murray.
Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures' PG-13 rated romantic comedy America's Sweethearts slid three slots to eighth place in its fourth week with a less romantic ESTIMATED $4.6 million (-43%) at 2,686 theaters (-325 theaters; $1,713 per theater). Its cume is approximately $83.4 million, heading for $100 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Joe Roth, it stars Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal, Catherine Zeta-Jones and John Cusack.
MGM's PG-13 rated comedy hit Legally Blonde fell two rungs to ninth place in its fifth week with a still attractive ESTIMATED $3.82 million (-35%) at 2,031 theaters (+505 theaters; $1,881 per theater).
Blonde, which cost only $18 million to produce, has a cume of approximately $78.7 million and is on its way to a very profitable $85 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Robert Luketic, the Marc Platt production stars Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis, Victor Garber and Jennifer Coolidge with a special appearance by Raquel Welch.
Rounding out the Top Ten was MGM's R rated thriller Original Sin, down four pegs in its second week with a slow ESTIMATED $3.05 million (-52%) at 2,194 theaters ($1,391 per theater). Its cume is approximately $12.49 million.
Written and directed by Michael Christofer, it stars Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Dimension Films' new expanded version of its PG rated youth appeal action comedy Spy Kids Special Edition with an unfunny ESTIMATED $1.43 million at 1,676 theaters ($851 per theater). Its cume (including its original run, which began with its $26.5 million opening the weekend of Mar. 30 - Apr. 1) is approximately $109.0 million.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, it stars Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino.
"Video and DVD are coming up in September so this was sort of the pre-amble to that," Miramax L.A. president Mark Gill said Sunday morning. (Dimension is a unit of Miramax Films, which is owned by Disney.)
Fox Searchlight Pictures R rated thriller The Deep End kicked off to a very encouraging ESTIMATED $0.14 million at 6 theaters ($23,415 per theater) in Los Angeles and New York. Its cume after five days is approximately $0.2 million.
Written produced and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, it stars Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic and Jonathan Tucker.
"That's significantly higher than our excellent opening on Sexy Beast (earlier this summer), which was $18,009 per theater," Fox Searchlight distribution president Stephen Gilula said Sunday morning. "We'll be adding theaters this week, both expanding in New York and L.A. and another nine markets, so we'll go up to over 50 theaters by this Friday. And we have an expansion the following week, which will take us up to around 200 theaters."
Focusing on the promising kick off for Deep, Gilula noted, "We're very, very excited. It just shows, again, that there's a really avid moviegoing audience in the summertime for alternative, thoughtful movies in addition to the mega-movies. When the critics embrace a film, as they did with this--particularly with Tilda Swinton's performance--the crowds have come. It's a crowded marketplace (this summer) with the sheer number of films opening, so (our marketing department, under Nancy Utley) did a great job of getting the word out.
"It's actually been, I think, a fairly good summer (for specialized films), going back to Anniversary Party and Sexy Beast and then The Closet and Made and now The Deep End. There really is an alternative audience in the summertime that is looking for this type of product."
Gilula added that Beast in its ninth weekend did about $198,000 at 29 theaters, "which takes it to $5,964,500, which means we'll cross $6 million by Wednesday or Thursday. That's a tremendous result for us. It's also the number one limited release film for the summer."
USA Films' R rated sci-fi thriller Session 9 arrived to a quiet ESTIMATED $0.083 million at 30 theaters ($2,750 per theater).
Directed by Brad Anderson, it stars David Caruso, Peter Mullan, Brendan Sexton III, Steven Gevedon and Josh Lucas.
Paramount Classics' PG-13 rated drama An American Rhapsody opened to a drab ESTIMATED $0.042 million at 7 theaters ($6,000 per theater).
Written and Directed by Eva Gardos, it stars Nastassja Kinski, Scarlett Johansson and Tony Goldwyn.
Paramount held sneak previews Saturday night of its PG-13 comedy Rat Race.
Directed by Jerry Zucker, it stars Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Seth Green, Jon Lovitz, Breckin Meyer and Amy Smart.
"The sneaks were about 60 percent capacity," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. "There were 1,012 sneaks. We had 700 locations that had two sneaks, so you can say we effectively had 1,700 sneaks. The capacities at the later sneaks (at 10:30 p.m.) were only around 35 percent (given the later hour). The index score from the exit polls was 78, which is very good. I (don't yet have) the full exit polls, but I know it was 50-50 male-female."
Asked about the index score, Lewellen explained, "That is the result of the combination of checking the boxes (on the exit poll forms). It's an average. Anything over 70 or 71 is a very good response. Like, Forrest Gump got an 81, as an example. It's a very good score."
Lewellen said he anticipates that the film will play to a family audience.
Race opens this Friday (Aug. 17), Lewellen said, at "about 2,500 locations and probably 2,800 screens or so."
On the expansion front, this weekend saw Miramax's R rated French comedy The Closet go wider in its seventh week with an okay ESTIMATED $0.43 million (+5%) at 145 theaters (+17 theaters; $2,975 per theater). Its cume is approximately $4.0 million.
Directed by Francis Veber, it stars Daniel Auteuil, Gerard Depardieu, Thierry Lhermitte and Michele Laroque.
Artisan's R rated comedy Made widened in its fifth week with a dull ESTIMATED $0.4 million at 128 theaters (+11 theaters; $3,125 per theater). Its cume is approximately $3.0 million.
Written and directed by Jon Favreau, it stars Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Sean Combs, Famke Janssen, Faizon Love and Peter Falk.
Miramax's R rated Apocalypse Now Redux widened in its second week with a still promising ESTIMATED $0.35 million at 19 theaters (+17 theaters; $19,323 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.53 million.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it stars Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper and Harrison Ford.
MGM's release of United Artists' R rated youth appeal comedy Ghost World widened in its fourth week with a still lively ESTIMATED $0.35 million (+1%) at 34 theaters (+11 theaters; $10,294 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.3 million.
Directed by Terry Swigoff, it stars Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas and Steve Buscemi.
Fine Line Features' R rated rock musical drama Hedwig and the Angry Inch added a few theaters in its fourth week with a still hopeful ESTIMATED $0.26 million (-9%) at 50 theaters (+4 theaters; $5,180 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.2 million.
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell, who also wrote adapted his hit Off-Broadway play to the screen, Hedwig stars Mitchell in its title role.
Key films--those grossing more than $500,000--took in approximately $150.17 million, up about 47.89 per cent from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $101.54 million.
This weekend's key film gross was down about 9.51 per cent from last weekend this year when key films took in $165.94 million.
Last year, Sony's second week of Hollow Man was first with $13.05 million at 2,956 theaters ($4,414 per theater); and Warner Bros.' second week of Space Cowboys was second with $13.02 million at 2,835 theaters ($4,591 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $26.0 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $76.6 million.